This week, we present Niccolo Machiavelli with an Influences and Atmospheres showcase. A London based producer of Ambient to Dub Techno through to House, he has been on our radar for a long time. His production is out of this world, and his knowledge of music is something we respect highly. This is a very thoughtful collection of records, and more importantly to Dusk Dubs, it’s an insight into what makes our selector tick. Thanks again to Niccolo Machiavelli for his time.
Find him here:
Here are a few words from this week’s selector, and an in depth commentary from him to accompany the mixtape.
“Crafting this showcase has been an absolute privilege and thank you so much to Tommy for letting me get involved.
My rationale for my showcase is this, to think about one track I have produced and all of the influences that went into it, tracks I have heard throughout the years, be it on systems, in computer games or on pirate radio back in the day. Each track has a special element that I will try and explain in words.
Before I begin, I always remember hearing an interview with Simon Huxtable (Aural Imbalance) where he said above every other element in music; he valued the atmospheres created in tracks. This statement always stuck with me and when I produce I always remember to put the atmosphere at the forefront of the track. So enough of that, now for the music!”
1. Carl Craig – A Wonderful Life: Perfect atmosphere, be it the ambient pad that washes in the background, the gorgeous synth (pluck?) at 0.39 onwards and the ghostly chords throughout. I listened to this track walking around at night in Kyoto and it just blew me away.
2. Coldplay – Midnight: For the record, and I’m not saying this to be trendy, I don’t really like Coldplay. Chris and co. never really did much for me. But this track is just beautiful. In terms of production the build up that begins at 3:00 and hits its crescendo at 4:15 is just perfect atmosphere, Aural Imbalance would be proud of it himself!
3. Loscil – The Making of Grief Point: I’m a new convert to Loscil and found myself listening to this in bed at 2am. The ambience of this track, combined with the dialogue which is so deep and multi layered makes it the standout track on the album. Does it get any more minimal and bleak?
4. Jesper Kydd – Desmond Miles: Yep, I’m a game geek, and it doesn’t get much better than the Assassins Creed franchise, which I truly love. This track just knocked me out when I heard it in game, production values mixed between traditional sounds and dark, almost droney atmospheres. The muted bell sounds. Jesper is such a versatile producer and the whole Assassin’s Creed soundtrack was brilliant, but this one stood out for its blend of elements.
5. Jeremy Soule – Frostfall: Another game score, this time from Skyrim. Sorry for the repetition, but it’s just so damn atmospheric. The lead strings are picture perfect, and the ambiences and washes in the background just set out what Skyrim is all about, bleak and icy, but warm in parts.
6. Muonos – Say Nothing: Nothing was more atmospheric musically in my formative years than the Good Looking Records sound, so I was surprised to hear this piece on the brilliant compilation Slow Living Vol2 from Peco at Drift Deeper Records, released 10 years or so after GLO’s heyday. Modern production values, that low slung drum programme with the most gorgeous ambience, washes, flutes and piano licks.
7. Fever Ray – If I Had a Heart: So we switch things up. This track is raw. Fever Ray’s voice is raw. The scene from Breaking Bad where I first heard this was raw (Jesse’s nervous breakdown driving go-karts). The vocal is mad, from low to high and back, and the lead chord work is so dark and droney. Perfect Breaking Bad music.
8. React 2 Rhythm – All or Nothing: I heard this on a London pirate radio station in about 1992, I must have been 12. This sounded like alien music, that opening synth sound and the vocal, leading into a pretty dark main body of the track, all with the gorgeous atmospheric elements. React 2 Rhythm did one album, 8 tracks long. All of them were brilliant, this one stands out for this showcase.
9. Aural Imbalance – Self Oscillation: The man himself, the producer I most closely look towards when producing myself. Words can’t describe the atmospheres he has created on this track, so I’m going to cop out and say just listen.
10. Nitin Sawnhey – Breathing Light: Musical perfection in every way, shape and form, but the two samples he uses get me every time, the Sarajevo news report and Mandela shape the way I try and use samples in my productions, historic dialogue, political dialogue, it all works. I remember when this track played at cocktail hour at my wedding, a friend came up to me and said “you know this is your wedding, you even got bloody drum and bass played!”.
11. Vincent I Watson – Sagitaria: Back to ambience and atmosphere, and Vince is always on point with his use of washes and pads, this track is pure bliss, one I’ve used as a set starter for my podcast for Deeptakt Records. The subtle movement in the lead keys compliments the wash so perfectly.
12. Deadbeat – Peace & Love: Paul St Hilaire is enough atmosphere for any track, but the soft chord line coming in at around 1:16 is so well programmed and implemented, understated but on a club system, completely off the hook!
13. Niccolo Machiavelli – Good Old Days (Ethereal edit): So we end with the culmination of all of these influences in atmosphere, my track released on Deeptakt in January as part of my Graphite EP. I have tried to embrace the layering of pads, washes, samples and sounds to create a moving, living, breathing atmosphere. In my mind when I hear it I can see sunlight, sunrise, orange and a hint of green (from a perspective of synaesthesia). I like the way the sample fits in, quite melancholic, and the dub influence at the end with the muted echoes ends the track nicely.