Bering Strait

Bering Strait - Archive 0


As one half of Kiyoko, Jack Lever is no stranger to many of us here on ASIP. Alongside Joe McBride (Synkro), Kiyoko provided us with an isolatedmix a few months back and are about to re-release their debut album, Sea Of Trees on vinyl. However, with one of my favourite EP's of 2013 to his name under his own guise, Bering Strait, Jack is slowly but surely carving out his own route -  a distinctly varied production approach and a sound that's appealing to the ambient enthusiasts among us.

Released on tape, Archive 0 includes three tracks of stripped back texture, samples and grainy drones, book-ending three more stylized productions. Drone-A, B and C sandwich the rolling dub-techno of Transmission 110, the glistening Fog Open Key, and the sinister footprints of Name-VAc. 

It's a tricky balance where this type of  music is concerned, trying to keep the listener entertained throughout is a tough job, but one Jack succeeds at, with alternating styles, subtle samples and a delicate progression throughout each track - on  Concrete-X-28hr Drone B you hear the faint glimmer of life from an unknown vocal sample as it descends into choral delays - it's this type of introduction which entices you around the dark corner.

Transmission 110 is the defining track on the release - a gentle dub-techno piece and the only track holding any recognition to Jack's previous productions. It's a pleasure to see an artist come together with new styles and experiment in this way; brave enough to embrace alternating approaches and styles after only a few releases in the wild. Archive 0 may suggest a look back, but it's evident Jack is still experimenting and pushing forward with an array of beautiful music.

We're lucky enough to play host and debut Transmission 110 to the world below, and I also shot Jack a few questions for more context.

Archive 0 will be available on April 20th direct through Bering Strait's Bandcamp - available now to pre-order


ASIP: Hello Jack, where are you right now and what are you up to?

BS: I’m in Belgium at the moment for a Kiyoko gig but I’ll be returning home after the weekend.

SIP: Nice! Have you been there before? You seem to tour and play live quite a bit - is this a focus for you?

BS: Yeah I flew over for the first time in 2012 when I signed to Apollo, to meet Renaat & Sabine (R&S Records). Playing live isn't  really a focus for me, I prefer writing music, although I don’t mind playing out and it's something I am open to.   

ASIP: You're from the UK's Peak District right? I love it up there - did you grow up in a sleepy town or out in the sticks?

BS: I suppose you could say out in the sticks, I’m originally from a place called ‘Dukinfield’ in Greater Manchester but then my family moved to Derbyshire when I was young, I spent my childhood in the Peak District in a farming village near Kinder Mountain.

ASIP: The Northern Richard D James maybe? Any tanks outside your Peak District house?!

BS: There’s a lot of tractors about, and you get the odd armoured Land Rover. 

ASIP: How did you get into music?

BS: My first memory of being interested in music was going round to my Grandparents house where I knew there was some drums in the spare bedroom, but I don’t think I ever got to go up there and play with them, I always knew that my Dad had played the drums, and two of my Uncles. When I was eleven I asked my 'Ma for some drums and she bought me a black Remo Bravo 2 four piece drum kit, I Joined a band before I could play them which I was in at secondary school, we played a mixture of dated 80’s punk, metal, Thrash & Dub.

We recorded our first EP on CD at age 13 in my friends back room on a Playstation 2 and started playing in pubs in the local area. We had our first recording session in a studio in Stockport around that time. Then I got into electronic music mainly through hallucinogenic drugs in my mid teens, we used to go camping and listen to stuff like Scorn, BOC, Mum & Phonem. A lot of it came from random downloads with poor information so I didn’t end looking into these guys till much later.

ASIP: How would you describe your sound as Bering Strait?

BS: The sun rising on melting ice, after a long journey through a harsh arctic desert.

ASIP: What's your weapon/s of choice when producing music?

BS: My Sanyo handheld cassette recorder, cost me a £1 from a charity shop but its got a nice mic on it. I like Akai samplers too. I also use some boss pedals and I have a rack-mount analog tape delay made by Aria which I use on a lot of the Bering Strait / Kiyoko tracks.

ASIP: So a pretty analog setup - is that on purpose? Do you try to keep this analog sound in your productions?

BS: Yeah I love analog boxes and synths. The first track I ever made was on a 16 channel mixing desk with analog sends recorded to DAT (all not mine - it was at college). Don’t get me wrong though, it's not like my studio at home is full of analog equipment - just cheap stuff and my laptop at the moment. 

ASIP: What do you focus on for samples & field recordings?

BS: I used a lot of recordings on my first EP (Apart) & Sea of Trees (as Kiyoko) I would go anywhere from the kitchen, to outdoors, to the shit I have lying around in my bedroom, Vinyls, guitars, bass, flutes, percussion etc. Sometimes I’ll record re-amped noises and go to the bathroom and the hallway for recording acoustic instruments.


ASIP: So what’s the most interesting sound you’ve incorporated into your Bering Strait tracks? Anything in the Archive 0 release which may surprise us?

BS: Thats a tough question. You might hear a dodgy reggae vocal in a new context on the third track of ‘Archive 0’.

ASIP: I love the title track on Apart, and Archive 0 is a bit of a departure from this sound. Can you tell us more about this evolution? 

BS: I wrote Apart in different circumstances and with different equipment (Guitars & Amps) than Archive 0, but I wanted to approach this release in a new way to keep it interesting, so I used Some Synthesizers and tape.

ASIP: How do you see Bering Strait evolving?

BS: I just want to keep writing music. I can see myself releasing quite a lot in the near future. 


Bering Strait - Archive 0 tracklist:


Kiyoko – The Beginning (Mix for Finest Ego)

After their stunning debut album as Kiyoko, Synkro and Bering Strait have teamed up again to bring us this tasty mix for ‘Finest Ego‘. Featuring many of their own cuts as Kiyoko (‘coz you just can’t hear them enough) as well as several other classic from Aphex Twin, Ulrich Schnauss, Arovane and Boards of Canada, this duo are fast becoming my favourites of the year.



01. Arovane – Eleventh! [City Centre Offices]
02. Yasume – The Prevailing Wind [City Centre Offices]
03. Bering Strait – Surya [Forthcoming Apollo]
04. Actress – I Can’t Forgive You [Werk Discs]
05. Papercutz – Where Beasts Die (Kiyoko Remix) [Dub]
06. Gold Panda – Lonely Owl [Varicount Records]
07. Ulrich Schnauss – …Passing By [City Centre Offices]
08. Manual – Frequently [Morr Music]
09. Squarepusher – Iambic 9 Poetry [Warp Records]
10. Aphex Twin – Z Twig [Warp Records]
11. CiM – Friends I’ve Made [Delsin]
12. Christien Klein – Handsome Used [City Centre Offices]
13. John Beltran – That Day In Monterey [Exceptional]
14. Xela – Last Breath [Type]
15. Kiyoko – Untitled [Dub]
16. Synkro – 2b [Dub]
17. Bering Strait – Over The Hills & Into The Light [Dub]
18. Boards Of Canada – Olson (Midland Edit) [Dub]
19. Bering Strait – Journey To Truth [Dub]
20. Kiyoko – Untitled [Dub]

Kiyoko – Sea Of Trees


You’d be forgiven for thinking this new album from the Auxiliary outfit (ASC’s label) was conjured in the deepest forests of Japan, surrounded by calm lakes, endangered flowers and Geisha girls. Maybe it was… but given it’s Manchester’s answer to the 30BPM that lie between the 140 and 170 range, I have a feeling this is just one-hell of a superb depiction of escapism from a cold and wet studio in Northern England. That’s just my kind way of saying… transporting a listener in this kind of way requires one hell of a talent.

Don’t let my cold light-of-day put you off. You can listen to this album and not touch the shores of Europe let alone England. And, just like my perceived origins, you’d have no clue as to what type of producer would be be behind such an album.

Not alone, Synkro (Joe McBride) has teamed up with Bering Strait (Jack Lever) – a newcomer it seems, to flip his original sound, to the most extent, on it’s head. If Synkro is the pairs masculine side, then the delicate touches of Kiyoko are the epitome of a feminine side – or at least that’s what ‘Kiyoko’ translates to.

Needless to say, the Japanese influence in here is rife. From the background vocal samples to the three-stringed Shamisen sounding guitars, three things stay true to Synkro’s style:

Emotion; it’s there in buckets and the atmosphere in ‘Sea Of Trees’ is pitched perfectly in between considered observation and personal reflection. Sit back and let the swathes of analogue sounds immerse.

Attention to detail: ‘Sea of Trees’ is beautifully simple, but there’s the odd touch of perfection, take the squelchy sounds balanced against a simple guitar in ‘Open’ for example.

And lastly, spaced-out beats. Just like the autonomic sound Synkro is becoming versed with, this album bases itself on some beautiful head-nodders and scarce percussion. Take ‘Shinagawa’ – probably the most upbeat track on the album, but definitely one of the best.

Like the impact Desolate’s ‘Invisible Insurrection‘ had on 2011, ‘Sea of Trees’ is one of the best albums of the year, and all for the right reasons. It’s come out of nowhere, from a producer experimenting with something new, and it’s refreshingly unique. This one will be on many ‘best-of’ reviews come end of year if it gets the traction it deserves…

 ‘Sea Of Trees’ is available as MP3/FLAC via Boomkat and of course, with any CD orders I’m sure the label would appreciate those direct here.