T.O.P. Podcast series + Interview: Alex Ketzer (Noorden/ LL.M, DE)

Today’s T.O.P journey is an experience coming from Germany.  Electronic sophisticated sound in a mix made by  Alex Ketzer one of the main guys behind  Noorden and its sister label LL.M ( together with Phil Latch). He speaks to us about their work and also their concept, the evolution of their projects and ideas. From tapes (Ferro Tapes) to wax from advanced electronica to techno and a whole tale is written under the stamp of these three multifaceted artistic concepts.

Alex is giving us today a great example of their taste and collaborations based on representing quality sound. Raw deep sensational electronic waves with slow dubby atmospherical vibrations. An absolutely first class mix ideal for initiate  rooms.

We definitely recommend those guys’ records and tapes also standing out for their  exquisite style which is equally matched in terms of their artwork and well made packaging. Is all about real contemporary music. But it’s best to let Alex to tell us what it is all about while listening to his  mix for Tales of Psychofonia which actually contains tunes by Noorden, Ferro and LL.M. artists and also some unreleased stuff forthcoming.

1. Hi Alex, tell us few things about the story of the label(s), We know you are behind two quality electronic sound labels, Noorden and LL.M. Are they sister labels? What is the common line? How did this story come up?

The idea behind Noorden was born on a three-week trip to Norway in 2011 where I thought a lot about what a new music/label project should feel like in terms of an art collective. When Noorden was founded, it was more about the productive cooperation between people from different artistic backgrounds than about musical preferences. With new artists joining our collective, we created sub-labels for projects which did not really fit into the more experimental and eclectic sound of Noorden, but rather followed a particular style or concept as for example Ferro Tape Records with its dubbed out and late-nineties inspired techno. I got to know Felix (Phil Latch) when he invited me to present my book Beyond Plastic in the context of his clubnight »ØR« at Munster based club Der Stur. From that time, we kept in touch, exchanging our views and ideas about music. After a night of spinning records together and between a number of Gin Tonics I asked Felix if he wanted to curate a tape with some raw’n’edgy cuts. I suggested we call it LL.M since Felix was studying law. That was the starting point of our sister-label. The tape »LLM001« turned out to be a great success and the first run sold out quickly. At that time, I was very inspired by that kind of music and I think this might have been the reason why the overall sound of Noorden has changed over the past 2 years to a more electronic and maybe more dancefloor-oriented one – without loosing our experimental approach, of course.

2. Lately, two of our favourite EPs are the LLM001 and LLM002. How did the collaboration with RDMA come up?

There is no special story behind it really. We just loved his EP on Kimochi Sound and thought he’d fit well into the compilation’s overall concept.

3. What are your projects for the near future?

There’s a bunch of releases scheduled, that we’re really looking forward to. Last week for example, we received the test pressing for the forthcoming 12-inch by The Marx Trukker that will be released in August. It’s called »Among Climetree Harbors« and features four extended krauty-house tracks. The LLM002 12-inch – an Annanan and Space Afrika split – is being produced right now and we can’t wait to finally hold it in our hands. Felix put a lot of work, time and passion into that project, so it’s a very personal and important release for us. Two forthcoming tapes have already been produced, waiting to be released: »FE#03« with six dubbed out techno cuts from different artists like Zzzzra, Lab Matix and Octaedre as well as »Tape Paranoia« by London based artist Ikpathua, who delivers eight tracks between Dub, Electronica and Outsider House. Furthermore, Bool and I are working on a split 7-inch, that will be released at end of the year. So there’s a lot in the pipeline…

4. Is there any label night coming up?

Hopefully there will be a »Noorden Summer Camp« again this year – actually we’re only looking for a good date and the best location. Some Noorden artists will be involved in a secret open air rave in Cologne in September while some of the LL.M. artists will meet in Berlin to play a gig together around the same time. We’d also like to organise and house an exhibition at our new headquarter »Non Breaking Space« like we did three years ago at the Galerie Frei in Cologne. We keep you updated!

5. How would you define the sound of Noorden?

I would say, it’s rough’n’spherical, somehow experimental and spiced with some DIY-flavour. I would like to think that you can also hear our rural roots and late nineties IDM/Electronica-influence. Even though we release music from various genres and styles, I think there’s always something like a common thread in our output.

6. Nowadays, there are plenty of independent record, tape and digital labels. As per your own opinion what is that specific element that makes a label unique?

First and foremost the sound, because that’s the most important element. And apart from that the people and their passion for music, of course. The rest is a mixture of design (this includes the choice of the medium like cassettes, CD, or vinyl), communication and even a bit of marketing. When all these elements come together nicely, the result can be very beautiful. This appllies to singular releases as well as to the overall concept of the label.

7. What’s the story behind the mix?

All tracks chosen for this mix are by Noorden, Ferro and LL.M. artists. Some have already been released while others are forthcoming. We also chose some unreleased tracks from our demo-archives. I think these twelve tracks give a impression of what Noorden sounds like.

More about Noorden and LL.M: Noorden.org

/* TRACKLIST */

01. Felix Wald – Dauncrap Ambient 1001 [unreleased]

02. Bool – Eve Interval [unreleased]

03. Zzzzra – Formule Plus [FE#03]

04. Marx & Dimi – Ain’t Noise And Noise And Noise (2015 Mix) [forthcoming]

05. Alex Ketzer – Marianne Brandt [NooLtd13]

06. Caldera – 80stouchhouse [forthcoming]

07. D’Evoé – Untitled [unreleased]

08. Space Afrika – Untitled [LLM002]

09. Ikpathua – Swamp [NooLtd15]

10. Mount Wishmore Unlimited – C.Y.D. [FE#01]

11. Suod Ulbeba – Somnabul [NooLtd12]

12. Lab Matix – Kamikaze Pilots [FE#03]

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