Editors’ Choice: November 15th, 2013

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 our cochleas and sending broader vibrations throughout our bodies, and by extension our audio-addled souls. Down with that? Welcome to Editors’ Choice.

 

Lisa Blanning (Online Editor)

DJ Nigga Fox – “O Meu Estilo”

The kuduro producer and DJ has shown up in Editors’ Choice before and this is far from a new release. But something’s been nagging me since I saw his set at Unsound recently. Someone (I can’t remember who) recently described this batida sound as a cross between grime and trance, which is kind of true, but—finally connecting the dots—to me it conjures up the the dirty Dutch house offshoot of bubbling—whose proponent Anti-G was a small obsession of mine a few years ago. Now I need to talk to a musicologist to parse the differences between batida and bubbling.

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Louise Brailey (Deputy Online Editor)

Divvorce – “Vanessa (A Dreamer)”

Fifth Wall co-founder Divvorce—who we interviewed alongside Hound Scales back in August—chalks up the Brooklyn label’s ninth release with Vanessa (A Dreamer). A-side “Wander 7” is a piece of molten electro which whirls ponderously across the stereo field while “Roquentin’s Release” perfects a kind of warehouse concréte, all ominous rumbles and trebly, granular ephemera before piston-like drums thunder their syncopated, colossal two-step. The latter is stretched well beyond its elastic limit by Fifth Wall regular Physical Therapy, who refashions it into a piece of doomy, piano-accented disco. Can this label do no wrong? Seriously.

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Moritz Gayard (Online Duty Editor)

Death Grips – Government Plates

Another real deal from the Death Grips. Yesterday, they flooded the interwebs with fifteen new videos in fifteen minutes. What’s more, they dropped their new non-Sony album as a free download.

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Daniel Jones (Contributing Editor)

Soupcans – Parasite Brain EP

Scuzzy garage punk dominates me a lot more in the summer than in the chilliness of autumn, when I’m much more inclined to lie around in my own grunge than cut loose and thrash. Soupcan’s latest EP Parasite Brain is just hitting far too many of my buttons to ignore, however. There’s traces of Arab on Radar and early Devo, and you could drop buzzwords like ‘lo-fi’ ’til the sun comes up, but Soupcans is clearly not music meant to be approached with tweezers and a microscope. Turn on record, turn off brain, and let your limbs writhe.

Million Brazilians – “Untitled IV”

Speaking of sounds that haven’t entered my ears in a while, here’s a new track from Portland tribalists Million Brazilians. I last ran into these kids in LA around 2009 and fell in love with their sloppily hypnotic rhythms, but it’s been a while since I’ve looked them up. This one’s off their new LP Wet Dry Jungala, which I’m very much looking forward to receiving.

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Jannik Schäfer (Social Media Editor)

King Ara – “Who The F**k You Talkin’ To?”

This debut single by the completely unknown singer-songwriter and producer King Ara is fabulous. Make sure to check out the video compiled form the classic seventies cartoon Fritz the Cat. Good work King Ara, looking forward to more!

A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders Twentieth Anniversary Mixtape

I’ve listened to this thing three times front to back in one day. Exquisitely mixed and well put together. Be you a hardcore Tribe fan or a complete unknown to the ways of one of hip-hop’s greatest trios, this one is worth listening to.

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Read previous editions of Editors’ Choice here.

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Breaking down the Fifth Wall: An interview with Hound Scales and Divvorce

Brooklyn’s Fifth Wall label is less than a year old, but their extraordinary opening run of harsh, heavy techno by predominantly under the radar artists—plus the odd curveball such as 5kin&Bone5’s Matrixxmann in uncharacteristically 4/4  form—was immediately worthy of attention. We spoke to Hound Scales and Divvorce,  the young minds behind the label, to get a grip on what’s going down. As a bonus FW-affiliated artist Myler has crafted a typically strafing mix featuring the likes of BMB, Xhin and a forthcoming Hound Scales material to accompany the piece. (Above: photo of Divvorce by Kenneth Locke)

 

Fifth Wall are a a thoroughly modern proposition. The newly minted label purveys a new strain of scaled-up techno that, despite being at the more gruelling end of bunker industrialism, possesses a sly humor that acts as a safety valve which releases the pent up earnestness of many of their musical forebears. “Junta rave” was one early descriptor coined by co-founder Nico Jacobsen aka Hound Scales to describe the label’s debut, Case (Nabis), a cavernous set of vascular bangers that had elements of ’90s garage shining through the cracks in the title track’s reinforced concrete casing,”Militaristic party techno” was another, “…Because,” as Divvorce—the second, anonymous figure behind Fifth Wall— puts it, “the military like to party too, right?”

What’s more, Fifth Wall is located in Brooklyn, rely heavily on the tools of the internet and are at least partly anonymous. If there was a venn diagram featuring the dominant musical trends of 2013, they’d be somewhere in the middle. But, here’s a tip, don’t mention trends. Fifth Wall defines itself strictly against the increasingly fashion-led NY scene, preferring the virtual company of young producers from UK clubbing outposts like Bristol and Leeds to their neighbors and living by the maxim “don’t do trendy shit.”

Of course, we knew none of this when we first heard their music but their outrageously consistent run of releases in 2013, including Hound Scales’ inaugural Case (Nabis) and continuing through Irish producer Myler’s Fatland, featuring the Blawan-esque “Glad Bags” and the comparatively supple forms of Matrixxman‘s The XX Files, made us, 1) sit up and listen and 2) get them on Skype to find out what the hell’s going on over there.

How did Fifth Wall get off the ground? You’ve only been on our radar since February.

Divvorce: We started the label last fall. I guess we didn’t really see many other labels around us in the US that were doing the same kind of sound we wanted to do so we saw this vaccuum here. We wanted to develop a sound we thought was really exciting.

What was your route into this harsh, warehouse sound that’s become your hallmark? When I saw you were based in Brooklyn it instantly made me more interested—it breaks with what’s coming out of NYC right now.

Hound Scales: All I listened to growing up was heavy metal and industrial, and like heavier rap shit. It’s never been a conscious thing to make heavy music, it’s just how it sounds, whether I like it or not. In general our tastes, as a label, just err towards heavy.

D: Personally, my influences and the direction we want to take the label is not based so much on what we’re currently hearing around us in electronic music. I’m from San Francisco originally and when I started to work on the label we were still living in San Francisco, and it was definitely was not something we were hearing so much around there—although a little bit maybe. It was mostly based on stuff I was hearing on the internet.

HS: There was definitely a conscious effort to bring it back to straight-up dance music. I know that when we were going out to San Francisco you didn’t even hear 4/4 anymore. Even at electronic music parties all you would hear was like Ciara, so I was like fuck this. Diversity is good but it wasn’t even diverse, everyone had this battle plan of like now is an R&B edit and now it’s a trap song and maybe one house song for like 30 seconds. It got to the point where I was dying to hear techno or house when I went out, it just wasn’t something we could hear anymore.

D: I’ve been listening to Chicago house for a long time and I’ve always been into really early Detroit house and techno and I longed to hear that out. A lot of the label was probably a reaction against what we were hearing.

You’re clearly not techno purists though… or are you?

HS: I’ll be honest, there was a bit after I heard the first Sandwell District album—because that album was such a revelation to me—there was a good six months after that where I only listened to techno. But we’re definitely not purists.

D: We both really love jungle, early ’90s, Goldie, that kind of stuff was some of the best stuff ever created. I don’t know if that’s reflected in the music, but I think it is.

HS: The next EP is definitely; it’s essentially a slowed down jungle record.

There’s a lot of interesting music coming out of Brooklyn, what with the UNO and L.I.E.S. stables based there. Do you feel part of a network, a scene?

D: I’ve never met Ron Morelli, I feel like we’re actually kind of isolated.

HS: I don’t know anyone.

D: I know the White Material guys and I really like their label. To be honest I think we’re both socially isolated from a lot of the wider community, for better or worse.

HS: For me personally it’s like, I’m a bit tired of scenes. Obviously if someone I like is playing I’m not going to not go. I went to the Boiler Room to see Pete Swanson and shit because it’s not like I’m going to miss that, but for the most part it’s kind of hard to get me out of the house to do some scenester music shit. It’s not a traditional way to succeed, to not go out, but I think it does help with our vision because we’re not wavered by influences of what’s going on around us.

Hound-Scales-Electronic-Beats

Hound Scales

You’re clearly not taking any musical cues from your neighbors but you seem to have gone out of your way to not sign US producers, apart from yourselves and Matrixxman.

HS: I have a massively reactionary personality and anyone who knows me could tell me that. I’m the kind of person who does exactly opposite of what I’m around and that’s what I’m thinking of when I’m looking for artists.

D: The first two releases were by Hound Scales and myself respectively. The third release was from Clouds and they’re from Scotland and fourth was Myler who’s Scottish. Matrixxman is from San Francisco. We sort of mix it up, we’re not beholden to any place.

HS: It’s not something we planned, it’s just harder to find Americans making decent music at the moment.

D: Well, I wouldn’t say that. There’s a lot of Americans making great music but not in line with what we’re going for. I’m staying positive.

There seems to be a knowing sense of humor running throughout our work. The whole “junta rave” genre you coined in the beginning, the monochrome label artwork which you make yourself, Nico. 

HS: Junta rave came about because I love attaching these crazy names to everything. It was one of those things to describe my release because it was all over the fucking place. It was a batch of different songs—my first five decent songs I made. Originally I was like this is militaristic party shit, in my mind, what would be a party tune in an underground compound? I feel like it fit; the arch contrast. It’s a definite reflection of our personalities, we can be very serious but we can also fuck around a lot too. As for the artwork, we try to do a playful take on classic techno. Like on the Matrixxman, there’s a little UFO sucking the brains out of some guy—you have to look really closely to see that. I try and do a little nod to the release, sometimes it makes more sense, sometimes less. For my release’s artwork you’d have to know quite a lot about this artist Rosemarie Trockel to really understand it. With Divvorce’s art, his whole EP was a reference to this neighborhood the Tenderloin in San Francisco.

It’s early days but what have you got lined up in the coming months?

D: After Matrixxman, we have this guy Unklone who’s this English artist, it’s really dope.

HS: I would say it’s more along the lines of the stuff we put out originally. Charlie [McCloud, Matrixxman]’s release is a nice summer break from the head smashing, but Unklone brings us pretty much back around full circle. We’re both obsessive music collectors and we just both constantly scouring for shit, and it just sort of happens that the people we’re liking just happen to be all kids in their early 20s from England. A lot of it has to do with Hurfyd, who is this guy from Leeds who has this YouTube channel. I definitely consider that dude to be on our board of trustees. When it started, especially everyone that I thought was making exciting music that wasn’t already releasing on labels were these kids in Leeds and Bristol. They were the first people I reached out to. Now they’ve created a little scene for themselves, we found ourselves associating with these guys.

D: Then there’s Physical Therapy, a Brooklyn-based artist.

HS: The Physical Therapy record is one of these things; it was so incredible when I heard it because it was everything that we like to push at Fifth Wall, I was a bit surprised at first because I had all these preconceptions about he as an artist would be making, as Mykki Blanco’s tour DJ and it ended up being a totally unique.

D: He brings a unique perspective having not been steeped in the cult of techno.

HS: Yet he’s the biggest Tommy Four Seven fan, which is what makes it so good. The first time I talked to him we ended up talking about Pizza Man and then talked about Tommy Four Seven a second later. That’s why his music is so sick, he’s out there playing the queer rap scene. It all comes across. People are going to love this shit. ~

1. Radial – “1980”
2. Hound Scales – “A Clique Of Tough Women” (Yuji Kondo Remix)
3. Xhin – “Teeth” (Surgeon Remix)
4. British Murder Boys – “Rule By Law”
5. Ontal – “Disorientation”
6. Hound Scales – “Throated”
7. Sawf – “Toolio”
8. Forward Strategy Group – “Elegant Mistakes”
9. Fran Hartnett – “Reducer”
10. British Murder Boys – “Anti Inferno”
11. Surgeon – “Compliance Momentum”
12. Go Hiyama – “Tokyo View”
13. Go Hiyama – “Personal”
14. Dj Boss – “Zakruta”
15. Swarm Intelligence – “Execute” (Blackmass Plastics Remix)
16. Swarm Intelligence – “Collide”
17. Amon Tobin – “Stupid IDM’z”

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Editor’s Choice: April 27, 2013

Rather than operate as a music news source, Electronic Beats operates more 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. Welcome to Editor’s Choice.

Michael Aniser (Contributing Editor)

Moon Wheel – “بابل,”

After releasing his first proper album on Not Not Fun earlier this month, Berlin based Moon Wheel just uploaded this suprisingly different track to Soundcloud. This is a deconstructed 4/4 banger, complicated techno, non-IDM…

Opal Tapes – “Batch 6”

The latest Opal Tapes Batch reads like an industrial techno all-star team. Shapednoise, S Olbricht, Rejections! Get it!

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Louise Brailey (Deputy Online Editor)

Stay Positive – “You Hate Me” feat. Cooly G

Stay Positive formerly known as Stay + formerly known as Christian AIDS hook up with the first lady of funky for this undiluted slab of high tensile Ibiza-optimised mongrelism. It’s all fun until someone gets sunburnt boobs and the drinking games start.

Lana Del Rey – “Young and Beautiful” (DH Orchestral Version)

“Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?”
Oh hush now, lil’ Miss Needy. Don’t ever change, Lana.

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Moritz Gayard (Online Duty Editor)

Excepter – “All the People”

It’s definitely been too long since news of the almighty no-punk outfit Excepter reached my inbox. Thank God Religion Records is just about to release a roster compilation entitled Psychic Selections Volume. 1, containing this instant classic.

Y◊ung Diam◊nd – “YBMB v.1”

Young Diamond is back with some dangerous dance beats aka nu rave dance shit. Enjoy the bass.

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Daniel Jones (Contributing Editor)

Jonny Teardrop – “O Mirror”

I got a lot of love for my boy Jonny. The Parisian punk’s music generally ranges from blown-out distortion to witchy bass—which makes gentle moments like “O Mirror” so captivating.

CRNKN X ƱZ – “Booty to the Ground” (Lazerdisk Party Sex Remix)

New Jack Trap?? God yes.

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Michael Lutz (Magazine Duty Editor)

Quasimoto – “Planned Attack”

A cut right off of the new Quasimoto LP Yessir Whatever which Stones Throw announced earlier this week. Check out a conversation between Madlib and Thomas Fehlmann, featured in Electronic Beats Magazine Winter 2012/ 2013.

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Groove is in the Art: An interview with !!!’s Nic Offer

After 15 years and on the verge of releasing their fifth album Thr!!!er, the Brooklyn via Sacramento jam-punk-dance band leader speaks to D. Strauss, reflecting on the millennial New York band scene and revealing their role in this crucial period of underground American rock. Photo by Piper Ferguson (Nic Offer sits front left).

 

Defining the turn-of-the-century Brooklyn sound by way of California’s über-suburban capital of Sacramento, !!!—like the less physical fellow Sacrament-ites Pavement before them—synthesized a few of the the previous decades nascent trends (post-punk, krautrock, and the disco revival) into an epoch-defining genre. In the case of !!!, it was dance-rock, which WhoMadeWho and LCD Soundsystem (who would lift much of their sound and, eventually, their bass player Tyler Pope) would take to the club circuit, capturing the moment when the snobs wanted to lighten up but before the high-middlebrow went full-blown populist—a period now inverting with Rhianna’s seapunk moves.

Having been developed by Pope and lead singer Nic Offer of Out Hud—an act that would brush up against the hairy lip of the jam band scene (the tongue might make a better metaphor, as they were considerably more tasteful)—their groove music was as much a reaction against the college banner that was the Neutrally Milked ’90s as its lack of artifice was a commentary on their colleagues with electroclash leanings. Pope is gone, replaced by Supersystem’s Rafael Cohen, but with a new album by Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the current ubiquity of Gossip’s “Move in the Right Direction”, the Misshaped world of indie dance is having a revival moment, which !!!’s latest, Thr!!!ler (Warp) notably reflects. After all, Nic Offer was there. And here.

 

 

A decade ago there was so much talk about the resurgent, Strokes-stoked Brooklyn rock scene. In retrospect, was that a real fellowship?

Before we moved there as Out Hud, everyone was like, “There’s nothing happening here. You can totally rule it, you know.” And within a few months of moving there, the first shows I was going to, it was just incredible [laughs]. I think everyone was just starting up. One of the first shows I went to, within a month, I was at Mercury Lounge and it was Moldy Peaches, Animal Collective, an early version of Gang Gang Dance, Black Dice. I mean, it was like a big deal. But that was pretty normal.

All millennial indie archetypes.

Animal Collective very much became the sound of contemporary indie, but seeing them at that time was like, “What are these guys doing?” It was challenging.

As a groove band there was an entryway for the audience to accept your odder turns. But Animal Collective or Black Dice wouldn’t hesitate to approach total abstraction, yet both helped define the decade.

I think they were just good at what they were doing and I think they were really good for indie. People always want pop but I think people wanted something a bit more challenging at the same time, and the pop hooks were there and there was solid songwriting. Some of Animal Collective’s songs were incredible, but they would get really out. I’ve definitely seen them in the midst of jams that were going nowhere and kind of suck but then get to an amazing part. I’ve seen the audience get shifty and the audience get into it again. They’ve been very admirable because they’d always write an album and go out and tour for the album and play completely different songs, trying to work on the new songs for the next record.

And this is the year that Daft Punk really will be playing at everyone’s house. From your perspective as an ostensible rock band on the electronic-identified Warp label, do you feel there’s a kind of merging between the dance world and the sort of the club rock you pioneered?

No, it seems like now it’s just become commonplace for those two things to merge and I think it’s where rock had to go. It’s like rock had an easy marriage with electronics and dance in the ’80s but they can coexist in a better way that I think people will build upon. I think when we started we were too punk. I mean, the first time we got played in a club, it was, like, “Whaaaat?” We didn’t think that was going to happen at all. We started doing the sound before DFA, but they were the ones who were smart enough to know that it would work in a club. And they mixed their records to be in a club.

James Murphy was watching you.

I don’t think so. I mean, they stole Tyler but I don’t think that they were influenced by us. I think he always kind of viewed us as competition. And I think he was going to do that, anyways.

When you hear the first Rapture album, it was essentially a punk rock album. You were groove-based before DFA got ahold of them.

Yeah, I know. It kind of slipped by me. I really like The Rapture, but when I first saw them they were like Spacemen 3 or something—it was like a wall of sound. The first time I heard “House of Jealous Lovers”, it was like they put a house beat under a Gang of Four song. It didn’t strike me that it was going to be the future of music. It didn’t seem like rocket science.

You didn’t think there was any sort of association between that sound and what you were doing?

I did because, since it hit in the clubs, I was like, “We could have a club hit.” So, we definitely mixed “Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard” so it could be played in a club, and then when it did it was, like, “Woah!”

What’s it like for a rhythm band to have a new rhythm section?

[Drummer] Paul [Quattrone] was on the last record but this is [bassist] Rafael [Cohen’s] first record.

And yet there’s a consistency to your sound.

I guess we’re telling them what to do, kind of. I mean, we write the songs, Rafael’s one of the songwriters.

He was truly integrated into the recording process.

As was Paul. But a drummer is, you know, less so. And Paul’s more of a rock guy, so we get a certain kind of sound out of him. Actually, a couple of times, we used [producer] Jim [Eno, of Spoon]. Some stuff would be more drum machine-oriented but we really just make it up as we go along and whoever’s there and whatever seems right, then we just do that. I like to have as many different tactics as can be coming at you from all sides, and we tried to have as unstructured a way of working as we could.

Those tactics being…?

Maybe some songs are built out of jams, some songs are an instrumental that Rafael wrote, some songs are an instrumental that I wrote or a beat that I wrote. And then you just let them find their way. You kinda just follow what suggests itself to you and you try not to take the obvious turns. It’s very organic. If you’re working on something tech-y, you try not to do the next tech-y thing. You maybe try to mix Fleetwood Mac with it or something. It’s just for it to be continually surprising.

How do you astonish yourself after 15 years?

I’m a big believer in the whole New Order “Blue Monday” theory, where you should be trying to make a machine work and see what it gives you. It’s known for being a legendary fuck up and that’s what they made the song out of, so we like to be out of our element and using machines that we don’t understand, and just seeing what happens.

Where the use of equipment actually becomes an extension of the jam ethic.

Sure. There’s a certain part I’m using on the song “Accept Death”, where I was trying to program a certain part in the chorus into the synthesizer. I was turning it up to the second octave and as I did that [guitarist] Mario [Andreoni] said, “That sounds cool,” and I was, like, “Yeah, it does, all right. That’s the part.” So, just fucking around with it and finding whatever is there and whatever can be.

From God’s mouth to your ears.

I know a lot of people believe songs are like gifts from this other world and they just magically appear to you. I’m not a big believer in any kind of fate-related thing. I think that songs could end any different way.

When you guys first started to make a name for yourselves, you were known for bringing the jam aspect back to post-punk music. Was that a misunderstanding of what you were doing?

No, no, ’cause we definitely jammed a lot: the first seven years of the band, we opened every single show with a jam.

As if you were the Sun Ra Arkestra.

Yeah, I almost thought we were kind of being like Public Image Limited or something. It’d be these kind of organic grooves that would rise up.

PIL would be more likely to open with a fight, not a jam.

[laughs] Yeah, we don’t really do that, but it was a great way because those were some of the most incredible moments I’ve ever had on stage. It was also some of the most nightmarish moments, ’cause you know it’d be hard to wrap it up if it was sucking, and if it did suck then it kind of set the tone for the whole show. It was hard to recover.

Couldn’t you just pull a John Zorn and wave a Cobra signal?

You can’t do that. You can’t step on people’s vibe like that; it’s through the jamming that you get further and further out to those things you wouldn’t necessarily have found. You just bring it home and usually, if it’s sucking, everyone knows it’s sucking and they try to bring it in early. There’s definitely a certain point in the jam where everyone’s locking, and you don’t know if what you’re playing is why it sounds awesome, so you can’t stop.

Are you the sort of band that would listen to the tapes after the show and look for ideas and material?

We never listen to the tapes from the show but, that was what practice was. It was jamming.

It isn’t like CAN, where you’d have 36 hour jams with the lead singer slowly losing his mind, wandering off and never being seen again?

[laughs] No, I never lost my mind. I mean the longest we ever jammed was, like, three-and-a-half hours.

That’s probably why the band’s still together, You know when 40% lose their minds, then it’s the end.

We’ve probably lost 40% of our band along the way, so maybe that’s about fair.~

 

!!!’s Thr!!!er is out on April 29th/30th via Warp Records. 

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High Anxiety: An interview with Autre Ne Veut

Autre Ne Veut is more than enough answer to the concern that there isn’t any sincerity in today’s pop music.

Sincerity and high emotion force their way out of his music’s every orifice, twisting its shape to manneristic excess and blasting the listener with new heights of feeling. Since his first self-titled album in 2010, this fearsome expressive urge has made him one of the most innovative songwriters around, pushing beyond any historical connotations his synthesizers and samples might once have had into a strange new 21st century message splayed across electronic fragments, uneven rhythms, and obsessive falsetto refrains.

Yet the success of Arthur Ashin as Autre Ne Veut is in making the message so immediate and human, as well as so mutant—much like Edvard Munch‘s painting The Scream, which features in the earlier video to the single “Counting” and is conspicuous by it absence on the cover of Ashin’s new album Anxiety. We’re surprised to find ourselves sympathizing with the monster because the monster is actually a most human of beings; it’s us.

One of the common symptoms of an anxiety attack is ‘derealization’, the sense that your body is no longer real, that your face and hands belong to someone else. This terror is vertiginously resolved into pure ecstasy on tracks like “Ego Free Sex Free”. In just this way, the portrait becomes a mirror, through which Ashin beckons us to join him staring the trauma of death and self-dissolution in the face (especially on “Gonna Die”), making these emotions not just safe, but sublime to behold. So, it’s unsurprising that when I interviewed Ashin, he described the album as “cathartic.” I’d go one further: it’s therapy.

 

What do you think makes Anxiety different from your other releases?

I would say that there are two primary differences, with considerable overlap. Previous recordings were done completely alone with the occasional guest vocalist. All were done at home, and as a result, there was really only one mind to bounce ideas off of or to play/program anything. This tended to make the earlier recordings a bit more myopic in scope and leaned toward more concise songwriting where there was no open musical space, just an incessant barrage of ideas and stacked sounds. The new record, in contrast, was more collaborative, with other vocalists and players; it is also a bit more sprawling—though the songs themselves were written in advance and more thoroughly conceived—and most of the sounds are given their own little place in the mix.

The studio setting, complete with engineer, allowed me to capture every sound at a much higher quality. There were software instruments used, which was an exclusive feature of the first two releases, but most of the sounds on Anxiety were actually hardware, recorded through high-end analog outboard gear, so there is live space and transistors adding character to each sound. This lent to a subtractive, rather than additive approach to the sonic ebb and flow of the recordings, because I felt more confident in every sound’s quality and value.

Why give the album the title Anxiety? Is the music a representation of anxiety or a response to it?

The album is titled Anxiety as a response to an array of social and professional anxieties experienced over the previous few years. So, ultimately the entire project, Anxiety included, is a sort of cathartic release.

The album cover shows a picture frame. How did this come about, and what is its significance?

Initially the cover art included the image of Edvard Munch’s The Scream within the frame. It was a recreation of the sale of the image. This placed perhaps the most famous modernist representation of anxiety within a capitalistic framework—arguably more anxiety-producing than the image itself. When the image was stolen we were left only with the symbolic exchange and all of the residual tension.

Do you consider your music a ‘portrait’ of yourself or of someone else?

The music is a portrait of my anxieties and frailties, and in that sense it’s very personal, but what I’m also looking to get at is a shared sense of humanity. These sometimes mundane but dark subjective experiences that we all succumb to from time to time.

Many of your songs reference the body. What do you see as being the relationship between music and the body? How does the one affect and influence the other?

I would argue that all of art and culture and science are an exchange between one’s body and the world or society. I just find the mind/body divide to be essentially artificial, since our sensorium so heavily informs the mind and the notion of mind itself is simply a function of the body (brain) working. Music is this sometime-ephemeral non-thing that affects the senses and impels the body to respond.

Two of the songs on Anxiety touch on mortality. Do you think art and music can help us cope with these ideas?

Yes and no. In a lot of ways, I think that ultimately creating art of any medium is a selfish act. Nobody does it if they don’t want to, exceptions being those who feel they do it because they have to (as a profession). The creation of music can be extremely cathartic to me and if it impacts others in that way, that’s terrific—magical, really. But I don’t set out with an intended response.

Your songs are fascinatingly orchestrated, spread in such interesting ways across different sounds and instruments. How do you go about making them?

This record is very different than my previous recordings. It was an extremely subtractive process, where I initially threw everything at a song, creating a sort of rough slab. Electric guitar over an entire track, sax blurts across an entire track, synth lines, etc. Then I just stripped large chunks away, developing the basic dynamics of the arrangements. And continued chipping away until things felt right to me.

How would you characterize the sound of the label Software? What might be your part in that?

I think that the Software ‘sound’ will emerge over time. Daniel [Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never]’s tastes are extremely eclectic, but I think that there are certain threads throughout that tie things together for him. He’s a sentimental guy in a lot of ways, and I think that attracts him to emotional music, but he also values artists that are idiosyncratic and push the boundaries of what is comfortable for the listener. I guess on some levels I do that, and others less so. I have no idea where I fit in exactly, but that probably says more about me than it does Software.~

 

Photo by Jody Rogac. Autre Ne Veut’s new album Anxiety is out now via Software. 

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