Even if you hate electronic dance music, how could you not like The Grid?
08:19 pm

I’m not—and have really never been—much of an electronic dance music fan. I just can’t listen to it at home and these days I’m too old for nightclubs. I’m not putting it down, it’s just not my bag, man.

However, one EDM group that I was wild about back in the day (when they were still calling it “techno”) was the Grid, the partnership between David Ball (formerly of Soft Cell) and Richard Norris. There was always something poptastic and earworm-catchy about their (primarily) instrumental formula, which was more or less to take galloping Goa trance beats and overlay them with exotic vocals, opera singers, Timothy Leary, flamenco guitars, gospel choirs, esoteric pop culture samples and even a lead banjo. Along the way they’ve collaborated with Robert Fripp, Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera, Yello’s Dieter Meier, Henry Cow’s Dagmar Krause and noted songwriter/producer Chris Braide (Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey, the new Marc Almond album, etc).

Although they were never that well-known Stateside, the Grid had several hit albums and singles in England, Europe, Asia and Australia in the early to mid-90s. One of their singles, “Swamp Thing,” sold over a million records, rare for an instrumental number. They went on a long term hiatus in 1996, a stretch broken by a stellar, but little noticed album called Doppelgänger in 2008.

The pair first joined forces while Norris was collaborating with Genesis P-Orridge on Jack the Tab: Acid Tablets Volume One, a fake “acid house” compilation album that was released in 1988 and had a fair amount of influence as to where rave culture would go for the next few years. It yielded the dancefloor hit “Meet Every Situation Head On” that was credited to Norris’s “R.Noise” pseudonym and released as a 12” single under the name M.E.S.H.

That still sounds fucking amazing some 25 plus years later, does it not?

Here’s “Swamp Thing” with Roger Dinsdale on banjo. I could listen to this on repeat for hours on end (and often do):

More of the Grid after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger
08:19 pm
Download the new album by Detroit techno legend Moodymann for free

In the worlds of deep house and techno, artists don’t come more revered than Detroit’s Kenny Dixon Jr, aka Moodymann. Releasing records for almost two decades now, his music has attracted a devoted, almost cult-like fan base.

This is due largely to his unique sound, a blend of minimalist Detroit soul with spaced out disco, jazz and abstract electronics, not to mention the lashings of found sound, disembodied voices and crowd noise he weaves in and out of his hypnotic and, yes, moody tracks.

But it also has a lot to do with Moodymann the character. Staying true to his Detroit techno roots, Dixon tends to shy away from the press and the music industry at large, and on the rare occasions he does make a pronouncement, his Afro-centric and iconoclastic views can draw criticism. His releases follow the same ideological path, with regular 12"s and albums coming out independently through his umbrella organisation Mahogani Music. Often the only marking to distinguish these releases from an anonymous white label is the recognisable afro-and-shades Moodymann logo.

So it’s a surprise to see him releasing a new 8 track album digitally and for free through the website Scion A/V. Not that these guys don’t know their shit, with past free releases from the likes of Dam Funk, Skream & Benga and The Melvins, but more that Dixon has decided to persue this avenue of free digital releasing at all. Well, the times they are a’changin’. 

If you are new to Moodymann and his work, this might not be the best place to start (I would recommend starting by checking out the sinlge “Joy Pt II” and the album A Silent Introduction) but at the very least this release gives you a taste of his work, and you can always ask for your money back. For the Moodymann fan who has not yet downloaded Picture This, well, what are you waiting for? The download widget for the free release is below, and here is the video for the album’s opening track:

Moodymann “9 Nites 2 Nowhere”




Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
09:46 pm
Atari Teenage Riot ‘Black Flags’ - the first OWS anthem?

I have been waiting for a band or an act to put into music all the feelings that have been driving the Occupy movement. Music is still one of the fastest means of spreading a meme, and I think it’s a mark of how truly “popular” a movement has become when it has its own protest music that reflects the anger and desires of the protesters.

It seems rather fitting then that the first large-scale act to do so would be squat-rave and black block veterans Atari Teenage Riot. Alec Empire and Nic Endo’s Berlin-based anarchist mob have been screaming about this kind of thing since the early 90s, and it looks like the world has finally caught up with what they have to say. While personally I would have thought it would be a new act to break through representing a new generation, no-one can doubt ATR’s credentials when it comes to this kind of thing. In fact, maybe in this age of ultra-commodified music it would HAVE to take a more veteran, established act to represent OWS and Anonymous so as to avoid claims of false appropriation?

You have to hand it to ATR though, “Black Flags” is a pretty great tune. I’d say it’s one of their most accessible yet while retaining all that dark techno-punk scuzzy energy we know and love (metal guitars over distorted 909 drums? fuck yeah!). You can hear the track, and download it for free, right here:

  Atari Teenage Riot - Black Flags (feat. Boots Riley) by Alec Empire/ ATR
The video for ‘Black Flags’ has been put together using footage supplied by fans of the band, and they are still looking for more if anyone reading would like to get involved. Here’s a statement from the Alec Empire / Atari Teenage Riot Soundcloud page:

In the past decade we have witnessed how dangerous corruption can be for ordinary citizens, from Fukushima to the financial crisis, we could even include the current phone hacking scandals in the UK in this. The list goes on. Almost weekly more shocking news is being published. Corporate greed has too often put the lives of people in danger.
Historically, the Black Flag stood for not belonging to a certain Nation State (due to the fact that no national colors were used on it). For the us, it means also that no individual can look at him/herself as superior to others just because of his/her national identity.
The mainstream media often looks at “consumers” and labels them as “apathetic.” But as the protests around the world have indicated, there is more political activism than ever before. And not only that, we see the same activism and energy at our concerts.
Cynics always find many reasons for not doing anything and being miserable. Often they say that the world is too “complex” to get involved. We believe that even though the world is complex, there are some fundamentally powerful ideas. Respect for another human being, for example, is a fundamental idea that grants great power.
If you agree to the basic principles of equality and freedom, join us and make a statement!
If you want to be in the video and show that you support the ideals mentioned above, please send us the following footage:
• Take your mobile phone, webcam or any other camera and film yourself lip-synching the song Atari Teenage Riot - Black Flags (feat. Boots Riley) by Alec Empire/ ATR 
• Have a black flag in the background, or hold it while you’re lip-syncing. (The black flag motif will link all images together. If you don’t have one to hand, use a black T-shirt, pull it inside out, stick the arms into it…there you go.) 
• You can choose any location for it. If you want to do it at home, great. If you know a crazy location, do it there. (In front of your school or university? At a shopping mall? With your friends at a party?) 
• We will use fragments of all videos, which are sent in and ultimately add all of you to the official video. 
• If you want to support the idea but want to do so anonymously, you can cover your face. No problem.

Atari Teenage Riot ft Boots Riley “Black Flags”

Thanks to Liam Arnold at Shallow Rave.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
10:23 am
Techno don Legowelt releases new album for free
09:21 pm

Fans of electronica might recognise the name Legowelt. Danny Wolfers has been releasing quality analog techno and electro since 1996 on respected labels like Ghostly International and Clone. His sound is heavily influenced by Detroit techno and Chicago house, as well as early 80s Italo disco and 70s electronic horror soundtracks, and his studio set-up puts live sequencing and classic synths above digital trickery. On the Legowelt Wikipedia page, he describes his sound as “a hybrid form of slam jack combined with deep Chicago house, romantic ghetto technofunk and EuroHorror Soundtrack.”

Now Wolfers has just released his new album, The Teac Life, for free through his own website. He has this to say about it, and the state of modern techno - it’s definitely Not Safe For Work:

Ok people here it is the new Legowelt album which is free to download for u all.
Its got a hella lot [of] deep tape saturated forest-techno tracks on it and when I say Techno i don’t mean that boooooooooooring contemporary shit they call techno nowadays with overrated talentless pretentious douchebag cunt DJs playing a few half-assed dumb mongo beats and being all arty fartsy about it.

F*ck that, I am talking about: Raw as fuck autistic Star Trek 1987 - Misty Forests- X-FILES - DETROIT unicorn futurism made on cheap-ass digital & analog crap synthesizers recorded in a ragtag bedroom studio on a TEAC VHX cassettedeck in DOLBY C with an unintelligible yet soulfull vivacity.

Electronic music fans and analog synth freaks, this is a must. Wolfers is the real deal. If you’re a fan of John Carpenter soundtracks and the pre-pop Human League, the early output of labels like Warp and Rephlex, or even just strange homemade lo-fi music, there is much to enjoy here. You can listen to The Teac Life exclusively on the Legowelt website, or you can download the album from this link. In the meantime, here’s a great fan video of Legowelt’s “Into The Storm” (not on the album) featuring footage from 1967 Soviet horror flick Viy:

Legowelt - “Into The Storm”

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
09:21 pm
‘Snuff Trax For Japan’: Earthquake aid compilation
11:18 am

In the space of just over a week, the German deep house production team Snuff Crew have put together a whopping 45 track Japanese benefit compilation, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross’s earthquake relief operation. These guys aren’t messing around, they really have got the cream of European house and techno producers on board to help out. Have a look at the staggering tracklist:

01. Laurent Garnier – Cancel The Apocalypse
02. Joe Drive – The Delivery
03. Humandrone – Sun Pillar On the Debris
04. Zwei Of Snuff Crew – Fukushima
05. Billie Ray Martin and Hard Ton – Sold Life (Luke Solomon Remix)
06. Quinto – We Don`t Sleep At Night Part 1
07. KiNK – Memories From The Future
08. Neville Watson – Keep On
09. Patrick Pulsinger – 12a (Dub Version)
10. Dance Disorder – Future Retro
11. Legowelt – I Want Your Love
12. The Saint Petersburg Disco Spin Club – Birds Of Japan
13. DJ Gio MC-505 – My Face On Rushmore Mount
14. Marcello Napoletano – Acid Sunday
15. Morning Factory – Deepest Thoughts
16. Detachments – Holiday Romance (Andy Blake`s Mix For A World Unknown)
17. Photonz – Carnival Of Light
18. The Model – Bump And Jack
19. Hard Ton – Marilyn (Zoe Xenia Dub`n Pop Mix)
20. Elec Pt.1 – It´s House
21. Hieroglyphic Being – Siddharta (Part1)
22. DJ M-Traxxx – House Thunda (Unreleased Mix)
23. Roberto Rodriguez – The Girl Who Silenced The World
24. Discodromo – Bunraku
25. Romina Cohn – Follow Me
26. Meschi – Stay And Play
27. House Machine – Relief (Mix for Japan)
28. Demetrio Giannice – Untidled (One for larry) (Strictly For Japan Mix)
29. Moralez aka Telecommander1 – Life Time Groove
30. Simoncino – Japanese Heart
31. Pathetik – Accroupi
32. Roland Bassline – Ode To Mick
33. Ascii.Disko – Blues For The Red Sun
34. Joel Alter – Roll With Me
35. Andreas Henneberg, Marquez Ill, Leigh Myles – Thousand Paper Cranes
36. Eins of Snuff Crew – Kana Power
37. Remute – Worldfingers
38. Oliver Dodd – Tokyo Lovers
39. Lukatron (aka Luke Solomon) – Tommy´s Cream Soda
40. Renato Cohen – Silly Walk
41. Featherweight – Featherweight (Expanded Mix)
42. Kool & Duvall – U Lift Me Up (Craig Stewart Remix)
43. Fran Mela aka I.F.M. – Not A Game
44. Phil Moon aka Valyom – Einstein Romance
45. Mark Boombastik & Eduardo Delgado Lopez – Anders

Snuff Trax For Japan is available to download from What People Play.

For more info on the project, and Snuff Crew, visit their website.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
11:18 am
“We’ll never die!”: Atari Teenage Riot returns

It’s great to see that Berlin’s Atari Teenage Riot—electronic anarchists and creators of the “digital hardcore” sound—are back and in terrific shape. Predictably, what was first slated as a reunion for a few European shows has turned into a full-blown world tour for Alec Empire and Nic Endo, along with new Rioter CX KiDTRONiK.

Throughout the ‘90s, ATR spread sonic fire from the nexus of hard techno, thrash-punk and noise, with their members (including formers Hanin Elias and the late lamented Carl Crack) also releasing solo projects on their own Digital Hardcore Recordings label.

As shown by this stage invasion during their appearance at Zurich’s Fusion Festival from this spring, the Riot seems back on in full force.

After the jump, relive ATR’s famous 1999 anti-fascist May Day riot in Berlin, with commentary by Empire…

Posted by Ron Nachmann
03:36 pm