Thanks to our wonderful friends at Thoughtless Music, I’m proud to announce that the long-anticipated Dirt Thief EP is finally out this week. It’s more slightly ‘garij’-infused proto-techno from myself, with some brilliant remixes by Safeword, Jens Bond and Tomas Jirku, and features one of my favorite B-side cuts of the year, “Safe Passage”. You can hear previews HERE and, incase you missed if the first time, catch a little video of myself performing the aforementioned track at Electron Festival in Geneva earlier this year – right here:
I’m sitting aboard Air Berlin’s morning-flight to Moscow, traveling with fellow dj’s Dave Vega and the inimitable Ewan Pearson – all 3 of us bracing ourselves for the wilds of Russian summer-hospitality and all it entails. Previous trips have involved their fare-share of surprises for the uninitiated – brothels, vodka, more vodka, pole-dancers, fried-bread and dried fish, starched white collars framing sunken eyes and thick necks, and breathtakingly beautiful women in heels which are entirely impractical to all by the highly-skilled. If I live through further incarnations, I’ll be sure to learn the leathered mother-tongue, along with some Cyrillic. As things stand, my Russian history is in dire need of brushing-up, and my daily Deutschsprachen is keeping more than busy already.
I play LIVE tonight at Flacon Cube Club, returning tomorrow to play again in Berlin.
This month, on the eve of a upcoming (and tightly-booked!) Australian, New Zealand and US tours, I’m happy to be able to offer a couple of much-needed dj-mix updates, for your listening pleasure. Firstly, episode 6 of my Diversions radio-podcast series – my ongoing foray into all things ambient, experimental, contemporary-classical and dubwise. For me, Diversions is something of an exercise in unwitting musical anthropology, and an opportunity to weave together disparate threads of musical-influence, in a format less demanding and restricted than the deepchild ‘club’ template. You can check episode 6 out here along with previous episodes.
Secondly, and focused squarely on the bass-bins, is a new dj-promo mix, ahead of the upcoming slew of shows. Take a listen here. On that note, I’m excited to be working with new management, in the form of the highly-respected Dan Cole, who’s currently overseeing booking and licensing-requests, and offering me further reason to ensure that my liver is in check in times of stress. Any and all Deepchild-related requests are best directed to him, via firstname.lastname@example.org
Closer to home in Berlin, I’ve been willingly shackled to my DAW of choice, Ableton Live, working on making headway with mastering the new, and rather special Push hardware-surface, and generating new material for some new, rather lo-fi techno projects. I’ve been sifting through found-sound recordings via www.archive.org, recording the line-hum of my badly-grounded synthesizer collection, looping washes of static until they become mantras. And so it goes. Sonic anthropology, wading through the lives of others, ‘cross Bardos and twilight realms. All whilst the Berlin sun (finally) beats down after a long, cold winter.
In the midst of increasingly busy times, I’m not only thankful for excellent management, but for unique community of friends – both those who continue to set the bar higher for artistic-integrity, and those who don’t perform music at all. Berlin’s utopic freedom can easily degenerate into myopic nihilism, were it not for the voices of solitude, sanity, and simple reminders that our ‘smears on the canvas’ are as ridiculous and inconsequential as they are needed.
I’m reminded, often, of talks with the very dear TJ Eckleberg, himself a brilliant artist – and, moreover, one who values ‘practice’ as a central ‘dharmic’ choice, rather than a necessary evil. The older I become, the more I’m inclined to feel that ‘practice’, in a sense, is ALL there is. The practice we do for 5-7 hours a day with our instruments, our craft…the practice on stage, the practice spent on long-haul flights, the practice of every out-breath. The practice of going to sleep. The practice of learning to stop caring so much.
Perhaps it might be helpful to care a little less, and practice a little more?
“Better to operate with detachment, then; better to have a way but infuse it with a little humor; best, to have no way at all but to have instead the wit constantly to make one’s way anew from the materials at hand.” - Lewis Hyde
When I was growing up, I was very-much sold the Anglo-Capitalist narrative that being an ‘artist’ was, in effect, being a ‘conduit for the divine’ – in a sense which implicitly denied that “non-artists” could access this special insight – that those with more mundane vocations and cares had nothing to add to the cannon. These days, I feel compelled that, as an artist, my ‘calling’ (if indeed this word is a helpful one – what of those who’ve never heard the ‘voice’?) is, at least in part, to dismantle, to examine, to question this narrative.
The very same fables which suggests that artists are ‘specially gifted’ channels for the divine-voice is the story which sells consumer-goods to already full houses, and processed chicken-wings in buckets.
The very same voice which tells us we can ‘transcend’ or we ‘should transcend’ or ‘think bigger’ is the voice which implants and sustains neurosis of those learning the quiet joy of practice. I mean, god, what else do we want? If our dreams are always ‘too small’, how can our desire ever be satiated? There’s a darkness hidden in the shadows which demand ‘transcendence’ and increasing ‘abundance‘. What do these words REALLY mean? Are they useful, and are they kind?
Much, too, has been spoken of about ‘vulnerability’ as being core to both honest artistic-practice, and any functional-relationship. On the flip-side, the cult of the ‘talent show’ or the ‘self-help’ blog sees a latter-day elevation of public confession and tailored vulnerability elevated to the realms of high-commerce – the post-human, the almost oddly invulnerable and codified. Tears and confessions as signifiers of ‘authenticity’. Public-confession of sins past and present as tickets to the Kingdom of Saleability. Lines crossed, granted, by most of us, with some frequency.
I’m not interested in being callous or cruel, but there’s a corollary here, too, one I’m fascinated in following up – a particularly Western fascination with fetishising suffering, separatism, redemption, perceived ‘triumph’ over adversity – yet when ‘adversity’ doesn’t exist, the imperative seems, increasingly, to fabricate OR brutally constructit – to perpetuate the cycle of discontent, of consumption, under the guise of ‘authenticity’. There’s a tragedy here, and emotional poverty at play which is acutely dissarming.
The question remains, as ever, for the artist – perhaps my ‘suffering’ is legitimate enough – and perhaps it’s a reality which needs no justification, or clean and clear resolution or triumphant divinely-breathed artistic response.
Increasingly, too, I feel in deep debt (incase you didn’t pick it up) to artistic-cultures which embrace a sense of restraint, of silence, of leaving things unsaid. It feels like a necessary antidote to so much white-noise…
Perhaps, just perhaps our presence in the midst of practice and struggle is enough.