WARMER MIXTAPES #992 | by Gabriel Alexander Baumstark [CutOff!CutOff!]
1. 808 State | Pacific State
When I was a kid, I used to own an Amiga 500 and occasionally bought so called Disc-Magazines which were Floppy Discs with articles and small programs on them. The selection menu on one issue featured this song or rather a recreated version of it, probably made with a Tracker – precursors to Modern Music Sequencers so to say – since there was no way to fit the whole Original Track on one Floppy Disc. At that time, everything related to Computers was absolutely Magical to me so that might explain the fond memories I have for that track. Years later I found out this was actually a track by 808 State. I'm glad that one of the first Techno related songs I consciously listened to was actually something quite cool. Not much later I used to ride my BMX with Music For The Jilted Generation by The Prodigy on my Walkman but totally lost interest in Electronic Music during my early teen years when all that horrible Eurotrash became Popular in the 90s, totally ruining Dance Music for me.
2. Portishead | All Mine
I remember watching Portishead Live in Roseland NYC on MTV without particularly paying attention because I considered it to be Music that I couldn't relate to anyway. Nevertheless, I got more into it from song to song until it eventually blew my mind. Listening to their records fostered my interest in Producing Music Myself. Adrian Utley told in interviews how they made their own Samples by Recording, say, a Drum Beat, pressing it to Vinyl and then Resampling it. At that time I played in a few bands so my understanding of Making Music was that you just hit record and play a song. The Idea of Constructing a Track Piece by Piece with no regards to some Ill-Conceived Idea of Authenticity, which you often find in Rock Music (like everything has to be handmade), is for me still quite appealing.
3. Rufige Kru | Beachdrifta
At the moment a lot of people seem to Rave about mid-90s Jungle and Drum & Bass. I missed that era since I was too busy listening to the Pixies and Sonic Youth and also too young to go to clubs. I first got into it when the hype was already over, but for quite some time I went to Drum & Bass parties every weekend. This track sums up quite nicely what I enjoyed about the Music with its Deep Atmosphere, the refined Beats and otherworldly Sounds.
4. Neverending | Huelsenbeck Up Against The Dull Di Da
Neverending were an obscure band from Sweden that – to my knowledge – only released 5 songs spread across three 7 inches. I saw them when they played a gig for about 15 people in a small room in the basement of a Youth Centre. This was actually one of the best gigs I've ever attended and their songs belong to my All Time Favorites. I always admired the DIY Ethos and the Commitment to Music of (Post-)Hardcore bands like this that would Tour just to play their Music, without ever expecting to make any Money out of it.
5. LCD Soundsystem | Yeah (Crass Version)
This is the song that tricked me into liking Techno (as in 4-On-The-Floor Techno). It starts off as some Dance Punk/Mutant Disco tune that you were allowed to like even as an Indie person only to subtly drift towards a Synth Riff midway through the song that keeps repeating over and over and eventually dominates everything. For me it is a prime example of how to build a track upon a very Basic idea that stays Exciting for a long period of Time while avoiding a Chorus-Verse Structure. I remember being in Plastic People when Optimo played Yeah and would mix Rocker by Alter Ego or something similar into it. At that moment I thought: OK, Techno actually is great.
6. Holden | Lump
This has to be one of my Favorite Pieces of Electronic Music of All Times. It is Painstakingly Microedited and Constantly Evolving, proving everyone wrong who claims that Techno is merely the same loop on repeat. I fell in Love with the track the first second I heard it and I'm still fascinated by it after all these years which I can't say about a lot of songs. Somewhere on the Internet I saw a Video of Holden around the time when The Idiots Are Winning album was released in which he showed his small Studio. The modest means he employed to make his Music are fascinating. I'm convinced that Embracing Your Limitations is a Key to Creative Success.
7. Boards Of Canada | Turquoise Hexagon Sun
It is rather redundant to repeat here how BOC have that peculiar aged Sound and Analog Patina, etc. For me their records Sound Timeless, especially this track which was first released in 1996 on their Hi Scores EP. The Background Ambience gives the track an eerie feel even though – or maybe because – the Voices You Hear Sound cheerful. Every time this track starts playing I have to stop whatever I do and completely immerse in it.
8. Stars Of The Lid | Tippy's Demise
Stars Of The Lid's records are the ones I listened to the most in the last few years, especially when traveling on planes and trains. It's like pulling down the blinds and covering yourself with a blanket to drowse away peacefully. It's Music that borders to Pure Sound at times, but lets Melodies, Chord Progressions and Rhythms shine all the clearer once they emerge.
9. Tortoise | Jetty
The TNT album by Tortoise must have been the first record I enjoyed which featured no Vocals at all. Seeing them Live was so so different from the Rock bands I was used to because there was no obvious Front Man that you would concentrate on, but instead it was the collective of the band itself that was crucial. While their Music is Jazz informed, they refrained from showing off their skills by playing Improvised Solos which is something I oftentimes find exhausting. In contrast, Jetty is a song that amazes me with its richness of Melodic and Rhythmic Layers which demonstrate great Musicianship in an unpretentious way.
10. Andy Stott | Passed Me By
As the songs mentioned so far are already quite a few of years old, I feel obliged to include something a bit more recent. I stumbled upon Andy Stott with the release of his Passed Me By EP and was immediately fascinated by it because there seemed to be a lot to Discover underneath that Veil of Black Noise that is Structured by a Straight Pulse. I got a bit obsessed with listening to that EP and the subsequent We Stay Together EP, probably because I have no idea how to make this kind of Music. It's very focused on Textures and Melodies are nearly absent while a Groove composed of uncanny Noises sucks you in. Nevertheless, it works on the Dance Floor and – oddly enough – helpful to keep me focused when I have reading to do.