Thursday, February 28, 2013

Aaron-Carl - Crucified (2008)

Over the past few years I've really gotten into the Detroit techno sound.  Beyond the deep dive into the Deepchord/Echospace sound, we're talking the "real" techno sound of Detroit - industrial, hypnotic, spaced out, raw, urban techno that somehow elevates the soul and mind in spite of - or because of - its environment.  

I never used to understand it (never really took the time) but as I've gotten older and have dived into the back story and the roots of the sound I've become fascinated with the sound and get it.

Aaron Carl was one of those who represents the Detroit ethos.  I came to this one through the back door via the remixers on this re-issue from the MOM label.

It is doubly good as it contains the vocal version of the original track as well as remixes by Rod Modell and Quantec, two very representative staples that inhabit the dub techno universe, each providing their signature sound to the original track.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ghost Box - Study Series

Ghost Box.  If you are familiar with the whole hauntology genre you know this label (hate genres but it does provide a signpost).  The essence of hauntology is when Jack Nicholson first walks into the bar in The Shining.

If you get that vibe, you'll get the appeal of the sound.  Artists such as Leyland Kirby (aka The Caretaker) and Demdike Stare often get lumped into the tag because it's hard to categorize, feelings of a nostalgic past that you never lived which makes the present feel a bit peculiar.  

Ghost Box is "exquisitely sculpted like a model village, recreating the evocative aesthetic of pre-digital TV for schools and quintessentially English ephemera, all with a knowing sleight of memory and an oddly melancholy sense of nostalgia." (Source)

Gloriously odd.  You'll like it and not be able to pinpoint why...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The 80s and the 12"

Without getting too sappy or sentimental, the 80s were a good time for music.  One of the things I discovered during that time was the 12" and the remix.  For the most part, the 12" releases were extended mixes of the radio edits.  Pet Shop Boys "Opportunities" is one of the best examples that comes to mind.

After listening to the extended version from the 12" repeatedly, it is obvious that the radio edit is basically a compressed version.  All the parts are present just layered on top of one another.  I began to detest radio edits.  Remixes were pretty minor compared to today's notion of the remix, maybe a different drum beat, and the idea of a 'dub'was generally not as developed as the source tape manipulation of 'dub' as it exploded into the 90s.
But the 12" and the remix had moved out of the disco era and the dance club and into the mainstream (still have a smattering of these in my vinyl crate).  I had a cassette tape mix of my favorites that someone I knew stole and never returned so I've been trying to re-imagine it.

Know I'm missing a few tracks but it was designed to be more atmospheric for those long drives into the night.  Think Miami Vice, Episode 1, "In The Air Tonight" perfectly placed, pop songs designed to elicit  certain moods.

Can't recall a few of the tracks but most of them are here.  Though some of these were later released on CD, the originals on my mix were ripped from vinyl to cassette.  Anyone who has ever made a mix tape in that way remembers what a labor of love it was.

"Blood of Eden" wasn't on the original mix but I couldn't find the "In Your Eyes" extended version in digital (I have the original but am not set up to rip vinyl to digital) and "Sledgehammer" was played to death so this is pretty representative of the feel of the tape. 

Part reminisce and part history lesson, it's an interesting little side trip back in time.  


Monday, February 25, 2013


Some time ago, while listening to Kirk Franklin's Hero album, the song "Let It Go" caught my ear because of the sample of the song "Shout" by Tears For Fears.  I remember when the original was first released and, since this was the heyday of when the the 'M' in MTV stood for music, remember the video as well. 

Aside from the deeply personal lyrics of Franklin's song, I was taken aback by a "gospel" artist using a "secular" song.  Music is an expression of the soul, a longing for what is Real and True, so this is not a personal judgment.  There is a false dichotomy present in the church world between the 'sacred' and the 'secular' as all of us move somewhere in between these two poles.  Music - from the darkness to the light - gives voice to where we are on that continuum.

Familiar with Concrete Blonde's take on the song, I decided to do a search of the song and found that many have covered this song.  A trademark of a good song is when other musicians find in that song an expression of what they are trying to say.  For those who make fun of the 80s, they are looking in the wrong place for great music.

I put together a compilation of remakes or songs where this track is sampled.  This isn't all of them (opted not to put the death/power metal versions on here) but this will give you a good taste of the variety.  Also included are various mixes and versions of the original.

Something a little different.

Underworld - DAT Compilation (1993)

In anticipation of Karl Hyde's upcoming solo release and as a matter of course, Underworld is always on my radar.  Though not a fanatic by any means, I can tell you that no other artist (except maybe Moby or Paul Oakenfold) can take me back to "those days" when I first really discovered music that was nothing like the classic rock diet of the suburbs and was set free.

Not so long ago I stumbled across this one, the demo tapes that would become Dubnobasswithmyheadman.  And, as it always does, it all came flooding back...

Couple of unreleased tracks here and, for those who know the album well, some rougher cuts of the tracks from the original release.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Knowone - LP001 and 002

As anyone who has followed electronica, especially the dance culture as it emerged from the underground during the 90s, knows, the idea of the "white label" was always a DJ's secret weapon, that artist or song that no one knew about, known only by the DJ.  That aesthetic permeates the culture of "underground" electronic music.  It's that dramatic tension of remaining underground yet striving for that following.

So too in the dub techno universe.

The Knowone label carries this torch and gives it a name as every release is from an Unknown Artist.  In truth the artists seem to be fairly well known but they are given anonymity with the release to add to the mystique.  The label's discography is starting to name names.

I picked up on their 12" releases starting with 001 but it wasn't until I got wind of a full album release that I dropped some cash on LP001. Glad I did as it turns out it is an artist who I've followed for years.  If you give it a listen, it shouldn't be too hard to pick out who it is.  If you need clues, the info page below will help.

I was disappointed in LP002 at first because I expected LP001 but, as with most music, when I allowed it to be its own style it's grown on me with each listen.

And though I can't always place where the tracks come from the recognition is there each time they drop and, like a familiar friend, provide instant joy.

LP001 (2011)



LP002 (2012)




No. 105.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

One Five Zero (2007)

Nice compilation to introduce you to the n5MD label.  Lights Out Asia was my gateway to the label but their roster is tight if you are looking for new sounds.  

bvdub put out his all is forgiven on the label last year.

Check out this compilation of 25 tracks, check out their site and enjoy the journey.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972 (2011)

This is one of the releases that caught my ear during 2011.  Sourced from a pipe organ in a church in Iceland (what is it about Iceland?), it's tough to categorize but let's go with "ambient/electronic/modern classical/experimental"-ish (hate categories anyhow).

These songs are unmistakable when they pop up in the shuffle and the album continues to grow on me with each listen, continually revealing subtleties of manipulation.

Think Trinity Session with a different vision.

His Dropped Pianos, featuring sketches and outtakes from the source material for this album, is also essential.

One of 2011's standouts.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Six Hours One Week (1998)

Stumbled across this one due to the mention of Rod Modell and Mike Schommer (aka von Schommer) while trying to figure out where Schommer disappeared to after an album such as dc15.

With the exception of Windy & Carl I don't recognize any of the other bands but it looks like a variety of styles.

Now I really do try and make sure I've listened to everything I post here but this one is as new to me as it is to you so we'll discover this one together.  



P.S. "Six Hours One Week" is the name of a song from Scorn so may have to dig that one up as well and see what the connection is.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

DJ Krush - Krush (Vinyl) (1994)

This is a 24 bit FLAC rip of the original vinyl version on the Nippon Columbia label out of Japan.  

His second solo release, this is the one that would eventually make him a household name.

It contains one song that was excised from the U.S. release issued on Shadow Records (an Instinct Records sub-label) and has a different track order.

As was increasingly the case throughout the 90s, the most likely reason was licensing costs as the track featured Guru from Gang Starr.

Essential on every level.

Option 1:


If that doesn't work, try Option 2:


(You'll need 7-zip to unpack Option 2: free download HERE)


Monday, February 18, 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard

"How did Tiamo, a beer crazy hardware fanatic, Brokep, a tree hugging eco activist, and Anakata, a paranoid cyber libertarian, get the White House to threaten the Swedish government with trade sanctions?"

Must watch documentary...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Northern Exposure - Expeditions (Vinyl) (1999)

The last of the Northern Exposure releases by Sasha and John Digweed, it is apparent on this one that not only has their mixing skills remained as good as ever but electronic music was out of the underground.

The UK edition of the CD release contained a remix of Delerium's "Silence" (featuring Sarah McLachlan), a track which is still ubiquitous, which is not present in the U.S. release mix.  According to Sasha's website it was pulled due to licensing issues.

Electronic music was on its way to mass popularity (as can be seen by this albums U.S. release on a major label) and copyright was beginning to escalate and affect how music was made and distributed.

Truth be told I didn't realize this until putting this post together as my digital copy of the mix has the track in it.  To me, this makes the whole U.S. release a total and complete waste.  

I used to own this on vinyl and sold it off a few years ago but, for your pleasure, digital files of the vinyl are below.  The "Silence" track is present on the vinyl.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sasha and John Digweed - Northern Exposure 2 (1997)

Northern Exposure 2 (1997)

The follow up to the original.  Another essential release as electronic music was careening toward the mainstream.  

While the first mix is one of those that is beyond compare, both of these mixes hold their own, again showing the talent of these two DJs at their prime.


EXP01 (aka Eastcoast Edition) - Part1//Part2

EXP02 (aka Westcoast Edition) - Part1//Part2


Northern Exposure 2 - East Coast Edition Pt 1 (Unmixed Vinyl) (1997)

Unofficial vinyl release of some tracks from the CD mix.




Northern Exposure 2 - West Coast Edition Pt 1 (Unmixed Vinyl) (1997)

Unofficial vinyl release of some tracks from the CD mix.




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sasha And John Digweed ‎– Northern Exposure (1996)

Northern Exposure (2xCD) (1996) 

Easily one of the most essential electronic releases.  

Even today, rapidly approaching 20 years, this still has the power to stir the soul.

This is the 2 CD version that, for some reason, never saw the light in the U.S.


0°/North (Part1//Part2)

0°/South (Part1//Part2)


Northern Exposure (4xLP) (1996)

Bonus treat: the unmixed vinyl version of the CD release.  

Listening to these tracks you will realize just how incredible this mix really is and, though it is perhaps less obvious today, marvel at the genius of Sasha and Digweed at changing what electronic music could be and do.  


Sunday, February 10, 2013

How The West Is One - Volumes 1 through 5

Many blogs have come and gone and moved on but way back when, before the music militia went full on, blogs were the best way to find new music.

Found this one a few weeks ago while shifting everything over to a 3 TB drive.

Box Set Go was a site that put together some great thematic compilations from a variety of musical styles and was a great place to find new sounds.  I have no other information available as the blog, though still online, is invite only.  

This is a series of five comps (possibly more; I only have five) of what is often labeled "alt country."  You may be surprised at how enjoyable the journey is.

(Volume 4 was the only cover art I could find)

Friday, February 8, 2013


Traveled from MTY to ATL, as has become a regular routine, but a family emergency caused a stop in Atlanta for the weekend.

Left my sweatshirt in the car when I was dropped off at the airport at home thinking that I wouldn't need it until I returned from way down south.  Hate carrying coats/sweatshirts, just an extra layer of bulk taking up room on the plane.  But a high of 39° in Atlanta certainly made me rethink the inconvenience.

Anyhow, long story short, there are better ways to arrange a family reunion but everything worked out and all is well again.

The photo shows the last leg of the journey, ATL to CAK.  It was 54° on the ground in ATL, 19° on the ground an hour and a half later on the ground at CAK.

The compilation here is from the longest leg of the journey from DTW to MTY but the picture above, well, it fits...

Nice mix of old and new, variety of genres.  As with all the shuffle mixes here you're guaranteed to discover something new.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Observation Of Ruins (1998)

One of the more psychotic compilations from the "illbient" aesthetic which is exactly why you should have this in your collection.

This one is from the Baraka label, the label that brought you the essential Land of Baboon compilations and one of my all-time favorites, The Conference of the Birds.

Beautiful strangeness from the weird side.



Monday, February 4, 2013

Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball Demos & Outtakes (1995)

Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball remains one of the most incredible albums I've ever heard. There aren't many albums, especially in recent years, that instantly grab the listener but this one had me from the first note.

Covering many artists with a Daniel Lanois production touch, if her interpretation of Steve Earle's "Goodbye" doesn't move you, you might want to check your pulse.

Scroll down to see why I posted this today.  While not the original album, the outtakes from the session (supposedly from a source close to Daniel Lanois) present mixes that are less polished and there are three tracks on here that never made it to the finished album.

An essential, essential album.



P.S. Arrived in my mailbox today:

Yes, that is a genuine autographed copy of the Grapevine limited edition vinyl from the UK.  Have been stalking this vinyl for, quite literally, years. As you can see at popsike, this one commands a pretty penny sans autograph.

Got the back story of how this autographed copy came to be and, well, won't tell you what I paid but let's just say that sometimes, with much patience, our desires are fulfilled.