konkrit / Leben / Literatur / Musik

2015, Part I: Stats, Favs, Thoughts

Go here for what seemed relevant in 2013.

I also lived through the year 2014, here are part I and part 2.

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Records reviewed:

73 for GROOVE

66 for HHV.de Mag

5 for Spex

144 in the first half of 2015. 216 total in 2014. 148 in 2013. Um, yeah. Well.

(Counting records individually, not reviews)

Also I wrote on essay on Sigur Rós’ uncanny masterpiece Ágætis Byrjun.

I also wrote some reviews on Soundcloud wave forms sent to me anonymously. Yes, that’s exactly what I did. Those will be published soon. While I am writing this, I am also working on my first listcle. Lolz, yeah.

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Books reviewed:

9 for Fixpoetry

41 total in 2014. 41 total in 2013. Disappointing, innit? I didn’t really find the time to review as many books as I would have liked to.

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Books that proved to be intellectual gold mines:

Jean Baudrillard: Das radikale Denken (Matthes & Seitz)

Viktor Mazin: Freuds Gespenster (Matthes & Seitz)

Jacques Derrida: Marx’ Gespenster (Suhrkamp) (once again)

Yeah, yeah. I know. But… I just can’t shake off the whole hauntology thing. Actually, it’s been more present (but not) than ever. I guess I’ll even have to mention Mark Fisher’s Gespenster meines Lebens (Edition Tiamat) here even though I didn’t agree with Fisher’s general notion. It’s an interesting read nonetheless.

Apart from that, I have immersed myself more strongly in psychoanalytics (most notably Félix Guattari), cultural/political theory and, lastly, love/emotions in times of capitalism (which means I have read Byung-Chul Han and of course Eva Illouz, both of whom were pretty disappointing – just as expected). Capitalism of course was a major theme and I even read Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ Manifest der kommunistischen Partei for the first time in my life (!) after having studied some rather weak essays on #accelerationism. In terms of prose and poetry, nothing really stuck out. Then again, I barely read any prose or poetry. Go figure.

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Magazines read on a regular basis, in alphabetical order:

  • GROOVE
  • Spex

and of course HHV.de Mag, FACT, Pitchfork (really digging the essays!) and Resident Advisor as well as others, but less frequently.

In 2013 I was reading about 10 magazines on a regular basis. Alas, again: I just don’t seem to have the time for more. Even if I’d like to. Boo hoo.

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Interviews conducted (with male/female people):

7 for HHV.de Mag ( 5 / 2 )

5 for Spex ( 0 / 5 )

6 for Groove ( 4 / 4 )

2 for ANTIME ( 2 / 0 )

1 other ( 0 / 2 )

21 ( 11 / 13 ) in the first half of 2015.

26  total in 2014. 13 total in 2013. I like doing that more and more, as you can see. It was especially humbling to be able to talk to The Black MadonnaJenny Hval and Matthew Herbert, all of whom I truly respect not only for their art and also their attitude.

While this seems like a nice male/female ratio, I feel like I am being terribly patronising in many ways. Especially since I am pointing all of this out. And guess what: Out of all the people I interviewed, only one was not white. So much for my contribution to equality. However, I’d also like to state that I did not compromise at all to meet a certain quota or whatever. It’s simply not necessary considering how many interesting and outspoken female artists are out there. Whoever says that they can’t find any/enough is wrong.

Not included were a few questionnaires I sent around for HHV.de Mag’s New Record Label series.

Edit: Forgot to mention my talk with Yolanda Castaño, Anne-James Chaton and Eduard Escoffet during this year’s Poesiefestival. Special thanks to Alexander Gumz for inviting me.

I was also interviewed myself thrice this year! One time in one of my favourite restaurants (should be online at some point!?), another time live on air at BLN.FM and a third time in front of a camera in two languages (the result is going to be very special, trust me).

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Other:

I published five essays in the konkrittles series, all in English. I like the one about my trip to Budapest the best, I think. Writing about my brother’s death and the impact it had on my life was a very important thing to do.

I edited my first book! It was a real pleasure and I am very proud to say I was involved in it. Katharina SchultensGeld. Eine Abrechnung mit privaten Ressourcen is forthcoming in Verlagshaus Berlin’s poeticon series. It’s very, very good – which has little to do with my contribution, of course.

Apart from that, I did the best I could to run several Facebook pages, write press release after press release for ANTIME and others. I even wrote an application to Goethe Institut an guess what: It was granted. Yay!

I weighed in when Michael Aniser started the (already defunct) blog Hey Man, Nice Set. Very few people gave a shit.

Oh, I wrote one poem. And also some rather confusing/confused Facebook status updates. Plus a lot of mails. Oh, so many mails.

I also did a radio feature on retromania (which is a pretty retro thing nowadays, talking about retromania) for uni. Never put it online, probably never will.

There was probably more, but… You know.

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Favourite concerts and events:

Thomas Ankersmit @ HAU1, CTM Festival (01/23/2015): I can barely describe the sensations that ran through my head during this. Absolutely mind-blowing. I was completely in awe and (almost) speechless after Ankersmit stopped playing. I still struggle for words to explain what he was doing there and how it affected. But it was very, very intense. Shoutout to Soundwalk Collective and Nan Goldin plus Tina Frank who followed up with a neat audio-visual performance.

The Bug @ Berghain, CTM Festival (01/27/2015): I was visibly skanking to non-audible rhythms. Plus I was the only dude with a white shirt in the whole fucking audience. A Sonic Youth Goo shirt. It was ridiculous and I must have looked like the most idiotic I-came-here-because-everyone-talks-about-this-place kind of tourist ever. But I had one of the most intense musical and bodily experiences in my whole life, so nevermind the haterzZz. Plus Kevin Martin was also bopping to that hidden beat, so the joke really is on you. *mic drop*

Lawrence English @ Berghain, CTM Festival (01/28/2015): Even though Alec Empire first played Low On Ice ever to an audience, that was not even the main reason for me to be super excited about this gig. It was Lawrence English’s live rendition of Wilderness Of Mirrors, his finest album up to date. I have been following this man’s work for years now, but nothing quite blew me away as this set. If you manage to fuck up a Funktion One with too much bass signals, you really made it.

Jenny Hval & Susanna @ HAU1, CTM Festival (01/31/2015): I had discovered Meshes Of Voices only a few weeks earlier and was stunned by the album, but not nearly as overwhelmed as I was when I heard them perform gems like Black Lake together. While other performances during CTM stimulated to me either intellectually or physically, their performance added an emotional impact to the mix and the result was pure awe.

Carter Tutti Void @ Astra, CTM Festival (02/01/2015): This is a memorable evening for many, many reasons. First off all, it was super nice to hang out with the eternally sweet zweikommasieben crew, meet my spirit animal aka sister I’ve never had Sonja and then first witness Nisennenmondai with a gripping live performance before being completely overwhelmed by Carter Tutti Void. I must confess that I don’t really follow any Throbbing Gristle offsprings (Genesis P. Orridge’s countless collaborations being the exception to the rule), so I knew that I’d definitely have to catch up with this. Amazing! What a nice evening to round off an already perfect festival experience.

Altar Of Plagues @ Tommy Haus (03/26/2015): The last time I had been to Tommy Haus had already been six years ago and little had changed: The Sterni is still cheap and the sound as terrible as it had been back then. However this time I didn’t go to get lectured on how this was real music with »real amplifiers« (as opposed to »what you see on MTV«, which was already inactive in 2009, I think?) by a band which had named itself after a Minor Threat song and who played said song as an encore after no-one in the whole audience (30 people maximum) had asked for it. No. This time, Altar Of Plagues played a brutal set to a sold-out venue, raising the temperature to unbearable heights. I couldn’t hear shit, but that didn’t matter. What counted was the energy, and it was all over the place. Farewell, Altar Of Plagues, it was nice to see you one first and last time.

Red Apollo @ Tiefgrund (04/03/2015): When friends are in town, it’s mandatory to stop by. The guys in Red Apollo are incredibly sweet and excellent musicians on top of that. Their new album Altruist had just been released and I was very excited to see them perform it live. Despite having had only two hours of sleep the night prior, it was absolutely worth coming on many levels. I still remember the first time I saw them live in 2012 with Celeste. It’s amazing how they have grown and I feel slightly smug about the fact that I wrote something along the lines of »this band is gonna be huge« in a review shortly thereafter because this band is fucking huge by now. Bummed I missed their second Berlin gig.

Richard Dawson @ Monarch (19/04/2015): This show became almost as sweaty as Altar Of Plagues’. Dawson is a visionary songwriter and, who would’ve thought, a brilliant stand-up comedian. You won’t get more well-meant, profane bantering you can actually laugh about anywhere. The best thing: Beyond the laughter, there was a lot of abysmal beauty.

H0lly Herndon @ Berghain (11/06/2015): I can’t even remember the last concert I bought a ticket for in advance, but when it was clear that, no, this time this music journo snob wouldn’t get a cozy spot on the guest list, I went for it. It was worth it, of course. I had seen Herndon three or four times prior to this gig, but she never fully lived up to my expections. This time, those were easily met – even though they were astronomically higher than before. An excellent rendition of Platform, with brilliant live interaction and visuals by Metaheaven/Taniguchi Akihiro (I think?).

The Black Madonna @ Panorama Bar (06/05/2015): I haven’t had many *wow* club experiences in 2015 worth mentioning besides Helena Hauff’s gig at ://about:blank and a hazy night in the same club, but this one definitely stuck out on many levels. First off because I had been eager to see Marea Stamper DJing ever after stumbling upon her Stay / Venus Requiem 12″ and listening to various of her carefully crafted, hyper-eclectic mixes, but also I had just a few weeks earlier met her in person, which made me even more curious about her DJing. I was not disappointed, not at all. We still believe indeed. Mind-blowing.

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Events (p)reviewed:

I previewed CTM Festival for spex, instagrammed the whole thing for HHV.de Mag and wrote a recap for spex also. I wrote some words in advance about 4 festivals which I will not visit for GROOVE. I think that was it. Didn’t go to so many concerts because, ugh, time, but I am dying for a proper Hardcore gig, it’s been too long!

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DJ sets:

Kim Bar (02/12/2015): I barely remember this evening. On the one hand, it was pretty uneventful up until a certain point, on the other I got super smashed with my new found BFF Sonja. Hadn’t been that drunk in quite a while. Tracklist here.

ANTIME label night @ Urban Spree (02/13/2015): So, obviously the next day I was hungover as I hadn’t been in quite a while! I still managed to get out of bed and to the nearest record store before heading over to Urban Spree to support Spur and some other ANTIME-affiliated cuties with a rather ghastly set of dark and dubby tunes. Tracklist here.

Kim Bar (04/17/2015): Rather uneventful night, but wonderful company! I was mixing terribly, so much indeed I forgot about writing down a tracklist because I tried to make up for my mistakes. Oops.

ANTIME label night @ ACUD MACHT NEU (05/08/2015): Damn, was I nervous. Not about my own set, but the whole evening. AAAA‘s gear was lost and while we were luckily able to crowdsource every component form those very kind and generous nerds we hang out with (thank you!), of course it was not the same. But in the end, he absolutely killed it! No-one that evening stood a chance against his rough, stripped-down set which really raised the roof. Definitely his strongest during the whole tour and it was much celebrated! I didn’t take any notes about my set, but again started with a lot of deep dark dubby stuff and ventured into the realms of hard-hitting Techno to prepare for ˆL_ and AAAA‘s awesome sets! Last track of the night (almost) was Atari Teenage Riot’s Deutschland Has Gotta Die! (take a look at the date and you’ll know), but then Martin forced me to play Petrels’ Treetigers to round off this blissful evening.

ANTIME label night @ Goldhorn, Leipzig (05/09/15): I love this place and am very sad it’s closing down. Insane evening! This time, ˆL_ delivered the most impressive set of the two, but was outplayed by ABIGAIL, who made people lose their shit. After having played to literally no guests for about 1 1/2 hours, I was glad to face a sold-out club in the end. I totally loved how open-minded and energetic people were. The track of the night was obviously Cleric’s Avoid The Subject, a massive belter which I think I played at exactly the right time. Fists were raised and then pumped. Stuff like that.

MFOC @ Golden Pudel, Hamburg (05/10/2015): Oh, wow. When planning this tour, it was clear from the beginning that I would play there. I mean, I grew up in the area, there were dear people coming over from far away (so heart-warming to know that someone would sit in a fucking bus for 7 hours in order to support us – shoutout to Nicoletta!) and… Well, I just fucking love Golden Pudel! Then misunderstandings ensued and my name was crossed off the list. Bummer. I was sad we couldn’t make that work out. When we were about 30 minutes away from our destination, Martin received a phone call from the support DJ and after he hung up and casually told me »Yo, you are gonna play after all, Joney won’t make it in time« I felt excitment in every fibre of my body. I then delivered what I would say was the best set I’ve played so far. Being able to do that, no, doing that was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. Thanks to everyone who came from near or far. I’m eternally grateful! The obvious hit of the night was obviously Emmanuel Top’s Rubycon (shoutout to Kat for showing this to me!) which made people go crazy. When I stopped playing in order to let ˆL_ work his magic, people were actually complaining about that. Oh wow. So humbling.

ANTIME label night @ City Club, Augsburg (05/14/2015): The first thought that shot through my head when we set foot into Augsburg’s City Club was »Wow, this looks like a club in Berlin after the party!«. The second one was: »I love it.« The crew was so incredibly kind and welcoming, it was truly incredible. In terms of attitude and passion, there are only few clubs like this! My set was a complete mess but I got terribly drunk, so at least I was not too embarassed. Funnily, some girl who had already attended our label night in Landshut in December remembered my set from back then and asked me to put on Blawan’s Why They Hide The Bodies Under My Garage, a request I happily met.

ANTIME label night @ FLUX, Landshut (05/15/2015): Ever played an abandoned prison? Well, I did – and it was awesome! Technical difficulties had me holding one turntable in my hands while I was DJing with the other one, hoping that someone would finally do something about the situation instead of just screaming wildly. Turns out, someone did something, taking a hilarious photo namely. However, nothing could ruin this beautiful evening, not even me drunkenly falling from with a bike at 6am on the foggy banks of the Isar. That in fact was especially cool in my book (I’m an idiot though). Track-wise, there wasn’t really a highlight in there, although I do remember getting the crowd properly warmed-up with Alexander Polzin’s remix of Arp Aubert’s Actress.

Hi-ReS! parking deck (05/29/2015): »Lulz yeah whatevs, I’ll do it with YouTube.« <- Pretty much what I said when I was asked at the day-job if I could be the designated DJ for a public BBQ/party hosted by the company. It went hilariously well, considering I was literally YouTube DJing on one channel over a very basic PA. »You know you’ve done a good job when the police is coming«, I wrote in a tipsy Facebook post that night, and come they did. I played NWA‘s Fuck Tha Police while they were leaving, at a cowardly low volume of course. #edgywhiteliberal all the way.

Kim Bar (06/13/2015): I had bought a ton of new records before this gig, so I was more than excited to put them on that night! I had a blast, too, putting on one favourite after another for 5 hours straight before drunkenly stumbling into a taxi back home. Tracklist here.

In addition to that, I made a four-hour long mixed tape for three of my best friends ever after spending an unforgetabble night with them in Hamburg. That was fun! Currently working on an ~eight-hour long Ambient mix for another friend because I’m absolutely sure everyone wants to listen to that in full.

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Videos, movies reviewed:

None so far.

Revisited Buffy. Yes, all seven seasons. Also Arrested Development because obviously. Apart from that, I went to the movies maybe once (Inherent Vice made me want to drink whiskey a lot) and rarely found the time for watching TV shows or movies. Additionally, I’m quite bored with what is going on right now. Someone gave me a glimpse at what Netflix has to offer and I was like, srsly ugh ok nvm… Planned on going to the cinema more often and finally catching up with Antonioni, but that has not happened – yet.

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According to last.fm, in the first half of 2015 I’ve been jamming those artists the most:

Bildschirmfoto 2015-06-30 um 12.47.40

It’s the opposite of exciting or surprising, really.

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According to this site, I have listened to about 991 different artists and 1306 unique albums in the first half of 2015. 2667 different artists and 3331 unique albums total in 2014. About 1700 different artists and 2200 unique albums in 2013. Am I slowing down? Help.

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My favourite album of the past six months:

Kreng: The Summoner (Miasmah) – Phew, okay. I got this release in November last year, if I remember correctly and was listening to it properly the first time when walking through the deserted streets of Prenzlauer Berg’s squarest part in a cold winter’s night. That pretty much was the perfect setting for this eerie masterpiece which will probably blow me away again and again for years to come. Certainly the best Dark Ambient/»Avantgarde« record in the past five years or so. Pure genius.

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My favourite EP of the past six months:

Route 8: This Raw Feeling (Lobster Theremin) – I could literally not get enough of this. A flawless Dance Music EP which is so much more than that. The not-so-subtle hints at The Other People Place here are as delicate as the stubborn-House-beats-meet-desperate-Ambient-textures moments. Pure bliss.

Bicep: Just (Aus) – If I had to choose, I’d pick Route 8 over this one, but I don’t have to choose, so fuck you. This is incredibly versatile – you get a sort of dry Hip Hop track, a Balearic congo-laden House tune and a ripping, trance-y Acid tune. What more can you ask for?

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These came close to being favourites:

Shoebox: Electric Blue (Shoebox) – This gave me a lot to dive into. There’s more in there, however, which still begs to be unearthed. Can’t wait for new material!

Holly Herndon: Platform (RVNG Intl.)Herndon has finally found her form and lets it follow function. Amazing record, well thought-out and definitely not as dry as some have said. Looking at you, Aigner!

Halshug: Blodets Bånd (Southern Lord) – Rough, in-your-face, lovely. Good soundtrack for vegan feasts and the drunken way home.

Bong: We Are, We Were And We Will Have Been (Ritual Productions) – I remember one day in particular on which I jammed this album non-stop. It was a good day. Psychedelic, lo-fi Doom Metal, you say? Sold.

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Other albums and EPs/singles worth mentioning, arranged like a sort of megalomaniac mixtape which starts in a bleak abyss and ends on a hauntological, hypnagogic note. Inbetween, dancing ensues because why not.

Ancst/Ast: Split (Vendetta) – Even stronger than Ancst’s side was Ast’s contribution. Vendetta proves to be the most trustworthy go-to label for contemporary Black Metal, at least in Europe.

Antlers: A Gaze Into The Abyss (Vendetta) – Another case in point of what I’ve just written.

Red Apollo: Altruist (Moment Of Collapse/Alerta Antifascista) – I have pretty much said it all above. When I was sent an advance copy of it, I did have a lot of expectations about this record, but what I heard than was far better than that.

Liturgy: The Ark Work (Thrill Jockey) – Upon hearing the first song from this album, I laughed out loud. Like, seriously, I lol’d. But when the record came out, I kept returning to it. It is curious and over-the-top, but then again…

Thou & The Body: You, Whom I Have Always Hated (Thrill Jockey) – …then again, I could just as easily say the same about this record. Or anything that involves The Body. Still not a fan of their work, but this one was killer!

Cowards: Rise To Infamy (Throatruiner) – Hey, look! Another dark, raw and explosive Throatruiner record. Ugh, right? Well. This is actually very good.

Storm{o}: Sospesi Nel Vuoto Burceremo In Un Attimo E Il Cerchio Sara Chiuso (Moment Of Collapse) – You had me at »hi, we are from Italy and our song titles are longer than our songs«.

Cloud Rat: Qliphoth (Moment Of Collapse/Halo Of Flies) – This is no Moksha, but the energy is absolutely right and fuck, no-one grinds and shrieks harder than this band! Bummed I missed their gig in Berlin.

Potence: Demo (self-released) – Anything Daïtro-related is good. Period.

Raein: Perpetuum (self-released) – Guess who’s back and killing it!

Pisse: Mit Schinken durch die Menopause (Phantom/Beau Travail) – Germany’s most interesting Punk band, if you ask me. You didn’t, sure, but whatever. This is Germany’s most interesting Punk band, even if you don’t ask me.

Ceremony: The L-Shaped Man (Matador) – Had a good laugh at all those »ugh they sound like Joy Division now« reviews. Truly surprising for a band which named itself after a Joy Division song, I guess. Plus, all those people should probably check out the fucking Banshees. Prepare to get your minds blown.

Jenny Hval: Apocalypse, girl (Sacred Bones) – This girl had me deconstructing bananas and marvelling at her performance-art-disguised-as-concert stunts and her new record is just as weird/amazing. Inspiring person to talk to, too.

Finland: Rainy Omen (Hubro) – Good road trip music. Very good road trip music.

Sun Kil Moon: Universal Themes (Caldo Verde) – I have to take back most of what I wrote about this record, considering this guy simply is a sexist asshole. I wouldn’t recommend buying it if you don’t want to support people like that. However, I will list it here as I stillthink it’s a good album. I just don’t see why anyone should support this sleazebag financially or otherwise, hence this disclaimer.

Cass.: Magical Magical (Home Normal) – Thanks to the ashore crew (namely Sascha Uhlig) for this one. Vinyl in the works, I hope? Blissful Ambient Pop done right.

Panda Bear: Meets The Grim Reaper (Domino) – When I met him, he talked about not exactly being stoked when it comes to touring and when I saw him at Berghain, it indeed was absolutely underwhelming. However, this is a very  good record.

Future Brown: Future Brown (Warp) – I don’t appreciate Fatima al-Qadiri’s senseless lashing out against music journalists and how she handled the uproar that created, but musically/conceptually speaking, this was at least the most interesting thing to be released by Warp since… The last Oneohtrix Point Never record, I’d say. Sorry, FlyLo, sorry, Richard D. James. And all you other pale white Electronica dukes.

Jlin: Dark Energy (Planet Mu) – Razor sharp. Footwork, 1-upped. Killer.

Lotic: Heterocetera (Tri-Angle) – Really happy for the guy and how things went for him. But why the hell did he ignore my interview request? Sad emoticon ~

Jamie XX: In Colour (Young Turks) – Yeah, I know. But it’s really fucking good. Can’t we just agree on that, Boomkat?

DJ Sotofett: Drippin’ For A Tripp (Tripp-A-Dub-Mix) (Honest Jon’s) – Fucking weirdo, eh? I guess this is his most cohesive work, though? And goddamit, it’s good. Especially »Nondo«.

The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band: The New Sound Of Siam (Studio Lam): Discovered this in Hardwax’ Outernational section and instantly loved it. Serves as an impressing reminder that I should give up on my eurocentric habits once and for all. Even though or just because it is an obviously westernised version of Molam music.

Chassol: Big Sun (Tricatel) – Thanks to Tobi Kirsch for sending me this curious, versatile collection of jazzy, funky, soulful jams/gems. Summer trippin’.

Lowtec: Man On Wire (Avenue 66) – In Germany, we call it Gänsefleisch.

Knxwledge: Hud Dreams (Stones Throw) – There’s no reason to ever not trust Stones Throw. Amazing!

Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly (Top Dawg Entertainment) – You knew it would be here. To be honest though, I’m not entirely convinced by the whole album, especially from a musical standpoint. Sure, it’s well produced and gives you just the right amount of versatility and knowledgeable historicity, but – »Free Jazz«? Lulz. Sounds more like the whole world of music journalism needs to go back to Ornette Coleman (one of the saddest losses this year) or even Peter Brötzmann (who will probably die on stage without even noticing it, slaying on forever). No, this is all about the lyrics and the messages they convey. And I think it’s okay to like it (mostly) for that.

Glenn Astro: Throwback (Tartelet) – This is what Cuthead’s Total Sellout was last year: An eclectic showcase of an MPC-addict who knows his shit. Good, very good indeed.

Citizen Funk: Chicago Pizza (Uncanny Valley) – I’d absolutely love a slice of that, never mind that funky smell.

Frits Wentink: Rarely Pure, Never Simple (Wolf Music) – Think a wonky Motor City Drum Ensemble or whatever. Very, very nice! Why don’t I own a copy of that?

Soundstream: Bass Affairs (Soundstream) – Well, at least I own a copy of this! Shockingly, it’s my first Soundstream record. I’m just catching up with all the bass-slappin’, discoid House stuff, go easy on me.

Herbert: The Shakes (Accidental) – What a super nice dude! Having the chance to interview him was certainly a highlight in this past six months, or my whole career (lulz) as a journalist. His new album would be another one.

Virginia: My Fantasy (Ostgut) – I want a whole album of tunes like that.

DJ Sprinkles + Mark Fell: Fresh Insights (Comatonse) – I have lost interest a bit when it comes to Mark Fell (what ever happened to the Sensate Focus project, anyway?), but will always go for DJ Sprinkles. »Insights« is so terribly addictive, it’s just… Oh, wow. *Eternal*, *smart bomb*, etc.

Point G: #7 (Point G) – I’m always a bit torn when it comes to Grégory Darsa’s work, as it seems to border on cultural appropriation on the one and Tech House on the other side. I’m okay with the latter, as long as he writes tunes like these.

Galcher Lustwerk: I Neva Seen / Parlay (Lustwerk) – All kinds of yummy with a side of sleazy. Digging it!

Frank & Tony: The Gales (Mule Musique) – They keep getting better and better. This is definitely one of the *deepest* House records I’ve heard in a while.

Bakradze: Message From Home (Space Hardware) – I haven’t even checked the Gacha debut album, shame on me! To be fair, I was busy zoning out to these tunes.

Pender Street Steppers: The Glass City / Golden Garden (Mood Hut) – A.k.a. the »wait, this is sold out again?« record of the year, and for a good reason at that. Thanks as ever so often to Sascha Uhlig for introducing me to those guys a while ago!

Garnier: La HOME Box (F Communications) – Sleazy, slick, sexy. Garnier for short.

Solpara: Swing (Other People)Vitamin D and the title track especially are insanely good. Very excited for what’s coming up next from this super nice bloke!

Voices From The Lake: Live At Maxxi (Editions Mego) – The idea of electronic live music still seems strange to many and I think it would be a good idea to just give those people this album instead of engaging in any long and tiresome discussions with them.

Skee Mask: Junt (Ilian Tape) – Blew me away at first listen. Steps into insanity.

Rébeval: Rébeval (L.I.E.S.) – No-nonsense, killer Acid House/Techno hybrids are pretty much my jam these days.

Svengalisghost: CCCP-15 (Russian Torrent Versions) – Or anything EBM-inspired if it’s as well done and raw as this.

Container: LP (Spectrum Spools) – I was insanely pumped for this after hearing the first track and the whole record did not disappoint at all. Container is and always will be sheer madness, and I love him for that.

WIRE: WIRERMX01 (WIRE) – OMG, that Milton Bradley remix. OMG.

Manni Dee: Human Image (Leyla) – Whoosh. Dark and shiny bangers, excellently crafted and with a distinct signature sound design. This guy is getting better and better!

Kryptic Universe: shtum007 (shtum) – I like my Techno to run stray from the path at 130 bpm so this was spot fucking on!

Cio D’Or: All In All (Semantica) – Everyone’s favourite Techno live act nowadays, or so it seems! I missed her thrice this year, yay me? But at least I had this album which is all kinds of amazing, dense and versatile.

Darko Esser: Juilce (a.r.t.less) – I really liked the stuff he did under his Tripeo moniker, but his return to a cleaner sound palette was a gift from heaven (or whatever the Drexciyan equivalent of that would be).

Helena Hauff: Lux Tertia (Werkdiscs) – Seeing her DJ at ://about:blank in April was very special and I danced and danced and danced and threw my hair back many a times when I wasn’t pumping the fist etc. This EP shows her taking a little bit more accessible route and it seems just like the right way to take. Stoked for the album!

Lena Willikens: Phantom Delia (Cómeme) – Just as weird, multi-faceted and intriguing as you would except from such a well-versed nerd!

Laurine Frost: A Fading Virtue By Passing Time (Marionette) – The guy who runs this imprint sends me the most stoned and awesome Facebook messages ever and when we don’t exclusively communicate through the Dinosaur sticker set, we also talk about how running a label works out for us and shit. I’m almost jealous because he gets to put out visionary material like this. Killer stuff, absolutely unique.

Frank Bretschneider: Sinn + Form (raster-noton) – Can we please get over the whole Buchla hype already, please? Or at least leave it to those who know what the fuck they are doing. Excellent, Xenakis-leaning modular excursions. Outside-time structures, but shaken up.

Sten Ove Toft / Sten Ove Toft + Dead Neanderthals: Sinners’ Virtue / Hollow (Utech) – The solo performance is technically speaking a re-issue, but whatever. I only discovered this guy’s work very recently and will cry myself to sleep over missing out on that collaboration with Dead Neanderthals at least three times more.

Petrels: Flailing Tomb (Denovali) – I did not miss out on this! I never would when it comes to Petrels. Oli Barrett gets better, bigger and more brilliant with each release. It’s a downright shame he is so underrated. This is pure genius. Just give the guy five more years or so and he will be on Jóhann Jóhannsson’s level. There, I said it. Bonus points for the awesome live tape.

Charlemagne Palestine & Rhys Chatham: YOUUU + MEE = WEEE (Sub Rosa) – And the award for the most cheerfully titled record of 2015 goes to… Accordingly, this makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Andi Stecher: austreiben _ antreiben (Heart Of Noise) – Uncannily beautiful gem with an intriguing concept.

Dasha Rush: Sleepstep. Sonar Poems For My Sleepless Friends (raster-noton) – What a kind and interesting person! Dasha was my favourite live act in 2014 and her new studio album was a very pleasant surprise for me. Lush, dreamy, yet with a subtle narrative that draws your attention to what happens between the notes.

alva noto: Xerrox Vol. 3 (raster-noton) – After 2014 was the year for Ambient, 2015 doesn’t follow suit so far. This is the noteable exception. Subtle, yet intense atmospheres created by a true master of his craft.

William Basinski: Cascade / The Deluge (Live At Issue Project Room) (2062) – He could make the exact record all over again for the rest of his career and I a) wouldn’t notice and b) wouldn’t care. Because I’m that much of a fanboy.

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Listened to about 7497 different tracks during the first half of this year according to this site. 18593 total in 2014. ~14.000 total in 2013. That makes sense.

I don’t have a number for the last six months though. There were just too many.

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Favourite tunes in no particular order:

Kreng: The Summoning (from The Summoner, Miasmah) – When the guitars first started roaring, I was captivated. When the screams emerged out of the mix, I was completely floored. It took me a while to recognise the distinctive Amenra sound, but when I realised what I was dealing with, my jaw had already been replaced indefinitely. So much brutality, so much beauty, so much hope amidst all that desperation. A plumber from London once told me that Belgium is »the mental institution of Europe«. If that is true, insanity is truly the most powerful creative source.

Route 8: The Sunrise In Her Eyes / It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (from This Raw Feeling, Lobster Theremin) – I couldn’t even decide between the two. On the one hand, you have a mesmerisingly stubborn House beat with lush and deeply sad textures on top, on the other one there’s the most well-produced, loving The Other People Place hommage you’ll ever hear. Both come close to being flawless, and I don’t say that very often.

Grimes: Realiti (from YouTube, the internet) – I love pretty much everything about Grimes. The mere fact the she exists at the same time as I do puts a smile to my face. This is an amazing Pop tune in true Grimes style, as in: unlike anything you have ever heard before. I want her to be my little sister so bad. Or have a vegan pizza with her, then too many beers, then go to karaoke at some shady place in Shibuya and stumble out of there in the morning when the crows devour the trash bags. All feels for this.

Earl Sweatshirt: Grief (from I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, Columbia) – All in all, I prefer Earl Sweatshirt over Kendrick Lamar, but also think it’s terribly stupid of me to even compare the two. They are two sides of a medal. This is the counterpart of Bitch Don’t Kill Me Vibe, in every sense. Reminds me of my favourite Rap tune of all times, so it could only win. Mixed feelings about the album though.

Petrels: Orpheus (feat. Never Sol) (from Flailing Tombs, Denovali) – Ohhhh. So many feels, and all at once. The fact alone that Oli Barrett would be able to write such a song makes this a masterpiece which is only one cornerstone of an even bigger masterpiece.

Jabu ft. Chester Giles: Slow Hours (from Slow Hours, No Corner) – Phew. I was listening to that on repeat when we were looking for an empty parking space in Munich, and a lot of times after that. But somehow, I will always associate this track with being on the road, seemingly never arriving, etc. – metaphorical shit, you kn0w? So deep. Just like this track, which doesn’t seem deep at all due to the sheer overabundance of deepness, but actually is very deep. Don’t get it? That’s the beauty of it.

Solpara: Vitamin D (from Swing, Other People) – Still thankful I discovered this EP. Paul is an amazing guy and this EP probably the strongest debut EP I have heard since S S S S’s first tape last year. This track however was kind of a grower. Originally, I preferred the EP’s title track, but realised this goes very well together with Lynx’s Call…, so… DJing brought me here. And it worked incredibly well. When I dropped this tune on Golden Pudel’s floor, everyone went crazy.

DJ Sotofett & Karolin Tampere: Nondo Original Mix (feat. Maimouna Haugen) – Shoutout to Bernie for this. I had ignored DJ Sotofett all together as I am not really a fan of the whole Sex Tags Mania thing, but when he dropped this gem in Munich, I was instantly charmed. I have been obsessed with it ever since. Incredible!

Screaming Females: Shake It Off (from YouTube, A.V. Club) – Whenever my friend Anne comes to visit, we just hang out in my kitchen, smoke endlessely and drink lots of beer. That one time, I had just discovered this cover of a Taylor Swift original and would put it on over and over again via YouTube. One of the best singers/guitarist I have heard in a while and a band which really knows how to give a new twist to… Well, a Pop song everyone but me seemed to be obsessed about?

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Oldcomers and (re-)discoveries in no particular order:

Like pretty much every year, I experienced a major Elliott Smith throwback which lasted one day. I still think Title Fight’s Shed is one of the best Punk albums of the best ten years or so. Burial & Four Tet woke me up every morning and kept me up late at night. Four Tet especially was good compagnion when I was walking through Volkspark Friedrichshain on a lonely winter day. Zsa Zsa Laboum’s Something Scary is highly addictive and I played it regularly. Anything Acid in general, omg. I rediscovered IVVVO’s Darkness In My Soul in Budapest and listened to it non-stop for three days, sometimes watching the video (which I usually never do). I finally *got* Kendrick Lamar (and over-dosed on Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe), conveniently just before the release of his new record. Writing about Sigur Rós‘s Ágætis Byrjun made me remember how much that album meant to me at age 18 – and how much I still love it. Conrad Schnitzler is always with me, d’uh. Finally got into Broadcast thanks to Sonja. Cheerio, mate! Luv ya. Shortly before, during and after my trip to Hamburg Frankie Knuckles’s Your Love (featuring the amazing Jamie Principle) carved itself deeply into my veins. Black Metal was a constant, like every year. I was jamming AAAA more than before and holding the test pressing of Shiva Watts in my hands for the first time one of the most mind-blowing moments in my life. So proud to have been a part of this. I got mildly obsessed with Xosar and am super sad that the Nite Jam 12″ is out of print. Jamie XX’s new album made me re-evaluate his earlier work and I realised that he’s actually as good as everyone thinks he is. I walked through Treptower Park one day listening to nothing but Pixies and Sonic Youth, pondering over *deep* and *emotional* stuff. Eternal gratitude to Kat for turning me on to Emmanuel TopRubycon was the hit on tour! I usually have a Kate Bush phase every year, but this year’s was especially intense. I could not get enough of Cloudbusting. Would so love to play that tune in a House set! I should just do it, actually. I also returned very often to anything DJ Sprinkles-related, especially 120 Midtown Blues. In a way, it almost pains me how relevant that album still is. For two or three successive nights, Porter Ricks saved my soul. Sun Kil Moon’s Benji was with me of course, but I don’t really think I can listen to it anymore like I used to. Asshole. Jenny Hval & Susanna’s Meshes Of Voices was kind of a last-minute hit for me in 2014, but I instantly forgot about it until their gig at HAU1 during CTM Festival. Before interviewing Jenny, I jammed it a million of times, most notably Black Lake. Gives me shivers all the way. Whenever springs starts, it is time to revisit American Football, so I did. I also went back to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and rediscovered Set Fire To Flames in the process. Represses, please? Got in touch with Mobb Deep and dug it. You will be surprised to read that I had an intense Joy Division phase around the anniversary of Ian Curtis’s death. No? Okay. But after that, I was jamming Moodymann, Theo Parrish and Omar-S like crazy, because summer and because vibes. À propes vibes: I’m steadily approaching Disco by digging into the back catalogue of Arthur Russell. Yummy. After that came Pépé Bradock, then Simon and GarfunkelDarondo (thanks to Jay Donaldson/Palms Trax!) and now we are here and there are so many others actually, but that should be it for now. Or I’ll go insane and you, too. All things considered, my tasted has become broader and I think I am slowly starting to think more outside of my own box, which is nice.

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Noteworthy re-issues, discographies, single artist compilations in no particular order:

Aidan Baker: The Sea Swells A Bit (Ici D’Ailleurs/Mind Travels) – To be brutally honest, my interest in Aidan Baker’s work has steadily decreased during the past few years. This re-issue of a 2006 classic however is one of his most delicate records and put me to sleep quite often during the past six months. Which totally is a good thing, I swear.

坂本龍一Year Book 2005-2014 (Commons) – Get well soon, Sakamoto-san! And thank you very much for this insight into your personal diary, I have enjoyed it very much. Even though, yes, I did fell asleep over it quite often. Which, again, is a good thing in my book.

Lynx: Call (Bau) – Oh, wow. This is a flawless Electro piece and I am very, very glad that it was re-issued. Thanks again to Sascha Uhlig for the heads up! And, while I’m at it, everyone in the Facebook soultunes group. I keep discovering gem after gem through it!

Bourbonese Qualk: Lies (Mannequin) – Sadly, this is already sold out over the place. What a shame, I’d especially love to play the club-ready Ancient Methods edits in any EBM-/Electro-leaning set ever. Quality stuff.

Ah! Kosmos: Flesh (Denovali) – I quite enjoyed BastardsAh! Kosmos’s debut album, but even more so this dark and dubby offering which Denovali has generously re-issued on vinyl. Which reminds me that I still have to grab a copy! Mesmerising in every sense of the word.

Drecxiya: Black Sea (Clone) – Subtle edit of an eternal masterpiece. If you don’t own this, please tell me so I can unfriend you on Facebook or whatever people nowadays do to be edgy towards those with whom they share absolutely nothing (except a few mutual friends from the party circuit, perhaps).

Duke Ellington: The Conny Plank Session (Grönland) – I’m far from being a Jazz connoisseur, but I will perhaps read into the topic in the near future. When those words trigger the usual »but dawg, this needs to be expeeeerienced« reaction I always get when I tell people that sometimes, yes, I do approach music by first reading up on the circumstances under which it was made, rest assured I had a *genuine* *experience* of *art* with this splendidly produced (it’s Conny Plank, so d’uh) killer tunes (it’s Duke Ellington, so double d’uh). Saved my life on a sweaty day in May.

Surgeon: Tresor 97-99 / Rare Tracks 95-96 (Tresor / SRX) – Considering that every Berlin-via-Italy producer these days apparently went to school in Birmingham, it only makes sense for Anthony Child to re-issue everything from his vast back catalogue and I am definitely not complaining about this. Surgeon is almighty. Period.

Ro Maron: Collected (Musique Pour La Danse) – I find the New Beat revival very curious, but did stumble upon a few great jams through this collection. Recommended!

André Stordeur: Complete Analog And Digital Electronic Music 1978-2000 (Sub Rosa) – This is… plenty. But very, very good. Thanks to Sub Rosa for unearthing this!

General Magic & Pita: Fridge Trax Plus (Editions Mego) – I feel deeply ashamed to admit that I had never listened to, but only read about this release before Editions Mego thankfully decided to re-issue it, coinciding with the label’s 20th anniversary. I’m very grateful for that. Killer!

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Anthing else?

  • I have never been as productive as I have been in the past six months and that is pretty cool.
  • I have been to Budapest, Hamburg, I went on tour and have already booked the next flight. That is pretty cool.
  • I have met some amazing people along the way and was constantly in touch with good old friends, which is pretty cool.
  • I have been using the WhatsApp lemon emoji a lot, and there is a good reason at that. Pretty cool, huh?
  • I have polished my Italian skills a bit and have been talking English about 50% of the time. Is that pretty cool?
  • I have been cooking a lot and properly enjoyed some of my more experimental ventures. Apart from being terribly antisocial when it comes to including garlic in my recipes, I think I can file that under pretty cool.
  • New opportunities lay ahead and all of those will be pretty cool.
  • Pretty cool.
  • Cool.
  • (Sorry, but after 7657 words I think I’ve run out of synonyms for »amazing«.)
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