It’s been a bit of a vintage year for electronic music, with old hands like Four Tet and Caribou, releasing standout albums, and newer names such as Walls, Mount Kimbie, Gold Panda, James Blake and Dam Mantle helping to reinvigorate a genre that has been much in need of a tonic.
The latest addition to 2010’s bumper crop comes Norfolk resident Luke Abbott who has already wowed our collective hearing with the brilliant Honeycomb EP for the Amazing Sounds imprint run by Allez Allez. You missed it?
Well here’s a sonic reminder of it’s greatness in the shape of “One Hundred & Thrteen”.
Download: Luke Abbott – One Hundred & Thirteen
Additionally last week saw the release of Holkham Drones, Luke’s debut album for Border Community. Full of layered textures and sounds, tones and drones that build up and up to hypnotic effect, Abbott has produced an album that could happily soundtrack a night on the sofa just as it could light up braver DJ’s sets. Holkham Drones firmly seats Abbott at the top table, and as such more than deserving of a place in the Slutty Fringe Mix Series hall of fame.
Slutty Fringe: Hello Luke thanks for joining us. My iTunes has classified Holkham Drones as… Unclassifiable, whereas Phonica opted for ‘channelling Britain’s pagan heritage through an overwhelmingly satisfying electronic union of joyously Krauty arpeggios and rolling primal rhythms’ how would you describe your music?
Luke Abbott: It’s some kind of lo fi electronic psychedelia I think. It’s homemade, and slightly wonky.
It’s taken around four years from your debut 12″ on Output to releasing your first album, how long did it actually take to write and record it?
Around four years I suppose. There’s one or two tracks on it that go back a while anyway, but most of the album was made since my last EP (Whitebox Stereo).
Will we have to wait another four years for the follow up?
When you’re writing a new tune what’s your process, do you sit down with a very set idea of how you want it to sound, or do you take a more improvisational approach?
My working process is in a constant state of change, but I never really have a set idea of what I’m doing. A lot of my tracks are built around some kind of improvisation, some of the tracks are recorded as live takes. And other tracks are based around a little idea and then grow into something else.
Do you think, right this ones for the clubs, or this one’s for home entertainment, or just let the tracks go where they want to?
I can never tell what is or isn’t going to work in a club, so I don’t really think about it. I prefer music to be more mystical than utilitarian.
I read recently that you record pretty much all your tracks just on a home studio, what’s your current setup like?
Yes, it’s all done at home. I’ve just moved house actually, so I’m setting up my new studio at the moment. Characteristically my studio is a bit of a mess, lots of wires, lots of things to play with, and pretty terrible room acoustics.
You’ve also just released a 12″ ‘Honeycomb’ on Allez Allez’s Amazing Sounds, how did that come about?
Sam and Steve (Mr and Mr Allez) are two of the many lovely people I’ve befriended in connection with music. I’ve done a few gigs with them, and a mix for their website and stuff. When they set up this new label my record just kind of came along quite naturally. The tracks on it have been around for a while, stuff I made before the album mostly, but I’m glad they’ve found a way into the world.
I don’t tend to think of Norfolk as up there with the Detroit’s and Berlin’s of the techno city pantheon, but with yourself and Nathan (Fake) both residents there, is there a thriving scene there or do you the pair of you exist in splendid isolation?
Nathan doesn’t even live here anymore, he’s a Londoner now. But there’s a healthy music scene here, it’s small but friendly, and very diverse… there isn’t a whole bunch of people making the same music here, so I don’t think there’s a ‘Norwich sound’. I do feel a little bit isolated sometimes, but it’s all swings and roundabouts.
You’ve got a fair few gigs coming up, what can people expect from your live show?
Well, I’ve just done my album launch gig in Ginglik Sheppard Bush, and for that I did a hardware set with a small modular system and some other synths and stuff… but usually I can’t transport all that kit to a gig, especially if I’m playing somewhere in Europe. So most of the time I do a laptop set, but still with a lot of live stuff happening like live synths and drum programming etc. I suppose my live show is usually a bit faster and more aggressive than my recorded stuff, but that depends on the club!
So anyway to the matter in hand, tell us a little about the mix you’ve done for us?
Well, I’m not really much of a DJ, but it was fun to do. I called the mix ‘Sound 23’ in honour of the magical number 23. I wanted to use some of my sound-effect records (which I have a small collection of) in the mix, so there are some engine noises and clocks and stuff in there. It’s all off vinyl, so there’s quite a lot of noise and crackle, sorry. I tried to choose tracks that represent what I’m listening to at home at the moment, so it’s a bit eclectic.
Finally we’ve passed comment a few times recently on the current state of Border Community boss James Holden’s barnet, as a friend isn’t it time to stage an intervention?
As long as he doesn’t go back to having dreadlocks I’m not going to intervene.
(engine noise introduction)
(uncredited musical interlude)
(sound 23 introduction)
Tom Waits – Just another sucker on the vine
Holden – Flute
Flying Lotus – Dance Of The Pseudo Nymph
(clock ticking, with chime and 12 strike)
Tamion 12 Inch – International
Bell – Rhythm Machine
Peverelist – Clunk Click Every Trip
Mit – Rauch (Luke Abbott remix)
Hanne Hukkelberg – Ease, in C mix (Sutekh remix)
Lucky Dragons – Tune For Wind Dog
Stream from the above Mixcloud widget now or download from here.