Superfreq reassert their importance (again) with this super-hot new production care off Jay Tripwire & Modern Ancient. The original version tugs at the heartstrings as the breathy rush of synths and voice-like impressions are cast together over probing drums and repeating tones, cumulating in a classically tuned arrangement that doesn’t waste a moment. A further three alternative interpretations prove to be equally alluring. The Spiritual Heartbreak Mix alters the emphasis on the drums, leaving both the Meditation and Spirit Tool versions break it all down to reveal the essential elements. The former letting the ambient pulse of the keys expand, the later sees the rugged sequences given free rein to soar against a background of live recordings. The excellent Dance Spirit are on hand to deliver a powerful remix which then accentuates atmospheric notes finely tuned into the stereo of possibilities.
Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty Jay. Can we start with your new single (with Modern Ancient): Heart432. Can you talk us through the ten minutes of the Original Mix and where the inspiration came from for the track, and what its title signifies?
I started tuning my music to 423 a few years ago, there is a lot of debate about 432 tuning, there are plenty of conspiracy theories about it, but 1st hand I can tell you that music at 432 gets really amazing responses on the dancefloor. The idea in this track is to target the Heart Chakra, its key is F or F#. The main meanings or functions associated with the heart chakra are:
Love for oneself and others
Ability to grieve and reach peace
Center of awareness, integration of insights
When the heart chakra is open, you may feel being deeply connected, the harmonious exchange of energy with all that is around you, and the appreciation of beauty. However, when there’s a blockage in the heart chakra, you may experience difficulties in your relating with others, such as excessive jealousy, co-dependency, or being closed down, withdrawn, I have felt myself dealing with all these issues being a lifelong artist and DJ, it is cathartic to make things like this.
The idea behind this is for dancefloor healing of that chakra, more chakras will follow on upcoming projects, Modern Ancient came up with this idea, and after research into it we decided to test it out in the studio and it became this project.
Tell us about your relationship with the label Superfreq. And about the choice of Dance Spirit for remixing?
Mr. C and I have been homeys for a very long time, he had me out to London to play at The End and AKA back in the day even before I started playing fabric, he has always been a supporter of my music and my Dj’ing. He started to include me more in the label parties and on the label in the last 5 years and we have a good relationship. I often pick his brain for ideas and inspirations, it was people like him and Eddie Richards and Tyler Stadius that really were there since I started putting out records and supported my work.
Dance Spirit are close friends of mine, I think of them as my little brothers. It has been so awesome to see them grow and develop into what they are today, their hard work and talent has been well received by the world. We often collab on things and they really loved the original so it only made sense for them to do a remix.
The release comes with three original versions. The Meditation Mix and Spirit Tool expand sounds without beats, does that feel freer from restriction?
I don’t care about restriction, or making things people might not get, that has been the basis of my career, it only seemed logical to do these other versions for separate times and places away from the original dancefloor mix. Mr. C does these meditation and visualisation workshops, so having the version for meditations that is meant for opening the Heart Chakra makes it an even more versatile tool.
Which people have had the most influence on you both from within and from outside of electronic music, any particular authors and artists?
My favorite author is Haruki Murakami, I feel he writes the kind of books that David Lynch or Jim Jarmoush should turn into films. One of my favorite artists right now is actually Chris Mohn from Dance Spirit, his works are amazing and now that he is doing all the art for Superfreq its going to look so next level. My early musical influences in the realm of electronic are Kraftwerk, Basic Channel, Dj’s like Mr. C and Doc Martin, Jeno from SF, Tyler Stadius, Evil Eddie Richards, and Dj Three have all been tastemakers from back in the day whos taste and programming sets really showed me how to do things without compromise.
I love a lot of Dub, I listen to Johnny Cash, All Them Witches, Wu Tang Clan, and Lotsa Heavy Metal as well, there are only 2 types of music-good or bad, fuck genres.
What importance do you place on vocals and songs in Dance Music? Can something be equally expressed as effectively though rhythms and sound, or vice-versa?
It depends on the vocal, I don’t like vocals for the point of trying to make a hit, I like words to mean something, to have depth and complexity, not just some fucking hook over and over.
I feel it’s more of a challenge to create emotional content that evokes a feeling from only an instrumental song, but on the flip it has a more universal appeal as language no longer becomes a barrier- everyone speaks music.
I play in a lot of places where people do not speak English and playing songs in English I find borders on arrogance, it’s bad enough I don’t speak the language when I go somewhere to do a gig.
What is your favourite instrument (or piece of software)? Do you own one?
I love my Moog Little Phatty, I wrote a whole song dedicated to it called Brothers of Moogtown on Superfreq. I love old novation gear- I have the K-Station and the Nova, both were actually gifted to me by friends who felt I would make better use from them, I have some fucking awesome friends!
I am currently babysitting the Elektron Rytm and the Analog 4 for my friend, I have wrote a bunch of stuff off them, they are fucking awesome units. The crux of being a true artist who doesn’t have a brain for business is that I made decisions based off the bubble I live in and based on the true integrity of my art. That doesn’t make me a top 20 DJ and therefore I struggle with buying new gear and vinyl. I’m looking at selling plasma to buy the Elektron units lol.
I write everything on Logic 8 actually, one day I will upgrade or someshit, but I wrote shit on an Atari Falcon into the 2000’s till it caught fire, so I’m always doing shit my own way and utilizing the things I have and making it all work, that’s how all the best Detroit records were made.
You recently called Tech-House, Bro-Tech. Can you expand your thinking about that? And does it make great music more special and hard to find, or average formulaic music more the norm?
Tech-Bro!! When we started making these records that later became known as “Tech House” it was based of the style of Dj’ing, we played stripped down house records and more Detroit sounding techno in a set in such a manner that it was best of both worlds. I took that idea and started making my own records fusing both sounds. I never expected one day Tech-House would sound like it does now, it’s fairly cheesy with those big EDM-esq drops. The parties I have checked out are mostly dudes in Vnecks attending and it’s pretty contrived sounding to me, but I’m also decades into this and I like subtleties and nuances in music.
Don’t get me wrong- I do like repetitive stuff but it has to have these small details and I don’t hear it in Bro-tech, it’s just EDM laced Velveeta for people that think they are into “the Underground” whatever the fuck that is hahaha.
And finally. What plans do you have for 2018 and beyond?
I broke my head and neck last year so I was busted up, in a neckbrace and no touring for a while.
My 1st dates back were in November In Oslo, then some dates Romania in December and Hawaii in January, I think people were waiting to see if I had recovered before they started booking me again, but I’m 110% now. Things are picking back up, on the other side since I have been around Vancouver more I have been in the studio like a beast, got lotsa remixes, releases on vinyl and digital coming up. I joined forces with my friends here who do these parties called UnderG, so I’m working on throwing parties with these guys, and we are starting a vinyl label out of it. The 1st release are some tracks I did with a remix from Nu Zau.
The UnderG thing is all about stripped down underground music, and Im all about that haha.
We have Herodot April 6th at a dope warehouse venue called Open Studios.
I still play at Gorgomish in Vancouver, it’s our version of something like Panorama Bar or fabric room 3-I have been playing there for over a decade since it opened and it’s still rockin.
The injury in itself sucked ass but it did have a silver lining and all the love and support people gave me when I was all fucked up thru the bandcamp album I did kept us from going homeless and really showed me that there are awesome humans out there I felt really loved and was super grateful that people gave a shit. I started revisiting being more part of the scene here in Vancouver again instead of being completely absent and away all the time, when Vancouver parties are on they are FIRE and as good as any legendary city.
Dance Spirit have been producing some stunning music for this past number of years so it was with some excitement that they get to portray their own unique blend of sights and sounds on this excellent compilation from Kindisch. As you should expect the music is sonically charged full of passion for forward-thinking ideas that positively brim and sizzle with the here and now. Featuring a number of their own productions plus with a series of exclusive remixes of the label’s back catalogue the duo pulzarise your senses by both dark and funky rhythms coupled with a sense of present danger. Plenty of highlights to express here but just a couple like their own remix of YokoO ‘Arid’, Ben Hoo ‘Modal’ and Nick Galemore’s ‘Redesigned’ are certainly breath-taking standouts for starters.
Like any music it sometimes seems all the more significant when it exits outside of its given location. In this case Pezzner’s exquisitely crafted Evelyn sounds just as informed and just as impactful on or off the dancefloor. The gentle yet brilliant rush of melancholy is deftly underpinned by nervous percussion and offset by delicate piano notes. All of which are then transported through the prism of twisted vocal lines and generally oddball sounds to cumulate in an altogether more rewarding listening experience. The Redux version alters the emphasis on the drums and elements creating another first-rate piece of music. While, Dance Spirit inevitably remix with a splash of charm across sizzling, inspired electronics on their 23rd Dimension Mix. Contrasted by the DoubtingThomas Constructive Reconstruction which eases it all down to a most relaxed tempo feeling all the more delicious for it too.
Your new single: One for the Heads EP is coming out soon on Rebellion. Each track connects between the transcendent power of the dancefloor and an inner spiritual quest. Can you tell us about how you discovered these ideas and what they mean to you in practice?
A lot of our inner spiritual quest has come from our own individual paths, our trials, and our soul searching and we try to reflect that in our performances and our music by creating music and art that stimulates the mind and body physically and emotionally. So much of the culture is trying to lose themselves in the moment rather than enjoying it, getting lost in the music instead of being liberated by it. It is our humble effort to give people a chance to connect and dance through the medium of dance music.
Do you feel that in today’s digital rush and seeming easy connectivity that we have lost something in translation? If so, how has Club Culture changed for you over the course of your career?
The age of convenience and instant gratification via technological evolution is quite a marvel of the modern day indeed. As we creep closer to a world dictated to us through technology it’s important to maintain a firm footing on the ground lest we be completely swept away into a direction we didn’t see coming or want. Social media has connected the world but divided us further. We look for connection online but it’s still pretty hollow. We are physical beings in physical matter, and there’s something to be said about the transference of physical energies.
The great thing about Club Culture is that it’s a mingling of people from all walks of life, and on the dance floor we’re all the same, coming together to celebrate life and love to the healing sounds of music. The faces change, the music changes, fashions and trends change, but that’s alright. I think the most constantly changing thing seems to be the business side, which most recently was hijacked by the corporate world for a moment as it tried to figure out how to capitalize off of a culture that prides itself in being anti-corporate, and as we’ve seen it didn’t work out too well as the too-big-to-fail model imploded on SFX and some larger festivals, but now that the dust has settled, I see lots of growth in the dance music culture especially in America right now. Music business is always a tough business, especially for the artists. But change is good — change is the natural constant of the ever evolving infinite universe. Whether it’s good or bad is completely subjective, so the most important thing is to remain forever innocent and wide-eyed with wonder and excitement, be inspired by change, use other’s changes to inspire your own growth, otherwise you succumb to a negative outlook which can jade and trap you in darkness.
Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks, and something about your studio plus how you approach the working day?
Well in this instance the title track probably has the most exciting story “One for the heads”. We had access to a killer studio and had just gotten back from the NYE-BPM happenings down in Mexico and went into the studio with our new Roland JP-08 and Roland Space echo. A lot of the rhythms in the track were inspired by a lot of music we heard in the jungles of Mexico and were for the most part were recorded live in the studio. The synth sounds were recorded from the JP-08 through the space echo and instantly perked our ears. The rhythms were created by using Euclidean rhythms which really birthed a beautiful hypnotic abstract rhythmic base to the track. By the time we had composed the track it was obvious we had created a very serious piece of dance floor material not for the faint at heart, hence the title of the track. We felt it was a piece appropriate for the sharp and educated ear of dance music lovers world wide.
This is the second release for the Crosstown Rebels family. How did you first hook up with the label?
We crafted this extremely crazy bootleg remix of Bjork’s “All Is Full Of Love” and sent it to Damian, and he was super in to it and we heard he was playing it out quite often, so we decided to give a shot at putting together an EP to submit to the label, which birthed our first Rebellion release, “Drowning in Irises”. Since then he’s invited us to play the Get Lost during WMC, as well as the recent one in downtown Los Angeles at the legendary Park Plaza Hotel.
What are you listening to, reading or watching at the moment outside of Dance Music?
Chris: Right now I am reading a few things, “The Secret Teachings of All The Ages” by Manly P. Hall, “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse, and “Tristessa” by Jack Kerouac. My listening always contains heavy listening of the Grateful Dead and Miles Davis. Modern stuff I love is Yagya, Tyco, and have been really inspired by late 90’s electronica. But in any genre a good song is a good song and I love it all.
Reagan: Currently I’m reading Taschen’s “The Hermetic Museum: Alchemy & Mysticism” right now with is an amazing compiling breakdown and analysis of all of the the alchemical art through history. As for music I go between a bunch of jazz, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Ricardo Villalobos, Bjork, Radio Head, and this vaporwave band, 2814, whose album “Birth of a New Day” has been my sleep loop album for the past year now! I’ve also been re-listening to Sneaker Pimp’s second album a lot lately.
How was your experience of Burning Man this year. And how do you feel about the prominence of festivals these days?
Well we both had very different experiences, as Burning Man is a very personal experience for anyone involved. On the objective level, however, Burning Man is the largest social experiment ever conducted by mankind. There is so much to do and see and immerse yourself in that everyone’s experience and interpretation will be different. The prominence of festivals is a good thing — not only does it offer great music outlets for talented musicians and artists, but the efforts of the builders and the creativity involved is very exciting and stimulating. It’s also a great chance for people to make friends, hang out with old ones, hear great music, and and see amazing art. It’s really great to see new people going to Burning Man and being inspired to bring a piece back to their own communities and in some cases start throwing their own events in cities or towns that might not have had any exposure to the non-commercial dance music scene as it’s really helping the overall music scene in America — almost seems to be a mini-renaissance. The only thing to be weary of is over-saturation, but we see more people focused on building communities fostering love light and connection.
How would you describe the experience of playing ‘live’ to people?
Playing live is really special for us as we are able to fully immerse people in our harmonic interpretation of the universe and lead them on a journey. We write so many moods of dance music that it allows us to tell some really exciting stories. The current live set is mostly a hybrid, consisting of our music broken down in to 9 channels of stems, interspersed with some full tracks to help bridge between all the elements. We use our elektron machinedrum and analog rytm as well for additional percussion and elements, and sometimes Reagan does live vocals.
Kicking off the New Year Mobilee sister imprint Leena has Kevin Yost supply another killer production. This deceptively uncomplicated number shoots straight to the heart of the matter with heavy-duty bass providing an irresistible lesson in low down theory. Accompanied by layers of haunting vocals and tough drumming alongside cutting synthesizer stabs Don’t Give In is much more than the sum of its message. I Don’t Get It, poses an unforgiving question which only underpins the moody electronics on sequence, with the third and final More, More replying via a more expansive production that is high on sounds with a certain jazzy, funkiness providing a suitably fine ending.
Life imitating Art as title track ‘Drowning in Irises’ is inspired by Van Gogh’s Irises painting. Equally impactful is Dance Spirit’s tough fusion of sharp percussion and bottom-end intensity alongside the fizzy addition of caustic synth lines transporting it all onto another level entirely. The sense of the otherworldly is continued with the addition of stabbing voices accompanied by a more blissful breathy ambience. The creativity then proceeds into Unfold with its darker tones settling into biting psychedelic sounds while contrasting melodic vocals lend this its own distinct edge. Completing is, In Between Spaces which marries minor pads together with gritty touches to produce something, again, rather wonderful as a result, swirling with ambience yet far from easy.
Rotten City Files/ Records
We like the breath of fresh air. And both originals define punky attitude along with a refreshing injection of life. Overdrive, sees the Madrid based trio deliver on the promise with moody rhythms augmented by fuzzy guitar plus an ice-cool vocal delivery. Addictive, certainly. The Jamie Paton remix retains that sense of occasion while blending it over pulsating electronic beats to devilish effect. The equally exciting Sriracha simmers with a kind of joyous melancholia that hints at 1980’s New Wave, and with an excellent remix from II Est Vilane who crash sleazy euro-disco into it this is all too hard to resist. Which then only leaves In Flagranti to hit Chipotle with a heavy dose of Acid frenzy for the bonus track.
You can’t help but be drawn into Zombie Disco Squad’s world and twisted way of viewing things. Four tracks of unrepentant Dance music seeks to unnerve and excite you via the distinctly genre busting grooves, which sound all the more powerful for it. Rude Girl opens with taught basslines and crunchy drums that deliver an epic punch offset by whirring synths and vibrant fx. Commited, continues to feed the intensity with unsettling rhythms and voices, while Back 4 Real strips it all down to Jackin’ percussion alongside the addictive vocals. Leaving, the throbbing bass tones of Basement Trax to complete this challenging release of sound from Davide Squillace’s hot label.
Returning for their second outing on Lost My Dog Mountal feature three new tracks alongside remixes from Mr V. For me, it’s the punchy, stab driven Nothing To Undo and the gritty Masterkill that work best here, both sounding tailor made for the imprint – tough and provocative for the dancefloor. Mr. V then provides two great versions of Gold Digger with the perky, organ punctuated SOLE Channel Mix, plus the first rate 2 am mix that takes it deeper with thumping kick drums and reverberating effects feeling tastefully late night.
Gorgeous production by Dan Noel whose lush soundscapes are adorned with rich atmospheres coupled by unnerving undercurrents. The stunning, Follow Me plugs you straight into the currency of deep, throbbing rhythms alongside an engaging array of sound effects bouncing around the stereo, while Katy Blue’s breathy words only add to the experience. The remix comes from Anthony Middleton vs Dance Spirit who beef-up the drums with added Toms plus extra bass, synths and tweaked vocals all adding another dimension. Remaining tracks, Nocturne gets tougher as the title track itself ends with emotive strains of music evolving across the arrangement. PS Brenda Leon Atrip’s artwork too!
In anticipation of their forthcoming album Dance Spirit deliver this second instalment to tempt you with their typical panache. Suitably atmospheric the title track develops tastefully over some eight minutes with haunting pads setting the scene for occasional voices and hand claps. It may not sound like much is going on but what they do they do so most effectively. Remixes come from Fred P who expands the chords to heighten the atmosphere further across both of his impressive versions. Next up are, Late Night Ritual and Late Night Morning which again secure cinematic atmosphere’s that cross the horizon via the perfect soundtrack for sunset/ sunrise, while an excellent Bedouin Remix completes with a striking take on the later. You just know that the long player is going to be epic after hearing this.
Darin Epsilon & DeeProgressV
The Conclusion (Remixes)
Talking of richly atmospheric music is this breathtaking remix from Hernan Cattaneo & Soundexile which combines tense swirling synthesisers alongside pulsating beats and bass. Hypnotic yet punchy this version of The Conclusion reveals itself in layers of emotive sound that may well surprise you care of its powerful rhythm section. Marcelo Vasami then delivers a darker mix with bouncier beats aimed squarely at the dancefloor, while Mike Griego’s great remix goes straight for techno jugular despite being offset by warmer pads and stunning, ethereal voices.
Tommy Vercetti aka Tom Cox producers one of the labels hottest to date by combining a savvy sense of musicality alongside a big-time arrangement of sounds that engage your mind, body and soul into the bargain. Opening with the aptly titled and excellent Big Love which plays punchy stabs against fiery snare rolls, plus emotive vocals, while sounding in a class all of its own. Good Feelings is next and re-tweaks the formula into another addictive House jam that does little wrong with its effortless 90’s reference points. We All Do, finishes off the originals with a brighter more accessible track that’s big on bounce and energy. Leaving the Scott Forshaw remix of Big Love which doesn’t try to compete but instead breaks up the beats and adds warmer keys and piano supplying a fresh alternative.