We'd come across a couple of productions from Moscow-based producer Linja before but his debut LP, which also marks his first official release, seemed markedly different.
Taking the form of 7 experimental pieces, made sometime between 2016 and 2017 using an arsenal of drum machines and modular synthesisers, Velvet Noise is more of a cinematic soundtrack, an atmospheric narrative that conjures up images of rainy days and dimly lit streets.
Following the release on Berlin's Malka Tuti, Linja guides us through each track on the album and the story behind the release.
"Three years ago I shut myself in the studio to complete at least some of my projects. At that time I didn’t have many of finished tracks. What I had was plenty of demos that I kept redoing time and again. I still have some of demos that are five years old.
For this album I created all the tracks surprisingly quickly. It took a bit more than a week. And I didn’t really do much mixing. The ultimate goal was to get one track per one session. I was writing this album as a sort of a story. Every day of the week that I spent in the studio I was trying to detach myself from all the hustle and bustle and focus on my emotions."
Into the nowhere
I was trying to make a piece of music together with Max Yudin, jazz artist from Yekaterinburg. But it didn’t quite coming off. Eventually I took out a couple of parts where Max wasn’t really singing, but warming up. Then I put it into the recorded take Moog mother 32 and that turn out pretty cool. Then atop of that I played some chords and it worked.
Echo of emptiness
I had some fragments left of Moog mother 32. I played a chord on a keyboard, fixed it with a sellotape and used the second СЕКРЕЦИЮ?? and a delay on the same Moog mother 32. It all took a little longer than a half an hour. I did cut it a bit afterwards, but still, I’ve never made a track so quickly before.
In the darkness of sleeping streets
I guess that this track is inspired by the Stranger Things series. In had been released for a year at that time. I used here the same Moog mother 32, as well as Korg ms2000 and one of my favourites FM synthesiser Yamaha ys100.
This made on eurorack modules, a piezo microphone and a resonator. I was experimenting with the sound and I’ve made some loops. What I wanted was to create a long monotonous track, not overcomplicated. The melodiousness won though. So I’ve recorded a keyboard solo, then a couple of takes with an arpeggiator. I’ve been changing the tempo chaotically and finally added the violin samples.
That’s the main track of the album. I don’t really remember how it was created, but I think it came out pretty powerful. I was listening to the classical music during that period when I heard that sample. After some struggle I almost completely remade it. I was using various samples of flutes, Ableton’s Simpler plugin and modulations so the sound would be more natural. Basically I put a flute together from several pieces.
Lone juggler’s isle
I created this track with my friend from Ural, DJ Tinder. Vitya played almost all the parts manually and I added the solo. Initially we had recorded about forty minutes in different timbres and cut out the most of it afterwards.
This track was created later than all the rest. It is made entirely on Elektron Digitakt. When I finished it I felt like the story is complete.
First I just wanted to upload the album online. I didn’t even think about releasing it on a record label. Then I shared it with some of my friends and everyone told me ‘please, don’t do that, you can have it released by a good label’. Then they showed me Malka Tuti. And so we began to talk about releasing a play record, at first we were thinking about some dance music and it was going on for some time. Then I showed Katzele all seven tracks and he told me right away that he wanted to release the full thing. So everything turned out perfectly.
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