Nicolas Jaar: “Sirens” Deluxe Edition – [Other People]

Deluxe piece of information

Coin in Nine Hands is more than a welcomed addition to the Deluxe release/reissue of Nicolas Jaar’s 2016 record Sirens, out today in digital format through Other People. Permission for daring it sounds like it is the track that traces all the way back to the starting point, from where everything came to result in one of the last year’s outstanding album. This is what Nicolas tweeted about the release.

Code Inconnu/Uknown Code is a film made in 2000 by Martin Haneke about unperceived interconnections among people. Taking Margarite Yourcenar novel’s title of the mid-thirties, Coin In Nine Hands is a downtempo number with unexpected turns modulating a thoughtful spoken words piece inspired on sight, somewhere in the Persian Gulf under the overwhelming heat. We got the same drying Nature force that deserted all, even a whole sea, under the skin or in the back of our mind. From outside looking in, a waived part of human nature confronts the rational illusion of freedom and understanding against the Leviathan as described by philosopher Thomas Hobbes, the unstoppable gaining force. There’s no fiction in this friction. There are (r: [a:]) victims for the difference. Memories of the political history of Chile goes with Víctor Jara, and the erosion keeps gradually melting away names like Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (Shawkan), sentenced to death for taking pictures of the street protests in Cairo, or blogger Rafi Badawi, activist pro-human rights in Saudi Arabia, lashed for his words. There’s awareness in using proper name Potemkin, not only in the sense of rebellion, dramatized in the legendary film by Sergei Eisenstein in 1925, but mostly in the sense of Potemkin village. Developed by Grigory Potemkin, during the annexation of Crimea from the Ottoman Empire, the minister of Empress Catalina II decided to create fake constructions made up of the ruins in an appearance of wealthy normality. A concept that made a fortune run in political rhetoric, to deceive others that the situation is better than it is.

With this piece of information, it is easy to understand the conceptual leap Jaar had to afford from eclectic and critically acclaimed first album, Space Is Only Noise (Circus, 2011), to the defiant ideas involving the sophomore, Sirens. From being a successful producer to become a composer in the true meaning of a musician who creates an own discursive work. Those conscious thoughts needed a reclusive place to flourish. A Manhattan apartment in the shades, concentrating on the daily home surrounding sounds accompanying the immersive reflection.

It’s when Sirens becomes an electronic suite full of contrast, and subtle turns in rich nuances – which are technical skills –, with sonic elements of magic realism as memory recall of childhood. This is a literary tag that helps to describe a reflexive, intimate and questioning universe of his own, that the artist observes from a shady and recluded intimacy, away from the luminous intensity of the sirens chants coming from Time Square. There is Erik Satie piano resonance meeting Ryuichi Sakamoto template, as a rational illusion of order is unable to veil the algorithmic intelligence that reigns, the hard steps of affirmative over the opposition. There’s choosing toys to grow, inculcated promises for the disbelieving. There is the father… But Sirens also has a chapter for hope. At least for the voices of opposition that gave and procure now the other ways. It is a heartfelt rendition to the outside, to the city that welcomed to anyone from misfortune or incomprehension to grow in richness melt, from the corners of the improvised doo-wop to the radical Lydia Lunch and the devoted admiration for no wave duo Suicide.

Of course, Sirens is a politically charged album. The release of Coin In Nine Hands gives a cue for the first steps in the process of its creation. By the way, it explains what intuition supposed about the inclusion of a nickel coin, cased in a plastic outer sleeve over a white scratch-off ink cover from the first Deluxe edition of the album, released October 14, 2016, fifteen days after the digital format was available to download.

In music, the importance of an album takes value from the listener, but the record industry also has parameters as the number of versions that comes out from the original with the extra unheard material besides. Collectors and artists’ followers take care of these variations. It is worthwhile information. Wildflower was already in the first Deluxe edition, as well as Mirrors and the title track, Sirens. Wildflower also appeared in the Japan original edition. Now, Wildflower belongs to the new Deluxe release/reissue of Sirens as a digital option, along with principle Coin In Nine Hands and America!/ I’m for the birds. Asking for the vinyl, full coin-scratched cover? With reordered titles and leaving out the title track.


DJ Taye announces debut album, “Still trippin’,” with ‘Get It Jukin’ (feat. Chuck Inglish)’ – [Hyperdub]

Growing on footwork

Chicago born footwork producer Dante Sanders (a.k.a DJ Taye) gets rapper Chuck Inglish on ‘Get It Jukin’,’ the advanced track for his debut full-length album “Still Trippin‘,” due to release March 2nd as the first 2018’ LP from Hyperdub.

Using 100% essence of footwork template’s drum programming, the Chicagoan has the tasty ability to integrate it in a melodic and cinematic synth line where Chuck Inglish’s descriptive verses reign. It’s dark but situational, a walk with a direction to, stepping the loaded Teklife‘s legacy into a new zone of songwriting, forcing and adapting the code in an open bracket, not for itself expression but to enrich in connecting others.

DJ Taye is a producer but can rap and sing, MCing talents that revert on his first album. The sixteen tracks also feature a range of guests rappers, vocalists, instrumentalists and assistant producers. From mentioned Chuck Inglish, a former member of Detroit duo the Cool Kids for advanced ‘Get It Jukin” to Jersey club queen, UNiiQU3, who offers production and rapping on ‘Gimme Some Mo.’ Odil Myrtil, a young vocalist from Montreal, takes ‘Same Sound’ to a souled atmosphere. Fabi Reyna, the editor of celebrated “She Shred” magazine, plays bass guitar and rhythm guitar on ‘I Don’t Know.’ Teklife members DJ PayPal and DJ Manny assist in some of the tracks, and DJ Lucky is a guest MC on ‘Smokeout.’

The youngest affiliate of Teklife Crew is a generation younger than the founders DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn. He was a rapper and a beat maker before joining the legendary collective in 2010. DJ Taye was introduced to footwork in 2007 and began to produce his own tracks which appeared in several digital releases and mix sessions. In 2014 Hyperdub took on him contributing in two of its compilations with ‘Get Em Up’ to “10.1” (2014) and ‘The Matrixx,’ along with DJ Manny, for “Next Life” (2015). Signed to Kode9‘s label, he released two EPs: “Break It Down” (2015) and “Move Out” (2016).

Now it’s time for debuting in the full-length format. As DJ Taye expressed, “Still trippin‘” takes Rashad’s passing in 2014 as the unlikely catalyzer for developing the sounds and ideas for the album: “When Rashad passed away I felt inspired to continue evolving the music that I loved so much coming up in this world. So, I had to do something…make something brand new.” Adding, “I took this as an opportunity to not have boundaries with footwork. Different approaches to our ‘underground’ sound to make it broader. It’s only underground until it crosses that threshold.”

Suicide debut album: December 1977

Rock and electronics clashed forever

It is December, and here is an unforgettable drop in a peculiar Advent calendar for those who believe in synthpop, those who celebrate Kraftwerk divinity and Their sons and daughters on earth. With no intentions of being unrespectful or irreverent, on the December’s unprecise date of 1977, forty years ago, Suicide released their homonymous debut album on Red Star Records. The Holy Trinity hit NYC’s streets, rock and electronic music clashed to hybridize in spirit forever.

Artist/sculptor Alan Vega and free-jazz keyboardist Martin Rev were abrasive in cold speech since the beginning at Mercer Arts Center in the early 70s, inciting people to confrontation and creating a discord feeling between love and hate, an arty controversy for a few and a joke for the most. Vega (Brooklyn June 23, 1938 – July 16, 2016) created ‘situations’ over the gaining and repetitive Rev’s white-noise. The Velvet Underground got an extension in rhythm machines, primitive synthesizers able to produce a two-note drone. Suicide was groundbreaking electronic proto-punk and anticipating the No Wave scene. They were the artist of the freeform, too adventurous for regular venue’s tolerance; they decided a period of hibernation in 1973. Kraftwerk took USA airwaves by surprise in 1975 as well as the Western World fascinated with the futuristic and robotic sound of their amazing Kling Klang Studio productions.

New York City was swallowing the imported pill of The Sex Pistols in 1977 while ignoring local bands like Richard Hell & The Voivoids from whose staging attitudes and musical contents Malcolm McLaren took notes to restyle in London. Everything had moved from SoHo to Bowery, around CBGB. By the time, Television, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie and Patti Smith had signed to major labels. There were a Lower East Side looks walking in stiletto hills, color treated hair, leather jackets, and sunglasses, in as recognizable aesthetics as uniformized, and all were saying it is all chewed up and processed. The city had lost nerve from thunder. It was the right time and the right place for a milestone. Alan Vega‘s Presleyish vocals were ready to transform Suicide from a performance-project into a recording act, with a defining set of songs in a debut album released through Martin Thau‘ imprint, the ex-manager of New York Dolls, and produced by Craig Leon, responsible for launching The Ramones and Blondie’s careers. “Suicide” is still one of the most original avant-garde music that came out from the city in the epitome of a convulsive decade that shook everything up for good.

On the other side of the Atlantic, in the cradle city of Düsseldorf for electronic music, a move was refusing the ‘old gods’ in venues like Ratinger Hof, home of a new generation of punks acts, like D.A.F, Die Krupps, La Düsseldorf and Der Plan. The so-called ‘Neue Deutsche Welle’ had feedback from London where they attempted to grow in the new effervescent scene of post-punk. All of them were aware of Suicide and their bursts of creativity. Some stepped the industrial wave for European Electro and Techno as the new directions, with Detroit and Chicago on the horizon.

One year far from the opening of Mudd Club in Tribeca -the trashy, full of vacant meat warehouses then, the high rated district now-, signs of a creative counteroffensive emerged. No matter what it was but crudity, a confrontational noise served in rare, pure nihilism, from James Chance & The Contortions to Lydia Lunch through Arto Lindsay‘s DNA and Lounge Lizards. Tagged as ‘No Wave’ got preferences in the funk, jazz, blues, avant-garde to Defunkt rock stereotypes.

You can listen to plenty recognition to Suicide contribution by many other artists, but the latest touchy one is in Nicolas Jaar‘s album “Sirens” (Other People, 2016). From the shades of a Manhattan apartment, ‘The Governor’ talks about pleasant Time Square chants to avoid. It is not only a homage to the duo but NYC creative richness in devoted perspective.

Track # 9 -V/A “Spirits” – (Crosstown Rebels)

One in richness of divergence

Nico Stojan and David Mayer, featuring Jan Blomqvist on vocals, contribute ‘Killing Your Lover’ to the eleven track compilation “Spirits.” DJ/producer and label boss Damian Lazarus describes the new annual compilation series as “a fresh psychedelic journey into the mind” and invites to some Crosstown Rebels and sister label Rebellion resembling artists in relevant respect about music to be one from addition, change matters for the discontinuance, not identicals. Music celebrated as a vibrant and vital key to freedom of thoughts, ideas, opinions. That is the spirit. Take it in plural for the richness of divergence.

Picking up a track like ‘Killing Your Lover’ doubts nothing about the intention to avoid any suspicion of dull ‘spirituality.’ Contrary it is a highlight for its haunting self-minded train of thoughts, a dichotomy obsessive in words, with a refrain ending on a pronunciation try of the particle ‘if,’ reconsidered as a broken vocal cut, a sonic gesture of forgetting.

All wrapped up in perfect house pattern, where percussive intro has the Afro sign of David Mayer’s ‘Movement,’ giving the integrating path to a subtle bass line and increasing vocal sampler. The disruption comes in few piano notes, and a provoked psycho noise that goes to the temples. Then the narratives, by Berlin-based Jan Blomqvist who takes his melancholic vocals to the point of ‘noire’ indifference, as distant as close is spine-chilling.

Check out for more in ritualistic ‘Amaranto /Amaranth,’ by Kowee featuring KnowKontrol; the exotic environment described in Robie Akbal‘s ‘Tavarua;’ the dramatic synth counterparts of Siopis in ‘Be Mine’ featuring Ellbee Bad. Alice Rose takes her Björk’s voice similarities in ‘Another Way,’ a Tech House track by Raw Distant… “Spirits” is available now on Crosstown Rebels. If anytime you have been asking yourself why the Damian Lazarus staged set is everything but prosaic you will get part of the answer in the listening.

Bicep at Nitsa Club (Barcelona)

On the rise

Nitsa and AsTiN name the prestigious Apolo venue for the electronic music on weekends. If one is a referent in the European Club circuit, the anagram suggests the quality of transfer for the other. When you are in, you are part of both, in artistically complementary. On Saturday, November 25, Nitsa Club will welcome Bicep audience. Simultaneously, AsTiN, the newly remodeled La [2] Apolo room, will have dutch duo Weval, Canadian Jessy Lanza and Catalan JMII. Doors will open at thirty minutes past midnight.

2017 is the year of the rise for Bicep (Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar). The two former schoolmates from Belfast, North Ireland, have now a career of almost a decade. Along it comes a remarkable string of jacking powered house 12-inch and EPs with ‘Visions Of Love” as their starting point in 2012; remixes from Carl Craig to John Talabot, and finally, a self-titled debut full-length album, released the first of September through Ninja Tune. It is the compendium of their musical qualities, belonging to their virtues and attitudes in twelve tracks.

Whereas the three armed-wheel logos stamped now in stardom, what identifies Bicep distinctively is their background of being bloggers first (“Feel my Bicep,” now the name of their imprint). The experience of lacking in resources and digging where nobody cares contributed their ability to put in muscle what it is out of fit or even out of time, considered aside, out of trend, and get the weird thing for good, the rare stuff on the wings of the unexpected. They cued the unappreciated excellence of leftfield disco, searched for electronics oddities and appreciated the rave oldies’ emotive glow. They got the talent to introduce those inputs in their productions, moving people smash after smash. Now we got Bicep’s new dimension, with a myriad of recognizable references that can be 4/4 dancefloor stuff as well as a full ride from impeccable tasters wherever you go out of the club. Expect the forgotten for the better.


James Holden & The Animal Spirits Band – MIRA 2017

From a pagan place

The British DJ/producer and synth melody’s clairvoyant takes new fellow travelers as a bandleader to perform his third unconstrained full-length album, “The Animal Spirits,” to MIRA 2017 Festival audience on Friday, Nov 10th at Fabra i Coats – Fàbrica de Creació, Barcelona. The live band set will come with Dan Tombs on the generative visuals.

By using ‘unconstrained’ means Holden keeps on the free-spirited steady ride, divergent as he pointed out with the previous “The Idiots Are Winning” (2006) and “The Inheritors” (2013). Moreover, he leaps from gravitational dance into some outer-date field as an apologist of musical legacy. This time for good, with turning point limit ahead, not yet overpassed. Yes, it sounds like he thinks the submission of everything to time, the unstoppable dictatorship of what is up or down is overrated. His career confirms it. From being top dawg DJ on the progressive and trance scenes in the early ‘90s, highly required re-mixer for the first row acts (Madonna, Depeche Mode, New Order, Mercury Rev…) and strictly electronic trailblazers like Nathan Fake or Four Tet, he decided to launch his imprint, Border Community. He had a reason. The Oxford University Maths graduate modeled a new set, away from the constricted functions of DJing to channel a more expansive interface with music. An intercalation past-present output with the same attitude he used to switch knobs, buttons, pads, and faders in dominion: improvisation. “The Animal Spirits” album was recorded live with all group performing at once; single takes in one room at Holden’s London Sacred Walls studio in Summer 2016. Any post-production was not allowed, no overdubs, no edits by self-imposed dogma from the bandleader.

As a simile for the context, let us remember Canterbury Sound put the progressive rock in psychedelic orbit circumvallating avant-garde jazz improvisation. The trend-setting producer makes similar thing by taking his knowledge in electronic music to open a new window over the unknown of challenging progression, calling explicitly jazz legends Don Cherry and Pharoah Sanders as inspirational figures, which goes to say at least Sun Ra and John Coltrane in pursuing. A compound of musical influences is what electronic shaman Holden ritualizes to enter this new featured world, “something like a spiritual jazz band playing folk/trance music.”

Same talent for the propulsive melodics that made him a star with his earlier techno-ish work, but this time created from his self-customized modular synth and software to adequate machine to the human pace of drums (Tom Page) and percussions (Lascelle Gordon). His always strident solos have counterparts blown on brass (cornetist Marcus Hamblett and tenor saxophonist Etienne Jaumet). The rendition of Krautrock links mostly in its folky variants and La Monte Young’s The Theatre of Eternal Music appears in drones with windy flutes by multi-instrumentalist Liza Bec, who also waves to the Eastern resound. The result is heretical for those who miss former DJ/producer James Holden in anthems like “A Break In The Clouds,” the same ones who got surprised from being unaware of “The Inheritors” turning supposed. It is a statement of the freedom of creativity, a genre-blending, transferred through perceptive and identified claims that rejoice fluidly for the glory of the universal music. It is worthy, up to those open-minded.

By the way, with “The Animal Spirits” James Holden corroborates a message he signed, sealed and delivered to the electronic community: being a pagan is not that bad, it takes you to different and enriching soundscapes. It did arrive at Flying Lotus among many others and has Floating Points as a faithful promotional allied with whom James Holden collaborated in “Marhaba” EP (Eglo Records, 2015), featuring Gnawa Morrocan musician Maâlem Mahmoud Guinia. Listen and enjoy the diverse.

GAS – MIRA 2017 Opening Concert at L’Auditori

‘Deutscher Wald’: welcome to the misty forest

Digital Arts Festival MIRA 2017 solemn its Barcelona Edition inviting GAS (a.k.a. Wolfgang Voigt) to perform “Narkopop” for the inaugural concert. The audio-visual show will take place on Tuesday, November 7th, at Sala 2 – Oriol Martorell, L’Auditori, Barcelona.

GAS is a driving force in ’90s German Ambient; the Techno Ambient to be precise. A musical impersonation of Wolfgang Voigt, the main spearhead of Cologne Minimal Techno and co-founder (alongside Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape) of legendary imprint Kompakt Records. Considered as the influential producer who tempered the punishing 4/4 Techno (the early ’90s Berlin-Detroit alliance with E-Werk and Tresor as headquarters) into a more finessed and not-to-be-roughly-explicit version of the beat. He helped (with his brother Reinhardt and through multiple projects and aliases) to spread an indulgence wave over it, recalling for hedonism and taste, giving Micro and Minimal extensions a chance to grow on the roots of Techno and House.

Wolfgang Voigt will perform “Narkopop,” the fifth installment of his opus as GAS. It is a set of eleven tracks in due form untitled but with the numbered generic one. Envolving musical journey in a symphonic and stately manner. Forget to expect any relaxation because eerie passages are on the way, even menacing ones. A set of visuals will complete the musical performance recorded at Köningsforst, a forest near Cologne where Voigt used to go as a kid, a place to meditate and experience, a matter of formation landscape. A set of stimulus music that will help to create your cinematic train of thoughts, scripted by knowledge and suggesting the imprecise.

The GAS project has always been in that abstract forest from the beginning, a cultural frame where germanic marching drummed was echoing in the mist through recreational descriptive historical pages with the same severity Kraftwerk attacked the musical cannon on the American airwaves. He has been there even when Wolfgang Voigt was unnoticed to grow artistically in this earthy and mythic environment, where to bridge a listening; Klaus Schulze connected to Wagner through psychedelic experience. A sampling pop citations state of mind that made him go from traditional sources of classical music to Schläger, in a mishmash of jazz glam-rock and new wave references that he poured in the acid house trend first to recreate Techno and give a hallmark for the run imprint afterward.

“Narkopop” is the re-encounter with an artistic move Voigt left behind seventeen years ago. He introduced it with “GAS” (1996), placing dance floor-ready Techno in standby for challenging himself to explore through long pieces into a suggestive soundscape of a purpose. It was a very European move, offering an alternative variation to Techno and House, generally defined by the American characteristics of being respectively “banging” electronic dance music and soulful “deep” dance music. In fact, the wordless contemporary universal language of music had a new context where the inclement pounding drums redefined in a tasteful turn, a signing sound for his releases and appreciate personality for the imprint, definitely stamped as German sound. He apparently completed GAS project with “Pop” (2000), with “Zauberberg” (1997) and “Königsforst” (1999) in between, all through Frankfurt record label Mille Plateaux. Except for the first, the rest of titles featured forest images on basic colors in its artwork. It is an aesthetic decision but also a framework charged with symbolism: “Deutscher Wald” (German Forest). The stylized German myth, the Romantic metaphor that defined Germanic-German arts and culture. From defeated Roman legions in Battle of Teutoburg Forest to ‘Nibelungenlied’ (The Song of Nibelungs), the myth runs over epic poems, fairy tales, legends, and music. From Schiller and Goethe to Rilke, Grimm Brothers and Mann, perverted in infamous chapters of the history as the ever-present ground force dismissed by the fog, from Wagner and Mahler to Schönberg.

Attendants will sit comfortably on the main floor of one of the four complimentary halls of the public building design by architect Rafael Moneo, home of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and The National Orchestra of Catalonia (OBC), providing the high-quality standard in acoustics. It makes sense because what we are going to listen to is an electronic music development categorized as Ambient. It is about tone and atmosphere as the most relevant beyond musical structure that can change in layered and diverse musical stimulus and travels through time and rhythms to evoke not to precise, “as ignorable (in parts) as it is interesting (for the whole)” as pioneer Brian Eno Dixit.