Tuesday 30 April 2013

Mick Chillage - Rewired (Volume One)

Well, over the last couple of days I've been very much enjoying Mick Chillage's latest release Rewired Volume One. This is an excellent collection of his ambient/experimental/downtempo remix work and fans of FAXology will doubtlessly find much to enjoy here. The tracklist is:

1. Vakama - Cyan Mick Chillage's Epic Dub Mix (16:48)
2. Ivan Weber - Winter Morning Mick Chillage Remix (09:10)
3. Alka - What Will Become of Your High Existence Mick Chillage's Ghostly Echoes Mix (11:50)
4. Phasen - Realizing Your Own Mortality Mick Chillage Remix (07:24)
5. Nachklangmusik - Because You Are Mick Chillage Remix (10:32)
6. Jonteknik - The Space Beneath Your Feet Mick Chillage Remix (07:00)
7. Radio Scotvoid - Special K  Mick Chillage's Black Hole Mix (16:16)
8. Phasen - Deep Tides Mick Chillage Overdubbed Remix (07:17)
9. Yard - Dirt 2 Mick Chillage's Solstice Mix (13:26)
10. Tenaka - Some Day Mick Chillage Remix (6:10)
11. Vakama - Xhij Mick Chillage Remix (10:08)

Mick has this to say about the collection:

Over the last few years I have been fortunate to be asked to do many remixes for various labels, artists, and friends, many of which saw mainly digital releases and a few which made it onto CD and some of which unfortunately never ended up being released.

In some cases where I created an ambient remix of a techno track, I found these often got overlooked somewhat, a problem due to the fact that they ended up in the techno or house sections of Juno or Beatport etc.. I guess my thinking outside of the box in these very much genre specific days was a poor creative decision on my part?

But my true feelings on the art of remix is that the remix should really bring something new to the original track, rather than purely just adding a new rhythm section or stuttering and juggling and filtering the musical elements of the original, so this is what I tried to achieve with these. From a creative aspect I am still extremely happy with these remixes despite their lack of critical or commercial success.

Now in 2013 I have over 30 remixes on my hard drive and feel that it would be a great time to bring most of these together in two collections.

Volume One of "Rewired" will focus on my Ambient/Experimental and Downtempo or Chillout reworks and Volume two will feature the more upbeat moments which venture from Electro, Techno, House, IDM etc.. Both volumes will feature some previously unreleased remix exclusives.

Of course none of this would have been possible without the assistance of all the great artists and labels who firstly asked me to remix them and now have given me the freedom to finally release all these remixes myself... So a big thank you to all involved.

To check out some sound clips from the album/download it here is the link:


Saturday 20 April 2013

Gaudi interviewed

Q: Which music did you hear in your very early years and maybe in your teenage years that you would describe as influential for your approach? What stood out and made you think I want to be a part of this?  …and can you remember the point at which you decided that a career in music was the way forward for you?

A: Well, this question here above for me has to be divided in three different Qs:

1) "Which music did you hear in your very early years and maybe in your teenage years that you would describe as influential for your approach?"
--I grew up with avant-garde psychedelic electronica and reggae dub music. From The Residents to Black Uhuru, from Tuxedomoon to Lee Scratch Perry, from Kraftwerk to Burning Spear, from Devo to Scientist, from DAF to Desmond Dekker, from Bauhaus to Third World.

2) “What stood out and made you think I want to be a part of this?”

--Frankly I never thought I wanted to be part of it...I was just part of it, I found myself in it. That movement reflected exactly what I loved in music, and that was the music I was naturally playing. In that scene I found amazing sources of inspiration which were pretty much the antithesis of what I’ve studied for years, i.e. classical piano, so maybe my “rebel side” was subconsciously searching for the opposite side. 

3) “can you remember the point at which you decided that a career in music was the way forward for you?”

--I was only 7 years old when I had very clear in my mind that music would have been my life.

Q: If we go back the mid-nineties you had made a name for yourself in Italy and were having a lot of success and then you realised that if you were going to expand on that success you would have to move…and you decided to relocate to London. That must have seemed quite daunting at the time?

A: It has been an extremely difficult move, but definitely the best decision I took in my entire life. I knew it even from much, much earlier that was a move I had to do in my career sooner or later, but I couldn’t leave my native country until my five years record deal with Polygram/Universal expired, so in 1995 at the top of my success for my first two solo albums, I moved to London and started again from scratch. At the beginning it was super tough….then I started to fly.

Q: How would you describe the music community when you first arrived in London? Which particular scenes were you drawn towards back then?
A: It was probably one of the most fertile music periods of the last two decades I’d say; …the “jungle” phenomenon was starting to fade and a new amazing energetic fusion was about to start: Drum 'n' Bass. I was highly intrigued by it, everyone was exploring it, from the deepest underground scene, to David Bowie,  for example. Any type of music when u live in London filters thru ur productions. It is unavoidable and this is what I love about music. Interchanging and exploring with no fear!!! At that time I was working on my third solo album Earthbound, I was trying to materialise the vision I had a few years before of fusing music genres such as dub, world-music and electronica, an experiment that I started already back in 1989 releasing a 12" vinyl titled EtnoTechno under the name 4T Thieves.  Really and truly I’ve never been drawn by any specific music scene. I love music in its totality, so to answer to ur question, when I moved to London I was exploring every music I could: on Wednesdays I used to go to the Dub Club in Tuffnel Park for a solid injection of dub subfrequencies, on Thursdays there was Anoka night with Talvin Singh, Fridays at the Fridge for an healthy psy-trance journey with Return to the Source or Escape from Samsara, Mondays with Fabio and Grooverider for a sweaty night of DnB… and so on.

Q: Looking back over your career you seem to have been incredibly busy. I wonder how there have been enough hours in the day for all of the projects you’ve been involved with. Which amongst these would you say you have enjoyed the most and why?
A: When I worked with Lee Scratch Perry was certainly one of my peaks, also when I remixed Bob Marley was something unbelievable, the album Dub Qawwali with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was an amazing achievement, and certainly our collaborative album Re:sonate was a formidable experience!

Q: Two questions that may or may not be linked together: When did you first become aware of Fax Records? …and when did you first have contact with Pete Namlook?
A: I became aware of Fax Records in 1998 when I discovered the sublime The Dark Side of the Moog 7 featuring three music legends such as: Bill Laswell, Klaus Schulze, and Pete Namlook of course!  It was year 2005 when  I contacted Peter. I just wanted to send him my latest collaborative album GAUDI:TESTA – Continuum released on the legendary electronica label EM:T Records. The production of that album came out particularly good so I wanted to send it to him as a gift and make him aware of my existence in the music industry as a producer. Peter replied with a beautiful e-mail of compliments about my production skills and revealed that he owned two of my previous albums and loved them…. Bass, Sweat & Tears (Interchill Records 2004) and Earthbound (Bustin Loose 1997).  OMG I couldn’t believe those words. It was like a dream come true. The day after, I received another e-mail from him asking if I wanted to collaborate on an album….and RE:SONATE was born.

Q: Do you have a favourite Fax record (or records)?
A: Well, in my humble opinion the whole Fax catalogue has a sort of magic continuity throughout the two decades of its history. I can see each of the Fax releases as if they were all chapters of a book –for example if you read a good book it is quite difficult to say what the best chapter was... - I feel exactly like this. Fax Records was, and still is, a marvellous music journey where every release contributed to the creation of this unique music experience.

Q: Am I right in thinking that Re:sonate was recorded at your Metatron Studio in London? Did yourself and Pete actually work together in the same location on the record or bounce ideas backwards and forwards online…or both?
A: You are not right. Pete and I recorded our album RE:SONATE together in his studio in Germany. He invited me there with all my analogue synthesizers to compose and produce the album together so I spent one month with him under the same roof.  An unforgettable experience!
Q: The first two tracks on Re:sonate sound as if Pete started them and you added to this, whereas the last one sounds the other way around. Is that accurate or wide of the mark?

A: Before Pete and I started the production of the album, Pete called me in London and suggested to bring some sketches and ideas with me to his studio, so we could start our collaboration from somewhere. I brought then the idea of the first track (consisting in groove + bass and dub flavors) and he added pads and a vocal sample saying “I’m scanning the city for the 7th spirit”, which gave the direction to the song and the title too. I also programmed the rhythm of our track #2 NAFK, then he finalised the production and added a german speaking sample which was, he said, the original 1969 instruction booklet for the two tracks recording system Revox that his dad bought when Peter was a child. That was a great touch, genius. Last track on the album has been created from scratch, together at Traben Trarbach studio.

Q: What are your memories of working with Pete?
A: I remember that in his studio all the equipment was working impeccably perfect, something pretty unusual for producers like us that live in a total studio chaos. Every single piece of gear was immaculate; no dust on keys or knobs, no visible cables, all was pristine and efficient. I have to admit that the first couple of days of work in the studio I felt a bit nervous and not fully comfortable. I didn’t know how to behave 100% naturally. We just met two days before so we were still knowing each other. I had the impression that he was a super strong person, with a super strong personality…. then something happened… and I understood him totally, and we clicked, and we laughed together, and we discovered an amazing synergy between us. Basically, his daughter called him on Skype and I saw him transformed in the most sweetest person on Earth. The World disappeared when he was talking with her; he allowed me to see his soft side, I will never forget that moment. I miss him badly.   

Q: Just out of interest do you know where the track title NAFK came from?

A: Of course I know. Here is the story, as I mentioned in the previous answer: this track started with an idea of rhythm that I created in London, then I recorded it on DAT tape and took it with me to Germany. At that time I was also working on my album Dub Qawwali, featuring the amazing voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. This album was pretty much finished and stored in the same DAT where my rhythm idea was – named N.F.A.K (stands for Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan); Peter misread that word as NAFK, we both loved it as a potentially mysterious title for our new track, which ended to be called exactly NAFK.

Q: Did you ever get a chance to visit Pete in Traben Trarbach and if so what are your memories of the place?

A: As I said here above, Pete and I spent one month there in Traben Trarbach for the recording, composition and production of our collaborative album RE:SONATE. It was a huge place (if I recall correctly I think it was an ex-big restaurant on two floors, the studio was upstairs) where he used to live on his own. The atmosphere there was absolutely positive. I remember every single inch of that place was impregnated by Pete’s strong beautiful energy. He didn’t have a big social life; he was highly selective with his friendships. He knew what he wanted.

I remember a funny episode: one morning while I was sleeping in my room I heard a very strange repetitive knock at my door so I got up and opened the door…… it was a little yellow robot that was automatically cleaning the house, hovering every corner like a maniac and frankly I nearly freaked out because at that time that robot was absolutely innovative, never seen one before; when I asked Pete about that thing he told me that it was a prototype, then a few years later it became quite popular. Pete has always been ahead of its time.

Q: There is a big Pete Namlook tribute record coming up soon. Do you have anything planned for this yet….or is your contribution a secret right now?

A: Yes. I have already been contacted by the organisers of it and I’ve happily contributed to the release of this amazing tribute album with one of my tracks that I remember Pete used to love! It is a song never appeared in any of my albums. I don’t wanna reveal the title yet.

Q: Your last solo album, No Prisoners seemed like a bit of a new direction. Very energetic, upbeat songs. A new album In Between Times is coming very soon. Listening to the teasers this sounds as if it is heading in a similar direction. The production certainly sounds very sharp and cutting edge. What can we expect from the new record?
A: Everytime I create an album I follow my instinct and taste, trying to not to pay too much attention at the direction I’m naturally pursuing. As I said in a recent interview, I make music because it makes me feel free. I love this sense of freedom and I hope I’ll be able to keep it with me forever. This is something that also Pete and I had in common. I remember when in his studio he played a series of heavy industrial techno tunes from 12" vinyls and was smiling at me in silence…. I was smiling back at him, without really know why…. then he revealed that was his production of 10 years earlier, saying that at that time this genre of music made him feel free then he found his happiness making ambient music. We both exchanged a “five” with our hands I remember. On my latest album No Prisoners I felt the need to assemble two parallel routes that were running together in my music activity: all my solo albums until then were primarily mid-tempo, experimental dub, global-beat, dancehall, and all my remixes I did (about 90 of them) were pretty much upbeat, so I wanted to combine both my “music souls” in one album. The result is No Prisoners which I wouldn’t describe as “new direction” but simply a “merging point”. My new album In Between Times, out in May on Six Degrees Records, adopts the same formula but is a bit more “edgy”.   
Q: Finally how would you pay tribute to the great Pete Namlook in words?
A: An amazing artist, an amazing person, an amazing brother!

Massive thanks to Gaudi for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions. He's a good guy.

You can find his official website here: 


Catch him on Facebook here:


...and check out some teasers from his new record, In Between Times here:


Sounds great! The album will be released worldwide on 14th May 2013.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Review: Pete Namlook & Mixmaster Morris - Dreamfish 2 (1995) PW 16

Two years after the first Dreamfish album Pete Namlook and Mixmaster Morris return for a second aquatic ambient adventure. Aquarium is introduced by faint gong-like sounds, suggesting the fading light and sounds of life above sea level. If the first Dreamfish album was largely a snorkel in the shallows this introduction correctly indicates that Dreamfish 2 will be a much deeper dive. The sounds are sparser than last time around, the music a little darker and electronics softly judder and percolate, like fine collections of bubbles on a long journey to the surface. The synth pads may seem a little chilly but the bleeping ascending and descending electronics that made School of Fish so much fun on the first Dreamfish album are back to provide a subtle stylistic thread between the two records. The fish may be less colourful, there may be less of them and they may be stranger but overall this is no less beautiful or compelling than the first Namlook/Mixmaster Morris collaboration.
A current of pattering electronics hint at the direction of the next track, Caviar, and leads directly into it. Great waves of dark, menacing sound contrast with multiple layers of delicious, crisp, clicking, clacking electronic rhythms. Once again, this highly rhythmic offering suggests a fine mist of bubbles rising ever upwards, as weird fish with large, glaring black eyes swim through the semi-darkness and transparent creatures with glowing innards pass by. What else is lurking in the deep? When one considers that this record is now almost twenty years old the sonic sculpture offered up by this track is really quite stunning.
Caviar runs seamlessly into one final, lengthy piece of deep sea exploration from the Dreamfish team. Submerge, carried on long, reverb-drenched chords is an exploration of the deepest depths. A submersible searchlight picks up pale creatures, swimming along a trench on the ocean floor. Echo is expertly used, as the playful, bleeping electronics now only seem to appear fleetingly amidst these liquid textures.
In its own way this cold, barren seascape is no less attractive than the schools of fish near the surface and is all the more dramatic for charting vast oceans of the unknown. Whilst this perhaps isn't as euphoric as the first Dreamfish record, Dreamfish 2 is another (slightly darker) classic that should not be overlooked.  

Saturday 13 April 2013

Review: Pete Namlook & Mixmaster Morris - Dreamfish (1993) PW 02

In 1993 a new wave of ambient music was rising high in the hearts and minds of a fresh generation of listeners. The Orb were just coming back from space, having documented it with their seminal classic albums Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld and U.F.Orb but nobody had delved deep yet and attempted to explore the ocean. Cue Pete Namlook and Mixmaster Morris (a.k.a The Irresistible Force) with the first of two Dreamfish albums.
From the opening moments of School of Fish it is apparent that Dreamfish is going to be a colourful, kaleidoscopic journey. A magical, hypnotic sequencer pattern weaves around, suggesting hundreds of tiny creatures, darting in curves, like a single organism, as soft-focus washes of sound, lengthy chords and the gentlest of rhythms evoke total submergence in an aquatic world where the normal rules of gravity are suspended. Xylophone-like jangles add extra texture to this slow motion dream sequence.
Hymn is introduced by a tightly coiled, yet playful sequencer pattern that shifts in and out of sharp focus and pans across the stereo spectrum, as liquid pads and a tiptoeing bassline fill out the sound gloriously. Once again, a rather floaty feel gives continuity to the album's aquatic theme. An echoing voice, that of Terence McKenna, an American philosopher, ethnobotanist, philosopher, psychonaut, researcher, writer and teacher, delivering rather a controversial quote adds to the psychedelic atmosphere of a lengthy journey with many sonic additions and subtractions along the way. Hymn has much in common with The Orb's vast, expansive A Huge, Ever Growing Pulsating Brain that Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld (Loving You) and whilst it is an excellent piece of music would it be sacrilegious to suggest that a third could comfortably be shaved off its 28 minute duration? On the other hand, perhaps the length of the piece helps to create a truly immersive experience and it might be argued that there is enough subtle detail to justify the epic run-time. Please feel free to post your thoughts on this in the comments below.
Fishology seems to anticipate the second Dreamfish album, by heading into  deeper waters. Dramatic, dark expanses of sound are accompanied by incredibly deep and intensely satisfying unintelligible vocal cut-ups, skipping dub rhythms and skittering, high-pitched, bleeping electronics. Strange fish indeed at this depth!
Finally we come to Under Water and the deal is sealed (pardon the pun) with this piece of musical genius. Sweeps of electronic sound are slowed down, sped-up, treated and seemingly also played backwards, perfectly evoking the muffled sounds and slow movement one experiences beneath the waves. Sunlight dapples the surface of the water, shafts of light break through, clouds of fish pass and the tidal flow gently drags the listener this way and that.
Aye, aye, Captain! All aboard for a landmark album in the history of ambient electronica. Absolutely essential.  

Tuesday 9 April 2013


With output on Fax now quite possibly bookended there will undoubtedly be some speculation as to which artists may have recorded for the label in the future. My money is on Stormloop (aka Kev Spence from Leeds, England). Beautifully crafted, deep drones and perfect music for drifting into the realms of inner or outer space. Stormloop's last album, Back to Dust was a requiem for all of those who lost their lives in 2012 (including Mr. Pete Namlook).

It is possible to check out Stormloop and have a listen to some extracts from the latest album here:


In addition, the whole discography is available on Bandcamp by following this link: 

As reported recently a tribute album for Pete Namlook is currently in the works. See here:

Some of you have probably read that this is to be a mixture of material by ex-Fax recording artists and fans with a voting system to determine which fan material will make the cut. Stormloop has recorded a beautiful track, titled Snowdrift and you can hear it in its entirety here:

See what you think. It certainly gets my vote!

Sunday 7 April 2013

Ringelblume update: Pete's peppers

Here's a little update with Project Ringelblume (the idea behind this being to grow marigolds in Pete's memory). For more information re: my original post on this topic see here.

I've been off work this past week and although it has been sunny on and off here in the North of England I tried to sit in the backyard yesterday and had to come in because of an icy wind. The temperatures are supposed to be picking up soon so I'm hoping that sometime in the forthcoming week I will be planting some seeds. If this happens oddly enough it will be pretty much the same date that Pete suggested I plant my marigold seeds a couple of years ago.

While I'm waiting here is a message very kindly sent from Sven in Germany. Referring to the image above (some of Pete's peppers...love a bit of alliteration alongside my horticulture) he says:

This is the third generation of the seeds Pete sent me back in 2011. From the first season only one single chilli pepper (not plant!) survived after a parasite ("Spinnmilben" in German) killed all the plants in a matter of a few days. I managed to rescue this one tiny chilli pepper and cultivate 20 more plants out of it during the second season in 2012. I kept in touch with Pete back then and he was always very happy that I managed to cultivate new plants out of his seeds. So this time, it also looks quite good so far. Pete's chilli peppers taste really great. They are quite hot, but in a very tasty way (not just burning hot).

I decided to start my "Project Ringelblume" today. It's not that warm here in Germany, but I think it might work out well. I'm planning on seeding some in the garden and some indoors.

Big thanks, Sven for sending that. Very much appreciated!

As I say, more on this soon with a bit of luck. Ultimately it's all a bit of fun but hopefully Pete would have enjoyed it.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Review: Move D - Namlook - IX Wagon Lits (2005) PK 08/171

Somewhere at the very centre of Pete Namlook’s almost countless collection of diverse collaborations are his 26…count them…a staggering 26 albums with Move D (a.k.a. David Moufang). That’s some 23 albums in the Move D – Namlook series and three Koolfang albums, exploring a fusion of electronic music and jazz.
Wagon Lits, the ninth in their Move D – Namlook series, its title taken from the sleeping cars found on European trains, is arguably amongst their very best. Electronic music based on a train journey…those of you not already in possession of the album may be thinking that this is hardly a new theme for a piece of electronic music. Conrad Schnitzler’s Zug (recorded in 1973 and probably most widely heard as part of his 1978 album Con a.k.a. Ballet Statique) presented skittering rhythms and jet black smudges of menacing sound to suggest a train in motion and then we inevitably move on to Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express, which needs little further description here.
So what can Wagon Lits possibly offer that we haven’t heard before? Part of the genius of this record can be found in its understatement. Whilst both of the aforementioned pieces of music use rhythm as a prominent device to suggest a train in motion the bulk of the music on this recording backgrounds the rhythms, and in doing so creates a clever, rather ethereal feel. During train travel a drone-like hum is perhaps much louder than the actual sound of metal and metal and that is exactly what we hear here.
The opening track Accueil (Welcome) spells out the mood of the album with its spacey, undulating and appealingly spooky drone, punctuated by swells of warped organ-like sound. This train journey it is going to be dark (in more ways than one), surreal and mysterious. A number of Move D and Namlook’s greatest moments together drift off across the cosmos (the Space & Time album, Sea of Holes from Let the Circle Not Be Broken and Taygete spring readily to mind) and the opening stretch of this record strongly suggests, not incorrectly, that Wagon Lits will sit amongst the duo’s finest cosmic classics.
The record’s second track, Voiture 21 (Wagon 21), takes us off into half wakeful, terrains of the weird, as several sehr kosmische layered drones seem to waver, like dark matter, stretching and bending the fabric of the universe. Electronics tweet, like stars in the night sky and a very subtle, rhythmic pattering suggests that the train is almost gliding over the tracks. There is little of the heavy metal kling klang of Kraftwerk’s vintage trans-European offering here. As the track progresses Namlook solos on what sounds rather like a Moog, and each fleeting electronic adornment seems to be designed to add motion to this slightly eerie journey into the strange and unknown.
Voiture 22 continues the ride with a strange, moderately metallic cloud of fine space dust, gently jangling percolating rattles and squelchy sounds. Where is this train bound for? The frozen wastelands of Siberia? ...or Andromeda, perhaps? As the rhythm intensifies, now sounding like a heavy heartbeat two cosmic conductors arrive to check the tickets. Who could these men be? No plot spoilers can be given to members of the Fax fraternity not already in possession of this CD but their electronically-treated spoken interjections are a welcome and rather amusing ingredient in the mix.

Voiture 23 brings this 38-minute journey to its conclusion with great swells of synth sound, a few samples of sci-fi dialogue, manipulated so that they hiss and fizz (a thematic thread linking many of the later Move D - Namlook collaborations) and some discordant jazzy piano taking us to the fade.
Lastec, the final track on the album, clocking in at just over 20 minutes seems to take the listener on another train journey. This time a deep, relentless distorted bass line and a very gentle techno rhythm give some motion to an icy, haunting, yet rather beautiful voyage. This is a cold trip across frozen and forbidding landscapes under the partial light of dawn, both glacial and compelling. The rhythms here gradually become much stronger than those presented on the Voiture tracks and Pete and David seem to have fun manipulating, adding and subtracting to the layered beats and other sounds. During the last five minutes or so the album skates in to trance territory and wouldn’t sound out of place on the dancefloor of a techno club.
This unusual but always engrossing album is an absolute gem in the Fax catalogue. A real must and the cover ain't bad, either.