Frankie Knuckles - Your Love (Original)

The Godfather of house music, Frankie Knuckles, passed away earlier this year…I’m glad he was able to witness the explosion of EDM in mainstream American culture during his own lifetime - how gratifying! Yesterday, I shazamed a Knuckles song I heard playing in a London clothing store. I wouldn’t have guessed that Your Love was released in 1987. Is it just me, or is electronica more timeless than many other forms of music? Yet another parallel to classical music! The intro to this song is particularly bright and catchy - I can see it working well as a transitional segment in modern sets. 

Frankie Knuckles House Music Trax Records

A Time for a Change

A Time for Change by Guy Gerber exudes the perfectly understated, unapologetically confident vibe i’ve come to expect from the man. He repurposed the same trumpet arrangement for Floating Messiah, one of the tracks off his recently released 1111 collaboration with Diddy. I like the idea that a musician can revisit a song, pick out his favorite elements, and remix his own original - evidence of the endless possibilities that collide across the artistic mind! Plus, why make one great song when you can make two? 

Guy Gerber Deep house

DARKSIDE - Live Set - Pitchfork Music Festival Paris

DARKSIDE was by far my favorite act at Coachella this past April. Too bad that Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington are already parting ways after just a year of their artistic partnership. Given this news, I’m especially thankful that I got to catch them live during their short-lived collaboration. As I said in an earlier post about Nicolas Jaar, his live impact is striking and exciting in the way that one hopes all music shows could be. Observing these two in action, you can feel the force and the frenetic energy that enables them to create an incredibly memorable, genre-bending, singular musical experience. 

DARKSIDE Other People Nicolas Jaar Dave Harrington Indietronica live set

Hey Now (Sasha Remix)

I like to think about how thrilling it must have been to experience the mid-90’s progressive house renaissance spearheaded by Sasha and Digweed. Can you imagine hearing one of their DJ sets for the first time in 1993? The fact that their 2001 New Years Eve set at Fabric London still sounds surprisingly current more than a decade later is a testament to how truly progressive they were and still are. 

Hey Now (Sasha Remix) by London Grammar is just the latest evidence of the man’s ability to stay relevant for the past quarter century - quite the achievement considering the fickle nature of the industry. And beyond that, the two veterans still seem incredibly humble and dedicated to their craft - considering all they’ve seen and done and inspired, that might be an even greater achievement. It must take a very special kind of love (obsession?) to remain steadfast after all these years. Or maybe it’s the wisdom that comes from embracing the rise and the fall and the ensuing transformation. I like to think that this is what separates talented creatives from true artists!

Sasha London Grammar remix Digweed progressive house

Kindness - Cyan

Cyan by Kindness was featured in Dixon’s Boiler Room set, which didn’t stand out as much as his Essential Mix, but I appreciated that he curated this daydreamy indietronica gem towards the end of the hour. Dixon (a.k.a. Steffen Berkhahn) is one of those artists you absolutely HAVE to see live. Not only because he doesn’t post his sets or release many of his tracks, but also because some vital Dixonian element seems entirely lost otherwise - his spontaneous genius becomes falsely subdued. 

I was awestruck when I saw him for the first time in Detroit. I kept wondering, where does he find all these completely unknown, transporting tunes? And beyond that, how does he think to put it all together to tell such a coherent, mesmerizing story?  It was delightfully esoteric - not quite techno, not quite deep house, but a self-possessed concoction that I can best describe as abstract yet accessible, layered yet uncomplicated, at-times poignant, and all-around brilliant DJing.

The man himself also dresses in a very cooky style and has (what seems to be) a permanently serious expression on his face, which further adds to the allure. I got a kick out of the fact that in addition to running the Innervisions label with Âme, he’s also the VP of a football club and the owner of a bakery. 21st century Renaissance Man, anyone?

Dixon’s set was so inspiring at this year’s Movement Fest that, the next day, we waited in line for over an hour in the scorching heat on the pavement of a dilapidated Detroit neighborhood to catch him again at Seth Troxler’s infamous Old Miami party (running from 6am to 6pm on Monday with the Martinez Brothers, DJ Tennis, Dixon, etc.)! No regrets. 

p.s. props to to Resident Advisor’s very respectable "Top DJ’s of 2013" poll that shone a light on Dixon for me in the first place! Hadn’t heard of him before. 

Dixon DJ Dixon Innervisions Kindness Terrible Records Boiler Room Essential Mix movement festival riverwest music festival electronica Indieelectronica indietronica downtempo

Premiere: Adriatique 'Midnight Walking' feat Name One

Adriatique, the Swiss producer and DJ duo, played one of my favorite set’s at Detroit’s Movement Fest this past May. Midnight Walking was the song that put their name on my “must-see” list. To my delight, Adrian delivered beyond expectations!! Over the years, I’ve found it wise to brace myself for the disappointing possibility that a superb producer may not equate to a superb DJ. Not the case for Adriatique! Their talent abounds in both domains. In particular, I was giddy with excitement when Adrian played Turn Around (Âme Remix) by Sailor & I, immediately followed by Midnight Walking. I’m already looking forward to my next opportunity to catch Adriatique live. Don’t miss seeing these talented guys if you have the chance! Fun fact: the three of us share the same name (and the same music taste, apparently). I feel as though we’re kindred spirits!

Adriatique techno movement festival Deep House Name One

IV44 Howling - Shortline EP - Shortline (Frank Wiedemann Remix)

A while back I posted the Âme remix of HowlingShortline (Frank Wiedemann remix) by Howling (a.k.a Frank Wiedemann & Ry Cuming) sounds like the sequel. The conceptual parallels are obvious. This calming union of indie and electronica is the sound I’ve been craving lately. Perhaps the natural progression in life is to gradually gravitate towards more peaceful, meditative experiences. 

So to get this straight:

The Innervisons label is run by Dixon and Âme

Âme is a German DJ duo made up of Frank Wiedemann & Kristian Beyer. 

Frank Wiedemann teamed up with Australian singer Ry Cuming (a.k.a. Ry X) to write the unexpectedly acoustic mega-hit Howling (released under the Innervisions label)which Âme did the aforementioned popular remix of. 

Now, Frank Wiedemann and Ry X have released their Shortline EP as a duo named Howling.

Whew, that was confusing. I hope electronic music artists don’t start doing the whole “Artist formerly known as….” rebranding tactic.

p.s. Dixon owns a bakery. What? 

Frank Wiedemann Âme Innervisions Dixon DJ Dixon Howling Ry X Ry Cuming remix

Downtown Party Network - Space Me Out (Mario Basanov Remix) 12''

One of my favorite tracks off Dixon’s 2013 BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, Space Me Out (Mario Basanov remix, feat. Egle Sirvydyte) by Downtown Party Network is quiet, simple brilliance. Notice Basanov’s artful use of minimal bass to enhance the vocal counterpart midway through. 

p.s. The original is lovely in its own way too. 

DJ Dixon Dixon BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix Mario Basanov Downtown Party Network Deep House

CLOSE (feat. Fink) - Wallflower (Quantum Entanglement Remix)

Wallflower (Quantum Entanglement remix, feat. Fink) by CLOSE (a.k.a. WiIl Saul) has a cinematic, almost religious quality to it. Tale of Us featured it in their set at Aiguille du Midi in the French Alps. The moody, unexpected, forward-thinking track captured my attention and had me longing for transcendent experiences amidst snowcapped mountains.  I think Wallflower epitomizes Will Saul’s self-description as a producer of "deep house and techno combined with soul and melody." Enjoy. 

CLOSE Will Saul AUS music Simple Records deep house Fink Tale of Us

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I went to see Van Gogh’s Repetitions exhibition not too long ago, and Bonobo’s latest album, The North Borders, was the perfect soundtrack for my afternoon at the gallery. Know You is my favorite track off the album - it reminds me of the Pacific Northwest (and Van Gogh’s brushstrokes) - the mist, the foliage, the liberalism, the melancholy/blissful creativity….

Bonobo The North Borders Album art rock Indie electronica