New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Monthly Archives: December 1997

Best CDs of 1997

  1. Chiastic Slide Autechre (Warp) Arid yet fanciful, Autechre (Sean Booth and Rob Brown) rebukes the suggestion that machines must be “humanized” in order for them to sing.

  2. Autoditacker Mouse on Mars (Thrill Jockey) Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner construct daydreamy soundtracks for everyday life, impressionist strolls through the Information Age.

  3. Richard D. James Album Aphex Twin (Warp/Sire) The man of many pseudonyms outs himself with a personal, mostly instrumental record, ranging from elegant contemporary classical to Ween-like pranksterism.

  4. Hard Normal Daddy Squarepusher (Warp) Drum’n’bass means staggered, bubbling, relentlessly shifting; Tom (Squarepusher) Jenkinson is among its foremost dealers.

  5. Delivery Scanner (Rawkus/Primitive) Robin (Scanner) Rimbaud lifts intimate moments from unguarded portable phones, and ups their emotional intensity with improvisatory de facto soundtracks.

  6. Soothing Sounds for Baby, Vol. 1 Raymond Scott (Basta) As the burgeoning electronic-music community casts back in time for a legacy to claim, it couldn’t have asked for a more eccentric uncle than Scott; this reissue dates from early ’60s.

  7. Lunatic Harness µ-ziq (Astralwerks) The calypso of the recent future.

  8. Matmos Matmos (Vague Terrain) Perhaps the finest debut of the year — experiments in concrete music, sampling, and atmospherics. A minor-key miracle of home taping and sonic construction by Drew Daniel and m.c. Schmidt, aka Matmos. Though the elements seem austere and experimental, all snippets of near-silent effluvia, the results are strangely poppy — at times sounding like like an Oval remix of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Addictive.

  9. Bricolage Amon Tobin (Ninja Tune) Like labelmate Funki Porcini, Tobin unearths drum’n’jungle rhythms in the strangest, most familiar places. (Also check out the followup EP, Piranha Breaks.)

  10. Homogenic Bjork (Elektra) Few have managed to sing atop electronica (actually only a segment of this album) without muffling it.

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Bric House

In 1997, Amon Tobin spoke about the sampling philosophy behind his Latin-tinged full-length album, Bricolage.

By the fall of 1997, when the following interview took place, Amon Tobin had released a small flurry of Latin-themed drum’n’bass, including a full-length album and three EPs.

Born in Brazil, based in London, drawing sample material largely from American jazz and South and Central American percussion — Tobin was making brisk, international music, with complex beats and cinematic aspirations.

The album, Bricolage, was his debut under his own name, though he’d previously released a full-length, Adventures in Foam, under the pseudonym Cujo.

Just over a week before Christmas, Tobin took time to talk about his music, about his sampling philosophy, and about the music of his peers.

“I spend 90 percent of my time listening and 10 percent making music,” he said, going on to express affection for Aphex Twin, who occasionally uses cut-up voice samples, and for Scanner, who makes atmospheric backdrops to audio he captures on the surveillance equipment from which he takes his name. Tobin himself prefers not to employ vocals, saying, “I’m not that interested in using something that defines what the music’s about so clearly.”

But on the phone from London, he spoke clearly and patiently about his detailed, nuanced and rhythmically rich art. The full interview, lightly edited, appears below.

Marc Weidenbaum: You’ve released a lot of music that involves Brazilian and, in general, South and Central American percussion. How are your Piranha Breaks EP, the Mission 12″, the Bricolage album, the Chomp Samba EP related?

Amon Tobin: I think a little too much was made of my using Latin breaks in my music because I used a lot of samba and bossa nova, and general batucada percussion, in my productions. I think there’s an awful lot of power in this kind of music for use in contemporary … drum’n’bass, whatever you want to call it. A lot of people have made the connection to do with my having been born in Brazil, and that might have something to do with it. I’m always saying it’s not really that at all. I just think that strong percussion, if it’s really good, I’ll use it in a track. Those records you mention are linked because they all use South American or Central American music in their production. I think they’re just really good rhythms and they haven’t really been exploited that much recently. Whenever you get — I hesitate to use the word “fusion” — but whenever you get that in contemporary music with samba, for instance, you tend to end up with a very happy, “let’s have a party” sound, with the cowbells and the whistles and whatever. And I quite wanted to experiment with the darker side of Latin percussion.

Weidenbaum: You were born in Brazil?

Tobin: I was born there and left when I was quite young, and came to Europe, and then I went back again when I was about three or four, and lived there for a few more years, and came back to England again, and lived in lots of other places in between. Been pretty much scattered around really.

Weidenbaum: What did your parents do?

Tobin: My mom went off, it wasn’t really a job, she and some friends decided to go off when I was abut two years old to Europe on a hippie trail, I guess you could call it, wandered around Europe. I don’t take any responsibility for what she did.

Weidenbaum: You and Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin, have shown in your recordings how the rhythms we associate with today’s electronic music, especially with drum’n’bass, have been around for some time.

Tobin: Oh, yeah, sure. Everything seems to have come from something else at some stage. I think it’s quite healthy that rhythms and music generally mutate and mix with other things. It’s quite interesting to go right back to the beginnings in some ways and see what’s there. Some rhythms have been so far removed from where they originated, they’ve become completely different. It’s useful to look back and see what was there in the first place.

Weidenbaum: On the Bricolage tracks “Creatures” and “One Day in My Garden” you seem to be constructing your own jazz from pre-existing material.

Tobin: Everything I use, including percussion, is very chopped up. The idea is to take something that exists in a different context and manipulate it in such a way that it works in a different context, along with a whole range of other sounds that have also come from other places and might not have come together in a natural situation. So, yeah, everything, including the rhythms, are very chopped up. I like to work with sometimes three and four drum samples and chop them up and go in between them and use the kick from one break, the snare from another break. The same way, I might do with a saxophone. On “One Day in My Garden,” I think there are three different sources where I got the saxophone and I got them together to create one melody.

Weidenbaum: When you used the title Bricolage for your album, were you thinking of the way the term is explored in Claude Levi-Strauss’ book of anthropolgy, The Savage Mind?

Tobin: I wasn’t really making any kind of cultural statement. I was using the term bricolage really with a view to things working within a particular environment, and not necessarily being used in the same way they were intended to be used. I don’t think what I’m doing is unique; I’m just trying to focus on this aspect because it’s what really interests me about the sampler and the way music’s made these days. This whole thing to do with bricolage was to do with sounds originating somewhere and being used by other people in quite a subversive way, not necessarily in the way they were intended to be used, working in a different way. I often use an analogy about this tribe that used television to communicate with spirits. Even though that’s not what TV is meant for, it worked perfectly within their environment.

Weidenbaum: William Gibson, the cyberpunk novelist, has said something along the lines of how “the street has its own use for things.”

Tobin: That’s right. You use things in whatever way they work for you.

Weidenbaum: You’re often constructing something that isn’t unfamiliar, yet making it feel new, like the walking bass line on “Creatures.”

Tobin: I really want there to be — the important thing about music is the power to, when you’re in a certain place and hear a certain tune it might bring you right back to somewhere in your life. Music really does that: it takes you right back to a particular moment in time, or it might remind you of a person, or whatever. The idea of using samples, they come directly from somewhere in time, people might not necessarily recognize where they come from, but there might be some subliminal recognition of the sound and they might feel close to it in some ways.

Weidenbaum: What kind of set up do you use?

Tobin: I only use a sampler, an AKAI S3000. I don’t use any synthesizers or keyboards or anything like that. Obviously I use a keyboard to trigger sounds and stuff, but all my sounds come from other sounds.

Weidenbaum: Do you use a computer along with the AKAI?

Tobin: I use Cubase on the Mac. For a long time I was working with a Performa, and just recently I got myself a PowerMac.

Weidenbaum: It’s incredible how accessible the materials and equipment are to produce such music.

Tobin: I think it’s great. Tech is becoming more and more accessible, and cheaper, so people who might not have been able to get their hands on an orchestra are able to experiment with those sounds. Of course there are restrictions and limitations in the way you can use those sounds, but that’s part of the creative process itself.

Weidenbaum: Before you recorded under your own name, you recorded under a pseudonym, Cujo. You released an album, Adventures in Foam.

Tobin: I dunno. The Cujo thing, it’s no longer running, I had to stop it in the end, but it was just a name really. You kind of think, you should have a really cool name. The album was out quite a while ago over here [in England], in a different format as well. I was quite upset with Shadow [Records] record, with how they edited that album. I thought it was edited quite badly. Tracks don’t start where they should start, basic things like that. It’s quite insane, really.

Weidenbaum: You don’t see yourself exploring other pseudonyms.

Tobin: I’m quite concentrating on what I’m doing with Ninja Tune.

Weidenbaum: I picked up Joint Ventures, an album that collects collaborations, and you’re on a lot of them. Were you in charge of it?

Tobin: I tend to be quite a — I produce an awful lot of music, I seem to steam on. I was really into the idea of collaborating. There were quite a few people I wanted to do tracks with.

Weidenbaum: Could you talk about how, say, working with Curtis on the track “Scram” is different from working with Funki Porcini on “Z Cars”?

Tobin: Curtis just won’t go above 86 bpm or something, he just refuses, he’s got his set of rules and he’s sticking by them. James [Bradell, aka Funki Porcini] is a different story. We did the collaboration a while ago. I don’t know, I suppose it’s different with everyone, but it’s interesting because you learn an awful lot working with other people from the way they approach problems and deal with them. It’s a very useful thing to do.

Weidenbaum: A little more about the Porcini. Could you recollect the circumstance under which that Joint Ventures track was made?

Tobin: I went up to his house and we did it in a night, and then he worked on it more by himself afterwards, added some horns and vocal samples as well. We did it quite quickly; I tend to do that anyway, I like to get really stuck into something and not stop until it’s finished, and that’s how we went with it, really. But it was a strange one, because I was quite nervous, actually. I was really a big fan of James for a long time, and it was the first time we really met, the first time we worked together.

Weidenbaum: When did you first start making music?

Tobin: I’d been messing around with different instruments for a long time, but I didn’t really start making it professionally until three years ago.

Weidenbaum: Do you aspire to play a traditional instrument. Are you fully satisfied with modern technology?

Tobin: I wish I’d learned one instrument and become really competent on that one instrument, but I think that my instrument now is the sampler, and that’s what I’m focused on. I think there’s a lot more that can be done with it and I’m just skimming the surface, really. I’m not really interested in using live instruments at all. I could get session musicians in or whatever as well, and sessions to do samples for me, but I’m really quite into using sounds that come from other places.

Weidenbaum: Focusing in on jazz — do you have early memories of listening to jazz, did you come to it later on in life? Since the birth of rock, most people have tended to catch up with jazz later on, once they come up with whatever’s popular with their peers.

Tobin: I definitely was along those lines. I’m certainly no expert. What appeals to me about it is the fact that it can pretty much do what it wants, it’s very unrestricted as a form of music, it’s very free — and I’m not into music that has too many rules or regulations. I was into blues, I was into hip-hop, but jazz is quite recent.

Weidenbaum: Brazilian music, of course, has its links own to jazz, notably “Girl from Ipanema.” By making a new kind of jazz and emphasizing this Latin element, you’re kinda doing what Dizzy Gillespie did with Afro-Cuban jazz; you’re giving jazz what Sidney Bechet famously called the “Spanish tinge.”

Tobin: I’m a big fan of Stan Getz, Jobim, all that stuff, I really am. There’s a kind of melancholy in that music and a kind of darkness as well. It’s quite a natural thing. Brazilian music and jazz have always lent themselves to one another, so I think it’s quite a natural step to take if I’m using jazz music in my music to use Brazilian music as well.

Weidenbaum: There are those three off shoots of Bricolage

Tobin: How do you mean offshoots? Oh, the EPs. I’m kind of working on my next album, which is almost finished. There will probably be another single before the album is completed. It really hasn’t been worked out because I’m just producing tracks and doing a lot of DJing at the moment, but I should imagine there will be something out in spring or summer next year.

Weidenbaum: I saw you on one of the Ninja “stealth” tours, in San Francisco. It reminded me of the old package tours, like Motown used to do.

Tobin: It’s good, there’s quite a cross section of sounds, an eclectic night.

Weidenbaum: You seemed to have a different audience than, say, Up, Bustle and Out, who were also on the tour.

Tobin: It’s a strength of a label if it can be diverse and accept differences. People like different things, but they’re equally credible.

Weidenbaum: Could you discuss how a particular track on Bricolage was put together?

Tobin: I don’t really have a method, one particular way of doing it. I tend to approach it differently each time. Sometimes I have a load of sounds I’ve sampled, and I try and work within those samples. Sometimes I have just one sound or some breaks and it progresses in a more linear way. I don’t know, it’s quite an organic thing. It tends to, you know, evolve from one idea to another, and it’s quite rare that I end up with what I thought I was gonna end up with. Sometimes I might start with — “One Day in My Garden,” I might think that’s the way the track’s gonna end up, but suddenly a perverse aspect comes in and I go off on a tangent. And the nice thing is that you allow yourself to go off on a tangent and see what happens down that route and maybe come back again. I like to have little journeys in the tracks.

Weidenbaum: Who are your three or four favorite jazz musicians?

Tobin: I’m not an expert, but I am a huge fan of Stan Getz, I also like Eddie Palmieri, Thelonious Monk. I like people like Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, those Hammond players. Yeah, there’s an awful lot of people I like. I go by tracks — if I like a tune, I might not like other stuff the person’s done.

Weidenbaum: I like the idea that sampling is an expression of enthusiasm — rather than writing about something, you make music out of it.

Tobin: I only sample things I really love. It’s like saying, God this is fantastic, I want to do something with this.

Weidenbaum: Do you have lingering fears about copyrights.

Tobin: The thing is, the samples I use tend to be quite small, with the odd exception. Some things on the Cujo album are quite cheeky. It depends, really, how you work with the sounds — if you’re just taking something and using it in the same way as it was used before, I don’t think there’s really much point in doing that. Whereas, if you’re taking something and changing it into something new, I don’t see how you could be accused of plagiarism. You’re obviously taking something. I don’t know how it’s done legally in that sense. I tend not to think much about it because I’m using such small pieces, and I’m changing them so drastically, I doubt I’d ever get in too much trouble.

Weidenbaum: What are you listening to know — do you listen a lot?

Tobin: I spend 90 percent of my time listening and 10 percent making music. That’s the way it happens because I’m always looking for samples, always listening to stuff. I listen to an awful lot of soundtracks, old jazz records as well. Contemporary stuff? I’m really into Danny Breaks. I quite like Photek as well, I’m just talking about drum’n’bass now. I’m a big fan of Funki Porcini always; Lets See What Carmen Can Do is always in my box. New standards are set all the time by people and you can’t get complacent. That’s really good.

Weidenbaum: It’s a bit overwhelming how music is out there.

Tobin: The number of labels releasing stuff is quite insane. The more people who are doing it, the better the standard will get.

Weidenbaum: The record industry as an organized corporate body is under the impression it’s in a depression, yet you go to these small shops and there’s more than you could afford to buy.

Tobin: There’s really not much in common between the industry and the smaller labels that are quite genuine in their pursuit of good tunes.

Weidenbaum: Matt and Jonathan from Coldcut have had a different experience that the other artists on Ninja Tune, the label they founded. They had a mainstream existence before going underground. How aware are you of their success on the mainstream level?

Tobin: I don’t really speculate on the working of the Coldcut mind. I realize they worked with some big names and it gave them the opportunity to take their stuff further. I wouldn’t be recording for their label if they hadn’t had some success and been able to set it up.

Weidenbaum: Are there things you’re waiting for? Luke Vibert says wants more memory in his computer. Aphex Twin desires new input devices. What do you want?

Tobin: Time, more time, I want to be able, for instance, to go on tour, and while I’m doing the waiting, which is a lot of what you do on tour, I’d like to be able to be producing. So I guess the technology I’m waiting for is the sampler-sequencer I can take on the road with me, that’s small enough but is flexible enough for me to do tunes.

Weidenbaum: Sean Booth, of Autechre, says he does a lot of work on his portable computer.

Tobin: Yeah, but it’s difficult if you’re just working with samples. Because I use a quite lot of memory and flexibility in the sampler itself, I’ll probably wait until I can do that on tour.

Weidenbaum: So you’re fairly satisfied technologically?

Tobin: I’ve got more technology than I need. I don’t think the technology is the be all and end all of the production process. It starts and ends in your head, really, and you work with whatever you can.

Weidenbaum: This feels like the first time in a long time there’s been a music that’s both poplar and avant-garde.

Tobin: It’s so good to not have to do cheesy things to make a living. I’m always amazed that I can get away with experimenting to the extent that I do. Aphex Twin, as well. You listen to Come to Daddy, that’s another record I’m really into at the moment. It’s just brilliant that that stuff is cool at the moment, ’cause it’s so interesting as well.

Weidenbaum: You haven’t experimented much with vocals.

Tobin: I’m not that interested in using something that defines what the music’s about so clearly. The vocal tends to tell you what the track’s about: it’s a love song, or it’s whatever, and it kind of gives too much information away. I want the music to be more interactive, where people can put their own input into it.

Weidenbaum: Vocals are counter to your imagination?

Tobin: They explain a little too much. Then again, if I were making hip-hop I’d probably want to use vocals. Again, I’m not using live instruments, live people. I’m taking samples and if I started taking vocal samples, well that would be quite easy to spot.

Weidenbaum: Scanner seems to have —

Tobin: Yeah, definitely, Scanner’s done something unique with what he does with vocals — it holds pretty tight with what he does. But that’s his idea …

Weidenbaum: Is there much American music that you listen to?

Tobin: I used to listen to a lot of hip-hop, but as I make more and more music I tend to listen to more jazz than anything else.

Weidenbaum: Could you describe the nature of the Ninja Tune consortium of musicians?

Tobin: I wouldn’t like to do that. I can only really speak for myself. Wouldn’t want to speak for Ninja Tune. It’s quite exciting, all these influences and ideas flying around the whole place. It feels like something that’s about to go boom. I wouldn’t go any further than that.

Weidenbaum: Do you have health insurance, how formalized is your association with the label?

Tobin: I haven’t been offered health insurance so far — haven’t really looked at the contract. But I get a lot of support. I give them tracks all the time. The people in the office do an incredible job of sending out the tunes, and getting remixes, and arranging DJ dates and all that sort of stuff. It all goes a bit mad when you’ve actually got an album coming out. It’s when you see them really running around and working for you.

Weidenbaum: Do you like doing remixes?

Tobin: Sometimes more than other times.

Weidenbaum: I imagine at this stage you’re approached by people with whose music you’re not familiar?

Tobin: It’s a different thing completely. You just have to look at each one individually and take it like that.

Weidenbaum: There haven’t been many remixes of your work.

Tobin: It has to be people I really, really like. I don’t want to say anything but I think something’s in the pipeline that could be quite great.

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Anatomy of a Remix

Patrick Carpenter of Ninja Tune's DJ Food talks about re-tuning a David Byrne song.

Talking Heads came of age during the late 1970s under the tutelage of producer Brian Eno. So, it’s no surprise that former Head David Byrne has turned, during his ’90s solo career, to the latest generation of electronic music synthesists. When time came to commission remixes of his latest album, Feelings (Luaka Bop/Sire), Byrne called Ninja Tune Records’ DJ Food.

Contacted to discuss the remix, DJ Food member Patrick Carpenter says he is no stranger to the overlap of the electronic underground and mainstream pop; none other than George Michael has sampled DJ Food in the past (“It was wicked for me, because my sisters love George Michael,” he says). Carpenter had previously remixed Elvis Costello, as well as Sukia, Herbalizer, and Nightmares on Wax.

He constructed his remix of Byrne’s song “Fuzzy Freaky” on an AKAI S3000XL sampler and an Atari computer, running Creator sequencer software. A Luaka Bop spokesperson says the DJ Food remix will appear in early ’98.


0:00 – 1:02: “That little bit in the beginning was supposed to be the sound of the avenue where I live in Brixton. It’s very green and leafy and all the birds hang out there and then there’s a lot of music going on all the time. So that sort of rise and fall of that hip-hop loop is supposed to be a car coming and going. And there’s a little radio in there, someone switichin’ on a radio (0:24). There’s one set of birds that come from a Just Ice album. And there’s another set of birds which — my friend works in a sound library in Soho and he occasionally downloads some little sound effects for me.”

0:40 [gong]: “It’s a waterphone, a percussion instrument that uses water. It had an attack at the front, and I stretched the end, made the sound longer.”

1:04 – 2:00 [Byrne’s jittery vocal]: “The track I started working on was 136 beats a minute and it had a heavy swing. To make the vocal fit, I cut it up into syllables, but it sounded crap. I still had all these vocals cut up into syllables, so I put little loops in each syllable.”

2:01 – 3:47 [instrumental jam]: “It’s just really a slow process of building up and cutting down and building up and cutting down. What helps the track is that there is no reverb or delay in there, so each sound is specifically placed.”

4:23 [harp]: “It comes off an easy-listening record.”

4:44 – 5:52 [instrumental jam repeats]: “Between the two verses I wanted to have something, and then it just seemed to be a natural thing at the end of the second verse.”

5:53 – 7:01 [girl chorus]: “When I first heard [the girl’s voice] in the headphones it was so lovely — I had to make it prominent, and also, as a balance between David Byrne’s cutup vocal and a long sort of free-ish vocal. When [DJ Food’s] Kev listens to it he’s gripping the arms of the chair because it’s so tense and stop-start, and then the girl comes in and he just relaxes.”

3:13 & 5:08 [Byrne’s snarl]: “He’s so mad. When I heard that I cracked up. Imagine him in front of the microphone, going nih nih nih. I had to throw that in. And, as a result, I’m not sure if it works that well.”

7:02 – 8:05 [Byrne’s vocal joins the girl chorus]: “The only bit I used, actually, from ‘Fuzzy Freaky’ was a little hand bell percussion bit and the vocal. Not even all the vocals, because I didn’t have enough sample space.”


Originally published in Pulse! magazine, November 1997.
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Pump Up the HTML

Coldcut's Matt Black on electronica, life as an indie mogul, and wired fatherhood

Three facts regarding Matt Black. One: He is half of the DJ duo Coldcut. Two: Black and Coldcut’s second half, Jonathan More, are the co-founders, -owners, and -operators of Ninja Tune Records, home to electronic music luminaries Funki Porcini, Amon Tobin, and DJ Food. Three: Matt Black likes his toys.

A visit to Ninja Tune’s Internet home page — much of which Black programmed — confirms the toy fixation, though return trips are required for one to navigate fully all of the strange tangents, data wells, and banks of animation and music. As if in a house overrun by children, one need not wander much further than the entrance in order to stumble over playthings. The web site ( portrays the record label’s logo as a Nintendo game and as a Tamagotchi, one of those virtual pets that expires if neglected. (Ninja’s site was at the appropriately named at the time of this article’s original publication.)

The site also renders Black and partner More as colorful little children’s dolls, albeit hipster dolls whose accessories include not only mixer, turntables, and headphones, but three-day stubble and Buddy Holly glasses. Among the Ninja Tune site’s varied “content” is an engaging contraption called My Little Funkit, a virtual drum machine filled with half a megabyte of recombinant ambient, jungle, house, and drum’n’bass music samples. And Coldcut’s latest album, which combines many of these same samples with such studio ingenuity and fresh funk as to assure its place among 1997’s finest, is titled, simply, Let Us Play.

“Really, that’s just marking time,” Black says of Funkit, which is included on Let Us Play‘s bonus CD-ROM disc. “What we really want to do is put all this shit up there on the web with an interactive engine which you download and then you can actually just remix yourself, indefinitely.” What he says next come across like a threat: “And we’re very near, really, to being able to do that.”

Perhaps they are, and perhaps it is a threat. Black and More made Coldcut’s name and small fortune producing Lisa Stansfield, Eric B and Rakim, and Yazz, among others, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, straining all along with major-label politics and the mainstreaming of dance music. “It nearly finished us off,” he says. “Not an experience you get to repeat.” The tenure culminated with a brief, ill-fated stint at Arista, after which Coldcut retreated to the indie underground to do battle. Hence the cartoonish ninja warrior theme, the publicity-lite “Stealth” package tours of Ninja Tune luminaries — and, hence, the threat of remaking pop music in Coldcut’s own, cut’n’paste image. Black imagines a situation where listeners, enabled by technology, will have the final say over mixes, track sequences, even personnel. The new album opens with an adult male voice saying, “To get started turn the computer on. Now, press load and press the enter key.”

“I think what people call hypertext offers some fantastic possibilities for making new kinds of information spaces and entertainment engines,” says Black. The clinical lucidity of this description doesn’t do justice to the mad phonics that are Coldcut’s tunes. Let Us Play collects a dozen tracks of up-to-the-minute electronica, ranging from the anti-nuke dub confection “Atomic Moog 2000,” to the breakbeat of “Return to the Margin,” to the mechanized lullaby of “Music for No Musicians,” to the full-out trance of “Timber.” Upping the release’s kaleidoscopic breadth are the aforementioned CD-ROM disc (which includes eight complete videos, a trivia game, over 200 music samples, and more) and a slew of guests, among them former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra, confrontation poet Salena Saliva, ubiquitous tabla player Talvin Singh, and session drummer extraordinaire Bernard Purdie. Despite the rotating cast, though, the album is rich in intimate moments, like how a drum loop tweaks the rhythm of the album’s opening juju riff, or Chris Leslie’s fiddle solo on “Panopticon,” or the nostalgic reprisal of “More Beats and Pieces,” a flash back to Coldcut’s second, and now decade old, single.

Black mentions that somehow, while recording Let Us Play and running Ninja Tune, he managed to become a father. His son’s name is Ki, Japanese for “tree” and “cosmic life force” and lots of other things, according to Dad. Asked what he has learned from Ki, Black says, “Seeing a child learning and playing, playing without restriction or inhibition, is something that has stirred me and, I think, Jon as well — that stirred the soup of the album.”

Black confirms that is Ki’s voice which appears a few minutes after the album’s final song has ended. Little Ki, just like his father, putting out his best material — an infectious gurgle laugh — and waiting, expectantly, to be sampled.


What follows is the lightly edited transcript of the interview from which the above profile was derived:

Marc Weidenbaum: Thanks for taking the time.

Matt Black: We wouldn’t be doing it if it weren’t good for us. No hypocrisy there. What can I do for you, mate? What do you want to know?

Weidenbaum: Well, then, how is it good for you? What role does press coverage play in Coldcut’s popularity?

Black: That’s an extremely interesting question. It’s nice to be asked a question like that, actually. It’s a bit different from the normal, “So, how’s Lisa Stansfield doing?” or whatever — um, how important is press coverage in what Coldcut do? I really can’t tell you. All I can tell you is that we — our strategy is to mix hippie ideals with a certain amount of sound business practice, so we do things for reasons which make sense in terms of being the right thing and the positive thing to do, but also make sense on the business level as well. And we try to choose things which are combinations of those sorts of things, and that seems to be a formula that works, yeah? So, to do press coverage is something that’s positive for us, in terms of we can actually manifest the ideas we’re talking about, we can produce a manifesto which does get some of those ideas in circulation, and that can help build the sort of market which we’re selling our products into, which helps us sort of make a living out of it and push on to — enable us to keep exploring new areas and such. Actually, I really don’t know. It’s a very good question and I’d like to know the answer.

Weidenbaum: The reason I ask, in part, is that given Coldcut and Ninja Tune’s Internet presence, and the strong base of fans that exists, print coverage seems secondary.

Black: Well, you don’t know who’s going to be interested in hearing the record, really. One’s audience is always potentially larger. We’re not particularly interested in sort of gaining huge audiences. In a way I like to think that our audience is those who are paying attention, and if they’re paying attention then they probably got some kind of set-up whereby they can access the Internet and take advantage of the stuff on Pipe.

As far as doing interviews goes, there’s nothing I hate more than answering the same questions again and again. Especially when the answers to those questions have already been explained in sort of a clear written form, the sort of best that we could come up with, on a forum, on the Internet, which doesn’t really take any of our time to explain to that person ’cause they can just go there and check it out at their own speed in their own way — and to me that’s a sort of intelligent promotion. I do find a lot of normal press promotion activities are rather a waste of time. I feel pretty much the same about photo shoots. You know, Jon and I are not fashion models — we’re not Michael Jackson or Take That. And whereas we understand that people may want to actually see what we look like, the whole sort of rock/get-two-motherfuckers-up-against-the-wall is totally bankrupt of interest. We’d much rather give people images that we have manipulated, more in connection with the music we’re doing. That’s why we’ve got the cartoon characters in “Beats and Pieces,” the video. Certain magazines are actually interested enough and forward-looking enough to go with some of those ideas, but most of them are sort of like, “Oh, I’m sorry. We understand that can be quite good, but we’d like our own photographer to do the picture” — and it’s back to the same photo session again and again. Like, a photographer comes and wants to take photos of us and then manipulate those in Photoshop or whatever — I’m down with that. But don’t give me the straight journalism, and don’t give me the straight photos, ’cause it’s nothing to do with what we’re saying really.

Weidenbaum: You mention the Internet as a tool for getting information out, as well as your music — who did the programming?

Black: Well, I wrote it all myself a few years ago. I wrote the initial Pipe in four nights of fairly intensive work. I’d just learned HTML, as I was doing it. And it was primitive but it had lot of good content, so it got quite a good reaction. And then I got very busy with doing the album and stuff and it lapsed for quite a while, and I tried working with various people to sort it out — and now Dorian Moore, a DJ and a web programmer who I’ve known for quite a while, has taken over running it and he’s put a lot of effort into bringing it back up to step, and I think it’s pretty decent at the moment. But you know I used to be a programmer, and like all this Internet — I think it’s saying more to actually be involved in programming a site yourself and know what’s involved in that then just like hiring the latest hot web design people to produce your design for you. It’s the same way with videos, you know — like, people … give their, well various techno acts have made amazing videos, but they’re just produced by third parties — long after the music is finished, and they cost a lot of money, and they’re just bolted on to the music, whereas what we’re trying to do with the videos, on the album, and on the CD-ROM is make them as integrated with the music as possible — and they’re all being generated in-house all by people that we’re down with, all on kind of a fantastically stupidly low garage budget.

Weidenbaum: That’s what I like about the web site, and the video, though in some ways it’s frustrating for a music fan, because it’s no longer clear where the music ends and the accessories begin, to a large extent because the accessories can’t be easily dismissed.

Black: Yes, that is multimedia in a way. You could say the opera is multimedia, but I think the hyper — what people call hypertext, you know — the fact that you can have links from one page to another which can be traversed in a large number of ways, and then with having text and sound and images and animations as well — offers some fantastic possibilities for making new kinds of information spaces and entertainment engines. So, those are ideas that we’re playing with, and that are manifested on the CD-ROM as well.

Weidenbaum: Do you think a knowledge, or appreciation, of hypertext is necessary for appreciating your music — the way it works, moves around, is cut’n’paste.

Black: I don’t — I wouldn’t like to say that — I, I don’t think that our music can be appreciated only on an intellectual level. We did say that we’re giving away free beards with the album — free chins, sorry, with the album — to avoid your sort of stroking your old one away. We’re not just catering to chin-stroking intellectuals; I know that’s right, because I’ve seen children playing with things like My Little Funkit, which is on the CD-ROM, this sort of remixing toy, like a push-button DJ — kids will play with that for hours. So, that tells me that we’re getting through on that front without having to have the intellectual framework to support it. You know, the music — what we’ve been doing with text, with multimedia, what Coldcut are doing with music, we’ve got various interesting ways of doing things and things that are new and interesting about them, but unless they actually stand up as authentically new things themselves and can be perceived as exciting without the theoretical framework, there’s not a lot of point to them, is there? I think for the first time — Hex has done amazing stuff in the past, it’s been very clever and shown an amazing use of the resources at the time, yeah, but it hasn’t actually quite hit the target. I think with the CD-ROM and the album being a collaboration between Coldcut and lots of different people we’ve actually got that right this time.

Weidenbaum: The term “hypertext,” which you injected into the conversation, is an explanation for something that existed prior to its own coining —

Black: Absolutely.

Weidenbaum: The reason I bring it up isn’t so much that someone needs to have read critical theory about hypertext, but more that there’s a generation for whom hypertextual thinking is —

Black: — is natural. There’s this phrase “cut’n’paste mentality.” I can relate to that; I have a cut’n’paste mentality, I’ve been conditioned by working a lot with the Mac, and I’ve exploited the fact that you can trade skills between different types of programs. And the fact is, I’m not particularly good with computer graphics, or even music, or playing an instrument, or writing, or messing about in Photoshop, but I can do a bit of all those things and, you know, my attitude is I don’t know anything about all that shit but I can have a go at doing it. I think quite a sort of child-like attitude, which the new generations of youth that’re coming up will have the same attitude, having control over the push-button channel-hopping mentality, the control over videogames; the familiarity with technology is a different mindset, and I think we sort of maybe bridge generations with the Coldcut mindset.

Weidenbaum: Could you talk through one track on the record, like “Return to the Margin,” or “Timber”?

Black: What about “Beats and Pieces.”

Weidenbaum: Fine.

Black: Well, “Beats and Pieces” was a celebration of 10 years of messing about with beats — and we made the original “Beats and Pieces,” and that was done purely using turntables, and a tape loop, in fact, because we didn’t have a sampler for the main break, and a multitrack 24-track recorder. Ten years on we wanted to see what time it is. So, we thought we’d give ourselves the full spectrum of any toys to mess around with and manipulate the beats that we wanted, but starting from a DJ background. So what we did was we found — we put together a lot of breaks and loops and samples which all worked together, and we cut that onto a record, so we made, like, our own custom breakbeat album, and we just made 30 copies of that, and we sent out some copies to, like Qbert, from Invisbl Skratch Picklz, and John McEntire from Tortoise, and these other delinquents whose work we appreciate, as sort of raw material to see where they could go, just providing that on vinyl, what can you do with that? Kid Koala, as well, the guy from Montreal.

Weidenbaum: Yeah, he just played in SF.

Black: He’s wicked, isn’t he? We also took two copies of those vinyl 12-inches to create “More Beats & Pieces (The Coldcut Mix),” starting out from direct vinyl manipulation because we felt that that was still the easiest way for a DJ to manipulate chunks of sound. We’ve been there with 10 years of samplers and sequencers, and it’s great, but it can actually get a bit boring, and there’s still no computer or sampler which can give you the feel of that rough … diamond … to the wax, ripping it back and forth, with that chiseled type of effect. It’s a different and unique sound. Still people — you might have thought scratching would become a cliché years ago, but it hasn’t. I’m not saying I’m a virtuoso scratcher. My style’s very old school and hasn’t improved as much as I’d like in the last 10 years. But I like — I love to hear the funky styles of top bods like Qbert and Kid Koala, who are making literally turntable jazz over their manipulations of the vinyl — in timings, and patterns, and noises which are extremely avant-garde, and are kind of noise poetry.

Weidenbaum: I just saw Up Bustle and Out on the second stretch of the Ninja Tune Stealth Tour, just the four turntables; they must have played like three hours straight, every sample from James Brown to that Fatboy Slim take on the Who —

Black: That was the Up Bustle and Out DJs, rather than the band. Good, well they’re coming on nicely. We didn’t invent four-deck mixing but we’ve but we’ve been doing it for quite a while and [laughs] it greatly increases the number of possibilities you can generate.

Weidenbaum: Are they part of the Up Bustle and Out group, or are they distinct?

Black: Well, I think when Up Bustle and Out play live, they’re both doing scratching, so they have two DJs with them, so they’re sort of associated with the posse, but you’d have to ask Rupert or one of the guys. I don’t actually know what the arrangement is; all I know is they’re two wicked DJs who are down with the Bustle crew.

Weidenbaum: You have a track titled “Return to the Margin.” What’s life like on the margin?

Black: Life at the margin is diverse, raw, frequently dirty, but colorful, and one has to maintain flexibility to keep surfing the waves of the perimeter lest one fall in and get drowned by the tidal waves of change which continuously rock over the shore. But we prefer living there to further inland where it’s really a bit to dry and nothing much ever happens. Change always comes from the fringes.

Weidenbaum: You’ve come full circle, having willfully distanced yourself from mainstream —

Black: — dance culture.

Weidenbaum: Yeah, and mainstream record companies, and now all of a sudden the wolves have come knocking at Wall of Sound and Warp. And every label that pretty much puts out anything with a beep on it has been given a call. No doubt you’ve been getting calls, but I assume your response is straightforward.

Black: We’re not for sale, end of story. Jon and I have tried being a part of working for the man, and it was most unnatural, and we nearly expired. It nearly finished us off. Not an experience you get to repeat. It might be fine for — other people can do what they want. We find it’s best to be independent and free. And I could name a million reasons to justify that but in the end people are going to have to check it out themselves. The music business is in no way different from the hamburger business, and if you want to be the best burger griller at McDonald’s, then go for it, but there is more, and being free is priceless, really.

Weidenbaum: As a label owner, would you say you have positive role models, or are they mainly negative ones?

Black: Yeah, Adrian Sherwood and his On-U Sound inspired. When I was at college me and my mates were well into his records and used to collect all the 10-inches, and it was like, Hey, this guy’s obviously independent and he’s making his own original sound, and doing it himself, and it’s stylish and it’s saying something in opposition to the mainstream, and definitely that had an influence on Jon and me, I think. There are many others as well — we take a bit of inspiration from here and a bit from there, and a warning from over the road, because you see what happens to your mates, and try and keep on a course.

Weidenbaum: I have a bit of a cut’n’paste mentality, myself, so these questions may jump around a bit. One: Is that really a baby’s voice on “Baby Boomer”?

Black: It’s an actual kid. In fact, “Baby Boomer” didn’t make it to the final album.

Weidenbaum: I have a rarity.

Black: You have a rarity, version naught point nine. Yeah, that was dropped for reasons of space, and we wanted to have some phrases and stuff between the tracks. That track, some people loved it, a lot of people hated it — it probably will come out — we probably will release it some time; it’s a pity because I was quite proud of the baby beats section which were all sampled from a Walkman by my girlfriend from the baby of one of her friends. But my baby has actually made it onto the album, on the last track, which you haven’t got on your [advance] CD; it’s called “Random Track” and it doesn’t show up on the CD listing and it’s my baby Ki singing, and I was quite pleased to get that one in.

Weidenbaum: What’s the name?

Black: Ki—K.I. It’s Japanese. It means lots of things, like tree, and cosmic life force. … He’s 16 months.

Weidenbaum: So, what are the two or three things you’ve learned the most from your baby?

Black: Learned the most from Ki? I’ve learned that I’m quite easily manipulated, and I’ve learned — I’m fascinated by seeing the process of intelligence and character flowering, and it’s — just to see that every day, see that growth is an indescribable experience, but it’s something very precious to me at the moment, and then also seeing a child learning and playing, playing without restriction or inhibition, is something that has stirred me and, I think, Jon as well — that stirred the soup of the album. I’m going to have to wind it up.

Weidenbaum: You do have much of the music up on your web site before the record’s released — do you get any feedback on that, and do you ever involve any of that feedback into your music; do people ever sort of write you email and say, That track’s good …

Black: We’ve been getting increasing, worryingly large amounts of email from Pipe, and it’s actually quite a problem to deal with, but I’m trying to think — not so much on the tracks, but we have incorporated feedback on other things into the site. People have made suggestions that we’ve used — but we haven’t actually had anyone say, “The last track of such-and-such would be best without the snare drum” or anything like that. Really, that’s just marking time. What we really want to do is put all this shit up there on the web with an interactive engine which you download and then you can actually just remix the shit yourself indefinitely. And we’re very near, really, to being able to do that.

Weidenbaum: Well, thanks. That covers it.

Black: Thanks for the interest. Bye.

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More Songs About Buildings

Sean Booth of the British duo Autechre talks about just about everything but how he and partner, Rob Brown, make music.

In late November of 1997, before Autechre signed with the Nothing label, before its pseudonym, Gescom, released a minidisc-only recording, before the unnamed fifth LP — Sean Booth, who along with Rob Brown comprises Autechre, talked for nearly 7,000 words about theoretical architecture, getting chased out of radio, why America’s too big, how Ridley Scott went to shit, and … how to pronounce the name of his band. You don’t need to dig too deep — the answer is here.

“I’m quite into the idea of engineering being beautiful,” he says at one point. The statement suits a group whose vocal-less music seems built from steam tunnel ambiance, scraps of circuit board, and the whir of efficient machines. Nothing in Booth and Brown’s music has the organic-world touch of, say, Coldcut’s National Geographic samples or Scanner’s spoken-word snippets. Parse the graphic-intensive data smog that passes for liner notes and you’ll find song titles Dr. Seuss and William Gibson might have dreamed up over drinks: “Cipater,” “Nuane,” “Pule.”

Autechre debuted in 1993 with a fairly buoyant album on Warp records, Incunabula. Each subsequent release has proven more deliberate, more meticulous — and more impressive. Sounds one might consider “natural” (smooth, spacious, lithe) have given way to “digital” ones (truncated, serrated, dry). Chiastic‘s “Pule,” for example, sounds like a bit of dour catwalk techno, albeit one struggling in vain to maintain a steady 4/4 beat.

“Working in the digital domain,” says Booth, “you’re using approximations of things; the actual sound wave never enters the equation. You deal with sections of it, and you’re able to do so much more by just reducing the information to a finite amount.”

He speaks of the process with great enthusiasm, as if Autechre’s pop were merely a lovely byproduct of a Nobel quest to solve some long-standing theorem. “You’re able to perform really complex mathematics,” he says.

Marc Weidenbaum: Thanks for agreeing to do the interview.

Sean Booth: No problem.

Weidenbaum: Your record, Chiastic Slide, is probably going to be listed as the number one electronic-music record of 1997 in Pulse!, the magazine that will publish a portion of this interview.

Booth: What? That’s fucking ridiculous.

Weidenbaum: What would you say is the top record?

Booth: Electronic record?

Weidenbaum: Yeah.

Booth: I wouldn’t like to nominate somebody. I have no idea — really, no idea. I wouldn’t even know where to start, but I really didn’t think that we’d be anywhere near there. I woulda thought that a magazine published by Tower Records would be going for somebody, like — somebody a little bit more commercial, maybe. A bit odd maybe.

Weidenbaum: Yes.

Booth: It’s good, it’s excellent. … It’s just caught me off guard a little bit.

Weidenbaum: There are other Warp records on the list: Squarepusher’s, the Richard D. James album.

Booth: Yeah, I definitely expect Aphex to be somewhere near the top. His stuff’s wicked, and sells tons, you know.

Weidenbaum: The µ-ziq record, Lunatic Harness.

Booth: A pretty good list.

Weidenbaum: You know the Dot label from Sweden? Its Knights Who Say Dot compilation is a strong possibility, too.

Booth: Yeah, they’re wicked.

Weidenbaum: We can pretty much start anywhere with our talk, so how about with the recent Cichlisuite EPs. Were those record-sleeve covers done on a computer architectural design program, a CAD program?

Booth: No. Although it’s funny that you mention it. I mean, they were definitely — the Chiastic Slide stuff is basically a kinda two-D/three-D experiment. We’re quite into graphics that are simultaneously two- and three-dimensional. But I can’t really elaborate any further because it’s not something — we haven’t really perfected it. We think that the Chiastic Slide sleeve’s wicked. It’s incredible, but I think a lot of people it shot over their heads ’cause they’re used to just getting images and messing around with them, and for us to do something quite so “designed” was a bit of a shock. I dunno — I really like it. It’s not really architectural in the strictest sense. It’s more playing with architectural ideals in a sort of two-dimensional environment. I can’t really elaborate. It’s quite difficult to explain, really. It’s more of a concept than a — more of a mental concept than an actual literal one.

Weidenbaum: There is a school of architects who draw buildings that can’t be built.

Booth: Yeah, we’re pretty well versed. I’m well into sort of Santiago Calatrava and people like that. I’m quite into the idea of engineering being beautiful, so it’s — it’s sort of an extension of that. I think some of the design that we do is influenced by that sort of stuff.

Weidenbaum: Lebbeus Woods does these designs where, say, the fuselage of a plane is imbedded inside a building, and the various floors are built around it.

Booth: Yeah, Rob was talking about this guy, how everything’s really symmetrical and really focused and built around a central point. Is he the guy who did that spiral building?

Weidenbaum: The Guggenheim.

Booth: No, a different one, though the Guggenheim’s excellent. We’re more into sort of fluid structures that are simultaneously the most efficient, the most beautiful, and the most engineered. You know what I mean? We like the balance you can get in there.

Weidenbaum: What the origin of the images on the … I can’t pronounce it … the two EPs.

Booth: “Sickly sweet.” People always laugh. I dunno really. It’s again another sort of — this is the sort of thing you can do with a computer program anyway, but it’s basically trying to create curves from straight lines and trying to create shapes that have a sort of non-linear form but a sort of linear aesthetic, I suppose. That’s the way I look at it, anyway. I hadn’t really thought to explain it to anyone before. It’s kind of like trying to make straight lines from curves, but involving shapes that sort of dictate what the curves are, if you like, and the difference between two separate pieces creates a third transitional piece if you like. It doesn’t really exist; it’s just basically lots of different stages between the two pieces, and you end up with, like, a third shape that doesn’t exist but is suggested to you by the image. That’s what we’re trying to do. It’s similar to what we’ve been doing with our tracks.

Weidenbaum: How so?

Booth: Well, to take two completely separate elements and come up with a third in some way. Not necessarily in that exact way, where you’re like morphing from one to the other, but in a more subtle way, where you get two completely disparate things and make a third from it. It’s sort of what we’ve been doing with our music recently. It isn’t so much — I mean there is a couple of things on Cichlisuite, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Weidenbaum: Could you take one track of Cichlisuite and talk about it.

Booth: I wouldn’t really know where to start discussing it. We don’t really talk about music that much, to be honest with you. It’s not some I usually — I can’t really talk about other people’s tracks never mind my own.

Weidenbaum: My job is to try and get something out of you.

Booth: I know.

Weidenbaum: We’ll do our best.

Booth: OK. I think if you ask me questions about something, I might be able to answer.

Weidenbaum: You’re familiar with the Fourier sequence — the mathematical explanation of how straight lines can approximate a curve.

Booth: That’s exactly the sort of thing, the sort of idea.

Weidenbaum: I think that the mathematician Joseph Fourier is a godfather of electronic music.

Booth: Hmm. Yeah, of course. That’s fucking absolutely true; it’s fucking absolutely — especially in terms of digital technology. I’ve always thought of digital manipulation — because of the way that basically working in the digital domain you’re using things that are approximating things; you’re never actually using the actual … the actual wave never enters the equation. You’re basically dealing with sections of it, and an approximation of it, and you’re able to do so much more with that by just reducing the information to a finite amount rather than the infinite amount you would have had if it was analog. You’re able to perform really complex mathematics and therefore re-generate a different curve that might be impossible to do using analog techniques. There’s a lot of digital work on that particular EP, you see, and the way we viewed it is very similar to what — like, Fast Fourier Synthesis is actually a method of synthesis that we use.

Weidenbaum: The reason the Fourier series functions in regard to digital sound is, simply, because the digitization of the sound is above a threshold of granularity that we might detect. The series works because our senses aren’t perfect.

Booth: At the moment they’re not. I don’t necessarily think that digital storage is amazing, but I think that digital manipulation has a lot of possibilities. I think, in terms of storing the music, that what we’re doing now we should try and store in analog form as well. I don’t know whether I’m, like, jumping the gun but it’s possible that in the future we may be able to use the information that we can’t receive at the moment. So we should preserve it. I don’t think that digital storage is necessarily a good thing, but I definitely think that digital manipulation is interesting.

Weidenbaum: That some people still prefer vinyl LPs over CDs suggests that we are capable of hearing some of these sounds that we’re often told, scientifically, are beyond the human ear’s threshold of sensitivity.

Booth: It just comes down to taste at the end of the day, and that’s something you can’t really analyze. Yeah, I think to have it all there is basically best, regardless of whether there’s hiss there as well.

Weidenbaum: Hiss is an aspect of the listening experience that many electronic musicians make use of. You do, most good hip-hop producers do, Oval does —

Booth: They’re excellent actually at manipulating noise.

Weidenbaum: There hasn’t been a straight trajectory in your music, but from Incunabula to the new material, things certainly get more arid and rarified, focusing on minutiae like surface noise, and beats that are tweaked at a very meticulous level.

Booth: Not of late, funnily enough — of late we’ve been working on more spacious material. I think it all comes in waves really, all of it, and with each wave you learn something about what you previously were naive to but did anyway. You’re bringing everything up into the conscious at the same time as you’re exploring other areas of your unconscious.

Weidenbaum: When’s the next release going to be?

Booth: When we’re finished it. I don’t know when.

Weidenbaum: Do you consider the Cichlisuite two separate releases, or one album.

Booth: They’re just records. I mean, they’re not really — we don’t really think of them being a format. It just falls into that because we’re contractually bound. We have to give them an LP and some singles, so we do it like that. The tracks are just selections from what we’re working on recently. I don’t think about it any more than that. I just release them and, like, obviously package them correctly.

Weidenbaum: It wasn’t that much longer after I got Chiastic Slide that I got Envane, and I wasn’t entirely certain which was the chicken and which the egg.

Booth: Right, yeah yeah. Quite interesting. They’re kinda interspersed. We did some of it around other bits of it, if you know what I mean. The tracks were just selected earlier. Well, from a totally retrospective point of view trying to select tracks that fit together for some reason that we could identify.

Weidenbaum: It wasn’t a traditional remix situation.

Booth: Envane?

Weidenbaum: Yeah.

Booth: It’s sort of hard to explain: four tracks that came from the same basis but not in the traditional sense of it, of them being sounds. They were more like mathematical bases. We basically developed four — we started off with the same part and developed it in four different ways but they ended up being completely different tracks. It’s almost like they were just different tracks but because they started from the same basis we thought, well, fuck it, we’ll call them remixes. ‘Cause they’re all related. But we didn’t do them all at the same time. We’d sort of do a few tracks and then do one and then do a few more tracks and then do another. So, what went on in between made the tracks totally different from each another. Kinda like, just the way we wanted to do it, ’cause that way we’d have some correlated tracks that weren’t literally correlated, if you know what I mean — only to us.

Weidenbaum: If our ears were, suddenly, made many times more perceptive, then recorded sounds we once considered pretty would sound brittle to us.

Booth: Of course, it brings it to the surface.

Weidenbaum: There’s a sense of heightened perception to your music, as if you are exposing something.

Booth: That’s quite interesting. A mate of mine said recently said a lot of stuff sounds like you’re listening to it outside, but also like you’re surrounded by it, and I think that’s quite similar. It’s quite claustrophobic, and I think it is to do with the amount that we’re exposing people to one particular point. Our live set’s become increasingly complex recently; we’ve been doing stuff that’s been vastly too much information for most people to deal with and I think it’s quite interesting watching how people behave in those situations, under those circumstances. I think doing more live stuff’s made us feel a certain way about that particular point. I quite like small clubs. I don’t really like playing in big clubs, and I think I’m really into the idea of a few people being together. It’s kinda different, the energy you get from anything else or any other sort of music, because it’s all so bogged down with cliche that it falls apart. And I think we basically are just trying to push it in different ways, if you like. I dunno. I suppose it’s kind of metaphorically similar to being dark without being aggressive. Up front and complex with out being flashy.

Weidenbaum: Large spaces don’t necessarily support individual thought; we attend baseball games and arena concerts for a sense of community, which isn’t necessarily that different from a riot mentality in slow motion.

Booth: And it’s not really what we’re about. We’re more about — it’s just a different sort of situation that we’d rather see ourselves in. I don’t really like the idea of playing to, like — I mean we do do it from time to time, play for large groups of people, but it’s always quite a strange experience, really. I don’t think that our music’s that “instant.” I think that you have to be — I think that you have to be really open, and you have to really be into it. It’s a strange thing I don’t really understand, but I don’t think our music’s that mass-marketable. You get X amount of people in a room, chances are a lot of them aren’t really going to be that into it. It’s a bit weird.

Weidenbaum: I’ve read that you have had a longstanding radio show. Is it still going on?

Booth: No, the station got rid of us ’cause we weren’t playing commercial enough music.

Weidenbaum: I can’t imagine people weren’t tuning in.

Booth: They were tuning in, but it was — I mean — apparently — it was really weird because they told us that we had 100-percent catchment of the area from listenership surveys. And that basically means that 100 percent of the people listening to the radio at that point in time are listening to our show, which to me was ace, you know what I mean? I thought, yeah, wicked; there was nothing else on. It was a shit time for a show, but for us it was perfect.

Weidenbaum: When was it on?

Booth: It was really late night, Saturday night, like 4 to 6.

Weidenbaum: In the morning?

Booth: Yeah, yeah, but that’s wicked, you know what I mean? Everybody gets in, turns the radio on, they’re all fucked, and basically the doors are wide open you can do what you want. We were playing all sorts of — basically, getting away with murder cause when we were on people were still listening to it because they wanted to get freaked out. Well, the station didn’t like it. They decided between them and the advertisers that what we were playing wasn’t commercial enough. They started suggesting tracks and stuff, so we sort of got out fast.

Weidenbaum: In the U.S., there’s still a long way to go for this music’s popularity. Do you have a sense of the U.S. audience, what its listening to, what Americans will go for?

Booth: America’s a bit of weird place. I mean, it’s simultaneously many different places and the same place. And I think ’cause it’s viewed by quite a lot of people as one territory. It’s sort of — I dunno. The music industry over there seems to treat America like it’s one territory even though they got offices in different parts of America — they’re still quite sort of “America is the territory.” There aren’t many people who say that Europe is a territory, or Asia is a territory — it’d be suicide. And there are even more people in America than in Europe. I think it’s strange, really. I basically see it as loads of different places. I’ve never seen America as being one place, but I think the record industry people I’ve spoken to — although they will acknowledge that the cities are completely different from each other — I think they still handle it as being one territory. And that’s quite odd, makes it quite difficult for me to understand what it actually is like over there. In my experience, there’s been loads of open-minded people and then it’s been quite odd. ‘Cause I think our audiences out there have been quite mixed: there’ve been like a combination of intellectuals, really spaced out kids, and hip-hop types — you know, moody sort of party people. And it’s quite a weird sort of selection. It always gives me a weird impression of every city that we go to. Places that we’ve played that I’ve really liked basically been the obvious ones — Detroit, New York, Miami. And I dunno why. We did one in San Francisco, but it was at a shit club. I don’t think it was the right thing to do, really. I think that the next thing we do there hopefully will involve the Reflective [Records] people, ’cause we’re friends of theirs and they’re cool.

Weidenbaum: Perhaps the Justice League, a relatively new spot. Scanner played there when he was in town, and the audience was rapt.

Booth: I think if you do the right sort of party, and the right promoter’s doing it, then it will work — it has been in the past for us. But if you’re dealing with promoters — which is quite often the case with us, you know, ’cause we’ll have to do a tour to make it financially worth our while going out there, and then some of the dates will be just thrown in because they were financially a good thing. And they’re usually the ones that are shit cause you’re dealing with a promoter who doesn’t really understand you but does understand his audience, supposedly. The audience tends to be quite young and fucked out their heads all night, so it doesn’t matter who’s playing. It’s all that. We have done a few of them and they haven’t really been that good, but I think if you’re dealing with good promoters out there who sort of know what people are into, then it works.

Weidenbaum: Most record companies in America aren’t attuned to the idea that if a record blows up in one region, that it’s worth holding on to. Most record companies tend to take the total number of records sold, divide by the population of the country, and then drop the act if it doesn’t sell enough.

Booth: This is the problem, you know what I mean? This never happens in Europe. Distributors rarely distribute in more than one country, and if they do it’s usually just to a little sub-distributor who gets it out to the shops, a small label or whatever. I don’t think there are any really Europe-wide distribution companies, except perhaps RTM — well, certainly that are dealing with this sort of music. It’s sort of a bold thing to do. A city is a scene in America. It’s quite odd.

Weidenbaum: Speaking of big companies, are you really going to sign with an American one?

Booth: Yeah. Yeah, we are. I don’t whether I can actually say at the moment who it’s going to be.

Weidenbaum: I can say who I’ve heard, and you can confirm or deny or ignore.

Booth: OK.

Weidenbaum: Nothing Records.

Booth: I’ll have to confirm that.

Weidenbaum: Good.

Booth: Is it?

Weidenbaum: Yes.

Booth: They seem to have enthusiasm for the right music.

Weidenbaum: If they put out Drum n Bass for Papa

Booth: Yeah, exactly. They seem to be going for the right stuff. It’s like — I’d rather be on a label that understands us and allows us to be a bit odd. I don’t particularly care how many records we sell any more because we’ve kind of bought all the equipment we want to buy. It’s pretty basic. I really don’t. So when they come around and say they want to do our stuff in America, it’s compliment really.

Weidenbaum: What will be first?

Booth: I dunno. I think that they’re going to release Chiastic and Cichlisuite over there, and then I think just whatever we do, whatever we want to give them.

Weidenbaum: It’ll be good for Astralwerks, Thrill Jockey, and Moonshine to have some camaraderie and competition.

Booth: We thought about Astralwerks, but then you know it’s the usual thing — I speak to other people at Astralwerks and it’s like, as soon as the Chemical Brothers album shows up everything stops for six months.

Weidenbaum: And if you blow up, your friends will be complaining

Booth: It’s all purely academic from this point; I really don’t care, as long as people know about us — I don’t fucking care how well we do, really. And I think Nothing, really, is sticking their necks out for us. We’re at the point where we’re basically, sort of — well, we’re doing what we’ve always done, which is to not get more commercial as we go on — or, perhaps, musically anyway. I dunno, maybe it’s a bit of a bold statement. I suppose we are a bit of a gamble maybe.

Weidenbaum: Is there competition within and among the musicians associated with Warp Records.

Booth: Of course there is. Yeah, there is, to an extent there is. It’s only in as much as we all wanna, like — I think it’s one of those things where someone does something — it’s not so much about the work we’re releasing, it’s about the ideas and stuff. But, yeah, we do wind each other up a bit. It’s good; it’s good for the music — it pushes it, in really weird ways. Recently, we haven’t seen anyone for fucking ages. I’ve been in Sheffield for six months.

Weidenbaum: Just working?

Booth: I haven’t seen anyone for fucking ages, so I haven’t had a chance to communicate. Last time I saw those guys was quite awhile ago. Apart from that, though, there’s a bit of a thing. More than there is with most labels. I think most labels are happy to just be on the wagon together, you know. I think with Warp it’s more — I can’t really describe it.

Weidenbaum: Siblings are known to be competitive.

Booth: We’re all trying to have a laugh. We’re not really competing with each other — well, we are to an extent, but that’s more about making everybody else look like idiots, but that’s the way — I dunno, maybe we’re all just deluded teenagers.

Weidenbaum: How old are you?

Booth: I’m 25.

Weidenbaum: Day jobs?

Booth: All the people on Warp? I don’t know really about everybody. Certainly Tom [Jenkinson, Squarepusher] and Rich[ard James, Aphex Twin] don’t have to go to work. We don’t have to go to work.

Weidenbaum: Are there bands outside Warp you consider part of this community?

Booth: Fucking ‘ell, it’s not a Warp thing. This is, like — I’m talking like every person I know who makes music. It ain’t just — it’s fucking everyone. I get tapes of people who’ve only had, like, one record, and they blow me away. You know, most of the best stuff that I get sent — most of the best stuff that I listen to — isn’t released, you know. Stuff that people won’t touch. Warp are getting shitloads of good stuff now. It’s silly; it’s really silly. I’ve got so many tapes coming in now it’s just getting so silly. There are a lot of people in America doing good stuff at the moment. That Push Button Objects kid on the Schematic label. They’re not very well distributed. And some kids called Phoenicia, and they’ve got a thing coming out on Warp as well. Everyone’s sort of networking nicely.

Weidenbaum: Have you heard Matmos from San Francisco.

Booth: Matmos? Guitar stuff, is it?

Weidenbaum: A little. Very experimental.

Booth: Has it got a color band across the bottom of the sleeve?

Weidenbaum: Yeah.

Booth: Me mate’s got it on CD. With a camera at the top? Really good. That’s fucking excellent, actually. You see, I — that’s really weird, ’cause I heard that, right, and I knew it was American and I didn’t know where it was from and I just assumed it was from Chicago for some reason. I quite like it ’cause it doesn’t sound too fucking English, which is a little bit of a problem at the moment. I used to really respect American music, especially Detroit stuff like Derrick May and Underground Resistance.

Weidenbaum: Juan Atkins.

Booth: Juan Atkins is genius, seminal. That, basically, was my fucking home base for a long time. And I think to see Americans copying British artists is just sad. I can’t even understand why they’d want to do it. I can understand why they’d want to copy Kraftwerk, ’cause Kraftwerk were amazing. Or maybe I could — I sort of hear them copying, like, us and Aphex and other good British stuff and think, What the fuck’s going on; it’s a bit odd.

Weidenbaum: There are bands whose memories are short, narrow, recent, but in that mix is someone who’ll copy people for a while and wake up to their own sound.

Booth: Yeah — flip out and do some amazing stuff. It’s getting silly now ’cause I think all the kids who were sort of — a lot of the Warp stuff has infected people’s minds ’cause they’re at the point where they can put tracks out, ’cause electronics are cheaper in America and kids are richer generally. I think you’re going to going to have a burgeoning electronic music community within the next couple of years. It’s gonna be fucking excellent. They’ve been brought up on the best music. It’s gonna be so good.

Weidenbaum: Yeah, today you have kids whose only CD player may be the one in their computer.

Booth: Yeah, and they’re using it almost secondarily as an audio device. They’re using it to do miles more other shit than just listen to CDs — they’re fucking remixing our tracks and send ’em to us. Just for a laugh. They’re not even bothered about fucking getting a record out. They just send you a total reworking of your track they did with shareware. I dunno. It’s basically the background we’re from but we didn’t have the technology then, really. It’s fucking brilliant, it’s just so available; it’s just a laugh.

Weidenbaum: Yeah, I was researching an Aphex Twin article, looking for web tributes to him, and I found remixes of his music. I’m sitting there and on the same computer I am writing the story, I’m also searching the web, and listening to audio.

Booth: Totally decent. Have you heard of that Koan thing? Generative software. You put certain parameters in yourself, you program it, and it creates the music for you. It changes key when you want it to, and it has certain parts being lead, and certain being following, and certain being augmentations of certain parts. It can be complex musically and rhythmically if you want it to be, but it generates within parameters randomly, to an extent, music, and it’s really good. And you can get plug-ins for the Internet so, basically, people could listen to your tracks so every time they listen to it it’s different, which is, like, something I’m pretty into. You can probably get a demo if you’re PC.

Weidenbaum: Could you talk about the role of the Internet in all this?

Booth: It’s as much as the role of the telephone at this stage. It’s not essential, but any communications medium’s a good one. The Internet’s kinda in danger of getting heart disease pretty soon, I think. Arteries are getting clogged with shit. But whatever. We’ll see what happens. As long as it doesn’t get too corporate, it’ll probably stay sweet.

Weidenbaum: It’s such a perfect medium for electronic music in such an obvious way.

Booth: It’s very relative isn’t it — electronic music, computers? You make it on a computer; all it costs is a few quid for a modem. That’s kind why there’s so many graphic designers and computer music kids on the net. There’s a lot of shit, but you can avoid it really easily. That’s the best thing about the net: you can go directly to things, whilst still be connected everything else if you want to be. It’s getting close to being the perfect literal communications medium, but as we’ve seen before, it gets clogged with shit after a bit.

Weidenbaum: Your partner in Autechre, Rob, is not around. Could you describe what portion of the music is his, or what he would say is yours — you know, vice versa.

Booth: At times, yeah. But we can copy each other as well. Quite often it’s things I’ve done and I’ll say, That’s so you, but I’ve done it.

Weidenbaum: Could you take a minute to describe such a moment?

Booth: No.

Weidenbaum: I’m doing my best.

Booth: No, but even if I could I wouldn’t tell you, and I can’t, I really genuinely can’t. I don’t — well, I could if I were here for a few hours, but it’s a bit complex, and it’s not something that we’ve ever really tried to define. The only reason I’d say it is just to let him know I’m aware of it, that sort of thing. It’d be like … we’re kind of like — we like certain aspects of each other’s brains but we really do want the same result. But it’s kind of odd. Because we’re different individuals it leads us to do different things, go about it in different ways.

Weidenbaum: There is a uniformity to your music one don’t necessarily hear in, say, Microstoria’s music — or that of other duos.

Booth: Yeah, I can really like bands who have very different members, and I think most bands have got very different members, but this band where you have people pushing and pulling it different ways — the tension creates an energy that you wouldn’t get, you know. There’s all kinds of ways that it can work, or not work. In our case, it’s just that we both want the same thing; we just have different ways of getting it. Sometimes I can go about doing something from a totally different angle from Rob, but we can pretty much come up with the same result. But you can actually tell the way that we’ve approached it is different — perhaps the order we approached things, or the way we selected — edited — what we’d done.

Weidenbaum: Came to same end?

Booth: You get the same result, but it doesn’t necessarily sound the same. I can’t really explain any more than that.

Weidenbaum: How long have the two of you known each other?

Booth: Nine, ten years.

Weidenbaum: Where’d you meet?

Booth: It’s a long story, but I used to do graffiti and stuff, and I met this kid one night while me and the mate were out — met this kid who was into it. Swapped phone numbers and he happened to have met Rob the week before, as well, and I think he just realized we’d get on. Got us both round Rob’s house with him one night — just fucking about with stuff and we thought, Fucking hell this is ace, you know. Dunno. Kinda weird. We’d both been making tapes for ages — I don’t know, it was just someone else who makes tapes …

Weidenbaum: At age 16 you’d been “making tapes for ages.” How long had you been making music?

Booth: Yeah, it’s weird, because I never really thought of it as making music. I really didn’t. When I first started doing stuff I was about 12 or something, maybe even 11. I was at my granddad’s. He gave me a reel-to-reel and I used to just cut tape, and do all kinds of weird things. He showed me how to do, like, diagonal edits. We’d make tape loops in his front room with, like, a pencil and shitloads of tape.

Weidenbaum: What a grandpa.

Booth: It was a laugh, you know what I mean, but whatever. He just gave me the gear, and then my dad were showing you could edit your tape. First thing was just taping stuff with a microphone off the telee — all just people talking, and then doing things with it. I like started to use the tape deck to do pause button edits cause I got into that. When I was into electro I used to do mix tapes that were basically electro tracks that I got off mates or the radio off tape or whatever, and make new tracks — well, not new tracks, but, like, two bars of this, one bar of that. It started to get more and more complicated. Weird edits — got into Mantronix, listening to Latin Rascals.

Weidenbaum: Did you think you were weird at the time? I remember making tapes like that with my sister when we were young, just cutting back and forth between Charles Mingus and King Crimson.

Booth: That’s what I mean. You’re just messing about, right. I didn’t really think of myself as weird in that respect. Obviously my mates used to think it was a bit weird ’cause I’d always be in my bedroom pulling my hi-fi apart or whatever, but it wasn’t really weird. It was, Oh, what are you fucking doing now?

Weidenbaum: It’s not serial-killer weird, but it is, “Why aren’t you kicking a ball around” weird.

Booth: Yeah, people would ask that, but probably not many of the people I chose to hang around with.

Weidenbaum: Do you consider Autechre the name of a band, or a pseudonym. Coxon and Wales of Spring Heel Jack say it is simply the name of their band, but for Richard James it’s a wide variety of personas. For others, they’re like imaginary organizations.

Booth: We don’t really see it as anything other than — we had to have a word, really, ’cause if you ain’t got a word then how do people know what it is?

Weidenbaum: You become Dot.

Booth: Or nothing.

Weidenbaum: I think that’s why Nothing Records is called nothing.

Booth: Funny, ’cause my greatest fear is nothing. Weird that I’m signed to a label called Nothing.

Weidenbaum: Your greatest fear — you mean, in contrast with vertigo, insects, upsetting your mother?

Booth: It’s a weird thing to say. I’m just afraid of “nothing.”

Weidenbaum: Dark under the bed?

Booth: The void that you can only ever imagine when it’s the darkest time in your life.

Weidenbaum: That’s about the time one stops smoking pot.

Booth: [Laughs.] It’s not usually pot, but it’s not like — I’ve experienced it more than once — once is enough, really.

Weidenbaum: You could use your human names, but you chose something with “tech” in the center of it. How do you pronounce it? How do you pronounce Autechre?

Booth: awe-teh-ker.

Weidenbaum: A million Internet debates just came to a halt.

Booth: That’s how we pronounce it.

[ … gap in tape as it is switched … ]

Weidenbaum: You may be humored to know that my girlfriend is at this moment interviewing an architect.

Booth: Really — do you know who?

Weidenbaum: Peter Winkelstein — he’s not particularly experimental.

Booth: I’m not just into experimental. I’m into mainstream, too.

Weidenbaum: He works for a San Francisco-based firm called Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Moris.

Booth: Is it quite American in style as well?

Weidenbaum: What I like is they have a good sense of detail. You know the architect Antoine Predock

Booth: Yeah.

Weidenbaum: His stuff is interesting when you see the drawings, but if you walk through the completed buildings you’d think he stopped well short of finishing them. I don’t think he cares about the details — the buildings look quite … self-consciously distinctive from far off, but they’ve got the same doors as any other building, the same window frames, the same fixtures. Winkelstein and company seem to care about the details, down to the doorknobs.

Booth: That’s lush. I like architects like that.

Weidenbaum: Where it meets interior decorating.

Booth: I think that one and two should be the same. I hate the idea of getting in a building that someone else has designed and having to do something to it yourself to sort of dress it up — it’s like using presets in your tracks.

Weidenbaum: Exactly that. My dorm in college was designed by Eero Saarinen— none of the rooms had 45-degree angles, aside from where the floors met the ceilings.

Booth: Loads of beds making a mess, no space at all. Total space wasting.

Weidenbaum: I’m sure it looked great on paper. What kind of building do you live in?

Booth: At the moment? I don’t know what it was. I think it used to be an office — quite a hodgepodge affair, really. Sort of weird, dunno. It’s odd, just loads of rooms, but it’s where I live. It’s a flat, basically, but it’s been convereted from something — but I’ve no idea what it was originally.

Weidenbaum: A lot of light, or a little?

Booth: No, it’s terrible. Sheffield — like, the sky’s brown but this time of year it’s disgusting. It’s really bad. You just get these grey overcast days that aren’t grey; they’re sort of beige.

Weidenbaum: What percent is climatic, what percent industrial?

Booth: I’d say the reason it was beige is industrial — the reason it’s grey is probably weather. There’s a lot of sulphur emissions here, as well.

Weidenbaum: Autechre’s equipment, as I understand, is primarilly stored —

Booth: In my place, but Rob’s got equipment in his place as well.

Weidenbaum: But most of the recording is done at yours.

Booth: Yeah, I’d say, not most, but more.

Weidenbaum: There’s a mystique about electronic musicians keeping their equipment in their bedrooms. Do you feel it’s necessary to keep your workspace close by.

Booth: Yeah, I dunno. I, like, do stuff all the time, really. A lot of it’s portable, so yeah I’ll do tracks anywhere. I don’t really think about where I am. We use laptops, we’ve got quite a lot of equipment that’s just in the studio that you can’t really lug about. I do take bits up into my room sometimes and write on one bit of kit — sometimes laptops, sometimes whatever, whatever I got, ’cause I’ve got a few things that are insular equipment but with batteries. So I do quite a lot of stuff with them but I tend to usually end up somewhere where there’s a lot more quipment when I’m recording stuff just ’cause I like to fuck about.

Weidenbaum: Are you Mac or PC people.

Booth: We’re both. Yeah. I don’t believe in all that debate. Yeah, it’s whatever isn’t it? Whatever’s cheapest, and most effective. There’s no fucking brand loyalty in this house.

Weidenbaum: The German electronic musician Alec Empire has an album called Star Wars Generation. What does that phrase mean to you?

Booth: Dunno. Kids who saw Star Wars and thought it was brilliant, ’cause that’s what it is. Relative cultural thing.

Weidenbaum: Were you …

Booth: I was into it, but it wasn’t like the most important cultural event of my life or anything. Good. I prefer THX 1138 to Star Wars. I’ve always been more into Kubrick. Thought 2001 was awesome when I was a kid, my favorite film for years. Ridley Scott’s ace, you know — his old stuff’s ace, anyay. Don’t care about Thelma & Louise.

Weidenbaum: G.I. Jane.

Booth: Yeah, right. I’ve fucking no idea where he is now, what he does with his brain anymore. I reckon Alien was pretty good.

Weidenbaum: I’m looking forward to the new Alien, because I like Delicatessen and the other things the director’s done — City of Lost Children.

Booth: Yeah, it looks like it’s going to be pretty good. You like all that French stuff, all the little brass noodlings and stuff?

Weidenbaum: Yeah.

Booth: Yeah, yeah. I like Terry Gilliam for that sort of thing.

Weidenbaum: It gets a little out of hand.

Booth: It’s over the top, almost camp sometimes — the way he uses it, it’s so fucking heavy handed. Everything about what he does is like that — it’s just crap, and it’s pretty good because of it. Weird

Weidenbaum: What are the five records you’re listening too right now?

Booth: What a question. The five records. Um.

Weidenbaum: Draw a close radius around your turntable.

Booth: Can’t see it from here. If I go into this room I can give you a literal — from here I can see Experimental Audio Research’s The Koner Experiment. I can see Decay, which is a compilation album on Touch. I can see a Warsaw album.

Weidenbaum: Die Warsau?

Booth: No, like Joy Division’s old name. I can see an Interdimensional Transmissions 12[“]. And Selected Ambient Works II. I can see the new Gravediggaz album, some Stock, Hausen and Walkman, and some Pram. There’s also Drum n Bass for Papa lying down there. My room’s a bit of a mess.

Weidenbaum: Mine, too. Well, I guess I’m coming to the end of my questions. Thanks again.

Booth: No worries. Cheers.

Portions of the intro to this transcript originally appeared in Pulse! magazine.

/ Comment: 1 ]
  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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