SPANKY RODGERS – BM09
Release date: February 18th
“A true story”
The summer of 1991 was on its last legs and to celebrate our high school graduation we had a mad plan. We left “head over heels” to the UK on an improvised road trip with only raving, having fun and doing crazy stuff on the agenda. The early September sun was beating down on the capital and to escape the weekday madness of the inner city we hopped on a random train to the seashore.
Brighton was hot. A sea breeze blew me (in my romanticized memories) towards a record shop. I bought two tunes the guy in the store was playing and left, straight to the beach: it was going to be a wonderful day. Summer came and went…The only things I took home from our adventure were: a massive sunburn and two records. One 12″ by Luke Slater, and one mysterious beauty by a certain Aubrey/Solid Groove—unknown to me. The clunky, chunky, breaky and speedy weirdness of the tracks left me enchanted. Later, it turned out to have been my first encounter with the music of Allen Saei.
Years went by and playing, making, buying and selling records became my job. I emptied the bargain bins of the London and New York second-hand record stores on a regular basis and little known, mysterious releases on tiny labels such as Surreal, Alien Disco, Textures and (by then my favourite) Solid Groove started to form the backbone of my musical universe.
These “salvaged records” from all over the world eventually inspired me to open my own record store in the spring of 1997. Starting a shop in Belgium, where even the dullest of little villages had a half decent vinyl outlet wasn’t an obvious choice. Belgium was the Kingdom of electronic music and the local shops and distributors had an international reputation: if you wanted to get new import records you had to buy them from them, there was no way to get around the big players in those pre-internet days. When the new imports arrived mid-week, directly from all over the world, there was a ranking order. First, the big stores came in to pick their records, then the lesser Gods, and then at the tail-end, there was me: the new kid in town. The first time, I faced a “plundered half-empty storage room” clearly depleted of everything a record store considered being interesting or sellable. I thought: “I am F*cked ….” But, ironically enough, what was left was exactly the unidentifiable stuff I was looking for. I filled a box full of little treasures and the best find of the lot was 10 white label copies of a 12″ marked SPANKY RODGERS – Digit Fidgit.
Allen Saei had crossed my path once again and all these little finds helped launch my shop under a clement sky. Very soon both known, and lesser-known DJs, as well as a bunch of party kids crowded the store looking for that techno/non-techno, house/non-house sound that we championed. Quickly, in its embryonic form, “Tech-House” invaded the second floor of Brussels’ main techno club, Fuse.
When in March 2017 I was trying to put the ideas WALRUS had for his new label into words, it was Aubrey I had in mind when penning the phrase: “Just like true renegades, musical outsiders always walk alone, but time can become a weird ally”. Over the last decade, digger types from all horizons have started to sift through the past again and have rediscovered these weird undefinable techno house tracks time had buried under a small layer of dust . Records, forgotten, unloved or just under the radar were being given a second chance and put under the spotlight, and Aubrey’s work was amongst that.
This release forms a weird full cycle for me, upon hearing the tracks I felt myself “RACING THROUGH TIME” and it felt so good!
Sounds from the past, but always with one foot in the future… Spanky Rodgers, you nailed it once again!
Erge Stormen aka Geert Sermon 12/01/19
THE SECT3000 – BM08
Release date: December 10th
When I was on a trip through Switzerland a while ago, I was tipped off by a shop owner in Bern about his old friend who made music back in the mid-nineties. His name is Remco, the younger brother of the synth player from Swiss new wave band Les Rêveurs Artificiels/Die Künstlichen Träumer.
Once in a while, he would make a sporadic tune on his brother’s gear, recording it on 8-track tape, without ever mixing it down, then just archiving it in a closet at his parents’ house. He only played his tracks a couple of times to close friends, but it was hard to get a real idea of the sound since there was no mixdown. They had to be awkwardly played back on the 8-track player.
Of course, this brought my excitement level to boiling point, so the shop owner put us in touch and I asked Remco if I could have a listen to his “secret” or, rather, “private” music as I learned he likes to call it. He told me that the tapes were at his brother’s place in Zurich and he hadn’t listened to them since the late nineties, but Basic Moves was welcome to check them out if we promised to give him a proper digital rip. The next time I played in Zurich I caught up with Remco’s brother. He handed me the ¼” 8 track reel to reel, with “THE SECT3000” scrawled on it in black marker.
I carefully brought it back to Brussels, restored it and listened to it while mixing it down at the same time, alongside our in-house engineer Chris “Funk” Ferreira. We were blown away by the musicality of this visionary music. Chris had to deal with parts full of reverb especially on “Blaupause”, as no dry sounds were available. He did a great job, as did Stefan, our mastering engineer.
In “Plastic Dream”, the track with muffled, mysterious vocals, islas, who runs the label with me thought she could hear Remco saying “Basic Moves” repeatedly. I was keen to prove her wrong because that would be crazy, so I asked my only Swiss German speaking friend Walid from Les Points (who is also making amazing music) to do a quick translation of the lyrics. It turns out this is a love song.
Some might say BM08 strays into unknown territory for Basic Moves. Looking in different genres and being open-minded and imaginative led us to THE SECT3000, Remco the 8-track wonder.
Walrus, November 2018.
CAUSTIC 14 – BM07
Release date: October 26th
One for the heads – a few anecdotes make history:
In 1990, raising their voices over the sound of Neuropolitique’s “Mind you don’t trip” Sebastian S. and Mike DMA (Direct Memory Access) met, breaking the ice by swapping opinions on LFO and 808 State. They later went on to create the first live configuration of BWP Experiments (Bad Woofer Posse Experiments, for more info see www.basicmoves.be/chronicles), and produced dozens of tracks together which, for the most part, were live takes and remain unreleased. Only a few made it out into the world, and to this day have stayed well under the (discogs) radar: “Our Techno Theory” was put out on an 8-tracker cassette by Research and Development, while only two productions “Escape” and “Pay your taxes” were pressed on vinyl for the same imprint.
Now Sebastian S. (aka Caustic 14) returns to the label with two previously unreleased tracks found in his personal archive. “Excalibur” was produced in tandem with Mike during the last session the pair ever did in Sebastian’s studio (Z’ha’dum) in 1996. It’s a vibrant hommage to their common passion outside of music: Sci-fi. This track refers specifically to the series Babylon 5: a revolution in the genre, and the first tv series to outdo Star Trek (which had topped the intergalactic TV charts since the early 1960s). The idea of being “united against darkness” was key to the series, and the motto remained essential for Sebastian, Mike and Deg’s music productions, collaborations, live shows and dj sets. The influence of what had been a passion since childhood can be felt in their sound: unconsciously they had dreamt up the soundtrack to their own space journey.
The second track “Cliffhanger”, a solo production by Sebastian S., is a dig from several years earlier (1994). The Detroit influence is strong here, yet the signature Caustic 14 “space opera” melodies hold their ground and shine out.
We are very proud to propel this piece of Belgian electronic music heritage out into the world.
In memory of Matt Cogger.
walrus & islas , September 2018.
Basic Moves 06
Release: August 2018
“Deg sings the blues”
Following their first dive into the Earguard studio archives which led to BM02, Basic Moves have tapped the source again and selected two raw, previously unreleased productions from 1996.
For dj Deg, this was a transitional period: a moment to look back on the genesis of Circadian Rhythms and a time to look forward to both personal and artistic evolution. On the A-side of BM06 lies a track where house and techno come together to shape a mysterious, hypnotic atmosphere. “Sinh Session” is coloured with the warmth and passion that Deg absorbed from his musical influences of the time and it reflects an era of great emotional importance: for him, each track holds a story.
The second track “There is no hope?” was co-created in 1996 with long-term associate, Mike D.M.A. (they’d been producing together since 1989). Its title resonates with the impression of saturation felt in the mid-nineties, as if everything has been seen and done. There seemed to be a loss of energy and appetite, which foretold a decline of the Belgian underground techno scene to come in the following years.
Most of the Circadian Rhythms output, either made alone or as a pair, was created during one-shot live sessions that also spawned parallel projects in other styles. Deg and Mike were in a phase of constant self-assessment, always experimenting and researching. You could say a wind of change was blowing, a shift could be felt: in fact, what they were making was completely out of phase with their audience’s expectations. They took the time to explore other musical territories, deconstructing and rebuilding new foundations in order to create a very personal identity. As we can conclude today: time was, and still is, their ally.
In their own words: “we’re not stuck in the past, we’re always thirsty for the future.”
UNKNOWN WITNESS, 2018
Basic Moves 05
Release date May 14th 2018
[inhale deeply] We continue to unfold our record label with a release from a mysterious New York City-born artist we have only known for a short time now yet who we admire and whose personality and uncomplicated way of being inspired us and motivated us to dig up his phone number, pluck up all our courage and dial the Berlin area code to ask if he had anything to add to the Basic Moves story. [exhale] As you might have guessed, the answer was positive and slowly, little by little, the elements of Basic Moves 05 began to assemble.
A year later, we had found the two horizontal techno tracks we were looking for. After our previous adventures of more ornament-focussed dance music we wanted to send a well-adjusted rhythm into the music stratosphere. Although Forgive and Not Knowing are clearly rooted in US techno and early minimal house, these tracks prove that roots tend to keep growing below the surface and that any new growth is proportionate to its groundwork.
Of course, we could try to pin down the effect of these balanced, layered compositions as much as we like with words but actually, their bright secret can only really be felt in sound and movement [loud, dancing].
Walrus & Islas, Brussels, 2018
Basic Moves 04
(Release date February 13th 2018)
~Un air entraînant de l’autre côté de la mer~
Last summer during an evening spent with my friend Dj Topha, we came upon the everlasting subject of old versus new. “I’m finding so much great music right now, and not just digging back in time but exploring our own timeline geographically too,” he said, “The level of production these days is rising fast. You have to check out these snippets from a new label based in Casablanca.”
Not long after, in an interesting twist of fate, Driss Bennis and I began to exchange music: I shared his Soundcloud for the first Casa Voyager release, and he sent me a promo copy which I played out a lot. It seemed only logical to ask him for music for Basic Moves. Later that summer we met in Paris for a convivial back to back at Dawidu’s shop, Te Iubesc Records and Sapology. It was as simple as that, and in a few weeks Basic Moves 04 was ready.
Night Train and Overseas blew me away by their quality – the tracks are retro-esque yet fresh, and stem from a loose approach to electro. Their arrangements are very smart; not everything is revealed the first time round. The more you listen, the more you understand that the power of the tracks lies in the details. Together with Ailsa’s artwork, Stefan’s cut and Chris’ mixes the release fell so smoothly into place.
I have come to realise how important it is for the scene to release recently produced music as well as treasures from the past. You can’t build a community by only playing old records. It’s about a combination, about finding gems that glide together. Old and new. And for that, I think both these DJ Booth tracks really fit the bill.
– WALRUS, BRUSSELS, 2017
Caustic 14 – Basic Moves 03
Release date October 3rd 2017
Breaking his silence after twenty years, Sebastian Snoeck a.k.a Sebastian S. will be the second member of the Belgian collective “BWP Experiments” to release on the Basic Moves imprint. He has handed over two previously unpublished tracks made under the moniker Caustic 14.
After listening to “Personal Space Invader” in 1997, Carl Craig asked Sebastian S. to produce new material for his own label, Planet E. “Message in a box” and “Rising Star” were therefore made as a response to this request. However, due to a political transatlantic rift, the tracks never saw the light of day and have since been stored on DAT tapes, hidden away from the general public’s ears.
If I had to describe Sebastian’s output, I’d say it is most importantly energetic, positive, and groovy. It bears the mark of a certain nostalgia, shying away from the blind celebration of both futurism and experimentation in order to reach intemporality. This attempt to exist outside of time gives his productions a certain character and in my opinion, his music has come to embody something I like to call “Space Opera Techno”.
Sebastian S has succeeded where many before him have failed: by avoiding copycat tactics and simplified approaches to production he managed to create a singular identity. The tracks are recognisable after the first few seconds – and that’s what makes his work so unique!
Mike DMA, Brussels, 2017.
Circadian Rhythms – Basic Moves 02
It took me a couple of years get invited to Deg’s (aka Circadian Rhythms) home, and a couple more years to dive into his Sonic Archive. But time tells and Basic Moves 02 is what came out. The two tracks were recorded at Earguard Studio in Brussels around 1996, at a moment when his interest was moving away from club music towards other golden musical horizons.
“Frequency” is a macro tech-house track in mid tempo. I’m super happy I could archive it on wax because we almost fucked up the master DAT tape by blowing up the player during a marathon listening session at his place. We had to open the device, unroll the tape across his house (full of records) and fold it back into the mini DAT cassette. After a few hours and twenty metres of tape, the problem was solved and the tracks archived: “A dose of authenticity at a time of post-counter-cultural stagnation”.
“House Speaker Call” originated in proto-techno forms. Deg never sees techno as a type of music but as a process. As a producer, collector, and deejay he always dives deep into authentic forms of electronic music. Deg’s antic personality shines out in the middle of the harsh beat-driven electro/techno track like a hopeful melody passing by on its elliptic orbit.
Tune your cells into his vibrations and get ready for these two timeless club tracks.
Walrus, Brussels, 2017.
Available from Crevette Records
Walrus – Basic Moves 01
Walrus has no fear!
By taking care of the maiden release on his newborn label ‘Basic Moves’ he shows the spiritual direction and marks the blueprint for future offerings.
The concept is simple: a 12′ always has two different sides.
One track on each side, each track a different mood.
‘Full Of Feeling’ resonates like the synthesis of an endless night encoded in washes of sounds. Twisted, alienated vocal signals communicate in deep space to form a teasing, never-ending, spine-tingling groove. The weekend lingers on, the dream is not over.
‘Among the Thugs’ is stripped down music for abandoned warehouses. A distorted vision of bleep techno and druggy Chicago acid house hides deep in the quirky waves of this wobbly and moody crowd mover.The ghosts of after hours haunting sweaty warehouse clubs from the past seem to float over these excellent tracks. Walrus refers to the best of all eras but forges his own unique stamp of modern dance music.
Underground clubs are where his music comes alive.
Geert Sermon, Brussels, 2017.Available from Crevette Records