Following a string of EPs on his own eponymous imprint, Locked Groove presents his debut album – Sunset Service – due March 2019 on Hotflush. Employing strands from multiple influences that inform his diverse musical output, he applies a contemporary lens to fragments of EBM, New Beat, trance, rave and techno.
Since debuting with his first EP on Hotflush back in 2012, Locked Groove has delved into various genres to inform his constantly evolving sound. Drawing on an acute melodic ear developed whilst training as a classical pianist, all of his productions are underscored by an inherent sense of musicality. Using a diverse range of influences, he translates their sentiments into hybrid dance floor constructions that look primarily towards the 90s rave culture of Belgium, with a subtle nod to the UK.
Written over a one year period with combination of analog and digital equipment at his Berlin studio, Sunset Service documents the synthesis of a carefully studied musical background into one coherent body of work. Across twelve tracks, Locked Groove forges cathartic build-ups with intricate pads and floating melodies, re-purposing references – both subtle and overt – from the musical subcultures of his Belgian homeland. But although there is a strong connection to the past, these allusions are carefully moulded into a singular, forward-thinking sound.
Following on from the acclaimed EP series of 2018, the album hosts a few recognisable tracks, like the subaquatic euphoria of ‘From Beyond’ and the syncopated rhythmic swirl of ‘Zillion’. The rest consists entirely of unheard material. The chugging, slowed down percussion of classic Belgian New Beat is fused with ecstatic rave chords and sweltering acid. Elsewhere, angular drum patterns are interwoven with ethereal trance progressions and piercing vocal stabs. Two vocal features come in the form of glistening rave opener ‘Pudding’, a collaboration with New York based creative director Nate Brown and ‘Eden’, a disorienting acid trip featuring the voice of a close friend’s daughter, stella, who, during the 2018 World Cup decided to show her support by sending a Whatsapp voice note saying ‘I’m for Belgium’ – re-contextualised here to add a final nod to Locked Groove’s most inherent musical influences.
Sunset Service is the amalgamation of a diverse and closely studied musical past, incorporating influences that are dear to the artist, whilst retaining a focus on the singularity of his own unique aesthetic.
Artwork for Sunset Service was conceptualised and produced by Belgian graphic designer Paul Boudens.
08 March 2019 / Hotflush Recordings
01. Pudding ft. Nate Brown
02. Do Not Freak
03. From Beyond
04. Out Of Orbit
08. Swimming Upstream
09. Round And Round
10. Sunset Over Coku Tau 4
12. Eden ft. Stella
Scuba shares a new video for ‘Ants’ taken from SUB:STANCE In Retrograde, a ten-track album of previously unheard music during the early part of the five-year run of his legendary SUB:STANCE party at Berghain.
After moving from London to Berlin in 2007, Scuba embarked on a journey of cross-pollination, merging his influences to reflect both cities. This manifested itself in both his own productions and the curation of the SUB:STANCE parties at Berghain from July 2008, which brought debuts at the legendary venue from an impressive and diverse roster of artists, including James Blake, Mala, Gilles Peterson, and Mount Kimbie. SUB:STANCE opened the Berlin institution up to a new set of aesthetics over its five-year run, sparking a conversation between UK artists and Germany’s most vibrant music centre.
SUB:STANCE opened the door for a unity of sounds, which is ultimately reflected in this collection of original tracks. The party eventually spread further afield, with a residency in New York and showcases held around the world, before coming to a considered end with a final party at Berghain and Panorama Bar in July 2013, exactly five years after the first edition.
On SUB:STANCE in Retrograde, Scuba cultivates the sonic aesthetic established in the UK in the incubative period of dubstep, whilst incorporating the fruits of an exploration of textures, drum patterns and acoustics. Produced during the sessions for both his A Mutual Antipathy a nd Triangulation albums, familiar dub tropes of slowly decaying echoes and floating pads are offset with industrial synth leads, intense percussion, and cavernous space. Carefully fusing elements from the multi-layered UK scene with the singular aesthetic of Berlin, he provides a space for disparate elements to cohabit in a way that highlights their respective strengths.
Consisting entirely of unreleased music which has spent almost a decade on undisturbed hard drives, SUB:STANCE in Retrograde reflects a period of growth for Scuba, documenting an exchange of ideas that continues to unfold to this day.
‘It’s ten years since the first SUB:STANCE party, so that got me thinking about it. I was then trawling through a load of old hard drives from back around then and was surprised at how much good music there was that I hadn’t heard in years. Finished tracks as well, not just ideas. So it made sense to bring those two things together.’
Original artwork by Michael Sayles, ‘Ants’ video produced by Moving Systems.
Off the back of the success of Auden’s first Hotflush EP, the enigmatic alias returns to Scuba’s label with another hard hitting four-tracker, ‘Wall To Wall’.
‘Lock In’ throws you in headfirst – fast-paced drum loops layered with slices of jarring techno and a driving bassline that would be welcomed on the darkest dancefloors. ‘Utopian’, initially a more languid cut, juxtaposes an almost cerebral landscape with hard hitting percussion, only allowing the listener a short breather before hurtling back in with ‘Perished’’s swirling synths and trippy electronic jabs. Ending on Xirox, Auden crafts a slightly more down-tempo cut, boasting a catchy groove that only gets better with each listen.
Whoever Auden may or may not be, one thing is for certain – he’s carving his place deep in techno’s panorama.
“Wall to Wall” will be released January 19th 2015 via Hotflush Recordings.
A1: Lock In