Having chatted a great deal with ETCH about general attitudes towards music and art, we invited him to describe his brilliant new album in his own words:
"So, the 1995 film ‘Strange Days’… I’m sometimes surprised how much that film is a reality now. ‘Strange Days’ is also my favourite song by The Doors. I reference Jim Morrison’s lyrics quite a lot, it's something I definitely like to show loud and proud. He's a hero to me, i.e. my track ‘Monochromatic Wilderness Of Pain’ is a reference to his lyrics in 'The End': "lost in a Roman wilderness of pain / And all the children are insane / all the children are insane / waiting for the summer rain”. But the track fit those words sonically and visually when put through a spectrometer… also the fact that the sequence was being controlled by a sequencer I built, but made the timing integers off by like 0.7, so it's like making the structure fuck itself up.
‘Man With The Other Face’ is an homage to some of my favourite iconic horror characters like Buffalo Bill, Leatherface, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers. I don't want this album project to be seen as one that evokes positivity. It has its moments of clarity and euphoria, but my first record was recorded over quite a positive period and a lot of the tracks on it are warm and nostalgic feeling, whereas ‘Strange Days’ is quite the opposite: A lot of the tracks are cold and hard edged and all the tracks have been produced in an uncertain and quite downcast period of time for me. I’m not saying it's pure depression nor is it supposed to make the listener feel uncomfortable or anything overtly negative, but it's certainly not a ‘hands in the air’ kind of project. There’s certain things in there that are almost therapeutic to me in their release and that track is definitely a stand out where I came up with the track title halfway through making it. It's also one of the few tracks I programmed live using my Native Instruments 'Maschine' like an MPC, so it has slip-ups that are more human than robotic like the rest of the record. It was a bust of raw emotion.
I love the imagery for the album art, which gives it a bit of a 2000AD comic kind of vibe. Some of my uncle’s 2000AD strips look a lot like that. I also really liked the cover of the most recent Boards Of Canada album where it's a view from the desert of San Francisco but they made San Francisco translucent so it's almost like the ghost of a city, which is also another loose theme of this record. To put it bluntly, I often feel like Brighton is a ghost town now. Not just because of COVID, but the music scene has deteriorated into nothingness since 2011 or so. Even the hip-hop scene which was huge here is gone essentially. All those amazing AROE graff pieces have been built over and he does shitty commissions on student houses now lol." - ETCH