Growing up in Kiev, Ukraine, Sasha Renkas remembers a landscape of strange light and slight abandonment. Compelled to create – or rather, extract – safer worlds from haunted hardware of the ‘80s and ‘90s, Renkas collaborates with Eline Makker to make escapist themes on the precipice of acid and adventure as Antenna.
The most recent design from Antenna’s Rotterdam base, and their first contribution to Beats In Space Records after releases on Pinkman and Royal Oak, Primavera is a meditation on the sensitivity of spring. Far from a floral arrangement, Renkas and Makker engage the liminal space, a brief, bitter-sweet bloom between the endless summer and relentless winter.
Written after an overwhelming experience in the Austrian countryside, the four track EP is the fantastical formation of elevated moments in space and time, an homage to nature’s otherworldly portals. Each track presented is an edited version of one hour jams recorded live to drive, with cameos from an army of Akai and Korg veterans. Renkas new acuteness for beauty’s hidden moments dictates a less Cageian, more Bretonian surrender to the generative possibilities of this weathered machinery.
Like the human imagination allowed to wander and wonder, each song manifests as its own environment in transition, formed of the perfect layering of antipodal elements. “Primavera May” lifts you from ordinary life: the apparition of rain clouds and droplets blur into a soft curtain over the world as the whir of delicate hi-hats glisten in a muted sunlight.
Imagine a moment where the most inanimate inhabitants of the earth ghost dance before disappearing into nothing. Makker’s spoken vocals add a crestfallen hue to the vanished. She monotonously recites her regret: “everything is dancing / everything is crying / it can feel so heavy / before it has begun.”
A denser, yet similarly sorrowful song, “Before I Fall Asleep” is sculpted around nimble strings and webbed by breathy vocals, remaining slightly suspended, as if levitating just above the verdant ground. Halfway through “Primavera April,” the track is transformed by acid showers, a lead synth lifts off to reveal a ravaged landscape, diametrically opposing the previous peace. The ambient “Acceptance Snow” closes Primavera with the self-fulfilling prophecy of its theme: that snow will fall, and the world will go to sleep.
Conjuring the surreality of Renkas childhood landscapes, for all its reverie, Primavera always orients itself toward the responsibilities of the present. There is an acknowledgment that all day dreams must lead back to reality, that all journeys must be fulfilled.
Each 12″ on Beats in Space Records features original artwork in considerate and serial form. For Primavera, New York artist Jesse Moretti positions uniform obelisks across a melted pastel field to replicate the woozy rhythms of this EP. Constructed by WWFG, direct mail order copies of the 12” features a removable vinyl BIS logo cling.
Mount Liberation Unlimited is formed of sunbeams, sockerbitar, and Swedes.
Chance members of a Stockholm-based band during their late teens, Tom Lagerman and Niklas Janzon found themselves peeling off from the pack to smoke and make techno. Dreaming of a global dance music community in which artists are allowed anonymity, the two set out to service this secret society by soundtracking happy-making moments under the Mount Liberation Unlimited guise.
MLU’s third release, (Eerie) For Your Love, developed organically and inversely from their live set into the studio. In this procedural fluidity, hypnotic live takes animate as tenacious tone, melody, and groove. MLU’s method relies upon thee jam, the feeling shared in the moment, and then revisiting that friendzied magic. This dedication to spontaneity is tempered by a naive faith in one another, an unspoken jibber jabber that melds two minds together in childlike harmony.
“(Eerie) For Your Love” is almost ten minutes of eccentric, eclectic, and electric crescendos. This loving intensification threatens to unravel into mania, not so much an eeriness as an uncanny, maddening of reality. The track is an itch that can’t – and won’t – be scratched, the sense of anticipation accumulating and splashing over everything when you find yourself relieved.
“Maiden Voyage” is informed by the impermanence that accompanies touring. The track is virginal yet determined, a youthful militancy marches it along the open road careening around the complicated crags. Though the track occupies fewer, more introspective grooves than its a-side brother, the shared experience between the two overflows in an almost sibling understanding.
Each 12″ on Beats in Space Records features original artwork in considerate and serial form. For (Eerie) For Your Love, Los Angeles artist Jen Stark spirals into three dimensional psychedelic space accurately depicting the love mania of the title track. Constructed by WWFG, direct mail order copies of the 12” features a removable vinyl BIS logo cling.
Mount Liberation Unlimited’s (Eerie) For Your Love will be released July 15, 2016 on Beats In Space as a limited edition 12” and across digital formats. Physical purchase includes a free, high-quality, multi-format download.
Release Date: April 15, 2016
The radio is a memory machine. It is an airborne exchange of information between celestial host and terrestrial audience. Radio is a medium which configures collective cognition through mass media, harmonizing voice and anonymous ear. The magic of radio exists in its connectivity.
For many in their formative years, this connection occurs within the emancipated preserve of college radio. Beats in Space began and perseveres in this preserve, though its reach now extends beyond campus to wider culture. As a student, Tim Sweeney began broadcasting on WNYU in 1999. Twelve years later, Sweeney created a label under the same name, preserving waveform memories permanently to wax.
Paradis’ “La Ballade de Jim,” the first release represented on BIS: 001 – 020, a compilation surveying the first twenty Beats In Space Records releases, embodies the consideration and sophistication a twelve year history lends a label. A driving, memorable bassline; blurred, drifting keys over an interminable sequencer, presented with crystal clear production. Decisively understated, it offers an overwhelming possibility of what is to come.
The bounty of releases beyond range from aquatic slow burners (Dukes of Chutney’s “The Smiling Cheshire”) to sweeping Balearic compositions (Tornado Wallace’s “Desperate Pleasures”), to outrageous expressions of club-generated sublimity (Crystal & S. Koshi’s “Break the Dawn”).
The label’s most recent offerings prey on the heavenly-hearted with House of Spirits’ (the nom de plume of Tom Noble) anthemic “Holding On,” the existential / extraterrestrial acid lovers with Palmbomen II’s self-titled album, and the person who just likes to take ecstasy and dance next to the speaker all night while T & P’s (Tim Sweeney and Phillip Lauer) “Shoot The Freak” sets fire to all synapses.
It’s clear what makes these releases harmonious. In keeping with the sensibility coveted by Sweeney during his time on air, there’s an attitude: a little bit rude, but softened with sensitivity. There is a sense of motion, narrative and duration; a dedication to crescendo, a theatricality that never yawns. An appreciation for melody, but not at the expense of propulsive percussive textures.
There is an ambience in this music that suggests and searches for space. Not necessarily the cosmic kind of space (though we never upturn our nose to galactic grooves), but the kind inhabited by and for dancers. BIS releases are drenched, or at least dipped, in the particular nostalgia experienced as one meets the eyes of a friend across a crowded floor and the memory of an entire relationship rushes through blood in a wordless, serotoninic moment.
The striking balance between consistency and singularity in the musical quality of each release is matched by carefully considered artwork. Every BIS record is afforded a visual component created by equally distinguished artists who, finding themselves in the ever-expanding orbit of the BIS family, extend their services with pride.
The level of consideration inherent to Tim’s selection process for the label seems to have slowed, even stalled his aging process. He is still the same teenager he was when he first stepped into the WNYU studio. And though firmly and foundationally ensconced in the NYC and international dance music world, Tim is still something of an outlier, someone who remains awkward, determined, and curious.
The first Beats In Space compilation, BIS001 – 020, is available April 15, 2016 on double CD and digital formats.
Only available from RVNG and Commend.
Phillip Lauer makes his third appearance on Beats in Space Records, this time alongside Boss In Space and burgeoning producer Tim Sweeney as T & P. On Shoot The Freak, the dynamic duo deliver a groove-infused three tracker for your inner and outer freak.
After sharing a gig at Robert Johnson, the intimate German club near Frankfurt known for its excellent sound system and minimalist flair, the pair shared a few, freaky days at Hotel Lauer (Phillip’s residence and recording studio in the bucolic German countryside) writing and tracking the cuts of Shoot The Freak.
Having worked together in other capacities, a chance to creatively collaborate unleashed unhinged music from deep within the duo’s collective soul.
Conceptualized with New York City’s historic amusement park and freak scene in mind, title track “Shoot the Freak” adds an acidic 303 line alongside a hypnotic vocal sample, the track slowly ascending like a roller coaster before rocketing even deeper into space.
The b-side struts its stuff with “Luna Park,” a smooth-burning, string-laden house burner. “Garden of Tears” completes the EP, its synthetic voices and slow, emotive bass line chugging and churning into the glorious sunset along Coney Island’s beachfront.
Each 12? on Beats in Space Records features original artwork in considerate and serial form. For Shoot The Freak, New York artist Peter Sutherland splits day and night through vertically collaged cosmic blinds. The 12? packaging constructed by Joanne features a removable vinyl BIS logo cling.
T & P’s Shoot The Freak will be released on Beats In Space as a limited edition 12” and across digital formats. Physical purchase includes a free, high-quality, multi-format download.
Kai Hugo works in two guises. Palmbomen is a group-oriented collaboration suited for live dynamics and instrumentation, while Palmbomen II is geared toward solitary production with an austere toolset: classic sequencers, time-tested drum machines and their contemporary counterparts. Hugo’s foray as Palmbomen II makes its debut on Beats In Space Records with the eponymous full-length Palmbomen II.
Guided by voices hardwired into machines of house productions past, Hugo found his footing on the road most travelled by pioneering dance producers by following a spontaneous ethos to create Palmbomen II. The live ideology applied to Palmbomen’s 2013 album Night Flight Europa guides this path, yet the true vehicle of Palmbomen II is optimized with a single driver-seat.
Recorded during a summer lockdown in his mother’s attic in their hometown of Breda, The Netherlands, Hugo monastically set forth making Palmbomen II with tools of a seemingly distant trade: machines – to program and to play – and tape – to record the results. By reversing the perceived potential in hardware versus software production, Hugo returned to the creative core sometimes blinded by too much screen glow: make good music and the rest will follow.
“Program the rhythms, arrange the harmonies, play these together, and record to tape. That’s it,” says Hugo. By virtue of Hugo’s reductive approach, Palmbomen II is flagrant with moments that fall outside an “ideal” mix. The album is imbued with a literal human touch. One hears Hugo riding Oberheim DX faders in real time, improvising Arp 2600 patches at the turn of a track, and dripping sweat across Roland TR-909 keys.
Beyond the process of Palmbomen II, the album maintains to two metaphysical atmospheres: his mother’s attic and The X-Files. The attic’s liminality inspired a routine practice of tracking four songs a day for a solid week throughout different parts of the summer. A solitary binge of sorts, the fourteen tracks of the album represent only a portion of the escapist trove Hugo yielded.
Simultaneously, Hugo’s binge-watching of the 90s / early aughts sci-fi television show colored characteristics in his music. Set in Vancouver, The X-Files’ early seasons are felt in the wave-crashing, deep forest melodies of “Cindy Savalas” and “John Lee Roche”, while the languid rhythms of “Carina Sayles” mirrors the human condition as morphed by the show’s extraterrestrial encounters.
Palmbomen II possesses the qualities of an artist slowly slipping from one reality to the next, yet it welcomes listeners to experience this transcendence in tandem. By toeing the primal lines drawn in early electronic production, the base – and bass – from which Hugo explores the fringe remains musically bright and in sight.
Recently relocated to Los Angeles to cruise Shaky Town’s alien lanes, Hugo plans to bring his Palmbomen II project to the live stage with an extensive crew of hardware compatriots. Palmbomen II will be available on March 3, 2015 on double LP, CD, and digital formats via Beats in Space Records.
Australia’s one-man storm of tropical funk Tornado Wallace returns to Beats In Space Records with the acid-flecked two-tracker, Kangaroo Ground / Ferntree Gully.
Where Desperate Pleasures, his first EP for Beats In Space, distilled post-punk and electro influences into sunkissed sub-equatorial tones, Lewie Day’s new 12 secretes lysergide and sweat from deep within a zero gravity dance bunker.
“Kangaroo Ground” shares the buoyancy of its spirit animal namesake, but grinds in high-gear with a shredded 303 line and monstrous groove more akin to a possessed croc. The record’s flip, “Ferntree Gully,” sheds its scaly acid skin for softer sines and sirens signaling Italo productions past and built to last.
A score to a surfer’s dream wave or a marathon man’s final stretch, Kangaroo Ground / Ferntree Gully ornaments Tornado Wallace’s discography with another shining, kaleidoscopic sonic gem.
Each 12″ from Beats in Space Records features original artwork in considerate and serial form. This 12″ threatens all arachnophobes in a half-mile radius care of Will Sweeney’s Lite-Brite tarantula. The 12″ packaging, constructed by Will Work For Good, features the signature removable vinyl BIS logo cling.
Tornado Wallace’s Kangaroo Ground / Ferntree Gully will be released on February 23 as a limited edition 12” and March 10, 2015 in digital forms.
Emanating from the mists of NYC's over-populated airwaves since 1999, Tim Sweeney's Beats In Space show has long been a beacon of quality, originality and cutting edge music on a weekly basis for electronic music fans world-wide. The standard and variety of the regular guests has always been extremely high and international DJ's and artists such as DJ Harvey, Four Tet, Ben UFO, Move D, Jamie XX, Prosumer, James Murphy, Carl Craig, Gerd Janson, Todd Terje and many more have all graced the BIS turntables at one time or another in the last decade and a half.
It is this open minded approach to music and quality control that marks BIS out from the crowd as a radio show and as a record label. This is all down to Tim Sweeney's flawless programming and dedication to his audience. Each and every week on a Tuesday evening Tim takes to the airwaves with a selection of the best old and new music the underground has to offer and the world tunes.
On this special compilation celebrating BIS 15th anniversary we are treated to two discs of stellar picks from Tim's record bag, the first disc is a mix recorded in the WNYU studio a host of exclusive tracks and edits from Azari & III, Edwin Starr, Dukes Of Chutney & Secret Circuit. The second disc is a collection of BIS classics and influences that have steered the direction that the show has taken since it's inception, including some killer under the radar gems and secret weapons from the likes of John Talabot, Matias Aguayo, Plaid and Tensnake. Both mixes help to tell the story of one of the most enduring, vital radio shows out there - Long live Beats In Space!
Globetrotting music producer Guiddo debuts on Beats In Space Records with the Gin ‘n’ Tears EP, three tracks of Balearic bliss featuring the soulful of psalm of Greek-French vocalist Georges Perin.
The record’s title track lilts like a disco 45 at 33 rpm, Perin’s croon rising higher and higher above Guiddo’s baseline funk and expert riffage channeling Nile Rodgers’ sultry stabs. “I Miss You Now” glides on the seductive sunset vibe of “Gin ‘n’ Tears,” while Perin pleads to “lose that feeling tonight” in his characteristic falsetto.
The EP’s finale, “One Last Bite,” captures the A-side’s allegiance to the Balearic beat while riding into a pop-oriented realm that fits in with the best dancefloor ballads of the past thirty years. Guiddo elevates “One Last Bite” with melodies made to soundtrack two lovers’ farewell after a summer fling on the Mediterranean coast.
Each 12″ on Beats in Space Records features original artwork in considerate and serial form. Nicole Ginelli abstracts the tone palette of Gin ‘n’ Tears into a canvas of party survival tools, fittingly bright and ecstatic. The 12″ packaging constructed by Will Work For Good features a removable vinyl BIS logo cling.
Guiddo’s Gin ‘n’ Tears will be released November 18, 2014 on Beats In Space as a limited edition 12” and November 25, 2014 across digital formats. Physical purchase includes a free, high-quality, multi-format download.
Lauer returns from Mascat’s orbit to New York City’s Beats In Space Records with a new two-tracker, Hands & Feet / Stigma.
Since 2012’s Mascat Ring Down, Lauer ditched city life for a quiet village outside of Frankfurt. Lauer embraced the space for his young family and settled his creative headquarters in a quaint attic studio. The new environments and housemate, a slumbering infant son, inspired these two songs to breathe a delicate and patient air.
Recorded during the first summer of his new domesticity, both tracks swell with echoed piano riffs buoyed by Lauer’s dependably precise programming. “Hands & Feet” rides galactic grooves alongside patient 303 lines and melodies reminiscent of Fourth Floor Records’ finest.
“Stigma” digs deeper into pop nostalgia, tugging at the heartstrings of a teenage romance’s memory. Crystalline chords lead layered arpeggios through inspired ‘80s Top 40, mechanized with a distinctly Lauer-ian machine funk.
Each 12″ on Beats in Space Records features original artwork in considerate and serial form. Kensei Yabuno recasts Mascat’s squid into a pez dispenser for the vinyl cover of Hands & Feet / Stigma. The 12″ packaging constructed by Will Work For Good features a removable vinyl BIS logo cling.
Lauer’s Hands & Feet / Stigma will be released September 23 on Beats In Space as a limited edition 12” and October 7, 2014 across digital formats. Physical purchase includes a free, high-quality, multi-format download.