Artist picture of BRANDT BRAUER FRICK


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Sometimes what you don’t do is as important as what you do. Brandt Brauer Frick have made name for themselves producing techno without the technology, using classical instruments in preference to synthesizers and computers. It’s a negative that’s had positive results – a common thread that runs through all of Brandt Brauer Frick’s music: interesting things happen at the interface of machine and hand-made music. The Berlin trio’s 2010 debut ‘You Make Me Real’ was a forward-thinking gem, fusing techno and classical. They reworked it on 2011’s ‘Mr Machine’, a techno record played totally live by a ten-piece classical ensemble — they’ve graced the stages of dark nightclubs, classical concert halls and cultural institutions alike, namely Glastonbury, Coachella, Montreux Jazz, Lincoln Center, Mutek, Sonar, Southbank, Centre Pompidou, Fabric, Berghain during their 150 or so worldwide shows over the last 18 months. Then, earlier this year, came ‘Miami’ (released on !K7 like the previous albums), a darker, more song-based collection exploring the same man-machine ideas. Taken together, Brandt Brauer Frick are the sound of dance music’s rule book being torn up, pulped and recycled into sheet music paper. In early 2014, Brandt Brauer Frick released their DJ-Kicks compilation on !K7, doing the same thing with a mix. Not for them the algorithmic rigidity of cutting and pasting tracks together on Ableton. They recorded the mix in one day, out of hours at Berlin’s legendary Watergate club, using only vinyl and dub plates. “We didn’t want to record it in our studio or at home, mainly because we preferred an intense session with limited time,” explains Paul Frick. “That feels more like a unique situation and it enforces the tension and the necessity to do it right. Because we mixed it live there are mistakes and flaws, some rougher transitions in there. We are not super technical DJs. We like it when you hear those imprecisions because it’s human. It feels like someone is behind the mix, rather than a computer.” It’s a hugely inventive set, ranging from the deep house of ‘Electric Alleycat’ by Theo Parrish to classic techno in the form of ‘Transition’ by Galaxy 2 Galaxy and the post-dubstep / post-drum’n’bass / post-everything of ‘Now U Know Tha Deal 4 Real’ by Machinedrum. Daniel Brandt, Jan Brauer and Paul Frick started putting the mix together with a mammoth listening session. Each member brought in 25-30 tracks. They listened to all of them and chose the ones they all agreed on. A number of tracks were re-edited, for example ‘Australaborialis’ by Inkswel, where they extended the outro, looping it up because it fitted beautifully with Theo Parrish ‘Electric Alleycat’. One of the key themes is mixing 4/4 beats with more broken rhythms, such as the aforementioned Machinedrum ‘Now U Know Tha Deal 4 Real’. The heart of the mix is ‘Transition’ by Galaxy 2 Galaxy feat. Atlantis, the Underground Resistence techno classic, a heady mix of rippling digital hooks, synth stabs and positive mindset lyrics. “It’s got a very existential and positive message. It expresses perfectly something that we feel but which we could never have expressed ourselves. William Onyeabor ‘Better Change Your Mind’ is another track like that. It’s very different to what we do, but the message is totally how we feel about the state of the world and politics.” Brandt Brauer Frick wrote three songs for the mix: ‘Bommel’, ‘Out Of Tash’ and ‘Hugo’, the last being exclusive. At the same time, five other artists also wrote tracks for the album: Dollkraut ‘Rollercoaster’, Le K ‘Abraz’, James Braun & Troels Abrahamsen ‘Wooden Knuckles’, Glenn Astro ‘How I Miss You’ and Cosmin TRG ‘Echolab Disaster’. Speaking about ‘Hugo’, the band say: “We’re known for using acoustic instruments, but there are lots of synthesisers in our music too. The main element in all the three tracks we wrote for the mix is a synth. ‘Hugo’ is something made for the dancefloor. Often we don’t think about the dancefloor at all, but that one we did.” After all the conceptualising, perhaps most importantly of all, the end result is that rare thing: a dancefloor mix full of emotion. Interesting things happen when humans and machines meet.

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