Finn Johannsen – Modyfier Process 168

Posted: October 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Gigs, Mixes | Tags: , , | No Comments »


For me, there are two approaches to recording a mix. The first is to take a lot of time in thinking of a smart and coherent concept, to then carefully select the according music and plan its transitions, and later, record the whole thing and make it public. There are plenty of my sets on the internet where I have done exactly that, with quite some variety of styles and ideas, and for a variety of reasons and purposes, too. These mixes are often schooled by the mixtapes I compiled for as long as I can remember (for girlfriends, friends and maybe some yet invisible target audience). My mixes of that kind have gotten more refined over the years. At some point, I started to mix music, and the amount of people such a set finally reaches has grown considerably. But the method, more or less, has stayed the same.

The second approach is to record a set while you’re playing in the club. Of course, the selection and execution in that context is different. I usually bring as many records as possible that I would like to dance to if I would be attending the club that very night, and then I combine them as it makes most sense to me in the given situation of the party. I try to avoid repeating combinations with each gig. For me, the fun part of mixing is to try and test new sequences. This can run the risk of a hit-and-miss in outcome (often depending on how inspired or concentrated I am), but in my mind, the possibility of failure is far less uncomfortable than relying on playlists of which I have already explored or experienced the success or functionality of. In short, I try to stay open to the surprises the music has on offer, and I try to pass that on to the crowd.

As Modifyer asked me for a guest mix, I quickly thought of doing something I had never done before: a combination of the two approaches mentioned above. At the time, there were no concepts left in my mind waiting to be released in a set (and admittedly, I also had so many other things to take care of that I found it difficult to come up with another or a better idea). If such ideas don’t strike you right away, they are mostly not worth being carried out anyway. What I did spend some thought on, however, was the music I wanted to play at Macro’s imminent label residency at Panorama Bar on the 10th of October 2009. I decided to leave the records in my box in the exact order I would play them at the gig, and re-record the set as soon as possible, with the memory of the proceedings still vivid. And thus I did, a day later. Naturally, the way the set now sounds is different to the live situation of the club; the mixing is tighter in parts, probably less frantic, and I could already tell where to mix in from what I could still remember of playing the music as it happened. Still, it was very interesting to repeat the experience, and it was also very interesting to take a second look at the choices I made in the intensity and immediacy of the night.

The night itself was a wonderful experience. We had just released the album “Catholic” by Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras and its accompanying singles. For the occasion, my label partner, Stefan Goldmann, and I invited Serge Verschuur from Clone Records and our friend Hunee to play. We knew that both would deliver the dynamic diversity we had in mind to celebrate what we had worked on for so long. I was due to play the last set, from 8 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. Unfortunately, I had a severe cold resurfacing, so I took some hours rest before arriving at the club at around 4 a.m. I could tell right away that the vibe of the club was a bit different to other nights there. Dubfire was on for Berghain, and judging from the queue I passed on my way to the entrance, the people interested in hearing him play seemed other than the regular crowd. I didn’t mind that at all, but as I made my way through Berghain, I kept running into friends who were telling me that there was more trouble at the door than usual. The music was different, too. I paused to listen to Dubfire’s set. While the monolithic pulse of the techno sound associated with Berghain was there, it somehow lacked the tension and groove that I need to lock me. I went upstairs to Panorama Bar to check what was going on there instead.

Serge was in the midst of a blinding set of classic and contemporary house and techno. The crowd was well into it. Hunee followed suit marvelously, steering the proceedings to more cheerful shores, and adding some classic disco and anthemic vocal moments. There were smiling faces enough, familiar and unfamiliar, to convince me that the night turned out to be what we hoped for, and then some. As I took over, I had the feeling that I should take another direction musically. I felt very tired and numbed by the fever the flu brought along. To start, I thought that I should kick myself into action with the music, hoping that the dancers would follow my way. Picking Heaven 17 to follow up Hunee’s last record, Code 718’s blissful “Equinox”, was admittedly a bit bold and therefore received some confused looks, but then in the course of the set, things quickly fell into line. Flicking through my box, every next record seemed to be waiting in place, already offering its services to make the night one to remember. When I left the club, near Sunday noon, into the same mean cold drizzle I entered from several hours before, the music continued to thump in my head and there were indeed a lot of wonderful memories to keep. On Monday, I refreshed myself, had a good breakfast and then recorded this set right away in one take, in order to not let any of those memories slip away.

Set from the Macro night at Panoramabar, Berlin, October10 2009. Re-recorded for Modyfier. Check here for more info.

finn johannsen – process part 168 by modyfier

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