Frameworks - Old Friend out now!
With the four tracks on this EP, it’s his songwriting that really comes to the fore. Lead track ‘Old Friend’ is a collaboration with fellow Mancunian JP Cooper. With echoes of Terry Callier and Cinematic Orchestra, it’s a haunting song, punctuated with lush string arrangements (a feature of all the tracks) and an outstanding vocal performance from JP.
Belleruche’s Kathrin deBoer features on ‘Breaks My Heart’ adding her breathy, effortless vocals to the mix. Probably the most accessible track on the EP, she adds another dimension to the EP in her inimitable style. The EP is rounded out by two horn-led instrumental tracks recalling influences such as Aim, Bonobo and RJD2.
- 1 week ago
Future Engineers “Exhale” interview
Q1: It’s been almost 16 years since the Future Engineers discography debut on Renegade Recordings in 1997, with the seminal “The Silence b/w Shattered”. Tell us a few words about how it all started and how you came up with the name “Future Engineers”?
A1: I moved to Glasgow in 1994 with the beginning of a small home studio. We locked ourselves in the studio for probably about two years until we both felt we were in a position to start sending out a demo. Back then we were trying to imitate producers like Photek, Source Direct, Foul Play, Hidden Agenda, Omni Trio to name a few. Every time a new release came out we like, damn we need to go back to the drawing board! Ha!
In 1996 we finally handed an early version of “The Silence” to KMC, an established Drum and Bass DJ in Scotland. Keith gave us really positive feedback and support for the track, which helped our confidence in the studio. It was at this point that we sent a DAT of “The Silence” to LTJ Bukem who went on to cut the track to dubplate. It was actually thanks to KMC that “The Silence” and “Shattered” were signed to Renegade Recordings. Keith was cutting some of our tracks in Music House, London when Clayton from Renegade heard “Shattered” being cut and pounced on him to find out who it was by. This led to us sending him a DAT with some other tracks, one of which was “The Silence”.
In terms of the name “Future Engineers”, we were both heavy X-Files fans and we used to always record it on VHS for samples. We were trying to think of an Artist name for our production and there was a scene where the words “Engineers” and “Future” were in the same sentence, so we though the two sounded good together. I suppose the name may have contributed to our sound going forward, we were always in to all the sci-fi, futuristic, soundscape, atmospherics anyway…
Q2: You were initially based in Glasgow, Scotland, where you hooked up with fellow-Scot and established drum and bass producer KMC; a synergy that led to a couple of immaculate releases on Temple Music. Would you say that this was the ignition point for the successful career that readily followed?
A2: I think hooking up with KMC and Temple Music played an integral part in our musical development and direction as Producers and DJ’s. Keith was a well-respected DJ on rotation at Speed back then and I think having someone else we could join forces with was a real benefit. Having a Glasgow based outlet for our production through Temple Music definitely served as a catalyst for the releases ahead…
Q3: Not long after your first releases, you joined the Partisan Recordings collective and FE was responsible for Partisan’s inaugural release, followed by two more 12”s in 1998. Signing with Partisan exposed your music to wider audiences, during an era, when drum and bass was dominated by tech-oriented, dark productions, sometimes obsessed with sophisticated drum edits. FE however, emerged as champions (alongside Blame & KMC) of a more atmospheric sound in contrast to the trend of that period. Had you ever thought at the time that you were defining a blueprint soon to be followed by many producers?
A3: I think producers very rarely appreciate the significance of what they’re writing at the time. It’s not until years later when you meet people who have grown up with and been inspired by your music, that you really get a sense of how important the music is to people. The late nineties was a special time for drum and bass and we’re glad to have been a part of that and are fortunate enough like most producers from that era, to have the majority of our discography released on vinyl, so there is a physical memory out there of our past and where we’ve come from…
In regards to the style we were producing, I guess we were just amalgamating all the stuff that influenced us at the time. We loved all the uplifting musical stuff and always got a buzz from the dance floor aspect of drum and bass too, so I guess we were trying to cater for both sides of the fence. We were also starting to DJ more and we wanted to be able to drop tracks in our set that would have dance floor impact but still retain some musicality for the home listener.
Q4: Shortly after, you were signed by the Good Looking Organisation and a string of highly influential releases on GLR and its sub-labels was released to critical acclaim, receiving overwhelming reviews by the press and fans. You remained under the GLO umbrella for almost 7 years, how do you reminisce your GLO days, being part of one of the key labels of the drum and bass scene?
A4: It was amazing for us as young producers to have an outlet for our music through Good Looking Records. Back then there was more of a monopoly on the scene, certainly for the genre in which we were producing. Signing to Good Looking was just the natural progression for us at the time.
I remember hearing “Time Shift” being played by Bukem at Logical Progression, Ministry of Sound London. It was probably one of the first times we had heard our music played out on a proper club sound system and we were blown away by how different the music translated in a club. Personally, I think one of the best feelings you can have as a producer is hearing and seeing the reaction your music has for people of all ages and cultures.
Q5: After a 3 year hiatus, in 2006 you terminated your exclusive contract with Good Looking in an amicable fashion and shortly after you emerged ever so prolific with a number of appearances on labels such as Camino Blue, ASC’s Covert Operations and Electrosoul System’s KOS.MOS Music. The sound the aforementioned labels championed wasn’t too dissimilar to your productions; was it the main reason for the collaborations?
A5: Yeah, PBK, ASC and Electrosoul System have all become friends along the way. Certainly due to like-minded appreciation for the music we all produced. Electrosoul system booked me for a gig in Moscow in early 2000 and Andy (Andrey Burtaev aka Electrosoul System) gave me a CD of about ten tracks and they all seriously blew me away! I consider this to be one of the driving forces behind the motivation for my production to follow. The music that Andy had produced, which was clearly inspired by our music, then went on to inspire me to continue developing my music. At the end of the day, music is inspired by music…
Q6: Apart from your production skills, you have been dexterous remixers as well (remixing tracks from the likes of Future Loop Foundation, Electrosoul System, Matizz, ICR, Pariah, Scarlet Lake and LM1). When invited to do a remix what is the approach in terms of musical and technical matters you have always in mind?
A6: When I approach a remix, I try to retain some key elements from the original and also try to add a new angle or interpretation to the track. Sometimes however, it can turn a completely new direction and the parts used from the original are almost unrecognizable. Unless the artist has given some guidance on a particular style or direction they wish me to take (which is rare), the approach is generally no different to a track I’d produce from scratch. Sometimes there might be a particular sound or hook from the original that I think, yes that could be interested if used a certain way and that can often inspire the direction of the mix.
Q7: In 2010 you eventually decided to create your own imprint Transference Recordings, mainly to release your own material. What is the ethos of the label and what does it take for a new (or even a well-established producer) to draw your attention and sign him?
A7: Yes, Transference is primarily an outlet for Future Engineers material; however, building relationships with other producers and labels is something I really want to work on going forward. Of course, if something strikes a chord, then I don’t see why I wouldn’t release it. It’s hard to pin point a sound or particular style for the label, I guess it’s just something that feels right when you hear it. Originality is important of course to make a track stand out and it would need to have substance and musicality for it be memorable and stick in peoples minds.
Q8: You have just had the 3rd release on Transference (Exhale Compilation) featuring new FE material and remixes by fellow artists Cutworks and Electrosoul System. Apart from “Scratch In The Surface”, which you can tell by a mile that it is a Future Engineers track, you have explored new musical paths, not deviating though from the traditional drum and bass tempo. Are you planning to proceed in a similar fashion?
A8: I consciously set out to have a variety of styles on the compilation. The bulk of the tracks are primarily aimed at the dance floor but tracks like “Exhale” and “Dystopia” have given me the opportunity to experiment a bit more with the music and the beats. It is quite nice to work on music and not have the restraints of “dance floor compatibility” in the back of your mind. So I would like to work on some more experimental releases going forward. The flexibility of digital I think also gives you more freedom to experiment.
Q9: What are your future plans; any FE album on the cards, or material in another music genre?
A9: I have a few remix projects in the pipeline this year. One of which is a remix of a Mav track called “Makati Oasis”. This is forthcoming on Mav’s Sounds of the Deep LP along with other tracks remixed by Seba, Bungle, Chris Su, ASC, LM1 and Paul SG. The second is a remix of a Kredit track called “Ascending Red”. The remix is schedule for release on Advection Music at some point this year.
I also have a couple of brand new FE tracks planned on Kos.Mos Music later this year, plus there will be some single releases planned for Transference along with some remixes too hopefully.
After that, we’ll see how it goes; maybe there’ll be time to think about a Future Engineers album… When I do venture in to this territory, I will definitely be delving in to some material at a different BPM again for sure!
- 2 weeks ago
Calibre interview about his freshly released new album: Spill
I caught up with Calibre to talk about new album Spill and asked when he knew it was done.
Calibre: I suppose it would be around 2 years, I don’t normally spend that amount of time on an album but I felt I had to have a pause to retain the interest factor, but it also allowed me to view the material differently, which meant that older tracks appear on the line up. As to when it was finished, well that was actually a great struggle, I had many changes. When I made the track ‘Wilderness’ with Steo it felt like it was finally done for some reason.
DB: The cover and title reminds me of Overflow in that sometimes I wonder if you have to channel all the ideas and thoughts that don’t manifest in music by drawing and other activities, is that right?
C: I see it as another place for expression, I always have been drawn to visual art, in my early years my family would encourage me in this direction so it has remained part of the story for me. It’s important to understand that I grew up in an unhappy environment and artistic pursuits seemed more poignant to me, there was a keen sense of need. But now I can merge the 2 worlds, and hopefully in the future this will become a constant theme.
DB: Who are your fave visual artists?
C: I grew up being into Salvador dali, Max Ernst, HR Giger, Francis Bacon, Kadinsky, but I don’t like the modern art scene; it seems like it’s reserved for those without a soul, which is ironic no? I also love Robert Crumb, Joe Sacco and the more leftfield comics I could find, I think for me they had more political import than the painters of yesterday, I think that that art as a medium for expression is like music, it has fractured into many relevant pieces that don’t exist on the broader surface.
DB: I love the collabs on the album. I have my fave tracks. But what about you: what ones are close to your heart on there?
C: Thank you, the collaborations gave me something a little bit different and that has encouraged me to follow this path for the next lp which will be a journey of collaborations over the next year, one which I have already started. My favourite track would probably be ‘Sick Of It All’ because it feels a bit different than the rest.
DB: If you think back, when was a lot of the album done, re time of day? Is it mainly morning, evening? Or is that irrelevant?
C: The time of day isn’t really relevant, I’d say it becomes an instinctive feeling that you recognize over time, it doesn’t really feel finished for me until I get the master back.
DB: If you close your eyes and in your mind you select an album from a record collection what sleeve are you holding? You have 10 seconds ha ha.
C: Well I have to admit I took longer than 10 seconds… for some reason it’s another green world by Brian Eno, I loved the BBC documentary Arena intro theme which uses a track of this album, I wish there was a really long version of it.
DB: I am proud to say I have seen you DJ many times. Is this a place you feel comfortable, or are you happier in the world of the studio?
C: Oh that’s easy: I’m a lot happier in a studio, I feel like I’m closer to the source or whatever that thing is. I have had a real fight with myself and DJing over the years so sometimes it feels like I suffer for it a bit, but I also think that because I have played predominantly my own material over the years so I get sick of myself ha ha.
by: Damian B
- 2 weeks ago
TRICKY - FALSE IDOLS LP (!K7)
Tricky is back. Back with a new studio album, False Idols, and his own label (also bearing the False Idols name), but also back in a personal sense. “I was lost for ages”, he says. “I was trying to prove something to people, trying to do something to please other people and also myself at the same time, which is never going to work. To be honest with you, I’ve been floating around since Chris Blackwell and Island. My last two albums, I thought they were good, but I realise now they weren’t. This album is about me finding myself again.”
It opens with a cover of a Van Morrison song, “Somebody’s Sins”, which sees Tricky and vocalist Francesca Belmonte whispering “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine” over a sparse groaning bass. The lead single “Parenthesis,” which features a vocals from Peter Silberman of The Antlers, has more rhythmic grunt, which gives a different dimension to the dark gothic atmosphere that pervades the record. No-one does this kind of thing better.
The resemblance to Maxinquaye is undeniable, though the material on False Idols is gentler; more mature. Many of the songs feature artists signed to Tricky’s new label, including 24-year Londoner Francesca Belmonte and Fifi Rong. The album also includes collaborations with Nigeria’s new global star Nneka, the afore-mentioned Peter Silberman. In the months before the album’s release, False Idols will also release an EP “Matter of Time” showcasing the label’s roster on new non-album material produced by Tricky.
Why the name False Idols? “Because there’s so much bollocks going on at the moment mate,” Tricky fires back. “People follow celebrities and read every little thing they do. It’s living vicariously through someone else. Get your own life. All this stuff is false idols. “In this new album I’ll stand behind every track,” Tricky says. “I don’t care whether people like it. I’m doing what I want to do, which is what I did with my first record. That’s what made me who I was in the beginning. If people don’t like it, it don’t matter to me because I’m back where I was.”
for more infos and pre order: www.trickysite.com/false-idols/
- 4 weeks ago