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Ron Gibbs has been making music since 1999, but it was only over the last few years that he started sharing his work with the wider world. Earlier this year, he released his debut album ‘Contact’, via alt-pop label Cascine: a 12-track collection of lush, psychedelic electronica.
Whilst Gibbs hails from across the pond – Michigan, specifically – ‘Contact’ takes its influences from a lot of the ecstatic, dreamy music that came out of the United Kingdom following the advent of MDMA. You can hear murmurs of guitar-wielding dream pop, neo-psych and shoegaze, dubby Balearic house, spacious ambient and downtempo, and experimental Rephlex-style electro across the album, but the results still feel thoroughly current. It’s not so much a stylistic throwback to a certain era, more a continuation of the ideas first explored back then.
For his Dummy Mix, Gibbs takes a selection of tracks that hold a special place in his heart. It’s all very physical and textural, music you can touch and feel, taking in classics from Slowdive, Andy Weatherall and TG’s Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti, but the pulse of club music still runs throughout.
Hey, Ron! Could you introduce yourself to Dummy readers?
Hello! I’m Ron. I live in the beautiful state of Michigan and I make music under the moniker RxGibbs.
How did you hook up with Cascine?
I had put out a three-song EP on the blog Everything Is Chemical and apparently Jeff, label boss at Cascine, had heard it and liked it and reached out to me to see if I was interested in working together. I was a big Chad Valley and Shine 2009 fan so I of course geeked that he was interested in putting some of my music out.
You said you’ve got a bunch of music written and buried on hard drives. What was the selection process for the songs that form ‘Contact’?
I started out by sending Jeff all the latest tracks I had been working on. I think I initially sent him like 20 tracks, and he went through and picked out his favorites. His favorites pretty much aligned with my favorites, so I just started sculpting the album from there. It’s always good to have a second opinion from an outside source. I really trust Jeff’s taste and he always gives great advice.
Can you tell us a little about this mix?
These are all songs that had a huge impact on me years ago, and somewhat show where I’m trying to come from musically. To me, they’re all absolute classics. I also think they are all perfect earlier examples of melding beats with dreamier atmospheres. A combination that is obviously still going strong today.
A lot of these artists on this mix fall under the dream pop or ambient spectrum, but there’s also an undercurrent of dance music throughout it. What’s your relationship with dance music?
I’ve always loved dance music, just as much as I love ambient music. Some of my earliest musical memories are of riding around in the car with my mom while she ran errands and hearing stuff like Donna Summer, Chic, and KC & the Sunshine band on the radio. And I loved that stuff. I’m not ashamed to admit I like disco. Alicia Bridges’s I Love the Nightlife is one of the best songs ever.
Could you pick a favourite track from the mix?
I really don’t think I could. But I will go with Primal Scream Keep Your Dreams, simply for its message. “Keep your dreams, don’t sell your soul. Be careful.” Those are words to live by.
How did it feel having allegiances to British indie whilst the big thing going on in the US at the time was grunge?
Well, I was really into thrash metal and hardcore before I got into British indie, so by the time grunge came around it just seemed pointless and boring to me. It was like watered-down metal. I wanted to hear something different and new. Something that hadn’t been done before. And for that I would pick ‘Screamadelica’ or ‘Loveless’ over ‘Nevermind’ any day of the week.
Finally, what did you think of the new MBV album?
I like it a lot. I’m just glad they’re back and playing music again. I think it’s amazing they’re still relevant all these years later.
The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds
808 State – Pacific 202
Chris and Cosey – Morning
Aphex Twin – Xtal
One Dove – Fallen (The Last Monday Morning at Bobby N’s remix)
Cocteau Twins – Seekers Who Are Lovers (Mark Clifford mix)
Slowdive – In Mind
My Bloody Valentine – Soon (Andrew Weatherall Mix)
Primal Scream – Keep Your Dreams