Bringing back the oldstyle seems to be in fashion nowadays. Everything from retrofuturism to old formats like VHS – are embedded into an artists embroidery. Not to mention how the decadence of the 1980’s seems to have hit a peak, there’s also people whom are playing around with techno. You probably know the sound of the 808’s, the old-school vibes that were originally gathered from Detroit, Michigan. When that was the place to be – it still can be. There’s a man whose work you might recognize when you hear ‘Members Of The House’, the more obscure ‘Unit 2’ – or simply his full name Nicholas Bernard Marks — shortened to “Niko Marks”. He’s teamed up with Robert Des Iles, a rather passionate southern European man whose slick grooves are enhanced by the presence of Mr. Niko. Well, it’s not really that mysterious, but I would like to keep it a secret. Robert Des Iles is really a pseudonym but I will not reveal who he might be.
The thing is, Niko and Robert are now a duo called Ausramp. Yes, it sounds fascinatingly German but at the same time they keep the Americana in it by including “ramp“. Precisely the name a techno-project that goes back to its roots and includes a swing of electrofunk, should have. Their debut-release which features three songs is due to be released in two weeks and I’ve gotten my hands on one of the songs from this release. It’s a self-titled release and the track is called “Third Dimension Diploma“. They bring out the best when they return to the oldstyle of techno, adding certain aspects that might not traditionally have been it. But there’s a lot of legs swinging to the left and the right when listening to it, the rhythm is simple but the groove is out of hand. When the melodies strike in, there’s not much to do but to dance to the beat – classic stylee. No, I’m not that clichéd so you’ll have to choose what to do, but I promise that it’s a catchy track. Stream it exclusively on Repartiseraren, down below. It will be released on Kraftjerkz as their eighteenth release, in two weeks.
This is the first international episode of Maskinåldern. For this episode it is called Machine-Age. Time for everyone who speaks English, to listen. Episode number two of this podcast-series contains a longer interview with the Croatian-born producer Saša Rajković – also known as Zarkoff. He’s been having a surge in the international scene with releases together with Popsimonova, but also under his own alter-ego. Besides that, he’s part of a group called Florence Foster Fanclub together with his friend Jasmin Yas – whose new endeavor just happens to be called Honored Matres – which Zarkoff had a split-release called “Pannonia Noir” with, released on Kraftjerkz Records just recently.
Whilst it stands clear that he’s got a lot of passion for music, he’s had a long road to even get there in the first place. Some things you may not know about him that you’ll get to know more about here. From having a working-class job to being a promoter, live-performer, studio engineer and basically an artist. One of his most alluring releases to date under his own moniker Zarkoff, have been the “Die Brücke” album that was released on J.A.M. Traxx not too long ago. An album that captures the historical significance of his collaborative effort together with Popsimonova, but also where he’s heading in the future.
The most significant thing he’s been imprinting with his vocals (and work) recently has been with the super-group Sumerian Fleet, together with Mr. Pauli and Alden Tyrell. This year they released the much acclaimed album “Just Pressure” on Dark Entries Records – a much revered San Fransisco label. Besides that, Zarkoff have mastered Legowelt’s latest “Crystal Cult 2080“, becoming more and more involved with the label Créme Organization, mastering and helping with different releases both for that label and the sub-label R-Zone. Now it’s time for him to tell his story and you get almost an hour long interview together with exclusive unreleased material, from demos to a session recorded with Sumerian Fleet in 2013.
Welcome to Episode number two.
1. UZS – Izgled
2. Le Chocolat Noir – Pasto Nudo (Borgesia cover)
3. Kali Jugend – New Body Beat (Demo) (Unreleased)
4. Kali Jugend – Vapor (Demo) (Unreleased)
5. Synth Lab Recording 7 (Unreleased)
6. Dan White – S I Tape
7. Tony Blood – World Of Blood (Tony’s World Mix)
8. UZS – Emisije u zrak (demonstracija)
9. Hawaiian Surfer – Big Wednesday
10. Synth Lab Recording 4 (Unreleased)
11. Zarkoff – I should leave (Demo) (Unreleased)
12. Session 2013 – Den Haag – Sumerian Fleet (Unreleased)
Yet another hit is churned out of the Zarkoff factory. It is unimaginable how the creative process for Saša Rajković continue to go on and on. Something is fueling what he’s doing, but I don’t know what it could be. Having focused on the more danceable side of electronic music, with this split-release that also features Honored Matres – he goes off-bounds to create a really dark but rhythmic piece of technotic experience. Technotic as in techno. The release is titled “Pannoia Noir“, so even the suggestiveness of the title is embodied into the sound-scape of this four-tracked release. Honored Matres represents the more house-oriented side of this split, although the track by Zarkoff titled “Diminished” have some of those vibes, it feels like it is just when its about to cross over into Matres territory. This split is an outright experience in how you can mix techno with house, without it being a total catastrophe. This release represents the darker side of those genres and brings forth everything from an acidic touch to an almost industrialized version of what ought to be regular techno. There are a lot of surprises hidden between the rhythm and the bridge. You’ll just have to find them.
So I got the opportunity to showcase one of the tracks from this release. I did not have a choice in this matter, but I believe that Kraftjerkz delivered the most potent track on this release. It’s a rather dark journey into combative elements of both techno and the underlying house-vibe. You feel like something is about to tear the roof off it, but the sound-scape lingers onto the dark experience that you can turn techno into. A path right into the gully of the steady rhythms, nocturnal melodies and forceful visions that Zarkoff makes you share with him. So from this ordeal came a track which is titled “Terraform”, it’s the first track on the release and it is a rather nice track as you’ve probably read. Everything can be found here for those of you that enjoy those darker moments that techno has, with the regular signature of Zarkoff imprinted into the sound-scape. Stream this track exclusively from Repartiseraren and buy the release if you like it, over here.
From the western world of America, primarily New York, to the eastern realms of Croatia. Two worlds have met when Neud Photo and Zarkoff decided to let each other off the hook. Zarkoff got the chance to totally rework Neud Photo’s gloomier “Dimensions“-track, which has been out since a year ago. This time he used Iva Viskovic, a melancholic pop-queen, to enhance the peppier side of synth-pop. Even though the melancholic vibes can be felt, this rework is a lot more melodic and less atmospheric in a sense. Maybe it’s for the best, maybe it’s for the worst. The listeners don’t have to agree, but this is how Sasha Rajkovic (Zarkoff) have interpreted the original song, through his own lens. On a release that is called “Dimensions/Famous Grouse“, the reworked track is standing tall on the A-side of things – whilst his underground techno track “Famous Grouse“, is representing the Zagreb underground, packaged to the rest of the world – for them to hear. Kraftjerkz, a label from the US run by one guy – was the one that decided to put this release out. A year earlier, the track that you’re about to hear that is reworked, was released in its original shape by them. This is a time when the world is clashing, and what is better than to embrace it by reworking a track and making it into another version? I think you’ll have to listen to it for yourself if you want to believe it. It’s a tell-tale story that can easily be approached by the excitement of the listener. Tune in to “Dimensions (Zarkoff feat. Iva Viskovic Mix)” and forget where everything else came from, just take a deep breath and let yourself be swayed in. You can stream the track exclusively on Invisible Guy, down below. If you want to buy it, go to Downtown 304.