Cypherpunx – Hier+Jetzt – Rebellion

Posing questions and seeking answers Cypherpunx reveal themselves with these two new richly rewarding productions for Rebellion. Hier+Jetzt is a standout number in any book referencing the electronic output of 1970’s Germany yet feeling defiantly here and now. Brooding synthesizers create darker edges which in turn are surrounded by fizzy, drum-machine encoded percussion, existing alongside warm envelopes of beautifully engaging sound tactfully teasing out lavish scenarios. The English translation of the title then forms Here+Now which reworks the elements lending the arrangement a more forceful, robust feel as energy levels are engaged and then tuned up a notch via choppy keyboard strikes, adding a deft intensity amid heady swirls of ambience.

Release: February 22


Tibi Dabo Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Max. Let’s start with your new single: La Dorada for Rebellion. Tell us about where the inspiration came from for the production and about what the title means for you?

Thank you. La Dorada means “the golden one” in Spanish, it’s the name of a fish, the sea bream, and it’s also the name of the home where I spent most of my childhood, near Barcelona. The track was made in London, while I was living and studying there. It was quite a hectic period for me, the city made it feel even more frenetic. I was meeting a lot of new people, doing lots of new things, so once this track started to exist, I felt it would be nice to join both worlds, where I come from, and what was going on at the time. I had a similar approach with the name Tibi Dabo. There’s a hill in Barcelona, my hometown, called Tibidabo (notice the slight difference), keeping this name for wherever the journey took me felt like a nice idea.

photo by @merlegrain

Buy: Tibi Dabo – La Dorada – Rebellion

La Dorada has a particularly distinctive flavour. Can you talk us through how you produced it, including any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you like to use?

I’m a big fan of happy accidents when working on musical compositions or productions. La Dorada is a good example, it was one of those tracks that came very naturally, I almost feel like it was given to me in a way because the workflow was so natural and spontaneous. I think one of its key points is that it’s quite simple when it comes to layers, as I think it relies on all of its elements. I wanted it to feel quite clean at the start, so I could progressively make it feel more dirty and gritty. A key element of the track is the gliding bass line, which is a heavily processed sound from the Prophet 08 (actually I hadn’t used it for bass yet). One piece of software i really enjoy using is Echoboy, it helps a lot when it comes to adding analog touch to something that might lack warmth, it’s also great with saturation and general space distribution in the mix. It can even make you coffee if you ask nicely.

I love hardware because it’s hands on, it helps me so much creatively when I’m jamming out to a new idea. It also makes you not think about burning out your CPU as much, which was a great feeling for me as I used to fill my projects with very heavy soft synths and that hurt the processor too much, to the point where the creative flow slowed down or even stopped as I had to focus on the technical side.

I’m still figuring out my ideal setup, which I doubt will ever get to a “final form”, some of my favorite toys are of course the Prophet for its versatility and the Elektron Analog Rytm (although its workflow is quite a thing, one’s got to get used to it)

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Do you think that it has become harder to hear originality in Dance Music? Or do you think the opposite is the case?

I think we’re definitely at a point in time where it’s harder to filter out the good stuff as it’s easier than ever to put music out there. That doesn’t necessarily mean there is less interesting music.

I think it can get a bit overwhelming though.

Big tracks can’t develop the way they did in the past. The same thing happens with any kind of news, it’s just not “news” for long anymore.

There’s such an enormous variety nowadays. One can go in any direction, therefore you can become very specialized.

I remember having a chat with a friend, we were saying something like the scene feels like a huge and very refined tapestry, where its patterns are hard to distinguish, one has to examine it for a long time to recognize its structure and see the individual colours it has to offer.

Who are your main influences from inside and outside of electronic music: any favourite artists, writers, vocalists etc?

I try to avoid comparing myself to other musicians/producers as it almost always makes me feel bad about what I’m doing. But I’d be lying if I said there’s no inspiration in what I do (obviously). A big influence in my music I think is listening to records that might not have much to do with the styles I work in.

I still feel like I’m in a “baby mode” for plenty of aspects in my life. By that I mean that I’m still absorbing things like a sponge. I’m constantly listening to music and wondering how the artist behind that particular song might have achieved a sound, an arrangement or a particular chord progression. This makes me aware of a constant evolution going on in my “creative process”, I doubt I’ll get stuck in a particular style, there’s just too much to try out.

What does DJ’ing mean for you? What ideas and emotions do you like to translate to the people you play for?

There’s so many ways of approaching a DJ set. Something that i really enjoy when listening to someone DJ is spontaneity and a factor of surprise. I really like it when there’re risky moments that can switch the mood in sometimes a very positive way. But overall I’m very into playing long and slowly evolving sets, with an ideal outcome of making the listener forget where he/she is at that given moment. As cliché as it might sound I don’t think that happens too often. I think carefully selecting each track so there’s a continuous energy is a crucial part of this style, merging tracks so there isn’t a clear notion of where the previous track ends and the next one begins is a big part of what i try to achieve on a DJ set. That’s why extended sets are my favourites, the ones where one can really get lost in.

The flip-side to the release is: No Mantra which feels more musical via its rich, piano chords and captivating vocals. Do you think that music is missing out not having as many great songs around, or is rhythm more important and potent in itself?

Rhythm and dance music have an unquestionable link. Some tracks can immediately be recognized because of its incredible groove. But the musical part is what can really make a track memorable. I like melodies that touch you emotionally, and this is quite a delicate subject, because it can be relatively easy to create something that has an obvious emotional impact if you follow certain rules, but I feel it’s really hard to touch an audience in a subtle and elegant way, where the melodic side of the track is suggested instead of imposed. That’s when a record can have a very powerful message and at the same time be very emotional but not in a cheesy way.

I’m definitely still learning how to achieve this.

And finally. Can you share with us your forthcoming plans for moving into the future?

Right now I just got back from working on a new live music project with some close friends. I’m really looking forward to locking myself in my new studio in Berlin, will try to finish some new ideas I have been collecting during the summer, some of them aren’t much more than voice notes and others are almost done. I want to experiment more and dig deeper, there’s so much one can do it can be overwhelming, so I’m trying as hard as I can to limit myself. There’ll be new music ready soon that’s for sure.

Tibi Dabo – La Dorado. Is out now on Rebellion.




Tibi Dabo – La Dorada EP – Rebellion

Seeking instant gratification? You’ve come to the right place. Tibi Dabo’s brilliant new release for Rebellion gets under your skin right from the very moment it begins. There’s something in the way those twisted, synthesized notes weave their way around the electronic pulses, which glue themselves together to the words kick and drum, that instantly reward the senses. And furthermore the way the arrangement dips and dives into different corners as disco hi-hats fight for recognition against the illuminating array of ideas plus diverse sounds on offer. Next, is the rather sublime No Mantra featuring amongst its many attributes a finely tuned piano sitting alongside a taught bass and words that feel like they’re telling you something good. Excellent.

Release: August 3


Rowee – Dharmony – Rebellion

The artist continues his exploration into all things resolutely emotive plugging into the mainframe of electrical authenticity. The beautiful musicality of Dharmony unfolds over eight plus minutes of carefully curated ecstasy combing chiming keys along with brooding drums and low-end notation. Next, Momento provides a neat contrast with more insistent, caustic synths realizing unnerving atmospheres as KnowKontrol’s heavily effected voice adds a sublime, yearning quality to it all, augmenting the pulsations of the timely machine drums perfectly.

Release: December 8


Stimmhalt – Dreams – Rebellion

As debuts go. This is unequivocally s**t hot. Smokey, rebellious while not afraid to tear at the edges of sound with its grainy, dark synthesizers Stimmhalt’s initial release for the label contrasts it all with some timely, rather sublime percussion adding a sense of soulful, funkiness to the arrangement. Evolving over some eight minutes and ending up with soaring, improvised instrumentation breathing bliss this is yet another standout from the label. Which, in this instance comes with a tougher rendition from Pezzner whose undulating sequences are things of compelling beauty.

Release: June 16


Paris Green – You Got To Try – Rebellion

Breathing like an old-time soul classic the beginning of Mitchel Kelly and Thijs Bastiaans aka Paris Green’s emotionally resonating You Got To Try feels every bit like a great record, right down to its relatively short life-span of 4:20. Time is inconsequential here  as the smoky, downbeat vibes gather their own pace amid unfussy drums, low-end bass and David Stolk’s yearning vocal delivery. Ghost, then lifts the mood a touch with suggestive keys hinting towards a climactic sense of occasion inside shuffling machine drums and wobbly synth lines plus voices. But back to the title track and Steve Bug’s two equally striking remixes with the warm exhilaration of his Sunset version sounding particularly wonderful, while the Club Dub does just that via stripped down beats acquainted with fizzy synthesiser sequences.

Release: May 19


Kevin Knapp – Find Me featuring Baby Luck – Rebellion

If on the other hand you never want to leave the dancefloor Kevin Knapp returns to the fold to point you in the right direction. There’s something just ‘right’ about these productions beginning with Bumpin’ as it grinds its way forcefully into your line of vision. The beats and bass are tight while the commanding vocal delivery exists in its own space accompanied by whirring synths plus a heavy yet understated bassline. Flipped then follows in a similar mood, although with more throb added to the bass with the excellent title track, Find Me contrasting nicely via an edgy combination of tempting vocals care off Baby Luck and elastic, probing bass plus deliciously moody keys electrifying the atmosphere. Without Purpose, ends on yet another high with a familiar vocal sample working its way across the stereo field amid fiery snare drum hits and super-funky basslines. Lovely.

Release: March 17


Rowee aka Leonardo Gonnelli Q&A

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.

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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!


Rowee – Disguise EP – Rebellion

Leonardo Gonnelli’s brand new alias launches into 2017 with a renewed vigour featuring three new tracks and collaborations. The opening gambit combines the effervescing production talents of perineal Magazine Sixty favourite Thomas Gandey with the aptly spacey Earth To You entailing the airwaves with dark, smoky drums and fizzy electronics running over the course of several thrilling minutes. Disguise, featuring KnowKontrol follows on with more rigorous drum programming accompanying throbbing basslines plus probing tones and Dwayzo Lawrence’s yearning vocals. Leaving the suggestive Simon Wish collab It Shows You to end this first rate release with punchier percussion fuelling energetic rhythms and forward thinking propositions.

Release: January 27


Dance Spirit Q&A

me-mersz_dsc_1148Your 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?

rbl039_artworkWell 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?

dandaWell 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.

What are your predictions for 2017?