Ten years ago, Acid Test began with a simple concept – each track the label released would make use of the Roland TB-303. Like a producer purposefully paring down their studio setup, or the continuous imperative within underground electronic music to reduce, this concept engendered creativity with the introduction of what seemed to be an aesthetic limit. However, the decade that followed, which now culminates in the triple-LP compilation Ten Years Of Acid Test, proves acid is limitless. That the Berlin-via-LA label would expand upon the classical conception of acid house and techno is no surprise considering the cast of characters that have come in fold over the past decade. Ten Years Of Acid Test gathers key material from the label’s extended family of acid acolytes. There’s that Vienna-via-LA maestro of sad, elegant acid Tin Man (Johannes Auvinen), whose “Afters Acid” is both a highlight within his prolific catalogue and a distillation of his symphonic approach to the 303. Detroit giants Erika and Marcellus Pittman, both of whom have released remixes on Acid Test, present their respective and singular Bass Line visions. Erika, the Interdimensional Transmissions lynchpin, crafts a dark, delicate take on broken techno on “Violet Fungus” while Pittman continues his cubist house explorations on “Unknown Species,” both tracks straying from typical acid lines in favor of the intricate textures achievable on the 303. This variation in approach applies to tempo as well. Irish-based master Lerosa, as well as Delsin affiliate VC-118A, delve into downtempo atmospherics. Meanwhile, Japanese deep techno virtuoso Wata Igarashi, SUED co-founder SW. (a regular on Acid Test’s leftfield sub-label Avenue 66) and Patricia (one-half of Acid Test act Ociya) use acid as a creative jumping-off point for complex melodic concepts. Wata layers an orchestra of synth-bliss drone overtop a squelchy bassline on “Ephemeral.” SW.’s “ChaIAnJAzzz” cycles through an array of dusted chords eventually landing in skewed, fuzzy rave nostalgia, anthemic chords held aloft by a wicked UK-flavour bass line. Patricia’s “Higher Still” explores dreamy, IDM-flavoured acid, cinematic synthlines counterbalanced by propulsive, squelching acid. Acid Test devotees will be thrilled at the return of various luminaries from the catalogue, including Achterbahn D’Amour, Skudge, AAAA, John Tejada and Donato Dozzy, whose memorable remix of Tin Man’s “Nonneo” from Acid Test 01 served as a kind of proof of concept for the label. There’s new blood too. San Francisco up-and-comer Sepehr makes his label debut with the excellent “Persian Acid Prince,” as does Andreas Tilliander’s beloved hardware techno project, TM404. Ten Years Of Acid Test is a valuable portrait of a group of artists linked by a dedication to innovation within acid, in line with the genre’s storied roots. Over ten years, Acid Test has gracefully made a case for the 303’s past, present and future, the story of acid continuing to unfurl in unpredictable, addictive patterns.
In light of the current Covid-19 Pandemic Studio Enisslab headed up by Italian DJ / Producer and Live Act Neel has announced the release of a very special 56 track charity compilation project, fundraising for The Red Cross, who are working extremely hard alongside health services internationally that are feeling the effects of the corona-virus outbreak the most right now. The compilation is available for a limited time via Bandcamp and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to The Red Cross to help the world’s most affected countries in the Covid-19 pandemic.
This special release features over 6 hours of previously unreleased and unheard material, where an all star cast of artists were encouraged to share music that reflects this time we are living in.
Neel, who is one half of live duo Voices From The Lake, and LF58 speaks out on behalf of the initiative, organised in collaboration with improvised live project Circle Of Live, and visual art collective Sbagliato. He explains:
“In this situation we all need to look after each other and this project is a start. I wanted to reach as many people as possible to spread this message, so I started to share the idea personally with lots of artists and the response was amazing. I wanted them to take their time with whichever tools they had available at home to produce some music that reflects this time we are living in, a contribution for this special project and to portray a special message.”
The project’s cover art image brought to you by visual art collective Sbagliato shows pictures of windows of houses and studios taken by the artists themselves: 56 musicians, 56 windows, 56 tracks shape a new place of sharing.
Andreas Tilliander returns to Kontra-Musik in a grand style with his second TM404 album. Titled ‘Acidub’, this highly anticipated release is much more of an evolution than a repetition of the first superbly self-restricted album, where Tilliander even decided to use only one of the two Roland TB-303 waveforms. Acidub is a more playful and open listening experience, no doubt inspired by his extensive live touring with the TM404 concept. In fact, you can almost hear Tilliander’s flock of acid machines breaking free from the restrained modus operandi. Every sound is like a migratory bird with a heart yearning for high altitude and favourable winds. The opening track Alinge paints a lucid picture of these acid birds leaving a cold industrial landscape behind; the flickering black shadows from their wings against the white smoke rising from a forest of chimneys below. The very last seconds of Alinge even echo of the place the silver birds are longing for, but that will remain a secret between Kontra-Musik and the avid listener. Sufficient to say, we can follow these birds of passage as they’re heading south towards a warmer climate, fleeing the cold discipline of the North. Mutron Mantra, for instance, brings us to a rainforest full of serpentine lianas, giant leaves dripping with moist and green pools of water bubbling with organic life. Don’t Defend Mascot guides us through a steaming savannah at dusk with hundreds of yellow eyes following our every step while Pade vividly describes the perils of the flight and the pace and courage needed to press on. In all, Acidub is a surprisingly exuberant follow-up to the more introspective TM404 album. But while the musical journey of this second album is quite different, the experience of sheer aural eminence remains the same. Andreas Tilliander has done it again, and Kontra-Musik couldn’t be prouder.
To celebrate Kontra-Musik Records hitting the ten-year mark, founder and label owner Ulf Eriksson has put together a collection of some of our finest releases. This has been a daunting task, for we are happy to announce that we could easily have made several very different compilations that we would have been equally contented with – there are so many superb tracks we had to leave out. This has, however, been a labour of love. Much like the label itself. Eclecticism has always been a lodestar for Ulf Eriksson, as we hope this collection gives testimony to. The label has always been moving freely between techno, house and more experimental sounds. Kontra-Musik intends to show different angels of perspective, not to convert you to a new Religion or Ideology. Being open to a broad variety of sounds and rhythms – judging them not solely by their functionality but rather by their personality – has been the Kontra-Musik way from day one. While it has been a crooked and sometimes exceedingly hard road to follow, we’re hoping to carry on for several years to come. After 10 years, the label still feels meaningful and current to us – in short: it’s still worth it. Kontra-Musik would like to thank everyone – from contributing artists to faithful friends of the label who have supported us all these years. None of this would have been possible without you.
Mister Andreas Tilliander under his TM404 monniker, the man with more machines than you drops 3 tracks of syncopated science on Skudge.
Cassegrain´s brilliant Tiamat releases are back. After the amazing original tracks from Cassegrain, well known and respected Remixers like Svreca, Mike Parker, TM404 and Inland aka. Ed Davenport have designed 4 Tiamat tracks in order to provide a completely dedicated view on Cassegrain´s fantastic EP.
TM404 is a project where Andreas Tilliander embarks on a conceptual journey through classic Roland machinery. On the A-side of the Svans EP you can clearly hear the connection to Richie and his Plastikman project. The track 303/303/303/606/606 is heavy, slow grooving techno that brings the listener back to the dark emptiness of the Plastikman Consumed era. On the b-side the TM404 project is allowed elevated to new levels. With a Yamaha SY-1 and a Yamaha TG33 entering the machine park, TM404 for the first time, breaks his Roland oath and opens up the project to a future of new possibilities.
Collaboration vinyl only release between Skudge Records and Kontra-Musik. It came to us some time ago that what Kontra-Musik and Skudge stood for had a lot in common, which is the reason for this SKUM entry. Uniting to showcase the Swedish techno underground is an act of faith in these times of extreme self focus. We want to tell the world that we believe not only in ourselves but also in this new wave of local artists, a pledge for the future. In the immemorial words of ABBA, when all is said and done, you still get epic throbbing stabby techno from Skudge, deep hectic madness from MRSK, classy lush slow mo acid from TM404 and cavernous acid house from the Frak camp, a testimony to the scene we so believe in!