SHAPE Platform: The crackaud.io takeover
In case you missed it, we recently unveiled a new online event in collaboration with SHAPE Platform.
The two-part takeover commenced with a crackaud.io series of new mixes, original compositions and other audio works from the platform’s roster of artists. Eleven musicians created new pieces for the series, including Nazar, Grand River, Heith, TTristana and more.
We’ll be launching the second part of the takeover – which features video works from the likes of KMRU, Mathilde Fernandez and Shapednoise – on Wednesday (23 March). Before then, however, you can listen back to all 11 audio contributions – which veer from club-ready mixes through to ambient, classical and drone offerings – below.
SHAPE Platform is an initiative promoting innovative music and audiovisual art. It’s formed of 16 creative institutions across Europe and is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
Heith can best be described as genre-less and limitless investigations of sound, drawing on traditional folk to rave and ambient to electroacoustic. The alias of Milan-based artist and musician Daniele Guerrini, his music offers a heady and disorienting trip through off-kilter rhythms and a thick, textural haze of warped electronics, culminating in a certain spiritual quality to his creations.
With this audio piece for SHAPE Platform’s takeover, Heith crafts a mesmerising and ritualistic subterranean soundscape. As with his productions, the mix encompasses a resonant and eclectic collage of distinct sonic elements: from celestial percussion intertwined with jarring, mechanical oscillations to haunting Gregorian-style vocals atop murky dubbed-out beats. Hushed ambient is interspersed with birdcalls and rainfall.
Sarvenaz Mostofey’s background in photography and cinema seeps into her sound, lending a vivid narratives to her music. The Iran-born, Berlin-based sound artist and composer arranges electronic sounds to produce visceral designs that explore the relationship between space and physicality.
For SHAPE’s crackaud.io takeover, Mostofey contributes two new ieces: The Ear of the Poet and Drummer on the Roof. The former is a recording from The Ear of Dionysus, a limestone cave in Sicily known for its acoustic properties. The piece delves into the history of the cave via foreboding spatial acoustics and whispered vocals. For Drummer on the Roof, Mostofey “combines a maze of ideas and memories, guiding the narrator of the story and the player of the character as if s/he was a cyborg contemplating the realities of social fiction.”
Grand River is the alias of Dutch-Italian producer, composer and DJ Aimée Portioli. In keeping with the name, Portioli’s musical output is lush and expansive, and remains in a constant state of flux. As past projects – such as 2017’s gorgeous Crescente EP – attest, Portioli’s music ebbs and flows between ambient and experimental music, shot through with a cinematic flare and her classical inclinations.
Portioli’s mix for the SHAPE Platform takeover is populated by tracks from fellow downtempo dreamers such as Huerco S. and Guido Flichman, as well as work from Irena and Vojtěch Havlovi, and the late Jon Hassell. It also includes a track from Swedish duo Bandhagens Musikförening, who released a new project in November 2021 via Portioli’s own One Instrument label. Subtle and meandering with the occasional detour through sprightlier realms, this is a mix fit for deep listening and thoughtful contemplation.
Immersive is a apt description for the works of Stockholm-based composer Lisa Stenberg. Her pieces, which are often site-specific and catered towards each location’s unique acoustic properties, are at once intimate and intense; slow-burning instrumental and electroacoustic compositions that steadily unfold to reveal hidden depth.
Stenberg’s mix for the SHAPE Platform takeover is equally as spellbinding. With a focus on slow sounds and extended pieces, her contribution starts on a steady and evocative note. It remains unhurried – and all the more pleasurable for it – throughout, with the interjection of darker dronescapes and murkier textures providing the mix with tension and dimension.
Latvian composer Linda Leimane’s work is imbued with a visceral physicality. She regularly collaborates with orchestras, ensembles and soloists across electronic and instrumental disciplines, creating avant-garde compositions that are evocative and textural. For SHAPE Platform’s crackaud.io takeover, Leimane has created a new work of haunting dronescapes, spectral vocal incantations and experimental electronics.
On the piece, entitled Through the Echelons of Eternity, Leimane says: “In this work, I give particular importance to the voices of live individuals, their heartbeats and hints to social gatherings with common goals: destroy, defend or celebrate with symphony.”
“To achieve this technically I played with suspense and accumulation, as well as planar motion. Although I wanted to create some beauty, in this time when the enemy of humanity openly shows its ugly face, this work is my personal shelter and appeasement, my shot in the head of cruelty, as well as my unshakable faith in justice.”
Julia Reidy’s solo work strikes a balance between a dreamlike serenity and eerie obscurity. With an avant-garde approach to composition, the Berlin-based artist’s music offers an intricate sonic tapestry of fingerstyle guitar, found sounds and spectral electronic drone.
Their SHAPE Platform takeover mix showcases the processed and acoustic realms Reidy’s work intersects, with whirring modular electronics, resonant guitar melodies and natural field recordings. Presenting a selection of their works and collaborations, their mix also previews the title track from their forthcoming release World in World, on which Reidy explores another angle of their sound with retuned multichannel electric guitar.
Working across visual and sonic media, Ábris Gryllus’ work is rooted in conceptual exploration. Across his music and installations, the Budapest-based artist warps notions of time and space, and his soundscapes exist in a liminal realm. Alongside his own work, Gryllus also forms one half of improvisational noise project FOR alongside Miklós Farkas.
At the core of Gryllus’ sound design is an attention to architectural detail, which this esoteric new work he presents as part of the SHAPE Platform takeover reflects. Speaking on the composition, he says: “I recorded this session in early 2020. I was reading a lot about the neural grid system behind rational and emotional behaviour, the spirituality in the digital domain and the sensuality of robotics. Some bits of the same session also happened to become part of a contemporary dance score. The patch stuck on my modular for a while, so I ended up playing it on my last live set before the lockdown. This is the home-recorded version from 21 January at 11:01 PM, edited and mastered in 2022.”
Nazar’s productions present a heavier, darker interpretation of the Angolan dance style kuduro. The Angolan producer, who is now based in Europe, coined the term ‘rough kuduro’. Employing this gnarlier take on the usually upbeat sound, Nazar examines the hardships and realities of the civil war in his homeland. His 2020 debut album, Guerilla, documents this, as Nazar reflects on the impact and aftermath of the conflict.
For his SHAPE Platform takeover mix, Nazar fuses tunes from the record – which was released on revered UK label Hyperdub – with unreleased material. The sonic journey begins with dreamy electronics, celestial gospel inflections and vocal snippets before transitioning into warped club sounds and abrasive beats.
Cellist Gaspar Claus continuously expands the emotive and evocative depths of his instrument. With his work, which includes a range of film soundtracks, Claus defies genre-limitations, lending his experimental cello compositions to collaborations across pop, contemporary jazz and electronica.
Here he presents a documentation of his concert at Café de la Danse in Paris on 20 January. Captured by Benedicte Schmitt and her backpackstudio, the recording follows Claus throughout the day of this performance, which formed part of the release celebrations for his debut solo album, Tancade. On Tancade, Claus transports his listeners to a remote beach, a vivid waking dream echoed in this atmospheric recording that intertwines fragments of conversation with Claus’ cinematic cello playing.
Jiska Huizing & Rudi Valdersnes
The ongoing collaborations between Norway-based musicians Jiska Huizing and Rudi Valdersnes draw on hypnotic club rhythms and electroacoustic ambient. Within their intricately layered sound the duo employ a range of techniques and instruments, including Valdernes’ homemade percussion and drum machines alongside Huizing’s field recordings, vocals and electric violin.
Together, they’ve curated a graceful and ethereal mix for SHAPE Platform’s takeover, and it looks towards the coming of spring and brighter days. “The mix was made while we were in two different cities, Oslo and Bergen, and while Jiska was in isolation because of Covid,” they explain. The pair navigated the situation by sending sound s, sketches and tracks back and forth between their locations. “[This] made us want to focus on looking forward: noticing the small signs of the upcoming spring in the air, how the days are perceivably longer, and the birds have started singing again. The eventual mix contains tracks that reflect this; it is light on its toes and organic – an ecosystem of shifting rhythms.”
TTristana excels at creating fragmented club hyper-realities. Within her work, the Marseille-based DJ and producer blends hyperpop effervescence with apocalyptic club experimentations and warped vocals. Reflecting the entrancing worlds of her own productions, TTristana’s mix offers an immersive otherworldly terrain, travelling through mutant electronics, spectral incantations and deconstructed club, featuring tracks by Samuel Organ, Satin de Compostela and unreleased material from i8i collective’s S280F.
On the mix, which is shared as part of the SHAPE Platform takeover on crackaud.io, TTristana says: “Each set, each track produced, appears as an experimental space, the attempt to create a world, a story, outside the usual patterns of genre and thought, with, as a backdrop, the search for a musicality that is fair and consistent in its complexity.”
Head to crackaud.io for more mixes and podcasts