Rising: Hiro Kone
“In my day to day life, I’m very much in my head,” admits New York-based producer Hiro Kone. “And I think when I make music, I get an opportunity to not be so in my head.”
Having fine-tuned her signature blend of experimental electronics and techno for almost a decade, hearing Kone describe her music as a cerebral release is unexpected. Most of her work relies on a heavy contextual framework, with album descriptions that read like excerpts from a limited run philosophy text that you might find in your local anarchist bookstore. Her 2018 record Pure Expenditure, for instance, explored releases of energy, pulling from writings on capitalism by French philosopher Georges Bataille for inspiration. Where Pure Expenditure studied the idea of release, her latest LP A Fossil Begins to Bray explores what lives in its absence, a homage to the importance of negative space.
"When you're younger, you just feel like, ‘Oh my god, all these things are wrong’. But as you get older, you realise the things that are wrong are actually the things that are so right about you"
“[A Fossil Begins to Bray] is somewhat an amalgamation of many threads of ideas I’ve been trying to process and look at through all of these records,” she says. “So I see them all as connected in that way, and very personal.” This release, in fact, might be Kone’s most personal yet, tying in familial history and examining her ancestral roots. Growing up, Kone spent a lot of time travelling between Hong Kong and San Francisco to see her parents, and floating between these two worlds could be isolating at times. “When you’re younger, you just feel like, ‘Oh my god, all these things are wrong’. But as you get older, you realise the things that are wrong are actually the things that are so right about you.” This realisation, that your lack is actually one of your strongest attributes, is at the core of A Fossil Begins to Bray.
After a childhood of playing classical violin, teenage years spent in the Bay Area’s punk scene, and her early 20s consumed by an MPC 500, Kone has finally found her home in electronic music. It’s a genre flexible enough to embrace the many different worlds she’s inhabited. “I think [electronic music] allows for a lot of space and actual diversity of ideas,” she explains. “I can take my violin and process it into my modular and then take that back into a sampler and cut that up more. Everything kind of becomes this single membrane. So all these experiences, my history, everything can be wrapped up in this one thing.”
"I think [electronic music] allows for a lot of space and actual diversity of ideas"
While the sounds used may be abstract, the histories Kone is trying to recount still manage to shine through. Recently a friend emailed her after hearing Feed My Ancestors and said the drones, tones and percussion reminded them of Peking Opera and their Buddhist practice. “This was quite remarkable to me,” she says. “To be able to invoke [those images] without being literal about it. I think this may be the nature of being a hybrid.”
Sounds like: Cerebral big room techno
Soundtrack for: Philosophical breakthroughs on the dancefloor
File next to: Carter Tutti Void, Samuel Kerridge
Our favourite song: Feed My Ancestors
Where to find her: soundcloud.com/hirokone