Eric Downer rose to prominence as a DJ for the seminal Fukhouse parties in Toronto. Cutting his teeth at now-legendary techno events in Detroit and throughout the midwest, he eventually got his start spinning at underground warehouses and era-shaping clubs such as Industry and System Soundbar. More than just a DJ, he’s moved onto production with remixes for Thoughtless, the Thibideau’s Obsolete Components, and Archipel – while working on subsonic ambient sounds under his Loess guise for BWLR. Developing a reputation for uncompromising quality and adventurous mixing, he finally packed his bags last year and moved down under. One of our favorite DJs with a significant influence on the label since its inception, we couldn’t think of anyone better to mix our 50th Transmission podcast, which he did in amazing style; clocking in at nearly two hours, it’s chock full of his faves from the Thoughtless catalog. With studies in musicology and an exhaustive knowledge of early Detroit techno and Chicago house, he boasts a truly unique perspective on the evolution of electronic music in Canada and beyond. We caught up with him at his new home in Sydney, Australia, to reflect on five years of Thoughtlessness, the history of techno in Toronto, and the future of electronic music. Read it all here…
For a while after the release of his Destinations LP on Australia’s Future Classic in 2008, the album that signaled his semi-permanent move to Berlin, Deepchild AKA Rick Bull felt rather ambivalent towards the thought of knuckling down to create another. “I didn’t really want to write another album any time soon,” Bull told inthemix last month. “It’s a pretty laborious experience. And I was wondering whether the format was even valid any more.” Read the full review here!
Departure? Departure to where? If these questions were ever raised following the release of Rick Bull’s (a.k.a. Deepchild) last LP, Departure, they’ll certainly be answered by Neukölln Burning, his latest. Separated by a five-year gap, the space between the two albums saw the producer leave his native Australia for the comparatively colder climate of Berlin. Yet beyond just physical relocation, it seems as though a personal journey has been taken as well. Shifting away from the tech-house sonic design of Departure, Bull’s latest feels like an attempt to convey a very specific moment in time, along with the feelings, people, and spaces involved… read the full review here!
Deepchild adopts the mantle of prodigal son when it comes to expressing a laboratory-tested digital sludge. Like techno dirt sieved through a hi-spec filter, Rick Bull shakes up beakers, holds up test tubes to whatever light he can find and uses Petri dishes for turntables. The scientific slant naturally serves tech/deep house cold as the Australian goes native in Berlin by grasping the sterile feel of up-down machinery, though Bull makes a good fist of adding warmth in places, coming up for air before moving down the next corridor… read the full review here!
As rays of light teased through the clouds of a typically overcast Berlin summer afternoon, we caught up with Australian ex-pat Berliner Rick Bull, better known as Deepchild. With his upcoming album for Thoughtless on the horizon – his first full-length in nearly five years – we were excited to pick his brains about the process that went into this amazing piece of work, and to find out, in general, what makes the man tick… READ THE FULL INTERVIEW!
Thoughtless Music chief Noah Pred returns to his own label for his first release there in quite some time and even without the Brendon Moeller remixes this is a formidable release. Add that both Moeller and Pred have been on winning streak as of late – the former in support of his new album for Electric Deluxe and the latter at the tail end of superb releases for Cynosure and Highgrade – and the perfect mix of ingredients coalesce in to one near perfect release. Read more…
In 2011 we’ve discovered The Only Way Is Essex, we’ve torn up our own high streets in the name of something or other, and we’ve planted the seeds for divorce from Europe. Yet out of hard times comes good music – so while 2011 can hardly claim to have been a great year for the UK, it’s been a pretty storming affair for electronic music. So how about something cheery for once? How about 10 albums and 10 compilations that made 2011 a better place? Choosing them wasn’t easy – but from a shortlist of several hundred covered by DMC over the year – and a couple that slipped through the reviewing net – we have the following for your listening pleasure: read more…
The Wednesday that just finished was a total non-starter, a fuzzy-headed, dim-witted washout of a day that felt like a month’s worth of caffeine-deficient Monday mornings strung together into a painfully long blur of dead-end sentences, dropped kitchen implements and barely sidestepped collisions with public transit. I blame myself, mostly, for being too old to realize until a few minutes ago that most of this crabbiness and stupidity derives from the fact that I was up until close to noon on Sunday battering myself, my girlfriend and my neighbours with techno records after coming home from Paco Osuna’s Saturday-night gig at Footwork. But, for that reason, I also blame Toronto deep-tech producer Arthur Oskan, who capably cued up Osuna on Saturday but then came back to the booth once the Minus Records-affiliated headliner was done to drop a second, seriously dirty, driving and damaging set upon the up-for-it crowd until they kicked everyone out around 5 a.m. Read on…
The Toronto house label celebrates reaching a half century of releases with this remarkable piece of work from head honcho Noah Pred, who has somehow crammed 50 of his favourites from the catalogue on to one seamless mix without making it sound saturated. Pred starts off with music of remarkable depth, chilled but still with a forward urgency in the beats of Meesha, Eric Downer and KiloWatts. As the music gradually builds it heads off into darker territory in the fourth section, with material from Co-op and Pred himself, and a key turning point is reached with what appears to be a blend of Tonepushers’ ‘Praxic’ and Pete Grove’s ‘No Relief’, where the music pauses in a big breakdown, and the tempo comes back subtly raised. Pred keeps a firm hand on the tiller but generates a load of energy, making it almost impossible to listen to this music and stay still. Thoughtless are in a healthy state if this is anything to go by – and go buy you should, if your tastes encompass deep house in any shape or form.
Back in 2007, Arthur Oskan released two collections from his very first forays into musical production and performance. Entitled 1995-97 – The Auracle Sessions Vol. 1and Vol. 2, they comprised 20-odd tracks of deeply atmospheric music that ranged from twisted acid house to downtempo and broken-beat Boards of Canada-esque electronica. While Oskan’s methods, structures and subject matter may have developed through the years, it’s clear from A Little More Than Everything that his fondness for deeply evocative, dreamlike soundscapes hasn’t wavered.
Those aforementioned structures are, in A Little More Than Everything‘s case, largely techno. Given Oskan’s repute as a live performer, it’s actually a little surprising how “clubby” the album, on the whole, feels. You could well imagine that this debut would be the perfect setting to indulge in long, beatless, meandering pieces. Instead, Oskan draws out long phrases and loops within otherwise quite uniform 4/4 moulds. In most cases, this is done with such an acute attention to detail that the relative barrenness of the tracks in question act as a celebration of single-mindedness, forgoing all unnecessary distractions in favour of a single, unifying point of clarity.
Take “Fat Mobile,” for example. After the shimmering ambience of “Sentimental” and the spectral groans of “Blood from a Stone” have gently eased you into the album, the guttural low end of “Fat Mobile” thumps hard, at first feeling like an uninvited, drunken guest banging at the door of your sophisticated dinner party. But once Oskan has drawn all the suspense possible out of a few hesitant chords during the elongated break and the cacophonous bass returns, it feels good, right and entirely welcome.
Similar in structure but far darker in tone, “Morning Call” embarks on its seven-and-a-half minute journey with little more to show for itself than a rigidly menacing, hostile bassline. It’s edgy, but not oppressively so, the tension again broken by a drawn-out break in the clouds. Towards the end of the album Oskan delves deeper into melody. Both “Two Seasons” and “Moodswings” are hauntingly beautiful analogue pieces, with the latter’s gently trembling undulations pulling especially urgently on the heartstrings. Despite the obvious care and attention with which the rest of the album has been crafted, these two closers can’t help but make me wish for five or six more in a similar vein, the result of which would surely have been a truly stunning album rather than just one that is undeniably excellent.
Toronto-based Thoughtless Music celebrates its 50th release over four years with the end of the first era, in this 73-minute mix, titled Era One. Collected and mixed by the label owner and curator, Noah Pred, the journey traverses over 50 tracks, marking the selection as the first “inaugural installment [in] the culmination [...] of thoughtlessness“. Pred lays down a continuous mix full of highs and lows, abstract sounds and beats, pounding away at your mind with a quality controlled production. Minimal and tech-house rhythms are neatly folded and unwrapped to reveal a sonic landscape capable to separate the frequency space even among the muddiest of the noises. Every little sound feels EQd to live in its own head space, propelling the label into a category of production houses concerned with quality over quantity. When the price of a good or service is marked by a simple supply vs. demand curve, and when the supply in this digital age of such output may seem unlimited, Thoughtless Music skids on the limits of this formula, where the result just doesn’t make sense, and you still want to pay for the music. “Showcasing a wide variety of sounds within the parameters of modern techno and house music, the mix builds from deep excursions to peak-time jams and back again, weaving a fluid tale that stands as both a testament to the Thoughtless sound and a statement of things to come…” Weaving in 50 tracks, overlaying on top of each other in three channels, is no easy task, showcasing the label’s three year output of over 300 individual tracks is another. Faced with one of the most difficult dilemmas of distilling your catalog to a fraction of your favorites, Pred appears to seamlessly roll over the task with this gorgeous, mind bending mix.
Toronto’s Thoughtless Music mark their 50th release with a 50-track mix that takes in the best of the first 49, plus a new track ‘Unsung’ by label boss Noah Pred, who’s also mixed the whole lot together. As you might hope/expect from such an extensive selection, there’s a fair degree of stylistic variety, but “deep techno” would cover the overall mood pretty well. If you said, more specifically, “deep techno that househeads should also enjoy, with dubby, proggy, or more abstract touches here and there,” you’d pretty much have it nailed. Genre tags aside, it’s a highly enjoyable 73 minutes of thoughtful, melodic, but still floor-friendly electronic music. Go seek.
For the past three years, Toronto’s Thoughtless Music has been turning out a steady stream of forward-thinking techno and after-hours house. With contributions from over 100 artists from around the world, and nearly 300 tracks and remixes released digitally, the label has become an important piece in the international techno scene.
Looking back at the first era of releases, label boss, producer and accomplished DJ Noah Pred tackles the almost impossible task of stitching together 50 tracks from artists, including the Big Smoke’s Eric Downer, the West Coast’s Jay Tripwire (who will perform at the Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition in June), Winnipeg’s Tone Pushers, San Francisco’s Limaçon and Chicago’s Kate Simko. Pred approaches this diverse sound arsenal like he would any DJ set, layering, adding and subtracting elements like a pro. Era One works both as an introduction and document of the label, but also proves techno is alive and well in North America.
Toronto’s Thoughtless Music celebrates its fiftieth release with a seventy-four-minute mix by Noah Pred, the label’s manager and a well-respected DJ and producer in his own right. For the project, Pred selected forty-nine tracks from the 293 built up over the label’s three-year-plus run and even managed to sneak in a brand new exclusive of his own (“Unsung”) to bring the total to fifty. The first in what’s intended to be an ongoing Thoughtless Era mix series (a new one’ll appear at fifty-release intervals), Era One offers a fluid and relentlessly grooving set of fresh techno and house cuts that suggests Thoughtless Music’s profile deserves to be higher than it currently is. Included among the producers and remixers are KiloWatts, Animaltek, Signal Deluxe, Evan Marc, Kate Simko, DJ Maus, Jay Tripwire, Falko Brocksieper, Derek Marin, Limaçon, Rennie Foster, Jeff Bennett, and others. Needless to say, the mix has its share of jacking and percussive moments (Marc Cotterell’s remix of Signal Deluxe’s “Replicants” one example), and there’s no shortage of bass-heavy bangers, house-flavoured tracks, and feverish peak-time moments (even a few acidy ones) on offer too.
If there’s one thing about the mix I would’ve preferred otherwise, it’s how the indexing of the tracks involved is handled. Rather than separate markings for all fifty selections, they’ve been grouped into ten indexed tracks, with each containing anywhere from three to seven selections. That means it’s difficult to identify a given track when it lands in the middle of an indexed track (unless one is familiar enough with the Thoughtless catalogue to do so), and hence difficult to discuss the release on an individual track basis; as a result, it’s hard to know, for example, whether the radiant cut steamrolling through the middle of index five is Pred’s “Unsung” or Ludwig Coenen’s “Frontline.” But that’s more a reviewer-related issue than a purely listening-based one, and the release hardly suffers with respect to the latter as a result. One thing’s for sure: if Pred’s fierce mix is representative of Thoughtless Music’s catalogue, it’s surely a high-intensity one because the mix hardly ever pauses to catch its breath (Rennie Foster’s “Drifting Dub” of Pete Grove’s “No Relief” and a few moments at the start of track ten the rare exceptions).
Toronto, ON-based Thoughtless label owner, producer and DJ Noah Pred debuts Era One, a 73-minute mix celebrating the first 50 releases on his label. Produced using Abelton Live, Pred seamlessly layers and combines his back catalogue of talent without too much manipulation, staying true to the traditional format of mixing and honouring the diversity of the label’s output. From minimal techno to house stompers, the mix starts off with Italian producer Roberto Bardini delivering a mysterious, deep, dub-y techno excursion. Toronto duo Co-op offer “Peace By Piece,” an infectious house shuffle with light, melodic tones carrying it through. One of Toronto’s leading producers, Arthur Oskan gets showcased in the mix a few times and will be coming out with his debut full-length release on Thoughtless next month. In three years, Thoughtless has released almost 300 tracks and continues to expose the world to a wide array of fresh, new talent. On Era One, Pred successfully highlights his repertoire while demonstrating his meticulous skills as a DJ.
Damn it, techno is still the Best Music Ever, but this to-the-death electro-phile, aging raver and longtime-half-assed bedroom DJ has been unforgivably remiss in staying on top of his s–t since dance music began abandoning 12-inch vinyl and Technics 1200s for a digital future/present all but unknowable to stubborn, turntable-tweaking Luddites like me who can barely get a laptop up and running, let alone master the Traktor S4. Noah Pred had been flexing his muscles as a skilled techno jock off and on around these parts long enough that he arrived a known quantity when he pulled up stakes from the Sunshine Coast and moved to Toronto in 2006. He’s further distinguished himself as a forward-thinking purveyor of contemporary music-making tech — wanna learn the ins and outs of Ableton Live? Pred’s got a seminar with your name on it — and, as the man in charge of the Thoughtless Music label, a curator of fine nu-skool techno tracks that bump, wiggle and glaze with the soul of classic Detroit whilst satisfying 21st-century Berlin’s appetite for a bit of early-morning leather-bar ooze.
Most of Thoughtless’s output to date has been confined to the digital realm so, vinyl- and CD-hugging anachronism that I am, it’s only been through Pred’s breathlessly mixed new compilation, Thoughtless: Era One, that I’ve realized how much of the label’s excellent output I’ve been missing. Terrific CanCon here from the likes of Jamie Kidd, Eric Downer, DJ Maus and Pred himself, not to mention several cuts by San Francisco’s Limacon, whose Tarry Not album was one of last year’s best. Tightly mixed, finely layered, nicely bumpin’.
“Later this month, Thoughtless Music will release Era One, mixed by label boss Noah Pred. Though Thoughtless Music launched less than four years ago, the Canadian imprint has already released hundreds of tracks over nearly 50 records. Era One, which aims to be the first in a series due out every 50 releases, marks this achievement by packing 50 Thoughtless tunes into 73-minute mix. Chatting recently via email, Pred gave us the rest of the scoop…”
Read the full interview on Resident Advisor!