The nightclub as avant-garde architecture: from Studio 54 to the Double Club
Nightclubs and discothèques are hotbeds of contemporary culture. Since the 20th century, they have been centers of the avant-garde that question the established codes of social life and experiment with different realities, merging interior and furniture design, graphics and art with sound, light, fashion and special effects to create a modern Gesamtkunstwerk. Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1960–Today is the first book to examine the design history of the nightclub, with examples ranging from the Italian clubs of the 1960s created by members of the Radical Design group and the legendary Studio 54 where Andy Warhol was a regular; to the Palladium in New York designed by Arata Isozaki and the more recent concepts by architecture firm OMA for a new Ministry of Sound in London. Featuring film stills and vintage photographs, posters, flyers and fashion, Night Fever takes the reader on a fascinating journey through a world of glamour, subculture and the search for the night that never ends.
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Vitra Design Museum (May 22, 2018)
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.5 x 10.5 inches
LP version. Eartheater (aka Queens based artist Alexandra Drewchin) distills foley-filled digital production, a three-octave vocal range, and classical composition into works suspended between obsessively detailed sonic tapestries and almost recklessly romantic and gestural electronica. IRISIRI, Eartheater’s third full-length record, lays out a shifting network of abstract song craft, laced with sudden structural upheavals, and collisions of mutated tropes from numerous sonic vocabularies. Modular synth staccato plucks hammer out in arrhythmic spirals over a carefully muzzled grid of pumping kicks — unleashed in unpredictable disruptions. Technoid stabs mingle with crushed black metal. An icy OS reads poetry against a bed of granular synth swells. Drewchin’s sirening whistle-tone vocals drape over relentless harp arpeggios. Eartheater confounds expectations of structure and resolution before deciding to thread in a sugary melody that snaps us back into some conception, however hazy, of pop songwriting. Guest spots on IRISIRI charge Drewchin’s ideas with concordant energies, from the stark imagist poetry of Odwalla1221 on “Inhale Baby”, to the sheer lacerating force of Moor Mother’s unflinching verse on “MMXXX”. Drewchin’s lyrics, strewn with flourishes of wordplay and symbolism, explore themes of her autodidactic experience — playing with the tutelage of the “pupil” within the “iris” mirrored in the palindrome IRISIRI. One motif appears as a song name, “C.L.I.T.”, which Drewchin breaks down into “Curiosity Liberates Infinite Truth”. The acronym stands as a microcosm of the Eartheater project in its holistic combination of idiosyncratic spirituality and cheekiness, presented with an earnest confidence that some could consider confrontational. In spite of this lexicon’s maximal effect, it comes from a very personal place as she states, “curiosity has had to be the currency of my education”. On “OS In Vitro”, she reminds us that “these tits are just a side-effect,” and “You can’t compute her,” as if to acknowledge the clouding effect of sexuality and technology in the face of a higher self-significance. In the record’s accompanying video piece, “Claustra”, she slides between “the owning of my loneliness” and “the end of the loaning of my onliness”, encapsulating images of self-purifying isolation and the rejection of artistic exploitation with the flip of two syllables. The transmuting landscape of IRISIRI is riddled with evocative poetry and evidence of Drewchin’s development as an artist since her debut in 2015. Features photography by Elise Gallant. Mastered by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering.
“On a mixtape of exclusive material debuted on NTS Radio, the Toronto-based producer Jacques Greene trades distanced, soulful melancholy for full-on dancefloor hypnosis.
By the time Jacques Greene released Feel Infinite, his 2017 debut album, he’d mastered the art of headphone house: dance-lite takes on electro-R&B that are more about the club than for it. The Toronto-via-Montreal producer, born Philippe Aubin-Dionne, spent years perfecting his style by flipping chopped-up vocals from artists like Ciara and Tinashe into sweaty, syncopated heat. His bedroom tones and chart-music samples became a hit among Tumblr kids and techno elites. And then, right at the moment moody R&B began to sweep the mainstream, he changed gears.
Aubin-Dionne’s venturesome new mixtape trades distanced, soulful melancholy for full-on dancefloor hypnosis. The 48-minute stream of new material, debuted on NTS Radio and also available on YouTube, is far-out and shape-shifting, like wandering through the different rooms in a dark, labyrinthine nightclub. There are trance climaxes, purring techno intervals, ambient meditations, and spells of after-hours soul—sounds that seldom appear alongside each other, especially this elegantly. Unlike Feel Infinite’s song-focused format, this collection flows with the finesse of a sophisticated DJ set, with each new discovery a seamless surprise. If you thought his club days were behind him, think again.
The Jacques Greene alias was built on eclectic digital crate-digging and fearless sampling (Aubin-Dionne is known to bury YouTube covers and strangers’ phone recordings into the sheets of his tracks). Here, he expands on this affinity for imaginative vocal samples by chopping them into more abstract forms, and then folding them into dancier structures. While this isn’t a dramatic reinvention, it’s a distancing from the diva samples and pop re-cuts he became known for (his edits of Drake and Radiohead, though tasteful, feel beneath him). The only remix here is a spin on Rhye’s “Song for You,” where synth arpeggios and whirring drums make the serenade feel ominous and urgent. It’s the closest the producer gets to the kind of traditional vocal that played such a big part of his old sonic identity. But aside from Cadence Weapon’s hushed raps on “Night Service,” the soulful murmurs that appear here have been so heavily treated that they provide more texture than melody. Similarly, the nervous “DMs With God” begins as a cluster of clangy percussion and humming before a warm, grooving bassline lifts it into a dancefloor moment.”
– Pitchfork 6.9 review
The new release features 7 tracks and follows Julien’s critically acclaimed debut album, Fallen. Released in 2016, the autobiographical LP was a bold new direction for Julien, and the first release under his birth name. Over the years, the Apron Records boss’ bold, experimental electronics, jagged club cuts and outside-the-box collaborations have seen him carve out a lane all of his own making. His debut LP was divided into two musically contrasting sides, and told the tale of a fallen angel though jazz-fusion, chiming soundscapes and dark acid-tinged techno.
Since his album release, Julien has continued his creative streak by playing across the globe, from Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai to Montreal and Melbourne, and further developing his label, which released a string of underground 12”s in 2017 from the likes of Max Graef, Hanna, Molinaro and more.
On ‘Bloodline’, Steven continues the soundtrack style mood of ‘Fallen’ – channeling ominous analog techno, drifting synth-house masterpieces, warm soul and hints of new age. Both the title and artwork is a nod to the influence of Julien’s family on his rich musical world and distinct nonconformist style, explaining how: “the influence my family has given me growing up and my ancestors from Africa to native Indians from the Caribbean, has all played a big part in the music I create.”
Recorded in Apron Studios based in East London, each track on ‘Bloodline’ also features a tr808 or a piece of a 808, as a dedication to the iconic Japanese engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi, who passed away April 2017. The much-loved Roland founder and TR-808 creator revolutionised electronic music in the 1980s and 90s.
2. Roll of the Dice
5. Queen Of Ungilsan
7. Temple Rd
OFFICIAL RSD 2018 release. Reissue; 34th anniversary edition, originally release in 1984 by Durium Records. Mannequin Records present a reissue of Personal Computer from the avant-garde Italian-born producer Doris Norton, release in a trilogy with Norton Computer For Peace (1983) and Artificial Intelligence (1985). Apple’s first music “endorsement” and Roland affiliate, Doris Norton is one of the most important women pioneer in the use of synths and in the early electro/computer music. Norton is the wife of Antonio Bartoccetti, progressive rock guitarist, and mother of the musician and techno producer Rexanthony. As a teenager, she was drawn to medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music, not to mention quantum physics, differential equations, organic chemistry, the experimentalism of John Cage, and animated movie soundtracks. Her love for modules and circuits found expression through the waves of an old harmonium, the frequencies of a MiniMoog, a Roland System 100M, a Roland System 700, and the ARP 2500/2600. In 1980, Norton began her solo career by recording at Fontana Studio 7, the Milan studio of the composer and musician Tito Fontana, resulting in the electronic opera Under Ground. Norton became more prolific, continuing her adventures in experimental electronics and computer music with Parapsycho (1981), Raptus (1981), Nortoncomputerforpeace (1983), Personal Computer (1984) — whose album cover prominently features Apple’s colored logo — and Artificial Intelligence (1985). While the beat-oriented style of Norton’s music aligns her with such fellow global-travelers as Yellow Magic Orchestra and Kraftwerk, her championing of the personal computer as a tool for self-sufficient musical creativity also connects her to more artsy musicians such as Pietro Grossi, Laurie Spiegel, and The League of Automatic Music Composers. Norton’s predilection for the bright, glossy timbres of early digital instruments also recalls Hubert Bognermayr and Harald Zuschrader’s bizarre 1982 one-off Erdenklang. Later, her talent and expertise attracted the attention of IBM, who in 1986 named her as an official consultant. Already the reigning queen of the Italian electronic scene, she recorded two CDs for IBM: Automatic Feeling (1986) and The Double Side Of The Science (1990). Influenced by her son, the musician and producer Rexanthony, Norton brought her fascination with the early days of techno into the 1990s, when she released three volumes of Techno Shock on Italian trance/hardcore label Sound Of The Bomb. While her music remains largely out-of-print and inaccessible, Norton’s early records have recently begun to receive the inevitable rediscovery treatment.
RSD 2018 release. Reissue; 35th anniversary edition. Mannequin Records present a reissue of Doris Norton’s Norton Computer For Peace, or Nortoncomputerforpeace, originally released on Durium Records in 1983. This is a part of a trilogy of reissues from the avant-garde Italian-born producer, released alongside Personal Computer (MNQ 120LP, 1984) and Artificial Intelligence (1985). Apple’s first music “endorsement” and Roland affiliate, Doris Norton is one of the most important women pioneer in the use of synths and in the early electro/computer music. Norton is the wife of Antonio Bartoccetti, progressive rock guitarist, and mother of the musician and techno producer Rexanthony. As a teenager, she was drawn to medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music, not to mention quantum physics, differential equations, organic chemistry, the experimentalism of John Cage, and animated movie soundtracks. Her love for modules and circuits found expression through the waves of an old harmonium, the frequencies of a MiniMoog, a Roland System 100M, a Roland System 700, and the ARP 2500/2600. In 1980, Norton began her solo career by recording at Fontana Studio 7, the Milan studio of the composer and musician Tito Fontana, resulting in the electronic opera Under Ground. Norton became more prolific, continuing her adventures in experimental electronics and computer music with Parapsycho (1981), Raptus (1981), Nortoncomputerforpeace (1983), Personal Computer (1984) — whose album cover prominently features Apple’s colored logo — and Artificial Intelligence (1985). Third studio album, Nortoncomputerforpeace involved Doris Norton, Antonius Rex, and Rudy Luksch (hardware engineer). “Don’t Shoot At Animals” was used as original soundtrack for the RAI TV program Rumore Di Fondo directed by Umberto Marino.
Synthesist is the debut album by Harald Grosskopf, the enigmatic percussionist behind Ash Ra Tempel, Klaus Schulze, and Cosmic Jokers. Originally released by Sky Records in 1980, RVNG Intl. celebrates the 30th year anniversary with this newly mastered and packaged reissue.
Berlin, Germany, summer of 1979, Harald Grosskopf, then 30 years old, was at a personal and creative crossroads. His girlfriend just left him, and Ashra (Manuel Göttsching’s “solo” project) was on temporary hiatus. Harald always considered himself a rhythmic accomplice to his numerous collaborators’ lead, until prompted by some fellow musician friends to pursue a singular creative vision.
Armed with a MiniMoog and Revox reel-to-reel, Grosskopf set off for the West German countryside that fall and isolated himself in a home studio for almost two months to record Synthesist. The temperamental analog synthesizer and sequencing technology created a long learning curve eventually resulting in a harmonious union of man and machine.
The human response undeniably colors the eight songs of Synthesist and aligns the album with some of the more melodic output of the Berlin School of Electronic Music. The title track and “Transcendental Overdrive” almost take on pop qualities. Harald’s live percussion opens up tracks like “So Weit, So Gut” and “Emphasis” for jammed out exploration. Where the album veers into the ambient space clusters of “B. Aldrian” or “Trauma”, it’s hard not to consider Synthesist the nexus of Krautrock, Kosmische, and New Age.
Re-Synthesist, the companion compilation to Synthesist, is an assemblage of reinterpretations of Grosskopf’s work by a new vanguard of electronic and experimental artists including Oneohtrix Point Never, Blondes, Arp, Stellar Om Source, CFCF, James Ferraro, and many others.
Although Synthesist has been unavailable on vinyl for almost three decades, it doesn’t fetch unfathomable collector fees. Selecting Synthesist as our first reissue is more about the connectivity to a new audience than the scarcity fetish for a select few. It’s about sharing Harald’s story and celebrating an album musically accomplished and compelling from start to end.
Created on a laptop computer using Ableton Live software to control and mix VST plugins as well as manipulations of audio recordings. Plugins used for sound generation include Omnisphere, Kontakt, Dexed and Arturia V Collection.
Started in 2014 as a collaboration between visual artist HEATHER GABEL and percussionist SETH SHER, the Chicago based industrial duo known simply as HIDE was formed. The following three years have seen HIDE crash through with a number of aggressively rendered singles and EP’s while quietly collecting the shattered pieces that would form their debut full length album on Dais, Castration Anxiety. Those familiar with HIDE’s provocative live performances will already be accustomed to the hypnotic low-end and sinister vocal delivery that has become the band’s signature. The opening track, “Fall Down,” sets an eerie tone that permeates Castration Anxiety until the end. Throbbing pulses swirling around Gabel’s death laden mantras succumb to themes harvesting power from desperation and hopelessness. Castration Anxiety was recorded by engineer JOE CARDAMONE at Valley Recording Co, who contributed additional instrumentation and arrangements, with additional recording and mixing by ADAM STILSON at Decade Music Studios. Edition of 400 copies on black vinyl.
In a career full of brilliant, groundbreaking music, the Richard D. James Album remains Aphex Twin’s drill ’n’ bass masterpiece. It was James’s fourth and most widely popular full-length to date upon its original 1996 release, and reinvented the artist as a commanding influence on like-minded groups such as Radiohead who were tiring of the guitar / bass / drums format.
Moving even further away from his ambient and acid house beginnings, the album matches James’s trademark fragile, slow-moving melodies with harsh, quick breakbeats. When it was released, fellow electronic artists such as Orbital and Underworld had just begun to filter moderate amounts of drum ’n’ bass in their work, but the Richard D. James Album was more extreme than virtually all jungle at the time.
Autobiographical in nature, it employs electronic sounds, pulsating rhythms and non-musical samples to convey the author’s feelings on childhood innocence, evidenced in tracks like “To Cure a Weakling Child,” “Boy/Girl Song” and “Cornish Acid” (a nod to his Cornish background and upbringing). Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim DeRogatis said of the album: “James has turned inward for inspiration, painting aural pictures of real and imagined scenes from his West Country childhood.” Stylistically, the Richard D. James Album is in the mode of “elektronische music” and relies only on sounds generated electronically, while continuing James’s implementation of “musique concrète” ideas by manipulating human voices, physical instruments and environmental sounds via sampling, distortion and looping.
The album continues to gain high marks from music critics, ranking 40th on Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums of the 1990s and 55th on NME’s Top 100 Albums of All Time. A peculiar and personal work, the Richard D. James Album is a modern classic which offers the same thrill on the first listen as the hundredth.
Whities 014 is by Londoner and master digger, Jules Venturini. It’s a 3 track 12” of discordant choral euphoria with artwork designed by Alex McCullough.
Following recent excursions channeling the big room sound, Project Pablo returns with a sleeker, more refined EP for Technicolour. The resulting five tracks span upbeat opener “Napoletana”; through the swirling improvised piano loops of “Last Day”; to the bumpy two-step of “Less And Less”. The Canadian producer has had a stream of quality releases via labels such as Clone’s Royal Oak imprint, Spring Theory, Lone’s Magicwire, and most recently Ninja Tune’s Technicolour imprint.
2017 reissue with new artwork. Originally released in 2000. “If you’re keen to track down some truly creative house music that sounds like it indeed could be the soundtrack for a parallel dimension, look no further. This is it. That said, Parrish’s style of house isn’t just abstract for the sake of being abstract. It’s actually quite musical and brilliantly crafted.” –Jason Birchmeier, AllMusic
Further departing from both the cinematic abstraction of Piteous Gate (PAN 066CD/LP, 2015) and the hectic drums of Damaged Merc (2016), Berlin producer M.E.S.H.’s new full-length, Hesaitix, is marked by its hyper-ornamented rhythms and a sense of pensive, moonlit spaces. The atmosphere has shifted; the radical deconstruction of previous releases has given way to subtler interventions, building new structures in strange territories. Shifting from the meditative to states of manic unease, Hesaitix is an unnerving injection into both the social space of club music and the interior space of digital audio fantasy. “How did I become so stupid? A sound can be both formless and over-rendered, like a boneless but fleshy hand from a life drawing class. What agent could set these broken sounds in motion? A laugh behind an evil curtain. A drummer that’s cool and grotesque, a detuned siren. A brushfire under a full moon.” Recorded in Berlin and Umbria, Hesaitix sees Janus resident and PAN staple M.E.S.H. firmly engaged in a kind of sonic world building, a place where the unconscious and the alien intersect. Artwork by Michael Guidetti and James Whipple. Mastered by Rashad Becker.
2017 release. It is now possible to see a big picture. This means there is a timeline with enough years and developments since this sound emerged on its own. Lycox is of course part of a newer generation that keeps adding to the transmission, but he is already inspiring a younger set of producers. Sonhos & Pesadelos helps materialize a multiverse of bold, shiny chrome architecture, staying true to the original kuduro backbone while Lycox organizes new forms, song structures and even artificial life. If you can’t call it “raw” it’s only because this is mental space translated into sound. The physicality of the music is but one element in Lycox’s ambitious take on dance music, although we should really say pop music, such is the melodic and harmonic forces at work. “Solteiro” could be just an ambient beauty but the abnormally long four-minute mark reveals layers of masterful song crafting well outside what some might still be tempted to classify as “ethnic”. Not a classic seaside romance. Features PuTo NeLo, Puto WilsoN, and MIX-BwÉ.
“His ear for odd melodies suits his bright palette, which maintains pop intrigue while remaining unconventional, intriguing and occasionally confusing.” –Resident Advisor
“He might have the sharpest ear for melody of all the Príncipe crew, too, often prioritising catchy tunes over complex drumwork, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tough – the midsection is full of heavy bass and drums, peaking with ‘Quarteto Fantástico’, a track as bug-eyed and disorienting anything we’ve heard from DJ Marfox or DJ Nigga Fox.” –The Wire
“‘Solteiro’ is an uncharacteristically gentle and pulsating tune that feels — more than anything — romantic in its rhythm. Truth be told, it’s quite beautiful. And it follows lots and lots and lots of heretofore phenomenal music from the label.” –Tiny Mix Tapes