Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cosmic Bridge: slowfast

Exclusive Om Unit Cosmic Bridge mixtape: HERE

Kromestar (feat. Team Starfleet) - Outer Limit (CBR002)
Om Unit vs Kromestar - Solar Cycle (CBR001)
Kromestar - Don't Make Sense VIP (CBR003)
Danny Scrilla - X (Moresounds dub) (Un-released)
Moresounds - Analog Steak (CBR004)
Moresounds - Analog Steak (Danny Scrilla remix) (Un-released)
Danny Scrilla (feat. Om Unit) - Hunch (CBR006)
EAN - Flow (Om Unit remix) (CBR005)
Moresounds - Weeda (CBR004)
Danny Scrilla - Street Sound (CBR006)
EAN - Darknet (CBR005)

Om Unit interview

B: So I think the first time I noticed your music was  the "Digidesign remix" but I bet you were up to stuff long before that. How did you get the "Digidesign remix" and can you describe what you were up to before that?

Om: I had been working before that as 2tall. That was the pre-cursor to everything I'm doing now. It was a little more homespun and rough around the edges. I think I refined my approach to making music after the last 2tall album "softer diagram" and I went quiet for a bit just approaching things differently, learning more before coming out again as Om Unit.

The "Digidesign remix" was just something I made as I love the melody. Turns out that Joker liked it and allowed me to cut it to white label and after Plastician and Joker supported it in their sets. 

B: So it was a refix?

Om: Yes, just a personal thing, Joker did send me one part to use once in the version once he had heard a rough cut

B: Nice. And what tempo was it?

Om: I think 92bpm or 90.

B: So do you see it as a precursor to what you're doing now with Cosmic Bridge?

Om: Absolutely. the sound and feeling is of the same lineage, to me at least.

B: So what's interesting is when I came to the Cosmic Bridge releases recently I connected it with juke and the re-emergence of interest in those higher tempos, as much as that 2009 "Digidesign remix". Is that fluke or a contributing factor?

Om: There's tinges of that footwork flavour in the "Moresounds EP" and the EAN records. That's really just down to my taste as the A+R side goes really, so I guess I'd say it's a contributing factor but I certainly don't think to myself "oh yeah wicked this is a footwork record let's put it out" - I'd rather hear something that has it's own twist on a style that is instantly convincing. I think you can hear that across all the Cosmic Bridge releases.

B: So was it like, you were already working at those tempos and then suddenly the juke thing was running nicely in parallel to it?

Om: Well you can hear the influence in my own music but Cosmic Bridge as a label is more about sound system music than trying to be soup du jour but there's certainly the flavour of footwork in some of the records as I've said. However there's even larger influence coming from far less hip and more interesting music such as dub, hip hop, jungle and synthpop.

B: I just think its interesting because, the elephant in the room in dance music is tempo. Perhaps Ableton DJing and other newer technologies are changing that but for so long most genres had narrow tempo ranges so DJs could beat mix them within +/-8 bpm. So this made me think how brave you were to be running at 80 bpm!

Om: Basically I'm taking risks when I play out now, I think it's much more challenging to pull off your own thing convincingly, but when you do your own thing well there's enormous satisfaction in that. Now there seems to be a growing group of people on the same tip making stuff from 80-85bpm with a mish-mash of different vibes to it, so we all feed each other. Plus to be honest a lot of house music bores the shit out of me. I'm more into the subs, but most dubstep parties dried up. Thank god for Vivek's system night though! I'll tell you what as well, playing all over Europe there are hundreds of people making tunes at 80bpm

B: Nice how come?

Om: It's just they exist only on the internet or their own parties

B: Haha, no focused scene, in real life!

Om: Should there be?

B: Well things that exist but just not on the internet, must exist in real life… no?

Om: Can of worms! Anyway fuck a scene. Good music is timeless, something things are seasonal. Whether it's only on the internet or only on a ltd 7" run makes no difference, to me at least. If someone created it and shared it, great!

B: So, the 80 bpm thing, do you feel it's trying to make some kind of rhythmic paradox, kinda fast & slow but even more extreme than halfstep dubstep?

Om: There's no paradox to it, in my eyes. I think a rhythmic paradox might be something far more twisted and interesting. I like this term that Boomkat came up with "slowfast."

B: That's what I mean…

Om: But really its a slow backbeat with double time percussion if you will. I think that the switchups you find in juke and footwork music have allowed people to experiment more rhythmically and I think that's brought about some progression in terms of people's drum programming and yes it's certainly more extreme than the 70/140 dubstep/grime angle I think, literally because it's just faster plus a lot of dubstep producers got very lazy. Maybe the 140bpm format has been explored loads and people want to hear different stuff.

Download the amazing Phillip D Kick "footwork jungle" refixes:
Read the full story about them here.

B: Can you tell me about the story of how Phillip D Kick came about?

Om: It's as simple as a synthesis of 2 styles I was mixing together in my DJ sets, I thought to myself 'what would happen if I took these classic jungle tunes and put that chicago footwork twist on them.' I think I was kind of the first person to do this, and I've heard it catch on quite a lot since, I have to give a shout to Machinedrum who had the same idea that same week too! I saw him Tweet about it and hit him up, that's actually how Dream Continuum came about. I decided to use an alias to keep it low-key until I had finished the 3 volumes of 4 tunes. It lead to gig offers, remix offers all sorts. It was a great experiment that I'm proud to have seen through to completion.

B: Beyond the refixes, do you think it could lead into its own space, that's neither juke nor jungle? that original productions rather than refixes, could emerge from it?

Om: I think it has/is happening, there's trap/jungle/footwork being blended. I am not sure if it'll ever be anything but a synthesis, but at the same time I don't think that's a problem.

B: It's tricky that balance right, the point between blending two known forms and a third unique form emerging, or indeed in some cases not emerging...

Om: Well perhaps most things start like that but there's a line where something becomes independent.

B: Totally. So can you tell me more about the Dream Continuum?

Om: That's me and Machinedrum, we released one record on Planet Mu called "Reworkz" it's essentially three jungle footwork reworks. I think that this record and the Phillip D Kick stuff are all still really good DJ tools.

B: How connected are they in vibe to Cosmic Bridge? what are the similarities/differences?

Om: Well the link is me I guess. I feel like if you create anything it's somehow linked to everything else you create. I don't see an obvious link. Cosmic Bridge is really my pet label to release great music by other people or collaborations that I make. I guess the similarities are that people can still play the music in the same set much as I do.

B: Yeah, the tempo thing...

Om: Its similar but most of the Cosmic Bridge stuff is more focused on the slower/heavier/dubbier side. And tends to be more up in the 85bpm range. as i say, to me it's music that you can play out and references those things. I am a lover of synthesis

B: Of bringing differing things together?

Om: Yeah I think the most interesting stuff for me at the moment is between the genre borders.

B: Where things are more blurred?

Om: No not blurred: still well conceived. There's a lot of pseudo stuff but you can hear when something is well realised.

B: Do you have an over-arching sense of the vibe of Cosmic Bridge, what makes sense for it and what doesn't?

Om: I find it hard to explain, and can't fully verbalise. I guess Cosmic Bridge is a representation of that bass heavy downbeat dancefloor driven sound but not genre exclusive.

B: Can you talk about the relationship between tempo and drum density. Like the juke refixes of jungle tracks or the cosmic bridge tracks at 85/170...

Om: I think it's a simple as quanitzed 16ths providing the movement, with a steady downbeat. At 80/160 you have more room to play. Once you get up to 85bpm things tend to sound better a little stripped down.

B: I guess what I'm asking when do you decide to strip back and when to add density. Because if you go too dense you're into drum & bass territory, and if you go too light, then it risks lacking in momentum...

Om: The track should decide for itself and what I mean is if you feel where it should go you just let this happen.

B: Sure except with the Cosmic Bridge stuff generally you're not going either beatless or full on d&b tearout...

Om: No that sound I guess focuses on the "one". 4/4. I think that's where the dub reference ties in. Moresounds for example blends the dub feel with the skittish footwork percussive elements.


Anonymous said...

good rhythm chatter..
i think it is important to include double-time and half-time at whatever bpm.. that is what creates the grey area.. mixing the orthodox characteristics of the past echoing a pleasing confusion.. that is current state of creation..

fractal said...

Great read!