Not so long ago, in a land known as The Internet, I was approached by a digital music maverick by the name of Jay. We spoke at lengths about electronic music, remixes, and so forth. The previous time we did this, it resulted in the release of my original production, “Lush,” which was a Good Thing indeed. At the end of this particular conversation, he signed me up to do a remix of Benz & MD. I did two, and they came out on US based Proton Music.
John Morgan and Kevin Shiu have long been good friends, amazing DJs, and producers to boot. I have many fond memories of hanging with them both on Vancouver Island and in the legendary Lotus nightclub in Vancouver’s downtown area. When they offered me the opportunity to participate in a release on Powerplant Music, I jumped at the honour.
The original track is a pretty dark progressive tribal house piece that would not at all sound out of place in a Sasha or John Digweed set. My remix takes the deep, creepy melodic bits and sticks them in a progressive house + breaks adrenaline rush. One of my favourite remixes to work on – so many great parts to work with.
I’ve made this a free download – full quality if you’d like, since it’s no longer for sale. Enjoy it in your car, or at the gym, or just really loud. DO IT!
Bergamot is my first original solo track out since Lush which came out on Proton Music a couple years back. I find myself enjoying collaboration quite a bit and as a result, solo stuff has taken a back seat for a significant amount of time. The wait is over, though, and Bergamot is the result of a whole lot of Earl Grey Tea consumption, time spent at the keyboard (shh – don’t tell!), and inspiration from friends and heros. In particular, this tracks production style was inspired by Shiloh, a group I used to get to spend more time with but lately have not been able to. Additionally, the entire track is done with 5th note increments on second oscillators and twin instruments with balance shifting back and forth.
This is meant to reflect the complexity of flavour between the bergamot oil and ceylon black tea leaves which, together, make Earl Grey Tea. In the middle of the track there is a breakdown where almost every element has vanished and notes rise through the space in the track to convey brewing. There’s some other bits in there that I could equate to the tea making ritual but I will leave that up to your imagination to make those connections. The remix comes care of Hungary’s prog-breakbeat king, Retroid. Enjoy, and as usual please do comment in the comments area below.
- AFK – Bergamot (Original mix)
- AFK – Bergamot (Retroid remix)
Oceanography is a really unique atmospheric breaks track. Fractal brings together many different sounds, synths, pads into several melodies, bass-lines and time signatures, all of which flow effortlessly from eachother. Rennie Foster steps in to do some remix work, focussing on the twisted piano from the original track over top of a pretty deadly techno groove. I also get involved under my AFK name and make it a little more dance-floor friendly but keep true to the ethereal nature of the original while slapping in a breakbeat in the middle (as I like to do) and also weaving an Oliver Lieb-inspired arpeggiation in and out of the track. Good times. All innocent and fun times in fact, until Toby Emerson steps in to do his remix and completely knocks it out of the park. Massive electro-prog basslines and synths drive this remix until a really dark breakdown hits. It’s pretty hot stuff. Caution is advised while dropping this one. Overall I feel that this a really solid release – a year in the making – and I’m glad I took the extra time to see this release through to be what it is now. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did putting it together. As usual I did the sleeve art direction seen above etc.
Question for you now – what’s your favorite mix or remix of the bunch? I wont be offended if you don’t say me, so please have at ‘er!
- Fractal – Oceanography (Original mix)
- Fractal – Oceanography (Rennie Foster’s Thousand Fathoms Deep remix)
- Fractal – Oceanography (AFK’s Ucluelet Detour remix)
- Fractal – Oceanography (Toby Emerson remix)
To say the first Trifecta release is a long time in the making is a severe understatement. This started off as a communal track a few years ago between myself, Dustin H and Justin (Formulate/Humbertron). We each took turns working on the basic sounds, melody and drum sounds and passed the working files back and forth around 6 or 9 times. Then once we had a chunk of it done and a couple movements, we all took it in our own directions resulting in the three finished mixes of the track:
- Trifecta – Terraforce (AFK mix)
- Trifecta – Terraforce (Dustin H mix)
- Trifecta – Terraforce (Humbertron mix)
We came up with the group name after going through several different potential names. We wanted something that would represent the three of us and Trifecta seemed to fit. At the time there were no other “Trifecta”s on Beatport, but as of this post there appears to be a “Tri-Fecta” which Beatport erroneously attributed the track to. That’s not us, and a change request has been filed so hopefully they fix that soon without breaking the link to the release.
“Terraforce” is just a made up word which means earth (terra) power (force). Lets greenwash this by saying that Terraforce will be released digitally only, eliminating tonnes of physical waste that is the result of making CDs and records and shipping them! More power to the earth.
The cover art is made of a few images – one is a volcano (I did not take it myself, but I did pay to license it for this) and then some other miscellaneous textures that have been given a spotty mosaic blend as well as some other stuff.
Seismic is the third collaboration between myself and Dustin H. When we first sat down to make this track I think we were both intimidated by what we had previously accomplished with The Morning Star and Cascadia, and we didn’t want to mess up what precious studio time we had. At the time, the clipper between Victoria and Seattle was on a wacky schedule so we had even less time than we should have. And Dustin was living with this band at the time and they distracted us a fair bit, but it was cool talking to them about what they were up to, and hearing some of their influences between songwriting sessions. They had come up from California. I am not sure what the impetus was behind coming up to Seattle and it still doesn’t make sense in my head, but there you have it. Anyway we had actually sat down to make something epic and soundtrack-ish. Instead, a magma monster burst out of the ground in front of us and demanded to be turned into a progressive track, or else he was going to destroy the entire Pacific North West with a massive earthquake. What the hell were we supposed to do? We agreed and spent the next 18 hours making Seismic, and in the process, saving the citizens of Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria.
The original mix features a number of twists and turns, ethereal noises and abrasive synthetic ones, percussion that falls from the sky above, and basslines that shake the ground below. You’ve heard of hurricane parties? This is an earthquake party. On remix duties we have been completely spoiled. Shiloh gets in on the fault-line fiasco with some serious progressive-tech business that I am sure will find its way into many peak time sets. Stefan Anion is responsible for the breakbeat remix on this release, and what a fine piece of work he did here. There will be no survivors from this remix – it is devastating. Powerplant, aka John Morgan, provides us with a real nice atmospheric house number that manipulates and molds the original synths into a whole new arrangement. All in all I think the package is very well rounded and I am very proud of this Pacific Front release.
- AFK & Dustin H – Seismic (Original mix)
- AFK & Dustin H – Seismic (Shiloh remix)
- AFK & Dustin H – Seismic (Stefan Anion’s Running For Cover remix)
- AFK & Dustin H – Seismic (Powerplant remix)
The Desert Dwellers are a couple of guys named DJ Treavor (Moontribe) and Amani. The collective has expanded since they first wrote this track, and some of you may recognize their other work under the names Amani vs Teapot.
The connection here with the people involved is pretty interesting to me. I first read about the Moontribe in XLR8R magazine in the late 90’s. They had a special section in events in the magazine because they threw full moon parties in the California desert. This sounded cool to me, so I decided that I wanted to go to one of their events. I did some more research and then realized that on my college student budget, there was no way I was going to be making this trip. Too bad.
Less a year later I heard that there was a Moontribe party in Victoria. I was pretty certain there was some sort of mistake as these guys threw parties in the desert in California. It was pretty unlikely that they would choose to come to Victoria and hang out. I was wrong. Over the next couple years, I attended several Moontribe parties in Victoria with DJ line ups like DJ Brian (Hardesertrance, Psychotrance, Seed, Ritual Sounds), John Kelley (Funkydesertbreaks), DJ Treavor, Petey and more. It was all pretty surreal and I found myself designing the flyer for one of their bigger events that many people came up from California for. A bit later on myself and DJ Brian shared a residency at the Neptune Soundbar along with a couple other DJ’s. This resulted in us throwing a full moon party ourselves in the middle of the woods. Wild times to be sure.
In any case, work visas ran out and people who had moved up here from California had to move back. Sad but true. As much freedom as we claim to have in Canada and the United States, we are certainly constricted by the working laws of our two countries. Several years later, we have found a way to work together again – Treavor works at Ingrooves (Music aggregation service that distributes music to stores for Pacific Front Recordings) and runs Desert Trax as well as being a founder of the Desert Dwellers, Brian runs Ritual Sounds and records music as Seed, and we have all done remixes of eachother and pushed the music further despite being pretty far away. If you have a listen to these tracks, you’ll hear our distinct sounds from the past all come together in a condensed and very playable way.
- Desert Dwellers – Musiki Ukabili (Original mix)
- Desert Dwellers – Musiki Ukabili (Phokus and Seed remix)
- Desert Dwellers – Musiki Ukabili (AFK’s Moon Over Myakka remix)
Myakka has nothing to do with the Moontribe or the desert, but rather is a pretty inspiring Florida State Park that Krishen took me to around the time that I did this remix.
The second collaboration between myself and Thor Kell under our “Royal Assassin” alias. This is an eastern influenced breakbeat piece with a tinge of the Hope influence. The Desert Dwellers of LA’s Moontribe and Ritual Sounds came in to deliver a desert trance number, while Formulate delivers a spooky progressive house remix that will put all your hairs on end. Dustin H rounded out the release with a progressive trance remix which has an absolutely gorgeous breakdown!
- Royal Assassin – Turn of Twilight (Original mix)
- Royal Assassin – Turn of Twilight (Desert Dwellers remix)
- Royal Assassin – Turn of Twilight (Dustin H remix)
- Royal Assassin – Turn of Twilight (Formulate remix)
My first memory of Dope Ride is when Charles played it for me when it was 90% done. My second memory of Dope Ride is when he finished it and played it for me – at this point I literally begged and pleaded for him to sign it to Pacific Front. I don’t think the begging or pleading was necessary but this track is that damn good. My third memory of Dope Ride was cruising around in Miami during WMC with Krishen last year, blasting it out of the car and grinning at everyone. That was pretty awesome, I’m not going to lie. My fourth memory of Dope Ride was Charles playing it live at VEMF 2006 at the Jungle Room. Mass destroyage, people, maaaass destroyage. My fifth memory of Dope Ride was the reviews that came into Pacific Front for it. This is a huge track, and it’s been coupled with another original c79 track that will flip you on your side – Dollface. Justin (Formulate) did a remix of it that we started our VEMF 2006 set with, and myself and Anand did a breakbeat remix under our Tiebreaker guise, named after the van our parents own, The Green Machine. In the photo you can see the Green Machine Mark II, which is not a van, but is still green and still a machine. I took the photo up on Triangle Mountain late at night. I have no idea whose house that is but it looks creepy as can be in this time exposure. Even with the effects off it still looks creepy, maybe creepier because it appears that much more real. Anyway it’s real and so is this release, and so are you.
- c79 – Dope Ride (Original mix)
- c79 – Dope Ride (Tiebreaker’s Green Machine remix)
- c79 – Dope Ride (Formulate remix)
- c79 – Dollface (Original mix)
The second collaboration between myself and Dustin H. This time he came up to Victoria and hung out at Suite 410 for a couple of days. We had no idea what we were going to make besides something “really really cool sounding.” Our plan of attack was “okay, we have two days, lets do this” — which I find produces more good music than one might think. I think we really nailed it. The original I can describe only as Hybrid meets Quivver while hanging out with His Boy Elroy on a Starecase down to the Bedrock. That means there are big synths, some breakbeat sections, some four on the floor sections, some orchestration and oodles of atmosphere and other sounds that will make you go “ooooh” and “ahhhh.” His Boy Elroy, formerly a punk band, does an epic progressive breaks remix here. It’s slightly odd that he was doing the remix, as his remix of Blake Jarrell’s “Okoboji” was one of the big inspirations for some important parts of this track. I rounded out the package with a four on the floor dub which just thumps on the dancefloor. Pretty ridiculous on a big system, you just have to hear it, or better yet, drop it and witness.
- AFK & Dustin H – The Morning Star (Original mix)
- AFK & Dustin H – The Morning Star (His Boy Elroy remix)
- AFK & Dustin H – The Morning Star (AFK’s Blue Star Dub)