I went to a sampling workshop at South Kilburn Studios a couple of weeks ago. It was an intimate affair (there were three of us) and it was run by Josh of the act Pirate Soundsystem. I learnt all about how you can record sounds with a simple microphone, and then distort and programme to create a track with your own unique sounds (for example, he created a hi-hat beat from rattling keys). It was great. Well, it would have been if most of it hadn’t gone over my head – my fault for not having read up beforehand. I sat and smiled, nodded when everyone else nodded and asked inane questions at the end, revealing my nescience. What it made me realise is that electronic music producers speak a completely different language. Because I didn’t get it. But it’s almost better that I didn’t get it, because it now holds an ethereal, incomprehensible quality that I can admire and assume is an act of god.
Based in the same building is ‘composer’ Benjamin Stefanski, a.k.a Raffertie. Signed to Ninja Tune, his latest EP Mass Appeal goes that step beyond comfortable electronica to a far more explorative soundscape, of which I will never understand how its wired. It’s title track Mass Appeal is a touch on the alienating side, with very slow build-ups and expanses of unintelligible samples. It’s certainly no sing-along! But once it gets going, there’s some great ideas happening, and when it all comes together, you’re rewarded with some nourishing sound combinations. Courage Boy is phasic, dipping from dubstep to smooth soul samples, whilst One Track Mind is a minimalist, slow house track. If you like, you should see him headline Huw Stephens’ Presents night at The Social in Soho.