Stream of the Week: Bryce Hackford - “Fair”

Exclusive: Stream the new album from Brooklyn's gentleman of house

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Bryce Hackford photo 1

"Another Fantasy" is a beast of a track. Its waves of noise, crushed through a delay pedal, filter into an ambient ocean - with bursts of colour that stitch in-and-out - before going thermo-nuclear. For Bryce Hackford, known better as one of Brooklyn's "gentlemen of house," this is something of a departure, inspired by the love dance-heads in NYC are expressing for harder, rawer, techno. "The title actually resonates a lot with two ideas," explains Hackford. "That this kind of record is associated almost always with a fantasy about a dance situation; and that equalisation could be the sole expressive or syntactical element in a recording." 

Travelling across Europe in 2011, with only a small field recorder, a synth, a sampler and a microphone, Hackford developed a method of four-tracking improvised songs that became the basis for his debut album Fair, to be released on PRAH recordings on December the 9th. Freed from the computer screen, working direct with instrumentation, the result, apart from "Another Fantasy", are tracks like "Slow Emotion" and "Heart to Beat", which root back to the producers roots playing records at Balearic DIY parties; and experimental club-residency where he slowed down 45" records in sound-collages. I wasn't consciously trying to make anything "for the dance-floor," other than the dance-floor of the mind,' he explains.  "A lot of the best house records are not for the floor, unless it has big white pillows."

Throughout Fair you can hear a connection to Brian Eno, Mr Fingers and Aphex Twin. And when talking about what kind of music he listened to while making the record Hackford mentions a rapper called Bangs, Chicago-House, and 'deeper stuff.' On the other hand the biggest influence on the record seems to be a totally re-discovery of sampling. "The idea of sampling really opened my mind to way I experience sound," says Hackford. "All sound recordings are samples. This was just coming up on me more then. I did a radio show DJing with Laurel Halo on Newtown Radio back then and I remember talking with Daniel Lopatin about this. Pitching down records in particular was a meditative move, into the plasticity and tactile things in a more soft and lateral way than Christian Marclay or something like that. I try to focus on the senses and what feels good in creation and design. Too few creators are thinking about the laterals of their foremost intentions."

It comes as no surprise then that Hackford has been using short speech pieces, turned at different speeds to create sound-collages and automatic recordings. He's unsure when I call these vocals though. "I sing every day, and I think it's a healthy practice, but I'm just not in the space of trying to track it traditionally right now. So I guess I just "sang" on an edit of "You Get High in NYC" that I just finished, but it sounds more like waves crashing on a beach."

The immersive nature of this sound perfectly matches the aesthetic of his long time collaborator Ivy Meadows, whose video for "Another Fantasy" mirrors the dark brooding nature of the song. Previously Meadows worked with Hackford's band Behaviour, creating a piece to accompany a twenty-four hour performance the experimental band did in Chelsea. And last year Hackford and Meadows also worked together on Neutral Paradise Sound Salon in Peckham, along with long-time friend Viktor Timofeev, who also plays on two tracks on Fair. Now at the end of making Fair Hackford feels like he's back where he started working across a number of projects; including a residency at the Watermill Center with dancer/choreographer Brittany Bailey, writing new material with Pearl Necklace, a collaboration with Meadows, and hopefully "a few really special parties." 

Fair is released on PRAH records on the 9th of December.

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