Category: ALL

FILE 103 // OPAL SUNN

5elect5 Essentials Opal Sunn Hands

Al Kassian and Hiroaki OBA are Opal Sunn. Before they started their endeavour as a hardware-only live act duo in 2015, Al and Hiroaki both had already successful solo music careers before they met in Berlin. Al released on labels suchs as Paramida’s Love On The Rocks and Utopia Records – Hiroaki was a bassist in a band in Tokyo, but went solo and joined the 2010 Red Bull Music Academy in London and released on labels like Ki Records.

Their love for machines and boundless approach to music production gave birth to two Opal Sunn EPs released on their very own Planet Sundae imprint. After gaining stamps of approval from the likes of Andrew Weatherall, DJ Sprinkles, and many artists alike, this year, Opal Sunn was signed on former Ostgut Ton manager Nick Höppner’s new label Touch From A Distance.

Now mainly based in Berlin, Al and Hiroaki both not only share their love for music but also their home Japan. The collection of essentials show some traditional Japanese items such as snacks and tea – a taste of home to spark ideas, motivate and remind them of their roots.


OUR ESSENTIALS

5elect5 Essentials Opal Sunn

1. SYNTHESIZER (ROLAND, CHECK HERE): The Roland D50, our latest addition to the studio. We installed amazing patches we found online, all based on the legendary preset ’37 – Soundtrack’. I’m sure we’ll hear a lot of these sounds in our next releases.

2. DARUMA DOLL (READ HERE): Daruma dolls are seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck. It definitely came through with some luck this year!

3. EFFECTS AND FILTER UNIT (JOMOX, CHECK HERE): T-Resonator. An essential piece of gear in our studio. We’ve used this in every single track we’ve produced.

4. HEADPHONES (PHONON, CHECK HERE): Some friends of ours got together and gave these headphones for Hiro’s Birthday this year. They’re made in Japan and the sound is incredible.

5. SNACKS (FIND THEM IN JAPAN): Ume Kombu and Hoshi-Ume. Sour plum snacks to munch on during our days together making music.

6. JAPANESE TEA (READ HERE): Genmaicha. We’re both pretty crazy about this green tea with roasted rice. This may be the most essential ingredient to an Opal Sunn track.


OUR NEXT BIG THING
5elect5 Essentials Opal Sunn Message


OPAL SUNN’S LINKS
SOUNDCLOUD
INSTAGRAM
FACEBOOK
TWITTER


FILE 102 // SPENCER PARKER

5elect5 Essentials Spencer Parker Hands

2018 was another busy year for London-born producer and DJ Spencer Parker. He is ending this year on a high note with the release of his second album “Dance Music” on Work Them Records. Founded back in 2012, the label has become the one stop shop for high energy house, techno and disco tracks – all you need in your record bag for a fueled dance floor. Supporting new talents such as P.Leone & Valya Kan as well as friends like DJ Deep, Rødhäd, ItaloJohnson and long-time partner in all crimes Radio Slave – whose label Rekids he very much considers home away from home – shows his wide network and talent for bringing people together to collaborate.

For the photoshoot, we met Parker at his apartment in Berlin. Whenever we meet an artist at his / her home, we come to realize that a selection of essentials is merely a snapshot of the creative individual and not enough to paint the full picture. Parker’s home was filled with colors and fun rare items – mostly “best worst” souvenirs from every city he visits (which is well documented via his Instagram) and treasures which reveal his keen interest in fashion, photography and, needless to say, records!


MY ESSENTIALS

5elect5 Essentials Spencer Parker

1. SNEAKERS (COMME DES GARCONS X NIKE ACG, CHECK HERE): As you can see from this little 5election, I am very much of the opinion that, if it’s worth getting one – why not get two …?!? I was after this shoe from the second I saw an image of it from the Commes des Garçons mens show in Paris earlier in the year- and waited patiently until they finally popped out a couple months ago. They are both made of suede, so, hardly the most “disco friendly” sneaker in the world but – I just loved them so much that I didn’t care- carpe the fucking diem !!! (in black aaaaaaand white – and in a 42.5 please…)

I’m a fan of the Nike ACG stuff and these are every bit as comfortable as I thought they’d be – so my investment has definitely paid off as I’ll be wearing these for a while yet. At the moment both pairs are fairly pristine and, although I know they are gonna be appearing a little beaten up in the coming months, I’m sure they’ll look even better, once they have weathered a few of life’s inevitable storms -much like myself… 😉

2. PASSPORTS AND PASSPORT HOLDER (SMYTHSON , CHECK HERE): The passport holder was a lovely birthday gift from some lovely friends a good many years ago, and not only have I managed to hold on to it, I’ve also managed to keep what goes in it – my passport !

A friend of mine that was in a heavily touring band told me about the sneaky (but perfectly legal) trick where you can, with a little paperwork, apply to have not one, but two UK passports in your own name. This is meant for business people, musicians, athletes, or anyone that travels so much for their job that its quite possible they need one document to travel with, while the other is away, sitting in an embassy somewhere, being fitted with a visa for a country that necessitates one (such as America, China, Russia, etc). I’ve been to Russia 13 times so far, China a couple times and many trips to the US, so, having a couple of passports has been extremely useful. 

3. COMME DES GARCONS AND MOCA STORE BAG (CHECK HERE & HERE ): I loooooooooove a good, correct size, well made, great looking, up to the task, tough as nails carry on bag, and these bags both be that ! The CDG one was a gift from my beloved mother bought as we perused Dover Street Market one afternoon (yes- my mum is just THAT cool) and means all the more because it came from and reminds me of her (shout out to Mama Parker). It’s actually a paper bag encased in plastic and through a bit of abuse and trying to fit too many records/duty free champagne bottles/cheese and wine from any Italian airport you care to name, the paper has ripped and handle broken slightly. But I love these perfect imperfections and it’s one of my most favourite / useful bags to travel with.

The MOCA bag I managed to shrink in the wash like a fucking idiot but is still a great bag and reminds me of the day I took myself off to see the amazing “Axis Mundo : Queer Networks in Chicano LA” exhibition at the MOCA in Los Angeles, last year. The exhibition, I absolutely loved and I learnt so much about Mundo Meza and his work by attending and seeing the pictures, outfits and video that was on display. But, what really touched me was a talk that the legendary Simon Doonan gave in another part of the museum (to only about 50 people) about his time in Los Angeles in the 80’s and of working with Mundo Meza. Several people in attendance knew both Simon and Mundo personally and to hear some of them speak about that time in their lives, and of people that are no longer with us, was really something quite touching.

4. FANTASTIC MAN / THE GENTLEWOMAN (CHECK HERE & HERE): I am a huge fan of actual, real life printed magazines and whilst I buy many,  these are undoubtedly my two favourites. As you would assume, Fantastic Man is aimed at men with The Gentlewoman being its companion title aimed at women, but I buy and read both as they are just that good. Each magazine looks amazing and, more than anything, I love the tone of them both. They are both serious about the subjects they cover but also extremely fun in their approach.

I have read so many articles in both titles that have then lead me on to to read further books, magazines or pieces on various subjects or people, or had me reaching for my Spotify playlist to listen to a new artist i was hitherto completely unaware of. In a world where so much media, both printed and online, is such utter, utter bullshit, these two magazines shine brightly as the complete opposite and I can’t wait for each new issue when they drop, twice yearly.

5. BIG SNOOPY / LITTLE SNOOPY (KAWS X UNIQLO, CHECK HERE): It’s a big plush toy Snoopy. And a little plush toy Snoopy.   


MY NEXT BIG THING
5elect5 Essentials Spencer Parker Message


SPENCER PARKER’S LINKS
SOUNDCLOUD
INSTAGRAM
FACEBOOK
TWITTER


FILE 101 // DAN CURTIN

5elect5 Essentials Dan Curtin Hands

Cleveland-born producer and DJ Dan Curtin is one of the key figures shaping the Midwest Techno scene. He founded the label Metamorphic to mainly give new talents an outlet for their music. While continuing to support this scene and over 70 singles and 9 albums later, Curtin follows his passion for hip hop, funk and soul releases new music under one of his his many aliases such as Purveyors of Fine Funk. His refusal to lock himself into one style as well as his ability to collaborate with artists from a variety of genres has helped him to maintain  his status as a legend.

Currently based in Berlin, his essentials are a genuine selection of items that portray his roots and source of inspiration to keep going  – “When the music stops your mind and body return to the world of the sentient but you never forget your Origins.” said the press release of his “Origins” EP which was released under his alias Planetary 25 years ago. The re-mastered reissue was just released on Metamorphic.


MY ESSENTIALS

5elect5 Essentials Dan Curtin

1. SUNGLASSES (MYKITA, CHECK HERE): Sunglasses.  Needed when there is light.  Not sun, but light.  Can’t leave home without them. 

2. CRAFT BEER (STONE BREWING BERLIN , CHECK HERE): Really good, small run, independently run breweries producing excellent beer.  Beer is one of my 4 vices and one of the two that I can mention socially. 

3. LIFTING BELT (MY PROTEIN, CHECK HERE): Protects and supports the lower back.  Heavy lifting and the gym in general is a daily must.   It’s the one hour a day that I can truly escape and not think about anything at all.

4. SAMPLER AND SEQUENCER (OCTATRACK, CHECK HERE): It’s become my main sampler and the heart and brains of my live show.  The possibilities for live sample mangling are endless and it works in a really intuitive way once you’ve finished banging your head against the desk for a year trying to understand it!

5. VINTAGE RECORDS (MY COLLECTION): It’s where I go to for pure listening, where I go to for sampling and all of my favorite music is to be found there.  It’s travelled the world with me and it’s a life long project – the digging never stops.  


MY NEXT BIG THING
5elect5 Essentials Dan Curtin Message


DAN CURTIN’S LINKS
SOUNDCLOUD
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM


FILE 100 // MAX COOPER

5elect5 Essentials Max Cooper Hands

UK-based artist Max Cooper merges electronic music, visual art and science through installations, live audio-visual and immersive sound experiences. Growing up, he pursued both of his passions – music and science, earning a PhD in computational biology. His background and education seems to now influence his creative process. Cooper shares that his projects start with an abstract idea / concept first which he explores further to make them tangible as well as relatable. His label “Mesh” is an embodiment of these passions and an outlet for music which is part of wider collaborations in the arts and sciences.

Following the successful multi-media “Emergence” album and tour, this year he released his third album “One Hundred Billion Sparks” with an all new and evolved 270 immersive audio-visual shows – a light field installation of countless shimmering points, hovering overhead the audience, creating 3-dimensional moving forms in sync with music. Experience the next one at Funkhaus in Berlin.


MY ESSENTIALS

5elect5 Essentials Max Cooper

1. FLIGHT ESSENTIALS (A PERSONAL COLLECTION): This is my flight essentials pouch to cover the travel basics I need to maintain good vibes despite nasty turbulence, screaming babies, boredom, hang over, or any of the other common travel ailments.

Firstly there’s the noise cancelling headphones which allow me to work, particularly on low frequencies, despite the engine rumble, then there’s a few really handy headphone connectors – a splitter to share if I’m with a friend, a flight adaptor for those old style headphone sockets on flights which need two inputs, and most importantly, an attenuator: you know when you’re watching a movie and dosing off on a flight and suddenly there’s an announcement from the pilot waaay too loud in comparison to your film audio?….get the attenuator in there, turn up the film audio and turn down the level with the attenuator, so that any announcements are nice and quiet and you can maintain your zen.

Also in the pouch, backup movies and music on USB, spare earbuds cut in half for sleeping on, and painkillers plus diazepam for long-haul knock outs, waking up at the other end B.A. Baracus style.

2. SNACKS (RANDOM COLLECTION): Emergency stroopwafel and gummibärchen for the moments when I’m lost in the wilderness on tour and have no sustenance. These should give me a couple of days walking energy to escape most foreseeable disaster situations.

3. EARPLUGS (NO BRAND): Spare earplugs for noisy raves when I lose my proper moulded plugs. Earplugs are so easy to lose, drop them once in a dark club and they’re gone. So backups are very useful to save my already battered ear drums. Also I often end up giving them to my friends who come out unprepared for the audio barrage, when we’re lucky enough to get it in the places that aren’t so tight on their decibel monitoring.

4. BOOK (A BEAUTIFUL QUESTION, CHECK HERE): I have to admit I’ve been carrying this book around for some time, as you can see by the weathered cover. Over the past couple of years I’ve discovered that science audiobooks are perfect for travelling, allowing me to still learn something when I’m too tired to read on tour, and their narratives are forgiving to the odd doze off too. But this book is something special, and wasn’t available on audiobook format, so I’ve persevered. It’s about whether nature, fundamentally, embodies beauty.

Researchers often talk about using beauty and aesthetic judgements in guiding their paths towards discovering laws of nature. And that’s more or less the focus of my approach to music videos and live AV shows in the opposite direction, where I try to use nature and its embodiment in natural laws to provide something beautiful for us to look at.

So a great book to read, written by a Nobel prize winner no less. Other recent books of note would be Antonio Damasio’s “The Strange Order of Things”, and Peter Hoffman’s “Life’s Ratchet”.

5. ELECTRICAL TAPE (SCAPA, CHECK HERE): Boring yeah, but this can save me from all the music going off mid-set and everyone staring at me like I’m a massive moron who can’t figure out how to press play on a CDJ. Clubs generally have a lot of bass, and bass shakes things, and likes to shake cables out of their sockets. So I stick electrical tape on all the socket-cable connections. Generally only needed for USB connections, RCA/phono connections are fine.

6. MAGAZINE (NEW SCIENTIST, CHECK HERE): Great for the science news, properly explained and referenced. It doesn’t go into as much depth as I’d like, but many a good project idea has started with an article or book review in here which I’ve gone on to read about more deeply.


MY NEXT BIG THING
5elect5 Essentials Max Cooper Message


MAX COOPER’S LINKS
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM
TWITTER


FILE 99 // MARLON HOFFSTADT

Hands Marlon Hoffstadt 5elect5 Essentials

The Brand “Marlon Hoffstadt” stands for a lot of things but always promises fun and quality. The Berlin-based producer, DJ and musician is continuously challenging and re-inventing himself to widen his own musical horizon and discover new opportunities. After successfully running his first label “Retrograde Records”, he launched a new beautiful imprint called “Midnight Themes” last year to share a different, more matured “Marlon Hoffstadt” sound. But this is not where he stops – the empire expands and takes physical form when he starts a new party series called “Savour The Moment” – safe place to switch off your phone and focus on the music. This way, Hoffstadt actively encourage attendees to forget their virtual life and focus on the real-time experience on the dance floor. With high-quality flyer designs and clever merchandise, he does make it seem very easy to throw parties with such a strong concept and big international line-ups in the electronic music capital of Germany.

Hoffstadt’s essentials reveal a key ingredient to his success: the effort to connect – with people and with himself.  In this fast-paced digital age, he reminds us to appreciate every personal relationship found through music and creates opportunities to discover more of these wonderful moments. His latest release on Ransom Note Record highlights this message very well: in form of a special collaboration with friend Raf Rundell and the title “Treat Yourself”.

Essentials Marlon Hoffstadt 5elect5

1. T-SHIRT (SAVOUR THE MOMENT, CHECK HERE):  For me there is nothing worse then hanging out with people who are always on their phones. You also find this quite often in clubs or while traveling using trains, planes or the bus. By wearing this T-Shirt you can always just say hello to someone and point your finger on the logo, with a bright smile in your face. Mostly the reaction is great. People start talking to you or at least smile back and put their phones away. Ah, and Savour The Moment is also an event series that I am promoting at Wilde Renate and ELSE.

2. FLYERS (SAVOUR THE MOMENT, CHECK NEXT PARTY HERE): As i just mentioned I am not only a DJ but also a promoter and I wouldn’t be a good one if don’t always have invite flyers / cards with me. It doesn’t matter where I travel, I make sure to let everyone know about the party and the idea of a phone free environment in general. Its also a nice way to interact and promote yourself on a face to face level, which is quite a rare thing these days. Everything happens in the internet. A good old face to face conversation is always the best way to go if you want to leave a lasting impression. 🙂 

3. RECORDER (TASCAM, CHECK HERE): I think everyone knows this little baby. The Tascam DR40 is my steady partner on the road and while playing. When i’m submitting podcasts to blogs I always try to send in live recordings because my mixing then sounds as natural and real as possible. Recording mixes at home never feels the same as when you record them in clubs. Maybe my imagination is just not good enough but i’m always missing the connection and interaction with the dancers.

4. BAG (PINQPONQ, CHECK HERE): I really like practical things. This bag offers enough space for my wallet, phone, keys, stickers, party flyers, chewing gums and little apple headphones. Everything you need in one place, and no extra bag that you need to carry with you. It is also fully made out of recycled PET bottles which is a good thing to support.

5. HAT (NO BRAND): This hat is actually from my girlfriend. I always steal it because it reminds me of her when we’re not together, looks nice and its really comfortable. Back in the days when I still had long hair I never needed hats, but now with my 3mm haircut I always feel cold on my head and around my ears so this one keeps me warm 🙂

6. HEADPHONES (BOSE, CHECK HERE): Since one and a half years I am practicing a variety of meditation techniques. Sometimes its easy and sometimes i’m struggling a bit with it. Especially when you are traveling and you don’t sleep too long its hard to find and take time for the practice. The headphones are really useful because they come with noise cancellation. As soon as I sit in my seat and the plane takes off, I activate the noise cancellation function, put on some nature recordings and get into meditation. At home I often just use a boom box, but for the road these headphones are perfect.

Wish Illustration Quote Marlon Hoffstadt 5elect5

Footer Marlon Hoffstadt 5elect5

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FILE 98 // BÉZIER

Hands Bezier 5elect5 Essentials

Taiwanese – American musician, producer and DJ Robert Yang AKA Bézier is one of the key figures in the San Francisco queer music scene. As one of the founding members and residents of the city’s Honey Soundsystem crew alongside Jason Kendig, Josh Cheon and Jacob Sperber (AKA, Jackie House), he is part of a new electronic music movement which is receiving recognition and a great following around the world today.

This year, Yang released his long-awaited debut album “Parler Musique” on Dark Entries, the label founded by Josh Cheon who believed in the “Bézier” sound from the beginning as a friend and as a collective member.  With “Parler Musique” (French for “Talk About Music”) Yang also reveals his talent for creating romantic narratives around his prodcutions for it to be more relatable and tangible for his audience. The “Bézier” sound is complex and rich in musical influences – so is his background as a multi-instrumentalist inspired by a wide spectrum of music genres from punk, synth pop, industrial to new wave and house.

Yang enjoys finding clear order in creative chaos. The photo shoot took place at an apartment he had rented outside the city center on purpose to create a safe home base to create and rest. This genuine and focused character is also reflected in his essentials: gifts from close friends, self-care items and music gear –  the true source of strength and inspiration on the road and a reminder of his roots.

Essentials Bezier 5elect5

1. MATCHA KIT KAT (NESTLE, CHECK HERE):  It’s really a special thing to have a Kit Kat bar taste like matcha green tea (and strawberry as well). My friend Moritz gave this to me to snack before a show and today I’m a better person because of this.

2. WALLET (GIFT): A wallet that my friend Jordan gave to me while in Hanoi. It’s made of cotton with natural dyes from the region of Sapa. It has never left my side as I use it as a protective sleeve for all my important travel documents.

3. REMOTE SHUTTER (CAMKIX, CHECK HERE): A remote bluetooth shutter when I need to go handsfree and take a photo of myself with my phone.

4. INHALER (MENTHOLATUM): A little menthol inhaler when I get headaches on the road or nausea. It’s a panacea for what ails me.

5. SYNTHESIZER (VERMONA, CHECK HERE): I try to travel light for shows but toggling between live and DJ sets I can only carry what I can hold. This Vermona mono lancet is my replacement for a Moog Miniature that fell apart in my initial travels. It’s been road tested for three years now and will stay with me until she stops functioning.

6. STYLING WAX (GATSBY, CHECK HERE): The Gatsby styling wax is some kind of witchcraft for my hair. I’ve been using this paste since my Japanese cousin left it at my parent’s house when I was 19. It’s amazing and turn my fine hair into locks. I’d be lost without it.

7. FRAGRANCE (DIPTYQUE, CHECK HERE): I decided I needed a new fragrance for when I’m at shows. After touring through Asia and just having all my clothes smell like stale smoke I thought a lil scent would help me stomach the travels and perhaps more approachable. I didn’t want to get something that was too strong, like the cheap, strong (yet aggressively, luxury branded) alcohol smell a lot of Europeans and Brits fancy. I didn’t want people to smell me coming miles away so I needed something lighter, more vivacious. After consulting with my friend Aaron Choe at the duty free section at Incheon airport I stuck with Diptyque.

Wish Illustration Quote Bezier 5elect5

Footer Bezier 5elect5

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FILE 97 // ANASTASIA KRISTENSEN

Hands Anastasia Kristensen 5elect5 Essentials

Born in Russia and now based in Copenhagen, Anastasia Kristensen is one of the strongest names that represent Denmark’s electronic music scene today. Her artistic career started early in classical music which can be still found in her wide musical spectrum of DJ sets. Building her local profile in the Danish capital blossomed recently into a residency at the legendary dance music club Culture Box and bookings at FabricBerlin Atonal, Unsound Festival, and Boiler Room at Present Perfect Festival this year. Despite the impressive touring schedule around the world, Kristensen keeps a full-time job as an IT consultant which she really enjoys and values. She says that her day job which has nothing to do with music keeps her sane and allows her to focus even more on music because her time is limited.

Kistensens’s DJ sets span a wide spectrum of genres and styles. She takes pride in finding unique gems and unreleased music which has made her also one of Denmark’s musical tastemakers. It’s no surprise that her talent is widely supported in the community which results in strong collaborations such as the one on Special Request’s EP “Through The Looking Glass” with Nina Kraviz on Houndstooth. Her essentials are as tasteful as her track selections: a mix of classics and unexpected but fun items such as the fidget spinner and cat-eye glasses.

Essentials Anastasia Kristensen 5elect5

1. PASSPORT (DANISH):  Passport is for me to explore the world. It’s always with me because you never know where and what’s next, right? 😉

2. SUN GLASSES (NO BRAND): It’s my new permanent item, both for the looks and for the warm crazy sun this summer

3. LIP BALM (KIEHL’S, CHECK HERE): Kiehl’s just happen to have the best Lip Balm, I don’t think I’ve known of any more compact one than this.

4. FIDGET SPINNER (NO BRAND): It’s a millennial device, but I dig it so much. Perfect for deep thoughts and when a decision needs to be made 😀

5. NAIL OIL (NO BRAND): This is nail oil – Keepin’ them nails nourished

6. EAR PLUGS (AUDIOVOX, CHECK HERE): Probably the most essential tool for any musician. Also very useful, when I want to nap and there’s a baby crying on the flight

Wish Illustration Quote Anastasia Kristensen 5elect5

Footer Anastasia Kristensen 5elect5

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