Since launching in 2011, James Healy’s Air Texture label and compilation series has become something of an institution within the ambient scene. As with its predecessors, the seventh volume in the series has been jointly compiled by two artists with an existing musical relationship, in this case Rrose and Silent Servant. Their selections are on point, drowsily drifting between academic ambient compositions (see Rrose and James Fei’s “For Bass Clarinet 8.97 (Rrose Version)”, uncomfortable electronic explorations (Ron Morelli, Anthony Child), modular movements (Not Waving), jazz-flecked deep space soundscapes (Luke Slater), horror-influenced throb-jobs (Phase Fatale, June & An-i) and 1990s style ambient electronica (Octa Octa, Function).
After almost three years, we are back in Berlin. No plans this year, we just booked some flights and let Berlin do it’s magic.
Friday we will go to Tresor and meet our fellow Romanian DJ, who moved recently to Berlin, Aleksa Alaska. She is playing in the Globus Room with Patrick Russel, Ploy and No Moon. In the basement will be a bit hectic with Makaton, Manni Dee, Hurtado and SDX.
Starting Saturday night, in Berghain is the Phase Fatale ‘Scanning Backwards’ album release party with Phase Fatale of course and SΛRIN (live), Boris, Broken English Club, Reka, Silent Servant, Unhuman and Vulkanski.
Upstairs in Panorama Bar in the line-up are Lord Of The Isles (live), Âme, Cooper Saver, Lauer, Or:la, Orson Wells, alongside residents Paramida and Tama Sumo.
Scanning Backwards, Phase Fatale’s second full-length album is music about control. Using the connection between weaponized sound and psychological manipulation as a conceptual foundation, Hayden Payne explores the ways in which music – and sub frequencies in particular – are used to influence thinking and to synchronize emotions and behavior: from military technology to sound systems and the physicality and sexuality of queer techno culture. Known for his innovative post-punk takes of dance music, the Berghain resident draws on his background as both a guitarist and sound engineer to create a heady mix of broken rhythms, noise-, and shoegaze-inflected techno, often at slower tempos. The result is music with space and pace to expand, highlighting the intense rushes of frequencies found in both sonic warfare and functional dance music. Over eight tracks named after a combination of historical and fictional narratives from literature and science fiction, Payne’s rhythmic excursions explore different manifestations of sound as power – specifically within the context of seeing Berghain as an instrument itself. This is also reflected in the album artwork, taken from an early flyer for the SNAX party series and an obvious ode to the fetishization of power dynamics.
The collaboration between producer Terence Fixmer and vocalist Douglas McCarthy continues with a new 4 track EP of blistering electronics and intense performance. ‘Let It Begin’ and ‘The Crush’ assault the listener with bruising bass lines, heavy insistent drums and mesmorising sound effects. With a Phase Fatale remix bringing a brooding and menacing darkness to any dance floor. The Force Mix of ‘The Crush’, harks back to the original power, energy and simplicity of Fixmer/Mccarthy’s debut album ‘Between The Devil’ back in 2004.
Phase Fatale (Hayden Payne) and Silent Servant (Juan Mendez) started their collaboration in 2016 performing together live at several Jealous God showcases across Europe, such as Berlin Atonal, and then working together on Payne’s Redeemer Extended Mix 12′ from his album on Hospital Productions last year. The Confess EP on BITE is a studio documentation of those aforementioned live performances and harnesses the cathartic energy of the stage into a physical medium.