Friday, May 16, 2008



the original starting point for this mix was the idea of going back as far as possible into my musical memory. it was to be a search for those first electronic sounds that have somehow influenced me and lead me to the present moment. the resulting selection would then serve as the backbone of the mix.

as it turned out, this was not as easy as i thought it would be. first of all, the first draft of the list (containing about sixty tracks) was decidedly incoherent. an interesting selection it was, but highly unsuitable for mixing purposes. usually i am a stern defender of eclecticism, but it turned out to be impossible to come up with a selection that would made sense to me (let alone to someone else).

so i decided to focus mainly on music with a (direct) relation to the dance floor. this made things easier, as i could then focus the mix towards a clear goal. the final selection is a combination of electronic new wave, early new beat, house and detroit techno. these are the styles that i feel have influenced me more than anything else. the selection stops chronologically in 1994, whereas i originally set out to include 'contemporary' tracks as well. however, i didn't feel like doing a three hour mix, so the remaining part will have to be dealt with another time.

although this mix is mainly about dance music, it's not made with the dance floor in mind. the main approach is one of selection and representation in a much more functional way than i would normally go about when playing for a crowd. no tricks, just the music. at times i felt it was necessary to let the tracks run out completely, leaving the mix to its essential function. the mix is about the tracks, the memories related to them as well as the influence on today's electronic music landscape and my personal musical development. going through my record collection, selecting the tracks, i was transported back to all those particular moments relating to each and every tune. the memory linked to music seems like a very strong and vivid one. places, faces, crowds, clubs, comments, record shops and after parties all came back to mind.

each track has a few lines of additional information, placing it into a (personal) historical perspective. i hope i have all the dates and label info right, if not then please feel free to correct me.

01 jansen & barbieri: toys, 1985, pan east records

the 'worlds in a small room' album was commisioned by jvc, to accompany a documentary with space shuttle footage. it was originally released in japan only. 'toys' is the second track on the album - dreamy eighties electronic sounds, vaguely vangelis-like (cfr. bladerunner).

02 severed heads: we have come to bless this house, 1986, nettwerk

australian project severed heads remains somewhat obscured within electronic music's rich past. the ep 'dead eyes opened' was released in several formats on different labels, with different tracks each time. 'we have come to bless this house' was released on the 1986 nettwerk version.

03 a split second: flesh, 1986, antler records

for some this track marks the (un)offical start of new beat, an electronic genre that didn't really cross many borders during its few years of existence, but was hugely popular with the belgian club crowd back then. remaining interesting for about two years after its peak, new beat was mainly focused on mixing electronic body music with new wave, synth pop, chicago acid and balearic beats. 'flesh' exemplifies the characteristics of new beat: a slow, grinding beat combined with hypnotic synth lines. an interesting fact is that the original version of 'flesh' was pitched down heavily when played in clubs, thereby creating the bass-heavy kick 'thud' that was so popular back then. this is also how i represented it in this mix.

04 snowy red: euroshima (wardance), 1988, antler records

another new wave/new beat crossover, with the typical elements nicely laid out. the dark, pre-reese bassline made the track stand out at a time when new beat was starting to lose its freshness.

05 public relations: public relations, 1987, another side

the public relations project didn't release much as far as i know, but this track (and the popular 'new beat mind') were solid new beat anthems back then. there's a distinct synth pop influence present in this track, which made it perfect for radio air play. i remember hearing it in shops, bars and on the street - it was everywhere, much like i experienced jungle when i went to london in 1993, hearing those crazy breakbeats all over town.

06 liaisons dangereuses - los niños del parque, 1985, roadrunner

this is a piece of sublime electronic funk with attitude. it's taken from the album 'liaisons dangereuses' on roadrunner. the entire album is worth every penny, presenting a band far ahead of its time.

07 severed heads: dead eyes opened, 1986, nettwerk

by now it will be clear to everyone that i'm a huge severed heads fan. 'dead eyes opened' is one of those tracks appropriated by the new beat movement by pitching it down to a slower, funkier groove than its original intention. it's another fine example of genres and styles meeting and merging.

08 808 state: san fransisco, 1991, ztt

this track is taken from the 'ex:el' album, probably 808 state's opus magnum. this is manchester at its finest, meshing rolling bass lines with exciting breakbeats, crossing styles and coming out on the other side with a big smile.

09 infiniti: techno por favor, 1990, ten records

this track takes this process mix into detroit techno territory, with one of the best tracks on the 'techno 2 - the next generation' compilation. juan atkins (assisted by eddie flashing fowlkes) dashes out a solid dose of machine funk: a hard-hitting detroit bassline, heavy 909 action and a female voice putting techo and its roots in perspective. timeless.

10 mayday: wiggan (re-mix), 1992, buzz

if there's one album i'll be taking with me to that fictional island, it'll be 'relics', released by now-defunct belgian buzz label (fyi, the cd version is much more interesting than the vinyl release). 'wiggan' is another detroit techno classic, there's just so much funk and groove going on with so few elements, it gets to me everytime i hear it. this is derrick may at the top of his game as a producer: raw and refined at the same time.

11 fingers inc: i'm strong, 1987, alleviated/r&s

r&s re-released this in 1990, that's how i picked it up. this larry heard production still stands out when played today, with wild percussion and weird bleeps driving this tune forward. the vocal version features robert owens in excellent shape.

12 blakkat: blakkat medic mix, 1994, bush

this takes us back to the uk, with mark bell in true form. 'blakkat' is a wild-pitch style track that keeps building and grooving along with its excellent sense of composition and production. everything is right there: the beats, the bass, the strobes, the smiles.

13 3mb featuring juan atkins: die kosmischen kuriere, 1993, tresor

deep techno from the detroit-berlin axis. this was the one of the finest moments of the second tresor compilation: lush, jazzy techno, deeply layered, distinctly musical. whenever people tell me that "techno isn't real music" i remain silent, think of this track and smile.


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5:51 AM  
Blogger Harry Poppins said...

nice one peter!

3:30 PM  
Blogger chris said...

wow. the mix looks pretty special. i love the thought you've obviously put into it. grabbing now. thanks so much.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Jes said...

d/l now

will get back to you later with my thoughts

10:29 PM  
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nice post

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