The man behind Stroboscopic Artefacts has a new album in the pipeline.
Berlin-based techno artist Luca Mortellaro, better known as Lucy, will release an album this March entitled Wordplay for Working Bees.
When he's not DJing or producing deep and dubby techno tracks, Lucy runs Stroboscopic Artefacts, one of our recent picks for Label of the Month. Wordplay for Working Bees is his first album, and he says he began working on it in fall of 2009, just after his label released its first 12-inch. Made up of field recordings, moody atmospheres and IDM-style beats, the record is distinctly more avant-garde than anything Stroboscopic Artefacts has released to date. (Aside from a track here or there on the label's digital sampler releases, that is.) We had a chance to talk with Lucy earlier this week about some of the ideas and inspirations behind this heady piece of work.
How did you choose the name for the album?
In choosing the name, it was enough for me just to look critically at the way our society is constructed to know exactly what I wanted to call the album. The title is really my representation of how we as "civilised" human beings live. We live in houses, concrete boxes, and work inside offices, more boxes, we negotiate our way through space, walking along streets and underground tunnels, moving along constrained lines, and are transported on planes, buses, cars, trains, further boxes. We are the "working bees." Society is the beehive constructed for us. We're reduced to little automatons waking up, going to work in order to be able to live, reproducing, going to sleep again. One day you open your eyes, and life has passed by. Really, what's the difference between our societal structure and that of a beehive?
My music is a representation of this landscape. It was really interesting to think about painters who return to landscapes again and again, capturing the scene as it slips between different moods and atmospheres. The representation of this dystopian realisation should have produced a dark, depressing album, but that seemed the easiest, the more obvious and least interesting way to capture it. My album is not only constructed from shadows, sorrow and darkness, it also contains contemplative and meditative moments, the ecstatically hopeful, even a hand full of raging firey points. The music is the painting, the title is the frame. And, as with much representational art there is a message contained, which is understood and also constructed by the listener. I don’t want to be didactic, I feel like I have in some ways only created half of the album, the listener will create the other half, bringing to it their own interpretation.
What were your main ideas going into the studio?
I wanted the album to be full of the real. And so using field recordings became core to the process. The idea was to use them with respect and sensitivity to their origins in the “real” world, as most of the sounds on the album don’t have digital origins. I'll try to explain. It's something I never truly realized before working with the field recordings, but each sound has a mood, has a unique feeling that you perceive subconsciously when you hear them in everyday life. But, through listening to the recordings countless times, my awareness of these sounds deepened. On the first track of the album I sampled a speech by [Karleinz] Stockhausen that explains the consequences of this effect with brilliant precision: "Whenever we hear sounds we are changed, no longer the same." And from this, it's a short step to even define music in general, as Stockhausen does, as "sounds organized by another human being." My interpretation of this, was conceiving music as a form that an artist gives to the chaotic mass of available sound elements through their expression.
As a techno DJ and producer, do you ever wish you could make more music that's not designed for the club?
I'm not wishing for this, I'm doing it! [laughs] I love to play in clubs, I love to produce club-oriented stuff, I love when the crowd scream and jump and sweat and smile or close their eyes and trip away. Of course this is my thing. But I'm actually deeply into producing lot of music not designed for the club. And I let this other part of my production and of my tastes cross-pollinate my club-oriented releases. And that's fun in the studio, and in the club too. I can't make club stuff if I'm not producing non-club music and vice versa. They fuel each other.
Can we expect any albums from other Stroboscopic Artefacts artists?
Yes, Wordplay for Working Bees is just the first one of a series of albums. Easy to guess who the second one comes from... I can give you a little clue: he comes from Singapore and has made some of the best gems in techno recently.
Stroboscopic Artefacts will release Wordplay for Working Bees on March 4th, 2011.