Digging through March

There is an underlying criticism in the way Exhausted Modern understands and interprets the world. He expresses his opinions with the way his ‘mouth grew’, as he puts it. After all, his directness and cutting-the-bullshit helped him earn his reputation of one of the most distinctive producers and DJs our scene has witnessed. However, when he acknowledges something you may rest-assured it’s going to be interesting. Exhausted Modern digs through our programme in March.

Photo by Erika Bezarová

07–03–2020 WORSE #4: Strahinja Arbutina, Atilla The Hvn, The Undertakers’s Tapes, Wrong Corps

Until now I thought Strahinja Arbutina is a girl, lol. Well, moving on, I have noticed this name for the first time in 2016, when he had released on Bank Records, which might not seem as my thing that much, but the owner of the label is Entro Senestre who, i.a., manages L.I.E.S. distribution. I love his music, I have a number of his records and therefore I know, he wouldn’t release any bullshit. Musically it’s a classical uncompromising techno banger, which Ondra (HYAEN) listens to before falling asleep or in the morning.

However, it doesn’t match the creepy-ness of the second foreign act, Atilla The Hvn (no, unfortunately not the side project of MMA star Atilla Vegh), whom I have known nothing about until now. But again, I know the New York Haunted label well, run by Drvg Culture. We have a slightly bad history with this guy, at least from his perspective. When we were about to release our first CD Golden Ratio, we had asked him for a contribution, but we didn’t like it and he got offended. Long story short, he have always been an IFM member anyway and he runs his label well with very decent releases. I don’t have to introduce Wrong to the local audience – the medially well-worn group, which have managed to find its audience and put together a capable team of people who are able to agree on something. I remember them coming to our events and I am glad they have transformed their enthusiasm into their project. I am in different circles genre-wise, hardness has never been the quality defining parameter for me, but it has its audience.

14–03–2020 San Trancisco w/ Photonz, Mike.H, Trance Kafka

Frankly, people who know me know that I am not the most frequent club goer, I am not 25 anymore, but I’ll go to hear Photonz play. I used to play his stuff when he had a different sound, but I have always loved his ability to include that 90s rave feeling, I really dig that. Few years ago, he’d offered me a guest mix in his radio which made me really happy.

He came across my Hellenistic Thoughts EP which has just been released and which he liked. I follow him only with one eye only and I know he’s still very active, releases on Dark Entries and travels the world. His music is always full of energy and emotions with an emphasis on dancefloor, which resonates with me because I have a similar attitude. I know Květináč (Mike.H.) since the beggining, I played one of the first SEED parties in Café v Lese. I’m glad they found each other with Vojta and created a new project, because SEED didn’t seem to be going to survive. As a retro sound lover I can only recommend San Trancisco, I appreciate each project that doesn’t have to be ‘on the pulse’ for any price. 

Artwork by Kristýna Kulíková.

20–03–2020 L.I.E.S. 10 years: Legowelt presents Gladio, Ron Morelli, Exhausted Modern, Raphael Kosmos

What can I say here, the title speaks for itself. For me this the most true-to-the-game label and its owner on the scene. Ron Morelli deserves my respect since the day I bought first L.I.E.S. record (Steve Summers – Mode for Love, 2011), which was their 6th release, and the label has only skyrocketed since then.

Label of the month twice according to Resident Advisor, numerous releases every year and mainly interesting, novel, often debuting artists, chosen thoroughly and with emphasis on local-ness. There are only few labels with so many outstanding American productions. Ron is the Man, a person who is able to acknowledge quality and drive. A Man who doesn’t behave as a superstar, even though he could. I am extremely happy he has included Ankali into his 10 years tour, but it doesn’t come as such a surprise after his last visit when he praised the club so much (Grey Skies).

This time he will be accompanied by another huge personality, which got inscribed into my head in bold – Legowelt, performing live with his Gladio project. Danny (Wolfers) once opened a new world of understanding things to me, through his radio show called Astro Unicorn. It was this show through which I have heard Afro beat, Mort Garson or Memphis rap for the first time. Extremely universal talent and a synth freak, whose impact on the whole sphere of electronic dance music is undebatable (Dark Days is in my top 10 albums ever). I remember writing to him daringly with technical questions about synthesisers and he always replied!

He and others from the Den Haag scene always had this low-key attitude, sound that didn’t suck up to the listener, his knowledge of the roots and need to delineate himself outside the mainstream. That’s my definition of the underground and it doesn’t matter what money someone asks or which festival he or she plays. Last time I saw him was in Trouw, so I am curious about his live set and if it’s possible to talk with him normally. Usually it had a certain tinge of awkwardness, but I think he just enjoys making others feel so. At the same time, and I think I can speak for Honza (Raphael Kosmos) as well, it’s a huge honor to be invited to this celebration.

27–03–2020 #no_borders: Vladimir Ivkovic & Ivan Smagghe, Volume Sphere & DeSteffan

Only few years back I didn’t notice Vladimir that much to be honest, I only knew that it’s someone from Salon Des Amateurs, which itself is a sufficient profile information, but I didn’t follow the hype. Of course today I know it’s a many years worth of invisible work that brought people like him into spotlight. Recently I have seen a video, from circa 2004, where Vladimir is playing a pure electro set as a support to Egyptian Lover, which surprised me. It is undoubtedly well-versed DJ and selector, one of the best ones. Loyal vinyl freak with a collection and knowledge only few have. I often listen to his 3 hour sets in my dayjob and it’s always a trip through galaxies. He is always able to pull out forgotten tracks from notorious releases and you’re like ‘damn, I need to know what this is’ and then you realise you already have it, but you have never played that particular track. That’s his power. It’s also worth to follow his Offen Music label, which is proud to have released people like Rex Ilusivii, Passarani, Toresch or the freshly released Smagghe & Cross record, which is a good segue to Ivan Smagghe.

Again, I am not super familiar with this musician, I am aware but definitely not a die hard fan. However, I am super familiar with his old project Black Strobe, which I have rinsed in my sets around 2009. It’s a surprise that he was a part of it. They were a part of this electroclash, electro house and other bullshit era, but they had quite a good taste and style and it’s still listenable today. Today he’s into different rhythms, his b2b with Vladimir will be of high quality for sure. As a big breakthrough moment is the debuting support from De Laude boys, aka Volume Sphere and De Stephan. Guys will be going places, if they don’t get seduced by the gloss of success and won’t rest on their laurels. I am happy to say we have influenced at least some followers after all those years, who believe in wave, new beat sound. I will follow back as well and support in the future, keep it up.

Artwork collaboration with Chris Harnan.