kong’s 7 record picks for gentle mornings
Passionately spreading the real house sound for longer than anyone can remember, Koen Galle is one of the most industrious tastemakers of Belgium’s scene. Aside from his close relationship with the capital’s paramount underground club C12, he’s been relentlessly busy unearthing many stories about the rich Belgian electronic music and vinyl culture scene.
As a thriving creature of the night, we’re mostly curious about how Koen spends his mornings. This is what he shares: “My morning ritual is sacred. I prefer to keep the transition from bed to breakfast table as smooth as possible, which mostly means: to keep the outside world muted for yet another hour or so. The only world I allow to enter my head is the newspaper and music. For the latter I have a few options, from a dedicated Spotify playlist to a section in my record collection with calm, energizing music.“
Mantris - Souvenirs From Imaginary Cities
Over the last year, my mornings have often started with the inaugural release of my new label ‘Souvenirs From Imaginary Cities’ by Belgian but Mumbai resident Mantris. Sent over as a Soundcloud playlist by a mutual friend about a year ago, I was immediately hooked and invited Antwerp Jan and Floris Machiels aka Hill Men to participate in creating our imprint. We are extremely happy and excited to finally share Mantris’ beautiful sounds with the world, a versatile 40-minute long album reminiscent of the finest UK leftfield experiments, Detroit future sounds of jazz, and sophisticated house not house.
Peter Zummo - Frame Loop
Anything Arthur Russell has touched during his short but productive life can make it to my morning playlist. This recording by his good friend Peter Zummo, with Russell delicately jamming his amplified cello, is a good example. I enjoy long tracks that seem to have no start or end, just endless variations and loops. With most tracks on this release reaching around ten minutes, this work of art checks all boxes.
Strobe Light Network / Lapis Lazuli
Strobe Light Network by Cold has a great story. This 15-minute track was first released in 1995 and was played by German DJ Sven Väth to end his marathon set at the legendary Berlin Love Parade in the same year. Starting with an ambient vibe and slowly building up to more grandeur, it was the last track of a long night of dancing in the German capital, rightfully representing the sound of a city waking up. Now reissued on Nosedrip’s Stroom label.
Kuniyuki Takahashi - Early Tape Works (1986 - 1993) Vol. 1
I once spent an evening at a restaurant in Tokyo sharing the table with Kuniyuki Takahashi, who at the time I only knew for his house music 12 inches on Mule Musiq. When his excellent ‘Early Tape Works’ were released on Music From Memory years later, I was delighted to learn more about the man and his early work. This album is a great showcase of the avant-garde oriental electronic music scene from the eighties and nineties and a quintessential piece for any record collection.
Carlos Maria Trindade / Nuno Canavarro - Mr. Wollogallu
Blu Terra, the first track on the B-side, is an out of this world piece of music that I can listen to over and over and experience the same joyful emotions, every time again. This track was my way into this beautiful collaborative album by Portuguese musicians Trindade and Canavarro dubbed Mr. Wollogallu. It sounds like daydreaming in the warm Lisbon air on a Sunday afternoon, when time is in slow motion and peace of mind is all there is. Thanks Joao for the tip.
Forma - Semblance
It takes a few repeated spins to be able to discern all the layers on this record by New York trio Forma. But it only takes 10 seconds to get drawn into the band’s musical black hole. Their sounds have more impact than a magnet lifting a wrecked car into the air. I recommend this record for powerful mornings, after a great night of sleep ready to conquer the world. The album offers a variety of ambiances, from uplifting cosmic synths, dreamy pianos to calm electronica, all together perfectly assembling a peculiar but utterly beautiful atmosphere.
Another excellent release on Cortizona, the label run by Philippe Cortens. The track Josaphat – named after the most beautiful park in Schaarbeek just a few hundred meters from my house – sounds like Wim Wenders is moonwalking from Paris to Texas on a disco beat. Recorded in 1987 in Ghent, the whole album is a timeless exhibit of futuristic nostalgia and jazzy experiments made in Belgium.