Thursday, April 28, 2011

Brendon Moeller's Midnight Radio (Part 2)

So I would hope by now you've all read the comprehensive and, if I may so myself, fascinating interview with Brendon Moeller posted last week, called Capturing The Spirit.  If not, well... it's long, but it's worth it.  Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or whiskey, sit down, and read the honest and heartfelt thoughts of one of techno's most talented artists.

Of course, it seems like not many electronic music related editorials come without something to hear attached to them, and Moeller's got us covered for that too.  The interview featured the first part of the Midnight Radio podcast, a sprawling exploration of what inspires Moeller or simply tickles his fancy, from late night guitar strumming to explosive shoegaze to dingy post-punk to balearic soundscapes, and beyond from there.  If you can imagine the edges blurring between the tracks -- as they sometimes do in the headier sections -- you can almost see the hazy, undefined lines of Moeller's dubby techno begin to form, and you can certainly see how Moeller isn't your regular "dub techno" producer, but rather a conoisseur of music who manages to mix disparate ingredients into one hell of a seamless whole.  Links to both parts of the podcast below.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Brendon Moeller: Capturing the Spirit

Whether you know him best as Beat Pharmacy, Echologist, Lightness, even more aliases, or simply by his given name, Brendon Moeller is a bit of a veteran in modern techno stakes.  Originally hailing from the permanently smokescreened world of dub techno, Moeller's music has evolved over the years to take what Moeller would probably like to call the "spirit" of the genre into new and exciting places.  While dub techno as a scene arguably begins to stagnate, Moeller moves above and beyond, whether it's anchoring the dub aspect with his Beat Pharmacy project, or making banging dancefloor tunes and heads-down headphones hummers as Echologist, or simply his own mix of sub-styles under his own name, not to mention collaborative projects with Area (Lightness), David Kennedy (Shetland), and Shigeru Tanabu (Manaboo).

Last year, Moeller also launched his own Steadfast record imprint, a label that has seen the release of some of Moeller's finest material thus far as well as promising EPs from associates Area and Billy Shane. But it's his Echologist project that has arguably been the star of the imprint with a stellar run of diverse and unforgettable EPs.  Moeller is just now releasing the second Echologist album, on Steadfast, Subterranean, a stunning journey through the heart of dub ensconced in a techno fever dream (they're separate things; I wouldn't call this 'dub techno'), and I'll refrain from saying much more about it -- that's what my review is for, look out for it on RA -- other than the fact that it's a near masterpiece and one of the most accomplished statements of Moeller's long career.

As a documented fan of Moeller's output, it was a bit of an honour to do such a frankly massive and comprehensive interview leading up to the album's release.  Wanting to make this count, what you'll find below is a painstakingly considered summary of a series of interviews conducted throughout February and March of this year.  Wanting to scratch beyond the surface of press-landslide interview inanity, we talk about the album, aliases, dance music politics, the music industry, boutique labels, dub techno insularity, dubstep, promo culture, information overload, and more.  It's a fascinating insight into an artist who exploits modern technology to the fullest extent -- both in terms of his musical production and his online presence -- a savvy figure who isn't afraid to say how he feels.

In addition to the ten thousand or so words he so generously donated over many, many hours of Skype, Moeller has also contributed two podcasts of what he calls Midnight Radio, beautifully mixed collections of his muses, inspirations and ruminations surrounding the creation of the album and its aftermath.  You can find the first below the interview, and part 2 will be online early next week, just in time for the release of the album.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Canada's Radiant Sounds

When you think of the world’s most vital and interesting “bass music,” certain hotspots are bound to come to mind: London, Bristol, San Francisco, LA, New York, Moscow, and hell, a case could even be made for Poland with its weird UK Funky/garage hybrids.  But does anyone think of Canada? Always in the shadow of its bigger neighbour, it seems almost inevitable that Canada’s contributions would be ignored in favour of America’s, or simply subsumed into one North American post-dubstep-diaspora (to borrow Michaelangelo Matos’ wonderful phrase that I will continue to borrow for many years to come), but given the extreme amount of exciting music that seems to be oozing from the country’s pores (after, arguably, a long incubation period of local infamy), it’s about time Canada got some recognition on its own. (There's a mix inside for you people not so oriented towards words, just to be clear.)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Get In With Kevin McPhee

I’m the last person who wants to get overexcited about a new prospect before they’ve even got their first release out, believe me.  Well, too bad, because Toronto’s Kevin McPhee is worth getting exciting about.  To be fair, he’s not really that new, having his first release signed just under a year ago to [nakedlunch] (only now getting released) and producing a remarkable steady trickle of tracks in the process.  But what makes Kevin McPhee so special?