Surprise, adventure, entertainment and education: Four key words often used for describing Dutch DJ Marcelle/Another Nice Mess who releases her third double vinyl album since 2008 on the German Klangbad label. Using live (and in the studio) three turntables, on this new album Marcelle takes her mix talents to higher heights. She is as much, or even more of, a musician as she is a dj.
By putting different styles of music in a different context, she changes the way we experience those individual styles. She fuses musical styles like no other, making it seem like they always belonged together and making the audience believe they are listening to one track instead of three played simultaneously!
She plays with expectations and roles: on this album whales become singers, a thunderstorm is the bass and some fanatically religious shouting gives a dubby beat that extra twist. Melancholic guitar sounds from the western Sahel are combined with avant garde noises from Dutch painter, sculptor and poet Karel Appel. Frogs, monkeys, dolphins, a yoga teacher, a crying baby and even the worst opera singer in the world turn up on the record, mixed with left field techno, free jazz, weird hip hop, cutting edge electronica, new African dance music, dubstep, dancehall and lots of less classifiable records.
The album is divided into four mixes, each one having it’s own mood and story: the ‘Entertaining Mix’ (with a surprising finish courtesy of Marcelle’s pet hamster Cérile, impersonating the sounds of a chicken, a goose and other birds), The Contemplative Mix, The Optimistic Mix and The Refreshing Mix.
As always with Marcelle, there’s a strong ideological and aesthetic feeling to the record. Marcelle’s records have similarly designed sleeves, only differentiating in colour and photo, the latter always from the ‘female DJ laboratory’ series. Live she only uses vinyl. In the studio there’s hardly any digital manipulation, the recording is all done live (often in one take), with three turntables, some sixty records, two hands and an abundance of creativity! She is an original, skilled mixer, with a very distinctive style of her own, avoiding most dj-cliches and stale rules.
As much inspired by avant garde art movements as fluxus and dada, the real life absurdism of Monty Python as by the wild experiments of dub, post-punk and the latest developments in electronic dance music – Marcelle has always been following musical developments very closely and has a keen ear for innovative and ‘new’ sounds. She strongly believes in the excitement and artfulness of creation and development. With her extensive record collection of some 15,000 vinyl and counting, Marcelle has a strong historical knowledge of past and contemporary ‘underground’ music.
On stage and on her records Marcelle transcends a sense of openness and a feeling of freedom, which often have her described as ‘totally enriching’, ‘a true ear opener’, a real ‘pioneer’. More than once people told Marcelle that they never dance but when they heard Marcelle they simply couldn’t stand still and HAD to move.
Marcelle is a resident dj in a lot of cities, amongst them Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg and Linz. Besides playing live all over the place she also does weekly and monthly radio shows for various radio stations in Europe. On a John Peel discussion group on the internet she was recently described as the ‘best post-Peel DJ’.
For Marcelle the musical form is in a way irrelevant, as long as some urgency is there and a need for not standing still. Therefore sometimes bookers, journalists and audience members initially get confused because Marcelle is hard to pigeonhole. A fitting description would be ‘avant garde ethno bass’ – but you decide.