“I like the feeling of joy and extravaganza on the dancefloor,” says Kedr Livanskiy. “Not the harsh zombie mass.”
Livanskiy’s DJ sets – and indeed her On Cue mix for DJ Mag – are colourful tapestries of style, rattling from genre to genre as hard drum cuts and breaks veer into lush ambience and balladry. It makes for enticing listening, with her eclectic taste creating an unpredictable atmosphere, encouraging listeners to join the dots themselves and realise where the disparate sounds informed her own productions.
‘Your Need’ strikes a terrific balance between the starkness that made her previous releases so immersive and the lightness that she re-discovered in DJing. The murky atmospherics that saw her being compared to acts like Boards of Canada, Patricia and Hype Williams linger, but are less overbearing, no longer defining the entire mood of the album but lending a necessary darkness to tracks like ‘Why Love (зачем любовь)’ and ‘LED (лёд)’.
Livanskiy invited Gost Zvuk affiliate Flaty into creative process with her, with each of their distinct styles merging to create something that was new for both of them and contributing considerably to the album’s irresistible atmosphere.
Logos is, by his own admission, not the most prolific producer. The London-based artist, otherwise known as James Parker, still works a dayjob, and in the near-six years since the release of his groundbreaking debut album ‘Cold Mission’ has added the rather time-consuming endeavour of raising a kid to his list of non-musical pursuits. What his discography lacks in quantity, however, is made up tenfold in quality.
“I ended up working with a few synth patches I really liked, and I basically just rinsed them,” recalls Parker, mentioning the cohesive sound of the album ‘Tooth’ by Blackest Ever Black regulars Raime (who also released on Different Circles last year) as a point of reference. “‘Cold Mission’ was me trying a lot of things out, and then this one was me saying I actually just wanna focus in on one or two ideas, and then reiterate,” he adds.
DJ Minx has stood at the core of Detroit’s club scene for over 20 years now. Motor City born and bred, the stalwart DJ, producer and Women On Wax collective/label founder, has stood as a champion for her hometown’s sound.
A big part of Holland’s week would be stocking up on her vinyl collection. “Heidi [then working at Phonica] was my record dealer. She’d be really kind to me and pick me out loads and save me stuff. She introduced me to a lot, actually.” Many of the records that Holland played back then are still in her collection. It’s the music she describes as stemming from that, “breakbeat rave sound, melting with techno and house music. And obviously a lot of bass.”
“I've always been a student of cultural movements in a way,” Butler tells DJ Mag over Skype, speaking from their childhood home in Bermuda in between North American tour dates. “And I feel like one of the fundamental aspects of genres like punk, house, techno and hardcore was this idea that, as an individual, there is a place for you within this greater community. There is a place for your voice. Your individuality within that space is valued.”
Nothing sums up the work of The Cyclist quite like the name of his most recent EP. ‘Boards of Chicago’ was released via Italian label Tropical Animals in September 2018 and, as far as titles go, it’s a perfect encapsulation of the Northern Irish artist’s distinct approach to production.
Kelly Lee Owens doesn’t believe in compromise. As renowned for her interest in exploring spirituality and sound’s potential healing properties as she is for laying down dancefloor eviscerators either live or in a DJ set, she’s equally comfortable allying both these worlds – as highlighted by her transition from Björk to DJ Koze’s ‘XTC’ in the mix she has supplied for her DJ Mag Podcast.
Hey Kelly. How are you? 2018 was obviously a pretty massive year for you. What have been some highlights? What have you learned along the way?
“Hey! I'm well, thanks! About to embark on a holiday for the first time in a couple of years. The past few years have been intense. Yeah, so many highlights – Feeling chuffed that people keep connecting to the music, that it keeps rippling and that I keep getting wilder opportunities to explore presenting it...
Good club music, DJ sets that actually feel resonant and meaningful – all of that requires a real empathy and internal awareness from an artist. Would you agree? Do you ever feel as though your previous career as a nurse impacted the way you approached music?
Few artists submerge you in darkness in quite the same way as Christoph De Babalon. With engulfing ambience, depth-charge bass drones and hyperventilating breakcore and jungle beats, the Hamburg-raised, Berlin-based producer has, for over two decades now, etched an unmistakable sonic persona onto an increasingly greyscale planet.
Christoph de Babalon isn’t interested in being a spokesman for doom. He apologises more than once when conversation steers toward his dour mythology. He laughs off the idea that his music is anything more than a necessary personal pursuit, and he certainly doesn’t think the world had to hit this particularly low tide to properly appreciate the 15-minute drone dirge of ‘Opium’ or the convulsive percussion of ‘My Confession’.
Few contemporary ambient artists can capture melancholy quite like Ian William Craig. Using tape loops, electronics and organic instrumentation to accompany his distinctly gossamer-light and classically trained singing, the Vancouver composer stands among the likes of Grouper, Julianna Barwick and William Doyle as an artist for whom the human voice is an essential instrument in the ambient orchestra.
Hi Ian. How are you doing? How has 2018 been? What have been the most significant things to happen for you this year?
Your use of tape loops throughout your catalog has always invoked the poignancy and William Basinski’s ‘Disintegration Loops’ and the capturing of “real time” and distinctly momentary sounds. Was he a direct reference point when you started to compose the way you do now? Can you explain what drew you to tape initially?