In this incredibly candid interview, René Pawlowitz — best known to the world as Shed — filled us in on his typical creative process, his misgivings with the general state of techno, and the burden of having a moniker that sticks.
About this time back in 2007, Bruno Pronsato was finishing up his debut album, Why Can’t We Be Like Us, and struggling to fit in one final song: an epic, electronic ballad called “The Make Up The Break Up.” It was an especially compelling track, and Pronsato did everything he could to fit it onto the album, but in the end it was just too long and had to be left out. Why Can’t We Be Like Us dropped at the end of the year — promptly receiving a deluge of praise — and “The Make Up The Break Up” remained a work-in-progress, appearing only in scattered cameos throughout his live sets.
2009: Another year, another plethora of podcasts. Lots of amazing freebies have come out since the beginning of the year, and though many of them are nothing to write home about, quite a few are really exceptional. In addition to LWE’s nifty collection, you’ve got mnml ssgs churning out heady techno gems on a weekly basis and RA raising the bar higher than ever before (DJ Koze’s podcast still hasn’t lost its magic). But really, who’s got time for all this? With each one at least an hour long and weighing something near 100mb, the sheer volume of content means a lot of great stuff just falls by the wayside. So to help you sort through all this noise, here are five mixes you won’t regret right-clicking and saving-as.
Back in the summer of 2007, Chris Mann began his review of the Soul Jazz Box of Dub with the following statement: “Most compilations are like group photos: someone always has their eyes closed.” I find this usually tends to be true, and never more so than on Mule Electronic’s Enjoy The Silence Vol. 1. This collection of ambient music by house and techno producers ranges from excellent to completely boring, with typically impressive names falling into both camps. All in all, it is a pretty dull release, despite a few strong moments.
Hailing from the city of Perpignan, Sylvain Garcia, aka Le K, exemplifies the curveball of French underground producers. In terms of style, he fits in the same milieu as compatriots dOP and Noze, favoring floppy, organic sounds, and a playfully anti-purist attitude. In the past few years, he’s released records on Circus Company, Thema, and Feinwerk, and has remixed artists like Scott and Paul Frick. As this exclusive mix reflects, his unique personality and focus on eclecticism set him apart as a truly original, and truly French house artist.
Each year at the end of May, thousands of somber looking people wearing muted tones descend on Montreal for Mutek, a festival celebrating electronic music performance. It’s one of the most important electronic music festivals in the world, and along with Movement, one of the two biggest in North America. In some respects, it offers a counterpoint to Movement. Kicking off only a week after the Detroit festival ends, Mutek focuses on electronic performance of all kinds, including the avant-garde, while Movement is primarily a festival for dance music. Furthermore, Movement is characterized by swarms of DJs at official and unofficial parties, while Mutek encourages artists to perform live rather than DJ. This makes for a rather unique experience for electronic music fans who rarely get to see and hear their favorite artists playing their own songs. Which isn’t to say the festival looks down on DJing as an art form. Rather, Mutek strives to offer a panoramic view of everything going on in electronic music today, from ambient drones to schaffel beats and everything in between. For their 10th anniversary, Mutek pulled out all the stops and put on a truly exceptional festival, affirming their position as one of the best music festivals worldwide.
For the past couple years or so, Gadi Mizrahi and Zev have been two of Brooklyn’s key house entrepreneurs. Under the moniker Wolf + Lamb they DJ parties, produce tracks, and release records by themselves and some close friends, all from a dingy art space in Williamsburg known as The Marcy Hotel. Their most recent release, the aptly titled “Brooklynn EP,” finds Wolf + Lamb poised for a breakthrough as a production team and label.
To anyone who’s been following house and techno recently, a split EP by Efdemin and Tobias. sounds like a sure shot. The former has delivered several years of ceaseless quality, while the latter had an especially impressive run in 2008. Both are at a point where it seems they can do no wrong. Unfortunately, “Phantasma Vol. 1” disproves this notion. As the first installment in a series on Diamond & Pearls Music, it’s decent at best — more than can be said for plenty of releases in general, but much less than we’ve come to expect from these two.
[Minibar] In minimal and deep house, one of the biggest challenges the artist face is knowing how much embellishment is appropriate. It is the music’s lean, uncluttered sound that lures many listeners away from prog, trance and nu-rave, but it’s near impossible to make an interesting track without at least a hint of color. French […]
[Prime Numbers] In his recent podcast for Resident Advisor, Trus’me surprises the listener by finishing an hour of house with a clunky dubstep number. The track is dark, heavy, and rough around the edges, but somehow compliments Trus’me’s earthy sound quite well. It’s called “Axiom,” and it’s one of the first ever tracks by Wireman, […]
[Musique Risquée] As yawn-inducing as the notion of “horn house” may sound at this point, one recent release on Musique Risquée puts brass to use in a way that’s rather novel. Under the moniker Others, Bruno Pronsato and Daze Maxim blur the line between organic and electronic sounds even more than usual, layering horns over […]
For our fourth year end column, staff writer Will Lynch rounds up his top five non-commercial mixes of 2008. In the past few years the advent of “podcasts” has affected all sorts of music, but none so significantly as dance music. For us beat-mongers lurking in the blogosphere, commercial mix CDs and albums tend to […]
Art by Andy Gilmore [Mikrodisko Recordings] Since he began making music in 2003, Kassem Mosse has kept a pretty low profile. He has only a handful of releases, most of which were released on the tiny (but badass) label Mikrodisko Recordings. Nonetheless, he’s garnered some significant attention: the A-side from his Workshop release appeared on […]
Photo by Carsten Peter [Smallville Records] Six months since the release of Move D and Benjamin Brunn’s acclaimed full length, a few more dollops have dripped from the beehive. On “New Horizon,” our duo get a bit more mileage out of the syrupy palette that characterized Songs From the Beehive, but replace the drowsy rhythms […]
[Wagon Repair] “Through a leaking bodily cavity resembling the pork found in Chinese restaurants, Satan shat out a crystal beaming with glowing red embers. This crystal matured into the fetus of Seth Troxler.” Thus begins Beyond Booking’s bio for the artist behind “Sexplosion,” the newest EP on Wagon Repair. Both the absurdity and the extravagance […]
[Mobilee] The past couple years have seen Watergate become a sensation in Berlin for steadfast techno lovers as well as semi-oblivious party people. While its billing reflects an intimate knowledge of underground dance culture, its eye-popping light show and posh décor attract plenty of average punters. As one of Watergate’s resident DJs, Sebo K’s style […]
Headed by Jens Kuhn, known to many as Lowtec, Workshop is as much a label as it is a series of EPs. Since 2006, Lowtec and crew have put out a new EP every few months, each comprising three untitled tracks. Some showcase a single artist (Move D, Kassem Mosse and Lowtec have each commandeered one), while others feature a handful at once. LWE’s current favorite is Workshop 004, a collection of shadowy house tracks by Move D, Even Tuell and Sascha Dive. With its gray aesthetic and cryptic design, Workshop has chiseled a distinct identity and landed a distribution deal with Hard Wax, arguably Berlin’s most respected record shop. Lowtec gives us the lowdown on the snacks that inspired the label’s creation, their stratified demo system, and how smaller release runs could save the vinyl business.
Illustration by Alvarejo [Echocord Colour] While no proper affiliation exists between Detroit’s Echospace and Denmark’s Echocord, there is certainly an interesting volley of ideas taking place between the two like-minded labels. Both champion a sonorous mid-tempo dub style, and, with the recent launch of the sub-label Echocord Colour, both please collectors with lush transparent records. […]
[Metatron House Division] With his latest release on Metatron House Division, Johannes Heil delivers two exceptional tracks which reflect a knack for composition as well as production. “Aum” and “Soul Made” both slip right past the ten minute mark, but Heil’s songwriting (for lack of a better term) is shrewd enough to keep things fresh […]
For some ridiculous reason, I’m opening for Shed tonight at Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge, MA. It’s his first ever performance in the U.S. and Make It New events always have a great vibe. So if you’re in the Boston/Cambridge area and you’re the type who parties on Thursday nights, come on down for a little […]