Gerd Janson

Gerd Janson

Gerd Janson 2129 2560 Oddysee

Running Back chief and seasoned dance floor specialist, Gerd Janson, takes us on an insightful tour of his current favourites on Bandcamp.

Gerd Janson has been tearing it up for the last 20 plus years. Growing up on the outskirts of Frankfurt, the long-standing tastemaker has built a repertoire that taps deep into various dimensions of the modern music biz. As founder of the notorious Running Back – the outstanding record label that continues to push the envelope since 2002 – Gerd Janson’s refreshing approach has seen him gain a global footprint in timeless fashion. An incredible DJ with dance floor friendly productions to match his vision. The latest of which being his recent contribution to Robert-Johnson’s “Lifesaver 4-21” compilation. An ode to the legendary Andrew Weatherall by friends and family of the globally recognised arts institution, where Janson has been closely involved as a resident DJ the last two decades.

Enough said.. we are beyond pumped to have him contribute to the series as he dishes out a pretty damn tasty selection. As is always the case with Gerd’s ventures, the curation is extremely well-informed and offers some interesting insights into the mind of one of the scene’s most treasured and seasoned selectors. Bon appétit!

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Words and curation by Gerd Janson.

Specter – Dreamscape (Into The Deep)
„Into The Deep“ seems to get the best out of people. Next to one of the best Marvin Dash releases of all time (MD 50), I am happy to see that the Parisian record label managed to do the same with Specter. Since the early days of Tetrode Music (the label he co-runs with Damon Lamar), I have been a long-term admirer of the Chicago producer. In my humble opinion, house deserves the prefix „deep“, when it balances musicality and contemplativeness with a certain kind of dance floor appeal. Specter has always been a master at that. Especially the A-side proves that „deep“ doesn’t have to rhyme with „sleep“.

C.V.O. – Party Time (Strictly Jaz Unit Muzic)
It’s hard to imagine the music of aforementioned Specter without the groundwork of people like fellow Chicagoan Glenn Underground. The by now mythical Prescription Underground outfit (Chez Damier’s and Ron Trent’s goldmine) was the reason I started to buy and collect 12“-singles. Originally released in 1995 as the starting shot for the Prescription sub label Balance under his C.V.O. moniker, it’s one of the label’s and Glenn’s best. The most enduring and guaranteed slam dance one might be the Detroit mix of „Party Time“, while „Bonus“ is the gift that keeps on giving. One of the biggest perks of Bandcamp is that it allows for a lot of old music to be available again in the digital realm of deejaying – if that is your thing.

V.A. – Mindhelmet 01 (Mindhelmet)
Mindhelmet is a vinyl-only label and curated by Truly Madly. In true DJ fashion, it’s a various artist affair with quirky, FUNky and idiosyncratic house tracks that could have been made anytime in the last 25 years; and that is exactly what makes it so adorable. Hard to place stylistically and geographically. Mindhelmet 01 is uncannily similar to a DJ set by the label boss. But unlike most of the music there, this one can be easily your own.

Earth To Mickey – Brace & Bit (L.A. Club Resource)
If there never was something like „industrial boogie“, Earth To Micky just invented it. Produced by Delroy Edwards and similar to Ministry’s „Work For Love“ (if you would like me to group things here), „Brace & Bit“ sits comfortably on the borderline between these seemingly disparate genres: The chilly aesthetic of synth pop – or cold wave to be exact – melts in a ray of boogie. Sounding like a lost and found record of yesteryear, it’s a gem of a dance song. Comes with useful „Factory Beats“ and the Kate-Bushy „Pleasure Comes, Pleasure Goes“. Tip!

Millos Kaiser – Edits (L.I.E.S. Records)
My theory of „industrial boogie“ is corroborated by one of the latest L.I.E.S. releases. Edited by the DJ and collector from Sao Paulo, it features tracks previously unknown to me. „Vamos Dançar“ is the showstopper here. Freestyle 808 funk that could have equally at home on a Funhouse mixtape as it would have suited the programming at Frankfurt’s Dorian Gray. Be quick!

Unknown Artist – QC Passed 2 (QC Records)
QC Passed featured the striking anthem „Pianodance“. Rinsed to near death, it’s still not boring to me, but hard-to-follow. So, the lovely and smart people from QC Passed (quality control passed) are not even trying to outdo themselves. Rather, they complete the menu. „Happyrave“ sounds like KiNK in a cave full of Scots, while „Italo Disco Mood“ creates exactly that and has a breakdown to boot. Quality Control passed. It’s a party record!

V.A. – For The Love Of You (Athens Of The North)
The kinship of lovers rock and golden era r&b is obvious. That makes this Athens of the North compilation feel like a best-of-the-best. Eternal classics like „Outstanding“, „Juicy Fruit“ (the cover of the Christine Lewin cover is also the cover here {sic!}) or „Mellow Mellow Ride On“ get something like a spring makeover. Irresistible to infinity and beyond.

Frankie Knuckles – The Whistle Song (Eric Kupper’s Sound Factory Re​-​rub) (SoSure Music)
Surely, Frankie Knuckles does not need an introduction. But to those who are not too familiar with his body of work, might be interested to hear that the godfather of house had one of his most creative phases upon his return to New York from Chicago. In the early nineties during his stint at the Sound Factory Bar, Knuckles pushed for a soulful, mid tempo and r&b influenced house sound, and one of the most magical moments of that period is „The Whistle Song“. Life-affirming (check the video clip), happy-making and with a haunting hookline, it was written by Knuckles cooperator and studio partner Eric Kupper. Sonically updated and re-created it sounds like the perfect remaster to one of the house music evergreens.

Mall Grab & Turnstile – Share A View (Looking For Trouble)
Who better to bring a hardcore band into the dance world then the youthful powerhouse that is Mall Grab? I cannot think of many. The Australian who brought you „Pool Party Music“ takes Turnstile into uncharted territory. „Yes I Need My Generator“ is cleverly produced good times music with a dash of melancholy thrown in for good measure. Hard to resist, even harder to ignore and as refreshing as a fountain of youth.

Cristalli Liquidi – Ragazza / Madre (Artifact)
Sometimes a cover version is not only a welcome diversification (see the Athens of The North comp above), but on a rare occasion it transcends the original. Bottin’s Cristalli Liquidi manage to do exactly that to LCD Soundsystem’s „You Wanted A Hit“. But maybe that is exactly the secret of good songwriting: it can be applied to different sounds and even languages. Sung in Italian, it suddenly feels like the theme song to a Summer gone or a John Hughes movie made in Rome. Just took me five years to discover that.

V.A. – Live At Robert Johnson Vol​.​4 (Live At Robert Johnson)
Not to toot my own horn here, but rather those of the featured artist and the club it stems from or is meant to be played at. I recently bought this for a friend because I couldn’t find the master files on my current computer and it always feels nice to make a gift. Taken from the mix cd that Thomas Hammann and myself recorded for Robert Johnson ten years ago, it represents three different slices from the same pie: A minimal pop anthem from DNTEL (remixed by Superpitcher) meets the UK electro of DJ Du Jour and the New York sample house sledge that is DJ Duke’s „Can You Feel It“. All of them work (or worked) equally well on the wooden floor in Offenbach and hopefully will do so again.

Check out the list on Buy Music Club HERE.

Photo credit: Nils Müller.