It’s been a while, but I was able to make a mix of the music I’ve been listening too recently.
Artwork by: Chris Watts and Sebastian Ortega
It’s been a while, but I was able to make a mix of the music I’ve been listening too recently.
Artwork by: Chris Watts and Sebastian Ortega
Feelings of an energetic spiral motion feeding into itself, forever and ever. A cycle never ending, energetic limbo. Those are the first thoughts that come to mind when The Normal’s, or Daniel Miller’s, masterpiece, “Warm Leatherette”, is played against my ear drums. This cycle I’m describing is very similar to minimal techno in that it constantly repeats itself, in a drone like manner. Songs like Studio 1’s “Gelb” (“Yellow”) that are extremely repetitive remind me of The Normal’s hypnotizing track. “Warm Leatherette” may not be a club banger like “Gelb”, but the beat is constant enough that it could be played in a club setting, provided the timing is right.
Have I mentioned that this song also makes me want to dance with “Thriller” zombie hands sticking out while moving side to side? Well, it does. It’s the kick drum’s pattern, and how it plays along with the synth that really get my body into position. Overall, Miller creates a special mix between New Wave and Minimal that I just can’t stop listening to. There’s also a sensual punk kind of spice added to the composition with the lyrics; “A tear of petrol, is in your eye. Quick, let’s make love, Before we die. On warm leatherette.” The lyrics are primal and unforgiving and beautiful to some.
My absolute favorite part of Miller’s composition is that there’s no real chorus (catchy section). What fills the composition is a snare, kick drum, synth, and a voice. What I love is that Miller is pushing the boundary of standard familiar song structure, while still maintaining a level of the bare bones structure. Miller chose to keep this bridge of energy up until a point where he feeds fuel to the fire by talking about a car crash. Daniel Miller is a genius for this. “Warm Leatherette is ’78 prize gem. Anyway, check the song out, and if you ever come across the vinyl, just buy it. Don’t think twice. I will post the tracks referenced below.
As I slowly descend into the minimal sound that is not filled with white noise shower effects, I feel myself leaning more and more towards a micro house kind of feel towards minimal. The sounds seem as if they were carefully sound designed and brought up; clicking subtle pops tip toeing into the curious ear drum. What I enjoy most about songs such as Pantytec’s Remix of “Quebec Shuffle” by Akufen is that it brings a different atmosphere to the house and techno aesthetic.
There is a raw aesthetic in the “Quebec Shuffle” Remix like in many techno and house songs, but the elements are altered in a way that sets the composition apart. Elements such as the kick is more muted, meaning it is less punchy, while still maintaining a bumping kind of vibe. As usual, the bass runs the low end of things, which adds to the raw and heavy personality this track has. There are little pops in the mix that, to me, represent the snare. These pops in Pantytec’s Remix entice my ear in such a way that I can never listen to a snare drum again and be impressed, because Pantytec is finding a different way to insinuate the snare by using or altering a different sound. The alteration, to me, is so powerful, because it is executed tastefully and gets me lost in a bobbing head motion kind of way. The claps themselves are rolled off the top, meaning they contain some high end frequency range but not enough to call attention to it. In other words, the groove is kept and no energy is lost when the claps are muted.
Conclusively, you get the idea, Pantytec made a great remix of an already great song! The beat itself is perfect mixture of funky and groovy; a mad scientist’s perfect mixture and equation of how to make a person lose their shit in 5 minutes is what the “Quebec Shuffle” Remix really is. The song is what a perfect mixture of energy, sonic quality, and subtlety look like. I will post the track to this on YouTube (sorry, no Spotify because it doesn’t exist on there). Be sure to check out the other tracks on Akufen’s record Quebec Nightclub, they are mental!
Salutations from the Bay Area! I thought I’d write a little something about one of Maya Bouldry-Morrison’s, more commonly known as Octo Octa, tracks entitled “Granite House”, which I think describes a feeling of sadness, but a sadness you want to feel over and over because it’s a unique feeling to have. Octo Octa’s composition starts off with a pad looping in a poppy sort of way, followed by pianos and vocals mimicking the pad’s progression. I love how all the instruments in the song accentuate the main melody. Each instrument sequence repeats but there is always a little embellishment that maintains spice throughout; sometimes Morrison takes off the kick or snare, other times she raises the notes of the vocals to the next octave. To me, this main loop drives my head and shoulders in a swaying motion. I get so lost in this song that I never really want to leave. And the thought of this song ending brings upon me a pair of watery eyes ready to drip. “Granite House” is just so sonically diverse it hurts. It’s like a stinging sensation that travels from my neck into the bones of my fingertips. It hurts because the composition is of the melancholic manor, but the pain is something I love to feel.
“Granite House” is a great track that comes from an equally great compilation, “LI$003”, by the Low Income $quad, a collective and label from Croatia. If you get a chance, listen to this comp. “LI$003” is filled with a range of lofi, trance-tech, and deep house goodness. Yeah, it’s pretty out there. All the more reason for you to take a listen. I will post the link to their bandcamp where you can listen to it’s entirety, which includes Octo Octa’s masterpiece. Don’t forget to purchase if you really like the compilation!
Howdy, Sebastian here, today I feel like writing about Footwork. I don’t mean Chicago Footwork, I am actually referring to the Finnish variety. That’s right, although Footwork originated in Chicago (RIP DJ Rashad), it is now being reinterpreted all across the globe. The Finnish (arguably, legendary) producer, Sasu Ripatti, has now gotten his holy hands on it and made something quite chic.
“#39” starts off pretty intense with a deep and energetic kick, hi hats and vocal snippet. My first reaction to this is wow, I’m headed to bangerland, where the clubs and heads of every citizen are always banging. And while this song is being played, each banging head is beating differently. The track later softens up with some pads as they fade in and make banging heads sway. I fell in love with this track the first time I heard it. “#39” is an impeccable mixture of banging footwork and hypnotic feels. Towards the end, there’s even a small amount of an RnB feel to it as there are small vocal snippets of “ow” and “chu” tickling throughout. Ripatti just really knows how to take a track, shape it, reshape it, an reshape it once more. The entire composition is 11 minutes, but has something new coming in as the minutes count down; to me, this is entirely, utterly, outrageously, beautiful.
“#24” starts off just as deep and driving as “#39”, except “#24” is a lot more intense. The song just has a lot of emphasis on the beat itself. Instruments in congruence to the beat come and go, leaving a sense of variation and excitement to the ear. Every time a new section is introduced I’m sucked back into Hotel Bang, room number “24”. I then forget who I am for an allotted undefinable amount of time. It’s sometimes hard to believe that a Finnish producer created this. But then I remember that Ripatti is responsible for Vladislav Delay, Sistol, and more; Sasu Ripatti is not just a Finnish producer, he is a prodigious creation from an unknown source, meant to push and redesign musical concepts; A Demigod amongst mortal, flawed men. While this sounds a bit exaggerated, I assure you, this is no exaggeration. Mr. Ripatti is seriously that good. The sufficient amount of proof is in “#24”, a song that evolves from an explosive form of a banger into another, and into another. In essence, the variation in “#24” is diverse enough to keep me entertained for 8 minutes and 35 seconds. This style of reformation and evolution is seen rarely. Not to mention, Mr. Ripatti’s composition, “Huone”, under his Vladislav Delay moniker does the exact same thing, but in a 22 minute format (yeah, I know, he’s fucking crazy).
Sasu Ripatti, “The Master of Time and Variation”, has proven himself with countless monikers of his thinking. Now, in the wake and immersion of Chicago Footwork, he has risen once again to put his spin on the genre. Putting his spin on genres is one of Ripatti’s specialties, and I cannot wait for his coming releases. I will link his EP on Spotify and Youtube. Check it out! I think he’s already on his 7th release since 2013. The music is way to good to pass up on. If you are feeling frisky, I say you purchase RIpatti01, because this is one EP for the ages.
Today I’d like to talk about my favorite Baba Stiltz song so far, “Cherry”, which came out on the label UTTU. First off, the composition is exceptionally off the charts. I mean the track has a super 90s poppy house vibe to it that really resonates with me somehow. In my mind this track was made to be played in the middle of a party when things are about get loony. “Cherry” is that transition to acid house intensity. Well, that’s how I would play this track, anyway.
The piano riff really takes me away into the days of when I first entered the club at the tender age of 16 years. Those days were glorious because I knew nothing of the club culture, and to me, this world was so elated and full of mystery. A mystery I hope many get to experience once in there lives. Then come the strings in a very expected manner. Some would consider this as a cliche, I consider it as a necessary evil because this semi cliche section really puts me in a space lost in euphoria. The kind of euphoria that feels like infinity but only lasts a moment. This said state of euphoria holds a special place in my heart.
The way his beats constantly cut off, change, and keep grooving keep me glued. “Cherry” starts off with a basic kick and high hat loop, but is spiced up with another, more subby, kick drum. Sometimes Stiltz takes off the kick, other times he’ll remove the clap and then reintroduce it to keep a fresh disco vibe. This is the kind of variety that isn’t in a lot of house tracks because most house is very loop based, which is a reason why I’ve grown to love this song. Ahh this song is just so fucking good that I can’t help but sway my shoulders and bob my neck side to side as I’m writing this! Towards the end, there’s a little piano melody that gradually gets out of tune, but returns into it’s original state to harmonize with the piano riff. This is the only part I wished lasted a little bit longer, because the melody rides this funky soothing wave I want to be in for just 15 more seconds, no more or less.
This is why “Cherry” is my gladiatorial champion out of all the other Baba Stiltz contenders. Albeit, “Keep It Lit” is damn near close to being the victor because that song is just damn good; Good like a cruise through the Autobahn. The near 8 minute loop is just so hypnotic, you could keep listening until the end of time. Legowelt’s “Cherry” remix is also a pretty fire track. His take on “Cherry” has a more hypnotic and synthy vibe to it. Legowelts take on “Cherry” makes me want to bike ride on a sunny day non stop until I get a flat. That’s a great feeling to have, incase you were wondering.
Make sure to Check out the Cherry EP on UTTU’s Bandcamp site. I’ll link it below. Sadly, if you were looking to get the record on wax, it’s are completely sold out, partly because I bought the last copy, but I’m sure there’s more lying around somewhere in the universe. Cheers and I hope you all have a very cherry Wednesday!
I can only imagine the difficulty of attempting to remix someone else’s track—of trying to respect the world an artist has built while simultaneously breaking it down to isolated pieces, only to reconstruct it into something new. It’s a delicate balance between respect and rejection, of destruction and creation. The best remixes don’t just serve a functional purpose—of merely transforming a track into club friendly material—but instead they bring the track into the remixer’s sonic territory, refashioning it into their world view. Some artist thrive in this space like Ricardo Villalobos with his narcotic extended remixes or DJ Sprinkles with her voluptuous but politically-infected house remixes.
Two other artists that have mastered the art of the remix are DJ Sotofett and DJ Fett Burger. The two brothers, from Sex Tags fame, have the ability to tack on their signature insouciant sound to any track they remix. Both have released numerous remixes over the years but two in particular caught my attention last year: DJ Sotofett’s remix of Yoshinori Hayashi’s “Waterwheel” and DJ Fett Burger’s remix of Furious Frank’s “Flamen Galah.”
Of the former, DJ Sotofett brings a welcomed overhaul to Yoshinori Hayashi’s “Waterwheel,” keeping many of the sounds the same but rearranging them to give them more of a purpose. Hayashi’s music has always had a meandering, formless quality to them, with complex layers of sounds constantly shifting and never settling into a comfortable groove. But Hayashi pushed this sound to an almost impenetrable degree on the difficult EP, The Forgetting Curve. Gone are the beats and the whimsical tunes of his last EP, The Edge of the Edge, and what’s left are downright dreary and nightmarish textures. On the original “Waterwheel,” an acoustic guitar meanders through some semblance of a melody while a laxidasical snare and haunting synths come in and out at their own leisure. Each component of the track feels as if it’s struggling to come together to form some kind of sense. That Sotofett is able to rearrange it to give it more of a structure that people can hold onto is an accomplishment in itself, but he pushes it further by enlisting Osaruxo to play violin while also adding additional instrumentation of his own, such as percussion and flutes. The result is “Waterwheel Scenery DJ Sotofett’s Dubcurve Fix-Mix,” one of his best tracks that pays respects to the original while also evoking it’s own ideas. Sotofett loops the haunting synths from before and speeds up the aimless guitar picking, but this time he balances them out against a irreverent baseline that seems indifferent to the melancholy that Hayashi’s music inhabits.
On DJ Fett Buger’s remix of Furious Frank’s “Flamen Galah,” Fett Burger keeps things simpler but no less ambitious. The original is an electro track that bordered on ambience, a drum pattern serving as the backbone of the track while alien sounds swirl around. The focus is kept on texture and mood and it quickly settles on a comfortable low-key groove. On DJ Fett Burger’s “Flamen G 411 Street Mix,” he keeps the basic structure the same yet everything sounds significantly amplified. The percussion is much heavier while a ripping synth surges through the track. He removed some of the dripping elements of the original, but in it’s place are dramatic synths that close out the second half of the track giving it a sense of drama and weight. It’s a similar effect he used on the excellent “No-No 4 B” release of last year, where the song also meandered for half it’s length before giving way to striking synth chords. The effect is a track that reconfigures the original track to have a wider scope and a bigger statement.