Australian DJ/producer/educator Rick Bull (a.k.a Deepchild/Acharné) has been one of dance music’s innovative forces for the better part of the past two decades. His discography includes releases on labels including Get Physical Music, BBE, Sleaze, Leisure System, and Future Classic. In addition to his solo work, he’s half of the Juno-nominated Concubine project with Canada’s Noah Pred.
In April Bull released Archarné’s transformative full-length debut, Innocence And Suburbia. It’s a stark, minimal/ambient project espousing gorgeous, emotionally vulnerable music intended to help him make sense of the many changes that have taken place in his life.
Currently based in London’s Hackney borough after a stint in Berlin, Bull is returning to live performing and DJ sets. On September 1 he will present Luminous (Pt.1), a heartfelt rumination on the life of his father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a beautiful and highly evocative release.
Ahead of the release we caught up with Bull and asked him to share his five releases of the moment.
1. Martyn – “Miniluv” (Ostgut Ton)
Perhaps and unusual one to start with, but still one of my favorite techno/UK crossover tracks. It very much channels a pretty special time for me in Berlin circa 2010. It’s incredible to realize that this track is over seven years old now. I still play it a great deal, and it represents to me a small window of time when the ubiquitous minimal techno/microhaus sound in Berlin was beginning to wane, and there was a renewed sort of dub-techno vitality which began to emerge. Rather than the stern brutalism (and let’s face it, monotony) of so much cookie-cutter dub-techno of recent years, Martyn’s work here (and similar releases around the time on labels like 50 Weapons or Hotflush) seemed to embrace two-step and dub influences from ‘across the pond’ and term them into something entirely unique. There’s so much warmth and swagger in this track … I just love it.
2. Burial – “Subtemple” (Hyperdub)
It’s incredible what a lasting influence Burial has left on the scene. I still remember stumbling across his first album randomly in 2005 and being completely seduced. “Subtemple” was released rather recently, and I think it’s brilliant, audacious and confounding. Rather than sticking to the early tropes of eroded post-rave euphorics, I’ve been stunned by the way that Burial’s sound design and computational conventions have subsided into something entirely more alien in recent years. He speaks to me of the best ideas embedded in work by John Cage, in an effortless and entirely unpretentious, populist way. Of all the ‘dance music’ artists in the last decade, I believe that Burial has most effortlessly crossed the post-academic threshold. He’s re-engineered the way the mainstream hears music, and dissolved further the assumed divide between ‘sound’ and ‘noise.’ I love that you can hear his sonic legacy smeared across tracks from Skrillex to The xx and Drake. An once-outlier now ensconced in the canon. Sprawling, epic, hypnagogic. Respect.
3. Kowton – “Loops One” (Livity Sound)
From one end of the UK bass spectrum to the other comes a recent offering from Kowton. His entire Utility album is sparse to the extreme. He’s another artist experimenting with a more minimalistic, utilitarian take on garage/bass/juke-influenced techno. What strikes me about this album (and this track is a brilliant example) is how elegantly this minimalism seems to work for me. I’ve always been a huge fan of Robert Hood/Floorplan, whose work somehow shouldn’t work, but very much does for me. There’s some voodoo in the water here – the elements at play seem deceptively simplistic, and should bores me to tears. Somehow, they don’t. Cliché-free, tightly honed, and deadly.
4. Swindle – “Works Haffi Run feat. Ghetts” (Butterz)
Somewhat controversially for a techno lad, I’ve become more enamored than ever by a lot of grime, R&B and (shudder?) trap music of late. This has largely been a result of spending a lot of time in Sydney, Australia in the last year, where I found myself both doing hip-hop production and community work at Heaps Decent as well as teaching music production to younger artists/producers at college and university. I’m now based in Hackney, London, where obviously the grime and dancehall influence is all-pervading, but it took me to be thrown way out of my comfort-zone in Berlin to really start to embrace the vitality of a lot of this kind of music. I find the production values and bonafide FIRE in tracks like this really inspiring. It’s battle music. It’s got swagger. The vocal spits, and there’s nothing earnest or hipster about this jam. This is the shit yo mamma warned you about. Nuff said.
5. Chevel – “Flying” (Enklav)
I was blown away by Chevel’s Blurse album from a couple of years ago on Stroboscopic Artefacts. It reminded of a wide-screen take on the kind of micro-edits, clicks and pops that labels like Mille Plateaux or artists like Farben/Jan Jelenic put on the map. Headphone music, but with wonderful low-end sensibility. Flying marks a step to the left here – it’s both warm and sparse, certainly dance-floor friendly, and wonderfully sound-designed kind of bass music. Moreover, Chevel’s work is so distinctive to me – his fingerprints are effortlessly smudged across this … it’s cavernous, clever and it bangs. Techno kids take note: the future is finally back again …at last!