Fascinating Rhythms
October 3, 2003 4:01 PM   Subscribe

For over a decade, reclusive Berliners Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald have published a distinctive style of minimalist techno through Basic Channel and several other labels based out of their record store. In 1996, they expanded into dub with Burial Mix, a series of 10"s featuring long-lost reggae vocalists. (They've also begun reissuing out-of-print releases by NYC's Wackies.) Although their vinyl-centric releases have always been relatively underground, they may soon be reaching a wider audience thanks to a domestic (US) release of their latest CD comp by Asphodel. Also see the latest issue of The Wire for a new quasi-interview.
posted by hyperizer (15 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Who wrote that commercial?
posted by thekorruptor at 4:13 PM on October 3, 2003

There are millions of bands, what makes this labels bands worth a MeFi FPP? Background, relevance, context. Any samples?
posted by stbalbach at 4:39 PM on October 3, 2003

It's not a commercial, I'm just a fan. Samples at Boomkat. Background, relevance, context: read the article in the first link. Plus, I think a collaboration between German and Jamaican artists is pretty unusual. These guys have a unique style which has been extremely influential in the world of electronic music. I've been collecting their stuff for years.
posted by hyperizer at 5:31 PM on October 3, 2003

Because Basic Channel was one of the greatest Techno labels of all time? Cut off from the mainstream of world electronica in the US, it's often easy to forget that Germany is the biggest engine of electronica in the world and the "capital" moved from Frankfurt to Berlin some time ago. Mitteleuropa is where the action is, my friends!
posted by meehawl at 5:35 PM on October 3, 2003

They're one of those groups that are a cornerstone of their field, and at the same time, incredibly reclusive. The new interview in The Wire makes for a total of maybe two. They've made a similar number of live appearances, famously playing hidden behind a screen at Lost.

They're incredibly important w/r/t modern electronic music. The original series of 9 records linked dub, krautrock, classical minimalism, and techno, and inspired a whole scene (Pole, Monolake, Scion, Vladislav Delay (aka Luomo), Various Artists (yes, that's a name), Arovane... ). Mike Ink, Thomas Brinkmann and Richie Hawtin have all produced similarly closed series of minimal techno records. Hawtin's Consumed album is so close to the Basic Channel blueprint, it hurts.

Samples from the cd compilation of the primarily ambient material here. While the more dancefloor orientated material is collected and mixed here. Maurizio's solo work collected, first Burial Mix compilation, and the Rhythm and Sound compilation, all with samples.

Music to make hypocritical old farts go "that's not music!"
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:22 PM on October 3, 2003

Great post...thanks, Hyperizer!
posted by 40 Watt at 6:31 PM on October 3, 2003

[ this is good ]
posted by monkeymike at 6:53 PM on October 3, 2003

Background, relevance, context. Any samples?

It all goes back to Sonic Youth. In the mid-90s Asphodel was the clearinghouse for a genre of electronic music called 'illbient', a movement of disturbed ambient sounds that borrowed from dub, hip-hop, and drum and bass, and was tightly coupled with the new york multimedia art scene. Illbient earned the most visibility through the work of DJ Spooky and We(tm), and Spooky in turn received the highest visibility from collaborations with high-profile artists such as Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.
posted by eddydamascene at 6:59 PM on October 3, 2003

My only criticism of the new compilations, is that the bass isn't as bowel shatteringly deep as the original 10"s. King in my Empire, played through a decent system, should be classified as a weapon of mass destruction.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 7:00 PM on October 3, 2003 [1 favorite]

It all goes back to Sonic Youth.

That's ... not my understanding.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 7:23 PM on October 3, 2003

It all goes back to Sonic Youth.

I totally agree..
posted by boredomjockey at 7:45 PM on October 3, 2003

These cats run in the same circle as Pole, correct?! Thanks for the post, I'm off to the record store!!
posted by black8 at 11:11 PM on October 3, 2003

IIRC, Pole used to cut records for them at Dubplates & Mastering. The new "interview" (no recording, no quotes), in the current issue of The Wire is fascinating stuff, if you're even remotely interested in this stuff.

...and strangely enough, completely omits Sonic Youth's contribution.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:11 PM on October 4, 2003

Germany is the biggest engine of electronica in the world

That figures.
posted by jonmc at 3:12 PM on October 4, 2003

Piss off grandad.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:22 PM on October 4, 2003

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