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

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.

 

The Irreverent Remixes of Sex Tags

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.

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.

Ammunition: Patronen

In search of some proper Electro, emerges Patronen from the depths of the internet. Keeping his identity a secret, not much is known about this mysterious artist except for the few words Alex Stark, label head of Fundamental Records, has shared from a string of emails prior to his first release Patronen A. Concerning their take on music, Stark and Patronen shared similar views that “nothing is more important than the music, it doesn’t matter who is behind it and the name and the face even less so.

Patronen A|B and possibly C|D are a collection of tapes made somewhere within the 1990-1994 time frame. Close to never being heard, the tapes were a month away from being locked up forever in a storage unit somewhere. Yet after 2 decades, Patronen feels this “music is more than ever relatable with the state of current electronic music and information exchange.”

In a state of over saturation and mediocrity, the current music scene is sometimes blessed with art that supersedes time and space. Covering a wide range of emotional triggers and sonic elements, Patronen A|B are sonic experiments dealing with isolation and technology. Taking cues from detroit electro contemporaries, Patronen paints a dark yet hopeful landscape with raw synths and drum machines.

Zukunft Flug greets us with an arpeggiated synth from space. Given contrast through the drawn out chords and fuzzy bassline, this is an excellent example of what Patronen is fully capable of. Gallimathias is a frenetic acid jam consisting of an ever evolving bassline. Schlaf being a slower dreamlike piece sharing similarities to early south german ambient electro. My personal favorite, Herbst Hymne, is a humanistic experience. German for Autumn Anthem, it speaks of decay and longing for life. Right from the start you’re trusted into mix with hot high hats and stained chords. Developing into something grand, a sweeping arpeggio whisks you away while the rest of the track keeps you grounded.

A fine collection of music dealing with complex themes even more so relevant today.

Patronen A|B

 

Patronen C|D

After a long drought, we’ve been lucky enough to be afforded some rain here in San Francisco. To mark the occasion, we’ve each picked 5 tracks from last year that fit perfectly with the somber weather.

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