The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Hurtling Through The Void: Roly Porter's Favourite Space Records
Theo Darton-Moore , February 24th, 2016 10:52

Following the release of Third Law, the producer talks Theo Darton-Moore through his favourite records associated with space travel and exploration, pieces of music that "look at things outside our own existence"

Considering it was in the works for around 12 months, it's little wonder Roly Porter, formerly one half of incendiary dubstep outfit Vex'd, is relieved to finally have his latest LP out in the open. "I'm really happy with the reception so far," he begins, when quizzed on the formation of Third Law. "It's probably been better than I could have hoped for. I think it's a really good time for it – people have been really open-minded in approaching this kind of music."

Although some of the hallmarks are recognisable, listening over former Vex'd releases and then material from the new album, the transformation is rather staggering. Where Vex'd used knife-edged halfstep and sweltering throbs of bass, Porter's solo works explore the nuances found between electronic and classical instrumentation. "It's quite a long-winded process because when I'm using a straight string recording or using straight software instruments, I find really quickly that I move beyond wanting to hear either of them on their own," he states. "With Aftertime and Life Cycle Of A Massive Star, I actively recruited string players to record specific parts for me. For Third Law, the recordings were recycled from those sessions and other experimental sessions, which I'd collected over the years."

This said, Third Law does represent a return to a more rhythmic side of Porter's work, even if it is a little way from the former Vex'd style. "There's a lot of rhythm on the LP and that was a specific goal," he begins. "I wanted to inject rhythms without using specific genre tropes, and get that energy and that violence back into the music. I find it really difficult to come up with terms to describe the album and I think the main reason is because I see different tracks as different in so many ways. There are ambient moments and there are rhythmic moments, but they don't happen at the same time. They're separate things. I definitely wanted as much dynamic range as possible; I think I pushed it as much as I could with this album, as opposed to the last. The last album was more delicate, where as there are some quite striking jumps in this LP."

While Porter's previous albums have explored some rather heady concepts, Third Law enjoys looser themes, affording him the ability to experiment even more. "This was more of a sonic experiment than a specific concept album," he responds when asked about the thinking behind the LP. "It doesn't matter if people know anything about Third Law at all prior to listening to it, whereas Life Cycle Of A Massive Star was very specifically driven to fit around that concept."

Having met Tri Angle label head Rob Carolan at a label showcase in Berlin, the decision to release on the label formed naturally after sending tracks to Carolan simply to get his opinions. It was the "obvious choice", as Porter puts it, and given the consistently boundary-pushing releases that have gone before, a fitting home, too.

Porter's Baker's Dozen selection for us explores his favourite records associated with space travel and exploration; records which "look at things outside our own existence" as he states.

Third Law is out now on Tri Angle. Roly Porter plays Prins 27 in The Hague, Netherlands on April 2; for full details and tickets, head here. Click on the image below to begin scrolling through Roly's choices, which run in no particular order