*Download the mix here
Morphine, the label headed by Lebanese musician Rabih Beani, is one of those platforms where an overall aesthetic takes precedence over genre or style. Although at first glance the company seems to focus on the deep sector of club sounds, the industrial digressions of Philadelphia duo Metasplice fit in perfectly with the narcotic, deep, slightly oppressive vision that has always been present both in Morphine’s releases and in Beani’s own productions under his alias Morphosis or Ra.H. An allergy to frivolity and concessions has always been one of the pillars of his musical discourse, whether as a producer or as A&R. To celebrate the coming together of Metasplice and Morphine, Beani brings us an exclusive mix made solely of the duo’s work, with the added value that this session will be the first time that many of the cuts have come out. Others are the first advance tracks from the project’s debut album for the label, expected next year. All of these enticements just add to the main incentive, Kenneth_Lay and V. Hold’s smoking productions. Free-ranging excursions into polymorphous noise, they are largely the fruit of improvisation, taking us into the most alienating corners of techno music. To go along with the mix, recorded as a teaser for their coming performance at Krakow’s Unsound festival, we spoke with both sides about the keys to this happy union.
Part 1: Morphosis speaks
How did you come in contact with the sound of Metasplice?
The guys initially submitted demos and promo tracks of their own self-released material on cassettes; then during my trip to Philadelphia I met them and had the chance to talk and discover more of their art side.
What are the key factors of the Metasplice sound that most appeal to you?
Metasplice has this loose and totally psychedelic approach to electronic music, being noise artists as well; this fact adds some unique and unpredictable way of arranging their pieces and compositions. The sounds are so smooth and mellow, but used in harsh and banging ways, ever-developing and modulating and repetition is being used more as a human interactive thing rather than a constant and static looping.
Although Morphine has always had an open perspective as a label, the harsh, industrial sound of Metasplice is a bit of a departure from the label’s usual warm, deep music. What common points do you find between the Metasplice sound and the label's sonic identity?
Morphine has one singular aim, which is the development of the many forms of techno and house music, bringing it back to the origins, and then taking again a different path so that the music doesn’t stand still in a format. There is no leading point, the way things are released on Morphine is totally free and nothing is closed within boundaries. If you think how the path of Morphine has developed over the years, from Madteo to Hieroglyphic Being to Shake, Metasplice somehow are not alien to all this at all, they totally embrace the logic behind the label, even adding more to it.
Most of the tracks in the mix are still unreleased, some of them will stay in this mix forever. What is the stuff that is going to be released and what are the factors that lead a track to end up on wax or be unreleased?
“Decant” and “Churn” are going to be the next Metasplice EP, right after Hieroglyphic Being’s “The Lost Transmission”. Some of the other tracks will be on the forthcoming album, but I can’t tell yet which ones exactly. The remaining tracks will probably never see a proper release, so this mix will have some kind of exclusive tracks.
The Morphine label was first based in Italy. There’s a long tradition of Italian (or Italian-based) techno artists collaborating with American labels, from the Passarani & Monteduro days until now. How do you see this connection? Does it make sense, and if so, what chapter is Morphosis writing?
I think I’m more pointing to a global heritage that definitely includes the Italian one; I’m still in touch with the Italian scene for as much as I can and with the people I’ve always been connected to, glad also to see this scene is constantly growing and delivering.
Part 2: Metasplice speaks
Metasplice is a rather elusive project. How did you two meet and begin making music together?
We met at a show in 2006 and through discussion became interested in each other’s projects: Tyler’s duo SNOWSTORM and my solo project. Later on in 2007, I started Malleable Records, through which we released our respective material. During this time, after hearing each other’s records we became more oriented towards each other’s sounds. After a couple years and while planning a split LP release of our solo material, by chance we had an impromptu jam while testing new equipment. After this session, we started meeting up regularly.
Your sound seems to combine elements of the American noise underground with European experimental techno, and it also has a heavily improvisational factor. What would you say are the key elements in your musical creative process?
“Improvisational” yes, but we have a firm grasp on each other’s playing, which allows all of our music to be created in one take.
Do you feel connected to this new trend of noise artists playing with heavy beats, such as Pete Swanson and Dominick Fernow? Is it an aesthetic you feel close to, or are you more into the European isolationist 90s stuff?
In the past with our previous projects, we were playing within the US noise underground but were silently not accepted by a majority of our peers. Because of this situation, it made sense for us to begin writing music together.
Were you aware of the work of Morphosis and his label Morphine before releasing there?
You will be playing at this year's Unsound festival. What can we expect from your live set there? How do you usually approach live sets?
Our sets are similar to our recording sessions. The only variables are the PA system and the surrounding environment.
I understand you have an upcoming album on Morphine. What can you tell us about it?
We’re in the process of working on it and it will come out sometime in the next year.
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