Portals Editions is a strange enclave within Berlin’s techno-dominated status quo. And the label’s choice to mark its joining of the vinyl marketplace by the release of Ketev’s LP “I Know No Weekend” consolidates even more the label’s poetics, which aims at exposing new music that’s strongly conceptual, slightly hermetic as well as deeply informed by the industrial tradition in various ways.
So how this acts in the label’s philosophy can be viewed as the hyperdub-like virus which takes different manifestations in how we perceive old school industrial DIY culture and sound reflected upon today’s clubbing realities. The result is one of the most coherent endeavors in making a cultural sense out of this type of music, and the press release record descriptions are micro manifestos in their own right. A bit of the early Industrial Records “wreckers of civilization” mantra echoes for sure in the Portal Editions ethos. For example, their strategy of focusing on a coherent roster of less known, own discovered artists who brew collectively a trademark egregore is definitely reminiscent of the old school ways of underground promotion.
The collaboration between Portals Editions and Ketev comes to no surprise for those lucky enough to have heard its live participation at past Portals Editions events (and here’s worth mentioning the label’s second showcase event, where Yair Elazar Glotman, the sound artist and composer behind project Ketev, shared the bill with the likes of Damien Dubrovnik and Noumeno - an idyosincratic noise industrial act also on Portals).
On a more personal level, I Know No Weekend is the perfect musical practice to remember your past lives or read apocryphal manuscripts to. Which should be tried at all costs in the club. It’s a record self described as being cold, even though it’s equally incandescent. Tape loop textures overlap into a fusion that sounds holistic, projecting an alternate ritual reality where worlds communicate organically to reunite the mineral and the ethereal.
Themes vary from bass deconstruction hexes to that odd track that could fit into the X files soundtrack (“The End of the Twentieth Century”). Women / Animal skull is another favorite which develops almost jazzy, sly and polished, a thing to summon Don Cherry’s Organic Music Society as a means to trippy explorations. In the post-club times we deal, this is a beautiful entry which does not pose deconstruction for the fun of it (although that’s fun), but rather constructs a transporting illo tempore scenario. I don’t find it purely incidental that crediting shamanism has become a techno trope.
From Dino Sabatini’s “Shaman Path” to Lucy’s haunting “Self Mythology”, or Sebastian Mullaert rocking a flower of life pendant at his latest Boiler Room session. On the darker ritual ambient side we know that those shadowy projects ran on sigils have been around forever. It seems that electronic music has reached a conclusion that would take infinitely more to understand if not by using music as a shortcut to soul introspection.
The connection between technology, music and spirit is imminent now more than ever – especially when all these mixed together integrate organic sound sources to the extent of not becoming the replacing simulacra. And if I’d have to give an example in which technoshamanism strikes a successful balance with the organic authenticity of sound and matter, “I Know No Weekend” would be my choice by any kind of divination.