A classic Set by one of the Modern Masters

Ben Klock Plays a wide ranging set that goes from the subsumed to the intense for the crowd at the boiler Room Berlin including an enthusiastically dancing Nina Kravitz :)


Bitwig Studio Released Today

The long anticipated Ableton Live rival arrives today and the specifications and possibilities are quite impressive.

The new features that are most working for us music hackers here are:

  • Full Linux Support
  • Advanced containers for combining system integuments, fx & vsts with custom control setups.
  • The modulations system that is completely customisable to a users needs
  • Audio note expression events
  • Algorithm based value editing
  • Open controller scripting API

All in all its a hackers wet dream and unlike many previous tools with a VERY nice basic interface. We cant wait to see how this DAW & Production environment develops.


Agt Rave Cru – New Dogs, Old Tricks Mix

On the run up to christmas I thought I crank out my favourite old school rave & techno mix of recent months!

Techno, Acid & Rave – old skool styles, but all new tracks released in the last year or two.

Recorded live in one take, PC laptop + Ableton + UC33 midi controller. Respect to all the artists for keeping the vibe alive
Most of these tracks are available to buy legally from online shops like Juno Download, Beatport, Bleep, etc. Piracy is for twats, always support independent music whenever you can!

Tracklisting:

Blawan – What You Do With What You Have
The Hacker – Bass 4
KiNK – Rave Signal
Apollo of Minneapolis – Telstar
Snuff Crew – Rumble 303
Tom Laws – Twisted Cabaret
Barrow Boy – Genesis
Ben Sims feat. DJ Rush – Beat The Box
Erol Alkan – Roland Rat (LFO Remix)
Lone – Pineapple Crush
Tachini – Ongeloof
KiNK – Yako
Machinedrum – DDD
Cassergrain / Tin Man – Sear
Dead Sound & Videohead – Pay Your Due
Neil Landstrumm – Night Train
The Hacker – Shockwave (Mark Archer Remix)
Schoco – Jungo
Doctor Jeep – Freak U
HATE – Bad Organs
Colombo – Deja Vu
Radiokillaz – Skyscraper
Cyantific – Streets of Rave
Human Resource – Dominator (AGT Rave Cru Unofficial Remix)


Black Asteroid Live at ADE 2011

In celebration of this years Amsterdam Dance Event which is occurring pretty much right now. I thought Id post up one of my favourite live sets from last years event.

Black Asteroid – Live at the ADE CLR night 2011

Black Asteroid – Live at CLR Night – Studio 80 – ADE [2011-10-19]

CLR ADE flyer 2011


Chris Liebing Philosophy and Live Methods Interview

One of the techno masters explains his process and setup in great detail.


Bloc 2012: What went wrong?

  • Bloc 2012

If you have a cursory interest in festivals and a modicum of social media understanding you will no doubt be aware of the unfortunate early closure of Bloc 2012, which should have taken place over the weekend at the newly opened London Pleasure Gardens venue. The festival was subject to a controlled shut on the first night by the organisers due to public safety concerns. The rumour mill on site burst into gear… with people saying that tickets for the 15,000 capacity festival had been massively oversold.

The atmosphere on the ground was tense, with massive queues throughout the night. In fact, many had to queue for over two hours to enter the site (there’s a pointed irony that the online ticket agent used for the festival was called Crowdsurge). Queues for venues were always long, particularly the much-hyped MS Stubnitz boat, resulting in many festival goers missing acts they wanted to see.

Tent barriers were soon breeched with the overwhelmed security doing their best to control the enormous crowding. At 12:45, before headliner Snoop Dogg could take the stage, the Metropolitan police assisted on site staff evacuate the site. At 03:15 the official Bloc website announced the rest of the weekend would be cancelled, informing ticket holders to “Stand by for full information on refunds”.

Despite the obvious negative feeling amongst ticket holders the evacuation was for the most part good-natured; it could’ve descended into violence and arrests, thankfully it didn’t. That in itself is a credit to the festival goers, the on site team and the police.

It would be all too easy at this early stage to point the finger of blame, but remaining subjective let’s not forget the organisers didn’t want to have to shut it down. However, there are still some keen lessons that can be learnt, notably:

1. Use social media responsibly!

The official Bloc Twitter account was never used to communicate what was going on leaving punters having to rely on hashtags reporting scraps and conjecture which only helped exacerbated the problem. Social media is not a PR tool in instances like this – it’s a necessary news source.

2. Apologise and explain as quickly as possible.

The initial official announcement never actually apologised nor offered an explanation beyond the self-evident “crowd safety concerns”.

3. First year teething problems?

Previous Bloc festivals have been held in Butlins holiday camps. This concept works perfectly as the chalets naturally designate the capacity of the venues. As a site the London Pleasure Gardens reports a 15,000 capacity but the tents didn’t seem to match this. Did London Pleasure Gardens miss-sell the venue to the Bloc organisers? The site map displayed a bridge that crossed the dock. This was not present meaning all the crowding was confined to a relatively small area. Was the site actually finished and fit for purpose? These questioned will no doubt be answered but in the silence awaiting answers the noise of the rumour mill takes over.

4. “We’re gonna need a bigger boat…”

Many on Twitter have facetiously quoted this iconic line from Jaws in reference the colossal queues to gain entry to the Stubnitz boat. This venue was a major coup for the festival, and consequently became the first to become shut down for safety concerns. On board the venue worked incredibly and would’ve proved unforgettable had the festival ran to plan.

There is no doubt that much has to be learnt from this year if Bloc is to have a future. Cynics may say it was the victim of its own success, but for the short time the festival ran there were some truly amazing performances from Steve Reich and Nicolas JaarAmon Tobin’s ISAMshow was visually stunning and worked as an epitome of the forward thinking nature of the festival. In the coming weeks there will be some bitter pills to swallow for all concerned as the reasons behind what happened become more clear. But let’s hope this serves as a lesson to all festivals and that this can be prevented again. Let’s also hope that Bloc can make suitable reparations and prove themselves next year.

By Nik Jeffries.


Ten Reasons To go to the BLOC Festival (July 6th-7th 2012)

Next weekend, July 6th-7th, BLOC Weekend rolls into town, christening its new venue, the London Pleasure Gardens, with a host of excellent acts. Luke Turner and Rory Gibb present ten reasons why we’re going, and why you should too…

BLOC, the long-running electronic music weekender with a reputation for pulling together mightily impressive and varied line-ups, is set to roll into London town next Friday and Saturday (6th-7th July) for this year’s edition. Its first since leaving the sedate seaside surrounds of Butlin’s Minehead, it finds the party alighting at the newly opened London Pleasure Gardens, right in the heart of the Docklands, for a weekend’s worth of pre-Olympic naughtiness, techno and (as long as he doesn’t get arrested again on the way over) Snoop Dogg.

Over the course of the weekend there’s a pretty dazzling array of people playing, much of which charts high on the Quietus playlist: minimal pioneer Ricardo Villalobos; Brainfeeder boss/cosmic hip-hop producer extraordinaire Flying Lotus; the shadowy duo commonly known as Hype Williams; New York house mystic Levon Vincent; Raster Noton heads Alva Noto and Byetone; and many more besides. For the full list of acts playing, a whole load of multimedia content and tickets, head across to the BLOC site.

Given the sheer daunting size of the line-up, it seems mad (and faintly exhausting) to preview the whole thing in exhaustive detail. Instead, here’s the Quietus’ list of ‘ten reasons why you should go to BLOC’, or ‘ten things to think about/see once you’re there and suitably, erm, refreshed’.

 

1. What the fuck is Steve Reich going to do?

BLOC’s bold approach to booking their festival is perhaps best exemplified by the presence of Steve Reich – if not God among the modernist composers, then at the very least sat around the top table getting to quaff a fair bit of the sacred wine. His mastery of repetition and swiftly-evolving eddies of sound can be heard in fellow Bloc performers Actress, Ricardo Villalobos or Battles (to name but three), but Reich is more accustomed to venues catering for the sherry-fired concert hall raver than the bizarre and wonderful landscape of this London Docklands setting. As of now, we’re not entirely sure what he’s going to be doing there. Will he bosh an E and get on it to Surgeon after his set? Will the composer and the Bang On A Can All Stars (the ensemble involved with the performance) provide backing for Snoop to freestyle over ‘Different Trains – America – Before The War’? A new, contemporary, musical-world-uniting take on West Coast (Snoop) vs East (Reich)? Said piece does, after all, have a rap over it. “cut trains at New York… New York… from New York to Los Angeles… New York… tooooot!” Hopefully he won’t bring his chums from Radiohead.

2. The Docklands is still a really strange place, and somehow appropriate for a cheeky weekend’s raving

The Quietus recently went on a stroll down the Lea Valley to check out the derelict area of Docklands that BLOC will call home for the weekend. Near to the end of our walk, there was a burnt-out distribution warehouse, with the company logo peeling off its warped metal walls. Spying a gap in the fence, we headed in for a nose around. There were burnt out quad bikes, children’s toys, lawnmowers, weeds everywhere. Then, in the corner, under a piece of the roof that hadn’t collapsed, one of us spied a sofa surrounded by shelves, chairs, the kind of strange dwelling that’ll appear in the windows of your local Mad Max’s Estate Agents after the balloon goes up. And in the sofa sat the figure of a man, asleep. As quietly as possible, we left the compound through the hole in the fence only to find, on the other side, the huge yeti of his mate/lover, carrying two bin bags. He began to holler, and wail, and growl like a terrible beast. As he started to advance, we pegged it.

Despite the developments of recent years (this occurred just yards from one of those identikit Thameside arpartment blocks and the Xcel Exhibition Centre), the Docklands is still a strange hinterland of London. BLOC itself will take place next to the gigantic hulking mass of the derelict Millennium Flour mill, a structure that the property developers have somehow not quite managed to get their greasy paws on yet. With opportunities for the occupation of abandoned buildings for the purposes of listening to repetitive beats now sadly limited in the Capital (and beyond), it’s to the credit of BLOC and the London Pleasure Gardens designers that they’ve managed to use the blank canvas of the Docklands to create this otherworld. I for one am especially looking forward to dancing to the dystopian sounds of Surgeon and Perc in a stage that resembles one of the old golfball radar randomes from Fylingdales on the North Yorkshire Moors circa 1983, and imagining the planes taking off from nearby City Airport are, in fact, Russian Bear bombers thundering overhead to deliver the coup-de-grace to global civilization.

3. Sandwell District

Anyone who’s been paying attention to our dancefloor tastes lately will have noticed that US-via-Birmingham-via-Berlin techno operators Sandwell District are riding high in the Quietus’ affections. The trio – consisting of Function, Regis and Silent Servant – recently terminated their label, closing down that particular arm of their stern campaign against the dancefloors of the world, but their renowned live shows have continued to wage war in person. Those familiar with the output of their label, or their amazing and very limited edition album Feed Forward, will know what to expect: a set of sensual and static-ridden tunnel-vision techno, repetitive, hypnotic and enough to send the entire Docklands populace into an involuntary trance. Something everyone ought to see, and likely to be a highlight of the weekend. And if you need any more convincing, listen to the live recording below.

4. It’s a healthy alternative to the Olympics

Chaos is about to descend on London, for this celebration of a load of dull people running, riding or swimming around in circles and back and forth. Especially given their close proximity, BLOC feels like a pleasing counterpoint, valuing art above this corporate brouhaha dressed up as a celebration of trim and toned ideals of the human form. What’s more, any fool knows the Big Lie of the Olympic Games. While the spectators there will be largely sedentary, stuffing themselves with the nutrionally diverse catering provided by McDonalds and Coca Cola (not to mention the tasty treats proffered by various outlets of the Westfield Shopping Centre on the way in), everyone at Bloc will be getting a thorough work out, sweating and a-gurning at least half an inch off our collective trouser.

5. Raster Noton

One of this year’s most exciting new projects is Diamond Version, a collaboration between Alva Noto, boss of the Berlin-based Raster-Noton label, and Byetone, who designs their ‘look at me, I’ve got a granite kitchen surface’ minimalist record sleeves. Diamond Version sees the pair united to make music that highlights the absurdity of the corporate world, and emerged initially as a live project where the pair ended up collaborating on the fly. If you imagine, then, these two as a tangle of (very expensive) sonic barbed wire, then seeing their respective projects out live individually gives an interesting insight into a blueprint that’s as equally at home in an art gallery as at BLOC.

Byetone deals in a linear, propulsive take on techno best exemplified by ‘Plastic Star’, which he performs in front of a giant screen on which a number counts up, the music carrying you forth in such a way that it is seemingly without end. Noto, on the other hand, takes the fizz and crackle of electronic noise artists like Pan Sonic for a more abrasive approach. His ‘uni acronym’ (2011) accompanied by a Anne-James Chaton monotone recital of corporate initials again as logos flash up as visuals will, again, make for an interesting counter to the Olympics up the Lea Valley. Joining the two label heads will be SND, the Sheffield duo whose stripped back digital funk skirts along the lines between dance and non-dance, offering a view of techno’s inner workings at the level of particle physics, and probably confusing a fair few fried minds along the way.

6. Rave on a 2,451 tonne ex-Communist deep sea fishing boat

The MS Stubnitz, no less, former property of the German Democratic Republic and iron-hulled enough to see off even the most persistent of foes. In recent years, the ship was bought by Swiss-born artist Urs Blaster, who proceeded to turn it into a floating sound & light machine, with two club spaces inside. BLOC, in the pirate tradition, have hijacked the vessel and are floating her up the Thames to the Pleasure Gardens. Anyone who’s spent any time in Bristol will already be familiar with the pleasures of going clubbing on a boat, but let’s be honest, Stubnitz would probably scupper the Thekla in less time than it took to exclaim, ‘She’s unsinkable, sir!’ Oh, and there’s the small matter of the people gracing her metal innards: she’s being turned into a repository for bass-heavy UK sounds, with the likes of Joy Orbison & Jackmaster, Hudson Mohawke, Addison Groove, Bok Bok and Cooly G making appearances, as well as darker and more uncommon fixtures: a rare performance from Gerald Donald’s Arpanet, New York’s Levon Vincent, and Tikiman & Scion. See BLOC’s tour of the Stubnitz below.

Stubnitz at Bloc 2012 from Bloc. on Vimeo.

7. Shackleton

What with Joel ‘We all hit play’ Zimmerman’s assertion that all he does onstage is press a few buttons and let the pretty lights lull everyone into glassy-eyed submission, a fair few acts at BLOC ought to reassure attendees that there’s far more to electronic music live performance than Deadmaus. Chief among them is Sam ‘The end is nigh!’ Shackleton, whose sets are justifiably spoken of in reverent tones. Chopping the arabesque melodies and percussive polyrhythms of his studio tracks right down into their constituent fragments, over an hour or more he rearranges them in real time, creating a constantly shifting backdrop that instils in dancers an ever-escalating feeling of dread. Coming off the back of his massive Music For The Quiet Hour/Drawbar Organ EPs boxset, expect to hear organ figures also twirling away within the fray. He’s also – fans of well-dressed musicians take particular note here – top sartorial value, often playing sets besuited, or in Hawaiian shirts as loud as his music.

8. See Plex go head-to-head with Perc Trax for a techno showdown

Think you’re tough enough for the iron fists Plex and Perc Trax are flexing to unleash upon their unwitting victims? Ali ‘Perc’ Wells’ Perc Trax label has been responsible for some singular techno music over the past two years, with a roster increasingly revealing itself as heir to the industrial techno lineage stretching from Chris Carter through to Regis and Surgeon. So this showdown will allow you to hear those connections for yourself – and throw righteous fists to them – with Surgeon DJing alongside Perc himself, as well as kindred spirits Truss, Cosmin TRG and Lucy. Elsewhere lurk delights wilder still: Monolake, co-creator of revolutionary software Ableton Live and sound designer extraordinaire, and Berlin resident Objekt, crafter of exquisitely detailed and punishing broken techno tracks. And if you’re still standing after all that, then congratulations. Now for God’s sake go and drink some water, you mad fool.

9. Amon Tobin’s ISAM: reportedly one of the most spectacular audio-visual light shows in the world

Ninja Tune’s Amon Tobin will be bringing his mind-boggling audiovisual ISAM show to BLOC, presumably eliciting a rousing moan from the technical staff that have to mantle and dismantle the bloody thing. It’s got cubes in it! (see below) And we’d probably advise you to tread with caution if you’ve been reasonably committed in your fun seeking beforehand, as if previous reports are anything to go by, it’s highly likely your sense of self will swiftly begin to dissolve along with that extra bomb.

Amon Tobin ‘ISAM’ Live (Extended Trailer) from Ninja Tune on Vimeo.

10. Gary Numan

He flies! He sings! He’s GARY FUCKING NUMAN.

Reposted from http://thequietus.com


Modular techno, acid rock and Freerotation: A discussion with Steevio

In a age where most are playing “live” with laptops Stevio is one of the few guys out there doing live techno with modular synths. Great to see live and a real techno iconoclast. This interview reposted from  junodownload.com

It’s not easy for an artist to maintain a genuine independent ethic in this day and age. Amid the drudgery of internet exposure, whether it be shameless self-promotion or carefully marketed anonymity, there are not many who choose to make and share their music in a truly independent way. Some of Steevio’s working practices, such as making his music without a computer, are actually quite en vogue these days, but for the Sunderland-born, North Wales-dwelling techno producer this approach has been a way of life since before the dawn of house music.

A quick look at a long-neglected Discogs entry mentions his involvement in one of the UKs first electro-funk clubs, The Sidewalk, and he’ll happily recount the days spent playing guitar for acid rock outfit Dead Flowers before the first strains of techno seduced him – and all of his mates – in the space of about two months. After a number of years spent throwing free parties in Newcastle with fellow cohorts in the Roost Records acid techno collective, a crackdown in the policing of raves meant a change of scenery was needed, and Steevio and his partner Suzybee relocated to the pastoral climes of North Wales, and the Mindtours label was born.

After meeting Tom and Joe Ellis and Leif on the outdoor party circuit in the area, he nurtured their unique production talents while also steering his own music away from 130-140 bpm techno into a slower, more intricate 2-step minimalism. As a loose-limbed scene of sorts started to form around the pockets of artistry hidden out in those rolling hills, so was born the Freerotation festival.

Beginning as a 300-strong gathering in 2007 (bar one fabled test-run at an Outdoor Activity Centre in the hills), in five years the event has become one of the most highly regarded electronic music festivals in the world. The line-up is certainly niche, appealing to deeper, more experimental shades of house, techno and dubstep, but of equal importance is the atmosphere the event inspires. Held in a mansion with the Brecon Beacons as a backdrop, the weekend is the pinnacle for meaningful dance music.

Understandably, the commitments of Freerotation have meant that Steevio’s music has been sharing headspace with the logistics of a three-day festival, and so it’s been a while since a new Steevio release emerged. As of Spring this year, a new four-track Mindtours release emerged under the no-nonsense banner of Modular Techno Vol. 1, yielding the first publicly available results of his decision to switch to a modular studio set up.

“Every day I record at least three hours of what comes into my head at that moment, so I’ve got absolutely tons of material,” Steevio explains when pressed on the origins of the material onModular Techno Vol. 1. “I thought I’d put out the stuff I’ve done last year, because if I don’t it’ll just disappear and I’ll never use it. It’s slightly dated compared to the stuff I’m doing now, but I just wanted to put it out.”

There’s an undeniable rawness to the tracks on the record, which comes not least as a result of the live ethic Steevio places on his production process. All his tracks are recorded in one take straight from the hardware, as he tweaks the elements and triggers the patterns on the fly. Much of this approach is spurred on by the modular equipment he uses; in essence a self-built performance device tailored specifically to your own individual needs.

“It’s really about control over the way that the patterns come together,” Steevio explains. “I’m using similar sounds to the ones I’ve always used, but with a modular you don’t arrange the music. It’s basically different trigger patterns and fractalised sequences looping and interacting in complex ways. Everything happens in the moment, so it’s about getting as many controls in front of you as possible to do as many things as possible.”

It’s been a slow process of learning and developing for Steevio, when he had been sequencing his tracks on his computer, but the purpose of this re-shuffled work practice seems clear. “It’s about how you wire it all up so that in a live situation you think ‘oh I wouldn’t mind hearing that happen’ and you just reach out and turn the knob and it happens.”

It’s certainly a brave move to uproot your way of making music, not least for an artist who had already carved a clear sound for himself. The defining characteristic of Steevio’s music, at least for the past decade, has been intricate, inter-locking drum patterns with a pronounced funk to them, while the melodic elements come in equally lean and fluid forms. “I got bored of hearing the same 4/4 motifs like snare drums and claps on the beats 2 and 4, which is the common house method of punctuating the rhythm,” Steevio states. “I just sat down and said I’ll never ever use those things, so it leaves it open to me mixing different polyrhythms together to make new rhythms.”

Polyrhythms take average beat programming into a more complex realm, arguably made much simpler if you have a timeline sequencer on a screen to map the patterns out on. “When I went to the modular, the first thing I tried to do was keep that approach but it had to be slimmed down a bit,” Steevio admits, having ditched software sequencing and resigning his computer to a glorified tape recorder. “My tracks aren’t as complex as before, but that’s OK. I quite like the fact that it has made everything a little bit sparser. It makes you get the best out of what you’ve got.”

Steevio sits on the reams of recorded material he generates, as his understanding of the modular way develops, letting months pass by until revisiting the results and whittling them down to workable tracks. With an ever-strengthening command over his music in the instant that it’s being produced and moving away from laborious arranging and editing, it’s palpable to see the correlation with his rock band roots. “It’s just like practicing on an instrument,” Steevio enthuses. “When you first start you’re a bit clumsy. You haven’t quite got the control, but as you go along you get slicker and slicker.”

It’s safe to say there aren’t many artists producing tracks quite like Steevio at the moment, and he’s the first to acknowledge that it’s difficult at times to see where his brand of bumping, complex techno fits in at a time when Ostgut Ton and Sandwell District rule the day. In some ways the Freerotation line-ups reflect Steevio’s quandry about the lack of music that delivers what the experimental principles of techno promise.

There’s a spread to the styles to be found at Freerotation, from deep house through to a more jacking Chicago style, from hypnotic techno to tough minimalist bangers, from wild dubstep variations to ambient soundscapes. However all those elements have a common thread running through them which knits the whole weekend together. Whether it would be classed as “techno” or not, all the music played embodies that spirit, that dance music can mean more than just a soundtrack to a night out.

“I find it very difficult to programme techno people at Freerotation,” Steevio reveals, “because there’s been quite a lot of house people on over the last few years and it’s started to get that sort of reputation for being a bit more house-y than techno-y.” Be that as it may, with Detroit’s DJ Bone and Tresor mainstay Pacou prominent on the bill this year, it’s not as though proper ballsy techno isn’t being catered for. However it doesn’t detract from the fact that Steevio is still struggling to find many people meeting his expectation of what techno should be able to do.

“I’d really like to find some good techno,” he says hopefully. “Most of it’s just really formulaic, I’m wanting to hear something fresh. For me, our resident Sam Watson has got that sort of techno that I’m quite into. The deeper, more hypnotic, tripped-out sort of stuff.”

As with many parties, an aspect of Freerotation that sometimes gets overlooked by the crowd is the residents. Not so much the likes of Move D, Portable and Soulphiction who feature heavily each year, but the core collective of DJs and producers from Wales who together help steer the festival. As well as Sam’s particular brand of techno, Steevio also talks emphatically about the selector talents of Joe Ellis. “I just think ‘why is this guy not a famous DJ?’ He just seems to see through the music, and sees what a lot of other people can’t see.”

As well as Sam and Joe, the crew of musicians includes the more established likes of Tom Demac, Tom Ellis and Leif. Steevio has had a guiding hand in all of their production careers, from helping to master and release Tom Ellis and Leif’s first vinyl appearance, to inviting Tom Demac to bolster some of his early releases in the Mindtours studio. Even with individual careers, everyone from this close-knit group of friends remains a part of the loosely-formed Freerotation Collective. However the festival itself doesn’t always provide the best platform to fully appreciate the combination of their sounds as a unit, what with all the peaks and troughs of the rest of the weekend in between. Now though additional events are planned for later in the year, and the sonic identity of the collective has a real chance to establish itself.

First up will be Freerotation Tenerife 2012, which is taking place on the last weekend in September. While the Canary Islands might seem an unlikely destination after Wales, the opportunity has come about through an old friend of Steevio and Suze’s who lives on the island. After years spent talking about it, a site was found and a 24-hour party has been planned, running from the Saturday afternoon to the Sunday afternoon with a pre-party the Thursday before. “It’s starting off modest and we’ll see how it goes,” Steevio explains. “The site’s out in the country, and it’s good for a big party, so if it works out this year we could make it into a proper Freerotation.”

The party will be a collaboration between Freerotation and Mazaribah, a local cultural organisation. As such, the Freerotation-curated acts will be bolstered by some local artists too. “Obviously we had to vet it a little bit,” says Steevio. “We didn’t want just anyone to turn up and play something, so we had a little listen. At the same time we didn’t want to just come steaming in going ‘here’s Freerotation’, we wanted to try and make it a collaboration.”

Keeping up the tendency of the event to choose unconventional locations, the next stop for Freerotation will be Blackpool in December. One Of These Days is being billed as “the festival of festivals”, bringing a wealth of successful leftfield bashes such as Bloc and Primavera together for a weekend in the Winter Gardens complex on the North West coast. Instantly it’s clear this is quite a move for an event such as Freerotation, which has kept itself relatively off the radar over the years, so it wasn’t without negotiation that the collaboration came about.

“I wasn’t going to do it at first, it seemed too far removed from our underground leanings,” says Steevio of the initial proposal. “I sent an email out to all the guys in the collective and everyone wanted to do it, so I talked to the organisers a bit more about our concerns about it being a sponsored event. They’ve been really reasonable the whole time. There wont be any sponsorship signs in our room, so I’ve made sure that it’s Freerotation-friendly before I agreed to do it.”

With just twelve hours to play with at the event, the line-up for the room needs to be kept quite streamlined, and as with Tenerife, most of the artists will be from the collective, providing a platform for them to operate more closely. There will of course be some choice guests included, but the intention is to let the residents do their thing.

As for Steevio’s own musical endeavours, there’s plenty of material ready to be pored over and fashioned into a release, but still his main focus has been developing his modular set up. From its previous appearances at Freerotation, the sheer scale of the machinery made it seem nigh on impossible for a gigging situation, and yet Steevio’s entire approach is geared towards the music being made in the immediate moment.

“Before it was taking me an hour and a half to set everything up,” he says, “but now I’ve bought a multi-core it’s gonna take twenty minutes. I am working towards it being an actual live show.” Due to the fragile nature of the equipment, flying is out of the question for any gigs Steevio and Suze get for their audio-visual show, although opportunities await them across Europe and as far as Japan. However a plan is being hatched to get a van and traverse the continent, once again harking back to Steevio’s earliest musical explorations.

“Some of the best fun I ever had was in the bands,” he recalls. “We chucked the gear in the van and drove around Europe, slept on floors and met loads of people. You tend to get to know people better that way. Sometimes I think the whole flying around, going and staying in a hotel, it’s a little bit unfriendly and cold.”

It’s just another prime example of the independent approach that typifies Steevio’s attitude to what he does. While the music he makes and that he’s most connected with is relatively critical, there’s no air of pretension to be found anywhere. After all you wouldn’t work this hard for it for this long if you weren’t in it for the right reasons.

Words: Oli Warwick
Main image: Tasha Park

Reposted from junodownload.com


Vollmaze Presents 45 Minutes of live Acid Techno

You tube user Vollmaze (also known as panic303) just put up this rather raw and intense acid session on his minimalist hardware setup (Korg ESX, X0XB0X, Microkorg, Kaoss pad 3).

I was quite impressed with the overall sound and flow and so thought I’d put it up. Pop by and give the dude a thumbs up or feedback.


Monkeys & Synths…Voltfestivalen Festival Viral Video

Monkeys & Synths…. So even a monkey can make dance music? Maybe not…. A ncie viral ad for the Voltfestivalen electronic music and arts festival.

Monkeys + Synthesizers is a project where 6 different spieces of monkeys (and some others) were given different synthesizers. Do monkeys like music and do they enjoy creating music?

Humans is the only species on earth that actually compose music. Most birds and some mammals make beautiful sounds, but primarily to scare others away — or to get laid. The project explores if other primates can make music.

In the 60s, the Chimpanzee Congo became famous when he painted abstract paintings that got pretty good reviews by art critics. He had a distinct style in some sort of abstract expressionistic tradition. He liked red a lot but didn’t he like blue. Today, some of his paintings are worth up to 20.000 €.

Since the synthesizers was invented, the musicians have been asked “Is this really making music? You just press a button and out comes music, right?” Well… you do press buttons, twist knobs and faders, but there are endless ways of doing this. That is why the synthesizer probably is the greatest musical instrument in history. A great example of human ingenuity and engineering — something that makes us different from the monkeys.
Dwarf Monkey (Callithrix pygmaea)
Habitat: The Upper Amazonas. Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, north Bolivia and west Brazil.
Length: 13 cm, tail 19 cm.
Weight: 120 — 150 g
Age: 5-10 years.
Diet: Tree gum, fruit, insects and spiders.
World’s smallest monkey
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Bleeptronic 5000 (Thinkgeek.com)
64 LED button matrix synthesizer.
Origin: USA
Weight: 400 g
Dimensions: 15 x 15 cm.
Production year: 2010

Lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia rosalia)
Habitat: Close to river Sao Joao and in the Poco d´Anta nature reserve, south west of Rio de Janeiro.
Length: 34-40 cm, tail 26-38 cm
Weight: 630-710 g
Age: Up to 20 years
Diet: Fruit, flowers, insects, frogs, lizards and bird’s eggs.
One of world’s most rare monkeys.
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TR-909 (Roland Corporation)
Analog, partially sample based drum machine
Origin: Japan
Dimensions: 48 x 10 x 30 cm
Weight: 4500 g
Production year: 1984

Hamadryas Baboon (Papio Hamadryas)
Habitat: North east Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
Length: Max 76 cm, tail max 61 cm
Weight: Female 10-13 kg, male 17-25 kg.
Age: Up to 35 years
Diet: Grass, roots, fruit, seeds, insects, lizards and sometimes small mammals
Their red ass make them look sexy and also serves as a pillow
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Casiotone CT-360 (Casio)
Incredibly crappy digital synthesizer
Origin: Japan
Dimensions: 59 x 24 x 9 cm
Weight: 4.2 kg
Production year: 1987

Ring Tailed Lemur (Lemur Catta)
Habitat: South west Madagaskar.
Length: 50 cm
Weight:
Age: 25-30 years
Diet: 70% fruit, 30% leafs
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Yamaha DX7 (Yamaha)
16 voice FM Digital Synthesizer
Origin: Japan
Dimensions: 101 x 10 x 33 cm
Weight: 14500 g
Production year: 1983
6 sine wave operators per voice, 32 Algorithms

Suricate (Suricata suricatta)
Habitat: Semi-deserts in southern Africa.
Length: 25 cm.
Weight: 900 g
Age: 10-15 years.
Diet: Insects, lizards, scorpions, small birds, eggs, rodents and other small mammals.
Suricates can survive bites from poisonous scorpions and snakes that would kill a human.
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Mirage EPS16 (Ensonic)
Sampler Workstation
Origin: USA
Dimensions: 102 x 11 x 31 cm
Weight: 13000 g
Production year: 1988
8 note polyphonic, 8 bit, 32 khz sample rate, analog filters

Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni)
Habitat: Central America from Nicaragua and south to Venezuela, north east Brazil and nothern Peru.
Length: 58-70 cm.
Weight: 4-12 kg.
Age: 12 years, (up to 30 years in zoo).
Diet: Leaves, sprouts and fruit.
Sloths have the lowest and most varied body temperature of all mammals. It varies between 24° and 33°.
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Yamaha SHS-10 (Yamaha)
Keytar FM synthesizer
Origin: Japan
Dimensions: 67 x 28 x 6 cm
Weight: 3.4 kg
Production year: 1987

Camera operators: Andreas Tilliander, Mats Almegård and Johan Östman. Concept by Håkan Lidbo.
Thanks to Bosse Johnsson and Jonas Wahlström at Skansenakvariet, Jörgen Berggren at Berggren Media, Jon Nensén and Daniel Sällstedt.

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