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Vancouver-based producer otherwise known as Konrad Jandav came through in 2012 with an excellent cassette for his own label Nice Up International. Titled ‘MPC Tracks Vol. 1’, the eight-tracker was produced using the hardware sampler, exploring the dark, resonating soundtrack that’s prevailed by ghostly chords and echoing percussive patterns, which gently unfolds and dwells into the deep and atmospheric techno ambience catered for late night/early morning listens.
Prior to this, No UFO’s material found a welcome home on labels such as London’s Public Information, a brand dedicated to the publication of archival, library and eerie music; cassette label Dub Ditch Picnic – a sister label to the Manitoba-based Prairie Fire Tapes; and Edition Mego imprint Spectrum Spools, on which Jandav repressed ‘Soft Coast’, his brilliant debut minimal synth, psychedelic and new age album, in 2011.
For his latest Dummy mix, Jandav has exclusively provided a recording populated by his own original material, which are MPC tracks that he never released or finished. Maintaining some kind of stylistic continuity with previous No UFO’s cuts, it’s a darkened and hypnotic ride filled with lo-tempo, muffled throbs and unwashed beats. In addition to the mix we also caught up with Jandav to see what we can expect from him in the future.
Hey Konrad, how’s it going?
Pretty great at the moment. I was all too eager to see 2012 come to a close. It’s a symbolic distinction but 2013 feels much different.
Can you tell us more about this mix? What will it do to our head?
I was sitting on a few ‘MPC Tracks’ outtakes and a lot of unreleased/unfinished material that doesn’t really suit the releases I’m working on so my initial plan was to draw from that exclusively, tying up loose ends. I found myself needing additional components so I expanded the scope a bit to include some studio tests and studies, live recordings from last summer and other odds and ends that shaped the flow. As always I gave myself the task of making a pile of seemingly disparate things fit together.
All tracks included here in your mix are your own production, can you highlight a few tracks included and why?
The second track is an extended edit of one of the Altar Eagle remixes I did last year. I made them somewhat traditionally, using only the source stems, but without ever hearing the original version. Exit Strategies and Preference Falsification were both cut from ‘MPC Tracks Vol. I’. Roughly 21:00 to 25:00 is an excerpt from a set I played on Vancouver Island last summer. The show was in Victoria’s Chinatown, in an artspace beneath a secret mahjonng parlour. The parlour door was a one-way mirror and I got the feeling there was a lot of money and emotion going around up there. There were a couple points when the gentlemen above us came down to complain about the noise and it was tense.
Why did you start Nice Up International?
Quite simply to release the first No UFO’s cassette, ‘Soft Coast’, rather than harass labels. At that point I had vague plans to release what became the ‘Mind Control’ EP and an EP for the Vancouver duo Solars, but no thoughts beyond that. When Solars broke up and my friend Chris offered to release ‘Mind Control’, the label was put on hold. The Solars release eventually morphed into a solo cassette for one of the members and that’s when Nice Up slowly became active again.
Is there a particular idea or aesthetic behind the label?
My interests are all over the place, so much like with No UFO’s I try to ignore the pull towards a certain sound and just go with my gut. I’ve realized that the overlap between what I like and what I want to release is much smaller than either pool on its own and I’m perfectly fine with that. I never wanted it to become the type of label that just releases things because it would become invisible if it didn’t.
You’ve previously released on interesting labels like Public Information and Spectrum Spools, and of course, your own Nice Up Intl, are you careful about choosing who to work with?
Yes and no. I have to be careful because I don’t release a lot of material. At any given moment I have at least 2-3 releases in the works (meaning they have a label interested and a working theme, a place in my mental queue and loose timeline). If I said yes to everything offered then most of it would never see completion anyway.
Who/what has influences on how you make your music?
Musical influences are many/varied/boring to discuss. I’m not sure how this would be perceived from the outside but I’ve always considered No UFO’s to be an application of pop art ideas to forms of experimental music. In a more practical sense I’ve always tried to jumble the roles that writing, performance, improv, programming, editing, plotting, etc. occupy in music making. I used to feel guilty for not being much of a jammer, and my pieces involve little real-time playing, but there’s a lot of real-time work (spontaneous and rehearsed) that happens later in the editing, mixing and processing stages.
What do you have coming up release-wise? Is there an album in the works? And would that be on your own Nice Up International?
There’s been an album in the works for over two years and at any given point I would have said it was 3-4 months from completion before scrapping most of it. I will now say it again: the album is about 3-4 months from completion. Maybe this time I’ll be right. For better or worse I treat albums differently than EPs. More pertinently, ‘MPC Tracks Vol. II’ should be out on Nice Up in the next few months. I promise it will be nothing like ‘Vol. I’.
What’s your day job?
I’m an unemployed prepress technician / underemployed freelance designer / my partner’s personal chef.
What’s the relation of your name with that track by Model 500?
I always leaned closer to the Chicago side of things (I used to visit Chicago annually to hit Gramaphone, Hot Jams and all the other shops) but I am a long-time fan of Juan Atkins’ work. I had the ‘Soft Coast’ release completely finished and manufacturing stalled because I hadn’t chosen a name. Around that time I rented the Detroit techno doc High Tech Soul and when I saw the words “No UFO’s” on-screen I knew that was it. A bit later I realized that No UFO’s can be abbreviated as NU, same as the name I’d already chosen for the label. That made it feel extra right.
Do you believe in UFO then?
Going by the strict definition, a flying object that can’t be identified, of course.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Vancouver?
Fantasize about moving somewhere affordable.
Who are you digging at the moment?
Pauline Oliveros, Rolf Julius, Douglas Lilburn, Miles’ ‘Get Up With It’. Franco Berardi, Chris Krause. Yvonne Rainer’s ‘No Manifesto’. As far as new music Jan Jelinek’s stuff is always ill. Eli Keszler, Geoff Mullen, Jason Lescalleet, Helm. Giuseppe Ielasi has been on an incredible streak for over a year now. I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about his work.
What are you looking forward to in 2013?
This month I will sell nearly all of my gear and start over. Next month I’m heading to San Francisco for my first proper holiday in 7 years. That’s plenty for now.
01. No UFO’s – Sveiki
02. Altar Eagle – Parallel Lives Remix (No UFO’s Pt. II – Extended Dub)
03. No UFO’s – Exit Strategies
04. No UFO’s – UFO’s On Tape
05. No UFO’s – Cnidae
06. No UFO’s – Sine Wave Portrait
07. No UFO’s – New Import
08. No UFO’s – Illusionistic Space Versus Material Presence
09. No UFO’s – Untitled Live (Summer 2012)
10. No UFO’s – Apocryphal Waves
11. No UFO’s – Preference Falsification
12. No UFO’s – Uz Redzēšanos