For this week’s Euphoric Transmission we have a dynamic drum and bass mix from Russian heavyweight, Dissident. Known also by his pseudonym Kontext, this St. Petersburg based artist has been slicing beats and synthesizing sounds since the 1990’s. Dissident traverses the vast spectrum of drum and bass and brandishes his innovative post modern jungle style. The mix begins with an ethereal soundscape gradually building upon itself until it’s an immersive experience of ever expanding horizons. Complex percussion patterns are offset by exquisite harmonies and alluring melodies. Blast-beat break downs, lazer synths, and trippy vocal samples are all peppered throughout the mix like some sort of wizardly sonic concoction. We could go on and on about it, as it is a truly impressive hour+ of music, but we recommend you listen for yourself. Read on below to learn more about this multi-talented artist!
Euphoric: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us! First off, could you please tell us where you’re from and a little bit about your musical background?
Dissident: I was born in St.Petersburg, Russia. I got seriously involved in music from the age of ten. In the middle of 90’s we were living in Germany and I started to pay attention to some things I’d seen on Viva II and MTV channels – 2 Unlimited, Prodigy, Nirvana, Aphex Twin, and a bunch of a German pop-music. Then I got back to Russia and felt an enormous musical hunger, I’d been wasting all of my pocket money on pirate audiotapes. We had a huge pirate industry in Russia at the time– every popular album was available and of course there was a wide range of genres – from metal and hip-hop to IDM and jungle. Yeah, I still have a very capacious musical taste.
It’s such a long story how I started to make music, to be brief, then… I started to produce and play around in early 1998. Myself and some friends formed the drum&bass project called Dissonance. In 2001, after our debut album “Technical Crisis” was released I quit the project and went on to produce solo under the Dissident moniker. My first 12” vinyl release “Technecium” (ft. Paul B) came out on the British imprint Renegade Hardware in 2002. I’ve since released 9 albums and plenty of 12” singles/EPs on such labels as Offshore, Hospital, Subtle Audio, KOS.MOS, Microfunk, Subvert Central, Counter Intelligence, Subtle Audio, Pinecone Moonshine and many others.
Is there any special meaning for you behind the alias Dissident?
First of all – it’s a nice sounding word, I realized this in early childhood, I used it all the time! Even my amateur football team was called Dissident. It’s a pity there are tons of different musical projects, clubs, labels, wear brands etc. named Dissident but I prefer to think I was first Also, I always respected the movement of Soviet political dissidents.
If you could describe your music in five words or less what would they be?
Diversity, immersion, cosmogony, microcosm, narrative.
Where do you tend to find inspiration for making music?
Except different kind of music itself I’m mad at literature. Especially the definite segment of modern Russian prose that is filled with the works of Pavel Pepperstein, Vladimir Sorokin, Mikhail Yelizarov, Victor Pelevin, Yury Mamleyev. I read a lot but these authors are congenial. I also like poetry, modernism in art. I also like movies but it’s too tiresome to list ‘em all.
You make music under another alias “Kontext” as well as own your own record label. Could you tell us a little about those?
Under the guise of Kontext, I set out to write music with no genre classifications. It’s well know that British underground music is arguably always at the height of innovation, so I was surprised by the sudden interest from some of the most respected close-to-dubstep (I emphasize) labels from Bristol, given that I didn’t know a lot about the dubstep and UK garage scenes. But I guess they needed some fresh wind and apparently saw me as one of those ventilators!
I released a double CD as ‘Kontext’ in 2011. I jokingly called it ‘The Best of The Greatest Hits’. I’ve now released four albums as Kontext. Opposide is my small imprint, we release so called ‘contemporary jungle’ music mostly from Russia and East Europe. Specializing in cutting edge sounds from the 170BPM world.
Sometimes having another avenue to express your musical creativity can help with work flow and writers block. Do you find having your other moniker allows this to happen? If so could you please elaborate?
I sure can. It’s not only about Dissident / Kontext for me. I have a several side-project where I write songs and sing. I’m also involved in journalism, sound-design, theater and sport. Multi-potentiality and curiosity are the basic requirements for every person to grow.
You just released a single on Silent Dust’s label none60. Tell us about that and how it came about?
It all came about in the standard Drum & Bass way! Andy sent me a message via Soundcloud. He asked if I had any unsigned tracks, after some time I sent ten examples and he chose 3 of ‘em. None60 is truly a strong imprint, I’ve always followed it, and now I’m really glad to be in its roster!
What else is new for Dissident in 2018? Are there any events coming up your extra excited about?
There are several EPs forthcoming and I’m excited to be releasing on Dispatch & Methlab.
For Opposide I am preparing a compilation called ‘Double Bind’ with some truly brilliant music on it!
Thanks so much!