ION STORM (014): altered.states (I)


An improvised & ongoing series of freeform techno/house/electro mixes that have been recorded as the extraterrestrial transmissions dictate. Tracks are drawn from recent releases but also from the archives. No prepared mixes, no sync, beatmatched live on two Technics SL1200 turntables with Mackie d4.Pro mixer.

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++ I be playing Friday night from 2-3am @ the Cosmic Café stage, throwing down deep acid techno to shake the spirits of the Callaghan ++

== mixed by ==

ION STORM broadcasts interstellar techno, future house & offworld ambient from the vaults of TOBIAS.DJ. Prepare your space voyage with occult sounds drawn from 20+ years as a technoculture catalyst and turntablist. The mission — to invade consensus reality with an all-out assault of alien frequencies. Some sex in zero gravity included. Occasional interplanetary guests from the technosphere and label [ ].


1 Maybe I’ll drive back into these weird holes. Hunter S. Thompson The Gonzo Tapes: More Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (Disc Three)
2 Keep Thorough (Iron Galaxy Remix) Locked Groove Keep Thorough EP [TURBO 147]
3 Michigan Ride Technasia Heart Of Flesh [CADENZA 78]
4 Let It Snow Martin Landsky Ekko Traxx [POKER FLAT 138]
5 Subliminal Warp Drive Traversable Wormhole Traversable Wormhole Vol 6-10 [CLR CD012]
6 Lustration Tree (Atlantic) Mike Parker Lustrations [PROLOGUE LP 04]
7 Early Glow Marcel Fengler Playground / Early Glow [OSTGUT TON 09]
8 Metal Works Ben Sims & Kirk Degiorgio Machine Theme [MACHINE 001]
9 Present Hypersurface Traversable Wormhole Traversable Wormhole Vol 6-10 [CLR CD012]
10 Dormancy Survivors Lucy, Silent Servant History Survivors [MOTE-EVOLVER 034]
11 lifesigns pt. 1 Johannes Heil Lifesigns EP [FIGURE 044]
12 Freeze Tobias. Freeze [OSTGUT TON057]
13 Waterfall (Birth) Rrose Waterfall Variations [EAUX 491]
14 Translation One Marcel Dettmann Translation EP [OSTGUT TON 052]
15 Mico Jonas Kopp Ruda EP [CURLE 029]
16 Roses (Terranova Mix) Michael Mayer Mantasy Remixe 3 [KOMPAKT 273]
17 Evolution (Samuel L Session Calling D Mix) Mikael Jonasson Evolution [PHOBIQ 013]
18 Proteus 81 Jonas Kopp Reforce [DEEPLY ROOTED HOUSE 040]
19 Program 1 (Len Faki DJ-Edit) JPLS DJ-Edits Volume 2 [FIGURE 45]
20 No Body (Machinedrum Remix) Barker & Baumecker Remixes [OSTGUT TON]
21 Atavistic Resurgence The Black Dog Tranklements [DUST SCIENCE 038]
22 Any Other Rework Touch EP [VISIONQUEST 029]
23 Black Technician (UR Mad Mike Remix) Robert Hood Black Technician (UR Mad Mike Remixes) [MUSIC MAN 167]
24 Looking Ahead Architectural Berghain 06 [OSTGUT TON CD23]
25 OAR003-A Oni Ayhun OAR 003
26 Mekong Delta Len Faki Rainbow Delta / Mekong Delta [OSTGUT TON 04]
27 25 Hours DJ Hyperactive 25 Hours [DROID 017]

ION STORM 004: false.fantasy

(( what lurks in the outer reaches / but the false fantasy ))

I am not a fantasy in a real sense
I am a fantasy of differential-projection
Yet I exist . . . .
There are no shadows where I am
Because I am the fire of the lightnin
And the flames of the sun.
My name is the sun
I am the stranger
From the sky
Far away farther than the eye can see
Is my paradise
A mythical world
In Outer Space.

— Sun Ra, The Fantasy (1972)

Slave to the Rhythm (2012)


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.

cydonia.sessions.o1 (2010) @ Upgrade International NYC (2005)


In 2010, I recorded a series of online broadcasts for net pirates & djs entitled the cydonia.sessions. Each set followed a thematic resonance through strains of techno, house, and electro, capturing the way in which I tend to construct and deconstruct sets around fragmented motifs and recurring signatures of sound. The sets were recorded by a third-party server; some came out alright, others had unfortunate gaps of several seconds that led to frustratingly incomplete recordings. The cydonia.sessions were also designed as tests of my Traktor Scratch platform, which I configured as a digital vinyl system that required manual beatmatching. With the Traktor Scratch (Pro) software combined with my Technics SL1200s and the Mackie d4.Pro mixer, all the parameters of techno-turntablism are still at play. The main difference is that the source of the music has shifted from the vinyl medium itself to digital files on the laptop. Vinyl has been divorced from its recording content, becoming a pure form, an instrument for performativity. Instead of selecting and manipulating analog vinyl, I work with digital vinyl, which offers similar tactile methods of control and play. Indeed this is all it is: a control/playback component of the turntable-mixer assemblage. Part of me appreciates this. Yet, the effect is not the same: the laptop screen is distracting, and I miss the aesthetics of crate-digging records and flipping on and off the vinyl. I don’t close my eyes as much. These are all things to be overcome, as I can no longer purchase vinyl where I live. DJ record stores — like movie theatres, indie book sellers, and movie rental outlets — are a thing of the past. Objects that combined content with functionality are obsolete; today’s objects channel content from elsewhere (a laptop, cloud, distributed network) while their form serves to manipulate this delocalized content. “Thick” objects have become “empty” containers. By splitting content from form, digital vinyl has opened up other possibilities (such as liberating the wear and tear of vinyl from the degradation of the music itself), even as it forms part of a trend of dismantling public space (I miss the Thursday nights at Bassix, when new vinyl would arrive; all the city’s DJs would be there, hunting through the fresh wax). With digital integration, I have certainly taken advantage of the effects and looping possibilities of Traktor with the addition of the X1 controller. I’ve often worked with effects in the mix, and Traktor’s selection is superb, with the X1 offering well-designed handling that bridges turntablism with performative remixing. The cydonia.sessions capture a few of the results, as well as forays into my ever growing digital collection of music.

Photo — @ Upgrade International NYC, Eyebeam (2005).
April 2012

within.indecent.obscurity [take two] (2009)


This is a mix to drink absynthe too. Living in Whistler is an exercise in musical & cultural isolation. I should’ve realised that trying to play music such as this in a “dude? where’s my skis?” culture was a lost cause. Even as I held down a residency at the Savage Beagle (in Whistler Village), attracting European djs & househeads (and filling the upstairs bar with head-nodding patrons), I couldn’t convince management (nor other local DJs/promoters) that what I was doing was worthwhile—or even popular elsewhere. “It’s hot in Berlin!” I would say—but it would matter not. Whistler is not the place for risk-taking mixing, subtlety, or experimental approaches to dancefloor semantics. So I present to you my manifesto of house music, mixed with abandon, and without precision.

This mix dives deep into minimal house & abstract rhythms. The psychedelic, drifting effects of ketaminimal, held for long, drawn out mixes, warps the head. I can dance to shit like this for hours.

This was the first mix I released where I used a Digital Vinyl System (Traktor Scratch). All manual beatmatching, and no prepared records.
April 2012

within.indecent.obscurity (2009)

ø/again (2008)

Berlin (2008)


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.
April 2012

Tiergarten Tears & Dreams (2008)


Berlin, Kreuzberg (2008)


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.
April 2012

subliminal bronchialsaurus (2006)

subliminal bronchialsaurus (2006)


Recorded in Montréal, gazing across at Patati Patata, to the traffic of St. Laurent and the remnants of bronchitis… this set is evocative of what I was spinning at Montréal loft parties that summer (though only part of that summer’s style, as I would play for 3-5 hours on average). Kompakt deep techno, acid house and the strains of what was to become known as mnml are heartily present.

Photo is from the Full Pleine Moon Party of 13th April 2006, held down the street on St. Laurent, high atop the Duluth skyscraper (thanks @ MM). This was a good night — packed and sweaty, dancing until sunrise, playing all night with Colin the Mole if memory serves me right.
April 2012