Recording of our weekly Dekmantel Radio show at @redlightradio. First hour: Vladimir Ivkovic Second hour: Suze Ijó
Istanbul born Debora Ipekel has been slowly but surely bubbling up on the London scene for a few years. She is an NTS and Worldwide FM host who digs deep during sets at cultured spots like Brilliant Corners, and also runs her Zel Zele Records. Mixing up anything from trippy fusion, Turkish folk and psych, jazz-funk or kraut, she plots worldly wonders and cosmic trips that are richly rewarding. The label is just as adventurous and far out, and reaches as far back into the past as it looks to the future. Ahead of her playing for us at Dekmantel Selectors, Debora invites us into her world with a 100 minute mix that deals in exotic, tropical grooves and traditional instrumentation. It’s funk, jazz and soul music that comes from a different, more psychedelic perspective than the norm, but is still drenched in so much sun and warmth it makes you feel like you’ve arrived on our little Croatian beach a few weeks early.
Recording of our weekly Dekmantel Radio show at @redlightradio. First hour: Ploy Second hour: Monty
Freedom Engine - A Box Full Of Magic Dekmantel (DKMNTL070) 2xLP / 1xCD release date: 07 October 2019 https://dekmantel.com/shop/records/a-box-full-of-magic 1. Worlds Above 2. The Very Strange 3. The Very Strange Pt. 2 4. Oriental Dragon (w/ Magda) 5. Shinkansen 6. Space Time Continuum 7. Attack Of The Omnibots 8. An Evil Charm (Where Is The Forest) 9. A Box Full Of Magic 10. Computerized 11. A Sunrise On The Front Worthwhile albums tend to be as much about the process of making them as they are about the end products themselves. One can almost hear formal, technical, even philosophical questions being asked and answered on them in order to arrive at something personally and politically new for the artist. "A Box Full of Magic," at once sprawling, cosmic, and psychedelic in the best of ways, follows in this album-making tradition. It is a record steeped in off kilter percussive time, live recording, occasionally summer cloud-paced tempos, and lush, emotional, melodic instrumentation. "A Sunrise On the Front," the final track of the record (and a composition crushing in its beauty), encapsulates much of this: recorded live on a Rhodes, the melody gives voice to the paradoxical sense of hope even during the pathology of war. Such conceptual ambition fits perfectly well within the capacious vision of Mathew Jonson's Freedom Engine, a project whose very name seems to explore and allow for the conceptual paradox and complexity of approaching freedom through the engine of technology. In a fundamental sense this tension between freedom and machine informs much of the album proper. Desiring to break out of his old ways of production and the boxes that went with it, the album abounds with fresh fascinations in things like the sound of mathematical equations, quirky time signatures, and experimental phrasing through intuitive timings to unlock a sense of magic, play, and spontaneity. There is, likewise, an interest in the liberating potential of deconstructing old sounds to make new ones, as Jonson applies techniques like innovative noise gating on classic drum samples to create space age percussion. At other moments, on "The Very Strange," for instance, air itself is sampled in field recordings to create unnatural percussive patterns. As is often the case with Jonson's work, an encyclopedia of machines and synths are employed in the making of 'A Box Full of Magic," but what is perhaps new here, and in keeping with the dialectic he traces between freedom/engine, is that there is a non-mechanistic, spontaneous impulse at work in the recordings. While it is not a live album, it has an at times spiritual and organic inclination despite or perhaps because of the way his panoply of gear--Prophet 5, cs60, VCS3, et al--attempts to capture dream-like tonalities that can reach poetic heights on a track like the aforesaid "Sunrise" or morph into an almost diabolical, Lynchian dimension on "An Evil Charm (Where Is the Forest)." But while it is tempting to get lost in the trees of synth-arcana with Jonson's work, we should not lose sight of the forest here: With its openness to new ideas which in turn generate an album teeming with them, "Box Full of Magic" helps to expand the sonic vocabulary of contemporary dance music. Mathew Jonson lives and works in Berlin. He has been experimenting with electronic music since 1986.
The last few years have seen Volvox rightfully come of age on the international scene. The self-styled “techno disciple” has been shaping and driving the Brooklyn underground ever since moving to NYC from Boston in 2011, but has been hosting events and laying down tough sets for more than a decade. A couple of residencies in that time have seen her push both an acid house sound and a harder techno outlook while she is now at home everywhere from De School to Berghain. In this searing 80 minute selection, Volvox tears through a range of electro sounds that race along with a high speed funk. Form punchy bass driven jams to visceral industrial and on to a sci-fi future, it’s a brilliantly widescreen but cohesive overview of a genre that is made for dancing.
Deeply embedded in Amsterdam’s local music scene, Radical Hi-Fi has been representing the legacy of dub, reggae, rub-a-dub and dancehall in the Dutch capital and beyond. Coming from different backgrounds, General K is Red Light Radio’s Lorenzo Milelli and Ketama Man is booker, MC and the Mo from Mo Manager, the duo has been pushing their sound through countless radio shows and gigs since the early 2000s. Their mission is to bring reggae, dub and dancehall to the public without discrimination and show reggae’s influence on the worldwide music scene. Previously, the duo played an excellent set at last year’s Lente Kabinet Festival, and this year we’re bringing them over to the Adriatic Coast for a dub-laden set at Selectors 2019 — in anticipation of which they recorded a fresh Selectors Podcast. According to the duo themselves, this mix sees Radical Hi-Fi “moving into the depths for this crucial selection of deep roots reggae cuts featuring a heavy dose of spiritual Rastafarian Nyabinghi drumming. The African heartbeat drum, the foundation of all rhythm. Forward!”
Recording of our weekly Dekmantel Radio show at @redlightradio. First hour: SHYBOI Second hour: Wrong Sal
Proud Brooklynite Adam X is one of the most pivotal figures in techno. As a founding father of the US rave scene with his brother Frankie Bones, he played hard and fast in the early years before losing himself in industrial. Having very much driven the revival of interest in that style, he remains at the sharp edge of the scene from his current home in Berlin, where he continues to turn out raw and visceral sounds on his Sonic Groove label. To read in depth about his backstory, check out the recent feature we did with Adam while you dive into his podcast on www.dekmantel.com. It is a timeless two hour selection that covers deeper techno as well as the sheet metal synths and hammering beats Adam is known for. Strobe lit, sweaty and grimy, it oozes the sort of realness that has always separated him from the crowd.
Lisbon’s Inés Coutinho aka Violet is one of the main faces of Lisbon’s blossoming underground music scene, co-running a queer event series called mina and local internet radio station Rádio Quântica. After starting out as a DJ in shops, pubs and hotels — a time she values greatly —, she briefly lived in London for a while, and around the time she returned to Lisbon her career took off. Not in the slightest due to her impeccable label Naive, which has been turning heads for its boundless approach and string of strong releases by often upcoming and mostly female artists like Octo Octa, Almaty, Ilana Bryne and Eris Drew, and on which she also released her own ‘Togetherness’ EP. Her mixing approach is a captivating concoction of breakbeat, bass, techno and basically everything else — not eschewing an occasional Cardi B or RnB from the 00’s weaved into her sets. This Selectors Podcast reflects her engagement with her local scene and its upcoming artists: “This mix is like being surrounded by friends and inspirations from my local scene. Most of its tracks are quite recent and made by young artists whose relentlessly imaginative output has been capturing my imagination”, like BLEID, Stasya and Odete, as well as more established artists from her scene like Photonz and Príncipe’s Marfox. The result is a 70-minute rollercoaster of drums, rhythms and surprises, full of different sounds and influences. According to Coutinho herself, that’s “what [she] feels makes it special, rather than having a specific geographically-pinnable sound.”
CEM’s unique DJ style has been referred to as “emotive hysteria” and that couldn’t be more apt. He plays in highly intense and energetic ways, lacing together frenzied and frantic techno with a UK edge. A core resident at Berlin’s cult Herrensauna party at Tresor, he draws on his punk upbringing back in Vienna to cook up the sort of electrifying soundtracks that have become vital to the queer community. This mix is a perfect showcase of his race style: it’s just over an hour of blistering and always futuristic techno that never relents. Subtle diversions into broken beat, rave and jungle keep you on your toes and always locked in for what is the most thrilling of rides. It’s hard to play as intensely yet captivatingly as this, but CEM does it better than anyone.
Austrian music obsessive Heap is someone who always digs deep into the past, but also the present. His empire includes Discus Throwers, which is a concept store that deals in special gems from the world of house, techno, synth pop and kraut, as well as his Neubau label, productions on labels like ESP Institute and Berceuse Heroique and DJ sets that can be brave and beguiling or banging and brash. For this week’s mix, Heap keeps it deep with a selection of leggy and gently cosmic disco tracks early on. His is a thoughtful take on the genre, with expansive tracks that could be brand new or 30 years old all sitting nearly next to each other. As things grower darker and more intense later on, elements of acid, electro and proto-house all make for a colourful and late night trip.