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 →
“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.
Movement Electronic Music Festival has announced the first phase of artists playing its annual event at Detroit’s Hart Plaza taking place over Memorial Day weekend on May 25-27. While the first group of artists includes many of the usual suspects (Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson), the bill features plenty of interesting bookings including producer/saxophonist Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salker (Big Gigantic), John Digweed, Andy C, Luke Slater/Planetary Assault System (live) and bass acts Noisia, Mala and Hatcha.
Obligatory press gush from Chuck Flask, artist coordinator for the Movement Electronic Music Festival: “This year’s lineup is a reflection of artists that have been redefining electronic music for decades and those that continue to push the boundaries of the genre.”
Tickets for Movement are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting Movement’s website. The cost for a three-day weekend pass is just $79 and grants fans general admission access to the festival grounds with in-and-out privileges. The cost for a three-day VIP pass is just $199 and includes many extras that can be found on the website.
Check the trailer and full lineup below.
Phase 1 Lineup
A Tribe Called Red
Ben Klock b2b Marcel Dettmann
Brendon Moeller aka Ecologist
Derrick May & Kevin Saunderson
Luke Slater / P.A.S. Live
The M Machine
Tommy Four Seven
Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of America yesterday, later wreaking havoc on New York City, the city Big Shot calls home. Though some residents initially dismissed the storm as a nonevent due to Hurricane Irene failing to deliver its predicted wrath, the Big Apple went through a night of heavy rain, flooding, high winds and displacement of residents due to blackouts.
DJs were on Twitter all night discussing the historic storm as it happened. New York jock Tommie Sunshine served as a repository of storm related information, passing along breaking news to his followers. Others like AC Slater provided levity by joking about filling up bathtubs with champagne while locals like rekLES (“On the roof in Flatbush…wind almost knocked me down.”) were actually caught in the brunt of the hurricane.
Here are some of the most interesting tweets from a night New Yorkers won’t soon forget. Stay safe everyone!