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Shapednoise's New Single With Rabit Seeks the Beauty in Bedlam

"Pulling at the Seams of Existence" from his new EP 'Deafening Chaos Serenity' is crushing and composed at the same time.
November 10, 2016, 5:59pm
Photo by Rebecca Cleal

Over the past half decade and change, the Italian-born and Berlin-based producer Shapednoise has been making tracks that feel like steamrollers. As his chosen moniker implies, he's built up a reputation as a dedicated sculptor and designer of the world's harsher sounds—molding cracks and hisses and rhythmic pandemonium into precise assaults that'll bowl you over if you're a little off-balance. But buried in the work that he's made for labels like Hospital Productions, Opal Tapes, and Repitch (which he co-owns), is a desire for something grander, peaceful, beautiful even—a slight glimmer of steely melody buried somewhere in the static.

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It's this line of his work that comes to the forefront on his new EP for the experimental-leaning label Type, Deafening Chaos Serenity. Enlisting likeminded producers Roly Porter and Rabit, the producer born Nino Pedone set about making music that embodied the title's perceived dichotomy, exploring the ways we can find hope or peace in the midst of noise, love in the midst of chaos, sentiments that feel all the more pressing in light of the deafening reverberations of current events.

Today he's sharing the record's first single, a collaboration with Rabit called "Pulling at the Seams of Existence," which follows through on the promise of this anarchic grandeur, piling distant drones and nauseous bass lines into a gloriously messy nine-minute assemblage of ear-splitting bliss. Underneath the roar, there's tranquility. You can listen to that track below, in advance of the EP's November 17 release date, alongside a brief email exchange with Pedone about his new record.

Over the past half decade and change, the Italian-born and Berlin-based producer Shapednoise has been making tracks that feel like steamrollers. As his chosen moniker implies, he's built up a reputation as a dedicated sculptor and designer of the world's harsher sounds—molding cracks and hisses and rhythmic pandemonium into precise assaults that'll bowl you over if you're a little off-balance. But buried in the work that he's made for labels like Hospital Productions, Opal Tapes, and Repitch (which he co-owns), is a desire for something grander, peaceful, beautiful even—a slight glimmer of steely melody buried somewhere in the static.

It's this line of his work that comes to the forefront on his new EP for the experimental-leaning label Type, Deafening Chaos Serenity. Enlisting likeminded producers Roly Porter and Rabit, the producer born Nino Pedone set about making music that embodied the title's perceived dichotomy, exploring the ways we can find hope or peace in the midst of noise, love in the midst of chaos, sentiments that feel all the more pressing in light of the deafening reverberations of current events.

Today he's sharing the record's first single, a collaboration with Rabit called "Pulling at the Seams of Existence," which follows through on the promise of this anarchic grandeur, piling distant drones and nauseous bass lines into a gloriously messy nine-minute assemblage of ear-splitting bliss. Underneath the roar, there's tranquility. You can listen to that track below, in advance of the EP's November 17 release date, alongside a brief email exchange with Pedone about his new record.

THUMP: There's something in the press release that really struck me, the idea that this EP is in some way a "reconciliation with chaos." Can you explain what this means?
Shapednoise: The record is about noise as serenity and harmony through chaos, in the sense that in an era of coercion, violence and manipulation something like noise, which is perceived as a disruption and chaos can actually be an outlet for psychic resistance and lead towards a harmonious vision of the universe's dissonant complexity.

What do you see as the relationship between chaos and serenity, as linked in the title of the album? Do moments like the end of "Resistance to a Harmonious Vision" suggest that these ideas can exist in harmony or that they're irreconcilable?
Yes, I believe that the two ideas can exist in harmony. Heinz Pagel, a great physicist, believed in a strong relationship between chaos, order and the evolution, because complex systems show a greater degree of spontaneous order than we would assume, and this aspect was completely ignored in the evolutionary theory. I believe that such theories can be related metaphorically, today, to many different contexts, such as music. My music could be perceived as a noisy big complex chaos, and perhaps in the beginning it can be difficult to listen to, but if you do listen carefully then you realise that every sound has its own specific place, in a peacefully coexisting order.

What drew you to work with Roly Porter and Rabit? They seem like kindred spirits in the way they mold harsher sounds.
I decided to work with Roly and Rabit because I really love the way they shape sounds and take care of sound design in their productions. They both have a really personal style. I respect a lot their vision of music and creativity, and there is also a really good feeling and communication between us, which is really important when you work together with other artists.

You've talked before about the value of thinking of your work as sculptural—is that something you were thinking about on this release as well?
Yes, this is something that I was also focusing a lot on while [writing] on this release. When I say "sculpting", however, I don't mean it as a metaphor of physical forms, but rather to describe the nature of the process that I use to shape my sounds: sound sculpting as in using effects and procedures to shape sounds into something completely different, rather than to simply correct/enhance them.

Can you tell me a bit about the construction and meaning of "Pulling at the Seams of Existence"? What do you hope people take away from this track?
For this track, Eric [Burton, AKA Rabit] and I weren't able to work in the studio together, so at first we exchanged ideas and files via email. I started creating some sounds, these very physical random percussion drums and the reese bass line. When I sent them to Eric, I didn't give him any particular guideline because I wanted him to feel free to express himself. He added some extra sound designs, the very metallic synths and the melodic drone/pad lines. We then arranged the track and gave it its final form during the mixdown fase. As Rabit says it's an attempt to explore different modes of thought, so we hope people will explore through it.

THUMP: There's something in the press release that really struck me, the idea that this EP is in some way a "reconciliation with chaos." Can you explain what this means?
Shapednoise: The record is about noise as serenity and harmony through chaos, in the sense that in an era of coercion, violence and manipulation something like noise, which is perceived as a disruption and chaos can actually be an outlet for psychic resistance and lead towards a harmonious vision of the universe's dissonant complexity.

What do you see as the relationship between chaos and serenity, as linked in the title of the album? Do moments like the end of "Resistance to a Harmonious Vision" suggest that these ideas can exist in harmony or that they're irreconcilable?
Yes, I believe that the two ideas can exist in harmony. Heinz Pagel, a great physicist, believed in a strong relationship between chaos, order and the evolution, because complex systems show a greater degree of spontaneous order than we would assume, and this aspect was completely ignored in the evolutionary theory. I believe that such theories can be related metaphorically, today, to many different contexts, such as music. My music could be perceived as a noisy big complex chaos, and perhaps in the beginning it can be difficult to listen to, but if you do listen carefully then you realise that every sound has its own specific place, in a peacefully coexisting order.

What drew you to work with Roly Porter and Rabit? They seem like kindred spirits in the way they mold harsher sounds.
I decided to work with Roly and Rabit because I really love the way they shape sounds and take care of sound design in their productions. They both have a really personal style. I respect a lot their vision of music and creativity, and there is also a really good feeling and communication between us, which is really important when you work together with other artists.

You've talked before about the value of thinking of your work as sculptural—is that something you were thinking about on this release as well?
Yes, this is something that I was also focusing a lot on while [writing] on this release. When I say "sculpting", however, I don't mean it as a metaphor of physical forms, but rather to describe the nature of the process that I use to shape my sounds: sound sculpting as in using effects and procedures to shape sounds into something completely different, rather than to simply correct/enhance them.

Can you tell me a bit about the construction and meaning of "Pulling at the Seams of Existence"? What do you hope people take away from this track?
For this track, Eric [Burton, AKA Rabit] and I weren't able to work in the studio together, so at first we exchanged ideas and files via email. I started creating some sounds, these very physical random percussion drums and the reese bass line. When I sent them to Eric, I didn't give him any particular guideline because I wanted him to feel free to express himself. He added some extra sound designs, the very metallic synths and the melodic drone/pad lines. We then arranged the track and gave it its final form during the mixdown fase. As Rabit says it's an attempt to explore different modes of thought, so we hope people will explore through it.