For me, one of the best things about 2014 was, simply, Paula Temple.
The artist, on R&S Records, consistently demonstrates that you can combine a dedication to heavy, left-field but traditional techno with an expansive appetite for experimentation. And then there are her signature, over-the-top-in-a-good way bass detonations. Her DJ sets were each highlights – check out the Goûte Mes Mix below, heavily featuring her regular collaborations Dadub, Eomac, and Lakker (the latter whom I got to join Friday in Amsterdam, lovely lads).
And then there was her audiovisual show with Jem the Misfit, a shining beacon at this year’s Amsterdam Dance Event (from the aptly-named venue across the water, EYE). We’ll cover more in detail shortly as we talk to the artists but suffice to say I was impressed that Paula struck just the right balance between her shadowy, pounding techno world and more reflective moments of calm, perfectly matching the wondrous worlds of Jem the Misfit’s vibrant optical candy. Just as Paula Temple finds transcendence in tried-and-true techno vocabulary, Jemma Woolmore’s visual performance picked up familiar tropes – “let’s film stuff melting,” for instance – and makes them new, colorful abstract etudes and geometrically-tuned compositions.
Next up for Paula Temple’s ambitions is a new record label called Noise Manifesto. We’d heard word this was coming, but the free download “Gegen” gives us the first clue where this is going – before more releases come to Bandcamp and the like.
“Gegen” returns to Paula Temple’s roots. It is relentless, unforgiving techno with a synthesizer riff on top that sounds angry. It is also, for those of us who take pleasure in such things, a fine Advent gift. Grab it for free – unfortunately, MP3 only, but worth downloading. And then play it at some holiday party, ideally for your family get-together. Or, okay, maybe not.
What’s most important is, Paula Temple is effectively giving away a “secret weapon” – and, yes, I believe it.
‘Gegen’ is a very powerful word here in Berlin. It is a word of Tension. It is the word you see on all the protest posters on the streets, and when I first moved here, this instantly made me feel I have come to the right place. Residents standing up and AGAINST what is hurting people, and residents are active every week to be against (gegen) oppression. At the time I was making this track, I was invited to a club night called ‘Gegen’ and the atmosphere was something that left a mark on me. It’s a party environment that smashes up the idea of ‘normal’ and you are against yourself, your own fears and pleasures. This is why I’ve heard people either say it is the best night of my life or the worst night of my life. So I had to dedicate the track title to this night and to Berlin. In the same month I tested my new track when I played at Berghain for a benefit party – the reaction was over the edge! So for the past year this has been my ‘secret weapon’ in all my festival sets. I apologise to many people asking for the track for not releasing it sooner, it is a rave track and it really stands out on its own. So now I have decided to release it on its own. As a way to say thank you for giving me the most amazing year I’ve decided to make this a free download in the last two weeks of 2014.
Download via SoundCloud:
Credit to the Gegen party, too, which to me is notable in that it combines Berlin’s open-mindedness about identity and sexuality and expands it to a broad lineup of music – including some nicely experimental additions on the “drone” stage.
But somewhere between rave and concert, protest and meditation, I look forward to what comes next from this artist.
For more, watch her talk about technology and process – and technology as a platform for making it easier to be expressive – in her insightful piece with Slices:
Last year, she also walked through her technique of designing percussion with Ableton Push in a push. And that’s doubly interesting, as according to her resume she’s co-developer of the MXF8 from Grex Ultra Dynamics. That unique if unsung controller may have been a bit ahead of its time in 2004, but its combination of crossfader and knobs and buttons heralded various ideas that would follow.
Here’s that mix, complete with track listings – read more about it if you can read French.
Let’s not be contented with ‘Gegen’ as the only free download. Her remix of Perera Elsewhere’s “Ebora,” featuring Aremu, is spooky, tribal-futuristic grooves with drops that require you to find a safe sitting position before listening. I’m effusive only because this has to be one of my favorite tracks of the year, even if I’m not partial to making lists.
While they’re streaming-only, you can also have a taste of her work remixing vocal artists in outings with the duo KNOX and (needing no introduction) The Knife:
Yes, “ridiculously massive” are the two words that come to mind.
Here’s the AV show:
“Deathvox,” the track, is actually frightening. I prefer to imagine scary imagery in my mind, though, rather than the wander-about-in-the-woods music video – nothing wrong with it, but sometimes internal visuals can be more fantastic. Definitely don’t miss the track, though. (And Paula’s performance in the video is a highlight.)