Tony Lionni|Radio Slave, Berghain 03|Part 1


[Ostgut Ton]

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The first extracts from Len Faki’s curate’s egg of a mix CD showcases an established figure, and a relative newcomer. Radio Slave falls into the former category (if you haven’t heard one of his pounding remixes in the last couple of years, you haven’t been near a nightclub), while Tony Lionni is the fresh face in the Berghain finishing school.

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Lionni has released a spate of excellent Detroit influenced tracks in the last year on Versatile, Wave Music, and more recently Aesthetic Audio and Mule Musiq, and “Found A Place” is his finest moment so far. An ecstatic piano vamp accompanied by a wordless diva is nicely offset by crisp high-hats and a rocksteady bass drum. It’s certainly not what The Shangri-Las had in mind when they sang “Sophisticated Boom Boom,” but that label fits here. “Neverending…,” in the words of the Ronseal advert, does exactly what is says on the tin. Matt Edwards’ work has always been about joy in repetition, and there are no surprises here. In Len Faki’s hands on Berghain 03, it expertly marks the transition from bare-chested techno thumpers to mid-90s styled house, with a Dennis Ferrer a cappella layered over the top. Clanging dub chords echo into infinity, providing the dictionary definition of “DJ tool.”

The churlish could probably build a strawman argument with these tracks, positing that they represent the worst tropes of today’s techno retro-fetishism. Sure, “Found A Place” wouldn’t exist without those Mark Kinchen remixes of Chez Damier, and “Neverending…” is essentially “Phylyps Trak” redux, but the execution of these tributes is so masterful that the rest of us will be happily dancing to these for quite some time this summer.

harpomarx42  on May 20, 2009 at 12:14 PM

I love both tracks, but I still fear that Found A Place will be a blip on the radar. Still, it’s good for those hands-in-the-air moments.

suarez  on May 20, 2009 at 1:10 PM

This blog is now the press room of O-ton, you guys only talk about this label like is the only shit to listen bummer!

littlewhiteearbuds  on May 20, 2009 at 2:22 PM

That’s hardly true. We’ve reviewed over a hundred records this year and only three of which were from Ostgut Ton. All of the reviews have ended up being generally positive because the music deserved the praise. At the same time, LWE’s reviewers have noted when something isn’t up to snuff, as Peder did with part of Ben Klock’s album.

It wouldn’t make sense for any techno-oriented site to ignore arguably the world’s foremost underground techno label (and you’ll notice that most pay close attention, not just LWE). At the same time, it’s hardly all we cover. If would be more useful for you to offer suggestions for other labels to check out rather than deriding us for doing our jobs.

JonnyP  on May 20, 2009 at 2:30 PM

@ suarez: what are you on about?

Mike  on May 20, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Yeah, Never-ending is right, Basic Channel’s Phylyps Trak II a song which has influenced just about everyone in modern techno. This remake (which sounds to these ears like uncleared samples of the original) Makes me wonder one thing, are people completely out of new ideas or was the best of what techno had to offer done 15-20 years ago?

Tsiridis  on May 21, 2009 at 6:34 AM

@suarez: thats quite the overreaction there. LWE- o-ton deserves the praise as you say exactly.A wide variety of electronic music is being covered here. Anyway good work, you’re the first hit on my bookmarks :)
About the release, I love the Lionni track. a big “hit”, but its so simple effective and emotive. I look forward to playing it everytime.

Adam808  on May 21, 2009 at 7:44 AM


Neverending provides a fresh template and a new way to consider ideas. I will grant you the fair comparison but every time I’ve heard Neverending out it’s been an opportunity for the DJ to experiment. Cassy spun a track three times over top and had the crowd in a frenzy. The palette is so much bigger now and even if the novelty of techno is gone, there are so many more ways to express ones self as a DJ. If you are bored with these new expressions; listen to dubstep. In sum, the new ideas fall within the cracks because this music really strives to move people on the dance floors. If you study these movements it cannot really change unless you want the movements to change. If a 4/4 beat moves bodies Keep It Simple which is why Radioslave succeeds. To note, the stuff he played in DC in March was 4/4 for the most party but with Dave Brubeck, Moodymann, Latin, Janis Joplin and a track he had going at 33 instead of 45 (to name a few) all thrown in. The crowd loved it.

Colin S  on May 21, 2009 at 8:38 AM

Oh no, not another argument about how everything was better back in the day! I’m gonna get down with Peder’s attitude on this one 😉

suarez  on May 21, 2009 at 9:21 AM

it’s hard to do a blog and please everybody i think.

Adam808  on May 21, 2009 at 1:12 PM

yeah. I agree. No arguments. Neverending is a great track.

-The Pacifist.

Mike  on May 21, 2009 at 7:34 PM

I see your point, and I also enjoyed “Neverending” but that was about all, in 1 year I will have forgotten about this release, the only thing I will remember about it is what it clearly sampled and tried to sound like, Phylyps Trak II. I can appreciate an artist who makes something derivative, that would be almost everything in electronic music now days? I also believe there is a fine line between originality, derivative characteristics and copying, in this case it crosses some boundaries by even sampling the original source material. This record is part of the holy grail of techno and its development in a time when making music with a computer didn’t exist. The original is timeless, unless you can do something better with that song, why not leave it alone?

A good example would be when Underground Resistance released “The Jaguar” it became a massive underground hit and suddenly major labels thought it to be a wise investment to license it. Mike Banks being Mike Banks went on to tell Sony to stick it where the sun dont shine. They did the unspeakable, they hired some cheesey artist to try and duplicate the original and release it as something else. That was a slap in the face to the original and and to guys who actually made a difference in techno, who fought for it, bled on the front lines for it for generation after generation and yet, they were copied by a major to further their careers and slap the little guy in the face? This scenario isn’t to far off from what happened there which is why I find it so hard to believe. This record doesn’t credit the inspiration behind it, the sampling sources, it only helps to further someone else’s career. I could go on for hours but it would make no difference, the level of respect in this generation of electronic music has shifted toward the download now, everything is free, sample songs in ableton, manipulate slightly with plugins, copy and release. All things once holy in techno are no more, for more insight please watch Derrick May’s RBMA interview, digest his words, allow for a spiritual awakening to take place and realize what he is saying is true, get back to the piano, where is all started. the original idea, the dancer, the dream.

Anton  on May 21, 2009 at 7:53 PM

I think you’re blowing this way out of proportion, Mike. Even if there is a slight resemblance to
“Phylyps Trak II,” and I do mean slight, it’s arranged in a completely different fashion for completely different ends.

Some ridiculous portion of rock artists find themselves, intentionally or not, rehashing the work of The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, et al. to some degree. Are they completely immemorable because of it? Possibly not. Will they not stand the test of time? Who knows, none of us are time travelers.

And who’s to say Radio Slave was concerned with making something timeless? “Neverending” is, at best, a tool that’s best used in concert with other tracks.

Mike  on May 21, 2009 at 8:27 PM

Your right, I didn’t want to blow this out of proportion, only to educate those who do not know where this song adopted its concept and idea from. I also do not believe there is a slight resemblance, I believe it is more than slight. The synth hits, arrangement and effects for each and every portion of the original are here but in a slightly different sonic palette and sure no one could ever replicate the bassline in the original without sampling it.

I am not dis-crediting Radio Slave, I actually really love Radio Slave but this song in particular has bothered me, as much as I like it I would expect more from an artist of his caliber and reputation. He has some truly original and in some cases minimal but effective idea’s, this release was a huge step backwards for a guy as talented as him.

Adam808  on May 26, 2009 at 10:22 AM

actually I am doing an interview with Derrick May today and the RBMA will definitely be part of it.


Little White Earbuds May Charts - Little White Earbuds  on June 4, 2009 at 10:09 PM

[…] [Macro] 06. Bsmnt City Anymle Kontrol, “The Perfekt Sin” [Wild Oats] 07. Tony Lionni, “Found a Place” [Ostgut Tonträger] 08. E.S.O.M., “Life Form” [Emphasis Recordings] 09. Levon Vincent, […]

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