SYNAESTHESIA (2003)

filmed live, one take, @ QC Studios in Montréal.

film & concept by TETSUOMI ANZAI, who imagined positioning this footage alongside that of a pianist & a conductor to demonstrate the fluidity of expression marked by the hands — regardless of the instrument. blog post on the filming.

“I hope to release a DVD of the final footage in the near future”.
—- (It only took 10 years to get it online.)

Camera shaking courtesy of the Rat Man; and yes, the crossfader broke around 2 minutes in. Deep bows to my compadres of the era: all those at SAT, Casa del Popolo, Mitchell @ intr_version, NAW, Bruno @ Laïka, and with those I shared the decks & stage, Fishead, Daniel Gardner, Johnny Ranger & the Mole.

Liquid Fire (2012)

LIVESTREAM HERE | YOUTUBE HD HERE

Round two showdown at the DMT Lab, flipping through some new tracks that touch on the bangin’ interface between dub & Detroit techno (with an acid taste on the tongue, of course). Thanks to DJ Test Pilot for filming the mix & providing the requisite shots of liquid fire, VJ Matsui808 for tripping me out (and upping the ante with the dark magus decahedron), and J. for stitching the whole ensemble together (a time consuming and thankless task). During this mix I blew a screw out of the crossfader, experimented with some Traktor Beatmasher & Delay efx, and switched over to a few slabs of actual vinyl at the end… as always, nothing prepared, and of course no auto sync.

 

Slave to the Rhythm (2012)

LIVESTREAM HERE // SUBSCRIBE TO DMT LAB FOR MORE.*

A chance encounter with the DMT Lab — while writing an article on the world drumming & trance crew for Pique — led me to throw down this unprepared set on the 29th June 2012. I ran out of time to organise newer material, but what you are hearing is a slice from several (digital) crates that bear titles like “the electrik technik” and “showroom.” At points, this mix encapsulates the moment where techno meets deep trance, and where psychedelia overwhelms all sound, lost in swirling and deep rhythms, a motion and a feeling irrespective of the semantic tags of genre and style. It’s the driving rhythm, a becoming slave to the rhythm, that defines the core experience of electronic (dance) music.

Which is why this mix is called slave to the rhythm. The Afrofuturist acid roller is buried within — a remix of the Grace Jones 1985 classic — alongside a few other modern throwbacks including a wickedly dark spanking of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus by Heartthrob (1989; 2006) and Mathew Jonson’s remix of Inner City’s Good Life (1988; 2009).

*Of note, though the Livestream has poorer quality video, it doesn’t have the editing glitches of the Youtube video above. Apples & oranges.

lost in a bc forest (1997)

 

lost in a bc forest

DOWNLOAD LOST IN A BC FOREST (SIDE A)
DOWNLOAD LOST IN A BC FOREST (SIDE B)

Vancouver is a peculiar place: its geography offers many different kinds of spaces for intervention and occupation. While warehouses dot its ports and industrial outlands, the city itself is surrounded by ocean, forest, and mountains. Logging roads snake up through thickly forested valleys. Waterbars and potholes bar access. Forging on means losing site of urban civilization. In these curious pockets, rave culture thrived. Many of the best raves were held far up these dirt roads, among trees and glacier-fed rivers. Occasionally, curious locals would arrive, drunk and confrontational, in pick-ups and ATVs. The best trick was to seduce them with Colt .45, spiked with a bit of pharmacology designed to endear the mind to new experiences. Conversions happened. People’s lives were changed.

This set was recorded at one such event in July, 1997. A small, but intense affair, a nameless event. I felt I had not yet mastered my skills, which was true: I could not yet replicate in live situations the consistency of mixing I was able to sustain in the studio. Sets were hit or miss; but either way, they were inspired, and a certain kind of raver — one given over to wild abandon, to giving oneself up to the noise — liked what I was doing. Unlike many other DJs of the era, I was fearless — or some would say, ignorant of the dancefloor. It was not that I didn’t care whether my experiments failed or not — I most certainly did care — but I felt that the passion of the mix, its intensity, mattered more than its perfection. I was interested in quarter-beats and chaotic, helicopter mixes; I desired speed and fury, and I rarely, if ever, planned out the order of my records beyond a track or two. These were techniques and strategies which also interested Mills and Hawtin. But I hadn’t yet trained myself to moderate headphone and monitoring volume — it took years to focus upon lower-volume mixing — so my ears fatigued quickly. These were all lessons learned, over time. But what remains is my first duplicated mix, part of a series I called Not-So-Perfect Mixtapes, of which this is volume 2. On the front cover is a clip-art GIF of a red Coleman lantern — a common source of light for backcountry endeavours of acid-fuelled stargazing and ritual dance debauchery.

tobias.dj
May 2012

dusk & cloud (2009)

dusk & cloud (2009)

DOWNLOAD DUSK & CLOUD

This mix gathers a few strains of my becomings as a DJ, namely minimalist strains of deep house and dub techno dating back to the mid’90s. Though my mixtapes from the late ’90s were hard as nails, I began by djing deep house @ Sugar Refinery (RIP), with Robby Luv Dub as my adopted mentor. I often mixed deep house with dub techno at the post-rave Sunday sessions and loft parties of the era. This mix touches upon a few of those records, though keeping this side of the techno aesthetic (a retro deep house mix is still to come). Still vinyl, still unprepared.

tobias.dj
April 2012

Unfinished System (2009)

DOWNLOAD UNFINISHED SYSTEM 01
DOWNLOAD UNFINISHED SYSTEM 02 

A two-part recording hammered out with longtime collaborator DJ Construct, over a long night of molasses beats, retro-new-wave, and modern deep techno and electro… nothing prepared, all improvised, with thick malts in the glass.

In honour of the events we’ve played together, I’ve posted a selection of images from the 2002 series at Video-In.

tobias.dj
April 2012

ø/again (2008)

Berlin (2008)

DOWNLOAD Ø/1
DOWNLOAD Ø/2 

The second existential journey into ø, the state of nothingness, barred & slashed, desire denied, but throughout, with strange & redeeming forays into minimalist house, taking cues from Detroit’s unswerving faith in the redemption of techno. With vinyl from Hardwax. No prepared records.

tobias.dj
April 2012

Tiergarten Tears & Dreams (2008)

 

Berlin, Kreuzberg (2008)

DOWNLOAD TIERGARTEN TEARS & DREAMS

Thrown down shortly after abandoning Montréal in the retreat to Whistler, BC, Tiergarten Years & Dreams reflects upon the passage of time through sound, with wax selected from the vaults of Hardwax, Berlin. As usual, no prepared records, all on vinyl, letting the flow find its own rhythm.

tobias.dj
April 2012