Friday, August 27, 2010

Sage Taylor "Raintime" on Pronounce records.

Pronounce records, a DIY label based in Detroit release their third very limited CD album from electronic composer Sage Taylor who is based in Portland Oregon.

What's hard to Believe is an album of this quality is unfortunately limited to one hundred copies, its a sad sign of todays physical market I guess ? I feel the music on here would appeal to wide range of music fans, if it was given a bigger push.

"Raintime" lies somewhere between the minimal classical compositions of steve Reich and Michael Nyman to the dreamy moments of say John Beltran's ambient techno but without the use of 4/4 beats.

I found the overall concept and theme of the album similar to Yagya's "Rigning" which of course is the Icelandic for rain but Sage's work is a very different affair but equally as hypnotic and deeply calming yet delivering a deep sense of meloncholy and emotions that only those wet home bound days can sometimes bring..

A truly essential release that only one hundred lucky people will get to hear, and I'm happy to be one of them..

Phasen "Gainesville"

Lately there has been a lot of discussions regarding the current state of techno music, thanks to the easy access of music making technology and trends like the new wave of so called minimal techno, many veterans in the scene feel that it has opened the flood gates to a new breed of soulless lazy producers, which is causing a lot of damage to the name of techno. This maybe the case for many of todays new and upcoming producers but its certainly not for Florida based Ryan Parmer AKA Phasen.

I first discovered Phasen's music a few years back on myspace music, I was immediately struck by the level of maturity and emotion in Ryan's compositions, as he was only in his late teens. The most obvious influences in his music at this time would have been acts like Boards of Canada, Tycho, etc..

Around this time Phasen was releasing some CDR's through the highly respected U-cover label so I ordered one of the albums which displayed his awesome talent for composing down tempo IDM hip hop styled tracks with some beautifully composed and played acoustic guitar and dreamy synths and quirky electronics, it was a rather stunning collection of melancholic pieces which perhaps captured the spirit of the endless warm days that Ryan would have been immersed in while growing up in the sunshine state.

Over the last few years Ryan has more or less left his early inspirational sound and moved into the techno/house music arena somewhat, but without losing his unique sense of melody and compositional values. Maybe the influence of going out into the atmosphere of Florida's club life has made an impression on him, whatever the reason is, it really shows that Ryan can produce music of any genre which always turns out to be a deeply moving sonic experience of the highest order.

Today the sound of Phasen is a lethal cocktail of House, techno, electro, disco, dub, hip hop ambient and beyond but somehow he manages to effortlessly blend multiple genres into all of his tracks, which can work equally well for home listening as they would for causing dance floor hysteria, thanks to the combination of his stunning key work, deep spacious tones and intricate beats and often cone busting basses. Unlike a lot of producers today Ryan doesn't really care about neatly fitting in to any one genre or scene, so he makes music that borrows influences from everywhere and makes it all his own.

Autumn 2010 sees the release of "Gainesville" on Dublin imprint Dublin Xpress Recordings its a collection of the most imaginative and memorable deep techno, house club friendly tracks that I've heard in some time, which could make some of the bigger producers to seriously consider hanging up their jack leads.

The album opens up with "The Times we Forget" a deep tech house groover that starts off with dub style chords, eerie strings and earth shuddering bass, giving you a sense of uncertainty but then the track takes a serious change in direction with the introduction of some beautiful flamenco guitar and uplifting pads which erases all of your troubles and sets you up for the great journey ahead.

Next up is title track "Gainesville" think Maurizio meets Hardfloor as deep dub techno sounds and rising acid sequences meet with bouncy old school house style piano riffs which only Phasen could pull off with such ease.

"The Truths we will find" opens up with dark sweeping pads and bleeping melodies before taking you off on a solid mid tempo techno groove, again the dub techno influences are strong here but on top of this we are treated to an array of instrumentation not usually associated with this genre, from tapping wine glass melodies and stunning freestyle piano flourishes that will bring Larry Heard to mind.

Towards the end things go in an even deeper direction with "In My House" an emotive electronic symphony that combines lush pad arrangements, deep tech stabs, blues influenced smokey organ refrains and solid grooves and some rather soulful twists and turns which will delight the fans of producers like Chris Brann and The Timewriter etc..

The album comes nearer to a close with the club friendly strains of "Floridian" a bouncy tech/house tune which is full of massive build ups and breakdowns, wobbly basses and sometimes a little on the edam flavored side of melodic.

things finish off with the beautiful but short "Outroduct" which sounds like it could have come from the Icelandic producer Yagya's back catalogue.

The album also comes with a collection of remixes of the title track, the most outstanding remix is from Germany's Nachklangmusik which has the potential of dominating dance floors across the globe.. F.L.O. turns out a lovely mellow ambient dub tech mix, while Ireland's Captain Random keeps it minimal and DJ friendly with his rendition. The collection concludes with a Nacim Ladj remix, which brings it back to a retro acid flavor, with a touch of influence from the likes of UK acid pioneer A Guy Called Gerald.

Over all "Gainesville" is a great and somewhat original collection of groove based electronica that should change a lot of peoples perceptions of what techno and house music has to offer and it also gives you a reason to keep a close eye on Phasen, as I'm sure this is only a little taster of the diverse and emotionally rich music that he has in store for us in the near future and in many years to come....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Anodyne Corrosion remixes EP Out Now!!!

In May 2010 Irish electronica master Colin Cloughley AKA Anodyne returned after a lengthy hiatus with his Corrosion album on Dublin Based Psychonavigation records, "Corrosion" is journey through the dark side of dance music, full of apocalyptic orchestrated synth arrangements with truly dancefloor devastating caustic beats and growling basslines which pays respect to early 90's artists like AFX, Autechre, µ-Ziq and many many more. "Corrosion" is certainly a contender for many electronica fans as one of the best albums for 2010.

August 2010 sees the release of The Corrosion remix EP firstly in the digital format consisting of seven tracks and then in september a limited three track 12" vinyl release featuring remixes from Autechre, The Black Dog and Lackluster. The digital release includes extra remixes by Ed Devane, Mr Spring, Anodyne and Mick Chillage.. This is certainly the greatest collection of big league elctronica names ever seen on an Irish release!!!

Autechre's remix of "Close Your Eye's" sees Manchester's finest go in an old school direction with the use of the infamous "Funky Drummer" break yet paying close attention to keeping the spirit of the original track by adding further key changes in the lush pad sequences and other intricate details.

The Black dogs remix of "Corrosion" starts off in a minimal techno terrain accopannied with bleeping synths and other electronic tones which develops into some deeply cinematic synth action of epic proportions. reminiscent of early Reload/Global communication tracks.

Lackuster turns out probably the most technologically advance remix of them all on his reworking of "707" with his trademarked edited beats and experimental electronics but with that melodic and emotional feel that only Lackluster can deliver.

Ed Devane treats us to a hardcore breaks and bass mash up of "Haze" which should appeal to fans of Venetian Snares etc, while Mr Spring keeps his eye on the dancefloor with his rendition of "Wasteland"

Anodyne's "Chemical Sunset" Mick Chillage Remix [Promo Edit Version] by mick chillage

The EP is available from the following : itunes,,,, and many more..

Sample all the tracks here on the junodownload player

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Guy Called Gerald, a true techno survivor...

Manchester based Gerald Simpson AKA, A Guy Called Gerald is probably one of the best known and respected artists from the UK electronic music scene and one that certainly doesn't belong to any one particular movement as over the years he's jumped from acid house, techno to Jungle etc..

In the late 80's Gerald started out by trying to emulating the electronic sounds of Chicago and Detroit. The results where an infectious mixture of alien sounding afro acid grooves which sounded very unique with only the bare blueprints of the Detroit techno sound left intact. 1988 saw the release of his seminal "Hot Lemonade" album and at around the same time Gerald also worked with fellow Manchester based techno outfit 808 state on the heavily acid tinged techno album"Newbuild"

"Hot Lemonade" featured a version of the 1990 hit "Voodoo Ray" but overall the album really displayed an artist bursting with electronic innovation and it still sounds soulful and futuristic even today.

The early nineties saw Gerald in the top of the Charts with the Haunting tech mantra "Voodoo Ray" and then the release of his second album "Automanik" on CBS records, the album continued with a similar feel to his debut but sounded more polished and accomplished. One of the tracks titled "Untitled" was originally going to be called "Specific Hate" after the alleged lack of credit Gerald got for his creative input on 808 State's chart hit "Pacific" but the record company decided it was better to go with "Untitled" or "Subscape" as on the vinyl edition.

Gerald was pretty much respected for being one of the key acid and techno music UK originators but in 1992 he embarked on a new direction and this time possibly single handily invented the Jungle movement with his proto junglist album "28 Gun Bad Boy" which was full of clattering breakbeats deep sub basses and rude boy ragga chants and of course his trade mark melodies and electronic sound. By the mid nineties "Black Secret Technology" hit the scene, again Gerald displays a truly unique vision of the Drum & Bass/Jungle sound, a deep and dark tribal funk oozing with blues and ethereal ambient vibes yet retaining a street wise sound which certainly set him light years apart from the rest of the jungle scene.

Through the late 90's and early to mid 00's Gerald released some more albums and various 12" etc, his Junglist sound became a little more accessible somewhat, as he ventured into a kind of mature soul vibe which was particularly evident on the "Essence"released through K7 records but he managed to keep his position as a legend of British electronica.

In 2006 Gerald releases an new collection of techno on the Berlin Based label Laboratory instinct, the album "Proto Acid the Berlin Sessions" is a collection of deep techno acid jams with that distinct Gerald Simpson feel, Incredibly programmed drum machines emitting poly rhythms in perfect harmony with synchronized bleeping and buzzing circuits with a dark and soulful edge.

May 2010 saw Gerald returning with another album for the Laboratory Instinct label, this time titled "Tronic Jazz The Berlin sessions" initially I was expecting some sort of conceptual jazz electronica album but we are treated to another excellent collection of moody and soulful floor movers and right from the opening Gerald sets the tone with the stunning dreamy Detroit inspired "People moover" the album pretty much moves effortlessly from gem to gem, the dubby technoid flavor of "The Dip" sees Gerald mixing up the genres of techno and house and beyond with the greatest of ease, then we have tracks like the minimal bass driven stomper "Wow Yeah" The album also includes yet another version of "Pacific" in the shape of "Pacific Samba" well you can never have enough versions of this classic!!!!

The album finishes of with the eerie pulsating arppeggiated sci-fi soundtrack of "Merfed" Ok so Gerald may not be currently releasing groundbreaking material like he did in the past but he has proved that in world full of unidentifiable techno clones that this Guy from Manchester is still more relevant than ever, and he also proves that there is still plenty of life left in this beast called "techno".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is this an ending, the descent for ambient music ?

Yet again the internet has given birth to another overnight sensation, this time its actually a 35 minute piece of ambient music ? What baffles me is how this fairly interesting piece of music has taken off ? I mean most ambient music on the web by a well known artist would be lucky to get a couple of thousand hits per year with one of their tracks, so for an unknown electronic artist with 203 followers on soundcloud to reach half a million in one day its hard to understand how ?

Well I guess the name of teen pop idol Justin Bieber and his hit song "U Smile" has helped somewhat in drawing an audience to this genre of music usually ignored by mainstream followers or could it be the mastermind of some major music marketing executive to further boost the profile of J Bieber by causing a viral sensation ?

Seemingly The track in question was achieved by simply importing the original 4 min pop song into some free software and slowing it down by 800%, which I have to admit the results are pretty interesting. The track now reminds me a little of John Foxx's "Cathedral Oceans" album but without the deeply emotional impact. Some people are claiming this to be the most beautiful ambient track ever created, like the music that could possibly be played on the PA system at the pearly gates ?? Seriously though you wouldn't have to search for a very long time on youtube etc to find ambient music thats far far superior.

Ok so this track could be a very positive thing for the ambient music scene in general or more than likely it could start a worrying new trend, I can imagine already thousands if not millions of people around the world already trawling through their pop MP3 collections frantically time stretching track after track in the vain attempt to find the next instant ambient hit..

So where does this leave the producers of real ambient music ? will everything we produce from now on be judged as some pop song we simply slowed down and called it our own ? or does this open us up to a whole new audience of ambient lovers ?

Hopefully though like all internet sensations, it will be forgotten about in a few days, the major record labels will continue to spew the same old shit, artist like Shamantic will probably never make a buck from his own music and the real ambient music world will continue pleasing their small group of dedicated fans..

Time will tell...

J. BIEBZ - U SMILE 800% SLOWER by Shamantis

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mick Chillage Ambient Journeys Mixes. four hours @320kbps


Heres my first ambient mix, since the "Best Served Chilled" tapes of 94 & 95 and a rather lengthy four hours in total thanks to developments in technology & a substantial collection of ambient music. I decided to split them into two parts and offer the files at 320kbps after getting some feedback on various forums on what is the perfect ambient mix.. I may upload the whole mix in one piece later..I feel this mix is more suited to personal listening rather than trying to chill people out at a social gathering, as it shifts from very dark minimal drones and deep environmental sounds to gentle classical pieces to pure space music & occasionally returning to earth with more emotional compositions . Fortunately due to the very long running time of the mix I was able to included full length versions of most of the tracks while using a repeated theme at various intervals using multi-tracking additional looping & effects.

I hope to create many more "Ambient Journeys" although a title probably a little cliched by now ; )

Mick Chillage June 2009

Ambient mix 1 part A

01 Hal 9000 intro
02 Cyorgy Ligeti: Requiem For Soprano..... "2001 A Space odyssey" O.S.T
03 Jack Dangers : Burbidge Chain "Music For Planetarium" [brainwashed]
04 Lustmord : Metastatic Resonance " The Place Where the black stars hang" [Soleilmoon recordings]
05 Lull : Whiteout "Like A Slow River" [Glacial movements]
06 J.S. Bach : Italian Concerto BWV 971 "Cello Suites" [Apex]
07 Steve Hillage : Garden Of Paradise (excerpt) "Rainbow Dome Musick [Virgin]
08 Aaron Martin and MachineFabriek : Cello Drowning "Cello Recycling / Cello Drowning [Type]
09 Irezumi : Endurance Part II "Endurance [Snowblood]
10 Dots : Dots "Dots" [Rather Interesting]
11 Cluster : Cluster 71 part II (excerpt) "Cluster 71" [Sky]
12 Selstram and Strahler : Waldschrat "^ö^" [Source]
13 J.S Bach : Orchestral Suit No.3 in D Air On A G String "Cello Suites" [Apex]
14 John Foxx : Infinite In All Directions "Ocean Cathedrals I" [Edsel]
15 Johann Johannsson : IBM 1403 Printer "IBM 14CI, A Users Manual" [4AD]
16 Stars Of The Lid : Even If Your Never Awake (Deuxième) [Kranky]

Ambient Mix 1 Part B

17 Murcof : Cosmos 1 "Cosmos" [Leaf]
18 Evan Bartholomew : Reborn We Fluctuate And Fade "Caverns Of Time" [Somnia]
19 Mark Van Hoen : Untitled "Playing with Time" [Apollo]
20 Miles Tilmann : Middle Fields "3D Concepts" [Toytronic]
21 Adagio : Gayane Ballet Suite "2001 A Space Odyssey" O.S.T.
22 James Bernard : Mars Rain "Atmospherics" [Rising High]
23 Gel-Sol : Rainboze "IZ" [Psychonavigation]
24 Goldmund : Anomolie Loop (1960-1969) "Corduroy Road" [Type]
25 Chapterhouse : Beta Phase "Blood Music Retranslated By Global Communication" [Dedicated]
26 Stevie Be Zet : Passion & Hope "Archaic Modulation" [Recycle or die]
27 The Fires Of Ork : The Facts Of Life "The Fires Of Ork" [Apollo]

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nachklangmusik "Stereotype world" EP and remixes

The Highly talented German based producer Nachklangmusik releases his latest EP this time for Irish based DXR recordings.

The EP is released in three parts, featuring six original tracks of deep melodic and moody tech/house groovers effortlessly blending dub IDM and experimental touches throughout. The final EP features three remixes, Artist on Remix duties are F.L.O, Phasen and myself..

Check my remix in full.....
Nachklangmusik "Stereotype world" Mick Chillage remix [DXR] by mick chillage

Just press a button ????

It still shocks me when I mention the term "electronic music" and how some people often react, as if its not a form of real music, as if its some sort of gimmick or novelty music, often comparing it to "Washing Machine music" or making stupid R2D2 sounds with a condescending grin on their faces, as if that sums up all the electronic music ever created.

Yes!! a lot of it is utter rubbish but that can be said about all forms of music and Its not as if electronic music is some sort of a new fad, its roots can be traced back to the early 1900's with sound experimentalist like Ferruccio Busoni etc and it has also become so commonplace in modern day culture that you would imagine electronic music would have been accepted as a valid form of art by now ?

One comment that really makes my blood boil is "oh its not real music, unless its played on a real instrument". Well most electronic music is created by recording a performance played on a keyboard/synthesizer, except for maybe some methods of sampling or those who simply use pre programmed musical elements but in this article I want to focus on those who actually write and compose original pieces.

Lets look at acoustic instruments, they have been around for thousands years, in order to achieve their characteristic sound they are cleverly designed and crafted in a particular way, which was pretty much considered cutting edge technology back when they first appeared.

Just like guitars, clarinets and violins etc, the synthesizer was created as an instrument to have its own unique sound, the only difference was it uses electronic circuitry to create it, and the advantage of the synth is the user can change and manipulate the tones in infinite ways to create an infinite palate of sound. So if you strum or pick the strings of an acoustic guitar it will always sound like an acoustic guitar, you don't actually have to know how to play it to trigger its unique sound, so the same applies to the synthesizer, press one of the keys and it will produce a synth like tone, but tweak some of the dials and you can create many different synthesized sounds.

Unfortunately the synth was somewhat misunderstood in the early days which seems to have resonated right through to today, a lot of users felt it was meant to replace traditional instruments and spent a lot of time displaying how great it was at emulating acoustic instruments, which sadly wasn't the case at all and this use was never the intention of its inventors. Thankfully in the late 60's Walter Carlos released "Switched on Bach" which displayed the works of classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach performed entirely with moog synthesizers, which helped in some way to convince the world that synthesizers where a valid musical instrument.

From the late sixties onwards the synthesizer started to creep into popular culture, a few examples are the jazz scene branched off into the fusion era, mixing traditional jazz with electric guitars and electronic sounds. John Barry used some synths to great effect on His soundtrack to the James Bond movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". By 1974 Kraftwerk released "Autobahn" and the world went synth crazy, jean Michel Jarre's "Oxygene" was an original opus created entirely with synthesizers and it was a huge hit. Film maker John Carpenter scored his movies entirely with synthesizers which greatly added to the atmospheric feel of the films.
By the 1980's Synth Pop was an unstoppable force, but some were still not convinced that it was real music ?

One argument often brandished by the rock purist world is that all synths sound the same no matter who uses them, for example, "when Hendrix picked up a guitar it distinctively sounded like Hendrix", this maybe true but the same can be said with electronica artists, no one else plays synths or gets the same sound like Klaus Schulze or Vangelis, Kraftwerk, Orbital etc..

Then there is the infamous story of one synth pop act who were carrying their Fairlight into the BBC studio to perform on The Old Grey Whistle test, which was spat upon by a member of a popular metal act. So what's the problem if you compose music using electronic devices ? If you write a novel on an ipad rather than a traditional typewriter does this mean the piece of literature is sub standard ?

The composition of music seems to be valued by some by the fact that it was written and played on a guitar or acoustic piano etc and then performed live and recorded, take any of the classical composers before the 20th century many of these wrote music on paper and most of it was intended for an orchestra or choir etc, many of them never actually heard their pieces performed, because they didn't have the luxury of a choir or orchestra at their disposal and chances are they probably couldn't play all the pieces they wrote if all the instruments needed were handed to them, does this devalue their brilliance in any way ?

Electronic music producers these days can pretty much do it all on their own thanks to MIDI and audio based sequencers both software and hardware, basically the sequencer acts like a conductor with an orchestra, the composer, can input notes on a keyboard or notate if they can read and write music and depending on the software.

The sequencer can record each separate performance, then the composer can play it back in a loop which enables the composer to move on to the next element and so forth until all the basic elements are combined. So just like a classical or soundtrack composer may write a piece for a full orchestra, its obvious he/she cannot play all these parts alone, so the notation is handed to each player and the conductor signals them when to come in, the electronic musician/composer can do the same with a computer or hardware sequencer. The sequencer can be programmed to command each musical part when to come in, drop out, rise in volume change of chords etc.

This method of production is not just used by electronic music artists, pretty much most of the music you hear today whether its rock, pop, jazz etc, will probably have been created using a computer sequencer and also many other electronic treatments, so it would be pretty fair to call all music electronic these days.

So its not just a simple matter of pressing one button as some people will often say, just because you have state of the art technology at your finger tips it doesn't equate that you are guaranteed to write masterpieces every time you switch on the equipment, its all down to the talent skill and soul of the user, as yet no machine or computer can write music which can actually connect with humans on an emotional level.

Playing live, Now this is where electronic music becomes most criticized, traditionally live music consists of a drummer, bassist, keyboards, lead guitar singer etc.. I'm focusing on the solo artists in this case. Most electronic music will be performed live with the composer jamming with a sequencer which is comprised of prerecorded elements of the original work.

In recent years most electronic artist will use a laptop and maybe one midi controller keyboard, this is the most hassle free way of playing live, no one wants to take their home studio with them and most cannot afford to hire session musicians to play all the parts individually. This set up enables the artist to perform a live digital arrangement and the controller makes it easier for them to access Fx, mixer controls etc which they can manipulate on the fly or even play some keys if they have it connected to a soft synth or other. Another advantage is that it usually does away with the need for a sound engineer.

Setting up a live set usually involves a lot of preparation, every element of each track has to be recorded into the laptop and perfectly looped and then plenty of rehearsal is important in order to remember when to trigger each element, how to fade in or out etc.. Although it may look like the digital performer is checking emails or on facebook, it is actually taking a great level of concentration and skill and remember its their own music they are performing and not simply playing someone else's work or DJing, which brings me to another issue often encountered by the laptop performer. Say if the artist is performing a live rendition of a melodic down tempo track at a house/techno club, it won't be a surprise if some reveler will come up to the DJ box and ask if they could play something more upbeat : (


this blog is not about trying to convert people into actually liking electronic music but more about trying to dispel the myth that its just a matter of pressing a button to make music electronically. or its not intended to be a definitive history of electronic music. Unfortunately this blog will not be read by those with the rather out dated ignorant attitude, but I am happy that I can get my points across without being rudely interrupted.

Mick Chillage August 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Vakama's "Cyan" Mick Chillage Epic dub mix [nice & nasty] 2009

Vakama's techno monster "Cyan" was the first remix I created for [nice and nasty] and is still one of my personal favorite ambient tracks and is still available from itunes, beatport juno etc..

Vakama's "Cyan" Mick Chillage Epic Dub re-work by mick chillage

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Detroit At Night" by Bellyoftheunderdog

Waterford based Producer and DJ Bellyoftheunderdog presents a mix of late night Detroit inspired techno tunes, featuring tunes from claude young, ian o brien, orlando voorn, jamie behan, dj klaina, trish van eynde, gemini, mick chillage, dj bone & lots lots, lots more! Detroit by night style.

Tracklist coming soon

Bellyoftheunderdog Detroit at night by botud Detroit at night