Any excuse to hear Sasse’s gem from back in 2012 has to be applauded. Although, the reason is still so blindingly obvious: It’s a masterclass in reach for the stars ecstasy. The drums are tight, the syncopated bass drives into ecstatic release, while those keys only heighten the expectant tension. That’s just one reason of course, but the other is the new set of remixes from Ricardo Villalobos and label head Dorian Paic aka Doric. Reworking the elements while creating a new process of smouldering drums plus low-end bass theory and leaving space for vocal touches, two sublime variations on the theme appear: Main Mix plus Short Mix. Neat.
This latest from Bristol’s Dark Arts Club concocts an intriguing brew of the weird, wild and wonderful all in one go. Listening to the title track gives you that strange sense of being somewhere else reliving a dream, yet propels you hard and fast into tomorrow by its force of will. Maybe that’s down to the rush of sheer energy that courses throughout the arrangement raising expectation and emotions via the strident keys and their accompanying sense of musicality pointing to a time past, coupled with the melodic tease of vocals repeating. Label head SEFF then remixes the elements into a fully-fledged, big and bouncing take on nineties styled sounds with his nod to Rave on the 98 Rework. Remaining numbers Open The Box and Day & Night again play with history, although I’m not quite sure if that’s about reviving the dream or trying to make a new one.
Is it just me or does this time of year invite certain sounds to the fore. That kind of drawn to the beach scenario where sunshine grooves stroll around so easily, richly atmospheric yet pointing towards the invitation of night-time. The excellently named DJ Counselling sequences a positive expanse of sounds, feeling musical and pounding, as grainy beats plus filtered keys all enhance that magic formula. Mitcham Tuxedo then has breathy vocals sounding smooth over cooked drums and splashing hi-hats propelling it all in forward motion. The even more playful Pollards Thrill completes with yearning vocals sprinkled over tougher beats and robust bass ending this first-rate set of music. Summer or otherwise.
It’s hard not to fall in love with these temptingly, smoky grooves as Naile Sosa’s vocals weave in and out of the pulsating, percussive rhythms which accompany them. New on Kiko Navarro’s imprint this aptly falls under a summertime release with remixes appearing from a contrasting John Beltran who lifts the instrumentation with jazzier notation alongside addictive, shuffling afro-styled snares. And also from Kiko himself aka KOKI who’s Beatapella version reveals a wealth of fantastic drumming amid a rich, warm harmony of voices.
On a more positive note come these hot reworking of Abel’s wonderful album cut featuring Marcel & Elliott, although don’t let the opportunity to soak up all that gorgeous soul-tripping intensity of the original first – an outstanding piece of contemporary music. Firstly is the Rocco Warrior Mix which breaks down the elements, then adds a caustic synthesized loop setting it all alight in a totally different way. Next, and I can’t think of anyone more appropriate, is Fred Everything’s version which expands the originals emotional richness adding a tougher, more playful quality care of funky breaks and bass while sounding most heavenly in the process.
Time ladies and gentlemen is of the essence. So at almost twelve minutes duration Sleep Is Commercial’s Andrea Ferlin rushes head first into the bliss. Th starts the clock running sequencing a crisp, tight drum loop plus an array of unnerving, funky and fidgety sounds that cumulate in this compelling, excellent production. Next, and possibly even more intense, is Flux which channels future psychedelia into dark, brooding atmospheres alongside weird, contorted voice-like expanses. Operating on a deeper level than most you can also sense the avant-garde operating in amongst the smoky drums and shuffling urgency. Or, you could of course just say of both numbers that they provide strange, wonderful life-affirming music.
Let’s start at the cover Art which these days only adds something more organic to the elusive digital experience. Dream Of A Swallow sets the pulse soaring as Moira Audio Recordings main-man delivers yet more probing, questioning rhythms espousing rich decretive atmospheres, packed full of emotional resonance. Typically the beats are grainy pulsating throughout the arrangement as insistent percussion gathers pace, leaving just enough time and space for the injection of keys and layers of sound. Appearing in three separate versions it’s also most definitely worth drawing your attention to the Tech Tool which highlights all that drumming notably.
When a record describes itself Strobe Light Laser ACID you can quickly paint your own picture of events. Although, it may not quite allow for the brutal brilliance of Chus & Ceballos’s unholy remix which adds extra Kick to the word Drum. An excellent production by anyone’s standard setting off tribal intensity against brisk Acid lines and that nod to Frankie Goes To Hollywood may all be a bit much to take – unless it happens to be 3 in the morning. Next, DJ Pierre’s Phuture project co-conspirator Lessnoise delivers a MoreAcid Mix proving to be no less captivating, though provides a more introspective take with rumbling Acid spinning out over resolutely tough beats and bass.
Hello and welcome along to Magazine Sixty, Andrea. Let’s begin with your brilliant new release for SLEEP IS COMMERCIAL – Flux E.P. which comprises of two productions. Can you talk us through how you produced the epic 11:49 minutes of Th. From where the initial idea came from to how that was then realised in musical terms?
Nice to meet you as well. Thanks for the nice words on the release.
The initial idea started building the groove using elements from a real drum kit and reprogramming the sounds of the drum kit with a sequencer. On top, using other two drum machines, and a bunch of synthethizers. When I make music, most of the time I start with an idea and then this idea develops itself naturally in a track. It something very natural that I cannot really explain.
You recently played at the labels night at Warehouse in Palma de Mallorca as you do at many others across the world? Tell us about how you feel your music connects with people? And do you think music translates borders, or do different locations require different approaches?
I have the chance to travel the world and play the music I love, I really feel lucky to be able to do this. Music connects people with one another and me with them as well. Music is a universal language and even tough I still think that different locations requires different approaches. The music we play does not fit any type of dance floor. There is music that works perfectly in a dance floor like Berlin’s Club Der Visionaere but doesn’t work in the same way in another place. The audience is different and I try to adapt myself to this.
What makes SLEEP IS COMMERCIAL such special label for you? And how would you say the philosophy behind it is unique in today’s digital age?
We founded SLEEP IS COMMERCIAL in 2009 with Francesco Assenza and it became a special project for us since then. We managed to create a label that embodies exactly what our taste in music is. We have a great group of friends and artists that are part of the label and we support each other. We exchange music, ideas, build new projects together. We are very lucky to have this.
We are found of vinyl only releases. We had a digital series that we stopped as we wanted to focus our production on vinyl releases. I do not know if our philosophy is unique but we are for sure a bunch of crazy music freaks and we try to make the most out of it.
Outside of the world of electronic music which artists, writers or musicians have most influenced what you do?
I am a big jazz fan as I grew up listening Miles Davis or Thelonious Monk among many others. This kind of music deeply inspired me by its groove. I particularly like free jazz because of its very complex and sometimes abstract rhythmics. I also listened to many psychedelic Rock from the Sixties. The writer that most influenced me is Robert A. Heinlein. He is a science-fiction writer, a genre that I particularly enjoy to read. Many sounds that I then use in my tracks remind me the science fiction movies I use to watch when I was a kid.
What makes certain music timeless?
In my point of view, one of the elements that make a track timeless is its vocal part. This vocal part could also be a synthesizer riff for example.
When I think about it, there are so many iconic tracks to me. Tracks maybe 60 years old that are still modern in a way. Tracks that pass from generations to generations. This I think happen when the tracks have this magical thing that no one really can explain. When the music touches you in a special way for any particular reason. I do not think that there can be a proper explanation to what makes certain music timeless, it is very subjective like in all art forms.
Do you have a favourite instrument (or software/ hardware)? Do you own one?
Yes I have some favorites pieces of gear. One is the Eventide H3000. It is for me an irreplaceable effect processor. I use it in all of my productions. I use all the Elektron machines. Starting from the Machine Drum to the Analog Four and the Octatrak. I love to use them because they are very powerful machines, very easy to use and I have a lot of fun using them.
How would you place the importance of song and words in the context of today’s electronic landscape?
Most of the music I do is without any vocal parts in a classical way. I use vocal parts that I transform into instruments. I use the voice for their sounds but not for the words they say. Sometimes only I use vocals to send a message but it is very rare. I think that in today’s electronic music scene the use of words is still the same, each producer use it in its way, some more than others and some not at all.
And finally. Can you share your plans for the remainder of 2018 and beyond?
2018 has been a great year for me so far. I have a lot of records and remixes coming: my new Atoll record and my new Proboscide record will both come out in June. Some months ago I started a project with some friends in Beirut, No Longer Humans and we have a two tracks EP coming out this summer with a remix of Aleandro (another project I have with Alessio Mereu). There is a track of mine in a new triple vinyl Sleep Is Commercial Various Artists that will be released in Autumn. I also did a remix together with Francesco Assenza as Dunkle Dummies for a Wareika track called ‘Shamania’ that will be released in a double vinyl for our Sleep Is Commercial Ltd series. Another remix will come from Ricardo Villalobos together with Thomas Melchior.
Regarding gigs, I will be taking on my residency at Club der Visionaere in Berlin and I look forward to play this summer in old and new locations such as Waha Festival in Romania or in Egypt.
Andrea Ferlin’s Flux EP is out July on Sleep is Commercial
Time continues. Music evolves. Pascal FEOS feeds his own imprint with two equally soaring cuts that mercifully have fuck all to do with Disco. Tearing at the stratosphere the brutal kick drums and furious stabs of Cluster Beatz propel forwards gathering excitable energies in their wake, while cruising some seven minutes in duration this crisp production is not only captivating but timeless. Next the slippery percussion of Demonstration suggests different possibilities as hell-bent basslines explode amid contrasting atmospheric rushes of sound. Very fine.