Move D returns to the Electric Minds label next month – stream Endian’s remix of the producer here.
Move D has taken time out from the Magic Mountain High project with Juju & Jordash to line up a brand new three track EP.
While the date may change every year, it’s always easy to sense the lead-in to the annual Freerotation festival. Fevered anticipation ripples out through the niche corners of the house and techno fraternity, which in the nature of these times manifests itself in impassioned status updates, gloating tweets and lots of “look forward to seeing you!” posts between friends, artists and fans. This convivial atmosphere speaks volumes for the impact Freerotation has had in dulling the barriers between performer and punter in a small sector of electronic music, providing a utopian bubble where everyone can truly feel as one.
Arguments over what exactly constitutes “live” electronic music are often as circular and dull as the most listless of pre-programmed laptop sets, but David Moufang isn’t in the mood to pull punches: “It’s like taking a piss on people,” says the man better known as veteran of leftfield electronica Move D. “They map their tracks on Ableton and then they crossfade them, and I’ve seen people I really respected pulling this trick. We’re all fed up with this.”
Move D – real name David Moufang – is currently in one of those periods where everyone wants a piece of him, and, for a man who has been consistently doing his thing with the minimum of fuss for many a year, it’s impossible to begrudge him time in the spotlight. This is the German producer’s fourth release for Workshop Records, following the DJ Laté collaboration on Workshop 02, the Playtime album (as one half of Reagenz) and a split release with Even Tuell and Sascha Dive on Workshop 04.
Expectations for Workshop 14 were always going to be high – partly thanks to Moufang’s stunning release on Uzuri a couple of months back, but also because the previous release on Workshop, from Kassem Mosse, was one of the finest yet in a peerless back catalouge. As with every Workshop release, the attention to detail is immediately apparent; shrink wrapped, hand stamped vinyl and embossed text serving as a delicious visual accompaniment to the sounds on offer.
Anyone familiar with Move D’s back catalogue will know he’s a master of subtlety, the king of calm. And so it proves on his opening missive here, as jangling melodies, smoky guitars, skipping hats and barley there vocals whisper below an insistent beat on “Track 1″, sprawled luxuriantly across the A-Side. An abundance of sonic touches – most notably vocal fragments thrown around the arrangement – and delicious chiming keys lend the track a shimmering, smile-inducing energy. The track is lengthy, yet never becomes dull. There are subtle twists and turns, produced with a sure hand and intricate poise.
The two B-Side offerings are soaked in the trademark Move D style; a beefy drum loop signals the opening of the untitled opener, with loosely arranged cymbals applauding the arrival of warm keys. A tad heavier than the A, Move D locks the elements into a groove, before stripping the track to its bare bones and starting again with dubby atmospherics. By the end those drums feel positively booming, the hats fall back in line and heads should be well and truly nodding. Despite the quality of the first two tracks, the best is left for B2 (just like on the aforementioned Kassem Mosse release, oddly enough). Intriguing mechanical percussion, droning bass and a heavily filtered melody buried deep beneath a bewitching vocal sample give the track a wistful 80s vibe, sounding like Moufang’s take on the dreamy West Coast sounds of Nite Jewel and 100% Silk.
Those who have followed German imprint Workshop Records will already be well aware of the label’s strong visual and musical aesthetic. Built around a core of artists – chiefly label bosses Even Tuell and Lowtec alongside Move D and Kassem Mosse among others – the Workshop sound touches on melodic, dusty and raw house and techno. The label was launched in 2006 shortly after Lowtec (aka Jens Kuhn) folded his Out To Lunch imprint. Every release since then has been imbued with the deepest of grooves, from the woozy narcosis of Lowtec’s Workshop 6 to Move D’s disco-sampling jam on Workshop 4 and the epic B-Side of Mosse’s recent Workshop 12 release.
A distribution hook-up with Germany’s home of discerning dancefloor music, Hardwax, gave Workshop the platform it deserved, and it has flourished. Given the attention to detail that accompanies every Workshop release – it’s the little things that stand out, like shrink wrapping, hand stamped vinyl and embossed text – it should be of no surprise to learn that one half of the label runs a boutique fashion label, with Even Tuell (real name Paul-David) having launched Airbag Craftworks back in 1995. Juno Plus editor Aaron Coultate caught up with Kassem and Even prior to the recent Workshop Records showcase hosted by London club types Electric Minds.
David Moufang has long been one of electronic music’s most underrated producers. Over the years, he’s released on such acclaimed imprints as Warp, Philpot, Compost, Workshop, Modern Love and Shanti, run his own acclaimed label (Source Records, not to be confused with the French label of the same name) and happily skipped between raw techno, jackin’ acid, minimal grooves and high grade deep house, never once putting a foot wrong. It’s some record.
The Hydrophonics EP sees him in typically fine form, laying down another intoxicating blend of deep house moods. As you’d perhaps expect from someone of Moufang’s experience, all three tracks are immaculately produced, with sophisticated use of melody and little compromise to the rules of deep house. Make no mistake, this is house music for the heads – and all the better for it.
The EP opens with “Your Personal Healer”, a loose and languid composition that lazily ebbs and flows from the speakers like a mountain stream. There are pianos, a whisper of guitar (collaborator JuJu providing the licks), reverb-laden vocal snippets and beats that manage to sound spacious despite their rhythmic density. “Things Will Come” is a short exercise in glitchy, off-key deepness; unassuming but quietly impressive, like the best of Moufang’s work. You feel like you’re squinting towards the light whilst listening, as if emerging into the weak morning sunshine after a particularly heavy night out.
Then there’s “Sur Beateau Avec Eric”, an underwater exploration of half-heard deep house beauty that boasts both naggingly weighty low-end wobbles and heavenly melodies that appear to have been beamed down from the furthest reaches of the cosmos. Throw in some whispered sweet nothings from Eric D Clark, and you have some next-level late night business. As usual, the heads will rejoice at Moufang’s mastery. It’s about time everyone else found out what they’re missing out on.
Mutek: Montreal, Canada. June 2-6, 2010
For the last 11 years, something electronically special has been brewing in Montreal. Throughout five adventurous days and nights, Mutek emphatically made a case for being quite possibly the world’s premier showcase for forward-thinking, cutting edge electronic music and digital creativity. Accompanied by its unmatchable array of stunning visual spectacles, this year brought a host of exciting North American artist premieres including King Midas Sound, Ikonika, Brandt Brauer Frick among many others As over 150 artists and acts converged to dazzle and challenge us, it was impossible to take in everything. The following is what intrepid Juno Plus techno warrior Steve Phillips extracted from all the blissful madness.