Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Philip Sherburne, your word should be worth more than the ignorance of Pitchfork - DJ Sotofett (So-Phat)

Title: Philip Sherburne, your word should be worth more than the ignorance of Pitchfork
Artist: DJ Sotofett
Label: So-Phat
Cat Number: So-Phat 1
Genre: Techno

1: Generic Mix
2: Hard Mix

The inspiration behind the title comes from an article penned by Sherburne about the current significance of vinyl-only labels in Pitchfork, in which Sotofett , aka Stefan Mitterer(I think), is featured. Having read the article, the deeper meaning of the title is lost on me. However, the music is brilliant. Sotofett is one of those artists who seems to intrinsically understand rhythm, and be able to effortlessly turn his hand to a multitude of its contexts. Both tracks do more than put their contemporaries in the shade, endowing machine funk fugues with organic characteristics, their polyrhythmic patterns providing perfect mixing foundations as they do. Deliberately digital and only available from Hardwax.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Barack b2b Arapu

The Definite Article

What I like to feel are dubby, groovy, linear beats within which worlds collide. However, once in the mix it can be boring when it’s too smooth.  I don’t believe in obvious eclecticism as the best can mix it up and make it all sound like it’s always belonged together. Someone whose mixes I’ve been digging for a long time is John Osborn. There’s a tranced-out depth to what he puts together which never gets cheesy and raises the bar as far as fleshing out the minimal aesthetic is concerned. JoeyAnderson continues to move in a very singular direction production-wise, and from what I’ve heard of his sets is pushing a similar sound to any dance floor lucky enough to host him. One thing I should take the time to state is that I haven’t been out clubbing for quite some time. This is partially the result of getting older, but more about not being able to find anyone to go out with. There’s no way I’d be going out every week anyway, but I’d definitely be up for it once in a while. I’m a bit out of the loop these days, and writing this stuff keeps me sane. Whether anyone reads it or not is an added bonus.

It’s a real indication of how backward I can sometimes be when I still think that in order to be the consummate electronic music artist/DJ/both one has to be a rampant hedonist. Drugs have always been of interest to me, and I can’t imagine my life without them close at hand in some way, shape or form (The Amazing Kreskin). However, I’m finding out relatively late on that I can’t be doing with them much anymore. As far as a lifestyle choice is concerned they’re quite dated and overused. I’ll always have a stash, just to know it’s there, but dipping into it will be for special occasions only, normally when I’m on my own, or with those I haven’t been with for a while. It’s no longer the case that I think people are so preternaturally talented that they can just turn it on and off when they want without having to have done shitloads of hard work first. I suppose I’m connecting narcotics with the creative process more than anything else, under the auspices of them enhancing creativity under the correct conditions. It’s OK for bluffers, this approach, but not for real artists, whose work is their life. It was Chuck Close who said “The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. ... “Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.” This is the real nirvana.

Anyway, I digress. Trying to imagine the relationship, or dichotomy between relative sloth and genius can be difficult. We began by talking about certain artists/DJs and the music they play, more than what they make. And what’s often been notable when describing the approaches of artists who are also DJs is the difference between the music they make, and what they play out. I interviewed Derrick Carter in 2000 and asked him why this was often the case with him and he said “ . . . because making records and playing records are really two separate things that operate in two separate halves of my brain.” I’m not sure how it is for everyone, as Carter is one of that rare breed who excels at both production and playing. Elongated sets though, of the type I started this post with, are the stock-in-trade of a lot of what various areas of the dance music media have labelled diggers, as if anyone playing records isn’t in some capacity. The past is being plundered in a sort of Northern Soul style. I have the impression I’m repeating previous posts now, but isn’t the resuscitation of obscure releases precisely what used to put the feet on the floor at The Wigan Casino, and others? It’s all about what hasn’t been heard before, forgotten, or just better than what is currently being released. DJ Guy, who I interviewed last year, is a case in point when it comes to production. His releases still come, (as far as I know), from dusty boxes of tapes, etc, which he’s kept in quarantine for the last twenty years or so. Whether they would have made an impression when they were first recorded we’ll never know, but they definitely stand out now.

The nub of this cosmic gibberish is that spontaneity is all very well, but it’s all down to expertise in the end. Chancers will always get found out as there’s no substitute for passion. It can manifest itself in any way possible, and while one always deserves a bit of luck, I don’t really believe it exists, no matter how hard I cross my fingers at times. It’s down to a set of random coincidences, the type of which will always be possible due to the vast amount of disparate happenings. House is a feeling, but not everyone has it. Not anyone can be a DJ, despite what people say, but those who are and who get noticed live and breath it, even those who play crap. We’re talking about a many layered cake here, not all of it tasty.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Assailed by Waves of Nostalgia

After having been compensated for my vinyl loss due to the flood at the end of  May, I’m feeling mixed emotions right now. I’d have preferred the whole affair had never happened, but it did so one has to bite the bullet and come to terms with the situation. Loads of my records, some of them my most treasured and valued, were either destroyed or completely devalued due to the surprise bursting of a pipe behind the bathroom sink.  Having said that, I had just started to catalogue my collection on Discogs a month or two before. Once I actually knew how many records I’ve got, the next step would have been to sell quite a few of them and free up some space. I can’t lie when I say that a large number of those damaged would have been up for grabs.

So in that respect the disaster saved me a lot of work. I wasn’t in a hurry though, and could quite happily have let events take their course, selling at a leisurely pace would have been no problem for me. The water changed all that however. So this morning I took a load down to the council tip. This wasn’t a pleasant experience, as each time I threw a few into the skip, the one on top looked up at me and induced multiple Proustian moments. Short term memory has fluctuated over the years, but I am effortlessly transported to another time and place after having exhumed older records to play them. Unfortunately this wasn’t such an occasion. Old blokes at the tip felt sorry for me, I could see it in their eyes. One or two approached me and asked what I was throwing away and why. ‘Have you got any albums there mate?’ ‘Some” I said, ‘but they’re damaged and mouldy. You’re welcome to take what you want, but I doubt you’re into early noughties Chicago-inspired house.’

It wasn’t just that, but there was lots of it. Lavish Habits comes to mind, as well as Greens Keepers and a load of Brett Johnson stuff. Aesoteric Records, Panhandle Records . . . I loved this stuff . . .  I had to chuck Dave Clarke’s albums away, not that I’d played much of this stuff for a long while, but that’s not the point. Memories came and went so I shut my eyes while putting them out of their misery. The memories and the records that is, most of which had been contaminated by mold over the past few weeks lying at the top of the stairs. Had I been able to save them all I would have, but the house is far too small to be able to have vinyl covering every available square centimeter. In any case, another plus is that I’m now going to be a lot more selective.

I haven’t bought many records since the start of the year, and don’t feel that I’ve missed out on much. I also feel that the market is stagnating a bit. I always have a list on the go at Juno, and often take a while to get around to buying what’s on it, usually being spurred into action buy one or two choice bits disappearing from it while I procrastinate. However, recently stuff has been staying put for a lot longer. Maybe what I’m interested in has suddenly become less in demand, but I don’t think it’s that. Discogs is playing a bigger and bigger role and the market is becoming more self-perpetuating. Anyway, what next?

Well the new Spacetravel on Perlon, ‘Desert Eagle’ by Omar S, ‘Infinitesimal’ by Steven Tang and the reissue of ‘Gesamtkuntswerk’ by Dopplereffekt to name but a few. I shall also be dipping my feet in Discogs murky waters over the next few weeks. More when sated.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Our Time In Different Lives - Generation Next (7 Days Entertainment)

Title: Our Time In Different Lives
Artist: Generation Next
Label: 7 Days Entertainment
Cat Number: 7DAYSENT.1014
Genre: House

1: Cascade
2: Vultures
3: Our Time

As its title suggests, this is a release shaped by nostalgia and wistfulness, Not necessarily of the same complexion though. Both ‘Cascade’, which surfs on gossamer-light flanges, and the jerky but deliberate ‘Our Time’ are cut of much the same cloth; ‘Vultures’, on the other hand, resonates more portentously on this   uncomplicated and mellifluous collection of emotive functionality.

Blank Slate 014 - Big MeanSound Machine (Blank Slate)

Title: Blank Slate 014
Artist: Big Mean Sound Machine
Label: Blank Slate
Cat Number: Blank Slate 014
Genre: Afrobeat

A1: Triple Bacon
A2: The New Filth
A3: Sharks
B1: Mirko’s Edit
B2: Rene Audiard’s Remix

In what amounts to something of a paradigm shift for Blank Slate, the afrobeat sounds of Big Mean Sound Machine are given free rein on 014. ‘Triple Bacon’ is the most obvious sounding cut here, with both ‘The New Filth’ and ‘Sharks’ going down a dubbier, occasionally big band route. ‘Mirko’s Edit’ is a more crystalline, but sparser feeling version of ‘Triple Bacon’, while ‘Rene Audiard’s Remix’ puts us in more familiar Blank Slate territory, albeit embellished with discordant brass instead of his more familiar abstractions. There’s also a Lalo Schifrin feel to this release in parts, which is nice.