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“The inspiration behind this set originally came to me after seeing the beautiful illustration of Amaryllis by Tori Wheeler, which also happens to be the same design I used as the artwork for the set. In this set, I am trying to explain the blooming process of a flower through music. Each bud goes through a very complicated transformation during the blooming process. Flowers are something which I have always considered to be magical, and it has never failed to amuse me.

Science of Blooming will feature tracks from Acid Pauli, Mooryc, Apparat, Aphex Twin, Jon Hopkins, Douglas Greed, Kadebostan, Nu & Christopher Schwarzwälder, No Accident In Paradise, Hidenobu Ito, Thom Yorke, Mind Against, Moderat, Max Cooper, Dirty Doering, and many more.

Hope you too will enjoy the magical evolution of a bud to an astonishing flower.”

Stalvart John for WITNESS THIS, October 2014

>> YOUR WITNESS THIS GARDENER SAYS… >> Use headphones to experience music blooming inside your head.


Indian-born Stalvart John found his home in electronic music about a decade ago.
He started out playing for pirate radio stations based in the UK, and became resident DJ of Club 1100, Ramada Resorts, playing leading venues like Ava Lounge Dream Hotel Cochin, Lagoon Le Meridien Kochi, V Bar Hilton Garden Inn Trivandrum, and Pebble – The Jungle Lounge Bangalore.

Stalvart’s latest podcast goes by the name “In A Mind Place“. Its concept is not bound by the restrictions of genres. Instead, Stalvart’s idea is to take his listeners on an hour-long journey of sounds. You can listen to it on Tenzi FM every second Saturday of the month.
Other projects include ‘Civilization Of Sounds’ through which he tries to promote home-grown talents, and ‘Odyssey’ which curates pure chill-out, lounge, and experimental electronica sounds.

Connect with Stalvart on Facebook | Resident Advisor | Soundcloud | Mixcloud | Twitter.

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Christoph-Woerner_slower-expectations_witnessthis

Slower Expectations doesn’t lower expectations by any means. Christoph Woerner, responsible for one of my favorite sets of the year has just released a follow up set that is a little more down-tempo yet doesn’t lack detail and keeps you engaged all the way through.

I asked Christoph where the inspiration for his sets comes from, what would he say his influences are and where he seeks out his music.

“I try to play friends, artists that I know, and where I can feel the person when I listen to their music.”

One of the countless reasons that I connect with this culture is the fact that influence and inspiration can pass so easily and un-selfishly through hands and ears to friends and beyond. The ability to reach across the ocean and impact people through these curated pieces of music allows me to fall deeper in love with this genre.

Listen to more from Christoph on his Soundcloud and stalk him until you can go see him live when he plays next.

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This is the set of the year so far for me. Live from the Boiler Room Berlin, David August takes us on a journey through deep space. We start with a dreamy building soundscape that quickly develops into a jaw-dropping series of mixes. He plays the synth live, while mixing in everything from a segregation RFK speech on vinyl, to some of the funkiest move-your-fucking-body beats to come across Soundcloud.

Please take the time to watch the set below, as well as listen to it on Soundcloud.

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IMG_6763Images courtesy of Philipp Vogt and Shelley Pellegrin.


The air is filled with a blend of cigarette smoke and incense as I step into the studio rooms of
Marc-Alan Gray that are residing within the public-bath-turned-night-club halls of STATTBAD in Berlin Wedding.

The place is a known playground for artists, and it shows. Peaches’ Berlin studio is set up next door, and the entourage is coming and going, partly sharing the creative space with my host, rooms piled up with what bears witness to creative minds on the loose, paintings, sketches, art-in-the-making.

“It’s a lot of who you know.” Marc-Alan lights up a cigarette. We are chatting about success in the creative field. Marc-Alan knows the music business, that much is for sure. “A solid ten years” in the industry as a DJ/producer and you can tell, even as the layman that I am. His age, however, remains a mystery to me (it has become kind of a private joke between us that I keep trying to find out while Marc-Alan keeps telling me to mind my manners).

“I think two kind of people make it in the creative business. One would be guys who put out that immense body of work. That’s not me, you know, I am not shitting out music. And then you have the kind of person who’s just really good, and maybe they are hiding, unknown, and they do like a couple of really good things, and then somebody who understands talent is like ‘holy shit this is pretty good stuff, this needs to have a home’. Then you have your whole life to make your first album, and your first hit, and you have another year to make your second album.”

House music is pumping on the stereo as I squeeze my lemon slice into the ice-cold Corona Marc-Alan asked me to bring.

I am wondering out loud what kind of learnings a DJ veteran would share with people working in the creative fields. “In the music business I would say do as much work as you can and don’t get caught up in the small details. Put the stuff out, get it out. You are free, go, little child of mine. Sometimes you think ‘oh I want to save this’, or ‘I want to sit on this’, and I think that’s the biggest mistake. So put a little work out, defining who you are and what you are doing, and then… somebody relates to that and they latch onto it, and then, you know, you have a catalogue. How many writers… how many painters have had a hundred paintings before they ever had a show.”

On his screen Marc-Alan shows me a folder with songs he produced. Some names catch my eye as I read them. Wamdue Project’s Chris Brann is a close friend and collaborator. Marshall Jefferson. “One of the godfathers of Chicago house”, I am being instructed when my face shows an obvious lack of musical wisdom. Robert Owens, Paddy Boom from the Scissor Sisters, and, ummh, you kidding me – Andy Rourke from The Smiths? “He’s done vocals and played bass on three or four of my records.”
Not bad, buddy. Not bad at all.

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I wonder how all these songs came together. “Kind of a Miles Davis approach. I wish I was but I am not of the mental programming to go to the studio with five songs completely written from front to back. I don’t work that way. So my inspiration is random, that’s a bit of ‘the moment’ and a bit of ‘in my mood’.”

Marc-Alan’s productions are refreshingly different from what you hear on most Berlin dancefloors these days. “It’s indie dance. That’s how Americans who love to categorize music with a label would call it. Somewhere between the XX and… whatever.” His time in New York seems to resonate intense memories, and you can tell his work was inspired by the city that never sleeps. “I kinda got back into indie again, rock was having a moment in New York, and I was like ‘Give me the Strokes, give me Interpol…’ and we were having a really good time in New York for a minute. And than it started to mash again, to warp again, and then it became clubby indie stuff again, like Scissor Sisters, these guys came on the scene.”

There goes another cigarette.

I realize I’m talking in a foreign language to a true New Yorker club DJ, all the while still figuring out what exactly that means. “I have a hard-time being linear with art. I have a hard time putting things in boxes. I mean, first and foremost I’m a DJ. I mix. BPMs don’t matter. Styles don’t matter. I come from a frame of mind where you don’t play the same bpm, don’t play straight bangers all night in a row because nobody goes to the bar and buys drinks. Think about the truth to that. Don’t be scared to play an abstract record, or don’t be scared to play a mellow record, or a moody record that will clear the dancefloor. Don’t be scared to clear the dancefloor because they will head over to the bar and buy drinks. Then you get them back on the next jam. Those things are a bit different if you are hangin’ out at Berghain.”

Marc-Alan’s live sets are fun rollercoaster rides, and have only one mission: everybody dance. “Me going to Berghain and listening to 130 bpm for four hours blows my mind, I’m amazed by that but I’m like ‘wow I need a little bit more of a neurotic, non-linear journey’,” Marc-Alan says. Versatile in style ranging from Disco to Funk, Indie rock, Hip-Hop to Deep House, he knows how to play with the audience and set fire to the dancefloor just when you need it. “I’ve come to a frame of mind of music to where it’s an up and down. I am a New York club DJ. Anything goes.”

Marc-Alan is a busy bee. 300 to 400 new releases find their way through his ear canals each week, he tells me, and I am beginning to look forward to the mix he is about to release on Witness This.

“I do radio shows a lot…” Marc-Alan says while I open up two more Coronas, “…and those are the hardest gigs ever coz you’re going in there, and there’s no crowd response. You are staring at an engineer who’s probably not paying attention to you, probably texting his girl-friend. And so I think back to what has worked on the dance floor. It’s gutteral.”

And what about Berlin, I ask him. “Being over here has influenced me back into really being into house again. Cause there’s some really good music in Berlin. Really good underground stuff, man. You have good clubbing, good places.” And what about Berlin paralyzing creative productivity as many artists admit after a year of non-stop-partying in Germany’s capital? “A double-edged sword for sure”, says Marc-Alan.

I feel inspired as we take the elevator downstairs, descending into the depths of the abandoned public bath and into the Boiler Room where we are swallowed by a thundering bass and a crowd going mental.


Marc-Alan Gray grew up in Manhattan, NYC. He worked his way up DJing the dancefloors of clubs such as Limelight before exploring the European shores where he played the likes of fabric, Ministry Of Sound, and legendary Titanic in Moscow a little further east.

Catch him monthly for his roaming party Blah!Blah!Blah! at one of Berlin’s most infamous hedonistic temples, the King Size, if you manage to sneak past the bouncer. Or witness him live at one of his summer dates in New York, Oslo, Budapest, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Miami, Breda, and Washington D.C.

He is producing and releasing music on Defected Records and Loveslap. You can check out and buy his stuff here on iTunes.

For event dates and music updates follow Marc-Alan on facebook or Soundcloud.

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-K3A7733_vice_670Photocred: Anna Mascarenhas via thump Brazil


Electronic music in Brazil is coming of age. The electronic label Domina has just released Manara‘s debut album IHNTERACTIONS, and if you like experimental electronica this might be just your thing.

They say: House and techno are vague words that may come to your mind while listening to the album with its 12 tracks including vocal samples from Björk, Little Dragon and Mary J. Blige, creating an eerie mood (thump). Manara [...] is sunrise techno in a Joy Orbison-meets-Underworld vein. (spin.com)

We say: Bursting with creativity, this moody, trippy piece of music feels like you’re on a weird rollercoaster ride during sunrise in a tub full of pink jelly. Manara draws inspiration from all corners of the electronic universe, mainly visiting house, techno, dubstep, and drum’n’bass. His debut is as dark as it is bright, a journey of sounds setting the tone right amidst the Samba rhythms at the Copacabana.

Listen to the album below or stop by Manara’s bandcamp to buy.

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RESIDUAL-GLITTER_witnessthis_room-service

Stemming from and residing in a place of presence and connectivity with others, this mixtape is meant for the morning after the best times are had in a collective group environment. The remnants of last evenings festivities fresh on the brain, but the focus of the present days adventures on the heart. Residual Glitter is delivered to you by the boys formerly known as Fresh + Sunny, now Room Service. So put out the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign and gather around all your closest buds because not only are we not finished, we’ve only just begun. Order UP. Let Room Service deliver it to you. Tips strongly encouraged.

artwork by Nik Atkins

Tracklist:

Wake Up Everybody – Psychemagik
Bless the Rains (LNTG Epic Journey) – LATE NITE TUFF GUY
Bad Desire (The Dead Roses Company Remix) – Bruce Springsteen
Cool cat (Space Duke Russo edit) – Queen
Fly Away (Poolside Edit) – Laid Back
Beyond – Daft Punk (Nicolas Jaar Remix)
Retrograde (Finn Pilly Edit) – James Blake
Don’t Matter feat. Drianna – Cherokee
I Keep Forgettin’ (Sleazy McQueen re-edit) – Michael McDonald
Another Plan – Filipsson & Lindblad
Scribble Me This – Dara
Swept Away (New Jackson Remix) – The XX
HNNY- Boy
Taking Over – Joe Goddard

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crackedhandsandopenhearts_burningman2013_witnessthis

Kenny Parmalee (78 and Sunny)

This mix was inspired by the 2013 Burning Man Festival. An amazing year that I will remember for years to come. My good buddy Dersu and I were lucky enough to play atop of Skybar, a 2 story high dessert night club. A truly unforgettable experience that was a highlight of this years playa jaunt. The tracks found on this mixtape made the Skybar rock and kept Salty Jack’s and the luxurious Gracey Pleasurebarge jamming all week.

Dersu Rhodes

One of my favorite musical moments of my life was found on the top of The Skybar. Ashot Petrosian, one of the creators of the bar, gave us the opportunity to play a late afternoon set in the most amazing setting. Built by hand in the days before The Burn started, we watched The Skybar come together from across the road as we built our camp. To be high above The Playa surrounded by our favorite people, playing the music that had touched us throughout the last year was really special. The place was packed, a full bar kept mouths from being dry, everyone was smiling, and as you can see from the photos taken by Nissa Rhodes, we all danced every second of the two and a half hour set.

Please enjoy the set below.

soundcloud.com/78andsunny
soundcloud.com/dersurhodes

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photos by Nissa Rhodes

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boilerroom_witnessthis

Boiler Room is a soundcloud/youtube channel that hosts, records, and streams live the worlds best underground shows. Started in the UK and now in the last year expanding to Berlin, the 1.1 million followers of Boilerroom.tv know what to expect, the most exclusive cutting edge music from the hottest underground parties. Whether it streams underground from a bunker in Berlin, a rooftop loft in London, or a private beach party in Ibiza, you can expect the acts that fill those venues to be unreal.

This special deep, minimal set by Tale of Us recorded in Paris in partnership with Nuits Sonores is one to most definitely listen to. I love the atmospheric voices of the crowd mixed in with the heavy hitting melodic drone of the one hour set. If you love deep house, you will recognize your favorite tracks woven through the hour. Long drawn out mixes and stealth DJ’ing make this set seamless and the hour will be over before you know it.

Stream the mix below on soundcloud, and then back it with the visuals from the Boiler Room Youtube channel below.

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Written by Philipp Vogt

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Nico Stojan is one of our Berlin based absolute favorites. He grabbed our undivided attention with After the Hour which is just one amongst hundreds of unbelievable sounds from this producer/dj.

Katerholzig liaised with Bachstelzen (a really crazy and BRILLIANT artist/DJ collective, you can find their page here on fb) and organized a very intimate techno festival in Garbicz, Poland, August 16th thru 19th. Bachstelzen are infamous for their decoration and light installations, creating surreal sceneries, for example placing two massive Chinese gongs around a camp fire in the middle of the woods.

The set was played by Nico Stojan in the after-hour on Monday, Aug 19th at the lake-side dance floor in the middle of a beautiful forest. The general consensus of the crowd was that it was enchanting. We are so very proud to share this special set, please enjoy.

▶ Falscher Hase - Rückblick (Dezember 2012) by FalscherHase

▶ Falscher Hase - Rückblick (Dezember 2012) by FalscherHase
A friend once told me that his grandfather’s favorite day of the week was Monday. He saw it as an opportunity to start the week out right and he truly believed the way in which he entered the office on Monday morning would set the tone for the rest of the week and that attitude was directly related to the way in which he lived the rest of his life. A true ‘seize the day’ character, he’d get up an hour earlier on Monday, put on his best suit and charge it.

After spending much of the weekend in front of my computer, it seemed only appropriate to share at least one of the incredible sets I came across while scouring the inter-webs. I like to force myself to stay on task for the duration of a set and thanks to these one-hour brilliant musical journeys, I’m able to sit down and get shit done when all of my friends are out frolicking in the sunshine.

May I present Falscher Hase – Rückblick (Dezember 2012). It’s a slow build but give it time and this set develops into a soft-spoken euphoric musical treat. Happy Monday. May this one help you set the momentum for yet another kick-ass week.

Peer Kusiv_WT_2

Peer Kusiv_WT_2
Peer Kusiv has a natural ability to transform a simple song by sprinkling it with his own unique blend of electronic super dust. His taste in music is impeccable. He extracts the catchiest pieces of a song and adds his own sounds to create a seamless track-the listener unable to decipher where his added elements intertwine with the original. A German producer from the Northern city of Kiel, Peer pulls from a variety of musical influences including a mix of classical, jazz, world music, dance and pop.

His 2012 debut album, ‘Nature & Techno’ is a lyric-less journey through eclectically influenced electronic deep house – it’s relaxed and emotional yet upbeat and optimistic. His new ‘Promomix 2013′ reveals a more mature, faster-paced version of Peer’s previous body of work. I check in on Peer’s work religiously, always sure to listen to the new tracks he posts and always looking forward to the next. Through his remixes I’ve discovered incredible new artists and tracks- The Passenger’s ‘Let Her Go’ and through his remix ‘She Said No’, the discovery of Israeli singer, Asaf Avidan, amongst other favorites.

We can’t wait to see where his path will lead him next and we are so honored to share a glimpse into the world of this young budding talent…

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WT: When were you first drawn to electronic music and when did you start playing around with your own creations?

PK: Actually pretty funny because I was drawn to electronic music through Paul Kalkbrenner and my older brother. At that time I was producing Hip-Hop and thought electronic music was awful. Around 2008 I started making electronic music.

WT: Was there a specific point that you remember that it really clicked and you knew you were creating something special?

PK: No…I’ve been making music for approximately 10 years. Electronic music for about 4-5 years. It was a steady process for me. I’m constantly learning new things concerning production techniques. I know that I am producing music that can keep up in terms of sound but this development is beyond my wildest dreams.

WT: Do you have a favorite place you’ve played at or is there a specific setting that you’re drawn towards playing in?

PK: I was already and will play again a few times in Amsterdam. The Dutch are real Techno fanatic people. The parties over there are always something special. The organization, the line up and of course the crowd. They are really crazy over there and I am very much looking forward to my gigs in Amsterdam.

WT: I can imagine that your style is always evolving and this is an issue that arises with many DJs, but how do you manage to stay true to the music that you really want to play while also managing the expectations of the venues that hire you to play?

PK: Since the beginning I have mostly stayed true to the same kind of music. Of course I try out some stuff here and there but basically I adjusted little and stay with my style. That’s how I perceive it, therefore it is not difficult for me to play live because I play my own tracks. I am booked to play my sound and that’s exactly what the organizers and most importantly the guests get.

WT: You have an incredible ear for pulling tracks from a variety of different genres and remixing them with a very unique and distinguishable style…is it typically the song that inspires you or more specifically, is there a creative process that you seem to typically follow?

PK: First of all thanks a lot! Well now and then I search the internet for new samples with which I would be interested to do a remix. That’s the reason why the inspiration with my edits clearly comes from the tracks that I remix. With my own tracks the process is more or less the same. I start with a melody and then add audio track after audio track until I think it is enough for a whole track…then I start arranging the components which is pretty much a diligent but routine piece of work. So basically for me producing a track starts with a creative phase and ends with something that might be called “work”. However arranging the track doesn’t mean it´s a shitty job, it is of course still fun.

WT: What / who has been your primary influence and where do you seek out inspiration?

PK: I have to admit that I don’t listen to electro a lot and furthermore I don’t know very much about the scene. However I would say guys like Marek Hemman, Stephan Bodzin and of course Paul and Fritz Kalkbrenner definitely inspired me. My actual influence derives mostly from other music genres. My family listened a lot of classical music and jazz for which I am very thankful for because it provided me with a different view of music.

WT: What are you most afraid of?

PK: I think I am mostly afraid of death. Actually fear is exaggerated, I just think it would suck to die now because I still have so many things to look forward to and so much that I want to experience in my life. Alone in a forest at night…that’s where I would be most afraid. J

WT: Where are you headed next? Any plans for a N. American appearance?

PK: Munich, Zurich and Amsterdam are my gigs in April. Nothing is planned yet for North America but I would love to play a gig for you guys!

WT: Is there a place (specific venue or setting) that you dream about playing in?

PK: Yeah, New York City…that would be amazing.

WT: Have you set your sights on something, in any facet of your life for the future that you’d like to share?

PK: Stay alert, I am pretty sure many exciting things will happen this year and I am very curious to find out where my journey will take me…

http://youtu.be/aN3XBcDq-74

Free download of Peer’s debut album, “Natur & Tekno” available here.

(images from http://www.mfm-booking.de)

whitelight

“Over time I’m sure the criteria will change here and there, but White Light will always be about night driving, introspection and taking the time to listen from start to finish – remember to always look into the light…”

whitelight
Without a definitive plan for the evolution of The White Light Mixes, Vancouver-based DJs Neoteric & Matty C set out and created a few mixes and posted them to their site. The first few mixes caught on quickly through their fan base and it wasn’t long before friends wanted to be involved and it just continued to grow from there. Mixes include the creations of the C90s, RAC, Gigamesh and the collection now includes 77 mixes, all by different DJs and producers – each blending together to create a unique journey through the mind of its creator.

Each mix is essentially the creation of a ‘guest’ DJ or producer and they are all basically centered around one core theme: Night Music. They’re driven by the after-hours, that time in the night where your mind runs free and everything feels larger. That state of existence where ones ideas and feelings are all magnified, the possibilities endless. Each mix is strategically curated and the site is an overwhelming odyssey into countless tracks, new and old both popular and largely unknown. Get into the zone, explore and enjoy – there’s something here for everyone.

“The White Light mixes are, ultimately, about two things: music and space. Music first and foremost, as this series is a showcase of great songs, not tracks – songs and mixes you want to listen over and over again, songs that have depth and staying power, and most importantly songs that mean something to each other. Secondly, White Light is about space – giving the music room to breathe – not a post-a.d.d. mix of everything trendy that can fit onto a mixtape, but one that’s paced to give each tune its shine, where the music is the focus and the mixing is an effortless complement.”

– whitelightmixes.com

Listen to the most recent here: