video by dextro.org / audio by thavius beck
Mike Hucksby & TJ Hicks Live @ Grelle Forelle
npr music tiny desk concert / gza & the soul rebels live
We’re passing through an era when synthesizers have seeped into damn near every corner of avant-garde music, and yet the technology these days is too seldom used in the service of free improvisation. Oh sure, we’re treated to plenty of experimental techno, ambient drone, industrial and even underground rock all swimming in synth-based textures, atmosphere, programming and other compositional elements. But for those of us whose ears are tuned to the outer limits of jazz and noise, just about the only athletic bruisers willing to step to the plate on a consistent basis have been the veteran duo of drummer Didi Kern and keyboardist Philip Quehenberger. And to remind of us of their long-running exceptionality, the prolific Austrians are dropping LINZ, a ruthlessly sweaty live album meant as a celebration of the tandem’s 15-year relationship.
Comprised of a pair of side-long pieces recorded at the Stadtwerkstatt, in the Austrian city of Linz, this absurdly kinetic album–released on Boris Hauf’s Berlin-based Shameless label–is the sonic equivalent of a 28-minute submission hold. Quehenberger (who also has produced electronic music for the Editions Mego imprint) absolutely jabs, stabs and mangles his keys, producing dense, bass-focused litanies of vicious swirls, growling motors and gut-rupturing oscillations; he’s both frantic and utterly muscular sounding. Kern, meanwhile, flails about like an Adderall-gobbling octopus, filling in the cracks with deep, thudding skins and clusters of splashing cymbals. Most of the time the drummer (whose long list of credits includes work with Mats Gustafsson, Fuckhead, Weasel Walter and BulBul) kneels before the lords of chaos, yet there also emerge deliciously brief pattern bursts of rock-like linearity, tattered funk beats and a brand of jittery swing reaching all the way back to the classic hard bop days.
Of course, it’s all too tempting to draw parallels between the Kern-Quehenberger sound and a few of the mavericks of yore who themselves have used synthesizers in avant-jazz settings: Sun Ra and Miles Davis’ fusion-era ensembles for sure; there’s also Wayne Horvitz’s rumbling tones with Pigpen and the greatly underappreciated Bruce Ditmas, a drummer and synth explorer whose maniacally percussive recordings from the ’70s really kind of haunt the music heard on this record. Ultimately, though, Kern and Quehenberger have developed their own, unique language, one that will sock you right in the face on the wonderfully pugnacious LINZ.”
Words by Justin Farrar
Vigram, a new Viennese label, debuts with a strong three track EP by Dan Lodig, also known under his Lok 44 moniker and as one half of /DL/MS/. Dan's MS-45 EP features two hazy and playful original cuts on the fringe of techno and electro. Pinn 487 builds tension with doomy sci-fi synths, welcome repetitions are broken up by frantic hi-hat patterns creating a dialogue, while watery acidlines support the beat. Can't Stop breaks with the four to the floor paradigm and delivers raunchy electro rhythms with intersecting acid lines topped by ethereal sounds for the curious minds. Comes with a massive Spesimen remix on the flip!! Essential stuff..
Seven sisters hail from Bristol under the supervision of label boss Miotek and this time they return with VA containing a stunning collection of tracks. Seven Sisters is a label with strong roots in Baltic with the label initially based in Ogre, Latvia whilst recently moving to Bristol. The EP consists of tracks produced by Latvian artists only, and that’s no coincidence as the label choose these artists to shine a light upon the talent coming out of the country.
The opening track ‘Days of Saturn’ is produced by Cosmic Monkey , a producer who shifts between techno, electro and ambient effortlessly. Here we see Cosmic Monkey paint a wonderfully dystopian scene, with the bubbling acid bassline forcing the groove forward out of its dream like background.
Next Label boss Miotek steps to the plate with “You Let the things go wrong” instantly you can start to hear Miotek’s Chicago influences come through as a wonderfully trippy machine based jam explores the groove, briefly punctuated by a beautifully harmonically distorted, beat less swell of electronic goodness.
Doctor Gee is 3rd up on the vinyl and he drops ‘Ur Here’ this time he’s teamed up with Wrth & Salmz to deliver an Electro romper. His trademark funk is again stamped all over this, but ‘Ur Here’ follows a more traditional electro jam with beautifully played synth solos and of course vocoded “computer machine” vocal.
4th track on the VA is a doctor Gee remix ‘Jurai’ by a one man synth project from Lativa called Starpliktuve. An broken beat acid banger that’s sure to get people poppin and locking. The vocal and creeping pads cloak the track is an intense veil that it works in and out of.
Closing the record is Doctor Gee & Salmz’s track 2009. A wonderfully glitched out affair with one of the funkiest god dam leads we ever did hear. Fantastic programming skills are on display here with the producers being able to lead and guide the erratic nature of the lead with passion and precision.
As a taste of the talent coming out of Latvia this is one serious EP
From the rugged streets of Detroit comes a dirty collaboration from the masters of Electro: Dj Psycho from Detroit Techno Militia, Dj Lenn Swann from the 12 Tech Mobb, Dj Maaco of Detroit In Effect and DJ Dijital. Pure electro dance-floor killers guaranteed to move your body!!
*We accept special orders on out of stock items.
for Tunea dropped the 'Don't Go' 12" on 8. June 2018. It includes remixes by Vienna based producers Precious K and Roman Rauch! Release Limited to 300 copies!
Already known in his home town of Vienna for spinning records at multiple venues; Mister Bellini introduces himself as a producer and label owner. “Deep Shopping” is the name of his new imprint. The first release “Sleazy” is here and a strong way to step onto the scene. Starting with A1 “Tellaphone” – a peak time deep house track à la Levon Vincent type production that embraces echoing chords and vocal samples that fluidly mesh together to give it the energy that it brings to the dance-floor. Moving on to A2 “Deep Shopping Jazz” – a dubby techno piece – that exerts moving and energetic TR 909 hi-hat and cymbol combinations that bring the dancer and listener to a hypnotic infused state of consciousness. On the flip side B1 “Sedusa” – a raw house banger -, which fuses plucking bass and dark synth voices that create this mysterious, yet mesmerizing groove. Finishing off the 12” release at B2 with the peculiar “Tickle Da Clit” track with breakbeat swagger to ignite all explorers of the sweet slope and probably the track which the EP’s title is owed.
25 Years of Pomelo:
A brief retrospective
In joining the celebrations for this important milestone, we pay tribute to one of Vienna’s most distinctive electronic music labels. The anniversary party - Pomelo - 25 Jahre - took place on 5.5.2018 at Weberknecht in Vienna, Austria (the same place where the first Pomelo party was held in 1993), with the likes of Electric Indigo, DL/MS/, Slack Hippy, Art Vega and Gatasanta.
Pomelo was founded by Dan Lodig and Art Vega, with the everstanding affiliation of Visual artist Dextro.
If during the Wende Berlin was open and welcoming towards Techno, the “sound of the future”, Vienna ( the city of music, but classical music) was, conversely, very conservative and the passionate members of the local raving/techno community had to work hard to find the spaces in order to express themselves. Daniel Lodig at the beginning of the nineties quickly became one of the most booked DJs of the city, and co-organizer of some the best techno parties, together with other big names here, like Georg Lauteren aka DJ Glow (afterward founder of the seminal electro label TRUST) and Pure (according to many, the one who brought the Berlin techno fever to Vienna).
Once Pomelo as a party series had been established, the label came to life as a natural consequence and , not unlike many other labels back then, it started with the idea of uniting friends and colleagues from the scene in Vienna and to strengthen the bonds with some of the guests of the parties that Lodig had co-organised, or played at. The fact that, in 1994, the first release is a Compilation makes therefore perfect sense: it features local heroes like Erdem Tunakan and Patrick Pulsinger as iO (also founders of another important Viennese label, Cheap Records), and Germans Richard Bartz aka Richie and DJ Hell (back then already well-known and later on founder of the iconic International Deejay Gigolos imprint).
The same spirit went on for the next few releases: with the exception of the 2nd release (singlehanded by Bartz under his Horn alias), until 2007 Pomelo showcases more or less strictly Viennese talents, some of whom had already appeared on the very first compilation. We have names like Pin-ups In Exile and The Trumps (both Gerhard Potuznik’s aliases, one of the few Viennese producers appearing on almost all most important Viennese electronic labels), Satanic Soul aka Alexander Müller (also known as Elin), Punk Anderson aka Christopher Just. In 1999 there’s a kind of shift in the musical direction. This might have close links with Lodig’s friendship with Dj Glow who, as mentioned before, in 1998 had founded TRUST, a label very much focused on the Electro sound. Pomelo embraced this new aesthetic with its ninth release, Muros Transparentes ( a Spanish name, maybe a hint to Lodig ’s decennial transfer to Barcelona, in 2000), in English “transparent walls”, which sees Glow debuting on the label.
From here on, Pomelo becomes one of the European reference imprints for all electro heads but at the same time it is able to maintain a certain degree of sonic variety, and it does so by continuing to represent the Austrian/Viennese scene as well, featuring different talents at each new release. After Muros Transparentes, the next string of quality releases showcases the likes of Epy ( aka Klaus Voltmer, Nestor Pridun and Stefan Holek ), Hi-Lo ( aka Martin Retschitzegger and Michael Peter, founders of Central and who also appeared on Robert Hood’s M-Plant), a return of Tunakan and Pulsinger as The Private Lightning Six (on team with Gerhard Potuznik, Herbert Gollini and Florian Sokol) with additional remixes by Dave Tarrida, John Tejada and Roberto Rodrigo (Lodig’s Barcelona connections), Spesimen (American electro producer hailing from Ann Arbor, just outside Detroit, and founder of Infocalypse Recordings ), Microthol (aka Philipp Haffner alias Soulglo and Constantin Zeileissen, two of Vienna’s finests) and another return, this time by Christopher Just, with remixes by Microthol themselves and Lodig + Art Vega as The Love Project (only appearance of the alias so far).
In 2007, after a couple years hiatus, Pomelo is back with another VA, marking another (subtle but defining) turning point in its path. The 13 Years release sees the debut of prolific German producer Alex Cortex aka Alexander Neumann (a future label’s mainstay) and a prestigious feature by Reade Truth, one of New York Techno’s veterans. From this point on, the label has established itself, starts to be more international (especially more German) and to bet even more on niche producers. After two releases by Cortex and a split release between Minimalsoul & Pomelo founder Dan Lodig and Dutch legend Orlando Voorn, 2009 sees a remarkable one-off debut by Scottish producer Steven Patton aka Soundex Phonetic.
It’s also an important year for the label, in that it can count on another big-time appearance, as the iconic Drexciyan DJ Stingray teams up with Alex Cortex, with an original track and a remix each.
2010 is a year of transition: Lodig moves back to Vienna and works with his peers on preparing a schedule for the upcoming releases, plus getting back to some serious studio time; there’s in fact only one release being put out in this year, again by Alex Cortex. 2011 is, conversely, the label’s most prolific year ever, with five releases. We have another debut, by German duo Bad Cop Bad Cop (aka Cortex and Stefan Eichinger), an obscure release with two untitled tracks by Uwe Schmidt aka Atom™ and Tobias Freund aka Pink Elln, taken from a previous Berghain live-set, while Alex Cortex dominates the rest of the year and into 2012, with a string of four consecutive releases, also introducing a new alias, L.D. Nero, and culminating with the Kihon album.
At this point, Electro has been put “on hold” for a while, as the label’s output focuses on House and Techno: the 20 years anniversary is behind the corner, and the label feels an urge for even more scope. It puts out an EP by Vienna`s sensation of the time, the Elektro Guzzi trio who had gained international fame with their jazz and rock-infused techno livesets, played with real instruments like the bass, the drums and the guitar. Right after, it’s time for the second Detroitian excursus, as the label releases the first ever (and up to now only) wax by Detroit insider DJ and producer Kemetrix. Soulbrother #3 is a standout release - one of those that alone can “justify” 25 years of activity - blending syncopated SP-1200 patterns, Kemetrix’s own falsetto voice à la Curtis Mayfeld vs. Prince, with melancholic chords and a wide range of influences. It merges futuristic techno Marches, with Detroit Legacy`s tributing ghetto house gems, blended in street rawness; what he dubs Soulwerkz Detroit: yet another clear example of how complex and rich the underground scene of the D is.
After such a “spiritual” release, in 2013 Lodig and Vega decide to continue a sonic widening path. After a well-rounded techno double 12” by Bad Cop Bad Cop (with an additional wax of selected remixes by the likes of Tobias, Kemetrix, Group Niob and Brendon Moeller), the label is happy to welcome the acid mastery of Johannes Auvinen aka Tin Man, who had previously moved to Vienna: The project’s called Underdog, it’s divided in two parts and sees Auvinen smartly integrating himself into the label with five overall tracks, merging acid house and techno amidst all his signature flair.
After Tin Man, Pomelo appoints another New York virtuoso, Brendon Moeller (already known for his releases on iconic labels such as Third Ear and Echocord) who delivers all his expertise for a proper Techno treat (check out Machiavellian Impulse!). Time flies and the label celebrates 20 years of activity with a couple of VA releases, introducing some new talents as it has become tradition in times of compilations. #1 features Patrick Pulsinger alongside his current partner in crime - the Bavarian Sam Irl - as the dub-influenced alias Pulsinger & Irl, Altroy aka TJ Hicks (MSR Distro founder), Buffered Multiple (Philipp Haffner aka Soulglo and Constantin Zeileissen’s new alias) and DJ Glow, whereas #2 presents tracks by Tin Man, Elektro Guzzi and a debuting Digilog (co-founder of Viennese Yoshi imprint). Before the end of 2014, Pomelo decides to invest in another talent, the Latvian bur Berlin-based producer and DJ Anet K: her explicit track Eat My Pussy (unfortunately not streamable in full anywhere) is an astonishing mixture of bass music, Chicago footwork and juke with electro countertastes, and sees the legendary Egyptian Lover and Dj Stingray on remix duties. A perfect subculture hymn!
The last four releases - except for a 12” by Group Niob aka Dibek and Gerhard Potuznik - have seen founder Dan Lodig step in on a consistent level, presenting his new project /DL/MS/ alongside Dibek himself. The two have released 3 records on pomelo (one together with Altroy), both as DL/MS/ and as simply Lodig & Dibek, as well as appearing on TRUST and Frustrated Funk. The upcoming release Jupiter EP, introduces another Vienna based talent aka Serbian producer and turntablist Nino Sebelic. You can listen to one of the track from the 12”, Church Of Tasmania in this recent mix by Dave Clarke.
After celebrating our 10th anniversary with a couple of releases from the likes of Buffered Multiple (a.k.a. Microthol) and Nino Sebelic, Minimalsoul continues its sonic journey with a new, caustic piece of wax, introducing Russian producer, Ms. Masha Dabelka, now based in Vienna. Storybook#2 is her vinyl debut and – ideally – the continuation of a “self manifestation” project started in 2015 though here, for the first time, she delivers a broader cross section of her musical self and especially her potential. Masha Dabelka is a classically trained producer, and her knowledge of music – especially the piano – resonates through the whole set of tracks, with very spatial and catchy synth lines. Overall the release is a calm storm, balanced between experimental and dreamy tracks, like side A’s “Interactions” and “Consolation”, with the daring and energetic consistency of more dance-floor-oriented tunes, most notably, the fizzy funkiness of side B’s “Master Track”, and is surely going to put the Siberian artist under your radar!