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Baker's Dozen

Concretise The Oddness: Lee Gamble Picks His 13 Favourite Records
Jennifer Lucy Allan , September 27th, 2017 09:22

With his first album for Hyperdub en route and Unsound appearance impending, Lee Gamble guides Jennifer Lucy Allan from 80s beatboxing to some of 2017's best releases through the medium of his 13 favourite records

Electronic music has often tried to make sense of the future, to build escape routes to fantasy futures, places to re-imagine what could be. Lee Gamble is hyper-aware of this history, and of the difficulty in doing this while a hard unreality unfolds around us on a daily basis. Talking to me outside the British Library in a harsh midday sun suffused with Euston Road pollution, he describes how he’s pulled the feeling into his new record, Mnestic Pressure. It is about bringing together ideas of “nested pressure” and the density of his DJ sets, and is being developed into an installation with two programmers, involving a generative light show.

The move to releasing on Hyperdub feels like a natural and obvious shift from Pan. Previous releases were more locked to his background in computer music and sonic arts, but this takes more from his years DJing: “I started DJing before I did anything else,” he explains, “that was the way I interacted with music: the muscle memory, the movement, the ability to clash rhythms, the ability to latch rhythms onto each other, but also the ability to move through things.”

The result is a record that is more grounded than previous work, which is faster, contains pace, and solidity. I put it to him that he seems to be looking at what’s in front of him, whereas previously he was looking upwards and outwards, to space, the sky, ghosts and fantasies. “As an artist now, these times are so weird,” he reflects. “It's so odd, and surreal, and dreamlike, maybe my job as an artist now is to represent – to try and concretise the oddness, rather than turn it into some swooshy dream.”

We talk about Brexit, the resulting family schisms, and the chasm between the technotopian future we were promised and grim reality. He describes it as the “grit my teeth and bear it” feeling, and says he wanted to represent the pressure of this state. “That’s why I called it Mnestic Pressure,” he says.“Mnestic, meaning memory”.

As we talk through his selections, Gamble talks excitedly with a bristling energy about what he’s been listening to. His hunger for new sounds is reflected in his choices, which run from things he heard this month to records that still resonate that he heard when he was nine. He is at pains to say how hard he found its to reduce his selection to 13 records, because he’s so engaged with what’s going on now, running his label UIQ, hosting a show on NTS, and DJing regularly. “If you asked me last year, some of these tracks would be different, and some would be exactly the same” he says. “Most of these choices, especially the older things, they haven’t left me, they fucked with my head at the time, and I knew it, and I still know it now. They're like tattoos.”

Lee Gamble’s Mnestic Pressure is out via Hyperdub on October 20.

He plays live at St John Sessions in Hackney on October 5 with Laurel Halo and Pan Daijing and plays at an album release party on October 18 at Hyperdub's Ø night at Corsica Studios. He performs a new set involving a generative light show at Unsound on October 15th - info

To begin reading his Baker's Dozen, click his image below.