With our recurring electronic music podcast we’re presenting renowned names and local talents who are bringing new and exciting sounds from around the globe to your headphone. To give you an idea of what inspires the artists, each podcast is accompanied by an interview exploring the groundwork of the mix, describing influences, ideas and techniques. Finally we ask the podcast creator to choose a work of art to visually augment his musical journey.
FIBER Podcast 40 - Alex Downey
It is a natural process to end something, so that there is room for new things to emerge. After releasing 39 FIBER Podcasts over a period of almost 10 years we arrived at number 40; the final release in this FIBER series by none other than Brighton based selector Alex Downey.
We look back on a rich and very personal series, in which talented local artists and international rising names shared their sonic worlds on our platform. Their sets offered countless paths to find new artists and tracks.
A lot has happened in 10 years and the electronic music landscape has changed along with technological, cultural and social developments. This is the reason for us to now bring this series to a fitting end. A full circle almost 10 years after our organisation’s foundation. We thank all the listeners for following us and the artists for their contributions.
For the final installment we asked vinyl connoisseur and Freerotation Festival resident Alex Downey to record a grand finale podcast. And so he did… In three hours Alex will take you through the depths of his record collection. That says a lot when you know that he operates a warehouse stocked floor to ceiling with the black gold.
Luuk Meuffels curated Podcast 40 and Fabian van Sluijs interviewed Alex about his evolution as a DJ and his inspiration behind making this podcast. Now, get yourself ready for a three hour mix.
Interview with Alex Downey by Fabian van der Sluijs
Alex, how did you approach this mix?
It all started with me going through some of the newer bits I’ve been picking up recently, and getting more familiar with them. Before long I was perusing my entire record collection, trawling through for inspiration and ideas, as I wanted to feature tracks that I have not played in any live sets or radio shows lately or before.
I have a lot of vinyl, so this was a lengthy process in which I rediscovered long forgotten gems, un-earthed unknown killer cuts, or found amazing previously overlooked b-sides.
With a collection this large, it can be a bit like plundering one’s own musical history and mind, so it’s common to come across records where you’ve no idea how or why you own it, and probably haven’t heard since the day you first acquired it, which can sometimes be 20 years ago – so it’s a kind of like revisionist discovery of what’s lurking there on the shelves!
It’s a real voyage of discovery. In the process of reacquainting myself with the tracks, I found I often get struck with ideas of what will blend with what, and gradually a picture emerges of where they will fit into the mix.
In previous interviews you have discussed the influence of your parents on your musical upbringing. As FIBER aims to merge the sonic with the visual, we wonder: what inspires you visually?
I have always been inspired by images of space travel, photographs of rockets, lunar-landers, EVA. As a kid I wanted to be an astronaut (or a deep sea diver). But also anything science-fiction, Blakes-7, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica. I would plead with my Mum to let me stay up late to watch ‘Star Trek’ and can remember being absolutely transfixed by ‘Silent Running’, and being hypnotised by ‘2001 a Space Odyssey’ at a very young age. I was always very big on Lego, and would often try to build craft or spaceships I saw on the screen, not sure if that counts?
Later in life I was greatly inspired by the imagery of 60s psychedelic counterculture – and by early computer based graphics found on rave flyers , films like ‘The Lawnmower Man’, electronic music records like Warp’s ‘Artificial Intelligence’ LPs, and in music videos such as Stakker – Humanoid, or on chill out VHS tapes like the 3Lux series.
FIBER Podcast 39 - Wanderwelle
FIBER Podcast number 39 is part of a triptych of three podcasts that will be released shortly after each other. With this, FIBER celebrates almost 10 years of sets and live recordings. We end this series at #40 and prepare for something new. Thanks to all artists, followers and listeners.
The second piece in the FIBER Podcast closing triptych comes from Amsterdam based duo Wanderwelle. Phil van Dulm and Alexander Bartels have been making music together since their high school years. They often use a conceptual approach and find inspiration in the history of art, nature and combine these things in their music. With releases on Silent Season and performances in museums they are a perfect fit for the FIBER Podcast series. Listen to their podcast and find the interview about their visual inspiration sources below.
What role does the visual medium play in your work?
The visual medium plays a huge part in our studio albums and our live sets. Films by Tarkovsky and Bergman are a great inspiration for us, as well as the works of contemporary filmmakers like Von Trier, Lynch, Eggers and Aster. Unfortunately The Netherlands does not have too many great film directors working right now, luckily Van Warmerdam and Van Driel are making us very happy with their films. Aside from cinema, we take great inspiration from art history and literature.
At the Van Gogh museum, we premiered our first site-specific performance ‘Reapers’ amongst the paintings. The twenty minute piece was inspired by the reapers and mowers by Van Gogh, Millet and Hodler.
Last year, we finished the script for our first graphic novel. At the moment, we are giving it shape together with our favorite illustrator in Amsterdam. We cannot wait to share some more details soon. At the start we did not expect the process to be far more time consuming than making an album, but it will be totally worth it. It is amazing to see your ideas illustrated by an artist instead of the usual translation of our ideas into sound.
How do you go about making music in order to spark the imagination?
When creating music, field recordings are a very effective way to create a cinematic, almost visual experience, as they immediately push the listener into a certain atmosphere. For our upcoming album, which is our first electro acoustic work, we used and manipulated more abstract recordings to make things more ambiguous, while still adhering to a clear leitmotiv. The album will focus on the many aspects of decay: from shipwrecks to natural erosion, and from archeological digs to false prophets. The album will be released next month, keep an eye on our socials the coming weeks for the official announcement.
Could you choose a visual companion piece for your podcast and elaborate your decision for this piece?
One of our favorite tracks in this showcase is one from Jan Jelineks’ Zwischen project, an album consisting of twelve sound poetry collages using interview answers by prolific artists. The track we used contains voice fragments of one of our favorite German artists: Joseph Beuys. He was one of the leading figures in art from post-war Germany. Beuys created his own mythology, which was his main inspiration for his work and often held public debates on environmental, social and political subjects. The chosen artwork is a result of one of his speeches, where he used a chalkboard to visualize his ideas. This work is called ‘Letter from London’ (1974), which we read about when we ourselves were in London for one of our favorite gigs until now: our performance at Cafe Oto.
Interview by Fabian van Sluijs | Podcast curation by Luuk Meuffels
Image: Blackboard (Schultafel) (1974), Joseph Beuys
Also check podcast Number 38 by Fenna Fiction.
FIBER Podcast 38 - Fenna Fiction
FIBER Podcast number 38 is part of a triptych of three podcasts that will be released shortly after each other. With this, FIBER celebrates almost 10 years of sets and live recordings. We end this series at #40 and prepare for something new. Thanks to all artists, followers and listeners.
Fenna Fiction is a DJ and graphic designer. To her those practices are similar, they only entail different senses. Below you can find the interview we did with Fenna about the mix and the accompanying artwork.
Thank you so much for your mix. Could you briefly introduce yourself and tell us about your approach for this mix?
I am Fenna, an artist/graphic designer and DJ living and working in Amsterdam. My mixes are always a collection of music I recently found and been listening to, this one included. It’s a mix to listen to on your headphones.
Could you tell us about who/what influenced you in becoming a DJ?
Since I was a teenager I was always listening or dancing to music and I’ve always unconsciously surrounded myself with people who did the same. A lot of those people eventually started working in music but it never occurred to me that I could do that too. The younger me thought there was only one way of doing the DJ game: knowing every release in the record store and perfect beat matching. I was experiencing music in a more emotional and intuitive way so I didn’t think DJing was something for me. It was when Job (Oceanic) introduced me to Lena Willikens her radio show ‘Sentimental Flashback’ that I heard mixes that evolved around listening to music for the first time. When I moved to Gent to study I started doing some radio shows at stroom.tv with exactly this intention, creating mixes for listening at home. Because of these radio shows some people trusted me to play music at their venues, and that pushed me to invest time in learning to DJ. It was never part of the plan, but I’m happy it happened.
Apart from DJing you also work as an artist focusing on collage, can you tell us a bit about your influences in the visual spectrum?
Creating a collage and a mix is the same process, but with the use of different senses. Like with a music mix, I start with material I recently bought. I roam a lot of thrift stores for books full of photographs and if I like the colours and shapes I buy them. It is the same with music, I find it hard to describe what i’m playing or why. I find music or photographs which I think are beautiful, and then I’ll put it together in my own way. If I have to name one artist who inspired me since I started making collage work it is definitely Malin Gabriella Nordin.
Thinking about a visual representation of the mix could you choose an artwork that can function as a companion piece and tell us why?
I chose this little piece because it is exactly what this mix is made of: a reference to nature, some morphed moments, a hint of sweet fruit, some colour, songs with a lot of detail, a contemporary interpretation of a familiar feeling.
Interview by Fabian van Sluijs | Podcast curation by Luuk Meuffels
FIBER Podcast 037 upsammy
Dense forests and moody beaches are the ever-changing and mysterious environments that Thessa Torsing explores to find inspiration. The 37th FIBER podcast is as diverse as these landscapes and Thessa, aka upsammy, is our fearless field guide that help us to traverse a variety of sonic impressions. Through her organic and yet uncompromising style, upsammy presents us an hour long journey composed of impressions and emotions evoked by these natural spaces.
upsammy is a rising star in the scene. She started her sonic journey playing guitar in several bands. Around the age of 17 she started DJ-ing and producing and when she played a DJ-set at local Utrecht radio station Stranded.fm things took off. Nowadays, she has regular bookings at De School in Amsterdam, travels the world, and was recently mentioned by Resident Advisor as one of the 5 key acts of Amsterdam Dance Event 2018.
In addition to her DJ-sets, Thessa also produces. Early on she found inspiration in a fusion of echoing guitar sounds, deep house and trance-inspired tracks. In 2016, she changed direction to find her own, more organic and psychedelic sounds and rhythms. In 2017, a few of her tracks were included on the Nous’klaer release Paerels and this changed everything. February 2018 she released her first EP Another Place which got international attention.
With a background in Image and Media Technology at the Utrecht University of the Arts Thessa also draws inspiration from the visual arts. For this podcast she choose an image of Andrei Tarkovsky’s film The Sacrifice (1986) as artwork. The Russian writer and director is known for films such as Solaris and The Stalker, and is considered by cinephiles to be one of the greatest directors in the history of film.
The Sacrifice is a film renowned for its uncommonly long takes and deals with faith and religion. The long take gives the film a slow evolving and glacial character with the beautiful shots of the Baltics nature the image perfectly suits this organically evolving spiritual mix.
upsammy joins NKISI, Szare, CAO & Michael Tan and more at the Sensory Shifts Club & Performance Night at OT301 on Saturday, 1 December. The night is presented as part of the first edition of FIBER Weekends 2018.
FIBER Podcast 036 Ali Wade
“Mixes of club music can be quite fatiguing”, says Ali Wade. While he doesn’t DJ as much as he used to (“it’s a distraction to making music”), he still buys tracks he likes to hear loud at a party: “mostly deep, broken techno such as Donato Dozzy and Livity Sound”. For the 36th FIBER Podcast he made a selection pulling together favourites from the past year combined with older key influences like Aphex, Autechre and Jega: “it was important the tracks had space to breathe and traverse a range of moods”.
Ali Wade has been involved in electronic music, as DJ, promoter and journalist, since the 90’s. The cities where he lived have been of influence on his musical development, but it was his uncle who sparked his interest in electronic music and with whom he still swaps music today.
“My uncle set the bar pretty high when I was eight or nine – he introduced me to Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Herbie Hancock. I listened to a lot of US punk and indie until raves arrived in Plymouth in the early ‘90s. Then I got into techno and DJing, mainly through the UK free party scene and labels such as Rising High, Warp and Rephlex.
I moved to Nottingham and went to lots of huge outdoor parties thrown by deep house crews DiY and Smokescreen. Around that time I’d also regularly travel to techno parties like House of God in Birmingham, The Orbit in Leeds and Lost in London.
After Nottingham I lived in Bristol, which had a massive influence on me musically. We put on some parties with help from Bristol sound systems that were pretty experimental musically – such as Toxic Dancehall, which fused breakcore, jungle, IDM, noise and proto-dubstep. I’d buy 2-step, electro and early DMZ 12s from Tom Ford (Peverelist) at Rooted Records. Tom’s responsible for putting out some of my favourite music from the past decade, so there’s a strong nod to Bristol’s current crop of labels and artists in this mix”.
Listening to Wade’s album ‘Geomorphology’ it becomes clear that ambient music is a great influence. Asking about pivotal albums in his musical development, Ali mentions Surfing on Sine Waves by Polygon Window, Surgeon’s Basictonalvocabulary, Autechre’s Amber and Jon Brooks’ Walberswick. Especially the latter has been an important influence for getting into modular synths:
“Anthony Child (Surgeon) introduced me to this record. Brooks made Walberswick with a Buchla 200 Series Music Box. Discovering his music aligned with me getting into modular synthesis, so I’d say he’s been the biggest single influence on much of the music I’ve made since then”.
At FIBER Festival 2017 Ali brought his modular rig and treated the audience to an intense show. Performing with this instrument brings forward a quality that also connects to his visual inspiration sources: “The compositions have a plant like quality and grow and evolve […] and they can’t shrink again”, Ali explains in the festivals’ recap video.
This interest in evolving patterns also comes forward in his visual work for which Ali Wade is also known due to his collaborations with Anthony Child. For this he draws inspiration of psychedelic and optical art, by Yayoi Kusama and Bridget Riley. Generative art based on natural processes by artists, such as, Jonathan McCabe and Paul Prudence is also an important source. “I’m also a big fan of collage artist John Stezaker – he’s a master of taking minimal, contrasting elements and interlocking them to create portals into other worlds.”
These influences are also an important element in the artwork that accompanies this podcast: Dahlia is a lamp made by Finnish artist Janne Kyttanen. Kyttanen uses generative design based on nature’s mathematics. Geometrically arranged beams of light pulse from a burnt, textured background. “The juxtaposition of intricate rhythms and
FIBER Podcast 035 Ena
The 35th FIBER podcast is a haunting trip through abstract layers of sound and atmospheres. The non-categorizable style of Tokyo based artist Ena embodies the practice of the transmutation of musical genres. In this visceral exploration of sounds he takes the listener through sonic dimensions; from the macrocosmos of space to the microcosmos of machines.
Yu Asaeda is an all round producer doing production of pop music, commercials and documentary films. Under his moniker Ena, he is known for his craftsmanship in developing an idiosyncratic form of bass music. He has released this type of music on labels such as F Music, Samurai Horo and more recently on Niløs. Drawing on ‘dubplate culture’, which has been an important element in the development of jungle and drum&bass in the nineties, Ena made a mix for FIBER containing many unreleased tracks (dubs). We asked him what the most important influences are for the development of his experimental brand of music.
“Sound System culture obviously!”says Ena who has been involved since 2006 in the monthly Back to Chill parties started by producer Goth-Trad. “Playing music on this system slightly changed my way of production. I’ve also played with hi-end audio speakers. This was a fresh experience that gave a completely different feeling from playing with PA speakers”. Attention for the technical is an important element for Ena in the creation of abstract minimal sounds. This also came forward in a recent article about cables on RA.
Musically he played a variety of instruments which shaped his skills. Pivotal artists in his musical development are Joni Mitchell’s Shadow and Light, Jimi Hendrix’ Axis: Bold as Love,and more recently First Avenue’s – First Avenue and Ellen Arkbro’s for Organ and Brass. “Apart from this, I’m really happy to have very talented musical friends, such as, Felix K, ASC, Sam KDC, FIS, Rashad Becker among others, that influence me a lot”.
As Ena is touring all over the world he’s confronted with various traditions of architecture. “I wasn’t really into architecture, but since I’ve been working on some documentary films made by architects I started getting into it”. This interest accumulated into the live show he did in 2016 with Felix K at Berlin’s Atonal festival. The performance was visually supported by a film made by Tokyo based filmmaker DBKN. “Seeing building in building was really interesting to see” therefore the accompanying artwork for this podcast is an image taken from that film. The way of traversing scales, from macro to micro, is also how you can experience Ena’s mix. A haunting trip constantly zooming in and exposing new densities and processes embedded in a dark industrial world.