Logos seems to thrive on doubt, on the spaces which emerge when genres crack and styles implode.
Real name James Parker, the producer first became enraptured by electronic music as a junglist, eventually navigating his way to London's soundsystem epicentres. From then, the beat maker has continually sought to challenge himself, to move forwards.
New EP 'Glass' certainly does this. A vivid continuation of the so-called 'weightless sound' pursued by himself and fellow traveller Mumdance, it emerges this week on the pair's Different Circles imprint.
“I think it's been a little while since I put my own solo thing out,” he says. “I've done a few remixes and me and Rabit did a low-key split single late last year. Then obviously I did the 'Proto' album with Mumdance in February. So I had been planning to go back and do something solo, properly solo, for a while.”
“Why now? I think it's because of Different Circles, really. We had our first release, 'Weightless Volume One' and it was about what's next,” James continues. “I've had this material – the three tracks and the remix – for a while. They work as a package. They were written around the same time and it seemed appropriate, really. To put more of a stamp on where we're going with Different Circles.”
Whilst the producer naturally eschews any firm tag on his music, Logos welcomes 'weightless' as a bracket for Different Circles, for this particular facet of his output. Crystalline, sparse but definitely not ambient, it's a glacial sound – uniquely visual, but then also deeply physical.
“It's definitely soundsystem music,” he states. “And soundsystem music, to me, is club music. I think when I DJ I pretty consistently play the same sorts of things, depending on where I'm playing. It'll vary slightly. I definitely try to construct sets where even if the emphasis is on people dancing hard I'll inject material in there which hits the body with the frequencies rather than just having a jump up.”
It's this approach which has fuelled his current production techniques, he explains. “Weightless, to me, is partly that. It's partly what the joy of dubstep was, when it started, which is kind of like weird, sparse, club music, really. I see it as club music, it's not ambient as such.”
While on the surface all is crystalline, underneath this each track in the weightless vein operates with stunning kinetic-ism. Long associated with instrumental grime, everything from classic jungle to early dubstep can felt within its rhythmic engine, but these percussive ticks have been allowed to fade, to disintegrate into the background, like old advertising boards, sunk away in London rain.
“I always write music with an awareness of what influences me, I think,” he muses. “I suppose it's partly that you want to bring something to the table that's not necessarily been done, and one of the ways of doing that is working from an existing form and then carve out something that's related to that but going somewhere else.”
Our conversation continually returns to visual terms and metaphors, with the producer ultimately choosing to view his music as something which is designed, something which is sculpted. “I like weird sound design,” he says. “Like in Sheffield bleep you hear these weird bass noises, these donks and gamelan sounds. It's there in UK garage, as well. And in grime. That's one of the things I really like.”
“I love that sort of sound. It's industrial, but like you're carving a pristine sculpture in the air. That's how I like to think about it. Like a weird, glassy sculpture. That's the sort of thing I'm interested in pushing. That weird sound design side. Quite a dry sound as well.”
Without wishing to deliberately push contradictions upon Logos' output, there's a sense of the naturally artificial at play here. “Untold was one of the first people who did this deliberately - it's like he stopped layering things, he presented a drier aesthetic. It's this modernist approach to music; it doesn't represent an environment, it doesn't treat things with lots of layered ambience artificially, it presents the material in its natural or raw form. I find that quite interesting.”
- - -
...like you're carving a pristine sculpture in the air.
- - -
'Glass' contains three new tracks, alongside a remix from Shapednoise. A Berlin-based artist, his role in the outer regions of the techno community is similar to the spaces occupied by Mumdance and Logos. A kindred spirit, perhaps, but one with a distinctly different approach.
“Shapednoise almost works in a sphere which is separate to techno,” Logos explains. “I don't perceive music like that, I think we're all part of a continuum. I listen to techno records as much as anything else. To actually make that connection was deliberate, but also we wanted to make a bridge and say there's a lot more continuity here and we see our material, our sonic, as being quite malleable.”
Together, the three producers – Logos, Mumdance and Shapednoise – perform as The Sprawl, with their immersive, challenging brand of live electronics making sporadic appearances around Europe. “It's improvised, that's our point,” he explains. “It's an improvised meeting of our sonic perspectives. Trying to not make a mess, or make enough of a mess for it to be good – if you know what I mean.”
Logos seems to be drawn towards avenues of possibility, with his recent collaborative album 'Proto' stating its inspiration as being odd areas of creative flux: Sheffield bleep, for example, or darkcore and early dubstep. “It's quite nice as a producer to be in a liquid environment,” he admits. “It's this feeling that you're a little bit freer to do something. So I think that's what we're trying to do, trying to say to people that actually, this is something that's really interesting, it shouldn't be left as a side note.”
“Weightless is a little bit of an evolution out of Wiley's 'devil mix' sound,” he continues. “But it's not just that - it's incorporating everything we like from sound design to music concrete, in conjunction with other music. But I don't believe it's a footnote, let's see where it goes. That's what we're saying: let's see where it goes. Don't give up on it. We're throwing down the ideas and leaving it open to people if they want to take it further.”
For a sound so entrenched in the capital's soundsystem culture, Logos rejects the idea that weightless is an inherently London form. “We're internationalists in our outlook,” he says. “I'm interested in what people are doing with music and sound as a malleable object in Europe, on the fringes of techno and elsewhere That's what we're really interested in. Sound as liquid!”
- - -
- - -
'Glass' is out now on Different Circles.