Track By Track: Junn – AOS

 
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Music

The producer behind the latest release on Bogotá’s Ediciones Danza Negra guides us through his debut LP.

Bogotá’s Ediciones Danza Negra seeks to unite people through the vibration of sound. Through its mission to celebrate the diversity of Colombian and Latin American music, the platform has been home to contemporary sounds from artists like Gladkazuka, P. Lopez and label boss ELO, who are helping to redefine the scope of electronic music in their home country.

 

Danza Negra’s most recent release comes from another artist who’s also part of Bogotá’s flourishing scene: producer, DJ and live artist Junn. Following releases with Lay Down The Groove, Boguture Records and Place, he now offers up his first long player that gives us a window into his hybrid electronic explorations. Working with synths, drum machines, plugins and vocal samples, the LP draws from a myriad of influences that have formed his musical education, from UK Grime and Electro to Drum n Bass, R&B and Hip Hop.

Here he guides us through the album, letting us into the processes behind each track and the inspirations that spawned them.

“I can’t say much about my music. I don’t usually get inspired by places, feelings or stories like other people do. Music makes me make music, I get my inspiration and motivation from music. On many occasions I’ve just wanted to do something similar to a tune that I like, so I played with my instruments (synths, drum machines, plugins, or whatever) to do a similar tune or rhythm. On other days I just use my instruments to express myself so the outcome depends on my mood. Sometimes I want to play with things like voices, sounds or synths to create a soundscape. I guess the intentions are embodied but I rarely think or care about those.”

 

Rompeolas

Colour: Green.

Season: Think of this song like a cloudy day but without rain.

I got inspired by Claro Intelecto. I was messing around with new synth plugins, all you can hear in the first minutes are layers of digital synths. I was messing around with the idea of a soundscape that fell like waves that come and go. I was in my studio and the track hit me while I was playing with the plugins; it was like six layers of synths. I had to edit the intro because it was five minutes long. The drums emerge but the noise is that sound that stops the waves at a seawall (Romepolas in Spanish). The final version took over two years of changes and mix checks. You should hear this one literally everywhere.

Aos

Colour: Pink.

Season: This one hits like a very cold day on Sunday, more like an aftermath day.

Same as ‘Rompeolas’, I was thinking about Claro Intelecto’s track ‘Still Here’. I wanted to do an introspective track for the dance floor. Everybody likes more Rompeolas. ‘Aos’ is my favorite; it’s a simple track, I wanted to make something very emotional and simple. In those days (this track is pretty old) I only had and Electribe MX for the synths and drums and I was happy with it. I borrowed a Roland JU06 Boutique for the chords. I wasn’t in my best days, so obviously the track got a little sad. The bass is very acidic, but the overall track isn’t. In the middle there’s a lovely synth that sounds like shivers. When you hear ‘Aos’ it feels nostalgic but at the end you feel kind of happy.

Inercia

Colour: Grey.

Season: A sunny day but a cold one.

I used only samples and was inspired by East Man and UK grime. The track is a story about falling but keeping going: an emotional or inspirational inertia. Starts as silence, the inspiration comes and then falls again. It is a loop of emotional energy that starts and ends with stillness. In my studio this one came really quickly, in a few hours I had the track. Then I had to check it out for arrangements and mixdown. I can’t imagine the track on a dancefloor, it’s best listened on your soundsystem at full volume.

Desposeer

Colour: Red.

Season: Summer.

I am also a drummer so I have been obsessed with building rhythm soundscapes that could push away the four on the floor drum beat. I made a couple of attempts to build a drum bass pattern with three kicks. I was also inspired by Juju and Jordash’s synths and melodies, so I tried to build a synth soundscape that could push the drums to a linear story. In the middle of the track there’s some percussions with flanger and delay recorded in a live improvisation on top of the track – I did it many times to get a nice take and then did the mixdown. With ‘Burtesque’ and ‘ExRush’, this is one of the dancefloor weapons of the release. Looking forward to dancing to all of these. This is kind of an introspective one so listen to it with patience.

Burtesque

Colour: Blue.

Season: A rainy night.

I was working with vocals and trying to make a dancefloor tune. I based the whole track on these monk chants but they had to come at the right moment in the track. Again, in my obsession to make tunes that could push the straight sensation in the drums, I was experimenting with the kicks and I wanted to make a kick that worked also like a bass at the same time. There is some modulation of the frequency so it’s never the same kick. I did some editing and chopping over the chants so it could fit with the drum pattern, that was the hard work on this one. Listen to it whilst dancing with your dog/cat.

ExRush

Colour: Rose.

Season: A hot day. On this one I was playing around with the slide of two kicks that are fighting to be heard at the same time – a nice trick on an Electribe Mx with its full tube gain. I was curious about using fast hats and the drums build around that. I also wanted to use noise as something useful in a tune, so during the track those are welcoming the drops. I guess I was looking to do a dancefloor track with a crazy drop. This is one is for the dance, dance, dance.

Ambar

Colour: Rainbow pinky color.

Season: A weird rainy day with sun.

I wanted to make a groove with a voice, so I sampled an interview from a famous female performance artist and used some fx to make a constant iteration of her voice that could be a linear story for the track. It also has some randomness on it. The synths are more like cushions for the voice. This one is kind of trippy, when you least expect it the iterations on the voice get you in the guts.

Caida

Colour: White.

This track is kind of sad and nostalgic. I wanted to make a track that feels like an acoustic soundscape but that could be played on the dancefloor. I played my keyboard using a sampled piano, then I used some acoustic drums to make the breakbeat. I found that the drums were a little thin so I used a sub bass that could follow the acoustic kicks on the drum. The drop on the start would be nice to hear on a dancefloor. Overall it is a good track to hear on a bad day.

Gasoline

Colour: Emerald.

Season: Summer.

For a long time I have been trying to make some downtempo electronic music that cloud break the body. Also, some of my influences for a long time were Hip Hop and R&B so that was the beginning of ‘Gasoline’. I sampled a scratch performance and edited some parts to make a groove with it. I was learning how to use an MPC, so I was having a hard time. I tried to sample something structureless and found out that a scratch recording was a nice idea. The main drum beat is a hybrid between a tropical rhythm and an electronic beat. ‘Gasoline’ would be amazing closing the night in a club or a DJ set. It also can be played in the middle of a reggaeton set, or in your house getting drunk with your besties.

Remixes

On top of the original tracks, Lunate and Juanpablo did two remixes of ‘Desposeer’ and ‘Ambar’. Both are amazing. ‘Aos’ is an outcome about how the city and it’s becomings are involved in our music and art making, even if it’s an unconscious process.

Lunate and Juanpablo are Colombians that now live in Sao Pablo and Madrid, but they keep the city in their veins. We wanted to make an exploration about how their work and perspective could intervene and participate with the album. Lunate is an alumni of RBMA and Juanpablo has been working for many years on his own label: Frigio Records. He’s also lived in different cities and those have influenced his work as Latin-American artist. 

Juanpablo’s remix is very faithful to the original but shows a different story tale: voices aren’t the main theme of the track, those are blended with massive drums and breaks. The original track gets broken into pieces and rearranged again into a fresh but powerful groove that hypnotizes with the circulation of the original fragments.

Bogotá-born, São Paulo-based, Lunate has been in the process of re-signifying his relationship with music since relocating to Brazil: too many changes and distractions to focus on making new music. He started to work on the remix soon after the Covid-19 pandemic exploded. With a reduced studio after moving, and looking to get as far away as possible from computer screens, he looked at what he had on hand: an Elektron Digitakt.

Reworking most of the stems solely in that machine, Lunate took the source material as a starting point, and in close relation with the Digitakt and it’s barriers and possibilities, reworks ‘Desposeer’: a highly modulated tune based on shifting synth lines throughout its duration, offering many routes for reinterpretation. The result is a tune built solely on the sounds of the original track, but filtered through the limitations of the producer’s current condition, a conversation with its origin but altered significantly when heard in the new context. Much like the relationship one has with the country of origin when leaving elsewhere, always with you but you’re never quite the same.

AOS is out now on Danza Negra.