Sometimes music comes along so brutal and disjointed that it makes you pay attention. Loops Haunt fits into this category, as does Alva Noto and Vaetxh most definitely does. I first heard a short mix he did for the people at Braindrop around a year ago and was blown away by it. Hailing from Bristol, the young producer is creating soundscapes that are hard to comprehend. It’s the kind of music that gets inside your brain and turns it inside out. However, rather than being just a complete brainfuck there are elements of melody in there and that’s what’s really interesting about his stuff. With releases already on Tigerbeat and King Deluxe and a planned collaboration with Ruby My Dear (who mentioned him favourably in the interview he did for this site earlier in the year), things are looking up for Mr Rob Clouth. I’m also delighted that he’s playing Cork for free next week, Friday the 16th December, for his debut Irish appearance and what undoubtedly will be one of the highlights of the year. I caught up with him ahead of it to find out all about his sound and see what he has in store for the night.
How long have you been making music for?
Since I was about 16 properly, so about 7 years. Before that I’d messed around with a DAW called Evolution Audio Lite, my first ever track was called ‘Losenge’.
How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard it?
I have trouble with this but usually say something like: “It’s all the sounds you might not have heard but don’t necessarily want to hear, chopped and spliced restlessly and obsessively against pounding drums with some occasional pleasant melody to soften the mess – if you’re still listening by that point. Then add bass.”
Your music is so disjointed. How do you approach writing a tune?
If I think of a melody or rhythmic idea I will draft it in FL with really basic sounds to use later. So starting a tune is usually picking up one of these and developing it. The trouble is I’ve got a really short attention span so I tend to get bored of an idea quickly, but then rather than starting a new track I’ll take something from earlier in the track and start developing it with that as the focus. I guess that’s how the tracks end up sounding disjointed.
How is it working with King Deluxe and Tigerbeat?
Yeah, really good actually. Peter from King Deluxe is wicked, he’s always got interesting ideas for projects and some how manages to find interesting artists that actually want to remix my stuff! Miguel is cool too. I haven’t chatted to him too much, but when I have he’s been sound as fuck.
You’ve created an itunes library condenser, a program that turns your data into a radio station and in ear binaural headphones. Any other stuff your working on?
Well I’ve just got back from this Music Hack Day thing in London (http://london.musichackday.org/2011/) It was well good – loads of like-minded music dweebs getting together for a 24hr coding binge, with free booze and food. Me and a mate made a SoundCloud Mixer app, but we totally bungled the presentation because my laptop had run out of battery. Embarrassing, but mostly just annoying because we’d just spent 24 solid hours working on it only to fall at the final hurdle. Over than that I’m working on a Cheat Boxer, for making tunes with my mouth.
What is it about the glitch sound you find so appealing?
I do like glitch, but I think my music is glitchy more a result of my process rather than actively trying to write it. Messing around in a wave editor tends to make things sound glitchy. But there is something satisfying about finding that something makes a better sound when it fucks up than it does when it’s working. We’ve got an electric organ in our house and the when you stop the drum machine, some circuitry must be fried because instead of stopping immediately it just crumbles and crackles to pieces before finally dying. It sounds far better than the actual drum machine.
Hardware or software?
Software mostly, because generally most things that hardware can do software can, and more because it’s more flexible. Got a little circuit bent drum machine though which makes lovely sounds. I’m bringing it the Cork show.
How does the live show work?
Remashing my tunes live with some custom MaxMSP stuff + dodgy hardware.
What can people expect from your Cork show?
My tunes (some unheard ones) mashed up with lots of knob twiddling, keyboard mashing, radio fuckin, and that drum machine I mentioned.
Bristol has always had a history of excellent music coming from it. Any artists to be aware of?
My housemate Henry makes some wicked tunes using the various instruments he’s got lying round. http://soundcloud.com/henrylouis
I’m not the best to ask for recommendations though, I don’t really listen to much at the moment to be honest.
What releases have you planned for the future?
Got a 12″ released on DetUnd soonish, and I’ve been chatting to Schematic about a release with them next year. Also on a different note, Traum contacted me about releasing some techno with them so I’m gonna try and knock out some clangers over xmas.
Big thanks to Vaetxh for the interview! Gig is gonna be unreal – click poster below for info!