Tuesday, January 22, 2013

anatomy 23 - smear

i'm really happy to have smear return to the anatomy mix series for another round of techno mischief!

smear - anatomy 23

back in november of 2010, smear - otherwise known as al matthews - became the fourth artist to create an anatomy mix. that one was a digital set, and it was, and still is, a perfect fit for this blog: deep, layered, slow-moving and weird.

now, smear returns to smilecoldanatomy after a year in which forward strategy group, the collaboration between smear and patrick walker (another anatomy mixer), released their excellent debut album labour division on perc trax. (FSG will be heading to berlin this weekend to make their debut at berghain - congrats, guys!) this time around, for anatomy 23, smear hit the decks and cooked up a nearly 90 minute-long vinyl mix. i also made sure to bother him with a few questions... read on.

Last year seemed to be a pretty busy one for FSG thanks to the album, but what else have you been up to recently?
We did a few remixes [in 2012] mainly, and we're just putting the finishing touches on a few new releases, including our next one for Perc Trax which is sounding pretty good.

Together with Patrick Walker as FSG, Labour Division was your first full-length effort. How has it changed your approach to music production?
We've become a lot more productive since we finished the album. Previously it'd take a long time to do the last 5% of a track, but we've both become much more decisive and determined to get things done. So where previously there's been maybe one EP per year from us, this coming year there'll be a lot more.

What were some of your favorites albums and tracks of 2012? Are there any artists or labels you're particularly excited right now?
"Damn Dark Wind" by Duplex has been my favourite track I think, maybe even the best techno track I've heard in a few years. Go Hiyama's remix of D.Carbone's "Abuse" was great too, I've played that in every set I've had since its release.

Probably Voices From The Lake was my favourite techno album, really beautifully put together. Crossed Paths [from Shifted] was also really good. Micachu & The Shapes had a brilliant album out too, really skewed experimental pop.

Labels, I dunno... L.I.E.S definitely, I know everyone's going on about them, but with good reason. Also: Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, Lux, Until My Heart Stops, Deepblak... There's been lots of great house that's on the cusp of techno, and techno's getting a lot more unusual, much less emphasis on good engineering which has made for some pretty exciting stuff. Hopefully that'll carry on in a meaningful way without becoming a fad.

What can we expect from Smear and FSG in 2013? (Are there any more plans for releases on the FSG and Retail & Leisure imprints?)
No plans for FSG/RNL releases, but we're playing Berghain soon which is pretty cool, that's our first one of 2013. In general we'll be doing a lot more gigs this year, more releases than before... 2013 will be the year of getting things done. Less faffing about, less indecision, more action. I want at least one of us to die of exhaustion this year. Preferably just one of us. And not me, obviously.

Finally, please tell us a bit about this mix.
I said to myself, "My box is full of suitable stuff for smilecoldanatomy at the moment, so I'll just record in one take without preparing at all." After about 10 minutes I realised I only had three suitable records in my box, and I'd played them all (It was ALL synthpop and industrial, and three techno records). So I panicked and started frantically throwing records off the shelves onto the floor, scrambling around... it literally could not have been less prepared. It was brilliant fun, despite it being quite moody and abstract.

First half of the mix is quite moody and glacial, becoming increasingly animated and diverse as it goes on. It's more of an 11pm-1am kind of set for a very small room. It's 100% vinyl, I recorded 2.5 hours and trimmed off the first and last 30 minutes. I quite like the idea of not revealing how the mood is established or resolved. Not that I'm prone to thinking about some kind of narrative in a set, but as a listener it's good to sometimes have part of the picture obscured.


... interesting ideas, and smear pulls them off quite well in this recording, i think, and it's a very nice complement to anatomy 04. the pacing is a nice and loose, the mixing is tight, and the track selection is pleasantly unpredictable. have a listen:



thanks to smear for taking the time, again, to share a mix here on smilecoldanatomy. head over to his RA page for some more info, and it could be a good idea to keep track of the FSG facebook page as well. and another reminder for the heads in berlin: be sure to catch FSG in action this saturday at berghain. now, go forth and enjoy the mix!

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