End-of-days club music.
In recent years, Phillippe Hallais has become synonymous with a lethal brand of dancehall. Last year's Jingles du Lieu-dit was startlingly fresh, casually badass and sneakily inventive, using dancehall's corporeal pleasures to sidle a vibrant palette of references into our ears. A recent collaboration with Brodinski was accurately tagged "drill/trap/industro-dub," gesturing towards both the music's unclassifiable nature and its potential widespread appeal.
Here we get to the paradox of the Low Jack project. His sonic approach suggests a war footing, but his militant riddims are oddly applicable to a pop world in thrall to Caribbean patterns and the dead-eye leer of trap, drill and grime (with the right vocalist, his productions could reach an audience far larger than electronic club music offers). So it's sometimes easy to forget that Hallais graduated from the L.I.E.S.-Trilogy Tapes school of degraded electronics—he even had a release on Dutch techno outpost Delsin. But those early 12-inches hinted at his far-ranging potential, later born out by an ambitious pair of LPs for Modern Love and consummated in 2017 by joining Dominick Fernow's Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement project.
On RA.718, we hear Low Jack's signature concoction in full effect. By pairing end-times intensity with a wide variety of rhythmic structures, he uses bleeding-edge club music conventions to animate sounds recognised the world over.
What have you been up to recently?
I just released a new EP a couple of weeks ago on the label I'm running together with Jean Carval, Editions Gravats. It came out on our club-ready series, Les Disques De La Bretagne. The release is a collaboration with rap-beatmaker Brodinski. And other than that, well I'm away from home basically all weekends to DJ on my own or sometimes B2B sets with mega-talented friends like JASSS or Simo Cell.
How and where was the mix recorded?
When I record a mix, I usually like to prepare edits, of sort of unofficial remixes that I do on Ableton. I booked a two-hour slot at HF Studios in Paris, rue Richer. The setup was basic: a Pioneer mixer and two CDJs. And after it was recorded, I re-edited a few bits on Ableton again with drum programming and added some effects.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
Loads of music of local French icons in this mix. And more generally something that is reflecting what I play in clubs, and showcasing the diversity of music that I enjoy playing in these contexts. Usually I like to mix fast BPMs with slow ones, and double-timing, shifting tempos and shit. I don't care about genres, it's more just about natural feelings. Can be dancehall, can be industrial, can be trap instrumentals, can be Bristol-electro, can be whatever. Probably works well at the gym, for workout exercises as well. And would definitely fit a house-warming party with loads of booze and funny beans.
How did the working relationship with Brodinski come about?
Super organically. It wasn't even a plan or something we discussed before. It actually just happened. We've known each other for like 12 years. Back in the days, when I was a young 19-year-old promoter in Brittany, I booked him for a show in my home town, Saint-Malo. And a decade later, we were both in New York at the same time last December, and we just connected again there. He invited me to a studio session in Brooklyn with local rappers he is currently working with. And some of the beats he was playing to them, I freaked out on how sick and innovative they were. At the end of the recording session, he gave me the stems, and after I got back to Paris, a four-track EP was ready. Easy. For me, it's extremely rare to have such a natural chemistry with another producer. Big up to him.
What can we expect from Editions Gravats in 2020?
A bunch of projects that we have been working on for sometime, three or four years, and they will finally see a release date this year. One of the main ones is a compilation focused on the sound of late-'90s free parties from our home region, La Bretagne. And we'll also be releasing a few more dance 12-inches on Les Disques De La Bretagne from current local heroes.
What are you up to next?
I'm travelling to New York this week for some shows and recording new music with Dominick [Fernow] for Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement. And after I come back to Paris, I'll be in the studio with French rapper and singer Lala &Ce. She is an amazing artist, already well accomplished. Quite stoked I'm currently working with her, personally I think she's the best from the new generation of rappers here in France.