Techno and electro from a Dutch master.
Boris Bunnik views techno through a wide lens. Over the past six years, the Dutch artist has built a repertoire that has fragile ambient recordings on one end of the scale and heavy, floor-focussed beats on the other. Bunnik's best-known alias is Conforce. He uses the name to explore atmospheric forms of techno, with a characteristically broad purview. Rush Hour, Clone and Delsin—the holy trinity of Dutch club music—have between them released the lion's share of Bunnik's music under the alias. In 2011, Delsin put out Escapism, which, thanks to its confident assembly of aqueous atmospheres, arguably still stands as Bunnik's crowning achievement. He followed up the record this month with Kinetic Image, an ambitious project that moved away from standard arrangements and chord structures towards a free-flowing, sound design-led approach.
The album was, in fact, his second of the year: in March he released Vantage Point under his electro-leaning moniker Versalife, ten crisp analogue productions that were inspired the "horizons and emptiness" of Friesland, the northern Dutch province in which he resides. As if Bunnik's shape-shifting credentials needed further boosting, 2013 has also seen him explore spacious house music as Vernon Felicity and retro-futuristic soundscapes as Hexagon.
Bunnik's natural curiosity shines brightly on RA.392. It's ostensibly a Conforce mix, but it contains moods and textures from across his palate.
What have you been up to recently?
Chasing my passions by finishing a new album for Delsin and new Hexagon EP for my Transcendent imprint. Besides that I've been working on an audio-visual performance with Current Current member Patrik Johansson for my new album.
How and where was the mix recorded?
Vinyl and Ableton. The mix was done in my apartment in Leeuwarden with some fresh records I bought at Clone Records the day before I made it. Also included are some older tracks from my collection that just fitted in.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
Nothing highly conceptual, just an impulsive variable selection of music I find inspiring, ranging from more techno to house and electro-inspired cuts. It's club-focussed but also suitable for home listening.
You said that on your new album you wanted to "make moving images and art that evolve and unfold like passing landscapes." Could you expand on that?
Music-wise I've stepped a bit away from song arrangement and chord structures to a more floating and evolving approach. (At least for now.) I wanted to do more with subtle modulation over a longer timespan. Escapism was quite arranged and based on chord structures. Now it's less defined and sounds more floating. I wanted to surprise myself a bit more by doing more takes, modulations and tweaks. For me, the tracks are like audio landscapes, triggering an imaginary world.
You should see it in the context with the A/V performance I'm presenting with Patrik Johansson from visual collective Current Current. Then it makes more sense because it's a whole. He made a custom set of graphics and tools for this specific album that connect to the theme of the music album and the artwork by Graphic Surgery. These guys are very into kinetic art and so it was kind of a coincidence. The A/V part is triggered by the sound layers and generates motions. It has become a close listening trip, not something you would play out in a club at peak-time. It's more of an experience. Placing the album in the right context was important.
Is there a particular significance behind the album and track titles?
Yes—distant and abstract inspiration that hasn't got anything to do with the music, but maybe a little bit. The title comes from a book called Future Shock by Alvin Toffler. He describes the club as a kinetic environment. After reading this book I had a lot of inspiration, and it kind of brought me closer to understand where we are with technology and understanding my own lifestyle as an artist/traveller. It's inspiring to read futuristic predictions from the '80s, and they were very accurate. These kinds of things inspire me. So some titles come from there. I need to feel inspired on different levels to be able to make albums. It's not just a track collection; it's a reflection of a period in the wide sense. The listener won't care about this, but for me it's important there is some kind of relation or consistency in it.
What are you up to next?
Releasing the Hexagon Blue Hour EP. We brought it to our distributor this week. It will see the light of day via various shops now. New DJ gigs and A/V show performances are coming up. I'm also working on more Hexagon material and a new Delsin EP as Conforce that has a little bit more club focus. Playing in Singapore as well.