This October marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Its demolition not only ushered in German re-unification and the end of European communism, but also stimulated a musical explosion in Berlin’s burgeoning techno scene, where pounding rhythms became the soundtrack to a future full that was wide open. The city’s well-established squat culture contributed significantly to the formation of Berlin techno by providing cost-free and ungoverned spaces to throw parties. In this issue of Electronic Beats Magazine, editor-in-chief Max Dax and Robert Defcon interview the squatters, musicians and club owners of the late 80s and early 90s to find out more about the relationship between anarchist politics and electronic music. And who better to anchor the conversation than Alec Empire, who also graces the issue’s cover.
Of course, it’s impossible to delve into the development of Berlin techno without talking about the influence of Detroit. That’s why we also made our way over to the Motor City to talk to talk to Mad Mike, Mike Huckaby, Cornelius Harris, and other seminal Detroiters to find out about the evolution of the city’s various strands of groove, as well as the implications of its impending gentrification.
Also in this issue:
— M.E.S.H. waxes philosophical on the code-heavy sound of TCF.
— A.J. Samuels meets hip-hop’s perennial phoenixes, Mobb Deep.
— Lisa Blanning moderates a conversation between Ben Frost and artist Richard Mosse about their collaboration in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
— Tin Man writes a speculative biography of Roman Flügel’s Happiness Is Happening.
— Max Dax interviews the ever-political Raymond Pettibon.
— Tim Lawrence tells the history of The Lucky Cloud Sound System and how David Mancuso modeled the original Loft party on the arc of an LSD trip.
— Jessy Lanza explains how John Carpenter’s horror movies soundtracked her childhood.
— Dylan Carson talks about why The Bug’s Angels and Devils loops so convincingly.
— Stefan Goldmann discusses the importance of pre-sets and how they’ve shaped so much of the music we listen to today, electronic and otherwise.
— Jackmaster’s Britpop past exposed!
And, of course, always and forever, many more enthralling stories.
As usual, the magazine is both available in English and German, so pick up both copies to practice your weaker language. You can order new or back issues or subscribe by visiting the Electronic Beats online shop. ~
In this issue, risk-taking—be it in the form of harmonic and rhythmic deconstructions of pop music or fighting for gay rights in less than hospitable surroundings—was a central topic of conversation amongst those artists, musicians and curators whose work is more than just a way to make a living. But what is artistic risk? Is it being unafraid to embrace improvisation and play wrong notes? Is it channeling a unique musical voice that teeters between brilliant and embarrassing? Is it simply making a commitment to being a musician amidst the industry’s economic downturn?
For saxophone legend Wayne Shorter, risk is an integral part of the definition of jazz itself. As he tells editor-in-chief Max Dax in a rare extended conversation, “Jazz means: I dare you.” While Shorter isn’t known conventionally as a major influence on electronic music, his involvement in Miles Davis’s second great quintet and fusion pioneers Weather Report helped usher in jazz’s electric turn—itself of central importance for eventual electronic developments in krautrock, funk, disco and beyond. Naturally, this also extends to sample-based music, a point made clear in this issue by none other than RZA, who, while beating the pants off of said editor-in-chief in a game of chess, explained how the Wu-Tang Clan’s size and ego battles are calculated into his risk assessment for recording new material.
Also included in this issue:
– In her first straight Q&A, former Hype Williams member Inga Copeland talks about her standout debut LP, Because I’m Worth It.
– Fatima Al Qadiri and Kenneth Goldsmith discuss the risks and intellectual rewards of copyright infringement.
– Warsaw’s cultural protagonists discuss the city’s changing attitude towards memorializing the past in our quarterly city report.
– Martyn talks about the significance of Joey Anderson’s history as a dancer on his debut LP After Forever.
– Legendary DJ and producer François K gets philosophical about his long running club night Deep Space in our new quarterly club report, edited by Lisa Blanning.
– From Patrick Cowley to John Barry’s Thunderball Bond OST: Heatsick discusses what he listened to on his recent world tour.
– Hudson Mohawke describes what it’s like working with his style icon, the man behind the man in the mirror, Quincy Jones.
– Former hobby-squatter turned EB cover story MØ gets candid about pop-trap, working with Diplo and changing musical identity.
– German artist Rosemarie Trockel compares Kreidler’s new album ABC to “the most beautiful physics.”
–MGMT’s Ben Goldwasser recounts meeting Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek, aka Ramona Lisa, through Craigslist and the emotional power of her LP Arcadia.
Plus much, much more. So go get your read on—we dare you.
You can pick up both the English and German editions, or subscribe, by visiting the Electronic Beats online shop. ~
Despite Berlin’s mild winter this 2014, the Nordic sun was not enough for Electronic Beats Magazine to stay put. And why should we? Intrinsic to presenting the oral history of electronic music and culture is travel, and there is no soundsystem too far flung or strand of dance music too obscure to experience live and direct. This also ties into another important piece of information, which is the launch of our new German language issue, available from March 22 at newsstands all over Germany, Austria and Switzerland for 4.50 EUR. The German issue is identical to the English issue in every way except for language, and proudly flies the flag of serious corporate publishing dedicated to an ideal of collectable and sustainable print media.
For die-hard EB readers we recommend reading both at the same time… just cus.
Anyhow, in January we packed our bags and flew to Rio de Janeiro to see how the city was coping with protests surrounding the preparation for year’s World Cup. In Brazil, currently South America’s largest and fastest growing economy, various cultural protagonists, from Paulo Cézar and Caetano Veloso to artist Renata Lucas and leftist watchdogs Mídia Ninja, were eager to voice their opinions about gentrification in the country’s various favelas and the bigger picture of the country’s social and political “progress”.
In another hemisphere which might as well have been another planet, the Sun Ra Arkestra’s band leader Marshall Allen spoke to editor-in-chief Max Dax and saxophonist Andre Vida about futurism and how their Philadelphia commune (formerly run by Sun Ra himself) encouraged a stringent but far-out approach to sound. However, as Allen explains, free jazz was never about doing whatever you want, but rather following cosmic rules—if for no other reason than to avoid Sun Ra’s famous punishments.
Speaking of punishment: Wyndham Wallace spoke with Alison Goldfrapp in London about her taste for nuns and recording in bucolic seclusion. Not to be missed.
Also featured in this issue:
– A.J. Samuels and journalist/photographer Francesco Sbano travel to southern Italian region of Calabria to talk to the members of the ’Ndrangheta mafia organization about the hypnotic, droning and highly codified rituals of the tarantella.
– Danish duo Den Sorte Skole discuss their critically acclaimed but utterly uneconomical habit of using thousands of samples from music around the world . . . without clearing a single one.
– Boy George elucidates his ongoing obsession with style icon Bob Dylan.
In our recommendation section, bass music experimentalist Lotic talks about Houston pride and Beyoncé’s recent video album; The Bug sings the praises of Ekoplekz; Swans’ Christoph Hahn contextualizes Automat’s latest Berlin-themed release; David Strauss deconstructs De La Soul’s Valentine’s Day back catalogue giveaway; Daniel Jones celebrates the return of HTRK, and much, much more.
So sit back, turn off your electronic devices, take a deep breath and maybe your consciousness will follow.
You can pick up both the English and German editions, or take out a subscription, by visiting the Electronic Beats online shop. ~
Surrounded by larger-than-life images of cover story Alison Goldfrapp, Telekom’s Head of International Music Marketing, Ralf Lülsdorf and EB editor-in-chief Max Dax teamed up with editors A.J. Samuels and Robert Defcon to discuss the Spring 2014 issue at the launch of the German language edition of Electronic Beats Magazine held in Berlin’s famed Do You Read Me? shop.
Holly Johnson, the legendary singer of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, once said: “I get buzzed off the fact that Andy Warhol’s heard of us, because he gets buzzed off the fact that Picasso had heard of him.” A few months ago, Electronic Beats editor-in-chief Max Dax wondered if H.P. Baxxter gets buzzed off the fact that renowned German painter Albert Oehlen had not only heard of him, but also uses the Scooter frontman’s chants and slogans in his paintings. This led to gathering the two pillars of high and low art for our cover story. Hopefully, the other interviews and conversations in this issue will be as edifying.
Appropriately, they focus on artistic balance—not only the aforementioned high with the low, but also the hallucinogenic with the sober, the functional with the academic, and the self-aggrandizing with the painfully shy. Here’s an overview:
– Darkside’s Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington meet up with psychedelic figurehead Daniel Pinchbeck to discuss ayahuasca rituals, musical manifestations of shamanism and telepathic communication.
– Rabih Beaini argues for the continuing relevance of Afro-futurist ideals in his review of NRSB-11’s Commodified.
– The New Yorker’s Richard Brody praises Claude Lanzmann’s The Last of The Unjust for rehabilitating controversial figure Benjamin Murmelstein.
– Ricardo Villalobos decries Babylonian tendencies and needless categorization in thinking about music.
– We report on our 72 hours in Hamburg, including interviews with Dial/Smallville’s Lawrence & Small People, Bureau B’s Gunther Buskies, FSK and HFBK’s Michaela Melián, ethnomusicologist and mafia music expert Francesco Sbano, ZickZack’s Alfred Hilsberg and more.
– Dr. Charles S. Grob describes his research administering psilocybin to terminally ill cancer patients.
– Cosey Fanni Tutti tells all, from A to Z.
– Trent Reznor tells us how Johnny Cash became his style icon.
The new EB Magazine is out in just a few weeks, so why not order a copy (or four)? We hope you love it, because we had a blast putting it together. It may not keep your body warm this winter, but it should definitely heat up your brain. ~