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February 07 2018

14:46

Record Store Memories: Hypervinyl Edition

This is the first of a new series on infinitestatemachine called “Record Store Memories”. It’s a highly subjective account of my relationship with various record stores over the years, and will appear appropriately infrequently until I’ve covered all the important ones. For the first one I had to choose the record store that changed my life in so many ways.

———————

Hypervinyl was not the first dance music record store in Pittsburgh (that would be Turbo Zen, followed by Future Sounds at some point before HV) but it’s timing and location made it by far the most consequential of all thus far. I met a pretty large number of my current friends at Hypervinyl, and bought a ridiculous number of meaningful records there. In terms of places in my life, only a few have had more impact on me as a person. I could go on forever about this place, but instead I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite moments.

The original location of Hypervinyl was on Atwood St in the Oakland neighborhood. Oakland was where all the colleges in the city are located as well as the high school I attended, and at that time it was a very gritty area with many underground shops, punk houses where basement shows occurred, and what can only be described as a thriving counter culture. This was the time of Club Laga, people smoking cloves at the Beehive, hanging out on the wall acting like assholes, and a general feeling that if you just hung around for a while something interesting/insane/disgusting/entertaining/illegal/etc (pick as many as you like) would happen.

If I remember correctly, my first visit to Hypervinyl was within days of it opening in the spring or early summer of 1997. Since I went to high school up the street, the world of Oakland had become quite familiar to me over the past few years even though I was 17 and was just about to graduate from high school. My crew and I had been frequenting all these underground spots for years and blended right in. We had been going to raves and listening to dance music for about a year at this time, and before Hypervinyl the only dance shop operating was out in Forest Hills, a place that we rarely were even close to so it basically didn’t exist for us. Word of the new shop opening in Oakland was great news.

On my first trip in, the goal was to find a place locally to purchase some Technics 1200s and to check out the record selection. This was clearly a stupid question to the seemingly angry short man behind the register. He was kind of a dick, but this wasn’t my first time in a record store so I didn’t take it too personally. I picked up a couple flyers for raves and club nights and bounced.

Within a few months I was regularly purchasing records (even before I was able to locate turntables) and hanging out, talking shit and listening to music. The owners Csilla and Trevor (The Instigator) were strange but entertaining individuals. One cat who worked there was a friend from high school John Brommage who had started throwing raves and djing the previous year, so that was a cool connect. Another weirdo working there was a cat called Ed Umm. I remember one day I was chilling in there talking about old records with Trevor and Ed when the record shipment came in. They threw some LP on that started with what sounded like someone flipping through the radio dial, tuning into various strange voices speaking and old songs playing. Only much later did I recognize that this was Moodymann’s Mahogany Brown album.

Since I was so young, my money situation was not hot, but these were the days of $5 domestics and $9 imports. I would bring all my cash from my shitty jobs and spend everything I could. Early on that was mostly jungle and some harder techno. Whatever money I had left, usually change, would typically end up pooled together with whomever else was hanging around so we could walk up the block to Antoon’s, home of the $3.75 large pizza to grab a pie and a two liter bottle of pop. I’d often get suckered into running to the post office to pick up missed packages of records.

By spring of 98, my clique and I had decided to move past throwing house parties into doing dance music events for the general public. We had somehow stumbled on this clothing store out in Monroeville past the mall called Suburban Trance which sold your typical late 90s gear like Freshjive, Ecko, etc. This wasn’t really our hood in any way, but the guy who owned it seemed really chill and he asked us to do some parties in his store on Friday night. One of our guest djs was Trevor, and that ended up being a fateful evening. He got to chatting with the owner of the clothing shop and told him about a space that was opening up in Oakland and wanted to know if he would be interested in sharing the whole floor.

I can’t recall exactly when this move happened, but I’d guess it was somewhere close to fall of 1998. The spot was at the corner of Forbes and Oakland Ave, a much more prime spot and what I would consider to be the most classic of Hypervinyl’s locations. It was on the third floor above the GNC, in the space that had previously been occupied over the years by such underground institutions as Turbo Zen, Ice Nine Publishing, and Pop Bus Records. This lent itself quite well to playing music very loudly out the window over the busy street below, as well as general harassment and throwing of shit at the public. This is where I would meet friends like Jwan, Arnie, Akil, Curt, Shawn, and so many more.

The original setup had you turning left at the top of the stairs to go into Hypervinyl which took up that first room and the room to the left. Going from that main room to the right is where the clothing shop was set up. I don’t recall how long it lasted in there, but it wasn’t very long.

I remember a poster for Underground Resistance “Interstellar Fugitives” as well as a mannequin torso and head that sported a UR bandana. By this time I had started buying a wider variety of music from old funk to broken beats and Detroit house like Recloose’s Spelunking EP. I vividly recall walking out of there one day with Phylyps Trak II, M7, and “Na Fe Throw It”, and another day where I got “Nude Photo” and “Knights of the Jaguar” 12”s.

Eventually, a number of people I was friends with eventually ended up living in some of these other rooms on the floor. Parties were had up there, including one where every dj who played had to drop “Big Pimpin” by Jay Z in their set. One party featured Trevor in a quite inebriated state walking around saying “This is my record store I can do what I want” and then punching holes in the drywall. My friend Akil was doing a lot of the graphic design for Hypervinyl in the back room, and that ended up coming into play in another weird facet of my life at that time. Around late 1999, another friend and I were about to go try a new promotion idea we had: wheatpasting posters. We met up at Hypervinyl and were chilling with Akil when we had the idea to make some other posters of weird shit that didn’t make any sense and to put those posters up next to the ones for our party. This ended up evolving into a cool guerrilla art project the three of us did whose name I’m not going to put out there in the public. I also remember Trevor having his studio set up in one of the rooms which is where I first saw an MPC and an analog synthesizer.

The very first record label I saw be birthed was also thanks to Hypervinyl. Trevor and Shawn put together a number of releases, all of which are emblazoned in my mind as some of the best examples of real Pittsburgh techno and electro.

At some point in 1999, another record store moved into the one side room. This one was hiphop based, and called itself 720 Records. I would go on to start working for them in 2003 in another location, but at that time it was cool to just have underground hiphop records more easily available. My first time meeting up with Curt was at Hypervinyl so I could give him a ride to a rave we were both djing at in Johnstown PA which I would place in summertime 1999. He had just purchased Kool Keith’s “Sex Style” album at 720 and brought it with him to the gig.

To say that all the personalities involved in these places were volatile would be a severe understatement. The aggression combined with a serious lack of giving a fuck led to all kinds of disagreements and fights. One day around New Years 99-00 my homie Vinnie was in the shop just going off about how weak the lineup was for some NYE rave in Philadelphia. He almost started a few fights. There were megaphones and duck costumes. Another time, I was in there with Trevor and Akil when the record shipment came in and we all fell in love with a new record called “The Man With The Red Face” and took all three copies, even though all were reserved for other people who ordered them. There were far more things that happened that I’m not even gonna try to air out in public, but the end result was that that best time there ended sometime around fall of 2001 or so. One by one, people got fed up with crazy behavior and other nonsense and it all kinda fell apart. The store continued, but it wasn’t the same.

Eventually the store would move out to Dormont, which I entered only once to say hi to my man Eric Justin who was working there. I purchased a Jazzanoza remix of MAW and Roy Ayers. After that it was sold to someone else and moved to Squirrel Hill, a location I never set foot in.

While this really only covers about three to four years’ time, those years were right around the meteoric rise of Pittsburgh’s rave scene and then the beginning of its fiery death and movement into clubs. It is the first time that Detroit techno especially had a real presence in the city. Hypervinyl crew was responsible for bringing Shake to town for the first time, and then the second time as part of I Love Techno along with Dan Bell. The roots of Pittsburgh’s current taste in house and techno all go directly back to Hypervinyl in my opinion.

The post Record Store Memories: Hypervinyl Edition appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

January 26 2018

22:52

Theo Parrish Bent My Mind

https://youtu.be/KZKgxu7TZx8 Video can’t be loaded: Jill Scott – Slowly Surely (Theo Parrish Remix) (https://youtu.be/KZKgxu7TZx8)

And it never really got straightened back out again.

I was just reminiscing on how I really got into house music thanks to the homie Rick Wade posting about his first release on Harmonie Park over on Instagram. I’ve been kind of in this mindset for a little over a year and combined with my hiatus from going out, it feels almost like a loop in time. But in a good way.

Anyway, it was around 1998 when I first started hearing techno and house music that really captivated me. I’m not going to go fully into it, but it was at that time the more techno leaning stuff and broken beats that were my first real obsessions in the ~120 BPM range. Due to many of my people in Pittsburgh having some connection with Detroit techno, I knew that they were on some other level in that genre but I didn’t really know about house from Detroit. Most of those friends had gone to the first few DEMFs and I had wanted to go, but couldn’t because I was working weekends at the time.

It’s really hard to pinpoint the exact timing of this, but I’m going to guess it was in mid to late 2001 sometime. I was using slsk to download music online, and someone told me Jill Scott had put an album out in 2000 that I still hadn’t heard by this point (I saw her live with the Roots in early 99 I believe it was and she performed “You Got Me” and I took note of her name) so I searched on slsk for her. One of the results that came up with a remix by Theo Parrish, a name I remembered from seeing the first DEMF lineup. I figured that could be cool since I liked Detroit music, so I downloaded it.

I wish I could experience that first time listening to “Slowly Surely” again. I can’t recall what my initial reaction was, but it was definitely confusing to me. This was certainly not techno, but also nothing like what I would have expected to be considered house music either. The dubby repetitive nature of it ticked many boxes of the kinds of things I liked, so I figured maybe I should explore this Theo Parrish character a little more in-depth. I searched slsk for his name, and the first thing that came up was “Summertime Is Here”. Another slow, jazzy, weird record like only Theo could do, this one really tripped me out in a good way. I immediately began finding as much of his music as I could. I bought whatever I could on record, and downloaded whatever else was available.

I can’t remember which of his records I found first, but they were just sitting there in bins in various shops in the city. I couldn’t believe that these things weren’t more sought after nor could I understand why I didn’t hear more people playing them out. This was around the time of Naked Music and Wave Records kind of styles being very big in the US house scene, and while I dug some of that kind of shit it still felt very shallow to me in many ways. The difference in sound and attitude between Theo records and the dominant style of house music couldn’t have been more stark.

But that wasn’t even really the biggest mindbending moment. At some point, some dj mixes of Theo’s appeared on slsk so I grabbed those. Holy shit. To hear that kind of music he made mixed up with more standard house and also with disco and funk and soul, and touching on so many different rhythms and tempos…. it just wasn’t commonly done anywhere I had heard dance music. I had already been digging for old jazz, funk, and soul music since I was a hiphop fan, so this connection between that and house music was major for me. Suddenly all the different kinds of music I liked were tied directly together by this madman from Detroit.

So I went on collecting as much of his music as I could, and exploring any other related artists that I could find. Moodymann was one of them. Discovering that Recloose and Theo were in some way related through the song “I Can’t Take It” made a lot of sense. Guys like Rick Wade and Mike Huckaby entered the picture. Andrés and Ron Trent. Brett Dancer and Track Mode. It seemed so wild to me that there was this network of really deep, weird, funky, and experimental music and yet it was relegated to the extreme underground. Despite whatever connections these guys had to more mainstream house, it was obvious to me from moment one that there was something else here and that it was home for me.

In 2003, I was no longer working the job that ate up my weekends so I was able to go to DEMF for the first time. I caught a last minute ride with some friends and had like $150 total to my name. I crashed on the floor of a room at the Shorecrest Motor Inn (ewwwwww) just to be able to make it happen. There was pretty much nothing but amazing music throughout the entire festival and afterparties, but there was one thing that I had circled that was CAN’T MISS and that was 3 Chairs closing out the house tent on Sunday night. To this day I have not heard a better DJ set in my life. It’s hard to believe that was only fifteen years ago. It was one of those life changing moments.

The post Theo Parrish Bent My Mind appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

January 25 2018

19:36

From San Diego to Sherkin to Serbia to back to my Apartment…?

This first of the post of the year (and it’s still January!), crosses over a few time zones, touching on a few parties and most surprisingly, a new mix from  the allegedly enigmatic  NCW.

San Diego, USA – Rhythm Nation feat. Santiago Salazar & Ricardo Miranda – This Saturday, 27th Jan

Our man in San Diego and self styled “cool ass dood” Vincent Intrieri in involved in a party way over on that west coast of U.S.A. this weekend, with a sterling double headliner party featuring Santiago Salazar, who has been putting out consistently great material under his own name or as S2 for the whole of the ’00s. It often feels like he’s under-appreciated, especially since leaving UR and returning to LA but yer head would explode when thinking of those who don’t get as much love as they should vs some of those who do. Ricardo Miranda, another killer producer this time from Chicago will also be playing live, which I didn’t even know he did. Vinnie and Ivan Gregory are on support. I never know where anyone is who reads this blog, but I’m sure there’s some of you out there in California that this may be of interest to.

Facebook Event

Sherkin Island, Ireland – Open Ear Festival May 31st – June 3rd
This party is a little further away and  a little bit closer to home. Full disclosure, I’m involved in the organising of this Festival but its my blog so I’ll write about it if I want. This is the third year of the event and the line up was just released this week. It’s an all Irish affair featuring a broad spectrum of music from modern composer Robert Doyle to demented noise folk such as Whirling Hall of Knives and long time ISM favs in the shape of Lerosa and D1 Recordings’ Eamonn Doyle. It’s a pretty spectacular setting for a festival and there’s lots planned this year which will see the event incorporate the Island in unusual ways, more so than before.

Keep up to date on all news at our Facebook page and to get a full, detailed run down on this years programme (or what is announced so far) check our website 

Belgrade, Serbia – A new NCW mix for Breaking Point.
NCW’s now twice a decade attempt at productivity is currently in full flow over in Belgrade where he has been based for the last couple of years. With quite a bit of new music to be released on the horizon (including on Apartment) he’s also put together a typically raucous mix as Nicholas only knows how, even if it is missing the skipping needle, off time scratching and poor sound quality of his old mixes. It contains quite a bit of music from Apartment which leads me on to the final part of this post. But before that check the mix out…

Tracklist
Magic Mountain High – Untitled (Workshop)
Black Merlin – Burn It (Common Thread)
VernoN – Plastic Illusion (Apartment)
Body Party – Muscles / Theme (Common Thread)
Gladio – Slave of Rome (Bunker)
Phantom Planet Outlaws – HTG (Apartment)
Elec Pt.1 – Acidmark (Mick Wills mix) (Signals)
Chris & Cosey – Sin (PIAS)
Bronze Teeth – Albion Pressure (Diagonal)
Broken English Club – Wreck (L.I.E.S.)
John Heckle – The Last Magic Maker (Creme)
Myriadd – House of Babel (Pinkman)
Willie Burns – Waste Your Time (Creme)
Lerosa – Decisions (Apartment)
Death Comet Crew – Me Czar Of The Magyars (Diagonal)
7 Citizens – Muse (Snuff Crew remix) (Pusic)
Wilson – Tears (Silkworm)
Lakker – Spider Silk (Killekill)
Snuff Crew – DJ Into Space (Gigolo)
Alessandro Parisi – Praying Sages (Mick Wills remix) (Vivod)
Powell – The Ongoing Significance Of Steel And Flesh (Diagonal)
Chicago Flotation Device – Untitled 5 (Chicago Flotation Device)
Rhythm Device – Dream Trance (Music Man)
Elec Pt. 1 – By The Stars (Bunker)
The Present Moment – Emily (Disaro)
Body Party – P.P.P.T. (Common Thread)
Chase Smith – Sending You Some Lungs (Instrumental) (Apartment)
Ministry – I Wanted To Tell Her (Tongue Tied Remix Naum Gabo Edit) (Tigersushi)
Juju & Jordash – Chelm is Dubbing (Golf Channel)
Tropic of Cancer – Stop Suffering (Blackest Ever Black)

Dublin, Ireland – Apartment Records latest releases and new residency
In keeping with the sporadic use of this blog I somehow never posted about the return of my label last year. Chase Smith delivered a killer 4 track 12″ for the label, which found fans in all corners of the dance music world, which was nice. It was also the tenth release on the label and with it brought a digital compilation featuring a track each from the first 10 releases, music which I’d never released digitally before. Both of these releases can be purchased from the label’s bandcamp.

Chase Smith – Sending You Some Lungs (digi and / or vinyl)
Tenement – A Digital Compilation

All of this sees the end of phase one of the label. I won’t be taking 2 years off again, indeed the next release is about to go into production, but things will be changing from here on in. I’ll go into more detail on this as the new record is ready to go on sale.

I’m also starting my first residency in Dublin in many a year, at the beginning of next month. I’ve had a few great nights playing in the Bernard Shaw in the last few months – most notably closing off a party to mark the anniversary of James Stinson’s death in September, which was a pretty special set for me, and the most fun I had behind the decks in 2017 – and I’ll be starting a new label party there on Friday the 2nd of February. I’ll be manning the turntables for the first party but along the way over the coming months I’ll be bringing the odd local guest in to play with me too. 

The post From San Diego to Sherkin to Serbia to back to my Apartment…? appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

January 22 2018

19:54

December 18 2017

19:16

My Favorite Music From 2017

This was a weird year for me and music. It was the first year I didn’t release a record, either on a label of mine or as an artist, since 2009, and honestly I really needed the break. I also formally announced my separation from the old labels and PTA, which has given me time to think about what it is that I am looking for in music.

My satisfaction with the music “scene” in general has never been lower. Not that I could ever have been accused of playing the game, but even going against the grain has become too much “playing the game” for me. Looking to get some separation from all the bullshit that has been getting on my nerves led to me first blocking all music media and shitty people on social media and then to my quitting Facebook altogether. This social media isolation has been quite lovely to say the least. This also coincided with drastically altering my studio and workflow, which has also helped get me to a place I am feeling a little bit more. I’ve taken less DJ gigs this year than I have in probably a decade or more, and that has been nice as well. My shit was getting out of balance, and these things along with hardly ever going out to hear music also helped me get back to a more balanced life.

On the positive side of things, I threw a couple nice parties this year. One in Pittsburgh in the spring with Kai Alcè, Selecta, and Mike Masai, and one in Detroit over DEMF weekend where James Duncan, Jay Simon, Jwan Allen, and myself had some of our favorites join us for an all day party at Motor City Wine: Mike Grant, Specter, Todd Osborn, Basic Soul Unit, Jason Ulrich, and Simone all killed it. Both of these parties were filled with diverse music and the right kind of crowd and vibe, one that was rooted in soul music in the broad sense of the phrase. In fact, I didn’t really attend any parties this year that didn’t have that and it has helped me feel very refreshed.

Despite taking a break for the most part from all the annoying aspects of dance music culture, the music is always what it’s about for me and I’ll never be mad at amazing music. This year had maybe the smallest amount of music that felt essential for me to have out of any year I can remember, and it definitely had the fewest number of surprises for me probably ever. But the mainstays of what I like kept doing the damn thing, and they keep hitting the spot. So yeah, without further ado….

Most of the new records I bought this year were by a small handful of artists and labels that have a history of releasing music that I fuck with. The vast majority of it would be categorized as soulful and funky deep house and broken beats. That’s just where I am at right now I guess.

Nobody had a bigger year in 2017 than Dego. “The Way It Should Be” is his third release with the 2000 Black Family for Neroli, and it might be my favorite of them all so far. Just stunning music. He also had a number of other releases that I picked up that were noteworthy including a nice 12” with Lordamercy, another two in a line of solid Tatham Mensah Lord and Ranks EPs, and an excellent album with Kaidi Tatham on Sound Signature. Kaidi also had a good year with his two EPs for First World Records also being essential jams for me.

Another of my top jams of this year was by the Lee Pearson Jr. Collective: “What Do You Prefer? (Lee & David’s Orchestrated Mix)”. This is exactly the kind of music that is so hard to find. Great instrumentation, strong songwriting, and quality vocals. This is catchy enough of a song that it would probably do well on the radio if only the radio didn’t play solely lowest common denominator bullshit. Both mixes of both tracks are strong so check out the whole record on Neroli.

Glenn Underground is clearly not a new name for anybody who cares about dope house music, but it’s impressive how he can keep banging out essential tracks after all these years. This year the one that caught me was the joint “Acid Jazz”. Despite the EP being titled “808 Sessions”, it’s the 303 that stands out more, with a slick little acid line that is more musical than most. It all starts out innocently, with the beats and acid sounding nice but relatively straightforward. But that’s when GU does his thing. I would have to describe “Acid Jazz” as sophisticated dance music. Beautiful keys and strings take it to a level that most acid producers seemingly aren’t even aware of. Glenn’s Strictly Jaz Unit label also dropped another top house joint, Boo Williams’ “The Place Of Safety (Saxaphone Mix)”. The beats and bass are infectious, but the extended sax solo puts it over the top and made this a highlight of numerous sets of mine.

Because it dropped on a 7”, it seems to me like Kyle Hall’s “Teacher Plant” was a little overlooked compared to the usual. If that’s true, it’s unfortunate because this is one of my favorite jams of his. Slightly bumpy and broken rhythms form the basis for his melodic synth bass and electric piano, as well as dense layers of atmospheric synths. It’s short running time of about four minutes means you have to mix quickly, but it also never overstays its welcome. Wild Oats also released its second double EP by K15, “Speed of Life”. The artwork is in perfect harmony with the jazzy vibes of the music, which is perfect for listening all the way through on a chill summer afternoon.

Ron Trent had a kind of insane number of releases this year, and most of the ones I heard were at least pretty nice. But one of his jams really stood out to me and that is his remix of Azymuth’s “Fenix”. Clocking in over 11 minutes in length, this is an epic jazz funk odyssey that combines the best elements of the band and remixer into something that is not very commonly achieved. The form of house and the freedom of jazz combine to create a journey through a complex arrangement that lesser producers could never get near. In a more rugged style, Mike Agent X Clark took on Weather Report’s classic “River People” for two very different mixes. One is more straightforward house with filtered bits over big drums, while the one I prefer is a nice little beefed up edit that sports a fresh vibe that really stands out.

DJ Spinna is known more for his hiphop, but he has had no shortage of house music classics as well. This year he dropped two jams that I can’t get enough of. The first is his dub of Foreign Exchange’s “Body”. Featuring some excellent chord turnarounds and super lush synths, this one feels simple but has excellent energy and always gets people turned up when I play it. On the vocal tip, his digital only release with Phonte called “Tonight We Ride” is just killer. The instrumentation is pretty standard Rhodes-y deep house, but the songwriting elevates it to far above standard. This one is always in my head!

Kai Alcè had a relatively low key year production-wise, with no full releases under his name. But his label NDATL was just as strong as always. Kayenne is a vocalist he worked with on a jam years ago with Phil Asher that is a slept on bomb, and this year she got her own record called “Hey Young World”. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the mixes on here, but three of them are in my rotation because they all do different things. Andy Compton’s vocal mix is a deep take with 808 drums, while the Dub 2 mix features Stefan Ringer’s offkilter style. Maybe the best is Kai’s Radio Edit which is short but sweet, and features trumpet by Kafélé Bandélé. NDATL also has another vocal killer this year, FCL’s “Cherry Pie”. The original is a sweet early 90s pop house style joint while Jovonn bangs the dub super deep. And of course the Deep Detroit limited edition features strong jams by Patrice Scott and Kai, as well as a KDJ edit of an M People classic.

Speaking of Patrice Scott, he is continuing his path towards the more organic style first featured on The Detroit Upright EP from last year. “Soulfood” is right in there with the previously mentioned jazzy vibes that form the thread that winds its way through nearly all of these selections that define 2017 for me. Hanna had a number of cool releases this year that also fit this bill, but his Bounce EP is the best example. “Wayfaring Man” is just incredible house music for adults who like to dance to soulful tunes.

Waajeed made his most straight up ventures into house music territory this year with two EPs on his Dirt Tech label. On the Shango EP, “Winston’s Midnight Disco” is my pick. Synthetic instrumentation belies the live band feel of the track, with the 70s synth toms an especially nice touch. And from the Through It All EP, it’s the title cut’s shades of UR that are the highlight. Waajeed also dropped a nice downtempo mix of Amp Fiddler on Mahogani, a nice counter to Louie Vega’s epic NYC house remix on the A side.

Buscrates made the right decision recently to move back to Pittsburgh, and he dropped a dope cassette entitled Home Again on Thrash Flow to celebrate. Mixing up hiphop, funk, and boogie styles, this tape speaks to me on a foundational level. Having known him for well over a decade now, our roots are in a similar place: digging for cheap ass funky soulful music in every corner of the city of Pittsburgh. I think this lifestyle is reflected well both in the samples and the original parts he played. This one got the most play in the whip out of all new music this year.

Donnie Tempo’s Trak Register EP for Perpetual Rhythms is an essential for fans of hi tech soul. Throwing back to classic groups like Galaxy 2 Galaxy and 808 State but with a modern deep house lean, this is another example of mature, thoughtful music that drips with feeling. Basically it has everything that I’m looking for in a dance record. Nu Era aka Marc Mac dropped two EPs on his own Omniverse label that both take the hi tech soul vibes but deftly combines them with his own broken beat rhythms. These are sure to be sought after once people remember what amazing music sounds like and realize they should probably buy it instead of whatever other bullshit they’ve been fucking with.

Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature label had a number of cool releases, highlighted by the Dego and Kaidi LP A So We Gwarn mentioned at the top of this post. Another one that has been overlooked due to its relative abstractness is Theo’s remix of Alton Miller’s “Bring Me Down”. This is one of those long drawn out Theo joints with a breakdown in the middle that doesn’t lead to obvious dancefloor play, but if you have an adventurous crowd and a nice soundsystem it works just fine. SS also introduced us to two new producers who sound quite promising on the Roots That Talk EP, Julion De’Angelo and Thomas Xu. Julion broke me off with a CD of his radio show mix and he definitely knows good music across genres.

And to wrap things up, some other cool records that need a quick mention:

Scott Grooves “Five Heartbeats” and “2nd Seven Inch” are two more releases by the man, one in a minimal techno style and one in a boogie funk and jazz style, each of which demonstrate his musicality well.

Kamasi Washington’s Harmony of Difference EP is much shorter than his debut album The Epic, but still packs in some nice soul jazz. I got to catch him live in Pittsburgh this fall as well, an incredible live show that is highly recommended.

Nikki O “Gotta Believe” is a catchy vocal joint from this KDJ collaborator. I’m not sure who produced these, but despite being simple disco loop style both fit the vocals very well. Nice catchy summer jam.

Vick Lavendar dropped “Rescue Me” on his own Sophisticado imprint, and it is nice flowing soulful house with nice organic instrumentation. All three mixes have something to offer by the Sean Ali & Corey Munk Julious Remix is my pick.

Darshan Jesrani came through with his first solo 12” under his own name and it’s a banger. “Mirror Test” drips with that 80s disco vibe you love Metro Area for, but with a slightly harder edge. This one beat up the dance every time.

Recloose’s Spirit Knows EP is a nice little mixup of varying styles, but the jam “Ezrakh-Geomancer” captures that early 00s spoken deep house style that I didn’t realize I missed so much.

The Astral Walkers is a collaboration between Aybee and Lars Bartkuhn. Their jam “Passage” comes in two takes, one that feels a bit more Lars and one that feels a bit more Aybee but both are full of jazzy broken techno that doesn’t really sound like anything else out there.

Last but not close to least, Jon Dixon makes the latest entry with his new track “Fly Free” on his 4evr 4wrd label. This one takes some vocals from an Anita Baker classic and drops them over some deep electric piano playing. Very good stuff.

————-

So there it is, my favorite music from 2017.

The post My Favorite Music From 2017 appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

December 17 2017

16:55

December 06 2017

20:15

Mix: One Night In Chicarlow

It’s been a sporadic year on the mix front. Sporadic = this is only the second one I’ve recorded. Its a b2b mix recorded back in August in the Tr One studio for former ISM guest mixer Jamie Thomson’s radio show, Saturday Manatee. It contains the efforts of myself and Eddie from Tr One and a bag of cans, a bag of my records and his shelves of 12″s – there’s at least one track in there I pulled out from his stack mid mix. There’s a couple of moments where it nearly falls apart but thats what happens when you don’t do any prep.

If you enjoy this and are around Dublin on the 30th of December myself and Eddie will be playing together for the night in The Bernard Shaw, for the first Apartment Records party in many a year.

And before you get to the mix, be sure to check out the new Tr One release “A Month Has Passed” on Don’t Be Afraid (recently awarded Mixmag’s no.2 label of 2017 n’all!) over on the label’s bandcamp. Get on that bizness.

Tracklist below…

Ripperton – We Are Music (Vocal Mix)
Sven Weisemann – Motion Capture
Steve Legget feat. Greg Blackman – Aquarius (Mark Hand Rework)
Jon Easley – Lemon and Lime
Drivetrain – Tre 2
Kai Alcé – Sa K’ Pase
Daryl Cura – Contigo
DJ Nature – My Life
Move D – Lush Summer Rain
Underspreche – Jefe
Loosefingers – What is House?
Sage – Pears
Nick Anthony Simoncino – Isolde Del Tramonto
Visitor – Stop The Music
Aaron Carl – Wallshaker
Gene Farris – E-World
Redshape – Munch
Chaz Jankel – Get Yourself Together
Terence Parker – What I Say Goes (TP’s 1997 Unreleased Disco Mix)
Loleatta Holloway – Stand Up (Pangaea Mix)
Massimiliano Pagliara – Connection Lost
Underspreche – Mikea
Machine Woman – Iron Curtain
Sharif Laffrey – Always
Daphni – Xing Tian
Pearson Sound – Freeze Cycle
Matrixxman – Arrival
Bolz Bolz – Take A Walk (Dima Remix)
Miss Kittin – Happy Valentine (Marco Passarani Remix)
Steve Legget feat. Greg Blackman – Aquarius (NCW’s Lost in the DMZ)
Americhord – Sunrays
Shackleton – Blood On My Hands

The post Mix: One Night In Chicarlow appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

November 26 2017

22:39

Podcast November 2017

October 30 2017

06:28

October 29 2017

13:30

Unabridged, Unbroken, Unsound.

Unsound Krakow took place over the course of a week this October; it was my first time visiting in 3 years after going regularly since 2010 or so. The week is part music festival part endurance test. There is a gargantuan amount to try and get through for ones time there so I’m gonna try and break it down and touch on everything  from my arrival on Tuesday to leaving on Monday. Sure put the kettle on.  I missed a lot, I saw a lot, I had a lot of fun and also had some extreme pain. Much like my week, the following account is a bit all over the place…

Tuesday / Wednesday
I arrive in late on Tuesday night. Try to blag a lift off Lee Gamble’s driver. We all have a chuckle. I  get the train.

Getting off the train I’m so excited I literally have a shit eating grin spread wide across my face for the whole of the 20 minute walk to my apartment. I love Krakow. I hook up with my crew, we discover the city’s most amazing Alkohole around the corner from the gaff, I grab a kebab and its bed time. How sensible.

First gig action is Mike Cooper on Wednesday morning in Manngha.  Everyone sits down on the ground. Should have brought a pillow or something. Can’t feel my arse for 15 minutes after. Cooper has a lap steal guitar, some effects thingys and a mic. We get an hour or so of mutated Americana, accompanied passionately by his vocals – that get a bit repetitive in deliverance, but hey – and when it hits the spot its rather beautiful. Also wanders off from time to time too but he’s got a serious Hawaiian hat / shirt combo going on so its all good.


Mike Cooper

We pop over to the Sonambient installation. A fascinating endeavour, the installation doesn’t quite work. It’s a bit too quiet and the visuals distract. I’m told the Eleh gig on Monday based around this was amazing though.

First talk I attend is on Mark Fisher. I know I shouldn’t admit this but I don’t know a huge amount about Fisher. I didn’t know a huge amount after either. Scattershot and badly compered, Lee Gamble is the only talker who has much of anything interesting to say. One of my crew is apoplectic with anger about how bad it is (he’s a Fisher fan). He doesn’t let this go for a few days. I was just bored.

I hang around for the start of the social media / public shaming discussion and quickly realise that a) this isn’t going to go very far and b) Jlin is an invigorating talker and I just want to listen to her. Time for the annual trip to Ed Red’s and a massive steak coma.

Wednesday night sees a return to Manngha for my first major bout of music. No amount of smokescreening and bass can hide the fact that Klein is just playing songs off cdjs. Hmmmm. Whats going on. A few peeps are disgruntled and bored. Near the end she announces that her laptop  crashed and she could only perform a tiny portion of her proposed live set. An unfortunate technical mishap after all, it must have been pretty gutting for her. Still, there is one lad in the middle of the floor having the time of his life.

I’ve seen Laurel Halo live at least twice before this and really enjoyed her performances, more so than quite a bit of her recordings. I’m not a fan of the new album and this performance was, to be quite brutal, one of the low-lights of the week. Bar one lush ambient sequence with just her vox and a synth the rest is a brittle, boring series of glitches and clicks drowning out her playing, only made worse by a fidgeting, pretentious drummer. General consensus from my crew – bar one who’s sunk a double double vodka – is that its not a good time. Excitable lad from Klein’s set wanders off  early too. Can’t blame him.

So it’s down to Giant Swan to save the evening. They come on tops off, lashing the front of the crowd with booze and generally looking like the are gonna own the place before a note has been hit. They are awesome. Soaked in energy they take their cues from the likes of Regis, Surgeon and Waveform era Jeff Mills and pile drive it into a thrilling, brutal and ever evolving live performance that shakes the venue to its core. These lads are going places. I’m especially curious to see if they can catch the fury of the live performance on wax, cause if they can, they’ll hopefully get to bring this wallshaking live show everywhere. Early contender for performance of the week.


Giant Swan are in there somewhere causing chaos

We hit up the Unsound Karaoke party. Long story short, it ends up with me and my mate performing Never Ever by All Saints, the machine breaks down mid song, we finish it accappella. See you later, Alchemia.

Thursday

Most days start at Charlotte’s cafe, an Unsound tradition with its amazing bread, chocolate spreads and…breakfast wine. It’s day 2 and two of us have stepped up from glass to full bottle. Lets go.

It’s talk time again, Technoactivism the title this time around. It’s a BIG step up from yesterdays. Frankie from Discwoman chairs an 8 woman discussion including the likes of Noncompliant / Dj Shiva, Jlin and Avril Stormy Unger. With focused, well thought out questions, each individual answer builds up to portray a broad range of experiences of women working within the music industry in different cultures and circumstances. And Jlin is amazing again. As one mate says “I wanna take her back home and have her be my lifecoach”. As this runs quite long I miss Bill Drummonds film / yakking. I hear its very entertaining.

At the beginning of the week I joke that because there are 3 performances of Bad Weather that its too much choice and we won’t see it. The final performance is this evening. We don’t see it.

Time for a visit to the awesome Kijow Centrum cinema for 2 A/V showings. First off is After its own death a delicate portrait of a community in Siberia. Elegantly shot, especially the portraits of the locals it gives a great visual insight into a world alien to most of us. Its noticeably affectionate in its portrayal of a harsh environment without being sugar coated. The music is by Grouper. You can tell its Grouper.

This is followed by Híbridos, an altogether more unpleasant experience, again giving us an insight into a world alien to many of us, that of spiritual rituals in Brazil. This film angers me, choosing to focus in on the darkest moments of many of these multifaceted rituals, it gives little context to what is going on bar for us to indulge in extremely personal incidents with Rabih Beaini’s efx and music serving only to heighten the obvious discomfort the people being portrayed are feeling. This is exploitation cinema masquerading as high art and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Let’s wash it out with some mint vodka, hit up the Hotel Forum and dance.

Hotel Forum will be our home for the next 3 – late – nights. Business can start getting hazy from here on in and the endurance element kicks in. Lets do this.

Pharmakon: Dull as dishwater, even on Room 1’s monumental rig. I’m told by someone its lacking from previous performances they’ve seen. I’ll have to take their word for it and stick to my Whitehouse records.

Karen Gwyer: There’s no better sign than my arse involuntarily shaking. I’m a big fan of Gwyers new album and this is a killer live set, full of groove, dynamics – even with speaker issues for the first 15 minutes – and its got the party going. More of the crew are arriving, we’ve discovered a “mesc vodka” been sold on the sly at a bar, we are warned not to down it in one go. Lets go, lets go. Sideways.

Varg: Attempting the disaffected standoffish performance is so very hard to get right and he gets it wrong. Sure you look cool smoking fags where you’re not supposed to and he has a few good ideas and sounds going on but it gets boring and annoying quickly enough, and that was before he started playing trap.

Tzusing: My head isn’t in the right place for this now. Turns out I’m not the only one. Time for a drink. Siiideways.

Nina Kraviz / Umfang: I head in to get a good spot on the front left ledge for Umfang and Kraviz is bringing it. Drops Hieroglyphic Beings “4 the rave bangers”. Rave mode engaged. Umfang hits the spot; sleek, fluid and hard edged techno delivered brilliantly. About an hour in she steps it up about 10-15 bpm which I’m not feeling as much, and it hypes up the crowd way more than the first hour which annoys me a bit as what had gone before was so good, so I skulk off.

Friday
Breakfast wine has now become a necessity. Clears the head. Whats up Weekend Unsound. My crew are done with the talks and all that business. We hop in a cab out to Nova Huta for Lenark Artefax and Lee Gamble, a tale of two very very different sides…
Artefax starts off a bit Autechre-light. C’mon lad, step it up. And boy does he what. Slowly the performance evolves as his own vibrations, grooves and weirdly comforting yet hard edged streaks of freaky electronics take centre stage, taking control of the crowd. Aided by brilliant visuals (always one of the festivals strong points) a centre-staged psychedelic monolith that feels like its expanding along with Artefax’ performance, it’s a pretty fucking astounding debut.


Artefax’ monolith

Gamble starts off strong, a plush, emotive refrain kicks things off with some stark noises that surely devolves into mostly stark noises, what sounds like an F1 car recorded from a a mile away, some quotes that flash up on screen too quickly to read and an overall aura of…boredom you can feel vibrate off the crowd. Whatever the aim of the set, it doesn’t seem to connect with anyone I converse with. He finishes with ten minutes of chopped up jungle that doesn’t engage an already lost crowd. Alongside Halo, this is the lowest point of the festival for myself (well nearly) and most of my crew, especially when you know these are capable hands.

One minute I’m going to Einstürzende Neubauten, the next I’m not, the next I am. Have some mint vodka. This goes on for about 20 minutes in my head and I somehow, vodka aided, make my last sensible choice of the festival and decide to head back into the city and get a decent meal and ease in to round 2 of Hotel Forum (nb: I’ve seen Einstürzende Neubauten before and enjoyed it immensely, but y’know what yer gonna get innit). Ben Frost was playing alongside them. Being a regular visitor to Unsound I’ve clearly seen Frost at least 11 times before.

We ease into Hotel Forum by gathering in a mates plush boudoir and lots (LOTS) of shouting ensues about music and tings –  notably Miss Kittin’s Electroclash Muzik mix –  for a couple of hours before we go and actually listen to some music properly.

Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement: The latest, terribly moniker-ed project from Dominick  – Vatican Shadow – Fernow is not what one expects from this man, in that it was extremely boring. More rainforest than anything else I last 30 minutes of uninspired dub that goes nowhere. Someone says it livened up later but he’d had enough of my time. I could be out the back talking shite about sailing or old friends selling new friends a belt. Exactly.

Zonal & Moor Mother: Enough with the dicking around outside. Zonal is The Bug and Justin Broadrick and the best way I can describe it is that it sounds like what you’d expect those two to sound like together in 2017. Then Moor Mother took the stage and off we go, straight up to another level. She’d clashed with Gwyer the night before solo and had heard stellar reports; this was defiant, exhilarating Mcing. Wow. One of those performances where yer tingling with electricity after.

Livity Sound: Everyone was talking about the Dj Bone / Stingray B2B as it seemed like such a weird combo, the 2 djs having such defined styles of their own, how could it work coherently or generate something unique? Reports seemed to confirm that it didn’t and a crew of us were too busy wigging the fuck out to Livity b2b2b of Kowton / Batu / Peverelist to care.  ‘Cause I was totally hammered at this stage and getting notions about all this djing bullshit I put my back to them and watched the crowd instead. Most notably, the flow of the 3 of them was so on point that I had no need to see who was playing when or what. Serious vibes and another big highlight of the week. Pangea’s Lolletta Holloway remix nearly had the pants burnt clean off me. No idea which of them played it either. Having mislaid my jacket the night before it was time to mislay my wallet. Got it back ’cause, despite all the black beeny hats, the Unsound crowd (and my mates) are super sound.


Look how happy that lad is during Livity Sound crew

Noncompliant: Retrieval of wallet perks me up and decide why would I go home now. Its only 6am. FFS. Also hearing Steve Rachmad’s remix of James Ruskin’s Work (aka the one with the bottles falling down the stairs) rattle in from Room 1 meant it was time for some of that midwest business from Lisa Ess. Did she play Green Velvet – Flash? I think so. Closing brilliantly with some proper Detroit-style electrofunk, that segment ended too soon for me so we went back to the apartment and stayed up for fucking hours, enjoying ourselves. Of course.

Saturday
The day to sleep through all the day time activity so. Not bothered about missing another Robin Fox lazer show – again, I’ve enjoyed one before – the combo of it being on in the Engineering Museum, a venue so uncomfortable I’m sure its helped with the onset of arthritis in my knees over the years, it was regrouping time (more vodka, more vodka and some black pudding) before round fucking 3 of Hotel Forum…
When it comes to festivals as I get on in years I’m less interested in running around trying to catch a bit of everything. I prefer to settle in to full sets, or at least give everything a decent go, so you may be looking at what I’ve seen and compare it to what was on show and go, huh. But so be it.
But that doesn’t really explain how I saw so little on the final night of Hotel Forum.  I’m putting it down to a combination of a very late arrival and the distraction of the Secret Lodge jazz & cocktails (A room opened up downstairs for one night only).  The main focus was to catch Jlin, which was suitably awesome. If Unsound 2017 has showed me one thing its how fucking boss Jlin is. She’s the antithesis to a wide ranging scene one could call “dance music” that has become, on the festival front especially, increasingly self absorbed, greedy and uninspired. Indeed, Unsound continues to do its best to push back against this and after a few years away it’s still bringing it.

Jlin and drunken reflection complete I make a beeline for Intergalactic Gary. A dj I’ve seen so many times that I really could have gone elsewhere throughout the night but he’s one of my favourite djs for a reason, and like Livity the night before and Umfang the night before that he had me glued to the floor. Once he finished there was some more tomfoolery, a recovered phone (3 out of 3 on the property loss front each night at the Forum. Big ups me.) and a vague memory of hearing Avalon Emerson in the distance, someone I’d meant to put a bit more effort in to catching. I’m now awaiting a comment that I was front and centre for a big chunk of this that I can’t remember. Ahem.

And so, another long story short, this was the end of my Unsound. After taking a minor stumble earlier in the night I rounded it off which a massive face plant to the ground over my ankle, late on Sunday morning back in the city.
My main act to see for the whole week, GAS,  was on Sunday and through a combination of a massively swollen ankle and an alarm clock set wrong, lo and behold I miss my main attraction. Opinions ranged from pretty good to amazing. Typical.

The End
As I lay in bed on Monday morning in quite a huge amount of pain I was coming to the realisation that Unsound had finally broken me. I’m not as young as I used to be, I’ve had my fun. Time to cop on. And so on and on and fucking on. I regrouped with some mates, they bought me a slick, hand carved cane and I hobbled my way back to Dublin.

As the head cleared and the x-rays cleared me of any breaks or fractures, the memories came searing back, front and centre. The good ones, the great ones, the what-in-the-fuck ones. The relentless banter – Unsound never leaves you short of something to talk about, even if its belts and 15 year old dj mixes. Unsound is an experience, a test of the body and the mind and the ears. You always hear something god awful, you hear something utterly amazing you’ve never heard before, you’ll be challenged, annoyed, you’ll sing some classic 90s RnB accappella and have moments of sheer elation at how great music, when presented properly, can be so inspiring and special. And its even Ok to have a few old reliables make you wrap your jumper around your head and holler the house down in the converted kitchen of a brutalist Communist-era hotel. My ankle may currently argue to the wiser, but this relationship ain’t over quite just yet.

The post Unabridged, Unbroken, Unsound. appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

September 19 2017

15:23

Paris Treantafeles – Anatolé Album

Delivering sixteen cuts of stripped back, often funky tracks, Anatolé, a cassette and digital release by Paris Treantafeles is a great release for the end of summer and the coming fall. Treantafeles, a Queens, NY musician, manages to use a restricted production method to deliver what’s been one of my favorite releases of the recent past. I came across his work thanks to a mutual friend and have been putting this one on repeat since pre-orders went up.

Employing only a Casio CZ-1000, a garage sale find, his MPC, a couple of effects pedals and a couple drum machines to build these tracks, Paris Treantafeles creates a world full of squiggling synth lines, memorable hooks, slow jams to light candles by and tracks that are perfect to bump late at night while cruising on the come down. Effects and post-production are minimal, with Treantafeles preferring to leave the component parts of the track largely free of processing, a production choice that is a relief and in stark contrast to the often over-sculpted (and lifeless) techno we’ve got in piles coming out at the moment.

Anatolé, the title track on the album, is full of fun, loose squiggling melodies, clean and spare and pitch bent lines slip in and out of the track. Helios, is the sleeper that I admittedly wish was two or three times longer. It’s got a really great bubbling bass line pushing things along from the start and a deepness that is really wonderful, especially considering the constraints Treantafeles is working with, everything from lush pads and a catchy lead. None of the tracks on this album are over three minutes, they get stuck in your ear almost immediately and end before they wear out their welcome.

Tracks like Dynamis, slow things down, bumping nicely with synth lines warbling and chirping over a piano infused pad and woodwind stabs. Many of the tracks on this release slip and slide elements over one another, adding complexity and allowing for a playfulness I’ve been really missing lately in releases I’ve been going through. Time and time throughout this album, Treantafeles shows that it doesn’t matter what you’ve got in the studio, but rather, what you do with it.

In a world full of the over-hyped and mediocre same-sounding productions, Treantafeles provides a very needed breath of fresh air with this release, it’s available now over on his bandcamp, https://parisonic.bandcamp.com/album/anatol.

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September 18 2017

20:07

August 07 2017

18:20

Ten Years Lost

The more things change, the more things stay the same. I could just as well leave this post at that. Ten years ago Tom started this site with the basic idea of highlighting music that is overlooked by other outlets. The same frustrations that brought about the blog still stand. It may seem like we are dead half the time – and we did officially die at one stage – but we haven’t been able to fully let it go. Tom recently highlighted a new wave of small independent sites that have started appearing and possibly more so than ever in the last ten years, they are needed. This isn’t an anniversary post where we can state that we even came close to winning the fight. Some of us – and it is increasing daily, as I talk to various friends, peers – have rarely, if ever, felt so lost in this culture.     

It feels like I rarely see people talking about music at the moment. For all the seismic changes that are occurring in the culture – both good and bad – what about the music? More than usual, it seems like it is taking second billing to all the other nonsense that surrounds it. Dance music is currently going through a huge commercial boom; and this commercialism is never going to be what makes all of this interesting and fun. Our corporate overlords, however benign they may seem, are taking a grip of this culture and doing their best to steer it in the direction they currently see fit. Even when that direction may seem positive, I still don’t want it to be Red Bull, Smirnoff, fucking Fiat or whoever Boiler Room is giving greasy back rubs to this week, to be those whose money is fronting it. They do not care about the “underground”.

It has become harder to stay independent and be seen and heard. Can you blame people for embracing some multi-national that is willing to throw cash at them when it feels like no one will notice you because you can’t afford professional PR, management and on and on. Can you blame people for getting careerist because they see the current obsession with the superstar dj and want a piece of the pie. I guess you can’t, but you also can’t blame people for getting increasingly pissed off with this being the state of play.

There is no utopia in dance music. If there’s one problem dance music has it is this idealised notion of a utopia that exists in this culture. It never existed and it never will. It is a constant battle, and one can never be complacent with the lay of the land. And this is certainly not a time for complacency and its why, however sporadic our functioning may be, we won’t let ISM die.

So what about the music? Those last paragraphs do read bleak but never is it a case where all is completely lost. Curling up in the corner in defeat isn’t an option. I refuse to let myself become that “back in my day” wanker, and the current conveyer belt of revivalism, irony and Really Fucking Bland Whoosy Macbollockfaced fllooooooffy techno will not win out.  

Dublin, and indeed Ireland, has never been quite cool enough to attract the hype merchants. Hard to summarise in easily digestible sound bites, and with no noticeably defined sound to hang buzz pieces off, music has allowed itself to develop in an organic fashion, that little bit removed from *some* of the nonsense. I have a tendency to scoff at articles where people roll out the “yeah, man things are really going off at the moment” clichés about their locales, but this is the best I’ve felt about Irish electronic music in some time. Be it those who have been plugging away for a time, or younger heads making their way, I can feel rest assured that everything isn’t falling to pieces. Check out the likes of Lumigraph, Naïve Ted, Bong Gozling, Rusangano Family, All City Fam(ily), Wherethetimegoes crew, Colm Kenefick, Davy Kehoe, the Winos, Sunken Foal, Magic Pockets, Cignol, New Jackson; these are some names from off the top of my head.  There’s more, be it stalwarts or upstarts, and much of it flies in the face of todays cynical and compromised dance music industry.

The post Ten Years Lost appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

July 25 2017

20:13

July 24 2017

19:44

Blogs Are Dead, Long Live Blogs!

The golden era of dance music blogging generally coincided with the start of this blog you are currently reading circa 2007, alongside some of the other blogs that went on to help define the past decade of dance music such as Little White Earbuds and mnml ssgs. There was an explosion of writers taking things into their own hands and spreading the word on underground music in their own DIY capacities. Big and small, anonymous or no, and with coverage that included both popular sounds and niche genres, these blogs and their popularity at the time were a defining feature of dance music journalism for a number of years.

It’s a bit harder to pinpoint the fall of blogging about dance music. More and more big sites emerged, including some with corporate backing and others with big money behind them. These sites actually poached writers from blogs for a while, which is definitely part of the explanation of the blogs’ decline. Along with the already existing big sites, this led to the golden era of dance music media websites, an era we still appear to be in (though hopefully the end of some such as Vice Media’s Thump is a bellweather for the end).

With websites such as RA now balls deep in selling tickets to shows that are also promoted through their site and other blatant conflicts of interest, the influence of money and PR agents in the “underground” dance music game has never been greater. I’ve been using the BLOCK buttons on social media to rid myself of this plague over the past year, and I am now almost completely insulated from the media’s narratives. This has helped increase that same feeling I had back in 2007, as the previously reliable dance music magazines were dying and I felt like the community I was a part of was no longer being recognized or covered in a manner that made sense.

Apparently I am not the only person with those feelings. I’ve been very pleased to see some smaller blogs start popping up again, so that various people who don’t have a voice in the dance media can have their say on their own terms. It seems very much needed in many ways, so let’s hope more people take the initiative to do it themselves. This is just a handful of some of what has popped up lately, but I hope it is useful for finding some new voices.

Underground and Black is done by Ashleigh from Atlanta, an up and coming DJ

ComeN2MyHouse is written by Paula Johnson from Detroit, a big house music head

Orriginal is by Chris Orr from San Francisco, and features some of his old writing for various dance music magazines in the 90s as well as new record reviews etc

Innate written by Owain K, a producer and DJ originally from Wales

Diary of a Mad Black DJ is written by Jay Simon, a DJ/producer/owner of Must Have Records in Atlanta

Zurkonic Is by Nick Zurko, a Midwest refugee living in NYC. He also reviews records on his Instagram account.

Many of these are new and currently have very few posts, but I am hopeful they will all continue to tell their story the way they see fit!

The post Blogs Are Dead, Long Live Blogs! appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

July 18 2017

13:23

Nu Era – Geometricks EP

The storied career of Marc Mac could fill up a few blog posts; the versatile producer probably most famous as being one of the founding members of 4 Hero has been active since the late 80s across multiple genres. I’m gonna pass up on writing up a hagiography of the guy and cut straight to the chase with his latest 12″, Geometricks, as Nu Era. While this decade has seen two Nu Era albums be released, getting this material on wax is much rarer, so its little surprising that the bandcamp sales went flying out the door in a matter of days. It also feels like techno music in the form of songs like Space Above Us is even rarer these days. With more and more techno being catered for big spaces, this is intricate funk that also works as a dance floor bomb. Imagine that, sausage brigade, not a filter in sight!

The remaining 3 tracks shows no let up in the quality, with Mac’s trademark sounds spread across songs that touch on electro, broken beat and deep house. Loose, shuffling drums match up perfectly with the easy, fluid  key playing that sounds so effortless it only helps to wrap the whole project in a sense of free wheeling joy. That it feels counter to so much of what is going on in club culture at the moment, the cynicism, the economics, the naval gazing, makes it an even more vital release.

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June 08 2017

22:31

Aqual(o)unge 15

[Download link of the podcast episode is at the end of this post]

Nearly one year after the release of its predecessor here’s now the 15th volume of the mix series:

  1. 00:00 – 01:43 THE NORTHERN DIVIDE – saltwater CC BY-NC-SA
  2. 00:15 – 03:37 SMOOTH – cold rain orchestra [CYAN 076] CC BY-NC-ND
  3. 02:15 – 05:06 OCRALAB – opacus (substak remix) [Deep Electronics] CC BY-NC-ND
  4. 04:05 – 07:56 BUNTARO TORIYAMA – passing days [Energostatic Records] CC BY-NC-ND
  5. 06:12 – 09:20 ISHII FUWA – tenth floor [Bump Foot bump199] CC BY-NC-SA
  6. 08:24 – 10:41 – – no [elementperspective EPV_199] CC BY-NC
  7. 09:28 – 12:22 THOMAS CARMODY – the waves [Energostatic Records] CC BY-NC-ND
  8. 11:53 – 15:41 DUBLICATOR – vibronic Transition [Cold Fiction Music] CC BY-NC-SA
  9. 14:19 – 18:07 TVSKY – infinity mirror [insectorama075] CC BY-NC-ND
  10. 17:02 – 20:23 ERICH SCHALL – dubcutan [Basic Sounds bsc_057] CC BY-ND
  11. 19:39 – 23:14 PAR – ser persona – zmek remix CC BY-NC-ND
  12. 22:05 – 25:44 OLEXA – foaming waves [Energostatic Records] CC BY-NC-ND
  13. 24:06 – 29:04 HIKE – berlin Arrival [Cold Fiction Music] CC BY-NC-SA
  14. 27:55 – 30:29 GREGORY TECK – Neutrino [Kopoc Label KPL038] CC BY-NC-ND
  15. 29:50 – 32:13 WOLFGROWL – sixth Floor [picpack236] CC BY-ND
  16. 30:30 – 35:09 SOVA SOUND THEORY – a long journey to nowhere [eden.deeply ED028] CC BY-NC
  17. 33:40 – 37:02 HALDYN – aarnivalkea [eden.deeply ED041] CC BY-NC
  18. 35:53 – 40:28 OUD!N13 – a Moment [Energostatic Records] CC BY-NC-ND
  19. 38:57 – 42:03 ALISU – ultramarine [epa sonidos epa094] CC BY-NC
  20. 40:50 – 43:43 AYQIX – pijchuy (ohrwert alter) [Temiong Recordings] CC BY-NC-SA
  21. 42:51 – 45:25 BITTER SUSS – meet me at six [insectorama069] CC BY-NC-ND
  22. 44:32 – 47:29 ATABEY – adeos 2 [Energostatic Records] CC BY-NC-ND
  23. 46:36 – 49:18 GEOLM – fled (festival mix) [wavelike wave019] CC BY-NC-ND
  24. 49:01 – 50:07 SEAN WALSH – i thought i lost myself [Drift Deeper Recordings ddr012] CC BY-NC-ND
  25. 49:52 – 52:26 OUTLAW PRODUCER – body (mate rmx) [Noisybeat Extended 013] CC BY-NC-ND
  26. 51:56 – 54:27 SUBSTAK – cuento II [Kopoc Label KPL039] CC BY-NC-ND
  27. 53:08 – 56:56 WK[ES] – monolith (positive centre remix) [Hz-records A001] CC BY-NC-SA
  28. 55:00 – 58:05 EEEM [EIM] – shore I CC BY-NC-SA
  29. 56:56 – 59:13 SANGAM – point said… [No Problema Tapes NOP-053] CC BY
  30. 58:17 – 00:00 THE NORTHERN DIVIDE – saltwater CC BY-NC-SA

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April 19 2017

18:02

Reggie Dokes – Ten-5 / Recloose – Spirit Knows

Reggie Dokes – 10-5
Around 2011 / 2012 Reggie Dokes, the Atlanta based Detroiter, went off the radar in terms of house and techno. 4 years can be a long time in the fickle world of the hype machine and Dokes return last year was pretty low-key in this regard, even though it was a double whammy of new music from him plus the relaunch of his Psychostasia Recordings imprint. After 2 solid 12s on there and another one for new ATL imprint People Of Earth, his first release of ’17 comes from We Play House out of Belgium, a label he worked with before on this lush 12″.

WPH TEN-5 Reggie Dokes E.P. by We Play House Recordings
This 2 tracker it has to be said is a little unbalanced. On one side we have Transpose, a somewhat non-descript tracky effort – with additional editing / “directing” from WPH boss man Red D. It has that sort of rugged sparseness one used to find from Theo Parrish, but it never sucks you in. On the other hand, the 10″ delivers in spades with Jazz is my Mistress. This is some prime classic Dokes bizness. A gritty, funky bassline matched with those eerie, stirring keys that have been the cornerstone of some of his best work over the years marks Jazz is my Mistress as reason enough to have missed Dokes over the last half a decade. Welcome Back.

Recloose – Spirit Knows

If you are looking for consistency in house music you don’t really have to look much further than Matthew Chicoine. who has been delivering consistently since the late ’90s with no sign of letting up. After a pretty enjoyable 12″ on Aus Music last year, his second outing for the imprint steps it up to another level.  A man who knows his way around a squelchy bass bass riff, the lead track is just flawless; free flowing house music where said bass, svelte vox and swinging drums compliment each other perfectly before some keys rock in half way through, just in case we didn’t think the track wasn’t good enough already.

On the flipside No I Don’t does its very best to match the class of the title track, and it really doesn’t come up short either, a slightly more low slung affair, that may not be as instant but will still do the business on the ‘floor. It’s only on the final Ezrakh-Geomancer that the 12″ lose me a little bit. The backing track is lovely but the vocals irk me from time to time, with me kinda wishing they were cut back a little bit – spoken word vocals are hard to get right for me –  to let the track breath on its own, but its only really that its up against such high quality on the rest of the release that it comes out as being a bit inferior.

The post Reggie Dokes – Ten-5 / Recloose – Spirit Knows appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

April 09 2017

15:24

Mix: Mad Things in the Queue, Into the Clouds / Hessle Audio Radio

First mix of the year – I know, its already April – went out on the Rinse FM airwaves last Thursday as part of the Hessle Audio show. Originally asked to record it as part of a series of label profiles, my laziness got the better of me and I missed the boat on that but I decided that I’d still focus it a little bit on the label. More so, at least, than most of my mixes do. It’s been nearly 2 years since Apartment has released any records, but this has not been  by design. Non-music related elements of life meant that the dormant period has lasted longer than I planned. But the next Apartment release has gone into production and features, along with music from 3 more upcoming APT releases, in this mix. I’m not gonna say which it is just yet but I’ll have full details soon enough. The mix starts around 58 minutes into the recording. Cheers to Lerosa for using his set up – I still don’t own a cdj – and to Ben Ufo for asking us to put it together.

Mad Things in the Queue, Into The Clouds 

Ordinate – OR 05 [Abscissa]
Mark Broom – Deal Or No Deal [D1 Recordings]
NCW – Cluffy’s Dream [Apartment / forthcoming]
Lerosa – Blood [Barba]
Dj Overdose – Arecibo [Lunar Disko / forthcoming]
Helena Hauff – Spirals Of Smoke Drifting From Soot Stained Chimneys [Panzerkreuz Records]
Mr Cisco – Mixage [Klaxon]
Jorge Velez – Baby Whale (Coral Cassete Extended Edit) [Berceuse Heroique]
Tr One – Herd Of Trains [Pogo Recordings]
Chase Smith – Mariana [Apartment / forthcoming]
Hieroglyphic Being – This Is 4 The Rave Bangers [Technicolour]
Compassion Crew – habitue 11 [Major Problems Records]
Underground Resistance – Hardlife (Aaron Carl Remix) [Underground Resistance]
Adesse Versions – Push It Forward [Heist]
Tr One – Afro Disco Beatdown [Apartment / forthcoming]
Donnacha Costello – Rubine Red [Minimise]
Donnacha Costello – Olive [Minimise]
TYL – Mind Sex [Apartment / forthcoming]

The post Mix: Mad Things in the Queue, Into the Clouds / Hessle Audio Radio appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

April 06 2017

13:14

Rude 66 – From Reason To Ritual

Ruud Lekx has been somewhat of a cult figure for quite some time now. For those deeply invested in what has come out of Holland in the last 20+ years, Rude 66 is a recognisable and notable name, but compared with your Legowelts and I-fs he still remains a bit of a fringe character. But then his music exists on the fringes too; elements of acid, electro, prog (rock/metal, not house) and wave combined with Shaunna Leks vocoder alternatively throw up grinding dirges (in a good way), brisker electro and driving synth heavy ‘floor killers. He’s not shy of a catchy hook within all this as well.

Its been the best part of a decade since the last album proper, Sadistic Tendencies, and with From Reason To Ritual, released on Bordello A Parigi we are still recognisably in the world of Rude 66; indeed one thats a more tightly honed machine compared with the one that delivered the sometimes scatty Sadistic Tendencies. It even comes with a concept based on the fall out after World War 1. (I think, I can take or leave this element of the LP)

The opening I Represent the Darkness could be just as easily titled This Represents Rude 66. Taking its time going anywhere, we’ve got those minor chord riffs, the vocoder, and some catchy distorted guitar floating around the background that manages to not sound out of place, a rarity in this world. It’s that knack of conflating influences into a unique sound that makes Rude 66 such an enjoyable listen. In the wrong hands tracks like Without a Reason and The Edge of Time could come of as misjudged and corny but one doesn’t have to worry about that in this world.

Paranoia, the album highlight, brings to mind previous cuts A Thousand Year Storm and Break The Silence, mutant electronic disco bangers that drive straight into the heart of the dancefloor. This rounds off the first half of the Lp in a very suitable manner before things take a more heads down approach with that creeping Rude acid finally making an appearance on The Triumph of Our Tired Eyes. He makes one final detour to peak time dancefloor with the chicago-influenced Burning Down the Fascination before finishing on The Ritual, dystopian, prog influenced mood piece that works as a subtle highlight.

Though I’ve noted my indifference to the concept behind the Lp, there is a definite consistency and flow to it all; giving us an album that actually works completely as a full listen. As before, highlighting Lekx’s influences positively, he sits comfortably in his own little existence where disparate, nearly contradictory influences are the norm. There may not be much here to surprise previous fans, but its consistency and quality control is undeniable and has brought me back for more, without needing to – or wanting to – pick and choose along the way.

The post Rude 66 – From Reason To Ritual appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

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