EXCLUSIVE: The Slighter colours of noise


That music is about emotion is an over-used expression. But that doesn’t make it any the less true. I do find that what I listen to is affected by how I am. Be it loud rock when I split up from my ex; acoustic REM when the boy was ill (haven’t listened to any since he died); wanting hedonistic dance after the funeral; to IDM today for its reflectiveness; and so on. We’ve the new album from Slighter, an interview and an exclusive free download. What

Slighter’s new album is best classified as breaks but it’s an audiophile’s album that revels in the colours of noise. It has a reflective quality absent from his early work. It is revelling in the texture of sounds. Unlike the other week’s Faux Effet album, good as that was, this is no compilation of tracks. It is an album in the old sense. And that’s a surprise, since much of his work over the past few years as Slighter and other aliases has been defined by its diversity.

It’s been 18 months since I last spoke to him, so I thought it was about time to find out how he’s doing and what it’s like working with the wife.

1. You were born in Massachusetts. How come you ended up in LA, a city where you can only work at night?

I moved out of New England for school. I was a CALARTS student for a whole semester before losing interest in their graphic design program. I bummed around living out of my car for a few weeks while I figured out if I wanted to drive all the way back home. Ended up getting a job at DMC Records and thought I might as well stay and see how Los Angeles treated me. DMC opened a lot of doors for me DJing and really helped me decide how to focus my life, at that time.

2. Tell us about working for DMC Records and which DJ exceeded your expectations and which under-shot?

DMC was this strange little bright green painted store on Melrose Ave. in Hollywood. Back then, we were one of a handful of record shops catering to DJs. Larry, the owner, is quite a character to say the least. When it came to “big name” DJs they all were quite fond of Larry and his little shop, I also met Thee-O this way and he and I continue to work on projects together to this day. If anything, some of the other local DJs were the most contentious, while folks like Omar Santana and BT were the most fun to hang out with.

3. There’s lots of concern about the music industry and whether it’s possible to make a living any more. How do you think it’s changed in the last 10 years?

Gah, this question isn’t a fun one to answer. The concern with the industry is really being proliferated by the “Big-3” and the other dinosaurs who’ve invested in a business model that no longer works. The bottom line for me is, people still love music. Look at Rough Trade, who just opened a U.S. store in NYC. I think what’s changed is more the immediacy of consuming music, and the ability to connect with artists in ways that weren’t possible before.

Where bands/artists fail, is trying to keep the hype of the brick and mortar approach alive, “our album’s coming!” I’ve seen that blow up in bands faces. People don’t want to be hyped endlessly on what you are coming out with. You’ve got to be multifaceted. I’m sure I’m not the first independent musician to tell you openly that I made more money in sync placements and performance royalties than I did in sales last year. You gotta be open to all avenues these days.

4. America seems currently gripped by what it likes to call EDM. What do you think of it?

It’s funny to me, I’m finally at that age where I’ve seen this trend ebb and flow. The ones proliferating the “EDM is so new and cool!” are the kids who are too young to remember that North America had a rave culture in the 90’s, birthed breakbeat culture and techno and had iconic labels like Moonshine, M_NUS, City of Angels, and Liquid Sky. Sure, none of it was on Top 40 radio like today, but by 96-97 you really didn’t have to dig too deep to find it. Turn on a car commercial you were bound to hear “Busy Child”. Might surprise you but MTV was where I discovered most of it, or in film soundtracks (see: Hackers, The Saint, etc.) We just used “Electronica” as a catch-all phrase instead of “EDM”, that’s really the only difference to me.

5. In our last interview (almost two years ago now), you said you’d like to score a film. Is that ambition getting any closer?

No! No full score… yet. I’ve done short films and seen my work placed in films (see Lionsgate’s Blood-Out) but I still would love to take on a full feature. Would be a fun challenge.

6. The album has a track (Pathways) with Rachel Desilets. Is it easier or harder working with the wife?

Pardon the seemingly cheesy response, but my wife is my best friend. When we go into the studio, I just let her go and do what she feels is right. I’ll give direction if prompted, but she’s all ready on the same page with what I want to get across when we collaborate like this. I think with “Our Own End”, since it was our first, was a bit sticky at points. But we got it going fairly quickly and it’s nice to be able to bring in a different element to a piece I’m writing without having to look too far for input.

7. Tell us about what you were trying to do with the album.

Well, honestly, in 2012 I had decided not to make any more albums. Going back to the “state of the music industry” question, I had begun to feel that maybe there’s no place for traditional albums in the “new economy”. Plus, it’s a stressful process to go through, seeing it through to the end and trying not to second guess yourself at every stage. At that time I didn’t know if I had it in me to go through it all again! I’m not a big artist with a giant following demanding a new record out of me, and during this time I was content with releasing singles. Last Summer I actually found myself missing the process, so I sat myself down and thought “if I’m going to do this, it needs to be completely conceptual from day one”. With Science Of Noise I wanted to get back to writing “songs” not disposable “tracks” and really push myself to not re-do what I’ve all ready done. Every track on this new album was deliberate from day one. There was no “creative wandering” if you will, I had a plan I wanted to see through.

8. Finally, you live in LA. Tell us the most rock star thing you’ve done.

Ha, well I guess I’d say dishing it out with Danny Saber (David Bowie/Alice Cooper/etc.) in his studio up in the hills for a day helping him out with his studio set up. We ended up at the Guitar Center up there, latte’s in hand, shooting the shit with some kid employee about vintage guitars and Danny’s time with Black Grape. That’s probably the most L.A. thing and rock star thing I’ve done to date haha.

So, to the album. Losing Time sets the tone, with its slow build and the way it bring sounds in and out in a flow that revels in their possibilities. Definitely one for headphones. There’s no raucous intro, or even beats. This could almost be The Orb, before breaks beats come late to the party. Above Ground turns things around by building the track around the beats and, especially, the bass. This is deep chest rattling stuff. Caught Up with Nica Brooke introduces the first vocalist and a human element to what is otherwise a ‘machine-made’ feel. Her (overly?) emotive, deliberative, style is hard to reconcile to the rest of the album.

For Last Light ambient drum and bass artist Wolftek joins the show for a cinematic piece full of tension. ReSet provides another twist in bringing masked rave strings into the equation, fighting for space in the breaks beats. Dark Matters is another with a cinematic bent. Some calm before the storm.

And, so to Pathways. The free download and the track done with Slighter’s other half, R A Desilets. It’s another spoken word, poetic piece. They do seem to bring out the best in each other. She has a captivating voice with a wonderful timbre. And the music drops the slightly cold tone found on the rest of the album and replaces it with real warmth and tenderness. There’s a sense  of hope and the opportunity for a brighter future. The only problem is that it’s too short. Extended mix please Mr Slighter.

After all that joy there’s a perverse pleasure to be had from Wrecked with risk Letter’s bombastic breaks and razor-sharp beats. This is a welcome pummeling with its almost-drum and bass hardness. Fab track. Deadly with Simon Latham is the only misstep on the album. The vocals give this a sub-Depeche Mode quality. Convulse closes the album with a neo-industrial rock track.

Free download: Pathways.mp3 (zip file)

Album Preview


~ by acidted on March 10, 2014.

5 Responses to “EXCLUSIVE: The Slighter colours of noise”

  1. […] review of the new album – Science of Noise – and an exclusive free download and interview are here. But this single departs  from the cinematic breaks of the album to bring an ambient/IDM glitch […]

  2. […] had Slighter’s Science of Noise album review and interview here a few weeks back. Now, there’s a new EP of ambient versions of four tracks which Slighter […]

  3. […] through breaks and into drum and bass in an almost seamless way (review and exclusive interview here). Cosmic Origins is very much a ‘lost’ track from the album. It’s tough drum and […]

  4. […] are four remixes of this track from his Science of Noise LP. When reviewing the LP I waffled on about this track, saying “the music drops the slightly cold tone found on the rest of the […]

  5. […] been a little while since Slighter’s Science of Noise album in 2014, albeit that the more soundtrack B E Y ON D album filled that gap. It’s […]

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