New Techno Record Label
Announces Inaugural Vinyl & Digital Releases
Cheap and Deep Rides Again
Available Exclusively Through Hard Wax
Groundbreaking Mesa Sequencer Companion App
For iPhone/iPad Launches on iTunes
LOS ANGELES, CA – August 2, 2012 – Brand new electronic dance music label Modular Cowboy announces its inaugural releases, Cheap and Deep Rides Again (featuring remixes by Norman Nodge and Jonsson/Alter) and Mesa Sequences, available on vinyl and digital download exclusively through Hard Wax in late August/early September 2012. The new Modular Cowboy label is spearheaded by techno artist and music industry veteran Jay Ahern (a.k.a. Add Noise, Cheap and Deep, Hauntologists). As a label, Modular Cowboy focuses on deep club tracks, live improvisational works, and music apps that share the label’s creative vision of performance-based sound design and strong visual aesthetics with the end user. In conjunction with its Mesa Sequences EP, Modular Cowboy is also set to release Mesa Sequencer, a ground-breaking companion app for iPad/iPhone, created by musician and programmer Morgan Packard (Anticipate Recordings, Thicket), which radically changes the way audiences consume music – from passive consumers to active producers. The Mesa Sequencer app will be available, initially for free, through iTunes in September 2012. For more information on the label please visit www.modularcowboy.com.
Berlin-based Hard Wax, one of the world’s most cutting-edge electronic music retailers and arguably “ground zero” for Chicago house, Detroit techno and dub techno music in Europe, is the exclusive distributor for Modular Cowboy vinyl and digital releases. To learn more about Hard Wax please visit http://hardwax.com.
The Initial Releases:
Cheap and Deep Rides Again (12” vinyl & digital download) –
This inaugural release on Modular Cowboy features brand new material from Cheap and Deep (a.k.a. Jay Ahern) alongside two remixes of “Words, Breaths and Pauses,” a track originally released as a limited edition 12” via Berlin’s Hard Wax shop, just prior to Cheap and Deep’s live debut at Mutek 2010. The remixes come courtesy of Berghain resident DJ Norman Nodge as well as duo Jonsson/Alter (Henrik Jonsson and Joel Alter) from the Kontra-Musik label in Sweden. The release also marks Cheap and Deep’s return to the scene, with the new track “Beautiful,” a modern take on the Chicago acid house tradition, featuring vocals by Crissy Liu with additional production by Morgan Packard. Cheap and Deep Rides Again is set for release through Hard Wax – http://www.modularcowboy.com/releases/cheap-and-deep-rides-again.
Mesa Sequences (12” vinyl & digital download) –
Mesa Sequences is a live improvisational piece recorded in New Mexico, inspired by underground electronic music events happening in and around Sante Fe. The performance captures realtime musical dialogue between Jay Ahern (vintage electronics) and Morgan Packard (DIY software), interacting with their “musical tools,” while creating a beat-driven soundscape for an audience of dancers engulfed in the surreal landscape – a far cry from the atmosphere of traditional electronic music venues. While no microphones were used to record the audience, thus maintaining a studio quality to the recordings, the presence of the crowd can be felt in the impact of the music, inspiring its movements. The 25-minute Mesa Sequences piece contains a number of movements that flow uninterrupted in the digital format and across two sides on the limited edition vinyl pressing that also has cue points for DJs and listeners alike. Mesa Sequences is set for release through Hard Wax – http://www.modularcowboy.com/releases/mesa-sequences-ep.
Mesa Sequencer (iPhone/iPad App) –
The groundbreaking Mesa Sequencer app radically changes the way audiences consume music – from passive consumers to active producers. The app, designed by Morgan Packard, allows anyone with an Apple iPhone or iPad to creatively engage with a selection of techno loops from the corresponding audio release to create and output their own mix of Mesa Sequences. Through an elegant interface, featuring stunning landscape photography by visual artist Maike Verloh, app users scroll through beat-synchronized loops from the Mesa Sequences EP, set against imagery of the high desert in the American Southwest, where the piece was conceived. A step sequencer, controlled by the user, allows for creative exploration; as users traverse the audio landscape, they add their own musical footprints. Patterns created with this step sequencer can then be shared to a community server from within the app. From this shared area, users can download and modify one another’s creations. Synth sliders control pitch, duration and modulation. The whole experience allows the user to engage with the improvisational nature of the piece as well as the stark beauty of the environment, which informed the music. Additionally, audio output functionality allows users to record their own high quality version of Mesa Sequences for use outside the app environment, such as iPods, online sharing, or mixing into DJ sets. Available through iTunes in September 2012, the Mesa Sequencer app will be free for a limited amount of time – http://www.modularcowboy.com/releases/mesa-sequencer-app.
“In addition to the pure physicality of great sound and how it inspires movement, I’m also interested in the materiality of performance itself – particularly with the return of tactile relationships between artists and their tools,” says Modular Cowboy’s Jay Ahern, “Listeners have also traditionally engaged tactilely with music, enjoying an album’s artwork for example, and now, through smartphones and iPads, they can interact on a whole new level of sensory experience by actively creating music through innovative new apps, such as Morgan Packard’s Mesa Sequencer.”
Jay Ahern –
Modular Cowboy’s globetrotting Jay Ahern (a.k.a. Add Noise, Cheap and Deep, Hauntologists) has spent the past two decades floating under the surface as a quintessential producer’s producer. While in Dublin, Ireland, the techno artist started the Aquarhythms and Hydroelectric labels, releasing mixes by Carl Craig, Morgan Geist, and Deep Dish as well as works under his own monikers to keep the deep beats rolling. By the late ‘90s, a number of those early singles became cult classics and were reissued on the Astralwerks and Phono labels. In 2003, Ahern launched the Earsugar label, which saw releases by Stefan Schneider, Gudrun Gut, Thomas Fehlmann, Brendon Moeller, Hauschka, Dirk Dresselhaus and many others. Also in 2003, Ahern’s Add Noise production moniker came into existence. By 2006, he had relocated to Berlin, Germany and began releasing on the Hard Wax-distributed Handwerk label, thus furthering his reputation as Add Noise. His Cheap and Deep incarnation was born in 2009, while Ahern worked at Hard Wax.
Berlin proved to be fertile ground for collaborations with Ahern embarking on both live and studio projects with Stefan Schneider (Mapstation, To Rococo Rot) as Hauntologists, Robert Henke (Monolake) as Termulator X, Henrik Jonsson (Gunnar Jonsson, Jonsson/Alter) as Kvadratklang and Adam Marshall (New Kanada) as Étapes. In 2010, Ahern relocated to the US with his family to care for his father and, after settling in Colorado, the following year saw studio sessions and new live collaborations with US-based artists including Jonah Sharp (Spacetime Continuum, Reagenz) and Morgan Packard (Anticipate Recordings, Thicket). Ahern also has ten years of music industry experience, outside of his own labels/projects, with past and present professional positions in marketing, distribution and label management at Beatport, Hard Wax, Domino Records, PIAS, and V2.
Morgan Packard –
Morgan Packard’s search for the perfect music led him on a journey to study jazz saxophone at Boston’s New England Conservatory, to London to immerse himself in British drum and bass, to study classical composition, and to learn to program his own software tools. Across the music he explores are the qualities of beauty, melody, texture, and hypnotic repetition. The multimedia artist has worked closely with visualist/programmer Joshue Ott and aligned himself with musician and label man Ezekiel Honig. Ott challenged him to write better software. Honig challenged him to make an album for his label, Anticipate. His first solo album, Airships Fill the Sky, pricked up ears around the world, got good reviews, and people started buying him plane tickets to perform in their cities. His next album, Moment Again Elsewhere, did more of the same.
With Ott, he created Thicket, a collection of audiovisual art pieces for iPhone and iPad. Thicket found unexpected mass-market success and, for many people, became an icon for the potential of iPad as a platform for interactive art. Thicket was featured in Apple’s “Best of 2010” list under the category “Generative Art and Music.” Packard has also spent time living in Berlin, soaking up the sounds of techno by night and recreating his own versions of those sounds by day. Independent twists of fate called both Packard and his Berlin friend and mentor, Jay Ahern, to Colorado, where the two established a lively and fertile collaboration. Packard’s performances in North America, Europe and China, include Montreal’s Mutek Festival, Serbia’s Dis-Patch Festival, Colorado’s Communikey Festival, San Francisco’s Grey Area Foundation for the Arts, Brooklyn’s legendary Bunker Party, airplay by NPR’s All Songs Considered, as well as Thomas Fehlmann and Gudrun Gut’s OceanClub radio show. Learn more about Packard at www.morganpackard.com.
Norman Nodge –
Norman Nodge has been a resident DJ at the infamous Berlin nightclub Berghain, widely considered one of the best clubs in the world, since 2005. His background as a life-long music lover, DJ and party promoter led to his current status as Berlin’s secret weapon for serious techno. Born in East German Leipzig and raised in Brandenburg, Nodge was bitten by the techno bug after the wall came down. From 1994 on, he promoted several events, which also helped launch his career as a DJ. At these parties, he crossed paths with Marcel Fengler and Marcel Dettmann, becoming their mentor for all things techno. Seven years ago, Dettmann successfully pitched him to Berghain’s management and he subsequently became a resident instantaneously. Since then, he has played the club once a month, specializing in the nearly forgotten art of warming up at the beginning of a night. In 2005, he started to produce his own tracks. Unsurprisingly, his outings on Dettmann’s MDR label, as well as his track “Native Rhythm Electric,” for Ostgut Ton, left a deep impression with headstrong techno lovers. With his dusty funk, static hiss and the rich thump of his kick drums, he has managed to make himself recognized as one of techno’s more unique auteurs. Nodge cites Detroit techno (Jeff Mills, Rob Hood, 430 West), Chicago house (Relief, Dance Mania) and U.K. techno (Luke Slater, Peacefrog, Mark Broom) as his most essential influences. Learn more about Nodge at ostgut.de/booking/artist/norman-nodge.
It all started with some old synthesizers and the will to play. Henrik Jonsson and Joel Alter met in Gothenburg, Sweden, years ago. Then down the road, in 2010, they found themselves neighbors in Berlin’s Neukölln district. One day, Jonsson went to check out some abandoned synthesizers that Alter found in the streets. A jam session started, which has not ended since. Two very well received EPs are already out and an album was recently released on Kontra-Musik. Their album Mod has been hailed by press and blogs as one of the strongest releases of 2011. Jonsson/Alter’s spacey “science fiction” art house sound is also available for live bookings. Learn more about Jonsson/Alter at http://kontra-musik.com/index.php?id=216.
Modular Cowboy –
Modular Cowboy, the US-based electronic music label started by Jay Ahern in 2012, focuses on deep club tracks, live improvisational works, and music apps that share the label’s creative vision of performance-based sound design and strong visual aesthetics with the end-user. Modular Cowboy also maintains strong ties to the electronic music scene in Berlin, as Ahern is a transplant from that city. The label is an exclusive outlet for Ahern to release his collaborations with artists such as Morgan Packard and commission remixes from inspirational producers such as Berghain resident DJ Norman Nodge and exciting new talent such as Jonsson/Alter. In addition to traditional releases, Modular Cowboy will also release sample packs and other tools for DJs and producers. The label’s strong visual aesthetic is courtesy of designer Maike Verloh. Berlin-based Hard Wax is the official distributor for Modular Cowboy releases. This is dance music that reverberates with the past, the present AND future while celebrating collaboration, performance, and a physical relationship with sound.
“My goal with the new Modular Cowboy label is to look to the future without losing the sensory experiences of the past,” says Ahern, “To provide opportunities for both pure enjoyment as well as active performance of music.”
- Official Modular Cowboy Site – www.modularcowboy.com
- Facebook – www.facebook.com/modularcowboymusic
- Twitter - http://twitter.com/modularcowboy
- SoundCloud - http://soundcloud.com/modularcowboy
- Hard Wax - http://hardwax.com# # #
For more information, copies of the new releases, the demo version of the Mesa Sequencer app, images, and interviews, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada at 213-840-1201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Mesa Sequences vinyl artwork – a live 25-minute improvisational piece
by Jay Ahern & Morgan Packard recorded in New Mexico Cheap and Deep Rides Again vinyl artwork – w/ remixes
by Norman Nodge & Jonsson/Alter + a new Cheap and Deep song, “Beautiful”Posted on August 2nd, 2012 No comments
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