Ursa’s Reef: The Ransom Note Mix


Ah, the distinctive art of the alias. The mystery figure who prefers to be known as an alter ego, a removal from their otherwise known state. In this case we are delighted to introduce to you Ursa's Reef, the alter ego of an artist perhaps better known as Photonz. The new project sees him focus on elements more commonly associated with trance than his previous works on the likes of Principe, Creme Organization, Hot Haus and DBA.

His latest EP under the new moniker is forthcoming on One Eyed Jacks, his own imprint which had previously been an outlet for early Photonz material back in 2010. 

We are delighted to be able to welcome him to contribute to our ever growing mix series. Listen below: 

Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you?

I'm Ursa's Reef, an heteronym – in the Pessoa sense – of Marco Rodrigues (Photonz / One Eyed Jacks / Rádio Quântica). My avatar, Marco, is in Lisbon right now but I live mostly as an idea in Sintra – sometimes Cascais, if I'm feeling fancy.  Both of us make music and play it for others – and get smashed.

What does your music sound like?

My music is a connective realm that exists between Roxy Music circa Avalon, trance, portuguese tribal house, socialism and mysteric teachings. 

How would you describe the role of Lisbon within electronic music? 

Lisbon's contribution to electronic music, in my view, should only be one of inclusion, emancipation and experimentation. Hopefully providing the perfect pretext and cultural playground to erode the patriarchal, colonialist and normative structures of the city itself.

Where was the mix recorded?

The mix was recorded by Marco – my meat suit – at his home in Lisbon, under my strict command of course.

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

The ideal setting for it should be the beautiful, secluded beaches of Sintra, under hot misty weather.

What should we be wearing?

Nothing. Nada. Naked – birthday-tuxedos-only dress code.

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?

In the ocultist mansion of Quinta da Regaleira, in Sintra, using some sort of interface that would allow me to manipulate records with my mind only.

Which track in the mix is your current favourite?

Probably that Urban Dreams track – I love Alex Santos' early productions and Kaos Records. Huge inspiration. 

What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?

This is Soma, by DJ Jiggy – a mix CD that came out on Kaos Records around 1997 with Jiggy picking his favs from Soma's catalogue and mixing them in the most perfect of ways. Genius. 

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

Luís Leite in Alcântara-Mar around 1996 or DJ VIbe in Kremlin around 1994 – can't decide. Because what they did, musically, made us (me and my meat-puppet Marco) who we are.

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

My first mixing experience as a kid, without money for turntables, was trying to sync two shit tape decks by messing with the forwad and rewind buttons – they had a sweet spot where you could nudge the music enough to synch for a few seconds. So much fun. Now it's two technics SL-1200, Pioneer mixer and 2 XDJ700s.

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

Both are important. The first track provides that first invitation into immersion, it sets a tone, it can be crucial ritualistically-speaking. The last one should also be a great arrival place – a place of madness, bliss, closure, expansion, whatever. 

What were the first and last records you bought?

My first record I ever bought was the first Faithless album on CD, and the last was a John T Gast thing on Apron that I missed when it came out last year. 

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?

A raw, living limpet taken from a rock in a desert portuguese beach.

If it was an animal what would it be?

A Siren. 

One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?

I'll pick one that shouldn't be mixed: Cleve's Cloud by 7 Hurtz, from their "Electroleum" album on Output. 

Upcoming in the world of… 

"The Ninth Gate" is forthcoming on Marco's (my human alias) label One Eyed Jacks on September 1st. 

Visit the One Eyed jacks bandcamp HERE

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