PAN – Electronic music’s adventurous rebellion turns 10
PAN 10 Years feat. Bill Kouligas, Puce Mary, Tzusing, Eartheater, Amnesia Scanner, Objekt and M.E.S.H., Berghain, October 2018 – live report by Sandra S. Borch
Since its launch 10 years ago, the Berlin-based label has touched noise, drone, improv, techno, dub, ambient, and several other genres, stretching and redefining electronic elegance. PAN is as messy as it is elegant. PAN is complicated. PAN is hard to categorize neatly in specific words because we do not have such nuanced language for talking about music yet. Sandra S. Borch reports from PAN’s 10 year-celebration at Berghain, where PAN is still in the forefront of a scene that is far more complex than the common refrain of “adventurous electronic music” would suggest.
Sugar – Submerged on the dance floor
Sugar “No Sex Only Feelings” (Euromantic, 2018) – review by Cameron Pagett
Sometimes it’s good to let loose… really loose. Have the ability to let yourself go and simply move and enjoy the moment, twist your hips, turn your head and give in. It’s nearing 3 AM in Volume KPH at the gateway to spring with the windows shaking and nearly giving out from the booming speaker and footsteps pounding on the pavement. “I’ve never heard him this good,” one remarks.
This show in March was one of the first times an audience got to hear the much awaited new material from local DIY legend and Fast Forward co-founder Nikolaj Jakobsen (aka Sugar). He played a real cracker of a set including a lot of the tracks from his album “No Sex Only Feelings” which was released some months later, in the beginning of September.
The night at Volume was marked by many memorable performances, and from close memories and some worthwhile video evidence the party hit full tilt and begat a frenzy during a fast, furious and melodic 2.5 hours. It was the perfect setting and size with bursting prismatic lights, expansive sound and an attendance hitting the over 1,000 mark.
Now, the album is finally out, and it is fantastic. The diligent and precise mixing is accompanied by a wonderfully executed work in mastering from local wizard Joel Krozer. If you have any familiarity with the Copenhagen techno world which is characterized by a 140 BPM tempo, a hard, pulsing kick with a lean toward dancy melodic bliss, then this album is a coronation of sorts to a style defined and raised in numerous studios across the city. Læs resten
Maria W Horn – A haunted soundtrack for the dismantling of the misogynist traditions
Maria W Horn “Kontrapoetik” (co-released by XKatedral and Portal Editions, 2018) – review by Sandra S. Borch
What caused the Swedish composer Maria W Horn’s sounds of burning turmoil is a combination of the sound itself and the intense narrative which she has based her album upon. Maria W Horn explores the past of her home region, Ångermanland, in the north of Sweden. The region is the site of Sweden’s largest documented execution of women accused of witchcraft in 1674 in the form of burning and decapitations. This theme is extremely explicit through the entire album. It comes with a thorough description of mystery, death, ill-fated dogmas, and this is the sound you can hear on the record. She is not out for blood nor revenge. The title alone points at something not poetic, something far from romantic and idyllic. The album is a mirror of horror, a form of skillfully engineered intensity. Læs resten
die Reihe – Sitting in a room with a Vocoder
die Reihe – Vocoder (Anòmia, 2018), review by Mikkel Rørbo.
“Vocoder” is Jack Callahan’s new EP under the die Reihe moniker. We are told that much in the first few seconds listening to said record. All of “Vocoder” is focused around the reading of a text by Callahan explaining e.g. the history of the vocoder and the components of the EP’s sections; there is a stroke of inspiration in carrying something demanding and abstracted like this via something as concrete as the voice.
On “Vocoder”, Callahan persistently focuses on a specific compositional technique, in this case vocal processing with “a specific type of vocoder called a phase-vocoder” (“Section VI”), with an exaggerating effect which, I believe, activates the listener and makes one aware of one’s situation of listening. These layers of awareness, on Callahan’s side as composer, the contents of the piece and the listener, lead to a formalist expression – something which is surprisingly easy to follow, with distinct sections separated by silence, a logical progression and a definable set of methodologies. Listening to this piece is almost like reading the abstract of a dissertation; a statement of intent, methodology, perspectivation and expected results. It’s honestly very, very pleasant in its formal simplicity. Læs resten
Alex Zhang Hungtai – “When you are not truthful to yourself, the playing itself will suffer” (interview)
Interview by Alexander Julin, photo: Sean Marc Lee
Alex Zhang Hungtai has been creating enormously diverse music throughout his career. In addition to the also stylistically diverse project Dirty Beaches, Hungtai has been releasing music under the moniker Last Lizard and more lately in his own name. Besides the more free jazzed collaboration with David Meranha and Gabriel Ferrandini as well as part of the trio Love Themes, Hungtai has released both minimalistic piano and saxophone compositions since he ended Dirty Beaches. His latest solo release, the album “Divine Weight”, points back towards his last album as Dirty Beaches, “Stateless”, which also was an ethereal and atmospheric saxophone album. However, “Divine Weight” incorporates a more alternative approach to playing the saxophone which implies limitations but also the unfolding of the instrument’s potential; a potential which suggests a personal and existential dimension in addition to the musical.
“The saxophone is not only a friend that helps me reveal myself to me. It is also a harsh training buddy that punishes you when you play lies,” Hungtai explains in the following interview, in which he reflects upon the personal dimension that the saxophone opens up, and the responsibility it demands of its player. Læs resten