Friday, July 30, 2010

music n news n shit

if you need stuff to hear/see, i suggest this:

brand-new super-fresh bruno pronsato live set
stream it or download it... either way, just get on it because this is definitely good stuff. this is a recording from bruno's set at watergate club in berlin just a week ago... some of this sounds like new material, and with a new album due to be released at some point later this year, i wouldn't be surprised if some new studio stuff shows up in this diverse set of playful jams.

this weekend in chicago: wicker park festival
chicago's hipster community gets taken over this saturday and sunday by the annual wicker park festival. with 3 stages of non-stop music in exchange for a $5 suggested donation, there's plenty of indie-oriented variety going on: electronica, jam, rock, metal... smilecoldanatomy's top pick is the live-band-electronic stylings of holy fuck, who will headline the south stage saturday night. check out the facebook event page and myspace page for set-times and more info.

also this weekend in chicago: vroom vroom techno day party
come ham it up at pour's backyard beer garden with some dance music from dj's reppin' chicago, detroit and milwaukee. this will go on from 2 til 10pm rain or shine and is free! check this facebook event page for more info.

efdemin comes to chicago
berlin-based deep house dj/producer efdemin will make what i think is his debut appearance in chicago this fall, in support of the album named after our fair city. tune in to the warm vintages of chicago, and get ready for some dial-style jams at smartbar on friday, september 24.

shed and his second skin
on the eve of the release of his second album, fact talks with shed about techno, breakbeats, and his various production aliases. a very honest, informative read, and it makes me even more excited to hear the traveler, due to be released via ostgut ton in exactly one month!

hear, see, learn, enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

sonar chicago: more details, initial lineup announced!

finally, we have more info on the chicago version of the spanish/international festival sonar!

due to take place thursday september 9 through saturday september 11, the large-scale daily events will take place thursday at the magnificent pritzker pavilion (pictured at right), followed by two days right across the street at the chicago cultural center.

the festival has also announced the timetables for those three spots here, with apparently plenty more night events to be announced soon. so far, the small initial lineup features martyn, jimmy edgar, and ben frost, among other electronic and experimental musicians.

get all the info straight from the source at sonar's website. read all the way to the bottom of the page, where it says that all festival events will be FREE... can't wait to see what else happens when sonar pays a visit to the windy city!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

album review! monolake - silence

it's been a while since i've discussed/reviewed a full-length album. why not start with a work from one of smilecoldanatomy's favorite producers? so, here are my thoughts on monolake's silence, from late last year.

for 15 years monolake, which at this point is headed solely by robert henke (but has previously featured gerhard behles and more recently, torsten profrock), has been on the cutting edge of electronic music. using the power of computers to unite aspects of techno, ambient, and dub(step), monolake has created a distinctive style that sounds immediately unique. the last monolake album, polygon cities, was released in 2005 and presented a relatively accessible collection of longer, dancefloor-ready tracks. five years later, silence shows henke embracing his meditative side (as well as interesting sound design decisions, according to his website), stepping away from straight 4/4 techno to craft some of the most intriguing soundscapes he's ever produced.

the album begins with the aptly-titled 'watching clouds,' as far-away bass thumps make way for a uniquely monolake-style storm of metallic clicks, clings, and clangs, sounds and effects that are featured throughout silence. the track leads into a pair of low-slung dubstep-ish tracks, but it's the melodies here that are the most captivating: listen to 'infinite snow' with its flurry of piano-sounding notes singing out a captivating tale of lush eastern expressions with subtle hints of pentatonic blues music. 'null pointer' employs a familiar tool to monolake fans: a computerized female voice. here it discusses "lab safety" and is used to cerebral effect, with the final instructions rising up to an almost psychedelic crescendo of pitch modifications.

the pace picks up a bit with 'far red' and 'avalanche', both of which anchor rapid-fire clicks to broken-beat rhythms under foreboding atmospherics. 'avalanche' is a slice of dub techno from the future, with its abominably deep chords. it fades away to make space for 'void', a gorgeous ambient piece featuring soft, dreamy synth tones paired with a wandering female voice submerged in reverb.

'internal clock' is next, with another unique melody; this time, it sounds like some sort of eastern stringed instrument plucked from the future and processed in way that only monolake can do. things get darker with 'shutdown', an aggressive track with squealing, disorienting flutes anticipated by last summer's 'atlas' 12". 'shutdown' transitions into 'reconnect', which features the voice from someone's answering machine surrounded by robotic hand claps. the album ends with 'observatory', its vocal samples lost in a cloud of thunderous dub chords.

overall, i find silence to be an excellent album from start to finish; each track is abstract and thought-provoking. it shows that monolake has not stopped growing and evolving, and continues to lead in the world of intelligent electronic music. much respect to robert henke and monolake for their forward-thinking approach to sound design!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

stuff to read!

happy tuesday morning! before i jet to work, check out this stuff to read:

RA says 'italians do it better'
check out this featured article at resident advisor, discussing the history of techno in italy as well as some young producers today who continue to push deep, hypnotic sounds. cheers to smilecoldanatomy's friend claudio PRC, who is discussed along with the likes of giorgio gigli and donato dozzy!

lucy and his artefacts
speaking of italians, enjoy this very informative interview with lucy, the italian-born dj/producer who now runs his stroboscopic artefacts imprint out of berlin.

tea with xhin
on the other side of the world, singapore's xhin briefly enjoys some tea and talks about his music (some of which has been released through stroboscopic artefacts) and his homeland.

efdemin talks chicago...
but has he ever even been to our fair city? pardon my ignorance; i only ask because i'd love to have him make an appearance, because from my first listen, efdemin's new LP chicago on dial records sounds like a pretty good one. check out this interview where he talks about the new album.

matthew dear's black city
on the eve of his new album release (and just after this weekend's day party set here in chicago), matthew dear talks about dance music vocals and new york city's vibe... both of which dear claims as influences on black city.

read on, friends! coming up next is my first full-length album review in a looong time...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

thursday night mixes?

yes - thursday (late) night mixes!

clr podcast 070 - edit-select
another great clr techno podcast. this set rides a steady, driving, upward gradient that sets up an ultimately glorious meltdown. don't mind chris liebing's ever-optimistic interludes - this mix burns relentlessly. check that last track: a new ZAltd single by giorgio gigli, obtane, and nax_acid. scroll down a bit to find the tracklist here.

wax treatment podcast #011 - dj pete
dj pete serves up another helping of deep, intelligent dubstep sounds. not much else to say other than the guy has great track selection with a nice mix of aggressive grooves and gorgeous melodies. check the tracklist here.

RA podcast 212 - elektro guzzi
this is a pleasant surprise: a 'rock' power trio - guitarist, bassist, drummer - performing live techno. i had never heard of elektro guzzi before but this is very interesting. i'm really impressed at how tight the band is, each allowing the other time to really get spaced out before getting back to the beat... all in all, this is some pretty dark stuff. clocking in at 50 minutes, it sounds great on its own but i do wish it were (much!) longer. i would very much like to see this band perform live...

listen and learn!

Monday, July 12, 2010

random early monday morning news

just a few thoughts about music and chicago...

caribou plays the pritzker pavilion tomorrow, monday, for FREE
the city of chicago does a better job each year in hosting unique music talent from around the country and world at various free public functions. as part of the 'downtown sound: new music monday' event series, psychedelic pop artist(s) caribou will grace the big stage of the pritzker pavilion in millennium park tomorrow evening, with budos band opening. show starts at 6:30... and it's FREE!

matthew dear to headline saturday's green dolphin's 'bbq and beats' day party
an at-capacity nightclub prevented me from seeing matthew dear earlier this year, so i'm hoping for good things on green dolphin's outdoor patio this saturday. dear headlines the festivities, with kate simko and a few other locals supporting. check out the RA event page for more info.

'are podcasts the new rave?'
the concept of dj podcasts and mix series has gained tons of popularity as a way to promote artists, events, and promotions groups... and as a (usually) free way to socially connect with other dance music enthusiasts. read this article at the UK's guardian for more thoughts about the phenomenon.

read about the east-coast 'nitrous mafia'
allegedly, there is a highly-organized crew of drug dealers aggressively pushing nitrous all over the east coast. the laughing gas, which is transported in pressurized tanks and sold by the balloon, is a pretty fucking annoying occurrence outside music concerts: the hissssing sound is unmistakable, as our the discarded balloons and over-indulgent users blacking out and falling limply to the ground like a sack of potatoes. check out this lengthy article on the drug and its culture.

first photo of a planet outside our solar system confirmed
science! according to this article at, a celestial mass initially found in 2008 has finally been confirmed as a young planet orbiting a correspondingly young star. the star system, 1RXS J160929.1-210524, is located about 500 light-years from us and is 'only' about 5 million years old (our solar system is about 1000 times older). the planet is about 8 times the size of jupiter, and muuuuch hotter.

chicago music, podcasts, drugs, outer space... happy monday!

Friday, July 9, 2010

fresh music reviews

here's my thoughts on some new deep sounds coming from the italian front:

giorgio gigli, obtane, & nAX_acid - environmental radiation dose on the moon
released barely 2 weeks ago, only on (solid silver) vinyl, i've been looking forward to this record for some time. three of my favorite techno producers join forces as a ZAltd (zooloft/aconito) trio to push deeper into uncharted depths... both sides of this record build slow, hypnotic grooves over the course of nearly ten minutes, featuring the producers' love of sudden transitional splashes and seemingly-random atmospheric noises. 'the child that was watching the moon' is an epic slice of techno noir, with a warm, droning bassline endlessly laying the foundation for frighteningly exotic slashes of noise. on the b-side, 'the moon that was watching the child' is a bit more aggressive and distorted, with bass growls and fuzzy acidy squelches balanced with a series of bells chiming almost lazily around tightly syncopated drums. all in all, this is serious, avant-garde techno made for forward-thinking dancefloors. 200 vinyl copies only, no digital. get on it!

claudio PRC - diving point (w/ rossella 'dark room' remix)
from another anatomy mixer and his fellow italian, rossella, comes this digital single, to be released later this month on elettronica romana. the italian deep techno label (with alumni like donato dozzy and giorgio gigli) has seemingly sprang back to life. here, claudio continues to make forward-thinking techno that cuts deep; with 'diving point', he jumps right into peak-time space, with a sustained, shivering electric tone that becomes the main theme of the track. distorted percussive riffs and reverb'd hand claps drive the track forward, with atmospheric noises floating in and out of the mix. rossella's aptly-titled 'dark room' remix takes energy from the original and sends it into more introspective (and, perhaps, more headphone-happy) spaces. restrained, and at the same time haunting and psychedelic, the remix is anchored by a plaintive piano melody, while harsh rays of light are discovered among looping echoes of vocals and chimes. two good tracks for different situations. digital release date is july 22; until then, stream the tracks at elettronica romana's myspace.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

more music-related food for thought

chomp on these delicious bits of music stuffs:

john roberts to release debut LP in fall: glass eights
resident advisor is reporting that midwest-raised and now berlin-based john roberts is set to release his debut album on october 11 via dial records. over the past two years, the producer has released only a few records, albeit well-received ones, that have been published through dial and its sub-label, laid. his sound fits into the dial/laid deep house aesthetic while still remaining uniquely smooth and relaxed, so it should be interesting to see how his LP compares to dial's venerable album catalog.

'vinyl is back!'
check out this feature on, which links to a bunch of articles and essays about the resurgence of vinyl records as a preferred music medium. read a few, then go out and buy some wax!

xlr8r interview with scuba (and deadbeat)
peer into the minds of two of the more popular producers who blur the lines between techno and dubstep at xlr8r. the two guys discuss their respective moves to berlin, where scuba (aka paul rose) has been an integral part of the berlin dubstep scene, featuring a regular night of the music at the infamous berghain. the canadian-born deadbeat (aka scott monteith) compares berlin to his old scene in montreal... interesting discussion!

gushing about sandwell district
take a look at this 'open letter' to one of the most popular techo labels right now, sandwell district. the essay is meant as a bit of a joke, but scroll down to the comments to see some serious discussion about the label, which has been doing very, very good for itself despite a nearly non-existent commercial presence. speaking of which, sandwell recently put out a pair of 'sampler singles', which have received tons of praise; seems like the next thing on the label's agenda is a series of full-length albums... smilecoldanatomy is not alone in impatiently awaiting the arrival of these LPs!

that's all for now... and hopefully soon, there shall be another anatomy mix to present to you all...