ALBUM: ‘FROM ZERO’
LABEL: SUBEXOTIC RECORDS
RELEASE DATE: 13TH JUNE 2011
“I wanted the music to feel like there was a bunch of strange, slightly disintegrating, machines playing music in a concrete bunker somewhere in the future,
and I’ve just turned up with a reel-to-reel tape machine and recorded it.”
DAN SEVILLE – BLANK DISCO
Blank Disco is primarily the musical persona of London / Home Counties based electronica artist Dan Seville. Although Dan’s musical activities have their roots in experiments going back to the mid ‘90s, his Blank Disco project only started to take full shape in 2009, since when he has embarked on a concentrated process of developing and refining his sound aesthetic, combining elements of techno, ambient and field recordings to effect his skewed vision of the contemporary landscape. The recording process for From Zero involved much consideration of approaches to sound, and traced a shift from heavily sample-based manipulations to a stronger focus on the use of synthesised instruments, while attempting to retain a visceral feel to the music. Many tracks were reworked or rejected during a ruthless process of weeding out any hint of “filler”, and the result is a set that grips from start to finish. The album was mastered by Noel Summerville at Metropolis, whose CV includes work with the likes of Autechre, Boards of Canada and Mira Calix.
Taken as a whole, From Zero maps a territory of shifting and subtle moods, exploring an ambiguous emotional borderline between aching melancholy and intangible elation. Highlights include the off-kilter metronomic euphoria of ‘Midsummer’
From Zero will no doubt evoke comparisons with some of the big players of the electronica world, but while retaining full respect for the music’s pioneers Dan has also looked outside that world for inspiration, and intends to be viewed on his own terms. Although the material on From Zero was composed digitally the aim throughout was to achieve a physical presence to the music, and one means of attaining that was through the use of field recordings to provide sonic textures:
“I’ve got a recorder I carry round with me, and when I originally started carrying it I thought people would be talking on the tube or wherever and I’d discreetly get their conversation, and work it into a track. But actually, it’s more that you just get that non-specific ambience of being in a tube station and just hearing a footstep, just one little thing, which I think can be quite haunting in itself. If you can incorporate that into a track, it gives it a physical feeling of place or environment. There's a section in 'The mistakes I made' where I've used the background noise of walking through a park and I come to a halt, there's not many people around, just a noisy silence. It's unexpected sometimes what sounds good and what doesn't.”
A lot of work on the album was done during train journeys, and that working environment became a factor in the aesthetic direction the sound took:
“I’m sure I’m not the only person who finds a certain beauty in disintegration, and I’m interested in that atmosphere of ‘corporate grottiness’ you get on public transport. Everything’s formulated in a world that’s supposed to be neat and tidy but inevitably over time it all starts to degrade. The seats that were quite nice and clean in the beginning are now covered in shit, the windows are grimy and murky. That’s the environment we’re in all the time - seeing that shittiness but also seeing what’s actually quite poetic in it.”
Dan has already started work on the next Blank Disco release, and is also currently experimenting with translating the material into a live context. He hopes to follow up the From Zero release with live appearances sometime in 2011.
For more information about Blank Disco, please visit one of his sites:
For interview requests, photographs and further information, contact:
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