Sim Hutchins is a relatively new name to us. He first caught our ear when he featured on The Bedroom Club III, a mini-compilation put together by No Pain In Pop a few months ago. This feature preceded an album, I Enjoy To Sweep A Room, which was released last week. It’s a gloriously dark affair, all decomposed beats and abrasive washes. The Fader ran with a headline that “Sim Hutchins’ Debut Album Is 2015 AF”, so it was appropriate that we had a lovely conversation over Google Chat recently. He told us about the album’s concept, how he loves to make music with lo-fi gear, and how if something’s not on Discogs, well it just doesn’t exist.
Hey man. “How do? Just been working on some new projects today.” Can you shed any light? “My good friend Owen, a fellow video artist, poet and outsider-folktronika hero (recording under the name O.D. Davey) has vocalled something I sent him, we’re looking at doing an EP of sorts. He had an album out on Tomlab this year.” Oh sweet. How do you see that collab going, would you meet up and sketch things out or just send files back and forth? “We live pretty close to each other, but he’s pretty much recorded all the vox in his bedroom and the track’s practically done now. He has an amazing work rate, which I would struggle to match if I tried to do even a quarter of the stuff he accomplishes in a month! I work in a more ponderous/obsessive manner.” Does that mean things take their time in seeing the light? How long ago did you start working on (what would become) I Enjoy To Sweep A Room? “Yeah definitely, I do like to just mull things over for a while after they’re done. The album was about two years in the making, but a lot of the tracks I ended up shelving and that became the Ecology Tapes release. “Tie Me To A Rocket” was the first track I made for it, and it was actually a demo I sent to No Pain In Pop when Tom K originally contacted me.
That’s interesting. I was going to comment that the Ecology Tapes release seemed a lot more hazy and abstract, but I guess you just put each bunch into different groupings, for want of a better word? “Yeah totally. I mean I Enjoy To Sweep A Room is kinda electronica-based tracks punctuated with ambient interludes, and that was my plan for the flow of the record to be fair. It’s weird as you do have to work a little to time constraints for a single 12″ vinyl so I did bear that in mind as the record came together. “Nihilism Was Not Sustainable” could have been 25mins long!” Was it always in your mind that the album would be getting a physical release? “Yes, because of the label that was putting it out. I love how NPIP are really into the physical product side of the label, they’re on their 49th release now and I’m pretty sure that every one was either 7″, 12″ or a CD. I was a huge fan of them before I even pondered the thought of releasing a record with them.”
I actually have in my ~notes~ that “Nihilism Was Not Sustainable” is ‘epic length’ so it’s funny you say it could have been almost three times as long. “Haha, yesssss. Originally I made the track to fit around two video loops from a Boiler Room clip. How does that fit into the album narrative? Well this track is supposed to represent a sort of process of death, it’s the track before “Brick Through A Church Window”, where you’re kind of experiencing the ultimate destruction of past ideals. It’s a kind of leitmotif for either staying in the past (one that’s fraught with a perpetual pain of sorts) or moving into the light, so to speak. The fact it could be twenty-five minutes was because I picture a kind of purgatory scenario happening, and that scenario takes place in a club.” That’s quite beautiful. Those piano sounds are quite shrill and haunting, I totally get that.
How much of a concept is there to the album? Without giving too much away of course. “It was quite conceptual in a way. I mean I’m pretty much going to paste you what I sent the label after I finished it, as I don’t think I could just explain it quick enough.
The first four tracks experiment with multiple assumed personalities, like how the paranoia in “I Felt Like A Fox” conflicts with the unflinching rebellion of “Isolationist Revival S.Q.U.A.D.”, the blind serenity experienced in “Concrete Over Roman Gardens” is in stark contrast to the simultaneous fluxus of the self on “I Will Unite The Hood Through My Vision”. Meteorically you are slowly sealing yourself into the bell jar. The next four mark narrative of assumed control, loss of control, denial and refusal to acknowledge that these ideals have been followed in vain. Finally, through “Brick Through A Church Window”, we experience the ultimate destruction of these past ideals. I see the final track as a post-Room 101 scene, that the forced-conversion has taken place, and so can begin a metamorphosis and transcendence into the unknown, one where your previous values are rendered meaningless and that’s okay. It is submission in a different way to nihilism, less ‘nothing matters‘, more ‘what does it matter?’
“A side note is that the piano sounds on “Nihilism” come from a toy Casio keyboard, I’m really into using plastic-y horrible sounds and making them seem legit.” You used that Casio a lot, is that right? “This was some little one, but the CZ was the main instrument for the whole LP it seems (minus drum sounds and maybe some bass lines).”
“I Will Unite The Hood…” featured on the NPIP Bedroom Club Comp — that was a nice teaser for the album I thought. Was that the plan when the track was picked for that release? “Yeah we did talk about how it would be a great introduction it being part of that comp, and it’s one of my favourite tracks off the LP (my one, not the comp — lol).” Whatever about the attendant baggage of the term, would you consider yourself a bedroom producer? “Yeah totally, I mean my studio IS in my bedroom. I think maybe that tag is fraught with prejudice, or maybe people use it as a sort of apology of sorts — ‘oh I just make tunes in my bedroom’ — I notice that also with things like Fruity Loops. And I think that’s why I like the idea of using ‘toy’ Casios, knowing that these things that kids bash about have produced sounds that are coming out of club PAs is hilarious in a way.” An in-joke with yourself? “Yeah totally.”
Just to go back to the Ecology Tapes for a second, did you have any dealings with Joe Shakespeare, who featured as Klaar with O.D. Davey on the other side of your tape? How did that come about? “I’ve known him for years, we met at a house party. Honoured that his work was on the other side, he’s a super talented producer, just too humble with it.” Has anything happened with that label since? I know you said they put it out with little fanfare.” Yeah there is a second one now, actually really fucking good.” Oh someone’s been slacking, it’s not on Discogs. If it’s not on Discogs it doesn’t exist. [We type simultaneously] “It doesn’t exist then” — “completist. looooool snap basically.” Although the Bedroom Club Vol III isn’t there yet either. “Oh shit really?” Not that I could find, no. “Some nerd’s been slacking.”
Parts of the album (“Concrete…”) felt a bit like a more computer-minded Forest Swords — and then I clocked he had released on NPIP too. Was that coincidence? “I really like and admire his work, and maybe that crept in, but I recently found a tune I made in 2009 that Tom K said sounded like early Forest Swords demos. Naturally I hadn’t heard of him at that point, so maybe we just share a similar taste?” Interesting! I think it was largely this one moment of guitar shred. “Ha! Yessssss I know what you mean! There is literally no guitar on my record, I just faked it with distortion.” Oh even better! Last thing. “Wasp Cell” has this sound of electronic, digital rain, it brought to mind the imagined sharks in The Raw Shark Texts and the weird cyber-dogs in Vurt. I don’t really think this is a question, but I guess it ties in with the broader narrative you mentioned earlier. “Yeah totally. It was definitely imagined first, I wrote it in a half-awake state just after waking up/being half awake. I quite like doing music like that.” Amazing. It’s cool to hear about music being made like that. “I read a great article about it once. I really like that weird hazy feeling after you’ve passed the drastic-need-for-sleep stage. I think that’s a really creative place.”
The artwork is deliciously basic. Is this tying in what you said about the plastic sounds, foregrounding something basic and rendering it legit, as you put it? “Yes totally, I found Simon Stage (the artist behind the cover artwork) on Twitter. I was really into his work as he shares a similar outsider-artist mentality, occupying an obscure corner of twitter and utilising techniques that seem dated as of 2015, all with a sort of retro-futurism feel.”
Sim Hutchins – I Enjoy To Sweep A Room is out now on No Pain In Pop. Buy here.
Words by Aidan Hanratty, 11 November 2015. Leave a comment
Dallas-based artist Cygnus has been producing a steady number of releases on labels such as Recondite, Icasea and his own Biosoft in recent years. He’s also put out several albums for Sheffield-based electro outfit Central Processing Unit, inaugurating the label with his 2012 effort Newmark Phase. Coinciding with a recent lengthy US tour in support of Autechre, Radical User Interfaces sees him return to CPU and consolidate his take on crisp, space-leaning electro.
Across four tracks he ventures deep into extra-terrestrial territory, approaching his given style in a manner that’s at turns dark, sinister and playful, each cut dancing around a singular theme. The title track features a jagged, buzzing synth pattern that plays across a simple four-bar phrase, its unexpected notation giving a malevolent edge that’s only undercut by what sound like floating whistles and an airy set of higher melodies. ‘Nexus Telecoms’ opens with a synth gurgle that stands outside bar lines, a growing development that builds into acidic murmurs for the track’s duration. While ‘Radical User Interfaces’ is snarling and serious, ‘Nexus’ is wide-eyed and interested. ‘Arcade Killers’ uses synth washes that become digital trills as soon as the heavy soak of reverb drips away. Despite its title there’s a knowing glint to it, killing the game rather than the player. The eight-minute ‘Electronic Slave’ seems to close things on a sombre note, pitting downward arpeggiated synth blips against searing buzz before bouncing chords lend expansive gravitas, phrases drawn out artistically rather than used for function alone. Overall, Radical User Interfaces feels like a space opera, the soundtrack to a dramatic video game or tongue-in-cheek B-movie.
Cygnus – Radical User Interfaces is out now on Central Processing Unit
Words by Aidan Hanratty, 10 November 2015. Leave a comment
By now, an artist as celebrated and established in the scene as Dave Huismans needs little to no questioning on why any record he puts out is a straight in the bag purchase. Be it under A Made Up Sound or 2562, the last ten years have seen Huismans deliver some of the most uncompromising and unconventional records to grace clubs and headphones the world over. As A Made Up Sound, his currently most active project, his take on house and techno has seen him filter between labels such as Delsin, The Trilogy Tapes and his own self-titled label.
Tracks like “Take The Plunge (Beat Mix)” and “Endgame” excel way beyond what could ever be considered a ballsy production – rather, they are curveballs in the greatest possible sense. This year Dave’s kept busier than ever – dropping the third instalment in his Archive 12″s for Clone Basement Series, collaborating with Dynamo Dreesen and SVN for the 20th release on Acido Records, and dropping remixes for Koehler & Kuno and Asusu. To top that all off, the new double pack of releases on his own label features one of the stand out tracks of the year for us -“Half Hour Jam On A Borrowed Synth”. Taking A Made Up Sound in exciting new beatless territory, we’ve been told the track got a huge reaction when the Hessle trio dropped this at Free Rotation and it’s been known to start off Dekmantel sets in brilliant fashion too.
As someone we’ve been wanting get to in for a very long time, we’re thrilled to be sharing a new mix from A Made Up Sound for our Truancy Volume series. Featuring a ton of unreleased and forthcoming music from fellow producers such as Minor Science, Peverelist and Anthony Naples, our 130th Truancy Volume clocks in at 25 tracks for an hour an a half session. On the mix, Dave himself says: “It’s a bit of a slow burner. When I record a mix at home or play on radio I enjoy using the opportunity to start at lower tempos and draw for tracks that I don’t usually get around to playing on a club night at peak time, then gradually increase the pace from there. There’s some new and recent things I like, along with quite a few older favorites I rediscovered going through my record shelves with this mix in mind and wanted to show to people who may not have heard them the first time around. I didn’t go for a particular theme or anything, but listening back I noticed the mix keeps going back and forth between dark and light, and between dense and breathing. So I guess contrast is the name of the game.”
A Thunder Orchestra – Shall I Do It? (Bio Rhythm)
Ryota OPP – Zombie Boogie (Meda Fury)
San Proper & Steven De Peven – Pam Pam (Rush Hour)
Randomer – Bell Jam (L.I.E.S)
Pev & Kowton – Junked 2 (Unreleased)
Terre’s Neu Wuss Fusion – A Crippled Left Wing Soars With The Right
(DJ Sprinkles Steal This Record Club Mix) (Skylax)
Sala – Mythos Tales (Unreleased)
Drvg Cvltvre – Where Embers Die (Forthcoming Pinkman)
Gez Varley – Violator (TP Heckmann remix) (edit) (Force Inc)
Insync & If – MASP (Mark Broom remix) (Plink Plonk)
Mio Mio – B (Proibito)
The Maghreban – Wonder Woman (Versatile)
Titonton Duvante – The Pleasure (Residual)
MM/KM – B1 (Forthcoming TTTPalace)
Anthony Naples – Smacks (Forthcoming Proibito)
Visit Venus – Planet Of The Breaks (Herbert remix) (Yo Mama’s)
Nick Holder Presents Fruit Loops – The Message Is Love (edit) (Definitive)
? – ? (Whitelabel)
Nubian Mindz – Montage (Archive)
Neuropolitique – Wide (New Electronica)
Tessela – Swimming (Unreleased)
Batu – Void (Unreleased)
Pev – Grit (Forthcoming Livity Sound)
Chevel – Loop #42 (Minor Science Remix) (Forthcoming Stroboscopic Artefacts)
Words by Riccardo Villella, 09 November 2015. 2 comments
Malory has been doing the live hardware rounds in New York’s thriving mechanical scene for a minute now. Her first official release comes from GOD MODE, a label that’s growing more captivating with each album they put out. There is something that just clicks with this release, it feels so natural. The track names are the first signifier, with amazing titles like “Boohbah” and “Swarf” setting the tone for the whole EP. Each tune fits so perfectly in a well-defined sound palette that never shows wear throughout. Drums are all punchy and bright, but it’s the simple chord arrangements like the ones found on “Oomph, pt 3” that really get you zoning. This would fit seamlessly in any set in a dark hazy space, you can almost picture the shadows bouncing around the smoke, flashes and lasers piercing every which way. A classically trained dancer at heart, Malory strings together five fun and bouncy tunes – “cathartic booty jams” as she’s defined them, with her signature crusher box driving her simple live set up. The release is strong and focused and doesn’t suffer from all-too-familiar hazy hardware lo-fi noodling. Everything is perfectly arranged, hits hard, and is ready to be thrown in the mix.
“What the fuck was I put here for? What the fuck is my purpose? Brain is lurkin’ / My momma mad I ain’t workin’, I feel worthless, but when I’m on stage and workin’ I am perfect / I mess up in perfect stride, it’s alright, just as long as you feel the vibe, feel the vibe.” Of all the calls to arms in D.R.A.M.’s “$”, these are the words that resonate most with me personally. The 21st century grind often comes hand-in-hand with existential doubts about modern living, even if deep down we know we’re asking ourselves the wrong questions. Longing to be able to really give back to generations that sacrificed so much to raise us, there can be apprehensions towards spending time doing things like writing about music. D.R.A.M. says that when we’re in the zone, acting out what we feel our calling is, we’ll be fine. Come what may, just roll with the punches. Hailing from Virginia, D.R.A.M. is most known for his Super Mario-inspired, “Hotline Bling”-inspiring “Cha Cha”. On “$”, his flow bounces between the punchy mantra of the hook to irresistible crooning verses, indelible and weightless. So much so that it can become freeing to listen to over its dramatic, thematic instrumental, now with added Donnie Trumpet fanfare. Focused around the struggle to thrive as an artist, D.R.A.M.’s self-inspiration instils valor in others by sheer proximity too. The softest yet most potent espresso shot, best served in the morning.
A recent signing to Slime Recordings, A.Fruit is building hype in the same way her tracks build atmosphere. Straight out of Russia, A.Fruit’s latest release Expectations is proof that juke and footwork resonates worldwide, and her complex compositions are definitely something to watch out for. The EP itself (found through the female-only Facebook group Sister – shout out Sister) starts with “Keep & Go”, which is possibly the stand out track; the staccato juke percussion dropped halfway through the track over a half-time rhythm is illuminating – a perfect example of beautiful sampling. Second track “Distancia” sees A.Fruit flex her beat production while “The Drummer” hits home with a tough juke workout. Phones up and A+++ out for this one.
The artwork for Лапти‘s В Тираж (Lapti‘s V Tiraj) is amusingly unassuming. Just a guy on a motorcycle, calling his mum (I’m guessing – it could just as easily be his partner/boss/dealer). The music, however, really gets under your skin. Opening with the 1980s documentary synth opus “Права Гуманоида” (“Humanoid Rights”), the tone is one of corroded glamour. The next track, “Ушу” (“Wushu”), pulls that rug away, more LA beat music than retro pastiche (appropriately, it previously appeared on Matthewdavid’s Leaving). The glistening “Металлопена” (“Metalfoam”) continues in this vein, while “Сирены” (“Sirenas”), with Иосош (Nocow), feels like gauzy balearic ambience, all soaring vocals and whistling theremin. “Вход” (“Enter”) returns to that Boards of Canada mood, and after another few beat segues, closer “Первое Свидание” (“First Date”) rounds things out in jovial fashion, its playful bleeps dancing handsomely around more wordless arias. The dusty, crackling feel throughout is as warming as a Lemsip and a new scarf, the perfect accompaniment for dark, winter evenings.
BNJMN has maintained his hectic release schedule throughout 2015. The Bournermouth-born, Berlin-based producer paired up with Best Available Technology to deliver a well-realised album of ethereal ambient techno earlier this year, also putting out a super limited cassette to inaugurate his own Brack imprint. All this has come alongside three EPs, the latest of which finds itself on Crème Organization’s new sub-label Jericho One. Stylistically, it’s a far cry from the some of the dreamier soundscapes that BNJMN first shot to prominence with, but as a producer, versatility has always been one of his strong suits. The four-track Skur EP sees BNJMN’s experimentations with murkier techno sounds continue. Opener and titular track “Skur” is a gritty pared back number and perhaps the most floor-focused of the EP’s cuts. While not quite packing the same dancefloor heft, “Herz” retains the preceding track’s unnerving feel, building gradually through eerie synths that slowly creep into prominence over chugging mechanical percussion. “Herz” comes closest to convention. Built around a 4/4 rhythm, its whirring vocal sample soon casts you under its spell before the twisted bleeps of “Hydrofoil” round off the EP. All in all it’s a release that’s certainly worth seeking out and, with a return to Delsin scheduled before the end of the year, BNJMN’s trajectory is definitely going to be interesting to follow.
Words by Joe Linden, Tayyab Amin, Jess Melia, Aidan Hanratty and Matt Gibney.
Photo: Malory by Cole Giordana for Brooklyn Magazine
Danish producer Henrik Koefod (aka Erosion Flow) returns with the Spectrums Vol. 1 EP, the first of a two-part release forthcoming on Martyn’s label 3024. Following his excellent self-titled debut on George Fitzgerald’s ManMakeMusic label last year, Koefod’s new release has him exploring the percussive side of things. Still present are the cooing samples and wriggling synths from his last release, but here they are used with more subtlety; softer moments amidst rolling rhythms and deep lows. Each track represents a noticeable increase in energy from the ManMakeMusic EP, perhaps influenced by his own Copenhagen club night, Rare Nights.
Opening track “Da Heckler” features a playful and broken drum pattern, interspersed with obtuse murmurings and shifting melodies. The fluttering “Gamma” sweeps the listener up in its feverish beat whilst metallic arpeggios flap overhead. “Emeralds” is a spectral procession, lead by haunting brass and powered by the pumping of distant machinery. Throughout the EP, pinpoint percussion serves as the underlying structure for more surreal, dreamlike overtones which give emotive context to the rhythmic barrage. Inspired by the “sound of color,” these tracks are as vibrant as they are propulsive, blurring the lines between techno, house, and UK garage into something unique and unheard.
Spectrums Vol. 1 will be released November 9th on 3024
Words by Taylor Trostle
Words by Truants, 04 November 2015. Leave a comment