Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Back in Black [Deathprod!]

I first ran into Deathprod (Helge Sten) on a remix disc which took as its source material the work of the Norwegian composer Arne Nordheim. Actually, I was initially curious about the Biosphere remix on the disc, but found myself actually preferring the stuff this Deathprod person did with the material. Dense, but very carefully constructed and mixed. In time, that led me to the improvising ensemble Supersilent, an ensemble that included Sten - one of those listening discoveries that is the start of a long and appreciative journey.

Trying to locate Sten's earlier solo work was quite a challenge - small release lots, some on obscure Norwegian labels, etc. But the release of his most recent solo project Morals and Dogma provided a marvelous respite from the endless search - the disc was also released as a 4 CD Box Set in tasteful black called, simply, Deathprod, which included not only Morals and Dogma, but his hard-to-find first two releases, Treetop Drive and Imaginary Songs From Tristan Da Cunha, along with a fourth CD of much older and unreleased work. The 2004 release, in its time, went out of print and once again, it became hard to connect with this sumptuous dark and strong body of work. In the meanwhile, I kept spinning it and ranting and raving about how great Morals and Dogma was, even though I knew that the truly serious Seeker After More among my audience was in for a bit of a hunt. As some of you know, this is one bit of my radio life that I always feel vaguely guilty about.

But ranting more broadly is once again an option - the 4-CD box is back in print, and well worth your time and listenerly attention if you have any love at all for beautifully and patiently crafted 0 bpm soundscapes. There is a more recent vinyl-only collection of a half-dozen remixes that I'll be spinning for you in the near future on RTQE. Stay tuned.

By the way - you can find an interview with him that might (or might not) shed some light on his methods and intentions here.