Music by VICE

Lucy and Rrose Share a Corkscrewing New Track off Their Collaborative EP

They combine electroacoustic sensibility and techno heft on "Peeling," and tell us about the dynamics of their collaboration.

by Alexander Iadarola
Oct 20 2016, 4:55pm

Release artwork courtesy of the label.

Leftfield techno experimentalists Lucy and Rrose have shared a corkscrewing new track off their highly anticipated, debut collaborative EP, The Lotus Eaters. Coated in the kinds of shimmering, fibrous textures you might associate with ASMR, "Peeling" builds from an experiment in ambient minutiae to a full-fledged electro stomper over the course of eight minutes.

In anticipation of their new record, THUMP spoke to the two artists via email, they told us about the dynamics of their collaboration, where the record's title came from, and what they've got coming up on the horizon. You can check that out below, along with the exclusive stream.

We interviewed Lucy ahead of his performance at Mutek Montreal earlier this year, and he explained that "techno is about energies, the sound is just the medium."The Lotus Eaters will be released tomorrow, October 21 on Lucy's own imprint Stroboscopic Artefacts.

THUMP: What motivated you to come together as collaborators for this EP?
RROSE: Lucy first approached me several years ago to do a remix for his label, and he offered to do a remix for my label in return (an offer I accepted, leading to his remix of "Waterfall"). Since then, we've been talking frequently about further collaborations. Eventually, I made some extra time to visit Lucy's studio in Berlin and we just took it from there. We started working on material before we had a fixed idea of how to release it.

LUCY: I always felt a great connection to Rrose's music, and since the remix swap a few years ago, I knew that the moment we would sit together in the studio something interesting would come out. It was a very intuitive workflow, without any preconceived ideas or perspective about the music. I enjoy these kind of processes a lot.

What can you tell us about the track "Peeling"? What was making it like, and were there any sorts of feelings you focused on?
RROSE: I think both of us try to achieve something that feels organic, like it's growing and changing in subtle, unpredictable ways, even while tethered to a strict pulse. For most of the material, we started with Lucy's modular equipment. We would talk about a few ideas, then I would let Lucy do the patching—he is quite the virtuoso with patch cables, a wonder to watch! Once we had a working patch, I would spend some time "playing" it, understanding the possibilities and limitations. Lucy would often create a second, connected patch and we would record an improvisation. The beats would generally come last, and we purposefully kept the drums to a minimum, to let the synths speak out more.

LUCY: Yes, the very interesting production method was exactly this, to start from the "surroundings" before heading to the "center". It was all about playing around with dance music archetypes and with the standard pyramidal structure of identifying elements. Improvisation and ability to catch a momentum is extremely important in this process.

Is the title—The Lotus Eaters—a reference to The Odyssey?
RROSE: Yes, the story of the Lotus Eaters comes from Greek mythology. I prefer not to explain too much about titles—anyone can easily look up the original story. Let's just say it's a nice mix of symbols surrounding flowers, hypnosis, isolation, and consumption.
LUCY: Born in Sicily surrounded by the Odyssey's landscapes, it's easy to understand how big the ancient greek cultural impact is on me. It was extremely stimulating to connect that with the emotional response of those inputs from Rrose, who comes from a very different cultural background, and a different continent.

How would you describe your collaborative dynamic? What was the division of labor like?
RROSE: I was surprised how quickly this material came together. Since we work in Lucy's studio, he is generally the driver, the patcher, and I'm the tweaker and twiddler. Lucy works fast, while I have to take my time and listen to things for quite a while before I can decide if I like them. In my own productions, I do endless tweaking and adjusting, but Lucy is much more spontaneous, and encouraged me to record in single takes, then tear down the patch. It was quite terrifying at times, but a good exercise for me! We already have plans to continue collaborating for a follow up on my label.

LUCY: Ha, sorry about the terror! Actually I do not always work that way, but in beautiful collabs like this one it comes spontaneous to kind of balance each other normal patters. I guess that's what happened to our hands in front of all those cables. And yes, this EP is surely not the last step of this 4-hands dynamics.

Follow Alexander on Twitter.