Bass Sekolah's CEE has shared a 23-minute stream of archival music recorded between 2008 and 2018 in the Malaysian jungle.
Pulled together from tracks and field recordings made over the last 10 years, the release—which will drop digitally and on tape via Bandcamp on May 24—plays out like a diary of CEE's time in the jungle at his boutique retreat called The Dusun.
Ahead of the release, you can stream the entire a-side below, along with a handful of questions and images surrounding the release.
How did you end up living in the jungle?
A decade ago I realized that my time in Vienna had reached its peak point and since I was in this new long distance relationship with my now wife who lived on the other side of the globe I decided to buy a one-way ticket. We lived in Kuala Lumpur first. When I arrived in Malaysia my in-laws had turned their weekend getaway Durian plantation into a little boutique resort called the Dusun and once this business started to pick up we joined the team and helped build up the brand. We built our own little houses there to raise a family and we now have two kids, one dog, and two cats, and we live with the elements. When the rain comes in sideways we need to close the blinds of the house because it doesn’t have any walls in the front and it would otherwise get completely flooded.
When you think of club music, the Malaysian jungle is probably the last place that comes to mind, I’m actually curious about how your music had changed with this radical change of environment?
My studio is not sound proof at all. I am one with the critters and frogs and a lot of that outside noise ends up on my recordings. I am adding tonal qualities to what I am hearing around me. I can’t avoid nature from entering my songs. Especially when I record vocals. Sometimes I just add the critter sounds to my music afterward, because that how I hear my music anyways. The jungle never shuts up. The sun doesn’t shine all the time. The power of a big thunderstorm over the jungle has its magic, too. All this is influencing me.
I see that you’ve had quite a lot of high-powered musical guests come to your studio over the years, do you think the environment affects their music as well?
My friend Daedelus once said: “Beyond the sounds, you have a setting unlike any studio in the world. Dank, humid, spicy—makes for creativity that is unbounded by the usual electronic concerns.” Our place out here indeed saw many musicians pacing through. The rainforest has this magic power, it slows you down and pulls you in. The natives believe many ghosts and spirits live inside it.
Can you tell us about this release?
CEE 2008 - 2018 is a digital album premiering works I collected over the last 10 years. It also comes as a physical release in form of an analog tape.
Why did you decide to release this only on a cassette tape and Bandcamp?
I wanted to leave something behind in case all my hard disks break (laughing). The tape factory didn’t let me make just one tape and I thought maybe some other folks want to hold on to something physical in case their hard disks also fail. Bandcamp is an amazing platform empowering the artist more than the industry around it. This release is an experiment. Let's see what happens when you only have one source for all things digital.
Listening to this material it makes you feel almost voyeuristic, the music feels very intimate. And it’s not only the music but also the field recordings in the background—is this a diary for you?
It is indeed my extremely personal analog and digital diary. When I went through my hard disks I realized I have all these beautiful field recordings and not just songs I collected over the past decade. Some of these songs were just ideas and the tape allowed me to present them in a very meaningful way combining them with my field recordings. A story unfolded, unintentionally. A story with many dark and bright corners.
Looking back on the 10 years of music and exile in nature, what have you learned?
Music became somehow therapeutic over the past decade. I am far away from recording it all. I play music and music plays me. I still want to let listeners in and since my house is open to many, I can’t share it with everyone. I was sitting on way too much music for way too long and this tape is now my present to the world. I also realized I want to always continue swimming against the current. I wanted to throw people out of their comfort zone and I know people have a very short attention span nowadays. I still decided to release 18 odd songs across two 23-minute sides. The listener can't skip through but needs to make time to explore my diary. As I said, it’s an experiment.