Originally from Alabama and now based in Brooklyn, ModyWorks signing Aman Ellis makes electronic music that varies from extra-terrestrial-minded techno (All The Things) to down-south trip-hop (The Cacti). I spoke to him about his recent releases, his ongoing efforts in crossing musical boundaries, and how he’s inspired by BBQ.
First of all, what was the starting point for your recent Cacti EP?
Well, I’ve always been interested in the beat culture, specially the West Coast stuff. So I’ve always wanted to do a record that way. It’s a totally different style of production. One day I stumbled upon this hidden record store in Brooklyn with all the pristine records for $1. There were all these great old school records; jazz, classical, Hawaiian. Stuff like Exotic Strings, ya know! Now it’s my secret spot where I can go and I’m guaranteed to find something crazy.
I bought a bunch of vinyls in the hopes of doing the kind of record I’d always admired. I wanted a very melodic record with a melancholic, almost antique vibe to it. I wanted the dirt from the records. The scratches and pops play a big part in the way this EP sounds. For me, it’s the scratchy sounds and off-beat rhythms juxtaposed against the very pleasant melodies that makes it cool.
sixty seconds of hum. ambient, melodic hum. a glissando followed by an electronic kick. this introduction sums up the cacti ep, the latest work from aman ellis on modyworks. the last time i wrote about him he was looking to the skies and dealing with extra-terrestrial soundscapes, but this time he’s back on this planet. it’s an new attempt at the chopped-up, cut-and-paste efforts from the likes of dj shadow and rjd2. as the title suggests, it sounds like it’d be perfect listening in the hazy wilds of the us desert.
seinfeld basslines, repeated vocal samples, snippets of old tv show themes, lashings of glass bells, nightmare phone conversations, it’s late-night lazing music, gentle enough to relax to, but interesting enough to ensure you stay alert. there’s even a hint of a dubstep wobble on hello, which ends with about three seconds of folson prison blues. and why not. i think my favourite track has to be a man in alabama, which calls to mind the turn-of-the-century stylings of the likes of the avalanches and groove armada. what this really evokes for me is the soundtrack to the uk tv comedy green wing, put together by jonathan whitehead, aka trellis. it’s mainly the slow tempo, lazy feel and the wailing trumpet sounds, all of which add up to form a languid, enjoyable breeze through this thoroughly engaging project.
Aman Ellis – The Cacti EP (direct link)
post 300. wonder if i can get in another 65 in the next week or so to hit one a day… somehow i doubt it. i’m shocked i’ve even hit 300 already. anyway. for this epic post i’ve something a bit interesting. i first heard of aman ellis through almamy, who i recently interviewed. the two apparently are working together on something so that will definitely be something to look out for.
his all the things ep came out last month and it’s got a spacey theme in more than just its sonic direction. with track titles like dawn on the red planet, five days til jupiter and in tune with neptune, it’s sure where his mind is. opener all the things is a dreamy affair, as he sings over a synth line that’s wobbly without being heavy. five days… is mournful and a little bit angry, as a simple four-note phrase is built up and up, surrounded by cascading melodies and space-like sounds. i’m torn between dawn… and neptune when trying to pick a favourite. both are beautiful instrumental affairs, with lovely kicks, swirling effects and trippy synth lines over choppy bass.
it’s available on itunes and beatport, while extra new music has a link to a mix full of the likes of booka shade and gui boratto.