Tokyo-based producer Quarta330 today shared "Digital Lotus Flower," a galloping new track off his forthcoming Pixelated EP on UK imprint Hyperdub. Merging his signature chiptune sound with a low-strung footwork template, the track pairs delightfully rich technical precision with restrained, moody elegance.
Ahead of the record's release later this month, THUMP spoke to the producer over email about the relationship between his day job and his work. The exchange was translated by Yutaka Nakashima.
THUMP: Chiptune has been a consistent part of your artistic practice for a number of years now. What draws you to the sound?
Quarta330: I've been using Gameboy for production for many years but I don't feel any nostalgia about using it. It appeals to me purely as an instrument. It feels like an ascetic practice, seeing through trial and error how much creativity you can put into the music within the restrictions of chiptune, such as its sound, polyphony, and the processing power of the CPU. Also, I think Chiptune's biggest attraction is that it pronounces the artist's characteristics through its sounds.
You often employ the sound in contexts—dubstep or footwork, for example—where it doesn't already have a huge presence. Is this intentional, or is it just a coincidence that it's happened that way?
I think it's a combination of both. I discovered UK garage back in around 2000 and since then have been attracted to tracks or beats that have multiple layers. Dubstep, footwork, dub, and jungle attract me for similar reasons.
What was the production process of Pixelated like? Were there any things in particular you wanted the record to communicate?
I wasn't thinking about genre when I made this EP. I put a lot of things I love and also things about myself into Pixelated. That's probably why this EP took so much time.
I made all these tracks through Ableton Live. Didn't use any special synthesizers, mostly just freely-downloadable software synthesizers. Some Gameboy and Commodore 64 sounds were also used. Nothing special.
Your day job is at an electronics company. Does this have an effect on the way you make music at all?
Yes, exactly. I've been working in Five G synthesizer shop at Harajuku Tokyo for many years, and since last year I also work at Elektron Music Machines. I truly love synthesizers. It's hard to express, but it gives me a lot of thrill and excitement to work closely with them.
Pixelated will be released on vinyl and digital formats January 27, and is available for pre-order.
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