Black To Comm - Secret Thirteen Mix 110 as reviewed by S13

May 18, 2014

The author of the mix is Marc Richter, publicly known as Black To Comm, a German musician and curator based in Hamburg. His alias was inspired by MC5 band’s track “Black To Comm”, although Richter is not representing their ideology, only their spirit. From his childhood Richter felt that the music was inside him, floated in the air and it was only a matter of time when it reincarnates. Richter started recording and releasing records in 2003. In more than a decade he has released 7 full-length albums on such respectable labels as Type Records, Digitalis Recordings, En/Of, De Stijl and his own Dekorder, a gourmet imprint releasing spectacular music. Richter uses vinyl loops, antique electronic and pump organs, YouTube samples, processed (and pure) voice and field recordings and various small acoustic and electronic instruments, effect devices to create intricate multi-layered collage based works combining organic warmth and charm of vintage recordings and machinery. He states that “there’s enough ‘perfect’ music out there” and probably this explains why there are so many contrasting and unexpected voyages in his production. He is a self-critical man and it is not a bad point, because each of his release brings something new and truly unforgettable.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 110” is a diverse, profuse and scrupulous mix that should indirectly guide the listener through the magical abandoned historical places, forgotten cultures, spectacular sacred architectural monuments, night mysteries and lots more. It is because Black To Comm is trying to design a complex illusion based on quite surreal, psychedelic, poetic and intimate moods. Gradually evolving emotive sounds easily let the listener drown into one’s fantasies and dig deep inside the subconsciousness thus projecting the whole new utopian world that is full of great wonders, extraterrestrial knowledge and true beauty. The mix includes 26 accurately merged long lasting and exceptional records released between 1971 and 2013. Luc Ferrari, Asmus Tietchens, Robert Ashley, Mike Kelley or even Phonophani are only a few spotlight names here, their music shrouds and saturates the mix with an enigmatic passion, different artistic expressions and complete matureness. The main structure of sounds is based on a dreamy field recordings, cathedral type atmospheres, occasionally emerging vivid percussions, playful melodies recorded using mainly classical instruments (organ, violin, grand piano etc.) and cuts from traditional world music libraries. Sometimes appearing haunted and sacred vocals, thrilling laments, ritualistic and religious prayers quickly captures and penetrates the soul. Thoughtful, creative and conceptual mixing of the tracks turns this selection into one continuous recording made by experienced individual. However, this fact is not true, but let us declare that Black To Comm is a skillful music selector, an intelligent and curious person who puts a great amount of time, love and ideas into it.

The mix could stand in parallel with, in the first look, uncomfortable painting “Stern” by Marlene Dumas. Identifying the subject is not the key to the content. To understand the work means you must look at the relationship between the reality and the metaphysical imagination. It is quite possible to experience the afterlife after watching the painting for some time and same stands for an esoteric Black To Comm’s masterwork that breaks any fundamental laws we know.

Mace. - Secret Thirteen Mix 111 as reviewed by S13

May 18, 2014

The author of the mix is Enrico Cesaro, better known as Mace., an Italian electronic music producer and sound designer based in Padova. After a long time studies of classical piano, Cesaro started concentrating on more experimental production based on a strong focus to digital composing methods. In his works Cesaro is trying to portray his own irrational reality, as his inspirations flow from his memories and personal tastes; dreams, movies and documentaries, obscure and mysterious landscapes. The project is also dedicated to reflect the current global environment, political and social ideas and happenings. Cesaro’s sound stands on improvisational music techniques, he carefully constructs innovative effect modulations and prefers to merge various cuts and loops (voices, guitars, noises etc.) together to create his own dark and profound world of sounds. Even started in 2013, Cesaro has released a couple of critically acclaimed records on such promising labels as Eclipsemusic and Further Records, and seems that it is only just a beginning. A new record titled “Homemade Low Confidence” is waiting to be released on Attic Music. Next to his personal creations, Cesaro also has recorded some memorable and conceptual mixes for Smoke Machine and do/nothing podcast series and that obviously gained him a much wider recognition in the so called ‘underground’ scene.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 111” is a refined and euphonious audio voyage through contrasting musical horizons, utopian life visions and true beauty and phenomenas of the human soul. According to the author, the main idea of the mix is to maintain and to expand Arte Povera movement ideas that were introduced in Italy during the period of upheaval at the end of the 1960s. It is like a delicate author’s manifest against the economic and political instability through music as art. While combining fragments of conceptual, minimalism and improvisational music, Cesaro goes against commercialization and also tries to reveal the essential meaning of happiness, as in his opinion it could be achieved by a natural beauty and true emotions, not just only by mass media’s or any law’s dictated life scenario. Cesaro’s harmonious, accurate, patient and lightly progressive merging manner of kaleidoscopic sound structures and atmospheric forms step by step completes his primary idea.

The whole mix consists of 20 lasting and theatrical records released between 1967 and 2014. Even Mace. is combining almost forgotten pieces by such prominent artists as NON , Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, Caroline K, Labradford with nowadays electronic music production from such luminaries as Kreng, Felix Kubin, Scorn, Valerio Tricoli & Thomas Ankersmit, he manages to find a peaceful balance and connection between them, diverse and original music becomes as a one sustained wholeness. By enriching the whole background with cuts from his own music catalog and audio excerpts from film soundtracks he shrouds his work with some more of authenticity and unexpectedness. The fundamental of the mix holds on frequently evolving and slightly changing obscure beat patterns, sensuous and melancholic ambiance, organic sound samples and dreamy, yet mysterious mood. It is like a Giovanni Anselmo’s contemporary sculpture “Senza Titolo” . The balance between sound weight, gravity and magnetism inside Mace.’s mix is quite similar to Anselmo’s explorations in sculpture. Feels like these two different generation artists were equally inspired by observation of natural events and energies and searching for a relationship between abstract categories of thoughts, such as general and particular, finite and infinite, culture and nature, the passing of historical time and routine of experience and abstraction of philosophical principles.

Kyoka (2) - Secret Thirteen Mix 112 as reviewed by S13

May 18, 2014

The author of the mix is Kyoka, a Japanese composer and musician living between Berlin and Tokyo. In her childhood she was learning to play piano, flute and shamisen, later on she started exploring the possibilities of field recording and used to analyze/archive various radio shows of the time. In 1999 she began to examine the limits of synthesizer/computer generated sound and in 2001 she embarked on a tour across the globe (USA, Spain, France, UK etc.) thus delighting the audience with her mathematical sonic structures and playful DJ sets. However, only in 2008 Kyoka was signed to Raster-Noton record label. It was after Frank Bretschneider heard her playing in Berlin. In recent years Kyoka has released a couple records on onpa))))) imprint and an acclaimed 12″ “Ish” on Raster-Noton. Her debut album called “IS (Is Superpowered)” is coming out in May and it should be a great discovery for those who seek for subtle, glitched and inventive electronic music. Her lightly chaotic, sometimes frisky, but at the same time rich and wide atmospheric sound mixed with rough and experimental, yet danceable beats creates an extraordinary listening experience. Kyoka says that she is inspired by “the way food changes color when you cook it. The smells and colors of each city. Tangled electrical cables, strings, hair and the shadows they cast” and it’s probably a good explanation why her music has so many different listening angles and interpretations at the same time. There is always something unnoticed and hidden behind her kaleidoscopic and creative compositions. Significant festivals such as CTM, Sonar and Volt are only a few places where Kyoka has performed live.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 112” is an ornamental and delightful audio selection that presents the beauty of abstract architectural rhythms, intense sound modulations and immense multiple atmospheres. To maintain a dense, lush and high-quality sound, this mix was recorded in the studio in Sweden. Even though the mix consists of 10 records released in the last decade, it sounds exciting, sometimes unpredictable, involving and fully accomplished. Gently balanced tracks by such electronic music grands as Autechre, Ryoji Ikeda, Emptyset, Andy Stott or Raime should immediately draw attention of every listener who is looking for nowadays sound. Mixing is passive, Kyoka is playing tracks almost till the final accord thus letting them fully grow, expand and radiate by showing their whole sonic microclimate, construction and ideas. Moreover, it indirectly reflects Kyoka’s own production motives too and partly reveals where her musical inspirations for distinctive creations come from. Finally, it is like a characteristic Gino Severini’s cubist style painting “Still Life” where abstruse, yet futuristic forms painted using subtly vivid colors create an energetic motion feeling and weird cosmic sensation.

Mix is followed by these lines written by Kyoka:

Wind cause waves on the surface of the water.
Stronger winds can cause larger waves.
Waves of water are only move up and down, never move horizontally.
Tides are periodic rises and falls of large bodies of water.
They are caused by the gravitational interaction of powers.

I feel “wind is sound itself”, “wave is music”, “tide is our feeling for music, beat or groove”.

Asmus Tietchens - Secret Thirteen Mix 113 as reviewed by S13

May 18, 2014

The author of the mix is the legendary Amsus Tietchens (b. 1947), who also records under the Hematic Sunsets and Club of Rome moniksers. He is a German composer of avant-garde music based in Hamburg. Moreover, together with a prolific multimedia artist Thomas Köner he co-runs Kontakt Der Jünglinge project. Tietchens became interested in experimental music and musique concrète as a child. He listened to German radio and heard pioneering electric transmissions by the likes of Stockhausen and Gottfried Michael Koenig. Shortly after Tietchens began recording sound experiments in 1965 with electronic musical instruments, synthesizers and tape loops. Tietchens has never had theoretical or practical musical training, everything he achieved was only because of his passionate interest in various musical structures and DIY principles. In the 1970s he met producer Okko Bekker, and the two formed a decade-long partnership. After Tangerine Dream’s Peter Baumann heard a tape of his work, he produced Tietchens’ debut album Nachtstücke, released in 1980 on Sky Records. His early recordings feature more accessible synthesized music, but since Formen Letzer Hausmusik, his 1984 release for Nurse With Wound’s label United Dairies, he began moving toward more abstract sound collages. Nowadays Tietchens specializes in irregular patterns of sonic abstractions that are suspended in gray drones to create cold textural voids from external references. In the last 5 decades he released numerous of records on such respectable labels as Sky Records, Staalplaat, Korm Plastics, Die Stadt, Line, Vinyl-on-demand and others. His music is often inspired by and refers to the texts of the philosopher Emil Cioran. Tietchens has taught acoustics in the Hamburg University since 1990.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 113” is an intriguing and diverse audio selection that indirectly opens the doors of Asmus Tietchens musical library and presents some of the influential records that did an essential impact to his life and work. The mix will guide you through the early electronic experimentations, contemporary or abstract compositions, groovy live rhythms, sound glitches, cathedral ambience and much more. It is like Georgia O’Keeffe’s abstract sculpture “Abstraction” that creates a nostalgic whirl somewhere deep in the subconsciousness, where colliding complex emotions, memories and future visions gradually create a complete enlightenment.

Peder Mannerfelt - Secret Thirteen Mix 114 as reviewed by S13

May 18, 2014

The author of the mix is Peder Mannerfelt, also known as The Subliminal Kid, a Swedish sound sculptor and musician living in Stockholm. Moreover, together with Malcolm Pardon he collaborates on Roll The Dice project, which is notable for its releases on the eclectic Leaf record label, and is a former member of Fever Ray’s live band. Over the last few years, Mannerfelt has released series of exceptional works, including some remixes – Massive Attack’s “Psyche” or Bat for Lashes’ “Sleep Alone” together with Van Rivers – as well as other remarkable collaborations with fellow artists. Mannerfelt’s solo experimentations were published by such labels as Emptyset’s We Can Elude Control or Brad Rose’s Digitalis Recordings and it is a clear proof that Mannerfelt is gradually building his musical path as an innovative, accurate and creative artist with a great support on his back. Mannerfelt’s complex compositions are based on pure analog sound, expressive distortions and powerful low tone patterns. A great balance between minimalism and more industrial music in his works opens a new sonic horizons for all who seek for contemporary electronic, yet futuristic sound expression.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 114” is a cross-genre audio compilation that connects 23 thoughtfully crafted and accurately developed influential records released between 1982 and 2014, that indirectly shaped Mannerfelt’s sound identity. The mix was recorded disregarding any concrete emotional condition or any specific stylistic trajectory. For more than 1 hour Mannerfelt guides listeners through experimental, jungle, rock, industrial music styles and other astonishing formations that hold fragments of world, punk and ambient. Although each track carries different emotional mood, sound development direction, intention and processing technique, Mannerfelt finds pleasing ways to tactically and quite precisely connect all these kaleidoscopic records to simulate a sustained and dynamic wholeness. Original works from skillful and respectable artists such as Nitzer Ebb, Björk, Autechre, Emptyset, SND and Moondog simply grip listener’s attention right from the first sensibly manipulated field-recordings used in this mix. Moreover, Mannerfelt has embeded several works from Swedish acts such as Hanna Hartman, Hird and Grave to patronize Scandinavian scene. It is too complicated to fully analyze this profound mix as each piece requires a separate study and that is why we invite you to immerse into this entirely new and unexplored playlist of author’s music library, which is much more open, geographically diverse and versatile than vigilant music lover could imagine. Finally, it is like a Gosta Adrian-Nilsson’s abstract painting “Konstruktion på svart” connecting various mathematical forms, in a modern manner, that indirectly invite to follow the spacious labyrinth of symbols, without knowing where it will lead.

Èlg* - Secret Thirteen Mix 115 as reviewed by S13

May 18, 2014

The author of the mix is Laurent Gérard, publicly known as Èlg, a French sound designer and multi-talented musician living in Brussels. Moreover, he is half of Opéra Mort and Naked Hug bands and one third of Reines d’Angleterre trio, with the famous Ghédalia Tazartès in the front. Gérard’s first impression on music was when he attended art school. Later on his brother Mim, who is a musician and also a producer, helped him to learn recording techniques, both classic methods and more recent ones. Since 2004 Èlg has become recognisable in the contemporary avant-garde underground scene performing solo in venues across Europe and the USA. Furthermore, in over a decade Gérard has released numerous of records on the variety of small and independent labels such as Luke Younger’s Alter, Hundebiss, SDZ Records, Kraak, SS, Lal Lal Lal, Taped Sounds and Nashazphone. “Mil Pluton” album or “La Chimie”, the latest one, is a good starting point to dip into his open, but at the same time complex galactic ocean of sounds. Gérard states that he needs to constantly take breaks from music and to periodically re-immerse himself in silence: “the big silence that is so frightening but which also gives rise to so many wonderfully unexpected things. It’s a need to back off a bit so that I can experience the world better”. This is what Gérard reveals in one of his interviews about his music recording processes: “I don’t record in a comfort, and that’s a driving force. I like mixing things up, playing with convention, questioning and twisting different trends, it’s funny and it stops the music being fixed under one single and horrible, all-encompassing label. I have a great deal of affection for melody lines that have their own character and which are easily recognisable, they can provide companionship and comfort like a warm fire-place – it’s the Beatles effect”. In his compositions Gérard is exploring limitations of laptop generated sound, experimenting with his Esperanto-like form voice in multi-language mode and a pinch of acoustic instruments. There are a lot of stylistic motives that listener can experience while listening to his hypnotic production, from industrial type of rhythms, musique concrète style editing, noisy layers of swampy electronics and diverse intention percussions. You can catch Gérard this May (2014) playing with his Reines d’Angleterre band at Café Oto or Instants Chavirés. Opéra Mort will tour in France in June.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 115” is a diverse and delicate audio compilation consisting of 12 rare and expressive records released between 1986 and 2012. This musical voyage goes through different stations, from extremely hypnotic gamelan spirales, East African blues, dreamy folk to film for ears, minimal pop cuddling and abstract electronic compositions. Timeless recordings of such reputable female artists as Anne Gillis, A.C. Marias, Shelley Hirsch or compositions from French acts such as Alain Peters or Dominique Petitgand stimulate listener’s subconsciousness from the very beginning of the mix and leads him to the essences of metaphysical answers. It is like an excellent Erik Madigan Heck’s opt art style photography with all its subtly different textures that form a sustained and extraordinary wholeness after a patient absorption of all the small details.

Gérard himself named his mix as “Twelve Pills Under the Pillow” and wrote a few important sentences about it: “As it has been proved scientifically that it’s impossible to select two thousands favorite and inspirational music pieces for a one hour long mixtape I had to make a draconian choice… I tried to pick up essentially warm and slow tunes that I consider as wonderful lullabies and sonic tales. I hope that these tunes sticked together will make a coherent journey in itself. All these musics, mainly based on repetitions, use to open doors leading to parallel worlds in my mind and bring tons of images, stories, situations that I can dream of, lying down on my bed at night”.

Sturqen - Neophobia as reviewed by S13

March 15, 2014

It can sound familiar: two art students join forces to create experimental music. Sturqen, who have already made a mixtape for Secret Thirteen, are a duo based in Porto, consisting of César Rodrigues and David Arantes. The act came into being in 2009. Since then, they have been gradually improving their craft, and the latest result of their monumental effort is entitled “Neophobia”.

The album was released by Ukrainian label Kvitnu in the spring of 2013, but potential listeners should not expect a colourful and flowery work. Instead, they should hear a cyclic, dark and radical compound of heavy rhythms and distorted layers.

After winning two Qwartz Awards in 2011 – for “Artist” and “Discovery” – for their remarkable “Peste”, this duo has been working hard on its music, releasing a series of outstanding albums, such as “Colera”, “Praga” and “Raia”, as well as an interesting E.P. in collaboration with label partner Kotra, entitled “Luz”. However, their ongoing improvement never seems to end.

Often compared with other acts such as Roly Porter, Emptyset, Pan Sonic or even Richie Hawtin’s Plastikman, “Neophobia” shows that these two Portuguese musicians have definitely found the way to provide listeners with all those abrasive nuances, adding, of course, their own tough and noise-esque footprint, which is based on a strictly analogue sound, high-class manipulation of tweaks and impulsive beat-machine programming.

Just a few seconds into “Toxinas”, the opening track, listeners will notice a sound hammered by aggressive kicks, radical distortion and elliptical structures, which shape the 12 songs of this surprising album. This characteristic flavour is deeply based on an instinctive use of filters and high-pitched sound repetition, which are the trademark of this duo. Track 9 “refugio” is reminiscent of such reputable UK acts like Aphex Twin or Autechre, but clearly contains some of the intense and violent Sturqen’s own personal perspective. The use of white noise in “Sukeria”, the dark-techno style in “Ingebrik” or even the noise-like personality of “Jalcove” are all examples of the diverse and overwhelming nature of this highly recommendable album.

In brief, “Neophobia” is a natural step forward in Sturqen’s career and a clear proof of the quality and clarity of their sound. The album offers a strong, distorted and raw musical storm, built on extreme percussions and techno impulses. Undeniably hardcore and visceral, partly due to this two-member act’s use of analogue machines, “Neophobia” represents an impressive and powerful blend of savage and rough experimentation.

Pan Sonic - Oksastus as reviewed by S13

March 15, 2014
edited over 5 years ago

Four years have passed since Pan Sonic issued their last work, “Gravitoni”. That was in 2010, the year when they split up. Since then, much has been discussed about a new issue and many have been stoically awaiting new stuff. Now this duo’s fans should be pleased that rumours have become true. Ukrainian label Kvitnu has the honour of releasing these two musicians’ new album on February 20. “Oksastus”, which is the Finnish word for the process of grafting and cultivating plants, provides potential listeners with an unmistakably Pan Sonic live performance recorded in Kyiv on June 6, 2009, before an audience of no more than two hundred amazed – and lucky – people. It consists of eight tracks perfectly mastered by C-drík Fermont, which allow listeners to re-taste the greatness of these masters’ gigs and their unique electronic craft, and offer a perfect picture of their best technique and stand-alone on-stage approach.

Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen have their own chapter in electronic music history for many reasons: their one-of-a-kind style, which is midway between minimal techno and noise, the brutality of their shows, their use of drilling high-pitched sounds and, of course, their excellence in transforming electric current into abrasive soundscapes. All these characteristics have definitely a place in this superb live album. Indeed, these eight pieces should transport listeners from noisy anti-riot sound systems and fat techno kicks and hi-hats to industrial rhythms and layers. The outcome is as overwhelming as anyone would expect. Track structures force listeners to pay attention to every single effect, making you get lost in the mixture of darkness and violence that these figures of avant-garde electronic music undoubtedly suggest. On top of that, their use of analogue machines strengthens this album’s sound by making it more instinctive and natural, adding a genuine and tangible dimension to their performance.

Elliptical, hypnotic, raw… there are many adjectives that can be used to define this live set, but words are never enough to describe this Finnish duo’s savoir faire. No doubt the sound quality is something to be highlighted – greatly due to Kvitnu’s outstanding production effort – alongside their immersive myriad of distorted high-rate layers and percussions. In short, “Oksastus” is a MUST for every Pan Sonic fan and a strictly limited edition to be carefully kept alongside prized possessions of music lovers. The album art has been designed by Ukrainian artist Zavoloka. Also, it will be issued in CD and white double vinyl format, both packed in a luxurious cardboard cover, printed with metallized paint and additional hot foil pressing and UV-lacquering. A real treasure: end of story.

Lustmord - Things That Were as reviewed by S13

March 15, 2014

The British scene has an established tradition of dark, avant-garde and experimental industrial music, and “Things That Were” is one of those jewels that first grew in the UK in late 70s and 80s. With this album (3xLP box set), released by Vinyl-on-demand, Brian Williams a.k.a. Lustmord, dives into his true and fundamental nature.

Highly influenced by other contemporary acts, such as Brits Throbbing Gristle or Aussies SPK, with whom Lustmord himself collaborated as one of their multiple floating members, “Things That Were” offers a truly fundamental overview of the beginnings of this master – and theoretically father – of dark ambient. This work, which is a compilation of remastered early recordings of both live gigs and tracks recorded at the E.M.S. London studio, enables listeners to better understand where all the magic and warm darkness that surrounds Lustmord’s subsequent albums comes from.

Not only will listeners notice the predominance of noise and industrial sounds in both the composition and performance of these tracks, but also the remarkable and incipient essence of what would later become the cornerstone of his rich and influential work. Elements such as anguished voices, the disturbing bells tolling in “Slabstone”, or those creepy kids playing and whispering songs in “Sibling”, have a terribly dark, and even warm, quality. These samples and field recordings, together with the drone-like layers used in most of the songs, provide the sound with a truly immersive and hypnotic mysticism, which sometimes approaches the post-punk and anti-rock bias that was the trademark of Coil’s and Psychic TV’s John Balance or Nocturnal Emissions’ Caroline K, to whom this album is a tribute.

As mentioned, “Things That Were” includes both live and studio recordings. The sound is awesome in both, which shows a great production effort, but above all, what will be of real interest for potential listeners, is the majesty and intensity of Mr. William’s performance. It really does sound dark, metallic, noisy, industrial…, and definitely turns the listener’s own surroundings into a creepy and obscure environment: amazingly enjoyable.

In summary, Lustmord’s raw and instinctive 80-83 recordings justify and give a clear perspective of his first steps and musical endeavours that would subsequently engender a fantastic chain of albums including “Heresy” – his masterpiece -, “Paradise Disowned” and his hypnagogic offering from last year, “The Word As Power”.

In order to better understand this pioneer’s work and how he has gradually matured towards the figure he is today, this compilation of early recordings must be listened to carefully and stored alongside the prized possessions of every dark ambient and industrial music fan, to whom this release is one of the most eagerly awaited events of 2014. “Things That Were” has been kept in the dark for too long and it is now time to celebrate the fact that it has finally seen the light. Highly recommendable.

Sendai - Secret Thirteen Mix 109 as reviewed by S13

February 27, 2014

The authors of the mix are longtime friends Peter Van Hoesen and Yves De Mey, Belgian electronic music producers, DJs and sound sculptors residing between Antwerp and Berlin. Since the 90s both artists were successfully running and expanding their solo projects that were mostly oriented to techno. Their individual records were released on such notable labels as Tresor, Line, Modal Analysis, Opal Tapes and others. Van Hoesen and De Mey also composed for contemporary dance and theatre, worked with visual installations thus showing their intelligence, broad view to music as art and their interest in various mediums. However, apart from many musical and cultural activities they are together developing and implementing inventive sound ideas under Sendai alias. Within a short time of existence the project has released a critically acclaimed full-length album “Geotope” and 2 agile music’s EPs on Hoesen’s Time To Express label. De Mey’s knowledge of working with modular, vintage synthesizers and Van Hoesen’s excellent digital composition and sound design skills allow them to create authentic and globally recognizable gems of music. Their production is highly enriched with architectural beats, electrified cinematic soundscapes, various glitchs and noises. Sendai’s second album “A Smaller Divide” which should continue exploring and cultivating previous album’s ideas will be released in March on their new experimental music imprint Archives Intérieures.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 109” is a masterful mix where authors attentively explore a symbiosis among different music composing traditions, ideologies and production quality. The selection consists of 23 lasting and slightly contrasting records that made an essential impact to the whole deep and dynamic sound of Sendai. The fact that all the material was released between 1979 and 2014 and that this mix continuously sounds like one sustained piece clearly shows Van Hoesen’s and De Mey’s musical maturity, austere aesthetics, technical skills and selected concept’s fortitude. The whole elaborate compilation is like an extraordinary harmony which goes in circles and every time reveals something new, powerful and yet unnoticed. Fragments of techno, experimental, dark electro, ambient, acid and IDM are carefully merged together to form an original listening experience and to uncover new expressive sound structures. Admirably developed futuristic and contemporary musical background includes striking works by such great musicians as Front 242, Frank Zappa, Scanner, Gescom, TM404 and others. The mix also contains unreleased recording by Van Hoesen and Rebecca Lenaerts and De Mey’s early work “Grayscale” that was created under his Eavesdropper alias. Vaporous soundscapes, diverse fuzzy loops, deliberate use of various preprogrammed effects, hollow and hypnotic beat patterns are only a few examples of what is covered in eclectic surface of this mix. Moreover, duo’s analytical precision in connecting tracks, delicate editing in live motion and precision in every detail are quite similar to bizarre Gilbert Hsiao’s abstract work “Lucky Strike”. It is characteristic, sophisticated and inspiring recording which requires high-fidelity sound system and desire to study it’s complex and shimmering world of sound. This exclusive mix is a perfect opportunity for every listener to be taught by true professionals.

Kangding Ray - Secret Thirteen Mix 108 as reviewed by S13

February 25, 2014

The author of the mix is David Letellier (b. 1978), better known as Kangding Ray, a French electronic music producer and kinetic installation artist based in Berlin, Germany. Before moving into electronic music horizons, Letellier evolved as a guitarist and drummer in various projects influenced by genres ranging from rock, pop to jazz. In his current recordings Kangding Ray investigates assimilation between architectural beats and extensive, atmospheric soundscapes. He tactfully puts together guitar loops, abyssal bass lines, white noise, acoustic instruments and digital production modules to create fully textured works. His music has been released on authoritative labels including Raster-Noton and Stroboscopic Artefacts. Kangding Ray has also been developing his name and reputation as a skilled live-act by constantly touring all across the globe. The visitors of such famous festivals and venues as Unsound, Labyrinth, Decibel, Berghain, Centre Pompidou and others had a good opportunity to feel and hear the power and magic of his picturesque live performances. His recently released brilliant album “Solens Arc” on Raster-Noton definitely shows his musical sophistication, experience and ideology.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 108” is a dynamic and deliberately measured mix that is a clear reflection of Kangding Ray’s current musical background and some of his early influences. In this conceptual selection the author of a mix is exploring a delicate connection between cultures of techno and popular music. However, in his mix Letellier professionally and smoothly incorporates a much wider palette of music styles ranging from industrial or glitch to experimental and world music. This makes his compilation richer, more flexible and compelling. The mix consists of 28 diverse records that were originally released between 1981 and 2013. However, fixed sound quality, exemplary beatmatching and extracted new formations break barriers of concrete time period that could be assigned to some of the records if they were played alone. Entire mix sounds relevant to nowadays subtle dance music scene, although Kangding Ray says that “the mix is not based on a super-actual stuff these days”. Emptyset, Ø, Rrose, AnD, Front 242, Jon Hassell, Autechre, D.A.F. are only a few names in this eclectic selection where works were creatively edited, adapted to every different sound expression and substantially mixed together. An accurate, complex, yet controversial or provocative layering of seemingly conflicting tracks gradually creates a complete, enduring and sometimes even slightly confusing wholeness that is quite similar to a multiplex Richard Sweeney’s abstract drawing “Untitled”. The basis of the mix stands on the intense, profound and progressively shifting rhythms, consistently developed repetitive digital percussions, immersing sound modulations and minimalistic melodies. Occasionally appearing hip-hop vocals, melancholic and polemic rhymes, sonorous sample cuts, various sound distortions and noises effectively turn this mix into a modern club music masterpiece. Wide, deep and lush sounding quality should leave no indifferent.

Ernestas Sadau - Secret Thirteen Mix 107 as reviewed by S13

February 22, 2014

The author of the mix is Ernestas Sadaunikas (b. 1984), a Lithuanian DJ, promoter and master chef based in London, United Kingdom. Sadaunikas has been building his musical identity under Ernestas Sadau and Dausa pseudonyms for over a decade now. Influenced by the early Autechre, Prodigy, Aphex Twin production and his parents’ vast record collection, which includes music ranging from The Doors to Donna Summer, Sadaunikas began a fruitful DJ career. Avoiding any stylistic frames he presents an eclectic DJ sets that vary between strict techno, smooth jazz, rock and various experimentations. Sadaunikas shared a stage with such honorable musicians as Fennesz, Murcof, Apparat, Peter Van Hoesen and many others. In 2006 he joined Lithuanian minimal techno community minimal.lt and became an active member of it. He is also a founder of “Sūpynės” (eng. “Swings”), one of the biggest electronic music festival in the Baltic States. However, later he left minimal.lt and started to focus more on his future projects. His newest imprint Digital Tsunami specializes in organising parties in London and publishing subtle dance music compilations. He is also a member of DJ duo Glark n Glark and sometimes selects music for fashion shows.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 107” is a delicate and varied music selection that mirrors its author’s daily intimate surroundings and reveals some of his favourite records that made an essential impact to him as an artist and as an individual. While compiling this mix Sadaunikas was influenced by femme fatales, mysticism, sex and, most important, his obsession with food making. This mix is also a reminiscence of his earlier selection “Cabernet Sauvignon” that was meant to be listened near a glass of noble red wine. In this mix Sadauninkas balances from subtly seductive emotions and happenings to surreal and gloomy moods. The development of the musical narrative is deliberate, patient and continuous. This smoothly shifting selection perfectly explores coherent connection among different music styles, periods and meanings behind the works. The mix contains 12 solid and high-quality records that were released between 1972 and 2012. Characteristic compositions by such respectable musicians as Jon Hassell, Coil, Autechre, African Head Charge, Alice Coltrane and others simply disconnect the listener from the shiny and hypocritical world and open a more scenic horizons deep in the subconsciousness. The controversial energy, strange passion, wisdom and various melancholia expressions that were transmitted from these professionally performed and qualitatively recorded tracks should inspire and leave no apathetic. Sadaunikas explains that this mix is his “one early morning’s expression of egoism that ended with an ejaculation”. Finally, it is like a specific Gilbert Hsiao’s abstract work “Slipstream” where elegant and unusual shape decorated with gradually transforming lines creates an artistic mirage that requires open imagination and art experience to fully absorb it.

Senking - Secret Thirteen Mix 106 as reviewed by S13

February 1, 2014

The author of the mix is Jens Massel (b. 1969), better known as Senking, a German electronic music producer and live act based in Cologne, Germany. Massel began producing minimalistic techno in 1995 under his other alias Kandis. However, only in the late 1990s Massel has signed to Raster-Noton just emerging at the time and Karaoke Kalk. Step-by-step he separated himself from Kandis’ activity and started focusing more on Senking’s sound identity. In more than 2 decades Massel has released 10 albums and over 10 EPs. Senking’s latest album “Capsize Recovery” clearly shows his perfection in sound quality, conceptuality and inventive view to abstract, yet three dimensional sound architecture. Inspired by unique musicians such as Vladislav Delay, Rhythm & Sound, Bohren & Der Club Of Gore and also his love for cycling, Massel has created a perfect audio symbiosis of transcendental rhythm, dark mood and wisely used modulations. Although Massel’s music has a subtly moving rhythm and vibrant textures of low tones and could be related more to dance music, it also hypnotizes and stimulates the subconsciousness with all its weighed experimentations.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 106” is a sincere and kaleidoscopic mix that mirrors some music that had a big impact to Massel as a person and also influenced his recordings. Massel describes this mix as “mixed emotions”. The mix contains 21 eclectic records that vary from true classics by such musical luminaries as Bob Marley & The Wailers, Melvins, Billie Holiday to nowadays music talents such as Andy Stott, Death Grips and others. It also contains unreleased cuts from Senking that are still in progress and also one of his rare compositions “Tar” released in 2002. An amazing collision between Bohren & Der Club Of Gore’s music and touching Ralph Stanley’s voice in the beginning of the mix simply amazes and immediately predisposes the listener for the unexpected musical journey. The development of the mix is quite similar to some automatic radio programmes, where quick fade ins and outs take the first place. It also includes a lot of diverse musical styles and moods. However, Massel just wanted to be true to himself and that is why he has chosen these type of tracks, even some of them are well known to our audience and could not be described as a ‘joy’ for real crate diggers. An essential aspect here is to show how these types of music in a long range of time could crystallize into something extraordinary (for example, unique Senking’s sound). Attentive listeners should hear some smooth dynamics between the tracks as it feels that records have indirect connections through speed, mood, sound structure, style similarities or even messages behind the track. Senking’s mix is quite similar to Robert Irwin’s surreal installation “Untitled (Acrylic Column)” which is related to light and space movement. Both works represent everyday surroundings that could be viewed through different angles. It is up to everyone, how they see the daylight and how they experience the reality. Massel wants to believe that his mix will be “not too polarizing” and we believe the same.

Violet Poison - Secret Thirteen Mix 104 as reviewed by S13

January 15, 2014

The author of the mix is mysterious Violet Poison, a cosmopolitan industrial/experimental techno producer and live act often wearing a black nylon mask during his live performances. His music is based on noisy rhythms, extensive sound architecture and profound low tones. Violet Poison is inspired by various conspiracy theories, egyptology, freemasonry and history. The meaning of his name flows from violet colour which is the most esoteric and one of the oldest colours used by humans, and poison which is associated to perhaps the most feminine way to kill. Both words have gothic and dark imagery behind. Even though Violet Poison’s works has recently appeared in the catalogs of electronic music, he is not a newbie in the scene and has a vast baggage of previous releases via other pseudonyms. However, this is a secret, because the artist covers his real identity so the listeners could not recognise him and link his parallel creations to his nowadays electronic explorations. In the recent time Violet Poison has released 4 records on such labels as Repitch Recordings, Dominick Fernow’s Hospital Productions and Bed Of Nails. It is important to mention that Violet Poison and Shapednoise collaborate on Violetshaped project and are the founders of Violet Poison label where they release their own production.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 104” is a thoughtful and scrupulous recording that melts over 40 prominent record cuts to form a sustained and exclusive audio collage. Each composition was re-worked in a real time after adding diverse sound effects and modulations to make it sound fresh and unexpected. Violet Poison said that “there is no future without past” so that is why he included works composed between 1954 and 2013, to show their relevance, longevity and of course his own musical sophistication. Taking pieces from this long period of time, Violet Poison manages to reduce the tension between compositions and develop a crystal contemporary wholeness. “This music hits every part of me and it is part of me, like an arm” says Violet Poison. Pretty layered viscous background of the mix and sometimes even subtly provocative, but very accurate mixing create solidity, richness and equanimity mood that clearly maintains listener’s concentration all the time. Feels like Violet Poison intuitively knows when and how to draw one’s attention through incorporating diverse sound shapes forming absolutely new characteristic textures of known pieces. Ascetic, but aesthetic melodies, cinematic atmospheres and sublime experimentations frequently merge into each other thus building a magnificent and timeless musical installation. Austere works by honourable pioneers of electronic music and modern classical composers such as John Cage, György Ligeti, Jean-Claude Risset, Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen and other talents will enrich die-hard music lovers’ libraries. There are 2 new tracks by Violet Poison himself included also. Finally this fluent and thrilling recording is quite similar to Graham Sutherland’s abstract painting “Head III” where delicately painted creature lightly penetrates observer’s imagination and impress with its inventive structure.

Cassegrain - Secret Thirteen Mix 093 as reviewed by S13

January 10, 2014

The authors of the mix are Welsh/Greek producer Alex Tsiridis and Turkish/Xinjiang composer Hüseyin Evigren, publicly known as Cassegrain, a cosmopolitan electronic music project that explores the realms of techno. Both musicians now live and work in Berlin. Tsiridis and Evirgen first met at the famous Red Bull Music Academy (Barcelona) in 2008 and immediately started to share their fruitful ideas with each other. Hüseyin studied piano and composition in Istanbul and Mozarteum University of Salzburg, while Tsiridis was focusing more on digital production and exploring various newest music trends of 2000′s. Evigren also works as a freelance composer and with an experimental art organisation in Salzburg called Toihaus Theater. Till today these two talented men have collaborated on numerous records that were released by such authoritative labels (more focusing on dance floor music) as Prologue, Modal Analysis, Killekill, Mikrowave, M_Rec Ltd and Semantica. The duo performs both as DJ’s and as live-act regularly across the globe. Dommune (Tokyo, Japan), Sonar (Spain), Berghain (Germany) are only a few notable places that were filled with their mobile and fluid sound. Inspired by science fiction, conspiracy theories and diverse cultural experiences the duo creates accurately polished and modulated high fidelity music that clearly reflects how techno music should sound in this century.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 093” is a profound and coherent collection of slightly eclectic music that indirectly shaped Cassegrain’s musical identity. The duo thoughtfully compiled and skillfully merged 17 expressive records that smoothly and continuously maintain the whole cinematic mood and substance of the mix. All the high quality and conceptual records were released between 1934 and 2013. However, it is hard to detect the fact that music was selected from the different periods of time, because Cassegrain has proceeded most of the tracks through various hardware devices to achieve an overall aesthetic relevant to their own production. This subtle extra layer completely weaved slightly interfering textures, structure and tonality of sometimes capricious compositions and also gave more dynamics and magnetism to the wholeness. Remarkably balanced condition of obscure atmospheres, occasionally appearing gloomy rhythms, complex and contemporary experimentations with sound and effects are the fundamental of this constantly growing and expanding chef d’oeuvre. The sublime collision between works of such prominent composers as Morton Feldman, Gérard Grisey, John Carpenter and such authoritative electronic music producers as Aphex Twin, Fennesz, Der Zyklus, Mokira simply impress and fully involve the listener into its lightly dark and figurative narrative. There is also music incorporated from Cassegrain’s release “Coptic E.P.” on Prologue and an excerpt piece from Heliaden soundtrack by Hüseyin Evirgen composed for Toihaus Theatre. An interesting aspect of the mix is that the significant part of it contains Greek musicians such as Giorgos Batis, Giannis Aggelakas & Nikos Veliotis, Mohammad. This specific information lets every inquisitive and attentive listener to analyze each of Cassegrain member’s impact to the whole mix and to observe more of their individual musical portraits.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 093” is like a mysterious and strangely penetrating Paul Klee’s painting “Walpurgis Night” where night colour puzzling lines, shapes and tones form an abyssal and supernatural landscape including some of the paranormal creature motives. Even the painting marks the transition from winter to spring when witches would gather on the Brocken, the highest of the Harz Mountains, to perform rituals to ward off evil. It also caries the unsearchable, haunting easily shiver from the inside sense that is quite similar to Cassegrain’s picturesque selection. The mix fully unfolds and reveals its enchanting beauty at night, that is why Secret Thirteen recommends to listen it at midnight while waiting for the symbolic All Hallows’ Eve or reading esoteric literature.

Einóma - Secret Thirteen Mix 096 as reviewed by S13

January 10, 2014

The authors of the mix are composers Bjami Þór Gunnarsson and Steindór Grétar Kristinsson, publicly known as Einóma, an Icelandic electronic music project based in Hague, Netherlands. Einóma took their name from Icelandic word meaning “two audio sources that combine into one”, claiming that the moniker is particularly appropriate as it echoes the dynamics of their collaboration: “We are two individuals with different ideas, who process every element together into one final piece”. After combining their interest in film soundtracks, arts and technologies, the duo created a highly conceptual atmospheric music that is highly enriched with a good dose of professionally sculpted experimental rhythms and algorithmic sound structures. Active since the early 2000s they have released two critically acclaimed albums “Undir Feilnótum” and “Milli Tónverka” as well as various 12″ vinyls, remixes and compilation tracks on labels such as Shipwrec, Lamadameaveclechien, Vertical Form and others. It is important to mention that after a couple years of silence project’s new records “Tvenna” and “Lost & Found” arrived in the record stores in 2010 and 2011. Gunnarsson and Kristinsson produce and release music under their own names too. Currently they are preparing for a long-awaited third album.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 096” is a many-layer and flexible audio collage that smoothly creates a continuous listening experience. The mix contains 43 magnificent pieces released between 1963 and 2012. These tracks influenced Einóma’s past production and indirectly shows their present musical intentions. The fact that such large amount of tracks are played in 1 hour perspective is quite impressive. According to the authors, there are parts where even 3-4 tracks are playing at the time and occasionally creating a sense that you hear semi-remixes, as when different compositions are merged together they slightly change their initial tonality, frequency and consistency. How tracks are thoughtfully stretched or compressed, cut, manipulated and synchronized together to form completely new sound architectures also could be heard. The way how Einóma develops recording’s tension, obscure emotional background’s aura and collision between sometimes even eclectic works is more than striking and clearly shows their longevous musical knowledge and experience. The basis of this mobile mix stands on the cathedral ambiance, cinematic melodic arrangements, pulsatory and very embossed rhythm layers that are related to techno and glitch music styles. A great pleiad of such notable artists as Ryoji Ikeda, Plastikman, Pan Sonic, Bohren & der Club of Gore, KTL, Senking and such authoritative composers as Bernard Parmegiani, Luigi Nono, Giacinto Scelsi, Karlheinz Stockhausen should immediately direct each inquisitive listener to what this mix should be all about: timeless expression of style, sophistication, tradition and progress. Einóma’s previously unreleased music fragments and solo works were also used in this mix.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 096” is like a composite and shimmering Bridget Riley’s Op art painting “Fall” where consistency of black and white geometric patterns explore the dynamism of sight and produce a disorienting effect on the eye. That suggestive sensation of movement and subtly maintained diverse, yet minimalistic visual density extracted from distorted waves constellation are quite similar to Einóma’s expositional mix. All in all, this interaction between painting and music creates an impression of two related parallels radiating hypnosis from the centre of canvas which in the end reaches the depths of the mind after transforming into picturesque sound frequences.

AVaspo - Secret Thirteen Mix 098 as reviewed by S13

January 10, 2014

The author of the mix is AVaspo (a venomous audiovisual poetry snake), an audiovisual project based in Vilnius, Lithuania. Core members of this project are poet, playwright and performer Gabrielė Labanauskaitė-Diena and composer, drummer, Labanauskaitė’s husband Vladas Dieninis. The project also unites a few more talented musicians and is frequently cooperating with different artists (modern dance troupes, VJs, fashion designers etc.). In the late 2000s AVaspo began experimenting with visuals, sound and immediately started performing at the local contemporary art and literature festivals. In over than 5 years of productive explorations project has released a trilogy of conceptual albums “Nėra okeano”, “Niagara” and “Kraujuojantis Okeanas / Ocean is Bleeding” that were also accompanied by numerous of professional videos. The project avoids any stylistic frames in their imaginative, yet subtly confusing creations so the listener could hear an attentively developed palette of sounds ranging from diverse and obscure electronic to acoustic or rock music. AVaspo’s symbiotic poetry and musical experiments are balancing between theater, films and modern sound expression. Their latest collaboration with dance theatre “Airos” demonstrates their versatility, constantly growing quality of their performances and future intentions. It is important to mention that Labanauskaitė runs an annual multidisciplinary festival “TARP”, that significantly increased Lithuanian’s interest in modern poetry over the last years.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 098” is a contemplative and profound audio selection influenced by the harmony of art, visual fragments, texts, noise and silence that surrounds and stimulates AVaspo’s members everyday. According to the authors, it is like a sustained composition that should be perceived as a powerful sentence with all its complex grammar and punctuation. Therefore, effective pauses, emotional convulsions, expanding contradiction between topics and unexpected voyages are inherent for this cinematic recording. The period of sound poetry covered in this mix is rich with concrete examples of poetry, spoken-word, processed text architecture and multi-layer collages taken from random conversations or auto-responses. Apart from predominant voices, the basis of this mix stands on the cathedral type soundscapes, improvised formless percussions, occasionally appearing mutable rhythms and dramatic noises. The structural and emotional development of the narrative and the whole technical side is sensibly measured, carefully formed and expanded with a great devotion to achieve a high-quality product in all its aspects. Although the mix is slightly volatile, some records lightly resonate with each other if listen to them separately. However, the authors find neutral parts and connect them properly to maintain the overall sound. All the records in this mix were released in the last decade on such permanent labels as Gruenrekorder, Empreintes DIGITALes, Public Information and Rune Grammofon. This mix is a symbolic piece as AVaspo commemorates the 6th anniversary of the project.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 098” is like a mesmeric and wisely encoded Constantin Flondor’s op art painting “Undulatory Mirage” where thoughtfully shaped and distorted composition is suggestively shimmering and creating different abstract formations inside the observer’s mind until the hidden message about the objective comprehension of the world sharply penetrates the subconsciousness. Flondor’s didactic work, based on the convergence of art, nature and science indirectly mirrors AVaspo’s conceptual mix also manifesting purposeful thinking, methodical planning and research capabilities. The fact that both AVaspo core members are lecturers at Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre reveals their experience to educate and to inspire every inquisitive observer through different mediums. This mix is a clear example of their academic attitude. The authors invite everyone to walk around the urban jungle of forgotten texts, sonic fragments of human relations, the landscape of memory and various associations.

Frank Bretschneider - Secret Thirteen Mix 102 as reviewed by S13

January 10, 2014

The author of the mix is Frank Bretschneider (b. 1956), also known as Komet, a German contemporary electronic music composer, musician and multimedia artist based in Berlin, Germany. Bretschneider studied fine arts and worked as a graphic designer until the early 80s when he began a prolific musical career. Influenced by early radio programmes about science fiction, films, astronomy, psychoacoustics, optics, art, architecture and literature Bretschneider passionately fell into the exploration of sounds. His first experiences in sculpting sine waves, working with tape machines, loops, modified guitars and synthesizers has led him to form an experimental music band AG Geige and to launch a cassette label klangFarBe for publishing their own production. It was a successful and influential start that was noticed in Eastern Germany. After The Fall of Berlin Wall and the split of the band Bretschneider continued producing and exploring computer based music. In 1996 together with Olaf Bender he founded a record label Rastermusic which finally merged with Carsten Nicolai‘s Noton to form Raster-Noton in 1999. In the last two decades Bretschneider has released over 20 critically acclaimed records on such prominent labels as Raster-Noton, Mille Plateaux, Richard Chartier‘s Line, 12k, Shitkatapult and others. He primarily works with sine waves and white noise as his source material. His oeuvre is dominated by complex tridimensional ambiance, micro sound patterns based on mathematics, inventive modulations and dynamic rhythmic structures and he is always trying to “encode the secrets of music”. Bretschneider is also experimenting with 8 and 16mm films and is interested in the interchange between visual art and music by various means such as film, video or computer graphics. He has performed at music and new media festivals such as Ars Electronica, Cut & Splice, Elektra, Mutek, Offf, Sonar, Steirischer Herbst, Transmediale and many others. As a solo artist he has cooperated with Taylor Deupree, Olafur Eliasson, Steve Roden, Ejnar Kanding and Ralph Steinbrüchel. Together with Olaf Bender and Carsten Nicolai he also runs Signal, another project of Raster-Noton.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 102” is an eclectic and mature audio selection which connects 20 original records released between 1956 and 2012. It is a completely influential mix without any concrete conceptual narrative. It was intuitively compiled and strictly developed to reflect Bretschneider’s favourite records of the last 20 years and some recent discoveries too. The fact that Bretschneider has always had a strong passion for black music makes us predict that this intimate mix hides different funky and dubbed production, as well as many other characteristic musical voyages too. By fusing unique catalogs that are disobedient to time and style, Frank Bretschneider gradually crafts a timeless selection that transmits versatility, matureness, flexibility, sensitiveness and meaningfulness. The basis of this mix stands on a vivid and mobile rhythms, melodic arrangement based on various old sample cuts and constantly shifting roomy ambiance. Contrasting records by such internationally acclaimed artists as Henk Badings, Can, Porter Ricks, Moritz Von Oswald, Scorn, David Torn and others simply capture listening attention from the very beginning, easily refresh the mind and fill the space with comfortability mood. These moving records weaved together not only enrich the whole mix with elaborate sound textures and kaleidoscopic production techniques, but also firmly expand its fundamental emotional and ideological foundation after expressive improvised collisions. Elliott Puckette’s delicately elegant, yet chaotic painting “Lacerta” clearly mirrors hidden complexity, stylistic scope and refined impression of Bretschneider’s mix. Selected music is chivalrous, emotionally powerful and liberal so it should find a straight way to every enthusiastic music lover’s heart.

Dadub - Secret Thirteen Mix 100 as reviewed by S13

January 10, 2014

The authors of the mix are Daniele Antezza and Giovanni Conti, also known as Dadub, an Italian electronic music duo and mastering engineers based in Berlin, Germany. Dadub used to be a solo project started by sound designer and musician Antezza in 2008. However, soon he was joined by Conti who was working on the interactive digital art projects at that time. Conti has brought a vast baggage of knowledge about hardware and software and duo immersed into producing. Both members are working in Artefacts Mastering studio and are highly connected to Stroboscopic Artefacts label where they have released 4 EPs and recent critically acclaimed debut album “You Are Eternity”. Influenced by King Tubby and fascinated by Lee Scratch Perry’s mix board experiments, Dadub is looking for innovative ways to merge old production formulas, new technical possibilities and sound constructing modules. “We care a lot of low frequencies and deep hypnotic atmospheres, and we both were drummers, so we guess the beats are important for us, both the patterns and the sounds,” Dadub says about their music characteristics in the interview for Electric Deluxe. While combining embossed techno rhythms and music related to dub and ambient sound textures, Dadub extracts carefully measured audio structures that could be described as moving colossal monuments. Their dynamic and powerful live performances were showcased internationally at Sonar festival in Barcelona, Melt! festival in Germany and in clubs from Berlin to Moscow and New York. So there is no doubt that the audience will hear a lot from this prominent duo in the nearest future.

By following Dadub’s recent recordings for Boiler Room, Resident Advisor and Electronic Explorations Secret Thirteen is happy to present their latest influential selection together with the celebration of the 100th mix of ours. Dadub’s selection indirectly reflects our previous mixes because it carries a lot of different stylistic motives ranging from techno, IDM, experimental to ambient, world and contemporary music. “The selection encompasses different historical moments of electronic music evolution, from the first futurist experiments (Russolo’s composition was composed in 1914) ’till the contemporary approaches,” says Dadub. The duo has connected 48 lasting records to form the sustained almost 2 hours complex mix where they have used tracks as tools to express their emotions through them. Even though the selection is deliberately eclectic Dadub wisely finds alternative ways to connect the most capricious tracks and to mask the tension between pieces that sometimes resonate. Spectral content of recorded material is always changing and smoothly reshaping its trajectory, it balances between formless compositions and rhythmical sound architecture. Dadub uses diverse audio layers to form completely new structures, new harmonies and constantly expanding sound constructions. They have dubbed and overdubbed this mix by using their new effect set up, a feedback system made by using analog vintage mixer and a couple of dirty delays. It is important to mention that this mix includes many diverse records that were evolved from dub music or could be strongly related to this genre. Among the sublime works by such respectable talents as John Cage, William Basinski, Demdike Stare, Jan Jelinek, Rhythm and Sound, Retina.it the listener will hear 4 pieces from Dadub catalog too. 2 of Dadub’s unpublished experimentations were cut from their performance at Atonal Festival 2013. All in all, “Secret Thirteen Mix 100” is a picturesque and attentively planned audio expedition through depths of emotional horizons and peaks of timeless electronic music.

Lustmord - Secret Thirteen Mix 103 as reviewed by S13

January 10, 2014

The author of the mix is Brian Williams (b. 1959), better known as Lustmord, an accomplished British electronic musician, composer, sound designer and visual artist based in Los Angeles, United States. He is often credited for creating dark ambient genre with albums recorded under the name Lustmord. Williams started recording while assisting the seminal industrial ensemble SPK in the early 1980s. His music could be described as sweeping, profound and dreamlike soundscapes oscillating and colliding with each other in the perplexing matrix. In the last 3 decades Lustmord has released more than 20 critically acclaimed records on such labels as Hydra Head Records, Blackest Ever Black, his own imprints Side Effects, Vaultworks and others. Learn more about Lustmord on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

To celebrate Brian ‘Lustmord’ William’s 55th birthday we present his one and only exclusive mix that should draw the fresh view to his world.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 103” is an intuitive and sensuous audio selection that reveals Lustmord’s early indirect musical influences and recently found gems he adores listening at home. Some of the mixed tracks have a direct influence on his personal creations, especially on the space between the notes. Lustmord believes this mix made of his favourite records should introduce to the audience some artists they may not have been aware of before or just fill their intimate space with mostly live and open sounds. According to Lustmord, his candid mix doesn’t hide any concrete emotional narrative and doesn’t carry any hidden message behind the fluently developing wholeness. However, this mix sounds are very conceptual, thoughtfully developed and emotionally charged. Even though these diverse tracks vary between different generations’ composing and recording principles, Lustmord has found excellent way how to transform his eclectic selection into one sustained and continuous recording. Compilation includes 19 records released between 1957 and 2009. Unforgettable and kaleidoscopic works by honourable musicians such as Jacob Miller, Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, Keith Hudson, Rhythm & Sound, Locust, Mark Pritchard and other talents simply relax and awaken sensitiveness. There are also 2 original soundtracks taken from such legendary films as “Alien” and “Get Carter” and even authentic music from the historical compilation CD “Negro Prison Songs”. It also includes Lustmord’s dubby remix of Puscifer’s track “Children of Dub”. It is not surprising to hear a lot of subtly echoing and lightly waving production included in this mix because Lustmord was listening to dub music since the late 1970’s while purchasing Jamaican vinyl imports. The basis of this compilation stands on the mostly live recorded viscous rhythm patterns, expressive singing, intensive textures transferred through pedal effects and the whole gradually shifting atmosphere that is saturated with masterfully played guitar chords, subtle percussion and rich melodies generated with different live instruments. However, this mix includes some high-quality abyssal and cosmic, strictly electronic music too. This versatile selection remarkably fits to private environment, because of its lightly complex motion, and is also perfect for working background because of its melodic and structural variety. It feels like the mood and tension of Lustmord’s mix indirectly reflect Salvador Dali’s expressionistic painting “Moonlight” where abstract forms create a state of mystery, nostalgia, mind and soul. Finally it is a great reincarnation of valuable records that were summoned by a real musical sorcerer.

Retina.it - Secret Thirteen Mix 094 as reviewed by S13

January 8, 2014

The authors of the mix are Lino Monaco and Nicola Buono, publicly known as Retina.it, an Italian electronic music project based in Pompei, Italy. The duo met in the early 1990s and suddenly found common interests to start their longevous musical partnership. In 1994 they have conjoined with DJ Rino Cerrone and launched one of the first Neapolitan techno music group named QMen which in its short existence released 3 vinyl records. In 1997 QMen project broke up. Retina.it was born as a consequence of Monaco’s and Buono’s constant interest in various sound researches and experimentations. The duo started to focus more on the inventive and conceptual sound with more flexible rhythmical and atmospherical foundation. It took 4 years for the first Retina.it album “Volcano waves 1-8” (2001) to see the daylight on Hefty Records. It was quite a fruitful start for the still emerging artists in the new century. With a prolific album, numerous of 12” records, EP’s and participations in various compilations under their belt the duo started gaining their deserved recognition across the globe. In 2003 they presented Mousikelab imprint where their second self-titled album was released, as well as collaborative album under Resina name. Retina.it was supporting on stage such prominent artists as Kraftwerk, Mika Vainio, Alva Noto, Pole, Apparat, Telefon Tel Aviv, Kangding Ray, Aoki Takamasa and others. Between 2009 and 2010 the duo was invited to collaborate with students of the Conservatory of Avellino to elaborate classical works such as “Chamin de fer” by Pierre Schaeffer and some madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo. The performances were presented at “Flussi 2009” and “Sentieri Barocchi 2010”. Their latest releases “Randomicon” at Flatmate Music and “Descending Into Crevasse” on Glacial Movements Records clearly reflect how the duo improved their skills in the last decade as their sound became more fluid and compositional, with a lot micro activity inside it. They performed live at such notable festivals as Sonar, Störung and others. The future of Retina.it seems bright, as their latest work with Dadub for Stroboscopic Artefacts shows their intentions and ambitions to explore this emerging alternative techno scene.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 094” is a sequential and refined audio journey through obscure and profound sound projections of the past. The mix contains 15 firm and expressive carefully selected records mainly released between 1960’s and 1980’s. Also, this selection indirectly mirrors Retina.it’s past and current influences. Efficient pieces of modern and avant-garde music composers such as Roland Kayn, Luigi Nono, Raymond Scott and dynamic works by the great musicians such as Coil, T.A.G.C., Laibach, Tuxedomoon completely interact with each other and form a sustained wholeness. It is important to mention that the last track of this mix is mysterious work “O.S.T. Janvier”, composed by Retina.it and will be released only in 2014. The basis of the mix stands on the early experimentations with complex synthesizers, vivid melodies, rigorous rhythms related to industrial music, harsh guitar chords related to post-punk scene and evocative vocals. Connections between tracks are accurate and fluid, even the whole selection is eclectic and caries different musical themes behind each track. Progressively growing tension and sound density of the mix show duo’s maturity as they literally shape their musical narrative. Remarkably filled blank spaces between each connection let the listener fully drown into mix’s subtle aesthetic and symmetry and rediscover some high quality and valuable gems of the past, that is so relevant to these days “underground” music scene’s convulsions and the uprising cult to reinterpret 80’s sound in new production.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 094” is like a constructive František Kupka’s work “Musique” related to Orphism movement where mixture of concrete colours, figurative mechanical shapes and gradual motion creates a close relationship between music and visuals. This abstract painting is quite similar to Retina.it’s psychologically powerful mix where intuitively explored industrialization, globalization, religion and freedom topics evoke not always convenient moments of the humankind.

Oren Ambarchi - Secret Thirteen Mix 081 as reviewed by S13

November 5, 2013

The author of the mix is Oren Ambarchi (b. 1969), an Australian electronic guitarist and percussionist who now lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Ambarchi has been performing live since 1986. Oren Ambarchi’s works are hesitant, tense and extended songforms located in the cracks between several schools: modern electronics and processing, laminal improvisation and minimalism, hushed, pensive songwriting, the deceptive simplicity and temporal suspensions of composers such as Morton Feldman and Alvin Lucier, and the physicality of slowed down and stripped to its bare bones rock music, abstracted and replaced with pure signal. Ambarchi has released numerous recordings on authoritative labels such as Touch, Southern Lord, Editions Mego, Kranky and Tzadik. His record “Triste” received an honorable mention at that year’s Prix Ars Electronica. Also his works appeared on “Subsonics” (SBS TV (Australia)) and “Set” (ABC TV (Australia)). Ambarchi has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists such as Fennesz, Charlemagne Palestine, Thomas Brinkmann, Keiji Haino, Alvin Lucier, Merzbow, Jim O’Rourke, Keith Rowe, Phill Niblock, John Tilbury, Evan Parker, Fire!, Sunn 0))) & many more. He is also a past and present member of bands including Sunn O))), Sun, and Menstruation Sisters.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 081” is a spontaneous and kaleidoscopic audio selection that mirrors its author’s early musical influences. The mix was compiled in Winnipeg, Canada in July 2013 and it represents a selection of some of Ambarchi’s “Most Played” tracks during his recent Euro travels. Compilation includes 26 skillfully produced luxurious records released between 1968 and 1995. Timeless works by honorable musicians such as Pat Metheny Group, Fleetwood Mac, Andy Pratt, Blue Gene Tyranny, Joe Walsh and other talents simply relax and awaken creativity. The basis of this compilation stands on the lively recorded rhythmic textures, constantly flowing expressive singing and the whole harmonious atmosphere that is enriched with masterfully played guitar chords, subtle percussion and diverse melodies generated with different live instruments. It is the universal selection that completely fits for intimate or private environment, because of its lightly complex motion and also for working background for its melodic and structural variety. The mix requires musical sophistication, listening experience and high-fidelity speakers or headphones to fully understand its smoothly developed structure. Unique emotional and ideological expression by Ambarchi naturally gets an audience prize in this prominent selection for bringing people of different generations together.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 081” is like a magically realistic Eyvind Earle’s painting “Crimson Sunset”, where monumental figure, surrounded by a majestic boundless horizon, evokes nostalgic memories of a lifetime that lays somewhere deep in the unconscious. The strangely captivating painting is similar to Ambarchi’s vivid selection as both of them hide longevity, naturalness, playfulness and promising mystery.

Gintas K - Secret Thirteen Mix 082 as reviewed by S13

November 5, 2013

The author of the mix is Gintas Kraptavicius (b. 1969), publicly known as Gintas K, a Lithuanian sound and interdisciplinary artist living and working in Marijampole, Lithuania. Kraptavicius has been a part of Lithuanian experimental music scene since 1994. He is a co-founder of the initial Lithuanian industrial music group “Modus”. He became known for his sound manipulations, theatrical performances and conceptual art in the manner of Fluxus. Nowadays Kraptavicius is working in the field of digital experimental and electroacoustic music. His compositions are based on explorations of static, micro and tonal sounds, various accurate experimentations with sine waves and accidental digital modulations, also overloaded noisy sound structures, acoustic vibrations. In over a decade he has released numerous of records on labels such as Cronica, Zeromoon, Baskaru, Dangus and others. He is also making music for films, sound installations and participating in various international festivals. In 2010 he was a winner of the II International Sound-Art Contest “Broadcasting Art 2010” in Spain. A year later Kraptavicius has become a member of Lithuanian Composers Union. Also it important to mention that Kraptavicius is a curator of “Various Artists – Lithuanian Sound Art” (2012) compilation – an introduction to modern sound art in Lithuania.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 082” is a considerate and sustained audio compilation that includes 15 original records created and released between 1982 and 2012. From the stylistic perspective Kraptavicius has connected music ranging from experimental, abstract, glitch, acoustic rock and another indefinable formations. Constructive works by the prominent international artists such as Einstürzende Neubauten, Bauhaus, The Hafler Trio, Pan Sonic, Philip Glass, Sachiko M, Gintas K and other skilled sound sculptors vary from puzzling soundscapes to elaborate rhythmical architecture. Gradually shifting, waving and expanding interactive pieces create a complex background that is full of bizarre expression and unexpectedness. Algorithmically deformed melodic and rhythmic patterns, innovatively combined and shaped sound atmospheres and field recordings generate a fictional sound installation that evokes sublime visual surroundings in the unconscious. Occasionally emerging suggestive and lyrical vocals, organic piano consonances and fluid guitar chords give a subtle vitality and pure emotion to this selection. The development of the mix is patient, accurate and conceptual that progressively examines different sound particles intersection and the whole flexible consistency of recordings. Kraptavicius has chosen to play compositions almost completely to mirror his early influences that indirectly shaped his personal creations and his approach to the whole experimental music and minimalism art scene. High-quality production requires professional headphones or hi-fi sound system to fully absorb eclectic surface and its micro sounds matrix, tonal convulsions of this mix.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 082” is like a deliberate and symbolic Lawren Harris‘ abstract painting “Abstract Painting #20” where picturesque curves and simplified visionary contours capture wider, almost spiritual representation of a transcendental monument. Same as in Harris’ existential painting that is enriched with a remarkable sense of modernism, Kraptavicius’ mix reflects unique architectonic forms of the multifunctional environment, perfectly maintained subtle emotional balance, longevity of penetrating characteristic creation and complete sophistication.

Koen Holtkamp - Secret Thirteen Mix 084 as reviewed by S13

November 5, 2013

The author of the mix is Koen Holtkamp, an American multi-instrumentalist and experimentalist who lives and works in Brooklyn, United States. After several years of focusing mostly on film and video, Koen Holtkamp began working with sound in 1997. In 1998 while studying at The Art Institute of Chicago he co-founded the Apestaartje collective/label. Holtkamp has released four albums under his own name (Type, Thrill Jockey, Blackest Rainbow, Barge Recordings (with Chris Forsyth) labels) and seven albums as Mountains (Apestaartje, Catsup Plate, Thrill Jockey labels), a duo project with Brendon Anderegg and two albums under the name of Aero (Apestaartje). Holtkamp’s pieces are shifting from digital processing on computers to the physical world of creating patches via modular analog electronics in order to create a continuous and fluid overall sound. His work is mainly built around processed acoustic guitar, analog synthesizers, various analog filters, array of pedals and electronics, also it is incorporating recordings of harmonica, electric organ, small percussion objects and everyday surroundings. Holtkamp has toured throughout the US and Europe performing in festivals, art galleries, museums, basements, communes, churches and rock clubs. He has performed with Fennesz, Radian, James Blackshaw, Nicholas Collins, Carsten Nicolai, Tony Conrad and many more. He has also been involved in several exhibitions and art projects including the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Dissolving Localities Project in Jerusalem.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 084” is a slightly flowing magical audio selection that ensures for its naturalness and intentional development. According to its author, it recreates a semblance of the relaxed intimacy of sitting in front of the turntable with a few friends taking turns as the selector. Purposefully left some surface noise lets the imperfections of age and the medium exist to illustrate the moment of recording. The mix contains 16 emphatic, relaxing and absolutely monumental records released between 1967 and 2011. It is undoubtedly a world music mix based on employment of different traditional instruments, charming vocals and the whole improvisational atmosphere. Smooth archaic compositions with a contemporary touch from diligent artists such as Alice Coltrane, Alan Watts, John Cage, Popol Vuh, Faust and others create versatility, immeasurable sensitiveness and a strange feeling of eternity. Due to continuous and thoughtful Holtkamp’s mixing and the whole emotional development this mix becomes a sustained collage of musical diversity, sincerity and pleasant unexpectedness of different arrangements.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 084” is like an intimate and nostalgic Albert Gleizes‘ proto-Cubist painting “Bords de la Marne” where scenic surroundings in a modern art perspective create an essence of the world that could be gained by sensations. From an epic visionary figuration to total abstraction that is covered with spectacular evening afterglow colour tones, Gleizes’ expressive painting touches observer’s heart and enriches its spirituality. Holtkamp’s picturesque selection and all its gradually maintained solid character smoothly mirrors Gleizes’ work’s essential principles – analysis of volume relationships, literal understanding of solitude, social and cultural meaning. It is a mix that melts any age or cultural polarization and brings people of different generations together, strengthens tolerance to the races, inspires to create and to dream.

Trepaneringsritualen - Secret Thirteen Mix 092 as reviewed by S13

October 21, 2013

The author of the mix is Thomas Martin Ekelund (b. 1977), a Swedish industrial music artist and graphic designer based in Göteborg, Sweden. In the last decade Ekelund has been releasing music mainly under the name of Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words, but since the projects ended in the late 2011, he started to focus more on the synth pop duo Soma Sema and ritualistic solo project Trepaneringsritualen. Ekelund has released numerous of records (cassettes, vinyls, CDr’s) on such highly conceptual labels as Release The Bats, Hanson, Small Doses, Fang Bomb, iDEAL, Malignant Records and others. Ekelund explores themes of religion, magick and the occult realms of consciousness. While weaving motives from the old school of ritual ambient & death industrial, Trepaneringsritualen creates rhythmic and at times seething musical formations with a creeping sense of desolation. Trepaneringsritualen conjures bleak but mesmerizing visions of the end-times. Influenced by such eccentric musicians as Michael DeWitt, Current 93, Roger Karmanik, Anenzephalia and Psychic TV, Ekelund developed his own esoteric and harsh underworld of sounds that captivate and penetrate the psyche. It is also important to mention that Ekelund is running Beläten imprint which is releasing a wide range of synthetic and acoustic music.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 092” is a dark and dynamic audio selection of 15 transcendental records released between 1978 and 2013. The main stylistic trajectory of the mix is based on industrial music, but it also contains fragments of noise, neofolk, gothic rock and experimental. Timeless works by dark hearted musicians such as November Növelet, Death In June, S.P.K., Throbbing Gristle, Con-Dom, Pharmakon and others not only awaken the subconscious, but cause to rethink our doomed daily life. The basis of this mix stands on melodic agony gained from distorted and sharp electric guitars, forceful vocals, dramatic improvisations with various percussion instruments and occasionally emerging obscure rhythms. The focus is on noisy and suggestive lyrics and singing. A lot of complicated topics are explored through lyrics: absurd, death, destruction, rituals, society, religion, confidence, nihilism, rebellion and others. Even though the mixing is quick and rigid, Ekelund skillfully holds the tension and solidity of the mix by flawlessly forming records sequence. It is a priceless compilation consisting of mainly original records that made a strong impact to the whole industrial and alternative music growth.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 092” is like a macabre Pablo Picasso’s lithograph “Black Jug and Skull” where tactful use of lithographic crayon and ink creates oppressive highlights and sharp definition. All angular rhythms, expressive edges and strongly contrasting areas of black and white can be associated with the suffering and death of the Second World War. The scene depicted in lithograph is sombre and restrained and is quite similar to Ekelund’s mix that indirectly maintains vanitas theme. Also, the fact that Picaso was superstitious about death is in parallel with Trepaneringsritualen ideology. A collision between lithograph’s symbolic visuals and mix’s gloomy mood strengthens the perception of both works. Trepaneringsritualen mix is a memento mori, a reminder of the inevitable approach of death that shrouds the listener with empyreal wisdom.