Flux Vol. 1 | Oso Feo

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

 

-SO

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Warm Leatherette

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.

-SO

The Quebec Shuffle

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!

-Sebastian O.

Octo Octa’s “Granite House”

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!

https://lowincomesquad.bandcamp.com/album/li-003

Ripatti01

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.

-Sebastian O.

#39

#24

Stiltz Selection

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!

-Sebastian O.

 

Minimal On My Mind

Good morning everyone! Rise and shine and smell the minimal techno. Yes that’s right, today I will briefly go into minimal techno for those who are just getting into minimal. It is a very big thing to talk about so I will narrow it down to my favorite minimal artists; the one’s who I think are the best of the best in terms of minimal.

Firstly, I’d like to talk about Studio 1, who is in fact Wolfgang Voigt, a prodigious producer who releases material under varies aliases such as Gas, Mint, and Love Inc. This man is serious business, he’s the man with the only plan. And the end goal for his plan is to just be badass. That’s basically what all his music sounds like, at least to the extent that I have gone (he has a lot of music, and I mean a lot). With his Studio 1 releases, Voigt released each song as a different color. Each song has perfectly characterized each color in my opinion. For example, “Red” or “Rot”, as it is said in his native tongue (which is German), has a very aggressive tone to it. I don’t mean aggressive in the angry sense I mean it in a kinky kind of way. A way way where you can be as freaky as you want in a bed room or a dance floor. “Red” is very sexual, at least it is to me.  Take a listen and I’m sure we will share similar thoughts. “Rose” or “Rosa” is my personal favorite, because it feels like a drummer and bassist are jamming to the same loop for over 6 minutes. There are quite a few versions of “Rose”, so to make things clear, I am referring to the “Rose” on the Studio 1 Album. To me it pushes the idea of minimal in a live kind of way. “Rose” has the ability of getting you lost in the beat, especially when the hi-hats are sprinkling at your ear drum like droplets of water. It’s also a great cool down jam. Try it after you have partied all night and into the morning, you will see what I’m saying.

Voigt as Studio 1 brings something very simplistic and hypnotic to minimal. He pushes the idea of minimalism through the use of song structure. Most of the time, his tracks feel like they end the same way they start. For the most part this is true, but very small subtleties in between make the song worth hearing for 9 minutes. The perfection of the loop also makes his songs repeatable; the bass, oh the bass, rumbles through your body as if it were a force of holy nature cleansing and preparing you for the party to come.

Secondly I’d like to talk about Sistol, who was born with the name Sasu Ripatti. Ripatti is very commonly known as Vladislav Delay, Luomo and other forms. In some ways, Sistol pushed the minimal sound a little bit further. He pushed it passed a club aspect. In other ways, Sistol kept minimal in the club for those searching for really repetitive micro minimal sound.  “Hajotus” by Mr. Ripatti is extremely repetitive and has a tight bass that can keep the body swaying for nearly 7 minutes to no end. I picture this track playing in a club that’s dimly lit. This hypothetic club is lawless and allows you to explore whichever desire fits you. On the Other hand, “Kotka” begins in a very similar dirty club vibe that progresses into something beyond the club. Somewhere around 3 minutes the song begins evolving into something thought provoking. Sistol’s composition puts me in a state of ponder; I am somewhere lost in my thoughts questioning if I will ever leave or if I even want to leave. The sound in this track is just so beautiful and tranquil. There’s so much to say about the songs on here, but frankly, it is better to just listen to the tracks and enjoy them for yourselves.

Minimal itself takes vast forms, like Robert Hood in his song “Internal Empire”, focuses on a minimal use of instruments and effects. Most of the time there is usually one instrument sequence and one drum machine ferociously playing to the beat. The track uses minimalism to create a driving energy into Hood’s creations. Plastikman’s “Psykik” is another example on how a different use of minimalism is approached. There are only 3 instruments playing the entire 5 minutes and 50 Seconds. The kick drum and acid bass line play along the entire track in the dirtiest possible way, while still maintaining a minimal aspect.

Anyway, I think I’ve exhausted my writing for the day, so I will have to cut this article short. I have posted a small playlist of my favorite minimal so far. I think that I will probably post another article later on when I discover more awesome minimal so stay tuned! Note that a lot of this stuff is not on Spotify or Youtube, so you will have to find different ways of exploring this kind of music.