mnml ssgs

Friday, July 13, 2012

so long, and thanks for all the ssgs

MNML SSGS began on 11 December 2007. While we definitely had plans when we commenced the blog, we certainly had no expectation that it would ever develop in the way it has. A lot of time, energy, thought, love and luck has shaped the path(s) MNML SSGS has taken in the intervening 4.5 years. It has been a weird and wonderful ride, but it is time to bring the blog to an end.

Even though the blog is closing, Chris will be continuing to fly the MNML SSGS flag in Tokyo through putting on more parties, doing some more DJ'ing and engaging in some other activities that he hasn’t quite worked out. The Sound Garden chill out parties will be continuing, with the next ones being on Sunday 22 July and Sunday 9 September. There is also another MNML SSGS club night at Module planned for later in the year on Saturday 17 November. For more information about these and other activities, Chris has set up a MNML SSGS TKY tumblr, which he will be regularly updating, and he will continue to operate the MNML SSGS twitter account. After some rest and time out, there are plans to start some new projects. He is not sure what, how or when these will occur, but Chris is not done with electronic music, that’s for sure.

PC intends to continue the critical and reflective trajectory of ssgs ‘in some form’ as yet undecided. It may well involve an online presence, but would most likely be heavily text-based, though in a way which, if it works against the medium, deliberately sets out to do so in a creative and productive way. It may also feature interviews, interactions with live events, even recordings, though more like PC’s semi-regular radio appearances. It would also emanate from Melbourne, though it could hardly be ‘Australian content’ in that horrible cultural cringe-responsive, cringe-inducing way. For this reason it will have no relation to any iteration of the ABC, living or dead. Likely as not, it will not be a blog; it will not have a comment box; it will not be called MNML SSGS – but it may embody its spirit, in some rearranged form.

The MNML SSGS blog may be complete, but we are interested in maybe finding a way to continue to connect the community of likeminded souls that we have found through doing this. In case that happens, we are creating a mailing list as a way of being able to update you of any future plans that may eventuate. There definitely will not be any regular emails, so in case you would like to subscribe, please do so here.

We will be leaving all the content of the blog online – including the mixes – and we hope that it will still have some use, either as a historical record of one particular take on electronic music between 2007 – 2012, or as a resource for people interested in exploring some of the sounds we have featured on the blog. We are proud of what is here and believe it has – in some small way – a certain enduring value.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to and supported MNML SSGS over the years.

MNML SSGS / Chris and PC


Terre Thaemlitz Terre's Neu Wuss Fusion (2007 Archive of Silence Mix) from thisfatzoo on Vimeo.

MNML SSGSが誕生した2007年12月11日から早4年半。


ブログとしてのMNML SSGSは終わっても、クリスは東京を拠点にリアルでのMNML SSGS活動、そしてDJ活動を続けます。
チルアウトパーティーSound Gardenの次回とその次は7月22日と9月9日に開催するので、皆さんいつも通り奮ってご参加下さい!11月17日には2回目のMNML SSGS PARTYを前回同様渋谷のModuleで開催します。ゲストなどの詳細は追って発表します。今回も自信を持って一晩音楽をケータリングしますのでご期待下さい!東京での活動など、クリスからの諸々の情報共有のためにはこちらのtumblrを作りましたので是非チェックして下さい。MNML SSGSのツイッターアカウントも今までと変わらずクリスが更新していきます。

という媒体からは離れるものの、何らかの形で思慮深く学術的な音楽にまつわる批評や考察をメルボルンから発信し続けていきます。まだ具体的に何とは決められていませんが、ラジオ番組への出演、ライブイベント、インタビュー、レコーディングなどを通し、ブログではなく、コメント欄もなく、MNML SSGSという名前でもない「何か」を通して今後もMNML SSGSの観念を貫き続けることには変わりありません。

今後のMNML SSGSの動向が明確化された場合や臨時のニュースなどを必要に応じて皆様にお届けするために、ニュースレターを設置します。興味がある方はこちらから購読して下さい。

ます。2007年から2012年にかけての一個人によるエレクトロニックミュージックの一解釈として、または私達がMNML SSGSを通してプッシュしてきた音を追求したい人のためのリソースとして、私達自身も誇りに思える、テキストとミックスから成る4年半の軌跡のアーカイブが今後も音楽愛好家やエレクトロニックミュージックに興味のある人達の目に触れ、役に立つことを願います。

最後に、MNML SSGSをサポートしてきて下さった皆様。MNML SSGSに関わって下さった皆様。改めまして、4年半もの間、

MNML SSGS / Chris and PC



Chris: ‘The end is important in all things.’

'When guests are leaving, the mood of being reluctant to say farewell is essential. If this mood is lacking, one will appear bored and the day and evening’s conversation will disappear.'
Yamamoto Tsunetomo

MNML SSGS was always an experiment of sorts – it was an attempt to make a critical intervention on our own terms. There has always been a critical intent in what we have tried to do, and by this I mean not simply offering criticism, but also providing alternatives, standing for something and trying to carve out our own particular (and personal) vision of what electronic music should be. This was never meant to be an open-ended project, however. Yes, we could keep publishing mixes, putting together the occasional think piece or round up and so on, but we have done all of this, and we have done it for quite some time now. In this specific format and structure, I doubt we can come any closer to achieving our core aims. A more basic reason why it feels like the right time for the blog to end is a very simple one: I am tired. I don’t have enough energy left for it. It is time to take a step back, rest and gain fresh inspiration so that I can find a new way to contribute.

It is quite difficult for me to really comprehend properly the distance I have travelled – physically, mentally, emotionally – between when the blog started and now. MNML SSGS commenced at the end of 2007 when I was in living in Canberra, and since then I have spent a couple of years in the UK before relocating to my current home of Tokyo. The blog was founded between 4 people. Dave: my oldest and closest musical friend, Cam: the person that joined us together and subsequently departed, and Peter: my very dear friend, sparring partner and trusted co-pilot. Dave has always been the silent partner in the back seat, Cam got out at some point, and Peter and I have driven the ssgs bus together the rest of the way. But the close personal relationships relating to the blog extend well beyond these 4 people: one of the most rewarding parts of doing MNML SSGS has been the many wonderful people I have had the chance to connect with over the years. A defining moment for me that sums all of this up was Labyrinth 2008. Arriving on my birthday, over the next few days I met the woman I am now very lucky to call my wife, and a number of people that have become some of my closest and most trusted friends. And though Labyrinth is the obvious reference point, through the blog I have been fortunate to connect with people literally all over the world. The majority of my musical life was lived in near isolation – pre-internet, in Australia and with only Dave to keep me company – so to go from that to a situation where I have been able to meet, engage and develop friendships with many like-minded people has been something I have really appreciated. 

The blog has been a powerful learning experience for me in many different ways. Musically, my tastes have changed and evolved over the years, as can be evidenced from the various posts in the archive. While some readers may have viewed MNML SSGS as a resource, for me it has been an incredibly good way for discovering more. I have learned more about music in the last 4.5 years than I have in the rest of my years combined. And during this time I have also found out - through trial and error - more about how the internet works, the power (and problems) of words and so on. There have been mistakes and missteps over the years, but this has all been part of the process. Another incredibly valuable lesson I have learned through doing the blog is simply what is possible. We built MNML SSGS from scratch into something that has had – in its own unique, limited way – some kind of ‘impact’. My point here is not to try to make claims about what we have done, but to hopefully leave our experience as something that others can benefit from. If you care about electronic music and you want to contribute, you can. It is not easy: it takes a huge amount of time, energy, persistence and much more, but it is possible for you to play your part. One of the great things about electronic music is that there is plenty of space to move and groove. There are lots of opportunities out there, and plenty of ways that you can make a contribution. And doing so does not simply mean making music or DJ’ing – the scene is reliant on so many other people: organisers, journalists, bloggers, label owners, and of course, those that buy the music and go to the parties. For years I wanted to be able to contribute more to the music I so dearly loved, but I felt I couldn't because I wasn't a DJ, producer or promoter. Eventually I found through doing this blog that there was a way I could do something and play my part. If you want, you can too.

The only thing left for me to say is ‘thanks’. Doing this blog has been an incredible experience and I feel deeply grateful to everyone who has contributed to it. We have been very fortunate to have had so many people support us – the artists, the labels, many other people in the scene, the various sites and blogs we’ve bounced off, and good ol’ blogspot, and, of course, all of you for listening, reading and engaging with us. There are many people I could thank individually, but they know who they are. I would, however, like to specifically thank my wife Yuri for all her love and support, as well as providing very valuable help with the Japanese translations on the blog and twitter. And most of all, I would like to thank Peter. I can honestly say Peter is one of the most truly excellent people I know and it has been a privilege and a pleasure to do MNML SSGS with him. This blog is as much about my friendship with him as it is about music. I’ll leave it at that.

Thank you ssgs. Catch you on a (non-existent) dancefloor again soon.



PC: Stick a fork in it and turn it over – it's done

The passage of ssgs passing and past

This has been a real adventure. We started ssgs as an experiment for ourselves, and as a response to what we thought were the deficiencies of the way electronic music was being written about at the time. It was about finding a way to say... something we wanted to say... in a way we were comfortable saying. It was about making a space for this 'something to say', a space that didn't exist in the way most dancefloors do, but that was available because of the materials we had access to. But at the same time, I can only say all that retrospectively. It's funny how we have cultural frames for premeditation and preemption, but struggle with meditation and emption, and can barely conceive of postmeditation and postemption. There's a quote from The Man Without Qualities where Musil conceives the course of history as being like the passage of clouds that captures something important about this. He writes:
The course of history was therefore not that of a billiard ball, which, once it is hit, takes a definite line – but resembles the movement of clouds, or the path of a man sauntering through the streets, turned aside by a shadow here, a crowd there, an unusual architectural outcrop, until at last he arrives at a place he never knew or meant to go to. Inherent in the course of history is a certain going off course.
Processing ssgs: the starting and sustaining thereof

For me this is what the process was actually like, much more like meandering, bumping into music and people that interested or repelled us, ending up somewhere we hadn't expected, ending up defending something we only realised we'd built at the very moment we were engaged in fighting for it. I don't want to get defensive about the structure we've built, I think it's defensible. It's weaknesses and follies are all our own... I hope also it shows you that anyone can do what we've done, there's nothing special about any of the components, they're still all there. It's among the things I enjoyed doing the most, building something then defending it. I guess I never outgrew my Lego sets, and my particular fondness for re-building the castles contrary to the instructions. That's not what was challenging about the whole thing, I have to say...

It's not difficult to start a blog; many I know have started blogs, or talk about wanting to do so. It seems to be a common wish, still: start a blog, express yourself, reach a public, become something. That's what we wanted, too. And yet... what doing a blog over so many years has taught me is that it's much more difficult to keep going, to sustain things. There are moments of inspiration, and there is momentum, but often it's a matter of continuing when you're tired of the routine, impatient for new patterns (and hoping someone else will make them for you), or just plain old fashioned bored (especially of your own schtick). This can be doubly stressful when you're supposed to be the people providing an excess of passion and enthusiasm.

Boredom is also fundamental though, and not least of all to the future of any possible sustained storybuilding. And so is silence. But even then, to repeat, it's hard to sustain something... much harder than beginning it. The Spanish author Javier Marias talks about this: much easier to imagine something, to dream up a story, than it is to really sustain that vision, to see it through to the end. I wish the keyboards we use had a sustain pedal. We seem to need to keep hitting the same notes, with various attacks, in order to strike the kind of chords that might resonate in the space we made. Perhaps I should have done my piano practice, as mum instructed, instead of dreaming over Lego.

habit-forming ssgs (now with 30% more wrinkles)

A stone never acquires the habit of its trajectory. Not only are no two throws the same, they never tend, with repeated throwing, to form a habitual arc. Unlike us. That's another thing that makes ssgs different from stones. We're creatures of habit, and creatures of habit carry the scratches of their repetitive paths: 680 posts, to be precise - and god knows how many comments, how many words. It's easy to see now, as we end the blog, how note and passage worked, one by one, mix by mix, toward a collection of grooves that have deep relations to one another, that mix. The round and round of ssgs has made a lasting impression on me. Ssgs is in the mix for the rest of my life. Then again (again) I don't remember everything; I re-read the shit I wrote and I am actually surprised by myself: 'I said that?' Or, on the other hand: 'fuck, I've been saying the same thing over and over since we started, with only the tiniest variations.' Upon re-reading, I notice that some of what we wrote was okay, it didn't even make me cringe or flinch. This is as close to contentment as I ever am with anything I've ever written; I don't like the way this post is going... it sounds too much like... me...  

our pop crackle present: this beautiful ssg box

I can say confidently that most of the music we presented was really magnificent. In fact I'm quite astonished at how well it turned out. This is what makes the archives so precious. Now that all's said and done for the purposes of the blog, this is what I feel the strongest fidelity to. I'm very proud of the archive we've managed to put together, and the way in which, as a gathered thing you can put in the ssg box, it marks out a space in time that I am thankful for being a part of.

And most of all, finally: thank you for listening.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

fnl series

Ok, the mixes are done. We thought it'd be good to present them together as collectively they are meant to be a final statement about what we have tried to do with the mixes here on MNML SSGS. We encourage you to spend time with these last mixes. And, of course, don't forget about the rest of the archive - there is plenty there to (re)discover. Some people have asked whether we will be removing the mixes. Don't worry, we definitely will not. We want to make sure they are freely available for people to continue exploring at their own leisure. When we have some more time, we'll try to find a good place to back them up online too.

Donato Dozzy

Svreca (tracklist)

Morphosis (partial tracklist)

Bill Kouligas (tracklist)

Peter Van Hoesen

part 1:

part 2:

More very soon...

Monday, July 9, 2012

mnml ssgs mx fnl - peter van hoesen

After more than 4 years of doing mixes deciding how to finish should have been difficult, but somehow the answer presented itself in a very easy and natural manner. The two artists that have most strongly shaped and defined MNML SSGS have been Donato Dozzy and Peter Van Hoesen. It is fitting that Donato opened our fnl series, and now with Peter we close our mixes.

The mix that PVH has provided is the live recording from last year's 'Enter the Labyrinth' party, which was held at Unit, Tokyo on 3 May 2011. The context for this set is vital: it took place during Golden Week, approximately 7 weeks after the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan. The weeks that followed March 11 were incredibly difficult for those of us here: discovering the extent of the damage to the Tōhoku region, dealing with the way this tragedy had impacted on loved ones, watching the disaster unfold at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, trying to stay calm amidst the constant aftershocks. Life in Japan was not normal, far from it, yet the people here did their best to manage in these tough circumstances. Within our circle, the majority of the electronic music community was incredibly generous and supportive during these difficult times. Slowly things got easier, but still there was a strong sense of unease. Golden Week - a traditional holiday period in Japan around the end of April / start of May - felt like an important turning point when a greater level of normality began to return. One sign - at least for us - was that people felt like it was ok to start going to parties again. This was the setting for the Mindgames party, which featured Eric Cloutier and Peter Van Hoesen. After Eric gracefully warmed up the Unit dancefloor with his distinctive deep-burning take on techno, it was Peter's turn. Over the following hours PVH constructed one of the most beautiful, emotional and powerful sets of techno music I have had the fortune of experiencing. The defining element of his set was how incredibly fluid and natural it was. The music snaked through the night, changing styles and BPMs, with the crowd following the whole way. After all the sadness, the anger, the stress, the fear, on this night we were together and we shared something very special. Often live recordings fail to do justice to what actually happened. But sometimes, just sometimes, the magic carries over.

Some words from PVH:

The last mnml ssgs mix. Here it is. I've been asked to provide some words to go along with it. Let me see. There are so many things to write about, as the connection with my ssg friends over in Japan and Australia is a multi-layered one. I could write about Japan in the aftermath of the Tohoku quake. I could write about courage, stamina and the will to persevere and to party on in the face of adversity. I could write about being supported in a heartfelt way. I could write about opinions and how you can disagree and enjoy the disagreement. I could write about a place up in the mountains. I could write about witnessing people developing a particular taste and share it with others. I could write about music, tying us all together, without end. But let's not. All I want to say is that May 3rd 2011 was a very special night for many reasons, linked to a unique group of people. It is a pleasure to present this mix to my friends from mnml ssgs and their loyal readership. Most of all I dedicate this mix to the people who were there at Unit, that special night. Let's do it again, soon. 

PC and I would like to thank Peter for this recording and his previous ssg mixes, as well as Mindgames who put on the party and kindly agreed to let us use the recording. Once again we would also like to express our most sincere thanks to all the artists who have contributed mixes over the years, to for their incredible support, and to all of you for trusting us and listening. Doing these mixes has been an incredibly powerful and worthwhile experience, and we are incredibly grateful to have been able to do this. Thank you.

Bill Kouligas tracklist

Since posting Bill's mix, I have now had a chance to listen to the latest release on Pan: a massive collab between Mika Vainio, Lucio Capece, Kevin Drumm and Axel Dörner. Wow. The LP is ridiculous. Definitely not for the faint of heart, it is an intense, powerful listen. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, or if you like any of the artists involved, I strongly recommend checking it out. On a related, but slightly different tip, here is the tracklist for Bill's quality mix:

Lawrence Weiner 'Nothing to Lose' (Van Abbemuseum)
John Sangster 'First Light /Sunrise/The Birds' (Cherry Pie)
Frieder Butzmann 'Wie Zeit Vergeht' (PAN)
Instant House 'Lost Horizons' (Jungle Sounds Records)
Pépé Bradock 'Attaque De Boulangerie' (Atavisme)
Robert Hood 'Behind This Door' (Cheap)
Lee Gamble 'PLOS 97' (PAN)
Étant Donnés ‎'Plutôt L'Exil Du Cinq Doré'  (Vita Nova)
Kassem Mosse '578' (Mikrodisko Recordings)
Trevor Wishart 'Imago' (PAN)
Leron Carson 'Red Lightbulb' (Sound Signature)
Master C & J 'Face It' (State Street Records)
Aybee 'Nigg#z And Space Machines' (Deepblak)
Driphouse 'Slow Sum Part One' (Spectrum Spools)
Magic Mountain High 'XX B' (Workshop)
Aaron Dilloway 'Labyrinths & Jokes' (Hanson)
Kowton 'Des Bisous' (Pale Fire)
NHK'Koyxen '101' (PAN)
NHK'Koyxen '629' (PAN)
Convextion 'Untitled' (Matrix Records)
Levon Vincent '1000 Miles From Home' (Novel Sound)
Eli Keszler 'Catching Net' (PAN)
Flux of Pink Indians 'The Value of Nothing' (One Little Indian)
Fred P 'No Looking Back' (Soul People Music)
Moodymanc 'Coleman' (20:20 Vision)
DJ Qu 'Secret Place' (Strength Music Recordings)
Togashi Masahiko 'Spritual Nature' (Inner City Records)
Gallifré '117 (House Beats)' (Danica Records)
Maximillion Dunbar 'Cassette Arabic' (L.I.E.S.)
Risque III 'Essence of a dream' (Stride Records Inc)
R/S 'Chicago II' (PAN)
Dreesvn 'Untitled' (Acido)
Elgato 'Blue' (Hessle Audio)
Jeanne Lee 'Angel Chile' (Earthform)
Bernard Parmegiani 'Pop'eclectic' (INA-GRM)
DJ Sotofett 'Untitled' (Sex Tags / Wania)
'Shake' Shakir 'Indagoo' (Morphine)
Rhythim Is Rhythim ‎'Beyond The Dance' Cult Mix (Transmat)
Actress 'Shadow From Tartarus' (Honest Jons)
Jacques Lejeune 'Final À La Cour Du Prince' (SFP)
Ed Barger 'E Coli' (LAFMS)

Thanks again to Bill for putting this together. The final mnml ssgs mix will be up in the coming days.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

mnml ssgs mx fnl - bill kouligas

Our penultimate ssg mix is from Bill Kouligas, the man behind Pan, one of the most interesting - and perhaps important - labels operating right now. Pan first appeared on my radar care of a ssg reader who strongly recommended I immediately get a hold of Keith Fullerton Whitman's Disingenuity / Disingenuousness. And so I did. Even though I have struggled to fully connect with it, I'd say this is arguably one of the most important releases to come out in the last 5 years. It seems to be bringing together some very important strands together, and is an incredibly well produced record in its own right. The label has flourished since then, with releases from a range of impressive newcomers (Heatsick), mid-career bloomers (NHKyx), and some seriously heavy hitters (SNDPeter Rehberg). Pan occupies a very interesting location, which is hard to fully identify but perhaps best described as existing on the boundary between experimental and techno, though I am not sure this description really does justice to what they are doing. The label has distinguished itself with an impressive combination of uncompromising sounds and beautifully packaged records, and is currently playing an important role in challenging and rewarding our collective tastes.

When we started doing mixes here, one of the original aims was to use them as a tool for discovering more about artists, sounds and labels that intrigued us. And this was certainly the intent with asking Bill for a mix. Pan has clearly been doing something very interesting, and our feeling was that we'd be interested to hear more from the person responsible. Now that we have the mix, I am not sure if I know that much more about Pan, but I certainly have learned something about Bill (I think). We honestly didn't know what we'd receive, and this mix confused what few expectations we had. And this is most definitely a good thing! Clocking in at 3 hours this is another lengthy, weighty mix that takes time and consideration. Like with our other big servings from Svreca and Morphosis this is also worth investing yourself in. Unsurprisingly it covers a fair amount of ground, but at its core I think I'd describe it as a house mix. Certainly not a normal one, however... It kind of reminds me of old Matthew Herbert at his best - classical perhaps, but a very bent, crooked and wandering form of house music. With those words, I will leave you to discover the rest.

We will have the tracklist next week. For more information on Pan, check the homepage and soundcloud. You can also follow Bill / Pan on twitter. The label has just released an excellent new EP from Heatsick (killer B side), and two others I am excited to check: one from Helm, and the ridiculous lineup of Mika Vainio, Lucio Capece, Kevin Drumm and Axel Dörner all on the same record. Big thanks to Bill for finishing this expansive mix during an incredibly busy period of time for him. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

mnml ssgs mx fnl - morphosis (extended version)

Last week, as part of our fnl series, we presented the first hour of a recent Morphosis DJ session at Panorama Bar. The decision to provide just the first segment was to focus on the way Morphosis introduced the night and give what we think is an excellent example of how much breadth and space is possible in a live DJ set. We felt it was really important to present it in this way, but the big problem with our decision was that it meant everybody missed out on the remaining 2 hours, which are unsurprisingly awesome. Lucky for all of us Rabih suggested maybe we should also share the full 3 hour version... So now you can hear where he takes the crowd after that amazing introduction. Things head more to the dancefloor but throughout it retains that powerful, uncompromising attitude that defines Morphosis' approach. The results are exhilarating and captivating. Lock yourselves in for a ride. This one is a beauty.

Quite a few people were asking about the track at the 52 minute mark of the mix, and it happens to be the new EP by Metasplice on Morphine records. It is now available with the 'TIP!' stamp of approval from Hardwax. Huge thanks to Rabih for the full version of this recording. Enjoy.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Terre Thaemlitz has recently released his mega-project, 'Soulnessless'. As Terre put its, 'Over 31 hours of audio. Over 80 minutes of video (per language). Over +150 pages of text and images in English alone. This is a fuckload of data...'. Indeed. I have only just begun scratching its surface. If there is one thing you can be sure of with Terre Thaemlitz is that she won't make things easy for you. And that is precisely why we need artists like this - there are not people willing to constantly challenge us and push us outside of our comfort zone. The main reference point for 'Soulnessless' is religion, and for those who know him through the DJ Sprinkles work, the response to this project might be 'what the fuck does this have to do with house music?'. Anything and everything would be the reply. One does not have to dig very deep to find some of the ways that religious elements have permeated house music. This is hardly surprising - music is unavoidably influenced and shaped by the political, economic, social, cultural, historic contexts in which it is created. House (or techno or whatever genre) is no different in this regard, even if we like to try to pretend our parties can exist in some bubble (but where exactly do you think that coke came from?). Rather than letting us maintain our comfortable habits of maintaining a false detachment that tries to separate us and what we do / are / consume etc., Terre pushes us to face up to these relationships and interconnections. To re-emphasise, music is certainly not exempt from any of this, which is what PC has tried to explore in different ways over the years on the blog (his interviews with Terre are particularly interesting in this regard - here, here, here and here). So from our perspective, what Terre is trying to do in terms of contextualising the way we understand and engage with music is very valuable and necessary. But it is not simply what Terre is doing, it is also how she does it: 'Soulnessless' is brave, challenging, provocative, thoughtful and thoroughly worthwhile. This is certainly something that will not be for everyone, but I think it is a project quite a few of our readers will be interested in. If you want more info, head over to 'Soulnessless' homepage and also check this recent interview with Terre at The Quietus. And you can get a copy of 'Soulnessless' directly through the Comatonse recordings shop.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

July Sound Garden

Thanks to everyone who came down to WWW last night. It was lots of fun. We really enjoyed taking over the lounge. Next month we are back at our usual home Orbit. You can expect the same as always - quality music for relaxing and plenty of friendly faces. We'll be having some guests in July, but you'll have to come down to find out who they are. Details for the party are:

Sound Garden - July party

Sunday 22 July 2012
16:00 - 23:00
Bar Orbit, Sangenjaya

Residents: David Dicembre / Jelomu / Chris + guests

Keep an eye on our twitter for more info. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Morphosis tracklist

Rabih kindly put together a bit of a tracklist for his recording from Panorama Bar. As you can see, he played an impressively broad and inspired selection of records.

In no particular order:

Untitled dance of the resonance
Pink Floyd - a Saucerful of secrets [Fame]
Metamono - Metahaze [Ho.hum]
Stinkworx - Swfysu [Indische Buurt]
Conrad Schnitzler - Live 72 [Further]
Enema Syringe - Därför Måste Jag Försova Mig [Ufo Mongo]
Madteo - Dooom Basrelief [promo]
Sunn o))) meets Nurse With Wound - Ash On The Trees [Ideological Organ]
Keith Fullerton Whitman - Issue Generator (for Eliane Radigue) [Editions Mego]
Jack DeJohnette - Picture 2 [ECM]
Untitled drum pattern
Hieroglyphic Being - 1763 MHZ [promo]
Ben Vida - Ssseeeeiiiiii [PAN]
Metasplice - Bohrium Slunk [Morphine]
Sohrab - Transition [promo/Touch]
Aardvark - Tengenan [Skudge]
Ekoplekz - Neutronik [Public information]

Thanks again to Rabih for sharing this amazing session with us.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

mnml ssgs mx fnl - morphosis

At a time when techno and house music feels like it is choking from everyone being so conservative and constantly playing it safe, we really need people like Morphosis. His music - especially when playing in a live setting - throws caution to the wind. Thinking about the way he plays reminds me a bit of the Swedish chef from the Muppets. But that is not right - there is much more method to Morphosis' madness. The man most definitely knows what he is doing. Where he differs from many of his peers is that he is more willing to take risks, he will experiment, he'll put together sounds and records that shouldn't make sense and see if they work, and he is not going to slavishly follow trends or expectations. This does not necessarily mean the results are going to alienate the listener - check his excellent album, 'What We Have Learned', for an example of how this approach can be channeled into something accessible and workable on the dancefloor. But when Morphosis starts playing, he'll push you, he'll challenge you, and don't expect him to compromise. And this is one of the reasons why we love him.

This recording is the first hour of Morphosis' DJ set to open the Delsin night at Panorama Bar in May 2012. And it is worth keeping this context in mind when listening to it... Before moving things more directly towards rocking the dancefloor, he spent the opening segment of his set pushing and pulling the crowd. And the results are special. He creates a bold, powerful set that educates, engages and enlivens you all at the same time. For PC and myself, this is precisely what we need more of - music that expects more than passive acceptance, music that demands your attention. Quite simply, what the ssgs want is 'more fucked up chaos' and this is precisely what you get from Morphosis. Beautiful, exciting, entertaining, fucked up chaos. Or as Rabih would say, 'pure madness'...

For more info about Morphosis, check his label hompage and his artist page at Octopus Agents. 'The TEPCO Report' EP on Morphine from earlier this year is a beauty, as is the new remix EP on his Redose sublabel, with reworks from Dozzy and Hieroglyphic Being. The next Morphine record is a very exciting one, coming from the previously unknown Metasplice and is on a roughly similar vibe to the Container LP on Spectrum Spools last year. We have talked here before about the kind of exciting links and fusions (real and potential) along these lines, with 'outsiders' from the noise scene and elsewhere making more techno orientated records. It is interesting, and perhaps not very surprising, to see Morphosis being one of the people to lead the way in exploring these possibilities... Our great thanks to Rabih for providing us with a recording that gives such a clear demonstration of what we would like to hear more of in contemporary techno and house music. Enjoy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

when present is past, and past is... past?


really feels like new music is ending:

the number of re-issues, re-discoveries, and 'amazing lost classics' just continues to burgeon.



i have been thinking about this... and it is cool, but what i don't like is that there are not many people who are then using these re-discoveries creatively. how can they help us rethink about music now? not everything demdike does is spot on, but at least they are trying to do that. it has to be about more than just playing cool forgotten 80s records...



exhausted/exhausting post modernism.

There is no vision of the future.

Even commitment to modernism now strikes people as romantic, and/or has to be re-asserted reactively in relation to the strictures of pastiche and nostalgia.

I think 'media' in the broadest sense have a huge role to play here.

Think of the time/space involved.

'Nommos' spends years as a virtually unknown and genuinely neglected masterpiece; now we just DL it, and it circulates, and in six months everyone has eked all its energy out, and they're already on to Jean Piche or whoever the next 'one' is.

People really are music 'users' now, I think. They squeeze the juice out of recordings like juice out of a prima, then they dump it for the next one.

'Cos there's always a next one.

Thus there's no time for reverence.

We know how to escape this, but for most people it's so much easier to be lazy.

'here's three hours of svreca'

(can you imagine how monumental a 3 disc DJ mix would have been in the 90s, and how much people would have pored over it?)

'hey, can we have FLAC?' this is the thing: people are madly trying to find scarcity.

They are mining and mining and mining until they bring up something 'rare'.

But because of the way media circulate as files, nothing is rare, as soon as it is in circulation.

But if you keep it out of circulation, you can't collect social and symbolic capital from knowing about it (before others).

So you put it in circulation, but in doing so, you squeeze it and empty it out.

The only solution is not to record...

...but then no one knows about you...

...what a weird confluence, no?


one thing about nommos, though, is i am not sure how it became 'known'. i guess sharing on a blog for obscure music led to a quiet repressing.


it didn't get a proper repress. it got a dodgy unofficial one. it used to be on discogs, but it appears they have even removed it.

so because it was a dodgy repress this meant it escaped the boomkat mailout which always attends every special repress... and so we all missed it, we were not informed about this 'must have' 'limited edition' 'lost treasure' from 'the archives'. except for a few people who hunted it down, or discovered it by chance, either on discogs or in stores. and for the rest of us, it remained forgotten.


boomkat strikes back! how did this repress become more 'known'? raime had it in their top 10 chart for 2011. where? yep. at boomkat. and so the circle is complete. at least until the next 'unearthed gem'.


postscript: about two hours after this conversation, i (chris) made an order through boomkat. of the seven purchases, two were reissues. one was described as: '...the result of almost two years spent trawling through the archive in an attempt to piece together a coherent document of one of the most pioneering and genuinely experimental characters in electronic music history'. the other: 'incredible archival electronic experiments recorded in 1984-1987'. time to start squeezing again. at least until the next mailout...

Svreca tracklist

Here is the tracklist for Svreca's immersive mix. As PC said, so much is about the way he plays the records, and the narrative he constructs. If you haven't got the mix yet, I really recommend downloading it and putting aside 200 minutes:

Fumio Hayasaka - Interlude
Thomas Köner - Tiento Para El Alma
Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason - Unbreakable Silence
Eleh - Woven Over
Roly Porter - Giedi Prime
Haswell & Hecker - Kanal GENDYN (extract)
Esplendor Geometrico - Japo (Andreas Tilliander Remix)
Ekoplekz - Dromilly Vale
William S Burroughs - Burroughs Called The Law
Pogrom - Pogrom 4
Harmonia & Eno - By The Riverside (Appleblim & Komonazmuk Remix)
Senking - Black Ice
Various - Untitled
Raime - The Three Chambers Of Our Entities
Popul Vuh - Cobra Verde (Mika Vainio Remix)
Svarte Greiner - Baandspiller I Solnedgang
Atom ™ - Winterreise
Miles - Primer
TV Victor - 130509 (Tobias Freund Edit)
Onmutu Mechaniks - Phospor (Norman Nodge Remix)
Pole - Silberfisch (The Mike Huckaby Synth Remix)
Morphosis - Impulse
Wincent Kunth - Promise
The Traveller - A100
Peter van Hoesen - Axis Mundi
Function - Inter
Cio Dor - Wasserkraft
Rrose - A, With All Faces Bleached Out
Edit Select - Surface To Air (Lucy Remix)
Surgeon - As You Breathe Here Now
Sandwell District - Feed Forward Test Session (Recorded Live In Berlin - 23/10/2010)
Abdulla Rashim - Untitled From Asayita
Factory Floor - A Wooden Box
Wincent Kunth - Sinking
Sigha - How To Disappear
Shifted - Telic
Abdulla Rashim - Untitled From Weldiya
Battles - Inchworm (Silent Servant Remix)

The next in the mx fnl series will be dropping shortly.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer dreaming on 23/6

This coming Saturday 23 June we are taking Sound Garden from its normal location and moving it to WWW. We'll be providing the soundtrack for most of the night in the lounge at WWW for the next Frue party, which features Demdike Stare (live) and Terre Thaemlitz (DJ) in the main room. In the 2nd room OSG will be covering a few hours (while we are dancing), but for the rest of the night, it'll be myself, David Dicembre, Dave the silent ssg and Jelomu providing the beats.

The first Frue night in March with Svreca was one of the best parties Tokyo has seen in 2012, and I am really looking forward to this one. I have been hearing some excellent reports about Demdike Stare's live show, and Terre can always be relied upon for a quality DJ set. WWW is a relatively new venue with interesting potential, and great sound, so the basic ingredients are present. Hope to see you there. More info at Frue, basic details are:

Frue presents A Midsummer Night's Dream
Saturday 23 June at WWW
Main: Demdike Stare (live), DJ Sprinkles, Inner Science, Yusaku Shigeyasu
Lounge: OSG, Sound Garden DJs

And if you are looking for something to do before the Frue party, I am also going to be DJ'ing at an ambient / chill out party on the Saturday afternoon / evening at Solfa in Naka-Meguro. It is a nice little club with good sound. Glad to see more events like this taking place. I think I shall be doing a set with warmer synth sounds for this party. Well, that is the idea at this stage...

The lineup and rest of the details are in the flyer above, and for more info check Re:ception, as well as the facebook event page.

Looking forward to playing at both of these parties. Glad summer has finally arrived in Japan. Time for some fun!

Bee Mask in Melbourne, today! (ssg reterritorialization alert)

Hello queens, drones, workers and other personae within the colony,

just a very quick one for all the Melbourne livin' peeps, to either inform or remind:

Bee Mask is playing in Melbourne this evening at Gasometer, with David Shea and Angel Eyes.

Tickets/info is available here and here. Venue opens 7.30pm... I think this is one to get there early for. Unless something has changed radically, Gasometer does pretty good Mexican.

I'll be there doing my bee dance, hope to see some of you. Chris' music is seriously some of the most powerful and interesting out there.

If you never checked it, have a listen back to our ssg special.
For me this is one of the exciting gigs of the year so far.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

mnml ssgs mx fnl - svreca

Ssgs have been blessed over the years with some incredible generosity of spirit: on the part of the listeners and readers, who have indulged my (PC's) word play and manic punctuation, as well as really given the many great mixes their due. And, of course, when we do consider the mixes ssgs have hosted, we need to think more than anything about the generosity of spirit of our artists, the people who take the time and energy to actually put all this music together for 'us', wherever and whoever we are. In a (first) world of divided attention, interrupting distraction and hungry/needy/content monsters, many of the mixes we've presented require you to suspend yourself, to enter into them, and just go with the flow. This is the challenge and the reward: you can accumulate folders full of mp3s like there's no tomorrow (and perhaps there is); you can tab browse and hyperlink yourself into a paralysis of reference…(but what will you have learned?) but really, the greatness of the medium, here, what's amazing about long mp3 mixes, mixes that CDs can't do (don't forget that) is that you have to really sit down and listen to all of it, in its entirety, from start to finish. Give yourself to it, and it will give itself to you: this is how I would frame what Svreca has done for us.

Chris and I have been pestering Svreca for a mix for a while now. To look at his tracklists (as on this still amazing mix of his from 2010), on first glance he sits in the sound spectrum played by, well, a lot of post-Sandwell techno cats. But first glances and tracklists can be very misleading. And Svreca is really doing something else with this material - I would really maintain this. The tracklisting and programming just has that little bit more care and thought in it, and I can't help but think his ear is exceptionally good, better than many. But it's the way it plays out in the mix that really makes Svreca excellent, for me. It sounds redundant to say of a DJ that he or she is intuitively rhythmic (it should go without saying): nonetheless, Svreca is outstandingly good at building pace, maintaining momentum, but also keeping a live, looseness to his mixing. He can also really throw it down. It grows and builds in a way that is spry, but also can be very powerful in a supple way that is often surprising and effortless. We love Svreca's approach and think he should be regarded as one of the DJs to really have arrived in the last few years with his own 'something to say' and his own inimitable way of saying it.

You need to take your time with this one… put the kettle on, make a cup of tea, but also consider reserving for yourself a 'phone a friend' function, and maybe having a bottle of something much, much stronger on hand for when things really start to get monster… you'll know what to do.

Tracklist to follow. For more information on Svreca, check his booking page at Apelago, and for his label, there is the Semantica homepage and bandcamp. Thanks to Enrique for the time and effort he put towards creating this mix.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Pye Corner Audio has been getting some well deserved attention due to Tape putting out 'Black Mill Tapes Volumes 1 & 2' on vinyl. Volume 3 is available through bandcamp and equally worthy of purchase. In addition to these releases, I have found myself returning to this live recording of PCA from February 2012, which is just as enjoyable. It also works as an excellent introduction, if you haven't yet heard anything from PCA. Well worth a listen.

   Live At The Outer Church February 2012 by Pye Corner Audio

I'd post this tomorrow as a 'Sunday Sounds', but I'll be travelling, so here it is a bit early. Just consider it some appropriate weekend listening. More soon.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

mnml ssgs mx fnl - donato dozzy

This may sound strange to readers in the northern hemisphere, but every year in June I go to ground. It’s the log cabin feeling, a desire not so much to hibernate as to really hunker in my bunker, settle in my own private log cabin.

Over the past three years or so, this yearly inclination has been cast in relation to music in general, and house and techno in particular. I keep wanting to get back beyond the contemporary, behind what I’d taken my archive to be: somehow the inclination to hunker down typically goes hand in glove for me with a desire to get to the roots of the music. And this has been intensified by the fact that, as we just announced, Chris and I have decided to end our mix series for good.

What are the roots of house and techno? We know the stock answers; I know they’re not good enough. We have to go further, think harder, look a bit deeper.

Two and some years ago, I speculated about this: house/techno might emerge and take place in relation to a space; it might take place in relation to a tradition, whether rooted in hedonism, worship, or ritual; or it might take place in relation to a social context… these days it seems we’re desparately trying to locate and stake out spaces and traditions, but of course a key part of the reason for this, what motivates it, deep down, is that the social context is dominant. And the dominant social context is the internet. And the internet is dominating and overdetermining the spaces and the traditions, soaking them up, para-siting them, to the point where electronic music is just something, maybe, you download and comment on. Then I read this piece, and found out that, well, it's happening to another 'industry'...

I think I can speak for many of us when I say that this is something a bit sad, something that gives you the sense that ‘there is no one to talk to’, nowhere to go. But it’s moments like these when we do hunker down and take stock, reflect, and try to re-locate spaces and traditions for the music we love so much. These are also the moments where inspiration, where new movements, really come from.

Dozzy has offered us this mix as a way to do that. It’s a way to get back something or get back to something… was it something we ‘had’? Was it something there ‘was’, or was it just something we remember? All Dozzy said was:

‘voodoo forever’

Our deepest thanks to Donato for putting this together for us, as well as the other mixes he has contributed to mnml ssgs over the years.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


After approximately 4 years of doing mixes we will shortly be bringing them to an end. It is time. When we did our first mix with Bvdub in April 2008, we announced our intentions in the following terms:

"What we are trying to do is to showcase artists that are really exciting and interesting us. The point is not just to slap a mix up, but for this series (like the blog as a whole) to be a medium for promoting DJs and producers that we feel people should be listening to. The mandate we've given to those that have agreed to do a mix is simply to express themselves and their music: to use the mix to tell us who they are and what they are about."

We identified two things we hoped to do: (1) introduce new sounds and names, and (2) present mixes that have a timeless quality to them.

On the whole, we feel that we have managed to stay true to our original intentions. We certainly exceeded all our expectations with what we hoped to do with the mixes. During this time we have been incredibly lucky to present a diverse array of interesting, exciting and high quality mixes across a relatively wide spectrum of music. We have been very fortunate to have contributors that have constantly put in considerable time, effort, love and care into creating special, lasting mixes. We have also benefited greatly from an audience that has trusted our judgment, and has been willing to follow us in the different directions we have gone with the mixes. And none of this would have been possible - at least in the way it took shape - without the ongoing support of We have been working with almost since the beginning, and they have helped us tremendously. In that time, our mixes have - in total - been downloaded more than 592,000 times (according to stats). For us this is a really amazing figure... We are incredibly grateful for's unwavering support and provision of an excellent service that has allowed us to share all of these mixes with you. We wish them the best of luck with the launch of their new platform. While we will be finishing the mixes, we plan to keep the archive online and encourage you to revisit the diverse range of mixes we have had over the years. We stand by all of the mixes we have presented, and we hope that collectively they might serve as a worthy document and resource that reflects one interpretation of electronic music between 2008 - 2012.

In the coming 2-3 weeks we will be presenting a series of final mixes from a number of old and new contributors. Each mix - and the person that made it - we feel talks in important ways to what we have tried to do with the mixes we have hosted on mnml ssgs, and where we think electronic music is - and crucially - should be headed. Normally we space the timing of our mixes out a bit more, but these will be presented in relatively short succession. We strongly encourage you to spend time with these final mixes. Each deserve considerable attention, and all reward multiple listens. We leave them as the final statement of what we have tried to do with the mixes we have presented on mnml ssgs.

We would like to again express our deepest thanks to all the artists that have contributed mixes over the years, and to all of you for listening. We will post the first of the final mixes in the coming days.

PC and Chris

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rødhåd tracklist

If you haven't checked our most recent mix from Rødhåd, perhaps seeing the tracklist might entice you to do so. A quality contribution that is worth spending time with.

01. 00.00 : Likjuvarnas Natt by Rasmus Hedlund (from the Album "Främjande av Ljud" released on Ljudverket 2010)

02. 04.09 : Untitled by Thomas Köner (from the Album "Nunatak Gongamaur" rereleased on Type Recordings 2010)

03. 07:32 : Untitled (from the LP Compilation "I Remember The First Time I Heard Your Voice" compiled by D*I*R*T*Y Sound System 2010 not on Label)

04. 10:27 : Muistetun palaava taajus by Ø (from the Album "Oleva" released on Sähkö Recordings 2008)

05. 13:45 : Moogetique by Klaus Schulze (from the Album "Bodylove" released on Island Records 1977)

06. 17:11 : Industrial and Provident, We Unite to Assist Earch Other by Jóhann Jóhannsson (from the Soundtrack "the Miners Hymns" released on FatCat Records 2011)

07. 18:54 : The Sophic Putrefaction by Infinite Light Ltd. (from the Album " Infinite Light Ltd." released on Denovali Records 2011)

08. 22:41 : New Beginning (Tidal Darkness) by Deaf Center (from The Album "Owl Splinters" released on Type Recordings 2011)

09a.27:55 : Patina II by Tim Catlin & Machinefabriek (from "Patina" released on Low Point 2011)

09b.32:30 : Come into the Garden by Nick Drake (from Family Tree released on Sunbeam Records 2007)

10. 33:58 : Killshot by Ben Frost (from the Album "by the Throat released on Bedroom Community 2009)

11. 39:18 : Resonating Red by Yves De Mey (from the Album "Counting Triggers released on Sandwell District 2011)

12. 42:41 : Fagjazz study for 12 mode sources and 6 additions (remixed by Terre Thaemlitz) by John Cage (from the Sampler "Enjoy the Silence Vol.2 compiled by Toshiya Kawasaki released on Mule Electronics 2011)

13. 51:21 : Monophaser 2 by Alva Noto (from the Album "Xerrox Vol.2" released on Rasta Noton 2009)

14. 54:36 : Teh Meh, Teh Meh by Dadavistic Orcestra (from the Album "Dokument.02" released on Dust Science Recordings 2011)

15. 58:49 : The Waterloop by Simon Scott (from "Traba" released on Immune Recordings 2010)

16. 61:24 : Butterfly Caught by Massive Attack (from the Album "100th Window" released on Virgin Music 2003)

Back soon with some very serious heat...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Saturday Night Fever, some time later...

Tony: Mr Fusco, can I have an advance?

Mr Fusco: Payday is Monday.



Tony: I know, but every place else

pays on Friday or Saturday.



Mr Fusco: And they're broke on Monday. Booze,

whores, pissing away their money.



This way you've got money all week.

You can save for the future.



Tony: Fuck the future!

Mr Fusco: No, Tony, you can't fuck the future.



The future catches up with you, and it

fucks you if you haven't planned for it.



Tony: Tonight is the future, and I'm planning

for it. There's a shirt I have to buy...



Mr Fusco: Sorry, Tony. No exceptions.



Tony: Just wait until you need

an advance, bigshot!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Chill out on Sunday!

It has been a while since our last party, but Sound Garden is happening again this Sunday 3 June at Orbit. Our special guest is one of the resident DJs of The Labyrinth, Hiyoshi. He perfectly embodies what our chill out party is about, and we are really happy he will be joining us. We are looking forward to catching up with everyone and enjoying some quality ambient sounds. The details are:

Sound Garden - June party

Sunday 3 June 2012
16:00 - 23:00
Bar Orbit, Sangenjaya


16:00 - 17:45 David
17:45 - 19:30 Jerome
19:30 - 21:15 Hiyoshi
21:15 - 23:00 Chris

I don't know what the others are playing, but for the final slot I am preparing a set of 90s deepspace ambient. Looking forward to it...

And while on the topic of ambient music, the Black Dog have kindly made available a beatless version of 'Witches Ov'. I've played this one at Orbit before actually, I think it is perhaps my favourite Black Dog track. I strongly recommend downloading it:

Anyway, for those in Tokyo, please come down and join us on Sunday for what is sure to be another fun evening!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ssg special - Rødhåd

Image: Sara Clarke

On my last few trips to Berlin I have been asking people there about what local DJs they rate. A name that kept being mentioned was Rødhåd. After seeing him play, I quickly understood why. Admittedly it is not the easiest name for us Anglophones to google, but I have a feeling Rødhåd is a name that we will quickly be getting used to... He is part of the Dystopian crew, which have been developing a strong reputation for quality techno events in Berlin. And while it is powerful, driving techno that Rødhåd is perhaps best known for, his tastes are much wider. When I saw him in Berlin last year, he played twice the same day at Berghain - first a house set in the garden, then a slamming techno set in the main room. So the man clearly has range. And with his mix for us he is showing another side of his musical palette. If you are interested in his dancefloor techno, you'll have to check one of his other mixes online, as this one is more introspective and downbeat. It is a personal, sincere mix, and one that is well worth spending some time with. It feels true to the Dystopian aesthetic (or at least what I understand it to be) but does so in a way that perfectly fits in here at mnml ssgs. PC and I are big fans of this mix and it is a pleasure to host it.

Tracklist up next week. Dystopian is branching out into vinyl, with the first release coming soon from Rødhåd. Keep an eye for that. For more info about upcoming gigs, Rødhåd's RA page is the best place to check, and there are some other mixes from him on the Dystopian soundcloud. Big thanks to Rødhåd for the mix. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This Terror of Silence is Golden

A few weeks ago I watched a soft-focus puffpiece on Tetsuya Wakuda, what a great guy he is. I am depressed that we live in an age of celebrity chefs and their acritical adulation and emulation by a whole culture of anxious, insecure aggressive suburbanites with eating disorders evincing symptoms of narcissism, but nonethless, Wakuda said something that is admirable. He does not have background music in his restaurants – because that is disrespectful, to music and to food. I wholeheartedly agree.

My DJ friend described his 'triangle' theory of love and hate.

Triangle of Love (in theory): venue owner hires DJ -> who plays music the punters love ->who spend heaps of money at said venue

Triangle of Hate (in practice): venue owner hires DJ (so far so good) -> who plays music the punters hate or don't get or can't hear properly, at which point ->they bust up with their iPods, demanding to hear their favourite music, then complain about the shitty music and stroppy DJs at said venue, on the internet.

A few weeks ago I was at a restaurant. Weirdly for 2012, the DJ was playing house. He was playing Herbert, actually. Dr Rockit. There were no acoustic tiles, there were hard surfaces, and the room was full of boozed, red-faced, well-fed middle-aged Australians with big watches and jowls and huge, huge glasses of red wine. Of course they were all talking so loudly. What's music for? Is it for this? We couldn't hear each other round the table; we couldn't hear the music clearly; we couldn't hear anything. The food wasn't good enough to distract us from this. Is this what we want? What was I supposed to be paying attention to in this space? Or was everyone supposed to be paying attention to me? It reminded me of the following quote from DF Wallace, from The Pale King, a novel where (this is not really a spoiler) said author concludes that he who is not terrified of boredom is capable of almost anything:

“To me, at least in retrospect, the really interesting question is why dullness proves to be such a powerful impediment to attention. Why we recoil from the dull. Maybe it's because dullness is intrinsically painful; maybe that's where phrases like ‘deadly dull’ or ‘excruciatingly dull’ come from. But there might be more to it. Maybe dullness is associated with psychic pain because something that’s dull or opaque fails to provide enough stimulation to distract people from some other, deeper type of pain that is always there, if only in an ambient low-level way, and which most of  us spend nearly all our time and energy trying to distract ourselves from feeling, or at least from feeling directly or with our full attention. Admittedly, the whole thing’s pretty confusing, and hard to talk about abstractly ... but surely something must lie behind not just Muzak in dull or tedious places anymore but now also actual TV in waiting rooms, supermarkets’ checkouts, airports’ gates, SUVs’ backseats. Walkmen, iPods, BlackBerries, cell phones that attach to your head. This terror of silence with nothing diverting to do. I can’t think anyone really believes that today’s so-called ‘information society’ is just about information. Everybody knows it's about something else, way down” (85).

Not least of all silence.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Austere Anti Austerity Measures: a few good .zips, containing the possibility of sound and music

How do we 'get' music, in the sense of it actually reaching us? This good piece on RA the other day reminded us of the physics and physicality of sound, as well as the things we tend (not) to pay attention to: acoustics are really important. So is not being off your face. And yet we go to clubs with bad acoustics, and get off our face... hmm...

One of the things I love about sound is its physicality, the way your body responds. We're sensorily set up to apprehend sound directly, in the way that we just can't for, say, time: we need to wear a watch to remind us how humans socially measure duration by splitting it up so we can crash economies through hot speculation... and arrive for wage labour on time… but your ears, and your body, they have this incredible and direct experience of sound waves. The meat in you responds. Sound is phenomenal.

But sound and music are different, though inseparable. Music is also always-already social. Think of language; think of culture. It takes place in a given context that gives it sense and significance – and that *means* something. Of course the final music-effect has to reach you via a signal chain, which these days with most of the music we prefer is massive and complicated, predicated on all kinds of recording, archiving, and replay technologies, all of which mediate and translate the physical into the digital and back. But at the other end, we still have to interpret it, using 'hi fi equipment' that's millions of years old. That which was intended to warn us of predators and help us communicate can also allow us to enjoy Eleh. This is the paradox of the sound of music: its power comes from something directly physical, unmediated, phenomenal. But its final form – what we hear, as we hear, as it reaches us – is complexly mediated and totally dependent on our forestructures and skills of interpretation, our understanding and our ability to use it to actually give our attention to it, to, you know, listen.

The weird thing about music these days – one of the weird things – is how something so physico-social, something so spatiotemporal, has, in circulation, become so fucking abstract, so deterritorialized.  Over the years on ssgs I've talked at length about the side effects of what's happened as our archives have been transformed: from piles to files. How do you navigate the datasea without panic, ennui, anxiety, boredom setting in? One way would be through curation. Another would be to stop pigging out on downloads...  But/so curation might also have to contain a bit of austerity, if you know what I mean. Not the kind the sadomonetarists intend to administer to the weak... Just give you enough so that you can do the rest. Notes as instructions to something flatpacked, but something that isn't quite IKEA or Lego. What I mean is, that the person enabling the sound and/or providing the music, they've still got to give the potential listener some work to do, something to work out.

The following is a set of notes I gave a friend when he asked for some new music, on a relatively small capacity memory stick. The challenge here was to give him something he could relate to, something that wouldn't confront him as data, something that he could move into, relate to as music, with the hope he might also experience it directly as sound, be possessed by it. Stick his head into the memorystick, earbuds into a bassbin. It might be something to think about; this is how I might describe the following to someone who is, kinda, outside the ssg archive, but still a listener.  In any case, these are some recordings that deserve your undivided attention, that you should chase up. I'm not gonna give you hotlinks, because, you know, you have to get active. You have to do some work. This would be the first act of interpretation.

Nommos: Craig Leon was a famous producer in the NY underground in the late 70s. This is his solo synthesizer stuff. To me this is like the Shellac of synth. Early 80s?! And nothing sounds like this…

Wrk, Wrk Wrk: HTRK - these guys set out to make something. And they made it. It sounds exactly like it does. The coldest, bleakest, but also rawest album I've heard in ages. I mean, it's more or less the void you stare into when you really look at New Weekly.

Iko 83 - crazy and very engaging synth pop from '81. Like Kraftwerk's aesthetic, Devo's irreverence and attention to pop culture, and something else uniquely French Canadian perhaps. Learn the melodies and sing along: gonadotroposynthesis!

The Garden: John Foxx's second solo album. Incredibly well produced and diverse, this is a very wholesome and complete album. Spend some time with it. It's a lot to digest. And it's all in the details. Great lyrics, too.

Mark Hollis' post Talk Talk album. People say it's the most intimate music ever made. As if anything could fall apart at any moment. Fragile, tender.

Oren Ambarchi's most recent and most 'pop' album, but also has a 30+ minute guitar slowbuilding freakout track.

The OST from the Solaris remake, from the same dude who did the OST for Drive, which is also awesome, apart from that heinously bad 'real hero' song. A Winged Victory for the Ebbing Swoon.

Andrea Belfi is a percussionist from Italy who has developed these really weird ways of doing and micing up drums. This album on Lawrence English's Room 40 is very 'small' and self contained, but the more I listen, the more I love. Reminds me a bit of early Pluramon. 'Small and perfectly formed'. Can't recommend this one highly enough.

Talk Talk's ?best? album. Well, if you love this, Get Laughing Stock. Same band as did 'Life's What You Make It', then they made this. Astonishing for the time. Some say it's the first post rock album, but this is retrospective. I mean, it's actually post synthpop and pre noise/math/post rock. Proto. But again, like a whole genre of music that never got made apart from this (see also the Mark Hollis album)

Victrola -  Italy in 1983. Like Albini meets Italo Disco meets Factory Records sound. But there's a real unique energy on this EP. It's so bittersweet, and just keeps on building and trucking (the title track). And get this: this is the *only* thing they did. Ever.

Technodelic was the first retail CD, the first album to be made using almost entirely samples/samplers. And the sound design for 1981, fuck. And the songwriting is great. Ai rabu YMO.  If Tokyo is 80s future, this was Tokyo in the early 80s. And this is where Sakamoto started, too…