Shaun Baron-Carvais (a.k.a Shlømo) positions himself at the centre of France's burgeoning underground music scene. After a 2013 debut, Baron-Carvais has emerged with his own distinctive take on techno, sprinkled on labels like Delsin, Singular Records, Arts Collective, and his own Taapion Records, where he will soon release Mercurial Skin, his debut album. Balancing real feeling with dancefloor function, authentic grooves and mesmeric sound design, his productions marry stark moods with absorbing atmospheres and have found favor with many of today's key techno tastemakers.
Baron-Carvais tours as both a DJ and a live act, most frequently as Shlømo. As the latter, however, he also drops the alias, performing atmospheric live sets after a debut at 2017's Berlin Atonal. His DJ sets, either solo or in collaboration with label mates PVNV and AWB as Taapion Soundsytem, are cerebral affairs, encompassing high pressure groove and deep, dark atmospheres. His XLR8R podcast is no different: recorded in Baron-Carvais' Paris studio, it's a captivating listen, featuring tracks from himself, Speedy J, and Blawan, with some left-field electro jams from Aphex Twin and Carl Finlow, among others. "I wanted to construct a mix to show what I can play during an all night long set, mixing material from both newer and up and coming talents with a selection from established artists," Baron-Carvais explains. Turn up the volume and enjoy.
What have you been up to recently?
I recently started my album tour which is pretty intense. I just came back from a weekend in Tiblisi at Khidi and also a show in Warsaw, and I’m already getting prepared to leave to Toulouse tomorrow where I am playing at one of my favorite clubs in France, Bikini. Production-wise, after a small break away due to the completion of of my LP, I’m back at work in the studio and it feels really good already.
You have a new album on the way. How are you feeling about it?
I'm actually pretty excited to share it with everyone. It was a long process for me to work on this project because I wanted to deliver something more risky than usual. I wanted to go back to my electronic roots and back to the sounds and influences that helped me to discover electronic music. In particular, the sounds of Warp Records released from the late '90s through to the early '00s. It actually took me over a year to be completely satisfied with each track on the album. I made more than 30 tracks but I finally managed to decide and select these 14 tracks for the project.
Why did you decide to do an album now, and not earlier?
I’d had this project on my mind for a long time, maybe close to two years, but I was always working on either a new EP, a new live project or similar, and when all of these things combined I didn't have enough time to work on the LP properly. I had something really precise in mind for this album, but I just needed to find enough time to work on it.
How does it compare to your earlier work?
I would say it's another approach—it's more of a home listening album than a club-dedicated album. It's a combination of two of my projects: Shlømo and Shaun Baron-Carvais, my movie soundtrack-influenced and beat-less project that I performed at both Berlin Atonal and Gamma Festival in Saint Petersburg.
I definitely took more of a risk than usual for this album. For example, the way in which I produced and recorded it was different, it was more of a live construction and recording process.
Techno albums are an interesting concept: did you feel an obligation to make tracks for the dancefloor or did you use this as a reason to step away?
This project was definitely an opportunity to step away from some of my previous output. I see an album as an intimate project, but also something where you can be more free production-wise. I didn't want to make a compilation of club tracks as this isn’t my own personal definition and idea of what an album is to me.
What’s the idea behind the LP’s artwork?
The visual is directly related to the album title Mercurial Skin. There was an entire concept and idea behind the LP, influenced and based around the ideal of heat leaving the skin when people make love, whilst mercury used to be the liquid used in thermometers to measure the degree readings and heat.
When and where was this mix recorded?
The mix was recorded around a week ago at my home studio in Paris.
How long did you spend choosing the tracks, and how did you go about choosing them?
I spent two or three days digging for some older gems and then also checking new promos from some artists and releases that I’m really into. I wanted to construct a mix to show what I can play during an all night long set, mixing material from both newer and up and coming talents with a selection from established artists.
How does this set compare to the music you play out live and DJing?
As I mentioned, I tried to create a mix that represents what I can play during an all night long set, so this mix spans a slightly wider range of electronic music genres including electro, techno, and electronica.
What’s next on the horizon, after the album?
Right now I'm working on several new projects and releases including my forthcoming EP on Soma, but also the LUXOR project that I've just started with Antigone. I’m also already working on a Remixed LP that will unite and combine remixes from a number of close friends and also a selection of established and esteemed artists. It will be released throughout 2019 across three or four vinyl drops.
Due to temporary issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the podcast here.
01. Unknown Artist "Untilted"
02. Carl Finlow "Conduit" (Volsocs Orange Problem Remix)
03. Conforce "Compulsion"
04. Patrik Skoog "Flowing Ions" (Original Mix)
05. Alfredo Mazzilli "Nuvole" (Evigt Mörker Remix)
06. Bylly "Lysis"
07. Speedy J "Reenter"
08. Bylly "SmogII" (Unreleased)
09. Sugar "Execution"
10. Unknown Artist "Untitled"
11. Steve Stoll "Model T"
12. Rene Wise "Spirit Molecule"
13. British Murder Boys "Anti Inferno"
14. Benabou "Spiral" (CTRLS remix)
15. Shlømo "Napalm"
16. Sciahri "Heedless"
17. Blawan "The Narrowing"
18. Gennaro Le Fosse, Reeko "Untitled 1"
19. Hadone "How To Fake Success" (forthcoming on Taapion)
20. Aphex Twin "Polynomial C" (Netsh Interpretation)
21. Unknown Artist "Untilted"
22. Carl Finlow "Conduit" (Volsocs Orange Problem Remix)
23. Conforce "Compulsion"
24. Patrik Skoog "Flowing Ions" (Original Mix)
25. Alfredo Mazzilli "Nuvole" (Evigt Mörker Remix)
26. Bylly "Lysis"
27. Speedy J "Reenter"
28. Bylly "SmogII" (Unreleased)
29. Sugar "Execution"
30. Unknown Artist "Untitled"
31. Steve Stoll "Model T"
32. Rene Wise "Spirit Molecule"
33. British Murder Boys "Anti Inferno"
34. Benabou "Spiral" (CTRLS remix)
36. Shlømo "Napalm"
37. Sciahri "Heedless"
38. Blawan "The Narrowing"
29. Gennaro Le Fosse, Reeko "Untitled 1"
40. Hadone "How To Fake Success" (forthcoming on Taapion)
41. Aphex Twin "Polynomial C" (Netsh Interpretation)