For Truancy Volume 158 we’re pleased to host one of Brooklyn’s finest, Via App. Having experimented with noise and electronic music from a young age, she first made herself known to the wider world in 2014 with two tapes of diverse house music. One, Pro-V, is subtle and warm, the gentle pace of its eight tracks calling to mind the master of ambient techno Wolfgang Voigt. The other, Dangerous Game, revealed her sense of humour, opening with a bizarre collage of the infamous Lex Luger ident and chattering laughter on “Photogenic”. The wonky and mischievous attitude to melody and sampling across the release recalls the work of experimental noiseniks Black Dice, albeit manipulated into more conventional dance floor structures.
With these releases Via App joined a swathe of North American producers committing oddball takes on house and techno to cassette. It’s a scene brimming with quality that’s often unassailable by virtue of the sheer volume of output, with batch releases of tapes the norm due to the quick turnaround times on production. There was no risk of Via App being lost amongst the noise when she returned with 7 Headed though, an exceptional EP of dreamy techno that synthesises the emotional content and creativity of her first two tapes into a package altogether more accessible. It gained Via App wide support, including an extensive Breaking Through feature in Resident Advisor and end of year plaudits in The Wire.
After a year with nary a release in sight, she’s back with Sixth Stitch, a new album for Break World Records. It’s an interesting choice of label for a techno artist – in just three years the label has crafted a diverse back catalogue of experimental pop and dance music from the likes of James Ferraro, Elysia Crampton and Teengirl Fantasy – and says something about Via App’s outwards looking worldview. The album is preceded by a single for BANK Records, and together they represent another paradigm shift for her work. On both she dives even further down the sound design worm hole, each track an exhaustive investigation of the possibilities of the palettes she creates. Some tracks are Berghain-friendly slammers, others closer to early academic electronic music, but the best are imbued with the same giddy forward momentum that characterises her superb live show.
She’s over in Europe again to present that show in support of both records, and we didn’t hesitate in asking her to contribute a Truancy Volume. Across twenty tracks Via App contextualises her own productions with everything from post punk deep cuts to twisted loop techno. It’s a great companion piece for her own aesthetic: adventurous, subversive and deeply addictive.
Hi Dylan, how’re things? “Hey! Going well, preparing to head to Europe in a couple days to tour.”
You’re about to release your new album Sixth Stitch: what was the motivation behind working in LP format for this release? “I was excited to play with composition on a larger scale, over the course of a record, and for the opportunity to put that on vinyl. I wanted to string a lot of short form tracks together towards a greater narrative.”
How did you get together with Break World Records for the album? Was it important to work with a label which pushes beyond functional dance music? “[Break World Records boss] Edaan and I have been friends for a while and it just made sense. I’m into how aesthetically and thematically eclectic the label is, while the releases also share some underlying criticality. It was definitely important for me to be able to stretch outside the confines of functionality. I was thinking a lot about collaging formats and stylistic references.”
I caught your live show earlier this year at Rewire Festival and it was amazing – how has it evolved for the European tour you’re about to embark on? “Trying to make things a bit more labyrinthine in how they develop. Im getting deeper into drum programming, and have switched gear around a bit so sort of coming into some new territory altogether. Working with some really amazing samples created by my friend Kiki who does the Just the Right Height (J.R.H.N.B.R.) project which I think I’ll be performing, so I’m really excited about that.”
In the past you’ve talked about the “false binary” people set up between techno and noise: can you talk a little bit about the aesthetic space you envisage for your music? “I imagine something paranoid, indecisive, performative, and conversational.”
What can you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us?“A little sampling of some influences + some Via App tracks I mixed in the basement of Trans-Pecos on a stormy day. Tracks from some classics and some friends’ work that I’ve been into. The mix opens with an Asthyna excerpt (my duo with Bookworms) and toward the end features a clip from a new project Eve Essex, James K and I are working on called Hesper.”
What do you have planned next? “Working on some new records…and my Halloween prosthetics!”
Finally a classic Truants question: when was the last time you danced and to what? “At Confused House to Bookworm’s and DJ Python’s sets. Before that I freaked out to almost every set at P.U.F.F.E.R.S.S. fest in Providence.”
Asthyna – Unholy Spiritual Healing
Tuxedomoon – Crash
Wilted Woman – Takeaway
L. Lewis – M31
Via App – Narthex
Draveng – Purple Ink
Isabella – my_peeling_back_5
E-Saggila – Staggering Embrasure
FKY – 26 10 09
Christian Vogel – Information Power Revolution
Vice – Black Nation for Life
Via App – Slipping Through the Cracks in the Elevator
Stallone the Reducer – Hepatitis A
Strahinja – Podmukli Acid
Jay Denham – Justice for All
Subhead – Ex-Works
FKY – Acid Random
J.H.R.N.B.R. – Addicted
Hesper – ??? WIP
Chris & Cosey – Dancing Ghosts