Recommended: Ten Walls – Gotham

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Innervisions certainly know a thing or two about good house records. Since co-founders Dixon and Âme began the label as an offshoot of their popular Berlin club night “Innercity” back in 2005, a steady output of consistently excellent music has seen Innervisions become one of the leading purveyors of quality house and techno. The latest addition to the label is Ten Walls and, although details about the producer remain somewhat sketchy, this first release displays huge promise.

The titular track’s ability to get dancefloors moving is nigh on irrefutable. Any track that clocks in at over nine minutes runs the risk of not sustaining the listener’s attention but in Ten Walls’ more-than-capable hands “Gotham” never takes its foot off the pedal. With its captivating synth line and understated simplicity, it isn’t difficult to see why “Gotham” was such a weapon for DJs at the 2013 instalments of Movement and Sónar. “Epos” works similarly well on the floor. Nimble percussive claps and smooth synth pads are met with subtle bass stabs in a very jazz-flavoured affair. The EP’s finale “Moag” takes things down a touch, with its compact synths a particular highlight. Significantly slower than what came before, “Moag” gives off a sense of serenity that contrasts with its preceding counterparts excellently.

It’s this sense of diversity that makes the EP such an essential listen. While it remains a coherent product from start to finish, there’s more than enough variety in each of the EP’s individual tunes to suggest that plenty of ground remains for this producer to explore further. Details about Ten Walls may remain scarce, but if this first effort is anything to go by then keep an ear out for what’s next.

Stream: Ten Walls – Gotham (Innervisions)

Ten Walls’ Gotham EP is available now on Innervisions.

Words by Matt Gibney, 18 July 2013. Leave a comment

Recommended: Pangaea – Viaduct EP

While at the moment new labels seem to be popping up left, right, and centre, quite a few of them will undoubtedly be slipping through our pretty wide-cast musical net. Not Hadal, however. When one of the Hessle Audio boys announces something new, we here at the Truants mansion sit with our ears pricked and our headphones at the ready, and Kevin McAuley’s new project is no exception. We’ve slept on Viaduct, the new 12″ from the man himself, but it’s fair to say there’s no time frame on posting beautifully produced work. Viaduct is the first release on the new label Hadal, and sees Kevin move from song-based music, to more impactful dancefloor tunes. For our money, Pangaea is the most underrated member of the Hessle Audio triumvirate, perhaps unfairly drawing less attention than his fellow producing powerhouses but nonetheless quietly crafting; consistently releasing  probably the most inspired UK underground music. Having undergone an education in dance music in the South West England when growing up, it wasn’t until 2005 whilst studying in Leeds that McAuley dived into a city that embraced dupstep, co-founding a night called Ruffage, and meeting David Kennedy and Ben Thomson, aka Pearson Sound and Ben UFO. From there, the rest is history, we’re glad Pangaea is once again capturing traits from Hardcore and Jungle, and amalgamating them into what could be described as a new brand of throaty UK Techno.

Stream: Pangaea – Viaduct EP (Hadal)

Using Mala as an example, McAuley talks about impactful music, saying “it has to sound good. It’s all well and good  having these ideas but it needs to sound good on a system. If you’re in a club situation, you want something that’s going to hit you, you want to feel it”. Maybe somewhat unknowingly Pangaea talks about his own music; as Viaduct certainly shows elements of something that can hit you, that you can feel. The EP starts with the title tract “Viaduct”, a track containing intricate percussion, and slithering synths that are in no hurry to build, Pangaea shows his audience that he has a capacity for patience ,waiting to create an about-turn so that the tune becomes grimier, more threatening. The minimal melodic element, radiating a type of nostalgia buried in a facade of warmth, makes the transition in this hit you all the more. “Mission Creep“, sandwiched right in the middle of the EP, is also well fitting for a club situation with its plethora of kicks and snares. The vocal snippets and hi-hats are abrasive but they’re so well contained and gloriously detailed that there is no doubt in your mind Pangaea is about to unleash something great in the form of the next Track. McAuley admits that banging music is much more of a challenge for him than Ambient, experimental music, and that he’s gone into this latest record with more awareness that he’d like to hit a bit harder. That he does, especially with the final track on the EP, “Razz“. Razz is erratic from the offset, seemingly unpredictable in its composition, but it’s this wild nature coupled with a rhythm that sounds immaculately polished that means it steals the show. After Release, Pangaea’s double EP from last year, Viaduct wholly embraces sections that left his last EP leaving audiences wanting more. It focuses less on structural intricacy and more on vibes that you don’t just hear over a sound system, but that you feel, and actually experience.

Pangaea’s Viaduct EP is out now on Hadal, and you can order the 12″ or download it here

Words by Jess Melia, 15 July 2013. Leave a comment

Truancy Volume 73: Jazz Neversleeps

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With only two releases to his name Belgian producer Jazz Neversleeps isn’t breaking any world records, however he is pouring his energy into jazz influenced and hip-hop informed house music. Listening to a track like “Live in Maredsous” demonstrates the ease at which he appropriates samples and flips them into melodic gems. Aside from writing music, he co-runs On-Point – a record label that since 2010 has put out house, funk, and hip 12 & 7-inches. Between all the artists one thing brings them all together – a love for hip-hop. We had a chance to speak with Jazz Neversleeps about where his tastes originate and the reason for his extended absence. If that wasn’t enough he decided to give us a peak into his record bag with his lengthy Truancy Volume.

What does your musical background consist of? “First and foremost I will always credit my parents for granting me access to their record collection ever since I was like four years old. I was lucky to have my dad’s turntable in my room, and through them I first heard anything from Stevie Wonder to Kraftwerk and George Duke. All of that mixed with children’s songs of course. Chris Rea’s “On The Beach” was a big album for me as well. At that time my aunt’s boyfriend was a DJ at national radio and he often gave me records… I got quite a few techno classics from him, haha (of course I had no clue back then). In my early teens I got the first Jazzmatazz on tape through an older friend and shortly after Gang Starr’s Daily Operation. That was the first brainwash I guess. Shortly after, on a school trip to England, I discovered jungle and early drum ‘n bass, blasting through the speakers in a recordstore. The rolling funk breakbeats blew my mind… Never heard anything like it. A lot of the stuff I play now I only got into later, that’s things I discovered the last, let’s say seven years. I have to say the older I get, the more I get back into the pop side of things. I feel I kind of neglected the melodies I loved as a kid, and spent too much time listening to the beats.”

Can you tell us a little bit about the music scene in Belgium? “It’s a small country, but that only has advantages as far as I’m concerned. There’s things happening, and there’s definitely possibilities to do something. Brussels for example is not as saturated as some other capitals surrounding us. Another thing is you can play in different cities or villages which are barely a 30-minute drive apart, yet you meet new people and the vibe is different. Let it be known, I love the little villages! Apart from that I love the beer, the absurdities and the dualism of beautiful and ugly architecture here.”

You’re also closely related to the label On-Point. How does the label fit in with your musical goals? “On-Point is the mothership… Me and label boss Alex have travelled quite a few musical paths together, we also dj together, and although we’re -of course- different, we share musical visions. I love the label because it’s the child of one of my best friends, if it wasn’t for On-Point, I probably wouldn’t have thought of releasing tracks.”

There haven’t been many releases on the label, but every record seems to be loosely connected to hip-hop, jazz, or house. How important are those types of music to you and the label? How did they affect your musical output? “Hip-hop is definitely a common factor for a lot of us. Not only for the label but for a lot of the musical peers I meet. For a lot of us it was (musically) the first thing we were really into. So yeah, amongst other things that definitely affects how I make music or play records. As far as the label, I’m happy to see we’re getting a certain pace in the output. The 10th release will get pressed soon, and I’m hyped about that one.”

You haven’t put out a record since 2011’s “Take Care Of You / Diepgank”. What have you been working on since? “That’s partly true, haha. I make sketches really fast but when it comes to actually finish a track, I’m a slug. And even worse, I’m ultra picky about my own stuff. I guess the prospect of getting it released on vinyl gives me that nitro push, though. Anyway, I did a few remixes for friends which will come out soon on wax and I made a record with a friend under another name. This one track some might know called “Linh” is coming out soon as well on On-Point. Apart from that, let’s see what happens!”

The role of the DJ means different things to different people. How do you approach DJing? “It’s a cliché but I play the music I love, I do it with love, and I want to keep it interesting for myself as well as for the crowd. I get bored pretty easily, so I guess that kind of reflects in how I play.”

Aside from the new record, what else can people expect from you this year? “An attempt at letting my hair grow, which is something I haven’t done for the last 10 years, haha. And musically… A new collabo, who knows!”

Truancy Volume 73: Jazz Neversleeps

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Truancy Volume 73: Jazz Neversleeps by TRUANTS

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Words by Jonathon Alcindor, 05 July 2013. Leave a comment

Recommended: Huerco S. – Apheleia’s Theme

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It’s no secret we’re fans of Huerco S., so much so we asked him to mix Truancy Volume 56. With musical excursions on Wicked Bass, Opal Tapes, and Anthony Naples’ fledgling imprint, Proibito we’re not the only ones to take notice. In the last two years the Kansas City based producer has synthesized his scuzzy beats into a near perfect assemblage of fading melodies, thick kicks, and ghostly audio snippets. He has simultaneously brought together the, often alienating, experimental with the irrefutable grooves of house and techno. That said, who better to give him his US debut than the guys at Future Times?

Apheleia’s Theme” is as direct a track as we can expect from Huerco. At nine minutes, it’s a sluggish stomper with a kick drum that sounds as though someone’s beating on your door. The simplicity of the beat is entrancing and putters along bringing with it fresh elements. It’s not easy to create a dance floor oriented track that holds a person’s attention for its entirety, but he’s done it with this one. There’s something to be said for how stripped back each track is (and not in the mid noughties minimal sense.); there are no extraneous elements and everything has a purpose. Just a quickly as you fell into the groove it’s over with almost no warning (it’s a blast back into reality or the next track.) On the flip, “Ausschachtung” brings up memories of his tape for Opal Tapes. Its structure is vague and the backbone is built around the dull thud of the kick drum. Once again, he reverts to the sounds of intelligible voices and an eerie blitz of synths. The phrasing and beats are so off it’ll take a pretty adventurous selector to pull for this one (and we mean that in the nicest way possible.) The closer, “Cercy“, is where this record really shines – it’s absolutely glorious. Jumping straight to the point he works no more than four basic elements for the first few minutes. With a clap it lurches into an utterly seductive bassline that brightens up the mood. In comparison to the swing of the beat the placement of the bassline is almost robotic, but has a stunning effect. Midway through, it breaks into synthetic drones and proggy stabs all of which add a sense of euphoria. It all boils down into a magnificent concoction of modern house, which completes one of the best records we’ve heard in ages.

There are few artists like Huerco S. out there and even less sound as authentic. There’s no pretention or gimmick – this is the music he has always made, take it or leave it. “Apheleia’s Theme” feels like he’s finally hit a stride. He’s exactly where he wants to be and making music that takes all of his sensibilities into account. To top it off it’s completely danceable. What else could we ask for?

Huerco S.’s Apheleia’s Theme is available now on Future Times. Continue Reading →

Words by Jonathon Alcindor, 04 July 2013. Leave a comment

Interview: Berlin Community Radio

Berlin Community Radio

London has NTS, New York has WYNU, Los Angeles has Dublab, Glasgow has Subcity Radio, Amsterdam has Red Light Radio and Berlin has…? Until recently there as been no Berlin based community radio similar to the stations just mentioned which is very surprising considering the reputation of its music scene and the amount of talented and creative people based in the city. Thankfully, local promoters/djs Anastasia Filipovna and Sarah Miles have taken it upon themselves to rectify this problem by launching Berlin Community Radio in March of this year. So far the station is composed of pre-recorded sessions available through their soundcloud page but after the recent acquisition of a permanent studio the station will soon be going live. Luckily, we got to exchange a few words with them to get the lowdown on BCR and they also each picked their favorite BCR shows which you can stream below.

Stream: Sarah’s pick - Hunch Music Radio #1

First of all, could you tell us about yourselves and how you both got involved in the music scene in Berlin? “We have been living in Berlin for 4 (Anastasia) and 5 (Sarah) years, respectively and we both decided to move here for the music scene. Sarah worked in music PR for two big electronic music labels and at the same time she started DJing and got a residency at the Farbfernseher club. Anastasia moved her to study and she also picked up DJing (thanks to London’s Girlcore collective for the encouragement) which led to a weekly radio show on NYC’s Viva Radio.

Then, since nobody else was reaching out to all the interesting artists that were either living here or passing through the city we decided to start our own online radio show podcast called Welcome To The Room at the beginning of 2011. The show is recorded in the Farbfernseher club in Kreuzberg during the day/early evening and we usually record a two hour session of music and interviews. So far Andrew Weatherall, Move D, Gerd Janson, Axel Boman, Gatto Fritto, L.I.E.S.’s Ron Morelli, Delroy Edwards, Steve Summers, Maxmillion Dunbar and many more have all passed through our room.”

What made you decided to start BCR? “Having had great feedback about the WTTR show we realised that we could take it a step further and also that we could give more people the chance to create interesting programmes about Berlin and what they are doing here. We have been observing NTS, East Village and Red Light Radio and saw that a similar platform for Berlin was missing so, as with WTTR, we decided to do it ourselves.”

You recently found a permanent studio, could you tell us a bit about it? “It lies in the middle of our little universe which is close to Maybachufer and Hermannplatz in Neukölln. It’s on street level and we have a big front room which we hope will soon become a meeting place for like-minded Berliners from all corners of the creative scene.”

Why do you think there are not any other community radio stations in Berlin? “Some people have said that the radio culture in Germany isn’t the same as in the UK or the US. Pirate radio stations practically don’t exist here and it seems like a lot of FM stations either cater to mainstream culture or an older audience. Also, it is only very recently that so many people from around the world have been moving here and starting their own projects so perhaps there was not as much demand for this kind of radio platform before.”

Stream: Anastasia’s pick -  Urban Mutations Radio #1

You guys recently had your launch party, how did it go? Could you tell us a bit about the people who played? “Well. Unfortunately, the weather literally pissed on the concept of an open air day time BBQ but 80 loyal friends still showed up and supported us, ate some Chilean hotdogs and sat in the cold. There was a live performance by Heatsick who is our art contributor. He releases on PAN record label and his live act involves loopy Casio sounds, singing, shakers and sometimes a light show and perfume. We also had other contributors from the station present an hour of music – CreamCake, Lodown Magazine, Noisey, Pueblo and Welcome To The Room all DJ’d.”

Will you be organising more parties under the BCR banner? “We have a monthly residency at Prince Charles and the next event is on July 7th (details below). It will feature a rare live performance by Hyperdub’s Cooly G, a DJ set fromFuture Times boss Maxmillion Dunbar and also DJs from the station. The next party after that is on August 18th will feature a live show from Slava and a dj set from local promoters Urban Mutations.”

What is the concept behind the parties? “Our concept is to present an interesting live show as well as a visiting touring DJ we personally love alongside a selection of DJs from the station – always with an emphasis on variety. The parties are happening during the day but are not meant to be an after hour party. We want it to be more like a MOMA PS1 WarmUp than Panorama Bar. Also well as the music there is always great food and we want them to be community meetings.”

Stream: Author’s pick – Welcome To The Room No.26 with Aurora Halal & Sarah Miles

Judging from the website and the shows BCR seems to be an English language station, was this intentional? Will there be any German language shows in the future? “So far yes, the scheduled shows are all in English and in some ways this was intentional as we wanted to create a station that would cater for the many nationalities that now live here as well as our international following. We even have some upcoming contributors who have said they would prefer to speak in English even though they are German, so they don’t limit the audience and also because they are more used to reviewing music in English when they write for international magazines. Having said that, we are definitely leaving the door open for German speaking contributors and any other language for that matter.”

As well as music shows BCR is planning on having shows on other topics. Could you talk about the current non-music shows and the shows you have planned for the future?  “Heatsick is hosting a contemporary art show which should be online very soon and food critic Tommy Tannock will be doing a show about Berlin’s eateries. We have also scheduled a show by Pablo Larios, the assistant editor of Frieze Magazine, who is going to do a bi-weekly talk show with art-related content, guests and artist interviews.

There are still some slots free and we are currently looking for people to do interesting shows on all kinds of topics- film, current affairs, science, theater, TV-shows, politics, culture, sociology etc.. so if anyone is interested they can drop us a line at info@berlincommunityradio.com.

Berliners can come see what Berlin Community Radio is about this Sunday July the 7th at Prince Charles and for everyone else follow them on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date about the live launch.

Event pages: FB, RA. Continue Reading →

Words by Warren O'Neill, 03 July 2013. 9 comments

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