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Album of the week: Lucy 'Self-Mythology'

Legends and fairytales inspire the experimental techno artist.

Artist: Lucy
Album: Self-Mythology
Label: Stroboscopic Artefacts
Release date: 06/05/2016

Italian-born, Berlin-based Luca Mortellaro (a.k.a. Lucy) is a techno powerhouse. Known for building brutish, blistering explorative sets within the walls of the world's major clubbing institutions, the Stroboscopic Artefacts label founder is noted for redefining the word ‘techno' with his abstract production material. For Lucy, producing is vital to a healthy state of mind and on occasion he's tested his limits by stalling studio time until it presents itself as a matter of urgency.

Self Mythology, the artist's third full-length adventurous entry, follows on from Wordplay For Working Bees and Churches, Schools and Guns. Featuring collaborations with Jon Jacobs, who contributes improvised vocals, flute and percussions, the album is self-described as having an “initiatory” atmosphere that should be experienced in one sitting with no distractions. His dig to more abstract cores begins with 'Baba Yaga's Hut', which is one of the many tracks that refer to old legends and well-known fairytales. In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is a supernatural being who appears as a deformed and/or ferocious-looking woman. Flying about the forest in a mortar, wielding a pestle, with her hut usually sketched as standing on chicken legs, she's not the kind of character you'd want to see waiting at the foot of the tree you've just climbed. You could make the assumption that Lucy drew inspiration from Baba Yaga because she's described as an anomaly, both maternal and evil, which throws in the welcomed challenge of representing both beings. Texture dominates through the track, which is of a predominantly slow pace, with a foreboding atmosphere penetrating its journey. Ritualistic sounding hums you might hear guiding you through the Amazon are layered over a thudded beat and could be taken as the representation of Baba Yaga's motherly nature. The consecutive two tracks, 'Dissonance Emancipation' and 'Vibrations Of A Circular Membrane', similarly conjure images of an isolated indigenous Amazon tribe gathering in a ritual union.

'A Selfless Act' breaks the mood with ebbing pulses and melancholic yet intoxicating echoes of a Mediterranean style guitar solo. 'Meetings With Remarkable Entities' is a standout track that quickens the pace and is material that would be well-received as a lead-in track to an experimental set. 'Samsara' takes its title from an Asian fairytale and features a strong, sustained choral interplay between glassy synth sequences and earthy flute sonorities.

Lucy cuts an authoritative figure in the techno realm and proves once again that he is an exceptional sound designer, gifted at pushing the boundaries beyond the obvious techno and electronica elements. He's a rare talent whose precision with production tools allows for a deeply personal listening experience. For the listener whose sole definition of ‘techno' is straight-up danceable nightclub fodder, they'll be finding their rulebook scrapped and rewritten from track one. However, it should be noted that behind the decks at monolithic institutions like Berghain, he is a phenomenal spectacle, and should be on the hit list for any techno zealot who likes a punishing session.

WORDS | Aimee Lawrence


A1 / 1. Baba Yaga's Hut
A2 / 2. Dissonance Emancipation
B1 / 3. Vibrations Of A Circular Membrane
B2 / 4. A Selfless Act
B3 / 5. Meetings With Remarkable Entities
C1 / 6. A Millennia Old Adversary
C2 / 7. She-Wolf Night Mourning
D1 / 8. Samsara
D2 / 9. Canticle Of Creatures

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