Dialogue Inc | Radio Show #21 | Fall Edition

Matthew Dear's Totem

Dialogue Incorporated | Fall Edition

Dialogue Incorporated radio #21

Compiled and mixed by Mister Joshua

Special guest set from Tel Aviv’s NDV of Botanika Records 

Letter from the Editor

Introducing the new physical nature of the increasingly intangible world of music.

Material \ me-tir-ê-el \ adj

-      Formed of consisting of matter; physical; corporeal
-      Pertaining to the physical rather than the spiritual or intellectual aspect of things.
-      Of substantial import; of much consequenct; important.

Ethereal \ i-thir- ê-el \ adj

-      Light, airy or tenuous.
-      Extremely delicate or refined.
-      Heavenly or celestial.

Recently, the collaborative effort “All Summer” has become a staple part of my DJ sets. It’s perfect for me because it teeters between the indie underground and a more populist world. With a sing-along hook and guitar thrash from Best Coast’s Beth Cosentino, witty lyricism from Kid Cudi and back up from Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, “All Summer” is an intersection in a musical Venn diagram of authenticity, marketability and playability. This is especially interesting when  considering that the song was commissioned by Converse, all expenses paid.

Ben Sisario explored this music marketing concept in “Looking to a Sneaker for a Band’s Big Break” for the New York Times recently. The fundamental dilemma is bands looking for alternative revenue streams to raise the market value of their music. In doing so, we have seen a rise in creative packaging, free MP3s and other incentives to help bolster unit sales. Another strategy, the one on display in Sisario's article, is to look for a patron—of sorts—to pay for you and your work. Brands with an increasingly lifestyle bent like Mountain Dew, Scion and Converse have all taken up this role.

Talking up the strategy, the article explains that the artists get paid and maintain control and rights to their output. The brands get “coolness by association.” It goes on to quote Cosentino saying matter-of-factly, “If I said no it would have been stupid.” Sure, an arrangement such as this raises eyebrows, if not outright scorn from a certain segment of artists and fans who question authenticity and condemn bands for selling out. But, comparing the approach to a traditional recording contract, Chromeo’s Dave Macklovitch said the old route is “way more of a sell-out than doing a collaboration with a brand where you have full creative control and you give free content to your fans.” In the 21st century there might be more brands breaking talent than record labels.

The result of “All Summer” is much easier on the ears than the numerous examples you can point to on the Billboard charts that favor generic, watered down lyrics in the hope of mass appeal and a licensing deal. Chris Brown’s turn in a Wrigley’s Doublemint gum commercial comes to mind. So does the chorus to Nelly’s new single, “Just a Dream,” where the hook reaches out to that niche population of lovers out there singing “If you ever loved somebody, put your hands up.” That Nelly, I feel like he knows me. I got my hands up for you dude.

Discussing an alternative to this idea of brand patronage, another recent New York Times feature— this one from Consumed columnist Rob Walker—discussed a more materialist combatant to sagging album sales. In his article “Hearing Things” he shed light on numerous value-added packaging solutions used by artists recently. He calls it “tangible goods with a soundtrack accompaniment.” Clearly that goes beyond box sets and elaborate artwork—although recently, the deluxe edition of Skream’s Outside the Box and Ninja Tune’s 20th anniversary release are testament to the powers of design selling physical versions of their music.

A great recent example of the tangible that Walker points to is the totem version of Matthew Dear’s new record Black City. A monolithic-looking miniature aluminum building, the totem was released in a limited batch of 100 and includes a unique download link for Dear’s album (and a bonus track for a cherry on top). Walker goes on to quote Sam Valenti IV, the savvy owner of Dear’s label, Ghostly International. Valenti explains the Totem strategy as “imbuing the aura of music onto an object” to give value to artist’s work in a “post-format world."

This requires a degree of conceptualizing that may go beyond the reach of some artists, but the right labels—ones that grasp the kind of innovation needed for success in a "post-format world"—will surely start fleshing out their staff with creative minds to help implement more ideas like the totem. Music has always been an essential component of lifestyle marketing, so why wouldn’t labels start diversifying to boost sales themselves as opposed to loaning the music out to brands to help them rack up greater numbers.

As the worlds of fashion, music, media, design and nightlife start growing into one amorphous market—lifestyle—I’m more inclined to support artists and labels that have adopted a dynamic product. If this means you have to choose a brand you respect—everybody loves Converse, right?—to help bankroll your vision, so be it. And if it means you have to rethink the concept of music packaging, then you better start brainstorming. As a person that’s keen on having collections of things—books, movies, music—will it look better for me to have a bookshelf lined with identical black terabyte hard drives or an array of aesthetically-designed product art? You’ll just have to stop by some time to find out.

—Joshua P. Ferguson


For this month’s guest mix, we’re happy to welcome Israeli producer and DJ NDV (a.k.a. Nadav Ravid) into the Dialogue Inc family. A good friend of our London contributor Roy Shay, Ravid also runs eclectic beats label Botanika Records with his partner Amir Egozy and is one half of Polar Pair, a name all you Tru Thoughts fans out there will no doubt recognize.

As a DJ (and producer really) NDV is a perfect compliment to what we do here at Dialogue Inc. A man that refuses to be pinned down, his musical tastes span from funk to house to dubstep to leftfield beats, and that’s pretty much what he’s given us in this exclusive mix. Follow the tracklisting closely as there are upfront remixes, edits and original productions from NDV and other artists on his Botanika label.

It’s few and far between when we meet someone who’s taste we trust as much as NDV’s so we shot over a few questions to get better insight into what he’s into, up to and putting out to the world.

Dialogue Inc: We've been doing more fashion content at Dialogue Inc and I saw you recently licensed a track to the fall winter campaign for Dorin Frankfurt. I've always thought the music we're into makes for a perfect fit with the world of the runway. Have you put much thought into more collaborations of this kind?
NDV: Actually, we were approached by Dorin Frankfurt to help them with the music. We were more focused on getting the music out there, to try and reach out to the right DJ's and taste makers, thinking mostly about other people like us around the world – and this collaboration triggered a more practical thought: That we may be able to find other contexts for our music, not only the fashion world.
DI: Any past involvement with the fashion world or future collabo's on the books?
NDV: Other than some music consulting we've done for fashion designers here and there, it's mostly through Heela Harel who designed some of our covers. She is an unbelievable designer who majored in Fashion but works in several fields. The pictures used for the first two Polar Pair covers were taken by Dania Heller who is also an extraordinary fashion designer (Meet the Hellers). Oh, and one of us once dated a model.
DI: I don't think it gets as much recognition as it probably deserves but Israel has a very vibrant electronic music scene. Can you tell us more about it and how it's unique in comparison to other DJ hotspots like London or Berlin?
NDV: For the overall size of the population it is probably quite vibrant, with local producers involved in almost every active genre around. There are guys like Kutiman, Soulico, Radiotrip and others on the more organic side of the spectrum, to others doing dubstep and different vibes on the house/techno axis, with us somewhere between the two. What might make it unique, is that almost all of these people, from whatever part of the musical spectrum they're from, know each other on the street/personal level and get exposed to what the others are doing, as there aren't enough masses to create genre-orientated ghettos like those you get in big cities like London or Berlin.      

DI: Who are some key Israeli artists we should look out for?
NDV: Onili is an adventurous pop singer that isn't afraid of electronic producers and clubby sounds, and there's of course Kutiman who has already amazed the world with his Thru-You project. Kalbata and Bunny on Acid are each doing their unique thing in the bass world. Also, it's worth paying attention to the Raw Tapes crew, who are producing beats in the post-Dilla vain.
DI: You're obviously one of these artists we should be looking out for more and more as well. You've had a handful of releases for Tru Thoughts and your own Botanika label, both as part of Polar Pair and as NDV. Tell us more about your sound and what you're doing as a producer.
NDV: I can't decide yet if this is a bug or a feature, but I can't really narrow myself to one sound or one genre. Not as a DJ, and not as a producer. Generally speaking, as NDV I mostly make stuff I can play out as a DJ: my interpretation of stuff that inspires me - from beats to bass music to space disco. With Polar Pair and my long time collaborator Malkiel Grossman, things are getting even harder to pinpoint, as we make our own twisted take on pop music and every track we do comes out differently.
DI:  And of course we can't get out of here without talking more about your label, some of your artist roster and your DJ mix for us. Can you give us a breakdown on what Botanika is all about, who some of the artists on the label are who we should be listening to and about the track selection of your DJ mix? The mix is fantastic by the way. The selection of left coast beats, dubsteppy-funky cuts, house and all is a perfect cross section of what we would imagine we both feel are the au currant and most exciting sounds in dance music currently.
NDV: Botanika, simply put, is about looking for the soul in music and looking for the excitement of the discovery of new sounds and mutation in dance music. As a label, we wanted to establish an outlet for the huge talents around us to help them get their music out there, although we don't necessarily limit ourselves to local talent. We've mentioned some of our artists here and others you should check are Sabbo from Soulico crew who's developed a unique blend of dancehall, club music, dubstep and electro and Markey Funk who has developed from a Hip Hop head to an all out psychedelia and exotica ambassador.
In the mix we've done for you, we wanted to focus on unreleased Botanika tracks, or other tracks by Botanika artists and somewhat contextualize it with stuff we like from other labels and producers, trying to position what we do in relation to other things out there.

"But 20 seconds into “Aikon,” the opening track on Sixteen F**king Years, and I’m whisked right back to those carefree, hazy days and I immediately remember what it was about K & D and their G-Stone label that so captured my attention and made me want to become a DJ. The two haven’t lost their touch, not in the slightest." 
— Joshua P. Ferguson on Sixteen F**King Years of G-Stone

I heard rumblings akin to a sonic apocalypse. Catalonian post-rock band Bradien was blasting out the final notes of its set for Sónar Chicago, and my initial thoughts were No one told me Aphex Twin was performing, and when is the spaceship going to arrive, soak the Pritzker Pavilion in radiant blue light and beam us all up to the cosmos? Something unusual was afoot in Millennium Park.  — Joshua P. Ferguson on Sónar Chicago

“An exacting sound architect, Sollmann’s also influenced by its master builders, be it Mies van der Rohe and his modernist lines —evidenced by the cover shot of his LSD apartments—or Fazlur Khan and his towering skyscrapers. Sollmann’s beauty lies in his subtlety. A graduate of the Institute of Computer Music in Vienna, he writes compositions that exude as much classical sophistication as they do deep techno murmur.” —Joshua P. Ferguson on Efdemin's Chicago

"I felt I had to continually remind myself it was a trio of rockers that compiled its contents and not a seasoned DJ—the selection and mix is that impeccable. I know these guys are heavily influenced by dance music... but they've still outdone themselves. Spanning indie dance, nudisco, euphoric house, booty throwbacks and even "Din Da Da" by George Kranz, it's as epic a mix as I've heard in some time." —Joshua P. Ferguson on Friendly Fire's Suck My Deck mix

“Our records have sounded different since Exit Planet Dust but you can still tell the same people are making each record, even though the music has changed and the things we’re doing have changed, it still sounds like a Chemical Brothers record. We’ve never really tried to fit into anyone else’s idea of what we should do, or any particular scene.” —Tom Rowlands of the Chemical Brothers

“Most of the time when I was writing my record I was actually celibate and not, you know, interested in any kind of sexual activity. I think a lot of people are confused by the references that I made when I was making this music, like I was this hyper sexual person when it was completely the opposite. When you go through some kind of sexual fast you feel this vibration inside of you that’s just all encompassing through your body and completely changes you.”—Jimmy Edgar

Dettmann is a founding resident at Berlin’s Berghain club, a modern equivalent to the Warehouse or the Paradise Garage in terms of its influence on dance culture. This means he can be likened to a minimal-tech version of Frankie Knuckles. Such laurels are not easy to earn considering the divisive factions of techno purists. Fortunately, Dettmann’s precision as a DJ and his consummate love of techno garner considerable respect.” —Joshua P. Ferguson on Dettmann

“We used to roll our eyes when people attached the term trip-hop to Massive Attack, but over the years we’ve mellowed on that one. Commercially we understand why people were trying to put us in the trip-hop thing. In a way, it did describe what we were doing at the time. Like I said, we were influenced by hip-hop and we just gave it a British slant. It was tripped out, we were looking for a more psychedelic way of making it.”—Daddy G on trip-hop

“And let's just say if we were into star ratings his contribution would get the maximum amount: 5 stars, two thumbs, a standing ovation, which ever unit of valuation suits your fancy best. Poised at the intersection of techno, dubstep, post-rock and generally leftfield dance music, its the most forward thinking mix to grace our ears yet this year.” —Joshua P. Ferguson on Apparat’s DJ-KiCKS

“The half-time stomp of “8-Bit Baby” with American emcee Murs proves that Outside The Box is a decidedly more mature affair than Skream’s 2006 debut. But that sound isn’t altogether absent, “CPU” is a haunting dubstep affair. If you thought the rogue man versus machine themes of films like Alien, 2001:A Space Odyssey or I:Robot were pure fantasy, you’ll think again after giving this cut the once over.”—Joshua P. Ferguson on Outside the Box

Review | Magnetic Man

"It's the second best album of its kind that we've heard this year; We can't help but think it sound like an extension of Skream's Outside the Box, the first best album of its kind we've heard this year; That said, you do sense Benga's presence in the studio and are glad for it; Nit picking aside, it's fantastic and we hope it makes these dudes famous; Katy B is awesome. —Joshua P. Ferguson on Magnetic Man

“Now, with twenty years under its black belt, it’s released Ninja Tune XX, a massive box set that includes six CDs, six 7”s and the hardcover biography Ninja Tune: 20 Years of Beats and Pieces. Christmas has come early for those that like their music on the bleeding edge.”—Joshua P. Ferguson on Ninja Tune

“Dear is clearly working through some personal muck in all of this mechanically soulful doom and gloom, but for all its ominous tendencies Dear’s Black City has a light at the end of the tunnel. In the uplifting piano of set closer “Gem,” he comes to terms with his troubles, putting them behind him and embracing a brighter day.”—Joshua P. Ferguson on Black City

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Dialogue Incorporated #21
Hosted by Mister Joshua


Kruder & Dorfmeister “Aikon” – G-Stone Recordings

Cosmin TRG “Sore of Attraction” – Rush Hour

Efdemin “There Will Be Singing” – Dial Records

Friendly Fires + Azari & iii “Stay Here” - !k7

The Chemical Brothers “Swoon” – Astral Werks

Jimmy Edgar “Turn You Inside Out” - !k7

Marcel Dettmann “Drawing” – Ostgut Ton

Massive Attack “Paradise Circus” (Gui Boratto remix) – Virgin

Darkstar “Aidy’s Girl is a Computer” (Kyle Hall remix) – Hyperdub

Katy B “Louder” – Rinse

Martyn “Miniluv” – Ostgut Ton

Pariah “Railroad” – R&S Records

Skream “I Love the Way” – Tempa

Magnetic Man “Perfect Stranger” – Columbia UK

Mount Kimbie “Carbonated” – Hot Flush

Eskmo “Cloudlight” – Ninja Tune

Mr. Scruff “Pickled Spider” – Ninja Tune

Underworld “Scribble” – Om Records

Matthew Dear “Gem” – Ghostly International

Guest Mx from Botanika’s NDV

Markey Funk “Soul of Technopolis” - Botanika

Bibio “Fire Ant” - Warp

The Astronotes “Soul Miner” - project moon circle

Star Slinger “Innocent”- starslingeruk.bandcamp.com

Polar Pair ft Eyal Glass “Cry Cry Cry” (Remix) - Test

NDV “Look at the Stars” - Bonjazz

Zomby “The Forest” - Ninja Tune

Deadboy “U Cheated” - Well Rounded

Polar Pair  “Out of My Head” (NDV Remix) - Botanika

Supra 1 “Still Believe” feat. Amy Douglas (Brackles Remix) - Trouble and Bass

Zed Bias feat Tawiah “Further Away” (Even Further RMX by NDV) - Test

Bunny on Acid “A scratch on the heart” - Botanika

Bunny on Acid “Oxygen” - Botanika 

XXXY “This Much” - Fortified Audio

Easy Star All Stars “Any Colour You Like” (KALBATA rmx) - EAS

Bunny on Acid “Luv Hurts” - Promo

Eyal Goldman “Sometimes things change” - Botanika test

BeN-HuR “Strings of 79 / Coming on strong” - Promo

NDV  “Round & Round” - Test

Onili –“Sentimental” (NoizinzioN Remix by Sabbo) - Self Released


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