A Thousand Beautiful Things: Inside the Blu Mar Ten albums

“Musically it’s the same button we’ve been pressing since day one, trying to find that particular and delicate place between sadness and hope. We rarely find it, exactly, but we come close sometimes. It’s like what they say about jazz players, always trying to find the ‘lost chord’ …” Interview for UKF, November 2016.

Blu Mar Ten album covers

Blu Mar Ten album covers

A common trait among music fans is their ability to recollect little details regarding their musical icons. A series of coincidences and seemingly unrelated events acquire a whole different gravity in hindsight. Although I firmly believe in the maxim “Don’t meet your heroes”, happily enough, meeting Blu Mar Ten has been a distinct exception to the rule and I feel quite honoured to have known them in person and consider them friends.

I accidentally discovered Blu Mar Ten in 1996 and I have closely followed their musical career path ever since. Their sophisticated approach, art and literature connotations, eclectic taste and cinematic aesthetics have never ceased to amaze me. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their discography debut, Blu Mar Ten recently released their 7th studio album entitled ‘Empire State’. What follows is a retrospective, but not exhaustive account of their career from my biased perspective, emphasizing on releases, which I have associated with fond memories and have had a profound impact on me; an array of reminiscences printed on vinyl grooves. Browsing through my record collection, I also present my personal highlights from each LP, instead of a track-by-track review, trying also to deduce and identify their creative influences. This is essentially my own perception and an attempt to capture the essence of the album narratives, which is completely arbitrary and probably nowhere near Blu Mar Ten’s actual vision and purpose. Nonetheless, I believe that the value of an artistic product is to create different emotions, thoughts and interpretations.

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Short Trips (down memory lane)

“Modern, cinematic takes on ambient electronica and vintage aesthetics, sprinkled with bitter-sweet nostalgia”

short-trips-logo-2

Short Trips logo

In the dawn of the 90s emerged a new musical hybrid, fusing various elements and structural forms of electronic music, relying upon composition, experimentation and innovation rather than adhering to formulaic standards associated with specific genres and styles. Free from dance-floor reactions and limitations, championed by electronic music luminaries, the new style was regarded just as suitable for dancing as for home listening. A plethora of generic, as well as imaginative terms were conceived to outline the genre. Continue reading

Beastie Respond – Back To The Future

“ … a contemporary take on  80’s aesthetics, analogue synthesizers, flamboyancy and neon lights; a diverse canvas of nostalgia, audacity, luminescence, aspects and aspirations …”

Poster square

Back To The Future poster

Beastie Respond is the recording alias of Danish producer Tobias Pedersen. He made his discography debut in 2011 for the bass music label Teal Recordings. After two singles on Teal, he released his sophomore personal album entitled “Fictitious Nostalgia” in 2013. Effortlessly oscillating between genres and styles, from electro and techno to experimental 85/170 electronica and drum and bass, drawing from a wide palette of musical influences (from the cinematic likes of Brian Eno and John Carpenter to the dark melancholy of The Cure to the minimalism and genre-defiance of the Autonomic movement), his talents were readily picked up by forward-thinking labels like Exit, CX Digital and Demand for a string of fine guest appearances; the highlight being the track “One More Second”, which was selected for the second volume of the critically acclaimed “Mosaic” series, released by dBridge’s Exit Records.

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On Reflection: Three Years Of Blogging

“A passion for music that gradually escalated over time into a controlled obsession”

GodIsNoLongerADj

It has been three years since this blog went online, although its conception goes further back, so I eventually decided it’s about time I shared some thoughts about how it all started, as well as provide a retrospective account of the events that influenced the blog’s thematic basis. At the end of the feature, there is a quick walk-through the blog’s various categories/series and a brief background story behind each one of them.

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Tracks I Wish I’d Written (issue #2): Commix – Be True

“We’re trying to push the sounds that were around in the mid-1990s, but update them … We’re keen to bring back experimentation. I think it’s something that has been lost over the past ten years. You’ve got more and more dance-floor fodder coming out. Drum and bass became about the same people for too long. We’re well aware that in two years it won’t be our stuff that’s being played, it’ll be someone else’s. That’s what makes it healthy” – Guy Brewer, prior to a Commix set at Aperture, June 2008

This is the second installment of the blog’s new series “Tracks I Wish I’d Written”.

Every track that will be presented in the series is selected from my personal record collection and has had a profound impact on my musical taste. Featuring a variety of tracks across the electronic music spectrum, emphasizing mainly on drum and bass, from undisputed classics to underrated gems – all tracks I wish I’d written, as the title of the series clearly states.

Commix - Be True

Commix – Be True

The first feature of the series has been about a Photek production released in 1996. Making a leap in time and fast forward to 2007, the second issue is about a modern drum and bass classic; perhaps the most celebrated track from one of the most fascinating and talented drum and bass outfits of the last decade, Commix.

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Count To Ten: Klute

Klute

Klute

A veteran producer, a prolific artist, a dexterous sonic fusioneer, a label owner and one of the most interesting figures in the drum and bass circuit Klute is the primary recording alias of Tom Withers.

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Memoirs of a vinyl junkie part 5 (final) – The end of an affair

Wednesday evening, January 18th, 2012 around 22:00, outside Heathrow airport

Heathrow

Heathrow

It had been almost 2 years since the last time; however the smell, the blowing wind and the sense of euphoria every time he landed on that soil hadn’t changed a bit. He and his mates grabbed a cab to the hotel close to his old neighbourhood, checking impatiently their watches anxious to be on time for the last orders in the pub; not a second should be wasted. The schedule for the trip was really tight, too many things to do, too little time.

Friday afternoon, January 20th, 2013, somewhere in central London

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