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Maurizio is the operating name of Moritz Von Oswald, the Berlin-based musician and entrepreneur who owns a half-share in Basic Channel Records and co-produced the label's various releases, a wildly influential series of fuzzy EPs with purposefully low production values recorded under the aliases Cyrus, Quadrant, Phylyps, and Radiance. Von Oswald reserved his solo work for the Basic Channel sublabel M, which issued a half-dozen Maurizio EPs during the mid-'90s. Understandably, the Maurizio sound is quite similar to Basic Channel's, though Von Oswald is often more taken with pounding dub basslines and a somewhat cleaner production style, which gives his EPs a better chance on dancefloors. Von Oswald was originally a Berlin-area percussionist who worked on LPs by the Associates and Holger Hiller during the late '80s, and also played in one of the last incarnations of Palais Schaumburg. By the end of the decade he'd made the leap from drummer to producer, working with fellow Palais Schaumburg member Thomas Fehlmann as 3MB, the in-house production team at Berlin's Tresor Records. While involved with Tresor, he recorded with Detroit techno pioneer Juan Atkins and remodeled one of Atkins' Infiniti tracks, "Think Quick" into one of the most sublime techno productions ever released. It was an intriguing Berlin-Detroit collaboration which signalled the continuing close link between the two cities. (In 1995, Von Oswald again worked with Atkins for the debut Model 500 album, Sonic Sunset.) While still working at Tresor in 1993, Von Oswald had formed Basic Channel Records with partner Mark Ernestus. The immediately recognizable BC sound, a ruddy take on Detroit techno with minimal changes and maximum echo-chamber droning capacity, asserted itself with nine vinyl-only EPs during the next few years, recorded as various aliases including Cyrus, Quadrant, Phylyps, and Radiance, though all were presumably Von Oswald and Ernestus. In the meantime, the Maurizio project had begun recording in 1993, with the first release on M Records, the Ploy EP. After being remixed by the Orb, it was reissued by the British WAU!/Mr. Modo and even appeared on the second Excursions in Ambience compilation. M Records next released an EP by Vainqueur, then concentrated on Maurizio yet again with five EPs during the next three years. Besides M and Basic Channel, Von Oswald had also founded sublabels Rhythm & Sound, Burial Mix, and Imbalance, though he later turned over management of the latter to Robert Henke (of the duo Monolake). Except for Maurizio's "Ploy," none of the Basic Channel/Maurizio material had appeared on cassette or CD, thanks to the duo's polemical stance about vinyl. Finally in 1995, a Basic Channel sampler was released, though most of the tracks were viciously edited to fit more than three or four tracks onto a 70-minute CD. Maurizio released a similar compilation by 1997, followed by Basic Channel compatriots Porter Ricks, Vainqueur, and Monolake.
© John Bush /TiVo


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