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January 27, 2000 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-27

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r. N0 j



The Michigan Daily - Weekend,

48 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine -Thursday, January 27, 2000
Mysterious maestro Gillen succeeds on own turf, terms

By Jason Birchmeier
Daily Arts Writer
As a close neighbor to Detroit,
Ann Arbor has played a role in the
evolution of the growing global
techno music scene. In fact, one of
the most important players in artisti-
cally motivated electronic music
resides here in our quiet college
town. You may have heard his radio
show, bought his records, seen his
performances or even passed him on
the street, probably never even real-
izing the significance.
If the name Brendan Gillen does-
n't ring a bell, don't be surprised. In
the faceless world of techno, it's the
exception for names or faces to get
much recognition. Instead, musical
connoisseurs such as Gillen hide
behind mythical aliases and commu-
nicate to their audiences with circu-
lar black vinyl records rather than
with words or images.
Speaking of communicating non-
verbal concepts with vinyl records,
Gillen specializes in this form of
communication. From his home here
in Ann Arbor, he ships many of these
circular objects across the world
through own personal record label,
Interdimensional Transmissions.
The name Gillen chose for his label
should provide you with an idea
about what plane of artistic thought
he works on. If you want more
examples of his knack for other-

worldly audio compositions, consid-
er some of the aliases he records as:
Ectomorph, Flexitone and
The man takes his work seriously
and devotes a good portion of his
every waking moment to electronic
music. In addition to composing
electronic music under multiple
guises, the former University stu-
dent releases other artists' music on
Interdimensional Transmis-sions,
distributes other independent elec
tronic music labels such as *67 dis-
tibution, hosts a Thursday night
radio show on 88.3 FM WCBN, per-
forms live in places as far away as
Germany and remains a central fig-
ure in the ever-evolving Detroit
techno scene.
Since its birth in the late '90s,
Interdimensional Transmissions -
which Gillen downplays as "a bou-
tique label" - achieved immediate
acclaim from the techno community
and even mainstream publications
such as Spin magazine. Catapulted
into the spotlight by the internation-
al success of I-F's "Space Invaders
Are Smoking Grass," Gillen first
released a series of records before
eventually releasing "From Beyond,"
which compiled many of the label's
best tracks and artists on a CD.
"I had no concept of how you
make money in this business,"
Gillen confessed. "It wasn't some

sort of major planned-out business
thing. I was like 'Well, I'll release a
record, and if it goes alright then I'll
release another.' It was just like a
test." This test came after Gillen
took some of his music to Carl Craig
- an iconic Detroit techno artist
and CEO of Planet E Records -
who liked "a lot of it, but didn't like
all of it." It was after this experience
that the man who calls himself
Flexitone decided that "there was no
better person to release the music"
than himself.
At the time Gillen was taking a
break from the University and work-
ing as a music buyer for Detroit's
largest electronic music retailer.
Record Time. "I didn't have a lot of
capital at the time so I just did it
myself," Gillen continued. "It hap-
pened at this time that was weird in
my life. I really didn't know what I
wanted to do ... I felt like I was
hearing the voices of the dead in my
head, like voices of my ancestors
trying to keep me on the right path
to whatever your own personal bliss
is - or whatever makes you really
happy and fulfilled. These were the
Interdimensional Transmissions."
Gillen's early recordings as
Flexitone and Ectomorph were
influenced less by the legendary
Detroit techno sounds of Richie
Hawtin or Derrick May than the
sound of the early '80s electro that

he had heard as a young teenager. To
this day, Gillen and his roster of
artists ' on Interdimensional
Transmissions have meshed old-
school breakdancing-style electro
sounds of Juan Atkins and Afrika
Bambaataa with a slick, modern and
intellectual aesthetic.
."Our approach to electro isn't
what everyone else's corny ass
approach is," Gillen proclaimed with
little modesty. "The impetus for our
music isn't like 'oh geez, what
trendy thing could I do?' It was just
music that I loved. The really cool
parts of the genre never really fully
developed because all these other
things came along. Electro - when
it was super interesting - was a
cross between techno and hip-hop."
Though Gillen feels a musical
attraction to the city he grew up
with, he chooses to live in Ann
Arbor rather than Detroit. Some of
the reasons he listed include "smart
people," "trees," "new energy," the
ability to "walk around on the
streets," personal space and his
involvement with WCBN, which he
lists as "a really crucial reason."
A former music director, Gillen
(along with local DJ Carlos
Souffront) currently hosts a
Thursday night show from 10 P.M.
until midnight. There the duo
attempts to educate their listeners
about the past, present and future of

tc. Retro Recordings
:Wrong' is
so right
By Jason Birchmoior
IDAil Arts Writer
Now that increasing numbers of
listeners have discovered the syner-
gistic genius of Moby's "Play"
album, many may begin to search
for the artist's previous albums.
Originally released in 1995, Moby's
"Everything Is Wrong" has proven

Coutesy of lrterd'rnens-onal Transmissions
Brendan Gilen, last of the independents,
goes straight to work in this rare photo.
electronic music.
"It's got to be weird - for you
because you're just now seeing shad-
ows of what really happened," Gillen
said in reference to his first-hand
perspective on the genre's mysteri-
ous evolution. "When you get inside
things and see behind the myths, it's
pretty funny. The story that's been
told about techno is pretty far from
what the story really is."

Everything is Wrong
Released: 1995

to be a major
turning point in
the electronic
music genre.
Even though it
wasn't the com-
mercial success
Elektra had

Courtesy of TriStar Pictures
Anthony Hopkins has eliminated Antonio Banderas as a suspect In his curious house fire.
Madonna out,
oob o.e Broin
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hoped for, the monolithic album
laid the foundation for electronic
music's ascent from the under-
Blending the underground sounds of
techno, house and ambient with distort-
ed guitars, verse-chorus-verse song
structures and moral consciousness;
Moby's major label debut was savagely
loathed by electronic music purists at the
time of its release. Yet even though
Mobv became the scapegoat for the
electronic music underground,
"Evervthing Is Wrong" effectively func-
tioned as an accessible, comprehensible
and democratic introduction to electron-
ic music for many listeners who didn't
have the advantage of growing up in the
pretentious underground scenes of
Detroit or Chicago.
Alienated from the artistic elitism of
Detroit and the ecstasy-fueled rave scene
of England, Moby's synergistic approach
to "Everything Is Wrong" radiates with
character. Songs such as "God Moving
Over the Face of the Water" added ele-
giac tranquility to Brian Eno's most cin-
ematic ambient work.
Juxtaposing these spiritual hymns
were songs such as "Feeling So Real"
that took the intensified tempo of
England's rave anthems and funneled
this ecstatic tone into an accessible
verse-chorus-verse template. There were
even a few ultra-polished cyberpunk
rock songs to make rock listeners feel at
home. Now that time has passed,
"Everything Is Wrong" remains as bril-
liant as ever, leaving America's new gen-
cration of Fatboy Slim-bred electronic
music listeners to eventually uncover the
first crossover masterpiece of the genre.

a Sir Anthony Hopkins lost much
of his London home in a fire on
Sunday, but not his Oscar. The resi-
dence, which of late had been used
mostly by Hopkins' estranged wife,
caught ablaze when nobody was
home. In fact, according to the
Detroit Free Press, the London fire
department only ascertained the
townhouse was Hopkins' when the
actor's Oscar statuette for "The
Silence of the Lambs" was recov-
The whereabouts of Hopkins, who
lives mostly in California, were not
known at press time. Neither was the
cause of the fire.
4 Arnold Schwarzenegger surprised
approximately no one by selling his
stake in the struggling Planet
Hollywood restaurant and merchandis-
ing chain. TVGuide.com reported the
operation ceased to be under bankrupt-
cy protection earlier in the week, and
Schwarzenegger's announcement
rapidly followed, indicating he wants to
devote more energy to "various global
and U.S. business interests."
e Apparently booking the halftime
show for the Super Bowl is harder than
it used to be. The problem arose this
year when Madonna pulled out of her
scheduled headlining spot three weeks
before the game. Organizers apparently
struggled to replace the Material Girl,
but ESPN.com reports they have done
so. The replacement, to be broadcast to
hundreds of millions worldwide, are
none other than the Doobie Brothers.
This week's underwhelming an-
nouncement underlines the difficulty in
lining up such a high-profile gig on
short notice and came not a moment
too soon for the game, which is this
Sunday evening on ABC.
Toni Braxton, Christina Aguilera,
Tina Turner and Enrique Iglesias are
still scheduled to perform as well. It is
unclear which of these artists will be
the new headliner, since presumably it

4 An era has ended at the Fox televi-
sion network. Executives confirmed this
week the mounting rumors and disclosed
the upcoming cancellation of "Beverly
Hills, 90210." The show's creators will
be able to prepare for their narrative to
wrap up, presumably with a two-hour-
long special for the May sweeps.
The network's first major dramatic
hit, "90210" symbolized Fox's self-iden-
tification as the "youth network." The
youthful marketing and casting skew of
Fox's prime-time lineup gave it a reason
to exist in its infancy, when the idea of a
fourth major network seemed ludicrous.
No longer the teen craze it once was,
"90210's" ratings had gradually eroded
for years, despite (if not because of)
repeated cast shakeups.
Fox also announced the cancellation
of "Party of Five" at the end of the year.
Once considered the successor to
"90210's" mantle at Fox, the parentless
family drama dropped off the radar when
Jennifer Love Hewitt departed for her
own spinoff show. The decision was crit-
icized, since Hewitt had already become
the most recognized member of the cast.
+ David Letterman continues to recu-
perate from quintuple bypass heart
surgery, but the fate of his "Late Show"
in the meantime is in question. USA
Today reports Regis Philbin, Ray
Romano and Howard Stern have all sub-
mitted themselves as candidates to
replace Letterman during his convales-
cence, but Letterman's contract gives
him final say over the use of guest hosts.
This clause makes CBS anxious,
because they want to resolve the situa-
tion with "Late Show" for the February
sweeps. But there has no word from
Letterman regarding any potential guest
host and CBS continues to air reruns for
the time being. Meanwhile, Letterman is
aiming to return to work Feb. 14, weeks
before he was originally projected to
have recovered.
-Compiled byJef Druchniak

Top 10 Pop,
(The nations best-selling
1. Carlos Santana,
2. Celine Dion, "All
3. DMX, "And Then
4. Various Artists,
5. Christina Aguiler
6. Jay-Z, "Vol. 3 ...
7. Dr. Dre, "2001"
8. Eiffel 65, "Euro
9. Backstreet Boys
10. Kid Rock, "De
Top 10 Bool
(The week's best-selling
1. "The Lion's Gar
2. "False Memory,.
3. "Timeline," Mid
4. "Atlantis Found,
5. "A Walk to Rem
6. "Monster," Jona
7. "Sick Puppy," C
8. "Pop Goes theV
9. "Saving Faith," I
10. "Soft Focus," J
Top 10 Mo
(Who released them ar
1. "Down To You," M
2. "Next Friday," Ni
3. "The Hurricane,"
4. "Stuart Little," C
. "The Green Mile,"
6. "Galaxy Quest," [
7. "Girl, Interrupted
8. "The Talented Mr
9. "Play it to the Bo
10. "Angela's Ashi
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this week by people y
"To me, they sc
outgrown that p
flower-fairy bo
from... it hasn'
middle name Petal, o
Thorn, Lily Belle, M-
"We wish we h
him a little mor
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dealmaker Ron How
"Is Tony Sopra
Gandolfini attro
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hair a certain w
very attracted a
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making an ass
usually do (for
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Compiled from Daih

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