Henrik Schwarz, Âme and Dixon - The Grandfather Paradox

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  • The mix CD is dead. And why shouldn't it be? With certain haggard franchises now ambling complacently into double figures and podcasts and downloadable live sets offering near infinite possibilities, you can't help but think that it's only a matter of time before they're completely obsolete. How can they compete with performances by every working DJ playing tracks fresh from the plant, selections unhampered by licensing restrictions and it all coming at the low, low cost of free? With The Grandfather Paradox Henrik Schwarz, Âme and Dixon tackle the mix CD problem by avoiding the new altogether. The techno they've chosen is old, and some of their selections probably don't even have a copyright anymore. Taking its name from the proposed paradox which refutes the possibility of time travel, considering a time traveller could theoretically go back in time, kill their grandfather and negate their own existence, this hasn't prevented the Innervisions gang from attempting similarly complex feats of time-juggling. The subtitle further spells out their intention: "A Journey Through 50 years of Minimalistic Music" explores minimalism as a concept, linking house and techno with pioneering minimal(istic) music of all genres. What results is a truly time-defying melting pot, where Steve Reich's gradual processes link arms with clanging kosmische chug and motor city machine music, the DJs zipping through epochs like Marty McFly. The quartet's idea of what constitutes "minimalistic music" is broad, but the selections are never intentionally obtuse, nor delivered like a history lesson. Indeed, the joy in The Grandfather Paradox is that Âme and co. approach this as house DJs, paying meticulous attention to sequencing and investing the most academically stripped-bare productions with disco sweat and swagger. They delight in matching incongruities like the clinical razors of Ø's "Atomit" with Conrad Schnitzler's velvet synths, or Cymande's naked congas and harmonies with Patrick Moraz's hazy elektronische squall. The development from Reich's opening "Electric Counterpoint" through to Liquid Liquid's "Lock Groove" is exquisitely balanced, linking New York loft-academia with contemporaneous punk-funk (themselves never far removed), and the final third—from Hawtin's mix of La Funk Mob through to Yusef Lateef's "The Three Faces of Bala" and Robert Hood's "Minus"—is nail-bitingly tense. That we end with the ragtag street rhythms of Moondog shows just what these boys can pack in. In any selection this broad there's bound to be quibbles over absences. Particularly on the unmixed second disc, I'd like to have seen even earlier examples of minimalism, Satie's furniture music perhaps, or an ol' timey fiddle dance such as "Indian War Whoop," but this unsolicited advice is subjective and irrelevant, as Henrik Schwarz, Âme and Dixon's project is clearly expressed. Perhaps Optimo could have pulled this off, but I've yet to hear a mix both as diverse and streamlined as this.
  • Tracklist
      CD1: Mixed 01. Steve Reich & Pat Metheny - Electric Counterpoint - Fast (Movement 3) 02. Etienne Jaumet - Repeat After Me (Âme Mix) 03. Kenneth Bager - Fragment Eleven… The Day After Yesterday Pt.1 04. Liquid Liquid - Lock Groove (Out) 05. Cymande - For Baby Oh 06. Patrick Moraz - Metamorphoses 1st Movement (Live) 07. To Rococo Rot - Testfeld 08. Mathematics - Blue Water 09. I:Cube - Acid Tablet 10. Ø - Atomit 11. Conrad Schnitzler - Electrocon 11 12. Green Pickles feat. Billy Lo & M. Pittman - Feedback 13. La Funk Mob - Motor Bass Gets Phunked Up (Richie Hawtin's Electrophunk Mix) 14. John Carpenter - The President Is Gone 15. Yusef Lateef - The Three Faces Of Bala 16. Robert Hood - Minus 17. Raymond Scott - Bass-Line Generator 18. Moondog - Invocation CD2: Unmixed 01. Conrad Schnitzler - Elektrocon 11 02. Steve Reich & Pat Metheny - Electric Counterpoint - Fast (Movement 3) 03. Liquid Liquid - Lock Groove (Out) 04. To Rococo Rot - Testfeld 05. Patrick Moraz - Metamorphoses 1st Movement (Live) 06. Young Marble Giants - N.i.t.a 07. Kenneth Bager - Fragment Eleven… The Day After Yesterday Pt.1 08. Arthur Russell - Make 1, 2 09. John Carpenter - The President Is Gone 10. Robert Hood - Minus 11. Raymond Scott - Bass-Line Generator 12. Pyrolator - November Mühlheim 13. Cymande - For Baby Oh 14. Can - Sunday Jam