Monday, December 19, 2011

Throwback Monday - 12-19-11 - "La Prochaine Fois" - Neotropic

La Prochaine Fois from Neotropic on Vimeo.

Not exactly a "throwback" in the strictest since of the word, but Neotropic's La Prochaine Fois, which was released in 2001, holds a very special place in our hearts here at Architects and Heroes. Namely because of the amazing artist behind the record and short film, Riz Maslen.

Architects and Heroes Records, which is the record label arm of our small collective, is releasing Neotropic’s latest release, Equestrienne Remixes, on CD. We are accepting pre-orders at this time and the CDs will be ready for shipping on December 20th. Features remixes by A Dancing Beggar, Panoramica, The Grim Life, Lady Husk, deaflemon, DJ Stephen R., Small Fish With Spine, Georg Hekt, 10sui, Dub I.D., Howpee, Minor Blow, and Delta Sun.

Pre-order the CD
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Thoughts on Sound - 11-21-11

Painting by Alex Grey

It seems like I've barely unpacked from my trip to Paris (and speaking of which, I wrote a piece about The Pitchfork Music Festival in Paris for Igloo Magazine which you can see here) and it's almost time to pack my bag and head to Anna Maria Island for Thanksgiving with my fiance's family... With a few days back in Los Angeles to catch up on some client work and take a breather, I've had some time to collect my thoughts about some music-related items.

The new(ish) Wilco record it is fantastic. The Whole Love is to Wilco, what The Soft Bulletin is to The Flaming Lips. It is one of the most thoughtful, intricate and well produce records they have ever put out. In my opinion, it's the fault of Nels Cline!

The Cure is it in Los Angeles performing for 3 nights, starting tonight. For some reason this was not on my radar, which means either I am completely out of the loop, or I have completely lost interest in a 50-something year old man in makeup. My goth teenage self would be very disappointed.

My top 10 jams right now:

10. Wilco - The Whole Love
9. Gonjasufi - Nikels & Dimes
8. Sylvie Varta - Comme un garçon
7. Isotope 217 - Utonian Automatic
6. One Umbrella - Solve
5. Therefore - The Bomb Grant
4. Aavikko - History of Muysic
3. V/A - Pop Ambient 2010
2. V/A - Panama!3
1. Sepalcure - Sepalcure

architects and heroes: Throwback Monday - 11-21-11 - "Laisse Tomber Les Filles" - France Gall

France Gall (born Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne Gall on 9 October 1947 in Paris, France) is a popular French yé-yé singer. Gall was married to, and had a successful singing career in partnership with, French singer-songwriter Michel Berger.

The first airplay of France's first single "Ne sois pas si bête" ("Don't Be So Stupid"), occurred on her 16th birthday. It was released in November and became a hit. Serge Gainsbourg, whose career was faltering although he had released several albums and written songs for singers including Michèle Arnaud and Juliette Gréco, was asked by Bourgeois to write songs for Gall. Gainsbourg's "N'écoute pas les idoles" ("Don't listen to the idols") became Gall's second single; it reached the top of the French charts in March 1964 and stayed there for three weeks.

Taken from

Friday, November 18, 2011

Purple Crush go Meta-Narrative on "Welcome 2 The Underground" #occupypopmusic

Pop music has mutated so much over the past decade, that it sometimes feels like it has transcended the confines of it's once safe place in the back pockets of industry professionals, and has become an egalitarian tool for the digital masses. As the lines between producer and consumer continue to blur, independent artists that once would have been lost in the shuffle are becoming their own memes.

If there is a truism about independent, DIY artists, it's that in the face of music industry adversity, that they continue to forge ahead with a "fuck you" to the same industry that they wish to crack. With a few digital tools, a healthy dose of talent and some tenacity, there are artists emerging now that have circumvented conventional channels and have taken their music and art directly to the people.

Purple Crush has taken this route, and has meet with success and some major industry push back. The duo was tapped by Lady Gaga producer Rob Fusari to write songs for the pop superstar, putting in hundreds of hours of production time, and not getting paid one dime. Rolling Stone covered the story, as did a number of other major music magazines. In this David and Goliath scenario, Purple Crush responded by releasing one of their strongest records to date, Welcome 2 The Underground.

The first track on the record, "New Me" infuses dubstep and electric guitar into a track that sounds like Britney Spears smoked some medical marijuana and had a three-way Skrillex and Dr.Dre. Track 2, "Sweat" has kind of a throw-back 80's feel to it, at times sounding like Berlin, while "Loverboy" get the Kraftwerk treatment. Working over a hard 808 bass drum, driving at a DJ Screw pace, with Isla spitting like a true Brooklynite on "Basic Bitch." Track 6,"Kiss My Cheeks," is a stand-out track here, sounding like Joan Jett doing a fidget track, with an almost cheerleader chant quality that's infectious and a serious ear-worm. "New York City Bad Girl" and "The Original" see the PCs doing what they do best, which is belting out dance-floor electro-pop bangers.

As this pop music saga unfolds, it's important to keep in mind that at the end of the day Purple Crush have something that can't be replicated or stolen by anyone. Talent. As we witness the last gasps of the music industry, accompanied by last-ditch efforts to close Pandora's box, expect more of "big" industry players to start hammering away at smaller performers. It's okay, ultimately they will lose. Welcome (back) to the Underground.

Buy on iTunes
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Welcome 2 The Underground by purplecrush

Monday, November 14, 2011

architects and heroes: Throwback Monday - 11-14-11 - "Fire" - 23 Skidoo

Formed in 1979 by Fritz Catlin, Johnny Turnbull and Sam Mills, and later augmented by Alex Turnbull and Tom Heslop, 23 Skidoo had interests in martial arts, Burundi and Kodo drumming, Fela Kuti, The Last Poets, William S. Burroughs, as well as the emerging confluence of industrial, post-punk and funk, heard in artists such as A Certain Ratio, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, The Pop Group and This Heat.

Their first 7", "Ethics" was released in 1980, followed by the "Last Words" 7", produced by Stephen Mallinder and Richard H. Kirk from Cabaret Voltaire. A Peel Session was recorded on September 16, 1981 that included Richard. Their debut album, Seven Songs, was released in 1982 and is said to evoke the claustrophobic humidity of an African forest. An experimental EP Tearing Up The Plans was produced without the Turnbull brothers, who were traveling in Indonesia. Guitarist Sam Mills and vocalist Tom Heslop left the band soon after, and with the arrival of slap-bassist David "Sketch" Martin following the break-up of Linx, the lineup remained the same until their disintegration in 2003.

Information from

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stones Throw Records - Droppin' Pants

Stones Throw Records is making everybody's day by dropping their Pants! James Pants, to be specific, made a ton of beats back from 2004 to 2008, and has made this treasure trove available for a free and for a limited time I'm sure.

Cop it now, before the internet breaks!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Roberts & Lord - Eponymous

It's not often that a message on a social network from one independent musician to another turns into a fully realized project, but that's exactly what happen when Simon Lord (formerly of Simian) reached out to Rafter Roberts (of Rafter and Bunky). Their overseas collaboration happened by the two mailing tracks back and forth to one another, combining two radically different styles. Roberts complex arrangements, low-fi recording sensibility (The backing music was recorded on a 4-track tape machine at Roberts' San Diego studio) is firmly juxtaposed with Lord's clean, digitally-recorded vocals, which gives the record of since of urgency that one experiences when wild experiments yield something unusually beautiful. This is the background to the release, "Eponymous" by Roberts & Lord, released on Asthmatic Kitty Records.

The record starts off with "mosquito," a track with heavy, crunchy, lo-fi beats. Until the vocals kick in, the song sounds like it be a hip-hop track. When the vocals do kick-in it evolves into a shimmering pop track. The next song, "wild berries" starts off with big, bombastic, fuzzed out drums with melodic vocal, which will be a signature sound for the record.

While crunchy, low-fi rhythms juxtaposed against melodic vocals is a common element of the record, the duo traverses into much more nuanced terrain. "Bottom of the bottle" combines melancholy, harmonized vocals and oddly syncopated rhythms while remaining sunny and at points even uplifting, while "windmill" is a garage rock-sounding workout. "Oblique" is a catchy almost sugary pop song, with crunchy beats and beautiful harmony that is interrupted by stabby synths. "Knots" and "menuhin" have an almost Beach Boys quality, mixing a kind of do-wop with 808 toms. "Purple doves" is a Latin-tinged song, that could be mistaken for Animal Collective.

Further into the record, we find a deeper sound. "We rise, we fall" sounds Eno-like but with far more funky elements. "Interior demon" lays down an 808 kick-drum, with a blues riff and Lord's smooth falsetto vocal. Going even deeper into and ambient direction, "sperm" is an instrumental, crunchy electro beat with ethereal vocals overlaid, that is slowed down (almost screwed and choped), having a coral quality that makes it feel almost like sacred music. Wrapping up the record is "the same love." This song has an almost instantly recognizable feel. Imagine the "I'd like to teach the world to sing..." Coke commercial from the 70's, with swirling psychedelic vocals and crunchy beats. At it's core, it a song that the Beatles could have written.

This debut effort by Roberts & Lord is a unique exploration of sounds that you normally don't hear on the same record, much less the same track. The end result of this experimentation is a unlikely concoction that is one of my favorite undergound pop records of the year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dive and Lie Wrecked: 09-16-11 - Peter Hook and The Light

Peter Hook & The Light Live at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles - Photo Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly

"Dive and Lie Wrecked" is a new feature of Architects and Heroes, focusing on reviews of live performances. Its name comes from the amazing release by Dave Aju by the same name on Context, which you can find here.

It's easy to throw around terms like "classic record" or "influenced a generation," but there's little dispute that Joy Division's record "Unknown Pleasures" created the template for what would we would now term Post-Punk. It's with this as a backdrop that I responded with skepticism when I heard that Joy Division/New Order bass player Peter Hook was going to tour with a new band and perform Unknown Pleasures.

Perhaps it's my demographic. As someone comfortably ensconced in Generation X, I have a soft spot in my heart for all things I grew up with. I keep my pop culture as close to me as the Doc Martins that are still a part of the wardrobe, but what happens when your memories start to be reinterpreted? Being the rabid Joy Division/New Order fan that I am, and generally optimistic about shows like this, I decided I would give this reincarnated version of Joy Division a chance.

The iconic record cover for the Joy Division record "Unknown Pleasures" design by Peter Saville

The day of the show, Peter Hook did an in-store appearance at Ameoba Records in Hollywood, signing copies of the record "Unknown Pleasures: Live In Australia." It gave me an opportunity to road-test the record before I went to see them live that evening. After listening to the first few tracks, my anxiety about what to expect from this remake began to melt away. Now, I won't say it stood up to the original. That record influenced everything that came after it, but this was a very good interpretation of the original. I guess there's something to be said about the reinterpretation of a record made by a founding member of the band that originally produced the record! After the relief of that experience, I was more excited (did I mention the rabid fan bit?) to see Peter Hook and the Light perform Unknown Pleasures.

The show was opened by the always-impeccable sound selector DJ Paul V, whose set was the perfect companion to an epic night. The opening band, El Ten Eleven, played a set of instrumental tracks that sounded like Ratatat (if they didn't use electronics). But, in all fairness, I along with the rest of the crowd could only halfway listen to them. When you have something of this magnitude about to happen, there's very little patience for anyone else's band.

When the band finally came on stage, the sold-out crowd at the El Rey theater exploded. Warming the crowd up, the band started with "No Love Lost" "Leaders of Men" and "Glass," before launching into the entire record. Once they did, they ripped though a set that included guest vocalist Moby on "Insight," "New Dawn Fades" and "Transmission," which worked incredibly well. I would go so far as to say that the whole experience would have been better had he done vocals for the entire set, but that's simply my opinion.

The band executed the Joy Division record flawlessly, and perhaps with a bit more exuberance and slick production than Ian Curtis might have ever thought possible for such a seemingly dark record, but at the end of the day this live experience was exactly what it should have been. A recreation of an epic record that was released 32 years ago by an artist who still knows how to put on an amazing show.

"No Love Lost"
"Leaders of Men"
"Day of the Lords"
"Insight" with Moby
"New Dawn Fades" with Moby
"She's Lost Control"
"I Remember Nothing"
"Dead Souls"
"Transmission" with Moby
"Love Will Tear Us Apart"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Throwback Monday - 09-219-11 - "Was Dog A Doughnut" - Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens is not a name that people associate with electronic music, however it is widely believe that he is responsible for producing one of the first Electro tracks. His 1977 track. Was Dog A Doughnut, has many elements that are the foundation of the genre, and that still present in Electro today.

(Thanks to Mixmaster Morris for unearthing this and posting to Facebook.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Throwback Monday - 08-08-11 - "Blue Monday" - New Order

New Order were an English musical group formed in 1980 by Bernard Sumner (vocals, guitars, synthesisers), Peter Hook (bass, synthesisers) and Stephen Morris (drums, electronic drums, synthesisers). New Order was formed by the remaining members of Joy Division following the suicide of vocalist Ian Curtis. They were soon joined by keyboard player Gillian Gilbert.

New Order combined New Wave and electronic dance, and became one of the most critically acclaimed and highly influential bands of the 1980s.[2] Though New Order's early years were shadowed by the legacy of Joy Division, their immersion, with help from Morris D. Temple, in the New York City club scene of the early 1980s increased their knowledge of dance music. The band's 1983 hit "Blue Monday" saw them fully embrace dance music, synthesisers and drum machines, and is the best-selling 12-inch single of all time.[3] New Order were the flagship band for Factory Records, and their minimalist album sleeves and non-image reflected the label's aesthetic of doing whatever the relevant parties wanted to do, including an aversion to including singles as album tracks. The band has often been acclaimed by fans, critics and other musicians as a highly influential force in the alternative rock, dance and rave music scenes.

New Order were on hiatus between 1993 and 1998, during which time the members participated in various side-projects. The band reconvened in 1998, and in 2001 released Get Ready, their first album in eight years. In 2005, Phil Cunningham (guitars, synthesisers) replaced Gilbert, who had left the group due to family commitments. In 2007, Peter Hook left the band and stated that he and Sumner had no further plans to work together.[4] Sumner revealed in 2009 that he no longer wishes to make music as New Order.[5]

Content taken from:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Throwback Monday - 07-18-11 - "I Wanna Be Adored" - The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses were an English alternative rock band formed in Manchester in 1983. They were one of the pioneering groups of the Madchester movement that was active during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band's most successful lineup consisted of vocalist Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary "Mani" Mounfield, and drummer Alan "Reni" Wren.

The band released their début album, The Stone Roses, in 1989. The album was a breakthrough success for the band. At this time the Stone Roses decided to capitalise on their success by signing to a major label; their current record label Silvertone would not let them out of their contract, which led to a long legal battle that culminated with the band signing with Geffen Records in 1991, and then releasing their second album Second Coming in 1994. The group soon disbanded after several lineup changes throughout the supporting tour, which began with Reni first departing, followed by Squire.

Information from

Monday, April 25, 2011

Throwback Monday - 04-25-11 - "Kunta Kinte Dub '91 " - Mad Professor

Mad Professor (born Neil Joseph Stephen Fraser, 1955, Georgetown, Guyana) is a dub music producer and engineer known for his original productions and remix work. He is considered one of the leading producers of dub music’s second generation and was instrumental in transitioning dub into the digital age. He is a prolific producer, contributing to or producing nearly 200 albums. He has collaborated with reggae artists such as Lee "Scratch" Perry, Sly and Robbie, Pato Banton, Jah Shaka and Horace Andy, as well as artists outside the realm of traditional reggae and dub, such as Sade, Massive Attack, The Orb, and Brazilian DJ Marcelinho da lua.

More info:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Throwback Mondays 04/18/11 - Wire: Ahead

Wire is an English rock band, formed in London in October 1976[1] by Colin Newman (vocals, guitar), Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), and Robert Gotobed (drums). They were originally associated with the punk rock scene, appearing on the Live at the Roxy WC2 album—a key early document of the scene—and were later central to the development of post-punk.

Inspired by the burgeoning UK punk scene, Wire is often cited as one of the more important rock groups of the 1970s and 1980s. Critic Stewart Mason writes, "Over their brilliant first three albums, Wire expanded the sonic boundaries of not just punk, but rock music in general."[2]

Wire is arguably a definitive art punk or post-punk ensemble, mostly due to their richly detailed and atmospheric sound, often obscure lyrical themes and, to a lesser extent, their Situationist political stance. The group exhibited a steady development from an early raucous punk style (1977's Pink Flag) to a more complex, structured sound involving increased use of guitar effects and synthesizers (1978's Chairs Missing and 1979's 154). The band gained a reputation for experimenting with song arrangements throughout its career.[3]

More information:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wild Style x The Cold Crush Brothers x Cut Chemist

Last night Cinefamily hosted a screening of the classic Hip-Hop movie Wild Style as a part of the "Art In The Streets exhibit at MOCA. As with all of the Cinefamily hosted events, there's always "surprise guests" and activities in conjunction with their screenings, but I had no idea what was in store for me when I attended this event.

One of the "surprise guests" was the legendary DeeJay Cut Chemist, dropping tracks and doing a pre-show set as only he can do. (*If you don't know what a Cut Chemist DJ set is like, then do yourself a favor and check this out.) Now, this would have been enough for me to be happy with the evening, but, as they say...wait, there's more.

Not only was the director, Charlie Ahearn in the building, but so was Yo! MTV Raps and Hip-Hop icon Fab Five Freddy AND The Cold Crush Brothers! So, needless to say, it was a bit overwhelming to be around that much Hip-Hop royalty. The history of what these guys have done collectively is too much to wrap my mind around. So, if their presence wasn't enough, after the Q&A session at the end of the film, The Cold Crush Brothers and Cut Chemist took the stage.

And that, my friends, is a damn fine way to spend a Friday night in Los Angeles. Here's the performance:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Throwback Mondays 04/11/11 - Goldie: Inner City Life

Clifford Joseph Price, better known as Goldie (born 19 September 1965, Walsall, West Midlands, England) is an English electronic music artist, disc jockey, visual artist and actor. He first gained widespread public attention for his innovations in the jungle and drum and bass music genre, having previously gained more limited exposure for his work as a graffiti artist. His acting credits include the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, Guy Ritchie's Snatch and the British soap opera EastEnders. Most recently he has appeared in a number of celebrity reality television shows including Celebrity Big Brother UK, Strictly Come Dancing and Come Dine With Me.

(taken from

Monday, April 4, 2011

Throwback Monday - 04-04-11 - "Shack Up" - A Certain Ratio

A Certain Ratio are a Post-punk band formed in 1977 in Manchester, England. While originally part of the punk rock movement, they soon added funk and dance elements to their sound. They are sometimes referred to as "post punk funk". The band's name is taken from the lyrics of Brian Eno's song "The True Wheel" from the album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy).

More information

Thursday, March 31, 2011

7 Questions with Strictly Kev

To say that Kevin Foakes (aka Strictly Kev, DJ Food, Openmind and many more aliases not mentioned here) is a creative force to be reckoned with is an understatement. Under his Openmind moniker, Kevin's design work has been the cornerstone of Ninja Tune's visual identity, creating record covers most of the label's roster. That would be enough for one artist, but Mr. Foakes not only designs for the label, but he's the driving force behind DJ Food, and releases material under his other monikers on a regular basis.

We had the opportunity to interview Strictly Kev, and here's the result.

1. Strictly Kev, Openmind, DJ Food, Flexus. How do your aliases and your art intersect?

Strictly was a given name (by Matt from Coldcut) many years ago that I liked and kept, DJ Food I've assumed too and taken control of over the years. The thing about Food is that it was never meant to mean one person, hence the Strictly Kev name as a personal identity, but now Food is just me so go figure. Openmind has always been my design alter ego, even before I was involved with Ninja Tune, it originally started as four people putting on parties and then I kept it when we went our separate ways. Flexus (not Flexus intro as many people confuse it) was something I was going to do as a mixture of cut up and collage, I may still do something with it one day but it exists outside of just music and would involve a series of objects. I had it all mapped out over a decade ago but never got around to it.

2. Your work as Openmind is the cornerstone of the Ninja Tune visual identity. Does your work as a visual artist influence your work as a DJ and music producer?

Not really because most of the time I'm designing for other people and I'm trying to create a visual to fit their music. The few times I have designed for myself it's been quite difficult actually, how do you visualise yourself? A completely blank canvas and no brief is a dream for most designers but I find it almost too huge to condense down to something I'm happy with.

3. What is the core idea behind DJ Food? Was it something that was planned, or did it happen organically?

It's probably the most unplanned, organically grown thing that's ever been given the name of 'a group'. It started out of necessity, got added to by circumstance and then evolved due to public demand. There was never any plan, there still isn't to some extent.

4. What's the future for DJ Food?

An album this year, collecting 2 EPs I made in 2009 plus a third I'm working on now and a few other bits. I'm not decided on the title but I've got 2 months to finish it. Then I'll probably tour that.

5. What about live performances? Do you have anything planned for the near future?

That's another thing I'm trying to figure out, my normal club DJ sets are quite different to the music I make at home. I want to do a set of DJ Food music, both past and present, but make it club friendly. And I want it to have visuals.

6. What would you like your musical legacy to be?

No idea, just being remembered for doing something good is hard enough, you hope to inspire people in the same way others inspired you. You want something you've done, whether musically or visually to mean something to people, for them to look or listen to it and be overwhelmed by its beauty enough to take it with them.

7. What's your top 10 right now?

Jon Brooks-Music For Thomas Carnacki (Cafe Kaput)
Wagon Christ - Chunkothy video by Celyn Brazier (Ninja Tune)
SoundSci - The Illness (Crate Escape)
DJ Food vs 2econd Class Citizen - unfinished untitled collaboration
Edan - Echo Party DVD
Shades of Rhythm - Sweet Sensation (Lone remix) (Cheap Thrills)
Simon Garfield - Just My Type (Phaidon)
Lone - Echolocations EP (R&S)
DJ Format - Mr DJ / Dope Pusher
Shakara - Robbie Morrison/Henry Flint (2000ad)

More information:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Throwback Mondays 03/28/11 - Kraftwerk: Radioactivity

Kraftwerk (German pronunciation: [ˈkʀaftvɛʁk]), German for power plant or power station, is an electronic music band from Düsseldorf, Germany. The group was formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1970, and was fronted by them until Schneider's departure in 2008. The signature Kraftwerk sound combines driving, repetitive rhythms with catchy melodies, mainly following a Western Classical style of harmony, with a minimalistic and strictly electronic instrumentation. The group's simplified lyrics are at times sung through a vocoder or generated by computer-speech software. Kraftwerk were one of the first groups to popularize electronic music and are considered pioneers in the field. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Kraftwerk's distinctive sound was revolutionary, and has had a lasting effect across many genres of modern music.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Architects and Heroes Podcast #5

Arcitects & Heroes - Podcast #5 by dj stephen r.

This is the 5th Podcast for Architects and Heroes, and one that marks a milestone for us. We, as a label, curated a stage at the AMODA Digital Showcase. We booked a few of our favorite acts from Texas to play, not only at the AMODA show, but at our very own label showcase. We're featuring some of the acts that performed with us at the AMODA party, as well as the Architects and Heroes event.


1. Blixaboy - Lexicon Man
2. Convextion - Live @ Freshweekend 04-07-2010
3. Bodytronix - Live at the sixth annual austin analog synth party
4. Cygnus - stingray rmx 1 (Photon Xfvn3904290995)
5. Burbank International - The Other Side
6. DJ Stephen R. - Bumped
7. Chili - P B to my J
8. Making the Noise - Led by a Shade

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March Madness

The Architects and Heroes Sound System for 3/15 SXSW Party

It's been a while since the chaos and inertia has settled on our camp and we've had time to sit down and sift through our memories and experiences. So, here's what we know. Since we launched our label in January, our hive has been buzzing with activity. We managed to release our first 3 records, we had a great 3 hour sit down interview, and live performance, with Ms. Tiza at KFJC in San Jose. We then went to Austin to play the AMODA showcase at SXSW in Austin, and we even hosted our very own label event. To say that the year is flying by would be an under statement...

DJ Stephen R. @ the A+H Showcase

The early spring kicked off with our camp, specifically H.A. Eugene (Burbank International/Business 80) and Stephen R. (Zygote/The Summer of Flux) sitting down with the amazing and talented DJ Ms.Tiza at KFJC for over 3 hours of interviews, live performances and dj sets. Our gracious hostess played most of our entire catalog to date (3 releases so far), and even dialed-in to our absent label compatriot, Will Rosario (aka Asymmetrical Head/Quiliuq)to include him in the interview. Evidence of our encounter with Ms.Tiza can be found here.

H.A. Eugene of Burbank International/Business 80 in conversation with Ms.Tiza.

Mere day's after our trip from Los Angeles to the Bay Area for our KFJC interview and in-studio performance, we hit the road for Austin, Texas for SXSW. We were honored to have been asked by AMODA (the Austin Museum of Digital Art) to curate a stage at their 10 annual Digital Showcase at the Mohawk. Our stage included Burbank International, Blixaboy, Martix Records recording artist Convextion, a very rare performance by Zygote (which went from chin-scratching to booty-shaking on a dime), a surprise set by Cygnus and the sounds of the Flying Turns DJs. Our VJ was late to the event, so we managed to get local VJ legends The Vidkids to help mind the gap for our absent VJ.

Blixaboy playing live at the AMODA showcase, A+H stage

Our adventures in Texas didn't stop there. After hundreds of beers, a ton of shows and a shotgun trip to and from Dallas to DJ a wedding (it's a long story, but it has something to do with The Summer of Flux) we at Architects and Heroes Records had our own party.

Flyer for the A+H 3/15 show

Our party saw us feature friends of Architects and Heroes, both new and old, who we put on blast on an amazing sound-system provided by Sound Riggs. We had an amazing line-up of talent blasting through the speakers. The LA homies were up in that piece. Purple Crush brought there hyper-kenetic electro-pop to our dance floor, along with 213 local, and New Noir founder, New Berlin... and to round-out the LA Style, yours truly, DJ Stephen R., dropped a set of dub and bass sounds.

The Flying Turns DJs @the A+H 3/15 show

We welcomed our new Texas friends who represented at SXSW for A+H. Cygnus (who's A+H interview can be found here) dropped a mad set of electro and vocoder madness, while the Flying Turns DJs dropped some sweet space-disco and Bodytronix brought their full rig of customized analog gear and threw down a spot-on set of electronic analog magic.

The A+H night at Deseos was rounded out buy a performance of Architects and Heroes Co-founder, H.A. Eugene in his Burbank International guise playing his own music, deconstructed and electrified. His set is a unique mix of pulsing electronic music made from his own deconstructed record (Warthog AH004 due out on Architects and Heroes in May). As if this weren't enough, we had Dueling Monomes! AMODA laptop battle champion, and Austin native, Chili battled Making The Noise from Boston. All in all, an amazing event.

Although it was a blurry month, with it's fair share of bumps, but it's been an amazing start to our label venture. As a recap to our week of madness at SXSW, I will be producing a podcast that highlights some of the amazing talent we unearthed while in Texas. Stay tuned...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Throwback Monday - 02-28-11 - "American-Soviets" - C.C.C.P

C.C.C.P. is a German synthpop act led by Rasputin Stoy. They were best known for their 1986 instrumental American-Soviets, released by Clockwork Germany. This six-minute song themed on the Cold War became a major hit at dance clubs and in the US-Billboard Charts, German Top 75 and many more European charts. The following single releases (Made in Russia, Orient Express) were no. 1 and no.2 in the official charts in the same week (Hong Kong, BeNeLux, France and Spain). Their 1990 song "Don't Kill The Rainforest" was also a minor alternative radio hit. C.C.C.P. recorded a couple of albums.
C.C.C.P. released their seventh album, "Quantic Shamanism Through Digital Western" featuring Meyhiel, in January 2008 on the art label *MILLEPLATEAUXMEDIA.

C.C.C.P.®, cccp ® or better C.C.C.P. american-soviets ® from Frankfurt/Main Germany, now only consists of the original Bandleader Rasputin Stoy aka Rai Streubel & Frank Schendler (ex BeatAmax)
The next new album release from C.C.C.P. will be ready in Oct. 2010. C.C.C.P. - DECADANCE CLUB (Mirror of my soul). Style: Electro, EBM,...

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

7 Questions with Cygnus

1. For those unfamiliar with your work, tell us a bit about yourself and your music.

My name's Phillip Washington and I am from Dallas, TX. I make electro-funk (real electro), techno, hip hop and futuristic techno. As you can see I haven't got just one genre locked down, although my first release on ICASEA is almost all detroit-style electro. When you hear a song my influences might be pretty obvious but a lot of avenues are really converging at once, it's never just one source per song. But I dunno, I made a Dubstep EP this weekend and I really was just messing around, and all I thought about was what I think that music  sounds like in my head. I called it "Ronny Raegan - Party at Ronny's House" and I think it's hilarious. I made it as a joke. My friend came up with the name.

2. Your track "Tis Thine The Kingdom" was included on Autechre's 12 hour broadcast. Were you aware that they were going to use your track for the broadcast beforehand?

No. I'd emailed them that track probably a year or two before. I was browsing a forum when I noticed the broadcast had just gone up, and by coincidence (or was it) that track was playing. I thought I'd just opened up the mp3 on my hard drive but I heard the Psi-Onyx remix coming in and realized they were jamming one of my tracks. They also played another too near the end but it's not listed in that tracklist that's availible online...

3. You kind of cut your teeth at the Laptop Deathmatch in Dallas, playing along side Convextion, Blixaboy and that whole scene. How would say this influenced your work?

That is a really good question. When Blixaboy (Mwanz Dover) first started Laptop Deathmatch it was a monthly thing, and I was only working part-time. The rule was that you had 3 minutes to show what you had, so I took pretty much all of my free time and used it to make material for the battles, and I had so much free time it was kind of awesome. That era was a lot of fun. 

A very big influence doing the battles had on my work (I think there were something like 15 over 3 years, not including the ones in Austin and Seattle I went to) was that it was a total crunch in learning and using Ableton Live and a slew of software synths. As a result of that I can work insanely fast on that platform now - the process of using a mouse and midi controller to write most of a track was birthed. It's now this complete monster that I can summon at will... my right arm does that transformer sound, becomes self aware and can just blast out really good music. I like working with ableton because it's so fast but I fear I may be missing out on some fertile ground elsewhere. That is the influence doing Laptop Deathmatch had on me. I also got to meet a lot of cool people engaged in the electronic music scene. One downside from Laptop Deathmatch was I developed a super fucked up image of what it means to be a successful musician, and that is because I was so focused on winning all the time. 

4. Are there any plans to tour?

I am really focused on making some more tracks right now, and that's it. I'm about to travel to Los Angeles to record some music with my best friend of 20+ years. He goes by the name Cav3, and let me tell you man he's a fucking fantastic rapper. I'd like to tour with him once we get enough material laid out. It'll be some awfully great electro-funk hip hop/rap fusion shit, like never heard in a long time.  As for a solo thing as just "cygnus" I will definitely keep playing shows whenever I get the chance. To be honest I am really bad at managing myself and getting booked and all that. I really need to hire a manager, hahaha. I'd love to tour Europe, Germany, Japan, and South America and see how they feel about my hard, thumpin' electro. "Wrowreck" was released last year on ICASEA - maybe I'll do an official, year-late tour for that... 

5. What's in the works for you right now?

I just got done working on Def Jam Rapstar so I have a lot of free time on my hands. Going from working on a major karaoke video game to having nothing but free-time is very disorienting to say the least. I'm just working on tracks every day, coming up with new, hard hitting material and expanding on some older ideas I'll probably just send to my friend Tom Knapp (Skeksi/Icasea). I hope that on my next solo release you'll have tracks that you can chill in your bedroom and enjoy, or be played in a club. It's going to be a lot more distinguished than my last release "Wrowreck" (Released on Icasea). I got a 12" coming out on a label called Recondite in a month or two. I really just am focusing on putting out more records right now, writing material with my freetime, and calming my anxious ass down. You know what? I would love it if I could release like 3 records on vinyl this year and sell all those mothafuckers. The recondite release should be availible on the major vinyl distribution sites when it drops. If nothing in that avenue works out yet I still have the opportunity to trade tracks with homeboys, get a job in the video games industry once again I would be fine with that too. 

6. What's your top 10 right now? 

The Other People Place
S>>D - 33 EP
LTJ Bukem - Progression Sessions 
Propoganda - Murder of Love
Model 500 - I Wanna Be There M34 (Dave Angel Remix)
Donald Fagen - True Companion

7. Where can people find out more information about you?