Available languages: EnglishBerlin-based French-Canadian producer and DJ Nicolas Bougaïeff combines a lifelong love of dance music with a background in electro-acoustic and contemporary classical music, creating intricately designed, sci-fi-influenced techno. Mind-twisting releases such as his 2020 NovaMute full-length The Upward Spiral shape abrasive industrial textures and commanding beats into complex, high-velocity rhythmic patterns. Bougaïeff grew up in a small town in Quebec, embracing the rave scene during the 1990s. He started releasing music through early netlabels, and gave his first live performance at a rave in 1999, using bulky desktop PCs. He then focused on experimental and electro-acoustic music, earning a degree in composition from the Montreal Music Conservatory, in addition to creating music and sound design for video games. He moved to Berlin in 2008, where he co-founded music production software company Liine with Richie Hawtin, John Acquaviva, and others. He helped design the performance software for Hawtin's 2010-2011 tour as Plastikman, and he completed a doctorate on minimal techno at London's University of Huddersfield in 2013. Movements, a vibrant collaboration with Max Cooper, was released by Traum Schallplatten that year, and Bougaïeff issued a trio of minimal EPs on Trapez. In 2017, his EP Cognitive Resonance was released by Mute's reactivated techno sublabel NovaMute, and its tracks appeared on the digital full-length Principles of Newspeak. He continued his productive output with 2018 releases such as the EP Dust (on Cooper's Mesh imprint), NovaMute EP Permutation Djinn, and digital albums Les Sauvageries and 24 Miniatures. Two more EPs, On the Grid (NovaMute) and Projections (with Marcus C. Maichel), appeared in 2019. Bougaïeff and Mute founder Daniel Miller collaborated as Populist on a 2020 EP issued by The Temple & the Low Dive. The Upward Spiral, Bougaïeff's first full-length for Mute, appeared in July of the same year.
© Paul Simpson /TiVo
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Electronic - Verschenen op 24 juli 2020 | NovaMute
Nicolas Bougaïeff's first full-length for Mute is a startling set of complex audio constructions that challenge the conventional framework of techno. Instead of structuring standard 4/4 beat patterns and predictable builds and drops, he goes off the grid and assembles rhythms and sequences that seem to run counter to each other, drastically shifting perspectives when one element cuts out and another takes over. For an artist often known for such pristine, high-end sound design, from producing an intricately crafted EP with Max Cooper as well as developing audio performance gear with Richie Hawtin, the album sounds surprisingly rough, caked in grungy distortion and occasionally steeped in a high-pitched steam-kettle hiss that sounds like a hand-manipulated device rather than a plug-in. The record finds common ground with the lo-fi noise-techno of Container and the more purist Berghain sound. The title track is representative of the album's sinister but uplifting feel, expanding a sharp note sequence over a basic kick drum, then flipping the energy into overdrive when a more jagged rhythm swivels in. "Inexadorable" starts out as a slow creep, coming close to a sort of industrial dancehall fusion, then charges forward at the three-minute mark while the notes twist around and nearly disappear into the sky. "Nexus" is perhaps the biggest brain teaser here, switching from insistent kick drum patterns to slower thumps to manic, splattered drum'n'bass. "Flying High" is filled with frantic switch-ups and dramatic breakdowns, taking cues from epic trance but reworking them and fitting them into a techno context. "Inward Megalith" is one of the album's heaviest pounders, and its off-time hi-hats and caustic blasts of distortion make its bulldozing beats all the more disorienting. Exhilarating and unpredictable from start to finish, The Upward Spiral is a fresh, fearless perspective on techno. © Paul Simpson /TiVo