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Perfectly Deep Weekly: Your primary source for the finest deep electronic music on the Internet

Perfectly Deep Weekly #50:
Yukio Bergholdt, Second Sun, Miles Kvndra

 

Dear <<First Name>>
 

Today marks the release of the 50th Perfectly Deep Weekly newsletter. 

 

That's the first significant milestone of Perfectly Deep. To celebrate it, I have put together a special edition for you today:

 

For the first time, I include an exclusive interview with a key figure from the electronic music scene, and this will be the first in an ongoing series to feature some of the people whose work I would like to celebrate and highlight.

 

The first interviewee is Guillaume Blanjean, label manager of Petite Victory Collective and also known under his artist name Atlas Castle. The choice of him as the first is not coincidental, either, because the theme of this newsletter is also special: For the first time, I zoom in on a single label whose output sits perfectly in the deep electronic music spectrum. 

 

Guillaume and the core of Petite Victory Collective (often shortened to "PVC") is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Still, the label runs on a collective model with stakeholders (artists) spread out worldwide. I like PVC's work in general, and with this newsletter, I wanted to share with you the most extraordinary musical treats they've released this year. Read the interview with Guillaume right after this week's recommendations.

 

Note that this newsletter is the last one before the summer break. Perfectly Deep Weekly will be back in your inbox in August.

 

In any case, I hope you enjoy this newsletter as much as I did putting it together.

 

Keep it deep,

 

Christian Villum

 

 

PS: After lengthy technical challenges during the spring, the premium Perfectly Deep offering is finally very close to being ready. I expect to launch in the late summer. I can hardly wait to show it to you.


 


Yukio Bergholdt - Passenger Null, Live set EP version (2022)

Yukio Bergholdt Soundcloud / Petite Victory Collective

Tags: #dubtechno #dubambient

 

This mix is unique because it weaves together select tracks from Bergholdt's own latest album, Passenger Null. This means, in essence, that this is a review of both the mix and the album. If you want to listen to it unmixed, look it up on any major streaming platform. See links below.

 

Yukio's sound sits in the spectrum between minimal techno, dub techno, and dubby, melancholic ambient. This mix and album is the embodiment of that. It starts with the album's last track, 'Dreams Falling,' a mellow, somewhat slow dub techno burner, which runs 7.5 minutes on the album but is capped at around 5 minutes in this mix.

 

Next follows 'Dropped Behind,' a gritty and noise-infused dub electronica track with a super subtle kickdrum layered in loads of echo and reverb. Brilliant. It is followed by 'Scotch Bonnet,' essentially a pure digital dub track with Berlin'ish Basic Channel flavor. In the latter half of the track comes a piano sample, which is in this mix - not on the album - comes out almost distorted. That's a nice touch.

 

Then comes the title track, 'Passenger Null,' the track of the album that is the most pure-bred minimal techno. Yet still with lots of dubby sensibilities, of course. It sports a soft kick drum and delightful synth pads that slowly evolve. I cannot tell if this track runs for the remainder of the set (which, in that case, is well over 10 minutes) or if there is another somewhat similar track wrapping up the set.

 

A couple of tracks from the album are not included here (I assume this is because an EP of the same name preceded the album, hence the title of the mix). Whatever the case, it simply means there are even more goodies than you hear here.

 

In any case, it is a stellar album from this Copenhagen-based producer and performer, who I had the pleasure of meeting at a recent PVC showcase in the prominent Proton Records store (a recommended visit if you're ever in town). Bergholdt has been producing electronic music since the middle of the 1990s, "cutting his teeth abusing hardware synths and outboard gear," as his bio reads. As a result, his performances are mainly DAW-less (computer-free), which translates into quite playful and sometimes even improvised experiences. One to watch for sure.


Soundcloud (mixed version of select tracks)
Spotify  Apple Music  Tidal  Bandcamp  Deezer  Youtube Music (album)

 


Second Sun - Planetary Movement (2022)
Petite Victory Collective

Tags: #darkambient #ambient

Behind the Second Sun moniker stands Jacob Rasmussen, a Copenhagen-based producer affiliated with the Petite Victory Collective label, who swears by making music (and performing) on modular synthesizers. And who is exceptionally apt at that, I might add, after experiencing him live in concert. With a little teddy bear Yoda as a mascot, sitting on top of his modular rig, Rasmussen offers a captivating live experience.

 

Musically, Rasmussen's music is delicate, beatless, and layered ambient which builds slowly over time, alternating between fragile moments of faint beauty on the one hand and intense, energetic crescendos on the other. This album shows the full breadth of this spectrum.

 

The opener, 'Accretion, Pt. 1,' is a cinematic, synth-driven track that sounds almost as if featuring strings in the slowly evolving synth pads. It's short, especially for an ambient track, and serves, I guess, as an appetizer for the rest of this excellent album.

 

Next comes my absolute favorite and the album's highlight, the title track 'Planetary Movement.' It is a stunning composition centered around an arpeggio introduced a minute into the track. While staying true to the ambient genre, it also reminds me a bit of the signature euro trance sound of the 1990s, ie. Chicane or 3 Drives on a Vinyl. It sounds like an elegant sunrise-anthem fit for the sunny beaches of the Balearic islands, but beat-less, stripped down, and, most importantly, not cheesy. It's amazing, as Rasmussen filters the motif in various ways and, at the height, tweaks it up to a burst of a high.

 

Other highlights include 'Luminosity,' a track driven by simple synth pads and a bare, melancholic synth motif that gradually evolves. There is also 'Into the Nebula,' a more playful, arpeggio-driven melody on top of an elegant bassline.

 

The album closes off with 'Accretion, Pt. 2,' an outro to tie a knot with where it started. A 7-minute minimal drone ambient opus soaked in reverb and echo. It slowly builds towards a high point around 5:30 and wraps the album with splendor and magnificence. Crank this one up to 11 on your volume dial and give into the sonic beauty.

 

As an extra little goodie, it is also worth checking out Second Sun on Spotify in more depth because Rasmussen has shared an official playlist with his inspirations. Dubbed Second Sun Inspirations, you'll find a trove of awesome ambient music there. It is highly recommended.

 

PS: If you're looking for Second Sun on various streaming services only to find other bands by the same name doing psychedelic blues-rock, acoustic alt-rock, and whatnot, don't despair. It is, apparently, a very popular artist name. Keep looking, and you'll eventually get to the good stuff - the right one.


Spotify  Tidal  Bandcamp  Deezer  Youtube Music


Miles Kvndra - Earth: The Live James 3 (2022)
Petite Victory Collective

Tags: #ambienttechno #deephouse

This short album (which runs a little over 30 minutes) is a live recording of one of the frequent online jam sessions done by Miles Kvndra, an electronic music producer based in Cologne, Germany (whose civil name I could not dig up, by the way.) In his own words, he makes music "somewhere between minimal/melodic/ambient techno and deep house." That is an excellent combination.

 

A relatively new electronic music producer, Kvndra started making his current output 2-3 years ago. He is no newbie as a music performer, though, because before that, he played the bass in a metal band for over ten years. I am not sure how that influences his music nowadays, but I am sure it's somehow part of the formula that makes it so great.

 

Like most of the artists on the label behind this release, Petite Victory Recordings, Kvndra swears by hardware for composing his music rather than relying on software emulation of synths, which for many is the norm these days. Kvndra's approach includes performing DAW-lessly, without a computer, and depending on hardware units like the very popular Elektron Digitakt. He even shares his production techniques through a dedicated Youtube channel, which is also where he performs the jams that this album - and two more before it - are made from.

 

This album was made in one take, solely on the Elektron Digitakt and Digitone plus a machine called the Hologram Microcosm. This granular effects pedal rearranges and reinterprets sound in peculiar ways using a variety of sampling, pitch-shifting, delay, and looping techniques. As a result, Kvndra's music is highly original, captivating, and both highly danceable as well as introspective.

 

The album opens with 'Burning - Live,' a melodic deep house track with a compelling groove. To me, it captures Kvndra's sound, as described above. Next comes 'Melting - Live,' a darker and more subdued track featuring a melancholic theme. Towards the end this is combined with another flute-sounding melody bit that adds nicely to the laid-back vibe of the track.

 

I would also highlight 'Polluting - Live,' a slightly punchier track. Being more stripped down than the rest of the album, this track has a more percussive feel. It brings in an insisting bassline around 2:30 and tweaks its filters to highlight it and position it as the main element of the remainder of the track. Great stuff.

 

Lastly, the album ends on an experimental ambient tip with 'Restoring - Live.' Here Kvndra shows a different side by omitting the four-to-the-four drum programming. Instead, we experience a more exploratory jam that not only serves to end the album elegantly but also shows the breadth of the producers' aspirations.


Spotify  Apple Music  Tidal  Bandcamp  Deezer  Youtube Music
 

INTERVIEW: GUILLAUME BLANJEAN
Label manager, Petite Victory Collective & performing artist, Atlas Castle.


1. How and why did you get obsessed with deep electronic music?

I have listened to what the electronic world has to offer since my teenage years. Listening to 'Groove La Chord' by Aril Brikha was kind of a revelation for me. Was it techno? House? Deep house? To my brain it was everything and nothing at the same time. I didn't realise it at first, but this record would have a big impact on my deep electronic musical test.

My journey through electronic music first started for real in 2019 when I decided to start a career as a solo artist. The electronic world seemed to be a place of choice to create on my own with my own rules with my hardwares, without being dependent on other musicians. I then got obsessed with deep electronic music by trying to reproduce some of its sub-genres such as deep-techno, deep-house and ambient music. It's still a work in progress. I tend to get lost in the deep and melodic side of electronic music. Starting my own label in 2021 with artists and friends producing dub-techno, deep-house and dark-ambient was a real eye opener.

Nailing the deep electronic genre is still a real exercise for me today that I'm not yet to nail. I'm good at mixing too many genres at once. I recently decided to slow a little bit down and learn the codes and techniques of those genres. Through the years, I played with many radio friendly genres who formatted my brain to write music under a certain form. When I decided to dive into what the electronic world had to offer, I realised that I had to unlearn some of my previous routines and relearn new codes that I'm not really familiar with. I have to learn to let go. - It became an obsession mainly because I'm not yet to nail the exercise. But I'm steady and patient. For now I enjoy the creative process while going through the learning curve step by step.

2. What is the track, album, producer, or label that has had the biggest impact on you - and why?

This is a difficult question. I'm a real music enthusiast. I've always been relying on music to lift me up and show me the way from time to time (and this in many genres). I consume new music on a daily basis. If I had to pick one album today in the electronic sphere, I would certainly go for 'Odyssey / Sonne' from Rival Consoles. In a few words, I would describe it as a collection of deep, crisp ambient tracks and sophisticated sounds. Not really fitting 100% the deep electronic spectrum, but I'm not a purist.

If I had to pick up a label in the ambient-electronic sphere, I would certainly stick to DiN Label. I discovered artists such as Tetsu Inoue, Node and of course Ian Boddy that really made me emphasize and connect with ambient music on many levels. I dived into the ambient world only a few years ago and it certainly has a big impact on my creative process today.

And just because I like sharing, I would like to name the french based label 'Golden Forest Records'. I connect a lot with their vision and overall mindset. It feels good to be able to share the same vision with peers from the industry. Plus they have a lot of deep electronic artists that are definitely worth some time and attention. Such as Krostif, Silver Lake, Wall Brown, Yuki Tosaya..

3. Where do you see deep electronic music going in the future?

I think the deep electronic music realm is in constant evolution. I've been closely looking at what actual artists are shaping through their visions and art. In my opinion electronic music continues to have an optimistic growth trajectory, and this in a variety of key areas. The evolution of performance with wearable technologies, touch screen technologies and such is already really innovative. Armin Van Buuren for example who’s using the Myo armband in his shows to control stage effects. The engine works by reading the electrical activity of your muscles to control technology with gestures and motion, hands-free. Or even this music duo based in Las Vegas: 'Veserium', using their self-invented Tone Sculptor technology to create sound using motions and gestures. We're already in the future if you ask me. I tend to connect a lot with artists pushing boundaries and not limiting themselves to specific genres, techniques and routines.

I think I’d like to experiment and live an electronic track with more than my ears, going for a full immersive experience. How about an immersive way to experience an album in the Metaverse with sensitive shirts and VR Headsets to make you feel the music through your ears, eyes, skin, spin and bones, while diving in the Milky Way?

Listen to Atlas Castle on Bandcamp.
Learn more about Petite Victory Collective on their website and Bandcamp.


 

PERFECTLY DEEP WEEKLY? REMIND ME AGAIN WHAT THIS IS?

 Perfectly Deep Weekly is a free newsletter that makes it easy to enjoy quality deep electronic music every week. It is curated by me, Christian Villum, an electronic music buff based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The idea is simple: I listen to the many releases that come out, pick the ones I like the best - and share them with you here.

Browse the archive of past newsletters here.

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