8/18/09

Why I Love Techno vol. 3 - KOMPAKT!

OK, OK, this will be my last techno post. For now :)

Just have to share one more reason for loving techno: German techno label Kompakt. The label celebrates it's 10th anniversary this year and the annual Kompakt compilation is out. It's called Total 10 and it's brimming over with beautifully crafted techno tracks (the first disc especially).

Tracklist:
CD 1
01. DJ Koze "40 Love"
02. Thomas/Mayer "Total 9"
03. Justus Kohncke "(It's Gonna Be) Alright (Dirk Leyers Mix)"
04. Shumi "The Wind and the Sea"
05. Sam Taylor-Wood "I'm in Love with a German Film Star (Gui Boratto Mix)"
06. Ada "Lovestoned"
07. Coma "Sum"
08. Gui Boratto "No Turning Back (Wighnomy's Likkalize Love Rekksmi)"
09. Nicolas Stefan "Closer"
10. Jonas Bering "Who Is Who"

CD 2
01. Justus Kohncke "Give It to Me Easy"
02. Matias Aguayo "Walter Neff"
03. Mayburg feat. Ada "Each and Every Day"
04. Gotye "Heart's a Mess (Supermayer Mix)"
05. The Field "The More I Do (Thomas Fehlmann Mix)"
06. Burger/Voigt "Wand Aus Klang (It's a Fine Line Mix)"
07. Wassermann "Berg und Tal (Instrumental)"
08. Jurgen Paape "Ofterschwang"
09. Reinhard Voigt "Am Limit"
10. Mugwump "Ignored Folklore"
11. Pachanga Boys "Fiesta Forever"

Some of the better tracks included:
DJ Koze "40 Love"


Shumi "The Wind And The Sea"


Gui Boratto "No Turning Back (Wighnomy's Likkalize Love Rekksmi)"


Nicolas Stefan "Closer"


The Field "The More I Do (Thomas Fehlmann Mix)"

Why I Love Techno vol. 2

So here's my 2nd post on techno. Not a lot of words this time so if you want the background info you'll have to read the previous post. I just wanted to share this amazing track with you, dear reader. "Island" by excellent minimalist pop band The Whitest Boy Alive. The band is fronted by Erlend Øye from Norway. He delivered vocals to some of the early Röyksopp singles ("Poor Leno" springs to mind). The other members are from Germany (I think) and the band is based in Berlin.

"Island" is the closing track on The Whitest Boy Alive's 2nd album Rules released in march 2009. You're probably wondering what it has to do with techno? Well, TWBA started as an electronic project but gradually they began including more traditional "handplayed" instruments and by the time their first album (Dreams, 2006) was released the electronic/programmed elements had been left out. This is interesting because you can still hear their electronic origins. The beat, mood & feel of it sounds like techno or house or something, only it's played on "regular" instruments like drums, bass, electric guitar, rhodes & synthesizer. It's funny and it works to great effect. One good example is "Islands". The breakdown around the 4:00 mark and the subsequent build-up has given me goosebumps, made me smile and want to dance a couple of times. Enjoy:

8/6/09

Why I love techno

You might ask this question. I know I do sometimes.

If I went ten years back in time and told the 19 year old Knút that his future self is digging techno and all sorts of electronic music in addition to the usual rock fare, he would probably scratch his long haired indie head and be rather confused. If not embarassed.

I used to think that techno music was music for idiots. For people without musicality. But then I got wiser. Thankfully one does that every now and then; gets wiser!

It's not like I had a !heureka!! moment all of a sudden. I just gradually opened my ears to new sounds and new ways of experiencing music. Because there are so many different ways of using and experiencing music. There's music for the heart, music for the brain, music for the feet, music for the arms, music for the torso, music for the genitalia, music for the ass, music for good times, music for bad times, music for praising, music for praying, music for partying, music for smiling, music for crying, music for church, music for the bar on the corner, music for the classical concert hall, music for the club...

Techno and other relates styles can be said to be music for the feet. Definitely. Music for dancing. But once you get a taste of it you realize that in addition to the feet, the rest of your body also takes a liking to it. Your brain especially.

Why? I think it's mostly because techno music has another perspective on time and chronology. Instead of the usual verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge chronological order of things, there is something endless going on. Techno music hints at aural infinity (now THAT'S a fancy concept!)

The beat goes on and on. Four to the floor, without end. The fact that any one particular track ends at one point and begins at another, it doesn't matter; the music is endless. It just glides in and out of our conscious hearing (now we're getting trippy).

The individual beats and sounds of a techno track usually also avoid the overtly linear order of things because they too drift in and out of hearing. Everything has the feel of a loop. It was there before you could hear it and it will be there when you can't hear it any more. It's just drifting in and out of reach.

To be able to produce this kind of music and do it in a convincing manner, that takes a lot of musicality. Being able to capture people's attention and hypnotize them musically while respecting their intelligence and taste at the same time? That requires talent. No doubt about it.

Of course there is crap techno and good techno, as in all genres. But the really good techno, the really good electronic dance music? It has a hint of genius about it.

The video that I'm posting with this is a remix of "Bless You feat. Mikael Simpson" by Danish dub/electronica outfit Lulu Rouge. The remix is done by a guy called Martinez. From what I know he's from Sweden, living in Copenhagen.

Don't know why I'm choosing this track to bookend this post on techno, but it's a track that keeps fascinating me. To get so much out of so little, that's amazing. Less is more, indeed.
And the picture in the video is a pretty OK illustration of how there's music for different parts of the body :)

If you're not catching my drift, just give it a listen. And then one more. Thanks.

8/4/09

Thoughts on Music pt. 3 (Bono)

This is the third blog in my "Thoughts on Music" series which feature quotes containing interesting thoughts on music that someone has said or written (or both). This time around: Bono.
According to Wikipedia:
Paul David Hewson, KBE (born 10 May 1960), most commonly known by his stage name Bono, is an Irish singer and musician, best known for being the main vocalist of the Irish rock band U2.

Reflecting on the making of the album Achtung Baby (1991) in 2002:
There was a lot of tension between us during the making of that album, with Edge and myself wanting to chop down the Joshua Tree, and Larry and Adam wanting to put a glass house around it and play to our strength. Because Adam and Larry have that humility, but Edge and myself had the arrogance that it wasn’t the sound of the guitar, it wasn’t a coalition of notes that made a melody, or a particular bass and drums approach that made U2. We believed that what made U2 was the spark, and that you could destroy all the outward manifestation, and it would still be there. You could put my voice through a distortion pedal, you could ban Edge from playing his echo unit and those silver notes that he plays, you could change the subject matter…you could just deface all that was recognizable in the band, and it still would come through".

(the quote is taken from the book "Bono on Bono: Conversations with Mickha Assayas". It's in there somewhere. Somewhere in the back).