The experimental attitude of Benjamin Stefanski aka Raffertie fits well into the Ninja Tune world, balancing between the texture expeditions and the dancefloor smasher tunes. His new release the Mass Appeal EP is out now, following his label debut Visual Acuity from earlier this month. Raffertie, as a contrast generator, divided his new music pack into four different parts that showed even deeper, more sophisticated aesthetics compared to his first NT release. Look into his mind and find out his thoughts behind his unique and fresh musical themes, and stream a full track: One Track Mind!
How did you experiment with textures on the new Mass Appeal EP?
Textures are everything in my music. Whether the texture be strident and forceful with a relentless sense of unity, or whether it be an unlikely, unsettling ephemeral combination of sonics, texture is a primary consideration when I am compiling ideas for a piece of music. Talking about how I experiment with them is a little more difficult because it is something that I work at being as natural and intuitive as possible. I suppose that in this particular case once I had the overall sound, or something of a structure, in mind for each track it was a matter of experimenting with those parameters.
I see music as an organic thing that can change as the composer sees fit. Constructs can be very useful for generating musical material, or giving direction but one must never be afraid to deviate or abandon those constructs completely if it is appropriate to do so. The first draft of Mass Appeal was much more dense, and the rhythms were somewhat more consistent throughout because of the initial structural idea I had laid out, but at the last minute I went back and chopped up and edited the sounds from the first section quite drastically. The results were far more interesting.
Can you mention some musical parts which the four tracks have in common?
Musically all of these tracks are quite different and this is intentional. I work differently from one track to another to keep my mind interested in what I am doing. Not only this but as a listener I need contrast and progression to keep me focused on what I am listening to and here lies the common ground between these tracks on the EP: conveying a sense of musical journey. After listening to them I hope the listener feels like they have been somewhere.
Your excitingly deep, broken structures catch the ears more than some easy melodies. What do you think gives them such harmony?
There is something incredibly satisfying about music that shouldn’t work in certain situations but does, a musical anti-logic if you will. I think it is the surprise and interest that these unexpected moments create that ties the whole aesthetic together. If I can capture at least some of that approach in my work then I am very happy that it comes across.
What have you done to make your new tracks fit to Ninja Tune’s more experimental flavor?
I wouldn’t say that I have done anything in particular to make my music fit in at Ninja Tune but they always have very useful, supportive and positive feedback on all the music I send them, which is a fair amount.
What about the forthcoming full length?
There is a lot of music written for my album, not all of it will make it to the final cut but whatever does I am very excited for everyone to hear it.
Do you have any unknown Raffertie side (mood) for the album?
I hope so!
Published February 13, 2012.