Sometimes caffeine plugs neatly into music like a life enhancement, especially in the cool of an autumn morning. Lifted from the duo’s forthcoming debut album Echo Echo it’s to Open that I turn my attention because it draws you into its world of picture forming, poignant elegance so smoothly. It is a gorgeous, sumptuous journey cruising Jazzy reflections of times past and present as horns blow, drums shuffle punctuating individual moments, while keys haunt the rhythms in exhilarating fashion. It’s also down to those opening chords – beauty in simpilicty. Kink, as the name suggests, feels more dangerous for night-time fetishists as notes reach a heavier, smokier intensity.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Feiertag. Let’s start were music began for you and which childhood songs set you on the path to playing music and producing?
I started being interested in music around my 11th birthday, when I got my first Sony hifi set. One of my first singles was â€œPretty Flyâ€ from The Offspring. From that point I wanted to play every instrument. Drumming really sticked to me from the very first moment and I did never let go of that. I started taking drum lessons and played along to a lot of different bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and Rage Against The Machine. Later on, as a teenager, I started being more into breakdancing as well, as I became more interested in the hip-hop music scene. Playing along to A Tribe Called Quest and what not, also my first love for producing was born. That developed more into the electronic (big beat) music scene, listening to acts such as Fatboy Slim, Underworld and The Chemical Brothers.
I’ve always been in different bands and I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to go the conservatory, which I did from 2007-2011 in Amsterdam. I was kind of searching at that moment and wanted to play drums for five hours a day. Some teachers were asking questions about what I really wanted and what I was listening to etc, and they slowly inspired me to start producing and this is how I started my first solo act (under a different artist name), graduating in 2011. Now, ten years later, it’s time for my debut album â€œTime To Recoverâ€ ;).
Your excellent new single: Saccharine 374 for Sonar Kollektiv combines elements of traditional musicianship along with electronic creativity. And can you talk us through how you produced it, including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?
I’ve recorded with a lot of different musicians throughout the years and somehow I found this Rhodes loop, which I loved right away. Can’t really remember how I got it, but surprised that I had it, I started making the beat around it. Inspired by the lockdown video of Jordan Rakei’s â€œSong from Nothingâ€, I ended up chopping up six different drum grooves and merged that into one. It became a combination between my own recorded rolls / percussion and other weird samples I found. I always try to make the main â€˜loop’ with all the ingredients as interesting as I can; I want to be able to listen to it for hours and still like it. I really had that feeling with this track.
I mainly used software for this track; VST’s such as the Diva, Serum, Rob Papen’s Subboombass synths, along with effects as Soundtoys, Fabfilter, Waves, Soothe and Valhalla.
At the very last stage of the track, I had the feeling the track was 95% there, but wanted to get the maximum out of it and decided to visit my synth-wizard friend Len van de Laak, and he did the finishing touches in a subtle way. He recorded additional Rhodes, Clavinette etc, with some cool effects on it. Exactly the finishing touches that it needed.
What attracted you to playing the Drums as opposed to another instrument? Which drummers have given you the biggest inspiration?
As a child I had a lot of energy. Playing drums reflected that the most, I could literally hit it off of me. Later on, during my study, I became more interested in other instruments as well, especially in playing the piano. I’m taking piano lessons at the moment, which helps me in writing better harmonies and creates better understanding in composing.
There are so many great drummers out there, it’s hard to choose one. Definitely The Godfather of the drums is Steve Gadd to me; his timing and his linear grooves are just beyond this world. I also like Nate Smith, Dan Mayo, Yussef Dayes, Deantoni Parks and Richard Spaven, to name a few.
Listening to your recent mix for Worldwide FM Berlin sounds like a fiery fusion of lots of diverse influences. Can you tell us about what inspires you creatively both within music and from the world outside of it (painters, poets, writers etc)?
I get mostly inspired by other musicians and artists. And yes, it’s true: I’ve got a wide interest in musical genres. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. Especially a couple of years ago I created a wide array of music. Now, I feel like I’m a bit more focused in what I want.
I’m really inspired by weird musical instruments from all over the world and try to incorporate them into an electronic mix. On this album I worked with the Tanzanian singer / multi-instrumentalist Msafiri Zawose and that’s the perfect example how traditional African music is combined with synth-heavy club material.
The human voice and song obviously pays a big part in what you do. How do you feel about the strength of contemporary song writing, and what is it about words that an instrument can’t convey?
Well, I have to say, I’m not a real songwriter. I always kind of start with creating an instrumental atmosphere first and when the track structure is developing slowly, I will decide if I’m going to need real vocals or not. Sometimes vocal samples are just enough for me as well; I really repetitive vocal lines when these are strong enough to carry a track.
Luckily enough, I’m surrounded by a lot of talented friends who can help me writing songs and translating my feelings into words and melodies.
Vocals, sampled or not, are giving it a more human touch, and it’s obvious that this triggers something in our emotional brains.
How do you see the future of making a living as an artist in terms of the direction of Streaming etc? Is live performance the only answer?
The covid-pandemic has forced me a bit more into producing only. So, yeah, it’s hard if the only income would be streaming. For me personally I’m doing fine at the moment. I also produce more calm piano-focused ambient music as â€œBunrakuâ€ and I work on music for commercials once in a while. Besides that, I also teach drums at the Herman Brood Academie here in The Netherlands. So luckily enough I can make a living off of music.
Do you think club culture and dance music will change at all as a result of the effects of Covid-19, or will it be business as usual?
Yes, I think it has already changed. People are listening to other, more relaxed music at home I think. Also, the producers are making other music as well, since they are at home as well most of the time. On the other hand, I feel that when we’re all allowed to go out it will be booming again. People are longing for dancing and partying, and hopefully everybody will go crazy when they can. I’m working on some live bangers at the moment for that occasion.. 😉
And finally. Your debut album: Time To Recover is due out later this year. How would you describe it? And what else are you looking forward to this year?
Time To Recover is a mix between calm and relaxed atmospheric sounds combined with more energetic up-tempo tracks with vocalists. I like to work with an organic mix of live instruments such as the harp, kalimba’s, hangdrum, tonguedrum and then mix it up with more of an electronic approach. I worked with a variety of singers which was great, because they really felt what I intended to say.
The whole album feels like one piece to me, from the beginning until the end. Like a mixtape flowing into the next song. I had to deal with a breakup last year, so at some parts, the album was one big healing process for me as last year wasn’t an easy year for me personally. This, in combination with the covid-pandemic, made me choose for â€œTime To Recoverâ€ as my debut album title. I hope you guys like it and I’m looking forward to play some of it live later this year. Fingers crossed!
Celebrating the joy of everything from the simple act of being alive to the vigour’s of pure movement. Each attribute is worked and then reworked as this escapable collection of smouldering grooves, alongside heavenly soulful praise, receive their timely release from Sonar Kollektiv. Punctuated by cowbells, amid a tough shuffle of drums, it’s the whirling array of keys plus accompanying stabs which drive both the playful sense of melody together with the sheer force of collective exuberance here. Joyful.
Your album Hot Coins â€˜The Damage Is Done’ has just been released on Sonar Kollektiv. Can you tell us about how your relationship with the label happened?
I have always been a big fan of both Sonar Kollektiv and Jazzanova. The label and production collective were a massive influence on me as a DJ and Producer in the early noughties. I briefly met Jazzanova in 2009 when Gilles Peterson invited me to play at the Worldwide Awards in London. I remember meeting Daniel Best (their live agent) and Claas at the awards as I was playing directly after their first ever live performance as Jazzanova. It’s bizarre to think that 3 years later I am living in Berlin, am now really good friends with Daniel Best and releasing my Hot Coins album on Sonar Kollektiv. I remember meeting Alex Barck in Nottingham around 2004 when he played at The Bomb so it was mad to fast forward many years and be driven round Mitte by him in his family car when we were having the preliminary album signing meetings. The way it all hooked up was quite unplanned. I went to a Sonar Kollektiv club night at Gretchen during the Berlin Music Days in 2011 and met Oli from the label there. We spoke of me possibly doing a remix for Micatone. I ended up remixing I Human by Jazzanova instead and during the meeting about that remix I mentioned to Oli that I had the Hot Coins album. After I sent it to them, Alex Barck got in touch saying that he loved it and we had an album signing meeting on Jan 3rd 2012 which seemed like a good idea when I made the arrangement but I underestimated the length of new years eve in Berlin! The rest of 2012 consisted of final touches, mastering, artwork and I am really happy with how the album turned out. It’s exactly as I envisioned which is a really nice feeling.
The album takes its inspiration from the sounds coming out of late seventies/ early eighties post-Punk N.Y.C. Where did you first hear this music and which records have inspired you most as Hot Coins?
Well my parents brought me up with a steady diet of Talking Heads, The Only Ones, Television and Captain Beefheart so I already had the seeds of some kind of counter culture music in me. My older sister was into punk and rockabilly when I was a kid and I have a really halcyon feeling when I hear late 70s/early 80s pop music. The real eureka moment was when my friend Fraser Saunderson (went to school with him and he was my first ever flat-mate in 1995) played me stuff like ESG, James White and The Blacks, Material, Konk, The Units, A Certain Ratio etc. He lent me â€˜Rip It Up And Start Again’ by Simon Reynolds and I have to say I don’t think I would have made the Hot Coins album without that book. I was so inspired by the music and vibe from that era. But I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that it’s still quintessentially MY music. It has all the hallmarks of my Hot Coins and Red Rack’em stuff. I think it was a bit of a mistake to pitch it as a â€˜homage’ as a lot of people have focused on that rather than taking it as something new. My mistake. Next time I will not mention anything else as having influenced my music.
I did this mix for Pulse Radio using records which have influenced my Hot Coins album.
The album has a very distinct sound. Which were your favourite instruments used in making the album?
I really enjoyed working with Chris Todd and Paul Johnson’s guitars. They both added completely different vibes to the album. Chris played amazing one chord Nile Rogers style â€˜chicken scratch’ guitar on several tracks. He’s got a lot of experience of this style from his day job as the guitarist for Crazy P. It was great to have some really well recorded perfect guitar from Chris. He knew exactly what I was looking for. Paul played all the cosmic background stuff in tracks like â€˜Leathered’ and I used it in a completely different way. While Chris’s guitar was mixed incredibly loud on the tracks, Paul’s stuff was used as more background textures. Heavily reverbed and panned to the left. I just told him to â€˜play some self indulgent cosmic shit’ and he obliged. Personally I am really happy with the tracks all having a different vibe and I think there’s more depth to it than is initially obvious. They aren’t just a collection of loops.
Can you talk us through how you created one of the tracks: Roadtrip?
Roadtrip is the longest track on the album and is in 3 stages. First I created a slightly rocky country section, which is why I called it Roadtrip as initially as I had visions of some hillbilly guys driving their trucks. So it starts off on a kind of country punk funk vibe. Then I decided to use this cosmic glissando synth and turn it into and epic Norwegian feeling opus with a bit more of a complicated chord sequence and a driving bassline. This inspired me to play some Rhodes and more complicated synth bass stuff. Then I broke it down into a more Balearic housey outro section with some lilting emotional melodies. It’s hard to describe how I made the track it’s easier for me to say what it sounds like. I wanted to show several different Hot Coins moods in one track basically. I don’t think everyone understands my magpie approach to making music but I am heavily influenced by Musique concrÃ¨te, New Beat, EBM and wave stuff where they have loads of disparate samples. So for me banging a load of different vibes in one tune is totally fine.
The album was mixed on the same desk that P.I.L’s seminal Metal Box was mixed on, the ex-Townhouse studios SSL 4000 B series. Can you tell us about how that came about?
This is another remarkable strange turn of events that I couldn’t have ever imagined. I was at playing at the Garden Festival in 2010 and on one of the last days I was invited to join a group of Austrians on a hidden beach about a mile along the coast from the festival. We all had the most amazing day ever together in a really odd environment. We were trespassing in a multiâ€“million euro hotel development which had had all the money siphoned off from it so it was basically abandoned. It was like a lost chapter from â€˜The Beach’ or something like that. We all swam and snorkeled and the Austrians built these beautiful stone towers on rocks on the beach. We even explored the abandoned holiday homes nearby and did a spot of singing in one of the buildings that had a big reception area. One of the Austrians was called Werner Freistaetter and at that point his only significance to me was that he was very friendly and won the lilo race that day. Fast forward a year later and I am high in the Austrian mountains mixing down the Hot Coins album with him. It turns out that Werner is a highly experienced engineer and producer who has worked with Kanye West, The Kills, Depeche Mode and PJ Harvey. He is also an SSL expert and fully restored the original SSL 4000 B series desk from the Townhouse studios that was used to record â€˜In The Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins and PiL’s Metal Box album. It was amazing to get to go and stay with Werner and his girlfriend Tina and spend a week mixing down the album in their cellar studio in a beautiful valley in the mountains of Austria. It felt like destiny.
The album has a â€˜live â€˜feel to it in many places and you used musicians such as Crazy P’s Chris Todd. Do you have any plans for live performance?
I have formed a band to perform the album live and our first gig is the album launch party this weekend in Berlin at Renate on 16/02/13. We’re also playing at the Munich album launch on 27/04/13 and at The Garden Festival in Croatia on 06/07/13. I have really enjoyed the experience of putting it all together and I have been so lucky to get to work with some exceptional musicians. We’re a four piece and we have been rehearsing in the historic Funkhaus Studios in East Berlin for the last few months. I have to say a massive thanks to David, Jens and Steffen who have been amazing to work with and I am really excited to get to play with them.
Can you describe the scene on the album cover, and what is the drink you’re holding?
The third in the series of compilations from Lost My Dog’s catalogue of Deep House, and other imaginings, sees one of the label heads Pete Dafeet mix together a smooth blend of moods into one altogether very satisfying experience. As with previous editions this features old and new music from the imprint, although this time is the preserve of Pete’s own productions, along with the added twist of some hot remixes such as Giom’s excellent take on Beneath The Fold and Moodymanc’s likewise Dub of Stutter. Got to say my favourite track has to be Hit Em Up, which appears both as the uplifting intensity of the Original version along with the stab nirvana of Pezzner’s remix. Generously an unmixed selection is also available so you can unpick all those favourites for yourselves.
If you’re looking for a viable alternative to the current vogue of 90’s inspired House then try Danny Berman’s innovative interpretation of the Post-Punk/ No-Wave sound. It’s got all the elements right down to a T from the enviable, deadpan cool vocal of City Hayes to the chopped-funk guitar by Crazy P’s Chris Todd, which you will find draws you into the after-dark world of late seventies/ early eighties New York. Trans-Media-Lab artist Jacob Korn provides a stunning remix with a more contemporary electronic twist featuring lush pads and probing bass. Freestyle Lover then sees Berman’s own vocal delivery cut across â€˜Fripp’ guitar and an assortment of caustic percussion. But, perhaps looking at the cover alone will reveal all you need to know about this, and more!
Mario Basanov’s debut album for Needwant is little short of stunning. Not only does it sound perfectly polished but the breadth of styles it indulges in is equally as impressive. From down-tempo ambience to dancefloor madness just about everything you can imagine is touched upon here, including at times even Pop sensibilities. From invigorating instrumentals like Skywalker to classy songs such as the deliciously soulful Something About featuring Edwin Williamson it’s all about the quality. The title, Journey is certainly an apt one running to some sixteen tracks in all. And when experiencing the cosmic-funk of music like Damn Girl you can only really refer to this as highly accomplished.
A Brazilian Love Affair
George Duke’s Brazilian celebration cumulates in the title track of this reissue album by redefining the possibilities of Jazz/ Funk at that time (in 1979). Recorded with a handful of Brazilian musicians you can hear their influence along with the sounds of sun and the sea throughout. You’re also left in little doubt as to the dexterity of the players involved, although at times it can feel aÂ touch muso, however lighter relief is always on hand via the hot Latin melodies experienced on the likes of Cravo E Canela. Generally regarded as a classic in its field it is probably fair to say that they don’t actually make them like this anymore.
Even if Amirali played the opening: The Harmonious Song and then left the building you would still be stunned by the collective beauty of the notes spread across the Rhodes. Thankfully the long player continues to revolve developing its journeys through hypnosis that somehow fits the month of May perfectly – at least from where I’m sitting. The playing is never less than outstanding, as is the production, while this collision of ideas appeals to heartwarming melancholy as much as it invigorates the spirit on tracks like the imaginary, Just An Illusion. Love the way expectations are then thrown to the wind as Painting On A Canvas follows on proudly down- tempo while tastefully placing art back where it belongs in music. In fact each track provides its own unique surprise spiraling in directions from the dancefloor to the horizontal with Amirali’s mesmerizing vocals adapting perfectly throughout. And it all sounds so easyâ€¦ 9
Hurt Russell Queensbridge Jams EP Vol 1 ILFONX Records
This excellent EP from Belfast based IlfonxÂ Records opens with the ridiculously good, Soul Kestrel which sounds like choice Jazz and Deep House rolled into an excitable experiment that pays off big time. Love the way all the disparate elements work for position, and that they almost don’t quite sit at ease with each other – that’s Jazz for you – but I highly rate this production for that very reason. And just to prove the diversity, I Can t Go On slows right down to cope with its unfeasibly funky bassline and infectious chopped-up vocals. The equally impressive, Piano Saved My Life finishes off by deepening the mood with sassy percussion and booming beats. Next please. 9
Guess you could say that the opening track, Go With The Flow has it all: crisp, pulsating beats; haunting, energising synths: lots of cool fx and vocal; plus last but never least, a killer bassline. So, yes I love this, and strongly suspect you will too. Climbers aka Jay Blakk and Kiko Deal then proceed to explore more in the way deeply invigorating music with the next three productions, which all develop similar bass infused rhythms over the course of the release – the choice is then yours.Â 8
Second excellent release out of Belfast this week and city stalwarts Extended Play once again do themselves proud. That Girl, opens with fierce, pulsating electro-beats and then gets nasty with classic heavy-duty stabs that are destined to be played out LOUD, but if that doesn’t seem like enough by the time the full vocal hits this is so obviously peak-time business. Feed Those Hoes, turns up the heat further with explosive Detroit bass lines played against crisp hats and percussion, but while I can’t say the Rap works for me the instrumental is original House heaven. Bubba and T-Bone’s tasty FTH remix thinks along similar lines by stripping back the vocal and adding shimmering electronics to the equation, proving to be yet another notable version from the duo. 8
Three new tracks from Issac Christopher which get back to Madhouse basics and aim straight for the dancefloor. The aptly titled Shake That kicks off with booming beats, shake that body vocals, and brutal basslines all playing like they were made for each other. Been Thru The House, keeps the relentless tempo but adds funkier percussion and imaginative electronics, while I Need You is the deeper of the three with warmer vibes and retro piano all feeling like summertime. 7
More thought provoking music as DJ W!ild sets upon us with his second album opening with sound effects warning: please mind the gap between the train and the platform. Dirty then proceeds to play between ambient sequences that lull you into security such as Apres La Plage, and then pulverize you with heavy-duty Kicks on the likes of Voyage (complete with sampled spiritual guidance). If dirty refers to anything in particular then the one thing that’s consistently so throughout are those trademark and edgy beats – although perhaps the answer also lies within the title tracks’ explicit voice over too, with imaginative samples appearing consistently throughout giving the album warmth and colour. Eventually it all reaches an acid drenched climax on Remember and the album contains more than its fair share of dancefloor gems e.g.Â the hypnotic bassline driven, In Love. 8
Session Victim The Haunted House Of House Delusions Of Grandeur
Don’t be fooled by the Vincent Price styled title or indeed by the name of the first track, Dark Sienna – which just so happens to be one of the better Disco sampling records I’ve heard in a while – into thinking this is something sinister. What rapidly strikes you here is the liberal use of cut-up which gives it all a reassuringly familiar feel, that of course and the inherent joyous qualities of those time-scales that are best executed on Zoinks and said title track. Despite the possible limitations that very reliance may suggest the album wisely plays with intriguing moods and tempo working particularly on Bison. However, the up-tempo numbers suit best with the funk fuelled, Good Intentions proving to be a particular favourite with many. While this isn’t challenging or pushing at boundaries in the way the above albums could be said to do, its none the less always welcome at parties.Â 7
release Date: May 14 (Vinyl/CD) / June 11 (Digital)
And so to the ever reliable soulful-funkiness of Jazzanova who are now captured â€˜live’ with this selection of old and new music recorded as played in their studio. Great organic feel to the album which grooves and leans in the right direction all along. The musicianship is exactly of the standard we’ve learnt to love but then how could you really go wrong with titles such as Jazz-Funk epic, Theme From Belle Et Fou and I Human. Slow burners such as No Use and the beautiful lyrics and piano of Little Bird vie for attention along with the more dance floor orientated material but quality is, as always, rest assured. 9
Your new album: Wish I Was Here was recorded live. Can you explain that process and what advantages you feel it has lent to the final sound?
Lisa: the new album sounds warmer and more mature than the ones before. We focussed more on song writing and structure than on electronic effect. We recorded Wish I Was Here basically in our basement rehearsal room with live instruments such as drums, bass, guitar and piano. Since we all come from a tradition of playing live music the process came very natural to us.
Boris: Often we arranged new songs and recorded them immediately while the tune felt fresh. If you sit together with your friends and make music you usually play better and the sound you record vibrates in a nicer way.
The album has a much more â€˜roots’ feel than your previous. How and what brought this development about?
Boris: This album is a lot about our musical roots. Maybe that’s the reason it has a â€œrootsâ€ feelâ€¦
Can you tell us about some of the instruments used?
Boris: Beside the instruments we have used on most tunes (HÃ¶fner “Beatles” bass, old Czech Amati drum set, 50s Gretsch Electromatic guitar, Hammond organ) there are also some stranger instruments: On Souvenir you can hear Martin Wenk playing a Danelectro baritone guitar and a Mandotar, which is a mixture of electric guitar and mandolin. On Pearl Diving our friend Arnold Kasar blows a solo on the chromatic harp. (Maybe you have heard Stevie Wonder or Toots Thielemanns playing this complicated thingâ€¦) On Pearl Diving you can also hear a bit of Stylophon which is a pocket organ which you play with some kind of pen.
Which influences have informed the making of the album – I’m hearing everything from the 50’s till now?
Lisa: Since we recorded with old instruments, the 50’s association is not entirely wrong.
Boris: You might find influences from 50s and 60s stuff, from Screaming Jay Hawkins over the Ventures, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield to modern bands like the XX or the Invisible. From every era we picked the stuff we like. We donÂ´t have a mindset like: “I only listen to underground funk from 66 till 67 everything else is wrong.”
Save Me has a particularly soulful feel. Can you tell us what inspired the words and about how the track was written?
Lisa: The words were mainly inspired by a time in my life, where I felt quite weak. I had just had my second child and separated from the father of my children. At some point I had to realise I am on my own now and I can’t rely on the help of a partner. But still I felt quite vulnerable and I wished, somebody would just take the weight off me. That was when I wrote the lyrics.
Boris: The backing track was an idea which we recorded already the first time we tried it out. The take we used leads to a jam on the last part. The original plan was to make a fade out in the end so we didnÂ´t care for a proper ending. Then we liked the part so much that we decided to leave it like we recorded it.
How did the collaborations on Wish I Was Here come about?
Lisa: We had met the Tindersticks first in 2001 on a festival and since then, we stayed in loose contact. When I wrote the song Handbrake we had to think of Stuarts voice as a perfect addition to the song. We sent it to him and he and his wife Susan liked the song so much, that he added lyrics to it.
Martin Wenk of Calexico is a Berlin based musician and a friend of ours, he was glad to add his unique sound to some of our songs.
When we met Earl Harvin in 2007, he had just moved to Berlin to work and live here. We played some small concerts in Berlin together and liked his style so much, that we asked him to play on some songs.
Boris: I knew Earl for a while through a friend. We hung out together but never made music. When MicatoneÂ´s drummer Tim went to Indonesia for a long time we asked Earl to play drums.
What lies ahead in 2012 for Micatone?
Lisa: In 2012 we will mainly play concerts and introduce the new album, our new video (Asian Man) will be out in April.
G.Family â€˜People With Bullets EP’ Foliage Records
Gorgeous four tracker from Germany’s Foliage imprint breathes fresh impetus into the matter of deep. Title track People With Bullets features the emotive voice of Nombongo whose spoken message delivers thought provoking words over cool jazzy Rhodes inflections. Manuel Tur provides the remix with classicÂ arpeggio’s creating an electrifying atmosphere against a backdrop of pumping afro-beats and mood enhancing keys. Next, The Guest explores more heavy bass with sumptuous pads repeating tastefully in the background, while a selection of impressive electronic sounds are realized in the fore. Final track, Dj’s For Free lifts the mood with splashing hi-hats, a funky b-line and happier feelings. 8
Evren Ulusoy ‘Les Grands Rythmes’ Green Mono Music Studio
One track, four versions. The Original mix blends a selection of undulating tech chords together with heavily treated voices and sounds creatively hypnotic and funky in equal measure. Music to possibly lose yourself in. Remixes begin with Sezer Uysal who picks up the tempo with fuzzy synths and an enticing euro bassline which you will want to replay immediately. Gai Barone thenÂ applies a techno equation toÂ an awe-inspiredÂ production that plays with moods and its arrangement in epic fashion. Finally, Ed Lee returns to the deep with moody organ chords offset against a touch of boogie bass and more of those dark sounding voices to finish off this striking set. 8
Wish You Were Here feels like Micatone are playing just for you in the comfort, or otherwise, of your very own front room. At least that’s how Lisa Bassenge & her band sound as the recorded live album reveals itself to be comfortably homely, yet soulfully organic, the more you play with it. All the cornerstones of music provide their influence here with the bluesy moments such as on the bittersweet Pearl Diving shining torch like, while other rhythms breathe breezily on the likes of Asian Man, and even achieve dizzying euro-Disco heights on Gun Dog. You know you’re in good company as typically guests also make appearances, notably from Air’s live drummer Earl Harvin and from Calexico/ Nada Surf trumpeter Martin Wenk. You could say this album has hidden depths if you like, but at the very least it has a timeless qualityÂ with its retro-sounding soul/ jazz etc and classically styled songs hitting all the right notes in all the right order. 8
What is the idea behind the new album Upside Down?
The idea for using the methaphor â€žUpside Downâ€œ is to underline that remixing is a highly creative and thus worthy way to express own musical ideas. Many of the mixes on â€žUpside Downâ€œ are so different from the original, so upside down, that they are good examples of how the art of remixing has developed over the last decade. This is especially for us a very touching fact as our remixes for other artists have been an important part in our early career. â€žUpside Downâ€œ is our expression of honoring remixing as own artform.We had many different reasons to ask for remixes: A remixcontest, to feature the dance side of a listening album and vice versa or to get a different view on a dance track, etc.
Our collection should give an insight for enthusiasts as well as for cherry pickers. Thats why we offer different formats to image the whole spectrum of remixes. Many remixes from the remix contest will be available only on the dig deeper section of Sonar Kollektiv’s own website. Digtial releases as well as vinyl and CD releases of Upside Down differ. The size of the whole release project, too, required on own name: Upside Down!
How important is the art of song writing to you – what are your thoughts on it in relation to today’s dance music?
The art of song writing is the basis for all kinds of music and for dance music as well . Then and now. But it’s importance differs from the clubby situation. On eclectic dancfloors where moslty songs are played to the crowd the songwriting is even more important as on house floors for example where a bigger focus is on the arrangement and on sounds.
Do you have a favourite instrument or piece of software you like to use in the studio – do you have a preference for analogue or digital?
Both are good: analogue and digital elements. It is fun to explore both worlds and to connect them. Most used gear /sofware is Protools in the studio and Ableton Live on stage. The heart of our studio is a 32channel Neumann console.
In broader terms how would you define Germany’s place in the development of dance/ electronic music – and how do you feel it contrasts to America?
Germany plays an important role in the development of dance music. Many dance genres are featured and developed further by lots of clubs, djs and labels.
Berlin plays an important role. Music people from all over are moving there and contribute to a vibrant scene. This mirrors that dance music in general follows international procedures. People in Germany where influenced by dance music out of New York in the 80ies and Detroit in the 90ies. And the US Dance Music scene had been affected by northern soul allnighters out of Britain during the 60ies and 70ies. The US in general is such a big country with lots of little cells of creative who push dance music forward. Thats why the US has more variations and differences as Germany.
What inspired you to start to DJ and what still inspires you today – what for you makes a great DJ?
I was fascinated by Acid Jazz and the whole background of it: The idea to go to secondhand shops, discover forgotten jazz, disco, brazil, soul, reggae or even rock records and play them out. On the one hand side it is a motivation for me to check if newly discovered tracks work on the floor and within our group we had and still have a positive competition going on. On the other side this Acid Jazz idea of combining different styles as a DJ and producer is so profound to me that it will be a source of inspiration throughout the time I will be doing music.
A great DJ is someone hwo follows his own voice, experiments and develops his own style.
What other exciting projects do you have lined up for Sonar Kollektiv in 2012?
We are planning a re-release of our Jazz in Romania compilation with four newly added tracks. And why? In the first place we weren’t happy with the sound of our previously released record. So we did a totally new master from the original vinyl records at Timetools Mastering. Enrico Mercaldi did a fantastic job. Now it makes much more fun to listen to the sometimes lush orchestrated recordings. We will release the newly added tracks on a 12â€ together with a remix of Guido Manusardi’s Tandarica by Ra.H (Rabih Beaini) and maybe by the Romanian DJ Raresh. We won’t release the whole thing again on CD or LP but we are going to sell it digitally for the first time. I really can recommend the whole package because of the great sound!
Another big Jazzanova Release is Jazzanova -Â The Funkhaus Studio SessionsÂ with Band & Paul Randolph. We just finished recordings. The result is 12 recorded songs of compositions from our catalogue, original and remixes including a new song called â€œI humanâ€. This track will be a 12â€ release in February with remixes. The Whole thing will be available in Mai 2012 and touring will start in February 2012. Just check our pages for exact dates!
The forth longplayer of Micatone will see the light in March 2012. The CD and the gatefold vinyl will be a product highlight for Sonar Kollektiv in 2012. But also the music is something special. They just performed their new record at the Berlin Sonar Kollektiv Showcase at Gretchen. It’s a special energy that shook us, the listeners. A cool and yet playful easiness. Great!
Others we are working on is a Longplayer Projects by Hot Coins, Stee Downes and Dego. We also are about to compile another installation of our succesful compilation series called â€žSecret Loveâ€œ.
Actually secret love is SKs mantra this year: Lots of things we are working on over the past years will finally see the light in 2012.
Time to get excited. Upside Down is a selection of favourite remixes for Jazzanova from the lastÂ eight years and at the very, very least highlights all the elements which make the collective such a vital piece of our musical jigsaw: good song-writing and forward-thinking musicianship that encompasses both real and virtual instruments. In ways you only have to look at the list of remixers to see the picture so I’ll mention just a few: Alex Barck, Henrik Schwarz and Ame and so the list travels onâ€¦ The collection never feels like it’s merely replaying the past but building upon it with fresh technology and invigorating vocals – and of course Paul Randolph and Ben Westbeech sing here too. Needless to say that there isn’t one filler on here, indeed all tracks are standout moments! 9
& the original version of Jazzanova ‘I Can See’ feat. Ben WestbeechÂ
Leo Zero â€˜Acid Life’ Leo Trax
The album begins with a voice: Let’s Go! Well then, lets! What’s so exciting about this album is that it replays all its Chicago/ Detroit influences all in one go and never feels less than party time. But back to that opening track which bangs out sexy Hi-Nrg syncopation like it never went out of fashion and needs to be heard LOUD. More Jackin’ rhythms follow swiftly with Body Music and fly through a selection of classic drum and bass sounds booming straight out of the late eighties, although sometimes seen from today’s perspective such as on Electricity with its cinematic stabs and crescendo of big drums or on the finishing intricate funk of Warehouse Style. Marcel’s vocals feature virtually throughout and add warmth to acid attitude. Don’t say revival – it never went away in the first place. 8
Luca C and Brigante â€˜Invisible Cities’ Southern Fried
Hats off to Southern Fried for releasing this perfect summer (mini) album smack bang in the middle of winter – I makes the end of January feel a whole lot warmer. This really is a refreshing listen and for those of a Balearic disposition plays out gentle electronic atmospheres along with cool, soulful feeling vocals. For those not of that persuasion you may well hate it but ho-hum. The Beach typifies it all. At times Invisible Cities is slightly dreamy and California, at others stylishly European and Vangelis. Can that ever be a bad thing? 8
Next as part of a series of single releases, which eventually cumulate as an entire album collection, this nugget from Knee Deep is the latest to be remixed. Aaron Ross turns it on big time with one of his strongest mixes to date, and as a fan of drums and most definitely bass this sees sizzling beats and percussion combine perfectly with a delicious bassline and synths on the Main Mix. There’s also a Deep Mix which is deeper andÂ a Brothers version that feels polite in comparison. 8
Kraak and Smaak â€˜Hold Back Love (feat Lex Empress)’ Jalapeno Records
If you’re a sucker for that early eighties Boogie sound then this is for you plain and simple. Although that’s not to say Lex Empress doesn’t deliver with tastefully sassy vocals or also that the D-train etc vibes aren’t irresistible either – they are. Remixes come from the excellent Lovebirds who twist the groove into deeper territoryÂ to let the chorus feel that bit more powerful when it hits, Analog People in a Digital World give it a more provocative edge, while Neighbour and Elan B play around with jazzy touches on their playful dub-wiseÂ take. 8
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