When you think of Iceland and the music that's originated from this spectacular land-mass, your mind will probably wonder to the likes of Ólafur Arnalds, maybe experimental band Múm, maybe Kompakt's tech-pop legends Gus Gus, and more than likely, our very own-dub-techno master-mind Yagya. Dig a little deeper and you'll soon realise that despite his unique and pioneering style, Yagya's dub-techno wasn't the first to leave The North Shore.
In the mid '90's Thule Records was releasing dub-inspired techno music from artists such as Sanasol, Exos, Thor, Octal and the man in question, Örnólfur Thorlacius aka Ozy.
Some of these artists, including Ozy, went on to wider international fame with records on the notorious Force Inc, the original home of Mille Plateaux, Yagya's debut album Rhythm of Snow and Ozy's second album Tokei in 2002.
Now, nearly 13 years later, Ozy returns with a new album on the Nothings66 label, titled Distant Present, it reminds us how far he has come since we last heard his music. Rooted in techno, but straying far outside any given boundaries he may have previously associated with, Distant Present floats between the ambient tides of Glace, the autonomic breaks of Clockage, the Yagya-esque dubby dwellings in Scaphoid and the glitchy-electronics in Chrome-dip. Try fitting in the rumbling bass and garage vocal formations of Arcane, and a bubbling electronica take from Laurel Halo on Black To The Future, and you've got yourself one-hell of an album (available here).
Given Ozy's early productions and where he's landed with his latest album, it was always a tough call to see where he would land with his isolatedmix. Ozy's inspiration for varying production techniques and instrumentalism are evident, alongside an appreciation for composition, and the incessant journey ideation that's always a winner within mixes. He talks progression, evolution and layering whilst combining 22 tracks from the likes of Tim Hecker, Neel, OPN and Andy Stott - a beautiful addition to the series from one of Iceland's finest.
Introduction from Ozy:
"The overall approach to the mix was to use the selected tracks almost as instruments in a composition, gradually layering each track on top of the other. As I wanted to create a mix both pleasant and interesting, I tried to select a healthy mixture of ambient and drone music (from labels such as PAN, Kranky, 12k and Tri Angle records), while being mindful of not creating too much tension in the mix.
One of my favorite moments in the mix is when the sounds of the euphonium in “Time away” by Andy Stott are allowed to gradually appear within the picturesque Call Super track “Dovetail” – then to be faded out subsequently over the distilled atmosphere of Margaret Dygas’ “Country way of life”. Another favorite is when Muhammad‘s chello instrumentation “Sakrifis” slowly evolves over Allessandro Cortini’s analog sounds in “Passatempo”, adding depth and nuance to an already resonant track - then to slowly exit and make way for the brilliant Function & Vatican Shadow production “A year has passed.
The mix was recorded during a quiet winter evening at a friend‘s house in central Reykjavik".
01. Arca - Held apart
02. Willits + Sakamoto - I don't want to understand
03. Call super - Dovetail
04. Andy Stott - Time away
05. Margaret Dygas - Country way of life
06. Oneothrix Point Never - Ships without meaning
07. Visionist - Can't forget
08. Ozy - Glace
09. No Ufo's - Hydro at 14th and Alder
10. Neel - Travelling On Kepler Dorsum
11. Rainer Veil - Slow
12. Allessandro Cortini - Passatempo
13. Muhammad - Sakrifisis
14. Function and Vatican Shadow - A year has passed
15. Janek Schaefer - 102 FM
16. Logos - Surface area
17. FIS - Her third eye
18. Lee Gamble - Head model
19. Objekt - Cataracts
20. Ozy - Maqybe
21. Lawrence English - Graceless hunter
22. Tim Hecker - Sketch 7
Artwork photo by André Fromont