Looking through NY label Acéphale's back catalogue, it becomes clear just how consistent they've been over the years, having released important records by the likes of How To Dress Well, Air France, and of course, FADER favorite Doss. They've recently added a new signing to their roster, and we're quite excited about him, too: Null, aka Hayden Quinn, is a Melbourne-based producer whose debut EP, Almost, is set to come out March 3. Lead single "Luv U, Love Me," accompanied by a hallucinatory video by LA-based design firm Oval-X, is a zoned, ethereal tripper, finding the sweet spot between footwork, '80s synth atmospherics, and rave breaks. It turns out those breaks are just a hint at the tremendous passion Null has for '90s hardcore and rave, and that's on full display on the mix we're premiering today, titled "Halcyon Tapes Volume 1." The mix is a savvily-executed, ripping set of anthems, the sort that will make you gnaw through your cheek and relish the experience. Brace yourself for a rush and check it out below, and read a short interview with Null after the jump.
Who is Null? I am Hayden Quinn, an Australian electronic musician based in Melbourne. I'm a pessimist attempting to find some relief through art. My music is informed by '90s dance and electronic music, from the early rave stuff through to stadium electronica. Of course, my sound is influenced by modern dance music and other stuff too.
What is it about '90s dance music that you are drawn to? I guess I discovered the magic of escapism through music in 1998. For me, the strength of this escapism was particularly more potent with dance and electronic music than other genres that I had been exposing myself to, so I looked back, as best I could without an internet connection, at dance music that had come before 1998. Any artist will tell you that their entry point onto a life changing path leaves an everlasting impression on them. I love modern electronic music, but I guess the mission statement for my music is to re-capture the emotions and experiences that burned so bright for me back in those formative years, and as a result I can't let go of the production techniques, the technology and the ethos that all made so much sense to me back in '98. That and the older kids who were going to raves at the weekend always looked so cool to me as a kid.
What is your favorite track on this mix and why? I mean, every track in the mix is pretty much a god-damn, stone-cold, hardcore classic, right? I think towards the latter half of the mix when things start getting a little more melodic is where my sound as a musician is informed. Songs like "Sweetness & Light" by Australian rave legends "Itch-E and Scratch-E" are really important to me, the yearning minor chord progression, the 12 bit sampled vocal cuts, the crunching breakbeat that propels the song forward, and don't get me started on the piano because I cry every time. But overall, songs like this one just shock me to the core, the vibe, the message, the mood—perfect!
And finally, share your earliest music-related memory? In Australia we have a long-standing music video tv show/institution called RAGE, I have very vivid memories of being an 8 year old kid, getting up at 5am every Saturday morning to watch that. It was a chart countdown, so all the good dance stuff was usually earlier in the morning, i.e. it didn't chart as high. In particular, the feeling of emotional devastation that I got from "Children" by Robert Miles one morning has stuck with me, I can still go back to that exact moment in my mind, like see it, feel it, smell it, like I can actually transport myself back to it in an instant, which is crazy because I don't remember the password to my online banking most days.
Photo credit: Mclean Stephenson