Having enjoyed a lengthy career as a drum & bass producer, best known for his work under his Raiden alias, Chris Jarman switched his attention to techno in 2012, and Kamikaze Space Programme was born. Since then, he has released on Mindcut, Trust, and Mote-Evolver, a bastion of the sound that is run by Luke Slater (a.k.a. Planetary Assault Systems). Ballard, which will appear on the latter this month, is a four-tracker packed with some of his toughest material to date.
Ballard is available for pre-order at Juno. We caught up with Chris ahead of the release.
This will be your sophomore release on Luke Slater's Mote-Evolver, following Concrete Musique, which was released last year. How did your relationship with Slater begin, and how did you come to release on the label?
I received an email out the blue from Heidy, who is the label manager, telling me that Luke had heard my music via my Soundcloud and wanted me to make him an EP. As you can imagine, I was blown away! I spoke to Luke through a few emails and he's very decisive—within a week we had a record mapped out. The process for the second was just as fast and efficient. I'm very proud of my Mote Evolver releases, they all feel like a complete package. I love working with them as they bring the best out in me, by giving me total creative freedom and encouraging me to think outside the box, not to mention enforcing a nice short deadline!
Ballard has a bit of a more aggressive sound than your previous works. What sparked this progression?
I moved back to the UK three years ago having lived abroad in Estonia for a decade, which is a very different culture — a small country with a more relaxed and modern approach to society. During the three years since, I've felt a seismic shift in our society towards something increasingly dystopian. I’m finding this cultural cynicism is having a profound effect on my work. These feelings seem to have sparked a more darker, introspective side to my music. Also, I've always had an infatuation with Brutalism—raw concrete building blocks and rusted steel made in a time when we were more optimistic about our future.
Can you explain to us a bit about your influence from J.G. Ballard's fictional novel “High Rise” for this EP?
J.G. Ballard referenced in many of his novels the idea that we living in a consumer society where reality and fantasy has become blurred, and that we interface with reality via technology—a culture of sensation with a quest for endless excitement. His writing was very good at predicting the future. It’s obvious that we are now living in a media landscape, confused by what's real and what is false, a feeling of being bombard from all sides. I wanted to create tracks that captured this social anxiety from four distant moods for the tracks on the EP, each of which is named after a J.G. Ballard novel. I feel his writing is as important as George Orwell’s as commentary of modern times. We live in a bleak man-made landscape where the psychological effects of technological, social developments are very 'Ballardian'.
This is not to not to say I'm a pessimist though, it's a reaction to the reality we are currently living in. It's quite difficult to write cheery music surrounded by all this uncertainty, and art will always be an expression of the time.