german

INSIDE THE DREAM MASCHINE: MANEKINEKOD

For anyone who attended the inaugural Alpha-ville festival back in 2009, Eleni Adamopoulou should need no introduction - she's the mother of two projects showcased there, Manekinekod and Magnitophono.
The second edition of Alpha-ville's podcast series, which you can listen to below, sees the Greek musician appear under her Manekinekod guise. While the artist has taken in a variety of genres over the course of her career, it's a basic fascination with the noises that surround us, the ways in which they can be manipulated to form fresh narratives when shorn of their original context, that informs her take on digital sound. The podcast sees her select a diverse range of artists who share in this musical sensibility, building something inspired by concrète but also imbued with an accessible musicality and ranging from the glitchy instrumentals of Flying Lotus to the gauzy analogue throb of Atom TM, via her own fluid soundscapes.

(Listen: Alpha-Podcast presents Manekinekod)

Can you give us some background on your Manekinekod project, how would you describe the music you make?
"Manekinekod was my second music project and has existed since 2007. I created this project to make it a little different than my first one - that was called Magnitophono. I use more industrial beats, narration, and mix it with classical samples. The sound stories are mostly about "digital creatures, machines and futuristic landscapes."

Can you talk about your evolution as an artist? You began with classical before moving into other areas such as jazz and you've even played keyboards in alternative indie bands…
"Knowing not so many things about music at a young age, I started playing classical music first and then tried to explore different ways of thinking through other styles. For me there is always something interesting to explore in all genres of music. Yet I always wanted to create my own sound by mixing elements from everything. Jazz helped me a lot to discover improvisation.
"I also studied music for cinema and did my practice school as a music teacher. I am always fond of things that I don't really know. And that's why I find excitement in music, because you never know enough."

Let's talk about your podcast. Why did you choose these records, did you have a particular goal in mind?
"Choosing the songs for the podcast isn't really because I know these musicians. I just have an affinity with them and the feelings they share. This podcast works like a dream machine and transports me to most of the places I want to go. It is a map of feelings, using my favourite ones."

You play with a lot of moods and textures on the podcast, what attracts you to this broad palette of sound?
"The moments passing by and changing mood and scenery. It is like moving from one place to a new one."

The podcast is evocative of a dreamlike state; it seems quite unanchored and freeform. How does this relate to your own productions?
"This has a lot in common with the way I produce and relate to music. I'm not a huge fan of reality and I feel safe, calm and happy in the music world I create. Sometimes I feel like this "other" planet is a home for my imagination."

There's also a lot of field recordings and snatches of dialogue, your own record Toyland for example contains a spoken word monologue. What is it about these kind of sounds that interest you?
"Field recordings come from old tapes from my childhood and video tapes but since I don't have that much material left I use a lot of digital recordings that I make while travelling. What interests me the most is when I get excited by trying to listen to the sounds of objects, and that I can mix the sounds of different moments. It's like a collage of time that I feel really attached to. For example, while playing and recording one time, a friend came by and rang my bell and this bell was recorded, like it wanted to be part of my song. I really love these unexpected moments where I'm the only one who knows what really happened."

What is the biggest challenge for emerging artists in music?
"The biggest challenge for emerging musicians is time. Time goes too fast and it's not easy to really get into the mood you want and stay as long as desired. If there was no time limit I think we could discover more things about sound, the world and ourselves. It's not easy to concentrate with so much happening around you. But my positive view is when it's the opposite of what you expect it can take you one step further. It would be boring to have everything, perfection is boring. Artists get inspired by this mess we're all in."

What inspires you?
"Good things, bad things, precious stupid moments, lonely nothing, imaginary stories, the stars, a dot, machines, robots, the future, walking in the city and observing people, trying to think what they're thinking, looking closer at objects, repetitive movement, looping unsolved problems, empty spaces, watering the plants with music, children asking and answering without thinking, waiting, sleeping, life staring at me, listening to my heartbeat, a rainbow of screams."

You also have another project, Magnitophono; how does it differ to Manekinekod?
"The difference between my two music projects is that "Magnitophono" is the dreamy melancholic hopeful side, while "Manekinekod" is the side of fear. It is my two different sides, yin vs yang. In Magnitophono I use more dreamy landscapes, while in Manekinekod the sound is more industrial mixed with classical music. I use the flute only for Manekinekod. Also the stories are different, Manekinekod uses more futuristic scary stories, while Magnitophono is still dreaming. Both projects use electronic digital sound."

Who influences you as a producer?
"I'm really fan of Japanese artists for their different perception about sound and structure. Ryuichi Sakamoto is one of my favourite artists, but there are so many artists whose work I admire."

You're based in Athens, how does that city have an effect on the music you make?
"All the things that I miss in Athens inspire me and I try to recreate it in my music. I can't say it's a beautiful city, but it's real. You can see all the imperfections around you but this is the beauty I find. It is my safe cage and I need to paint it again sometimes. I live near the sea, and I love to open the windows and smell it. it is also very easy to meet friends while walking in the centre, as it's a small city I know almost all the musicians there as we are quite few. We gather to share our excitement and dissappointment, too."

What other artists are you currently enjoying at the moment?
"Lukid, Teebs, Kammerflimmer Kollektief, Aoki Takamasa, Greg Haines, Niobe, Lullatone."

Have you any interesting projects in the pipeline that you can tell us about..?
"As Manekinekod my new album Data is completed and it's about to be released.
I gathered all the data of my life these two years and mixed it with abstract cut samples and classical sound melodies. It's my favorite imaginary stories, turned into sound: a newborn toy in a factory, cyborg pets, my speechless mood, a train travelling to space, meeting the shark and some sound definitions about what is output, what is my sound and why monsters are misunderstood creatures. Data is my search engine. The output of my thoughts.
Also, at the moment I'm working as a radio producer for an internet radio in Athens. Soon I'll start recording the next album which is going to be quite different in sound. I'm planning to travel much around Europe this year, to get in contact with other musicians and record more things. This month I am in Berlin working with a video artist, recording samples and playing music with a Japanese friend."

Louise Brailey for FACTmagazine.co.uk February 2010

BACK TO TOP BACK TO TOP

ACTUAL RUSSIAN BRIDES: MISS SLED

Rather than being 'real' Russians per se, Actual Russian Brides are in fact a Sydney-based electronic pop duo who first formed in Berlin back in 2009 whilst working on a Severed Heads cover for an upcoming Clan Analogue tribute collection, composed of Elena Knox (vocals / lyrics) and Lindsay Webb (electronics / production). The twelve tracks that comprise this debut album 'Miss Sled' on Berlin label Brigade Music see ACB pursuing a moody, noirish take on stripped-back electronic pop that draws just as much upon glitchy IDM influences as it does more mainstream synth-pop.
Throughout, there's a curiously unsettling cinematic atmosphere in place on many of the tracks here, with opener 'Puppet' weaving cut-up vocal elements and drum textures into a spidery broken rhythmic bed, the sparse snares tracing a path beneath Knox's obsession / possession-themed vocals as distant icy synth pads murmur in the foreground, adding to the sense of coldly gliding motion.

'Oscillating' meanwhile sees Knox's detached-sounding multitracked vocals wandering through a forest of clicking, stripped-down beats and eerie ambient hums, as almost clinical-sounding analogue synth keys flicker like ghosts at the very edges of the mix. Elsewhere, 'The Shackup' sees Knox dropping a more hiphop-influenced vocal style that's no less icy during the chorus sections as gauzy-sounding synth pads and clicking drum machines glide airlessly beneath the twinkling melodic elements that float throughout, before 'Blame It On The Rain' sees the Milli Vanilli song reworked into a creepy downbeat electronic ballad complete with gothy synth-ambient overtones, that's easily one of the most unexpected moments to be found here. While I couldn't help but feel that some of the more spoken word-oriented vocals occasionally sat slightly awkwardly amidst the more stripped-back electronic production, 'Miss Sled' is a strong debut album from Actual Russian Brides that's well worth investigation.

Chris Downton on cyclicdefrost.com

BACK TO TOP BACK TO TOP

ABREAKTOR: ANY DAY NOW AND

Alex O. gave up making music more than a decade ago. He had dabbled in everything from Jazz to Gabba without ever really feeling like he'd found his voice, and eventually real life took over. But in 2008 he discovered what ten years of development had done to the power of sequencing software and the flexibility of digital synthesis., and found himself back in the virtual studio with a renewed sense of purpose - and this five track EP showcases a distinctive soundworld. Abreaktor is the sound of a man entirely divorced from any specific scene (he lists his influences as Bill Evans, Ozzy Osourne, Richard D. James and Pol Pot), making tough, resonant music of his own. "Terce" welds some truly subtererranean bass frequencies to sheets of white noise, softening the impact with orphaned, technoid bleeps, while "Ercet" threads writhing patterns through vast choral caverns. Potent stuff.

Chris Sharp in WIRE # 309 November 2009

Düsseldorf based sound nerd Alex O. aka Abreaktor focuses on www's extended sociality, such as Web 2.0 and the likes. He posts his tracks on different web forums and then modifies them according to the feedback he is getting. In the end 5 such tracks made it on the EP, and they are cracking, squeaking and clanking weirdly and crazy like the music of Aphex Twin or Squarepusher. It is no straight Techno-Dancefloor-Sound, but more an acoustic Tetris effect made of synthesizer tones and samplings. The extensive sounds occasionally find a room for development. Since we like this we put our thumbs up, Mr. O. and Net Community!
8 Points out of 10.

sallys.net/Musik/Platten/Detail/111585/Demodesaster/ and unclesally*s Mag No. 148

Precise in a completely different way, the electronic compositions of Abreaktor, are glacial in their execution, scratched distorted beats and snatches of melody creating a glitchy ambient pulse that is pleasing to the ear. On the five track EP "Any day Now And", this ambience is broken up with some more insistent rhythms, such as on the creeping paranoia of "Ercet/Frequent Flyer", the downbeat mood maintained for the rest of the tracks.

www.terrascope.co.uk/Reviews/Rumbles_June09.htm

BACK TO TOP BACK TO TOP

TRI-MEH: ENDART

Recorded at the Endart Gallery, Berlin, the appropriately entitled "Endart" is a recording of one of the final concert from performance artists Tri-Meh.
Working between 1985 -1987, the duo of Bernd H and Safy used primitive synths, metal object, guitars, found sounds and prepared loops to create chaos and confusion through sound. Linked to the Cologne avant garde/fashion scene, the music drones, crackles and rattles its way through seventy minutes, revealing a surprising beauty and stillness at its heart, the drones producing an almost spiritual feel to the music, which is easy to get lost in.

www.terrascope.co.uk/Reviews/Rumbles_December08.htm

BACK TO TOP BACK TO TOP

ELECTRONIC SOUND IN PFORZHEIM::
RETROSPECTION OF THE UNDERGROUND

The unique Electronic Sound from Pforzheim has now been released on several CDs.

Pforzheim/Berlin. Botsch?, J.X.? There might be only a few people who remember the names of these two musicians from Pforzheim who have created quite a stir in the mid 1980s with their Post Industrial and Electronic Sound.

Matthias Fischer aka Jordan Xenon, Jassu Xavier or Jinn Xhosa has been living in Berlin for 20 years. With the release of 3 CDs he wants to keep alive the memory of this very specific part of the Pforzheim underground scene.

The CDs are titled "Botsch: Retrospektive 1986-1991", "The Legendary Jordan Xenon Project: Swan Lake" and "Mental Factory: Drowned" and were released by Fischer for the purpose of proofing the existence of the Alternative Progressive music scene in Pforzheim in the 1980's.

The record label "Brigade der besten Qualität" that released these 3 CDs does exist for quite some time now as it was founded in the 1990s by Matthias Fischer and some friends. "In the beginning we were very enthusiastic, but later the project came to a standstill" says Fischer as producer of the label. Now he re-established the label with the intention to bring the music of Botsch (who died on the island of Corsica in 1994) as well as his own material to a wider audience.
The album "Botsch: Retrospektive 1986-1991" was already released in 1995 on vinyl, in memory of Dirk Both who grew up in Pforzheim. Apart from two solo pieces by Botsch there are various songs of the two bands Botsch was part of on the album: Mental Factory and Crash Toys And The Botsch Boys.

In Pforzheim in the 1980s Botsch and J.X. were well known as unconventional fans of the Industrial and Electronic underground scene which was also linked to Pforzheim's Post Punk scene.
"There had been only a few tapes of our music circulating within the scene" remembers Matthias Fischer. Therefore the names of the projects soon fell into oblivion. In Jordan Xenon's opinion (this is one of Fischer's stage names) this is a real shame also because as the present 1980s revival focuses solely on the mainstream of that period of time and therefore does not reflect the whole 1980s with all its diversity and richness. For J.X. it is beyond debate that Pforzheim had a very creative underground scene and presumably the most important band of that period, The Lennons, do still exist.

With the recordings of Botsch's pieces as well as his own compositions and clang experiments that were created as d.i.y.-pratice material and influenced by the Punk and Post Punk movement, Fischer intends to oppose the so called "authentic eighties sound" with something real and genuine from the underground. He would like to put this particular part of the former underground into recognition and to introduce it to today's younger generation.
"Our motivation was the conversion of atmospheres, emotions and sentiments into sounds and electronics. The way we did it was skewed, deformed and distorted and the result can be considered as a sort of "Intelligent Techno of the eighties", comments J.X.

The third CD with the title "Drowned" is anything but mainstream of the eighties also. Originally it was intended as a side project of their other band Crash Toys And The Botsch Boys, but it soon became obvious that Mental Factory developed completely independently.
Botsch and J.X., the forming members of Mental Factory, had been ahead of their times with their experimental style of music - in the 90's and the beginning of the present decade, the sounds once developed by these two guys from Pforzheim could be re-discovered in the music of duos like Mouse On Mars or Autechre.

Ralf Recklies, Pforzheimer Zeitung 10.09.2008

BACK TO TOP BACK TO TOP

BOTSCH: RETROSPEKTIVE 1986-1991

CRASH TOYS AND THE BOTSCH BOYS / MENTAL FACTORY / BOTCH LP
For months now I have this record on my desk and I am struggling to write the review. Not because it’s a bad record (on the contrary!), but rather because it’s hard to write about such a private and intimate affair. The protagonist Botch had been shot by the owner of a camping site on the island of Corsica in 1994. This record is the bequest of his friends to come to terms with his death. The large booklet gives information about the bands Botch was playing in, photos, concert posters, and finally photos of the short-lived friend with a text trying to digest his dead. It is self-evident that it is not easy to just review the music of this record. But on the other hand this is my job.

The photos and concert reviews show that there were a group of friends in the hinterland (Pforzheim and surroundings) who have created something really genuine – exceptional music that only can be created by a clique of capable friends and maybe this is only possible in the provinces of the hinterland.

The music consists of electronic experiments, music on oil drums, car doors, buckets with broken glass garnished with a distorted and degenerated dark blues by Botch himself. These recordings (“happenings of collective noise”) don’t have any flair of sophisticated galleries at all, as they are products of musty youth cellars. They emanate a manic aura which compares to the very early Einstürzende Neubauten, but the sound is completely different and can be compared to bands such as KONTAKTA or AMM. The lust for noise, steel, chink and flirted monotony, as well as for creative and ragged chants manifest in these recordings. The occasion is cursedly sad and maybe now this music will get known to a larger audience. This post-industrial sound is cocooning, angry and cogent in such a way that I have found my belief. Not my belief in God, but my belief in a musical movement that exists beyond all that hip stuff (that’s what BOHREN did their own way as well).

Martin Büsser in ZAP magazine

BACK TO TOP BACK TO TOP

AVANT-GARDE SOUND

Visions of Noise

A sensational gig will be held tonight at the Hammer Mill in Pfinztal-Kleinsteinbach between Pforzheim and Karlsruhe. For the first time, the newly formed experimental band Crash Toys And The Botsch Boys will present their Industrial–Electronic–Sound in front of a large audience. CTATBB were formed in December 1986 and had their first performance at the Youth Center in Eisingen in front of about 100 spectators.

The band consists of eight members. 6 of them are from Pforzheim, one is from Berlin and one is from Stockholm. Their concept is to cause a positive consiousness by expanding a collective sound volume which again is projected by musique concrète. This nihilistic ideology manifests in a mixture of ethnic music, plainchants, rhythms and sounds. Supporting act is the newcomer band from Remchingen Ernie And His Doping Friends doing their debut, and the famous Berlin based avant-garde duo Duck & Cover. Doors open 20:00 h, show starts 23:00 h at Hammer Mill in Kleinsteinbach.

Pforzheimer Zeitung 26/03/1987

BACK TO TOP BACK TO TOP

SLIMY V.D. / FRIENDS OF BARNEY (Split LP)

Benefit release for the arrested Kurdish and Turkish antifascist activists who are accused of the homicide of Nazi functionary Kaindl. Details are given in the extensive booklet of the record. With projects like, this the music is usually secondary and fading behind the political spotlight. But not in this case: both bands go for the “full throttle”. Multi-faceted political Hardcore, sometimes halting, sometimes at high speed. In the end the winner by a hair breadth is Slimy V.D., for being more fascinating and varying in my opinion. Nevertheless, FOB are absolutely above average in their genre, as well. Good record! Good aim!

Der Übersteiger magazine

Purchase is obligatory because all proceeds go towards the antifascists from Berlin who have been arrested or went underground. Self evident with an extensive booklet. Slimy Venereal Diseases are not as radically noisy as they used to be. Instead they have calmed down a lot since singer Glitch doesn't go to the Chaostage any longer and hangs out at techno raves instead.

Friends of Barney (not Rubble!) are ok as well.

Moses in ZAP magazine

BACK TO TOP BACK TO TOP