Let’s take you on a skewed trip down memory lane, from a time when the record store towered above the skyline like a grail-shaped beacon of light for the nerdy music enthusiast. A time when anonymous DJs played cumbersome plastic discs to an army of youths dancing in a parking lot. We’re assimilating a hazy past lived through youtube channels and bargain-bin finds in thrift stores through contemporary music; piecing together an abstract narrative like a Terry Gilliam film.
This week on the cut with Filter Musikk we’re romanticising the good ole days through a pair of Bootsy Collins’ rose tinted glass, cursed with a dangerous cocktail of the the Jedi mind-trick and Ron L Hubbard’s Dianetics. Picking through the latest arrivals at Filter Musikk this week, we’ve found a handful of records that conjure a very tangible past for us, memories that we’ve adopted as our own from some distant collective memory that we’ve completely misremembered.
On this wistful Wednesday we’ve got some selective nostalgia with Roland Lifjell as we look for some intangible connection to the past through new music. We’ll make unsubstantiated claims about refutable links to electronic music’s time immemorial, and look to the recent records offering some wispy connection to the past.
Marius Circus – I Feel Space (In The Garden) 12″
From viral youtube video to one of the best selling records of the season. Unless you’ve been avoiding social media for fear of being coerced into reading some “fake” news, you would have seen Marius Circus’ live interpretation of the Lindstrøm classic and unofficial ode to Giorgio Moroder, “I feel space”.
It’s ok, Lindstrøm is cool with it and gave Marius Circus permission to post the video, who somehow also then got the rights to publish the version via his Secret Garden imprint. And if that wasn’t enough, he then roped in Andrew Weatherall into the equation with a remix of the new version and we’re left typing out emojis where words have failed us.
Marius Circus has pulled a rabbit from a hat with this 12”, framing the Lindstrøm classic in a new light for a new generation. In his homage of an homage, Marius Circus delivers a punchy, bright version of “I feel Space” that pays some due respect to the original and with a reverend touch, moving it from one pedestal to the next. His delicate work with the track, laminates the melodic reverie of the original in a glossy finish.
Andrew Weatherall releases it again from its plastic sheath and scuffs it up with a size ten doc martin pounding on a breathy kick. Taking Circus’ pristine work and clumsily handling it with a child’s impatience, Weatherall’s muggy interpretation would be more fitting under the title “I feel trapped” , giving us a record with two very distinct tracks on it.
Bell-Towers – My Body Is A Temple (Unknown To The Unknown) 12″
Like that video of the early raver kids dancing to some inaudible sounds projected from some ephemeral fane long after the party is over, Bell Towers channel some obscure sounds from disparate corners in their 12” for Unknown to the Unknown, ”My Body is a Temple”. There’s a hint of the macarena in that synthesised latin percussion that introduces the track, which falls to the background as various retro synths course their way through the arrangement.
It’s a downtempo synth-House track with all the playfulness and irony that we’ve come to expect from the UTTU label. Remixes from Bell Towers and Andras give us a couple of stripped down, sleek remixes of the original, but it’s the original that maintains the allure, with just the right amount of selective nostalgia to lure the stalwarts, while giving the progeny something to insta-snap about on their handy.
Krikor – Pacific Alley In Dub (L.I.E.S. (Long Island Electrical Systems)) 12″
Krikor Kouchian’s 2017 album Pacific Alley was one of the most memorable albums of that year. Wielding an army of vintage synthesizers like Zelda’s sword, the French producer carved out 11 tracks of wistful sonic adventures that put you in the 8-bit drivers seat of Out Run, cruising PH1 with “the Dude” as your driving companion.
The album was perfect, it wanted for nothing, but if you were going to do a remix version of it, hell why not do a dub version. It’s like “the Dude” stepped in through the John Malkovich wormhole. If you’re going to mess with perfection you might as well go abstract with it. We’re glad Kouchian left Niños Matadores perfectly untouched, but tracks like “White Snow”, “Onda Vaselina” and “Hermanos Cerdo” do well in dub. Accentuating the heady, unhurried style of Kouchian’s music the dub treatment adds a new more dance floor orientated dimension to the tracks, without losing the eccentric vibe he cultivates on the originals.
Volruptus – Alien Agenda (bbbbbb) 12″
The Icelandic rave alien makes returns to his home planet on Bjarki’s bbbbbbb after a sojourn on Nina Kraviz’s Trip. Lysergic bass-lines drip from intemperate beat arrangements in a sound that Volruptus has claimed ownership over on three releases to date. Using the TB-303 like a talkbox to make contact with other planets, Volruptus sends them afloat on a steady beam of raunchy electro beats at death defying speeds through the galaxy, and on this release he’s held nothing back.
Nothing on this release gets quite as close to the appeal of alien transmission on the first release, but the Icelandic artist is nothing if not determined, and you better strap in for “Misanthropy (Dark Stöff) V1 M1”, that one will eat you alive.
Putting up a slender grey finger to the musical establishment and common decency, “Misanthropy (Dark Stöff) V1 M1” takes off at 180 BPM and propels you into the next dimension, to the absolute limits of where a kick drum and an acid bass-line can take music, as it starts coming apart at the seems.
Giant Swan – Whities 016 (Whities) 12″
I, for one am happy that Techno is going into this direction again. Acts like Giant Swan and O/H from last week have taken up the call from the likes of Broken English Club, Silent Servant and Regis as they return to the raunchy sounds of early European traditions from the eighties and nineties.
Distorting synthesised communique with hell take great big chunks out of the atmosphere, while mammoth kick drums and percussion punch large holes through body music arrangements. Channeling that sound and punk attitude from the likes of Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb into a contemporary dialect, Giant Swans are one the most exciting groups currently active in Techno.
We find the UK artist (Robin Stewart) on Nic Tasker’s Whities with three tracks that take no prisoners and gives no quarter, bricking up walls of sound, only to break it all down again with juggernaut beats. It’s a malicious, bear-knuckled sound,t tamed in the halftime rhythms they favour over the relentless pummeling of a four-four distorted kick.
Giant Swan takes some of the best elements of past versions of Techno and assemble tracks by throwing everything against a wall to see what sticks, and the result is a crunchy DIY music that’s instantly gratifying and never retreats into obvious a morphisms.