Series II Volume I // 03.09.20
At Dance Wax we always unearth the best old records and new releases. We constantly speak to artists in order to get an exclusive lowdown on what they are listening to as well as their recent movements. Nothing formal, just an insight into what your favourite producers are jamming to. Rules are simple, we ask our guest for their current five favourite records.
Series II Volume I: Guest Wax hosts...
As a young boy, Aria Rostami produced music in his hometown of San Francisco, continuing this for well over eleven years before moving. Now residing in Brooklyn, Rostami continues to make a name for himself within the electronic music world. Placing himself in both areas of composition and sound design, it is difficult, then, to pin Rostami to one specific genre. Instead, he floats in and amongst various musical areas but perhaps mostly in the experimental category, both as a musician and a producer. Rostami produced a huge amount of music from a young age and it wasn’t until he reached the age of 22 that he truly found some ground as an artist with his first album Form. This was a poignant LP, based around the illusion of control as the compositions and productions weave in and out from being stable to unstable. This formed the base of Rostami’s simple understandings of adulthood and the attempts to break free from the cultural mindset and depictions of Millennials.
Since his debut album, Rostami has grown immensely as an artist and can now proudly boast an extensive catalogue of records. Most notably are releases such as Sibbe, which focuses on information and the technology that proliferates that information and cultural identity. The album has been described as breathing documents belonging to lands far away, reaching our ears by means of obscurity, distorted perception and at times covert eavesdrop. Lying beyond the conceptual representation of Sibbe are textual landscapes with recordings of world instruments, including melodica and glockenspiel, inter-mixed with processed piano, violin and vocals. An album covered in euphoric amnesia, Rostami has followed suit with other releases such as Wandering Eye, Numb Years and Distant Companion. More recently, Rostami gifted us an album named Sahm Balahm. This twelve track EP is perhaps his most playful and joyful work to date, embodying melody, musicianship and lush instrumentation that is immersed in simplicity and reservation.
It is no surprise, then, Rostami’s latest album Several Days from Now You Will Be Invited to Complete an Online Survey has been eagerly awaited by electronic music fans around the globe. Dense, detailed and incredibly layered, this album sees Rostami depart from previous approaches, and using a predominantly hardware set up, delivers a warming and cosseting LP. Each track ultimately displays a desire to explore composition while squeezing warmth, humanity and poignancy out of his machines. The new release ties in with the more joyous of Rostami releases, showcasing a light and airy musicality with beat driven electronica. Out now, it most certainly is a must listen.
Top Five Wax Takeover w/ Aria Rostami
1. Bryce Hackford - Safe (Exits)
“This is one of those great long albums that feels too short. Every track captures a different mood and stretches it out. A great display of Bryce Hackford’s varied skill set from hypnotic production to excellent collaborations”
In 2017 Brooklyn-based Bryce Hackford spent a week at the PRAH Foundation in Margate recording rhythmic foundations and the environment around him. After his residency, eleven musician friends contributed their performances to what would become Safe (Exits). All of the contributions were made in isolation and the task of mixing them together became the crux of the production. Bryce’s records largely explore improvisation with electronics, using recording as the compositional medium, and features the occasional contributing musician. Eleven makes Safe (Exits) more of a chance to ensemble a record, with players from disparate backgrounds, both personal and musical. The poetics of these sounds is the focus of this album. What Safe (Exits) does is it attempts to create a rare space where rhythms get propulsive enough to make one dance, yet become subtle enough to make them blend into the serene vistas of distant and contemplative waves. Do not miss.
A2. Fetish Present
B2. Holy Mountains
[Released: 09.04.20 on Spring Theory]
2. Barker - Utility
“I listened to this record on repeat when it came out, it’s incredibly pretty and captures a world all on its own. To me, it was one of those records that changed the way I thought of electronic music”
Pleasure-seeking and pain-avoidance as a rave metaphor fits the music of Sam Barker. The Berghain resident and Leisure System co-founder has spent the last few years exploring the euphoric potential of altering key variables in dance music formulas. This holds true for many of his releases, including his 2018 Ostgut Ton debut Debiasing, flush with unconventional rhythmic chord stabs, melody and percussion but devoid of kickdrums. For his debut solo LP, he has now turned his focus toward melding experimentation and dancefloor pragmatism with the psychology behind the musical decision making process. Utility is playful but non-ironic musical approach to a whole spectrum of utilitarian and transhumanist ideas. Over nine rather stunning tracks, Barker’s vision ebbs and flows through waves of deeply psychedelic musical vignettes - free floating and futuristic. Drawing heavily on modular synths and self-built mechanical instruments, it really is a beautiful listen.
A1. Paradise Engineering
B1. Experience Machine
B2. Gradients Of Bliss
[Released: 06.09.19 on Ostgut Ton]
3. Leif - Loom Dream
“Another great record I listened to over and over again when I first heard it. There are a lot of challenging and well thought out approaches to this record - incorporating ambient elements and field recordings along with rhythmic elements”.
UK-based artist Leif has spent the last decade exploring electronic music as a vehicle doe meditation and reflection. Over 20 EP’s and three acclaimed albums, it is safe to say his sound has evolved and matured as he now appears on well established record labels such as AD93, Livity Sound and Idle hands. Shifting away from the forthright propulsion of house and techno, Leif has gradually moved towards the more abstract, working with myriad elements from rhythmic flairs of broken beat and dabbling with spacey atmospherics. Having held residencies at Freerotation festival and the Pickle Factory, Leif has earned himself a reputation as a brilliant forward-thinking DJ. Understandably, his most recent release has gone down a storm due to its warm chordscapes, glistening synths and live percussion. Loom Dream invites us to peacefully reconnect with the living world through two, seventeen minute pieces, placing us amongst lush sonic venture.
[Released: 21.06.19 on AD 93]
4. Gayphex Twin - Progesterstoned
“This record has a great mix of meticulous and thought out electronic music that’s been dirtied with distortion. This stands as a great example of the music coming out from Jacktone”.
For Brooke Keller, aka gayphextwin, music is a therapy. The young artist has several aliases that she produces music under, including her fairly ironic name gayphextwin. While not taking herself too seriously, Keller has taken the funny route with the name, revolving around the infamous Aphex Twin we all know and love. As gayphextwin, Keller is constantly producing music in her spare time and constantly sits on unreleased music. However, when this music is released it is normally on Darren Cutlip and Doc Sleep’s well established record label, Jacktone. As the parent label of smaller label Dreamtone, the platform prides itself on specialising in techno, house, ambient and experimental electronics. For her latest release, gayphextwin returns to Jacktone with an album named Progesterstoned. A record full of surprises and skittling techno, this is not one to miss. Check it out.
[Released: 01.08.20 on Jacktone]
5. Batterie - Dismantle Repeat EP
“This record combines some great ideas from across the spectrum of electronic music over three tracks. This EP is really easy to get lost in and works great as both background music to have on and something to play aloud.”
Whilst there is little information surrounding this release, it is safe to say up and coming French artist Batterie has delivered a wonderful three track EP. Released in February, the record takes the listener on a journey full of ambient sounds and breakbeat samples which leave their mark. The second track Grow Colder takes centre stage with its off beat breaks and melodic beams, creating an intense, yet dreamy, atmoshpere. Keep an eye out for more Batterie, big things to come.
A1. Cold and Silver
A2. Grow Colder
B1. Dismantle Repeat
[Released: 26.02.20 on Batterie]
Callie Ryan is an experimental electronic musician and vocalist who runs a weekly dublab programme, Cuts 01 is an enmeshment of carefully curated sonic selections, evoking and paying homage to bodily systems. Callie carefully choses the contents of her show. This time it was Aria Rostami's turn.
Find above the Loose Lips premier to Aria Rostami's new track Garden & Entry & Ramp. This is forthcoming on his brand new LP, Several Days From Now You Will be Invited To Complete An Online Survey. Using a predominately hardware set up, Rostami delivers a warm and playful LP. Pre-order on Bandcamp here...
44,100hz Social Club
Founded by Denis Yurgens, this channel aims to feature guests and artists, and track premiers that form the increasing underground demand and more. By finding the very best beats and artists, 44,100hz Social Club has become hugely popular and the main man Rostami has recently delivered another mix.
Bandcloud is a weekly roundup of Bandcamp and Soundcloud cuts curated by Aidan Hanratty. Focussing mainly on house, techno, ambient and drone, the platform seeks to release weekly mixes from the best artists around. Recently in August, Rostami was invited to deliver an hour mix. It's beautiful and not one to miss.