Alaaf and Kickin’ Mixtape 028 by Mitch: 24 Hours From Culture

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It’s simply impossible to imagine Cologne’s nightlife without Mitch. As a host of Cologne Sessions, Night of the Jaguar, Discoteca and – occasionally – the Ki Label night, he is not only the mastermind behind some of the best parties in town, but can also call himself one of Colognes most versatile DJs. Being mostly known as a late-night DJ, ranging between Detroit-, Acid-House and Techno, Mitch is happy to share a different side of his musical taste in his Alaaf and Kickin’ Mixtape: Click and listen to meet a more mellow Disco-Michi in 80 minutes of pure goodness. Mitch will be playing at our Sunday Groove wrap-up party in September. What kind of treasures will he take out of his diverse record-box for the Schräge Wiese? Well, don’t be shy! Come down and find out!

What was you initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
Well, I have to go a little off topic here. I wanted to do something different than a usual club oriented techno/house mix that I am normally known for to play out. But my music collection is vast and goes into many different genres. It’s filled with music that I collected over the last 15 years and mostly got to know in the glory days of music blogs. These times unfolded great opportunities to discover new music and I started to collect a lot of obscure, old and rare stuff. It was the times when there were blogs from some random music lover from somewhere around the world who digitalized his whole vinyl collection he carefully selected over years. So much music that I would’ve never heard of was out there ready to be discovered. And most of the music that you could find is still not available anywhere in shops digitally and probably never will be.

I remember one page by a guy called Jörg from a german region called Wendland. That guy just digitalized his whole post punk collection and also a bunch of great Ash Ra Temple and other Krautrock stuff. There were also other blogs that only had early Synthesizer music from the 70s. Pure sex for someone who’s open to discover new music. I was obsessed. One blog that stood out was the now defunct „As restless as we are“ curated by two guys from Texas that mainly wrote about music from 1975 to 1985. Amazing selections and the whole aesthetic was just what I was looking for. It turned into my daily read and the mixtapes these guys made were a big inspiration to me.

Anyway, this is going too far off topic now. A lot of the music I put on this mix was from an Italo obsession I had back then. I felt the urge to slowly start buying all this music that I loved on Vinyl. It’s not an option for me to do a mix digitally since I only play vinyl. Also to do a DJ Mix on the computer with a sequencer is absolutely no option for me. I’m just too lazy for that and also for me it’s not a fucking dj mix if you don’t do it live in one take and from scratch, including mistakes. I selected the tracks for this mix 1hr before and recorded the mix at Jannis place in one take. Never listened to the records in this order before. It was tricky at some point because of the pitch tempo and some tracks change their tempos due to no quantization. I knew it would be challenging, but, fuck it. I had fun and I always do my mixes like that. 

 Can you tell us something about certain tracks you selected?
I tried to select a few tracks that would fit the Alaaf and Kickin’ spirit I got to experience at your open air party’s. So “Float On” was the perfect opener. Then it just went along. The track by RIS “Love N Music” I once played back in 2011 as an opener on the crowded mainfloor of Kater Holzig in Berlin and everybody went crazy. So I have a special connection to this “cross over hit” that seems to get everyone. Just like at the AAK Open Airs, where there are people from everywhere. Haha. Frank Duvals “Ogon” is just pure Synth Power. Amazing record! The track “Walk The Night” is one of my favorites since a long time as well. I don’t know any other discoish track that combines with any techno/house set better and even has guitars! The last track is an edit that always gives me goosebumps when I just think of it! I love all the tracks on there, but honestly, some of them I only listened to maybe 10 times before. I’m not a big fan of stuffing a DJ Mix with All-Time-Favs. I need to surprise myself even with something that’s made to last, like this DJ Mix.

Your mix has a certain cheesiness, which I think is very refreshing and bold. Is that something you are missing from Club DJs– the guts to be cheesy?
 No, not really. Nowadays it’s pretty normal for DJ’s to have the guts and put some variety in their sets. Anybody can do what they want and if they master it, that’s fine. It always depends where you play and what you want to achieve when playing. I like variety, but sometimes I stand in my own way because I don’t draw a clear line. Sometimes I think: If you’re playing a techno set, stick to fucking techno and don’t jump over to disco. If you’re playing a Chicago house set don’t jump over to techno. That’s something I often have to force myself to slowly go there and not just be like “Oh, I still want to play this and that and this” and in the end you’re just not taking people on a journey. You’re forcing them to follow your weird mind. Haha. As a DJ your supposed to please people and to surprise them at the same time! Not only challenge them.

But honestly, I hate monotone DJ-Sets that just stay on one level all the time. It can be any style, let it be Minimal, Tech House, House, Techno, Disco whatever. It’s a matter of your personal taste, so I’m not in the position to decide whats good and whats not, or gutsy. Anyway, yes, I love cheesiness! It’s just pure power of the 80s, fat vocals, synth lines that express pure emotions and sexiness in the air! What can be better than Vocals about love and passion reduced to be an element of the music? It doesn’t matter if the vocals make sense. They just have to sound fucking fresh!

Tell us something about your love for Italo-Disco.
Well, much of it is already said. I first got into Italo Disco back when “Electro Clash” was really big. Around the millennium. Actually it was electro first. The first Dopplereffekt Album “Gesamtkunstwerk” brought me to I-F’s “Fucking Consumer” and then of course the whole Electro Clash thing was big and with it came Italo. In between there was the ongoing Drexciya obsession which is still strong today (But that’s another subject). Haha. Italo is a long love and I immediately fell in love with the whole aesthetic and combination of timeless design and cheesiness: The covers of the records, the instruments used, all of it! Also the historical aspect, when some Italo records were way ahead of their time and sounded like Proto House or early Detroit electro, inspired me a lot. But recently that love lost it’s passion a little bit. I’m not obsessed anymore. We’ve been fucking too much around in the last years and I spent a lot of money on that bitch.

But the Italo Sound is always alive. I’m more into straight Techno lately but there seems to be a new wave of music coming out of Germany that caught my attention in the last years like Lena Willikens, Barnt or Helena Hauff. What they’re doing is a great combination of 80s style sounding industrial stuff with modern aesthetics. It sounds like it’s produced with the same machines as Italo was, so there’s also a connection. Just darker and dirtier. Love it! Haha

There have been a lot of rumors lately about that new Italo Disco DJ in town called Donny Dolce. You’ve heard about him too, or did you guys even meet?
I met Danny a few times. He’s a legend in the Italo Disco scene you know. He doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. Straight up Playboy!

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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 Recap (June 2015)

Another great SUNDAY GROOVE: lovely whether, lovely people – and musical madness by our guests Ben* and Kieran and the Alaaf and Kickin’ crew. The journey went from House to Afrobeat, from Disco to Acid and from Electro back to house – just as we like it. The party animals seemed to appreciate it, check the videos below :)

We had a magnificent time and once again would like to thank all those who helped, played and danced – you were fantastic! Mark July 12th in your calendar! Just sayin´ <3

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Guest Mixtape and Interview: Dynamodyse

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Alaaf and Kickin’ Mixtape 026 comes from a man with one of the most terrible and fantastic DJ pseudonyms in the universe: Dynamodyse. We’re more then happy about that – not only because Dynamodyse is booked all over Europe and can look back to several fantastic releases on We play house RecordingsDynamodyses record collection spreads from Jazz over Intercontinental Dance to House and Techno – a wide musical range that fits perfect into the Alaaf and Kickin’ profile! He is also a fabulous photographer and you should definitely check out his series on Detroit called “A Number of Names”! But enough talking – have fun with his Mixtape, ladies!

What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
To be very honest this was the first selection. When I started to look for records I took some and played them  in a row, because I like these traxx. I thought that this is it. I wanted to show some variousity without making things to complicated or geekish.

Can you tell us a little bit more about certain tracks you selected?
There´s something to say to almost every track because everyone has it´s specialties, but I think that the tracks speak for themselves! In this selection u have different tempi, different genres and moods wich you cant project on a dancefloor, at least not in this order. I haven´t found a club/crowd yet were this would be possible but I´m still looking for it.

As a DJ you can have different intentions when u play in a club, I have this one sub-aim: Preparing a bag were every track bangs the floor, no matter wich style. I Give a fuck on attitudes or coolness.

You released most of your tracks on the great Belgium label We play house Recordings. How did that connection arise?
Around 2007 I was working on several tracks where I didn´t knew if I was confident with or not. One of them was Gare Du Nord so I send that track to a friend from Belgium, he said he has a friend with a label blah blah, so many people have/had friends with labels, I didn’t expect anything after that. But this friend liked my style and asked for more. He got more and signed WPH 005.
A huge impact to me cauz I never expected to release music on 12” at any time.

This was the beginning of a deep relation musicwise and WPH became my homebase because we share the same intention with music (…).

We’ve seen some crazy videos of you, playing shirtless and banging out some really ruff Techno. Do you still take these kinds of records out sometimes or did you get more mellow over the years?
Ha, that´s a good one: I always was mellow, deeper House has been my roots since ever, it doesnt make sense to drop some names, lets say L1VE Treibhaus with Steffen Irlinger & Ingo Sänger 1995-2001, those guys teached me soul. But there was also BBC with Steve Mason, I was always very interested in music and it´s a subcultural thing, no matter wich style.
Later then, me and some friends organized illegal Off-Location Parties, they made a legal club afterwards were I became resident but my mellow vein became dry cauz the people wanted techno.

The video you talk about was recorded at Juicy Beats 2006, we hosted a floor and got recognized as a tecnoish-club…
Long story short: I always was mellow and I will be, but I like it also when it bangs at any corner.

You are also working as a photographer and I think a very special project of yours is A Number of Names, where you went to Detroit and photographed people like Rick Wade and other house legends. Can you tell us a bit about the project?
This was for my final diploma. I studied Communication Design, sprich Fotodesign. My aim was to finish that class with a work of which I could still be proud of when i´m on the couch in my sixties. Electronic music from Detroit gave me something from the very first moment when I heard it so I wanted to investigate the reason for that specialty in the sound. I tried to capture a certain feeling wich I hear in the music, I wanted to know how the city influences it´s people who are making music there. That´s pretty personal to me, even more as a fashion-shooting where you use 16 Flashlights, well known models, blah blah… So, I am a photographer. With a big love for music.

Any upcoming releases / projects we should be aware of?
If God wants there´ll be two releases on WPH before the summer. I don´t wanna take the magic, lets say there are certain traxx on Discogs wich cost stupidly way too much. The label does a re-release with three of these traxx.
A 4-track EP, the fourth is one of the most played traxx by the labelholder, a remix I made for some french guys last year.

Another one will b a 10”.

I got some nu gear and I´m lookin forward to find some time to plug it all, there are some requests were it´s too early to talk about, lovers gonna cry.

Be aware of the hook!

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Guest Mixtape and Interview: Ben*

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Our newest guest mix tape is brought to you by one of Cologne´s most sophisticated and knowledgeable DJ´s – Ben*. I guess we all at least once in our live have chilled to Ben*´s tunes on the infamous couch at Stecken – Cologne´s legendary Hip Hop joint. Stecken closed but Ben* is moving on, having residency’s in Copenhagen, Amsterdam and of course Cologne, where he runs the “What´s going on?” and “Love Circels!” parties. For ALAAF and KICKIN’ Ben* picked out someof the finest out of his around 40.000 (!) records. For all that good stuff one mixtape ain´t enough: Therefore Ben*s tape will come in two parts – Enjoy numbero uno.

 

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Mixtape: Simon Hein

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Ladies and Gentlemen, we´d like to introduce the new year with a mixtape from our power machine Simon Hein. “Islands of Decay in Seas of Renewal” is the name of this little piece of jewelry – a bit more spherical, moody and relaxed then his prior tape, still including some scratchy and raw acid-tunes. Simon can´t help it – and we´re very happy that´s the case!

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Mixtape and Interview: Hugo Hoppmann

What a man! Hugo Hoppmann: Graphic designer, DJ, connoisseur of the art of living! It was mainly him who had the initial idea of founding ALAAF and KICKIN’ three years ago. Ever since his career has been a straight success story: Hugo is a resident at the legendary SIXPACK bar and the great COLOGNE SESSIONS party at STUDIO 672, where people enjoy his straight forward house-sound, always spiced up with a healthy dose of soul, pop and disco from all decades. On weekends he is a powerful party-machine – during the week though Hugo transforms into a Zen-monk of graphic design, working with ascetic discipline and in deep concentration (if you want to know what we’re talking about, try to reach the man on his phone on a Wednesday!). The outcome made him become an internationally known and appreciated designer with clients from all over the world. Being the busy bee he is, it took quite some time to get him to record another mixtape for us. It was worth waiting though – but check it out yourself: ALAAF and KICKIN’ 023!

What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
I started recording the mix in the last week of this year and it turned out to be a cross section through my current musical mind and mood, as well as a personal best-of selection of favorites from 2014. Though I know of the difficulty wanting to please everyone I tried to make a mixtape that could work universally and be enjoyed in various situations – be it while working (or working out), lying on the beach, or just hanging out and getting ready for the party.

From the streets to the beach, down into the jungle, up into space and back again to the club. A journey fueled with lots of love, funk and acid. This was my roadmap …

Can you tell us a little more about some tracks you selected?
Starting point is a beautiful track by Jazz Liberatorz, a group from France I listened to a lot in my youth and rediscovered lately. This smooth opening is followed by the classic “Missing You” of the great Larry Heard. From the waterfront we then dive into the jungle with Julien Jabre, and then go deeper with Glenn Underground’s C.V.O. Trance. I’m a huge GU fan but curiously I discovered this classic track just recently through Jannis when we were jamming at his place.

We then take off from earth with the perfect ‘spacyness’ of Dopplereffekt’s legendary Infophysix jam. From there we go higher and higher with the help of Harvey Sutherland’s banger “Bamboo”. I listened to this one so often in the last weeks and simply don’t get tired of it. Brilliant stuff.

Now we head back to the disco with full speed and a refreshing house production by Phlash & Friends from Italy featuring the lovely Shea Soul on their track “Runnin”. This one is for my crew I went with to Dimensions Festival in Croatia in the summer. San Soda playing it in the morning hours is one of my favorite souvenirs. So many great memories!

We continue with Masters At Work’s “Can’t Get No Sleep”, a timeless house classic from the masterminds of Louie Vega und Kenny “Dope” Gonzales from New York. We stay in Big Apple’s house universe with the mesmerizing “Rave Tip Mix” of “March” by The Look aka Danny Tenaglia & Peter Daou from 1993: This sounds like someone on Ecstasy screaming out all the positive feelings when dancing in a packed club: “It’s dark in here, it’s wet in here, it’s hot in here, I like it here; Get ready for the final journey, you’ll love it, you will live forever.”

Back to the present with the young and talented Miami-based Greg Beato and “Dreamin’” a powerful piece of music with a healthy portion of acid from his great “Who’s The Licho In Charge Ovaa Here” LP on Apron Records. Next stop: Australia and the “Funky Joy” from duo Zanzibar Chanel. Such a crazy good baseline!

After this ride we come down with the relaxing yet funky sounds of the “Rain Forrest”, an all time favorite by Paul Hardcastle from 1985, followed by Central Line’s uplifting “Walking Into Sunshine” in a mix by Larry Levan. To finally please our disco heart I turned to Voyage and their fabulous “I Love You Dancer”, before letting it all fade out into the massive and timeless sound of War and their special instrumental mix of the classic “The World Is A Ghetto”.

You’ve been a resident at COLOGNE SESSIONS for two years now. Tell us about the party.
Cologne Sessions is a regular party we founded in 2011 together with Magnus von Welck (Aroma Pitch) and Michael (Mitch) Kastens. The original concept was to present more live techno acts to Cologne, taking place at Stadtgarten, a venue which has a big jazz (“sessions”) tradition. After a while we decided to do it more frequently and turned the whole thing into a regular techno/house club night, moving down to Studio 672, the legendary club just below the Stadtgarten concert hall.

From the beginning I was responsible for the creative direction and all design matters. Our overall visual direction is based on a radical purity in contrast to the often totally cluttered presentations of other parties. Printed matter are always limited to the most crucial information only: title, name of the artists, date, location. We like it clean and rough.

It seems like being a DJ and a graphic designer is a combination not so uncommon. Do you see any parallels between these art forms?
Yeah, I do think there are parallels and particularly many similarities in the process of creation. The first thing that comes to mind is that both the job of being a designer and DJing is a form of curation. And to create something interesting and unique you have to put your personality into it, find your own style and take risks. It’s all about choosing the right elements at the right time. Be it when painting a picture, building a website or recording a mixtape.


How would you define beauty?
Beauty is what keeps me going yet I have trouble defining it!

2015 is here: What are your plans?
My aim is to push me and my business further and to meet and experience lots new people and places … and I’m looking forward to finally go to New York next month!

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Guest Mixtape and Interview: Untergrundwelle 678

Since 2011 Nils, Cem and Aaron are responsible for one of Cologne’s finest mixtape series – Untergrundwelle 678, broadcasted directly from the infamous “Eierplätzchen” in south Cologne. UGW stands a for a warm, soulful and laid-back sound, covering a wide field of genres from Hip Hop to Jazz and disco. Their beautiful open-air parties “Stoned Soul Picnic” were always one of the highlights in the past summers and since they are living more or less next door to us, we’re happy to have them as comrades in our mission to musically represent Colognes  deep n’ dirty south! Check out their smooth and relaxing 60-minute mixtape plus a passionate interview – ALAAF and KICKIN’ No° 22!

What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
We just wanted to play some Deep Funk tracks and then hit you off with a selection of some serious 90′s Boom Bap-Hip Hop. For the intro we had to find the right oscillator-frequency of our radio-wave transmissioner constructed by a german engineer in the late 1940′s at just the same spot our Sendestübchen is located nowadays. Luckily we hit it just before Melting Pot Music’s latest release dropped in: Betty Ford Boys’ “Retox”. From that on we dug various Deep Funk-tracks out of a dusty slab of vinyl: some cosmic grooves others more down to erf. But always on the lookout for tracks with an emphasis on the rhythm section: uplifting bass lines plus accurate percussion patterns. Furthermore accompanied by Rhodes-sounds and broken into pieces by funky breaks, these are most likely to be found on late 60′s early 70′s niche-labels. The bass line groove of the ‘Expansions’ joint, off Lonnie Liston Smith’s classic ’75 Flying Dutchman-release, set the tone for everything that followed up.

Could you tell us a little bit more about certain tracks you selected?
The third track Linda Tillery’s ‘Freedom Time’ is an example for the approach of afro-american musicians to, through the means of their music, contribute to the Black uprising of the 60′s after the inequalities Blacks have suffered. Some more some less revolutionary, some cosmic-, Africa- or community-orientated. But always relying on their own unique artistic expressions. Cats like Gil Scott-Heron, whose ‘Angola-Louisiana’ fitted musically as well as regarding the content of Black empowerment. The song is about a wrongly imprisoned Afro-American (Gary Taylor), whose mother wrote a letter to Gil after her son was sent to prison. Today, 35 years after Gil wrote the song Gary Taylor finds himself still imprisoned, mirroring the situation of the afro-american struggle for freedom – just look up last week’s news! That’s why it’s important to keep those records spinning in order to raise awareness about artists who are trying to express their anger musically.

An instrumental off Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth’s ‘Mecca and the Soul Brother’ introduces the Hip Hop part. You can then peep some of the finest 90′s Hip Hop-records: Phife Dawg sharing his ’8 Million stories’ off the ‘Midnight Marauders’ album, which, just as Common’s ‘Resurrection’ originates from the peak around the years of 93-94. The instrumental version of ‘Maintaining’ (off ‘Resurrection’) fits into this selection just as well, as it definetly counts for one of the greatest works of this era!

Of course we had to bang out a Dilla joint on this!!! This one right here is off ‘Welcome 2 Detroit’. Everybody talking about Dilla being way ahead of his time, which may follow from his ability to sometimes just bang out the drums – like Mobb Deep said: “If the drums ain’t right, the beat ain’t tight!” – and adding unbelievably handled samples to it. Phat Kat is dropping some verses on this one, he will be performing in Cologne next Tuesday alongside Guilty Simpson and Elzhi!

You’ve just uploaded the 64th edition of your internet podcast series. When and why did you start with that?
Originally this was intended as a radio emission with short stories, interviews, local coverages and only little music. Mainly because we were fed up with all the bad music on the radio and Dead Prez had told us to turn it off anyway. The first episode can still be found somewhere in the depths of the ultranet. If you listen to it, roughly half of it is music. But with all the talk-shows coming out left and right (like ‘Britt’ or ‘Menschen bei Maischberger’), flooding the television and intoxicating people’s minds, we decided to shift the emphasis torwards music and spreading progressive, soulful spirits in contrary to the music-industry. Like KRS-One once asked: “Why is commercial success a criterion for musical quality?”, this is what mainly shaped our underground approach. And from the radio-frequency UKW our public relations-office came up with the acronym UGW and 678 because of the infamous postal code!

Your annual Stoned Soul Picnics have always been a highlight of the summer! I heard you are planning your first winter-party this year. Are there any concrete news about that yet?
Thank you! We enjoyed them just as much ourselves. That’s why we’re trying to organise a nice evening sometime in early 2015 in a Südstadt-accomodation, which is yet to be found. We’re planning to bring together all the people out of our crew to provide a vast variety of good music as it resembles the various musical preferences of ours. We hope for all the young people across the Südstad to join us in celebration of music! If this works out we’ll prepare ourselves for further adventures in 2015! Staying true to our business credo: Aspire today, inspire tomorrow!

What kind of impact does the spirit of the Südstadt have on your DJ-style?
The whole Untergrundwelle radio show started out to not only express our resentment torwards music-industry and misusing music for commercial aspirations, but also on behalf of catching this particular spirit of the South!
Since we all grew up around the Chlodwigplatz, at the West-Bonner Str.-neighbourhood to be precise, we all experienced this unique spirit: whether it’s meeting the South-fellows at the grocery store, the race track or the bus stop, hummin’ in the sun in a park all toghether, spending nights on the Eierplätzchen gambling, getting together on Saturday to watch FC while plotting schemes for the night prowl, hanging around on corners sippin’ Tanqueray… There’s just this certain atmosphere that is perceivable especially when you come back from a party or a friend from some other part of town and you pass the Ulrepforte or the Severinsbrücke entering the realm of the South and this certain feeling of home kicks in. Everyone may feel a special relatedness to the area one grew up in. Nonethless it appears to be one of a special strength when it comes to the South, since everybody originating from here tells you about it. Above all else it’s a family affair!
Therefore ‘spirit’ might be the best expression indeed (another expression to be considered might be ‘nunk’ – a noun from a little known local tongue spoken only at special occasions in record stores after curfew. The one-syllable, phonetic character of this tongue is thought to be resulting from the inappropriate sound level at which records are being played at these occasions, so that shouting is required, as well as the limited linguistic capabilities of it’s native speakers detracted from the heavy use of herb and beer).
Music is one way of expressing this feeling. Even if the cultural and social conditions in which the music we’re listening to can hardly be any more different from ours – if you just think about the inadequate conditions out of which Afrobeat (neo-colonialism), Blues (slavery) or Jazz (racial segregation) arose – if the mind behind the music is positive than you’ll be able to stick to it and apply this special feeling or spirit the musician is offering to your own life (listen to Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson’s ‘Offering’!). Wheter the approach might be revolutionary, maybe even aggressive or – if you think about Fela stating ‘Music is the weapon’ – provocative, his music can hardly be listened to without moving any part of your body. In fact Miles Davis also believed in the requirement of some agressiveness in order to create music.

After all preparing your favorite music for mixes and getting together with friends, there can a certain atmosphere be developed as all these different musican’s aspirations melt together and their spirits pour into the mix. Whether it evolves over the span of a whole evening or even just a 20 minute mix. This is how we are trying to express this Südstadt-spirit. Right now, there are many musically-interested and open-minded young DJ’s in the South who, by transcending musical preferences are letting themselves being moved by this spirit! It is not so much a matter of being a talented DJ, as it is one of allowing the music to uplift your spirits! Enhancing the Third Eye Vision! It all comes down to love in the end…

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Guest Mixtape and Interview: Clifford

Clifford moved from one of the rainiest countries in the world (Scotland) to probably the rainiest city in the galaxy (Cologne) in order to study a rather dry subject: physics. His record collection seems like some form of compensation: Warm beats, tons of soul –  and a huge amount of sexeyness! Clifford may not have been a DJ for a long time, but don´t let yourself be fooled by that: The man is a walking encyclopedia on funk, italo-disco and house – the kind of guy that actually makes you feel ashamed when you have a chat on music with him. He proves his great taste in his monthly radio-show “Fife Trax” on 674FM. We now have the special honor to present his ALAAF and KICKIN´ Guest-Mix – a straightforward and raw house tape, which is nevertheless: funkey as hell. Thank you, Clifford!

What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
Since you’ve mostly heard me playing disco in Köln, I wanted to take the chance to bang some house out. I picked out around 50 of my absolute favourites and played around until something resembling a coherent mix appeared. I wander into some tougher Chicago acid/909 territory which maybe isn’t everyone’s taste, but hopefully they’ll hold on till the happy ending.

Can you tell us something more about certain tracks you selected?
I think it’s worth knowing who produced a few of the tracks here, for example Wayne Gardiner, Rheji Burrell and Ben Cenac. I would say these guys made some of the most beautiful house music there has ever been, back when ‘deep house’ actually was emotionally deep. I think those 3 are from New York/NJ but you’ve got a few Chicago legends in there too: Parris Mitchell, Tyree Cooper, Thompson & Lenoir, Joe Smooth of course. I don’t mean to disrespect the modern electronic scene or to sound clichéd, but the ‘85-‘95ish period was on a different level, in my opinion at least. I guess this opinion is (unintentionally) reflected in my selections for the mix – aside from the Restoration track, everything is pre-1995.

What does the House- and Club-scene in Scotland look like?
Scotland as a whole is maybe a bit quiet but Glasgow makes up for it. I’m just looking right now at what’s on this weekend… Pearson Sound, Matthew Herbert, Space Dimension Controller, DJ Sprinkles and (funnily enough) Lena Willikens. And it’s like this nearly every Friday, Saturday night – you’re spoilt for choice. Not just the names but the clubs themselves are excellent, usually with the typically friendly Glaswegian atmosphere. There’s even an italodisco scene! I do miss it…

You´re doing a radio show on 674FM twice a month called “Fife Trax”. Would you tell us a Little bit more about that?
It’s amateur radio, done for the love of it. If I only ever got to play bar/club music I’d go crazy, but on there it’s whatever I feel like, be that New Wave, italo or militant techno. There’s also a good community within the station. I’ve already learnt quite a lot from the other show-hosts, many of whom have been playing and record-collecting for 20+ years.

All in all: Does Cologne treat you well?
It does, it does! I chose to study here because I found the people to be more open and warm than in other German cities, and I think this was right. As for music, yes I miss Glasgow but there’s a lot happening here too, plenty of talented DJs and musicians. Plus, Köln has the better record shops, thats an important point! Wenn mein Deutsch besser wird, würde ich vielleicht gerne hier bleiben…

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Tags: Interview, Mixtape