Saturday, April 25, 2015

hardcore heroes (# 4 of ___ ) - Miro Pajic

Better known as Miro

Like The Mover, a man with a score of aliases

But revered most, by me. for his work as Reign.

The third pillar of the gloomcore triumvirate, alongside Marc Acardipane and Guillaume Leroux

Starting out on this, I was thinking that for all his copious excellence, Miro didn't quite have a tune as IMMENSE as "Torsion" or "Apocalypse Never"

But then I remembered "Hall"...

It came in three mixes - the "Vacuum Mix" eludes me, and I can't remember which of the three I actually preferred - the Huge Mix, I think  - but all of them are IMMENSE .

Doused in the classic cavernous reverb of  Dance Ecstasy 2001 / Cold Rush.

Indeed often you'll find on the labels of Miro's classic gloom doom era tracks, the legend "Mixed at Reign's Cave" !

I've seen reference online to Miro having been a regular at Frankfurt's Music Hall club in the early 90s - perhaps that temple of boom is what's homaged in "Hall"? For me the title always suggested the idea of Valhalla - the slain warriors final carousing place.

So gloomcore really it is a triumvirate. The Mover, of course, takes precedence as Originator, but all three reign supreme. It's a  Germano-Franco-Croatian Empire, gloomcore (I'm assuming that's the origin of Pajic, although the bio says he was born in Frankfurt).

The first thing I heard by Miro was a triple-track EP - 1996's  Chapter II: The Zombie-Leader Is Approachin'.   The contents live up to that wonderful title, and to the equally mind's-eye-sparking titles the tracks have, such as "Skeletons March".

"Cold XTC" seemed to be a big clue to what this sound was about - already gestured at with the PCP sub-label name Cold Rush. MDMA's sensousness and shimmeriness, but with the empathy muted. Isolationist hardcore.

"Snowy" is the word, the image, that enters my mind with so many of his productions -- cold but cuddly.  You feel swaddled in the buzzy sound.

But it's also visual - a splendor of canopied dazzle, under which the kick pummels thickly.   

Clearly he was thinking along the same lines, judging by the titles.

What a tune -- I picture a speed buggy leapfrogging across snow dunes and ice ridges, kicking up a wake spray of glassy granules.

Evidence is one of his identities I slept on a bit at the time - although I have all the tunes, I think, but possibly was reaching the gloomcore overdose point when I acquired them.

Another terrific track from that identity.

An alter-ego I never even came across at the time - it was a challenge finding the tunes, there was only one or two places in NYC you could get them - was Frozen. Very much in the Cold Rush vein - desolate, mournfully melodic, bare-trees wintry. 

Now there's two other Miro tunes that I think are right up there with "Apocalypse Never", "Torsion", and his own "Hall".

The first is this collaboration with Oliver Chesler, under the name SuperPower - and with Miro further alter-ego-ing himself as Hypnotizer

And then this drums-only monster. 

As I wrote elsewhere, a symphony in four-to-the-floor... a multi-tiered architecture constructed out of just kicks, claps and hi-hats, plus the halo of reverb and the gated crispness of attack.

Oh yes, this is also ace - from the Hypnotizer EP Into Nowhere - 2002

But let's back track a bit....

Who is this fellow Miroslav Pajic?

Compared with others in this series, he's not that shrouded in mystery. In fact there is a detailed bio out there.  There are photographs too, unlike with some of the others, although it is my policy here not to reproduce them, in deference to the "faceless techno bollocks" principle.

But while the bio fills in the life story - born 1974 in Frankfurt; rave conversion experiences at the Omen, legendary club where Sven Vaeth played intense and incredibly long sets; meets the PCP guys and starts making tracks for the sub-labels Dance Ecstasy 2001 and Cold Rush Records; the collaboration with Chesler; following the Mover when he splits from PCP to start Acardipane Records - it doesn't really tell you anything about motivations or inspirations.

What follows is highpoints of the Miro's trackography, in more or less chronological order, but with tunes already posted above omitted.

Miro - "Arize" b/w "Destroy"

Reign - Chapter One: Skulls and Crossbones (Cold Rush - LOST 8)

Hey, hey - that's a sample of Steve Reich's "Come Out" in there - "come out to show them"!

Dark, churning maelstrom...

The original version of "Light and Dark' on a multi-artists Dance Ecstasy 2001 EP Frankfurt Trax Vol. 6.

Reign - Time Machine - Dance Ecstasy 2001 - DE 2054 - 1997

One of his best, this 4-track EP

With those three there's a sort of rattling clatter to the drums - grinding, clanking, hissing - a threshing machine cranked up to brink of breakdown. Nerve jangling, exhilarating.

This one seems to hark back to / intensify the Belgcore T99 "Anasthasis" sound.

I'm not sure where in the discography, or when in the sequence, this next one was recorded - no reference to it in Discogs.

Miro - Blue Sun b/w Bass Drum Elevation - Dance Ecstasy 2001 - 

Miro - Understand b/w Purple Moon

Miro - Shining / It's Like XTC- Acardipane Records

Miro - Rizing High b/w E-motion

Evidence - "Resist"

The stuff that Miro did under his many more gabber-gabber heil-heil identities, Stickhead and Jack Lucifer, mostly for Kotzaak Unltd, a sublabel of PCP -
is - as you'd expect -  thrashing (influenced by death metal allegedly), flailing, for-the-jugular hardcore  - superior specimens of the genre indeed - but I prefer the atmosphere and, dare I say it, musicality, of the gloomcore material.

Miro also maintained an identity -  Steve Shit - for breakbeat hardcore and jungle tracks on PCP's White Breaks imprint.  And a pretty decent fist he makes of the UK sound too.

Now did he just coin the term "breakcore" there? In 1994?

The stuff as Hypnotizer on Things To Come, with and without Chesler as collaborator (under SuperPower) is a whole different bag - there's a retro tinge (but it still sounds like phuture) and there's also the vocals, which flash back to Electronic Body Music (tyranny for you - and you and you and you!) but with a drug-fucked slurriness,  a drooling megalomania.

SuperPower - The Future Crusade - 1997

Hypnotizer - Into Nowhere EP - Things To Come - 2002

Hypnotizer - Normality Is Insanity EP - Things To Come - 2004

Hypnotize - Electronic Erotic - 2006

Now unlike the Mover -  who seems to have gone very quiet since the Tresor album of 2003 - Miro actually reinvented himself in the late 2000s - and nowadays, under his full name Miro Pajic, makes slinky-but-dark.... well, you'd have to call it micro-house, really.

In 2010 there was a whole album of this kind of thing on Harthouse, Saturn Drama.

It's not so far from the humid, polytendrilled stuff Villalobos does. Something I intend to investigate, for old time's sake. Although I doubt it will displace the Nineties Miro tunes that reign forever in my heart.

further reading and listening and watching

Miro Pajic's own website  - "sci-fi house, techno and other things"

A tribute mix to Miro

A documentary on early techno in Germany  (via Steeve Cross)

Finally - since this here is the last of the gloomcore heroes in this series - more episodes to come but no other inhabitants of the Lost Zones, I don't think - here are some thoughts of K-Punk's on Gloomcore that I've purloined from Dissensus:

what i love about gloomcore is that 

(1) it has a consistent philosophy, a conceptual world - like all genre production, it is not about 'self-expression' but the exploration of certain conceptual, affective and sonic permutations - I guess an alternative name for it would be Gothic rave, rave beyond the pleasure principle.... 

(2) the sound actually delivers what the track titles promise - I remember being crushingly disappointed with heavy metal as a kid because the titles would invoke all manner of infernal practices but when you got to hear the music it would just be hoary old rock and roll - like all rave, gloomcore is not 'music' at all and it revels in the 'machinic surplus value' of new technology, the potentials for production of abstract sounds that have no correlate in nature.

See you in 2017!

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