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.)
Balkan Express is a 2002 effort with a driving groove which earns it its name. The track has a very clean, unprocessed quality and would probably benefit from either further post-production or just plain old loudness(!), so keep that in mind when listening.
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:
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:
The Culprit is a circa 2003, loopy, funky techno jam inspired by the sounds of Joey Beltram and DJ CZR. A few labels nearly picked this one up, but at the time I had no other productions which would make good record companions, so for that and probably other random reasons it never made it out. Its loop-based structure makes it fun to play and useful DJ tool, so I’m making it available here, in original wave format.
Almost entirely sample based (I believe the only played part was the bass) its got a retro vibe dominated by the thick, filtered groove. Have a listen and download it below.
Incognito is an old housey track. It was produced in 2002 and almost got released on New York’s Gotham Grooves label shortly after the release of Funk Matter EP (which came up a couple of months ago in this post), but I forget why it never made it out. The artwork on the left was being considered as well at the time.
Anyhow, much like Funk Matter, Incognito is a sample-based, up-tempo jam and features some nice bells in the background. Wav download is provided.
For the first time on on this blog (if my memory serves me right), I’m posting a few key samples used on a track so you can mess with them, if you’d like:
Soft Decay is a loopy track from 2002. Its got a crunchy, bit-crushed sound which inspired its title. Playing over the beat is a stretched flute sample and an occasional drum break. A more interesting component are the percussive synth hits played on the Virus B which pan around the stereo image and add to the track’s spacey feel.
Oddly named 52nd and 2nd, happens to be the 52nd track produced by me. I used to live on 56th Street in Manhattan (right near Second Avenue) and would occasionally walk down 52nd Street on my way to the subway. What does all that have to do with this track? Absolutely nothing. But both of those things have the number 52 in them and since I don’t like to spend more than 5 seconds coming up with a title, that became it.
The track is a pounding techno ride with a stabby riff and scattered kick twists which give it unique character.
A couple of months ago I posted the track Goliath (part 1) which featured a sample from the movie Event Horizon. As promised back then, here’s the sequel, cleverly dubbed Goliath (part 2). Out is the Fishburne sample and in the tribal beats with a dirty bassline. Check it out.
Btw, while this version has no ties to the movie I’m including the photo because, well… because its a really f-ing cool photo. Enjoy.
New Predicament is a smooth acid flavored track from 2001. While a straight forward track, it does have a breaky West Coast feel which makes it fun to play. Aside from the percussion and airy samples, most of the sounds were produced by the mighty Virus synth, some sampled and morphed further in the DAW, others recorded straight from the box and tweaked in real-time.
Listening to it after all these years I decided to slow it down a bit as the original was too fast by today’s standards. So I brought it down to 135bpm, and actually prefer it at this rate.
Once again, the wav download is available and recommended.