A dark exploration of rhythm from the Stroboscopic Artefacts boss.
Lucy and his Stroboscopic Artefacts label are arguably the most important additions to the global techno scene in the past two years. You may have known the Italian producer (Luca Mortellaro) from his work for Meerestief Records and Perspectiv in the latter half of the '00s but it was at the end of 2009, and the founding of SA, that his name truly began to ring out. The Berlin-based Lucy assembled a coterie of artists who, much like himself, were indebted to sounds from far outside the techno canon, and went about releasing around 15 separate examples of this vision during 2010 alone. The culmination of these endeavours surfaced earlier this year in the form of Lucy's debut LP, Wordplay for Working Bees, an album RA's Andrew Ryce described at the time as "one of the most personal, affecting and diverse techno albums since Shed's The Traveller."
It's in the spaces between genres that Lucy seems to thrive and his mix for us expertly stalks these shadowy corridors—at times it's unclear whether you zoning into techno, dubstep, ambient or something else entirely.
What have you been up to recently?
Following the making of my first album Wordplay For Working Bees, a process that took almost one year of my life, I moved house and moved studio which meant I had to take a three month break from producing. It's been a really well timed break, it's meant that ideas have been stockpiled, mulled over and given time to become more fully formed.
When I got back in the studio I didn't dive straight back into creating new material. Instead I took the opportunity to explore the remix process more closely. It's a whole other creative challenge to rethink and remould someone else's blueprints. I've turned my hand to tracks by some formidable artists. Just released are my remixes of Xhin's “Arrival” for the Resampled release on Stroboscopic Artefacts, Darko Esser's “Clean Slate” for Curle and Pfirter's “Audiometria” on Stockholm LTD.
Forthcoming are my reworks of Peter Van Hoesen's “Defense Against the Self” which will appear on Time To Express, “Talus” from Tommy Four Seven on CLR and also Iori's “Lapis” for Prologue.
In between the remixes, there've been SA showcases in many intriguing clubs across Europe; there's something really inspiring about these SA parties. I'm thinking particularly of the nights and early mornings at Berghain in Berlin, at Danzoo in Madrid and at London's Corsica Studios / Cable.
How and where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded in February 2011 at my new studio in Berlin's Tempelhof district. It signaled the end of the three month break from the studio that I was talking about and was the first new project since the release of my album. I recorded it using exactly the same Traktor based set-up as when I perform in clubs.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the idea behind the mix.
As with all my mixes I don't like to post-edit, I record in one take. It's important for me to keep the vibrancy and energy of being in-the-mix. For me this state is both unique and somehow precious, I feel it shouldn't be airbrushed afterwards. It's important that a mix captures a mood in its entirety and in its singularity. I arrived in the studio charged with a backlog of three months' ideas and they came out spontaneously, and this underpins the sound. The mix resonates with my musical curiosity.
Judging by past interviews, it's clear that you think quite carefully about your work. Do you worry sometimes that it could stifle the creative process?
Thinking about what you're doing doesn't result in stifling creativity. In fact it really catalyses the process and propels me forward. Over-thinking can stifle and that's something I avoid, for instance, the rule I have about not post-editing mixes to preserve spontaneity.
I find the romantic vision of the artist (in the literary sense) as the lone genius who acts in isolation from a purely instinctive, raw creativity, as growing to be more and more redundant. The C20th's artistic community worked very hard to destroy that romantic legacy—the “Great Man” myth. In the C21st, the way that Joyce or Nietzsche set about redefining the perception of the self has put the artist, the creator in a position to explore the process more than the result. And most importantly, to exchange ideas and collaborate. This innovation is creating hybrid forms that are truly new.
In this way it was always important to me that Strobsocopic Artefacts was not a Lucy imprint. Instead it's a platform with a distinct and well thought through collaborative approach. Each artist has their own thoughts, their own approach to the artistic process, their own background. But all of these thoughts come together, spurring the creative process onwards. All the diverse influences that the artists have makes the emerging sound richer.
What are you up to next?
Following the release of Resampled, the next Stroboscopic Artefacts 12-inch, SA009, has just been mastered at the Artefacts Mastering studio. At the HQ we're gearing up for the continuation of the Monad Series. New ideas are bubbling and some new artists are joining the family. Yet again there are new directions emerging, especially in terms of albums. Wordplay For Working Bees was just the first full-length, and new productions from our core artists are in the lab right now.
Moving towards the summer, I'm looking forward to the fact that the SA Showcases will be coming to new listeners at Sonar and Melt festivals. For me personally, I've finally allowed myself back into the studio to work with all those ideas that have accumulated and all the new stimuli that I receive from the label itself. New creatures are coming to life.