You only need experience the sizzling opening bars to Pezzner’s new release for Get Physical to feel the genuine charge of electricity that informs the very best of music in 2018. There is a brisk intensity to it all that plays out even before the introduction of Aquarius Heaven’s majestic voice seeks to command your attention. The producer creates a sense of unease with punctuating percussion probing as the edges amid grainy, uncompromising electronics while Brian Brewster’s questioning words tease out hidden answers. A Dub follows with reoccurring stabs adding a timely punctuation to the drums and vibes, and there’s also an acapella demonstrating the message in the music. As if you needed reminding.
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.
As the title prompts this is a gathering of the labels finer moments from over the year which to be fair have thrown more than one gem along the way. Highlighting this collection of excellent, important sounds begins with the deeply, heart-tearing strains of ‘Sun Salute’ by atish, Bengal. The rich, beautiful intensity then continues via the apt ‘Magic Footsteps’ explored by Modd which is complimented by the swirling rush of DAVI’s ‘Kayser Soze’ next. Moods then proceed to lift and fall over a total of 17 complimenting pieces of music that include Franck D’s hyper ‘Feelin’ plus Sandro Beninati’s rolling ‘Night Mode’ which also concludes the selection. Typifying a great year for both creative, forward-pointing electronic music and for Get Physical’s sister label. Let’s see and hear just what happens next emanating out of Berlin while moving into 2018.
2017 sees the launch of your new alias: Rowee with a single for Rebellion. What’s the story behind the name and why have you chosen to use an alias?
Rowee comes from a story based on a profound feeling for music, representing an alter ego; it is the darkest part of me, and at the same time the hypnotic and mental part, music with a soul. Artists often have several different faces, and the decision to hide a side of myself in Rowee was immediately the right choice. I needed to somehow express a part of me that I hadn’t yet revealed.
The release ‘Disguise EP’ features collaborations with Thomas Gandey, KnowKontrol and Simon Wish. Tell us about how your working relationship came about with these artists? And with label itself?
I met Damian Lazarus at a party in Tuscany, where we talked about some demos I had tucked away in a drawer… I always thought that the best “home” for Rowee would be Crosstown Rebels / Rebellion. Damian Lazarus is a great artist whom I hold in the highest esteem, both for his musical choices as a DJ, as well as for the high quality of his labels. The Disguise EP represents a “voyage” divided into three different sections; “Earth To You” created together with our friend Thomas Gandey describes sensuality and essentiality through music. We created a minimal environment that serves as a background for a sensual, cutting edge voice. We got to know Thomas a few years ago, sharing the console at a well-known Italian club. We started collaborating on that day and have since cultivated a valuable friendship and in-tune relationship. The second track that gives the EP its name is “Disguise”, a collaboration with the singer KnowKontrol, a profound track with an authentic soul, “a lost sense of complicity hidden behind the guise of two people pretending that their relationship is OK”. I have always admired the vocals by KnowKontrol on tracks like “After Dark” by &ME on “KeineMusik” or “Shadows” on “Saved”, so the decision to collaborate with him was easy. The voyage concludes with “It Shows You”, a collaboration with our friend from New York, Simon Wish. We developed the track with an acidic sound and the right energy for the dancefloor, a perfect conclusion for this 3-Track EP.
Can you talk us through how you created one of the tracks from the initial inspiration to the final production? How would you describe the studio that you like to use?
Work in the studio is usually very fast and straightforward. I try to convey my concept based on inspiration from past artists and sounds that are often beyond just the dancefloor, to then go into the studio and work on all the ideas together and develop the album. I really like using Moog, Modular, Minimonsta systems; they are often a source of great inspiration for creating an album. In the case of the single “Disguise”, the entire concept was born from the vocals and the feeling they expressed; I just needed to create the right costume to perfectly fit the meaning conveyed by the voice. So with an ever-present and essential groove, a hypnotic riff and a moog synth that gives the perfect energy behind the vocals. The result was exactly what I was looking for, the right balance between groove and synths, emphasizing the vox to their maximum.
You’re playing at the BPM Festival in January. How do you prepare for such an event? And what are your feelings on the rise of festival culture (as opposed to having a residency in a Club)?
I think the BPM Festival today represents one of the top festivals in the world, with an enviable line up and the incredible backdrop of Playa Del Carmen. I am much honored to be part of the official line up. I love festivals that take place under the sun, giving the atmosphere positive vibes, plenty of smiles and energy. I don’t think it’s possible to compare a club and a festival, because they each give you a different sensation… a club makes you feel “at home” with the contact among the people immediate creating a great feeling on the dancefloor, with the “detachment” between the console and the public is totally cancelled out in a club. In contrast, a festival does not really have this aspect, because detachment is unavoidable, but the energy of a big crowd gives you a one of a kind, amazing sensation.
Tell us about your choice of music for the forthcoming BPM2017 compilation? What for you makes the perfect club track?
I usually don’t choose the music before the event, and I always try to let myself be transported by the emotions that are generated by the dancefloor as I am playing; that’s when I select the tracks for my set, often alternating my works with those from other artists. I don’t think a perfect track exists, but I do think that a DJ’s approach to the dancefloor makes any track the perfect one.
What’s the scene like in Florence at the moment? What are your favourite Bars & Clubs?
Florence is an incredible city, full of beautiful places for organizing parties, and the underground scene is very interesting. There are many talented people and interesting parties happening, like Nobody’s Perfect at Tenax, the Next Tech Festival (for the techno scene) and many others, like the Tropical Animals, who represent the essence of the Florentine underground scene.
How did you first get into producing music and where did you learn about it?
I began producing about 10 years ago, but my first real approach to music was when I was young and I studied how to read a stave and understand the notes, as well as studying acoustic guitar. I have always thought that studying is important, but I think it is just as important to learn from people who have a lot of experience. For example, Fabrizio Giovannozzi (a well-known engineer who passed away a few years ago) is one of those people I always admired for his body of knowledge and experience in the world of sound mixing. I learned a lot from him and I began to understand many aspects that cannot always be found in books. It is important to listen to and capture what you can from everyone, to then reinvent it within your own mind.
What are your plans for 2017?
2017 is just the beginning. Rowee debuts in the month of January with two very important EPs, one on the Steve Bug label and the other on the Damian Lazarus label. I am very happy to be part of an important crew like the “Crosstown Rebels / Rebellion”. I am already working on new tracks, and why not, maybe a new album? So stay tuned!
Body Language Vol. 18 by Tim Green
Get Physical Music
You pretty much instantaneously realize that you are listening/ experiencing something quite special with Tim Green’s installment of the popular series. And what you won’t find are a lot of hackneyed cliques but can discover beautifully fused together music moving across many different platforms from teasing vocals such as the smouldering ‘Still There’ by Landslide to Greg Haines rush of emotion on ‘Habenero’ which completes. In-between the selections flick between the funky and tougher over the course of 72 minutes featuring tracks from, of course, Tim Green, Justin Jay & Chris Lorenzo plus James Holden amongst others, yet all making perfect sense of the sequence in the hands of this renowned artist.
FINA Records A&R, and one quarter of the Melon Bomb crew, Corbi delivers his debut production for Anna Wall’s inaugural release for her brand new imprint: The Bricks. It’s an accomplished piece of music that is as much about emotion as it is about rhythm. Fuelled by a playful yet punchy Detroit styled bassline the sounds soon evolve via the addition of warm pads and also care off HYDE + SEEK’s lead singer, Binky who supplies a tender, yearning vocal. Only the one mix, but this says plenty into the bargain. ( Photo credit: Netti Hurley)
Growing up in Canada how did you first encounter Dance Music and who were your initial influences?
Initially, I first encountered dance music over the radio but only really got into it when I started going out to clubs, spinning tunes and digging in record stores. In general, I have always had many influences when it came to music. When talking specifically about House, I would say Kerri Chandler, Masters at Work, DJ Gregory and Daft Punk were among the first big ones.
Your new Compilation album for Get Physical: Ibiza 2014 begins with an emotional sequence ambient of sounds. How important is setting a mood when you DJ?
For me it’s the difference between actually being a DJ and not. Walking into a room prime time and banging out whatever people want to hear is not being a DJ, it’s being a jukebox. I find a lot of times that the importance of how to properly open up a space and bring people in and onto a journey is often missed, it’s not something that should be rushed into or taken lightly. I personally love opening up rooms and, more often than not, enjoy opening up for myself when I can. There is a lot of really cool music you can play during an opening set that you would not be able to play later on.
How do you see the album reflecting the Ibiza of the title, and do you think the Island is as important to Dance music as it once was in light of the music’s now global popularity?
The album for me was about putting together a journey which is essentially what the Ibiza vibe is all about. Ibiza is detached from the rest of the world and once you walk into a party there you’re pretty much ready to stay the whole night right into the next morning without worrying about what you have to do or where you have to be – unless of course you have a flight to catch the next day. This is also why the compilation is longer than usual; I really wanted it to reflect the different moods you can get through an extended set. It opens up smoothly, then moves on to something bumpy which is then picked up with some heavier grooves; it is then closed off with a classic / nostalgic type tip. Aside from that reflection, it’s also how I like to build my sets in terms of mood traveling, I don’t always like sticking to just one mood. In terms of the importance of the island itself for Dance music globally, I think it will always be there as long as the people who run the club scene stay there. As the popularity of Dance music rises everywhere the tales of Ibiza’s euphoria grows with it.
The album also features some of your own productions like, ‘Caution You’ and Jay London collaboration, ‘Lost Tourist’. Can you talk us through the process of you producing a track – any particular favourite instruments/ software?
Me and Jay are good friends and work on several projects together even outside of producing music and DJing. The tracks we collaborate on usually happen out of the blue and we both have a day off messing around in the studio, sometimes it turns to something. We don’t sit down and decide today we are going to do this specifically, we just get together and jam here and there and when something happens it happens. When it comes to my solo productions I usually separate them with two focuses: making a single / music with a message type record; or tracky, hypnotic, groove type record that I can include in my DJ sets. The dub of Caution You is kind of the tracky interpretation of the vocal mix. Something I myself can use as a DJ.
How important is it for DJ’s to produce music as a means of helping to promote themselves these days, what advice would you give to someone starting out in 2014?
It’s important until it’s not important anymore. I think making music as a means to help self-promotion is a bad idea. If that’s the focus and heart of your music it’s going to be missing some soul and I can say that because I’ll admit that I have been there. At first I started making music in hopes to one day tour as a DJ, however that message was transcended to my music and it all sounded cookie cutter and rushed. The day I sat down and just started making whatever I felt without thinking too much about it people started becoming interested in what I was doing and what I had to say. I guess the only advice I would have is to make sure you focus on the process of production itself and make sure you enjoy that process, work that process and don’t focus so much on the results. Results will come on their own and producing without a result based focus will keep your music human and relatable.
Can you tell us about your involvement with Bauhaus Collective (and why that name was chosen) plus the RAW Moments parties?
Well the “Bauhaus Collective” is still in its beta form. The name came from “Staatliches Bauhaus” which is an art school in Germany that combines crafts and the fine arts. It’s an agency type lifestyle blog collective thingy all in one concept that we’re working on (confusing eh). Until we launch it officially it’s just a collective of artists whom support and help each other’s brand and work on collaborative projects – RAW Moments being one of those projects. It’s a party that we started doing in Montreal, all the talent we feature at these parties are home grown and the family grows with every event we throw. Each party also comes with a recap video that is put together by one of our friends Anthony William.
Where are you looking forward to playing most this summer?
I’m currently enjoying my residency at StereoBar & Stereo Afterhours here in Montreal more and more as the weeks go by. I’m very lucky to have a place in my city to call home where I can express myself and test out a bunch of new music. Besides that I’m on the road looking at being back in Europe come October around ADE.
I guess it’s fair to say that this mix by Noir for Defected’s In The House series is pretty much on the money. And in ways it captures the essence of what’s going on in House music today. Now that we have the obvious benefit of hindsight with regards to roots and influences (real and distorted) it’s telling how much this selection touches upon sounds from the past as well as hitting tomorrows tone. Also worth noting just how contemporary Sandy Rivera ‘Changes’ from 2003 still sounds today and by the time it blends neatly into Noir’s own aptly titled ‘I’m Satisfied’ somewhere around the 30 minute mark the temperature has seriously intensified. The deeper moments are well represented and the dancefloor movements reach their peaks at various points throughout the journey, but what is always truly consistent is the sheer quality of music and vocals, plus the excellence of the mix itself. If further proof is needed then simply check the playlist which opens with dOP ‘Kisses’ and ends on Shlomi Aber ‘We Dont Fit’.
Just Be aka the new solo project of Matthew Bushwacka is a delicious way to start 2013. And after all the trimmings care of 2012 this production clearly points to the direction we want to be going. After The Storm, begins by building your expectations via deep, bass-heavy beats alongside edgy percussion and then adds in vocal touches and punchy piano chords to reach the next level on the ‘Up Mix’. The ‘Deep’ version follows with a more Cosmic feel to the synthesizers along with what sound like Flutes to accompany them. Next and finally, Out Of The System adds Techno notation together with staccato drums and more spine-tingling atmosphere for your heightened pleasure.
Watch: to accompany the release Frogspawn Creative have produced a video for ‘After The Storm’
Theo Parrish The Twin Cities EP Robsoul Recordings
As you can expect from Theo Parish this music is set to challenge you while making dance. Licensed to Robsoul from Rick Wade’s Harmonie Park the title track cleverly blends old-time Jazzy vibes with abrasive percussion to sound both exploratory and feel-good. Backed by a succession of mellow piano notes and punctuated by atmospheric stabs this strange blend binds together disparate elements while retaining an evocative mood that sits somewhere between melancholy reflection and a bizarre hint of Disco, or am I imagining that? But either way this is tempting, exceptional music. Second track, Dance Sing continues further down the path of your imagination with picturesque ideas played out over equally rough beats, which this time run to over fifteen minutes, yet never once feel uninspired.
Returning with their third release sister label Fixia compliment Jamie Anderson’s original Artform with these latest productions from London based artists Roberto and Nick Dubz. Comprised of two equally striking pieces of music, however, it’s The Blind Leading The Blind that hits a particularly resonate chord. Driven by deep pulsating, tribal drums and accompanied by hypnotic ambient repetition this moves beyond the dancefloor into somewhere else creating a unique mood with its own sense of sound and voice – a great composition. Visions, on the other hand feels that bit tougher, mainly because of the Techno bass, which along with brighter synths is a perkier, more energetic affair.