Saturday, August 14, 2010

anatomy 03 - juho kahilainen

huzzah - a new addition to the anatomy mix series! this compact set of diverse techno comes to us from finnish dj/producer juho kahilainen.

calling his music 'depressive trance' (jokingly), juho has been DJing since the late 90s, and has a small catalog of dark, melancholy dance cuts to his credit. most recently, and perhaps most notably, are his two excellent EPs from early last year for the then-fledgling experimental techno imprint, prologue: 'prophet without a vision' and 'kuolonkellot'.

i tracked down juho through the internet a few months ago to see if he would be interested in contributing to this mix series and talk about his music. he was game (and happy that his music had reached the other side of the world), but he had something to take care of first: getting married! in response to a series of interview questions i sent him (regarding, among other things: his path to dance music, fellow finnish noise-makers pan(a)sonic, etc), juho sent back a rather long essay... he discusses his past, present, and future, including plans for a full-length album on prologue. to the impatient, scroll to the bottom for the mix. for those who want to know more about juho and his music, take a look at what he has to say:

I come from a small town called Pihtipudas. I was born and raised there - the nearest city was 130 kilometres away. There was not much so called scene there, but a few older guys than me were into electronic music. Luckily the atmosphere in Pihtipudas - although it's very rural Finland - was quite open. One of the first punk bands of Finland came from Pihtipudas in the beginning of the eighties . It might be that this phenomenon still had an effect on people. They knew that music has many shades and weren't laughing to you if you were making weird stuff. I felt I got support from the community. This was very important for a teenager. Obviously Pihtipudas lacked the industrial setting that is essential for techno, but I had it built in my imagination. This might not be authentic, but it was my interpretation.

I was introduced to electronic music by the national radio. A special show hosted by Tapani Ripatti was on the air every Saturday from 1 AM to 6 AM. I was listening to it and recording those shows on cassettes. Ripatti was playing a lot of Finnish stuff and probably that influenced me a lot. I could sort of relate myself better to Finnish tracks even though they were interpretations of something happening outside Finland. Especially Marko Laine's distorted and jacking techno sounded fat on a cassette. Also DUM Records run by Mono Junk was really into something (Disclaimer: No idea where that video is from – I am against this kind of driving).

Mika Vainio's stuff (known as Philus or Ø on Sähkö) didn't hit me right away. I was more a fan of Jimi Tenor, but Tenor kind of pulled me to Sähkö's back catalogue. I was open to interesting music and naturally Panasonic (later Pan Sonic) and Ø were really interesting – more like an antithesis of pop. I bought Ø's album to my little brother because I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Nowadays I've stolen that album from him.

In 1997 me and my friend arranged a party in Pihtipudas and we asked Jori Hulkkonen to dj there. I was 16 and Jori must have been around 24 or something, but he came and played for three hours. After that it was all about house music. Jori himself claims that he "never was the thing", but I must say that between 1998–2001 he was the best from my point of view. Besides Jori, Tuomas Salmela (aka Phonogenic) and Sasse were making quality house music.

I'm listening music on a relatively wide scale. High Violet by The National, Black Noise by Pantha du Prince, Origin by Villa Nah, Atom / Document by Robert Henke, Dettmann by Marcel Dettmann, Black Telephone of Matter by Mika Vainio, No More Stories Are Told... by Mew, In And Out of Control by The Raveonettes... For me techno and pop go hand in hand. They might be parallel universes, but both exist and don't block each other out. Warping from one universe to another is actually quite nice sometimes.

My three favourite records of all-time... Quite hard to say since some day one record sounds better than the other and vice versa. Today my top-3 of all time looks like this:
1. Drexciya: Black Sea
2. Surgeon: Atol
3. Maurizio: M5

About the debate between digital and vinyl... It doesn't matter what format you are playing if you can get the right feeling and the people sense it too. Personally I prefer vinyl and stick to it. When I see someone playing vinyl I get more out of it than seeing someone staring at her/his laptop. CD-r's are cool for playing your own edits or new pieces here and there. A lot of my friends have gone into digital deejaying, but so far I haven't been even planning to do that. I love to go through my records and pick some of them for my bag for the night. It's part of the deal.

I call my music 'depressive trance' because it's a total opposite of uplifting. 'Depressive trance' also states that I'm not aiming to produce club-bangers for Ibiza or even Berghain. On the other hand I want to step aside from categories. I don't want any labels in my forehead. The music has to reflect me – not a label or a genre or a club. Naturally the techno side of things are in-built, but it's more important to get the idea "he comes from techno" than "this is techno".

My strength and my weakness lies in this thing: the music doesn't pay my mortgage loan. I'm working as a journalist as my day-job and making music as my hobby. I don't have much time to produce new tracks, but every track is important to me. There is no commercial need to compromise.

What I'm about next? I've just finished my debut album for Prologue Music. I guess Tom from Prologue is trying to figure out how to sell it... It's a mixture of techno and pop, but only slightly stirred – not shaken. Techno tracks on the album are real techno tracks and pop is pop. I'm quite sure most people won't get it, but in my world it makes sense.

The other project is my new live-set that I'm building. It will consist of TB-303, TR-606, SH-101, MFB-502 and an fx-unit for some reverb and delay. Very stripped-down hardware-only setup. I might use also some circuit-bend stuff on the side, but the core is always the same. I got a bit bored of Ableton Live and at least this way my live set will sound totally different from laptop-sets.

okay! thanks to juho for sharing his story with us. now, on to the mix. juho had this to say:

"It's not the perfect take, but recorded on one shot. I added my own field recording in the beginning to add some special atmosphere to this mix. All the tracks (except for the first and last) are played straight from vinyl and it was mixed using an Allen&Heath Xone:32 mixer. I added a little bit of compression to the overall sound to keep the volume more stable.

It's all European techno - old and new stuff blend together. I'm a fan of U.S. techno too, but for this mix I wanted to promote this European sound."

01. Thunder – field recording by Juho Kahilainen
02. Marko Fürstenberg: 070120 (A.r.t.less)
03. Schermate: 001B (Schermate)
04. Giorgio Gigli, Obtane & nAX_Acid: The Child That Was Watching The Moon (Zooloft/Aconito LTD)
05. Ellen Allien: MM (Bpitch Control)
06. Peter van Hoesen: Quartz #1 (Time To Express)
07. Samuli Kemppi: Dark Matter (Mote Evolver)
08. Conforce: Intimidation (Meanwhile)
09. Terence Fixmer: Things Are Over (Electric Deluxe)
10. Basic Channel: Q1.1 (Basic Channel)
11. Tron: Kumi Putki (Function)
12. Surgeon: Atol (Downwards)
13. Pehr Henrik Nordgren: Vesipisaroita (On Off / Like Kustannus)

thanks again to juho for the words and for a nice, raw, spontaneous mix of deep, dark, and dubby sounds... and congratulations on his recent marriage! check out his homepage and his myspace for more info and updates. enjoy!

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