Covering The Tracks: DrumTalk – DrumTalk EP

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Due to drop later this month on Huntleys + Palmers, DrumTalk‘s EP is an eclectic showcase of sounds fit for both club and casual settings. Despite hailing from East London, the tracks possess character from around the globe, Detroit techno-style synth lines riding over more off-kilter rhythms, drawing comparisons to early Daphni and Four Tet.

His sound is that of reciprocal control between man and machine, which makes his creative process is even more alluring. We managed to get a few words from the illusive producer about the work that went into each track, and the inspiration behind the sounds.


Every now and then, I like to make a piece of music that would (to me, at least) be a perfect soundtrack to fly through the golden light of two setting suns over a city that covers an entire planet, probably sometime in the 22nd century. This is one of those. It’s a vibe exemplified in certain areas of Detroit techno (see Claude Young), and something that has always fired my imagination. I’m not interested in making retro or overly referential music but I’d have to admit that the busy, choppy chords in this track would not be there had I not heard machine music from the Motor City first.

This is a particular favourite of mine. It’s not a ‘big’ tune. It’s not going to blow anyone’s head off, but I think it has a warmth and depth to it that I like a lot. At its core are the arpeggio’d synths, speeding up and slowing down, moving in and out of phase. I ran them through a piece of kit I have on loan, the Super Vega (hence the title of my previous record). It’s a delay unit that uses ‘bucket brigade’ circuitry, a fusion of digital and analog circuitry that imparts its own special juju to whatever you run through it. This isn’t really made for the club as such, but you may like to try it on headphones.
I don’t tend to use samples as the main body of a track but, for some reason, I wanted to do precisely that with this one. The chimes and bells are sampled from a tape cassette of Indonesian Gamelan music that my brother brought back from a trip he made there years ago. I found it in a shoebox having completely forgotten I owned it. The hiss I don’t care about, the tape compression is too nice. As with ‘Ishtar’, this track makes heavy use of delays (though not the Super Vega this time). I’m fascinated by the moods and atmospheres that can be created through use of delay and reverb. Ostensibly designed to mimic the behaviour of sound in a physical space, they can effect us in ways that go so far beyond that.

This was originally intended to work as a follow up to ‘Time‘, the last record I had out with H+P, but it didn’t turn out like that. One thing I’m not very good at is recapturing the vibe of the last track I made. I seem to have a natural inclination for variety and tend to react against the last track I did rather than try and maintain a close stylistic continuity. That’s all very well of course, but probably not the best recipe for success. Still, you play the hand you’re given and try to play it well. Consequently, I ended up with something a little colder and a little weirder than I had planned. I liked it, and that’s just the way it is.

Drumtalk EP is out now via Huntleys + Palmers. It’s available to buy digitally and on vinyl.

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