Thursday, June 6, 2013

P036: Cabeza de Vaca – Cosmin TRG special

It has been a question speculated on this blog a long time ago in the past  why some producers have made such definitive shifts from dubstep to techno and/or house. The first on our list that day was Cosmin Nicolae aka Cosmin TRG. It wasn’t necessarily a complaint of mine back then, but it was and still is a curious phenomenon. Not many producers went from techno to dubstep for example. Shed did, but really only made one EP as The Panamax Project even if some of his other tracks push the genre from the outside. Scuba was another one mentioned, Photek. There are plenty. Some of the reasons behind have been variously attributed to the rise of Skrillex and EDM that turned dubstep into a bass war to be king of the mosh pit.

Another factor was the crowd, in a different sense. In Spain, for example, the early dubstep crowd was more punky and rough around the edges, neither the post-grunge look or the glamour image that clubs and promoters sometimes look for and feel safe with. Maybe because of a mixture of different crowd and new music, the number of gigs was also less for dubstep and of course the cash that it entails. I don’t begrudge any artist the pursuit of money and better gigs with nicer girls as long as the music remains decent. Everyone has to make a living and trying to work to make your life better doesn’t make you a whore.

Thankfully for Cosmin Nicolae his music has certainly not suffered from change and this week on Cabeza de Vaca and Scanner FM we provide the evidence. Now deep into his second album and with plenty of excellent 12”s he has left a mark no matter what he does next, whether it be a Scuba like “Personality” or something more experimental. But his words in a recent RA interview  about his new album are illuminating about our opening question.

“To be honest I just felt a bit old for the bass music. Everything at some point started to feel ironic.”

It is true that dubstep seemed to get a bit self deprecating, just as drum n bass did in a way, and then got absorbed and lost. Traditional dubstep kind of lives in the dungeon sound, but the rest feels closer to house and techno or lives far from the centre of the dance floor where invariably our attention must be drawn, being the brightest point in the picture.

Cosmin also claims to have some influence of film on his most recent album “Gordian”. It started life as soundtrack to a film that is not identified, but clearly the idea is simmering somewhere. “And even though the album is finished, I think it is a work in progress. Thing is, I am still trying to do it. It is going to be a short film/music video, if it ever happens” he continues. He also claims to draw some inspiration from Swedish film director Roy Andersson who’s film “Songs from the second floor” is an off-beat classic, like a calm and glacial Emir Kusturica.

One gripe though with the release schedule of 50 Weapons though is these 12”s with two tracks, one from the album and one not. In this day and age of crisis and consciousness of sustainability etc, it seems a little indulgent and opportunistic. At least commission two remixes to make a proper EP!

For example “Sommer” below appeared as the B-side to the single “Vertigo”, but not on the album.

Also a curiosity this week is the collaboration between Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan and Laurie Spiegel who is riding a big wave on the back of the rediscovery of her “Expanding universe” album from 1980. As a note to 50 Weapons above, the vinyl of the album came with a download for more tracks than could fit on the wax; incentive if there ever was one.  

The title track is a long, droning ambient work, but the other pieces on the album are more obviously early computer and electronic music and  clearly pioneering for their time. It is not as surprising to find her working with an electronic artists as it is, for example, to contribute to the “Hunger Games” sound track.

The original of "Drums" can be found here and dates from 1975.

In an interview with Spin Greenspan says of his creative method: “This track is credited to both myself and Laurie Spiegel, not only because I received her generous blessing and input, but also because I felt as though I was attempting not simply to re-edit or even remix the piece, but rather to play off of it: to use it as a guide to exploring some different musical possibilities, and to collaborate with the original. In many ways I didn't write anything, but simply played back 'Drums' on my computer, using its tempo and rhythms to trigger an almost arbitrary chain of synthesizers, both new and old. I then fed Spiegel's original piece into my indispensable Eventide H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer (a piece of equipment that I use constantly and was, unbeknownst to me, beta tested by Spiegel in the 1980s). My job was simply to select the moments I thought worked and disregard the excess.” 

Also, it was announced after the show was recorded so I couldn’t mention it, but Delsin have just released details a box set to celebrate their 100th release.

Don’t forget to come and visit Scanner FM and Cabeza de Vaca at Sonar 2013. We will be at Sonar Day, hopefully not only in the Sonar Pro area, but we will see.

Jeremy Greenspan & Laurie Spiegel
Paul Mac
Rolled out and back
Osiris Music
Sixteen crude
Cosmin TRG
Cosmin TRG
Liebe suende
Rush Hour Direct Current
Cosmin TRG
Divided by design
50 Weapons
Cosmin TRG
Twilight riddim
Cosmin TRG
50 Weapons
Jonas Kopp
Curle Recordings

Cabeza de Vaca Facebook

Scanner FM

No comments:

Post a Comment