Category: MUSIC

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 mangaer 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


RBMA // VŌX

5elect5 Essentials Vox Hands

Los Angeles-based vocalist, musician and producer Sarah Winters AKA vōx (pronounced “wokes”) makes hip-hop-influenced spectral pop. Her productions and performances have a refined look and feel. Under the veil she wears on stage, Winters is hidden but present – guiding the audience safely through the unknown sonic world. She also has a talent for giving songs like Kendrick Lamar’s “i,” the unique vōx treatment while creating lasting moments.


MY ESSENTIALS

5elect5 Essentials Vox

1. NOTEBOOK + PEN (MOLESKIN, BUY HERE):  My music making background came about through writing poetry first, so I like to have a small notebook with me at all times for lyrical thoughts.

2. EAR PLUGS (ACS, CHECK HERE): I think it goes along with my introversion, but I tend to be very sensitive to sound. I like to carry my molded earplugs with me, mostly for going to shows, but sometimes even a plane or a train is a tad too loud for me.

3. GLOVES (DEL’HACIENDA, CHECK HERE): Wearing things that make people smile and wearing things that make me smile is key. These are satin gloves my friends from Los Angeles, Del’Hacienda, made.

4. VEIL (NO BRAND): Being veiled is a big part of vōx imagery. It’s symbolic in the sense that it sets a tone of importance to what I’m doing. When I put a veil on, I’m embodying all the things that are important to me as a creator and a performer–being vulnerable, being open, being curious, being bold.

5. LIP BALM (GLOSSIER, BUY HERE): I always have one of these rose balms on me, sometimes more than one. So key.


MY RBMA EXPERIENCE

5elect5 Essentials Vox Message Quote


VOX’S LINKS
SPOTIFY
FACEBOOK
WEBSITE
INSTAGRAM

 


RBMA // SOUL OF HEX

5elect5 Essentials Soul of Hex

Gerardo Cedillo is a producer, DJ and multi-instrumentalist from Mexico. As one half of the duo named Kry-Lon, he defined the “new rave” scene in his hometown of Tijuana. As Soul of Hex, Cedillo’s solo project’ he enjoys playing and producing deep house incoorporating classic techno and jazz influences. He is the founder of the vinyl only label Vicario Musique Recordings to create an platform to share “music for the future”. His essentials are a refined collection to accompany him when he is touring around the world.


MY ESSENTIALS

5elect5 Essentials Soul of Hex

1. PERFORMANCE SAMPLER (ELEKTRON, BUY HERE):  It’s my most essential piece of gear and I take it everywhere with me. It’s such a wonderful machine which basically can sample and manipulate any sound or song and take it to the next level, with awesome effects and also it’s a composer so… it’s been in my bag since I got it sponsored by Elektron in 2016.

2. SUNGLASSES (RAY-BAN, CHECK HERE): These shades are cool I think, I always lose them but buy them again every now and then ha!

3. GRANULAR CONVOLVOR (RBMA, READ HERE): This little silver machine was given to the participants of this year’s Red Bull Music Academy it was created by the engineer Tatsuya Takahashi. It basically combines two sound waveforms and you can modulate them.

4. HEADPHONES (SENNHEISER, SIMILAR HERE): My headphones for standard DJ usage and travelling for sure, I’ve been using these for a year and they are excellent!

5. SNEAKERS (REEBOK, BUY HERE): Classic kicks, they are so comfortable! I used to take off my shoes to play long DJ sets, but… not anymore!


MY RBMA EXPERIENCE

5elect5 Essentials Soul of Hex Message


SOUL OF HEX’S LINKS
FACEBOOK
SOUNDCLOUD
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM


RBMA // INDI

5elect5 Essentials Indi Hands

Indira Force is an artist from New Zealand. Her deep relationship with music is expressed in many different ways: composing film soundtracks, dance scores and even music for political campaigns as well as producing music under “indi”. The tracks on her first solo album Precipice are performed with saxophonists, trombonists and a violin to bring Force’s dreamy and delicate but concrete vision to life. Her collection of items are surprisingly functional and practial but essential to create the “indi” sound.


MY ESSENTIALS

5elect5 Essentials Indi

1. LAPTOP (GIGABYTE, CHECK HERE):  I actually bought this earlier this year when I moved to Berlin from NZ. It has been essential to my on-the-go media-scoring lifestyle. It is really sturdy and can run huge projects without any problems.

2. EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE (SEAGATE, CHECK NEXT PARTY HERE): This is a boring one but I cannot emphasize how important it is to back up your stuff. I lost a whole EP of music projects once because my computer died and it was devastating. Honestly if you can afford it get like 2 hard drives and back everything up twice as well as uploading to the cloud. This holds a very precious part of my life.

3. SNACK (FRECHE FREUNDE, CHECK HERE): I think the translation is like ‘cheeky friend’ haha. They are freeze-dried strawberries and I just eat these almost every day because they are light and yum and natural.  

4. HEADPHONES (HOUSE OF MARLEY, CHECK HERE): I use these constantly. They were a gift and I am so proud to own them as they are made from 100% sustainable and recycled materials. I go to sleep every night listening to the Harry Potter audoobooks by Stephen Fry which i know is a bit childish but so soothing.

5. YOGA MAT (NO BRAND): I have been practicing Ashtanga yoga since I was about 11. My family is pretty into it, especially my mum, so when I do yoga it reminds me of home and family. I’m not hardcore really- some weeks I may not do much depending on what is happening, but when things get intense and crazy I always know I can figure things out and breathe through it on this mat.


MY RBMA EXPERIENCE5elect5 Essentials Indi Message


INDI’S LINKS
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM
BANDCAMP
JAPANESE BLOG


RBMA // JEANNEL

5elect5 Essentials Jeannel Hands

Berlin-based Jeanne Kaiser is a singer, producer and classically-trained cellist who performs under the name Jeannel. She is known for her her dreamy, R&B-oriented pop. Her performances are versatile: playing with a full band or playing with stripped-down stage setup or doing back-up vocals – Kaiser makes sure to connect with the audience. So does her collection of essentials share the importance of relationships to her music.


MY ESSENTIALS

5elect5 Essentials Jeannel

1. YOGA (PEACEYOGA, CHECK HERE):  Peaceyoga Berlin is one of my absolute essential in-order-to-stay-sane/basic-need-place to go to. The jivamukti classes are demanding, sweaty, and lead by the best teachers I know so far. Peaceyoga is like my second home here in Berlin. I go there to keep my body and soul in tune. I love this place.

2. COMPUTER (APPLE, CHECK HERE): My whole musical identity is on that computer. Whenever I go out the house wondering if I really switched off the stove, it’s the only thing I am worried about. (Besides my plants.)

3. SHIRT (TRES RASCHE, CHECK HERE): That T-shirt just makes me feel good an powerful. Besides, the label is awesome.

4. BOOTS (DR. MARTENS, CHECK HERE): Same with the boots. I can wear them whereever, whenever. I wear them all the time. The help me keep my feet on the ground.

5. GUITAR (A GIFT): She was given to me by someone who holds a special place in my heart. She’s my baby.


MY RBMA EXPERIENCE

5elect5 Essentials Jeannel Message


JEANNEL’S LINKS
FACEBOOK
SOUNDCLOUD
WEBSITE
INSTAGRAM