Cognition's House/Techno/Electro Report for November 11, 1999
by Andrew Duke
Tresor/Force Inc/Disko B labels
Germany is home to many quality labels, both large and small, that deal with a wide
variety of musical styles. Focusing on techno, the big three to check are Tresor,
Force Inc, and Disko B.
Berlin's Tresor imprint has been at the forefront of the European electronic music
scene since it began in 1991. Credibility was attained early through their issues of
now seminal works in the Detroit techno catalog: It was Tresor who released the
"Sonic Destroyer" EP from X-101 (Mike Banks, Jeff Mills, and Robert Hood) that
first year, then went on to cement the relationship between Berlin and Detroit with a
series of compilations focusing on the output of artists from these two cities.
Recent releases are from Detroit's DJ T-1000 (aka Alan Oldham, Progress) and
Drexciya (Neptune's Lair) and European artists like Tobias Schmidt and The Advent.
Spring 2000 will see the release of the Mean New Contemporary Soul full length
from the ever-busy Stewart Walker.
Frankfurt's Force Inc, like Tresor, has well over 150 releases in its catalog.
While Force Inc is probably best known for its techno material, the Ritornell and
Mille Plateaux sidelabels focusing on more experimental fare are deservedly grabbing
most of the attention recently. On Ritornell (a relatively new startup with just 7
releases), Kim Cascone's Cathodeflower is the second in his Blue Cube triptych
where music is 100% computer generated. Also on this imprint, but slightly busier, is
Stilluppsteypa's Interferences Are Often Requested: Reverse Tendency As Parts Become
Nearly Nothing. And one of my favorite American artists, Crank (Danny Zelonky aka
Low Res, half of Trash Aesthetic), unveils his second album for the more-established
Mille Plateaux with Heftibag--eight invigorating new pieces plus a remix from
Smyglyssna. Stewart Walker's Stabiles and Sturm's Sturmgesten will appeal
to those who appreciate more home-listening-oriented techno.
Like Tresor and Force Inc, Munich based Disko B is a home to both American and
European artists. In many ways it can be looked at as the most quirky of the three
mentioned; there's plenty of dancefloor-ready techno and electro here, but it's not as
straightforward as might be found elsewhere likely due to the indie rock undertone that
often rears its head-don't be surprised to hear a bit of guitar and vocals on a Disko B
release. The most recent offering from the label is the Synthesized Society jackin'
techno full length from Kalamazoo Michigan resident and Black Nation owner Jay Denham.
Disko B has many related labels including Hell's International DeeJay Gigolo Records
(keep your eyes peeled for David Caretta's Le Catalogue Electronique album), Abe Duque's
Tension (straight outta Brooklyn; new is the "19 Bullets" 12" from Dietrich Schoenemann),
and Richard Bartz' Kurbel.
Ten quality albums released in the year 1999 (alphabetical order):
Thomas Brinkmann--Soul Center (NL W.V.B.)
Chaser--Game On! (UK Soma)
Kit Clayton--Nek Sanalet (DM ~Scape)
Drexciya--Neptune's Lair (DM Tresor)
I-F--The Man From P.A.C.K. (US Interdimensional Transmissions/DM
Innerzone Orchestra--Programmed (US Planet E)
Legion Of Green Men--Floating In Shallow Water (CAN Post
Plaid--Rest Proof Clockwork (UK Warp)
Stewart Walker--Stabiles (DM Mille Plateaux)
Super_Collider--Head On (UK Loaded)
Two quality albums promoed spring 1999, but not out commercially until
Dan Curtin--Pregenesis (BE Elypsia)
Sean Deason--Allegories & Metaphors (US Matrix/Intuit-Solar)
Best promo-only vinyl release of 1999:
Chromatix--Life-Like EP (promoed by Brooklyn's Spelunk
label; will not be released)
Halifax's Stinkin' Rich/Buck 65 continues to blaze trails for every
up-and-comin' turntablist/wordologist, while juggling cross country
(Canada and US) recording sessions and memorable live performances.
Biggest disappointment of the year:
Commercially available DJ mixed CDs that are either badly mixed by a DJ
and/or "mixed" via ProTools by a studio engineer. As the electronic music
scene sees DJ culture growing exponentially,
it's not surprising that this is happening, but it shows an obvious concern
for money over music.
It's great to see a continued getting-back-to-basics approach in electronic
music, whether it's the usage of more musicians (as opposed to
one-person-plus-a-computer bands) or simply acknowledging that less can be
more and busier is not always better.
Check out Andrew Duke’s In The Mix (weekly internationally syndicated
radio/net show) and Cognition [techno.ca/cognition] for interviews, exclusive live PAs
mixes, world premieres, prereleases, classics,
news, and reviews. Send tests (double copies please) for broadcast and
review consideration to:
Andrew Duke Cognition/In The Mix 1096 Queen St #123 Halifax NS Canada
B3H 2R9 [firstname.lastname@example.org] [techno.ca/cognition] © 1999 Andrew
Duke/Cognition. All Rights Reserved.