Henrik Schwarz/Âme/Dixon, The Grandfather Paradox


Art by Minako Abe

[BBE]


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We were always minimal. This seems to be the learned lesson of the Innervision team’s stunning 2-disc comp The Grandfather Paradox. Their laser-focused curatorial skills deftly traverse a musical history so broad that we’re left with a series of epiphanies about form and genre that taken together read: we were minimal, even when we didn’t know it. In their liner notes Henrik Schwarz, Âme and Dixon write the compilation title stemmed from the feeling they were “traveling back in time and manipulating the old music with modern knowledge.” Except things are in truth a bit more complicated than that. The paradox, in case you were never a high school science nerd, goes like this: you travel back in time and kill your grandfather, which in turn means you could never be born, and thus never go back and kill him, and so on. As far as this compilation is concerned, the translation of this problem into music-historical terms might be: if you start screwing around with your own predecessors, what becomes of your identity as an artist, and thus what in turn happens to all the screwing around you’re doing? The result of this abyssal probing is the opening up of an infinite conversation between past and present, in which each iteration binds the two more inextricably together.

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On the first disc, past and present are cross-wired from the start. The mix opens with a linchpin track in minimal music: Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint,” famously sampled by The Orb for “Little Fluffy Clouds.” The transition from here through Liquid Liquid’s steely street grooves is a tour de force. The rest of the mix is as well deployed with the trio’s characteristic effervescence and elegance, a seamless and dynamic metamorphosis of genres: Balearic into funk into acid into house into techno. On full display here is the sheer elasticity of the term minimal; it is fundamentally a vibrantly trans-genre category, and as such its musical value can never be subsumed within what we know as minimal techno. The second disc provides some mix highlights in full with a few other key gems thrown in for good measure, including tracks by Arthur Russell and Young Marble Giants. Neither disc assumes a comprehensive or defining posture towards minimal music, preferring instead to revel in the term’s fertile open-endedness.

The movement of history is always about reinterpretation, and as the Innervisions crew points out, minimal is a highly suitable genre for such a DJ time warp: “In minimal music there is so much in between the sounds and the space, which gives you a lot of opportunities for your own interpretation.” Brimming with insight, The Grandfather Paradox not only takes the spaces of minimal as the grounds for its creative interventions, it leaves these spaces still fascinatingly exposed and open, as if sending them into the future, prepared be born again once more.

eric cloutier  on April 1, 2009 at 9:13 AM

best mix cd.

ever.

end of discussion.

tom/pipecock  on April 1, 2009 at 9:31 AM

i really want to get this mix, it seems like it is the kind of thing that is right up my alley. i only wish that these guys did things like this in their sets all the time. i guess schwarz does to a degree, but i havent really found his other mixes to contain music so loosely “related”.

Will Lynch  on April 1, 2009 at 10:05 AM

Insanely overrated. I’m with The Wire on this one– not enough “Paradox” here. For such an ambitious track list, the end result is disappointingly run-of-the-mill. And not to be a snob, but the title and overall concept is very sophomoric. Innervisions’ popularity continues to confuse me…

hutlock  on April 1, 2009 at 11:13 AM

You guys can’t see it from there, but I am currently rolling my eyes at Will Lynch.

eric cloutier  on April 1, 2009 at 11:40 AM

you’re confused by innervisions’ popularity? wow.

i’m not a huge ame fan, but dixon is probably one of the best dj’s i’ve ever seen, and henrik schwarz is a brilliant producer. if you can’t figure it out from their dj sets, then i’d assume you’d be able to pick it out by the high quality records that come out on the label.

and if that’s still not doing it for you, well…shit…you’re doing it wrong.

Will Lynch  on April 1, 2009 at 12:16 PM

@ Hutlock: I could have guessed 😉

@ Eric: that’s exactly the kind of gushy response I knew someone would make. To me it all just sounds like adventure house. D.P.O.M.B. makes me picture “Jumanji” with Robin Williams, and I’m sure Grandfather Paradox would go nicely with that film on mute.

That said, I’ve never heard Dixon DJ, but I had fun during Ame’s set in room 3 of Fabric a couple years ago, and Henrik Schwarz obviously has plenty of great releases under his belt. But for whatever reason, there’s been an inverse relationship between Innervisions’ growing popularity and my appreciation of their releases in the past year or so.

Pito  on April 1, 2009 at 1:17 PM

i agree with @eric, a real crate digging here. a must listen, i don’t care if it comes from innervisions or how dixon does on the decks. the album is genius.

eric cloutier  on April 1, 2009 at 1:21 PM

d.p.o.m.b., personally, is the shittiest release on that label. i have ZERO clue why anyone even purchased it, especially compared to most of the other releases.

littlewhiteearbuds  on April 1, 2009 at 1:49 PM

This comments section is rife with hyperbole.

tom/pipecock  on April 1, 2009 at 1:52 PM

you’re right, this is the most retarded comments section of all time.

Joe H  on April 1, 2009 at 2:46 PM

d.p.o.m.b – “the shittiest release” on innervisions

i would have to disagree. after hearing it being played by ame i think its great, certainly not the weakest on innervisions by a long way. dixon knows how to work a set & henrik has had it laid down since day one as a producer, dj & live act. as have ame. i try to see the innervisions guys at least twice a year & every time its a great night full of fantastic music & pure energy.

i’m not sure on the adventure house comment either? to me its just what innervisions do. i like the fact they look at things with a fresh perspective. i think this is one of the main reasons why the label is popular & due to the fact their not knocking music out slap dash with no quality control like some labels do

i know, from reading interviews with ame that the production process is a long & drawn out procedure to insure the music is of the highest standard.

i’ve only heard bits of this mix cd so far from a friends copy but its definitely on the list.

Will Lynch  on April 1, 2009 at 3:53 PM

yeah ok the Jumanji bit is an exaggeration, but I stand by my claim that Innervisions is all adventure house these days. The best example is Laurent Garnier’s “Back To My Roots”– just feels like the soundtrack to the final chase scene in an action film. To my ears, most of Innervisions’ recent material has this kind of cheesy vibe. Just not my thing…

harpomarx42  on April 1, 2009 at 5:30 PM

This is why I love LWE. Interesting threads/reviews/stuff in general.

Now, this is a mix CD I actually went out to a proper shop to by a proper copy. I heard so many things about it and I do like A Critical Mass. I was, not to sound cliché, mesmerized by this CD. It really takes the minimalist ethic and gives it a good kick up the arse. I like the subtle edits they’ve done, like mixing the bassline from Rej under Acid Tablet, mashing up ‘Motorbass’ with DPOMB and Basic Track, and having that quintessentially Schwarzian shaker groove running underneath the mix, showing it’s head during the quieter bits. That Moondog track is a bit of a mindf**k at the end, showing that music can be non-music and sound like music, ending with that slow fade out.

The second disc is good, but there were a few cuts I would have liked to see from the mix (Mathematics, Ø, La Funk Mob, M Pittmann). I also agreed with Joshua Meggitt’s quote on RA regarding Disc 2: “I’d like to have seen even earlier examples of minimalism, Satie’s furniture music perhaps, or an ol’ timey fiddle dance such as “Indian War Whoop”. I could go on about the songs that should have made the cut, but I don’t know if that would be good for this thread.

All in all, Messrs. Schwarz, Beyer, Wiedmann, and Berkhahn should take a well-deserved bow for this work.

@eric: Really, DPOMB is a bad release? Try Panoramix. Worse.

per silverbeat  on April 1, 2009 at 6:20 PM

i think putting everyone’s personal record collections aside it’s pretty impressive to see such a far reaching mix as this come up that touches on some great tunes from the past.

blaise  on April 1, 2009 at 6:37 PM

Maybe its bc I had high expectations (I love almost all of the innervision releases, ame, dixon, schwarz, and the tracklist looks amazing) but I was sorta let down upon actually listening. Still, a good mix cd and a great concept.

ballyhoo  on April 1, 2009 at 9:20 PM

i personally don’t know about the actual mix yet, but the tracklist is right up my alley. conrad schnitzler, moondog, to rococo rot aren’t names you see together every day in a dance mix. looks interesting.

dave  on June 11, 2009 at 5:33 AM

dixon, hendrik schwartz are simply overrated-the scene needs new faces,thats all-there are hot house dj’s who never realy get the credit because they arent well connected-if anja schneider is topping the polls in the RA site then people are getting deaf-she cant beat mix,the productions arent hers as someone does it for her.
in my opinion,innervisions best and most outstanding release was the ame “rej” and the stefan goldmann one after that-the rest is wannabe boring stuff.sorry.
simply and purely overrated.
and remember, this is berlin-home to the panorama bar-a drug addict joint-its basicly an evil joint!you never compare this to womb in japan or yellow or body and soul parties..sorry , thats MUSIC at its best.not bar 25 and crap like that which is so overrated just because the press is so corrupted.

littlewhiteearbuds  on June 11, 2009 at 8:28 AM

We always love how commentors who rail against producers as “overrated” never mention anyone they think is better or more deserving.

“So overrated just because the press is so corrupted.” What does that even mean? I’m pretty sure the press give attention to the DJs/producers they think are worthy of attention. If you don’t like underground electronic music journalism, perhaps “DJ Mag” is more your style.

fred dulson  on June 30, 2009 at 11:00 PM

i really like this mix cd. a lot.

as for innervisions: of the three acts involved with this project, the only one of whose genius i am convinced is âme, if only for their remix of etienne jaumet (which makes a few appearances throughout this mix). i am also a huge fan of “balandine” despite the mixed reaction it received upon release. i like schwarz and dixon a lot too, but i haven’t found any blow-my-face-off productions or remixes by either of them (yet). “D.P.O.M.B.” i thought was a pretty good track that maybe was a touch overrated. i can understand will’s comments that they sound “adventure-y”, but i don’t feel like they toe the cheesy line–i think they steer far clear of it. then again, i’m a fan of booming tribal percussion, so what do i know.

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