Missed the past 691 episodes of our daily feature, the ‘EB Favorite of the Day’? No problem, now you can catch up with it every Sunday!
Our weekly column, ‘EB Favorites of the Week’, collects seven songs that we’ve ‘liked’ from the past seven days.
SUNDAY, March 3, 2013 | M.I.A. – “Matangi Mix for Kenzo”
There’s nothing like a smashing Bollywood soundtrack for your fashion show. With “Matangi”, our favorite Tamil-British artist Mathangi ‘M.I.A.‘ Arulpragasam delivered a slamming, nine minute long mini-mix for fashion outlet Kenzo’s Fall 2013 show at Paris Fashion Week. Get ready for a wild ride through exotic terrain.
MONDAY, March 4, 2013 | Cubenx – “Francouer”
I had the pleasure of meeting Mexican producer César Urbina aka Cubenx in 2011—a lovely fella! The Infiné-signed artist is currently working on new material, and his new, dreamy, Montmartre-inspired house track “Francouer” was just the right thing to ease us into the new week.
TUESDAY, March 5, 2013 | Sinkane – “Warm Spell” (Barker & Baumecker Alt2 Remix)
Ostgut Ton artist and Berghain/Panorama Bar resident ND_Baumecker has a knack for pop music, both when it comes to his late DJ sets at Pannebar and when he’s (re)working other people’s music. His joint remix with fellow musician Sam Barker for DFA’s Sinkane is one of those pop-meets-techno-meets-epic-choral-elements moments which gives you goosebumps.
WEDNESDAY, March 6, 2013 | Rustie – “Slasherr”
A new single from one of 2011’s most profiled future bass producers. Just imagine yourself inside a packed club, wait for the (*ahem*) ‘drop’ at 0:52, and think of everyone going wild. We need to catch up with this guy live sometime soon!
THURSDAY, March 7, 2013 | Vladislav Delay – “Lumi” (Edit 2013)
Originally published on his Whistleblower album in 2007, this new, fragile, and intimate edit of “Lumi” is the perfect musical antithesis to the rest of this week’s favorites.
FRIDAY, March 8, 2013 | Justin Timberlake – “Suit & Tie” (Four Tet Remix)
Haters gonna hate! FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006) was one of my favorite contemporary pop albums, and I’m not ashamed of admitting that Four Tet’s new JT rework works perfectly fine for me.
SATURDAY, March 9, 2013 | Chateau Marmont – “The Maze” (Chrome Canyon Remix)
Balearic disco alarm! Don’t listen if you dislike cheesy synths and big pop moments. Still, deal with this: there’s nothing better on a cold winter day like this than imagining yourself on a beach reclining in a deckchair while having a drink out of a coconut.
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Happy holidays! By the time you’re reading this you’ve probably already unwrapped your Christmas gifts and finally sobered up from a boozy yuletide shindig with friends. Let’s just hope you saved some of the money you’ve got for Christmas as a present, because you’ll need it to invest into the records listed below. It’s far from complete, but I think it works nicely as a kind of mind map to my musical taste of the last 12 months or so. For one thing, these are the songs that stuck in my mind the most (and for another thing, I’ve also scrobbled these quite often to my Last.fm profile). My favorite songs of the year aren’t listed in a particular order, hope you don’t mind…
THE NARCISSIST by Dean Blunt feat. Inga Copeland
Released on the album The Narcissist II by Hippos In Tanks
Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland definitely lived up to their other name—Hype Williams—in 2012. Their stripped-down, lo-fi music hints towards rhythm & blues, but at the same time feels futuristic. This song is possibly my favorite duet of the year—very intimate, hypnotic and touching.
FOREVER DOLPHIN LOVE (EROL ALKAN’S EXTENDED REWORK VERSION 2) by Connan Mockasin
Released on the single Forever Dolphin Love by Phantasy Sound
This track—just like the last year—feels like a constant rollercoaster ride: from the lows to the highs—and backwards. I’d like to thank Erol Alkan for not making a rave monster out of this track, but instead turning it into a friendly afterhour soundtrack.
INSPECTOR NORSE by Todd Terje
Released on the EP It’s the Arps by Smalltown Supersound
If you haven’t danced to this analogue synthesizer-driven cosmic and disco monster of a song during the past 12 months, then you must have been living under a rock.
CRUSHING SHELLS by John Roberts
Released on the EP Paper Frames by Dial Records
This is classic Dial sound, but then again it’s not quite. John Roberts keeps manipulating the rhythm, looping and reverberating it. The fine selection of sound samples had me listening over and over again.
GRASS by Cubenx
Released on the EP Grass by Infiné Music
I already liked Cesar Urbina’s album On Your Own Again (2011), and I especially liked “Grass”. “It’s an explanation of how I was feeling during an experience of salvia divinorum”, Cubenx told me in 2011. I can guess what he’s referring to. Actually, it’s giving me ideas…
TIMEAWAY by Darkstar
Released by Warp Music
I already told you about this one: I picture the music being played from a music box, with a porcelain ballerina dancing on top of it. Only that the ballerina isn’t wearing a tutu, but raddled jeans, a dirty trench coat and has oily hair. Get the picture?
TRIO VON AUSNEHMENDER HÄSSLICHKEIT by Jacques Palminger & das 440 Hz Trio
Released on the album Jazz & Lyrik by Staatsakt
I guess you need to be German to get this kind of humor. Hamburg-based singer Heiner Ebber released a Jazz album earlier in 2012. I love it. Especially because of its humor.
SMALL TALK (FOUR TET REMIX) by Ultraísta
Released on the single Smalltalk Remixes by Ghostly International
Hit! Makes me wanna have more… still!
YET AGAIN by Grizzly Bear
Released on the album Shields by Warp Records
I’ve waited eagerly for this album. Grizzly Bear have been favorites of mine since their debut album Horn of Plenty in 2004 and they never seem to let me down—especially during the cold days of the year.
WAS FÜHLST DU by DJ Koze
You don’t know this song, because it never leaked. Maybe you’ve heard of the latest Koze-track “Maulguss”? If the answer’s yes, chances are good that you’d also know what “Was fühlst du” feels like. Kozalla sings: “Hey / was fühlst du / bist du nice angegeilt / Hey / du bist mein geiler Digger bist du / heute Abend wird gesoffen”. It’s same same, but very different! Digger bist du!
As a bonus: here are my top ten albums of 2012, in alphabetical artist order:
– Actress, R.I.P.
– Chromatics, Kill For Love
– Dirty Beaches, Badlands
– Gonzales, Solo Piano II
– Grimes, Visions
– Grizzly Bear, Shields
– Health, May Payne 3 OST
– Mala, Mala in Cuba
– Jacques Palminger & das 440 Hz Trio, Jazz & Lyrik
– Phantom Ghost, Pardon My English
Photo: © Elena Klein
It was one hour in to the first of three highly anticipated Berlin shows from Apparat, when the young man passed out. The bass was heavy, the air a bit stuffy and the young man got a bit too excited. No worries, he soon recovered shortly after but it seemed as if this incident was a mirror image of the Apparat Band‘s intensity.
— BarbNerdy (@Barbnerdy) December 19, 2011
The opening night at Berlin-Kreuzberg’s Hebbel am Ufer theatre started early. Mexican producer Cubenx brought his debut album On Your Own Again to the stage and was joined by contributor and friend Alfredo Nogueira. Cubenx warmed up the crowd well, although his slow and intimate electronica and folk influenced tracks made people sit on the floor rather than making them shake. Still, tracks such as ‘Grass’ were even more powerful in this setting.
At around 9:15pm, Apparat and his Band entered the stage. There was tension in the air, but of the positive kind. Starting slowly out with older works from albums Walls and Arcadia, Ring then moved onto more recent material from his Mute Records released The Devil’s Walk record.
/ WHERE I GO, I GO ALONE. I’LL BE SAFE CAUSE THIS IS HOME. / (danke, apparat)
— Lisa Rank (@kumullus) December 20, 2011
A stripped down version of ‘Song of Los’, then songs such as ‘Ash/Black Veil’ and ‘A Bang in the Void’ followed this intimate and emotional section complete with a live string section. Sascha’s voice, guitar play and effect machines were in total harmony with the drum section, the single bass drum pinches and the classical musicians. Can we call this epic, please? Goose bumps ahoy! Oh, and there was dancing a bit earlier: Apparat played ‘Rusty Nails’, part of his collaboration project with Modeselektor known as Moderat.
The first part of the show closed with ‘Escape’, but it didn’t take long until the band was back to the stage for an encore. After a handful of tracks, Sascha asked Soap&Skin to the stage, with whom he collaborated on the track ‘Goodbye’ – could there be a more fitting closing title? We guess not!
Whoa this was a pleasant surprise. Thanks, @apparatofficial!
— Jens Nikolaus (@jensnikolaus) December 19, 2011
What followed was roaring applause, a very happy audience and two further nights with Apparat at Hebbel – on Tuesday Markus Popp aka Oval opened up, the last night saw support of T.Raumschmiere‘s band Shrubbn.
We at Electronic Beats would like to thank all of you for a great year in 2011, and add special wishes to everyone who joined us for the grande finale of Sascha Ring’s Electronic Beats recommended ‘The Devil’s Walk’ tour. See you lot in 2012 with even more great artists and live events.
@apparatofficial THANKS for the concert in Berlin today!!!! it was just PERFECT!!! DANKE and come back soon!!!! <3
— Patricia Aguilar (@4patricia6) December 20, 2011
Inbetween two breakups, César Urbina decided that it was time to reboot his production habits. Instead of focussing on rhythm, the young Méxican producer went back to his post punk roots and focussed on melody and handmade sounds. He has just published his first full length album on Agoria‘s InFiné Music label and besides that he has collaborated with Apparat and remixed Aufgang. We caught up with César aka Cubenx and learned, that a 43-year-old Scott Walker song and a New Order record can turn a career upside down.
César, how come that you’re first proper album comes by the title of Scott Walker’s song ‘On Your Own Again’ from 1968? Walker’s original is just a little bit shorter than two minutes. Why did you pick this tiny sequence from Scott Walker’s massive body of work?
I’ve been listening to Scott Walker over and over again during the past years, his records 4 and 3 are very great albums to me. But especially with this one, there was a connectio to it. I was returning from Europe, and in New York during a turnover of my flight. The moment was very intense after breaking up with my girlfriend in Berlin in 2007. When I was listening to it in Shuffle mode, the lyrics fitted perfectly.
Have you listened to this one previously or was it one of those moments, when you really listen and understand, what the artist is reaching for?
I don’t remember that I’ve listened to this one before, so I think it was new to me in both directions. It was a very poetic moment to me that winter, at the airport in New York, alone, the city caught in ice, and Scott Walker singing about grey buildings and departure … And later then, right in the moment when I was finishing up the album, I broke up another girlfriend. It was the day of the album’s mixdown, the studio was already booked, and i was emotionally fucked up, depressed and melancholic. Then there was my lifestyle of moving every six months, from Berlin to México, moving within the country to different places, me being without work. I figured On Your Own Again was a perfect title.
This song is like a start and an end point for your album then?
Exactly. Right after returning from Berlin, I started working on new material, and finished in April 2011 after the last breakup …
Did you have an artistic direction for the album in the beginning?
Not too much. My first album The Cold Swells was mostly stuff I made over the years, kind of a compilation. I wasn’t thinking of a concept or a certain sound and mood for the album when I started working on it. I just let go. I once spoke to Sébastien (Devaud, aka Agoria) when he was visiting México. I asked him for advice, and he just replied: “Just don’t care, just do what comes out. Do it, make it sound good, natural, and put in whatever you like – we’ll figure out which songs work …”
That sounds like a hell of an advice when you’re looking for a creative direction …
Indeed! This is the reason why there are dance tracks as well as dreamy shoegazer and ambient tracks. Without a direction, it was a very honest way of composing …
But there are only two or three dance tracks on the album, pieces that might work inside a club, such as ‘Wait & See’ or ‘Lovebirds’. The album itself has a much more post rock feel to me. Or even score music, without being desultory, of course. And then I learned that you actually did film music in 2009 …
Ah, yeah … Actually I was working on this project at the same time as the album. I did the music for a short film, which is now on tour in Canada with a good friend, the director of the movie. But the main thing of the musicality of my own album was that it was always driven by musicality, and not so much by rhythm. My earlier approach was always rhythm-based, the texture, sound design and engineering. But I wanted to leave this behind and focus on the melody. To build up tracks from the piano controller, and later creating the rhythms. This is the thing that holds everything together, melody was always very important as a starting point.
And how did you record the record? With a computer or did you actually play all the instruments yourself?
I used a wave piano and guitar controllers pretty much. I finished up all the details on the computer of course. But a lot of the recordings came from experimental sessions. In ‘Noir’, an ambient track, there is a lot of distortion in the beginning, because we were recording an old Juno synthesizer during a jam session late at night. That was a very dark moment in my friend’s studio. He asked me: “Can you use this synthesizer, it’s a bit broken?!” He recorded this in Pro Tools, it was a 45 minute session in total and I picked my favourite bits from and included the stem on the song. A lot of my music came from this kind of rock approach, rather than from designing with a mouse. It felt better like this.
Have you been playing in bands before?
Yes, during my teenage years. That was nice, but it wasn’t too important for my artistic development. I didn’t relate too much to the sound of mexican rock’n’roll or electronic music. I don’t sound very local, I guess.
The only obvious references to your home seem to be some of the track titles …
There is an intention, or inspiration from the psychedelic side of México. The title ‘Sueña Con Venados’ for example is an old cult imagery, an ethnia in México that still do their rituals in the desert, taking the mescaline or peyote cactus. Their ritual is the consumption of these, then going to the desert and confessing their sins. It’s a very serious thing that is also very controversial, the police tries to stop them since it’s a controlled thing. “Venado” is like a symbol in this tradition: the guardian of the cactus. There’s also the scorpion, a guardian of care. There is a big variety of symbols from this tradition, which was an inspiration for the song. It’s a very long track with acoustic sounds, the strumming guitar resembles being lost in the desert to me. Kind of like a trip, but I’m not speaking of an experience. There is another track called ‘Grass’, which is about a first person psychedelic experience …
Cubenx – Sueña Con Venados by Electronic Beats
The one with the piano and slide guitar …
‘Grass’ is an explanation of how I was feeling during an experience of salvia divinorum. This one’s kind of serious, but with an respectful approach.
You previously mentioned that your background in bands didn’t have a big effect on your musical direction. But while listening to the track ‘These Days’ I was very much reminded of post punk, specifically because of its bassline and 80s feel.
The sound of 4AD records, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Peter Hook … All these were so important to me. I think for me it all started with Joy Division and New Order. Joy Division was an introduction to straight forward rock’n’roll to me, and New Order was the perfect explanation of how electronic music and rock can come together on the dancefloor. As a teenager, this was the start of everything. And I think I’m heading more and more to this kind of music production. I love the term ‘epic’. Even when making techno, I can’t escape from using epic sounds.
A huge source of inspiration came from my hometown, Uruapan, which is a city in the state of Michoacàn. This area has a very high grade of migration to the U.S. since a hundred years ago. Younger generations were born in the United States, especially in California and Chicago, and they would come several times a year to visit my hometown. So, long before the internet, these guys were very important for musical distribution. They would bring the whole catalogue of 4AD, Bella Union, Beggar’s Banquet, and we had these a month after they were out. When I was 15 years old my friends were 20, and they had all these records. Everyone around me was obsessed with music and clothes, such as Doc Martens and Fred Perry. Great people! After moving to university in Puerto Vallarta i was kind of disappointed that the city only has reggaeton and popular clubs for US tourism …
Cubenx – Grass by Electronic Beats
What did you study there?
I’m an engineer in communication. The university was next to the beach. Culturally speaking, the city is boring, there’s no real cultural life pesides partying. But the landscape’s very important to me. And Sascha recorded there …
You’re talking about Sascha Ring aka Apparat?
He was playing MUTEK festival, and a friend asked me if I could give one of their artist a lift. I met Sascha at the airport and shuttled him around, this is how we became friends.
You also share a singer with Apparat: Alfredo Nogueira, who previously worked with Telefon Tel Aviv …
We all met when Apparat was recording his most recent album The Devil’s Walk. It was all very relaxed with the guys, especially with Fredo. He sent me over some music of his, and then there is his project called Endian, it sounds like My Bloody Valentine made for the year 2011. So we decided to collaborate for the track ‘These Days’. He wrote all the lyrics, recorded and engineered himself singing and sent the whole thing over. It all went that well, we decided to do a second album together.
‘On Your Own Again’ by Cubenx is out now on InFiné Music. Besides some dates (see below) in France and Spain, he’ll be playing as support during Electronic Beats Recommends Apparat in Berlin.
December 3rd FR-Rennes – Bar en Trans (dj)
December 9th ES-Barcelona – Apolo w/ Apparat
December 10th FR-Paris – 48h InFiné Music @ Point Ephemere
December 15th FR- Toulouse – Café Connexion
December 19th DE-Berlin – HAU w/ Apparat (sold out)
Photos: © InFiné Music / Homero Ramirez / Baptiste Leonne
Good news for Apparat fans – two additional Berlin shows have been organized as part of the Electronic Beats Recommends Apparat Band tour. Taking place at Hebbel Am Ufer on the 19th, 20th and 21st of December, this is an early Christmas present for all of our Berlin fans, but you best be quick as the 19th and 20th have sold out already. Supported by Cubenx and Oval plus some very special guests this is a concert you really don’t want to miss out on.
You can buy tickets here, but in the meantime check out some clips of the man they call Sascha in action.