RECORDS
Sonic Explorations #002: Le Dom [Tessier Ashpool]
Posted by Oli Marlow on April 9, 2015

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Sonic Explorations is a collaboration that was born out of Sonic Router and Electronic Explorations approaching the same artist for an exclusive mixtape; again. Let’s just say it’s something that has happened a lot over the last six years. We decided to join forces on a collaborative project for 2015. This doesn’t mean the end for either party, at this point it just makes sense to pool resources with Sonic Router providing the editorial context for the Sonic Explorations podcasts that will be hosted on Electronic Explorations. #crosspollination

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There’s something so blissful and perfect about the phrase ‘coaxing spectacle out of minimalism,’ isn’t there?

Say it again to yourself, in your head or out loud, it doesn’t matter. Now say it once more. And again, but slower now, drawing out the syllables. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Maybe it’s the fact that there are a number of long words in it and one of them has an x in it. Words with x’s in them are always way cooler than those that surround them. Or perhaps it’s simply the meaning of it: that idea of making something out of nothing, turning minimal elements into pretty, bold forms that can excite one sense or another. Obviously it’s just a gorgeous way of saying all the above – and I respect that – but after reading it in the blurb for Le Dom’s Oazis EP, released last month on Tessier Ashpool, that partial sentence got under my skin. The idea of the spectacle, the notion of a minimalism and the imagery that the use of the word coaxing conjures up; it all just felt too suited to the music Dom is making.

“I want the music to be efficient and suggestive, with few elements,” offered the Parisian producer who’s striking EP hits hard and steely from the off when I asked him about his sense of the spectacle. “I want the sounds themselves to be evocative, almost in a visual way. I like the idea of club music that relies as much as possible on a mix of sound design and groove, and as little as possible on melodies.”

That’s not to say there aren’t melodic elements employed in Le Dom’s music – EP closer ‘Rub Up’’s lead line explores at least an octave – it’s just that they’re just minimally used.

“Melody is present in this EP,” he concedes; “but overall it’s secondary (in the titular track for example). When making this track, my goal was to make this combination of sounds have its own logic, so that it creates something fun (and hopefully danceable).”

“Simultaneously I was trying to suggest an imaginary tableau that I’m attracted to – I love a track that gives a deep sense of space, of size, like you’re entering an arena or something when it ‘drops.’ That’s how I relate to these tracks now, but that wasn’t as conscious at first. I wanted to cause a reaction, be it fun or rejection. I feel that using a few strong elements makes for less of contrivance than trying to be intense at all costs (for example trying to be overly aggressive or filling the whole spectrum with sounds). Plus it works better in a club environment I guess…”

Sonic Router: The first thing that hit me was the impact of the individual sounds you are working with… when combined they feel like how, in the right hands, big stark bold brush strokes and colours can create super unique art, even though essentially the artist is using tools that most people have at their disposal (different colour paint, etc)…

Le Dom: In a way I completely relate to this comparison with the painting process, because that’s how I try to make music most of the time – using sounds as if I was trying to compose a visual piece. I’m always partial to suggesting a place or a scene, rather than telling a story. But the result has to be entertaining, I don’t want the music to sound too serious.

Without possibly intending to [I dunno if they are an influence? Correct me if I’m wrong], your music feels like it shares a kinship with people like Bloom and Damu and Mumdance – new school producers whose primary concern is the shape and impact of their sounds. What is it about the art of sound design that makes you want to work with such a tightly regimented sound palette? Have you always been consciously keeping your music simple?

Among those artists I only am familiar with Mumdance’s music, but I definitely feel at home with this idea of being primarily concerned about sound shapes. I’m always looking for new sounds, making them from scratch, sampling… I don’t feel limited to a certain palette. I just mess around until I hear something that I find interesting. That just comes from the fact that I was always attracted to certain sounds in tracks and video games… drum sounds, synths, but also special sound effects.

I unconsciously or consciously decided that I was attracted to this sound and not this one but it’s definitely a conscious decision to keep the music simple. As a lot of producers, I used to make overly complicated tracks, but now I feel that that was mostly coming from a lack of confidence. I think club tracks should be simple, in the sense that they have to be effective. I like tracks that manage to be highly original, driven by their own intrinsic logic, and that ‘feel’ simple, in a way that you quickly get what it’s all about. I don’t really feel like making long, progressive tracks.

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DOWNLOAD MP3: Sonic Explorations #002: Le Dom
SUBSCRIBE: to EE via iTunes
LISTEN: via Mixcloud

Tracklist:

Le Dom – Klamm
Georgia Girls & Trapdoor – So Seductive
Randomer – Percussion Workout 1
Moslem Priest – Yo Fuccboi
Martel Ferdan – Spot On
Murlo – Adder
Model 500 – Storm
Disco D – Let’s Hug It Out Bitch (acapella)
Bintus – Point Counter Point
Le Dom – Oazis
Koreless – Up Down Up Down
She’s Drunk – Talk to Them
Alias – Gladiator (44)
Robert Hood – Chase
Bambounou – Each Other
Specialivery – Kinesia
NKC – For Yourself
Mutual Friend – Forward Dive
Emmanuel – Quantum Locking
Le Dom – Rub Up
The Hacker, Millimetric & David Carretta – Moskow Reise (Blackstrobe Remix)