Cinematic, future-facing techno for the Northern Equinox.
Washingtonian Lyceum acquired tastes of deeper / experimental polyrhythmic fusion of techno & Jungle was inspired by crossover labels such as Horo, Semantica, and Auxilliary. He has performed in a variety of Techno and Drum & Bass events such as the legendary Membrain Festival in Croatia. He is a resident of Vortex and co-founder of Oblivion. 2 DC-based events that “Explore a deeper range of consciousness, unstuck in time”.
We at PB are into the possibilities of space travel and the expansion of human civilization throughout the known universe. Curiously, I recognize that your themes are regarding the Occult and Tarot Cards. Can you explain how the Tarot deck inspire the music you love?
You are referring to the visual aesthetic associated with Oblivion, a project I started with fellow DJ and good friend PlusGood. Conceived in early 2017, the core design (the tarot death card) was an expression of the bleakness we (and many others in DC, the United States, and the world-at-large) were feeling in the wake of several tumultuous events that transpired in 2016 (specifically Brexit, the US presidential election, and a worldwide resurgence of fascism). The world had been flipped upside down, and the death card design we initially ran with served as a reflection of the darkness we felt. That said, the tarot deck isn’t all doom and gloom. Over time we incorporated additional cards into our flyer designs representing a variety of spiritual elements – we wanted to tell a story of humanity’s evolution into enlightenment and actualization by way of our visuals, and more importantly, the music we presented. Sound-wise, Oblivion was meant to exist somewhere between the more conventional drum & bass and techno scenes – since geopolitics had seemingly gone mad, we thought the time was right to do something different in the DC music scene as well. Anyway, something about it resonated with people, and I’m always humbled when an Oblivion shirt pops up in my social feeds.
Since the advent of “Grey Area” or so-called left-field / crossover Techno, more DJs and producers are willing to enter that space. The intention of this malleable thinking is for the DJ not to be painted into a specific corner, ironically, it is increasingly being that way. Are you exploring other sub-niches? Probably a better question is: what new sounds have you discovered that pique your interest.
Grey Area has certainly influenced my sound over the past 5 or 6 years, opening many doors along the way. I remember when ASC, Sam KDC, Presha, etc. first started pushing that polyrhythmic sound and feeling very challenged by what I was hearing. It felt wholly unclassifiable – “techno-not-techno” was a term that floated a lot. It is cinematic, complex, and often undanceable – but at the same time, it can be mixed with more “traditional” techno that is unequivocally danceable. Indeed, it allowed me to expand out of my 170 bpm corner into the broader experimental world – I was thrilled when DC techno promoters began booking me in that scene and encouraged me to play as weird as I liked. As for new sounds totally unrelated to Grey Area, I’m a big fan of EBM/industrial sounds and the new album from Youth Code (a hardcore duo based in LA) is sick.
If the pandemic was non-existent, what would a typical night at Oblivion DC be like?
Each night was unique, but the common thread across events was non-traditional spaces. Fully aware that our sound isn’t the best fit for more mainstream clubs, we utilized a variety of intimate spaces whose owners allowed us the freedom to play whatever we wanted. The crowd was usually quite varied as well – junglists, techno scenesters, metalheads, and other people just looking for something different. Our headliners fully aligned with our ethos (Ruffhouse, Overlook, Gremlinz, etc), and we never charge a cover for any of our events – people like free parties! 🙂
Is Oblivion San Francisco is another location? What inspired you to create a night at another location?
The San Francisco connection is a direct result of co-creator PlusGood moving there a while back. To date, there have not been any “official” Oblivion events in SF, however, pre-pandemic there were a few smaller, more intimate gatherings that we’re trending towards a proper Oblivion night. The Bay Area is a completely different vibe than the East coast, however, I’m thoroughly intrigued by the possibilities. Stay tuned.
This is more melodic than most of the techno fusion mixes I have heard recently. One may say Autonomic Grey Area. What inspired you to create this mix?
I am involved with another night in DC called the Vortex (a night a little less brutalist than Oblivion) which showcases hypnotic/grey area/and other intelligent techno. This mix is reflective of what my sets would typically explore in that environment, and I can directly correlate the more melodic vibe to spending a lot of time in nature the past year due to the pandemic. I’m not overtly spiritual in the traditional sense, however, I feel there is an undeniable life force of some kind in our forests, mountains, oceans, and skies that promotes contemplation, renewal, and growth in us humans. I tried to capture a sliver of that natural energy, weaving an ethereal, introspective soundscape along the way.
What are your near-future plans?
Who knows?! The past year for me has been all about taking one day at a time and just surviving. As the world begins to ever-so-slowly open up, I am optimistic about the new normal especially in regard to electronic music scenes. I view the long break from the clubs/warehouses as a tremendous opportunity for renewal and revision – a chance to start fresh and leave negative elements of our scene behind. I’m also really looking forward to hearing other DJs play out. What tunes have people been sitting on for the past year? I want to hear how deep everyone has been digging – weird, obscure, avant-garde sounds, please!
|1||Joachim Spieth – Forma [Affin]|
|2||Reeko – Dogma 01 [Semantica]|
|3||Ena – Coral [Nullpunkt]|
|4||Surt – Lethe [Edit Select]|
|5||Artificial Drm – Iris [Semantica]|
|6||Svreca – How To Become Nothing (Shifted Version) [Semantica]|
|7||Nereid – Vapid [Warped Core]|
|8||Amandra & Karim – Sqala 3 (Forest Drive West Remix) [Tikita]|
|9||Sciama – Unfolding Self [Auxiliary]|
|10||Ki Ya Tori – Saimin (Einox Remix) [Mimoton]|
|11||Artificial Drm – Serenity [Semantica]|
|12||Daniel[i] – I2 [Lowless]|
|13||Anechoic – Ellipsoidal Harmonic Function [Faut Section]|
|14||ASC – Telluric [Arts]|
|15||Anders Hellberg – Pond Creatures Dialog [Cinus]|
|16||Toki Fuko – Bismuth [Affin]|
|17||Kill Acid on Space – Glide [NODE Recordings]|
|18||Münch – Cascades (Feral Tool Rework) [End Of Perception]|
|19||Evigt Morker – Smardis [Arcing Seas]|
|20||Drafted – Baman [Postdynamic]|
|21||Artificial Drm – Oren [Semantica]|
|22||Nereid – Splay [Warped Core]|
|23||ASC – Ratchet [Auxiliary]|
|24||Amandra – Tour Karin (Edit Select Remix) [Affute]|
|25||PRG/M – Giardini e Palagi [Sure Thing]|
|26||Motion Symmetry – Baykal [NFEREE]|
|27||Morphing Armor – Sensing Through Particles (Crossing Avenue Remix) [Subosc]|
|28||ASC – Samsara [Trauma Collective]|
|29||Sciama – Foreque [Auxiliary]|
|30||Tangram – The Existence Of Nothing [Semantica]|
Mixed on 2 X Pioneer CDJ2000NXS2 and a Pioneer DJM-800 mixer.