Monday, June 30, 2014

RA.422 - abdulla rashim

hopefully you've tuned into alan backdrop's very nice anatomy mix from last week. now here's this, from another blog favorite... an RA podcast from abdulla rashim! it's a really dense and heavy set made up of a bunch of music made by the man himself as well as new/unreleased stuff from friends, including lots of northern electronics material. (and yes, there's a tracklist.) you should definitely go listen.

Monday, June 23, 2014

anatomy 25 - alan backdrop

alan backdrop has returned! and so has the mix series after a long hibernation...

(photo by ross)

as tuned-in readers and listeners might recall, i connected with alan backdrop, aka alessio, sometime around early 2011. he crafted the ninth anatomy mix, a lovely three-hour trip called anecumene. he's gotten steadily busier since then, and in 2013 a diverse range of his tracks were issued through a handful of labels, highlighted by his first vinyl credits and a long digital release for prologue (which i reviewed over on RA). on top of that, he's had some notable dj gigs recently, including two in london as well as his debut at tresor in berlin.

i'm really happy to welcome alessio back and have him taking care of anatomy 25, as it marks a nice milestone for the series. this mix is (unsurprisingly) shorter than his prior effort, but no less captivating. first, let's have a chat:

Hello Alessio! It has been a little over three years since we shared anatomy 09. What's up?
Hello Brian! Three years already... time flies so fast! Many changes occurred during this period, some positive, some not so positive. But in the end, I'm happy with what happened. And now I'm really excited to release the second podcast on smilecoldanatomy, the portal where I released my first podcast ever.

You seemed to be very busy releasing music last year, including a digital EP on Ekar Records along with your first vinyl EPs, for Motoguzzi and Enklav. How did you connect with those labels?
Yes, it was the year where one of my biggest dreams took shape. I finally experienced the emotion of putting a cartridge on vinyl and hearing my own music. For sure, one of the most exciting moments in my life. Actually the really busy year, where I produced a lot of music, was 2012. I spent a lot of time experimenting and trying to find a personal sound. During this process, a lot of tracks came out. Some of them, for obvious reasons, were released in the following year. So, I consider 2013 as the result of 2012.

I have known Motoguzzi Records through Cio D'Or's release "Kimono." Since I liked what they were proposing lately, I decided to send some demos. Gianmarco, the label owner, liked my music. So we started to plan. For Enklav Records, I met Dario (Chevel) at a friends reunion/course for analog instruments in Venice. We introduced each other. Then, things happened automatically. I really liked what he was doing with his label, so, when he proposed a vinyl release for me, I enthusiastically accepted.

Coming to Ekar Records, I have to say I'm really in love with that project. It was started by my dear friend and fellow countryman Enrico (Air Protection Office). We always respect and support each other, in music and in life. The collaboration was inevitable.

Of course, last year you also made your debut on Prologue with the seven-track digital release VR Plan. Tell us about VR Plan, and your connection with Prologue.
Prologue! Of course my biggest attainment. I started to buy their releases since the first one. Some of them marked my life and my path. Same for the artists who release on this label. So, you can imagine what it means for me. I had the pleasure of exchanging a few messages with Tom [label owner Tom Bonaty] a long time ago after he listened to a mix I recorded at my place. I think he kept an eye on me since that moment. I don't know exactly how, I just know that some years later he proposed for me a digital release on Prologue. I was shocked! We were supposed to release 3-4 tracks, but, since things were long to organize, I kept sending new tracks. "VR Plan" is the result of the selections we made.

How has being signed for appearances on those labels changed your approach to production? Or has it not changed?
It didn't change so much. Of course I feel a bit of "sense of responsibility," but I want to continue to make music freely. And luckily, I collaborate with labels which allow me to do that.

Can you choose one track that you are happiest to see released on vinyl?
Ramas. [youtube link]

Tell us about your recent gigs. And how was your debut at Tresor?
Recently I had a special night playing at Crime Room in Lecce. It was my first time in the south of Italy and I have to say it was really comfortable. People are so warm and hospitable... it was one of the moments where I felt proud to be Italian. The organizers put their soul and their heart in what they do and you can feel it, you can breath it. The atmosphere was really positive and people were dancing so spontaneously. So, what ask more? It was perfect.

The following night I played at my beloved UndiciZerouno in Mestre. Since it's organized by really close friends (The Noisemaker, Modes, Paola Donadi) and it takes place in the province of Venice, I can say I'm home. I missed that feeling. I had the chance to play a relaxing warm-up. Then, I really enjoyed the other sets from my friends and Stanislav Tolkachev, then in the morning I played back-to-back with The Noisemaker. Absolutely amazing! It was only the second edition, but there's an intention to start again in September. I'm so excited.

Last weekend I played at Dazed & Confuzed in London. It was the first anniversary of the party and I was so honored to be in the lineup with outstanding artists. I get goosebumps thinking about the atmosphere of the party and the music... I was totally amazed by DJ Pete's set. I couldn't stop smiling and saying to my friends "He is a monster." Then, when the sun has set, Marco Shuttle started a deep and hypnotic journey… damn, what a party! I could spend so many words, but I couldn't express the feelings I had.

My debut at Tresor was great. I was the first one on the running order, so, I had the chance to build the atmosphere inside the club before the door opening. I'm an emotional person, so this helped me to relax. I enjoyed every moment and every person who got in the club and came to the dancefloor. Plus, a lot of my dear friends were there, beside me. It was a really special night. About the performance... there's always more to learn! But I'm pretty happy because the people were following my set dancing and smiling. That's what I need when I spin records.

What's next on the music front for Alan Backdrop? (new releases, gigs, etc)
I confirmed a new release for Ekar Records. We are planning everything and it will be out really soon. I will play two sets (ambient and techno) at Freqs Of Nature Festival in Germany between the 4th and 6th of July. Then, I'll be in Belgium on the 27th of July for the Huismuziek party at Warehouse O'cool with Synthek.

Finally, tell us about this mix!
Since I know smilecoldanatomy allows me to be totally free, I decided to record a predominantly ambient/soundscape mix, imagining landing on a mysterious island, walking through it for some days, feeling all the emotions it gives you, and then, going back to the boat and leaving. I hope you enjoy the journey!

and that's that. 70 minutes of lush, patiently building, increasingly rhythmic ambient sounds. all in all another excellent contribution from alessio, and (i think) a good way to get the series moving again here. thanks to alessio for returning and doing a fantastic job with anatomy 25. it's been a pleasure getting to know him, and i'm happy to see his music reaching wider audiences. you can keep track of him on facebook and RA.

oh, and thanks to all the artists who have joined the fun here over the years, and to anyone who's ever found anything of interest here. i hope you enjoy this mix!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

now hear this

it's a rainy grey evening here in chicago. here is some musical stuff i've been enjoying lately:

stanislav tolkachev at dommune he is one of my favorite producers, and i would say one of the most interesting voices in techno today. there's really nothing that compares to tolkachev's frenetic, polyrhythmic style, as far as i can tell. a few days ago he appeared on dommune to play an hour-long dj set of his own material, and unsurprisingly it's fantastic. fast, angular, sinuous, tense... fucking relentless!

yuka at tresor, august 2013 the globetrotting russian dj/producer (and like tolkachev, a fullpanda label affiliate) recently uploaded this recording of her dj'ing at tresor in berlin last august, for the fullpanda-focused party all you need is ears. included in the mix are raw, hypnotic techno tracks from the likes of dino sabatini, rrose and AnD (it's their track on krill music, a standout in a catalog that's otherwise meh to me). go to soundcloud or check it below.

DSCRD live at strichka festival this group, a key part of paris's tuned-in DEMENT3D label crew, construct dark and dense electronic soundscapes. about a month ago they played kiev, ukraine's strichka festival, and you can hear their live set on soundcloud... or right here.

stave - former (free remixes!) chicago producer stave turned in one of my favorite albums of 2013, reform, and later in the year came this pack of remixes of "tower 9," perhaps the most direct and aggressive cut on the album. my pick of the bunch comes from COiN, who has put out a few interesting solo releases on opal tapes. click here or stream below. ALSO: stave will be playing a contort event in berlin next month; i think (not sure) this will be his berlin debut. to any local heads reading this: i'd say his set should be a must-see.

... and you can also click here for bigger/better versions of that awesome photograph of the forbidden city. so, that's it from me for now. happy weekend!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

listen to the lost CAUSTIC WINDOW album (aphex twin!)

apparently: in 1994, richard d. james - aka aphex twin - finished up a full-length album using the alias caustic window, which was to be released on his label rephlex. it was never given a full release, and it seems only a few test pressings were shared between the artist himself and some others. fast-forward to earlier this year, when a crowd-funding campaign was started in hopes of purchasing one very high-priced test pressing sold on discogs. that endeavor was a success, and those who participated in the crowd-funding were entitled to a "limited" digital copy of the album... which, of course, in the age of the internet (and youtube, depending on how mean they want to be to non-corporate users), means just about everyone can listen to it.

now, the one sad thing about this is the sound quality, which is good but not excellent. i'll presume it's a reflection of the current condition of the twenty year-old vinyl. (allow me to rant for a second: how the hell could you NOT keep this in pristine condition?) otherwise, this is pretty dope: an inimitable blend of IDM, breakbeat, techno, ambient and so on that james is known for. you can hear the whole thing via this youtube playlist, which is ready to stream below.

the whole thing is good but here's my quick picks: "flutey," "stomper 101mod detunekik," "revpok," and the absolutely awesome "101 rainbows (ambient mix)." oh, and if you really wanted this on vinyl, that test pressing - which is claimed to be, but seems obviously not, in mint condition - is 'available' on ebay...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

more RA reviews

oh hey, more RA reviews from yours truly. i'll probably be doing this regularly, and add in a bit of extra opinion, just to make sure anyone who wants to be in the know is... in the know.

ducerey ada nexino - cycles, children & islands EP from an alias of yuji kondo, a japanese producer of dense, abstract techno. anything put out by kondo (or his collaborator katsunori sawa and their joint project, steven porter) is worth a listen.

oscar mulero - electric storm a mostly floor-focused record with so-so sigha and tommy four seven remixes. the originals win, but nothing special, i'd say.

dasha rush - timid ocean drawings it's always nice to see/hear fresh tunes from dasha! there's two here: one a minimalist dancefloor burner, the other a moody ambient techno soundscape.

northern structures - crossing bridges even though the tracks sometimes it sounds a bit same-y, i really like what these guys are doing: carving out their own style of thick, serrated techno.

DSCRD - panopticon another conceptual EP from this group on the the french label DEMENT3D, which continues to be one to watch.

rupcy - utow solidly effective techno, though i do wish that last track (that weird one) was longer.

korridor - dyson sector NGC 224 atmospheric techno from sweden that veers away from the dance floor. the first track's really close similarities to mike parker's stuff aside, this is an interesting release.

donato dozzy - terzo giorno i bet a lot of people had been hoping for a dozzy-SA connection. first there was dozzy's abstract remix of lucy earlier in the year (he had help on drums from his friend and collaborator morphosis, incidentally enough!), now there's this, an EP notable for being one of dozzy's heaviest releases.

abdulla rashim - unanimity already said enough about this one... excellent album!

damaskin - kaona i liked his first record better, but there's some pretty solid, smooth acid tracks on this one. decent though not too stunning cassegrain remix.

drøp - vasundhara heavy experimental grooves from a new artist and label - all italians now living in berlin. there's a pretty monstrous remix from dadub, but the original tracks are compelling enough.

... and as usual you can find this and everything else over at my RA page here.

one last note, these images come courtesy of NASA astronaut reid wiseman, who's currently aboard the international space station (ISS), and frequently posting photos via his twitter page. (you can see the images, and expand them to their original size, here and here and here.) this is his first trip to space, and his enthusiasm is inspiring. these astronauts deserve the highest praise and respect for what they do. space is the place!