Electronic music has long been the soundtrack to our science-fiction fantasies. Whether it's aliens killing each other with zap guns or intergalactic crusaders blasting across galaxies, we can all agree that music made by computers just sounds more fittingly futuristic than, say, the plucked strings of guitars.
But Tessier-Ashpool Recordings, the brand new sub-label from Canada's Infinite Machine and Romanian producer Liar, takes things to a whole new level. Some of you may recognize "Tessier-Ashpool" as the fictional mega-corporation from the novels of William Gibson.
"We envisioned what Tessier-Ashpool would do if they decided to have a label under their belt," says Liar. In his label's universe, "huge multinationals release music that conveys their intrinsic aesthetic," as opposed to the today's reality: "purely capitalist, impersonal drivel, fronted by manufactured, uncanny-valley-esque, teenage TMZ-darlings, and written/produced by talented philistines."
While this isn't the first time that dance music has been based on its own science fiction universe—Distal's Retrograde Space Opera and Kode9/The Spaceape's Black Sun spring to mind—Tessier-Ashpool Recording's "backstory" is so fully-formed that we had to find out more. So along with our premieres of four Tessier-Ashpool Recording tracks, we also asked Liar, the boss man himself, to explain how each of his signings represent facets of this fascinating universe.
Foba's Boss White Boy EP is the fun side of TAR: corporate retreats, discussing dollars per barrel over drinks on the penthouse floor of the Burj Al Arab, and having a trophy wife. It's bare-bones escapism distilled to almost direct neurochemical triggers. It's Paris without the pretense.
Posh boardrooms, economic upturn, and business ethics, rendered through an idealized notion of tech-house. That's what you've got here with the duo 2ndSun. Yes, it's equally techno and house, musical-DNA-wise, and yet it has nothing to do with the forgettable preset-fest that, along with deep house, is currently cluttering up the non-EDM arena. It's Berlin, sans going to take a piss sometime during the first third of a set, spacing out, and coming back sometime during the last third and hearing essentially the same tune.
Spurz was a serendipitous find: I decided to ask a guy on my Facebook for a demo when I noticed he was very vocal about liking my Cybertime EP, had a Fade To Mind snapback, and made music. Makings of a star, right?
I think my leap-in-faith landed somewhere good though: Spurz's Urban Deity EP is about R&D departments, main branch architecture, and formal interior design—all rendered through club constructions that, while obviously owing a lot to the Night Slugs proto-genre, isn't another eyeroll-inducing subpar clone of Jam City's Classical Curves. Spurz's genre-obsolete club trax set out to explore, instead of mindlessly "being random" on top of a Jersey club and ballroom patchwork.
Specialivery's Babilonia EP is all corporate warfare and industrial espionage, rendered through militarized techno by an IRL soldier and student of antiquity. Applying bootcamp discipline across five tracks of highly-refined 4/4, this is machine music achieved without the facile obviousness of sampling machinery. It's "warehouse" sans excessive distortion presented as art.
Despite being "mental for starting a new label in this current climate," Liar says he is quite keen on demos at the moment. Send him your stuff to email@example.com.