The Finns don’t have it easy—half the world isn’t sure exactly where their country is located or what language they speak, and their neighbors have a history of isolating them when they aren’t trying to invade. Personally, I think Helsinki is pretty cool. And being an anomaly isn’t always a bad thing—especially when it gives your take on underground music its own special flair. Which is exactly the case with Finland’s contribution to minimal synth/synthpop.
The man, the myth, the Mayer; Producer, DJ legend and Kompakt co-founder Michael Mayer was kind enough to let us corner him before he played another one of his characteristically excellent marathon sets at Culture Box. We had a quick chat about his DJing, the enduring resillience of vinyl and his plans for 2014.
‘Electro. Yo! I heard electro is back man. Break out your Speak & Spells and shit.’ - Ron Morelli, Dazed Digital 10 Things
For the latest installment in the FRAGMENT interview series we caught up with Lisbon’s finest, most restless originators of the rapidly rising, global phenomenon that is tropical bass music. DJ Riot and Branko (who were a little tired from the excellent CPH:DOX x Red Bull Music Academy gig that they played the night before) came by our Copenhagen office to drop some fresh knowledge on their influences, the new Buraka Som Sistema documentary and why they’re definitely not ‘Indiana Jones in search of the lost ark of beats. ’
It's actually been waaaay to long since we featured our old friend and TMA-1 collaborator Tomas Barfod on the blog - which is why a fresh Souncloud update from the Great Dane couldn't have come at a better time. In this mix that he created for Danish national radio show Unga Bunga in early 2013, he once again demonstrates his unparalleled ability for balancing mood and texture with rythm and beat. It's one of those melancholy-yet-uplifting selections that just might have you dancing with tears in your eyes, as the song goes. Failing that, listening to it while enjoying a good cup of coffee and looking at the falling snow through your window, should get you good and ready for 2014.
- a blast of warm tropical breeze and a treat for the ears and the eyes. During the summer a video of a very cool six-year-old girl doing breakdance to a very groovy tune was released online. The girl is called B-Girl Terra, the band behind the tune is called Jungle, and they've quickly become a band to watch.
A few weeks ago Fear Of Flying, the British label led by Ben Micklewright aka BLM and Jay Massive, timidly propelled a ticking bomb into the world of electronic music: Leif Knowles’ first LP, displays the intriguing name ‘Dinas Oleu’ and enigmatic lomo picture. Fear of Flying has proven through the years its talent in surprising its faithful and growing audience, selecting with great care artists from many horizons, developing through the releases an eclecticism which has become a sign of superior high-caliber music.
There’s an expression that everything is clearer in retrospect. I’m not sure what the expression is in regards to music, or the point at which haphazard trends morph into legitimate subcultures, but it does seem that avant-garde talent is better recognized when there’s been a lapse of time. At least that’s the case with Minimal Wave. Minimal Wave is an interesting genre in that it’s more an umbrella term coined in hindsight than it is a unified movement. The term was pioneered by renaissance woman Veronica Vasicka, New York based DJ, photographer, and founder of Minimal Wave Records. Characterized by its use of analog synthesizers, DIY-recording techniques, and minimal musical structures, the movement comprises a vast array of genres, from synthpop, to synthpunk, to minimal synth and coldwave.
The Deep are an intriguing, new Los Angeles-based electronic sci-fi duo shrouded in enticing conceptual mystery. Their new single Singular Silence has created quite a bit of stir in the blogosphere, partially because it’s backed up by a hefty arsenal of remarkable remixes - such as this wonderfully unpredictable, Björk-resembling Pieces of Juno mix that we’re particularly taken with here at AIAIAI HQ.
On the 28th of November, we’re launching the latest addition to the TMA-1 headphone family: TMA-1 X. Our new headphones have been given a new sound design that suits all genres of music, it provides a lightweight alternative to the existing TMA-1 range and it comes at an entry-level price. Come and celebrate the birth of our new, matte-black baby in Studio A and at Fortunen where a diverse range of DJs, producers and musicians will kick out the jams for your listening pleasure.
Helsinki-based ceramics artist/designer Man Yau has crafted a series of remarkably elegant, conceptual sculptures that look and feel like a million dollars. They’re the sort of trophy-like objects that you might secretly dream of being able to afford - when you move into that swanky new Lower Eastside apartment where Apartamento and Monocle magazines are casually interspersed on the charmingly weathered upholstery of your vintage Eames sofas. However, these sculptures come with an interesting catch; they’re actually fully functional bongs ready to be filled with potent Mary Jane and get you high as a kite.
Boys and girls, prepare to pick up your jaws from the floor because this is unlike anything you've ever seen before: inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way. It can also interact with the physical world around it, such as, for example, moving objects on the table's surface. Remote participants in a video conference can be displayed physically, allowing for a strong sense of presence and the ability to interact physically at a distance. This is truly state-of the-art stuff from the Tangible Media Group.
The Phonebloks guy is at it again. And this time he wants to reduce industrial waste through a ‘local recycling centre’ that uses plastic to create a range of products like a waste paper bin, a spinning top and a plastic lamp. But the action doesn’t necessarily stop there as Hakkens made the blueprints for the machines available online for everyone to comment and improve on.
- is a crowd funded documentary featuring, among other creative heavyweights, Diplo, Jurassic 5 and Ghostly International’s Tycho. According to the producers it: ‘reveals the dramatic collapse of the music industry and the unintended consequences the internet revolution is having on creators of all kinds.’ If this trailer is anything to go by, it does look as if UNSOUND is actually a very legitimate attempt at watching out for starving artists struggling to make ends meet in ‘the ‘age of free.’
To some of us Westerners, particularly the ones who live in little, old Copenhagen, the size, scope and vastness of Beijing, let alone China, can be hard to get our heads around. To say that the Chinese capital moves at a different architectural pace than most Europeans are used to is, apparently, a grave understatement.
Just when you thought the Stones Throw label could not possibly get any doper, they unveil one of the most monumental mega jams in recent memory. The hook up between Snoop and Dâm-Funk is one of those collaborations that makes you go:’ why hasn’t this happened before? And the answer to that question is quite obviously that the stars had to be aligned just right, so that the celestial shine from Planet Funk could focus a twofold beam of iridescent cosmic energy at Snoop’s sizable blunt and Dam-funk’s opulent ‘do - the force of which has pulled these seasoned Caesars of the groove together in the one of most delicious, synthed-out love-ins of all time. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, it is our pleasure to present: The Funk. AKA Dâm-Funk and ‘Snoopzilla’ - ‘Faden Away.’
When we first heard that Motorola were developing a new project that allows ‘users to swap out parts within a modular hardware ecosystem’ our immediate thought was: ‘we’ve heard this before.’ And the idea that sprung to mind of was, of course, Dave Haakens' infamous Phonebloks concept, the viral phenomenon that the entire world and your dad knows about by now. Phonebloks was criticized by a fair amount of naysayers, because of its extremely ambitious (if slightly unrealistic) cross-developer vision. Nevertheless, Motorola have now joined forces with Haakens for a more realistic, albeit less ambitious version of the concept called Project Ara.
This Friday one of our favorite house music duos will be playing at the Warehouse Project in Manchester. If this mix is anything to go by and you're the kind of intelligent individual who decides to go, you’ll very likely be down on your knees praying to the Dark Lord of House when Waze & Odyssey hit the wheels of steel come Friday.
Fetisch and &ME AKA Terranova are not only very nice guys, they’re also the duo you need to book if you want the sort of wonderfully unpredictable party soundtrack that channels the freedom-loving spirit of The Paradise Garage while kicking out the latest lean, focused and forward-thinking jams. Check out how one of Kompakt’s classiest twosomes effortlessly balance the divide between full-on house music dance-a-thon and cultured listening session at the perpetually rowdy Boiler Room Berlin.
Have you ever wondered what it looks like when millions of sound waves are traveling through social networks? Stamen Design did before creating Beatquake - a visualization of dynamic characteristics for typical listening activity across facebook. More than 110 million songs, albums and radio stations have been played 40 billion times through apps integrated with Facebook’s Open Graph.
A bit lost for words on this one as it's actually pretty amazing. By passing sound waves through a metal plate, Brusspup uncovers geometric patterns that form and become increasingly intricate as the pitch of the tone increases. And so, the wow-factor is pretty much off the charts.
Visiting this years Unsound Festival gave us a cornucopia of live acts, DJ sets and impressions. However, one thing really stood out visually with a deserved standing ovation in the Kino Kijów.
Sometimes you have to abandon all notions of decency and rave hard. This is one of those times.
Merging sound, vision and environment, ‘Sadly by your Side’ is an album, a book and a smartphone app. But it’s also an idea. And that rather ingenious idea is that an album is open to your personal interpretation. Not only that, it’s also sensitive to the environment you happen to be in. If you open the app and point your phone at Sadly by Your Side’s physical pages, you’ll hear the tracks in their original form. But if you point it anywhere else, you’ll hear unique remixes of those same songs, with the tracks remixed in-real time as you change your environment.
Nu-disco is a weird term. For starters, it’s not really new, considering it first appeared over a decade ago. And of course, there’s also the spelling. Is new that much more cumbersome to spell than its alternate, edgy consonant + vowel equivalent? Although, there’s something to be said about abbreviating a three-letter word. Using “nu-disco” as a superset genre for several upcoming of artists also poses its own set of problems. How to describe the next wave of this category? New nu-disco? Nu-nu disco? Nu disco squared? Let’s just skip the labels and talk about the music.
Barely a year after releasing the LP Pink, the London-based producer Kieran Hebden better known as the infamous Four Tet returns with a new album, which has so far avoided the usual hype: Beautiful Rewind. Behind the psychedelic cover hides an album swimming against the current trend, resulting in an impressive track, a near perfect summary of all that went before.
I first encountered Oracy one morning in Panorama Bar, the house-oriented top floor of everyone's favourite monolithic temple of techno. The first track he dropped was a particularly demanding 90s-sounding rave number, as if to present a challenge: accept it and dance, or disappear. And some did - maybe 30 percent of the floor emptied out, but the brave ones who stayed were subject to something stunning: his set was diverse, soulful and utterly ballsy. Behind the moniker stands German Thomas Wendel, who you may be familiar with as techno connoisseur Don Williams, or the man behind the imprints Mojuba, a.r.t.less and Wandering. On the 25th of October we’ll be bringing this bold Berliner to Jolene Bar, Copenhagen, for our Dunkel Radio party. We decided to catch up with him before his visit, for a chat about where his journey with electronic music started and how he developed his esthetic on DJing. We even managed to uncover some very promising news about a future Convextion release on a.r.t.less...