Sneaker DJ leaves few (if any) stones unturned in his quest for strange sounds and dancefloor-friendly oddities. Splitting his time between Dresden and Berlin, a steady stream of edits and expansive, genre-hopping sets are indicative of a man with a talent for spotting diamonds in the rough. For this very reason, we’ve been tasking him with documenting affordable finds happened upon over many years spent rifling through second-hand records. Taking us through the best part of the alphabet on the first and second instalments, Sneaker arrives on letters S through Z for the final chapter.
“Here is the final list of the bargain bin finds – 10 more records and their story. None too obscure of course, because I was asked to list bargain bin finds instead.
And here’s a final tip on how to do dig properly: the real finds aren’t listed on Discogs, nor can you find vids on YouTube (and that’s why I couldn’t include them here, hehe). So either you are lucky (or laboursome) enough to do real world digging through dusty shelves with the convenient possibility to check the audio on your finds, or you Google your ass off to find a snippet (usually of just one track) of a “unavailable” offer on some Japanese web shop, only to set a search term on eBay and wait forever until it pops up while nobody else is bidding (JACKPOT!!!).” – Sneaker
1. Sal Paradise – Living In A Dream Boat
Yes, just €1 here in Berlin at Dodo Beach or anywhere for you and for me and the entire human race. The spoken word interludes in blues/rock style are horrible, but I simply love the pan flute, the toms, the sung earworm chorus and the EBM version on the flip (which unfortunately includes a laid-back version of the otherwise lively fluttering vocals).
2. Sabine – Lebensbaum
A typical pick from the cardboard boxes on the floor at Vienna’s Teuchtler. The single itself? A cheap and likewise genius early Austrian cosmic tune. Goes well with my NDW and minimal synth records too so it became one my intro tunes for my 2018 Camp Cosmic set.
3. Sand – Robins Wurl
A good starter to set expectations beyond the easy and obvious. Play this as an intro and nobody will be startled when you drop a post-punk record or some rhythmic industrial noise. I found it for cheap in the UK as far as I remember. I am always happy to dip into the still “unexplored” ’90s cannon (compared to the widely “covered” ’70s, ’80s and obvious recent records).
4. Scala 3 – Kein Ende
Who knows why I didn’t stumble upon this song earlier? Frederick Block from Reach Another System played it and I had to add this to my collection. It’s widely available on Discogs and still playable, although I may only have it for this very track.
5. Scrappy feat. Wet Boxx – Love Motion
In fact, this wasn’t a find. Rather, I was seeking for that record. The rather unknown and odd Chicago house outfit Scrappy released this superb track alongside a few others. Only found on a few compilations, ‘Desire’ is another one I’d recommend. Despite being from Chicago, their tracks sound like the European blends of acid house, rave and new beat.
6. SPK – Will To Power
I really wonder why ‘Metal Dance’ on the A-side became so popular. It must be due to the slogan-like name that sounds like a genre in itself. However, in my book the musical gem is on the B. ‘Will To Power’ blasts MS-20-like synth brutality, a saxophone and a screaming woman into your ears. It isn’t easy to mix – it’s actually better to respect the dramatic intro and to play it out from the start. I did that for a closing at Berlin’s Griessmühle and the club went mad. One of my best experiences there thanks to the Australian avant-garde band and my vinyl finds at a Sunday flea market at Outlaws in Leeds.
7. Trance Trax – First
This is Belgian new beat. Actually, I picked up the UK remix in Valencia or Madrid but I recommend the First EP since the rather useful original of ‘Odd Flute’ is 1:30 min shorter on the UK remix EP. When I found out about the name of the track some years ago I had the feeling that I have heard it already as a kid 25 years ago. It sounded familiar, catchy, irresistible.
8. Urban Chase – Living Strong
I have eight records from the overseen Canadian house label Bassic – it sits besides bigger labels like Nu Groove on my personal top-10 all-time house labels. Certainly you will know Mike Perras and his hit ‘Beginning Of Life’, but beyond that, hardly anyone’s familiar with their output.
Their style is lo-fi, jazzy, odd, thin… All notes seem to be stabbed, so even the bass groove is rare and features little sub. Another kind of deep, far away from the Kerri Chandler cliché. They managed to avoid common Roland drum machines or generic timbres (Perras is the exception). Rather, they play organs, interesting rhythm patterns and always opt for the unbeaten path. A real (cheap) find if you feel bored of the daily deep house reissue craze.
Similar to the Canadian hi-NRG and Italo output, being on the fringe of the global scene created a far more refreshing sound than what you might have heard from the US over all those years.
9. Various – Uncanny Valley 004
I’m not above including myself on the bargain bin list, although rare, expensive records are better ego boosters. However, most records are expensive because they’re rare (and good) and Uncanny Valley pressed 800(!) of this VA compilation (for what reasons – we don’t know).
Nevertheless, my own submission was an underground hit back in 2011, so it still can turn a more destructive dancefloor upside down. My production back then was completely digital. The 12-minute journey is already comprising all characteristics of a typical Sneaker mad house tune: strong emphasis on the development (modulation) of the percussions, a strong groove, expressive, persistent and urging vocals, late, sudden and surprising changes.
10. Weed People – The Greenland EP
The Felix da Housecat-curated Radikal Fear label influenced me just as much as Relief or Strictly Rhythm. I bought this for the first time back in 1995, but I bought the (weed) green version last weekend after I had to sell the first one among my records 15 years ago to finance my (lazy) studies. All three tracks are unique for their strong character.
‘Radikal Rhythm’ distorts and modulates an incredible bassline (?) guided by a 909 kick, plus some extremely processed drum sounds. Pure artistic freedom and creativity, yet remaining in banging basement territory. For friends of contemporary tunes from LA Club Resource, Gene Hunt or even the LIES sound.
S-Z … mission complete! Now start all over again yourself! Sunday, there must be a flea market near you – I swear!