A month ago, I put down a few mixes by Marcel Dettmann and promised that we'd be having him in Boston soon.

A week ago I named his mix Berghain 02 as the best/most important mix of 2008 in Boston's Weekly Dig.

2008 has been a huge year for Dettmann. His tracks for Ostgut Ton, his own imprint MDR and remixes for artists like Ellen Allien and labels like Rekids are the perfect example of what's being called the Berghain sound: bass-heavy and hard-hitting, but with thoughtful density and layered influences of old-school house.

No club in Boston is like his resident Berghain in Berlin, but on January 8th, Middlesex will host the party and with him at the helm it will be dark, rough and totally packed! The cover is just $5.

Dettmann live mix @ I Love Techno, Belgium


Modeselektor - The Black Block (Marcel Dettmann Redefinition) - BPitch Control 184
Peter Van Hoesen - Casual Care - Time 2 Express 002
Rolando - Where Were You? - Delsin 073
Kevin Gorman Seven Eight Nine (Marcel Dettmann Remix)
Unknown - Pulse - Klockworks 004
Gowentgone - M.A.M. (Marcel Dettmann Remix)
Matthew Styles - We Said Nothing - DNP 008
Tadeo - 4 - NET 28 001.1
Planetary Assault Systems - Mod - Figure 016
Damon Wild - Kabuki - Synewave 067
Loco Dice - Tight Laces (Marcel Dettmann Resonse 2) - Desolat 7DPRMX 002
Ame / H. Schwarz / Dixon - D.P.O.M.B. (Version 1) - Innervisions 017
Je Davu - Platzhirsch LTD. 009
Spokesman - Acid Creak (Pierre’s Reconstruction Mix) - X Stream 002
K Hand - These Sounds Lead The Way - Gorsch 101
Marcel Dettmann - Lattice - MDR 004
Circuit Breaker - Friend - Probe 030
Dettmann/Klock - Scenario - Ostgut Ton 011
Deetron - Let’s Get Over It (Marcel Dettmann Remix) - Music Man 141
Ø (Phase) - Ryder’s Return - Token 007
Marcel Dettmann - Plain - Beatstreet 003
Bam Bam - I Get A Rush - Westbrook 130

I not only beseech thee, O Font Geeks!, to see Helvetica, but anyone who has an eye for aesthetics and an understanding of what upstanding importance "pretty" has to our civilized (?) lives.

My review in Boston's Weekly Dig is here.

Music: New Mix from Baldur (aka Djezus)

A new mix from Baldur (aka Djezus).

Baldur is a close friend and DJ here in Boston. Other things you should know about Baldur: he hails from Iceland, he rocks some of the sweetest duds on the dancefloor, he likes science, his minimal mixing style is world-renowned and voted among the best in Boston. Come see him spin regularly at Make it New, at the Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge, Thursdays.

As denizens of the techno subculture, we are skeptical of celebrity. The luminaries who emerge are often more dark than bright, but the most intriguing incarnation of techno anti-star is he who is practically undetectable, he who is totally anonymous.

There have been a number of releases in 2008 which could fall into this category, for instance the recent Wax 100001 which was released out of Hardwax in June. Some have speculated that it is the handiwork of Shed, a rising star who also happens to work at Hardwax, because of its unique, dynamic and hard-hitting style. Either way, it received a lot of attention and has been featured in the playlists of a number of dj's (Simon Flower, Swayzak). Another well-hyped record was Sons of the Dragon, on the record label of the same name. This record is coming out of the US and is highly influenced by the classic Detroit house sound, lending itself to the rumor that it is the work of two legendary Detroit producers under the SOTD alias. There were only 300 white vinyl records made but the rumors were widely distributed in the chat forums.

Though this isn't anything new. The unknown artist who releases under the Pom Pom moniker has produced 32 records, the most recent of which (Pom Pom 032) was released this month on CD for the first time ever and is probably my favorite to boot, with dark textures and lots of surprises. The artist is believed to be one of the guys that works at the Space Hall record store in Berlin. Another major talent who has been releasing under the radar for awhile is Stephan T. Laubner, also known as STL. His label, Something Records, and his alias are mysterious and difficult to figure out from the interweb, he has no myspace page, and the releases are vinyl-only. Still, he is one of the most admired producers out there, especially among his peers.

Finally, 2008 has seen the creation of a label that shuns labels. Story introduces itself with the following: "Say hello to a label, run with passion, and witness the birth of a beautiful and deep house imprint. You won´t find any artist names on our records, we do not feel the need to let you know who did the record and so do the artists who contribute tracks. The only important thing is, they produced these tracks, full of understanding and with a great love for house music. Let the story begin and let us tell you something about our history." The first EP release, Story 01, uses the artistic alias CB Funk and is called Subway to Cologne. It was also on heavy rotation with dj's this summer.

Thoughts/feelings on this phenomenon? If you're reading this I hope you'll contribute your opinion, anonymous or not...

My radio show The Following Aesthetic Reasons is on every Monday from 7-10pm on 90.3FM on the Boston radio frequencies and streaming online at http://www.wzbc.org

Here is my playlist from last night.

It's not the season for live music...so we'll go see a movie instead.

The Brattle Theatre is currently showing Shoot the Piano Player
(1962), Francois Truffaut

I was a rider of trains last night, I took first one train and then another home from the station where I have my radio show once a week. From the radio station in suburb A, the city public transportation system has it such that I have to take a train all the way in to Boston to take a train to suburb B. The whole thing takes me an hour and a half to travel and as the time and neighborhoods pass I like to look out the windows and pretend I'm going fast and leaving something important behind. I've never been much into cars, but I think I get the appeal. We watched Top Gear on BBC America when I got home, where they applied vaseline to the camera lense to give it a soft focus as they revved engines, spun tricks and hugged curves. I dreamt of Two Lane Blacktop. Monte Hellman's 1971 minimalist roadtrip cult classic brings 60's counterculture into the open stretches of American highway. Starring musical icons James Taylor and The Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson, as well as film legends Warren Oates and Laurie Bird, the film has been such an inspiration that it spawned a musical tribute compilation in 2003 (with contributing artists like Cat Power, Calexico and Wilco) and was re-released as part of the Criterion Collection in 2007. Richard Linklater sums it up in his "15 Things I Love About Two Lane Blacktop".

Richard Linklater's Things I Love About Two-Lane Blacktop

Because it's the purest American road movie ever.
Because it's like a drive-in movie directed by a French New Wave director.
Because the only thing that can get between a boy and his car obsession is a girl, and Laurie Bird perfectly messes up the oneness between the Driver, the Mechanic, and their car.
Because Dennis Wilson gives the greatest performance ever by a driver.
Because James Taylor seems like a refugee from a Robert Bresson movie.
Because there was once a god who walked the Earth named Warren Oates.
Because there's a continuing controversy over who is the actual lead in this movie. There are different camps. Some say it's the '55 Chevy, some say it's the GTO.
Because it has the most purely cinematic ending in film history.
Because it's like a western. The guys are like old-time gunfighters, ready to out-draw the quickest gun in town. And they don't talk about old flames, but rather old cars they've had.
Because Warren Oates has a different cashmere sweater for every occasion. And of course the wet bar in the trunk.
Because unlike other films of the era with the designer alienation of the drug culture and the war protesters, this movie is about the alienation of everybody else, like Robert Frank's American Comes Alive.
Because Warren Oates, as GTO, orders a hamburger and an Alka Seltzer and says things like "Everything is going too fast and not fast enough."
Because it's both the last film of the '60s -- even though it came out in '71 -- but it's also the first film of the '70s. You know, that great era of "How the hell did they ever get that film made at a studio/Hollywood would never do that today" type of film.
Because engines have never sounded better in a movie.
Because these two young men on their trip to nowhere don't really know how to talk. The Driver doesn't really converse when he's behind the wheel, and the Mechanic doesn't really talk when he's working on the car. So this is primarily a visual, atmospheric experience. To watch this movie correctly is to become absorbed into it.
And, above all else, Two-Lane Blacktop goes all the way with its idea. And that's a rare thing in this world; a completely honest movie.

That having been said, I would also add to this list that it has an awesomely bad trailer (See Above.)

My radio show The Following Aesthetic Reasons is live every Monday from 7-10PM EST. on 90.3FM in Boston or stream live online here. Here is my playlist from Monday December 8, 2008.

This week in Boston:
Tuesday 12/09/08, Beethoven, Carter, Stravinsky at Boston Symphony Orchestra
Thursday 12/11/08, minimal techno at Make it New at Middlesex Lounge (Central Square, Cambridge MA)
Friday 12/12/08, is a huuuuge night for dancing and carousing...Thunderdome at the Greek American Political Club (Central Square, Cambridge MA)

Eli Verveine is a DJ from Switzerland who is anything but neutral. Her mixes, which are few and far between on the internet, are not only exquisite but are also exotic--in a word, recherche. The sense of the exotic comes from the warm, transcendent affect of the tracks, that are supremely mixed, deep, dubby and with a flavor of *Detroit*. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the tracks are extremely hard to find on their own. Eli Verveine is a part of p45 records, and she has a radio show on Audioasyl called Scandal! I'm posting a selection of studio, radio, and club mixes. Among them is a mix called Carebear, which is a must-listen. All highly enjoyable!

First up, here is the highly anticipated Ssg Cast from Eli Verveine posted a few days ago.

robert hood – still
octal – heavier petting
swayzak – live, part 4
claro intelecto – dependant
dj joey anderson – thee analysis
stl – orange patterns
maus und stolle – extra vergine
chiapet – westworld
herbert – over and out
steve o`sullivan – she don`t do chicks
madteo – radici

Here is the Carebear Mix from Eli Verveine. Named an all-time favorite mix by just about everyone I know... who I am friends with.

rhythm & sound - carrier - rhythm & sound 05
dean decosta - precursor - lo-fi
son.sine - upekah - nurture
localfields - pico - zerogrounds
arne weinberg - spectral disease - aw
vector lovers - futures in plastic [claro intelecto remix] - soma
omar s. - detroit 02
claro intelecto - tria - ai records
donnacha costello - melan - force inc.
omar s. - detroit 04
maus - find a way - belowhttp://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=1022966290545396155
plastikman - artifakts - novamute

Here is a mix from Julietta, Vera, and Eli Verveine at the Harry Klein Club. 7 hours long and more soul/deep house/clubby. Sass in a glass.

Oh oh, here's a good one, a rare mix from 2007. Appearing on Comfort Noise Radio, Eli plays a 4 hour set with interviews. The playlist is too long to post but it can be found on the Comfort Noise website.

Here's another studio mix called Dustbunnies.

And a live set from Air Festival 2007...

Download this 7 hour set from Manuel Tur, Dplay, and Langenberg @ Slowclub, Essen September 27, 2008

It's slow, pretty deep, groovy and dubby but with little vocal. Really great for work if your officemates don't appreciate the whole constant breakdown thing.

And when you have a minute to yourself, hang your hat on this vid from Moscow:

Vid provided by Infernal Techno Blog.

We've seen a number of music documentaries lately, including two standouts...Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell & Patti Smith: Dream of Life...

As artistic portraits they are quite nice. I would especially recommend Wild Combination, and not just for the Arthur Russell fan, but for any good ole music snob. I wish I could say that the intimate footage, exclusive performance material and endearing interviews will reverberate in everyone, because it should. (Arthur Russell vs. Britney Spears) It will certainly penetrate anyone who's affected by music. The shear amount of material that Arthur Russell produced is impressive, the grounds broken are inspiring, and the sounds of his cello are downright haunting...

My review of Dream of Life for Boston's Weekly Dig is here.
Buy Wild Combination from Other Music here.

Music: I'm in Love With a German Film Star

The original "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" is a post-punk classic by UK band The Passions, but it got a fresh makeover from artist and film-maker Sam Taylor-Wood in October of this year. The disc released on Kompakt also included remixes by Gui Boratto and Juergen Paape.

I found another cult classic at Retro in the Perfect Sense of The Sentence, Liasons Dangereuses' Los Ninos Del Parque. Influential to many DJ's and a rad album.

Finally, I totally fell in love with the UK's own La Roux this Spring, and I just found out that her track Quicksand was picked up by Kitsune and it's being released December 15th. The Passions and Liasons Dangereuses aren't listed in her influences but, err, they should be.

Totally obsessed with these photos of Michelle Williams that I came across on the Some Notes on Napkins blog. You can find them and many more shoots on Michael Sanders Flickr photostream...

My radio show "The Following Aesthetic Reasons" is on every Monday night on WZBC 90.3 FM from 7-10pm EST Click here to see my playlist from the first day of December! You can stream it live weekly at wzbc.org.

In Boston this week: On Thursday check out WZBC's Monthly Countdown at Rivergods (River Street near Central Square, Cambridge MA), presenting our favorite indie rock tracks from the previous month (and if you didn't know it already, Rivergods is one of the best bars in Boston)...Then walk over to Make it New at Middlesex (Central Square, Cambridge MA) for some minimal techno (and another fabulous bar). Sunday, TT the Bears has Iceland's Kira Kira (with members of Mum and Parachutes, they opened for Sigur Ros in September) and ambient performers Dygn.

(My picture here is made with Poladroid.)