Tuesday, January 2, 2018

favorites from 2017

here's a list of 2017 albums that managed to stick with me one way or another, in no particular order:

yuji kondo faces past 10 label
sarah davachi all my circles run students of decay
ena divided: mind horo
elemnt (felix k & DB1) elemnts hidden hawaii
loke rahbek & frederik valentin buy corals online editions mego
robert aiki aubrey lowe levitation praxis pt. 4 DDS
dopplereffekt cellular automatica leisure system
rainforest spiritual enslavement ambient black magic hospital productions

... consider this a not-very-thorough assessment; last year, i wasn't able to focus on music like usual, as i tried to push through a very difficult time in my life. one goal for me in 2018 is to get back to seeking out and enjoying and hopefully writing about more new music. i think the blog will remain on pause for the time being, but i'll still be doing some work at RA.

thanks as always for reading. see you around, maybe!

Monday, July 25, 2016

anatomy 28 - svreca

I'm really, really excited to be sharing this five-hour set from Svreca!

painting: Yuriko Shimamura

anatomy 28 catches Svreca in action at Tokyo club Unit, back in March, as part of a FRUE night celebrating his label Semantica's tenth birthday. Thanks to everyone who made this set (and recording) happen!

Svreca, AKA Enrique Mena, is a Spanish artist with a distinct musical vision. You can hear it in his sleek, meticulously crafted productions, his sophisticated DJ sets, and of course on Semantica, one of today's key techno labels. Semantica, now ten years old, has been behind more than 100 records, with offerings from artists including Cio D'Or, Abdulla Rashim, Stanislav Tolkachev, Skirt, Mike Parker and Svreca himself—like his excellent 2015 EP Narita, a journey through intense atmospheric techno, Sahko-esque minimalism and rained-out ambient, inspired by his time in Japan.

As usual for Svreca, this (nearly) five-hour set is carefully paced, intricately rhythmic and stuffed with depth and emotion. But first, here's some Q&A action:

Let's start with this mix—a recording of you DJing in Tokyo. Can you give us an introduction to the night?
This is a recording of my last set in Tokyo. It was a FRUE event: ~A Night to Celebrate 10 Years of Semantica Records~ at Unit. FRUE is the reason I started to play in Tokyo and Japan; they were the first to invite me in 2012, and have kept inviting me back since. This was another memorable night at Unit, a special place for me.

Special thanks to: Showgo, Yuriko, Dai, Wata, Koto, Tomo, Nodoka, Russ and Yuri.

You've done a lot of touring in Japan, and your time there was what lead to you making Narita. Tell us about your connection with the country.
The Narita EP was a very sincere, personal work. The intention was to put all the energy, memories and emotions from Japan into a 12-inch, and give it a very symbolic title. My other tracks have their own inspirations, but Narita is fully inspired by and dedicated to Japan, which captivated me from the first time I was there. I think this is a very common feeling coming from European people. For some reason I have a special link with Japan and Japanese people, and playing there leaves an impression on me that's stronger than other places.

Congratulations on 10 years of Semantica! What made you want to start a label? What motivates you as a label owner and curator? Has the motivation changed at all after ten years?
Thanks for the words. I started Semantica as a platform for Svreca, to build a profile together with my DJ activities. It's always a reflection of Svreca, on many levels.

My main motivation with the label is the music itself: my passion for music, design, architecture, fashion, and for arts in general; for every form that's able to create emotions. Motivations shift constantly, but I love what I do with Semantica and I will continue trying to improve with future releases.

When you are not working on Semantica, what are you listening to these days? What artists and labels excite you right now?
At home I listen to a lot of non-electronic stuff; things to sing, or funny and easy-listening music to enjoy with my son. I don't like to mention only a few artists or labels, my list would be too extensive.

How do you prepare for longer sets like these?
I usually try to think of an imaginary blueprint of the set. I take in consideration the venue, the soundsystem, the set time and length, the previous acts, etc, as each has a certain importance. I think a lot about every gig. I'm not a DJ who shifts drastically. I think of a DJ set as a very conceptual performance, and it requires some time for me to change directions.

A few weeks before this gig in Tokyo I played around seven hours at Garden, an underground club in Pereira, Colombia with a small capacity but with a special crowd. My blueprint of that set was similar, but real-time feedback from the crowd helps me when I'm DJing to move toward new and different places.

What are you up to next? Will there ever be a Svreca album?
I'm working on a few remixes and new Svreca stuff to be released this year and in 2017. A Svreca album will require more experience and skills, but also a great idea, or concept, behind it. I think it will take a few years...

Along with the anniversary series, are there other artist EPs coming on Semantica you can mention?
Yes, along with that series, there will be a double EP by Acronym and a new Exhibition Design by J.C. called Mugako.

... and now onto the mix, which Enrique is graciously helping to share on his SoundCloud.

Huge thanks to Enrique for a huge contribution to the mix series here (and thanks again to those in Tokyo whose work lead to this recording). I'm honored to have the opportunity to help spread this set. Check out Enrique's RA page to see where he's playing next, and here's another link to the Semantica Bandcamp page where you can check out much of the label's output.

This will be the last anatomy mix for now. Thank you to the artists who've joined the fun, and thanks to everyone who's ever stopped by!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

anatomy 27 - stephanie sykes

it is now time for anatomy 27... with stephanie sykes in the mix!

born and raised in germany, formerly a longtime resident of manchester and now living in rugby, warwickshire, stephanie sykes makes a unique mix of atmospheric techno and otherworldly ambient drones. i first discovered her music in late 2014 when she appeared alongside fjäder on the very cool luna tactus EP for dasha rush's always-intriguing fullpanda records. last year, she put out her first solo record, one of my 2015 favorites, the haunting black simulation, via turkish label VENT, which also had rush appearing for a remix (i wrote more about those records over here), and the quietly majestic digital EP, too many goodbyes, through cenotaph records. this year she's already got a few more EPs in the works...

meanwhile, stephanie has also built a reputation for her skills as a DJ. she now holds residencies at birmingham's long-running techno party atomic jam, and at the jaded afterhours series in london, and in 2015 she scored some pretty big international gigs... look for that to continue in 2016, as she's already got four more confirmed for the next month or so, including debuts in malta and italy.

i'm really happy to be sharing this mix of fresh, perfectly-paced techno, which builds, twists and turns toward a mind-bending finish. yes - it is an excellent addition to the series. dig in, and update check the tracklist below:

(dropbox download link!)

Evigt Mörker - Ögat Av Regan
Chptr - Chtpr 01
DJ Deep & Roman Poncet - Exsurgence (Main Mix)
Abdulla Rashim - Red Pool
Ben Buitendijk - Equilibrium Two
Error Etica - Country of Thieves (RVO remix)
Modern Heads - Beginning (Claudio PRC remix)
Dorian Gray - Nyctophilism
Sleeparchive - Window 092 (Oscar Mulero remix)
RVO & Claudio PRC - Field 2
Deepbass - The Light That Never Was
SNTS - Olivion (Polar Inertia remix)

thanks to stephanie for sharing this great mix. i'm looking forward to seeing (and hearing) what she does in 2016!

(photo credit: modvs)

favorites from 2015

with my list of favorite music stuff from 2014, i cast a pretty wide net. this year (or last year, whatever), i've gone with a more to-the-point selection. these were the albums and EPs and tracks and remixes that i tended to revisit, again and again, more than anything else, in 2015.

cio d'or all in all semantica

sarah davachi barons court students of decay
abdulla rashim a shell of speed northern electronics
refracted through the spirit realm silent season
steve roach skeleton keys projekt / diophantine discs
raica dose further records
kangding ray cory arcane raster-noton
alva noto xerrox vol. 3 raster-noton
dasha rush sleepstep raster-noton!

stephanie sykes black simulation (w/ dasha rush remix) VENT

polar inertia kinematic optics DEMENT3D
stanislav tolkachev walk along the bottom semantica
svreca narita semantica
emptyset signal subtext
litüus 19805. -_ 19905, avian 
ivic in your rosary JSMË
SPR her eyes are an abyss JSMË & EP1 vis
felix k tragedy of the commons blackest ever black
various (ko-ta, artefakt, iori, kiyokazu hamawaki) body 1:1 mind tikita
ASC beneath the surface silent season
ena meteor samurai red seal
israel vines RMXD (silent servant, talker, BMG) eye teeth
max loderbauer & jacek sienkiewicz ridges recognition
birds of prey orphan anvil self-released

skymn "okuyi (korridor interpretation)" hypnus
kassem mosse / simone white "flowers in may" honest jon's
scarpa "pilgrim's plea" frozen border
claudio prc & ness (TGP) "icore (nuel remix)" outis music
stave "circle pit" repitch
the exaltics "instinct (dopplereffekt hubble constant remodel)" solar one music
sleeper cell "suffocate" lovers rock
marco shuttle "sing like a bird (reprise)" eerie
exos "áttfalt" thule
aaron 'fit' siegel "carmine" fit sound

... thanks, as usual, for reading. more to come soon!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

anatomy 26 - amandra

surprise! here's another anatomy mix...

a french artist currently living in warsaw, poland, amandra crafts expansive, slowly evolving techno. he's one of the minds behind ahrpe records, a label that's been home to his two EPs - monkaunis, ahrpe's first transmission in mid-2014, and lutsin from earlier this year, which came with a very cool korridor remix - along with similarly hypnotizing stuff from fellow co-founder ovend and (recently) flogo.

amandra and i first connected many months ago, and i knew through his work as a producer and label owner that he'd be a great fit for an anatomy mix. with this nearly 75-minute dj set, he digs into a deep groove that leans heavily on older music, but also woven in are three resonating, bassline-driven cuts from his own next release, the drachme tolosate double EP that'll be come out on ahrpe in february. sorry, no interview or tracklist for this one... only sounds, along with some artwork from a photo amandra took in veracruz, mexico.

i'm looking for a new home for the anatomy series, since official.fm seems to be in the midst of a change in name and format. for now, you can download anatomy 26 through my dropbox link, and/or you can listen and download at amandra's soundcloud page. do it to it:

(dropbox download link!)

huge thanks to amandra for joining the fun. (and for being patient!) you can also grab a recording of his recent live set in warsaw over at soundcloud. over the next month or so, perhaps there will be a couple more anatomy mixes. until then, enjoy this one and look out for amandra's upcoming double EP... and as usual, thanks for listening!