Colin Self, Eris Drew, Hudson Mohawke, and more discuss what it was like collaborating on Delta, their thoughts and inspirations
Pushing the limits of the human voice to unearthly extremes, Lyra Pramuk’s Delta straddles itself between the folkloric and futuristic, real and divine. The remix album is a reimagining of the Berlin-based artist’s 2020 debut Fountain. A versatile exploration of the voice as instrument, it pushed beyond the limitations of language, transcending the world of signs and signifiers to suggest something both immaterial and profound.
Delta takes this one step further, inviting 12 collaborators including Hudson Mohawke, Ben Frost, Colin Self, Tygapaw, and Gabber Modus Operandi to reimagine Pramuk’s original work to include their own unique voices. “Delta is a work framed as a new type of artistic meeting point – challenging, pushing, and redefining the ways we perceive collaboration, community, and listening,” Pramuk explains. “They showcase a diverse and personal collection of reflections on Fountain’s musical world, extending the collaborative potential of the rework beyond its mechanical, commercial uses.”
The album’s exploratory tone sees each track stripped down to its sonic bones, before being manipulated and cranked to their cosmic extremes. Ancient chants ring like alien incantations against clamorous swathes of sounds and textures, evoking the late performance artist Breadwoman’s notion of exploring “the body like a cave”. Analogue warblings collide with kaleidoscopic rave rhythms, inciting technopagan revelations of spirituality through machine. It’s within this ever-evolving sonic landscape that Pramuk’s message of wordless identity reveals itself. The voice is a realm of infinite possibility. Not static, it unfurls across time and space, like existence itself.
Below, eight musicians who collaborated on Delta discuss the thinking behind their tracks.
VALGEIR SIGURDSSON, “OFFERING”
Valgeir Sigurdsson: In “Offering”, I’m hosting a dinner party where Lyra has prepared all the ingredients for a fabulous meal. My role is just inviting the guests, setting the table, doing the wine-pairing, and pouring the sauce. Lyra is the DJ at the afterparty, of course!
COLIN SELF, “WITNESS”
Colin Self: I started working on the “Witness (Selfless Rework)” in the depths of dark, gray Berlin in January of this year, when the absence of collectivity and connection had my musical spirit sitting in stone. In this absence, I was dreaming a lot about social music, and the kind of playful, cathartic space we are able to share when singing and making music together. Working on this track with Lyra cracked back open my music-body and reunited me with the loving care in which the textures and rhythms of Fountain originally were conceived. The rework became a somewhat narrative journey of perseverance and play; an activation of the inner-child held by our shared musicality, and the relief of finding yourself through collective song.
KMRU, “CONSTRUCTS OF STILL”
KMRU: Exploring the voice as transcendental means my inspiration and approach for the piece was to find subtle nuances of Lyra’s voice layering with excerpts of repetitive patterns and voices, engaging with the subliminal consciousness of sound.
HUDSON MOHAWKE, “TENDRIL: MIDNIGHT PEACH REWORK”
Hudson Mohawke: I came across Lyra’s record a month or so after it came out and it became probably my most repeated listen throughout the last year. I was obsessed with “Tendril”. Almost every time I listened all the way through would bring me to tears… I began relentlessly hounding Lyra for the parts/stems (literally for multiple months, heh) so I could try some ideas…just for my own satisfaction...not knowing there was a remix record even being planned. So happy it finally gets to see the light of day now.
KARA-LIS COVERDALE, “RETURNLESS”
Kara-Lis Coverdale: Lyra’s music resonates on such a deep level with my being and experience that I felt compelled to write her immediately upon first hearing Fountain. I believe we are intrinsically connected in part due to kin musical upbringings and the celestial map, but mostly due to Lyra’s mastery of poetic harmonic inflection.
I felt everything there was to say without her having said anything at all. In her music, there is a sense of both self awareness and care for healing in a balance that is both benevolent, powerful, and honest, with a concerted effort to lean toward the fundamental. The music touches and operates on many levels in this regard, and I am honoured to engage with Lyra’s signatures in the Delta project.
My own interpretation, “Returnless,” is an expression of limbo – of being neither here nor there, and the existential challenges of liminal space as determined by embodied chemistry. Its narrative also presents a vision of utopic non-returnal after an enlightenment process of learned understanding.
ERIS DREW, “SUGARCUBE REVELATIONS”
Eris Drew: Part I, “Sugarcube Revelations” is based around a vocal performance in “New Moon.” The “sugar” referred to in the collage is a trance inducing substance I took in 1994. The sound piece which follows samples heavily from a video of some ravers I knew at the time. The intro is meant to suggest the onset of a trance. I tuned my Chroma Polaris to Lyra’s voice and created a pulsation/oscillation like the one I heard in a minivan air conditioner after a party in 1994.
For Part II, “Everything is Beautiful and Alive”, I used my turntables to make a rhythm collage around Lyra’s vocal performance. The transition between the two parts is meant to be programmed in succession. I thought that would be a cool way to point out that Lyra’s voice/body, the synthesiser, and the pulsation are all part of a totality.
HEAVEN IN STEREO, “CATALYSE REWORK”
Heaven in Stereo: The minimalist, airy vocal production and catchy rhythm in “Gossip” made it one of my favourite songs from Fountain. I aimed to use Lyra’s vocals as a steady backdrop in my rework while painting a new story arc – making sure to maintain the danceable elements of the original track in my own way.
NAILAH HUNTER, “DISTANT SHORES REWORK”
Nailah Hunter: To me, “New Moon” sounds like a message of hope from the sun and the sea. Upon first listen, it invoked a feeling of weightlessness in me that made me nostalgic for the beach days of my childhood. So as I reworked the piece, I sought to capture this familiar feeling of floating belly up in the shallows, eyes closed, smile on your lips, and a glowing crown of sunlight gently resting upon your head.