Everpure – He Said feat. Marie Bergmann.

September 29th, 2014 by Henry

I just noticed that I never wrote about this project: Yes, there is actually music happening at the Everpure studios… Earlier this year, I met Marie and we started working on some new music. Unfortunately, like with a few others in the past two years, our collaboration only yielded one single song.

Anyway, here it is – a groovy tune with a kick drum heavy beat that I made on my DSI Tempest and finished with a bunch of synths and arpeggiating effects. Funny, how it somehow carries that melancholic drift that I associate with yet another project that did not have the bright future it maybe could have had.

Dave Smith Instruments – Pro 2.

September 29th, 2014 by Henry

It has been a while ago, since I have last posted a story. Well, this summer has been good to me on various levels, and that does not only include the weather and my amazing holiday trip to California, seeing Sequioa and Yosemite National Parks (including several bear sights!). It also included a few days in San Francisco, where I have never been before. Yes, the Golden Gate Bridge was all in fog, as expected. And yes, west of the hills, it is all grey, cold and cloudy – while it is sunny and warm east of the hills.

Anyway, during my stay in San Francisco, I had the chance to visit the DSI (Dave Smith Instruments) office. It says on their website that you should just drop them an email if you’d like to visit – and they were so kind to actually invite me, even though they were just in the final stage before releasing their latest synthesizer to public and sales.

So, one morning, I went to their place (in the Italian quarter, right between Chinatown and Telegraph Hill) and… went right into the nerdiest synth maker office I could ever imagine. I expected some kind of reception desk or so, but nothing like that. It is actually just a small working space (well, they are about ten people, after all) with a bunch of desks, all sorts of electric and electronic devices – and tons of synths around. In short, a heavenly place to work at, obviously.

Jumping right into it, I then got the opportunity to play DSI’s newest offering, the fantastic Pro 2 synth. See it in (official) action here:

All I can say – apart from what has been said and written in many reviews already – is that it sounds great, deep, inspiring and definitely makes you forget that you’ve only got one voice. Take any of the preset patches, twist those knobs and play. In no time, you’re miles apart with new, musically inspiring sounds. If you’ve got two grand to part with, spend them on one of these.

Dave Smith is one of the great legends in synthesizer design and manufacturing. Not only did he invent the MIDI protocol, but also – with his first company Sequential Circuits – designed some of the most legendary synths ever: The Prophet 5 (one of the first programmable polyphonic synths), the monstrous Prophet T8 (which I still lust for, just because Howard Jones played it in the 80s), and not least the Prophet VS (a ground-breaking, digital synth that still echoes its footprint in today’s electronic music from its vector synthesis).

And the best thing of it all: Even though I did not expect to meet the man himself, since I was told that he would be traveling that week, Dave was indeed at the office. And he even spared a good bit of his time to chat with me about past, present and future. I must admit that I felt like a teenager meeting his pop star idol in person – sweating and blushing and feeling embarrassed like a stupid 15-year-old. But we had a really nice and inspiring chat, where Dave confirmed how much he is still excited about designing synths and making new stuff. Of course, his legacy and his heritage is always around, not least in that office. But he doesn’t just rest on past laurels – he keeps moving on to new ground all the time. And this new Pro 2 synth is the best proof for it.

Last, check out humble me next to the man (and in front of a fully working T8; btw, Howard Jones is still a Dave Smith customer, playing a Prophet 12 these days) – I was still shivering in excitement hours later…

Dave Smith and I

The Video of the Year.

August 12th, 2014 by Henry

It’s already more than four weeks ago, but I can still watch this all day long… Deutschland ist Weltmeister!

GusGus – Mexico.

June 28th, 2014 by Henry

Did they wait for the World Cup with this title? I don’t know. But anyway, here is the latest, greatest from our Icelandic “electronic soul” heroes. For my taste, a little too few vocals from Earth, and at first and second listen, it lacks a bit of the beautiful deepness of 24/7 and Arabian Horse. But it is nonetheless a no-fuss, four-to-the-floor delivery that has at least one massive hit in its luggage. Check out the official video for Crossfade…

… and get a sneak preview of the entire album:

As always, I suggest buying it directly from the label, if you like it.

Chromeo – Jealous (I Ain’t With It).

June 14th, 2014 by Henry

This is going to be my favourite song of this summer. Heck, it could even match football World Cup this year… Turn on HD on the video, then turn up the volume – and dance to Chromeo‘s funky pop! Oh, and remember: The whole album is just like this – great, fun and groovy.

P.S. While I’m at it, you might want to read this interesting interview with the guys on electronicbeats.net, too.

12 Things You Should Never Say To A Musician.

June 10th, 2014 by Henry

Do not ever say any of this to anyone who makes music. Ever.

(Found via bonedo.de)

Against the Clock: Stray.

June 4th, 2014 by Henry

Against the Clock is an interesting feature on FACT Magazine, showing off what producers and artists can come up with in ten minutes time. It is quite amazing to see (from a rather nerdy perspective), how much some of them really master their tools – may it be the computer or a specific instrument – so they can actually write and (well, somewhat) arrange a basic song idea in such a short time. And – extra bonus for you and me tonight – I discovered a young, amazing Drum’n’Bass producer, who : Watch Stray build a sweet, slow jam for us in just ten minutes. And don’t forget to check out the other features, too.

Oh, and check out also a preview of Stray’s latest EP Chatterbox to hear what else he’s doing:

Throwing Snow – Mosaic.

May 30th, 2014 by Henry

I already wrote about the guy a few weeks ago, but now you can pre-listen the entire album. I must say, this is one of the really interesting, in a good way challenging electronic albums this year so far. Go, and get it from the label directly here, if you like it.

And the best thing: He’s going to play at Pumpehuset, here in Copenhagen in June! Well, their website does not tell yet, but they confirmed on Facebook (sic!), so I suppose it is going to happen. Oh, and, dear Pumpehuset, your website sucks, so please do not make the “visuel, bred og flot” view default. It is neither of the three attributes, when you actually want to look for something…

The Cure – Disintegration.

May 28th, 2014 by Henry

Oh well, it seems I am getting old. Amongst all the new music every year, month, week (that sometimes makes me feel that there is too much music to handle), there is always that little spot, where the ghosts from the past seem to reappear every now and then. This time, it was this article in The Quietus that made me revisit what is probably my favourite album of all times – even before any Depeche Mode album, in fact.

This year, it is 25th anniversary of the release of Disintegration, and I can still remember how I sat together with a friend in his bedroom in his parent’s house, listening to the album for the first time. We were so blown away, that the thunder still echoes in my memory. Ok, that sounds too full of pathos, but it is true. Well, how can you not be impressed by an album opener like Plainsong?

So, what is this story about? Well, it is about the fact that others are better writers than I am (see above mentioned article), better musicians than I am (did I ever write a song as good as any random bar in any song on this album? hell, no!), but that I am certainly a great admirer of great music. So, do yourself a favour, take some quality time reading that article and listen to this wonderful album. It might bring you way down memory lane – for good and bad – but it will be worth it. And to all those naysayers out there, who only listen to 17 Seconds: Listen closely, and you will understand.

P.S. The above video is indeed rather boring, particularly compared to the one for Lullaby or those stupid/funny videos for Lovesong and Pictures Of You (here is the long version, the most beautiful, epic piece of melancholy ever), but it represents one of the very outstanding songs on Disintegration, in my opinion.

Hercules & Love Affair – The Feast of the Broken Heart.

May 19th, 2014 by Henry

I used to like Hercules and Love Affair a lot for various reasons. Anthony and the Johnsons was once of them. Their variety in style, sounds and production another. Now they are about to release a new album, and I don’t know what to say. I don’t know if I like it or not. I don’t understand it. Is it only me? It is so very retro that even GusGus’ Attention and Forever sound like future music… Maybe, it is just a bit too much of it for my taste. Listen in full for a limited time on Pitchfork Advance or watch the video for I Try to Talk to You, which John Grant contributes his vocals to: