As we make the transition to Fall, “Electrostatic Equinox” celebrates the chilly weather bringing together minimal techno and upbeat electronics with some slightly more off-kilter selections. Rather than read the signs as the forebodings of another Long Winter, The Use gives us something to celebrate. Part of the Alrealon label/family, The Use is the solo project of Michael Durek, who uses his custom-made software in order to channel years of experience with free improvisation into the world of intricate electronic composition. Durek traces his interest in electronic music to his childhood, a combination of a clandestinely obtained Dr. Dre tape and years of classical piano lessons. His debut record What’s The Use? was released earlier this year via Alrealon.
Tell us about this mix, an overview of what you were thinking or how you put it together.
For the mix, I started with some minimal techno has been catching my ear lately. I have recently been enjoying the long-form development and noticed it’s affinity to ambient music.
But minimal techno alone does not a good mix make, so I spliced it with more uptempo electronic creations and even some experimental hip-hop, ambient or lofi campy music. It kind of just made itself until nothing struck me as being out of place anymore.
You cite your first Dr. Dre tape as a catalyst for your interest in electronic music and production. Can you tell us more about your interest in hip hop, production etc?
I liked hip hop as a teenager I suppose because the beats and music are catchy and the words are really nonconformist. That’s how you get a teenager into anything. 🙂 Now I’m older and reserve fewer giggles for bad words, so I gravitate towards instrumental hip-hop and rappers who drop the misogyny but keep the confidence and flow.
And how did you get into playing the theremin?
The theremin kind of found me. My old friend, bandmate, and now sometimes mixing engineer Billy Perez used to play theremin, and I he let me try it one day. It delighted me immediately, and at the time I was suffering from severe tendonitis that developed by over-practicing upright bass, so it was nice that I didn’t need to use any pressure. Then I just kept getting more and more opportunities with the theremin, people just kept inviting me to play and sit in, especially Robert Pepper of Pas Musique, who I got to tour with many times. It’s a beautiful instrument, it kind of lets you “think” notes.
What can you tell us about your recent album?
What’s The Use? was my first big solo effort. Like all artists, I had to push through a lot of doubts and demons, but I’m really happy that people seem to be connecting with it. I just tried to follow my imagination until nothing seemed out of place anymore. I’m very grateful to have it released on the Alrealon Musique label, which has become more like a family. We all have a lot of passion and love for what we do and for each other. We share and trust in each other. It’s a great label to be on for an emerging artist.
The Use – Bloodwork (mNIPK Remix) 0:00 Alrealon Musique
Libythth – It’s My Beak 6:17 Phthalo Records
Rachel Mason and collaborators – You Sexy Bed 9:30 Self-Released
DV-i – Trust 11:48 Self-Released
Subaqueous – Invoking 15:27 Subaqueousmusic
New York Graffiti – Tuff 19:55 Self-Released
Sceptre Fretpen – Parable Trait 23:21 Self-Released
Black Saturn – Do You Hear Me 27:06 Self-Released
Happy Lives – Break Up 32:00 Self-Released
Gouache – Warm Hues 33:14 Self-Released
Luciernaga – Fuente 37:07 Fabrica Discos
Fat Kneel – Green Chocobo 39:00 Alrealon Musique
Bunnies & Bats – Little Colored Blocks (Borne Remix) 40:30 Anticipate
Mobius – Why This Way 45:19 Alrealon Musique