Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Summer time doesn’t just mean beach, sun and sex or cricket, it also means it’s time to release a mix compilation. At least this year anyway, with what seems a significant collection of mixes hitting the shelves at the same time, many of them unusual entities in more than one way. The generally high quality of them is good news for a medium that has changed significantly over the years.

Where once they did seem like coveted sports trophies, as my friend Josh Meggitt once said. Podcasts have certainly undervalued their importance significantly, but Podcasts still often feel like friendly matches with no real significance, win lose or draw. Mix CDs still work well by playing off their association with established brands and the inherent prestige attached, such as Fabrics mix series in particular, but also other label or project-associated CDs such as the Berghain or Kompakt’s Immer collections. Selfishness is to be expected on such projects that aim to tell the story of a collective sound, refracted through the nimble of fingers of one DJ, but some DJs are also guilty of inverting the spectrum and overloading a mix with their own material and biasing the significance of their association, such as Lee Jones recent Watergate 07 mix.  The antithesis of this is the trend for artists to release all their own original material as a collection, like Shackleton or Ricardo Villalobos’s Fabric sets, which has also warped the interpretation of what a mix CD should be. But generally this type of release does not qualify for the same level of comparison or criticism as a standard mix since they can ultimately be judged as a distinct artistic statement. The mix CD is, afterall, the club scenes equivalent of a live album and generally always reduced back to the fundamental question of whether it synthesises the club experience in 75 minutes of music or not. There are of course plenty of exceptional exceptions to this rule, with mixes that straddle the home-listening versus club-synthesis divide to great effect. In this case, to return to the sporting analogy, there are plenty of tactics to be considered in the mix CD: promotion vs self-promotion, home vs club, allow a build-up or come straight out of the blocks?

Marcel Fengler - Berghain 05

Perhaps the most extraordinary of the recent mix CDs was Marcel Fegler’s Berghain 05 mix. Arguably the best of the collection so far, it contains one of the most authentic simulations of the club experience captured on a mix CD, with an extended run of pressure-cooker techno that that shows no gaps, no incongruities and that begs to be played out loud. Indeed, this may highlight one of the limitations of the Podcast format, for although it offers potentially more time than a standard CD, it is nonetheless generally limited to headphone listening from a PC or an iPod. Overcoming the CD’s physical and temporal limits is one of the artitistic challenges of the mix CD, like writing to the constraints of a sonnet format, who’s reward is easier liberation to the stereo, home, car as opposed to the computer. Ryan Keeling makes specific reference to this recalculation of time in regards to the Berghain residents and their normally extended DJ sets. But whereas Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock also had to overcome this obstacle in their mixes for the series, Fengler seems to succeed by roping in his influences and letting the tide turn to its own rhythm. Dettmann and Klock’s mixes are excellent, but at some point their eyes stray, sucking in all they see, and are almost “too clever”, while they also contend with having to cram in the “exclusive tracks” which of course add extra value for money (until the 12”s are eventually released). Fengler contends with these problems by keeping his eye on the ball and not being distracted by a picture larger than he can frame. Highlights are too numerous to name, but Marcel Fengler’s own “Sphinx” is superb as is the Regis’ remix of Tommy Four Seven’s “G”.

Of the exclusive tracks, “The Labyrinth” by Reagenz is patient and beguiling with its narrow, looping trajectory and yet its cavernous depths of dub.

Lawrence – Timeless.

Lawrence’s “Timeless” mix is also a wonderful set, but not woven together quite as well as Fengler’s Berghain 05. Perhaps its biggest let down is the failure to continue on, at least for a time, from where it starts off, in the melancholy, dreamy atmosphere’s of Lawrence’s own “Floating” (a beatless version of “Old Joy” from the “Sorry Sun” 12” on Smallville).

It seems that at least a small run of something more romantic and bathed in fire light would have served the mix well and is, after all, an important part of the deep house sound purveyed by Lawrence and the cluster of labels like Drum Poet, Smallville, Laid, Mild Pitch and more. As if to emphasise this need, the second half of the mix is relatively heavy for house and thus could have stood out even more if given a little more contrast in the opening segment. Indeed, it is the second half that works best mix wise, not least for its intensity, but for its selection. A few of the changes at the beginning show their edges while never being incongruous whereas the second half is all plain sailing. But to say there are two sides also suggests there is a middle or fulcrum point. In this case it is clearly the Morphosis track “Silent Screamer” as identified by Matt Unicomb.

Coming out of the more hesitant and softer opening, its lumbering and probing bass easily begins to dominate and lock down the trajectory, and it is from these roots that the second half begins its heavier descent. One additional point about Morphosis: the upcoming Conducted mix by Marcel Dettmann will also feature a Morphosis track at its centre, this time “Too Far” with vocals by Kae from the same “What have we learned” album on Delsin.

For some reason this track was regrettably  left off the vinyl version of the album, when it is perhaps the most important of the whole set. Not only does it give the album its name via the chorus, but the remaining words provide a political context for the album’s angry, but elegant, outpourings while the middle eastern scales also celebrate the Lebanese origins of Rabih Beaini, the man behind the project.

To finish with Lawrence, another curiosity of one of the closing tracks, Mike Dehnert’s “Beat matching” is its similarity to A.nov’s “Lunar Drive” on Force Tracks from way back in 2000, one of the early tracks to appear on Andrew Weatherall’s mix CD.

Dixon – Live At Robert Johnson Volume 8

Dixon had some interesting things to say  recently about record distribution and in particular mix CDs and where he in particular wanted to take things. As it turns out, this mix for the Live at Robert Johnson series is not only his last commercial mix, but the last mix of the series.

The set in the end is a strange one, miles away from his outstanding “Five Years of Innervisions” mix last year and more aligned with 2009’s “Temporary Secretary” mix. The first third is ambient and cinematic, the second third, mid tempo and suave while the final third works harder to romp it home, albeit with the more ethereal strain of house favoured by Dixon and the Innervisions crew. The ambition is almost its undoing and from this it is easy to understand why in the aforementioned interview Dixon said

“I am sick of two things. First, the [mix CD] format itself. When I felt I was getting warmed up working on [Live at the Robert Johnson], the mix CD was over. So, in the future, if I do do something, it will be longer than 75 minutes and with a constant flow…. In the future, I think I will do a mix that is available online but I want to do it with a new business model and this business model will include payment.”

It is easy to sympathise with him on the basis of this mix, which clearly has in mind a scope much greater than can fit in the confines of a CD, but in this sense Dixon is also at fault somewhat. He knows the limits and the rules: a sonnet has 14 lines and rhyming couplets, no more, no less. Do you need so long to set the scene, as in this disc? Is patience a virtue here or a restraint?

But what Dixon does achieve is to reconstruct a lengthy narrative from fragments of text. The spoken-word aspect of the vocal parts which adorn many of the tracks are cleverly arranged to give the sense of a story unfolding, a little preachy at times, like on Osunlade’s “Envision", at others searching and naked. The music accompanies the story remarkably well, staying lost and supportive in the back ground, and then rising from nowhere to carry the anonymous and changeling protagonist to a new chapter. In this sense, each new track feels like a spiritual transformation as it strikes the next chakra on its meditative path to enlightenment. But in the end, Nirvana never arrives. Dixon’s mix is probably just a bit too slow, too ambitious and even just a bit too camp at times.

Hatikvah’s track “Big mind” is the track that most embodies the album: spoken-word poetry, subdued beats and cinematic atmospheres.

Fourtet – Fabriclive 59

Reviews from this release have been mixed, meted with faint and/or indifferent praise at best. Clearly not a mix to capture the dancefloor experience, Kieran Hebden’s mix falls short by being almost nothing in particular at all. A quirky track selection and some nice hybrid sounds (like Youngstar’s blistering “Pulse X” or later on C++’s “Angie’s fucked”) to keep the undecided listening, are not enough. In the end it is a jaggered, splattered and rushed journey with little direction or sense. Tracks jump in and out and almost all are dominated by nervous rhythms or cut and paste vocals that jolt like an old bus on a gravel road when not given a rest. Trying to enter the music is thus an anxious experience. One other problem is the opposite of Lawrence, in that the centre point does not hold and seems more like a bad omen than a transgressive point. The first centre point is the crowd recording that plays for a full minute and a half at track 13. After this the mix seems to begin again until Burial’s “Street Halo” fades in.  I would love to this dropped in a good mix, but here it seems forced and jars with the two tracks on either side thus dividing the mix again. Too much in too little space of time and the best tracks are some of the older garage tracks.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

i-dosing on pre-pulse inhibition

Scientists are a strange bunch. I know, I’ve worked with a few in my time. Take this machine for example (pictured right). No, it’s not the latest midi hardware for plugging into your keyboard to make next level beats and neither is it used by the US government to torture Al Qaida subjects in Guantanamo despite its name. No, the Panlab Startle and Fear Interface LE 118-8 “is a polyvalent system for conducting both fear conditioning and startle reflex experiments in one same enclosure”. But that’s not all.

“The StartFear cage is made with black methacrylate walls and a transparent front door. In fear conditioning experiment, the walls, cover and floor can be of different materials or colours. Moreover, a transparent cylinder can be placed into the experimental chamber in order to modify the contextual spatial perception of the subject during the test phase.”

Sounds great, but what’s it for? The Startle and Fear Interface is essentially a sound-proof and darkened chamber where a rat or mouse is immobilised. A tiny sensor then records the movements of the mice under different conditions, such as by producing sounds to initiate a so-called startle response. In particular, the sounds used to trigger this response work on the concept of “Pre-pulse Inhibition”  or PPI. That is, if you suddenly hear a loud sound, you initiate a startle response, but the startle response can be minimised by providing a pre-pulse at lower intensity which essentially conditions or warns the nervous systems of potential impending activity. This phenomenon of PPI is often severely inhibited in schizophrenia particularly, Alzheimers and also under the effects of some drugs. In other words, PPI is effectively a gating process that when it works aberrantly interferes with the brains filter that controls entry and processing of irrelevant sensory information.

Measuring the startle and fear responses in rats and mice allows researchers to test and develop new treatments for these diseases as well as test the cognitive effects of some drugs.

It appears though that the startle and fear response may also play an important role in the perception and synergy of electronic music with use of drugs like MDMA. In an intelligible, elegant and succinct paper   DJMonkey explains the phenomenon in pharmacological terms.

“The startle response is part of the “fight-or-flight” response, which is mediated by stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system via noradrenaline’s ability to activate both α and β receptors. MDMA blocks the noradrenergic transporter (NET), allowing noradrenaline increased interaction with α and β receptors, resulting in heightened alertness. The actions of noradrenaline have a complex relationship with the actions of [the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine] 5-HT, as increased serotonergic transmission normally inhibits noradrenergic transmission and increased noradrenergic transmission normally inhibits serotonergic transmission. In the case of MDMA, both of these modes of neurotransmission are increased simultaneously as the drug blocks both  [the serotonin transporter] SERT and NET, and so abnormal fluctuations in sympathetic responses can occur”

“In 1999, Dulawa et al.  examined pre-pulse inhibition in mice that were genetically engineered to not express the 5-HT1B receptor by treating them with a variety of drugs that increase serotonergic transmission, including MDMA. The results confirmed that activation of 5-HT1B receptors by 5-HT decreases pre-pulse inhibition, and so MDMA would likely reduce the neurobiological tendency to use one stimulus as a preparation for a successive stimulus.”

In this sense, it can be interpreted that use of MDMA induces a temporary synthesis of a partial schizophrenic state and that much of the technique and production of electronic music is consciously and at times unconsciously designed to capitalise on physiological effects such as the loss of PPI. In a similar vein, Simon Reynolds thinks that the music and the drug have evolved symbiotically, one promoting the evolution and survival of the other based on this ability for one to enhance the other and vice versa.

“rave music has gradually evolved into a self-conscious science of intensifying MDMA’s sensations”

Simon Reynolds – Generation Ecstasy

One wonders how the phenomenon of PPI also relates to the recently overblown “craze” for “i-dosing”  a high produced by listening to specific tonal sounds downloaded from the internet called “binaural beats”. These downloads play one sound in one ear and a different sound in the other ear to produce perceptional and physiologic effects that are allegedly capable of intoxication that obviously has the authorities and parents worried. One vendor  is clearly working the drugs angle in trying to sell their product.

The sounds of i-Dosing are essentially ambient-drone works, embellished with glitch and white noise elements and extended panning and phasing techniques to unbalance the senses.

As mentioned, the marketing of some i-doses with drug names is also a controversial aspect of the music, and is obviously more likely to have provoked problems with the authorities and parents than the effects of listening to the music. The combination of this kind of branding with the effects means that many consider i-doses to be so-called “gateway drugs” that will lead to harder things.

If one compares this kind of music to the likes of Eliane Radigue, for example, there is little if any difference other than marketing. Indeed, Radigue attempts to insert Buddhist and transcendental elements from her beliefs into her music to produce essentially the same effects, but to less awkward social consequences one imagines.

Also linking PPI, schizophrenia and sound is the conversion of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan data into sound by investigators to demonstrate the differences between normal and schizophrenic brains. According to the video “fMRI data converted to musical sound. Brain images are pre-processed into 20 distributed ensembles, "Independent Components," and each is assigned a tone on a pentatonic scale. The loudness of each note corresponds to the intensity of activity in the corresponding regions of the brain.”

Similar techniques have been used by other artists to convert visual data recordings into sound output, for example, Japanese ambient legend Tetsu Inoue’s 1998 piece “Waterloo Terminal” based around scans of the schematics of the buildings that were then turned into sound.

There has also been a few articles recently touching on the contribution of music to medicine. The Guardian  recently ran an article discussing the apparent benefits being observed in Istanbul from the ancient Islamic tradition of music therapy. In a recent issue of The Wire  the feature article described the BBC Radiophonic Workshop co-founder Daphne Oram’s New Age ideas for electronic music, who’s  manifesto was written under the title “Atlantis Anew” in homage a Sir Francis Bacon.

“We have also soundhouses, where we practise the healing powers of sound; where we analyse each human being’s waveform and induce those harmonics to resonate which have fallen out of sorts…”

As one way to realise her vision, Oram left the BBC and with the help of  Graham Wrench developed the Oramics machine, recently on display at the London Science Museum, which was capable of turning written wave form information into sound via the Oram-designed interface. Sadly the use of her Oramic’s machine was mostly limited to artistic purposes and not to healing therapies. But from the humble stethoscope to the latest i-dose it may be that there is yet an untapped medical potential in sound and music therapy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Betraying bass music

Just out to rave reviews  is Cosmin TRG’s new album “Simulat” on Modeselector’s in vogue 50 Weapons imprint. There are many defining features of the album, most notably its shorter duration, both as a whole and by track, its lighter, ethereal feel compared to other more austere and menacing techno albums from this year and of course, that it is a techno album, and not, for example, dubstep as per the origins of Cosmin Nicolae.

For those who joined just now, Nicolae started out as a dubstep producer, opening with his own, and Hessle Audio’s, account with “Put you down” back in 2007 under his TRG moniker.

Subsequent releases on dubstep labels like Subway, [Naked Lunch], Hot Flush and Immerse saw him maintain more or less the same bass trajectory until 2009. In between, the 2008 edition of Tempa’s land mark mix series Dubstep Allstars even had TRG hold up the late centre of Appleblim’s mix.

But everything seemed to change suddenly in 2010 with the release of “See other people” on Amsterdam’s Rush Hour. While still wearing some of dubstep's clothes (sped up vocals and flustered rhythms) the beat had clearly smoothed out its step into four-four terrain and added a velvety sheen more typical of deep house than grime-descendant tunes.

The follow up “Liebe Sunday” was even more on the other side, leaving dubstep well behind in the dust.

From there it has been all forward and although “Simulat” bears some subtle, but undeniable hall marks of dubstep production, it is essentially all techno. But Cosmin Nicolae is not the first or the only artist to essentially betray bass music by switching genres. We have mentioned already  how Hot Flush label boss Paul Rose aka Scuba has been playing both sides, but largely operates as a techno/house DJ these days. But the first man to step across was undoubtedly Martijn Deykers aka Martyn who went from drum n bass producer on Marcus Intalex’s Revolve:r imprint

To releasing the first defining single of the first wave of dubstep-techno crossover on the same label back in 2007, the legendary “Broken/Shadow Casting”

However, it was only a short time later with the release of his first full-length “Great Lengths” that the last signs of dubstep were disappearing. Now on the eve of the release of his second album “Ghost people” due out soon on Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label, it seems that there is no turning back. The first single “Masks/Viper” at least would suggest so

But it is not just the artists who are betraying bass music. To a certain point, the media must take some responsibility for this also. Two recent dubstep mix CDs, Youngsta’s Rinse 14 mix  and Distance’s Dubstep Allstars mix (featuring mostly his own tracks) have been criticised on Resident Advisor for essentially sounding like dubstep, albeit old pre-cross over dubstep. This is a fair criticism to a point, as who wants to get caught bogged down in the past (better not mention Chicago house revivalism then)?

However, given the high rate of mutation within bass music, moving rapidly from grime, to dubstep, to UK funky, wonky and now foot work in a matter of years, holding fast to a style might also be a way to preserve some originality, to use the double edged double meaning of the word, implying uniqueness and origin? This is clearly an “ear of the beholder” issue as many of the newer incarnations of bass music are not necessarily always appealing (check the uncertainty about foot work for example), but also that mutation at high speed necessarily implies assimilation or cross fertilisation, thus shifting one genre closer to another and thus essentially contaminating it. This might be the case in point for Cosmin TRG, Scuba and Martyn. Fantastic music, but hardly dubstep anymore, at least in it’s pure, original form where perhaps many would like to say?

Indeed, still talking of criticism, Hyperdub's 5 year double CD from a few years ago was given top marks by Resident Advisor, but with some confusion caused, judging by the intelligent comments. One in particular by bareklik hits the nail on the head:

“Talk about mixing metaphors throughout. For all the sound and fury of a collegiate vernacular and a pitchfork style review, I'm not really sure I understand if you liked or hated the release. You gave it a 4.5 but you spend your 700 words pulling that hipster's chicanery of hiding an insult within a compliment within an insult…

Darkstar's Aidy's... is good, sure, but it's pretty far from leftfield or experimentalism. It's a house track. What's special or surprising about that other than the fact that it's on Hyperdub, an amazing dubstep label? Why would the only real house track (despite Flying Lotus' awesome disco warrior hit) be the best of the batch? It's not even on the same boat with the rest of the comp.”

Essentially, the reviewer takes a double disc set of futuristic bass music and fixates on the house track, perhaps confounded by the sheer variety, awkwardness and invention of the “real” bass music? Other commenters weigh in, pointing out that “If you want the old dubstep sound, break out the old DMZ and Tempa plates.” which now seem prophetic written two years in the past and given the current accusations. So it seems that some don’t like evolution and some do. But where does it leave us all except for betraying bass music? One artists switches genres, another stays, but both betray the music for contaminating it with new while another stagnates it with the old. Meanwhile reviewers and artists seem to want house music and betray the latest incarnation, giving rise to the same problem.

One partial aside from this, Scuba will release a new DJ Kicks mix CD on !K7 in October which promises a mixture of house, techno and of course dubstep (though which vintage should not be a difficult guess). An intriguing inclusion in the mix is a somewhat cover by Sex Worker of the Motown hit “Rhythm of the night”, originally by DeBarge, from last years “Wave Good Bye” album on Not Not Fun.

The "original" is also worth it for the hair:

This is not the first time this year that the California-based low-fi label has featured on a high profile electronic mix CD, the first example being the Agoria Fabric mix. This can only be good news as it would again suggest some cross fertilisation (sic) and goes further to confirm the eclecticism of taste in the age of downloading. However, it is still something of a surprise that sites like Resident Advisor have been slow to pick up on the 100% Silk sublabel of Not Not Fun which releases their more dance floor orientated experiments.

Xavier Hollander’s “Urban Gothic” album on the parent label Not Not Fun was a slightly underwhelming trawl through John Carpenter/Alan Howarth synth territory, but his more electro styled single for 100% Silk was a dance floor bomb in the style of Prins Thomas or the Permanent Vacation label.

A couple of recent singles also show a lot of potential to forge something a bit more unexpected and even less serious than some dance music. One previous release by The Deeep also wotked deep inside the dub reggae spectrum, so who knows where these latest forays will lead?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In search of form: Kompakt and Mojuba

Two labels that have been looking for some sort of return to form of late are Berlin’s Mojuba and Cologne’s Kompakt.

Kompakt’s troubles have been slow to manifest since the label has been home to some of the better electronic albums of the last few years: Superpitcher's “Kilimanjaro”, Thomas Fehlmann’s “Gute Luft”, The Field’s “Yesterday and Today”. The loss in form has also been difficult to pinpoint due to the label’s scope. But these two facets perhaps also highlight where the problems have been. In chasing the more indie-orientated sounds of Walls, Rainbow Arabia and WhoMadeWho, the label’s dancefloor side has largely remained stuck in the confines of Kompakt’s signature sound, mercurial and slow, and built comfortably close to the indie-electronic divide so as not to alienate the vacillating crowd. Alternatively, whereas the albums have generally been praised, they have also deflected criticism away from the less strong showing of the label’s singles and lack of club direction. There are still too many novelty tracks coming out of the label, like Matias Aguayo’s “I don’t smoke” for example, even Wolfgang Voight’s “Kafkatrax” to a point, which feel like an in-jokes that, when out on the floor, don’t always make you feel like dancing or laughing.

The barometer of Kompakt’s success has always been the annual Pop Ambient and, even more so, the Total series. Both had slowly been heading for stagnancy before "Pop Ambient 2009" looked to inject some interest by opening the door to new names such as multi instrumentalist Marsen Jules, Sylvain Chauveau and, in 2010, Brock van Wey aka Bvdub, who has now become a welcome staple there. The fall of the Total series has been more disasterous, with last years "Total 11" being one of the labels lowest points. One of the included tracks was Superpitcher’s “Lap dance” another novelty in-joke track that epitomised what was going wrong.

Perhaps as a direct response to this, this year’s edition "Total 12" stripped the collection back to its original two vinyl and one CD size with stronger results. While not all tracks are mind blowing, an acceptable premise for a compilation, there isn’t much here that feels like filler. The labels indie and electronic sides get a decent showing and some of the tracks almost feel like it could be the days of old, especially Wolfgang Voigt’s tender “Frieden” and Michael Mayer’s daring “That’s what I told Sanchez”. But Mathias Aguayo’s “I don’t smoke” is still there for those who still need the humour.

One of the most important artists of the Kompakt canon is The Field aka Axel Willner who is just about to release his third album “A looping state of mind” with similar artwork and largely similar palette to his former two albums. The lack of an extensive step in a new direction for Willner is frustrating for Field fans and the label looking for regeneration, but nonetheless, it is a solid release and maintains Kompakt's strength in albums. Plenty of jagged, skipping loops, washes of drone and most prominently on this album, even more emphasis on the pop form of the tracks, which is no mean feat for their extended duration.

Gui Boratto’s imminent album “III” is also another healthy sign from Kompakt. Gutsy, catchy and rugged at times, although overall slippery and dizzying, it has all of the Brazilians trade mark qualities. As with the excellent “Chromophobia”, tracks segue together well and the blend of post punk and dance floor is kept in healthy balance to reward the club and home stereo. Sadly “The Drill” is the lead single and not necessarily one of the better tracks, but, ironically, one of the more Kompakt sounding tracks from the album.

Another label to disappoint of late has been Mojuba. After an impeccable and ground breaking run of 12”s from 2005 the label started to come undone with the release of Ken Sumitani aka Stereociti’s “Early light” ep in 2009. The opening track “Untitled” was a decent enough smoky lounge house hit, but wounded the more avante garde philosophy of the label with its rather mundane vocal “What is house music?” diatribe partly lifted from Eddie Amadour’s “House music”

“Not everyone understands house music
It's a spiritual thing
It's a body thing
It's a soul thing.
House music is not yours
House music is not for sale
Please just get out of here now”

Or the legendary Chuck Roberts sermon from 1987

As if sensing the problem, Mojuba later re-released “Untitled” as “Cosmoride” slowed down and without the infringing vocal sample, but hardly a statement of confidence.

The scattering of releases around the two Stereociti singles also failed to improve the labels stock. The legendary Oracy received faint praise for “Bass mood”, but in the end there was a certain clumsiness to the sound, viscous heavy bass, gloopy acid, slowed mumbling vocals and incongruous jazzy snare hits were hardly the stuff of the future. Nick Solé kept things consitent with two solid releases, whereas the normally bankable Sven Weissemann hit a purple patch with a same-old sounding ep that failed to move on from his seductive deep house sound. Indeed, Weissemann’s piano-driven album “Xine” for the label was endearing, but somehow fractured and unrepairable. While it was Sterociti who inadvertently ushered in the dark times, it seemed that his recent “Kawasaki” album might have pulled them out, but not quite. A promising, atmospheric beginning did not however, come to an overwhelmingly satisfying climax, despite a handful of decent tracks, and like Kompakt, Mojuba waits for another key stone release to turn the corner again.

The track “Klass” on the “Kawasaki” album is one of the standouts for its dubby vibe alongside the moody “Expanses”.

An interesting feature of “Klass” is its inclusion of a sample by Count Ossie & Mystic Revelation of Rastafari from the 1973 album “Grounation” similar to this poem (no audio available for The Wee Hours).

The sample was also used by Scott Monteith aka Deadbeat on his single “Vampire” for Echocord last year, which cleverly pulled out the references to dawn as if spoken by a vampire, but at the expense of the important political sentiment

“The light became morning,
The morning became day - speaking for myself
I wish the darkness had stayed”

“Vampire” was also remodelled into “Third Quarter (Vampire of Mumbai)” from the recent “Drawn and Quartered” album, while Monteith’s previous album “Roots and wire” also contained a track called “Grounation (Berghain drum jack)” in honor of Count Ossie’s album.

Frank Sinatra also has a similarly titled, but totally unrelated track, from what is considered one of the first concept albums.