“Loving the release, played Timeblind Mix on the radio” Sinden (Grizzly/Kiss)
“Seriously AMAZING release” Kid Kameleon
“Playlisted on my BBC Asian Network show” Bobby Friction (BBC)
DJ Support: Sinden, Rob Smith (RSD), Distal, Kid Kameleon, Bun Zero, Masala Blog
Radio: Sinden (Kiss FM) Bobby Friction (BBC), James Barrie (BBE), Simon Harrison (Basic Soul)
We’re welcoming in the 5th birthday year (see below) for Senseless with an incredible release that mixes cutting edge bass music with traditional Ethiopian instruments and folklore. Combined with the artwork, a ‘making of’ video and backed by a truly international set of remixes, it is a project that has been a year in the making. The man responsible is international bass nomad Maga Bo, a producer and DJ who literally embodies the global spirit of Senseless as a label. You might know him from an extensive discography including is work with the Dutty Artz collective in NYC (DJ Rupture/Matt Shadetek/Uproot Andy etc), or on labels like Shockout, Tru Thoughts, African Dope or Soot Records. For those unfamiliar with his work he lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a place where he draws plenty of inspiration from, musical and otherwise, as he explains,
“Brazil is a massive inspiration... I'm very interested in afro-brazilian rhythms, of which there are many. samba, coco, baião, sambareggae, jongo are all present in my new productions for example”.
There’s another level to his experience in Brazil too, one that informs his work on a deeper level:
“I'm a permanent resident in Brazil, but this has been a very difficult and stressful journey and has really opened my eyes to the experiences of immigrants around the world. I am a migrant musician, as most musicians are, historically, to some degree. Migration and immigration are powerful forces influencing and affecting culture and art. The music that I compose, produce, play and research is a product of migration - my own journeys and the journeys of others.”
That very much sums up Bo’s existence and why we’re so excited to be working with him: a relentless thirst for travel, discovery and collaboration driven by music. This EP came about from a trip to Ethiopia where he met Indriss Hassanwho plays the distinctive single-stringed masinqo on title track Ransom. The track was inspired by the infamous hyenas which are fed raw meat outside the gates of Harar, birthplace of Ras Tafari. As Bo explains,
“The way they way move is unlike any animal I've ever seen: very powerful. It was their particular way of moving - with caution, but also with desire (to feed) and power - that inspired this track.”
Ransom evolves out of a haze of field recordings driven forward by handclaps with the distinctive masinqo loop rising up out of the atmosphere before a deep sub bass rolls in to underpin it. It’s at once hypnotic and psychedelic, evoking the intensity and energy of a vibrant city like Addis Ababa after dark. The other original track, Gondar, is a traditional Azmari song from Ethiopia, rewired with a dancehall-like riddim and elastic synth bass and more masinqo, this time played by Eritbu “Solomon” Agegnehu.
The remixes come from a truly international line-up all hand picked by Maga Bo himself. First up with a dancehall/dubstep hybrid is the legendary Timeblind of NYC via Berlin, whose varied career has seen everything from techno releases on Hawtin’s Plus-8 to digital dancehall on Kid606’s Shockout. Teleseen (Percepts Recordings), another NYC native atomises the parts and reassembles them in a gloriously schizophrenic electro/acoustic showdown. South Africa’s Fletcher (African Dope) takes the track in a dub direction adding space and FX to the mix. Filastine (Soot/Jarring Effect/Uberlingua/PWI), from Barcelona, comes through with a time-bending groove and ratty, resonant subbass. Last up, Senseless family Pacheko from Venezuela offers up a dub orientated bass-weight monster aimed at deeper dancefloors, something a little different from his recent 4x4 work.
Finally, a special mention for the artwork, a collaboration between local photographer Michael Tsegaye and Venezuelan designer Mad Kick, part of the Abstractor collective with Pacheko. A video clip shot by Maga Bo during the recording of “Gondar” completes the picture.
2011 marks Senseless Records 5th birthday, starting in the summer we will be releasing five LTD vinyl releases with hand screen printed sleeves and A3 art print inserts featuring tracks from Poirier, Phantom, JTRP, DJ Eastwood, Sterotyp, Oris J and many more. More details to coming soon.
Friday Nov 12th at the fabulous and secretive Raum 20 in deepest Neukölln in some industrial area, up a few flights and into the where the hell are we.
Christoph de Babalon (live)
Q-d0 (jamie vex'd)
My life is so dislocated right now, its a long story. Not really the best time to put together a set, but I'll go for dark and frothy like I feel. I wanted to jump to Serato for this show, but ain't gone happen.
Dubstep sounds really good screwed down to 100 BPM. Otherwise avoiding all things clubby and modern, nothing against them, but it reminds me of the marketplace of culture and competition and that's so distracting. OK, I'm still jealous because my speakers are in storage.
Did a few specials: pitched down, chopped and warped zimbabwe and congo trax, pitched down jungle (we used to play Jungle at 33rpm and called it Heroin Hop). Pitching things down is all the rage in the blogosphere at the moment and actually it pleases me in some simple and messy way. The joys of ephemeral sketches. And I can do that without my speakers and keyboard, and that will stop me from going nuts.
Playing at O Tannenbaum last Friday was a good change up for me. Its the first time I've played in a bar as opposed to a club for about 5 years. I played a six hour set from the Congo, Mali, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Jamaica, No New York, London, India, Indonesia, Berlin, Columbia, Peru, DF, I don't know where, the 50s,60s,70s,80s,90s,00s but not much from the last year. The last year is on quarantine for me. Partly because I really want to make music myself so I don't to hear you other motherfuckers having fun.
Tannenbaum has lots of music heads there that come up to talk about records, lots of dancing, faces lost in genuine joy on the dancefloor (DJs live just to see that!), deadly strong belgian ales, chicks. Crappy speakers. Deer. Ableton is annoying as fuck to DJ with, I'm over it. This APC-40 newfangled thing is pissing me off, every time I click a button I have to run it through my mind to make sure its the button I want to press. Staring at the screen. Trying to find a track I know I want. Where's the search function ? Trying to find any tracks that I didn't already play. In the 6th hour I just couldn't find the music. Its just not made for DJing.
I'm thinking its time to move to Serato, especially now that we have The Bridge. Now when these virtual DJ set ups first came out I scoffed at them. Using a digital setup to emulate the past glories of the Age of Deejaying ? GTFO. That's mere simulation. I am a futurist, I am a mad programmer scientist and I will code up some fucking amazing futuristic tool that will let me splay beats across dimensions you haven't even heard of yet.
Yes, futurism is arrogant by design. It implies bettering, furthering, competition. Retro is actually a way to avoid this competitive ego drive (the desire to be ON IT, new, up to the time). Even more so if the musician is dead: its all tribute then and his/her ego won't swell.
I was talking with a good old techno friend, Function, and as usual I was probably mouthing off about some new music and how great it was and then he butted in: "Why does it always have to be some new thing ? Why does it always have to change ?" Good question. Much joy can be had by removing the need to progress and concentrating on learning the genre like an instrument. I talked with Jamie Vex'd a little bit after that and he could NOT comprehend why anybody would want to make music within a fixed classic form. For him it is all about the next sound and he could barely tolerate listening to me defend the classical approach. Man, he was rubbed the wrong way just by the thought of it. Function was pretty fussed too.
Well personally I crave newness and changes and I'll probably be on my deathbed wondering what's going to happen next after I'm gone. Its the spice, I crave it. Its common among smarty pants to fetishize change and relate it to Thinking and Big Thoughts. But I like the historical music-from-all-decades approach too, and I'm old enough to be good at it. I actually remember most of the decades that are currently retro-hip. Hey, I was hip in the 80s ! Mike Wolf and I ran the Polar Bear Club in New York for 4 years and that was all about all-possible-musics, anything that fits on a turntable, we'll play it. Kein musik ist illegal.
Anyway I do love the concept of Deejaying (though not as much as Vajayjaying). No 1700s science fiction writer would think of this: vibrations carved in a V-shape on two black disks, synchronize them by adjusting the resistors going into the motor (despite having landed a man on the moon 50 years previously) and sit there maintaining this stupid sync while people dance through the transition.
The point, of course, is to create the THIRD RECORD. You know that, of course. Record one plays, record two sneaks in and therein arises the THIRD RECORD that manifests as a unique piece of music only to be experienced that night on that dance floor. Wiggle it about, play with it, when nobody is looking, record one slinks off stage right.
Working with Ableton for a time let me concentrate on better blends, blends that said something and created something and didn't just try to blend in. It also let me think about the set, the arcs of time, the experience of the night as it changes and we get lost, talk to people drunkenly, dance and sometimes get shivers down our spine as the music proclaims the evening.
The lengthy Ableton preparation was for me a kind of analysis, a careful considering. But now I've passed through that and its just annoying. It took me about 10 hours to prepare a 6 hour set, and after 5 hours I couldn't find the tracks I was looking for.
People hate seeing somebody playing from a laptop. Its a simple fact.
Before I thought it was a joke to use a simulated interface, now I embrace this Simulation of the Past. I'm a Simulated Girl living in a Simulated World. I want to reference this vinyl past.
The only problem is that Serato requires turntables or USB disc controllers. I would've played in this club in Zambia if I had CDs, but it was tricky to plugin Ableton. Serato couldn't have happened at all. What do ?
Live : I like the ability to beat sync things that are impossible to beat sync on turntables. I find it funny that in this day and age we still hear DJs play records and they have to maintain the sync and fuck it up. The old "sneakers in the dryer" bump bump bump thing.
Anyway I'm thinking I should use Serato and the (Ableton) Bridge which gives me the best of both worlds. My friend Jeff Milligan spearheaded or consulted for the project and I need to look seriously into it.
So why are Rane SL-3 twice as expensive in Europe as in the US ? That's a seriously overpriced piece of electronics, no ?
I'll be DJing tonight [Fri Oct 22, 2019] down at O Tannenbaum (Sonnenallee 27, Neukölln). I've been hanging out there lately because Pieter plays thick funk from Mali, we argue about Iggy, drink strong Belgian beers and they have girls. And deer.
In our last episode: Timeblind is awoken by the sounds of the Nigerian Mafia kicking in his door, intent on recovering the Reel to Reel Tape he stole the previous evening from the Unarius Academy of Science while attending a Black Tie only event at the German Embassy in Abuja.
His cover as a Disk Jockey blown, the next 24 hours is a whirl wind blur of chase scenes, gunfire, fast women, fast edits, wackawacka guitar, bongo solos and eery string fills. Arriving at last at an outpost on the Congolese border, he finally listens to the secret tape recording still in his grasp:
A bizarre mélange of Afrokrautrock, the Fufu rhythms of West Africa, Mofongo, Tribal Arrachacha from DF, the mystical sounds of Fara and Kudzu, sadly incomprehensible (but curiously danceable) digital noise, the Transmissions of The Poets from The Other Planets and a bunch of Ghetto shit. Profanity, Brief Nudity, Parental Discretion is advised.
(The weird thing is that even though I just made this shit up while under the influence of coffee, Unarius really did have an office in Abuja!)
Matt Shadetek just wrote up an article for Dubspot where he explains my theory of Speed Dating. This is where you make lots of quick sketches and then only finish the best ones. This way you don't get stuck trying to "solve" some problem with a track when the truth is the track's whole energy and fate was determined in the first few minutes.
He explains it quite well and talks about how he and Rupture write together.
Thx for the shoutout. Another benefit of this is that you can take more risks and try something outside of your comfort zone, because you know its only 20-60 mins effort, and you don't have to marry her. and its a pleasure to have hundreds of strange little sketches in your pocket.
Another benefit of this is that you can take more risks and try something outside of your comfort zone, because you know its only a 20-60 mins effort, and you don't have to commit. Humans cannot be at play if they are worried about longer term consequences. Also its a pleasure to have hundreds of strange little sketches in your pocket.
The downside is that you can get addicted to the rush of initial creation and you avoid finishing anything. Wow do I have a lot of cool unfinished tracks and unreleased material. Its depressing when I think about it that way, really.
I should release a sketch album, but iTunes would charge 99c per track. Only an album would make sense.
If you're Kool Keith then you just sell them to some gullible label and they have to edit the things together (and replace the beats) to try to get their money back.
If you're J Dilla then you call them Donuts, each one very short and containing a world of genius. Then you pass into the afterlife, somebody else does a bit of editing and we all sit back and dwell on the innate perfection of the ephemeral.
Luv ‘n Liv - Dub Gabriel featuring U-Roy (DAC 009)
Straight outta Kingston Jamaica via San Francisco and beyond, Luv ‘n Liv is the first single to drop from Dub Gabriel’s upcoming 4th studio album, The Cut Up. Featuring the mighty Dread in a Babylon, U-Roy (The Originator), Luv ‘n Liv lays testament to all that can be when you put a reggae legend in the same room as one of America’s leading producers of nu-dub.
With the original hook-up coming through none other than Scientist himself, U-Roy & Dub Gabriel went deep in Mark Pistel’s (Hercules & The Love Affair/Meat Beat Manifesto) Room 5 studio and emerged with Luv ‘n Liv. To round things out, DG enlisted David J of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets to hold down the bass, and Ysanne Spevack on strings who was fresh from her recent work with the Smashing Pumpkins. The outcome is pretty epic if we say so ourselves.
Bridging the living roots of dub to the future-present world of dubstep, DG also brought in some of the hottest producers in the game to remix the track, including Ming (Ming & FS), Subatomic Sound System (following up on his highly successful remix for Lee “Scratch” Perry), Lloop (The Agriculture Records) and Timeblind (Tigerbeat 6). Finally, for all those who crave a good dosage of roots, Dub Gabriel brings things back down to earth with a soulful version of Luv ‘n Liv backed by none other than Yellowman’s original Sagittarius Band. Respect!
On Thursday, no wait ... right now ! 1 AM Thurs Sept 17 : they are playing Rupture's excellent Mudd Up! show (originally broadcast on WFMU), DJ Zhao at 3 am, Awesome Tapes from Africa at 4, Hakim Bay & Bill Laswell
as you perceive "time" in your village:
Beijing Sat 5:00 AM Detroit * Fri 5:00 PM Kathmandu Sat 2:45 AM (its true) Kingston Fri 4:00 PM London * Fri 10:00 PM (they have to be difficult) Los Angeles * Fri 2:00 PM Mexico City * Fri 4:00 PM Minneapolis * Fri 4:00 PM Montreal * Fri 5:00 PM Moscow * Sat 1:00 AM Mumbai Sat 2:30 AM New York * Fri 5:00 PM New Delhi Sat 2:30 AM (sure why not?) Rio de Janeiro Fri 6:00 PM Toronto * Fri 5:00 PM
I'm working on a remix right now of a track by Maga Bo called Ransom. He recorded this Masinqo player while he was traveling in Ethiopia and wrote a track around it.
Now I'm doing a remix for a digital release. The other mix is going to be by Pacheko (Venezuela, whose been sending me some nice dubstep tracks recently that I've been playing out).
So today I'm wanting to study up, conceptualize the relationship of the elements and energies.
I google "Masinqo in Ethiopia" and check out this YouTube video. Hmmm, Ethiopians always have such healthy skin, such an attractive country. There was that one girl in my German class... Wait up... this is a Maga Bo video, that's my guy !
Wikkid. Whenever I do a remix with a vocalist or musician I feel like I'm hanging out with them anyway, the two of us sitting around the speakers. Pleased to meet you Eritbu ! I really like how Maga Bo has done these collaborations.
ok, back to work
update: Actually its not the same guy. Endres Hassen is the Masinqo player for Ransom. Maga Bo also did other recordings of Eritbu aka Solomon.
My mix is done ! Gabiel Cyr aka Teleseen has also done a mix and there is a possibility of a UK vinyl release. Digitial for sure, stay tuned.