Sunday, December 23, 2018

Embodiment - Anna Lann (Ransom Note Records)

Title: Embodiment 
Artist: Anna Lann
Label: Ransom Note Records
Cat Number: R$N17
Genre: Smorgasbord

1: Embodiment
2: Carabela
3: Mozart’s Reqiuem in D Minor
4: Feeling Emotional
5: Feeling Emotional (Nick Hoppner Remix)
6: Feeling Emotional (Richard Sen Remix)
7: Feeling Emotional (Flug 8’s Ambient Incantation)
8: Carabela (Placid One’s Ambi Mix)

Lots of stuff to get through here on this mammoth Ransom Note outing, and it’s always a fair bet that when one release lends itself to so many different interpretations, it’s either too niche, so amazing that it has to be reinterpreted, or a combination of the two. I’ll go for the latter, and be none the wiser as a consequence. The original versions are sonically distinct, and have a strange cohesion which envelops them in an abstract pop umbrella. This gains more credence with Nick Hoppner’s remix, a surprisingly effective, Nouvelle Vagueesque mid tempo romp. Richard Sen’s remix is more strident and confrontational, mirroring that of Hoppner’s in being more immediatly accessible than the original. The two ambient mixes which close the package vary in  relative intensity, with Flug 8’s given more time to roam, and Placid One’s perhaps not straying as far from the original as one might think.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Beast from the Middle East - DJ Emile (Lone Romantic)

Title: Beast from the Middle East
Artist: DJ Emile
Label: Lone Romantic
Cat Number: LR010
Genre: Electro

A1: Beast from the Middle East
B1: The Bombshelter Speech
B2: Beast from the Middle East (Straight from Kuwait Mix)

Once it gets going, ‘Beast from the Middle East goes back to the old school (it is the reissue of a 1997 release after all, but feels like it has come from an earlier dimension). However, it takes rather long to get there, the first three of seven minutes being given over to, in the words of the press release a “cinematic opening section” which is two minutes too long. The last four minutes are excellent though, with the breaks and beats being embellished by ye classic (James Brown?) vocal groans. If you want cinematic, head for The ‘Straight from Kuwait Mix”, which feels like a languid, layered drive through some idealized souk. ‘The Bombshelter Speech’ does what it says on the tin, and is a call to arms recorded live at a gig with Emile as MC. This is the first in a timely series of releases on Lone Romantic devoted to unearthing some previously slept on electro. It’s made an interesting, and slightly abstract, start.

Brace Yourself - Keith Tucker (Brace Yourself)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Peace EP - Raze Of Pleasure (Still Burning)

Title: Peace EP
Artist: Raze of Pleasure
Label: Still Burning
Cat Number: SB001
Genre: House

A1: Wilder
A2: Alright
B1: In Control
B2: At One

Still Burning, a sub label of Late Night Burners, which is a young label from The Netherlands, has the noblest of intentions. This is to rerelease obscure gems from the past, revitalizing them in the process and, ergo, keeping the music accessible and Discogs sharks at bay. This has certainly been the case with their debut, Raze of Pleasure’s ‘Peace EP’. Raze of Pleasure burned very brightly between 1990 and 1993, putting out five releases on Vice Versa Records before submerging into oblivion. This, their second outing is, while very much of its time, totally relevant today and has a timeless deep house/rave crossover vibe which exudes, on the one hand a hazy, fuggy, dance floor ambience, and on the other an energetic, boundless, nostalgia. I suppose I’m showing my age now but I really love this as I was there during its birth and probably danced to it first time around. So, onto the beats: ‘Wilder’ starts things aquatically, and is the deepest thing here. It’s no slouch but the pace is picked up by ‘Alright’ while ‘In Control’ blends the tempo and the feel of both. ‘At One’ is the real sunrise moment of the EP, being an uplifting mix of break beats, piano, swirling atmospherics and a cherry on the top spoken word snippet. This feels like it has everyone’s best interests at heart, because it does.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Breakthrough EP - Ripperton presents Headless Ghost (Drumpoet Community)

Title: Breakthrough EP 
Artist: Ripperton presents Headless Ghost 
Label: Drumpoet Community
Cat Number: DPC072-1/-3
Genre: Deep House

A1: Real Smile Fades
A2: Abandon
B1: See You Yever
B2: One Day OK, One Day Not
B3: So Many Podcasts And So Little Time
B4: Deep In The Park

It’s been a long time since I listened to a Drumpoet Community release, and working from memory the pairing of Ripperton and the label seems a no-brainer. This is the second Headless Ghost release on the label, the previous one being from 2016, and it’s exactly what I thought it would be. Polished deep, driving grooves balanced with something more offbeat. ‘See You Yever’ is the most interesting track; it’s mid-paced, minimalist and slightly discordant. This air of uncertainty continues through ‘: So Many Podcasts And So Little Time’, and ‘Deep In The Park’ the latter acting as a coda to the former. The other three compositions pick up the pace with ‘Real Smile Fades’ treading a nice line in shuffling melancholia, ‘Abandon’ doing the momentous groove thing and being a useful tool. Finally, ‘One Day OK, One Day Not’ strikes a nice balance in haunting, dance floor based disorientation.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Dreams of the Tropics - Jacuzzi General (Paradise Palms)

Title: Dreams of the Tropics 
Artist: Jacuzzi General 
Label: Paradise Palms
Cat Number: PP011
Genre: Cosmic Gibberish

1: Prelude
2: Eurostar
3: Dreams of the Tropics
4: Pool Shark

Following on from the previous review, we again find ourselves in a Balearic netherworld where, in this case, a sun-loving voluptuary holds sway. There’s a wooziness to this release which evokes the heady humidity of summer holidays seen through the looking glass. It feels strange listening to this with the rain beating down outside in a chilly December evening, but all the tunes here have that frictional momentum and cosmic chug, which can create a parallel world anywhere.

Zehn - Pin Up Club, Conga Fever (Mireia Records)

Title: Zehn
Artist: Pin Up Club/Conga Fever
Label: Mireia Records
Cat Number: MIR10
Genre: House

A1: Dilapidated – Pin Up Club
A2: Dilapidated (Lauer Remix) – Pin Up Club
A3: Dilapidated (RSS Disco Remix) – Pin Up Club
B1: Chihuahua – Conga Fever
B2: Chihuahua (Jacob Korn Remix) – Conga Fever

Oooh, I do like a mid-range plodder me, so the original mix of ‘Dilapidated’ has it all: it’s euphoric, cosmic stuff which lopes along under the weight of it’s own bass, hitting the highs and feeling the lows. Moving onto Lauer’s remix, we have a more energetic italo-inspired effort which is every bit as good as its predecessor, just a different facet. The RSS Disco remix is relatively flat by comparison, but this shouldn’t be seen as a negative. On the contrary it’s sharp edged dubbiness (a contradiction of terms I’m well aware of), makes it a moody take on the original. I have a student who comes from Chihuahua so I’ll be asking him if the eponymous offering here could in any way soundtrack a typical day. It’s a lively tune and one which grooves hither and thither; it does have a slight commercial edge to it though. This may be the reason why I prefer Jakob Korn’s remix, which hollows things out and mutes the originals’ excesses.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Rising - Antigone (Token)

Title: Rising
Artist: Antigone
Label: Token
Cat Number: TOKEN88LP
Genre: Techno

A1: Rising
A2: Sands of Time
B1: Perchance to Dream
B2: Lost and Found
C1: Out There
C2: Duality of Mind
C3: Infinite Limit
D1: It Follows
D2: Irreversible
D3: Love Field

This is Antigone’s debut album and it’s a patient, well-disciplined realization of what I would hope is the artist’s imagination. This much should be obvious I suppose, but in a genre as claustrophobic as techno, it may need to be said more often than should be necessary. It’s not easy to make something which is truly unique within this genre anymore. The machine funk trace elements of one strain or another always seem to be present and form another layer of veneer on what has already been absorbed. What has kept me listening to this collection over the past few days is its symmetry and ambience; two very important techno characteristics that distinguish this album and raise it above the level of the mundane. It’s a bit too clean at times, but the space within which Antigone operates is both figurative and hallucinatory and, although most of what has been produced here feels safe within its cyclic realms, the restraint and maturity which adorns it is notable.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Snake Bites Twice - Posthuman (Craigie Knowes)

Title: The Snake Bites Twice  
Artist: Posthuman
Label: Craigie Knowes
Cat Number: CKNOWEP13
Genre: Techno

1: Steal the Show
2: Cobra Structure
3: Polywater Acid
4: Down 2 Jakk

Electro and acid, the devil’s dumplings of electronic dance music. Seen by some to be no more than house/techno inflections, and by others as genre and sub genre respectively. Without going into the detail that I already have, I’d just like to say that the acid dominates on this release by Posthuman, with the only track free of it, ‘Steal the Show’ being an electro banger with a rave sensibility. That doesn’t mean that it’s the only composition to stand out though: ‘Polywater Acid’ journeys into a stoned hinterland for most of its last three minutes; ‘Down 2 Jakk’ is distinguished by dramatic metallic swirls which raise it above the merely mundane and ‘Cobra Structure’ has a funky shuffle that will test even the most double-jointed dancer. Craigie Knowes are signing off a great year in fine style.

Oscillate tracks 001 - D. Tiffany & Roza Terenzi (Oscilate Tracks)

Title: Oscillate Tracks 001
Artist: D. Tiffany & Roza Terenzi
Label: Oscillate Tracks
Cat Number: OSCT001
Genre: Electro/Breaks

A1: Electronique - Roza Terenzi
B1: Spirit Alien - D. Tiffany 
B2: Spirit Alien (Jayda G Esoteric Mix) - D. Tiffany

An interesting release this, which incorporates electro, drum and bass and a Jayda G  remix, which remains true to the original’s spirit while being very much of itself. Roza Terenzi’s ‘Electronique’ is a wonderful track: euphoric electro  with break beats which steadily builds and  relies on disparate elements to come together and provide a stream of mind melding moments. It’s versatile and will build at the beginning of a set, as well as raising the temperature just when needed. It’s subtle, and much more than the sum of its parts. The original of ‘Spirit Alien’ is a cosmic drum and bass excursion and is very understated. Jayda G’s remix goes down a similar rhythmic route, but makes frictional use of percussion and vocal samples to further emphasise syncopation and mood. An interesting release that refuses to be pinned down.

Friday, November 23, 2018

S.T - Rings Around Saturn (Brokntoys)

Title: S/T
Artist: Rings Around Saturn
Label: Brokntoys
Cat Number: BT30
Genre: Techno/Electro

A1: Saturnine
A2: Pulp Tech
A3: Apocalypse Lite
B1: Event Strike
B2: Perfect Crime
C1: Online Spectre
C2: World Interior
C3: Uncanny Soul
D1: Non Place
D2: Automatic Memory
D3: Mirage

A varied and interesting release this one. Flitting between augmented and reductionist strains of electro, techno, IDM and cosmic synthwave Rory McPike has created the soundtrack to a Hieronymous Bosch animation. If the garden of Earthly Delights were set to music, the result wouldn’t be too dissimilar to this. There’s chaos, but also order, a little like the third law of thermodynamics. Above all though, this collection glistens with energy and evokes a dawn of time scenario where fish are just about to grow legs and oversized planets hang in a purple sky. It’s an imaginative, evocative collection of compositions, each of which contributes in its own small way to the construction of a primitive, parallel universe.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Hypnagogia LP - BNJMN (Delsin Records)

Title: Hypnagogia 
Artist: BNJMN
Label: Delsin
Cat Number: Techno
Genre: 131DSR

A1: Atoms Speak
A2: Swarm
A3: Glowed
B1: Titan Dome
B2: Hypnagogia Pt. 1
C1: Theta Wave
C2: Indub
C3: Moth Lines
D1; Hyonagogia Pt. 2
D2: Over White Peaks

I never knew of the existence of this word until introduced to it via the Dopplereffekt/Objekt split release of a few years ago; ‘Hypnagogia, also referred to as "hypnagogic hallucinations", is the experience of the transitional state from wakefulness to sleep:’ one of my many faults is maybe wanting track titles in electronica to actually have a relationship with the music, and not be random throwaway inscriptions. This isn’t the case here, or maybe I’m overthinking things. That BNJMN feels that this is his first “cohesive body of work” since ‘Black Square’ on Rush Hour back in 2011, however, is a sentiment I feel is worth taking seriously, true or not. Whatever the case, the album is a serious collection of mood setters, and hinges, for me at least on the two eponymous compositions,  which provide the peaks around which the other pieces coalesce. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Counterfeit Soul Vol 2 - Frazer Campbell (Counterfeit Soul Records)

Title: Counterfeit Soul Vol. 2
Artist: Frazer Campbell
Label: Counterfeit Soul Records
Cat Number: CS002
Genre: Deep House

1: Glad It’s All Night
2: Laurenz Hill
3: Alexo Kneel
4: Mr Green’s Envy

Frazer Campbell flexes his sonic sinews with four tracks which, judging by their titles, owe a debt to those in question. The tunes are tight and bouncy, as we have become used to, and there are various other embellishments to raise this quartet well above that of the purely playful and functional. Campbell keeps things understated throughout, and leaves it to the samples to do the work when necessary, but they wouldn’t sound so good without the grooves. Both ‘Glad It’s All Night’ and ‘Alexo Kneel’ rely on this approach more, with the beats being more upfront on ‘Laurenz Hill’. It’s probably the sunrise evoked by ‘Mr Green’s Envy’ that I find the most touching though, which ensures that each composition offers something a little bit different from its predecessor.

Immortality (ft. Paris Brightledge) - One Last Riot (Paranoid London)

Friday, November 09, 2018

In Heaven - Passarella Death Squad (Passarella Records)

Title: In Heaven
Artist: Passarella Death Squad
Label: Passarella Records
Cat Number: PASS004
Genre: Techno

1: In Heaven
2: In Heaven (Violet Remix)
3: In Heaven (Norman Nodge Remix)

With a name only marginally better than ‘PBR Streetgang’, the music had better be good. Thankfully it is, although I found it totally predictable in tone. A drone, a throb, and a deadpan vocal to accompany a martial beat are the cold wave components of coalescence. Techno lawyer Norman Nodge, a living personification of the black t shirt doesn’t overdo the remix to his credit, while Violet’s emphasizes the break beats which feels sonically a little muddy in parts, but it’s ok. T'artwork is good as well. 

Monday, November 05, 2018

Mix for the Motherchip

Athnatos – Dopplereffekt (Leisure System)
Cold Colony – ERP (Semantica)
Bodypop – Metamatics (Shipwrec)
Astral Flex – Reedale Rise (Kondi)
Pt. 2 SUEDO21 – SW (Sued)
Snow Banks – 214 (Klakson)
Lonely Planet – Pollen (Tresor)
Afrogermanic –UR (UR)
Lost – J. Roland (Lonely Planets)
Fadin’ Away (Heinrich Mueller Remix) – The Hacker (WeMe)
Shell Script Magic – Life Recorder (Acting Press)
Glyph 03 – Archetype (Was/Is)
Future City – The Advent (Kombination Research)
Vohx Continues V1 – Adapta (Frustrated Funk)
Humanity Nill – Will Web (Di’jital Axcess)
Sepsis – Versalife (Trust)
You Don’t Know – Drexciya (UR)
G Club Live – Reflective Souls (Hard Beach Entertainment)
Forget About It – Galaxian (Foul Up)

Friday, October 26, 2018

Boolean EP - Carl Finlow (Craigie Knowes)

Title: Boolean EP
Artist: Carl Finlow
Label: Craigie Knowes
Cat Number: CKNOWEP12
Genre: Electro

A1: Chronos
A2: Boolean
B1: Marauders
B2: Exige
B3: Unconditional

From the second ‘Chronos’ starts, any thought that Carl Finlow may be lacking hunger can be flytipped under cover of darkness. I hypothesise as Finlow is such a font of electro nectar that surely he can’t go on forever? Well, he shows no sign of slowing down and in the process seems to be reaching new levels of maturity. This release on north of the border’s fantastic Craigie Knowes features five tracks which each vie for the “who can spread the most cosmic menace” cup, although some do it much more effectively than others. There’s a wonderful balance on show here, and it’s great that the tracks are so bassy, none more so than ‘Chronos’, which is my fave. It’s got everything, picking up the pace just when you think it can’t turn a new corner. ‘Marauders’ shares some similarities, driving along in the same vein, but feeling slightly crisper as it does. Both ‘Boolean’ and ‘Exige’ are more introspective, while ‘Unconditional’ is cleaner, sparser and altogether lighter. A great release and one which should sell shitloads if there’s any justice.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Static EP - Contactless (UTTU)

Title: Static EP
Artist: Contactless
Label: Unknown To The Unknown
Cat Number: UTTU091
Genre: Electro

1: Static
2: Cybernetik Jerkin
3: Robot Wreckin Crew
4: Downpour

Great this. Fact is that you just need some mean beats and a vocoder, that’s all. Better still is having the foresight to voice track titles with the aforementioned apparatus. You can’t go wrong. ‘Robot Wreckin Crew’ does use a time-honoured synth line to circle around the varying amounts of battery going on down below, and the EP, on the whole, seems to draw a lot of inspiration from Dynamix ll, but it’s not as in your face, softer and spacier. Great release this, throbbing bass, great kick, vocoder, I could go on. As well as the Cygnus release on Burek, this is one of the best of the year.

Motherchip Connexion 19/10/18

Last night was the first time the motherchip had landed for a while,  and my first time as a passenger. Captain Laurence Fisher, aka Purplehands, had on our previous briefing told me that things only started to get really interesting towards the end of the night, as crew members didn’t turn up early enough to get down. Well last night bucked the trend big time. On entering the party had got well and truly started, with 96 Back on the decks. It would be wide of the mark to say he played exclusively electro, in fact the majority of what I heard was techno, which presented all kinds of problems regarding genre recognition, as my other half, who I’d dragged along having first tempted her out with the promise of tapas, only to discover that the restaurant we went to had no paella at all! (I know paella isn’t tapas, but you need something for the little dishes to orbit) was very anxious to know the difference between said genres. Not normally one to mince my words regarding such things, I managed “Well, you know, Kraftwerk . . .” and left it at that. Eddie Symons came on next and proceeded to play a set of his own stuff, which was excellent. He did the digital thing after Mr 96 Back played the vinyls. The music was great, purer electro set from Eddie, but everything slid seamlessly into my paella-deprived body. We couldn't stay until the end, and so missed Purplehands' set, but by the time we left I was like an amphibian, breathing pure electro and machine funk strains through my skin. Had trouble reacclimatizing outside but just managed to get back home in time to stick some late night Drexciya on.

Probably should have posted this before Friday, but better late than never. Shows Mr Back's lovely muzzy off innit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Judge Not (Ray Mang Mixes) - Phenomenal Handclap Band (Toytonics)

Title: Judge Not (Ray Mang Mixes)
Artist: Phenomenal Handclap Band
Label: Toytonics
Cat Number: TOYT081
Genre: House

1: Judge Not (Ray Mang Special Mix)
2: Judge Not (Ray Mang Instrumental Mix)
3: Judge Not (Ray Mang Reprise)
4: Judge Not (Ray Mang Disco Mix)
5: Judge Not (Ray Mang Radio Edit)

The Phenomenal Handclap Band can put a tune together, that’s for sure. How much of that is down to Ray Mang’s touch is debatable though, as I’d never listened to them before reviewing this. So it’s 5 mixes of the same track, and a cursory flick through them reveals very little variance between versions. A more detailed listen reveals brings nothing extra to the table either. It’s a good track, if you like that sort of thing, but I can’t get away from the image of the type of people I’d rather avoid singing along to this. A little overcooked, but I suppose you’ll pick and choose innit.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Eddie Symons Chit Chat

I first met Eddie around a month ago, at the Drexciyan Legacy soiree Hector and Laurence Fisher were DJing at. He was introduced to me as "Mr Eddie Pointer", which made him sound like some sort of early 20th Century Royal Gun Dog. Recognisong an opportunity I offered him a space on this highly esteemed blog, which of course he accepted. I hope to be reacquainted with him on Friday the 19th October at the belated launch party for his splendid CPU release, 'AFTRMTH'. Meanwhile, here are some in depth words from the man himself to set the mood.
  When did you start making music, and what inspired you to do so?

I sort of got into it at the same time as learning to program. I had a Spectrum computer when I was little, and apart from playing games I also did some programming on it. It was just really simple stuff in BASIC, just bleeps really, but I liked that I could get it to do stuff. Fast forward a few years and I was doing similar on the Amiga, coding games in AMOS and doing the sound effects and music myself. I started with Soundtracker and then Octamed which I got on the cover disc of a magazine. I made loads of tracks using that, some silly novelty stuff with funny samples, but also trying to copy the kind of music I was listening to at the time. That was mostly techno and rave stuff, all built from samples from other tracks as I didn’t have any synths of my own. My brother was always encouraging me with it and would keep me inspired by sending me new music. He was getting into Warp and Rephlex, so it was him that really got me into the more thoughtful stuff, while I was also swapping rave tapes with a mate from school. I still really clearly remember the weekend he came back when he brought 'Surfing On Sine Waves' with him; that totally changed how I heard music.

You maintain a website, but haven’t updated it for a year.  Any plans to revive it, and is it important to have one?

My website is totally out of date at this point. I find that stuff like Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, etc, kind of mean it’s not all that important for an artist anymore. I’d love to sort it out, but it’s just another thing I’d file under the admin side of being a musician, and there’s always far less boring things I’d rather be doing.

Explain the difference, if any, between your pseudonyms: Bovaflux, Broken Future and Nullptr?

Bovaflux is my first proper project, and the most long running one, which I use for idm/braindance stuff. Broken Future was a short lived alias for a side project I did with Highpoint Lowlife records, which was kind of grimey electronics. Nullptr comes from when I started dabbling in some more electro type stuff about 4 years ago, I played it under a fake name on my radio show which I was doing at the time. The first couple of tracks (Coriolis and Quantic) I ended up using as Bovaflux tracks on my Hermetic Peaks album, but when the electro obsession didn’t go away, I thought it would be interesting to try doing it as a proper project of its own. I guess the main thing I like about aliases is that you can do stuff without any expectations. If it goes well then people will eventually connect it back to me, but if not, then my reputation remains intact! :D I kind of see them as different identities now too, I almost separate them into different characters in my head. Nullptr has done pretty well so far, probably doing better than Bovaflux, so I have some weird internal jealousy going on now too. 

You have been running [d]-tached since 2002, but haven’t released anything on it this year. Could you explain why you set it up and describe the type of music you release on it? Are we going to see more stuff on it in the future?

I set it up originally for just releasing my own music. I got a bit frustrated early on with sending off demos and hearing nothing back, so I thought I’d just do it myself. It was (and still is) very small scale, but I’d rather get stuff out to a tiny audience than just let tracks sit on my hard drive. I’m not sure there’s a particular sound I go for with [d]-tached, it’s just stuff that I find interesting really. I should have stuck with releasing electro on it the last few years, it’d probably make it easier to sell stuff, but I have to go with what I feel like at the time. I wouldn’t really have thought I’d have put out anything like Supersentient Intelligence Construct, which is all drones, ambience and weird noises, but there’s something I find strangely hypnotic and fascinating about it (plus it always gives me weird dreams if I listen to it at night). As with most things in underground music, you kind of have to focus on whatever you have the most fun with, as there’s little chance of making any money from it (half our releases struggle to break even).

There’s only been one release on [d]-tached this year (Supersentient Intelligence Construct’s Holomorphic Metacrystal), mostly as I’ve been a bit distracted with my own records coming out elsewhere on CPU and Mindcolormusic. Also the fancy holographic foil print I did for it was really expensive so I couldn’t afford to do anything else immediately! I’m hoping to squeeze another release or two in before the end of the year though, including an EP from Joseph Morton. His way of making music is really weird, in that he doesn’t do anything for years, and then turns out an EP in a weekend. Like most [d]-tached artists, he’s not really thinking about fitting into a scene, he just does whatever he likes.

Your Nullptr release, ‘Aftrmth’, on Central Processing Unit is your most recent. What did the label want from you and has this translated into more exposure?

Chris (CPU boss) was a big supporter of my first Nullptr release, and I’ve always been a massive fan of his label. I’d been sending him tracks for a while (in an alternate dimension Optical would have come out on CPU) and soon after it came out he got in touch and asked that I keep him updated with new tracks. This was a big confidence booster for me, having someone like that be interested in my music, so I just started sending him batches of tracks every few months. Some labels like to be totally hands off and let you do what you want, but it felt a bit more collaborative with Chris, which I really appreciate. He’d give feedback on tracks and we worked out the track listing together, while other labels let you just pretty much put out what you want. I guess different artists like to work different ways, and some insist on total freedom, but I’m much happier working together on things. It’s definitely given me a lot more exposure - I got played on Radio 1, got a couple of print reviews and keep coming across nice feedback around the internet. I’m hoping it’ll lead to a few more DJ bookings too as I’d like to get out and play a bit more, especially around Europe before things become a mess next year with Brexit.

What is your favourite track from the many you’ve recorded?

Either ‘Many Worlds’ from Optical, or ‘NORTACID’ from aux4411.

Who have been your greatest influences, and what is it like making the music you do in St Ives? Does your immediate environment influence your output in any way?

As mentioned earlier, my brother was a massive influence on me when I was younger. If he hadn’t been feeding me music I don’t know what my life would look like right now. I grew up in a little midlands town where nothing happens, no music scene or anything, so having this whole new world of music made available to me was literally life changing. And for that to happen at the time Warp were blowing up, Aphex Twin was becoming known, and stuff like Jungle was just starting to happen, I feel lucky to have been exposed to it when I was. As for making music in St Ives, there’s nothing of interest going on here at all. We have an annual music festival where the headliners are an ABBA cover band, if that helps paint a picture. In a way, I kind of like being cut off from things a bit though. I think I’m a bit of a hermit, just give me a synth-nest and a cup of tea and I’m happy to just do my own thing. That being said, I am happy to have met Laurence aka Purplehands, the mastermind of Motherchip Connexion, who is really the driving force for electro in Cambridge. If he wasn’t around, Cambridge would have far less interesting music events happening, so I do everything I can to support him!

In terms of the effect of my environment on making music, I’ve lived in a bunch of different cities, and although you might be able to map how my sound has changed over time, I think it’s more me growing as an artist than picking anything up from the area. If I moved back to Frankfurt I doubt I’d start making the kind of music I was doing last time I was there. More of an influence is the closer environment, my studio. I spent quite a few years doing everything just on the computer, but now I have a nice set up with some proper synths and a modular, which I find endlessly inspiring. Having this stuff sat in front of me just waiting to be played with is so much more fun than fiddling with a vst. I tried for years to get hardware controllers and vst instruments to work nicely together, but it always just felt like hard work.

If you had to name a top five tracks (any genre), what would they be and why?

There’s way too much good music to be able to properly shortlist 50 let alone 5. I’ll give you my top 5 counting tracks instead.

1 Bjork – 107 Steps

Dancer in the Dark is possibly my favourite film, partly because of Björk, partly because my mum has a similar degenerative eye condition which has left her virtually blind, so somehow it feels a bit close to home (my mum hasn’t killed anyone though). How Björk manages to wring as much emotion out of singing a few digits is pretty impressive. I love the whole soundtrack to the film, which was made in that time when Mark Bell (LFO) was producing lots of her stuff, so fits in nicely between Homogenic and Vespertine.

2, Boards of Canada – Aquarius

Laid back idm funk with something sinister at its heart. It’s a classic album too, and has definitely had an influence on me. 

3, Venetian Snares – 12
I’m a big fan of Snares’ unusual time signatures. This remix of the Pointer Sisters reminds me of that time in the mid-00s when I went to see him play 3 times in a week and permanently damaged my hearing in doing so (pro tip: wear earplugs to gigs kids).

4, Kraftwerk – Computer World 2

Although I’d heard them loads as I was growing up, it was only recently that I actually gained a proper appreciation of their music. Once you see the background of typical German music of that time and see just how revolutionary it was, it puts it into a different perspective which I couldn’t appreciate as a kid. Some stuff off this album, such as ‘It’s More Fun To Compute’ could easily be released now. 

5, Quasimoto – Microphone Mathematics

Ok, no counting here but still lots of numbers! I’m surprised I managed to string it out this far really. Anyway, Quasimoto aka Madlib in fine form here. It’s almost like drunken boxing kung fu in musical form, with things being thrown in left and right in a pretty haphazard manner, but in reality he knows exactly what he’s doing.

A lot of your releases are only available as digital files, or CDrs. Do you have a preferred format to release on, and as far as the music you make is concerned, is there ever a contradiction releasing it on something as antiquated as vinyl?

Vinyl is the number one format for me in terms of releasing music, but not really because of the sound quality (which is massively variable). It’s more about the physical object, having something you made in your hand. It’s still an expensive format to make, which puts it out of reach of many bedroom producers like myself. That’s made it a bit of a holy grail, so getting my stuff on vinyl this year was a big milestone for me. All formats have their advantages though, digital is super flexible and portable, cassettes have the nostalgia factor and are cheap for labels to produce, etc. CDs are totally undervalued these days. Nice artwork potential, lasts better than any other physical format, etc. I think electro is well suited to vinyl though, we’re all obsessed with old Roland gear anyway, so why not have an old format to play it on? 😊

What do you think of vinyl purists, and purists in general?
I kind of get it, especially when it comes to vinyl only labels – there’s a trend of devaluing music that’s happened in the last decade or so, with people expecting everything for free, and vinyl is a stance against that - If you want this music, support it and pay a fair price for it! But when it comes to record buyers, I don’t know why you’d want to miss out on loads of music just because the person making it couldn’t afford to throw a grand at getting it pressed. I try not to set any strict rules for how I make or release things.  Variety is the spice of life, as they say. 

Could you describe the mix you have put together to accompany this interview? Did you have a specific approach to it and when DJing, how spontaneous are you?

I put together a mix which is typical of what I’d play out lately - very electro heavy, sneaking in a touch of braindance. I like to mix the kind of stuff that works in a club as well as on headphones, and I try getting a bit of the more unusual stuff in there too, some stuff straight from Bandcamp, to make the most of doing it digitally. 

Komarken Electronics - Better Tomorrow
Fleck E.S.C. - Discrete Opinion
Photodementia - Ds Groove
Plant 43 - Porcupine Meadow
Nullptr - Unreleased
Versalife - Scepsis
/DL/MS/ - Tides
Jensen Interceptor - Glide Drexler
Populist - Psychometric Profiling
Shinra - Propellor
Morphology - Mind Stealers (Sync 24 Remix)
No Moon - Sirens
Nullptr - Unreleased
Rolando Simmons - Wanderer 112.5
ERP - Vox Automaton
Assembler Code & Jensen Interceptor - Random Pain
Vertical67 - Intrasystem
Microlith - Remember Members

How often do you play live and DJ? What new music can be expected from you over the next six months?

I actually DJ semi-regularly these days, which is weird as I never set out to be a DJ. It’s more that I can’t really do live versions of my music as I can’t re-patch the modular, so I got into DJing as a way to play out my own stuff. I’ve really got into it in the last year or two since we’ve been doing our regular Motherchip Connexion nights in Cambridge. Our next one is a slightly late launch party for my AFTRMTH release on CPU, with our regulars Purplehands and The Subdermic, but also with 96 Back, who also had a release out on CPU. Hoping we get a good turn out, as it’s our first time at a new venue and we want them to let us come back!

In terms of releases, I’m sure there’ll be more Nullptr on the way (I have a stack of unreleased stuff), and I have plans for a Bovaflux album next year. There’s also the release of the Electric Eclectics box set on Fundamental Records which I’m part of, which is hopefully out soon. Oh, and a remix I did (as Bovaflux) for Ariadne’s Labyrinth should be out before the end of the year too. Lots of great artists on board for that so looking forward to hearing it!