Playing with mystery is as old as art itself. And even when the mysterious isn’t the subject of art, the person behind the artwork has often become the mystery. From the writer picking a pen name to the performer cloaking his identity, it has been done for a long time. Yet, it feels like in recent years there has been an increase of this phenomenon, in particular the use of masks has become more of a gimmick, a marketing tool to increase the interest in or the awareness about an artist. As you can question the motives of an artist, what’s so comforting for the follower to reveal who is using a new name, a new face? Why do we seek the safety-net of a tracklist when it’s more adventurous to listen to something new and unheard, without prejudice?
Well, I don’t necessarily want to be part of that speculation, but it seems the internet has already decided about the true identity of Levantis. Though (or because) I have heard the same said about Rezzett, or in fact quite a number of artists on Trilogy Tapes, I don’t give much of a fuck. Let’s stick to what’s there, and so far there isn’t much more than a mostexcellent EP released on the said label. Earlier this week, Ninja Tune affiliate label Technicolour revealed its first album release, the 11-track “Romantic Psychology 1” by —you guessed it— the oh-so-mysterious Levantis. You can listen to a first track above, but I’m sure before its release on October 30th, there will be plenty more to be revealed.
We have neglected our podcast series for way too long and are more than happy to bring it back with an interview and guestmix from Berlin-based Canadian Mike Davis, a young producer we got to know through his release on the Sector 12/12 label.
Hello Mike Davis. You released your first EP on Sector 12/12 last year and that’s pretty much everything I know about you. Why don’t you start introducing yourself to our readers?
Sure, I’m Mike, an unknown electronic musician, who moved from Toronto to Berlin in 2012 to study in the Humboldt University and also find out what electronic could really means to me. I was DJing in Toronto as part of a crew & party called the Deep North, and decided Berlin was where I’d like to grow musically, rather than wait (or hope) for a big release or something before coming here, like many artists do. The three year anniversary of my arrival was just the other day actually, and I’ve since finished studying, put out a couple records, a tape, and co-founded Carousel and a label of my own, Brenda.
How long have you been making tracks and how did that all come together on Baniza?
For only four or five years, maybe two years or less in a serious way, and even less in a relatively calculated way. Only recently have I developed a technique from which I can, to some degree, truly realize ideas. It terms of that coming together for Baniza, it exists early in that process, the tracks are all around two years old, experiments with limited resources and techniques, simply exploring sound and writing some music along the way. The alternate versions of all the tracks on the EP might better illustrate it, but the project is a mess. I think even my old computer failed at some point and I had to remake some of it, I was just pleased that Sector12/12 wanted to release it. It was completed after a bike journey from Berlin to Sofia. There I became acquainted with the baniza, a traditional Bulgarian pastry. It’s not really nice looking, quite messy, wants nothing but to fall apart, but tastes good… so I believe that EP is a baniza.
Do you remember what sparked your interest to make music?
It originated pretty early, I suppose due to my parents. They put me in piano lessons as a kid, and I remember making terrible music on my dad’s Yamaha CS01 and MR-10 drum machine maybe around 8 or 9 years old. High-school in the late 90s brought all that was 90s and my first guitar, a birthday present from my dad. In college I played drums and bass in some punk projects, but nothing too serious. Eventually I became disillusioned with bands. Between jamming and beer drinking, creating was often challenging, so I was drawn to electronic music. I could produce on my terms, ideas and execution are completely up to me, I like that.
Having moved from one continent to the other, how has that influenced your image about electronic music? Are there still that many differences in culture in this globalized world?
That’s difficult to answer, as the move was still quite early in this budding career, I suppose it played a more developmental role than an influential one. Berlin has shaped me more than Europe, outside of Toronto I’ve only played in Germany and France, so there’s still much I need to experience. The accessibility here in Berlin has continually been a motivator, being a more vibrant and tangible scene has made it easier to reconcile the energy input. It’s not just felt at parties… record shops, rehearsal spaces aren’t 90% rock bands, even the small bars and cafes have decks, [ebay] kleinanzeigen is full of gear, albums and events are advertised in public transit, it’s hard not to feel it being part of the social fabric.
What are you future plans for the record labels and your own music in general, is there anything we can look out for?
Well Owen and I are currently working out details for CRSL002, hopefully will be out in 2015. We’re at the same time growing Carousel into a record shop which will soon be operational as an online shop, with the plan to go physical once it makes sense. It will be carefully curated music, nothing we plan to take over the scene with, of course. The second Brenda record, another 12″ from CNCPT, just came out a few weeks ago and I believe is pretty much sold out everywhere it was available, which is good. The third will also come out before the year is over. Personally, I’ve got a couple of collaborative projects actually. One with Owen on his other label Shades later this year, and another with part of my Deep North family Dan (as Jerry Riggs), I’m in on two tracks on his upcoming Run Out Run release.
Tell us about the mix you made
Yeah, as you know, it was not the first one I sent you, but the delay between recording and releasing had me always tiring of what I recorded. Anyway what I’ve settled on are some recent finds and some older stuff selected spontaneously while recording. Nothing so deeply planned, very Baniza.
01. Michael Holman – Gauntlet of Wriggly’s
02. Steve Moore – Logotone
03. Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit – 124 0 09 (played at 33rpm)
04. Chra – Landmine
05. Dorisburg – Splade
06. Devianza – I Droni A Torvijanica
07. Vakula – Life Internal Sounds
08. Green Gums – Zozomono
09. Beat Detectives – Somethin’s Rippin
10. Bookworms – Exotic Auto Boutique
11. Broken English Club – Glass
12. Mistake Made – Loaded Memory
13. Charlie – Spacer Woman
14. Hiver – Vorticism
15. Obtane – Tericore
16. Johan Hansson – Vassvik
17. Jatoma – Helix
18. Roll The Dice meets Pole – Echo Hands (played at 33rpm)
19. Lena Platonos – Love in Summer
20. Moon B – Moments in Slank __
My life has become more enjoyable since I ignored Zomby on social media and re-focused on the reason I came to love him in the first place: his music. His latest production is a remix of Wiley’s Step 20, the latest addition to Big Dada’s recent series of records reworking the London MC’s back-catalogue. Previous entries included reworks from Actress and Special Request, and this new one will be available from September 24, 2015.
The relationship between the Chicago footwork scene and Kode9’s Hyperdub label deepens with the release of DJ Spinn‘s debut EP. Titled “Off That Loud”, a first video from the EP has been unveiled today, for a track featuring the late DJ Rashad and rapper Danny Brown.
Another of those gifted Vancouver artists that have been popping up lately through the Mood Hut and 1080p labels, Journeymann Trax is a side project of the city’s own Bobby Draino. His album “Smoke Tape” was released in late July on tape and digital, sporting “47 minutes of meditative, floatational house and techno abstractions”. Not just a great album, but my favourite this week!1. Jade Tour (feat. D. Tiffany)
2. Arboreal Harp Jam (feat. Khotin)
4. Canopy (feat. D. Tiffany)
5. Black Forest
7. Ice Sheets
You can buy the release directly from 1080p and worldwide retailers such as Boomkat.
Much in the vein of one of my favourite releases last year, Sandopolis by Hashman Deejay, comes more new music out of Vancouver. Well “new” – the short version came out first in May last year, when 1080p released the Lnrdcroy album Much Less Normal on cassette and digital. Since then, Scotland’s Firecracker Recordings pressed it on vinyl, with “Sunrise Market” missing entirely. However, the extended version was part of the first Rhythms Of The Pacific EP, released in October 2014.
I remember hearing this, I believe on the Pender Street Steppers show on Rinse, but wasn’t aware it’s been out for such a long time!
So there’s a new EP from Kuedo coming out at at last at the end of this month, his first new music since 2012’s Work, Live & Sleep In Collapsing Space on Planet Mu. And while there’s still a strong dystopian touch in his music, it sounds slighty different, the synthesizers seem to be sharpened up a bit, much like his remix for Dorian Concept from earlier this year.1. Vertical Stack
2. Border State Collapse
3. Boundary Regulation (feat. Egyptrixx)
4. Case Type Classification
5. Eyeless Angel Intervention (feat. Mind:Body:Fitness)
6. Event Tracking Across Populated Terrain (feat. Roly Porter)
7. Cellular Perimeter
The full EP titled „Assertion of a Surrounding Presence” will be out on July 31st and marks Kuedo’s debut on his own Knives label.
Something new from Steve Spacek and taken from his forthcoming release titled „Natural Sci-Fi” (whether that’s an album or an EP remains unclear!) I suggest you follow his label S P A on Bandcamp to hear it first hand when it’s coming out.
And while we’re at it, let me remind you of Kutmah’s special Spacek mixtape from earlier this year, in which he plays music from throughout Steve’s discography.
I guess I liked quite a couple of bits on this new Knxwledge album on Stones Throw, and of course the album artwork is something I’m very drawn to. At the same time I often have troubles buying a record of beat tape proportions, with hardly a track extending the 2-minute mark — but that’s just me. Anyway, today Stones Throw unveiled this video by the ever amazing RUFFMERCY, so you know you’re in for a visual treat.
Just a little something to get you in the right mood for the weekend. Watch three minutes of Roy Ayers performing his classic good vibes song “Everybody Loves The Sunshine”, taken from the 1976 LP of the same name.
Roy Ayers will be performing at this year’s edition of the Worldwide Festival, which kicks off next Monday, July 6th.
Kieran Hebden’s own Text Records is about to release a much anticipated piece of music in collaboration with the late Steve Reid. The track in question is a rework of Derrick May’s seminal “Strings of Life”, released in 1987 (!) under his Rhythim is Rhythim moniker. Hebden and Reid performed their cover version almost 20 years later at the 2006 Green Man Festival.
Alright. Here is one great video from what I think we can call a major rap artist. Imaginative, beautifully shot, crisp. Nothing to say about the music, you probably all heard Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly by now — and if you haven’t, here’s a good reason to do so. Video directed by Colin Tilley.
Ever since Dego turned his back on New York to return to the UK, the 4hero co-founder and 2000Black label-head has been as busy as in his early days. The last couple of months alone saw several new releases on Rush Hour, Sound Signature and, of course, his own label. As of this week, the second Dego & Kaidi on Eglo Records adds to his impressive discography. The track you can hear above was teased for months (months!!) by Eglo co-founder Alexander Nut, and now you finally pre-order the vinyl directly from the label’s Bandcamp store. One more word about the artwork, which is once again the work of Sassy J, who designs her own clothing line and is a magnificent DJ.
Pre-order your vinyl copy today and it will ship on June 17th today, the same date goes for the digital release. Don’t sleep!
Looks like the summer holidays are near, the time of the year when hardly any music is coming out. So, today Werk Discs announced the release of Helena Hauff‘s debut album “
Discreet Desires”, and it will be released in early September. I don’t know, the word early doesn’t change the fact that September is far in the future. Anyway, above you can listen to a first track from that very album, and hopefully more will be revealed in the next two months. If you can’t wait, you can pre-order the album on Helena’s Bandcamp store today!
It was a bit of short notice, just before the weekend, that Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label announced the release of a new mini-album by fellow bass player and singer Thundercat. Among the six tracks on “The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam”, there is the wonderful track you can hear above.
So, if you’re not madly into Thundercat’s work already, this should serve as an excellent appetizer. Available from the NinjaShop, Bleep or iTunes. Digital only from what it looks like — sad face.