Switch off that negative talk: vibrations between musical scenes continue to resonate and grow. Here we have two artists, each somehow evergreen and still blossoming, making the link from past to future feel secure. And speaking of good vibrations, I can think of no better way to get the summer vibes going this weekend than warming up with this warm up and mix.
So, we turn to Detroit’s Juan Atkins and Hamburg’s DJ Koze to set us straight. They demonstrate that channels between Germany and Detroit remain open and live, that maybe the best days of cross-pollination are ahead, not behind. Have that summer musical fling and see where it leads. (Uh… creatively. Come on, it’s Friday, and any words I write are a distraction from this great music. So on with it.)
Let’s start with Juan Atkins. The results are out, and the collaboration with Moritz von Oswald may be some of the best dance music out in 2013. It’s all beautifully engineered, endlessly economical, but deeply soulful music; strongly-felt music that emotes effortlessly. Borderland is out this week on Tresor Berlin (the label that shares the name with the long-running club).
Once again, to crib Atkins’ words, “jazz is the teacher.”
Description from the label:
After more than two decades of behind the scenes collaboration Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald present Borderland – their debut collaborative album to be released this summer on Tresor Records.
The album – made up of 8 sequences, which seamlessly blend the styles of both masters – was recorded at the beginning of 2013 over various studio sessions in Berlin and will be released as a series of three 12″s and a CD album. Limited to 500 units, pressed on heavy vinyl and packed in hefty sleeves, the three part vinyl series, gathers all but one title present on the CD format.
Together with a series of live shows debuted in May at MUTEK festival, with follow-ups in Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Paris – the record gives common voice to two independent yet mutually supporting musical journeys, achieving a singular expression of club-orientated electronic music and the freedom of organic musical experimentation.
FACT Magazine did a nice retrospective on how this collaboration came about – you can hear that relationship all over the record, but if you care to know where those fingerprints came from.
And Brandon Bussolini, writing for XLR8R, I think goes deepest into the significance of this release.
Tresor and Hard Wax have become sort of name brands, and in that sense risk being stand-ins for real musical activity. But here, the Berlin landmarks did have a hand in forging the connections that made the musical collaborations happen, as Bussolini tracks their evolution. Note words like “funky” and “natural” – making something feel like second nature is no small matter, when overactive brains can too easily overthink a musical expression. And Bussolini wrestles with the dangers in techno, that it become so industrial it turns into a “meat grinder,” or that it loses its connection to lightness or jazz. It’s a nice read – or maybe I’m just a sucker for Messiaen references. As Bussolini summarizes the appeal of this record:
This combination—Atkins’s practical mysticism and Oswald’s ductile minimalism—makes Borderland feel earthy and enchanted at once, playing off the misty forest pictured on the album’s sleeve art.
If you can read German, there’s also a wonderful review by Thaddeus Herrmann that reflects on the cyclical meaning here:
Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald: Beton, Brache, Berlin [De:bug]
Actually, you can probably follow it even if not:
“Ich habe ein Déjà-vu. Berlin, Detroit, die Express-Autobahn … In Michigan: die Originators. Mensch, Maschine, Automation … In Berlin: staatlich subventionierte, aber nicht weniger verbrannte Erde. Mensch, Maschine, Mauer.”
Meanwhile, in America, New York City is again enjoying their terrific Warm Up parties at PS 1, bringing together local Queens residents and culture snobs and club kids and families to sweat together at an art museum. And Juan Atkins is part of a dream lineup this weekend that includes some of our favorites from genre-bending label PAN – Lee Gamble, NHK’Koyxen, and Bill Kouligas, specifically.
If you aren’t near the 7 train, you can still enjoy the podcast:
And head to podcast host FADER for an interview with Maestro Atkins himself (the interview isn’t embeddable, but you can download it past this link):
FADER/MoMA PS1 Warm Up Mix: Juan Atkins
Straight Outta Hamburg: DJ Koze
If Atkins and von Oswald represent a still-fresh, still inspiring look to the past, DJ Koze might take you into the future. Stefan Kozalla builds on German dance music traditions (on KOMPAKT, about to celebrate their anniversary in a big way), but has done more than almost any other to lead new sounds (on Pampa). Like the duo above, he’s also back after a long hiatus, with PAMPACD007 – Amygdala.
Resident Advisor reviewed that instrumental epic when it came out earlier this year.
And here’s Koze on FACT, with a terrific mix. Mixes have become so commonplace that some seem lifted from iTunes or Spotify playlists – and do little more than those static playlists might. This is a proper mix, by contrast, beautifully weaving one track to the next. And the track listing itself is thoughtful, spanning Koze’s best and the good stuff on Pampa, but also pointing to some music now you’ll want to keep hearing again and again. (With certain, cough, summer jams somehow inescapable, it’s about time you take what’s on repeat into your own hands, no?)
Child Of Lov – ‘Call Me Up’
Jono McCleery – ‘Painted Blue’
Sohn – ‘The Wheel’
Enja – ‘To Go Beyond’ (Dntel Edit)
Harry Belafonte – ‘Mo Marry’
DJ Koze – ‘Don’t Lose My Mind’
Bibio – ‘You’
Dürerstuben – ‘Freiherr In Der Wall’
Recondite – ‘Felicity’
Dj Koze – ‘Nioces Wölkchen’
JaKönigJa – ‘Be Kind To Be The Shape’
Herbert – ‘You Saw It All’ (DJ Koze Remix)
Matt Karmil -’Reverse Peephole’
Westbam- ‘You Need The Drugs’
Christian Löffler – ‘Eisberg (Hemal)’
Bibio – ‘You Won´t Remember’
The new Bibio I’ve been thoroughly enjoying, and I’ve loved the music of Sohn – hoping to work up an interview with that emerging artist, so let us know if there’s anything you want to know. (Maybe Sohn is also using these knobs and faders Borderland did? Or other questions, too.)
Have a great weekend, everyone.
And stay cool.