Sometimes at Filter Musikk a porthole to real world appears, opening directly into Skippergata and through what we thought was an impenetrable glass door. Often a person will slip through that doorway, clutching a cable or some idealistic dream of becoming a troubadour/ podcaster / producer with a kind of rabbit in the headlights stare, searching Roland Lifjell’s face for answers to questions that a psychoanalysts and a team of medical professionals couldn’t solve.
Roland suffers these fools gladly and he’s always quick with a cable (it’s almost always a cable) to break down the barrier (notice singular) standing between them and their unattainable creative industry, before they disappear back into obscurity, and out through that in-door. I’ve witnessed this exchange on fair few occasions and I tend to drop what I’m doing every time, internalising the voice of David Attenborough as I watch the scene unfold, and try to decipher what in the actual fuck just happened.
I mean, did they not see the records! Or is this some platform 9 ¾ situation. It’s like when people say they don’t like music, or listen to Ed Sheeran; I understand why you might not like something but why do you hate yourself so much. Are you not in the least bit curious about what undiscovered musical gems lie in wait in those dusty shelves; are you not aware that you are on hallowed ground? That’s when I realise that this might not be for everybody. And that’s ok too, because that just leaves more for the rest of us.
But we only have a finite time on this planet and the musical treasures that wait to be uncovered at Filter Musikk are too many for a mere ten fingers to sift through in a day so with that: it’s time or another cut with Filter Musikk, where we and Roland Lifjell select our personal favourites from the latest new arrivals on wax.
Longhair – Longhair (Bordello A Parigi) – 12″
Is everybody taking their cues from Luca Lozano’s design studio? I don’t know what it is about this distorted nineties visual aesthetic, but it just lures you in, and while it might not suit records from many labels, it does communicate something of the music through a record like this latest one from the Dutch label Bordello A Parigi.
Marko Pelaic and Benedikt Bogenberger, collectively known as Longhair, deliver three proto-house, balearic cuts that make the first sonic impressions of a looming spring-summer season. Taught 808 kicks with an accent on the one and three, set a tempered mood, with hand percussion and synthetic bass-lines weaving their way through progresisve forms across the release.
Beatific melodic excursions eddy and swirl around misty atmospheres trapped in some reverie of a beach holiday. From “Squirt” to “As we travel” Longhair doesn’t veer from a sound they’ve clearly perfected and each one is able to carry a dance floor no matter what the context.
Infiniti, Reel By Real – Techno Por Favor / Sundog (Preservation Sound) 12”
Marcel Dettmann recently highlighted this release in his new BBC radio residency. It’s one from the archives recently remastered, but sitting alongside the contemporary playlist of Dettmann’s first show, it still holds its own as an ultimate classic. Infinity and Reel by Real are in fact one in the same as Juan Atkins and “Techno Por Favor” and “Sundog” are timeless classics that Preservation Sound has brought to the fore again with a remastered edition.
While these original records are certainly coveted by devoted collectors, sonically they don’t really hold their own alongside contemporary records in the context of a DJ set, and that’s why we love these remastered editions. “Techno por Favor” and “Sundog” originally appeared on a couple of compilations right at the start of Techno’s history, when they had just started naming the genre, and even at that time Juan Atkins’ productions were a cut above the rest. He’d already started staking his claim as a formidable producer through the Model 500 project during the eighties, but when he started drifting into Techno he staked a claim as a super producer.
“Techno Por Favor” and “Sundog” have held their own and it’s great to see a new label like Preservation sound updating these hidden gems for a new audience, and bringing them together for the first time on one record.
New Frames – RNF1 (R – Label Group) 12″
It’s all about the B2 on this one, or as the label calls it 0.2… They’ve also called the A-side AB, and although we’re not sure what any of this means, it doesn’t really matter because by the time you get to “In the night,” it’s all irrelevant, because you’ll have emerged in the upside-down, transported on the metallurgical sonic constructions of New Frames.
Kobosil’s R label hosts the relatively new production duo who tap into a little something of that EBM trend currently dominating Berlin’s subterranean movements in the dark. David Frisch and Mathis Mootz however don’t piledrive their sound into a pail of distortion and 8 step sequences, but rather align their efforts towards the unyielding thrust of modern Techno.
Tracks like “Reese Defence” and “Totes Neon” feature vocals delivered like political slogans in much the same way groups like Front 242 or Nitzer Ebb did back in the eighties, but in the case of New Frames, these vocals feed a unrelenting machine music restrained in a minimalists straight-jacket progression.
It all comes to its glorious apogee by “In the night” with its hammering beat and a synth skewering every 8th note. A distorted vocal barking out from some abstract netherworld at a regular interval, anthropomorphizes the metallic, robot music feeding the aggression of the music.
Deep Dimension – Rave Channel (Gen X) 12″
Despite what their name might suggest, Deep Dimension are hardly exploiting the depths of their soul in their artistic pursuits. The relatively new Dutch duo comprised of Jeffrey Hek and Jimmy van de Geijn make bold, effectual statements on the dance floor with their latest record.
Considering their nationality, it’s not exactly gabber however – which lets face it is a relief – but strains of that relentless Dutch electronic music is certainly there; what did you expect from a record called Rave Channel. They restrain their ancestral impulses as they approach elements of hardcore, breakbeat, jungle and all those harder factions of electronic dance music.
Over six tracks, Deep Dimension hardly let you come up for air as they coerce a dance floor to their will through pounding kicks, broken beats and samples that sampled other samples, eroded through years of bit-crushing, screami9ng at you through the polyrhythmic malaise.
Choc Stars, Teknokrat’s – Nakombe Nga / What Did She Say (Rush Hour) 12″
No, but seriously is Luca Lozano designing everybody’s record sleeves at this point? This record is a far cry from Longhair however, as Rush Hour continue to make some rarified finds available to new audiences. On this release they’ve offered us two sides of the same coin, with an original piece from Congo band Choc Stars and a 1989 track by Belgium producers Teknokrat’s which samples “Nakombe Nga”.
It seems that the Choc Stars was a popular record in Belgium, because as one astute discogs user points out, the same sample is also present in Virginity’s “The Key”. So it seems that afro bubblegum played a vital role in Belgium new beat, but it doesn’t seem that a band like Choc Stars were officially credited on these tracks.Thanks to Rush Hour that record has been set straight, but I sincerely doubt if the original artists will ever be compensated.
This release certainly fuels that bubblegum frenzy, which Rush Hour has played a serious hand in bringing to the fore, and doesn’t look set to disappear anytime soon. Antal had a fair few of these kinds of records floating in his bag when he played Jaeger last year, and there’s probably some more in the back room at Rush Hour that are waiting to be unearthed. While this record brings nothing really new to the bubblegum sound, it does highlight how influential this music was and gives a band like Choc Stars their rightful place in music history. Perhaps this is the first of what could eventually be a series.