Focus: Semi Precious

Semi Precious is a musical solo project by a South East London producer Guy Baron. Following the acclaimed self-titled debut EP by such publications as The Guardian, DIY and The Line Of Best Fit, his new Herbert-produced When We Talk EP was released from NX Records in association with Squareglass, in which he is a founding member. His minimalist approach in songwriting succeeds to emphasise beautiful melodies and gorgeous soundscape, helping him to directly address messages that deal with “false honesty and ambiguity in intimacy” to listeners. Through an email interview we asked Baron about minimalism, working with Matthe Herbert and about his own forward-thinking music label, Squareglass.

Focus: Semi Precious
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, August 30, 2015

Please describe yourself in three words.

Experimental bedroom pop.

How did you get about starting to write music?

I’ve been singing for quite a while but only started writing my own tunes a few years ago. I can play basic keyboard and try to do some “traditional” songwriting once every while, but I get bored of it quite easily. In a way I feel that I’ve only started making music once I’ve started experimenting with sampling. When I first started working with samples there was something very intuitive and exciting about the process, which very much triggered my creative flow.

Minimalism is committed to limitations. Your songwriting is evolved around limitations but what attracts you to minimalism?

I struggle when I have too many options to choose from. I think about my compositions as being rather concise and condensed and like it when things evolve in a somewhat “organic” way. It’s kind of like every piece has its own distinct and intrinsic identity. My music also often deals with notions of solitude and alienation and I feel that these sensations are somewhat linked to sparseness and reflectiveness. There’s also something about the fact that I’m composing and recording in my own small bedroom with a very minimal setup – I feel that the music should reflect that in a way, rather than being “big” and in-your-face.

“When We Talk EP” deals with “false honesty”. Can you elaborate on that, and why were you interested in exploring this kind of intimacy?

I feel that passion and intimacy can be quite ambiguous and elusive sensations and I wanted to convey some of the complexities they hold. The EP deals with several kinds of “unfulfilled intimacies” that cannot be realised for all kinds of reasons, such as lack of communication. I personally find inspiration within the unfulfilled, remote and somewhat broken.

What was it like working with Matthew Herbert for the production of this EP?

I’ve been listening to Matthew’s stuff since I was 14 or so. He is a true inspiration for me and I find myself going back to his works over and over again, discovering new layers with every listen. So I felt incredibly privileged and excited to work with him on this release and to see how he approaches mixing and production.

You are also a founder of Squareglass. With so many forward-thinking artists in the roster, what do you think makes Squareglass different from other labels?

To begin with, we’re all very close friends so I feel that this isn’t just a commercial label in the traditional sense of the word. There’s a strong element of mutual trust and we perceive the collective kind of like a “safety-net” – a place that allows us to experiment, stay bold and empower one another (creatively and practically). I think that collectives are particularly relevant for nowadays bedroom producers who work in relatively isolated environments.

Who would you like to collaborate with the most, and why?

I’m really inspired by Burial’s music and would be thrilled to collaborate with him. I think that his latest release Rival Dealer is a true and inspiring masterpiece that in many ways redefines the boundaries of electronic music production.

Finally, what is next for Semi Precious?

Doing more gigs with my band in the next couple months and putting out another, slightly more conceptual and extensive release sometime next year.

Connect with Semi Precious

Official
Facebook
Squareglass
Soundcloud

When We Talk EP is out now and available to purchase from Bandcamp and iTunes.

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watch: Safe Barracks, “HeadHunter”

UK’s pop duo Safe Barracks originally and as if by magic, met in Iran. Their creative energy work together extremely well on their new single, “HeadHunter” in which their self-described ‘cinematic pop’ genre speaks for itself. Sampling orchestral sounds and live instruments, combined with crisp electronic sound, it helps to create the world of their own. And the video that accompanies it best describes its intense sensuality.

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listen: Bunki, “The Day We Almost/I Never”

London’s experimental electronic producer Bunki recently released a double A side single “The Day We Almost/I Never” from Squareglass, which is now available to purchase here. With his emblematic spacious and hypnotic production, it never ceases to mesmerise and excite listeners.

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stream: Kat Vinter, “Islands Remix EP”

Berlin based Australian songwriter Kat Vinter released Island Remix EP last month. It’s a tad late to introduce, but hey, whatever. Showcasing a wonderful chorus skill that can remind you the likes of AlunaGeorge and FKA Twigs, Vinter smartly incorporates Berlin’s clubbing influence and make her own musical world dark and romantic. Make sure to tune into creative remix works by VIMES、 ADIOR、 Johannes Brecht、 Vivant、 Michael Imperial and Wyoming as well.

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stream: Semi Precious, “When We Talk EP”

London producer Semi preicious released a Matther Herbert produced new EP When We Talk digitally and on 7″. You can now stream the whole thing from the widget below. Mixing the soulfulness of Sean Nicholas Savage, making it as minimal as possible, adding the Autre Ne Veut like twist in his songwriting. Amazing stuff.

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listen: Eckhardt And The House, “Beng Beng Beng”

There’s no denying Netherland’s Rik Elstgees is a man of talent. His indie pop project Eckhardt And The House has a new track “Beng Beng Beng” and you can now stream it from the widget below. His cloud-pratingly sunny and refreshing attitude here is really fun, which is amped up by the vintage sounding musical sheen.

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listen: Muta, “Tongues”

From Canada’s experimental label King Delux, Colorado producer Muta recently dropped single “Tongues”, An innocently playful Hip Hop track with various samples joyfully sparkling in your ears.

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stream: Soleil Soleil, “Self-titled”

After a series of EPs, Kansai’s Soleil Soleil finally releases his full-length effort Soleil Soleil on Bandcamp. Packed with uplifting summer tunes that makes Kitsune artists jealous and some experimental dance cuts, this album takes you to a journey in which the summer seems to last forever, as long as you let yourself into this endlessly glowing summer, bottled right here.

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Focus: Ash Koosha

It was last April when Tehran born, London based musical producer Ash Koosha mailed us his first mix tape GUUD. Once you hit the play button, it takes you to the dazzing and mezmerlizing unknown world not only to your ears but deep inside your mind. Often drawn comparison to Flying Lotus, his music is genre-bending, playful and unpredictable. Right after the release YouTube’s favourite music critic The Needle Drop gave it a very positive review, as well as America’s experimental music label Olde Spelling English Bee spotted his talent, resulting in the re-release of the mixtape with Name Your Price value. Furthermore Ash Koosha was honourably given a Best New Track by Pitchfork, proving he is most definitely one of the most interesting, exciting new talents to emerge. We have re-approached Ash Koosha again to ask him about his original composition style, Nano-Composition, as well as his working environment and dream collaboration. Feel free to stream the entire GUUD at the end of this interview.

Focus: Ash Koosha
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, July 28, 2015

Please describe your music in your own three words.
immersive, supramolecular, blobitecture

You had a classical music training before, but how did you get into making a music with computer?
I was fascinated by the form and structure in classical composition as well as its versatile narrative my entire life, but as i grew up listening to more electronic music i felt a need to discover more of the noise and sound design world, so i began playing around with frequencies, trying to compose classically structured pieces using my rather unknown sound discoveries.

What’s your inspiration?
The Future. I really like to experience living my ten-years-from-now self in the present.

You are currently based in London. How is the life different from living in Tehran?
Environment has a big impact on choices of sound and taste in general, however in my opinion we shape the cities they don’t shape us. So i would say London is another big city with less limits and it’s own characteristics.

It feels like “GUUD” is an album that should be listened as a whole. Also with playful song titles on the album, like Bo Bo Bones and JamJamJam, SlamSlamSlam, is there a certain concept behind this album?
Most of the titles are very accidental or just instant images in my head. JamJamJam and SlamSlamSlam are both three-act compositions, the first i was picturing a band from the future jamming in my head and the other i recorded while watching a 3d modelled slam dunk video on loop hence the name SlamSlamSlam.

One thing that I realised going through the album is that there’s a lot of deformation with genres, styles and song structures happening on this record, and you introduced the idea of “Nano-composition” on this album. Can you explain this further?
This idea came to me from my obsession with scales of waveforms. I read a lot about nanotechnology and the quantum realm, one day i thought it would be interesting to treat music as matter, creating a space where you can put sounds together as objects. i rigged deep into the grains of samples i recorded and found a lot of random sonic behaviour within the fractal patterns of each waveform taken from the samples. I tried to control the random chaos in the sonic events i created and the result was a long 42 minutes journey i experienced in an unknown world of random sound. As for the genre, i didn’t know what i’m about to experience so i couldn’t think of any forms or structure that existed as a genre of music.

I think there’s a lot of ‘goodness’ in randomness, chance and error, so music shouldn’t be about being good or bad but letting imperfections have an emotional impact.

How did this idea come about?
I always listen to classical music, from Chopin to Wagner, but sometimes i think the frequencies are limited to the instruments that we have known for years. I tried to change that for myself while i was studying in Tehran Conservatory of Music, by sampling sound, putting them on classical form and composition. As i grew older i realised i’m visualising music in my head and i thought it would be fun to discover sound objects that can fit into classical music and have theatrical motion as well as sonic and compositional value. recently learning about Nano technology opened another pathway for me to seek solutions for my futurist problems.

The title of the album “GUUD” means ‘good’, but for you, what is good music?
Guud is the imperfect good. I think there’s a lot of ‘goodness’ in randomness, chance and error, so music shouldn’t be about being good or bad but letting imperfections have an emotional impact. If in a moment in time, a sound intensifies an emotion and have an impact then that’s pretty ‘good’.

Who is your dream collaboration?
Lars Von Trier

What’s next for Ash Koosha?
I’ll be finishing new material through which I want to further develop the idea of nano-composition and phenomenology of musical experience.

Connect with Ash Koosha
Facebook
Soundcloud
Twitter
Olde English Spelling Bee

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