Den Haan are a live synthesised dance act – the conceptual disco duo of Matthew Aldworth and Andy Gardiner. Previous releases have brought the group critical acclaim and firm dj support
from the likes of Optimo, Cosmo Vitelli, Headman, Ivan Smagghe and Mylo. Their debut album “Gods From Outer Space” will be released on Alworth’s Courier Of Death imprint today, March 4th 2011.
Den Haan are built for the rhythms of the night. Their releases are the spirit of seedy 70’s basement dives, a deco-greco roman blur of glistening bodies and dazzling lights, Criso on the wrists, spunk in the dark corners and sweat condensed on every surface
while machine-made rhythms from some far-away disco planet send shockwaves of ecstasy across the dancefloor. Den Haan’s sound is knowing-humour with a hand-on-the-cock sexual swagger. They GET the cheap pop aesthetic built into italo and especially hi-NRG. The rhythms are dark, electronic, tribal, with vocals hewn from Anvil or Van Halen rather than from Donna Summer. They are popper-soaked macho guys barking out tales of stalking the night cruising for kicks, all backed by a chorus of booming sado-cybernetic vocoders. And there ain’t no Diva’s in the Den Haan sound – save maybe for a terrifying 26 stone dog-s**t eating drag colossal know as Divine.
Aldworth and Gardiner first met when they ended up djing together by chance, and soon bonded strongly over their passion for sounds born during a short period in the evolution of soul and funk at the end of the 1970’s when producers and artists were breaking ground in new forms of disco production. Den Haan’s compositions pay homage to these producers, writers and musicians, not with a lazy ironic shrug but with a genuine admiration for their skewed creativity, their imagination and ingenuity in adapting and experimenting with technology. That ability to create something slightly un-hinged – perhaps not the most polished of effort – but something with a killer synth hook that never the less makes you scream and throw yourself around the dancefloor.
Den Haan study their favourite productions and producers in forensic detail: Celso Valli (Azoto and Tantra), Franco Rago & Gigi Farina (behind the ‘Lectric Workers releases), the experimental excursions of Vangelis, the homo-disco cybernetics of Patrick Cowley and the atonal alienation programmed into the soundtracks of Claudio Somonetti and John Carpenter. Sourcing original instruments and production equipment the duo sweat it out in the studio striving to re-create as close to a version of this original approach to sound creation as possible, their only contemporary indulgence being a bang up-to-date studio mastering conducted by Austrian based producer Patrick Pulsinger of electronic label Cheap Recordings. This commitment to process brings not only an authenticity to the productions but also to their explosive live performances. As Optimo’s JD Twitch commented after seeing them on stage – “fuck, the sound is way better than an actual club”!
“Gods From Outer Space” has been designed to work as a complete listening experience, a journey through Den Haan’s fictitious universe;- titles like “Release The Beast” and “Nightshift” conjure up the sweaty nightclub scenes from “Cruising” all hyper-macho swagger and pungent sexuality, “Gods From Outerspace” recalls the endless cheap laser blasts of 80’s sci-fi also-rans, the pompous faux religiosity of concept prog synth albums, while interludes like “The Arrival” and “The End” give a sort breath of contemplation – BBC Radiophonic workshop interludes reflecting the dichotomous dystopian/utopian divide in their film soundtrack influences – before you are propelled back into an exhilarating votex of flesh and fantasy. The music may seem to have a parodic quality, an in-built “cheese” factor – but that is resolutely not its intention. Den Haan are deadly serious in celebrating their musical influences. Its camp undoubtedly, but HIGH camp – homage and ambiguity as opposed to parody and pastiche. Theirs is an aesthetic hip enough to appreciate trashy genius whilst simultaneously in awe of the craft and imagination that was employed to create it. This isn’t a just a game, it’s a ridiculous reality. They’re not afraid to get crazy and let their balls hang right out there. Thats what they are about.
They will play an official album launch show at Stereo tonight, Friday the 11th March, with dj support from RPZ, Wrong Island and David Barbarossa.
Colin Bennett has just launched his new site, with a large update to his already impressive folio. Colin’s senior designer over at the respected Stand design agency. See more of his folio at colinbennett.com
I introduced my Chilean friend, Francisco Saavedra to a few nice tracks recently. Being the skilled man he is, when it comes to mixing, he wrapped them up in a tidy little mixtape for WCNS and all you lovely people. I find it pretty accessible, we listened to this last friday before heading to Julio Bashmore at the GSA and it put us in the mood, but you can play it when your just chilling. Tracklist for Mixed Up Afternoon is below. Please enjoy our third release in the series of invited DJs, you can listen to previous offerings here.
XXXY – Ordinary Things
Julio Bashmore – Ask Yourself
Logo – La Vie Moderne (French Fries and Tony Senghore remix feat PiuPiu)
Julio Bashmore – Battle For Middle You
Galen & Justin Martin – Dust Devil (Original Mix)
Julio Bashmore – Around
Untold – Come Follow Me
Sepalcure – No Think
Fed up with the rinsed market of dubstep remixes, White Elephant Guise was inspired to create these two new tracks. Good to hear a refreshing take on ambient dubstep which hasn’t sampled Florence & The Machine or the next top name in pop. Smooth, ambient and with an unusual approach of happy harcore-esque lyrics within dubstep, he’s created some pretty good work. Really love that drop at 3:07 on If You’ve Given Up.
I don’t consider myself a photographer at all. I really don’t know the first thing about aperture, film speed, exposure, depth of field and all that. Anyway, I thought I’d do a bit of an experiment, where I dunked a Tesco Value disposable camera in a bowl of water then took it on a camping trip, snapped away and looked forward to seeing what would happen. I’m quite happy with the result, it looks like there’s been condensation within the camera body making the images fuzz and glow. I particularly enjoyed the idea of not knowing how it would come out. I find, digital photography allows for so much post production but with film you are significantly limited to what you can do to edit the picture and this analogue approach is what I enjoyed.
I believe there’s so many styles now and it can be sometimes to difficult to categories something as deliberately or accidental artistic or simply crap – I really don’t know what these are, but I can appreciate the charm.
Has anyone else had success through experiments like this? Boyson and Messer did a pretty cool double exposure project a while back.
If you’d like to see more they’re on ihardlyknowher.com/spacewood
Koreless is a humble lad. At only 19 this young DJ has started to make a name for himself by sticking true to his intentions with music production by keeping it original. “To me, music is art, more of a personal thing, copying what everyone else is doing is just pointless”. His dark, muffled, refined drum beats coupled with the soothing and gaze like synths with the occasional addition of yearning wholesome female lyrics come together in such a fine way. A welcome change from the current trend of dark and gritty R&B which seems to be everywhere. Already he has received a respectful nod and play from Gilles Peterson at Radio 1 and put in the same league as other heavy hitters after he commented “Koreless, James Blake, Jamie Woon and Ramadaman – remember where you heard them first”.
Originally from North Wales, he’s studying Naval Architecture in Glasgow. I’m sure the future will hold many interesting opportunities for this young kid and if his boats don’t float, at least his beats will
I added some Wu Lyf here back in October and it received a large number of interest. Tonight, they play their first UK gig outside of Manchester at the Arches. £8 a ticket including booking fee, get there if you know what’s good for you.
I’m doing a talk at Glasgow University on effective poster design and what rules to follow to make your poster memorable. This is part of their Media Week and I’ll be focussing on what people who are starting out in design, should remember when it comes to making their work effective, memorable and any no-no’s they must avoid. I’ll then go on to a Photoshop tutorial to show some tricks to remember (if you have a laptop with PS, feel free to bring along). No experience necessary and if you’re looking to learn new things then do join.
It’s free and it starts at 1pm 21/01 in the Williams Room, John Macintyre Building – http://goo.gl/maps/cJb0
I should also note, the above poster is fictional (for now).
I enjoyed this nice little flick to promote the Glasgow Bike Shed. They rejuvenate and recycle old bikes, run workshops, promotes safe cycling around town and is run by volunteers. They’re based in The Barras market, so on yer bike and go check em out glasgowbikeshed.org
Julia Griffin recreates classic B-movie posters on to vintage handbags, stemmed from her love of horror and vintage clothing. Julia is currently exploring ways to publicise, exhibit & ultimately sell her B-Movie Bag collection. Any individual, curator or retail buyer interested in the work should contact her through her site b-moviebags.com