- Autumnal ambient from a master downtempo DJ.
- Grand River made quite a splash when she released her first record, Crescente, on Neel and Donato Dozzy's Spazio Disponible label. It wasn't techno, but it had something in common with it: the gently pulsating, billowing sounds were a match for the hypnotic, pulsating techno made famous by Dozzy and co. By the time she released her debut album, Pineapple, she was a rising name in the world of ambient and experimental music, and she moved over to Editions Mego for the release of her last LP, Blink A Few Times To Clear Your Eyes, where she incorporated piano, strings and voice into music that wasn't quite ambient, but wasn't dance music either.
While she makes excellent music, one possibly overlooked thing about Grand River is that she's an excellent DJ. We've said before in these pages that DJing ambient music is a special art in itself, and Grand River's RA Podcast is no exception. This is a mix that flows as gently and beautifully as her music, with the occasional pulsating rhythm or fluttering percussive touch keeping it dynamic even at its most tranquil. She says the mix was inspired by the turn of the weather towards the cool of autumn, and this mix channels crisp air and light breezes.
What are you grateful for these days?
I am very grateful that in the last few months I have had the chance to travel and play concerts again after being at home for a long time because of the pandemic. It was amazing to reconnect with people and play music outside of the studio. Traveling and meeting people is very stimulating for me. I have been creating new music that I plan to release sometime in the near future, I worked on music for sound installations, and I just finished a musical piece for a project called Soundworks that I presented in collaboration with MUTEK.
How and where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded in my living room in Berlin where I have all my records, turntables and CDJs. I recorded it in mid-August 2021 when the days started to get colder and it seemed like the summer season was ending. The feeling of the beginning of autumn surely influenced this mix.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I have been collecting tracks for this mix for some time and had an overall idea of the sound, textures and journey that I wanted to record. I wanted to present a timbrical and dynamic evolution and guide the listener to a different perspective and emotion.
What are you up to next?
I will be working on new collaborations, sound installations, a new album, and continue experimenting with sound aesthetics and palettes. I have some ideas which I am very much looking forward to exploring soon. At the same time, after all that is happening because of the pandemic, I am trying to not plan anything too far in advance.
What's one social or political cause you want the world to pay more attention to?
There are many causes we should care for. In my case, I'm passionate about helping marginalized communities by tackling the issue of inequality and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I also care greatly about the well-being of animals. I feel very strongly about animals and consider myself a committed animal-rights activist.
You started off in the techno world but have since moved more to experimental music. Do you still feel a connection to techno in your music?
I don't consider myself to have started in the techno world, as I never composed and released any techno music. My first two releases came out on Spazio Disponibile which could be considered a techno label, but my music has never been techno.
You also score films. How does your craft differ when you're composing for a film than when you're making music for a record?
Scoring for a film or for any media outlet is always interesting as I like to work with a brief at hand and with a closed concept. It forces me to have less freedom which sometimes is very fascinating as I have to be creative within limits. My composing method and approach is, in these cases, quite similar technical-wise even though it's more structured.
Ana Roxanne - It's a Rainy Day on the Cosmic Shore [Leaving Records]
Valesuchi - Mudanças [Domina]
Reeko - Segmento 4 [Mental Disorder]
Vanessa Wagner - Etude n°9 (Nadia Struiwigh Experimental Edit) [Infiné]
Surgeon - Presence [Dynamic Tension Records]
Imaginary Softwoods - Crystal Pond [Amethyst Sunset]
Christopher Bissonnette - Epoch [Kranky]
Dosed - Diet Coke [Global A Records]
Dylan Henner - The Peach Tree Next Door Grew over our Fence [AD 93]
Introversion - La Fille Aux Rêves Prémonitoires [Not On Label]
Heathered Pearls - Cement Object, Vacuum Sealed [Ghostly International]
PLUHM - Essenza del Reale [Not On Label]
Nailah Hunter - Bassin Bleu [Looking Glass]