This weekend's musical exploration began, and it so often does, with a single catalyst. That agent was the arrival of the latest addition to the much-hailed KLF Recovered & Remastered series, titled The KLF Remix Project (Part One). This limited edition promotional comp features an assortment of delicious deep cuts, and rare and exclusive mixes breathing new life into the long-deleted KLF catalog.
One of my favorite selections from the comp is a surprising remix of "Me Ru Con" - an acapella track from The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu's 1987 What The Fuck's Going On? LP. This is the album that The KLF are pictured burning on their follow-up album, Who Killed The Jams? The Remix Project compilation presents Steve Rowlands' "Me Ru Con (WTF Mix)" which transforms the unassuming and humble recording into an ethereal mix of radio signals, steel drums, and atmospheric beats. The mix really gets you grooving and stirs all sorts of nostalgia for the legacy of the band. If you have the opportunity, pick up this comp (as you should all titles from the series). It does a fantastic job of filling the void left by the absence of the KLF. And for a remix comp the collection functions extraordinarily well as a cohesive piece - consistent with all of the releases in this fantastic series. The Remix album is packed with dark ambient dub and dub techno beats, and fueled my aforementioned muse resulting in this weekend's discoveries.
Yearning for more dub techno greatness, I turned to my own archive and performed a search for genre values including "dub" + "techno." Surprisingly, there were a number of discographic archives from artists whose names were familiar, but whose body of work had escaped me. Several online sources indicated that one of the resulting artists, Basic Channel, were universally heralded as the founding fathers of the sub-genre in Berlin in the early 1990s. Basic Channel is made up of Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald, who appeared in my library under the alias, Rhythm & Sound. Ernestus owns the Hard Wax store in Berlin and together, the duo has released numerous minimal dub 12-inch singles as Basic Channel, Cyrus, Round One/Two/Three/Four/Five, and other aliases. This is an ideal starting place to familiarize yourself with the genre.
Finnish electronic musician and producer, Sasu Ripatti, creates dub techno albums as Vladislav Delay, and interestingly intersected with Basic Channel member Moritz von Oswald when he provided percussion for a series of LPs released as The Moritz Von Oswald Trio between 2009 and 2012.
Oswald also collaborated briefly with Thomas Fehlmann as Schizophrenia. They issued one lone split single - a self-titled track on the b-side of Sun Electric's "Monolith" in 1995, but the track is a stand-out classic. Listen close - the single samples Ash Ra Tempel's "Sunrain", the opening track from New Age of Earth from 1976.
Andy Stott is another dub techno artist from Manchester. His work began around 2005, but his most critically-acclaimed recording is his 2012 LP, Luxury Problems, receiving awards from both Resident Advisor and from Pitchfork Media.
Digging further into my library I discovered Canadian electronica musician, Scott Montieth's work as Deadbeat, as well as his collaboration with Paul St. Hilaire from 2014 titled The Infinity Dub Sessions.
Also well-represented in my collection was Rod Modell and Stephen Hitchell's catalog performing as cv313 on the Echospace label. Modell's solo project, under the moniker Deepchord, is also fantastic--particularly his releases from the series of "Deepchord Presents Echospace" albums produced with Souldubsounds owner Steven Hitchell (aka. Soultek). Discogs notes that these recordings were "produced using nothing but vintage analog equipment, Roland Space Echo, Echoplex, Korg tape delay, vintage signal processors, noise generators, Sequential Circuits 8 bit samplers & numerous analog synthesizers" featuring an array of "sounds, static, tones and field recordings, including paranormal activity captured and recorded in Chicago & Detroit."
Fluxion is another figure worth exploring in this category. A pseudonym of Konstantinos Soublis (aka K. Soublis), Fluxion is an electronic music producer from Athens, Greece. The artist's profile states that his music "has a characteristic of slowly evolving parts and contemplating elements which form lengthy musical pieces. His sounds are heavily processed to a point where the origin of a sound has little to do with the end result." - soundscapes in which a listener may lose him/herself.
Berlin artists Robert Henke and Gerhard Behles performing as Monolake are also noteworthy, if not for their catalog, then perhaps for the fact that together they founded the Ableton music software company which is responsible for instrument and sample libraries used by countless musicians over the last 15 years.
One of the better-known German sound projects of the genre is Andy Mellwig and Thomas Köner's catalog performing as Porter Ricks (whose name is based on a character from the series, Flipper), Their sound is described as "a project that lies between clubs and art."
In fact, Köner also works as a multimedia installation artist and gained critical acclaim for his digital opera, The Futurist Manifesto.
It's really wonderful to have a music library as a resource for genre explorations like this. And extra special thanks to those behind the KLF Recovered & Remastered series for the quality tunes which inspired this latest journey.