December 27, 2009

December 20, 2009

Orishas @ Postbahnhof / Berlin 9.12.09

Admittedly, I'm a bit late with this one. All concert posts before have been up a couple of days after the shows. I always thought it important to reproduce my first impressions of a band on stage. This time I simply didn't find the time to do so, and suddenly two weeks have passed. But then again, I've still got several impressions and memories of the gig to have a say. And that is this:

The Cuban expatriats are a good example that Hip Hop isn't only about stylish clothes and showing off a nearly polaresque coolness. Orishas are not stylish, at least not in a Hip Hop kinda way. They merge Cuban traditions with what they consider to be a Hip Hop attitude in their outfits, stage performance and other appearance (as can be witnessed on their spanish-speaking website). This often looks odd, a bit too deliberate in my opinion. On the other hand, I somehow appreciate the innocence that goes hand in hand with their inability to show off like 50 or KanYe do.

On stage, Orishas performed with three MCs, a DJ (using Serato or similar on two MacBooks!!) and a percussionist. I'm not quite sure whether that DJ simply had a bad day when I was there, but de facto he tried to impress with some introductionary scratching and juggling, which was - sorry to say - purely uninspired rubbish. Later, he didn't get the chance to blame himself again on the decks - his job was limited to firing up beats - however he still managed to look silly when we was waving his arms "like you just don't care". That can happen if you give a Hip Hop DJ too much free time. The one-man rhythm section produced some solid work, nothing mean to mention here, but he wasn't pushed to the fore anyway.

The 3 MCs did a real good job. Yotuel Manzanares and Hiram Medina dropped their rhymes pretty tight. So tight, that it sometimes seemed as if they were doing it lip-syncing. Roldán Rivero, the singer of the band, added a lot of Cuban flair to the tracks, a heavy reminiscence of the Buena Vista project. Although annoyed by the DJ, I enjoyed the show and the performance, especially because Orishas played for more than 2 hours, which is quite an amount of time compared to the 40 or 60 minutes that other entertainers offer.

During my research for this post I found out that Orishas aren't really the internationally well-known group I thought they were. They seem to be a phenomenon similar to David Hasselhoff or Dr Alban, a band/artist from abroad, loved by the German audience, but also mainly known here (Listen, Orishas: I'm not trying to put you guys on one level with the Doctor or the Hoff!!!). For their 2009 world tour, they played at 4 German locations - out of 8 gigs in total. In the feedback section for their youtube videos, I also found a couple of lines in french or polish, but still, Orishas rather appear to be a German thing. Their second website is - guess what - in German.

Here's a nibble for all of you who haven't heard of Orishas yet. Let me know what you think and leave a comment.

Orishas Represent (download/buy)

December 17, 2009

Capital Tune I: Linn & Freddie

December 09, 2009

Onesongonepic VIII

Xavier Rudd Fortune Teller (download/buy)

December 06, 2009

Same Same But Different VI: Kraftwerk

Balanescu Quartet Model (download)

November 18, 2009

MIIKE SNOW @ Lido / Berlin 17.11.09

Tuesday night, past 10pm. After the opening act NNBS (Naive New Beaters) had finally left the stage and the equipment was interchanged, Miike Snow started their show. Dressed in white masks and black bomber jackets, a handful of guys entered the stage. Andrew Wyatt came last, easily recognisable, being the only long-haired in the band.

I watched and listened and kept thinking: who do these guys remind me of...La Roux? Maybe because of these catchy synth melodies. Underworld? Possibly through that same use of constant repetition in their tunes, compositions similar to those in techno tracks. Elton John? Yeah...they share this certain pop potential.

But then again, Miike Snow are completely different from the above mentioned. They are by far more underground than Elton John (not too difficult) and less electronic than Underworld. With regards to La Roux, well...I guess you wouldn't be off base to call Miike Snow the next La Roux.

That's not merely due to their musical proximity, but rather their habitus. Both bands function as zeitgeisty artworks. Their music is just a part of the big picture. Besides that, their performances, public appearances, websites, blogs, music videos, etc. play a similarly important role. In times of globalisation you find an unmeasurable amount of bands and bedroom producers at every web access in the world, and all of these guys want to be noticed. Some of them have realised (after analysing the Madonna phenomena) that an artistic synthesis is a must in our times. A musician has to be available everywhere and at any time, but also has to personify his/her uniqueness. Add a considerable amount of pop to this and it won't be too hard to become a No1 act. Miike Snow, you are almost there!

It is sad in a way, but at the same time it gives people like me the opportunity to discover new talents in the infinite pool of musicians. By the way: Miike Snow played one of the best shows since I went to see Animal Collective last year.

Miike Snow (myspace)

Miike Snow (English site)

Miike Snow (German site)

Miike Snow Burial

November 17, 2009

November 14, 2009

The Herbaliser Band @ Lido / Berlin

Last night I went to see some of my personal all-time-favourite musicians, THE HERBALISER. When I started to listen to and buy electronic dance music in the late 90s, their "Remedies" album was one of the first in my collection. At that time, Ninja Tune (together with Wall Of Sound, MoWax and Pussyfoot) was the ne plus ultra among the TripHop/Downbeat labels coming from the UK. Coldcut, DJ Food or Fink released killer tunes one by one. And so did THE HERBALISER.

With "Session I", released in 2000, THE HERBALISER transfered their sample based music into a live context. They put together a band that performed their instrumental HipHop tracks in the studio and on stage. Now, 9 years and 4 longplayers later, THE HERBALISER brought out "Session II" on the Berlin based !K7 label. Reason enough to come over for the first gig in Germany for a long time.

Drums, Saxophone, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Bass Guitar, C Flute, Keyboards and of course: Ollie Teeba on the wheels of steel. Vocalist Jessica Darling and MC ICON backed up the band. THE HERBALISER played a solid show, didn't leave out any of the classics from "Who's the Realest" to "Missing Suitcase", but in some parts I found it a bit too gratuitous. I mean, since that Amy Winehouse Soul revival I can't really tell all these tracks from Mark Ronson, Adele, Joss Stone, etc. apart. Yesterday night it's been merely the songs with Jessica Darling that didn't cast a spell over me. ICON, an MC from New York did a good job on his two appearances on stage and handed out the most hilarious flyers after the show. Ollie "Scratchy Noise" Teeba showed his incredible skills on the decks and the rest of the band, well...they are great musicians. Enough said.

The Herbaliser (myspace)

The Herbaliser Band The Sensual Woman (DL)

November 12, 2009

November 07, 2009

Ayers/Harris/Hampton/Astatke - the vibes!

What a great but often disregarded instrument the vibraphone is...or short: the vibes. They unfailingly valorize every song they appear on. First marketed by a US company named Leedy in 1921, the "vibraphone" quickly became popular and caught the attention of another company who then developed a similar, enhanced instrument and gave it the name "vibraharp". Although this version from the late 1920s outmatched the "vibraphone" with regards to its popularity and is still used as a template for all similar instruments until today, the name "vibraphone" got stuck in people's heads. Either that or simply: the VIBES. (

Now, when I discovered STEFON HARRIS' new album "URBANUS", which he recorded together with his band Blackout this year, I again realised how exceptional the vibes are. Harris himself once joked about it when he said that a vibe sound would turn every track into a christmas song. And although said for fun, he's not wrong. Indeed, the vibraphone provides a tune with a very special warm feeling that reminds me of a snowy winter day. Luckily, vibraphone sounds work just as well on a hot summer day.

Harris belongs to the younger generation of vibraphinist and just like I said, I only discovered him this year. Below you find a selection of the grandmasters of the vibes: ROY AYERS, MULATU ASTATKE and especially LIONEL HAMPTON, who created "the first known Jazz recording using the vibraphone" in 1930. (

Roy Ayers The Ringer (buy)

Stefon Harris Shake It For Me (buy)
Mulatu Astatke Yekermo Sew (buy)

Lionel Hampton & Stan Getz Jumpin' At The Woodside (buy)

November 03, 2009

iN tHe MiX XI: dJ Connect-I-Cut


Adolf Noise Rousing '95

Milosh Your Taste

Latimore Let's Straighten Things Out

SCSI-9 Moses' Tale

The XX Infinity

Djali Zwan The Number Of The Beast

Jose Gonzales Storm (Pocketknife's TuBa 303 Rmx)

Dave Brubeck feat. Paul Desmond Koto Song

Boozoo Bajou Pflug

Metronomy Not Made For Love

Mojib In A State (Notwist vs. Unkle)

Mayer Hawthorne Green Eyed Love (Classixx Rmx)

Kings Of Leon Knocked Up (Lykke Li vs. Rodeo Rmx)

Wild Beasts All The Kings Men

November 02, 2009

Onesongonepic VII

October 25, 2009

talk the talk with MARQUESE

Different things can happen when you sit in your university's library with a fellow student and both prepare for your final exams. Probably you will start to talk about your topics or maybe just ask for a pen or a piece of paper. As a smoker you might meet each other again in front of the doors, both with your heads full of questions and not enough answers. You might start to talk about other stuff and if only so you don't have to think about your exams. You might find out that both of you dj and that you are into similar music. You might even go on and fix a meeting to spin a few records. In some rare cases you might finally become friends and introduce each other to some people. People, that again are into a similar kind of music. That's how I got to know Marcus aka MARQUESE, one of the whiz kids in the German House scene.

Not long ago we met for an interview. Here's the transcript, followed by MARQUESE's yet unreleased "Monkey Business" as a soundcloud teaser and an exclusive 60-minutes-mix by MARQUESE for you to download. Enjoy!

Propellor: Hi Marcus, good to have you here. What's the story behind your alias MARQUESE?

Marquese: Now that's the best question right in the beginning (laughs). I used to dj together with my mate Julian and we named ourselves JULZ and MARQUESE, which seemed pretty obvious regarding my real name, Marcus. Later, when I faced the issue of releasing my first record, I needed a name and so I decided to stick to my DJ name MARQUESE.

P: It sounds spanish though. Any coherence to that?

M: No, not at all.

P: So you got German roots? Where about are you coming from?

M: I'm from the Westerwald (author's note: Westerwald is the Central German Uplands ) originally, but I live and work in Cologne.

P: You say you work here. Do you make your living by producing music and djing?

M: No, I work as an art teacher in College. Unfortunatelly I can't subsist from music only. On the one hand it's rather difficult anyway, but on the other hand I quite like it to be connected to the real world so to say. The world besides electronic dance music. This is beneficial as I don't feel the pressure that I have to release or dj every weekend. It's just a good feeling to be financially independent and to be able to do my thing, regardless of what people expect from me.

P: That sounds tricky to me, Marcus. I mean, you must have a completely different rhythm during the week as a teacher and as a DJ on the weekends.

M: Yeah, true. On most of my fridays I take a nap after school and then get ready for the night later on. Like tonight. But I have my lie-ins at the weekends and luckily Monday is my day off where I find the time to work on my music. But I've got to say that it works very well for me to do both: to work and to produce. Like that, I get done more than when I only concentrate on my music.

P: Does your job influence your way of creating you get ideas from working as an art teacher?

M: No, not really. Well, maybe in a way. My work is always process-driven and when I start with a new tune, I haven't got a fixed idea or concept. It's more a specific sound that I begin with. This can be a bassline that I like or just the sound of a tea spoon on the floor. That's my basis and from there I proceed. The framework of a track is always done pretty quick and then I put it away and let it rest for a week or two. Afterwards I dig it out and work on it again. So there are always a couple of things or tracks that I work on at the same time. But every process has to come to an end and that's when I finished a tune.

P: Do you perform your tracks as a live act as well?

M: No, I never play as a live act. The reason is that I think, as a live performer you need to be real good. You haven't got the same choices a DJ has. You only play your own music and so you have to have a whole bunch of excellent tunes to fill a set with. I haven't been to many great live performances of other producers so far. It gets boring easily.

P: But you do play your own tracks when you dj?

M: Yeah, of course. That's essential to find out if and how my tracks work on a dance floor.

P: You brought out a tune called "Keep Movin" on LA PEÑA but your name wasn't mentioned on the record sleeve. Isn't that a disadvantage?

M: Well, that's LA PEÑA's concept. They never mention the artist's names on the sleeves. But that doesn't mean a disadvantage for me. If anything, this release helped me to get to know a whole bunch of people and opened doors for me.

P: Does sympathy play a role when you decide to release on a label? I think of your "Weekend You EP"on NIVEOUS RECORDS, a label that is based here in Cologne.

M: Yes, that's an issue. I'm friends with Maik Loewen, the owner of NIVEOUS. And generally I prefer to work with people that I know and that I like.

P: And for the future...will there be any upcoming releases soon?

M: "Filter Tool" is out now on LOVELETTERS FROM OSLO, Nekes and Federico Molinari's label and I already finished the tracks for NIVEOUS 06, which will come out in the beginning of next year. I might do NIVEOUS 07 as well, but that's not settled yet.

P: Is there any record besides your own tracks that you bought recently and would like to recommend to our readers?

M: Yes, there's this 12" I bought a couple of weeks ago. Actually it's from 1999 and came out on NEXT MOOV TRAXX. The guy is called JOVONN and that's his "Pitch Black EP", a beast!

P: Right on. To finish off, I'd like to give you a couple of names. Always a pair. You've got to decide for one of the two. Ready?

M: Sure, go ahead.

P: Michael Jackson or Jichael Mackson

M: Michael!

P: Porsche 911 or Volvo station wagon?

M: That ain't a question for me right now (laughs). But if I had to make a choice, I'd rather go for the 911....obviously.

P: Jay Z or Nas?

M: Nas

P: Minimal or Maximal?

M: Oh, that depends on time and place. I don't want to exclude any of the two.

P: Ok, what about PC or MAC?

M: Definitely MAC.

P: Carl Graig or Kenny Dixon Jr.?

M: Kenny

P: Piano or saxophone?

M: I like both, but a classic piano is unbeatable.

P: A bottle of beer or a fancy cocktail?

M: Both

P: Drum'n'Bass or Nu Skool Breaks?

M: Drum'n'Bass

P: Shared living or single flat?

M: I like both, but a single flat has clear advantages. I work on my music at home and this way I can be as noisy as I want whenever I want.

P: Chicago or Detroit?

M: Soundwise? Chicago.

P: Theo Parrish or Omar S?

M: Omar

P: Ok, Marcus. That was it. Thanks for taking your time. Good luck for tonight and for the future. Take care.

M: Yeah, thank you for the nice interview. Bye!

MARQUESE's pro:pel:lor:mix(DL)


October 20, 2009

A Rather Smallish Ambient Selection

Do you know what the musical term AMBIENT really means? To me it's a genre description similarly blurry as WORLD MUSIC. Whereas other styles in music such as ROCK, REGGAE or HOUSE are relatively concrete and easy to define, AMBIENT poses me a riddle. I always find it comprises too many different elements of other genres to be delimitable. The same applies to the term WORLD MUSIC. Doesn't that simply mean music from everywhere in the world? No, it doesn't! That's at least what the music industry determined in a 1987 meeting where WORLD MUSIC was defined as "any kind of non-Western music." (Wikipedia)

AMBIENT music has its roots in the early years of the 20th century. Prominent representatives of this genre are Erik Satie, John Cage and Brian Eno who used the word "ambient" to describe music that creates an atmosphere that puts the listener into a different state of mind. And that is obviously a rather open definition. Which I like. On that basis I compiled a little assortment of outstanding tracks that - in my opinion - can all be classified as AMBIENT. As always, these songs are considered to be appetisers for you listeners and readers. If you like what you hear, be good and BUY the artist's music. Enjoy!