Sander Kleinenberg at Oxford, England's Massive Records
With luggage packed for a three-month tour, Dutch progressive-house DJ Sander Kleinenberg let Remix tag along on his last record-shopping trip before his global excursion. His shop of choice? Joanna Massive's Massive Records in Oxford, England.
“With the traveling, it's very hard to find time to actually spend a day in a record shop,” says Kleinenberg, admitting that whenever possible, he prefers to do his listening at home with fewer distractions. “I come here about once every two months and spend an afternoon, but Joanna sends me a big box of records every two weeks. She's got impeccable taste when it comes to music and knows what makes me tick. I usually buy everything she sends. She makes me quite poor!”
In the year since the release of his Global Underground Nubreed compilation, Kleinenberg has risen through the ranks of world-class DJs to become one of the more celebrated names on the global scene. His eclectic sets run the gamut of house, trance, techno-funk and electro, masterfully blended with trademark subtlety. A trained musician, he's patently aware of what makes music touch the soul and isn't afraid to apply age-old principles to the dance-music medium.
Massive concurs. “That's where Sander is so incredible, because he's so creative,” she says. “A lot of DJs are only about the hottest new tunes. Sander's more discerning than that. He looks for the spirit in the music, and he's also very open-minded.”
As Massive sorts through a stack of fresh vinyl, the soft-spoken Kleinenberg describes exactly what he's hoping to find: “I've got two big outdoor festival gigs coming up, so I'm looking for a sound which can't be too minimal or artistic. It needs to have the power to get across to a fairly large crowd, but it does have to hold the integrity that I look for in a record. They don't need to be records that are specifically very hooky or gimmicky, because I'm traveling for three months and I'd like to have some timeless stuff with me. Just nice rolling, funky beats and bass lines.”
Kleinenberg alternates between listening through headphones and the store's sound system, eventually whittling his stack down to eight favorites. Here are what made the grade:
Meeting #1 EP
This is another record from Choke. All four tracks are produced by people who work for Choke Records, though it's on 440Hz Records. If I were to give a visual reference of what these records are, it would be the movie The Gift or David Lynch's Twin Peaks. These are the deepest tracks I buy, and I don't even play them out a lot, but I have to buy them. They have me under their control! These are the kind of records that are in your box for three months, and all of a sudden you think, “Oh, God, let me play this now,” and it's one of those gems that works at that moment.
I was in New York in early September working with John Creamer and Stephan K, and they gave me a CD-R of a remix, which is this track. Simple production but very effective and a great usage of vocals. I played it out on a boat party in New York on September 8. The lyrics of this record are about an Indian who moved from the small town to the big city and about how hard it is for him to cope with city life and the suffering he observes there. Being in New York on that night and enjoying the skyline and being carefree with all these New Yorkers, I'm going to remember this track for a long time. I got some e-mails from people in New York saying how they cherished that night because we were all carefree and happy, and things are different now. So this record captured that moment for me. I bought it today; it's the first time I saw the vinyl. I think it's probably off the press by about 24 hours. It's good to have it.
“Fly by Wire”
Choke Records is a bunch of guys from Germany who for the last couple of years have been releasing absolutely phenomenal techno, deep-house records. I always pick them up because they have a timeless quality. This track is just haunting. There's some darkness to it, but it has that driving bass and rhythm. It's quite minimal, but it captures a vibe that keeps you locked. It's like a magic flute: You hear it, and the world stands still. Their records are not always nice; they're not friendly; they're fairly dark and dirty. There aren't a lot of places where you can play this kind of stuff, but if you can, then these are the records that capture time and make the world stop.
“Whispers” (Dan Electro mix)
Yori Hulkkonen is from Finland. He's an amazing talent, especially in the techno scene, and a great example of how all the different worlds within dance music are coming closer. This track, “Whispers,” is absolutely amazing, but, specifically, the Dan Electro remix is the one that caught my ear. I recently started playing New Order's “Blue Monday” again — it's such a timeless record — and this is a record I would play and then go into “Blue Monday” or something else with that same vibe. Electro is finding its way back into DJ record boxes, and Yori obviously understood that when he included an electro mix on this 12-inch.
All I know about this is, it's two guys from Italy, and it's on Alex Neri's label. This track is absolutely gorgeous. It's lush, warm and has an almost liquid kind of groove. I'm very happy with this; it's my favorite catch of the day. It would be great as an opener for a set. My initial thought was that it would be a really good track for a compilation. You might see it soon on something I do. It's very, very good, high-quality music. You don't see this kind of thing coming around a lot. It's a treasure.
Sharpside are Belgian, and Rotation is Dave Angel's label. This is going to cross over into every Tom, Dick and Harry's record box. It samples the Chemical Brothers' “Out of Control” bass line, which is a typical Moroder bass line. It's very simple, very straightforward, but it's one of the biggest party techno tracks of the year. It's just hands in the air and enjoying yourself, but in a clever way and not too cheesy. This is really good. Carl Cox has been playing it out and, obviously, Dave Angel. It's just a no-nonsense, full-on party track.
This is something I've never seen before, but it caught my eye because it's from Japan. It's on ing Recordings, which I've never seen before, either. It's just a great stomp-funk, simple, minimal track — not pretentious at all, just a really good, rhythmic groove. It has a certain tension, and it builds and builds and builds. I would use this as a transition record if I needed a track that goes from housey music into somewhat more lush kind of music. Sometimes you need little links that take you places, and this is one of those records that helps you build a bridge to where you want to be.
Again, it's a white label, so the only thing I know is, it's pressed on red vinyl. That's always nice when people make that extra effort. It shows they're proud of what they've done. This is a great little soulful thing. It has a very funky bass line, and the record's got quite a happy vibe. It's funky in a light way. I don't know who's done it; I don't know what it is; it's just an amazing track, and it's a shame I can't let you all hear it through the magazine! I know there are only two copies at the moment. Sasha's got one copy, and I'm the second.
Massive Records; 95 Gloucester Green, Oxford, England OX1 2BU, UK; tel. 186-525-0476; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org