Deep, hypnotic techno.
Back in 2011, a young Swedish producer adopted the name Abdulla Rashim and started releasing music through an eponymous label he'd set up. "I like not having to be myself," he later told Dissolve. "I don't want my own name to be out there, or my own personality." Rashim instead created an identity through sound. His records explored techno's deepest, darkest spaces and came out on pitch-black labels like Prologue and Semantica. He also maintained a flow of 12-inches on his own label, a series that took its titles from Ethiopian cities he'd visited. Rashim's style became more distinct with each release—he increasingly explored irregular rhythms and his sound design sharpened; it was as if he more clearly understood what he wanted to say. Last month Rashim released Unanimity, his debut album, and the ideas he'd been playing with over the years became fully realised. The record came out on Northern Electronics, a label Rashim started last year to release other people's music, which was a further indication that the world he'd created around his alias was now fully formed.
In his RA review of Unanimity, Brian Kolada said that if "deep, hypnotic, adventurous techno is your thing, you shouldn't miss this one"—and the same is true of Rashim's RA podcast. It's a mix that requires your undivided attention, but once you're locked, it's easy to get lost in.
What have you been up to recently?
I released my first album in May on my label Northern Electronics. The last years have been really intense in terms of working with music, and I never thought I would be able to relax because I always kept on pushing myself. But after finishing the album I feel like I can take a day off here and there, so I've just been enjoying life.
How and where was the mix recorded?
In my studio in Stockholm, using Ableton and some machines. Afterwards I let my friend and mastering engineer Neel do some minor finishing.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I felt like it was time to do something different and try, for me, a new approach. I wanted to make it personal, so I started asking around my friends if they had something to contribute, and I ended up with tons of great new music, which I started layering with a few older tracks. I put a lot of myself into doing this.
You mentioned that your album was inspired by a "musical contradiction between thought and letting go." Could you expand on this?
To fully engage in this kind of music I think you just have to let it lead the way. As the one who creates it, I'm interested in giving up control, which could ultimately result in increased focus.
Do non-4/4 time signatures allow you to evoke moods or feelings that you otherwise couldn't?
Working with other time signatures gives you freedom to break away from what is considered to be the core structures of techno. Tracks in 3/4 can give that really serious, mental, heads-down vibe, which I love. There are others doing this in very creative ways, like my fellow label-mate Korridor, he's on another level.
What are you up to next?
I'll keep on feeding Northern Electronics. And there's a North America tour scheduled after the summer.
Photo credit: Propaganda Moscow