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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yet another strange mix from 2006, this one collected the cut-and-paste microhouse aesthetic — doubles of minimal house, plenty of Perlon & Telegraph, as well as Logistic & Playhouse — that I began exploring at the tri.phonic series during the summer of 2003, and continued on with the UpgradeMTL series of media-arts events, both curated @ SAT.
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.
Recorded live for BURN.FM, on a hot balcony in the old Arab quarter of Barcelona, with a scarcely functioning setup and no monitors… nonetheless, everyone danced and drank absynthe and smoked the gifts of Morocco to dub techno. On the way home, I barely avoided a knife fight, making my way through winding streets in the dark heat. Thanks to Olivier Schulbaum for the fine evening.
Recorded live at Coffee 4 House, July 2001, Vancouver, on the occasion of olo j. milkman’s second-ever showing of work. This mix aimed to demonstrate the underlying connections between rhythm & machinic improvisation, evident since the break of the 20th century with musique concrète, modernist minimalism, and of course, variants of minimal techno, house, and electro… all in a west-side coffeehouse.