I recently signed up for Spotify and couldn’t help ‘spotifying’ myself. A search for “Kill By Inches” revealed a few releases, including Down to 3hree released in 1999 with yours truly on guitars. I’m not exactly sure who gets paid for streaming that record – certainly not me or other band members – yet, I’m paying for the service.
A search for “Alek Biotic” returned most of the Gotham Grooves cuts, as well as the track Dirty Yellow which had appeared on compilation CDs after the original, vinyl release on Robert Natus’ Planet Natus label.
But the most interesting discovery was the 2009 re-release of Ghost (covered on Dopevector previously) which is my first ever release. Due to a typo, the artist name was “Alex Biotic” and appears that way on not one, but two 2009 re-releases of this track. The first is From Goa with Love 2, a compilation from the German Wax n Soul imprint. The second is Goa Universe – The Top 50 of Psychedelic Trance.
We’re back with another exclusive from Open Source. Like Cold Room (covered here previously) Magic Money is a departure from Matt’s older techno productions, but maintains the dark vibe, intelligent arrangement and crisp production.
We’ll be on the lookout for more material from Matt in 2011.
Released in 2002, Mantra appeared on one of the first Made On Earth compilations released by Bush Records. As Bush was one of my favorite labels at the time having the track picked up by Eric Powell (label owner) was a real treat. Alongside Mantra were productions by Sean Colt and DJ Kruze, another bonus.
Mantra itself is a raw, loopy track inspired by one of my favorite producers, DJ CZR. In fact, if I remember correctly, a part of the beat was sampled from a DJ CZR record.
As it turns out I can’t for the life of me find the original digital file of this track. Its either buried somewhere on some disc, or maybe exists on a DAT someplace. What I do have is a CD with it which has since become almost unplayable and is the reason you may hear some digital crackle on the MP3 link below. (And yes, I do have a few vinyl copies of the record, but the decks are not accessible at the moment and the busted CD was the best available option for this post.)
Due to a mixup with the label, the title of this track on the record is Common Ground, instead of its actual name: Stack Trace. (Common Ground is a different track, now titled Stack Trace, which I’ll cover here in the future.)
Common Ground appears on the Kazumi label’s 39th release, titled Afterglow. A focused three track record, Afterglow EP is likely the release I’m most pleased with overall and having it out on Brixton‘s awesome Kazumi label was a real treat. Its long repertoirealso features releases by Headroom, Invexis, Andreas Kremer, Robert Natus and Yamaoka, just to name a few.
The track itself is an unusual introduction to the release but I haven’t heard it in years and sort of stumbled on it so I’m sharing it here. Its a hard loopy banger based around a sample from an old Jeff Mills record. About 5 minutes into it the track takes a small departure from its driving, loopy vibe and breaks the beat down before getting back to work.
I haven’t seen any sites which sell digitized versions of this release (or other Kazumi releases for that matter), but a few vinyl copies should be in circulation; in fact, there’s one on eBay (UK) at the moment. But if you just want to listen, here you go:
Barrel Bottom is a fun track that took a while to get to sound right, and I’m still not totally happy with the final cut. However, the groovy beat and catchy synth riff earned it a spot on an Alek Biotic record released on the French ExtraBall label and featuring three other tracks including the title track: Idiom. (See cover on left).
The voice sample used in Barrel Bottom is by Alex Peace and was pulled off a Subliminal release by CZR & ITO titled Bringin’ The Funk. Chicago based producer and DJ, CZR is probably my favorite house producer and while I haven’t kept up with his recent releases I used to buy his vinyl without even listening to it first, knowing that the production and grooves would always stand out above the rest.
Samples from Alex Peace’s accappella on Bringin’ The Funk record also ended up in a few Biotic tracks. I’ll try to point them out as we go forward.
Back to Barrel Bottom. Again, no download links since this record is available for sale, for example here.
Dirty Yellow was released on the German imprint PlanetNatus in 2004. The label, run by Robert Natus features a collection of “Favorite Tools” records, with this track appearing on the first such release along with tracks by Bjorn Bommersheim, DJ Mahatma as well as Robert himself. A well-rounded hard techno release, Favorite Tools is available for purchase on iTunes and elsewhere. I’d bet that if you tried a little harder, you might even find yourself a vinyl copy. (Its very likely that I gave away all of mine.)
Anyway… the track has a nice, crispy groove driven by the shuffled hi-hats and rolling bassline. It features some vocal samples mangled into a new phrase which I tried to understand and struggled until my girl said that it sounds like “Dirty Yellow”. So that became the title.
The track also features a nice break around the midpoint which follows the bass theme more directly and hints at the inspiration for the track which is (loosely) a traditional Eastern European beat.
It appears that this track has been re-released just last month (!) on a compilation titled: Tretmuehle Pres. Connected Vol. 1 – Real Techno Guide, which also features tracks by some of my favorite techno artists, including John Acquaviva, Lars Klein, Redhead, WJ Nenze, Neil Landstrum, Basic Implant (Sven Dedek & Alex Bau), Dave The Drummer, Henry Cullen and others. Pretty ridiculous collection. I’m thrilled to be included in that mix.
No downloads here, but you can listen to Dirty Yellow right now:
Middleman appeared on Bazooka10 label’s first EP, along with the title track: G-Lock. If this label sounds familiar, its because another Biotic track (Ghost, covered here already) appeared on a Bazooka10 compilation as well.
The track itself is a pretty early work (#21 in fact) and was produced in 2001. While the raw production shows both its age and its adventurousness, there is a certain quality about it that I’ve always liked. So much so, that the string sounds and synth arrangements make it a candidate for a remix in the future.
While this wasn’t the first ever Biotic release (Ghost would be it), this was the first non Various Artists release available on vinyl. The photo above shows its label, along with the name misspelling on it. And no, the mislabels wouldn’t stop there. Future Alek Biotic releases would contain mis-named or mixed up tracks, even the artist name. But seriously… who cares?
Anathema was released on Gotham Grooves in 2005 on the Various Villains: Volume 2 record, which also featured tracks by Agent Orange, Adam Jay and Noah Pred. As mentioned in the previous post on Sativa, the two tracks are closely related and follow a similar sound pattern. The second of the two, Anathema is the more mature. For more production details, please check out the post on Sativa.
I was fortunate to have a release on Gotham Grooves’ first Various Villains record as well, which featured a track called Directive. We’ll cover that one here as well at some point.
Btw, while this was a Montaz production, it ended up on the release under the Alek Biotic handle. But, who cares… after all, BeatPort also misspelled “Villains”. But the player below is nice.
I’m also including our own player so you can hear the track in its entirety and in higher quality. But no download this time since its available at BeatPort.
Vanilla String was released on DJ Becka‘s Gotham City Records label in 2006. The release, titled Departure EP, also featured tracks by Mark Verbos, Dan Physics as well as Becka and Agent Orange. A diverse set of tracks, Departure defined the sound of then new GCR label whose repertoire continues to evolve.
Vanilla String itself is an unusual track. It basic idea sort of caught me by surprise and seemed a good opportunity to experiment so I didn’t hold back. The result is a heavily mangled jam with wicked beats, heavily processed samples and a prickly riff which itself undergoes a transformation through Waves’ Enigma filter (if memory serves me right).
No download links since the track (the entire release, actually) can be purchased from BeatPort. Go get it!
And just in case the Beatport player doesn’t let you hear the entire track, its here:
Carbon Face is a funky track that was picked up by the Netherlands-based Work Hard Play Hard label and released in 2006 on a self titled 3 track EP. The track was inspired by the techno-house sound of the early 2000’s pioneered by Italian producers like Marco Carola, Rino Cerrone, Gaetano Parisio and others, and is essentially a tribute to them. In recent years this flavor of techno has faded in favor of minimal sounds but I look forward to hearing it reappear in future genre mutations.
We’ll cover Gimmick and Thoroughbred (also on this EP) later, but I was pretty happy with how this release came together as each of the tracks features some pretty mangled samples but the focus on the groove is maintained throughout. As for Carbon Face itself, its based on a bass line played through a sampler using sounds from some expensive bass guitar sample CD which I bought and almost never used. Almost. But it ended up on this track and sort of made it worth it since I dig the track and it wouldn’t work without it. (Come to think of it, I think I used a different bass sound from the same sample CD on the track Homeage, covered here earlier this year.) The vocal sample is from another sample collection and its not as ambiguous as I it ought to have been, but its a good fit.
Anyhow, the release is available at BeatPort in any format you like.