Heal Yourself and Move: The Greatness of Newworldaquarium

August 14, 2009

This week’s Heal Yourself And Move—a new biweekly column about dance and electronic music, written by Maryland’s finest, Andrew Field Pickering, whose Future Times label has a new compilation, Vibe 1 available now—explores the aquatic impulses of Newworldaquarium and includes a 60 minute mix of the Dutch producer's finest moments. Read the column and download the mix after the jump.

Please download this mix, and listen to it as you read, so you can be entrenched in the aqua world.

Maxmillion Dunbar - Greatness of NWAQ Mix

1. Newworldaquarium - Introduction (from "the Twenty" EP on Delsin)
2. Newworldaquarium - Avon Sparkle (from "The Dead Bears" LP on Delsin)
3. Ross 154 - Until My Heart Stops (M>O>S> recordings)
4. Newworldaquarium - Lovin' U (Peacefrog)
5. Newworldaquarium - Theme From (Delsin)
6. Newworldaquarium - Affenwelt (NWAQ)
7. Newworldaquarium - Trespassers (Delsin)
8. Newworldaquarium - Curse Of The Bloody Puppets (from "the Twenty" EP on Delsin)
9. Newworldaquarium - The Dead Bears (from "The Dead Bears" LP on Delsin)
10. Newworldaquarium - Star Power (from "The Dead Bears" LP on Delsin)
11. Newworldaquarium - Rox (from "the Twenty" EP on Delsin)
12. Newworldaquarium - Daze (Delsin)
13. Newworldaquarium - The Force (from "The Dead Bears" LP on Delsin)

Oh fuck

I think there is interesting, natural similarity between water (an elemental force of nature) and filters (a human invention for musicians to tweak sounds). It literally, actually sounds like you are underwater, if a producer uses the right filters. Sometimes when I listen to old Vladislav Delay, I feel like I'm in my aunt's pool in Massachusetts, with my head underwater, avoiding my cousins. Keeping the analogy going, there is a deepness there, in the filters, that the right producer can exploit to psychedelic ends.

A lot of times, when I listen to deep (coincidence?) house and deep techno tracks, I hear less of the "space-world" that usually, on paper, defines the sound of techno, and more of an "aqua-world." I love tracks that send me underwater. Even the legendary dudes in Drexciya (link http://www.drexciyaresearchlab.blogspot.com/) used analogies to a never discovered "Black Atlantis," and had track titles like "Wavejumper" and "Bubble Metropolis" to give us all a taste of the world down there.

One of 154's long-form fuzzouts

Newworldaquarium (or 154, or Ross 154, or Newworldromantic, or Jochem Peteri) is the undisputed king of this water world, as far as I'm concerned. On his myspace, he makes a point to mention that his "tracks" are more like "grooves, that go on endlessly, that slowly change colour and shape and sneak their way into your head..." and that "Underwater, everything moves slower." His tempos on his only full-length, "The Dead Bears" (Delsin), are halway between hip-hop and techno, much like the dead center of the Atlantic Ocean. The rest of his catalog goes both faster and way slower than "The Dead Bears", drifiting between 130 BPM classic techno speeds and ambient washouts, devoid of any flotation devices.

"Trespassers", newly re-released on 12-inch via NWAQ/Delsin (with a new "154 Dub"), was a club stunner in 2000, by all accounts. I was still in high-school, and I didn't really go see Carl Craig then, but apparently it was his NWAQ jam of choice. I almost always bring this track to DJ gigs, and it never fails to accomplish the same goal, of taking everybody deeeeeep. Peteri endlessly filters a Sergio Mendez sample and just pounds on the 909 bass drum. Its an aquatic dream for both dancers and mixers; you can blend shit over this 10-minute plus monster all day. I used to geek out and think that the main shiny keyboard loop was the beggining of "I Can't Go For That" by Hall & Oates, but nah. I did recently come across a loop from the NWAQ track "Daze" (in the mix above) on my Miroslav Vitous LP.

Insight into Peteri's methods of producing (including my sample-spotting) are few, but fruitful. In an interview with Boing Poum tchak! (nice name) he says that back in the day, he used an "unhealthy fetish for Chicago or Detroit" to craft "Endless jams with synths and tunes until the neighbours went mad or away." And, at least in regards to the tracks on "Dead Bears", that "most of the original sessions are about one hour takes, then edited into the version which is on the album. Call it a director’s cut." Consider my mix above the retrospective!

Until next time,

Heal Yourself and Move: The Greatness of Newworldaquarium