For most people, Seth Troxler is a name associated with Detroit-leaning House and Techno. Yet this only scratches the surface of Troxler's musical outlook, hence the formation of Soft Touch Records; an imprint focused on peeling back the layers of the exotic and the strange, where interstellar guitar, calypso disco and seductive techno tracks can come together in unison and feel totally at home.
On the labels first 10" release, long time friend and former Footprintz member, Clarian, collects three tracks for SOFT001; a kaleidoscopic journey through6am electronics, afro-beat Indie pop and Sixties West coast heartbreak. It's a bold opening statement for a label prepared to break the mould, get you on the floor with a whispered promise through the dry ice.
To Clarian, writing music has never presented itself in a straightforward fashion. Battling through various states of homelessness, technological restraints and the cruel Montreal winter, he recalls his early stages of writing "...I started experimenting with producing in my older brothers home room studio in Long Island" he recalls fondly. "I used to play in folk bands (guitar, piano, sing) at local clubs, tour and write songs, and working at my friend's analog music studio in Montreal that looks like a spaceship hidden by trees."
It is here where Clarian wrote the foundations of what would become his debut E.P on Soft Touch Records; a record dipping between seductive techno, calypso disco, and West Coast heartbreakers: "Over the years, I've spent many sleepless days and nights either working in the studio helping with tape-tangling, patching things, or just listening to tracks, trying not to explode the amps or keep them from that" recalls Clarian. "But when the lights went out, I'd heat up the drum machines and sequencers, distort the guitar through an old Tascam, load up on Red Bulls and smokes well past sunrise. I've written so many incoherent ballads that way, delirious jingles, and dismembered techno there. After many summers and winters of experimenting, I started to develop a "sound". When I wasn't at the studio, I used to play with my band at the resident bar where my tab is still running and you can still catch me on the piano every so often."
Clarian's musical break came after Seth Troxler checked out the tracks one evening at his New York apartment and conjured up the idea of releasing it as part of a new imprint, "Soft Touch Records" (in which Clarian is now heading the A&R for); a label focusing on the exotic and strange, where sounds from across the musical spectrum can live in harmony; "Why not merge techno loops and arabianesque punk guitars with a slow-mo ballad if it all ties into one moment and one mind space? Clarian argues; "rules become interesting when you start to bend them. However, if it wasn't for Seth, those tracks would just be unlinked music experiments hanging around my mind, haunting me."
Typifying this ethos brilliantly, "Is There A Light At The End" opens up the E.P with a warbled techno track created in the height of Montreal's winter, coated in echoed vocal lines and pounding percussion. Moving slightly leftwards of the dance-floor, "Mirror of the Sun" is a tropical disco cut laced in Space Echo and guest vocals from Clarian's former housemate, Jess Cardinal. Closing the E.P is the sublime, "Promethean Eyes"- a cover from now defunct Montreal band, The Breezes', which Clarian transforms into a stoned-out cosmic heartbreaker packed with high-fidelity harmonics and romantic passages.
Whether it's recording in spaceships, battling nature, or touring the world for exotic sounds, Clarian likes shaking things up, getting weird, and seducing you through the dry ice.
Take a look back at October's inaugural event.
The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.