In today’s transient net-driven culture, where the secret stuff you like now is aborted as bad taste as soon as it hits the mainstream tomorrow, it’s nice to go back to the classics:Red planet: LBH-6251876 / Listen to this in a poly Prada shirt and parachute boots sipping ginger juice watching NBA on a projector

Back in the early open 90s, before techno turned into a stale format like jazz or blues, complete with fixed stylistic trappings, rules and sub-genres, the ultimate peak-time tools for the upfront DJ was the mystic, very collectable Underground Resistance 12″ singles (pictured). Mastering the hard/soft dialectic balance in their supreme twisting of classic Roland, Sequential and Yamaha gear, perfectly mastered and cut in analogue valve suites by x-Motown veterans, they added a sublime funkiness to the often stale 4 to the floor grooves of their time. After a militant start inspired by Belgian EBM like Front 242 earning them the “technos answer to Public Enemy” tag, they picked up the more spacy lyrical side of godfather Juan Atkins (aka. Cybotron/Model500) work, and realized – as the Adonis house classic goes – that there is “No way back” as a black man, as the past is one of slavery and starvation and a bad foundation to build on or revive. Space is the place. Forcing the future in bold modernist moves, they dived into the “afronautic continuum” opened by jazz occultist Sun Ra via Sly Stone via Gorge Clinton, Herbie and Miles, merging a industrial militancy and sociopolitical wordless critique to their quest for change thru a new sonic architecture. They delivered a triumphant one finger salute to the whole entertainment-industrial complex thru a ever developing sound and independent stealth operation, refusing to tap dance for dollars and entertain like their house nigger ancestors. No sellout. And when big Sony eventually bootlegged their almost poppy departure on  the verge of trance-house, “Night of the Jaguar”, they beat them in court. “Remain underground”, as one of their sampled call to arms said, over a soulful analog groove. Tracks were made by later solo trendsetters and minimal tech innovators Jeff Mills and Robert Hood, check out their more sparse solo workouts, especially as top 3 deck DJs or live using vintage midi-trash pushing their 138 bpm shuffle, giving birth to a 1000 imitators after legendary global touring, disciplining the ravers. And while his crew traveled and smashed Berlin and NY, main man Mike Banks stayed in Detroit, nursing his softer side, best heard on the timeless Red planet: LBH-6251876 compilation, using the profit to build a baseball team for Detroit ghetto kids and expanding Underground Resistance into a more loose crew for new young talent, reviving a more 80s electro sound as eurotrance, Goa and gabber turned their earlier pure techno innovations  into a consumerist caricature. When I met Mad Mike in Copenhagen, he was clearly angst in an all white posh hood missing his gun wearing army fatigues as a kind of armor. I had to skin up my finest and mention several secret synths before the brother chilled, and realized his sound has beamed him into a new space. Going full circle 10 years later, the grandpapa of all tech-nerds, Kraftwerk, chose Mike and UR for a remix EP the man machine guys loved so much they play it live at their concerts even today paying tribute to the Detroit/German interface. A crass psychologist would claim the shared neurosis of missing fathers, bombed out city centers and a traumatic past united the black ghetto dreamers and the spoiled german conservatory kids. Maybe it was the acid. Lesson learned: dream up a future, remain underground, build your skills, and BANG, you’re music history. They even build a museum showing Mike´s old cheap drum boxes in the ghost town of Detroit. who found a new post Motown/Fordist pride despite the urban misery in techno. UR merged the german futurists baby steps to japanese acid low-tech, a sci-fi imagination and stark “no sellout” strategy, giving birth to the core of techno, itself giving birth to a myriad of mutations from minimal over jungle and IDM and later on, the evil EDM void fad. Respect!
Miles Davis: Live at Fillmore/ Listen to this freebasing, spanking girls in furry pink flares.
As a teen, I hated jazz. And I still hate the bearded drunks masturbating in endless brass solos, a retro music museum, music turning into sport…how fast can you play? Can you play like a 1950s heroin addict, you state funded middle class euro-wigger? Or are you a fuzak elevator pest like Sanborn or Kenny G. looking like a 80s Armani banker licking pussy? I hated jazz, the elitism, the style, the crowd, the mood, the emotions. I hated this record. Until I heard it on mushrooms. Then I realized this is some of the most advanced emotionally charged music ever recorded. After Miles played with all the jazz greats, he found his essential sparse almost cynical metal-tone, first complicating his music, then stripping it down into one chord, one theme, one elastic fractal groove of endless space and time freed from history making a new genre two times a decade, and this record is like a manifesto of avant-garde freeform post-jazz. Jazz buffs all argue on their fave Miles period, and my pick is the late 60s, when Miles begin to envy the crossover of Hendrix free sonic fuzz journeys, James Browns tight neo african soul trance drills and Herbie´s Wah Wah Rhodes avant-funk – probably fueled by guru/CIA-decoy Timothy Leary´s lsd. Miles was one of the coolest  and most arrogant mods ever, fucking creme de la creme actresses and models, but the chemical climate forced him out of the perfect bum-freezer mohair suits and into some of wild avant-garde ethno-hippie prince robes, stripping his band for vulgar trad. guitar and vibes sidestepping normal band formats, best from the Bitches Brew album (pictured). Always a visionary arranger picking the cream of new talent for inspiration, he made the stellar cast of almost autistic players like poetic drummer jack DeJohnette and the double keyboard genius twins Corea and Jarrett ,whipping up a pre-synth plasma Miles attacks like a frozen supersonic bomber looping in fearless asymmetrical misshapes: this is improvised music with a free form and timbre, due to processing and Teo Maceros engineering and masterful reel to reel tape editing, its hard to hear where Airto´s percussion end and the keys overlap, as this is open music invented as it is played, texturally transcending even the instruments inhabited design, without loosing emotion. It still sounds very modern, a fractal of waves and drama, immersive and in its own space. Miles open structure compositions like “Its about that time” is showcased in up to four very different versions on this record. After this monument to a new mental and musical freedom, he released a couple of stellar records like “Live-evil”. and the Stockhausen-influenced “Bitches Brew” and the funky “On the corner”. Eventually, his genius ego and all that fishscale dust got to the mind of Miles, hiding in a dirty NYC flat trashing escorts and his yellow italian sports car. Squeaky clean kid prodigy muzak master Marcus Miller then rescued him from his recording exile and as a result cursed the world with poppy albums like “Decoy” and “You’re under arrest”. Miles, once the coolest man in the world, ended up almost method-acting as a evil burned out dealer-villain in Miami Vice in his extreme post-Versace afro-Memphis-inspired gear. He died shortly after, due to a smashed throat and the after-effects of decades of coke mainlining. Never mind, he lives on in my mushroom flashbacks listening to this masterpiece. (Editors note: WTF? Vammen writing a tribute to a dusty jazz live vinyl?)
Mark Stewart: Mark Stewart / Listen to this planning Guy Debord-inspired actions or looting computers for hacking, rioting on skunk.
The original punk rock style – primitive rock maximized thru dramatics and angry concepts – died out in the late 70s, but gave way to a empowering do it yourself ethos: steal a guitar, invent a look, get some inspiration outside the music world: be it politics, art, drugs, film, or previously “unknown” or underground music. A healthy quest for inventive adventures filtered by authentic emotions is the hallmark of  the – very diverse – post-punk era. The means of production, tape recorders and studio gear, got cheaper and into the hands of the artist themselves, not the exclusive tools for experts working for big controlling labels anymore.The artist/producer  suddenly became a likely role for the suffering musician outside the business  too, and a new underground cottage industry churned out a wealth of original material. A climate perfect for the very young and slightly paranoid situationist poet Mark Stewart, who assembled a tight outfit recording under the ironic “Pop Group” name. Merging punk´s  hysteric and chaotic energy with raw stripped down funk mixed in a style inherited from the early dub sound-systems of the Jamaican parts of Brixton, they addressed world politics and essential 80s angst best heard on the “Y” album. Mark went solo, made the classic “As the veneer of democracy starts to fade” pictured above, recruiting a stelar cast, the Tackhead crew, the studio wizards behind the elite beats of the New York electro and Grandmaster Flash s “The message”, the track that broke sociopolitical rap mainstream worldwide. To trash the resulting songs he added mix wizard stoner and raga fanatic Adrian Sherwood inventing a new hallucinatory industrial electro dub style, noisy, arty, aggressive, brittle, but funky as hell, making the ultimate non-cheesy adult “hard-hop” dj-tools for the EBM dominated underground dance-floors of the mid-
80´s. The masterpiece is the Mark Stewart: Mark Stewart album, where dusty samples of Erik Satie, Billy Idol, Trouble Funk and David Sylvian/Ryuichi Sakamoto is crushed by Sherwood’s towering delay orgies and moulded into a backdrop for the muso band to drop their sinister but sexy hyper-grooves. In contrast to the perfect apocalyptic dance, Marks vocals sounds hurt, intimate, a too fragile crooner begging for sanity in the middle of a global and inner riot.
The Cramps: songs the Lord Taught us / Pogo to this reenacting c-horror movies in a drape jacket and a quiff so big it need glue.
After the aggressive explosion of punk turned into a black hole of formatted false flag riots, the sharpest stylists dug deeper back into the crates of transgressive sound, an found out that playing sharp hysterical fuzzy trash was an folk-art form older that Iggy Pop or Velvet Underground. Smart cats found a cornucopia of 7″ singles and pressed them on the unavoidable classic compilations such as Nuggets & Mindrocker, inspiring a wave of historically out of sync garage 3 chord  bands tripping in garages growing mushroom-shaped mop-tops smashing low-fi recorders. The Cramps where light years ahead of that pack, quoting almost unwatchable c-movies and merging their kitsch esthetic to the black backside of rockabilly, like if the ghost of 50s idols Gene Vincent entered a cool deadpan zombie movie set in a horehouse. This E.P.  was produced by Alex Chilton and recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis in 1977 for maximum stripped down classic impact, and The Cramps retro grave-digging took beautiful but banal stables like The Trashmens “surfing bird”, stripping it from its sunny cosy vibe and hotrodding the childishly simple tune with harsh manic hypno-drums and twin tremolo feedback guitars and no bass, with joker Lux Interior crooning on krokodil on top, and a perfect additional party-starter was born, arty and evil but still fun and upbeat, and more punk than punk. The ultra low-fi video was recorded live in a lunatic asylum, where inmates rushed the stage, a classic early music video iconic moment. The “psychobilly” genre was born, and soon a motley crew of imitators hit the charts and street catwalks, mutating in the bat-cave club in London in the early 80s, probably the birthday of goth, yuk. But The Cramps developed, and their creative peak on their second album “psychedelic jungle”, their sound matured into more subdued and clear moods, naggingly simple guitars perfectly tweaked to perfection. Later on, after ace axe-wielder “Brian Greggory” left, the Cramps, driven by the couple of Lux and hot guitarist Poison Ivy turned into a red light sideshow wrecking havoc live turning into a caricature, until Lux´s untimely death in 2009 at age 62.
Public Enemy: Fear of a black planet / Listen to this breakdancing, burning cop cars in Jordans and urban camoflage spaying qoutes from Malcom X biography as a clever fucking wigger.

In the 80s, rap became a recorded product, as cutups of the hole history of music flashed by with a cornucopia of slang on top. The Bomb Squad production crew took that game to the next level, and peaked on the third album, Fear of a black planet.  Music history was hacked and atmospheric layers of atonal noise pulled from funk classics, quotes from Black Panther speeches, heavy 808 sub-bas kicks, off-center beats, militant drum rolls and horn blasts made a overload of sonic information and builded a monumental soap box for Chuck D to unfold his wordplay sounding like a triumphant basketball anchorman stiving to raise the consciousness of the masses. As the sugar on the often bitter pill, Flaver Flav was his crackhead clownish antidote. Topics include Hollywood, drugs, police violence and race/class – but in a new humorous funky arty format. The sound was dense and raw, made of samples from scratched 70s vinyl thru 8 bit Emu and 12 bit Akai samplers mixed on a broken analoge Neve mixer by hand, no computer – with absolutely no dead air – making a cinematic experience unmatched even today. Even stoner Spike Lee used Public Enemy as soundtrack to “Do the rigth thing”\’b4s final riot scenes. The album is the peak of the sampladelic era, and as the lawyers smelled money and stopped this creative metod spurred on by a oversampled James Brown, unwillingly provider clones and spare parts for the hiphop industry. Its estimated that today this album would cost Public Enemy double the shelf price pr. album just in sample and publishing clearances. Fear of a black planet was the crossroad where hiphop turned into adult danceable retro-futuristic avant-garde noise, hail the prophets of rage!

GUIDE: Musikgenre-ævl

Jon Hassel: Dream Theory in Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two / Listen naked in a silky waterbed, stoned in the twilight, trying to read Kilton Stewart´s book on the Senoi tribe.

After his highly lucrative work building sound cathedrals for the awful Jesus-freak Bono, producer Brian Eno is seen as a pretentious sellout villain coasting in posh galleries. But in the 70s he was the godfather of hip, and after his glamourous work with Roxy Music, he sort of invented ambient music, our generations answer to classical, or muzak? Ambient is music with beats, vocals, solos and even ego removed, long floating abstract, often soothing tape-loop soundscapes to tint reality playing in the background, made using vast amounts of synthetic reverb and echo, like a very white dub with no soul or body. Eno explored this anti-rock concept for a couple of albums, but he needed a lead voice to foreground his vinyl landscapes: enter Canadian trumpet magician Jon Hassel, who already crafted a sonic fiction on albums evoking a unreal ethnic futuristic “fourth world” headspace. A couple of sensual masterpieces, Possible musics 1-2 was the de facto soundtrack in the 80s to play stoned and naked making your bed a space capsule floating downstream in a uncharted area. Eno then reversed-engineered these tactics and used them on nerdy and the clubfooted post-punk Talking Heads kidnapping them to the same Compass Point studios in Nassau Grace Jones used, crafting their only masterpiece, Remain in light – adding a more african trance rhythm approach and the hallmark spacious treatments, to their arty-farty cut-up ramblings, with cameos from Hassel, who continued to churn out high quality maps for nonexistent exotic futures in a unreal ahistorical place like a reverb soaked white Miles Davis. Later in the 1980s, The Orb and the chill-out generation reinvented ambient using turntables and samplers as a meta-pastiche on every vinyl collectors beetles stoner gems, and now, even in the extremely conservative jazz world, Hassel proceeded tone is widely imitated, as Eno ambient sound now is a Hollywood stable, but as always, check the originals.

Psychic TV: Dreams less sweet / Listen to this a trance ritual fully erect inspired by  Crowley´s “Magic In Theory and Practice” , wearing a grey catolic shirt (shaved head optional) or during weapon training.

Someone must make a big Hollywood movie of Psychic TV´s main man Genesis P.Orrigde’s life: first, he was a fluxus hippie making avant-garde performance body-art, before he turned into the evil Elvis of his self invented Industrial music genre, spearheaded the mythologic Throbbing Gristle. They provided the most uneasy listening ever, taking stoner drone space post-rock into a bad trip diving into our collective nightmares, historical failures and primitive impulses, in a macabre cabaret of noise, toying with images of fascism. Genesis P.O. assumed his preacher role, evoking daemons like a modern Alister Crowley, chanting mantras and barking army commands in an attempt to discipline the audience into a critical, higher consciousness. TG split at the peak of success due to internal erotic tensions, and G.P.O. regrouped with master sound alchemist Peter Sleazy Christofferson, conning a huge advance from major label Warner, crafting a string-ladden album verging on muzak, but filled with subliminal occult references. This was the fundraising and propaganda wing of their new Temple of Psychic Youth (TOPY), turning fanboys into a uniformed chaos magic global network, receiving personal ritual instructions for magical tantric sigils, performed on the 23 every month worldwide. Their second album, Dreams less sweet, is the tour de force, recorded in locations chosen for their occult history with a dummy head instead of a microphone for a 3-d effect. Quotes from cut-up beat godfather and author William S. Burroughs, imprisoned hippie cult leader Charles Manson and suicide cult shaman Jim Jones make a tapestry of ideas soundtracked by oboe, wolf howls, uzi and cellos, shifting between bittersweet folkish emulator pop and naturalistic musique concrete weirdness, complete with tibetan thighbone solos. After this, Peter Sleazy Christofferson formed Coil, intensify his sound design and post-gay psychedelic journey until his untimely death. G.P.O. transformed into a third gender, complete with silicon and steel teeth. Go investigate yourself.

Yello: Stella/ Listen to this puffing cigars in a tailor-made suit in a highstreet gallery, browsing thru painting and models with a black book with own poetic musings in inner pocket near your heart or lounge on a vintage yacht feeling lonely reading Lyotard.

Yello is the Swiss maximalist cousin to the dry stark minimalism of Kratwerk. Founded by conceptual artist, painter and writer Dieter Meier and the lovely named sonic genius Boris Blank, they continue to churn out lush dramatic ear movies using the broadest of brushes. Blank is self-taught non-musican, but a master of equalizing and space and the daft playful collage, juxtaposing odd samples. After a few albums, he finally tamed his Fairlight keyboard and the SSL mixer to an seemingly hyperreal level, making even Frankie Goes to Hollywood producer Trevor Horn tremble in envy. Thematically, and contrary to the bleak black and white postpunk and electropop of their opponents, Yello dived full on into the good life, emulation a Raymond Chandler-like universe of postmodern desire, crime and seduction in cars, bars, and aircraft with a distinct Cannes yacht feel. A cosmopolitan Memphis-styled mix of crooning, latin percussion, guitar hysterics, b-movie horn riffs, divas and field recordings integrated to make perfect pop singles and clubby yet stylish kitchy 12″ vinyl. In the middle of it all was Dieters vocal, a tuneless dark patinated instrument better suited for storytelling than for singing. After “Stella“, they infiltrated the world of advertising jingles and soundtracks and became their own cliche, copying themselves endlessly like a electropop equivalent to the Stones. It´s  still a nice formula, but the new not so mad adventures feels more like a souped up Audi TT than pieces of art today. Use their app and make your own Yello music now, or take Stella for a spin.Kraftwerk: Computerworld  / Listen on epo on a very expensive racing bike 

The German sound fetishists – that made rock feel outdated in the late 1970s – took electronic music out of the ghettos of the conservatory studio labs, put Beach Boys-inspired vocal harmonies on top, added Bach-like melodic elegance and Stockhausen´s virtual sonic manipulations and set it to a funky James Brown-inspired but sweat less syncopated robot-beat. This approach was a virtual revolution in post rock, more like a animation, not a live recording of a band in a room, and during the 70´s they refined their unique avant-garde-pop formula, reaching the unlikely US marked with their very European ode to the Autobahn (1975) and the Trans Euro Express (1977), originally constructed by the Nazis, shaking off the whole German guild complex of the second world war in superb style and cover art, mixing Russian constructivism with camp deadpan humor on The Man Machine (1978). Their absolute peak was their prophetic Computerworld album, where they invented electro, later sampled by Afrika Bambaataa and jazz genius Herbie Hancock, giving birth to electro boogie, Miami bass, Ghettotech and Electronic Body music – inspiring a zillion mutations from Detroit Techno to The New Romantics – and designing a set of drum kits that are a standard preset in digital instruments even today. 1981´s crystal-ball-like Computerworld even addresses net-dating, the reduction of a globalized world to numbers and pre-echoes the home-computing cottage industry – as well as hand held music devices – 30 years before musical iphone apps – presented in one long mix forecasting the endless beat of dj culture. Kraftwerk balances between hopes of a promising future and an Orwellian dystopia here – a digital world ruled by secret services and megabrands – Deutsche Bank und CIA. The following Albums, the minimalistic MTV-hit Electric Cafe (1986) and their latest, Tour de France (2003) – show that the pioneers are not ahead anymore – especially after the means of production, affordable samplers and computers, hit the marked in the late 80´s – but the sheer quality of the albums stand the test of time like an old Audi Quattro, a Hasselblad camera or a Luger gun. Bowie and Jackson begged for tracks for their own solo albums, but Kraftwerk politely declined. Today they are trapped in their own retro-futuristic vacuum, playing MOMA, Tate and Roskilde festival this summer – in 3D, arguably another dead medium, like Kraftwerk themselves? Kraftwerk stand still, even on stage, as the man machine music motoric elements is removed from the bands performance, only appearing as body effects in the audience by the flick of a switch on customized sequence controllers running Cubase. But the audience, often dressed in red shirts and black LED ties, sing along and break-dance, like a weird old school sci-fi global folk ritual. And maybe Kraftwerk will use their users data from their app to generate future tracks, like netflix used data to generate the House of cards series. And when the final surviving member dies, holograms will probably take over from the mencn-machines. Go investigate yourself. Rhythm & Sound : Rhythm & Sound / listen in a vast concrete Berlin coffee shop

The development of post Kraftwerk music is like a pendulum between increasingly advanced post analogue sound design and stripped down post-song structures – its sometimes feels like the producer-auteurs try to remove music’s original raison de entrée, pitch and harmony. The controlled information and limited images emitting from Kraftwerk´s Klingklang studios was a brand building masterpiece. The next generation took this information-minimalism and reduced it to mere abstract graphics and serial numbers in an almost autistic isolationist anti-marketing strategy. A series of legendary loopy and dusty minimal 12″ vinyl surfaced in the early Berlin techno scenes hub, Hardwax on the Basic Channel label. Nobody could figure out how the deep mystery sounds where made, at once both starkly modern yet vintage, as it was recorded thru a matrix of tube compressors, space delays, and analogue modules and pitched down on reel to reel tape. The tracks arrangement structure was inspired by the minimalism of second wave Detroit producers like Robert Hood and Jeff Mills, but with a more airy warm feel, reduced to just a ambient atmosphere and a very imitated synth stab being tweaked in endless shades and variations of grey, erasing time, very fascinating but without ANY hummable or memorable hooks or vocals. The records sounded pre-scratched, the grooves integrating the sounds of worn vinyl, skipping in and off-beat. The sound of glitch-dub was born, inspiring a host of quality artists like Monolake and Vladislav Delay and mutated further on labels like Chain Reaction. The sound probably reached it´s peak with the release of the Buddha Machine gadgets. In a retro-futuristic move, the mysterious crew lead by Moritz Von Oswald returned to the origin of bass music – Jamaican reggae, and collected the post-club results on the this fantastic compilation, probably inventing European digi-dub in the process, spiced by toasters like Savage and propelled by the deepest baselines in the business, sometimes even removing the instruments for the pure poetic buzz of malfunctioning gear. Today, Von Oswald is investigating live electronic jams with his trio, playing his trusty Prophet keyboard to the processed percussion of Sasu Ripatti and torn apart by Sun Electrics live mixmaster Max Loderbauer in an smoke screened improvised attempt to marry a odd couple: freeform ambient and live dub.

Masterpieces from the future? Hugo Chavéz´s music?!