Nicolas Bougaïeff announces debut album for Mute
THE UPWARD SPIRAL – OUT 24 JULY
Berlin-based producer and artist, Nicolas Bougaïeff has announced details of his debut album for Mute, The Upward Spiral – out on vinyl and digitally on 24 July 2020.
Listen to the first track launched, ‘Thalassophobia’, whose nosebleed kicks and synth bleeps betray the track’s deeper meaning: “It’s about looking inwards. It’s a Greek word that means fear of depth, actually literally it’s fear of water, but it’s the fear of unfathomable depths,” he explains. “I’m pointing to the fear of depths; both literal and metaphorical. It’s a beautiful word that has attracted me going back years.”
On his new album, Bougaïeff reframes familiar tropes for his own mind-expanding vision of body music. Punishing industrial techno charges the album at surface level with beautiful-meets-bleak energy. But peel back the layers of brash ferocity, and there’s a hell of a lot more going on than first meets the ear. The culmination of years of hard work, Bougaïeff grew the album from the seeds of a bespoke composition technique; a carefully thought-out studio experiment in how to bend a love of techno into innovative new shapes.
Across nine metallic misadventures, which Bougaïeff describes as “little open scores”, he blitzes drum patterns and sharp synthwork into a satisfyingly effective blend. Intricate rhythmic structures lurk beneath the “strawberry jam” of the surface aesthetics. This rhythmic illusion seeps into every crevice of a record that brings a slice of academia to the rave.
On the creeping mutation of ‘Nexus’, gabber, IDM and drum ‘n’ bass collide. ‘Flying High’ soars with bright melody, taking the ear to new places while taking the form of an ambient trance shapeshifter with echoes of martial drumming and ‘Positive Altitude’ picks up where the previous track left off, but goes even deeper into hard, hypnotic trance. Distortion rusts at the corners of ‘Inward Megalith’, while the title track takes the minimal route. ‘Inexadorable’ is the most unrelenting and sinister-sounding track on the record, except Bougaïeff’s intentions for the album sing to the tune of optimism and commitment rather than nihilism and destruction.
This new album continues his decades-long love of club music, a love that has compelled Bougaïeff to challenge conventional wisdom, delivering genre-busting Berghain sets that expertly blend French-Canadian hip-hop with Tchaikovsky, moody techno and ambient. Launching his debut record as a producer in 2013, the Movements EP with Max Cooper, Bougaïeff has since put out a string of singles on labels including minimal techno imprint Trapez and an EP on novamute in 2017, Cognitive Resonance.
The Upward Spiral tracklisting
Embrace Hope All Ye Who Enter Here
The Upward Spiral
Listen Carefully To The Heart Beat
Pre-order the album – mute.ffm.to/NB-TUS