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Fascinating.

Here is a nice photo tour I stumbled upon, of the record pressing plant where a majority of the Merck vinyls were made. I actually toured UR about a decade ago myself, not much has changed there. Neat to see how records are made, looks like ancient technology by nowadays standards though.

UR Pressing Photo Tour

Here are 15 tracks that got the most play in my iTunes throughout May. Variety of stuff, but just wanted to share if anyone is looking for new music leads.

  • Machinedrum – Clissold VIP [2013] : If you haven’t heard this, you need to. Travis’ latest and greatest. Future drum bass step somethingness.
  • Phaeleh – Outshine [2011] : For fans of Sepalcure, slept on compilation track.
  • Ital Tek – Solar Sail from Nebula Dance [2012] : Really good. Future bass music or whatever type stuff, I enjoy his albums on Mu.
  • Tim Tetlow – Mind Is Moving from Beauty Walks A Razor’s Edge [2001] : On the Planet-Mu tip, here is a throwback track. Taken from an excellent slept on IDM album.
  • Pilooski – Can’t There Be Love [2006] : Missed this one back in the day, awesome glitch-hop.
  • Simulant – Access Future Audio (Mix) from Out Of Ether [2000] : Classic rare dark melodic electro from back in the days when that was big, that I recently tracked down in MP3.
  • Tuxedomoon – What Use (Heinrich Mueller Technik Mix) [2001] : Same deal as above, Gerald Donald (Dopplereffekt) stuff is timeless.
  • TMSV – Myth from Transmissions Vol. 2 [2012] : Iraqstep. Digging this.
  • Blamstrain – 11 PM from Sunday Dub [2013] : Juho comes through with some deep dubby sludge techno. The whole EP is great rainy day music.
  • Seba – Nightrider from NU12 [2012] : I used to hate DnB with vocals back in the day, but now in my old age I find myself enjoying it. Seba always comes through.
  • Survival – Sky from [2009] : On the DnB tip, have to include this one. One of the biggest tracks I’ve heard in a while. Play this while going 80mph on the highway, swerving through traffic. Adrenaline.
  • Oliver Schories – Sunday from Herzensangelegenheit [2012] : Kind of embarrassed to put some tech-house on here, but this track is really well produced.
  • Konstantin Sibold – Madeleine [2013] : Some more house, nice and deep, well produced.
  • Freeform Five – Weltareh (feat. Juldeh Camara) [2013] : Found this in a friends mix, classy tech-disco that fits with my recent west african kick, been downloading a lot of music from Mali, kind of like true blues music from Africa. Nonetheless, heres Africa meets Italy.
  • Dynamix II – Purple Beats from Color Beats [1994] : Last but not least. Gonna let a little Miami secret out of the bag. This is some legendary shit. The original version of this track from 1990, basically invented the blueprint of Trap production two decades before it become popular. This 2nd version from Color Beats basically combines IDM and Trap, before both genres were really invented. If you like Autechre – Lowride, check out this track. Friends that used to host Autechre when they came to Miami in the 90′s, used to take them to flea markets to buy used vinyl and mixtapes to basically find stuff like this.
  • Alright, the auctions are now live, lots of goodies available, link below. Feel free to email me through there, or msg me here, or by direct email if you have any questions about any of them. I will do international shipping, but the prices are so screwy now, that I’d like to give exact shipping quotes to any serious buyers of the items. You can check out the items through the link below. 10 diff things, all IDM related. Happy bidding.

    Merck Records eBay Account

    Just a heads up that next weekend I am going to put up a few Merck/IDM related Ebay auctions. The big one will be a massive collection of XL sized Merck Shirts (that don’t fit me anymore). We’re talking dozens of shirts, all slightly used, but in great shape, spanning the 7 years the label existed. A massive find for a lucky XL wearing fan, or just an insane collectors trove of classic Merck memorabilia.

    I will also be putting up 1 of the 2 official “Merck License Plates”. You may remember it from the Aurora CD cover. There were 2 made over the years, I have one on my wall, you can have the other on your wall. Plus a few other random tidbits. Some Warp stickers/postcards, some Beta Bodega stickers/postcards, and a very rare and valuable The Designers Republic book.

    I will post links to the auctions on here next weekend for you to get in on the bidding frenzy, if you have that tax return you’ve been dying to spend. :)

    Also, an old Miami DJ friend of mine just gave me his record collection to sell on Discogs for him, lots of rare IDM, Electro, and Techno. So the Discogs account has been filled with lots of new gems, especially hard to find dark electro stuff from the late 90′s, early 2000′s. Check it out here.

    I did a little 30 minute mix for Halloween 2012 of some dark half-step style dubstep. Figured I’d go ahead and share it with you guys, in case thats your thing.

    Artists:
    Biome
    LX One & SP:MC
    Distance
    Kryptic Minds & Youngsta
    Andy Stott
    Biome
    SP:MC

    Download Here

    Enjoy!

    I made a mix about a year ago, for another blog. They never ended up publishing the mix, not sure why, maybe cause its not really traditional Merck material. Its more so on the organic ambient front, starts off in guitar territory, then halfway through transitions into piano stuff. Nonetheless, can’t let it go to waste, especially as this spring approaches. So here it is.

    DJ Merck – Spring Evenings Mix

    Artists:
    Boredoms
    Marconi Union
    The World On Higher Downs
    Pivot
    Brokeback
    Lateduster
    Khonnor
    Helios
    Goldmund
    Michael Harrison
    Shex
    Deaf Center
    Little Dragon

    Download it here.

    Really enjoyable listen for any Machinedrum fan. Some good behind the scenes info about his Merck releases as well as the material made Post-Merck.

    http://www.rbmaradio.com/shows/machinedrum-fireside-chat

    Here are the long awaited videos I took during Decibel Festival in Seattle last year. Enjoy!

    I was fortunate enough this year to make it to the annual Decibel Festival in Seattle, Washington. It happens every year around the end of September, for 4-5 days. It is, in my humble opinion, the best underground electronic music festival in the US. Merck did the opening showcase for the festival in 2005 (DJ Merck, Deceptikon, Deru, Proem, Machinedrum, DJ Narita), and I was able to make it out in 2009 to check it out as well. After seeing the lineup this year, I put some money away this spring, and bought a ticket. The festival is non-profit, and utilizes volunteers to manage most of the showcases and work behind the scenes of the event, so I volunteered to help out on 3 of the nights stage managing at some of the events (Warp, Raster Noton, Nueva Forma). I suggest you head over to their site and peruse a bit, browse the showcases and stuff available before reading this, as it will help this make a little more sense, and at the very least hopefully convince you to come out next year. dbfestival.com

    Heres a rough run down of what I did, what I saw, and a few words about it. Please excuse the few of these that are Instagrammed out. I happen to think that Instagram is the greatest thing to happen to social media since Myspace (No, its not Twitter, millions of people shouting at no one. Or Facebook, just a perfectation of Myspace). It really is such a nice, quick, and easy way to do a photoblog. I’ll type hundreds of words here, but a dozen pictures will say almost just as much. Nonetheless, back to the festival!

    Wednesday Day: Monolake lecture. I wasn’t able to go to his live show that evening because I was stage managing at the Warp Showcase (details below), so I caught a lecture he gave earlier in the day. It was great, he has a lovely german personality, and he talked to us about some of his recent music and art projects he has been working on. Including a sound installation in a massive vacant water storage structure, and his work with lasers. Very enjoyable.

    Wednesday Night: Warp Showcase: Machinedrum, Jimmy Edgar, and Clark. Quite a way to open the festival, it was gonna be hard to top the audio dynamite of these 3. All excellent, and specializing in certain audio areas, without overlapping too much. I helped stage manage this one, on what was almost exactly the 10 year anniversary of the first show that Travis, Jimmy, and I (plus Lassi), played in New York together. So that was neat to see how we’ve changed, but how we have almost the same chemistry and interaction as we did 10 years age (They’re both taller than me now though!). Local DJ Jimi Jaxon opened up, and then Travis was on after him. He annihilated the place with his combo of IDM, Dubstep, Lovestep, Trap, and general fuckery. Jimmy came on after and played a more Techno/Electro oriented set, but it definitely had some bassbombs as well. Clark was the final act of the night, playing his signature take on IDM, excellently produced, with lots of gear to keep the set interesting. I left the venue thinking, there is no way that this night will be topped, and I was basically right, but there was still some good stuff to see coming up!

    Thursday Day: Jimmy Edgar & Appleblim were DJing on a boat, cruising through the two main lakes in Seattle on a sunny Seattle afternoon. I could not miss this. The system was so insanely bassy (see pic), that I could barely stand to be downstairs with Appleblim while DJing, his set sounded decent, but it was hard to enjoy due to the setup. By the time Jimmy went on, the Bass and audio dynamics had been worked out a bit better and he did what was probably the best DJ set of the festival. Bouncing between different electro, bass, dance, and even a Nine Inch Nails song. Very enjoyable.

    Thursday Night: First I went to see Objekt, played a decent set, only person to DJ an Autechre track during the festival. Then over to see Baths, based off a friends recommendation, but it was not my thing at all. Basically a disguised crowd of screaming teeny boppers, going off to his simply produced beats and contrived singing. Fortunately for me, it was then on to see Andy Stott. He played a great set, of what I’m assuming will be very similar to his album coming out soon. Hovering somewhere in the realms of his new zoned out minimal techno style. Played in a nice basement club, on a very loud system, I will be getting that album soon after release.

    Friday Day: A few forgettable lectures and then: Carl Craig & Roger Linn in conversation. I’m hoping you all know who Carl Craig is, but for those who don’t know about Roger Linn, he was the main brains behind the MPC drum machines (as well as several less famous, but influential, ones before that). Their chat was nothing amazing, but just sitting in the room with these two was cool enough. Then it was on to the early evening show with Sight Below, Biopshere, and Eleh. I caught the first two, but had to leave before Eleh to go to my night duties. Both sets were excellent, and it was really satisfying to finally see Biosphere live after being a fan for 1.5 decades.

    Friday Night: After the above quiet performance hall ambience, I was off to my evening volunteer position helping out at the Raster Noton show. As far as my view on the label; most of the early Noton stuff, I appreciate what they’re doing, but I can’t say that I really listened to it much. But it seemed around the time of the demise of Merck, they moved more into a much more listenable sound, some might even say mainstream IDM oriented electronica. Music was provided by: Emptyset, Kangding Ray, Byetone. Emptyset is all the rage now, and they did play an excellent set of what I would describe as Experimental Bass music. Kangding Ray, who has 3 nice albums out (probably my favorite things I’ve heard on Raster Noton), of what I would describe as active versions of Shuttle358 stuff, actually played a dark techno set. Not what I was expecting, but still good, portions of it vaguely reminiscent of some of the Anders Ilar stuff on Narita. Byetone had a decent set, of what I would describe as generic IDM type electroey stuff. Good, but the first 2 sets were more interesting. Overall an excellent showcase, though it was aurally fatiguing, and the set order probably should have been reversed. (Sorry, was too busy working to take any pics)

    Saturday: I messed around during the day, and got ready for the evening shows of Lusine & Tycho (at the Ghostly Showcase) and then Sepalcure (at the Hotflush showcase). I have to say the most disappointing set of the festival was Lusine. I had been told when I got to Seattle that he was debuting a lot of material from his upcoming album on Ghostly. Which had me looking forward to some new and interesting sounds for the festival days leading up to it, but it was basically just more generic versions of the sound hes been evolving on Ghostly to stay relevant to whatever post-techno-pop scene the kids are into nowadays. Sadly mediocre set. Especially disappointing from someone that I, as well as almost the entire Merck roster, really looked up to as one of the earliest and most impressive people in the US IDM scene. His debut self titled album, along with Proem’s on Hydrant, both released in early 1999, really were an important thing to help me realize that there were lots of new artists popping up around the US, and some potential to harness that sound and birth a label. Up until that point I had seen the quality in the local Miami scene, and stuff coming out of Europe/UK. But those 2 albums changed my view on that, they were in nonstop rotation for most of 1999, until Merck began its life in 2000 (and I was fortunate enough to release material from both of them over the course of Merck). Tycho did his usual live show, but this one was neat to see him playing his Merck material for nearly a 1000 people. After his set I headed up to the Hotflush Showcase to catch Travis and Praveen do their Sepalcure live set. Upon getting there, Travis informed me that they were playing their entire debut album in live form, so that got my psyched. Their set was fun to watch, Praveen turns into a maniac once he gets behind the gear with a crowd watching. Just seeing him make these bizarre, but awesome faces, keeps the show interesting.


    Sunday: I did some sightseeing during the day and then headed over to the Nueva Forma Showcase that I was helping out with that night. They are a newer label, based out of Portland, with a vaguely IDM type of sound, seems like some fresher younger guys involved in it. Was interesting to help them out in what was one of their first big shows. The standout to me was The Bear & The Sea, he has what could be best described as an evolved sound of Boards of Canada, Machinedrum, and Tycho, into a more modern and slightly more indie rock type of sound. They also had a fellow named Wndfrm who opened the night. He did an interesting set of Dub techno, but without falling into the rut of using the same standard beat styles and arrangements, he kind of kept it slightly awkward in that regard all night, but that was interesting, and had me wanting to hear just a normal 4/4 beat under his sounds, but guiltily so. Looking forward to hearing more new music from all of these guys in the future.

    So that was the festival, I really enjoyed it. It has a really nice balance of all styles of contemporarily popular underground electronic music. I’m definitely already considering going out next year. Feel free to ask any questions, and I will be posting up video I took of the acts, in a future blog post.