Our latest Truancy Volume comes from producer and DJ, Henrik Koefod (aka Erosion Flow), an emerging talent out of Copenhagen. Erosion Flow first grabbed our attention in 2014 with his electric debut EP on George Fitzgerald’s ManMakeMusic label. Garnering quick support, tracks like ‘Bedroom Jam’ saw airtime on Ben UFO’s Rinse FM show and George Fitzgerald’s BBC Radio 1 Residency. This month, Erosion Flow released the energetic and percussion laden Spectrums Vol. 1, first of a two part EP on Martyn’s 3024 label. Inspired by the ‘sound of colour’, each track ‘represents specific sonic and colourful spectrums.’ Featuring slithering synths and murmuring samples, the EP subtly blend elements of house and techno, shaping them into something unfamiliar. Close listeners may have heard the B side ‘Emeralds’ in Amy Becker’s recent FACT Mix, where its inclusion highlights his productions’ range as well as applicability to the dance floor. The tracks are no doubt influenced by his diverse Copenhagen club night, Rare Nights, which books artists from various ends of the spectrum. It should then come as no surprise that his Truancy Volume is a high energy affair that incorporates a multitude of genres. Featuring remixes from DJ Fett Burger, Blondes and Kowton, and unreleased material from Central and Jeppe Willumsen, the mix shows Erosion Flow’s breadth of influence and strength as a young selector. We asked Koefod a few questions about his musical influences, production process and the status of the Copenhagen club scene, and are excited to share his thoughts along with this mix.
Your latest EP, Spectrums Vol. 1, is a bit of a stylistic departure from your first EP on ManMakeMusic. Would you say this was a conscious decision or simply a reflection of your interests and growth as a producer? “I think it’s been an unconscious decision, just getting new inspiration from doing club nights and from staying open to different music. I also feel that I’ve become better at turning my ideas into more concrete tracks since my first record. With Spectrums I believe I’ve come a step closer to a more full-fledged expression as an artist, which I hope people can hear.” Have you made any changes to your studio or process since the creation of your first EP? “I’ve been bringing in a bit more hardware to the process, but I still pretty much work the same way as I’ve always done – based around finding sounds to begin with by sampling records, synths or whatever I can get my hands on.”
You seem to pull elements from many different genres for your own productions. What music did you grow up listening to and how have your interests changed over the years? “I grew up listening to a lot of different music, my older brothers would play me everything from The Roots to Jamiroquai and Fugees. As far as I can remember, I’ve always had an interest in discovering new music, whether it was through video games, at the public library or on the internet. I started getting into electronic music when I was around 13-14 years old. When I make music, I think I unconsciously mix elements from all the different genres I’ve been into, but like, it’s not something I’ve ever been planning to do.”
You seem to enjoy using vocal samples in your work, at varying quantities and for different effect. How do you go about choosing samples and at what point in your production process do you work them in? “The last few years I’ve been finding it harder to sample vocals off of random records. I think it makes it harder for me to feel the music I make, if there’s no relation to the sounds I use. It’s quite intuitive with vocals and it’s often either mistakes where I flip the vocal in some weird way and it suddenly works, or if I just come across something I think would fit into the track and add something to it.”
Rare Nights is a club night you co-run in Copenhagen. How did that get started and what is your level of involvement? “Rare Nights is a club night I’ve been running together with five of my good friends for nearly five years now. We started doing parties after we met in high school, because we all were into either DJing or producing. There weren’t any clubs or places that would play the music we were into, in the city we grew up, so we just did our own thing. We’ve been doing parties in Copenhagen since we’ve moved here and it’s still a collaborative effort between all of us to make the nights happen.” How has the music scene in Copenhagen changed since opening Rare Nights? How would you like to see it change in the future? “I feel that we’ve really established ourselves over the course of this year by consistently doing solid bookings. The club scene in Copenhagen is really healthy at the moment and I would like to think we’ve helped contribute to that. This year we’ve brought over a quite diverse list of artists such as Mumdance, Hodge, Koehler and Florian Kupfer. We just want to book the artists that we are into, and we’ve never really been to keen on sticking to any specific genre of music.”
Did you start as a DJ before producing your own tracks? Has DJing affected your outlook or production methods? “I started DJing around the same time as I started producing, around six to seven years ago, but it wasn’t until some years later I started to invest as much time in it as the production side of things. When I’m making the tracks, I never really think about how they would play out, so I wouldn’t say I’ve let DJing affect my production methods. But I definitely think DJing has helped me a lot in finding which direction I wanted to go with my own music, just by becoming familiar with and playing a lot of different genres of club music.“
How did you go about selecting the tracks for the mix? How does it differ from preparing for a DJ set? “I started out with picking some of the records I’ve been playing out recently, whereafter I started puzzling everything together. I wanted the mix to have a natural increase of intensity, while still making sense and fitting together from start to finish. I would definitely be aware of not fucking up the vibe if I was playing at a club, so that’s probably where this mix is a bit different from a club set. I guess the beginning of the mix shows that with some more like eclectic and I guess weirder house tracks, before it slowly dives into more atmospheric techno and drum machine workouts, which would give a more straight up idea about what I would play in a club.”
Pelifics – Capitello (DJ Fett Birgers Mosseporten Ghetto Mix) [Full Pupp]
Central – Mercy [Unreleased]
Scott Grooves – Nitty Gritty [Natural Midi US]
Henning Baer – 14VAC [K209]
Steve Simpson – Chicagocid [1ØPILLSMATE]
DJ Assassin – Beats For Ya Feat [Cross Section Records]
Jeppe W. – Untitled01 [Unreleased]
Max McFerren – Hunting (Blondes Remix) [Allergy Season]
Roberto – Tiziani [Fossil Archive]
Erosion Flow – Emeralds 
J. Tijn – HEHF [WNCL]
Lo Shea – Root Causes (Kowton Remix) [Transit]
Answer code request – Calm Down [MDR]
Lee Gamble – Steelhouse [PAN]
Jackmaster Hater – Drum Track [Warehouse Box Tracks Records]
Fear Tha World – Houz Mon [Anotherday Records]
Basic Channel – Radiance II [Basic Channel]
Tim Hecker – Rainbow Blood [Kranky]
Words by Taylor Trostle
Words by Truants, 24 November 2015. Leave a comment
Before gaining broader attention for the Raw Energy EP on Lobster Theremin last year, Slovakian-born Hungarian producer and designer Imre Kiss released his debt Midnight Wave on Budapest’s Farbwechsel in 2013. A limited cassette release (we’re talking 50 copies), it was a mournful, shadowy work and it didn’t stick around for long. One owner, however, was LT boss Jimmy Asquith, who felt that limited release wasn’t enough. Last month his label reissued the album on vinyl, describing it beautifully as the vision of a “lonely individual boarding the 5am night bus home”. We spoke to Imre Kiss about the reissue, night-time colours and the scene in Budapest.
You’ve spoken before about how you got to know the guys at Farbwechsel and Lobster Theremin, so I’ll start by asking: Why now? Why reissue Midnight Wave? “Jimmy [Asquith] was planning to re-release it since we did Raw Energy more than a year ago. He felt like the record deserved bigger exposure as it was originally released on tape limited to 50 copies only. It was re-mastered for the vinyl and we got an amazing artwork by Mikey Joyce so it was treated as a new material. We had some delays in the production but now it came out exactly two years after the original tape.”
Not to say your other releases aren’t, but Midnight Wave is super emotional. Was it tough to record that feeling and keep it so coherent? “It felt natural at the time I was making it. It wasn’t really planned. I was listening to a lot of music that had these simple chord changes and I thought it’s cool how instantly they can affect your mood. I was trying to achieve something similar on the album.”
It really treads a fine line between murky haze and your more beats-heavy stuff, but stays outside the club for the most part. Have you plans to work more in that mode in future? “I always liked that duality in music. I know promoters were a bit confused in the beginning if they should book me to play in an art gallery or a club. Even I was confused so I always prepared my set so that it could work both ways. After releasing Raw Energy I got to play more clubs which had an effect on my music, so my next release will lean more towards that. But to answer the question: Yes, I’d like to work more on a similar mode.”
You mentioned the orange tinge of night-time street lights, which really affect the colour of everything around you. Were any other colours important to the making of this release? “Interesting question! Not a particular colour but I used to watch tons of YouTube clips of old VHS tapes. Sometimes ripping them and adding my own music to it. I love the faded colours and the distortion is something that I tried to bring to the album too, hence the smudgy sound.”
There seems to be a nice collective working across labels like Lobster Theremin, Farbwechsel and Crisis Urbana — what is it about this bunch that seems to stand out do you think? “They’re very open in terms of releases and discovering new talents and also put great effort in the artwork without being over the top. They’re definitely more approachable unlike some bigger labels. There’s a lot of respect between artists and I’m friends with many of them so we help each other and hang out when we can.”
What’s the scene like in Budapest, can I ask? “It feels like there’s a lot happening in Budapest at the moment. Promoters from like Nightdrive and Bounce always have great acts. There’s also a new generation of producers who are finally getting the attention they deserve. We’re still not the new Berlin or whatever but it’s an exciting time to be here right now. I hope we can add something positive of how people think of Hungary despite the dreadful governments we have/had.”
What music are you listening to late at night at the moment? “Jonnine from HTRK did a four-hour mixtape for a winter road trip. It’s full of amazing music and is perfect soundtrack for late nights. I also picked up a fantastic 7” while I was playing in Copenhagen. It’s called New Gothic by Generic Face. Shout out to Apeiron Crew for the recommendation!”
How do you balance working on music with your design work? “It’s hard sometimes. I work from Monday til’ Friday as a designer and it’s difficult to find time to work on music. I need some days off work so I can fully concentrate on writing new stuff. I also often play abroad on the weekends and I’m completely knackered on Mondays but I wouldn’t want to do anything else!”
Imre Kiss – Midnight Wave is out now on Lobster Theremin. Buy here.
Words by Aidan Hanratty, 17 November 2015. Leave a comment
Functions Of The Now is a mix series charting modern developments at the innovative edges of dance music. Originally conceived in 2013 to shine a light on the once-again fertile grime production scene and its influence, the remit of the series quickly widened to incorporate all manner of interesting manipulations of existing club modes. Whether it’s Air Max 97’s “oblique club trax”, M.E.S.H.’s gaseous abstractions or DJ NJ Drone’s hyperkinetic take on Jersey club it all has a home in Functions Of The Now. We hope to draw connections between these often disparate forms.
On the last edition of Functions Of The Now we met Rushmore from the essential London club night House Of Trax. Continuing that theme, this month we travel to Sweden to meet Malin (FKA M. Wrecker), who runs the excellent Stockholm party Evolver alongside Al Tariq and IINATTI. In just one year the club night has hosted a swathe of Functions Of The Now favourites: Janus members Lotic and Kablam, Endless/Bala Club affiliates Endgame and Kamixlo, Oxford noisenik Grovestreet, recent Halycon Veil signing Why Be, standout kuduro producer Nidia Minaj and Staycore’s new shining star Toxe. It goes without saying that it’s our kind of party.
It’s through the last of those names that we discovered Malin. Earlier this year we came across the essential collective/mix series Sister: “a platform created with the aim of solidifying a network of women within underground club music. Every instalment is mixed by a woman and every track in every mix involves a woman in its creation.” Seeking more music from group co-creator Toxe, we came across her set for Don’t Watch That. In the accompanying interview Toxe was matter-of-fact in her response to the question of who her favourite DJ was: “I would say [Malin], she’s based in Stockholm and makes amazing mixes.” A cursory investigation revealed this to be an understatement if anything: Malin makes incredible mixes.
Across sets for Rodeo, Sister and Tobago Tracks, Malin has refined a unique and abrasive DJing style, joining the dots between Quantum Natives’ noisy abstractions, the more deconstructed end of NON Records and the sound art of E. Jane and plus_c’s SCRAAATCH project – with a hefty helping of dark ‘n’ doomy club tracks for good measure. Mixing the sweet with the sour, beautiful acapellas peek out of the static, offering a brief respite before they’re submerged again. Malin is one of our favourite discoveries this year and we’re thrilled to have a mix from her in the series. We may be biased but we think this is her best yet. Warning: it starts LOUD.
Soundfile Round Up
Toxe Muscle Memory EP
Fawkes Dusk Dawnflower
First up is the debut EP from Toxe, out on the ever-reliable Staycore. Across five tracks, Toxe finds the sweet spot between propulsion and weightlessness, with playful, reverb-soaked melodies (and the occasional T-Pain sample) floating stationary above piston-powered kicks and snares. The closest comparison is the infernal machinery of Rabit’s spectacular debut album Communion – albeit with the anxiety substituted for wide-eyed optimism – but it’s a remarkably singular sound. Everything from the drum patterns to the track structures follows Toxe’s own idiosyncratic logic and it’s no surprise that RBMA tapped her up to join them for their 2015 class.
Taking some similar tropes in a completely different direction is newcomer Fawkes on her pay-what-you-want Bandcamp drop Dusk Dawnflower. We first became aware of Fawkes through her excellent footwork collaboration with Jlin on Planet Mu’s gargantuan 20th anniversary compilation µ20, but her solo work is perhaps more impressive. Stand out track “Invocatio” pulls the hydraulic drum work of Toxe’s EP outside of a club context, marrying it instead to disembodied, Holly Herndon-style vocal processing. Both tracks are as texturally rich as they are beautiful, with a depth in sound design that rewards repeat listens. We’re really excited for where both these producers will go considering how fully-formed their respective aesthetics already are.
Dread D Siege EP
Iron Soul Iron Soul EP
Elsewhere, our pals at Local Action top off an incredible year (well, we say top off – apparently they’ve still got an album to release before 2015’s over,) with an EP from T. Williams under his old grime alias Dread D. At this stage Williams is most well known for his crossover house anthems but back in the early 00s he was part of Jon E Cash’s legendary Black Ops, representing an early grime sound they called sublow. It’s a real shame that Black Ops’ presence in 2015 conversations on grime productions is generally absent as they were a key component of that mythical era. Hopefully that’s about to change though; The new EP goes straight for the jugular, revisiting the sound palette of those essential early releases and sounding no less explosive for it. Just try and listen to “Siege 1” without getting that earworm synth line stuck in your head. Last week Jon E Cash and Dread D came through on Rinse with an unbelievable set digging deep through the Black Ops dubplate archives and a mysterious EP of lost Jon E Cash productions has turned up in a few shops for preorder, so perhaps we’re finally about to see a Black Ops revival.
On a similar resurrection tip, Kromestar brushes off his old Iron Soul alias to show the new wave how it’s done on a new EP for his Soul Music label; The samples have been around for the best part of 2015 at this stage but this week the 12″ finally surfaces. It’s really no coincidence that the lead track is called “E-Motion”, with all three tracks tugging at the heartstrings in his inimitable, chipmunked-vocal way. If you’ve enjoyed the cut-up-RnB instrumentals of Finn, DJ Milktray and Gundam then this is utterly essential. There’s been some complaints about the ubiquity of square wave-wielding eski copyists, but if this recent surge of interest means we get guys like Black Ops and Iron Soul back we’ll happily put up with them all.
DJ Haram Sustained Crisis
DJ Haram & Moor Mother Goddess “Basic Bitch”
Earlier this year Philadelphia’s DJ Haram dropped her first Identity Crisis mix for Browntourage, a flawless blend of Jersey club and Middle Eastern instrumentals that reflects aspects of the multitudinous self that arises when you’re a member of a diaspora. After a busy year setting up the “club-not-club night” ATM with SCRAAATCH and Lil Island, as well as releasing a superb mix for Mask Mag (our introduction to her work), the sequel Sustained Crisis arrives. It bangs both conceptually and in the club sense and we highly recommend it. If you’d like some reading material to go alongside it, check out her truth-filled interview with Spark Mag – you can also buy her great new collab with Moor Mother Goddess while you’re there. Stay tuned to Truants for much, much more from DJ Haram next month.
Malin Mix And Interview
Let’s talk a little about Evolver – what’s the story behind the night’s creation? Does your creative history with IINATTI and Al Tariq extend past the night? “We were in a pretty similar situation: either we moved here for the first time or as me and Daniel [IINATTI] had grown up in Stockholm, left it and now returned. I especially remember the first time I met Tariq. He was wearing a Syg Nok shirt so that immediately led to music conversation.”
You’re now almost a year into running the party, how do you feel it has gone so far? Any highlights? The night with Nidia Minaj, Kablam and Toxe looked particularly incredible. “That line up was amazing. We were so grateful to have them play. I have never seen so many people coming up after the club and desperately wanting someone to stay or come back as they did for Nidia. All of our nights have had huge atmospheric variety, and we hope for something we can’t predict in advance. We put together acts that we hope can connect socially and feel comfortable, as much as we wish them to put on a great set.”
Nowadays a lot of this kind of music is perceived to live on the internet, is it important to you to represent these sounds in a physical space? Does the global dispersion of DJs associated with these sounds present any challenges to you, especially considering you’ve booked internationally from the beginning? “I feel a great conflict in representing anyone else’s music: the responsibility to do it respectfully as well as aiming for my personal outcome. The people we book, we usually have some kind of relation to. So that they will know what we are on about, as well as we know they have some similar ideas of what a club night can be.”
I notice you’ve also used the night to showcase visual art – do you see a relationship between the music you promote and the art you’ve showcased? “For us to put forward an image to present the acts is essential, as many people may not know the acts before turning up to our parties. We like to get the acts involved. Like on our first night we booked the art collective Gallery Fist to make a performance, but they also helped create another dimension to the space picking and forming with objects and lights. Or when ECCO2K played, he had also been involved making projections.”
From the outside it looks like some exciting things are happening in Stockholm – between you guys, Toxe, Kablam and Staycore it seems like a really interesting scene is developing. Could you tell us a little bit about the club music landscape there? “I’ve changed location almost every other year and don’t really see myself as a part of the Stockholm club scene. Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve needed to create a safe space for myself and other people enjoying whatever we do. Even though Stockholm is working hard on its image putting out ads in trendy papers selling a lifestyle, it’s a heavily segregated city. Making it difficult for people to move in and get established, unless you have been on the association list for a long time. All cities (and especially Stockholm) have a non-correlating perception from the outside to living inside. It’s well different. It might have to do with too much media interference: as soon as anyone put on anything new, media will pick up on that and format it so it will become easily understandable to a wider public.”
What I love most about your DJing is how idiosyncratic and well realised your style is, especially since you don’t produce (unless those ‘unknown’ tracks belong to you). Is there a particular aesthetic you’re looking to tap into? “Nah those unknown are just unknown, not my own, hehe. For the moment I don’t have any certain aim for the music, other than to keep it as a personal thing. Cos I need it to get by but I have no interest right now in putting it out and have other people comment, analyse or review it. Hopefully I will want to share it one day.”
We absolutely adore the mix you’ve made for us: can you tell us a little bit about it? “I always do my mixes in Ableton, and edit and modulate to make it work. They all border an unpleasant/pleasurable mood and I like when it goes slightly off tune.”
What’ve you got lined up for the future; both personally and with Evolver? “I think I will just continue move around and do stuff that will make me keep progressing. I hope I will eventually find a space or community where I feel comfortable releasing my music and mixes under a banner. Obviously Evolver is a platform for me but we try to make that less about ourselves and more about the guests we invite. I’m waiting for this weird phase of ultra competitiveness in club music to pass, one of the reasons why I haven’t showed a lot of people my music is because a lot of people like to categorise and compare different artists usually because of where they’re from. I want to be my own thing, not clumped with everyone else purely because of where I reside. I’ll continue to grow my work, probably try a few other cities out and keep on putting on parties. As for Evolver, we’ll still be here :)”
N-prolenta – plastr’d, projected, purpled
Ziúr – Deeform
Darkmatter – Mu-Nma
Brood Ma – ESTEEM
Unknown – Wounded
GROVESTREET – Hazardous Child
Sasha Manik – Adar Conwydd
N-prolenta – Scream Pa Mi (for @deezius and Kola)
ANGEL-HO – REMOVALS
Brood Ma – RUBBEL BODY
Rihanna – BBHMM (E_SCRAAATCH EDIT 3)/4Serena
GROVESTREET – Metallen Soundtrack
Bladee – Reborn (prod. WhiteArmor)
Artwork: Joe Jackson
Lechuga Zafiro is a wildly exciting producer from Montevideo, Uruguay. His name will certainly be familiar to you if you’ve spent any time indulging yourself in the NAAFI collective’s music, or spent any significant time tuned in to the likes of Rinse FM or NTS. It’s no surprise that his music is crossing these geographical boundaries and is now being played by the likes of the Her Records crew, Nguzunguzu and Air Max ’97. His music is at home in the club but not exclusively so, rhythmically complex and full of instrumentation that’s immediately intriguing. Up next for Lechuga Zafiro is Aequs Nyama, an EP that he’s putting out on Salviatek (a label he runs with Pobvio) and we’re delighted to be premiering a cut from it. The whole EP is scintillating listening but it also features a culturally important backstory that’s a vital part in getting a full comprehension of the record. With that in mind we got in touch to talk candombe drumming, Uruguay and everything else that plays a part in Aequs Nyama.
Lechuga Zafiro! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. How are you today? “Good, thank you guys. I’m getting some label things done and searching for some music. It’s a pleasure to have this space to tell my story regarding Aequs Nyama.”
Sometimes I feel like we generalise when talking about South America and do a poor job of recognising that each country has its own culture, ways of thinking etc. So to start off with I wanted to ask what it means to you to be from Uruguay and how much it informs the music that you make. “Well, I have ambiguous feelings about my Uruguayan identity. It’s still a confusing concept to me. Uruguay isn’t the definition of “Latin America” that many people have. It’s not a super diverse society and it can feel claustrophobic here if you are not in contact with what’s happening in the rest of the world. There is a strong music identity here though, and candombe might be the rhythm that has influenced almost every genre: from tropical groups to intellectual music. The clave is in everyone’s DNA. It’s the simplest and most recognisable rhythm pattern that every Uruguayan knows. It’s proven to be fundamental in the way I produce music. I catch myself unconsciously replicating or deconstructing it in many of my productions.”
You mentioned candombe drums, and they feature heavily in Aequs Nyama. Would you tell us more about them, in both a historical and musical context? “Like the majority of the American nations, African descendants (first brought as slaves) have shaped Uruguay’s culture since its beginning, especially with music. Candombe is the result of various African groups expressing themselves through music, dance and religion, and coming up with something new. It’s essentially an Afro-Uruguayan expression. This rhythm is played by drummers on the streets of every neighbourhood today, and it’s present on many Uruguayan records. Drums in general have always fascinated me, a science of sequenced sounds and silences with its own intricate logic that gets inside people in a very subtle yet aggressive way. Candombe was the drumming culture I had most contact with, naturally, so it was easy for me to approach it and try to understand it. Many of my productions have some candombe influence, either adding its rhythm or its sounds. But I really don’t want to be tagged as a candombe artist, because I’m not. It’s not the only thing that influences me in the music I make, it’s just one of the many things I try to incorporate into my sound world.”
You feature candombe from three different candombe groups on the record, including one on the track we’re premiering. Triangulación Kultural, C 1080 and Ansina. Were these recordings made specifically for the record or were you working with existing ones? “It was mixed really. At the time that this project began, the C 1080 drummers and I were already doing some music experiments: improvising, recording and playing live shows. In August 2013, they were hired by a famous vocalist called Elli Medeiros to record drumming for her record. It was at Montevideo’s best music studio (Sondor) so C 1080 asked her if we could borrow one hour of her studio time to record our thing, and she said yes! Regarding Triangulación Kultural and Ansina, I was working as a sound man for a documentary in process called “Negro” (A Bandido production), which is about candombe culture. So we arranged another session in Sondor with Triangulación Kutlural. We set up a mobile studio in the streets of Palermo, Montevideo to record the Ansina guys.”
Did you talk to the artists at all about how they felt appearing in this more modern club context? “Of course. Part of this project also wants to give visibility to the founders and people who continue to express themselves through candombe. I talked to every representative of each group, sending them the music and telling them about the Aequs Nyama EP. No secrets here, they’ll receive 40% of each track sold in which they have participated. We thought it was a fair share regarding how much drumming there is on the record, and how it meshes with the other elements. Salviatek is still a super small label, so it won’t be significant money. It’s more to establish a true dialogue and show that we care.”
There’s such a vast assortment of sounds on the EP. We’ve got candombe, sci-fi effects, things from nature. Was this juxtaposition between old and new intentional? “I feel like the idea is nothing new. This approach of mixing the old with the new is kind of outdated to be honest. Aequs Nyama wasn’t about making a trendy, connected-to-the-club scene record. The process of finding the right sound foundations of the project took way too much time to try and make a record like that. It was more about focusing on finding my own voice through these elements I chose: candombe drumming, processed acoustic sounds, animal samples and sci-fi effects. It was really about making a sound statement. The project has now proven to be the base of how I express myself when producing music. I think it’s from now on that things will get interesting.”
There’s also a whole host of instrumentation on the record that I and I think a lot of people will be unfamiliar with. What sort of things did you use on Aequs Nyama? You’ve also mentioned previously that the EP features an instrument that you designed yourself? “Each track of the EP has its own specifically recorded leads: “C vs S” features a ceramic jar I stole, quickly recorded and secretly returned to a movie set while working at a film production. It’s also got a detuned and chopped Colombian gaita. “Tambor Espada” has got two Peruvian sikus. “Ayida Weddo” features a kind of primitive instrument I designed for a group called Camposanto: it’s basically a metal and wood structure that holds various wires and iron pipes, amplified with contact mics (à la Neubauten, but more amateur). All these instruments were recorded at my house and then heavily processed on my DAW.”
You created a website featuring a biotech device to go along with the EP’s release. What led you to doing this and could you explain the theory behind it for those of us who don’t speak Spanish? “Aequs Nyama is just a crazy idea that represents the human synthesis-meets-nature obsession we have over at Salviatek. Aequs Nyama would be a “biobot” device designed by Saviatek Corp, that helps your body to stay balanced. Through its tentacles, it’d understand what your body is lacking in terms of essential nutrients and chemicals. Based on that analysis, it would then print specially prepared food with e.g.: 50% lipids, 25% adrenaline, 25% minerals- through it’s farmbags®. This visual project is a small representation of what I see as the inevitable union between CPU’s and biological organisms. I also take it as a parody of the tech-companies from our era that have built an indisputable, almost religious reputation. The device was designed by Art Belikov. The website was done by Bao-Tran Tran. The final stage of the album cover was done by Pichón Ameba. You can find full info (in Spanish) and images here: http://aequsnyama.com/“
You’re putting this record out on Salviatek, which is your own label right? How and why did you start Salviatek? “Salviatek started last year as a party. Together with Pobvio, we felt we needed a space in Montevideo to show the music we produce and love. It felt natural to amplify this idea and start a label, that quickly wants to extend its arms to Brazil and Argentina where we have friends who are now working on future releases. A particular vision of club music unites us, free from structures, speed and genre rules as to what you should in a club.”
I noticed that you and Pobvio are going b2b with live drums from C 1080 for Salviatek 9! You must be excited about that? “Yes! We are working hard on a DJ set made of 90% new productions for this one, just rehearsing with the drummers and finding an interesting, danceable dialogue. The record’s release party is held in one of the most respected clubs in Montevideo called Phonotheque, so we’re excited about this one.”
Who are some of the artists you’re working with that we should be on the lookout for? “Pininga is an upcoming producer/writer from São Paulo we really dig. Superficie has also been doing stuff that we feel is in line with the label. Joao Pavigo has really crazy ideas, he’s from Rio, and there’s Tayhana who’s a great DJ from the Hiedrah crew (Buenos Aires).”
As well as the four originals, you’ve got two amazing remixes on the EP. Would you tell us about them and why you asked these producers in particular? “Remixes are from mobilegirl (Staycore) and Blacksea Não Maya (Principe). Mobilegirl is a cool gyal I met in Munich, we connected through Dinamarca. She’s super talented, and she’s also helped us a LOT in our Salviatek adventure. The Blacksea Não Maya guys were recommended by the Principe crew, who we love and respect. Look out for the Aequs Nyama remixes EP coming out soon too!”
You had a remix on the new MM EP, a track on the latest Track Meet compilation and of course you’re doing stuff with NAAFI. Would you tell us a little about these relationships? “NAAFI is crucial and a part of my music identity. We all share music within the crew and send feedback to each other. I definitely feel we have many philosophical and aesthetic ideas in common. The MM remix was crazy, as I was already a fan of Her Records and playing “9th Ritual” when they asked me to do the remix. The OG is still way better though hehe! Ynfinyt Scroll wrote me at the beginning of the year to contribute to their Track Meet comp, and the idea sounded cool.”
OK, last question! We’ve got this EP and your Salviatek shows. What else is coming up for you? “Still working on my NAAFI EP and the Aequs Nyama remixes EP. That means loads of studio and office work, which is great!”
Aequs Nyama will be released on Monday and you’ll be able to buy it here.
Words by Matt Coombs, 12 November 2015. Leave a comment
There are a number of oxymoronic ironies about this release. Firstly, that a label set up with the intention of releasing singles should give an album unto the world. Second, that a label called Technicolor should release as said first album a record so imbued with a sense of greys and crisp monochrome vistas. Indeed, the album is inspired by “Nigredo and possession of the shadow”, Nigredo being the first stage of the alchemical process, meaning blackness, a state of putrefaction or decomposition. Romantic Psychology 1 is the “debut” full-length by the Levantis persona (an identity easily discovered, a mask not worth exploring for the purposes of this review), following a release for The Trilogy Tapes, and it sees the artist dig deep into a world of murk and sludge, stumbling awkwardly across a forbidding landscape. “Red Blocks”. “Colour”. “Slow Electronic Beat with Colour”. These track titles contradict the bleak darkness that underpins the album, only at times poking fun at the overall mood.
This album is short, it’s one that you can get through in a lunch-time wander around town, but it’s worthy of more than a scant listen. It comes to life with the mournful whirring of “Exploding Boxes”, which in essence is a chopped and screwed version of another track from the album. Dolorous bass, gurgling noises and recognisable melodies introduce a juddering, uncertain feel, which lasts throughout. It’s not an easy record; there’s no comfort to be found here. “Red Blocks” is utterly dank, a (relatively) lengthy trip into some shadowy fog. The distant piano tones of “Colour” are offset by throbbing, tuneless bass, while the listless stomp of “Whispering Sky” belies what may or may not be corroded samples underneath. “Undr”, which seems louder, harsher than the tracks around it, sticks out with its snarling, mechanical hiss and pinpoint laser drops (though these appear throughout the record, somehow working just as well in each frame of reference). What purpose does it serve, this brief, pulsing trip? It jolts the senses, being completely at odds with the dainty plod of “Yogurt” or the epic brevity of “Pieris Rapae”. In time its presence seems more and more apt, however, the pummelling mechanics as dank and oppressive as the bubbling hiss of “Stained Glass” immediately afterwards. Similarly, “Slow Electronic Beat With Colour” feels pithy after “Jamaican Greek Style”, the coda to the opening track’s exposition, but it lifts the listener up after what could have been an overly morose climax to the record. It’s a beautiful way to finish, showing unexpected lightness and humour. That said, it comes too soon.
To repeat: at just 32 minutes the album is short. Too short one might say. After hearing Ben UFO play all 10 minutes of “Jamaican Greek Style” on the Hessle Audio show in September, one might have expected that the album would be full of such lengthy jams. Alas, no. In some ways this further highlights the slow, unfurling majesty of that track, the penultimate number on this album, but on first play it all seems a bit disappointing. Yes, this succinct focus ensures the album never strays off its path, nor outstays its welcome; this greedy listener just wants more.
Levantis – Romantic Psychology 1 is out now on Technicolour Records.
Words by Aidan Hanratty, 12 November 2015. Leave a comment