I’ve been writing for Seance on and off for a couple of years now and its a special pleasure to be able to do a piece on head man (and still one third of The Clairvoyants) Spectralband. I’ve been able to see first hand how much time and thought this man puts into music, and since he started his own radio station and label (Seance), he has pursued an agenda of strictly underground artists and music, using his talents and deep knowledge to help the artists get the recognition they deserve.
One of a number of quality, small labels pursuing the vinyl agenda, the next disc from Seance is a three tracker by Hironori Takahashi – the Gravitational Singularity EP – and it’s a fantastic addition to the labels catalogue, and is reviewed below. I also pinned down the man himself in between his full time job and musical commitments to grab some thoughts on Seance, inspirations, and unfinished Ableton business!
On a personal note I want to wish him well and happy anniversary, since it is 3 years almost to the day since he started this journey. Keep going my friend, and now to the music…
Beautifully grooving kicks lead this track straight into hypnotic territory, with an air of subdued power, allowing the echoing bass tones to build slowly. Muted, chattering hi hats accompany floating, ethereal high notes, making the listener work to grasp their meaning as the kicks turn up a notch. Feedback builds on some of the higher notes to what you think is a breakdown, then you realise you have listened to almost the entire track, such is its power to draw you in. This would be an amazing set opener with a precise, rolling build and a slight dub overtone.
Millios (Modern Heads Remix)
Modern Heads take a more broken approach to the kicks and work things up slowly, adding percussive elements and the dreamy high notes from the original, A delightful static line reminiscent of rolling waves suddenly/fantastically morphs into a regular breathing, and another sound which I can only describe as electronic birdsong. This is one for the late, late mornings, a great re-work, making something entirely new from the original, and using several imaginative concepts.
Off the back of more broken beats (intensity lurks beneath), this takes more unnerving direction, using half heard whispers panning around the listeners head, enclosing you in a circle in order to deliver its message. That being a cyclic chiming somewhere between tubular bells and gamelan, and it’s captivating, building with echoing delays and some bitcrushed percussion, again building to the same mesmerising conclusion, demanding the attention.
You were a founding member of the respected London techno crew The Clairvoyants, and you still do a radio show together. Tell us how the partnership came about and what keeps it going.
Going into the millennium I ran a record shop in East London with Shax who had a radio show on London Garage pirate radio station London Underground 89.4 FM… he knew Jason H who was also on the station and so it was through Shax that I met Jason.
Around 2005 Shax was a regular at Fabric and was taking in a lot of new music which he would then play to me and Jason. I was only really interested in sticking with mixing Drum & Bass, but slowly I started to identify with the music through the sounds that I liked from other genres. Drum & Bass spawned from Techno but they have both evolved to the point where it’s only really tempo which separates them. We wanted to challenge people’s preconceived notions of how techno sounds by playing the deepest, groovy, dubby and obscure tracks on radio.
We still do a radio show under the name The Clairvoyants but that is done by Shax & Jason, they supply the radio show, I supply the odd production, guest mix and maintain the website and we collaborate on the podcast series. I’m committed to my Spectralband radio show and between the two shows we cover the different styles of Techno music. Not being tied to each other 24/7 has allowed things to keep going.
How would you compare running a label and agency with doing a regular radio show and gigging?
Running a label keeps you grounded and reminds you of the bigger picture, as a DJ you only have to think of yourself. It also allows you to remain anonymous if you choose so it definitely suits me more. Believe it or not but I’m not big on the whole club environment and am an introvert so dislike drawing attention to myself, so unless it meant travelling to somewhere I’ve never been or am likely to ever go I’m unlikely to be accepting any bookings to play out any time soon.
There’s more pressure when you’re releasing the music of or representing others, they’ve put their trust in you to put out a good product and it getting exposure. I have a good team that I use for everything from mastering, artwork to manufacturing and promotion which helps. Doing a regular radio show is something I’ve done on and off for over 20 years via pirate, legal and net radio, so as long as I have the technological means and desire it’s something I will continue to do.
What inspires you most right now, outside of music?
I love film, animation and to an extent, comic books… It’s all about escapism especially if you are in tune with all that’s going on in the world right now for those couple of hours you get to switch off from everything other than what’s on the screen, because as with anything if you don’t switch off for a while it consumes you.
Can you tell us about your current studio process?
Load up Ableton, start a track and never finish it sums things up nicely. I’m never short of ideas but short of the time and patience required to sculpt something out of the recordings I get done ha!
You recently put out a limited 12 inch, the Spectralband label’s first. What was that experience like, and will there be more?
The Spectralband label came about first but originally it was just a platform to release my own productions but as time went on I started to release the works of others. Having been blessed enough to have had my music released on vinyl before I had no desire to press up my own releases but now the artist roster has expanded it made sense. I will definitely do more in the future but they will continue to be extremely limited editions
What are the forthcoming plans for Seance (if you are allowed to say)?
The Seance brand started in August 2013 and has expanded rapidly…
The label is looking healthy, next out on vinyl is the Gravitational Singularity EP which I’m happy to be having Modern Heads supply the remix for, Speech Cobras EP by Dutch duo Monoline featuring Flug, 13 Candles EP by Corvum and I’m in the process of putting together EPs by Bound & Craft.
As things have happened so fast I want to slow everything down and take stock to see what is what.
I really want to concentrate on making the most out of the things already in place and discontinuing anything that is no longer serving a purpose i.e. Soundcloud.
Where the radio station is concerned we will see, the concept of radio is forever evolving and we live in an era of ‘on-demand’ so how long the medium of radio has in its current form isn’t very clear. There will come a point where I will have to make a decision whether to change Seance Radio for the future or allow it to fade into the past but so long as there are people listening live and there are people still doing shows then its business as usual.
Finally – artists impressing you most right now?
Biased opinion perhaps but, Aleja Sanchez who has just remixed my track Sinister for the last Spectralband release, Bound… all the other artists I mentioned who have releases forthcoming and those who’ve already featured on my labels especially Kryss Hypnowave & Alfred Kopke!
The Gravitational Singularity EP by Hironori Takahashi is SEANCE1203 and will be available on vinyl and digital direct from the Seance Bandcamp page as well as all the major physical and digital outlets.
Here’s to many more years of music from Seance & Spectralband!
Interview & review by
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