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​Ansome's Debut Perc Trax LP is a Glitchy Blast of Experimental Techno

'Stowaway' is out now, and you can stream it right here.

This might get intense. Cornwall-via-London hardware basher Ansome (born Kieran Whitefield) has quickly earned a reputation as a man who makes very serious music without taking himself very seriously. Case in point: "Poldark," track three on his debut LP Stowaway, released on experimental techno deity Perc's Perc Trax imprint today. The tune is a techno number that sounds like getting run over by a train, but its title cheekily references a British period television drama about a Colonial soldier who returns home to his beloved Cornwall (right at the tippy tip of southwest England) to find his old life in tatters. Other track titles on the album, like "Grave Digger Figure," "Back Alley Sally," and "The Pain Train," are perhaps more literally descriptive—if still playfully assonant—of the ferocious energy held within.


Although he may seem a new name, Ansome has been producing experimental music (first dubstep, then industrial techno) since he was in his teens, and has pacily built a strong reputation with live, hardware sets and a penchant for a progressive, tasteful take on brutalism. Stowaway is a follow up to Ansome's Perc Trax debut, a similarly robust 4-track titled The White Horse, released in October 2015.

Stowaway is relentless and dark and very effective. In fact, very rarely does a techno album maintain a level of intensity and interest from start to finish like this one. Based in a heavy, galloping warehouse aesthetic, strong elements of glitch, acid, and a deft hand at sound design are very much evident, but the subtleties, undertones, and thoughtful flourishes and thematic progressions are what elevates the album from good, functional techno to a truly artistic work.

If you spend much time in big, grimy hangar-like spaces, you're probably going to hear a few of these tracks about. As for Ansome himself: After performing big dates in the UK like Bloc festival and gigs alongside Perc, Helena Hauff, and Adam X, Ansome will hit Berghain on April 16. For now though check the full stream of Stowaway below, alongside some a few words with Ansome about the LP.

Can you drop 10 adjectives that you'd use to describe Stowaway?
I can do it in 3: Distorted, Funky, Sex Machine [ed. note: Not an adjective but we'll let it slide].


It seems you've found a kindred spirit in Perc. What influence has he had on your music/mindset? How do you feel you fit in with the Perc Trax milieu?
Perc has been amazing and I owe him a lot, he was always one of my favorite artists in techno and his label put out some of my favorite records. I'm still in shock that I am releasing an album on Perc Trax, I think it's only just started to sink in now it's close to its release. Perc allowed me to make the album with no restrictions. Every time I would send him something, the feedback was very open and allowed me to do my own thing. As it was my first album, I felt I could really dive into my sound. I feel very at home on Perc Trax it's a very pleasant place to be and Perc has been very welcoming.

You ran your own labels Disco's Dead and SLAM at quite a young age. Is there anything you've taken away from those experiences that colors your perspective now?
I got to learn what the other side of the music business is about, so as soon as my own music started to get noticed I knew what to expect. It gave me an understanding that there isn't a great deal of money in record sales anymore, especially when doing vinyl-only releases. With Disco's Dead, I went in not knowing anything and really just went for it, managed to get distribution and started pressing records to vinyl. By the time this happened, I had already learnt so much that I felt there was so many things I could have done differently, so I started a new label with my friends and South London Analogue Material was born.


Have you always been the kind of nerd who loves circuit bending and hardware, or did it have to develop over time?
Yeah I love that shit! Engineering has always been very natural to me. As soon as I got into hardware, the first thing I was doing was taking it apart, seeing how it worked, and then I started to build EURORACK modules, then building some of my own things.

What are your three essential pieces of hardware?
I use my EURORACK Modular a lot. It offers so much. I can make pretty much anything I want on it, but the best thing is it makes stuff I didn't know I wanted. The creative aspect of something as flexible as a modular is unbeatable.

Distortion! it's like trying to find the holy grail. I'm always looking for new distortions. I love the way it can transform sounds and add so much emotion, character and texture. I also used my Roland 909 a lot for the album, mostly clocking its groove to the modular but also taking some classic sounds and fucking them up a bit.

Perc sent me a link to some really cool hand-built instruments from America. I have a Sonic Forest, which is basically a forest of mental strings connected to some contact mics, and I get some extremely crazy sounds from that.

Do you find that making such unrelentingly dark music colors your personality or general mood after a while?
I think I'm quite an energetic person, but apart from that, the music is nothing like me at all and it's a totally separate thing, it's what I saw as a challenge and what captured my attention about this project. I love texture and character in sound, more so than "music." When the moment is right, it's pure energy.

Stowaway is on Perc Trax's Bandcamp page.
Ansome is on Facebook // SoundCloud // Twitter

Jemayel Khawaja is THUMP's Editor-at-Large - @JemayelK