The Grandfather Paradox – Henrik Schwarz, Âme & Dixon

Category : Digital Media, Electronica, Minimal House

paradoxIn the mid to late nineties electronic music was beginning to lose it’s way. It was as though techno was morphing into a hideous “prog rock” cousin. Techno and House had become overproduced, overlayered, bloated and self-indulgent.

Inspired by the work of Kraftwerk and Richie Hawtin electronic music producers from Berlin to Brazil found that stripping sounds and layers away from the music made it more rather than less interesting. With a nod to the classical minimalists like Philip Glass and Steve Reich – minimal house was truly born.

Fast forward to 2009 and bang on cue comes the release of “The Grandfather Paradox” which embarks on ‘An Imprudent Journey Through 50 Years Of Minimalist Music’. Conceptually this is more than just a compilation of the latter. Taking its title from the science fiction writer René Barjavel the album cleverly and skillfully reveals lost minimal gems. This is delivered in mixed, remixed and unmixed formats allowing for different contextual listening environments.

albumHenrik Schwarz, Âme & Dixon disclose in their sleeve notes that they felt they were “traveling back in time and manipulating the old music with modern knowledge.” The Paradox in the title refers to Barjavel’s idea that if you travel back in time and kill your grandfather you can not exist and thus cannot go back in time to kill him…

As for the music it is full of diverse sources and selections. The mix kicks off with Steve Reich – Electric Counterpoint memorably sampled in the 90’s by The Orb on Little Fluffy Clouds. It also includes the music of often forgotten 80’s Avant Garde New York group Liquid Liquid. The rest conjures up a carefully considered and beautifully executed journey of various styles. From the dubby To Rococo Rot through Robert Hood’s minimal techno the music seamlessly travels taking in the ambience of John Carpenter’s “The President is Gone” and the jazz multi-intrumentalist Yusef Lateef effortlessly in its stride. The unmixed CD has a surprising but clever selection in the form of Young Marble Giants with the always reliable Can bringing up the rear.

Henrik Schwarz, Âme & Dixon have produced a conceptually inspired compilation journey. They are currently touring their “Critical Mass” project which is infused with Henrik’s Ableton driven live show. Catch their minimal “Acoustic time-travel” at a Tardis near you soon.

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Taking Stock

Category : Animation, Digital Media, highlight

control_masterAnimation comes in all shapes and sizes. But the use of digital technology has helped animators create animations that appear to have a traditional look and quality but are in fact multiple layers of digital information.

A case in point is the animating excellence of Run Wrake. His uses of traditional illustrations within a digital environment are impressive, quirky and wonderfully surreal. A highly original style facilitated and developed on his acclaimed short “Rabbit”. 

Last year he was commissioned by VEER, a Canadian Visual Elements Agency to produce an animation in his inimitable collage style using their vintage stock art CSA images. What he produced was the Sci-Fi pulp-comic animation short “The Control Master”. 

Set in Halftone City the story jovially depicts what happens when a powerful device falls into the hands of scientist-turned-villain Doctor Moire. Great soundtrack too.

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