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 music...do 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!

October 17, 2009

iN tHe MiX X: dJ FiNgeR bRuTaL


dOP Blanche Neige (Kinder Cut)

Dan M & James Braun Lessons Part I

James Teej Spending Life (Danny Fiddo & Affkt RMX)

Noze You Have To Dance (Mathias Kaden's Beatpolka RMX)

Kollektiv Turmstrasse Melodrama (Nils Nilson RMX)

Wax 002 Untitled

Joseph Capriati Microbiotik (Massi DL RMX)

Ramon Tapia Can You Dig It

Worst Case Scenario Hot Beef (No Ears Red Beard Rosbif RMX)

October 15, 2009

talk the talk with DÜRERSTUBEN

You all know these mornings when you walk out of the club of your choice. You had a great night, the music was sweet like a strawberry margarita and moving like a train. Partly this, partly that.

But now on your way home it feels more like aboard a ship. Reason might be you're pretty drunk or similar. Next to you: your best friend. Undoubtly the perfect moment to come up with some wicked ideas. A bit tired, in an excellent mood and still thrilled by that last track.

Given the background that both of you guys are producing electronic music yourself, mostly together, you start to think about names for your project. What's a decent alias for a pair of Berlin youngsters who create an extraordinary kind of house music?

You walk the streets of the capitol, pass a restaurant and there it is. It's even written in stone. DÜRERSTUBEN, it says. The name of a restaurant. And you know you found it. That is going to be your name. Why not just take it? Other people "find" bicycles on their way home, you found your new alias. Like this or pretty similar is how Dürerstuben came to their name.

But this is not the only interesting story about the duo. Reason enough to welcome one half of Dürerstuben, Lasse Saamstrøm, for an interview. We're sitting in a café in Berlin Kreuzberg on one of the last sunny days. It's already getting cold in the shade. On the table: hot drinks and an MD recorder.

Propellor: Hi Lasse, I'm glad you could make it. First things first: Who are the people behind Dürerstuben? When did the project start?

Lasse: Dürerstuben, that's Kristian Staifn and me. We started producing music together by the end of 2008, but before that both of us were already creating tracks.

P: Your names, Lasse Saamstrøm and Kristian Staifn both sound a bit odd. I reckon they are not your real names. Could it be that you're playing with words?

L: Yeah, that's right. They are not our real names.

P: So?

L: I'd rather have people find out for themselves. I like that "Ah" moment when someone gets it.

P: Alright. Let's have people solve the secret themselves. Another thing, Lasse: When and where did you guys meet for the first time...are you both from Berlin?

L: Yes, we were both born and raised in the city. Kristian and me met about 3 years ago at a party. I djayed and he performed with his rap combo.

P: So you are both coming from a Hip-Hop background?

L: Yeah, pretty much that. I mean, of course there has always been other music as well, Classic music and Jazz...all kinds of music.

P: And when you guys perform, what equipment do you use?

L: We use a keybord, a midi controller and a laptop of course. For the future we're planning to invite a saxophone player to join us and to record a couple of percussion rhythms ourselves. But for our forthcoming set at Relais Club on October 16th, it's gonna be the first three elements only.

P: When I first listened to your tracks on myspace, it reminded me a bit of Herbert but even more of Herb LF and Westpark Unit. Would you say that your music sounds similar to any of these? Do you have any role models in house music?

L: Na...I wouldn't compare our music to any other. It's different. I mean, there are artists I like. Gorge for example, I really like his tunes. When it comes to electronic music, all that groovy Deep House stuff is what both of us like.

P: You already told me how you came to your alias Dürerstuben. Is there any deeper meaning behind it or did you just like the name?

L: One night we passed by that restaurant, saw the name and thought that it represents - of course in a slightly ironical way - what we try to express with our music: cosiness, comfort and unity. That's why we chose it.

P: I did a little bit of research and read some of the comments in the online guestbook of the restaurant. One person said that she really enjoyed the cosiness of the place at her wedding party and mentioned a DJ Deddy and a lady called Madame Uschi who apparently is the owner of the place. Have you ever been inside the restaurant and had a chat with Madame Uschi?

L: Hehe...no, ehm...yes. I went inside one time, but only to ask someone for a cigarette. Slightly drunk. But none of us has really spent much time in there. It's more the atmosphere we witnessed from outside that we liked. The comfort.

P: Ok, Lasse. Thank you so far. Concluding, I would like to give you a couple of names, always two opposing things. And you choose one of the two...ok?

L: Ready.

P: Early Hour or After Hour?

L: Early Hour

P: Common or 50 cent?

L: Common

P: Train or plane?

L: Train

P: Little money-good party or good money-little party?

L: The first one. For sure.

P: James Bond or Bourne Identity?

L: I prefer the Bourne Identity.

P: Cocoon or Robert Johnson?

L: Robert Johnson. The atmosphere in smaller clubs is just much better.

P: Haute Couture or 2nd Hand?

L: 2nd Hand

P: Coffee or Tea?

L: Tea

P: Live Act or DJ?

L: Live Act

P: Ok, that's it, Lasse. Thanks for coming and good luck with your next gigs. I'll provide a link to your myspace site where one can find more information regarding bookings and gigs and of course more of your music.

Dürerstuben Koka Banana (DL)

Dürerstuben on MYSPACE

October 12, 2009

Choichun Leung / Steffen Kirchhoff / Ki

Internationally renowned artist Choichun Leung is going to design Ki Records' forthcoming 12" record sleave. We are very proud we could win her over to work with us and to have her fantastic paintings cover our next EP.

This third release, scheduled for November this year will continue in the tradition of Ki Records as a provider for deep and soulful music. Steffen Kirchhoff supplies three brandnew tracks, while the fourth tune is a collaboration between him and Christian Löffler. We all know Christian from his sensational Ki 001 debut, which made a great stir in the house music scene.

Convince yourself of Steffen Kirchhoff's talent on myspace and don't miss out on Choichun Leung's incredible works on her site.

October 10, 2009

Totally Fela

New York based Knitting Factory Records is going to re-release all 45 Fela Kuti works over the next 18 months. Included in this reissue series is the entire catalog of Fela’s 1960s highlife band Koola Lobitos. The first release of the series will be The Best Of The Black President on October 27, 2009.

The deluxe edition of the CD will come with a DVD featuring segments from the film Music is the Weapon, performances from the Berlin Jazz Festival and interviews with choreographer/director Bill T. Jones and Fela biographer Carlos Moore.

A great opportunity for all Fela Fans to round out their collections.