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Interview: Stormfield On Combat Recordings’ Ten Years

Combat Recordings are a true bastion of industrialised, uncompromising and concrete hard electronics . Operated out of East London for the last 10 years label boss Stormfield has fearlessly compelled this label’s sound on a solid journey, commissioning releases from his self professed heroes Scorn and Milanese as well as providing a home for some spectacularly epic productions from Dead Fader, Point B and Scanone among many. All these artists through the medium of impeccable sound design deliver a high, high quality of music to the label – there’s always a lot to listen to even though it can be a challenging experience for some. Still this music has it’s place in the rave and it’s actually an admirable thing that we should count ourselves lucky for that someone is still willing to put their neck out and self fund something that isn’t cash viable – that’s kind of what art is about you know.

The first Combat release hit the world back in 2004 and this November as a special gesture Stormfield has put together a stonking 19 track compilation to celebrate this landmark anniversary as well as a commemoratory rave. So with such a huge event imminent we caught up to chat with the man be hind the label Stormfield himself to look back and forward over this time and to share some of the comp’s audio along the way…

What does it feel like to be at this point, when you’ve reached 10 years in operation?

Running for 10 years is a bit of a surprise to be honest, as I never really planned to do a label in the first place.

Combat was born through a very specific set of life circumstances and the need to vent in a disciplined, focused way. It felt like the right thing to do and just grew from there. The thing with living in London is, the pace is so relentless anyway – you end up running around doing stuff week to week, and time simply flies past year after year. Now it’s apparently 2014, we’re somehow at “Ten” and having to organise something special is more of a pain in the arse as I’d rather hide away and get on with making music and visuals :) Gotta be done though.

Onwards!

Looking back at this time what do you feel are your proudest moments?

Here’s few:

Travelling and meeting a lot of people over the years, some of whom have become solid friends. Seeing some really good artists go on to do bigger, higher profile things after their initial push via Combat. Likewise, chatting with some great artists who said the Combat’s output has massively influenced them over the years, offering tracks for the compilation, which turned out better than their releases on other labels! Bringing together unlikely artists from different backgrounds and countries on the same track via remixes, re-remixes and collaborations.

Mary Anne Hobbs dropped Cursor Miner’s “Carnivore” as her track of the week, twice in a row on BBC Radio 1.

Aphex Twin playing one of our tunes at Nordik Impakt festival. Just tried to find the youtube link, someone’s taken it down, but the track in question was Audio Assault by Machine Code.

The development of Combat A.V. around 2009, to bridge the label’s sound and visuals in realtime. This fed into the Fausten project on Ad Noiseam.

Watching Cursor Miner annihilate the place at Trigger Soundsystem in Birmingham. Ending up in a Dominatrix’s house filming sexual torture for the Fausten project, then performing the visuals as an AV set in front of 1500 goths in a German turbine hall, while wearing Hawaii shirts on stage. Bizarrely, playing gigs in a Peckham laundrette and the former SS headquarters in Berlin, both in the same month. Releasing music by my production heroes Scorn and Milanese. Doing visuals for Scorn during his live set at Bangface Weekender.

What in your experience has been the toughest thing about running an independent niche label?

Cash and time limits.

Cash. I decided from the start that Combat’s music is personal and thus has to be kept free from any pressure of hype / sales. Of course I’m happy when more DJs across the board are supporting the tunes, but I’d never go “yeah better make it sound more like [insert trendy bollocks genre]‘ just to shift a few more sales. You end up weakening or deforming your sound for the sake of a popularity that is only fleeting anyway, fuck that.

But the cost of this stubbornness is you end up having to power the label from your own funds, which I accept, but unless you’re already rich it does impose a natural restriction on how many releases per year, and not being able to do vinyl for every release. Time is the other pain in the arse, especially if you split it between dayjobbing, producing music/visuals, giving seminars, playing gigs and running a label, bearing in mind that a lot of smaller labels are one-man operations.

Can you talk about the music itself on this compilation are there selected tracks from the archive or are they all freshly commissioned for the release?

The original idea was “ten years / ten tunes / ten artists / ten-ten-ten-you-cunts!” but as submissions came in, the tracks were too good to refuse, so the original concept got binned in favour of simply having lots of good music.

And here we are at 19 tracks. The selection hopefully represents the full spectrum of the label’s sound, from darkest bleakness to beautiful melancholia, from heavy soundsystem smashers to intricate cinematic ambient. A friend described it as “brutality and finesse” which I guess is fairly accurate. It features artists from the very beginning of the label’s history (e.g. ScanOne) up to totally new names (Marco Donnarumma, Nonima) who have releases forthcoming. Some tracks are specially commissioned for the release, while others have sat on my hard drive waiting for the right moment to appear.

What else is in store for the celebrations?

We’re going all out for this one with a full audiovisual lineup. Short films and sneak previews of Fausten videowork at the start of the night, followed by a freestyle electronic jam session between Monster X, Cursor Miner, Marco Donnarumma, Stormfield and Emoresh. Then Shelley Parker does a special Combat live set to kick off the rave, with new label signing Nonima doing his first ever set in London. Fausten then smash it up hard with Scorn-type darkness and sinister visuals, and ScanOne doing a DJ set at the end to take things back to our junglist/hardcore roots.

Ten Years of Combat party from Stormfield Slewdem on Vimeo.

What are you looking forward to the most in the next 10 years?

More music, more video/visual work, more sound design, more gigs. Keep on evolving. More Combat!

Combat Recordings release Ten Years on 10th November 2014 and will be releasing audio previews via their Soundcloud page in the run up.

www.combatrecordings.com / www.soundcloud.com/combatrecordings /

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Audio Report: This Week’s Recommended Listens 07/10/2014

Another double week report this time catching up with some recently released audio streams worth your ear time.

1. Taavi Tuluv -33°

Hailing from Estonia Taavi Tuluv specialises not only in expansive ambient works formed from his own made field recordings but also some brilliantly fronting techno. This track here however, newly upped last week, is of the former kind of work a quite jarring yet beautiful drone work.

2. VHS Head – Bleep Mix

Some weird-ass cut up electronics from Skam’s VHS Head – this mix perfectly mirrors his production.

3. Squish Kibosh – Electroplasmix Case 013: ‘Seasonal Affecive Disorder’

This mix has been timed to drop pretty well for the beginning of winter, we’re going to need all the help we can get. Glasgow’s Squish Kibosh here shares the darker side of his collection off in this mix.

4. DMX Krew Rinse FM show

This needs little introduction – any time DMX Krew shares any portion of his record bag it’s a real joy.

5. Come On You Cunts Let’s Have Some Aphex Classics

With so much going on now around the release of Syro this mix went a step further into celebrating the life and works of Richard D James.

6. Radioactive Man – From The Dub Vaults Previews

At 8 years in the making this project is the realisation of Radioactive Man’s love of all things dub, previews are now available on the host label’s player.

7. September’s Plex Sessions

Plex’s Luke Handsfree back in again for Sub.fm picking out tracks from Clubroot, Surgeon, Cristian Vogel, Pub, Alva Noto, Ricardo Villalobos vs Sparky in what they deem a “spacier-than-normal” show. Plex are back at Corsica Studios this November for their annual mega rave this time teaming up with Bleed and Them you can grab tickets here.

8. Jerome Hill – Paperbag Acid

Big release from Jerome Hill! This is the second 12″ on his new Super Rhythm Trax imprint which specialises in all things acid and house formed which you can stream in full courtesy of the people at Ransom Note.

9. DSNT Mix for Stray Landings

Being a follower of DSNT’s label and website for quite some time it feels like this mix sums up what the Belfast based collective are about – proper technoid club sounds – in for the excellent Stray Landings site.

0034 // DSNT by Stray Landings on Mixcloud

10. Dieter.1982 – TCHN006 + TCHN005

Dieter.1982 is a Finnish producer specialising (under this alias) in rawly formed techno who dropped us a line the other week to introduce himself, to date the tracks are only available to listen to via his Soundcloud with a remix project available via Bandcamp (here).

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Audio Report: This Week’s Recommended Listens 19/09/2014

Owing to a week without connectivity abroad this week’s audio report covers that missed time. Here’s a selection of freshly aired mixes, unreleased tracks and release previews I think are worth sampling.

1. Lakker – Math Fall – upcoming up R&S

Lakker return to R&S for their second EP with the upstanding Belgian label with a typically strong release featuring their trademark atmospherics and sonic detailing. Math Fall was premiered on Boiler Room earlier in the week which you can check below.

2. Luke Handsfree Plex x FABRICLIVE MIX

I always think Luke Handsfree has the the most perfectly matched DJ name when it comes to his upfront and energetic mixing style. Plex recently hosted Room Three at fabric here’s the mix he recorded for them to promote the party.

3. Random Form – Flower

For those who like detailed but heart tugging electronic explorations, Romania’s Randomform is a recommended listen. He also recorded a podcast for our series as DataCrashRobot which you can listen to here.

4. Raw Village Hall – Thrush Strokes (Boris Noiz Remix) [Acre Recordings]

I just like how this track is threaded with relentless four on the four beat and how Noiz employs smatterings of amens and distortion to drill the message home. It comes from a release by Davies (aka Savier & one half of techno duo Savagen) under his Raw Village Hall alias for Acre Recordings which they label even admit under their standards is a pretty hard production. C Mantle also provides another remix but this track chimes with us the most. For more info head here

5. The Sect – Oxidize (Allied Remix)

This bit of Mangled drum n bass from one of Methlab Agency’s signings Allied also attracted my attention this week. Typical of Methlab’s harder edged roster; Allied who originally hail from Brighton upkeep a pretty satisfying tour and release schedule. This is also available as a free download.

6. Broken English Club – 20 Minute Live Set Preview

Broken English Club is the latest project from Oliver Ho which to date has seen an EP released on Silent Servant, Regis and Ruskin’s Jelous God imprent as well as a split with Silent Servant on Veronica Verushka’s lauded Cititrax offshoot of Minimal Waves. You’ll hear straight away why this project fits into his chosen label’s agendas with it’s masterful synthwave sleaze.

7. Shelley Parker – Restrictions

Due out on Monday via WotNot records, London based techno producer Manni Dee has compiled an album showcasing the more abstract sonics of his genre. Shelley Parker submitted one of the tracks which she’s now streaming on her Soundcloud in full.

8. Richard Fearless – Exclusive Mix For Electronic Beats Radio

Feedback from the Legowelt remix of Fearless’s release which I aired on the latest null+void Rinse show suggested not too many Death in Vegas fans are aware of his acidic tendencies. He’s actually fully ingrained in the techno genre releasing plenty of 12″‘s as proof while his DJ mixes like the one here also show how he’s qualified at providing an engrossing journey as a DJ.

9. Surgeon – Rinse FM Show September 2014

Surgeon’s Rinse shows are always essential listening for techno heads, if you haven’t already check his latest show here.

10. Hessle Audio Rinse Show featuring Objekt

I know, another Rinse show but with Objekt in the mix it’s probably my favourite mix of the week his full fronted audial assaults working in and out of electro, techno and general oddities make his sets essential DJ in my mind.

This isn’t up on soundcloud just yet but you can grab the download from the Rinse podcasts here.

Monoak

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Monoak might not have a release out yet but he’s impressed a few people with his deftly programmed drums and complimentary synth work with Rob Booth taking note and commissioning an Electronics Explorations mix earlier this summer, while Freerotation festival founder Steevio got hold of some demos and invited him to perform at the highly respected techno festival. There’s also a release signed to one of the festivals associated labels coming out later this year and finally Monoak will receive what we think is a highly deserved physical release.

If you caught our last Rinse show we premiered a 30 minute live set from the Dublin born producer which was a kind of reworking of his set at Freerotation this July just gone, it was originally intended to be a podcast here so today we’re able to present it as such alongside an interview with the rising producer to set out his story a bit better…


This mix you’ve done for null+void can you tell us a bit about it? How was it recorded and a bit about your track selection..it’s kind of like an abridged version of your Freerotation set right?

Yeah, I never got it together to record my freerotation set on the night and it was something that contained a good amount of new live-set material so I thought it would be worth re-recording for null+void. It contains all new stuff I had been working on for the gig itself. Its quite short because I didn’t want to repeat tracks that featured on the Electronic Explorations mix. Its hard to do completely new tunes for each show when you play live sets.

The set at Freerotation sounded like quite a more roughed up progression from the last set I heard from you on Electronic Explorations – is that a reflection of the tracks you’ve been making or the big system you were belting it out on?

Well I think the sets always sound better on the big sound systems especially from the MPCs, they have a certain weight that bursts through any system. The tracks I wrote for Freerotation were definitely more focused towards a club system so that may have come through.

Can you take us back and give a bit of history on your music making- how and when did you first become involved with electronic music making?

It started around 2005 when I went to sound engineering college back in Ireland. I started learning about the different DAWs and seeing people make music on them which was new and exciting to me. I had been in a band which meant you couldn’t get things done on your own so It was really liberating discovering music production that I could do by myself.

You lived in Berlin for a while but moved to London ultimately – can you tell us why maybe you didn’t find Berlin the best place for you to get established with your beats?

Berlin was great, a special place to live, but I had very little German so it was hard to find work and earn money there. Although It is a great place to write music, a very inspiring, culture rich city. I eventually thought that London might be a better place for me as I could find work easier and also the music scene in London is just non-stop so I didn’t think I would be taking a step back by coming here. At the beginning of the year I played a couple of gigs there which was a nice reminder of that Berlin pace. I made some great friends there and would go back any chance I get!

What artists would you say have been your biggest inspirations are there any you kind of hold up as templates to live up to?

2562 is great at sample manipulation and finding sneaky grooves in music, I find his music really inspiring. Also a lot of inspiration comes from artists like Aphex Twin, Drexciya and countless other electronic artists. I also listen to heaps of bands and instrumental music. An Irish band called The Redneck Manifesto also had a huge influence on me, they were this instrumental band that play around with time signatures and tempos which I find really interesting and pleasing to the ear. All these artists have inspired me to think a bit harder about my music and what I want to convey with it.

What do you use to produce?

I use an mpc as the sequencer and sampler. I also have a few outboard synths that are constantly in the loop and find their way into most tracks. The computer is involved in the mix down stage, I use Cubase to bounce tracks.

What’s the difference between that and your live set?

Very little actually. I’m able to do my live sets so easily because I make the music on the MPC so I can just unplug it and bring it anywhere! Its really quite easy to use when you get used to it.

What releases do you have upcoming this year?

Im happy to say my first vinyl release will be coming out with the freerotation crew in the autumn. More info to follow!

Monoak Facebook

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Audio Report: The Week’s Recommended Listens 04/09/2014

With so much to digest and share each week we thought it easier to start doing regular reports on what’s worth listening to to make sure you (and we) don’t miss anything. Here’s the first at the tail end of a very quality rich week…

1. Aphex Twin – minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]

It was just a few weeks ago that a blimp in East London signaled that we might now, finally be seeing the release of new Aphex Twin material. Since then we’ve been steam rolling to the release titled Syro’s release on the 20th September and tonight its host label, Warp Records, unlocked a track from said album so we could finally hear (officially) what is in store. Any pre-orders from now on will also receive a free download of the track.

2. Pip Williams Kiss FM Mix

Being big fans of Pip Williams material (he’s provided a number of tracks you will have heard in our recent Rinse FM shows) this recent mix for Kiss FM is a bonafide treat.

3. Luke’s Anger – Rust Storm EP [Ugly Funk]

Ugly Funk returned from their haitus earlier in the year with a particularly rugged 12″ from Blackmass Plastics (check out our post on it here if you missed it). They’ve just announced a follow up from Norfolk based Luke’s Anger the previews of which you can check out here..

4. Joane Skyler – Lakmir

Joane Skyler’s caught our attention for her weirdo electronics, this track is taken off an upcoming compilation for Marshal Tellar Records.

5. Duke Slammer – Devil of the Moon EP teaser

Luke’s Anger again but under his acidic slower paced alias Duke Slammer coming soon on limited yellow vinyl. This has put its host label Slurp firmly on our radar whose other releases by Wagawagawaga

6. Fat Hop 007 : Itsu Uno / Han Do Jin [Previews]

Some party ready beats from Jerome Hill and Warlock

7. Objekt – Ganzfeld

This track is so good it kinda fails it to try and put words, we’ll just call it future music and leave it at that.

8. Lee Gamble ‘Nueme’ (PAN 59)

Taken from his upcoming album KOCH Nueme has been released online to heraled in the new LP from PAN’s Lee Gamble.

9. DMX Krew – TRANSUBSTANTIATION

This track’s taken off what will be DMX Krew’s fourth album this year, he’s pretty good at consistently kicking out the funk.

10. Second Storey – Shaman Champagne

Taken of his forthcoming debut on Houndstooth Shaman Champagne outlays perfectly the kind of advanced production and ideas we can expect from the album which is out later this year. It’s something we’re very excited about.

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Recommended: Scrase – Heart + Another EP’s [Love Love Redcords]

Released in August on a pair of trade mark white vinyl on Love Love Records were an excellent pair of EPs from the man Scrase. These were actually his first tracks ever to be cut to wax and span across organically percussioned techno of Another as well as including a warmer more electro infused Heart EP.

Available to buy now from www.loveloverecords.co.uk and from all good record shops.

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MIX: null+void Guest Rinse FM Show w/ 30 Min Monoak Live Set

We were back on the airwaves this weekend broadcasting live from 1-3am on Rinse.FM. Here’s the recording for your stereos. Thanks again to everyone who was locked!

Tracklisting:

1. Radioactive Man – Untitled [Forthcoming on Reindhart Records]
2. Second Storey – Devoted Notion [Forthcoming on Houndstooth]
3. Richard Fearless – Gamma Ray (Legowelt Remix) [Drone]
4. King Cannibal – Doomsday Dancehall [Forthcoming on Combat Recordings]
5. Objekt – Ganzfeld [Leisure System]
6. HAPE – 130103 [@3he]

7. Guest Mix – Monoak 30 Minute Live Set

8. Scrase – Another [Love Love Records]
9. Randomer – Huh [L.I.E.S.]
10. Marshall Jefferson Presents Hercules – Lost The Groove (Jerome Hill 2014 Revamp)
11. Abraham Cowley – Luna Saturni [Unreleased]
12. Ben Pest – Chang Mey [Unreleased]
13. Don’t Know Why – Nox [Fun In The Murky]
14. Tinfoil – Foil 5 [Tinfoil]
15. Bill Youngman – Teardrop Turns [Klllekill]
16. Dead Sound – LimaFX1 [Labrynth]
17. Luke’s Anger – Eat Em Up (Acid Mix) [Bonus Round]
18. Andreas Gehm – Solar Two [Forthcoming on Solar One]
19. Dave Monolith – Down [Unreleased]
20. 214 – Mailbox Peak [Unreleased]

Big thanks to Rinse, Scott and Andrei for having me down.

Null Void - Stormfield - Smashment banner

Download: Stormfield – Smashment Mix Recorded Live at Boomtown 2014

This weekend just gone Combat Recordings boss Stormfield took himself to Boom Town fest and delivered one of his trademark bashment sets we’ve seen this go off first hand but were unable to join in the latest happening. So we were pretty happy when he dropped it over in an email offering us the exclusive on the mix – you can download and stream in the player below and here’s some words from the man himself to introduce the set properly:

This was recorded live last Saturday at Boomtown Fest 2014, in the Garden of Legends. 100 minutes of bashment, jungle, glitchy acid and ritualistic techy drum’n’bass in a relentless, bass-driven Combat Recs style. It includes some unreleased dubs, and a sneak preview of a beast of a tune “Doomsday Dancehall” by King Cannibal, which gets released on the Ten Years of Combat compilation this autumn.

The set was recorded internally, thus does not include the microphone. There was some gremlins in the dubsiren channel so all reverb, delay effects used were internal as well. There’s a couple slip-ups but i’ve left them in and blame the 52% plum brandy.

Shouts out to Laurie and crew, special mention to Hue Jah Fink, Treen and Kawasaki Kate

Juice Aleem – Rock my Hologram – Si Begg remix
Spectrum – Don’t Fuk
Stereotyp feat. Jahdan – Regiment Riddim (dub)
Stereotyp feat. Jahdan – Regiment Riddim (vocal)
King Cannibal – Aragami Style
Kid606 – Come back Wicked – Timeblind remix
Stereotyp – Trunk dub
Kid606 – Come back Wicked – Timeblind vox
King Cannibal – Shining Force
Stereotyp – Just a Fool
Cursor Miner – Street Madness
Milanese – Mr Ion (Impossible remix)
Crunch – Crookid Manor
The Bug – Fire version
Hue Jah Fink – Fukhedonizm
King Cannibal – Doomsday Dancehall (Combat Recs forthcoming)
Dr Octagon – Blue Flowers (Bass Christ in the Nite Garden remix)
Cursor Miner – Everybody want Power
Apparat & Raz Ohara – Hold On (Modeselektor remix)
Milanese – Caramel Fixup feat Dizee Rascal
Hue Jah Fink – Deadly Sinz
Bong Ra – Human Cargo
The Bug feat. Daddy Freddy – Run Da Place Red (AFX mix)
King Cannibal – Badman Near Dark
Stereotyp feat. Coppa – Blaze and Cook
The Bug – Bloodfire
Photek – Terminus
Stereotyp feat. Coppa – Big Flows
Stormfield – Drone search sequence
A.J. Robinson & Loxy – Each & Every
DBridge – Mourning Dawn
Noisia – The Bells
Broken Note – Meltdown
Concealed Identity – Kuniyoshi
Broken Note – Meltdown
Concealed Identity – Nomad
Defcon1 – Time is the Fire
Concealed Identity – Ubuntu
Special Forces – Something else (Bleeps tune)
Concealed Identity – Ubuntu
Digital & The Spirit – Mission Accomplished
Infest & Quasi – More out of Life
Ghislain Poirer – Get Crazy – Mark Pritchard remix
The Untouchables – Adamantium
The Bug – Blood and Fire – DJ Scud mix
DJ Pierre – Box Energy – AFX remix
Bong Ra – Murder You
Jahtari feat. Afrikan Simba – Protect I
Milanese – Espantoso

Combat Recordings Facebook Page / Combat Recordings Website

rewire

NEWS: Rob Swain And Andrea Parker Call In Support For Their Rewire Project

Curated by Rob Swain and Andrea Parker Rewire seeks to realign the relationship between art and music by asking the musician to respond to artwork instead of the artwork’s traditional role in supporting a musical release. They’ve linked together some of the leading urban artists and electronic experimentalists today to be involved including Cristian Vogel, Luke Vibert, Evac and Clatterbox on the audio side and Augustine Kofie, Moneyless, sheOne and Phil Ashcroft on the visual art.

In order to realise this ambitious project they’ve set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund it, they’re nearly at the target of £5,000 but are calling on last minute pledgers to realise their goal before this Saturday 9th August.

For more information and to pledge check the Kickstarter here.

Electronic music blog and record label