Following on from the inaugural Crossing Wires compilation by Toronto trio My Favorite Robot, next to mix it up for the exciting series is global electronic music icon Timo Maas. Still riding high off the success of his latest and greatest full length relaese, Lifer, back in 2013 (which blended trip hop with ambient, sleazy house with wonky techno and included collaborations with the likes of Placebos Brian Molko and Brighton chanteuse Katie Cruel as well as James Lavelle, founder of seminal e90s label Mo Wax) Timo has long been a pioneer in his field. Of course, he also runs his own influential label, Rockets & Ponies, and the German producer has also appeared on the MFR label before with standout track “Dancing For My Pleasure” from the first Crossing Wires. Timo is also a revered DJ and in 2013 celebrated 10 years as resident at one of underground house and techno’s most mythologized clubs: Circo Loco at DC10 out in Ibiza.
As such, this new Crossing Wires compilation draws on his skills as both selector and sequencer and proves few can do it better than this long-standing talent. The mix features 14 brand new and exclusive tracks from a range of artists old and new n some are closely associated with MFR, some less so, but together they paint a perfect picture of the state of modern electronic music.
Man of the moment Eric Volta kicks things off with the serene synth styling of “Dreams Don’t Turn to Dust,” a suitably lush affair that sets a soothing tone. From there we soon drop into a compelling groove courtesy of My Favorite Robots ‘Dead of the Dance’ and Timo masterfully balances the tempo through his ensuing selections. Never does he get stuck in one place for too long, instead coherently going from spaced out sci-fi house (Discern & Signal Flows “Coarse Language”) to tripped-out tech (Tim Green’s “Plenty of Spiders”) and kinetic and synthetic sounds (Martin Buttrich’s “Bubble Heat”) with ease. Timo’s own productions appear twice, first in the form of the growling, shadowy “Watching The Robots” then in collaboration with long time partner Santos on “Z Panorama.”
Tracks and remixes from Chris Carrier, Villanova and Daniel Stefanik then make up the latter half of the mix in which energy levels are kept up and heady, futuristic imagery is never far away. This is a compelling mix that showcases both the modern sound of house and techno whilst proving that Timo Mass has an understanding of dance floor dynamics that few could ever question.
Artist: Various Artists
Title: Crossing Wires 002 Compiled and Mixed by Timo Maas
Label: My Favorite Robot Records
Catalog No.: MFR102D
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It’s hard to think of dutch wonde rboy Franky Rizardo without immediately associating it with his massive contributions to the Defected catalog or his broad spectrum of main room hits including collaborations and remix work for some of the most important names in the game. This time he proves his versatile nature by submerging himself into a more underground vibe, the type we learned to love so much at OFF headquarters.
We were immd, the tracks were loud, sexy and intense. “A New Recreation” builds around an addictive r&b vocal while a driving bass line keeps the pace and a sexy xylophone type synth tells us summer is getting closer by the hour. “Touch My Soul” has a deeper perspective with classic house chord stabs and another hypnotic vocal prancing around a massive drum machine groove. “I’ve Got A Feeling” closes this amazing package diving even deeper with lush keys, bubbly bass and an overall feel good atmosphere. As always, OFF provides a set of essential nightclub burners.
Artist: Franky Rizardo
Title: A New Recreation
Label: OFF Recordings
Catalog No.: OFF091
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If you’ve seen a review of Roland’s AIRA SYSTEM-1 synth – the keyboard and final member of the original AIRA quartet introduced earlier this year – it’s probably premature.
Word from Roland is that the SYSTEM-1 is still not quite finished. We’ve played it in an earlier form at Musikmesse. But at that point, firmware was still not done, and the synth model was the onboard default for the SYSTEM-1. You can hear Roland’s AIRA component modeling applied to a synth, and indeed, the SYSTEM-1 itself is straight out of the box a new, if fairly conventional, synthesizer.
Part of what Roland is pitching on the SYSTEM-1, though, is the ability to switch synth models. Connect to a computer, change what synth you want, unplug, and you can “plug-out” a new instrument.
To me, the big test of the SYSTEM-1 will be whether Roland has built a compelling model of its classic SH-101 synth. That seems to fit the form factor of the keyboard (and, perhaps, excuse its lack of velocity sensitivity). The question was when that would be done – and when AIRA was announced earlier this year, even Roland didn’t have a solid answer.
We might have an answer now. Apparently at Sweetwater’s Gear Fest this month, Roland first showed that SH-101 model – and another event is planned this week in London.
A quiet event announcement lists a premiere of the SH-101 model for the SYSTEM-1 on Thursday in London. In-person events were limited to a scant 20 people (I didn’t get in), but there appear to be sign-ups for a live webinar. So, yes, right after the USA squares off against Germany in the World Cup, you can see what the SH-101 will bring to the AIRA table.
Artist David Ålhund will be on-hand to show the new instrument, as well as play on the other AIRAs, followed by a discussion with Bullet Dodge’s Gareth Whitehead and Mike Greig from SSR London along with Marshall Jefferson, Adamski, Luke Solomon and guests.
I’ve contacted Roland in Germany and the USA for more comment. And I hope CDM finally gets an AIRA for review.
Thanks to Nicolas Bougaïeff for the tip.
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