Animaux | UK

Alga – Aralia EP – Inter-re-view

May
25

Available for free on Lost Oscillation’s website, Dan Egdell’s first outing as Alga is a 2 track EP showcasing an original and inventive mind.

Four Tet, Caribou and other associated acts have a lot to answer for when it comes to the current crop of SoundCloud wannabes. Luckily, sometimes the slew of homebrewed imitations and rip-offs is interrupted by tracks or EPs which genuinely develop and respect the fundamental successes of their inspirations. Aralia is one such EP.

By avoiding the temptation to smash random sonic textures together in pursuit of a rich and lush soundscape, Alga sidesteps the type of error a lesser producer would leap headfirst into. Still a student, his promising work thus far has shown him maturing into a canny aesthetic operator. Bringing his skill as a DJ to bear on these tracks, elements transition seamlessly; in fact, it seems like the main aim of both pieces to effortlessly end up far from where they started.

“This Is Your Carnival” spins itself a semi-demented fairground ride out of some propulsive brassy pomp. The selection and deployment of instrumentation is ingenious, allowing the track to retain its character even as the constituent parts are piled up, taken away, demand attention, or subtly change the direction. It pays rich dividends here as the midpoint of the track finds the layered pieces stripped away. The hand drumming, satisfying kick and rising mania of the synths is the highlight of its 8 minutes (and it truly is the better for being that long).

Moreso than simply grasping at sound and texture, Aralia illustrates Egdell working as a songwriter and a selector. The joy of “This Is Your Carnival” is in the details: the slight dissonance of the climax; the interplay of the reverbing horn blasts in the introduction; and the finely woven percussive textures that underpin the whole thing.

“Patina” relies even more heavily on Egdell’s percussion work. However, for much of the track these elements are foregrounded in the mix, rather than underpinning. Synth chords, rich basslines and ethereal vocal samples slowly emerge from beneath and behind them. This inverts the formula of the first track and though it leaves some sections feeling paradoxically sparse considering the variety of percussion instruments present, the payoff more than makes up for it.

At just two tracks (albeit two eight-minute tracks) long, Aralia is a teaser of what’s to come from Egdell. Having emerged from an album containing 8 tracks, it is a little disappointing not to be able to hear more of that body of work just yet.

I sat down with Dan (albeit over Skype) to discuss the EP, his musical history, and his inspirations.

EM: So you weren’t Alga to start with, you started out as Slyside?

DE: Yeah, I started as Slyside about 2 years ago when I was in second year. I just kinda decided to start making music, needed a name, went with Slyside and then released something through Anonymous Records in York. Which was great, I really liked the Slyside stuff, but it felt like I’d finished, and it didn’t seem right with the kind of stuff I was writing. So I decided to start from scratch.

EM: Would you say there’s been an obvious progression since your Slyside material? It’s no longer on SoundCloud, so it’s hard to view the material that came before Aralia.

DE: Well yeah, I kinda wanted to ditch the whole thing. Maybe it was a bit of a rash decision looking back but I didn’t want anyone to be able to find out about me and go “oh, you used to be Slyside”; I liked the whole anonymous thing.

EM: Would you change your name again for another project or EP?

DE: Well, probably not because I’ve found a sound and Alga seems to make sense with it. You can still find the Slyside stuff on YouTube. I’m not too happy with that. I like that stuff, but I felt like I needed to progress and it was holding me back to try to sound like Slyside.

EM: When it comes to creating, do you have a procedure? Are there particular elements that you start with, or things you like to have in your mind at the start of a project?

DE: I wish I did! It would make my life a lot easier. No, I don’t. I get ideas when I’m walking around and I record a little bit on my phone, or I find a sample that I like or I find a groove that I like. There’s no real routine, what happens – happens and some tracks dissolve into nothing and others take off.

EM: Were there a lot more tracks that you could have put on this EP?

DE: Yeah, there was actually 8 tracks. I was writing an album in my 3rd year as an equivalent to a dissertation. I handed it in and I was happy with the results but I felt that there were some tracks that could be chipped away and weren’t really needed. And when I sat down it turned out there were 6 tracks that weren’t needed.

EM: Do you do live performance stuff, or do you have any plans to?

DE: I was thinking of getting a band together to do some of the Alga stuff, but now I’m writing again. The plan was to do some gigging but that’s on hold until I have a little more material I think. We might do it after that.

EM: In terms of the EP as a whole, what kind of influences have played a part?

DE: John Talabot, I love the way his tracks progress and his production style and how percussive it all is. I was listening to a lot of his stuff while I was making it. Caribou as well, which is an obvious choice but it was a big influence. Also Nicolas Jaar, even though it doesn’t really sound anything like what I make, it was definitely an influence. And again, jazz, even though it’s not really a direct influence and you might not hear it.

EM: And you play a lot of the instruments on the EP live?

DE: All the drums, all the brass, all the bass is recorded by me. The synth line at the end of TIYC, all the synth stuff was recorded into the computer but the rest was real instruments.

EM: Both tracks are 8+ minutes; did you consciously aim to create a long and smoothly transitioning track?

DE: It wasn’t a deliberate choice, like I didn’t sit down and say let’s create a 10-minute track that’s gonna evolve. It might just be because I’m bad at being concise, I don’t know. It starts with an idea and then I couldn’t end the idea without it changing. I started with it and it was like, this isn’t done yet. I kept going until it felt done and it felt like it morphed into a different song in the second half, but I kinda like that. They both do a similar thing as well which I think works, they both match that pattern.

EM: Thanks for your time Dan.

You can download Alga’s Aralia EP for free from Lost Oscillation’s website.

Meet “Thing” – Lithuania’s Klock [Naktiniai Paukščiai]

Mar
10

Thing (Alex Krell) has been making absolutely massive waves in the Lithuanian techno scene. Alex listened to lots of hip-hop and rap while growing up but his passion for Techno came from his dad who owned and played him records throughout the 90’s. Currently he is one of the hosts to ZIP FM’s (national radio) show – “Naktiniai Paukščiai“, is finishing up his newest EP and is heading to Belfast on April 9th among countless local performances with local and foreign talent alongside him.

Mantas: Hi Alex – what are you up to these days?

Alex: Hey! Right now I’m finishing my new EP which should be released next month, so I’m putting final touches on it.

Mantas: Could you tell us more about your inspirations? Who do you follow and what makes “the cut”?

Alex: Inspirations…Wow, there are a lot of them! Maybe I will be banal at this point but Berlin and it’s Berghain music and residents inspire me the most. I couldn’t name only ONE of them… But if there’s anyone I would aspire to be as – it’s Ben Klock. I mean he is more than 40 years old and he tours like a 20 year-old dude. Despite that his production and dj sets are just amazing. 🙂 I produced my EP just after listening to his Essential Mix so this tells how much he inspires me.

Mantas: Why ‘Thing’?

Alex: Oh wow, that`s a funny one! We have to go back to 2012, when I was studying  in Belgium via the ERASMUS programme and I started my solo career as Thing. I’ve made a couple of tracks and one label offered me to release it, so I had to think of a stage name that is easy, sounds good and is easy to remember… There was Adam`s Family TV show on in the background and I heard “THING!” there. I wrote it down, it looked cool and I decided to keep it.

Mantas: Lithuania and Eastern Europe are not generally well-known in the techno scene. Could you tell us why – or what steps are you taking to amend that?

Alex: I don’t know what the situation in Latvia and Estonia is, but Lithuania? I would deny that! We had Ø [Phase], Function, Ben Klock, Tadeo, Kobosil, Par Grindvik, Gary Beck, Regal, Deadbass, Benjamin Damage and many others since summer of 2015 till now, so I think techno is “on its wave” now and everybody’s loving it. Many thanks to such promoters as HOOKED:ON, Minimal.lt, ResoluteDAI and my colleagues from Naktiniai Paukščiai (Nocturnal Birds) for making this happen in our country

If I look to this question as a producer – yes, there are many great producers that make good music, but it’s very hard to release your own productions on big labels when you don’t have “friends” there. If labels paid more attention to production from talented people as opposed to their “friends” we would have been taken techno market in Europe, haha! Anyway, I’m trying to produce as much quality music as I can and I often send it to techno “big-heads” on SoundCloud and sometimes they give me feedback, they download it and etc., so maybe I would say little step by step moves and we`ll make it. 🙂

Mantas: Future plans?

Alex: I have some projects started for my future EPs, I even have some tracks for my 1st album but an album is a lot like wine: the more it gets saved in the basement – the more delicious and expensive it gets. It’s the same in music industry. 🙂 I also have a project for my live show, but it needs time and more hardware to make it a stunning one, so we’ll see about that.
Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen in a gig you either attended or played at (or both!)?

Alex: Oh my. I have a radio show with my colleagues Roads and Pakas called Naktiniai Paukščiai so I played b2b sets with them only once and both sets for me ended with drinks spilled on the CDJs. Thank God my colleagues are playing with vinyl – they saved my ass from silence. 🙂

Mantas: Thanks Alex!

We have a chat with Longman [Texture]

Mar
08

What is texture?

‘The feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface or substance.’

Loz Waring, better known as Longman among York’s clubbers, is the self-titled “Captain of the Texture ship”. From funky Saturday grooves at Sotano to truly massive events as Texture’s recent collab with Closed Circuit bringing the likes of Hunee, Loz has been busy pushing York’s house scene for the past two years. We managed to pick his brain about the past, present and future of both Longman and Texture.

Texture in action.

Mantas: Hi Loz, let’s get down to it – what are you up to these days?

Loz: Just working for myself. I like to spend my time spread out between music, events, gardening, dog walking & some designing. Just generally try to create a nice balance of all my interests & business ideas that all help pave the way/pay the bills.

Mantas: Could you tell us more about your inspirations? Who do you follow and what makes “the cut” in your sets / production?

Loz: Inspired by people that think outside the box, using new spaces for parties, people that think about the layout & flow of a venue, how the decor can help create a mood, the mix of people, all the things that can combine to create a really good party.

Soundcloud is a great tool, being able to connect with people across the globe with a similar taste in music is really exciting. I follow a lot of upcoming guys & girls that support each other, play each others music out & in sets and its nice to see. Everyone coming up together…

As for sets, my taste is always developing, but hypnotic grooves really do it for me. When an endless loop can lock you in for 8 mins you know its pretty special.

Mantas: How / why did you start producing?

Loz: Thanks to Fruity Loops (software) and the energy & rawness of grime music at the time, which had me hooked from the age of about 14 (2006), probably started making loops a year after that. First grime tune I was introduced to was:

Alongside this (thanks to my parents) I was in an african hand drumming group. From there I got into more instrumental based music, Idea3 was born and that was the outlet for some of the deeper listening stuff.

Euphoria –

Plus a love for a lot of the 140 stuff.

Silkie –

Mantas: How did Texture start? What are your plans for Spring / Summer?

Loz: It started when I was living in Huddersfield. It was first and foremost just an excuse to get friends together and a chance for us dj’s to play out. I would come over to York on weekends to play at Sotano, and me & Sam (the manager at the time) would share ideas. So we brought Texture over to York a few months later and it went down a treat!

Tex – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIs3M2H2-u8

Summer plans are loose at the moment, but outdoor spaces are being looked into.

Mantas: What are you up to next?

Loz: Just wanna focus a bit more on production, do bit of travelling and eventually set up shop in a new city.

Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen in a gig you either attended or played at (or both!)?

Loz: Not absurd, but it did give us a good giggle… one of the Textures at Sotano we were joined by a random middle-aged man in a suit who got himself stuck in on the dance floor, I think he was doing some kind of squat dance, he made a few friends anyway.

Mantas: Thanks Loz!

You can follow Texture on Facebook they have also just launched a blog!

Chats with Gareth Whitehead, founder of Bullet:dodge Records

Nov
04

As Animaux and Bullet:dodge present: Inxec draws closer, we are very excited to chat with Bullet:dodge Records founder Gareth Whitehead, about the label, music selection and his newest venture – The Brood which him and Michael Greig will perform LIVE (drum machines and all!) in front of our trusty crowd.

Mantas: Hi Gareth! Let us find out a bit more about you. Could you tell our readers on how you started off DJing and what attracted you to electronic music as well as what spurred you to start your own label – “Bullet:dodge Records”?

Gareth: Hi there, my focus was never to be a DJ, quite the opposite in fact. For me, I started producing and writing electronic music which then transpired into me performing live and then DJ-ing.

As a teenager I was very much an avid rock fan, preferring guitar based music, however, as my late teens dawned I was attracted to the sounds of the Prodigy, Faithless, Chemical Brothers, Orbital and Massive Attack. These acts transformed my musical outlook and soon lead me to discover house and techno.

I was part of Edit Select records initially but then about mid 2007 I decided to establish my own label to showcase a different sound and provide a platform for my own output.

Mantas: “Bullet:dodge Records”, “The Brood” – you are killing it at the naming game, what inspired you – any specific theme / story behind the names?

Gareth: Forging a pathway for up and coming artists has always been synonymous with the labels ethos, this coupled with releasing tracks from more renowned and experienced producers has given us our identity. I’ve always wanted to work with a variety of artists across the house and techno spectrum so Bulletdodge has always flaunted an assortment of styles.

The Brood album I guess was a continuation of this theme, but instead of just releasing a house and techno album I wanted to create something a bit different. It’s a collaborative album that features a bona fide who’s who of house and techno. From pioneers who helped shape the sound of early Detroit, Chicago, New York and UK scenes in the late 80s and early 90s to the new up and coming talent that the label has to offer. I tried to convey house and techno’s evolution musically by working with some of the people who shaped the scene to the ones who are doing so.

Mantas: Could you tell us more about your inspirations? Who do you follow and what makes “the cut”?

Gareth: It was my dad that really inspired me to learn to play the guitar in my early teens, even before that he always encouraged me musically. He told me to follow the path in life that would make me happiest, which is what I’ve always tried to do.

I like an assortment of different styles of music, at the moment really enjoying the sounds of Seckou Keita, the alluring Kora player from Senegal.

With regards Bulletdodge we’ve always released predominantly the deeper and darker sounds of house and techno. We try not to succumb to current trends, or certainly allow them to dictate our direction. That’s not to say we won’t release a trending track at times but we’ll release it because we feel it has longevity and portrays something Bulletdodge.

Music shouldnt have a sell-by date!

If the music is good it will make the cut! There’s two types of music, good and bad – and all subjective of course! ha ha

Mantas: We are all eagerly awaiting your arrival in York to play at Animaux – any hints on what people should expect?

Gareth: Yes, we’re all looking forward to playing on Friday. This is the first time I’ve played York so very excited.
As it’s The Brood party, the idea is to showcase the talents of Bulletdodge and deliver the Brood live set, whereby Michael and myself will rework and perform the Brood album live using a combination of hardware and software. The night will fuse house, techno and everything in between.

Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen in a gig you either attended or played at (or both!)?

Gareth: I heard recently at a gig what the promoters had previously paid for a DJ! They were commanding a fee to play music for two hours that the average person struggles to earn in a few months! That was completely absurd!

Animaux and Bullet:dodge present: Inxec is on Friday, 6th of November at Mansion.

You can still get tickets online via Resident Advisor or from Earworm Records / The Nook as well as our promoters all across York (check the event page). See you there!

 

We chat up Beatsofreen about his new Dimensions EP

Jun
26

“The process of Bloom started with the idea that the world we perceive is a reflection of what’s inside us, subconsciously or not. It is about coming out of your shell, about expanding into the space around you. We just have to take the walls down, and bloom.” – Joanna Borromeo

Born and raised in The Netherlands, producer Beatsofreen has gained major attention by releasing his first well-received beattape “Future Memories” back in 2011 at the age of 17.

After a successful collaboration (Global Soul EP) with Medaforacle (USA), he was signed to the Darker Than Wax family, celebrating his new EP “Coloured Dreams” (2013), a little tribute to the late & great J Dilla. With his alter ego Stan Forebee , Beatsofreen also creates more jazz-orientated beats, and most recently landed himself a feature on Okayplayer for his remix of Flying Lotus’ ‘Siren song’.

We managed to have a quick chat with Mr. Beatsofreen as he is prepping for his newest release – “Dimensions EP”.

Mantas: Why Beatsofreen? Was the name inspired by something or was it just something you thought would be memorable to people?

Beatsofreen: The alias Beatsofreen originally comes from a Dutch pronunciation of the word schizophrenia. Given the fact that my head is musically inspired in so many different ways, I’m referring to that term by deriving Beatsofreen from schizophrenic. A friend once came up with that one and it actually never got out of my head.

Mantas: Could you shed some light for us on how the whole production game started for you?

Beatsofreen: I grew into the production thing naturally. I played a few instruments before realizing I could create beats and record instruments myself. At the time I started, I was triggered by this dude who moved to my little village, a few blocks away. We were the only two listening to hiphop in our neighbourhood back then. Imagine: green flat landscapes, farmers, mills and cows, local folk people, and two strange guys rapping and making beats together.

Mantas: Could you guide us a little through your sound? What makes the cut?

Beatsofreen: I would consider my sound as warm, organic and full with colors. With that approach I always try to create music that is surreal and imaginative.

Mantas: Who inspires you? Flying Lotus is the obvious answer, but do you have any hidden gems?

Beatsofreen: Most of the inspiration comes from nature and other experiences than music at the moment. I’m inspired by not too many artists. But to name a few: Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Ben Frost, Sigur Ros, Thom Yorke.

Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen at a gig?

Beatsofreen: That was at the solo debut release party of Perquisite, former half of the duo Pete Philly and Perquisite, a few years ago. Live band went crazy on stage, solo’s and everything. I don’t know what happened, but in the middle of a massive jam, his self-build setup broke in pieces and half of his gear fell off stage. The other band members didn’t even notice and went on playing.

Beatsofreen’s official first single ‘Bloom’ of his upcoming ‘Dimensions EP’ is out now on electronic music label Darker Than Wax. The track features Canadian songwriter / vocalist Joanna Borromeo. You can stream and download it for free below: