Before I got lost in another headphone sunrise sesh in the Sonic Satori Personal Audio Lab with this INSANE DJ mix (said with utmost respect & admiration for Recondite's sonic achievement here) I was seconds away from jumping right into the Love & Gratitude series for the Mercer Memo (as it's become a series, and I'm just as surprised as anyone; believe me). Imagine that: If you hit play above before you started reading this, and the groove's still gotcha. If you ain't feelin' it, NO Worries. It's music. We can't all like the same things all the time. But in the face of all that goopy Thanksgiving shit (yep, started throwin' thoughts up on this one awhile ago) I felt obligated to share Recondite's new Essential Mix before I proceeded with ANYTHING ELSE. If you're an electronic dance music devotee, and you bask in the thumpin' sounds of wickedly transient and atmospheric tech house; I gotta tell ya: Get this mix. I consider it a moral imperative. IMHO: This is THE Essential Mix of 2016!!
I was hooked, already a proud Recondite junky by the third or fourth track of Hinterland. His captivating minimal wizardry, fluid beats and silky, synth-layered rhythms wrapped in holographic echoes of clicks, snaps, and other transient goodness enraptured me while subsequently reviewing his amazing follow-up: Iffy, for Positive-Feedback (also highly recommended). His grasp of space, and the concept of space in his tracks; the way he employs it in his compositions is masterful. I think, when it comes to late-night club DJs - their awareness of the space between the notes, between the claps and the snaps is equally important. Recondites' keen ear for those spacial queues make for terrifically vast, transient ever-moving soundscapes, utilizing sparse, yet poignant instrumentation. The masters can always tell you more with less. Which is the only slight drawback to Recondite - but then again, I also think it's one of his many attributes. Troubled by that duality? Well, it exists, what can I tell you. Now, please don't misunderstand me: I know many fellow music addicts hear this type of tech-house - or any kinda' house music for that matter, and it's just this repetitive noise. Since this is about Recondites ILL mix and not the underground leectronic dance scene (and if you type "EDM" below our mod has promised he'll erase you) I'll just say that (not to be cheeky), but: If I were kickin' it w/ some of my friends back in London, at a proper underground party, or Fabric (where Terry Francis, it's resident DJ has been killin' it for years) - and we were discussing Recondites music I'd probably call his style somethin' like wicked, atmospheric, dirty and beautiful God-damn tech-house. This music is about the vibe, a soundtrack to fleeting moments, a shared gaze across a dancefloor - think about a simple drum circle in Africa. It could be 5,000 years ago, it could be tomorrow. We all move, and our hearts all beat to a rhythm. Bottom-line.
That 's a tribal connection. It's physical, it's global, and when you strip it down, and experience music moving through you, together, ALL THE HORSESHIT FADES AWAY - Um... Yeah, if you haven't experienced anything like that. I'm not saying this kinda' music is inaccessible to you. Some of my friends love it for workin' out for example. Some like to drive to it. Even my buddy Russ Stratton blew my mind years ago, when he pulled out his copy of Recondite's Iffy on 12" to play on his high end stereo. Before that moment, I never imagined music like that would move Russ. But he loves it. And as I'm typing these words - I'm realizing I gotta hit up Recondite's labels for some records for the hifi shows around the globe! He should be heard via lots of systems and headphone rigs. This mix is so special believe it or not, I'm writing this streaming the recording off SoundCloud! I dropped it into my Gr8 Mixes By The MASTAZ Playlist (below of course) and boogyin':
Now, sure, when I listen to music like this naturally I think about that kinda stuff, those memories of endless nights, sunrise marathons, and nothin' but smiles and dirty feet. I'm makin' a fool of myself right now bouncing in my seat, my fingers waving over the keyboard, and I'm back INIT'. My every-day lately? It's been a fuckin' nightmare. So hearin' continuos music like this: Mixed with precision and passion and sounds that are on the bleeding-edge of the soul that is the global underground? It takes me there. Suddenly I'm back behind the decks, or on the dancefloor, and life, all-off a-sudden; it ain't too bad. Now, as I mentioned earlier in this column - those moments might be fleeting. But so are all the rest. So, for me, one of the most profound aspects of the ritual attached to great musical journeys like this (yeah, and we're ain't killin' chickens or any such shit - well, maybe for the evening BBQ party on Sunday - who knows). The thing about this music that I cherish the most, that almost intangible thing I'm grappling with: It's a part of the sound, the vibe, the continuum of pounding kickdrums, hovering synths, the snappin' hi-hats: Movement. Movement with others, in unison. I know, for some of you, that's gonna look like somethin' out of a bad flashmob video. But I'm talkin' about the deeper, and sometimes darker aspect of the electronic dance music experience that transcendent artists like Recondite manage to capture on albums like his Essential Mix.
Now I don't mean silly shit like "evil" when I say darker folks. I'm trying to quantify something, that, unfortunately, this cliche may indeed apply: You almost have to experience it to wholly believe it. When I've got this mix thumpin' in my cans, if I close my eyes, and try to focus on nothin' but my breath, and dancin' away the every-day stresses, the beefs with people I hate, and worst of all, with the people I love; I can transport myself into any one of those treasured memories: Stompin my fuckin' guts out at a warehouse party with my big brother Shaun dancin' behind me. I'm talkin' dancin' outside in the park under the Whitestone Bridge in New York City, from Saturday night through Sunday afternoon. Families began setting down their blankets, and watching us crazy ravers in the daylight, under the Bridge, just goin' for it. I imagine for some of those parents, there may'v been trails of the sixties on their minds (or actual trails for that matter, hopefully we didn't trigger too many flashbacks). It was the kind of spiritual connection that you rarely get, and it never sticks. But shouldn't we be grateful that we get it at all? Eh. We should, and I am. But admittedly, I want more. Who doesn't? With audible journeys like this, we can experience that magic anywhere we're packing a decent personal audio system. Ain't technology a muthafucker. Sorry bout the sailors mouth. I'm pumped. It's nice to be reminded of being, o fjust feelin' alive. 2016 has beat up a few of us. I had no idea some of my other close friends were dealing with such intense BS too. Maybe we're always goin' through it, I'm not sure. One thing I do know: Music? When I can't get to Kona (that's Hawaii for anyone not here in Cali) I can escape the trappings of life that sometimes get us all caught in the fuckin' bear-trap.
I wanna salute Recondite on a spectacular job with this one. I haven't been disappointed with this guy since I initially came upon his tracks. His stripped-down contemporary tech-house aesthetic peels away the goo and only the real shit is left. Now, straight-Up: I'm not actually sure about his process - but I'm gonna try and get Recondite to do a few conversational-style interviews here at OccupyHifi! I was thinking something like the one I did w/ Bob Ludwig from Gateway Mastering for Positive Feedback. I love writing about music, and I love listening to it even more. Getting to hear from the magnificently strange and wonderful geniuses behind the music itself? That's a Sonic Satori treasure to behold. We look forward to bringin' ya more.
STAY TUNED YA'LL... AND DON'T CHEAT YOURSELF OUTTA THE MIX IF YOU'RE A FAN OF TECH-HOUSE MUSIC! This hits hard. So turn it up, and lose yourself for awhile. I highly recommended it.