The French artist reins her original freeform approach with the structure of dance music while retaining the ethereal qualities that made her unique in the first place, says Steph Kretowicz.
Christelle Gualdi’s music and attitude is one driven by desire: the desire to break away from the restrictive influence of her musical training, through the boundless atmospherics of earlier work as Stellar OM Source, or physical escape through meditation. In Joy One Mile, out on New York’s RVNG Intl, that yearning is still integral, but rather than responding to the imbalance of modern living by turning in on herself, Gualdi embraces and celebrates the duality of physical and emotional release, capturing sound at that impasse of body and mind.
It’s a drift toward the concrete that other artists associated with the DIY synth wave of the past decade have also followed. You can map James Ferraro’s progression from the visceral noise of The Skaters to the gauzy hypnagogia of Night Dolls With Hairspray before coming back to electronic dance music at its essence with SUSHI and COLD. Meanwhile, Daniel Lopatin’s disembodied mood creation as Oneohtrix Point Never gave way to the coarse physicality of his collaboration with Tim Hecker in Instrumental Tourist. Hence, Joy One Mile’s tracklisting, road-tested live over a year and evolved toward the escape offered in the club rather than hypothetical cosmic voyaging; through movement rather than mind.
That’s not to say that Gualdi has formalized her sound at all. Her unruly rhythms and erratic, clattering beats barely contain her expansive sonic palette, here incorporating sweeping synth sounds and polyphonic string samples. The acquisition of a Roland TB-303 led to her break from the illusory whitewash in last year’s Image Over Image 12-inch, binding her sound to a foundation of the sensual with pounding rhythm.
Instead of recoiling from the physical into the abstract, it’s in integrating the two that Joy One Mile’s greatest strength emerges and becomes Gualdi’s strongest creative progression to date. It’s that tension of opposing forces that is already established in the few verbal cues offered on the record. From the obvious implications of the album opener “Polarity” –and the correspondingly jittery thrust of asynchronous beats that run through it –to the lyrics of “Par Amour”, featuring vocals lifted from Detroit performer Lovie’s “Motions of Love (Acapella)”. Here, love and sex become one when she says, “because if you come, then you know”, while her languid vocal is repeatedly interrupted by the incessant, chopped-up breakbeat. Tracks like “The Range” and “Trackers” are less explicit, but it’s in the clipped breaths of the former that a thread of man/machine integration pervades before closing on “Natives/ Most Answers Never Unveiled”. It offers a fair conclusion to a record that seems to be interrogating its position at the cusp of kosmiche-meets-techno at the same time as embracing it—as the almost begrudging acceptance of our humanity and the persistent desire to transcend it.~
Stellar OM Source’s Joy One Mile is out now on RVNG Intl.
Rather than operate as a music news source, Electronic Beats operates as a music information source. We want to share with you; we want you to know what we’re hearing, what’s reverberating through our cochleas and sending broader vibrations throughout our bodies, and by extension our audio-addled souls. Down with that? Welcome to Editor’s Choice.
Michael Aniser (Contributing Editor)
Royal Crown of Sweden – “Vänern”
This is from the first release on Anthony Naples’ label Proibitio, the EP R.E.G.A.L.I.E.R. Amazing start for a label, way to go!
Freddy Ruppert – “Stanch”
Former Ghosts‘ head Freddy Ruppert delivers a weirdly uncomfortable experience on his Hangs A Shadow tape for NNA. “Stanch” dissects musique concrète romanticism and leaves us struggling between pressuring patterns of harrowing white noise and cut up frequencies just to release a numbing static. Inspiring.
Lisa Blanning (Online Editor)
Jam City – “untitled 1”
Earlier this week, Jam City gave away two zip files worth of discarded tracks (you can find the links here). If you’ve been following UK dance music for any period of time, you already know he’s emerged as one of the key players of the current crop of producers. Even his outtakes feel significant.
Louise Brailey (Online Deputy Editor)
TNGHT – “Acrylics”
After living with a gabba DJ for a year, I eventually trained my brain to latch onto the ramped up piano riffs which offered psychic reinforcement to the weaponized BPM and square wave bass. While the overdriven synths of “Acrylics” are just one chrome fixture in a production full of kitchen sinks, they’re what make the track’s bloating, sweat-slick carcass buckle under the weight of its stupidity and wallow, gloriously, in its own crud.
Vår – “Before the World Fell”
Vår is a group of musicians from the fecund Danish punk scene (including Kristian Emdal of Lust For Youth and Iceage‘s Elias Bender Rønnenfelt) who are turning the historical connect between noise, punk and electronic music into a fluid bond with spilled blood and fertile teen-spunk. Anticipation for the Sacred Bones-released full-length No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers: critical.
Moritz Gayard (Online Duty Editor)
MGUN – “Glad You Are Here”
Detroit up-and-comer Manuel Gonzales aka MGUN has just announced the follow-up to his outstanding The Near Future EP, released last year through Trilogy Tapes. His new acid-dipped baby is called If You’re Reading This and will be out in May via Don’t Be Afraid.
The Prodigy – “Firestarter (Death Grips Remix)”
Last year The Prodigy strolled back with the reissue of their acclaimed Fat of the Land album, which also included some marvelous remixes by the likes of Major Lazer, Zeds Dead, and The Glitch Mob. But that wasn’t all; we learned today that Sacramento rap-punk outfit Death Grips remodeled the good-old “Firestarter”. Pump up the volume.
Daniel Jones (Contributing Editor)
Heroin In Tahiti – “At the Edge of the Jungle”
Jittery, stuttering lo-fi jams complement my mood perfectly of late. “At the Edge of the Jungle”, off their split cassette with Ensemble Economique, is the first taste of HIT since last year’s excellent Death Surf, and delivers more of the intense claustrophobia, reverb and touches of spaghetti western guitars.
Wolf Eyes – “Choking Flies”
I’ve loved the raw unease of Wolf Eyes for quite a long time, and their latest album No Answer : Lower Floors is a glorious cocktease of syncopated anticipation and power.~
Photo by Johannes Beck.
Earlier this month, London-based producer MPIA3, better known as Truss of Perc Trax, released an uncompromising and morbidly vascular techno EP, entitled Your Orders, through R&S Records. A label which defined techno way back when the only place to listen to this kind of music was the beloved Tresor cellar. Decades after, with the likes of Vondelpark, Egyptian Hip Hop and James Blake taking up space on the roster, it looks like R&S are back on track. Do not this confuse this project with Truss’s main gig; while the likes of “Ganymede” and “Hackney” paid their own dues to Belgium, MPIA3 takes things one of two steps further. Featuring track names like “Crusty Juice”, “Roly Poly Babs” and “Acid Badger”, we don’t need to tell you that these are thick-girthed acid steamrollers, rife with squarewaved basslines and punishing, gouging stabs. Get an idea of MPIA3 and listen to his monstrous Boiler Room set. There’re even some glimpses of Human Resource to explore.
1. Your most memorable show?
In the wake of the unfortunate disaster that was the Bloc Festival at the ill-fated London Pleasure Gardens, London promoters Plex rallied to arrange a last minute free party at Peckham’s Bussey Building for anyone with a Bloc wristband. A loud, heaving rave ensued with temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun.
2. What goes in your coffee?
I’m a tea man.
3. What does underground and mainstream mean to you?
Increasingly little in an age of instant accessibility to music and information.
4. Should music be free?
It should be up to the composer to decide.
5. Better show: Buffy or X-Files?
X-Files all the way.
6. What defines your music-making process?
Feelings of excitement and euphoria when I think I’ve made a good track, followed by extreme self doubt when I begin to realise it’s not actually that good after all.
7. Latest find on Soundcloud?
‘Fear of Fear’ by JK Fear aka Justin Broadrick.
8. Name three essential artists.
Subhead, Tim Wright, Cristian Vogel
9. Indispensable outfit?
Silas x Snugpack Harris Tweed reversable jacket. It’s proper trendy like.
10. One thing you can’t live without?
The 20-something UK tunesmith Funkineven aka Stevie J is a name worth watching closely. He’s responsible for producing some pretty sick, nasty and downright awesome music released through labels like Eglo Records and 2020 Vision. I’m definitely going to go ahead and class it as a great find of 2012. Dubious? Check his collaboration with Fatima on “Phone Line” for one clear frontrunner for track of the year. Mixing influences ranging from p-funk through acid and hip hop Funkineven makes no bones about turning it up all the way for a full-on acid assault. That’s why we asked him to share his top three acid traxxx of all time.
1. Marcellus Pittman – There’s Somebody Out There Unirhythm, 2007
“Absolutely love this track, it kind of reminds me of Phuture‘s “Acid Tracks.” There’s a similar arrangement and vibe, it’s real deep! As it says on the tin, “There’s Somebody Out There.” Yes! It feels like a communication to another dimension, a morse code to another planet or other beings. If there was electronic music before slavery it would sound like this.”
2. Jaquarius – Love Is Happiness Rockin’ House , 1988
“This is probably my favorite acid tune—complete madness. It sounds like an experiment recorded “in the moment,” messing around with a few knobs, vibing out, and making the clouds thunder. This is a very rare, expensive record.”
3. TNT – New Love Marguerita , 2007
“This is a straight-to-the-point, raw acid tune. I love to play this out, it works all the time. There’s a long drum intro, then all of a sudden, a loud, aggressive 303 line drops in and pulls the crowd to scream! DOPE!”
Omar-S is going to release his second album next week, but in the meantime we have a treat for you in the shape of a free to download E.P from Detroit producer. The School Graffiti E.P is five late night jams of grooving house, introspective electronics and straight up acid-techno, rough and ready like only Omar-S can. A certain Theo Parrish is also featured on the track ‘Who’s in Key’. Did we mention it’s free? Get the goods after the jump