The manifestation of music is sound, but the effect can be visual; as is the case with prose in a
well-written book. In that spirit, the selection in this mix tells the story of Konrad Black’s
musical progression by way of exemplifying his storied past.
The pensive opening evokes Konrad’s early days in the UK drum and bass scene, working for
Ed Rush and Optical at Virus Recordings. The narrative progresses through his foray into
techno, marked by a series of releases on 240 Volts, starting Wagon Repair and a migration to
This metamorphosis was codified by an encounter with Swayzak in 1998, where the duo heard
Black’s first attempt at the genre and immediately released that and his subsequent efforts on
their 240 Volts label as “Greyscale for Slow Building”, the “Nails” EP, and “Scrawled in Blood
Across Your Chest” with Selfpartwo. The group then tapped Black to collaborate (as half of
Headgear with Jeremy Shaw) on “In The Car Crash” for their “Dirty Dancing” album on !K7.
Konrad then co-produced Shaw’s Circlesquare LP “Pre-Earthquake Anthems” for Output
Recordings, and a Headgear remix of “State Of Grace” featuring Kristy Hawkshaw, from
Swayzak’s second LP “Himawari”.
We then surreptitiously fade into the increasingly sophisticated compositions culled for Wagon
Repair, the label Black co-founded with fellow Vancouverite Mathew Jonson. From there Black
would forge a more intricate sound with releases like “Draconia” and “Medusa Smile”. The
tempo then increases to meet the pace of an enthusiastic dancefloor, and we are reminded of
Black’s prominence as a DJ worldwide. Playing in clubs such as blah, blah blah.
The set concludes by teasing Konrad Black’s forthcoming releases while referencing his past
as former collaborators return to the fold. From being reunited with his drum and bass past,
via dBridge’s Exit Recordings, with Black helming the production for Colombian artist Poison
Arrow with a release slated for this spring to the success of last year’s release on Meander,
“Silene Dust”, which has led to a forthcoming EP for the label. The inclusion of Headgear’s
“Believers Goodbye” alludes to Konrad’s forthcoming album with long-time collaborator
Jeremy Shaw. Following this established theme of reunification, Black’s remix of Mathew
Jonson’s seminal “Decompression” brings the duo back to the label they started together with
a heightened proficiency and newfound enthusiasm.
This selection simultaneously considers the future and reflects on the past, and presents a
unique expression that somehow belongs in both.
by Scott Eastlick