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.

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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

The Awe: Alicia Myers

As I am listening to “I Found Love At A Disco” by Alicia Myers, I think of all the great songs this women has been sampled in. Even more so, I think about how she changed lives with all the great originals she’s spawned in her lifetime. I first found Myers through a song named “Thank You” by the one and only Busta Rhymes. The song features Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Q Tip, but really it’s a song between Tip and Bus. The song is INSANE, and I mean insane as in pure maniacal genius. Bus’ and Tip’s flow is like liquid smooth swag dripping over the bathroom counter. Their words roll off the tongue like butter.

The sample they used in order to make the track was equally as beautiful as their raps, so I ended up finding it through Who Sampled Who. The track is entitled “I Want To Thank You” by Alicia Myers (Hence why Bus’ track is called “Thank You”). Myers’ song is one of the most heavenly songs in the world. I can feel the joy crawling from the heart to my finger tips. I seriously sing at the top of my lungs when this song plays on my Galaxy S7, provided I’m all alone in my house. After finding this track, I instantly grabbed as many of her records as I could, which were only 3 out of her 5 albums out currently. Each album is as good as the first; the 80’s funk instrumentation in each song are enough to set me off into a blissed state. The emotion Myers let’s out is unreal and pushes me even further into a personal Nirvana.

Finally, as months without listening to Alicia passed, DJ Rashad, one of the most influential artists in my life, sampled “You Get The Best From Me (Say Say Say)”. His track “Cause I Know U Feel (Feat. Gant-Man)” samples said Myers track, and it’s such a great usage of the sample. He essentially makes a footwork edit/remix of the track. The song is hypnotic, fast, and ghetto, which is what I love about Juke and Footwork. (If you don’t know what Footwork or Juke is, I suggest you look up Teklife and RP Boo and start listening.) All writing aside, just listen to the track, you will see what I mean.

And so here I am, lost in the Alicia Myers sauce, never to return. I truly hope someone loses themselves as well. A playlist of my Alicia Essentials and material she is sampled on will be posted on Spotify and YouTube.

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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