Just wanted to send a little shout out, to what I consider a sister label to the early Merck material, Inpuj. Started by Proswell in 1998, and now managed by him and Aaron of Ilkae. They’ve done some really cool things over the course of the label, in what I would best simplify as, more experimental versions of the early Merck sound. Recently they’ve had some good releases, wanted to mention 2 off the bat below, plus theres a few good albums in the IDM vein from people like Ilkae (EIS001) and Kaneel (EIS004), so I encourage you to browse through their other releases if you are so inclined (they’re all basically free too!). They’ve also been collaborating on the artwork side with an awesome dude, Nate Reeves / NKurence, and hes done some really gorgeous stuff for them on the visual side as well (he blessed the final CD on Narita as well, Terminal).
Zan Zan Zawa Veia has an excellent chiptune release that you should definitely check out if thats your thing (I know chiptune stuff is very polarizing, most people either love or hate it), but its really well done. The fact its co-produced by Proswell, Ilkae, and Shawnphase/TSS should give you a clue.
Travis also has recently done a release for them, under his lesser known _-_m-e-ek alias. Its some nice, if slightly stunted, ambient work, reminiscent of Pop Ambient kind of stuff on Kompakt. Great stuff for a sunny summer afternoon out on the deck with a beer relaxing.
As Blamstrain/Juho was nice enough to point out to the world on the Discogs page for the Squadron compilation CD, the mastering on the release wasn’t one of our best moments. I do agree that some of the tracks really didn’t shine as much after being tweaked (though there were a few that were definitely helped).
The cd was mastered by someone who wasn’t that experienced yet. Plus the CD was already at a disadvantage, because at that time (the beginnings of DSL), there wasn’t much bandwidth to go around, and the CD had artists from all over the world (most of which were just young guys making cool new sounds with software they had stolen off the internet, and really had no idea how audio was supposed to be mastered), so I accepted whatever format of master file artists wanted to send (CD, wav file, or MP3 of their choice). I think most of the submissions ended up being 256-320 MP3s.
That all said, since the disc has been out of print now for years, I’ve decided to go ahead and share the original Pre-master versions of the tracks here for the followers on this blog to check out, and at the very least just for you guys to reminisce on the compilation that started it all.
P.S. I guess I had forgotten, but I got a good laugh being reminded by the Discogs page, that every disc says “Gabe” in the matrix ring (center silver under the disc).
P.S.S. If you look in the bottom right corner of the cover, there is a distorted side view of a head with red hair looking to the left, thats me (browsing records at Steve Castro/Pl3x/Beta Bodega’s pop up record store in 1999).
When we put up version 3 of the Merck Records website many years ago, I had a great little idea to set up a script that would randomly choose a page title for the website, every time someone hit the site. Proswell was clever enough to whip one up for me, and I made up a list of fun titles. I added a little bit to them over the years, but most of these were the originals. Here is the list we amassed over the years (minus any of the boring ones).
merck records – the elaborate brothomstates fan club
merck records – severly electronified hiphop
merck records – pony machinedrum racquetball shawnphase sexcat sexcat
merck records – post-IDM, pre-nerdcore
merck records – when trading magic cards just isn’t enough
merck records – quitting while the quitting is good
merck records – the doorbell rings first at our house
merck records – what all your imaginary friends are listening to
merck records – make every record count, kid!
merck records – making electronic record collector kandy
merck records – revolutionizing grindcore
merck records – breaking up is hard to do
merck records – and shave those sideburns mattingly
merck records – Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge
merck records – what twerk thinks it should sound like
merck records – experimental christian rock
merck records – build me a robot, and name him orlando
Feel free to ask questions about the source of any of these if you’re curious.
A little gift for you all. Here is a digital version of ‘the other’ remix that Secede did of Machinedrum for the Half The Battle CD. It didn’t appear on the original Merck CD release, but it did appear on the Japanese version of the release, as well as the Half The Battle 2 12″, and in a little video that got put together of some live show footage from NYC (yes, thats Brothomstates, Jimmy Edgar, and Machinedrum playing a *collaboration* live set at the end of the vid. Sick). Heres a VBR mp3 to download, and a view of the video as well.
Meant to include this in the previous post, but it probably deserves a post of its own anyway. In case anyone missed it, earlier this year Travis posted up his new beats that hes been working on for the year in a nice concise mix on Soundcloud. Its quite an excellent little teaser, check it out if you enjoy Room(s) as much as I do.
-First off, based off my last post, I’ll share as well, that Adam J is now a student of the Visual arts, as well as Audio, and he has a portfolio of some of his work up here: http://theythemselves.com/
-I recently submitted a mix for a Spanish electronic music website called Planeta Modular. I’ll get you guys a link to check it out once its gone live with them. It’s an ambient mix, though more on the chin strokey side (music for people who read The Wire is how I describe it).
-I have a pile of reviews I’ve been meaning to write up, just havent sat down with a beer in hand and the music blasting, to write out my comments and feelings. Here is a rough list, so I don’t forget, and so you can start digging if you’d like: Phantogram, Kryptic Minds, Dirty Ghosts, Consequence, Damu The Fudgemunk.
-Helios just released a free album to members of his mailing list, called Moiety. Its all ambient, and I’m not sure if its still gettable or what, but look into that if you’re a Helios fan. Also, if you’re one of those people who thinks that Drive is one of the greatest movies ever made (mostly because it has a hipster soundtrack), you should check out Keith/Helios’s side project called Mint Julep. Its got that same vibe, though a bit more shoegazey.
Looking through Adam Johnson’s portfolio site, I was reminded of a commercial that he and Akira Takahashi (designed many awesome CDs for us) collaborated on for the Flip camera. Check below for some of his original music (diff versions in diff commercials). You should also check out his soundcloud account for a few unreleased gems (find ‘Sunden’ in particular, classy Adam J stylings).
I have a Track ID mystery for you guys. Taken from a DJ thats playing during a BMX competition in Amsterdam in 2006. First off, its gotta be something kinda obscure, because neither Soundhound or Shazam know what it is. Also, Funckarma don’t know what it is, so it may not be an obscure Dutch artist either. Any help identifying this track would be much appreciated, as it sounds like something I’d like to hear in its entirety.
A mid-winter link & recommendation for everyone of some mixes done by Voda aka Jody aka The Brighton/Hove Body Bagger. Friend of mine from the south of England, long time Merck fan, and all around good guy. These were 2 mixes he did in late 2010, with a near perfect track selection profile of stuff straddling the post-dubstep & post-idm genres (I prefer those genre tags over the generic “bass music”). Been playing them a lot throughout 2011, think you all will dig them if you enjoy the idea of the convergence of classic Autechre with the Exit Records sound. And here is to hoping he puts together a few mixes this year for us of some of the gems he collected throughout 2011 (nudge nudge).
Some links to download them and check the tracklists: