Richie Hawtin Plots CNTRL College Campus Tour in April

CNTRL Richie_Hawtin

After taking a breather and lying low after he hit a female fan with a speaker at Time Warp NYC at the end of 2014 (an apology was quickly issued), globetrotting techno don Richie Hawtin is stepping out with an interesting tour. Instead of hitting big clubs and festivals, he’s setting his sights on college campuses across America with the intent of educating students about music technology.

Taking a cue from the mixture of daytime lectures on music, technology and performances he conducted with CNTRL in 2012, CNTRL: Individuality & Creativity In Technology-Based Music, running April 15-25, 2015, will descend upon eight colleges and clubs with a more fleshed out program. Ean Golden of DJ TechTools will serve as seminar moderator, and Guitar Center in the U.S. and Moog Audio in Canada will run a five-hour technology marketplace and product demonstrations. Guest speakers include a variety of top-notch artists including Matthew Dear, François Kevorkian, Dantiez Saunderson, Marc Houle and Grimes.

Check the full schedule below. Continue Reading

Richie Hawtin Apologizes After Pushing Fan Filming Time Warp Set Into Monitor

Richie_Hawtin

Techno titan Richie Hawtin, who is known for his typically humble and gentlemanly rapport with his audience, has apologized to a female fan who he hit with a speaker during his DJ set at Time Warp this weekend in Brooklyn, NY.

About 45 seconds into a fan-filmed video (see below), Hawtin can be seen pushing a monitor toward a woman on the stage who was filming his set with a smartphone. According to Hawtin, “It was not my intention that the speaker fell. Only to nudge the monitors in her direction and for her to understand that perhaps she had filmed enough….Sometimes being in the middle of the spotlight, continual cameras and glaring iPhone lights, things can get stressful and frustrating.”

Hawtin issued an apology on Facebook page today after the video went viral last night. Here it is in its unedited entirety:

Regarding the incident at Time Warp in New York this weekend which is being posted and talked about on the web, I would like to apologise here to the girl involved. It was not my intention that the speaker fell. Only to nudge the monitors in her direction and for her to understand that perhaps she had filmed enough. I was as surprised as I’m sure she was when it moved the way it did and the top speaker fell off of the stack. For that, I’m extremely sorry and embarrassed about what happened. This was never my intention. Sometimes being in the middle of the spotlight, continual cameras and glaring iPhone lights, things can get stressful and frustrating. I’m sorry that this frustration took an unexpected turn and took away from anyone’s experience of Time Warp. I have tried to reach the girl to apologise personally but have not yet been able to track her down and will continue to try to contact her.

Kanpai! Richie Hawtin Named Sake Samurai

Richie Hawtin sake samurai

Those who follow minimal techno troubadour Richie Hawtin know that he has a passion for sake, a lovely alcoholic beverage of Japanese origin that is made from fermented rice. He even set up his boutique ENTER.SAKE brand and has been integrating the spirit into his global events. In a ceremony held earlier this month at a shrine in Kyoto, Hawtin was named a 2014 Sake Samurai by the Sake Samurai Association, a council for the Japan Sake Brewers Association. The award acknowledges Hawtin’s understanding, appreciation and promotion of sake through his efforts.

Techno and sake have a lot more in common than most people think. Both are produced by dedicated artisans who constantly draw from past learnings in order to create the best possible end result, sparing no short cuts and never catering to fleeting trends.

richie sawtin sake

Says Hawtin, “The sake industry was filled with small family-run breweries each following their own distinct style with careful and creative thought about each step of the production, much like how our favorite labels dedicate themselves to a certain sound and unique aesthetics.

“At the same moment I learned how the domestic Japanese sake industry was actually in decline with so many young people moving their tastes to beer, wine, cocktails and other spirits, forcing many breweries, some with hundreds of years of history, to close their doors forever. This sparked my imagination of somehow combining my love (and knowledge) of the electronic music scene and the world of Japanese sake in a way to help (in my own way) revitalize the Sake industry and introduce my fans and colleagues into the world of Japanese sake and culture.”

Hawtin added, “To be honored by the wake community for my work spreading the taste of Japanese sake to the international market is humbling and another positive step for my dream of combining music, sake and technology into an immersive experience.”

Kanpai!

Big Shot Guest Mix: Justin James

DJ Justin James

Having spent years meticulously honing his quixotic brand of techno as both a DJ and producer while releasing tracks on Richie Hawtin’s Minus Records and Dubfire’s Sci+Tec, emerging Windsor, Ontario-based technocrat Justin James is spreading his artistic wings by launching his own label, refused. In advance of the imprint’s debut release, James’ Not the Curator EP, and upcoming set at Detroit’s annual Movement Electronic Music Festival, James mixed the latest Big Shot Guest Mix.

Featuring tracks from his new EP and an array of cuts from Monkey Coops, Murk & Frank Oba Lords, Alex Under and Florian Frings, the 13-track session illustrates the variety of musical styles that inform his view of techno. “This mix is a glimpse of what you would see from a night of me at one of my shows,” James tells us in the interview below. “I hope it showcases my diverse interests and encapsulates the sheer joy I have sharing music with people across the globe.”

Justin James’ Not The Curator EP is released May 20 on refused. Catch him on May 17 at the WE.ARE.refused. label launch at Red in Windsor, Canada and the Silent Disco Stage at Movement Detroit on May 24.

Congrats on the launch of your label. What inspired you to start it? What’s behind the name?
Justin James: Thanks so much. I am super excited for the launch of refused. Opening a label, I believe, was important for me to have more say in this special culture. Too often we as artists, rely too much on the opening and closing of doors of others to be able to contribute to the culture we love. Especially when we get closer to the higher organisms of the food chain. refused. is my opportunity to not only showcase some of my own works, but also to share music of great friends of mine and as well as amazing young artists whose music I admire. The hope is with this fusion of artists and music, we’ll cultivate our own family which can positively influence underground dance music.

You’ve released tracks on Minus and other labels. How did these experiences inform how you approached launching your imprint?
One of my dreams that came true is the opportunity to release music on Minus and work closely with Richie Hawtin and his fabulous team. Sci+Tec, Dubfire’s label, is also a special imprint to work with. Both of these labels have been a huge influence for me in developing refused. Their professionalism, foresight, dedication to the culture and commitment to the development of new artists are all things that I will carry with me in the growth of my imprint.

Tell us a little about the label’s first release. What’s in the pipeline in terms of other releases? Are you planning releases from other artists?
refused.’s first release is a four-track EP by myself. It’s an EP is entitled Not The Curator. I’d say it’s a diverse collection along the spectrum of the techno genre. I’ll allow the listeners to categorize them any more than that. The tracks, “Not the Curator,” “Inquire Within” and “Absolutely Necessary” have gained huge support from Richie and were a staple for the whole Enter season in Ibiza with weekly rotation in his sets. “Who’s Your Friend,” on the other hand, is a little more trippy and stripped down.

You’re playing Movement this month in Detroit, the birthplace of techno. What does this particular gig mean to you? How are you preparing for it?
Playing Movement in Detroit will be another dream come true for me. This is a festival that I have frequented since its inception and it has quite literally changed and shaped my life. It’s such an amazing weekend to attend. Attending it as an artist will most certainly be a surreal experience. I’m preparing for it by selecting a two-hour set that will be a great representation of me and what I am about. It will highlight not only the music that I am making and supporting but also an homage to the synergistic relationship in house and techno between my city of Windsor and Detroit.

Please describe what influenced your Big Shot Guest Mix.
This mix is a glimpse of what you would see from a night of me at one of my shows. I hope it showcases my diverse interests and encapsulates the sheer joy I have sharing music with people across the globe. I hope you and your readers will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed recording it and sharing it.

Big Shot Guest Mix: Justin James by Big Shot Magazine on Mixcloud

Big Shot Guest Mix: Justin James

1. Justin James – “In My Mind” (Vox Tool) (Unreleased)
2. Monkey Coops – “Seeing Sounds”(Spartacus)
3. Murk & Frank Oba Lords – “Dark Beat” (Saso Recyd) (Murk Records)
4. Shaded – “Thumppp” (Sci+Tec)
5. Chris Tietjen – “Black Leaf” (Moan)
6. Alberto Ruiz & Hugo Blanco – “Redrum” (Night Light Records)
7. Justin James – “Inquire Within” (refused.)
8. Justin James – “Absolutely Necessary” (refused.)
9. Alex Under – “Inquire Within” (Trapez)
10. Timmo – “Metropolis” (Drumcode)
11. Florian Frings – “Escape” (Minus)
12. Whyt Noyz – “Hemp Seed” (Tronic)
13. Justin James – “Who’s Your Friend” (refused.)

Techno Titan Marc Houle Talks New Releases and Iron Maiden

Marc_Houle-live

It was front-page news in 2011 when Marc Houle, Magda and Troy Pierce announced they were collectively leaving Richie Hawtin’s Minus label to develop their Items & Things imprint, originally a sub-label under Minus’ auspices. The trio of serial collaborators’ reason for departing Hawtin’s camp was rooted in their wish to build their own musical future together. Almost three years later the threesome and Items & Things have been slowly realizing their dreams on their own terms, quietly redefining minimal techno one blip at a time. Houle has kept particularly busy, taking part in a series of collaborations in 2013 with Miss Kittin (Where is Kittin? EP), Click Box (Razzamatazz EP) and an album with synth-pop act La Folie.

“I love making music with other people because it’s such a great feeling when they add stuff that you wouldn’t think of,” offers the Berlin-based Houle. “I’m not sure if it’s had an impact on me but it’s a nice change and anything new in the studio is a good thing.”

This month Houle presents his first solo release since 2012, the Fusion Pop EP. The release features two original minimal cuts and remixes from Magda and I&T artist NYMA. His latest effort arrives during a period of extensive touring, which finds him crisscrossing the world nearly every weekend.

“Traveling around a lot gives you lots of time to think about things, so I’m always making notes to reference when I get home and start working again,” he explains. “Also when you’re away from the studio for awhile you just can’t wait to get back in and make lots of music. So I’m doing this interview right after three crazy shows in Argentina. I’m pretty exhausted from all that partying but it was a really great time playing for people who love music a bit weirder than normal. It’s such a crazy country!”

Houle’s one-man live show continues to evolve in tandem with his forward-thinking and often unconventional production style. His performances leverage the diversity of his DJ sets by utilizing an array of hardware to create a unique experience. “It’s been a very slow change over the years,” Houle says. “[The live show] became more energetic over time and definitely more eclectic. I’ve learned to play different feels and styles depending on the people dancing in front of me. Over the years I’ve brought different pieces of gear with me — synths, drum machines and now microphones — to enhance things and give me more options. I think these days you need to be flexible. In the future, I think I need to concentrate more on the visual aspect of things. It’s almost becoming as important as the music.”
Continue Reading

Compilation Review: ‘minMAX’ (M_nus)

minmax

★★★☆☆

“Minimal aesthetic, maximal techno style” is the banner for a 24-track marathon, set to a universal throb, locking heads in a position facing south. You don’t need any more hints that Richie Hawtin’s M_nus imprint isn’t doing things by halves here. One sitting is probably too much weight to bear; pick and choose your piston-perfect procedurals instead.

Tech-house and deep techno pushing through the pain barrier so it can funk just a little, is of a full, proportioned sound, admonishing the skeletal throughout, but pushing in one direction and for the greater part, one dimension. A lot of accepted traits — particularly winding reverb and duskily filtered chord carousels — show a scientific precision, though it’s not a blanket expo for the robotic and artificial. Of course this makes the roguish inserts easier to trace, and although it doesn’t take much to jump from foundations laid by Theorem and Maxime Leffon, and sonar-powered readings clicked into place by Tripmastaz and 4Yo4u, rough-cut rolling from Gaiser’s bit between the teeth “Trashbend” and Jonni Darko striking out on “Close” become precious queue jumpers, with Joran van Pol’s “Faded” and Pots of Gold’s “Rainbows” skulking in the wings.

Lowered, dubby beats by Valentino, relying on strength and persistence rather than much method, share as much of the same family tree as Barem’s more ambient “Limbus,” underlining how a flick of the wrist divides the reticent and those going flat out.

File under: Heartthrob, Matador, Hobo