Good afternoon! Tis’ the season for yuletide cheer and barside beers, and if you’re like us (which we assume you are), you’re spending the holidays in the warming embrace of beats galore. While the physical House of Acid_Reviews may be buried under almost a foot of snow, that doesn’t mean we can’t spread our love of Techno to the winterized streets of Denver. We’ve turned the lights back on, and this time we’re staying for good. In celebration of our relocation to the Blue Mountain State, we’ve curated an exclusive review to showcase the thriving music scene here with local beat-fanatic Evan Franklin! The decades-old movement of Techno is alive and well in the Colorado capital, and we’ve got the goods ready to flow out like an iron fist of sonic love. We are proud to present our first of many guest-reviews, an inaugural analysis of live music from our new Denver affiliate Evan. Check out his exclusive review of underground mainstay Marco Shuttle, who took the weekend to a new sonic level last Friday at Eko-House!
If there is one thing to be said of Denver’s techno scene: they are committed. I would even go as far as to call them “ravenous,” yet while their hunger is nearly limitless, they are also one of the most polite, accommodating, and well-mannered groups of music fans I have encountered. I believe this can be attributed in a tremendous way to one of the city’s techno masterminds: John Templeton. Not only is he an incredible musical entity in his own right (making his Bunker NY debut the evening following this event), but he has been one of the sharpest and most attentive Colorado promoters since the inception of his now-retired Communikey collective over a decade ago. His savviness as a promoter has been proven time and time again, (see RA’s review of Denver’s Great American Techno Festival for a glimmering example) and this night was no different.
Marco Shuttle was slated to play the Eko House, a south Denver art gallery moonlighting as a space for techno/house/what-have-you parties. It was also slated to be the inaugural event of Templeton’s new project/collective: Vicious Circle. Eko House was a staple of the aforementioned GATF, and seemed promising as one of Denver’s new afterhours hotspots. That was, until they closed their doors to music mere weeks before the night of the shuttle event. Where another promoter’s knees may have buckled, Templeton saw only opportunity. A new space was secured, and what a space it was.
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The one and only Sasha is bringing his no-nonsense tech beats back to New York City this holiday season. Not only that, but the show marks another installment of his famous ‘Last Night on Earth’ performance series! There isn’t a single instance that really comes to mind when this guy didn’t tear the roof off a joint. Head over to Verboten NYC on December 13th and watch him perform a special extended set! Tickets go on sale today on Resident Advisor! Grab them quick, this gig will definitely sell out quickly. While you’re waiting, listen to the most recent ‘LNOE Set’ he played.
Miguel Campbell released his final guest installment to the Radio FG Mix Series! Campbell is the sleeper artist you don’t want to miss. You may know him for his floor crushing “Rockin Beats” song, but if you don’t, then please get acquainted. Being a member of Hot Creations, one could argue that he is overshadowed by label bosses Jamie Jones and Lee Foss. That’s not completely true though; his appearance on BBC Radio’s Essential Mix proved to be one of the top rated releases associated with the label that year.
Campbell comes off a tad more humble than his party-hardy colleagues in some ways. He certainly has that psychedelic brand of deep house that only HC could deliver, but he introduces a lot more romance into the formula. We don’t really want to say disco-house, because those connotations don’t resemble his music, or even his mixing. This artist takes intrinsic deep house grooves, and colors them with blissful segments of disco, pop, and ambient terrains. Like everyone else on that label he has experimented with some different styles, but in the last year he seems to really have it pinned down. Everything clicks. That description is fairly accurate, but we do want to warn you that this mix does have some attitude to it. Grab Miguel Campbell’s final mix for Radio FG below! Enjoy!
So far 2014 has treated Daniel Avery very well. In a very short span of time he has gone from resident DJ at Fabric London, to Phantasy Sound‘s latest success story. Not even a year after the release of his brain-tickling ‘Drone Logic’ LP in 2013, Avery is already playing American nightclubs alongside craft legends like Simian Mobile Disco and Bicep. By the end of this year, every corner of the Earth will have gotten a taste of his dream-like Minimal style. So let’s see, made his mark in the studio? Check. Strutting his stuff on stage? BIG Check. What else are we missing? Oh yes that’s right, the new video!
Earlier this week he premiered the esoteric music video for the album track, “Knowing We’ll Be Here” on Dazed and Confused Magazine! Now you can experience his subterranean, acid-laced sounds on a visual level. This transcends your ordinary electronic music video (if such a thing even exists), however. The theme of the video is euphoria through death, specifically drowning. Joshua Lipworth, the director of the video, said he “got the idea from the euphoric distorted drones which sounded [to me] like a kind of drowning sensation”. Studies have shown that a person drowning can reach a brief state of euphoria, a byproduct of the oxygen starvation. While this subject is creepy enough as it is, Lipworth somehow managed to capture the true atmosphere of such an experience on film. Through his use of underwater filming and lighting effects, and Avery’s unique sound manipulations, the two have a formed a dark yet beautiful insight into death itself. We’re not trying to get all Emocore on you folks, we promise we’re happy people here. We can’t pass on aesthetics though. Avery has a higher agenda in his music that we may never fully understand, but it’s clear that the world is beginning to recognize his talent. These two have come together to form something everyone can relate to in their own personal way. We don’t usually care for music videos, but this is a welcomed exception. Visual and audio creativity have come together as one unit. Watch the brand new video for “Knowing We’ll Be Here” below!
“The one thing I knew was that I wanted this record to be a trip. All the best artists and DJs, they take the audience with them when they play; people lock into their world for a few hours and can’t easily step out again. You’re with them for the ride. When I go out, I want to give myself up to music. That was the idea for the album.” -Daniel Avery on his ‘Drone Logic’ album
- The beaked beat-maker Claptone has serenaded his followers with another hour of love, romance, hi-hats, and spacey disco grooving. Just hours ago he released the 2nd installment to his Clapcasts, and once it reaches 50,000 plays he’ll upload this baby for free download. Get a taste below, and keep tuned for that upcoming link!
Memorial Day Weekend has taken on a completely different meaning to the lovers of live music, and it would seem everyone got their own little piece of heaven this weekend, especially the techno junkies (guilty). From the furthest depths of the underground to big stage DJ’s, everyone got their fix as hundreds of performers from around the world shared bills at multiple festivals across the country last weekend. Detroit celebrated the annual Movement Electronic Festival with a seemingly endless bill of top-notch producers. Once again, Insomniac took over New York City with this year’s initial Electric Daisy Carnival. Then there was the Mysteryland Electronic Music Festival held in Bethel, NY which made history both with it’s first US appearance, and as the first camping event on the original Woodstock grounds since 1969! While it is true that the title slightly reminisces some pop star’s mansion that you’d never let your kids near, this fest actually proved to be really unique.
Ichisan, aka Igor Skafar, is a man of many melodies. The last winter months saw his official live breach into the US and over the recent weeks, followers here got an answer to a once unimaginable question: How does he do on stage? From the club infested Burroughs of New York City, to the smokey streets of Denver and back again, fans across the country finally got a proper introduction to our guest of honor, and the reviews are phenomenal. Last night you see, time was officially split into two parts for both he and his fans alike: The part before the moment happens, when anticipation is governing your nerves and all is unknown, and the part after, when the moment transcends into memory. We know our readers show their true colors in the moonlight, in a dedicated pursuit of the beats that bump in the shadows. We know all too well the endless search for the perfect note, and the perfect moment. We know what it is like to roll the dice on a musician you’ve never seen live before, but patrons hit a streak of fortune with Ichisan’s recent performances. House of Acid_Reviews founder Cody Bates got to catch up with him for an exclusive interview while he was in Boston last week, check it out below>
1. So, we gotta start with the name. Where did it come from? It doesn’t sound very-
Ichisan: ” -Slovenian? Haha yes I know. It all started with my co-workers at this photography job I had. “Ichi” is short for Igor in Slovenia, and one day I came in and one of them just yelled it: “Hey Ichisan!” Then I thought it could be a good moniker for me.”
2. Before, you juggled doing both professional photography and recording music, with occasional live performances as well. With this tour and the upcoming releases, do you still juggle the two?
Ichisan: “Oh yeah I still do photography. Lately it’s been a slow switch to doing the music thing full time, but I love photography. I will always do it no matter what.”
3. Do you see any future with Eskimo Recordings?
Ichisan: “I’ve been planning a solo album. I started it last year. I’ve been talking to Justin, my manger, and I decided I liked Eskimo for maybe doing the release. I’m good friends with the guy in charge over there. So yeah, the solo album possibly on Eskimo next year.”
4. I was able to meet Tensnake at his performance in Brooklyn the other week. He had mentioned you two were corresponding. Should we be expecting a possible collaboration or perhaps a shared live bill in the future?
Ichisan: “I don’t know, we didn’t talk about that we just met. We met before another time in Croatia at some festival and we became friends, and I don’t know, maybe. He’s here for three months he’s doing this huge tour. So I don’t know, hopefully yes, that’s all I can say I guess.”
5. Yeah he’s a blast to see. Are there any notable differences between playing clubs here versus Europe?
Ichisan: “Um, the United States is much bigger than Europe, and the venues are much bigger than Europe’s. US has a lot more people coming to the show, and, it looks like I have much more fans here than in Europe haha. I have bigger shows here, and that’s the main difference really.”
6. A lot of Americans idolize the European club scene, places like Ibiza, We Love.., Social Club, Ministry of Sound, etc. Do you find that sort of fascination where you come from for our “scene”? Such as the jam culture, like Phish, or The Disco Bicuits?
Ichisan: “I can’t really answer this question. In my view, I say yes, but I can’t really speak for everyone.”
7. Tell us a little about your performances. Do your sets differ from night to night? Do you improvise at all based on the vibe of the crowd?
Ichisan: “Yes, of course. I’m not the guy who is playing beginning to end the same tracks every venue. Actually I prepare 5 tracks, but the not the same as say last night. That’s how I start, and then I just go through the set and jam. I’m always watching the crowd. When I see what kind of music they’re hooked to, then I just go that way. On the second half of the tour with these guys [Boombox], I like to start off slow, maybe 110 bpms, slowly going up with the tempo. You know, you can’t open the show with a banger.”
8. Yeah I hear you. Well congratulations on a sold out show! I’ve never seen this place sell out before. Boombox brought a lot in, but you had a lock on that crowd second set, and don’t you forget it! Speaking of the live aspect, tell us about the synthesizer collection you record with? Do you use any analogue?
Ichisan: “Yeah for sure. I have the Oberhiem 0B8, um I have a couple synths actually. I have the Juno 106, everybody has that synth and a small Roland SH9 which is a base actually. Um, I played some new tracks I recently made which are gonna be released later this year, and I used that small synth a lot. It’s a good synth for those lead and bass sounds. Let’s see, I have a Moog prodigy, and Fender guitars, uh a stratocaster and jazz bass.”
9. Yeah, you record with live instruments mostly, correct?
Ichisan: “I try to record as much as I can with as much live instruments. So I record with a lot of guitars and bass, and the snyths. Especially on the new record.”
10. One of the most notable characteristics of your mixes is the fluidity and mystery to your tracks. You hear some of these other chart mixes, and lot of the songs tend to bleed over. What is your tracklist process like?
Ichisan: “I’m really glad to hear that man! Actually I didn’t know that about these tracks. All the tracks, well a lot of the tracks, are like European producers or maybe English guys, or producers in the Norwegian scene. I love the Norwegian sound right now. It’s funny like Todd Terje is not so big here, well he is here a little, but Prins Thomas not so much. He is HUGE is Europe!”
11. Yeah I know it’s crazy! Todd Terje is starting to make his mark over here. Prins Thomas though, no, and it’s so weird because he’s playing like 11 hour sets over in Europe and doing all this great stuff.
Ichisan: “Yeah it’s funny to me that I’m here, but Prins Thomas is not. It’s ridiculous actually.”
12. We really enjoy the spacey side to your music, but we’ve noticed you get really heavy on the disco vibe as well. Which is your favorite to play? You have a very good blend of both.
Ichisan: “Yeah actually, when I’m doing clubs I usually do more disco stuff, more disco-house stuff. When I’m recording these mixes, I’m recording them more for listening and less for the dancey stuff. I mean I also like mixing them, from space sounds, to these disco sounds, to techno, and stuff I play live.”
13. That makes sense. I’ve met fans who go to bed and rise in the morning to your music. What do you like to wake up to?
Ichisan: “That’s a really hard question. I listen to so many kinds of music, so many genres, that’s really hard. Usually I’m not listening to electronic music when I’m home doing something. I like this Balearic stuff, spacey stuff you know?”
14. David Byrne presented his “Reverse Creation Theory” in his recent book on the analysis of music. This theory basically states that the common idea of a composer sitting alone in a room, getting a sudden rush of inspiration and furiously scribbling a masterpiece onto a piece of paper, is a false interpretation of writing music works. The theory contradicts that notion, arguing that music is product of environmental factors. What do you think are some the environmental factors in making the music you do?
Ichisan: “A hard question as well. That’s correct. Probably the music I’m listening to you know? The biggest influence. I don’t know, maybe also the country I’m coming from, formerly Yugoslavia, where I was born actually. You familiar with the story our country? Slovenia, where I live, is a former republic of Yugoslavia. The Yugo Tempo album I made with Nakova a while back, was inspired by our childhood. A lot of the tracks come from Yugoslavia country stuff. Maybe there’s some Yugoslavian funk in my music haha.”
15. The internet, social media, and places like Soundcloud have changed the face of music in it’s entirety. The free trade of music has subsequently changed the recording industry. What advice do you have for upcoming producers/musicians trying to make music professionally?
Ichisan: “The music trade is great. I would just say just don’t quit, just do it. Go for it. Upload music, put music up for people to hear. You need to have to some, I don’t know, luck as well, but just do it. Don’t stop, just go for it and it will happen.”
16. Where do you see your career a year from now?
Ichisan: “Oh that’s another hard question to answer! Uh, it’s this, yeah it really is. What I’m doing right now, playing in clubs and venues like this for you guys, just having a good time. I love it.”
Amphitheater and stadium shows have their merits, but in those situations the experience is limited to the music, and the individual listener perceiving it. In the end it is about what you endured, the musicians themselves might as well be silhouettes in the big arena context. Their emotional tie to the music being played is irrelevant on some level, because you don’t get to really see it. This also leaves the performer(s) in complete control of the situation. Sure this is always true; it is up to them to command your indulgence, but in a big arena you’re taking the human connection out of the equation. In that context, connection only occurs in the audience. With these smaller club shows, the playing field is much different. The musician is on your turf as much as you are on theirs, and they are forced to connect and take responsibility for your intrinsic reactions. The eyes of the fans and of the artist playing are much, much closer, and when they meet it is on a deeper level. In this context, if the musician gets a lock on you, it has a significant emotional payoff that you just can’t get in the bigger venues. Ichisan apparently has this concept down, as this was the case in his performances.
Having just culminated his North American tour with Boombox last night in the beautiful white mountains of Vermont, Ichisan will be heading home for now. His next EP is scheduled to be released on the Prins Thomas label, Internasjonal, this summer. Add that to the success he has had with multiple sold out shows over his stretch here, and we’re sure he can find an excuse to come back. Yes, the journey is far from over. Deathwaltz Media Group has their hands on him, and they’ve built a solid reputation for hearing the demands of the fans. You just might see him here in the States sooner than you think.
Yes, that’s right, James Holden is appearing for a special extended set at Output in Brooklyn, NY at the end of next April, courtesy of The Bunker. The acoustically arousing, Funktion-One equipped venue is a perfect fit for an artist of this caliber. Selling out basically every show he books in the US, this will probably be no different, so we advise getting tickets immediately. Did we mention this is the only show he has announced in the US? We’d also like to say it one more time in big letters, EXTENED SET. In fact, posting this article will probably aid in our staff not being able to get tickets. Holden will be joined by Bryan Kasenic, Timothy J. Fairplay & Scott Fraser, and Mike Servito. You can find the link to tickets below.
Where as James Murphy used LCD Soundsytem to celebrate music in it’s entirety, James Holden examines the chronicle of technology in music, and it’s particular attributes in different contexts. He’s really similar to Roger Waters in the sounds that he designs, and that’s probably no coincidence. He’s been known to showcase synth-based tracks in his mixes ranging from the 60’s, to present day. His finesse with careful, expansive, psychedelic layering, is distinct to say the least. He’s also a shining example that you don’t need a heavy drum beat or bass line to make digitally produced music (that’s your Que, Pitchfork). Once acquainted, you’ll be able to identify his style anywhere. Last year saw the release of his album ‘The Inheritors’ on Border Community which sealed his canonization into both electronic albums and as a legend alike. It’s hard to truly fathom that this musician first made his mark on the charts in 1999. We could vaguely refer to him as a Minimal producer, and that would only serve the purpose of catering to human nature’s need to understand what’s being presented. I’m sure James could relate to that. The man is certainly on a different plane. If there was a subject deserving of the label “existential techno”, his music would inherently fit. This is because every sound, note, and effect, every instrument used to produce it, is being implemented for a specific reason. If you read some of his interviews, you’ll find that there is a unique method behind each of his releases.
Although we may not understand him, we can at least get closure in understanding his live methods/instrumentation. On stage and in studio (in which he typically records live) he uses a history lesson worth of equipment, including but nowhere near limited to, modular analogue synthesizers, effects pedals, MIDI and DOWO controllers, and various software. His performances are done with either a live band, which is comprised of him on synths, a drummer, a bass player, and other altering roles, or as a DJ set. Both have equal reward in experience. For a (likely) short window of time, you can seize the opportunity to see what all the fuss is about. What’s it gonna hurt to possibly see some genuine, unique talent perform in one of the most proper sounding nightclubs in New York City? The link to tickets is there if you want to click it 🙂
The snow is beginning to melt here, and we theorize that it is not because of the approaching spring season, but more so because of the heat from all this new music we’re getting. Zimmer, our French connection to savvy disco-house, dropped his March Mix Tape, titled ‘Birds’. Grab it below, and take it home!
While you’re here, you might as well check this edit he just put up for free download. A self proclaimed classic, this apparently is a tune he frequented in his live mixing. Boogie down friends, or shall we say, Descendre mes amis!
It appears that dreams really can come true. We’re being sincere folks. Not in a Richard Linklater ‘Waking Life’ sort of way, but more in a common, surface of the earth sort of way. We too are familiar with those hours, spent hopelessly scrolling through Resident Advisor and Jambase with aspirations to see the smaller, more obscure international artists booked for a tour in the US. There’s a myriad of artists who probably aren’t even aware that they have a following over here. Well, for some lucky fans that dream has finally come true. Ichisan is making the leap from your iPod to the stage, for several US live dates!
Last September, Ichisan made his American debut in Philadelphia for the City Bisco after parties at the now condemned venue, The Blockley. You can read a review of the event here. His next US appearance was just a couple of weeks ago, also in Philly, this time opening up for The Disco Biscuits at the Electric Factory (a considerable jump in venue and slot value). Before the weekend was over, he played yet another gig in Philadelphia, followed by a spa-themed club event in Brooklyn. Outside the boundaries of the Northeast, he just concluded a gig in Denver last night. Our man has been busy, and that was just the beginning. Ichisan is being set up for inevitable success. He clearly shares a very similar demographic of fans as the jam/electronica community. The very same audience who loved him to begin with, will likely be the same crowds that follow his current supporting tour acts, such as Boombox and Conspirator. His first performance in our country was only last fall, and he has already played three shows directly associated with The Disco Biscuits. We’re talking about a target audience with a reputable devotion to music, and these fans are very accustomed to buying tickets and hitting live performances as well. It seems that everything is developing quite smoothly. To some, that could be construed as fate.
Since his US debut, he has incorporated a heavier disco sound into some of his mixes. The door to a country full of new ears has opened wide, and he’s naturally going to aim for a wider appeal. Despite the preexisting fans in America, he is touring here now, and that is a whole new ballgame. His more familiar fans will still find solace in the psychedelic space-funk that only Ichisan could accomplish. Think ladies and gentlemen, picture those writhing, climbing, breathing grooves, completely surrounding you. Not just your ears, but affecting your entire body. This is an opportunity to physically dive right into aesthetic soundscapes, evolving right in front of you, and for that one time only. It can be your experience. You can’t download it, but if you go, it’s literally a mix, being created and played for you. In all reality, the basic and most important principle is that it’s a chance to see a real artist play some music for you. You can see what’s good in the mixtape and studio department here, and check out his upcoming tour dates with Boombox below!