VA – Air Texture Vol.7 [AIR007LP]

Since launching in 2011, James Healy’s Air Texture label and compilation series has become something of an institution within the ambient scene. As with its predecessors, the seventh volume in the series has been jointly compiled by two artists with an existing musical relationship, in this case Rrose and Silent Servant. Their selections are on point, drowsily drifting between academic ambient compositions (see Rrose and James Fei’s “For Bass Clarinet 8.97 (Rrose Version)”, uncomfortable electronic explorations (Ron Morelli, Anthony Child), modular movements (Not Waving), jazz-flecked deep space soundscapes (Luke Slater), horror-influenced throb-jobs (Phase Fatale, June & An-i) and 1990s style ambient electronica (Octa Octa, Function).

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VA – Air Texture Vol.7 [AIR007LP]

Surgeon – From Farthest Known Objects [DTRLP003]

The seventh Surgeon album. Anthony Child claims that the inspiration for his seventh artist album came from using hardware to receive transmissions from far-flung galaxies. He then hooked up with astrophysicist Dr Andrew Read – a former collaborator – to work out the bewildering track titles. That’s the concept. The reality is that From Farthest Known Objects is a dense, grainy work. It feels like Child has deconstructed or in some more extreme situations has hacked away at tropes like minimalism, clicks and cuts and dub step to reveal an inner, hidden world. On the first few tracks, this alternate reality resounds to a sluggish pace, amid the crackle and groan of cleaved percussion and tortured subs, but it gradually comes round to stepping, broken beat techno and lunging rhythms. That these also descend into pulverising walls of white noise and nausea-inducing frequency shifts at times also serve as a reminder that Child has tuned into something other or inner-worldly.

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Surgeon – From Farthest Known Objects [DTRLP003]

Surgeon interview

Surgeon DJ

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Surgeon DJ
Surgeon DJing at The Bunker, NYC.

Are there DJs that you’re still looking to for inspiration?

Sure, of course. Quite recently I realized it had been a long time since I’d really connected with a lot of music that Jeff Mills had been releasing. But then I heard him play a set on this Japanese streaming site, and it really clicked. I was in Japan at the beginning of May, and I pretty much listened to the soundtrack to Blade Runner non-stop. I was really, really jetlagged and I was walking around in this kind of haze and it was really amazing. I’ve kind of got a bit obsessed with the soundtrack now.

I remember a long time ago Jeff saying how big an influence Blade Runner was for him. So the whole thing kind of made sense when I heard his set on that site. I saw one of his records that he was playing, and it said “Blade Runner” on it, and the whole thing came together. It’s really exciting to feel connected again to Jeff’s music. There’s really been a lack of sci-fi in techno for a long time I think.

It seems like you’ve all gone away from it a little bit.

Yeah, I mean it doesn’t have to be like this obvious and corny thing. Do you know what I mean? There can be music with some kind of sense of… you could almost call it science fiction… but it’s not quite.

What else are you excited about right now in terms of the future? What’s next?

Well, I’m doing a live audio-visual thing at the Awakenings Festival tomorrow. I’ve done a few live A/V things. But I’ve reworked it a lot. It’s a lot deeper now. I’m working quite closely with my wife, who is doing the VJing, in choosing the source material.

So many times DJing, I will turn around and look at the screen behind me and think, “That really doesn’t connect with the kind of feeling or message that I’m trying to get across.” Controlling it makes it a more complete experience. A lot of the source material comes from very old Super 8 footage. Stuff from Derek Jarman and Richard Kern as well. We also managed to get a hold of some material from the first-ever motion pictures which is pretty interesting in the way that you have this kind of deterioration. The artifacts in the material. You have this organic source material, but you’re presenting in a way that’s not.

That’s quite science fiction in a way.

Yeah, I think there’s a very deep concept with this where it comes back to—and is most easily described as—the Kraftwerk man-machine idea. That’s an idea that crops up very frequently in science fiction, doesn’t it? The merging of human and machine.

Published / Tue, 24 Aug 2010

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Photo credits /

Brtish Murder Boys live – Umeda Wataru
Live at The Bunker – Seze Devres

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Surgeon interview

Surgeon – Compliance Momentum [DTR010]

Two tracks of advanced techno transmissions from the one and only Surgeon! ‘Compliance Momentum’ is the first new Surgeon release in three years (not counting the “live” release ‘Hello Oslo’), making an assuredly solid return to the scene with two pure and incremental progressions of his legendary style. ‘Compliance Momentum’ bravely shows his ability to draw in outside influences while remaining resolutely techno.

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Surgeon – Compliance Momentum [DTR010]