Time changes everything and everyone. That’s the message behind Borderland, the first true collaborative release between Von Oswald and Atkins. It’s exactly twenty years since these two iconic artists – surely they are among the very few electronic producers who are deserving of that description? – first appeared together on a record. It was an auspicious opening salvo too, with Von Oswald teaming up with Thomas Fehlmann as 3MB in 1993 to go head to head with Atkins’ Model 500 project for the high paced, hyperactive rhythms and epic melodies of “Jazz is the Teacher” and the loose drums and lush electronic warbles of “Cosmic Courier”, sometimes known by its German name “Die Kosmischen Kuriere”.
Detroit techno imprint Metroplex will return to life soon with the release of a new collaboration between Juan Atkins and Mark Ernestus.
Tresor will release a new collaborative album from Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald under the Borderland name.
Bloc is making its return to the event game this coming Saturday with Model 500 and Juan Atkins, and we have a pair of tickets to give away.
Tresor has reanimated its dormant Archiv series of reissues for a fresh instalment featuring two classic Juan Atkins tracks.
Revamped London imprint Black Market will release three previously unheard Juan Atkins tracks recorded in the ’90s.
A great remix can be as memorable as an original production. There are numerous examples of remixers using their unique signature to turn an original composition into a classic - think the never-ending snare-led climax on Hardfloor’s version of Robert Armani’s “Circus Bells” or the ecstatic pianos, rave whistles and carnival drums that make David Holmes’s version of Sabres of Paradise’s “Smokebelch 2” an acid house anthem. In both instances, the remixers became the story, turning the adequate originals into classics. But what happens when remixers rework classics?
It was 1991 when a young man known as Martin Bonds, born and raised in Detroit- who had recently dropped out of college where he was studying electrical engineering – found himself living in Juan Atkins’ Metroplex Studios. Here he helped out with engineering duties of a different kind – in sound. It wasn’t long before Kevin Saunderson had invited him to be a fully fledged engineer in training at his KMS Studios, part of the same building complex that was at the centre of Detroit’s techno scene. During this time he wrote and produced a record still talked about in hushed tones by those in the know – Surkit.
KDJ Records revisit Moodymann’s seminal spoken word sex house anthem “Freeki Mutha F cker” for one of this year’s first essential twelve inch releases. Originally a highlight from the Detroit legend’s 2008 Det.riot ’67 album – which incidentally will cost you silly money these days – the track is presented here in previously unreleased extended form on the A Side. Reason enough for Moodymann obsessives to greedily indulge, especially as it’s a glorious rendition, stretching out the original sultry groove before dropping in a tingling piano refrain as the track plays out towards a menacing and orgasmic finale.
There’s just enough room left on the A Side to include a live rendition of “California” a new Moodymann track characterised by a heavy beat, more piano flourishes and some entertaining usage of horns! And then we come to the B Side that contains the two remixes which have been causing much fidgeting and anticipation, and explain why this twelve is going to sell and sell.
For those of a certain vintage, there’s no more exciting a combination of remixers than Juan Atkins and Egyptian Lover. It’s the former who steals the show here, revisiting his Cybotron days on a rework that offers the perfect fusion of organic deepness and cold, raw electro. There’s something wonderful about the unlikely combination of Atkins’ alien beats and bass – in particular the slowly pulsing sub – and the original’s soft focus pianos, whispered vocals and drawn out strings. It’s some futuristic business alright.
In contrast, The Egyptian Lover delivers a remix which was borne out of a spontaneous jam between the producer and Moodymann two years ago at the Mister Saturday Night club night run by Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter. With a swagger typical of The Egyptian Lover, the original bassline is retained but surrounded by a dizzying array of old skool electro 808 cowbells and Tipper sub bass wobbles. It does however lack the far sighted, back-to-the-future appeal of Atkins’ superb effort.
Anyone with a vested interest in the FRKWYS series will know what a labour of love each edition is for RVNG INTL, and the fourth volume might just be the greatest example to date. Cult avant gardists Psychic Ills are the focal point here; a band entrenched in the NYC art rock scene, having worked with the likes of Ariel Pink and Telepathe in various projects since they caused ripples of excitement with Mental Violence II for Social Registry. For this project the band approached artists who reflect important chapters in the formation of what we now call electronic music. Some twelve months later we have the finished product, gloriously presented as ever, with a sleeve design that imitates a vintage photo album.
Detroit legend Juan Atkins was seemingly contacted on a whim and jumped at the chance to transform the sprawling psychedelic drone of “Mantis” into an equally hypnotic near ten minute box jam which brilliantly utilises the sliding guitar and menacing bass. Atkins’ treatment is the only concession to encouraging hip movement on this twelve inch but the FRKWYS series has always been less about throwaway 4/4 throbbers and more suited to plugging your cerebral cortex in and fully enjoying the sonic ride. Gibby Haynes from Butthole Surfers was entrusted with the K hole darkness of “I Take You As My Wife Again” and delivers a reimagination that grips your attention thanks to the muddle of strings and oscillating synth arrangements. Finally the criminally short ambience of “Witchcraft Breaker” is stretched out and drowned in a wall of industrial strength sound by Hans-Joachim Irmler, founding member of German kraut-fathers Faust.