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Alaaf and Kickin’ Mixtape 044 by Equations Collective: Drifts and Rifts

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What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
We wanted to create a journey with music that excites us and has a slightly wavy touch. Before we started, we discussed the idea of a landscape of sounds, which integrates the different sources of inspiration. A landscape, which pulls you into itself, which drags you down into darker spheres and allures you to lose yourself in it.

Can you tell us a little bit more about certain tracks you selected?
It is difficult for us to pick out a few. You also don’t pick your favorite children, right?
Unfortunately we do not have any glorious stories connected to certain tracks. It is just music we listen to and that we gathered over a longer period of time. Now they are all arranged and united so maybe that’s the story you were looking for?

What’s the story of Equations Collective?
We came up with it because we needed a name for a party with improvised live sessions. We all had a love for old jazz records, the free spirit atmosphere, the unlimits of improvisation of it and we especially all shared admiration for Sun Ra and his following. It was a common factor in all our musical development. We did some research about his DIY approach, his philosophy and in the end also read his poetry, which he himself called “Equations”. We liked it for several reasons. First of all it was connected to his approach but it was also still far away from it. We did not want to be understood as white-european copy-cats. Secondly we recognized the slogan “The first true universal language” of the Mathematics label and saw a connection that we could relate to.

Who’s involved and what’s the idea behind it?
For the first party at Sameheads in early 2015 it was Derek Van Beelen (D), George Konstantoulakis (Aphelion, Archaic Space), Michael Kraus (Sphera De Noumenon), Nick Lapien (Artefakt, Metropolis, Lapien) and Robin Koek (Artefakt, Cyspe).
After an excellent edition at Acud with Jesse Scherwitz, Julius Richter and Magnus von Welck (Aroma Pitch), we invited them to join the collective, because we shared a similar approach and love for no-rules-no-plan live sets and collaboration. Some of us share time in the studio now and help out wherever necessary in order to push the collective effort in, Amsterdam, Cologne, Berlin or Athens.
We all try collectively to find a similar rhythm, a common wavelength and collective frequencies within our time and space with our music. We do this in the form of the Equations parties with improvised and collaborative live sets, which can last all night long.
Unfortunately, until now, we are a boys club and we would like to involve more ladies, who are up for some live impro action in the future!

On your Soundcloud account it says: „Intimate vibes served for life-long improvisers“. What is it about improvised music that speaks to you so much?
With our musical background we all see synthesizer and drum computer as real instruments, which we like to experiment with. Improvisation is automatically part of our every studio-day life and we like the idea of transporting that moment of “here and now” to clubs and stages. Sharing unexpected rhythms and sounds with other musicians on stage and an audience just makes so much sense for us, even if we take a gamble with it.
Improvisation in the techno context is still a niche and we like to push that more, creating new formats in clubs, where musicians engage emotions, challenge technique, and free the imagination, while the public is part of the “extempore”.
We believe that the dancers are aware of the fact that the music is improvised and are more attentive than usual. With the function of syncing all instruments, endless grooves and endless dancing it offers the same possibilities as dj sets. Using the same set-up for one whole night of jamming live techno gives a unique possibility of falling in trance even more.
As Derek Bailey once said: “When a species can not improvise, it will die.”
Besides all that, it’s just so much fun to fuck around with your favorite gear and see people enjoying it!

Are there any upcoming shows or projects we should know about?
We just got a new date at OHM for Equations on the 31st of August and we do the Hinterland party together with Philipp Matalla at Schrippe Hawaii on the 7th of October.

Thank you, Guys!

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Alaaf and Kickin’ Mixtape 042 by Diana Jones: we dance then we don’t

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Alaaf and Kickin’ Mixtape 042 by the great Diana Jones aka Meryem Erkus – mastermind behind Sounds Wrong, Feels RightBaustelle KalkGOLD + BETON (and many other projects in Cologne)

What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
Actually there was none – it is a super impulsive selection, following difficulties with both some fucked up CDJs and my “something is always wrong”-USB drives. In the end, the mix is a neat combination of my all time favorites and impulses.

Can you tell us something about certain tracks you selected?
A lot of the tracks are by either friends or acts that I have invited to Cologne before or with whom I plan to work in the future. To point out just some of them: I am obsessed with the Lee “Scratch” Perry Dub Remix of Forest Swords’ Thor’s Stone, an artist who played one of the most magical shows we ever had at Baustelle Kalk.
Also I couldn’t resist adding two of my favorite tracks of our baumusik Christmas Compilation “It is a rose, a raisin”:
- CAMP INC’s track “Dizzy Plants” which features Han Brock, one of the most promising and inspired young musicians of Cologne – a mysterious artist with a thousand different names.
- Abel’s “Das Blaue Nichts” is a very special track for me, not only because it is his first production after 10 years, but also because the Danish poem is recited and translated by the great Janina Warnk, Cologne’s infamous performance/scenographic/fantasia-singer/artist.

You’re running a number of really interesting projects in Cologne: the concert and art space “GOLD+BETON”, “Baustelle Kalk” and the concert series “Sounds Wrong, Feels Right” – only to name a few. What is the coherent idea behind all these projects?
I like to describe myself as a hybrid in all my presence. I feel like I found my own way to describe my work in its whole and it is kind of fun to plant the new idea of a fluid life-work-fun quality into the heads of let’s say black & white thinkers, capitalists etc. Don’t assume other people’s borders are your own borders, just because it is convenient or something. Especially if it comes to music, I value the fact that our guests come to the show with the expectation not to know what to expect. See what’s possible, what’s available and turn it into something real!

What do you think is lacking in the nightlife in Cologne? And what potentials do you see?
Like all of us I too, have a quite ambivalent relationship to the city of Cologne. Of course I wouldn’t be living here, if I didn’t love it. But the fact that you sense zero willingness from the city council to appreciate, support, fund or even just tolerate alternative club-/art-/(sub-)culture adds doubts to all your work constantly. I am happy that I did not yet reach the borders of my very own possibilities in this city. I am not yet finished with this town and I am still confident that the page will turn within the next 2 years. I do have several bigger projects and plans in the pipeline. If only one of those could get some official support, it would send a very strong signal and new input for a lot of us. But if nothing will change in the near future, I wouldn’t have a lot of hope for Cologne ☹

Plans for the next months – DJ-Gigs, Parties, Concerts?
- 1st prio: summerbreak, now!
- My season kick off is on 29.8. with a live show of the legendary kraut/world/hippie combo Embryo, down at GOLD+BETON.
- Night Of Surprise on 20th Oct will be one of a kind as usual and of course accompanied by me and Nicole Wegner as the Night of Surprise all time residents ER&WE.
- Unfortunately I am not yet allowed to reveal our Sounds Wrong Feels Right artists. Dates: 24th Oct, 8th November. Stay super tuned for updates, because: lit!
- Other dates:
6.10. Diana Jones @female:pressure, w/ Electric Indigo, Kyoka, Waltraud Blischke / STUDIO 672
7.10. Art Initiatives Cologne – AIC ON Abschlussparty w/ live shows, performances, DJs / details TBA

Thank you Meryem!

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Alaaf and Kickin’ Sunday Groove II Recap

Although the weather wasn’t as perfect as usual, we can say that this Sunday Groove was kind of a special one for us!
After the second period of rain at around 2 we had been pretty devastated and were already imagining a total disaster. So this made it even more exciting when the weather started to clear up and more and more people found their way to the Schräge Wiese.
Our newest AK member Clifford took the chance, turned on the disco-heat and quickly managed to fill up the dancefloor before Matthias (Dynamodyse) totally melted our hearts with tons of emotional house-goodness that made us dance deep into the night!

We really want to thank all the helpers and everyone who came down and created such a lovely vibe! A Special thanks goes to Clifford and of course to Matthias who was so overwhelmed by everything that he called it one of his best ever Dj-experiences!!!

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Alaaf and Kickin’ Sunday Groove part II

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Alaaf and Kickin’ Sunday Groove

LINE UP:

DYNAMODYSE (We Play House Recordings / OSBA)
CLIFFORD (NEW MEMBER OF ALAAF AND KICKIN’ !!!)
Hugo Hoppmann (Alaaf and Kickin’ / Cologne Sessions)
Jannis Hannover (Alaaf and Kickin’ / Cologne Sessions)
Simon Hein (Alaaf and Kickin’ / Cologne Sessions)
Felix Bold (Alaaf and Kickin’)

Die Sonne scheint weiter und wir gehen in Runde zwei – wieder Sonntags und wieder an einem extrem geheimen Ort in Köllefornia!

Ans Licht der Öffentlichkeit gehören dagegen unsere Headliner: Da wäre erstens der großartige DYNAMODYSE – langjähriges Familienmitglied des international gefeierten belgischen Labels WE PLAY HOUSE RECORDINGS. Mit mehreren fantastischen Releases und Gigs in ganz Europa ist DYNAMODYSE genau der richtige Mann für unser Sonntagspicknick. Von Jazz über Disco bis zu saftigem Techno hat die Dyse alles im petto – man darf Großes erwarten!

Ganz besonders freuen wir uns auf unseren Homeboy CLIFFORD. Cliff ist nicht nur einer der nettesten, charmantesten und lustigsten Menschen von ganz Kölle; er ist auch ein wandelndes musikalisches Lexikon und ein extrem stilsicherer DJ. All dies führte dazu, Clifford nach einstimmigem Beschluss des Vorstandes in die ALAAF and KICKIN’ Crew aufzunehmen! Wie schlau und richtig diese Entscheidung war, davon könnt ihr euch beim nächsten SUNDAY GROOVE überzeugen!

Support gibt es von der ALAAF and KICKIN’ Gang in ihrer vollen Pracht: Hugo, Jannis, Simon und Felix. Vier DJ´s für ein Halleluja! Tsing Tao! See you on the 12th ♥

BEITRÄGE

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ALAAF and KICKIN’ Sunday Groove III – Recap

Seems like the weather gods had mercy with us this year: Three open-air parties in Cologne without any rain – not everybody gets that lucky.

It was probably the last day of this years summer at ALAAF and KICKIN’ Sunday Groove III. Despite the hectic Goa-sounds coming from the charming party next door, the mood was very relaxed. Jannis and Hugo started out playing mainly Jazz, Funk and Disco – Simon and Paul intodruced the four-to-the-floor base drum – then Jules set the place on fire. In the end the AK crew was probably more drunk then most of the guests, enjoying the wonderful support by all the fantastic people on the dance floor. If you had only as half as much fun as we did – halleluja!

We´d like to thank everybody who supported us through the summer: Till and Mathis from Etepetete for the logistics, Aroma Pitch, Tobias, Sven, Paul and Jules for their wonderful music – and especially all those who came down to hang out, drink, dream and dance with us!

We hope you are ready for some sweaty winter club-nights with us! We´ll keep you posted!

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THE DO!! YOU!!! BREAKFAST SHOW

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To me there is nothing better than having breakfast while enjoying some great music. So listening to Charlie Bones THE DO!! YOU!!! BREAKFAST SHOW on NTS Radio quickly became one of my everyday morning-habits.

From 9-12 a.m. every workday, Charlie´s selection of Funk, Soul, Jazz and everything nearly related is making the wakeup calls a lot easier.
So for everyone who wants to start their day with good vibes and some proper musical education, this is the show to listen to! You can always expect to discover some amazing stuff you probably never heard before.

http://ntslive.co.uk/

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Theo Parrish’s Methods of Movement

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Variety in the term of track selection should be one of the main criterions for a Dj set and there are not many Dj’s left that comply with that duty. Theo Parrish clearly is one of them.
So for those who didn’t knew that already, I just want to share a mix, that in my opinion gives a perfect example on how to combine beautiful soul-jams with pure House and Techno roughness, going from A to B and back, not worrying about any boundaries of genre.

Released on a mix cd in the year of 2000, Theo blesses us with one and a half hour of pure listening pleasure. So just lean back and enjoy the madness!!!

Check the mix here:

Theo Parrish – Methods of Movement (cd-r / 2000)

Tracklist:

Undisputed Truth – Sandman
Tullio De Piscopo – Stop Bajon
Lil’ Louis & The World – Funny How U Luv
Outside – The Plan (-kton Mix)
Level 42 – Love Meeting Love
Skyy – First Time Around (Larry Levan Remix)
First Choice – Love Having You Around
Luther Vandross – Never Too Much
Tony Allen – Hustler
James Brown – Give Me Some Skin
Joe R. Lewis – Love Mystery (Of Love #2)
Kenny Dixon Jr. – I Like It (Sherard Ingram’s Mix)
Erb – The Weekend
Leron Carson – China Trax
Theo Parrish – Reaction To Plastic
Incognito – I Can See The Future
George Benson – The World Is A Ghetto
Two Tons Of Fun – Make Someone Feel Happy Today
One Way – Do Your Thang
Rufus & Chaka – Any Love
Slave – You And Me
Reuben Wilson – Got To Get Your Own
The Isley Brothers – Live It Up

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The first Techno track ever by … Herbie Hancock?

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I believe that many of us would think the first Techno-track ever was created by the hands of Kraftwerk or guys like Juan Atkins, and there is no doubt that these people influenced and shaped Techno as we know it today.

But actually in 1974, 11 Years before Model 500´s “No UFO´s”, none other than Herbie Hancock made a piece of music way ahead of his time that some people even claim to be the very first Techno-Track ever made.

It´s not a secret Herbie has always been a great innovator and developer of Jazz, such as Funk and Fusion. Due to his love for engineering and experimenting with new devices, a lot of his music was characterized by the use of electronic instruments and with the invention of the ARP 2600 Synthesizer in the 1970´s, Herbie found himself a new toy that clearly shaped the sound of “Nobu”, giving it a touch of Techno, which is amplified by the repeating chord-line in his left hand.

Without discussing further if it´s rather Jazz, Techno or something completely different, I just want to leave you with the track and let you build your own opinion about it. Personally I don´t think it really matters what we call it. What actually matters is that “Nobu” is a timeless masterpiece, which every electronic music enthusiast should know.

Text: Jannis

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Gay Marvine’s On The EMS

Chuck Hampton aka Gay Marvine is a real master when it comes to the art of editing. Although the fifth volume of his Bathhouse Etiquette Series is about to be released this summer, he seems to be known by few and you can’t find much about him on the internet. The edit that I’m going to present really amazes me, because it breaks out of the classic form of editing, which is mostly used on disco records and normally does not really improve on the original.

The Original: Pink Floyd – On The Run

A gloomy Pink Floyd song from the infamous “Dark Side of the Moon” album, containing nothing more than a fast and evolving 8-note loop, crunchy helicopter sounds and some weird vocal recordings. Doesn’t really seem like club material right?

So what did Gay Marvine do to turn this thing into something that you can actually dance to? The answer is actually quite simple: He added drums!

Almost just by looping the beginning, slowing it down and adding some simple, but powerful drums Gay Marvine managed to present the track to a completely new audience, giving it a new meaning although the main part didn’t really change.

The track actually is a quite good example on what editing should really be about. To me there is nothing more profane than a heavy four-to-the-floor bass drum added to a disco track, so you can play it in a club – and put your name under it. The difference between that method and Gay Marvine’s “On The EMS” is that he put something that wasn’t really danceable in the beginning, or at least not at a normal tempo.

The result: a heavy and impulsive late-night clubbanger that in no way lost its dark and psychedelic flavor.

Text: Jannis

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