If you feel like you just got on a fast car with no top, and now you’re flying full speed through the black and white landscape of the future, well, it’s probably because Sigha and Shifted are driving. At this point, the two Brits have become household names in the techno world. They both run record labels (Our Circula Sound + Avian, Mira, Hospital Productions), and Shifted also releases under a bunch of different aliases like Covered in Sand and delete_everything. It’s hard to keep up, but together they’ve defined a very particular aesthetic, made of grainy textures, decadent reverbs and hidden emotions. And it’s not all deep dark grey: when you stay on the dance floor long enough, when the sound system is good enough, when you really close your eyes and dive into it, you will see their spaces, you’ll see this iridescent beauty in the industrial landscapes, and you’ll see that there’s a lot of love amid the apparent timidity. It’s all about patience and this particular breed of calm storm. Even after years of living in Berlin, I haven’t seen them play together, and I wouldn’t miss that night for a thing.
It seems like you can’t find anything very recent from the two online, so I’ll go ahead and post this one from Dommune 2014, which is like a cult classic by now.
This one is the longest version I found, with an hour or so of ambient technoid stuff at the beginning. It’s almost impossible to stop this mix once it’s started: the mood comes, the space arrives, and it’s all there in front of you. It’s always been there. It’s a perfect set to get started on anything. So get ready for some closed-eye visions at Ankali for the season reopening on January 17th.
It’s the first residency of Phuong-Dan at Ankali! With the former Golden Pudel resident, who’s become an expert at creating the most uplifting and psychedelic moods, we enter the world of hard-to-describe DJs. By this I mean: a mix of gritty house stuff, early disco, some trip-hop, movie excerpts, and even alternative rock if the mood is right.
So for this first one Phuong Dan invited JASSS, whom I know mostly through her Rinse FM radio show. She’s released stuff on Mannequin Records as well, and I really like the Weightless album from 2017. It’s got some of these science-fiction tracks that will grip you to the dance floor because you need to know what’s going to happen next. Really narrative stuff, and in the right mindset you’ll be building up animés in your head while listening to blazed out dubs and post-wave on the Ankali sound system. Definitely a night that will feed our need for altered states of consciousness and unusual music!
Take a listen to the Weightless album and to this tripped out set by JASSS on Rinse FM. I picked it because you can tell she’s perfectly at home in that studio and really playing out whatever she wants, and I love that.
Flashback to 2015. Over the summer, I was helping my friends run a temporary art center called Le Lieu Dit* in a loft in Kreuzberg, Berlin. We hosted three exhibitions of photo, video, paintings that all dealt with this desire for an alternative, emancipated, community-based life. We had a lot of parties, a few movie screenings, a tattoo session. On some weekends, there were more than ten people sleeping over, even though there wasn’t much sleeping involved. Anyway, we didn’t really have neighbours, and we would blast out music on a shitty network of portable speakers that we’d hook up using headphone splitters. And every weekend, at least once, someone would play Pivotal Moments by Levon Vincent, along with other house anthems like Mortal Trance by Boo Williams, and we’d all dance and jump around, waiting for the sun to come out.
And somehow to me this stuff is totally associated with old school trance and acid. My friend Simon from CLFT showed me records from Fax+49-69/450464, a label run in the 1990s by Peter Kuhlmann (Pete Namlook) which released so many things. He’d always want to mix it in with the Levon Vincent tracks, and it worked so well, it’s like the grittier side of all this lovely house music. One time, he played Ancient History, on Syn 5, which has this long epic buildup, and when it came, I just fell from my chair.
*the website is down now but there’s an archive on my old website.
Although Diane is not performing in Ankali this month, it’s worth a while digging into her sonic world as well. She played a DJ set in Luft a while ago and everybody loved it:
And this is what she can do when perfoming live: