- Zilka Grogan
Selections: Jacopo's top tracks from Midgar Records
Influenced by the soundtrack of mid-nineties video games like Wipeout 2097 and Ridge Racer, Italian-born Jacopo looks beyond the horizon of emerging trends, using personal anecdotes to inform his musical direction as both DJ and label manager.
Jacopo founded Midgar in 2014 in the pursuit of innovation in the realm of modern techno. From humble beginnings and with the help of his brother, Midgar now boasts 18 releases and an impressive roll call of artists like Wata Igarashi, Von Grall and Ruhig, to name a few.
Helping to usher in our first party of 2018, Jacopo shared 10 tracks which highlight special moments in the timeline of his label’s history. Catch him this Friday for his debut Patterns of Perception performance alongside Agonis and Paula Koski.
Wata Igarashi – Valve From the Mariana Wax 000 EP, 2013.
Please grant me an extra title to introduce the list, which is actually one of the reasons why Midgar exists. The story has already been told, but I want to remind people about how I discovered Wata: it was thanks to this cut, released on Dave Twomey’s Mariana Wax first and only release before he passed away. Anthony Linell (Abdulla Rashim) was supposed to be on that record, a VA with tracks from Mike Parker and Dave himself. Anthony was busy or without new material at that moment, so he suggested this track by Igarashi instead. Big Thanks to Dave and Anthony!
Ruhig – Lost in the Instability From the Lost in the Instability EP, 2014.
The first track made by Luigi “Gigi” Cicchella under his new alias Ruhig. After abandoning his old -Audiolouis- project, Gigi sent me some fresh music, techno with a very interesting IDM influence. Gigi’s Lost in The Instability EP is 002 on Midgar, but the track itself was ready much before Igarashi´s 001. It in fact helped a lot to show Wata that track and to convince him to release on Midgar! I just remember how much he liked it and told me straight away “if this is what you want to do on Midgar, then I‘m in.”
Wata Igarashi – The Summon From the Junctions EP, 2014.
I consider the whole Junctions EP still very good, but The Summon remains my favourite cut. Here‘s why: I remember handing a few copies of the vinyl to my friend Luz, on her way to Freerotation 2014 and asked her to give one to Joey Anderson on my behalf. Some time later, I was listening to random mixes on SoundCloud while working, and this track started playing in my headphones. My initial thought was that the player got back on my label page, but it was actually running as the first track on a Joey Anderson set recorded at Dekmantel UFO Tent.. I was freaking out!
Cloned – Sapphire 1990
From the Sapphire 1990 EP, 2015.
The Sapphire 1990 EP by Cloned from Malta landed in the early stages of the label. The “Midgar sound” was not defined yet and I wanted to extend the range to Acid. We received some negative critiques about it, saying that compared to the modern approach of the first two releases, this one represented a sort of regression. It’s probably also because of the claps, as usually there are no claps on Midgar. I still find this track one of the most emotional and timeless of the whole catalogue, and that acid line keeps bringing to my mind nostalgic memories from a rave. I released it thinking it would make a good closing track for a packed dancefloor.
Ruhig – Eddying From the Particles EP, 2016.
Eddying was the first “hit” on Midgar. Out on the well-received MDG005.1, this track, despite not being my fav of the release (which is indeed Particles), was the driving force that brought some much-needed attention to the label. It was an unexpected surprise for me to sell out the record in such a short time (like 2 months) and to even plan a repress!
Ruhig – Pulse Width (Wata Igarashi Remix) From the Lost in the Instability Remixes EP, 2015.
It has a stressful – and for some people, unpleasantly oppressive vibe, however, it is in my view Wata`s deepest cut, where sound signature is very strong and therefore challenging to the audience. This record got played by Nuel at Labyrinth 2015 and skipped several times, according to Wata‘s interview for Resident Advisor Breaking Through.
Ruff Cherry – Endless World (Future Mix) From the Ritual EP, 2015.
Irish producer Ruff Cherry is the oldest artist from my roster, and the one with the biggest archive of music productions. I spent more than one year going through his folders to put together the Ritual EP. This track was actually a fresh one! James did this Future Mix after I asked to re-use and focus on one specific element from its original IDM version, still available in free download via XLR8R you can hear the sample at 2.11min.
Von Grall – A Secant Line From the A Secant Line EP, 2016.
Brice surprised me with this one. Exactly the kind of deep and hypnotic music I wanted to release on Midgar. I remember listening to its mastering, completely stoned during my first experience at ADE in Amsterdam. It felt like entering some virtual reality just by closing my eyes and sinking into it. Definitely my favourite cut from Von Grall.
Shaded Explorer – Emerald Weapon From the Emerald Weapon EP, 2016.
Among ten other tracks Emanuele proposed me, this one in particular convinced me to work with him on the release. At around 3.30min, it reminded me somehow of the atmospheres in Final Fantasy VII, the video game which entirely inspired the imagery of the label.
Wata Igarashi – Lucifero (Orphx Remix) From the Ciphers Remixes EP, 2017.
I’ve suggested titles for the tracks few times, trying to visualise and describe them (only if the artist agreed with it, of course). The original from Wata sounded to me veeery bright, like a colourful psychedelic trip, and Lucifero in this case was intended as ‘the morning star’ or the ‘the light bringer’ from ancient Pythagorian astronomy (referred to planet Venus) and not as the alternative name used for Satan. Orphx picked it, with no surprise, for the remix. When the record was finally out, I had the pleasure to have some chats with Rich Oddie (½ Orphx) about the illustrated cover and its parallelism between their remix, infused with references to Gnosticism (the speech in the track comes from The Process Church, a 60’s Cult started in the UK) and my artwork. This conversation gave me chills, also because none of us knew about the other’s inspiration but things matched perfectly. Please see the first comment under the clip on YouTube.
r²π – The Labyrinth From the Library of Babel EP, 2017.
Extrapolating tracks from Ruhig, Retina.it and PRG/M’s first combined live set, gave birth to the Library Of Babel EP. The concept of the release and its titles are inspired by the works of Argentinian writer Luis Borges. Borges got worldwide recognition for his novels about parallel realities, magic numbers, esotericism and the infinite repetitions of events through time. The record was first out at Hard Wax, with no plans whatsoever to have it out on a precise day (as you might know, it is very hard to know when a record will be out for real in the stores), but we soon realised it was on the anniversary of his passing. For the occasion I designed the record sleeve as a re-edition of the original book cover from The Library Of Babel. I strongly recommend you give it a read!