The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


LISTEN: Serene Electro From Galaxian
Christian Eede , May 1st, 2018 13:56

Scottish producer Galaxian debuts on Helena Hauff's Return To Disorder label with a four-track 12"

Prolific Glasgow-based producer Galaxian has been producing high-octane electro for over a decade now in numerous CDR, album, digital and 12" releases, via his own label Doppelganger Records as well as a slew of other imprints.

His latest record, a four-track 12", sees him debut on Helena Hauff's Return To Disorder imprint for its 11th release, entitled Paradise Engineering. It sees the producer balance serene, otherwordly melodies with the speedy, head-spinning drums he's showcased so well in countless past releases.

Having previously shared the record's title track, premiering above is 'Mutual Arising' which shows a more delicate side to the producer's sound via low-slung, warped drums and soaring synths.

Paradise Engineering is set for release digitally and on 12" vinyl on May 14. Continue reading for a Q&A with the producer below looking at his vision for the record's artwork, which he produced, as well as the circumstances which led to his first release for Helena Hauff's label.

This record marks your debut on Return To Disorder. How did its release come about on Helena Hauff's label?

Galaxian: I was aware she knew Sherard [Ingram, AKA DJ Stingray] and seen she had played some of my tracks so I basically just contacted Helena out the blue and asked if she fancied releasing some Galaxian.

She said yes so I sent her tracks that I thought would make a strong EP. She's pretty laidback and easy going so it was quite simple. I'd send her a track and say 'what do you think?', she would say 'yes, let's release that'. That was the process, no big discussions or debates about it. She left all the creative decisions to me and that was about it. I wish every release was as simple and straightforward as that. We went to the pub while she was here in Glasgow where we talked about it over a half-pint of Tennent's Lager for her and an Irn-Bru for me.

You produced the cover art for this record yourself. Could you talk us through the ideas behind the art itself and your decision to handle it?

G: Well, Return To Disorder doesn't usually have covers but Helena was happy for me to create one if I wanted. I felt that it really did deserve one since there were such strong themes in the EP. I'm not a trained visual artist, creatively, technically or anything like that so it's always a big challenge attempting to realise my vision into any form outside my head.

It's really two covers if you include both sides and I can honestly say that not only was it the most difficult and time consuming artwork I have created but also the one in which I am most proud. Much of it came together and suggested itself as and when I went along. It's amazing how that works sometimes, ideas just suddenly emerge. A lot of it just creates itself, similar to how I often feel about music composition; the less I try, the easier and better it is. There are so many elements in this artwork to consider, it was exceptionally difficult trying to unite them in one piece.

I tried many different iterations and ideas before it really started taking shape. The main part I always envisioned was the juxtaposition between paradise and hell, represented by nature and the creatures on one side and the demons in the furnace on the other. Themes and ideas of the death and re-birth cycle, the shadow and awareness, division and separation, transcendence, self-sacrifice, inner-alchemy, mysticism, liberation, self vs no-self, utopian paradise on earth, nirvana, crusaders. Grief, despair, inner-conflict and ego showing up in the psychical world of appearance as destructive forces such as dominator hierarchies, war and conflict. If you look at the figure sitting with his head in his hands, this is actually from Homs in Syria, he's literally crumbling and decaying, the twisted wreckage of the city at his feet. The crusader on horseback continues his messianic mission towards enlightenment or damnation, to his left.

The central erupting volcano represents the internal make-up, annihilation, destruction, consumed in the firmament and chaos giving way to a purifying and cleansing power, unfolding of fertile new ground, paths and inner-awakening. The emergence and arousal of powerful universal forces, simultaneously. An intermingling and exchange of these two energies. A life-force.

Interestingly I wasn't really attuned to these motifs when I chose the volcanic imagery. It was a few weeks after finishing the artwork that I randomly found myself getting into a deep discussion with a quantum physicist about the ground of reality and existence. During that conversation William Blake was mentioned and later the next day I was reading a book about alchemy and it there it spoke of William Blake, inner-volcanoes, the purging and restorative effect of flames and his poem entitled The Gates of Paradise, similar to the title of this EP. I was very struck by this and how I was being led along this route. No accident, no coincidence. Pure synchronicity.

So I think we have both the positive and negative illustrated on the opposite sides but still, part of the same whole. Each implies the other, inseparable, they are one. This is the concept of mutual arising and one of the track titles on the record. I could get into a lot more detail about this and I've only been talking about the front. There are a lot more intricate clues and aspects on both sides of the cover but I’ll leave that for the viewer to discover. I’ve not seen the finished psychical cover yet so I'm hoping these will be visible to the naked eye.

Is there a particular concept that lies behind this record's four tracks or did the tracks emerge from different periods?

G: The tracks did emerge from different periods but they were never finished until the EP was decided so much of what might have been created before was overhauled and evolved into a more cohesive collection. The last song to form was 'Mutual Arising' which started taking shape in 2016 and it wasn't until 2017 that I added the bassline and much of the percussion. Incidentally the bassline easily took a full week, maybe two, to get the way I wanted it. I have a vast pool of songs that I can pick from. I picked these because not only are they some of my favourite songs but I thought they did a great job of illustrating this perspective.