I love writing but I forget to. I’m lucky to have a beautiful partner to remind me that I love writing. So I sit here coughing my lungs up on the back end of some mean Covid-19 virus spiders coursing throughout my whole body. I love writing but I forget to; right now it is for a reason, that there is my new tape, Perfect Blue Bubbles, to write about.
Perfect Blue Bubbles, is a compilation of twelve tracks that expose the core of my early adulthood, all glitchy drum machines and clunky video game soundtracks full of little melodic ideas and a whole lot of meaty neurotic programming. When I was that age I had to figure it all out on my own without much musical education in tow, thanks to difficulty at school and therefore learning in general I relied on my perseverance. In some ways this approach has been crucial in protecting my sonic freedom, but it’s been a difficult and unjust route, intuition only takes you so far and if you have an issue with perfectionism this can be enraging. I honestly never thought I would put out these twelve tracks; a lot of them have been held back for reasons like, “I should sit on this one till the right time. This one is too complicated. This one’s too simple, I can’t get the mix right on this one, I should give up.”
I’ve spent much time thinking, oh if I die then all my unreleased work might come out and people might magically pay attention, they might say things like “oh he was really cool and clever he’s like burial, or Aphex, so mysterious”. I have been longing for a version of myself, an unattainable man with all the confidence, deeply perfect, deeply impenetrable, bullet proof. This ghosty apparition matters less now, unless I make an effort to go there. As pain can always be available when and if you wish for it. This is new information to me.
While I can visit that space, I should not stay there long. It’s suffocating there, and it’s lonely, no one really knows what you are going through in those times. In those tiny messages you send yourself you think you are beating yourself into a better shape but you only end up battered and exhausted. Your energy is valuable and needs to nourish you, not make your life harder. These words you repeat to yourself in thought are prayers, I have to be mindful to not pray for pain.
My passions and energy have often been subject to, a conflicted hyperactive sense of self. I want to be this, and also that, at a moment’s notice. I grew up as a ballet dancer, deep in the structures of the institution. Once I slinked away from this, I don’t think I ever really processed how impactful it was. On the good side it was pure structure but the result that the loss of that structure gave, slowly throughout my life would cast me into much self doubt and internal chaos. I have never felt I’ve really been part of a music community, neither in Sheffield, London nor Bratislava, I have never felt it has ever happened for me, possibly because I am constantly pirouetting across genres, or probably there is a deeper reason to it, maybe this is imposter syndrome talking, does everyone feel like this? This fact is difficult to cope with, and has fuelled my insecurities. Knowing that someone is on my side, believing in what I’m selling gives me the net I needed to place all my cards on the table.
I’m so lucky that Austin swooped in and asked me to contribute a track to his label compilation after hearing my previous Sentry release A Minimum Wage Employee Named Ham. Once I was ready I sent him like 5 or 6 options all sketches of tracks almost all featuring on this new record, that’s when he suggested we could put out a full album on his label, Jollies Records. The following process was intrinsically positive, I applied my new knowledge, I’ll not hold back, I’ll be as honest as possible and my self belief will colour the release with the right energy for me and for it. It will be Perfect in its imperfection.
In my mind Perfect Blue Bubbles, tells a story. Here is the story.
Track 1: Flump. Do you remember those from when you were a kid? Chunky squishy marshmallows full of sugary deliciousness. Thoughts of safety and comfort materialise, you are twenty-one years old.
Track 2: Anchor. Getting excited and ready for your night out, with an idea that came together in the blink of an eye, someone shakes the coke bottle, spraying fucking everywhere. It works. The Denon’s are out and plugged in, extracting metallic discs of music from the sticky CD wallet.
Track 3: Citiopolis 7. You’re still at home with your friends because this is so much better than being in the club. You are listening to some dusty filter techno, electro house, but there’s a lightness to the world, there’s cats and cuddles. You probably mix in some old UK garage tunes, add some weird Warp-y braindance. It’s 2010, things are light. Drinks are flowing, you’re finding perfect clothes to wear, you are feeling confident.
Track 4: Boiler Person. The house is over, you’re all bundled together in a taxi trying to get to your space, the radio is on, you’ve got your Flumps and are loaded up on Nerds and aniseed balls. The driver’s technique is making your stomach queasy. The city passes by, it looks so cold and concrete full of insectoid fluorescent lights caroming off the window glass. The driver is playing some 90’s R n B, much to your delight.
Track 5: UBLVBLHD. You’re in there, it is intense, the world is much darker and lonelier than it was, even though you are surrounded by people, they are animals writhing around in the chaos. You lock into the groove and keep your head down in a deep bob. 1,2,3,4 the tiles on the floor causing patterns in your head, you look around for your friends but they are adrift in the ocean of people. Keep your head down and get into the flow.
Track 6: Donut 2. Escaping to the smoking area seeking sanctuary from the intensity of the inner guts of the club. You are dreaming of an ambient/idm room with all your friends in it blasting old familiar tunes. Feeling weird and out of place you cave and grab a rollie of a stranger. It’s nice. You chat about random stuff, sipping a rum and coke that’s pretty nice too.
Track 7: Arc. Sat on some steps next to your new friend you look up, there’s something large in the sky, looming overhead, you catch a glimpse at its curved surface, rippling against the wind, clouds of smoke rising from the crowds cold breath all laced with smoke. Time slows down as it silently traverses the black void of the night sky refracting dots of starlight which ripple in its wake.
Track 8: Chance. You run back inside, the music has switched up to something unknown, it’s hectic and tightens your grip on reality as you hurriedly search for your friends. You try the bar, acquiring some more fun juice in the process, a demonic energy is rushing through you.
Track 9: Is This Real? The blur of people has homogenised into a molten sea of bodies, waves of sweet drinks and weird unspecific odour cruise up your nostrils as you drive your way through the crowd. Deep within the core of the person cluster your friends are there, waiting for you, ready to explode into a flurry of rapid physical movement to the impending drop; which hits, causing a ricochet of ecstatic arm-like pistons to wave around as a busted engine might.
Track 10: Fly Approves. The night has taken you to a sweet place, your early worries about the huge bubbles in the sky abate, you head to the toilets, it’s lighter, there’s bass everywhere drinking cool water from the gross tap you feel strong and ready to shake your fucking arse, nothing can stop you.
Track 11: Good clean. Your brain is mush, things are getting too hectic now, you have been there too long, you have to find a way out and some accomplices to take you. You leave, and luckily with a friend who needs very little persuading.
Track 12: Workcitipoly. As you are leaving the club the right beat starts to materialise in the distance, you realise you might have made a serious mistake and hurtle back to the dance floor for one last beat down. As you shake your head from side to side punching the air, you notice the walls starting to shimmer around you, the crowd heating up glowing orange like embers hurtling off sparks of human noodle in all directions. Gelatinous resinlike substance starts to inflate in creepy nodules right off the ceiling, bubbles start to break off lazily drifting down towards your face.
And then the lights fucking turn on.