Chris Mitchell is back on Anunnaki Cartel with a three track 12″ that features strong drum programming with a dystopian feel. Mitchell is pushing the worried and anxious sound, apparently he thinks house and techno is not always roses and peaches. The Remnants EP features three tunes with the mechanical feelings of cyborgs running around in industrial areas creating dance music.
Remnants///Panning arp lines, boxy percussion, with long bass notes that double as a melody begin this 12″. Later the beats become chunky as the toms strike and shimmering sustained crashes appear. The tune remain crunchy until its conclusion as the dystopian feeling is prevalent.
Opinions Are Prisons///A full palette of sounds begins the B side of the wax. A voice in the background states something that is not recognizable. An arp line is the main focus with long bass notes serving as a complimentary line. The voice modulates as the percussion moves along. A melody line comes in to add depth. The elements continue to change as the vocals ring out until the end.
Succubi///A sub kick begins the end as a voice and synth slowly gain steam and volume. The pulsating kick leads us into percussion which is a change from the first two tracks. The vocal moves around as two synth lines play off each other with slow modulations. A melody line appears to cause an emotive feel as all the elements progress to their peak. The synth lines become a bit more fuzzier as a filter also becomes audible which leads a listener right to the break.
New Dutch label called Another Earth is debuting now with a split EP as its first release. Esther Duijn is the label owner and she is also featured on the B side of this release, teamed up with her partner Steady Douglas. The A side features techno head Myles Sergé. This music here is leaning toward that techno sound with house sensibilities. Here is the prose from the label:
There is a new label under the horizon and it’s first imprint is all about warm heavy Detroit influenced deep techno. Another Earth combines 2 acts together in a Split EP series who compliment each others sound. The A-side hosts the renowned US based producer, Myles Sergé (MS – RE(FORM) ), who, for these 2 tracks, let his machines run crazy beat patterns in a old school Detroit techno vibe. The B-side features Dutch based duo Duijn & Douglas (Esther Duijn & Steady Douglas). Their stripped warm heavy padded deep techno influenced tracks are perfect for creating some heat on the dance floor and the B2, Stray, is driven by Berenice van Leer’s lush intense voice.
Myles Sergé – The Art of Shadow Thoughts///Ambient sounds begin as percussion strikes, creating a very eerie effect. The percussion slowly builds establishing the groove, first the hats, then the rides, and finally the toms ring out. Later a chord progression appears that is supported by the eerie pad that began the track. The elements move around until the conclusion.
Myles Sergé – Lunokhod 1///A straight beater as the tune has a heavy kick and severely syncopated rhythm. The percussion builds and builds as track moves forward gaining momentum all the while. Definitely one for the peak time hours as the rides picks up the tempo even further. Then machine sounds appear sounding like a factory robot that does the same job over and over that adds flavor to track. Some proper techno right here.
Duijn&Douglas – Bizar///The B side begins with a smoldering sound of pumping kicks, bass, and a chord stab. This tune is more on the dub techno tip. Subtly the chords and the hihats grow in volume. The percussion growing every so gently just to lead us to the main theme. The chords and percussion are modulating in harmony as the track grooves. The pulsating chords get fuzzier with each new go around of the theme until the closure.
Duijn&Douglas feat. Berenice – Stray///Tuned percussion end this 12” with its banging kick and droning voice of Berenice. A beautiful melody comes in as Berenice begins to sing, a few moments later a house bassline appears to give it that warm feel. All the elements then come together and groove. The interplay between the elements move fluidly as the track maintains a bouncy feel until the culmination.
Chris Mitchell is up next on Vanguard Sound with a solo piece called Phrenetic EP. A four track 12″ that shows off Chris’ versatility as each track has a different style and feel. Some new music from the American south that is making waves as Chris is creating his own sound. Check the prose from the one sheet:
Vanguard Sound is back with its newest record. Chris Mitchell‘s Phrenetic EP is Vanguard Sounds second release. Coming on the heels of the wildly popular Vanguard Sound Vol. 3, this EP continues to uphold the aesthetic created with the first release, while simultaneously expanding it. The Phrenetic EP features four tracks from the mind and studio of a quickly rising North American talent that all walk the fine line between house and techno. All are very complex rhythmically, with both banging drums, and lush tones. A perfect 3 way marriage of classic Chicago, Detroit, and New York vibrations, the record contains set peaks, as well as transitional tracks that allow DJs to traverse from house to techno and back. Already receiving massive amounts of positive feedback, this EP is proving to be a more than worthy follow up to VS001.
Phrenetic///Floating synths stabs appear as the percussion hits, later joined by another synth line to round out this banger.
Lazerdrive///Bumping bass sounds with a matching synth are driving the track. Suddenly a stuttering voice appears that adds more flavor to the tune.
California///Definitely a west coast sound; guitar riffs sound, a vocal phrase appears, and finally a chord progression comes in with percussion driving it along.
Y.I.C.U.///Synths and bass begin the last track as a filter voice saying Y.I.C.U. floats the forefront. Later more synth lines appear as the vocal gets longer as the tune fills up.
Available at these fine retailers among other places:
Today I am featuring a release from Area aka m50 called Tenderness EP. For those not in the know; m50 has been burning up the decks quietly across the world, meanwhile making his home base on the northside of Chicago. He hosts the Streetbeat show on WNUR at Northwestern University and has released several records over the past year. So in honor of everything underground, here is something to expand your musical palette. Below are some compositions that exposes you to yet another side of Chicago electronic music that lives in the underground. Chicago ambient Techno is the tag line for this release, but yet still deep and soulful. This three track 12″ is very versatile in its feel as the story grows from dance to dreamy soundscapes.
Bed Vertigo is a deep Techno joint that has drowning pads in the background with a driving pulse. The pads slowly build into into a nice, deep harmonic progression of warmth and emotion that continues to take the listener through a deep journey of human feeling.
So Many Fireflies begins with a funky synth line that later blossoms to include a beautiful matching bassline that continues to shuffle nicely. Then another line develops giving it a little more swing; progressing to an additional synth line and a soft sea-wave crash to finish the tune in fine fashion.
Cheap Warmth propagates a calm sound to complete this release. Ambient and relaxing, Area is showing off his ability to convince a listener to meditate while soaking in his soundwaves. I’ll stop writing so just laze and think about something you love while watching this video representation – http://vimeo.com/15519535
Ah yes, I have prepared a special segment featuring my friend and mastering guy Amir Alexander. Definitely making some moves, and case in point with this new digital release from Plan B entitled Sonic Subversion EP. I’ll let Amir elaborate on himself and this release.
Amir what up homie?
Hakim my man, at the moment, a lot of things are up. I’m lucky to be a part of a very inspiring collective of very creative, unique individuals. I have found a true home in Plan B Recordings. I am focused on building the brand Vanguard Sound! Plus, a bunch of other personal growth/self realization stuff. So, I have a full plate.
Channeling: A man speaks and then a gritty driving bass accompanied by some syncopated chords that begin to take you to the altered states through the hypnotizing grooves of the lower sound registers. Lost in the groove, channeling knowledge is dropped into the psyche.
So Where are your from, who are your influences?
I’m an army brat so I say that I am from the “states”. I moved around a lot as a child. Eventually settling in Florida, where my parents are from. I graduated high school and then lived all over the state for a minute. I eventually moved out to San Francisco where I spent a couple years or so. For the last six years I’ve lived in Chicago, and/or the Chi-‘Burbs.
My first influence as a DJ was Mr. Larry Levan. Even before I had ever heard a mixtape, I was aware of his legend. I decided that I too wanted to touch people in that way. Ron Hardy also tops that list.
As far as DJ.’s I’ve heard live go, Vanguard Sound Crew member DJ. Chang a.k.a. Carlitos Corcho would’ve been the first.
As you may be aware, Florida is primarily known for unsophisticated commercial sounds (notice that I didn’t say music). When I first encountered Chang, he was playing real house. As opposed to the prominent of the sound of the state, which I have labeled halfway house. Chang, along with my other Florida influence Chris Milo a.k.a. DJ. Three, were champions of quality underground techno, which I love.
The next major influences are members of the same San Francisco clique, “The Wicked Crew” Those gentlemen are DJ.’s Marky, and Garth. Their crew is single handedly credited as the collective who brought house/techno to San Fran/Cali in the late 80’s early 90’s. They threw legendary full moon parties on isolated beaches though out the state. Old school style. You had to go to the check point and then call for more directions to find out where the party was.
My last influence as a DJ. hails from Chicago. As you know, I just left there after a six year stint. Anyone who lives there for any amount of time will dicover that the best DJ’s in Chi don’t got much press, and many are unknown outside of their neighborhoods.
I had heard all of these big names who sounded like they were going through the motions. Then I heard Traxx……
I like him ’cause he plays like me. I could tell that he comes from the same place sonically. He influenced me to keep doing me.
It is the same with my production influences with the exception of one.
Robert Hood (Detroit), Omar S. (Detroit), Dj. Spider (NYC), and Dakini9 a.k.a. Lola (NYC).
I was blessed to make a bit of a name for myself in Chicago relatively quickly. Upon completion of that task, which is no small feat, I dropped out of the local Dj. rat race to focus solely on production.
For 2 1/2 years I didn’t go out and I didn’t listen to any music I didn’t write except for the occasional track sent to me by my producer friends. I purposely lost touch with the outside world so that I could access the “God within”.
When I resurfaced, minimal was the new it. I quickly began to discover that I was making minimal without ever having heard of it. What’s more is that I heard elements in both Robert Hood and Omar S.’s tracks that were not too dissimilar from what I do. Needless to say, it was major validation because as I began to study and catch up with the “scene”, I realized that the world loved these men, and if I could figure out how to be heard, they might love me as well. Then the universe led me to Plan B. I had the exact same experience with Spider and Lola. I had never heard of them, but when I heard the first note of the first track of theirs, I knew that Plan B was my home. The final influence as a producer is and has been you. Through the fellowship and support you provide me I am able to do my thing knowing that at least one person is listening. Thank-You Hakim.
How would you describe your musical taste?
Eclectic. Provocative and Varied. In my school days I was a skateboarding b-boy who was also in jazz band etc. so I came into contact with a wide spectrum of music. Every thing from New York hip hop to punk rock bands such as the Dead Kennedy’s, to Bach, and Mozart as well as the dance music of the period. I learned early on to be open to new experiences, sounds, people and points of view.
Deep Banger: Dark and gritty the acid bass grabs you as the bass bins shiver. The neo acid grooves takes you on a dark journey of tones with subtle passing sounds to accompany you on the ride.
How long have you been producing and djing?
I decided to become a Dj. In the fall of 1993. My first mix tape was a pause mix on one turntable and a cassette player. I bought my first set of decks and an old Gemini mixer in April of 94. Technics SL-D202 and a SL-D303 the ones with the tiny little rotary pitch control. When I started learning how to mix records, I was attracted to the difficulty/ challenge of learning to match beats. I loved the fact that it was hard, and that to get to any level of proficiency, you had to practice your ass off. Back then it was considered cool to be good at something. These days it seems that it’s all about short cuts. The true disk jock loves everything about the vinyl format, Everything! Being a Dj. was never about taking short cuts. I have been told that I sound anti digital, which is not the case at all. I am against the systematic killing of the vinyl based recording industry that we all owe a major debt of gratitude to. Being that I have, and will most likely continue to have some of my releases out digitally, I have been forced to adapt. Records are heavy. They were when we all started. Nothing changed. If you are a vinyl jock for long enough you will lose or have some of your favorites stolen from you. It’s always been the case, so all of the convenience based excuses fall on deaf ears when it comes to me. What the fuck ever. Pioneer and laziness is killing us. The old school heads would use their reel to reel players the way that I use c.d.’s…… as a supplement, or a third turntable.
Every now and again there will be music that is not available in vinyl format. That’s when I use c.d.’s.
I started producing with my friend Chris Mitchell in 1998. I had an electric bass, and he had an Akai MPC 2000 w/effects and the 8 line outs, a Boss Dr-202 Dr. Sampler. The one with the sweet filter, and ring modulator, a Roland tone generator, and a Juno 106. When I moved to San Fran I didn’t have access to any gear other than my electric bass, turn tables and the sampler that Chris gave me. When I got back to Florida in 2000 or so, I began making music on a Roland mc303 groove box for 3 years really learning how to program until I finally got a computer in 2003.
Jabberwocky: Happy beats masked with a bit of flange with acid house undertones. A voice is heard, encouraging you to listen closer and dance to the sounds at hand.
Where can we find your other releases?
My releases that are not on Plan B Recordings NYC can be found on Bearatone Recordings Chicago. And eventually Machining Dreams, (I hope).
What’s your philosophy on making music?
Let’s see…… I can start by stating that I believe that an artist should try to give their best effort every time, and that there is no room for playing it safe amongst the elite in this field. The day you start to play it safe or go through the motions is the day that you should get out of the way. I am blessed with among other things, the gift of long vision. I wish to contribute to the postmodernist sociological history of art culture as a whole. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Parker, Coltrane. Ornette Coleman, Sun Rah, Hendrix, etc. History will record their contributions. I am just trying to do what it takes to be in that club. For me as an artist, I wish to inspire someone. To do for someone else, what was done for me. And most importantly. I believe that one should strive to be genuine and not be afraid to find their own voice/sound.
Nocturnal: The bass undertones guide the chords and drive the track. Probably best banged late at night, preferably on a dance floor. The melody takes it over the top, completing the presentation of the tones though the various spectrum of octaves ranges.
So I’m also part of Vanguard Sound!, since it is your vision could you elaborate more as to what it is and where it is going?
Amir: Wow! This might be a very long multi-part answer………..
We can and are really going to get deep on this………
Thank-you so much for being the catalyst. In that you asked me to define Vanguard Sound As I see it.
It’s all about fuckin’ shit up sonically!
Hakim: Yeah, this crew is about your vision.
It’s about making everyone involved stretch a bit
It’s about the first time you heard some crazy ass shit you’d never heard before, and instantly knowing that you’ve finally found your home, it’s about facilitating that experience for our decedents, as our ancestors did for us.
It’s about excellence! It’s about fun and for us, the Vanguard Crew, it’s about war!
We are artists!
We do what we do because we have to. It is our life purpose. Vanguard Sound is about a coup de tat.
I, as Guerrilla Soul a.k.a Agent #8 am a reconnaissance shape shifter.
My purpose as said agent is to identify and co opt sleeper cells.
I am a politician, a world Bridger bringing disparate militias together.
We are all co captains in this regiment who seek vengeance upon the idolaters and worshipers of hype and excess……
As previously stated Vanguard Sound seeks to subvert the dominant paradigm… the exposure of the truth…….
There you have it my friend.
It used to be cool to be smart and different. I know that went out of style but with Vanguard Sound we can bring it all back to basics. The music.
Flowing … that’s cool.
Sky’s the limit but as artists we support and bring out the best in each other.
Sounds like a good philosophy.
People used to look at me like I had a turd on my forehead when I would get on this in the Chi.
The purpose is to advance the art form. Because it really is art.
You can tell by the music where producers are coming from.
Basically just do what you feel.
Feel…….. that’s right! You know it when it’s right. Hakim you have helped me to begin the process of defining the parameters.
I think people have a hard time understanding my creative process. I just do whatever with my music.
Because you sir, are an artist.
I always felt them. I just hadn’t manifested them into the material world
But, I understood it from the jump.
That’s why even though I moved to Florida, in many ways between us it’s like I never left.
Real recognizes Real.
Back to the war…..
Evil forces have taken this music/culture that we love so much and reduced it to a gimmicky product
We Will take it back!
I’m on a mission too.
Between the members of the crew we got around 130 years of perspective
You are on a mission, that’s how we linked up. As espionage Agent8, I am duty bound to attempt to make allies of those I recognize as true soldiers who don’t give a fuck. I have thrown everything into the pot a far as this shit goes. Chez Damier said if you really believe in what you’re doing then take a risk.
We are about to build a legend…. the future is now, and we will bring it as a battalion.
We all are.
One fiber is a thread, several can braid and become a rope. We are all much stronger together, but we still all hold our own much like the Wu Tang Clan.
Overwhelming force of numbers.
It’s gonna be somebody…. we are true of intention and, we’ve put in work. why not us?
There you have a synopsis of Amir Alexander and his music life. I will leave this post with a mix from Amir called: