The visual element of music is always something that has intrigued me. I don’t mean the lighting and intense visuals you experience during The Chemical Brother’s sets. I’m talking about visualisation within your own mind. ‘Journey Music’ is a term that’s thrown around a lot. Artists such as DJ Tennis have been credited with the ability to take your mind on a journey through time and space itself, opening the listener’s eyes to new emotions and experiences. Dystopian are masters of the journey. A darker journey.
The king of the peak time set, Rødhad, began the venture back in 2009, organising small open air parties, named Dystopian, on the outskirts of Berlin for no other reason than for the hell of it. It wasn’t long before word had spread about the mythical mixing perfectionist who loved dub techno. He would later go on to become Resident Advisor’s breakthrough artist of the year for 2012, and the rest is history.
Now, through the Dystopian imprint, Rødhad and co are taking listeners on a melancholic journey to alternate, diverse universes. Dystopia’s definition is an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, but don’t let that put you off. It may seem like a horrid place, but as Rødhad explained to XLR8R, unpleasant emotions such as sadness do not have to provoke negativity.
“I am a happy person, but I love melancholy because it touches my heart. I think sadness touches me far more than any other emotion. It doesn’t mean that I am unhappy – I just cannot connect emotionally with happy records.”
We’ve compiled a list of a few of our favourites from the Dystopian gang. It’s difficult to narrow it down to nine when every track takes you on a different trip, but we feel this gives you a clear picture of what Dystopian is all about. Happy travels.
09 / 09
Drumcell – Conflict Divide (Debut Release)
“I make noise and sometimes organise it into semi-recognisable patterns.”
Drumcell is a producer hailing from Moe Espinosa in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles. His environment was something of an opposite to the glamorous lifestyle of those in LA. He grew up in culturally diverse neighbourhood, something that he still sources inspiration from to implement in his work.
“Drumcell explores and discovers the analogue world as much as the digital world of music production, to finally combine them into his very own raw, suspenseful and hypnotic style.”
We’ve plucked Drumcell’s debut on Dystopian from the producers experimental back catalogue. One look at the description of the track and you will instantly recognise the emphasis put on the minds visualisation of sound. “Evoking visions of a forbidden future.”
The future that comes to mind is one of chaos. The bass booms out like bombs raining down on a city whilst doomy synths and weighted drone like noise echos from within. Drumcells science fiction influences are visible here. The whole track sounds like an apocalyptic war scene from a science fiction horror film. Drumcell continues time and time again to ignore genre restriction in order to create concrete, unconventional techno.