Monthly Archives: June 2008

Interview: Vince Clarke

Vince Clarke

Photo courtesy Vince Clarke

As founding member of Depeche Mode, Yazoo, and Erasure, Vince Clarke has left a distinctive mark in the history of synth-made pop music. In the interview, he explains his take on songwriting, and why self-restraint is important when you have one of the largest collections of analog synthesizers at your disposal. What really got me hooked was his use of the early computer-based UMI sequencer (running on an educational computer designed by the BBC) well through the nineties, then immediately switching to Max/MSP and Reaktor.
Full interview

Michel Waisvisz 1949-2008

Michel Waisvisz

It filled me with great sadness today to learn of the death of Michel Waisvisz, the long-time director and inspirational head of STEIM. Though not unexpected, his death leaves a void that hurts just as much. My thoughts are with his family.

Michel was a rare encounter, incredibly inspirational in a very encouraging way. He chose to work as a sound artist, but his ideas could have filled book after book just as well. I feel lucky to have crossed his path, and I know many (including myself) who will keep his thoughts and ideas alive in their work. Rest in peace, Michel.

STEIM condolence page | Crackle.org

M_nus Sunday Adventure Club: A Berlin Heterotopy

Sunday Adventure Club

Richie Hawtin’s M_nus label are usually wizards when it comes to the creation of a coherent identity for an event or any other type of activity. This is mostly achieved through a good communications concept and brilliant web design. Thus, it came as no surprise that the website for yesterday’s Sunday Adventure Club was rich with signifyers towards the intended identity: A pirate’s bay of minimal techno, with Berlin as its island base and other parts of Europe as free-floating islands in a sea of irrelevant rurality. Globalized local identities at their best.

With this in my head, I was stunned to see the venue mostly undecorated and without obvious connections to the symbolic language of the corresponding website. Instead, the Berlin-identity was back in the driver seat, with its diverse train system rolling right past the crowd, which itself was stuck in a recess between the tracks and an old-Berlin style clay wall. No, this was no island at all. Instead, what I saw and felt was a heterotopy, a venue separated from the regular Berlin, but deeply rooted in its symbolic topos. This was enriched and transformed by the international crowd and the improbability to see a Richie Hawtin set in (almost) full daylight. So, the best communications concept for the creation of an event’s identity is worth nothing after all, if it is not executed all the way through to the venue, where people would couple this identity with social inter(!)action. A great party nonetheless, this event did not convey the coherence I had expected from a brand as successful as M_nus.

Richie Hawtin DJing