The last part of my musical end-of-year review comes from Andy from Retina Funk. As the name of this Dusseldorf-based project implies, it’s all about visual stimulation: On the one hand, there are experimental VJ performances with multiple projection screens, live cameras and an armada of haptic controllers on stage. On the other hand, there is web development in all its forms. For instance, Andy is responsible for the programming of the marvellous Boom websites since many years. However, I know him to be a heavy music junky, a fun-loving and very open-minded one, with a high quality standard. When I asked him for his personal Top 10, he returned even two lists, albums plus single tracks. My pleasure to publish both of them here, since they represent a really great bandwidth of music from different genres.
My little ‘Best of 2011′ series wouldn’t be complete without a contribution from Mecklenburg. The North-East German state is known as the Land of the 1000 lakes, has a marvellous nature and despite its rural character a great electronic music scene. WeaselSon is a good example, since this dude is not only productive as it can be, but really kind of hyperactive. We met in 2005 during an X-Mas party on the grounds of Fusion festival. It became the legendary first gig of our mutual Faderskater project, but that’s another story…
During the past years, Weasel became more and more productive. On the one hand, there is his Progressive Trance project Forward. The extensive live setup is still never missing his beloved Roland MC-307. On the other hand, he is one half of Schaeufler & Zovsky, an up-and-coming Tech House duo. Their debut album was released on one of Mecklenburg’s most popular and most independent labels, 3000° Records (right, the other one is Acker) which speaks for itself. Last but not least there is Multiplex Records, an open-minded netlabel for Trance music run by Weaselson and some other likeable fellows from beautiful Mecklenburg. Weasel’s Top 10 reflects very well his multiple musical interests:
Another great DJ mix just as the year draws to a close: Commander Love presents a lot of acoustic guitar music, singer / songwriter tunes, folklore from different countries, and eventually there is even Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’. Wonderful music to listen to in all situations that involve relaxation. The name, ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’, refers to a weather phenomenon that causes mysterious lights on the masts of sailing ships. The same physical effect can be seen in the amazing opening scene of Lars von Trier’s film ‘Melancholia’, by the way.
Ausgehend vom anhaltenden Hype um Apple-Produkte untersucht diese Dokumentation den aktuellen Zeitgeist unserer Gesellschaft, wobei sie sich insbesondere mit dessen Aspekt der Gegenkultur auseinandersetzt.
“Der Kapitalismus verlang keine Konformität beim Konsum. Gegen den Kapitalismus zu rebellieren, indem man etwas anderes kauft oder anders aussieht, hat keinerlei Auswirkung auf das System. Im Gegenteil, es hält es im Gang.” (Joseph Heath, kanadischer Philosoph)
Andere spannende Aspekte sind Identität und individuelles Selbstverständnis, Religion sowie das Verliebtsein in eine Technolgie. Alternativ ist die Sendung in der Arte Mediathek verfügbar
Part 3 of my musical end-of-year review comes from Mark Rhein from the picturesque small town Lueneburg near Hamburg. I still know him from the excellent Sonic Fiction events over there, definitely a class of its own in terms of party. Today he is running the Wake Up! events together with a friend, a regular party that features everything from Deep House to Tech House, Minimal and more.
“I have a special relationship to every track. For instance, there is Jacob Korn, a really likeable young guy from one of my fav labels ‘Uncanny Valley’ based in Dresden. After Kelli Hand played in his hometown, they produced the wondefull track ‘Dance Away’. I played him countless times and it always worked the crowd like a bomb. And this 10 years after I bought my first Kelly Hand EP ‘Detroit History Part 1′, out on Tresor Records in 2001.”
Jacob Korn & Kelli Hand – Dance Away (Uncanny Valley)
The second part of my musical end-of-year review series comes from Alic, a transnational duo living in Málaga, Spain, and Freiburg, Germany. What I like about the two of them in a musical respect is their steadfast commitment in the field of Psychedelic Techno. And I mean psychedelic Techno, not just another Tech House production by former Trance artists. Alic keep up the tradition of legendary acts like Spirallianz, Midimiliz or Fuzzion. They do so by producing their very own style of music, by being the responsible A&Rs for Horns & Hoofs Entertainment, and last but not least by running the successful netlabel Digital Diamonds that frequently presents high-quality Psychedelic Techno for free.
“Wow, 2011 was really, really rich in good music, a lot of fantastic tunes for dancefloor as well as for homelistening. While the first part of the year was shaped by slower BPMs and neotrancy grooves, the second part hitted with Dark and Psychedelic Techno. Sometimes melancholic and incredibly epic at the same time, but always pumping hard to the max- this is how we would describe our musical 2011!”Alic (Volker & Adam)
“A young Fassbender, a young Hitchcock… they wouldn’t make it in this business. Slap up their early stuff on Facebook, on Youtube, it would get lost, get lost in the ocean of garbage.” – A highly interesting documentation about the inflation of creativity.
Okay guys, you’ve been waiting eagerly so finally here it is: The Hedonistic Freelancer’s musical end-of-year review. Actually the term ‘review’ is not appropriate because I will delight you with an entire series of reviews during the next weeks. For this purpose, I asked some of my esteemed drinking buddies for their personal Top 10 of music released in 2011.
We start with mister Luckyarts from Berlin. He is an interesting dude in several respects: First of all, unlike the majority of young Berliners, he does not dream of being a creative agency worker in Germany’s trendy capital. Nope, he is one. Second, he runs the non-profit music project OneBeat which could be described as open-minded, eclectic and truly artistic. Third, and that’s probably the most important reason why I asked him for his Top 10: I know him to be a fun-loving, heavily addicted music junky. Quite a like-minded character, in other words.
“Not an easy task as there was so much good stuff, but great fun to go through some of the tracks that made my year. I listened to a lot of slow House & Deep House, Indie, Downtempo and dubstepish Electronica… In 2011, I felt the tempo going down, with James Blake and Nicolas Jaar coming out strong with their LP’s. The debut of New York’s Sepalcure is great, Motor City Drum Ensemble published a great DJ Kicks on K7 and slow House in general had great output with Berlin-based Trickski and 6th Borough Project releasing full length LPs.”Luckyarts
Sweet oldschool stuff by UK Hardcore, Breaks and Jungle pioneers 2 Bad Mice. “Mixed with deadly precision, it’s essentially a greatest hits of hardcore and early jungle, all killer and no filler” (FACT Magazine).
Two aspects of this album are remarkable, and it is their combination that makes it one of the outstanding releases in 2011.
First, there is the sound of this trumpet. Often dreamy and sentimental, sometimes lively and frisky. It’s incredible how much soul and character this instrument has, creating profound emotions and a very strong feeling. There are also other classic instruments, a Spanish guitar and a Thai seung, played no less skilfully. All together these acoustic instrumentations lend to the music a jazzy moment of timelessness and a feeling that can simply not be accomplished by synthetic sounds.
Second, there is the aspect of electronic rhythms. Their variety is huge and again, they are arranged masterly. Reaching from classic Psychedelic Chill Out and Downbeat structures to well-done Jungle and Dubstep rhythms to four-to-the-floor beats and a hovering Ambient track with barley any percussive elements, there is an amazing variation from title to title. Elements from the genres just mentioned are carefully quoted, yet the musical moment is clearly based on the acoustic instrumentation.
French producer Lakay manages to combine these two aspects in an amazing way, a way that could probably be described best as jazzy. While there are undoubtedly quite some elements from this genre, it is also the open-minded approach on intelligent, profound music that is reminiscent of the original idea of Jazz. Enjoy People was released on Hadra Records.
This man needs no introduction, especially for frequent readers of my blog: Being one of the two heads behind Switchstance Recordings, Kabanjak is not only responsible for Germany’s probably best label for dope sounds, but also for a number of top-notch projects like the Ancient Astronauts or Deela. Before this year ends, he presents a Best Of Compilation with some of his amazing solo productions. And this DJ mix, an eclectic mixture of Rock, Funk, Hip Hop, a pinch of Reggae and other great music. Have a look at Kabanjak’s blog for his tracklist and his comments on the music selection!