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Five Essential Things You Need To Know About: Icicle – Entropy

icicle

New Icicle album.

Those three words look pretty fine together don’t they?

Come November 17 they’ll be real talk. If you’ve enjoyed new tracks Problem and The Edge, there’s a high chance you’ll LOVE Entropy.

We already caught the story of Problem. When we heard the entirety of Entropy we had to learn more. Fortuitously Icicle was more than happy to tell us about it.

“I’d learnt so much during the first album,” he considers. “Under The Ice really helped me to define, to myself, who I am as an artist. After making it I thought ‘oh now I know how to do this! It’s easy!’ But it wasn’t…”

The hard work, however, has paid off in a major way. Here are five of the many reasons why Icicle – Entropy deserves a prize place in your collection when it lands in two weeks time…

It’s the sound of a man pushing himself to the creative limits…

“I wanted to push myself and search for new ideas and new techniques. I need to bring something extra to what I’ve already established. But at the same time I don’t want to alienate people completely too. It’s a whole new challenge. It wasn’t easy but that’s the mark of a good album, right? If it’s easy you didn’t try hard enough!

If you want to be forward-thinking and develop your music you need to remember what you’re fans are expecting. If you go totally nuts then fans will think ‘wait a minute, what’s this?’ But at the same time you need to keep things moving, one push at a time, taking things out of comfort zones in places but giving people what they want in others. It’s a very dynamic process of development which I need to keep in my mind. It’s like ‘okay Dreadnaught’ was a huge success, how do I develop on that and maintain the aspects that people enjoyed but also push it forward into something new and exciting?”

Think about modern movies, think about Hans Zimmer. The sound design and technical knowhow in cinematic scores is pushing the absolute limits of what we can do with electronic music. If I’m thinking about drawing inspiration from the forefront of electronic music than it has to be movies.

It’s all about chaos…

“Entropy means a measure of chaos. If you have a very messy room it has a higher entropy than a very tidy room, broadly speaking.

It’s about the evolution again; how to try and control and evolve things and keep it all together and cohesive… It gets harder and harder to keep that organisation. Entropy is the evolution of what I had established before – which was a lot more minimal and clean. As this process has developed I’ve gone harder, larger, bigger. The inevitable chaos is an intrinsic product of my progress.”

… And far-out sound design

“There are four pieces that thread through the album among the tracks; an intro, outro and two interludes. They describe the process of ever-developing chaos. The intro starts very serene and by the final one it’s very hard and intense. It was fun for me to come up with different sound designs and atmospheres and textures. The challenge is including them in the album in a cool way that makes sense. I love designing these; they’ve really pushed me as a creative artist but I’m always aware they’re not practical – you can’t dance to this shit!

It’s a showcase of something I love to do. It’s unfunctional wicked music that I love to make. Think about modern movies, think about Hans Zimmer. The sound design and technical knowhow in cinematic scores is pushing the absolute limits of what we can do with electronic music. If I’m thinking about drawing inspiration from the forefront of electronic music than it has to be movies. So to have a use for this aspect of what I love about production is amazing. I had to make it make sense… It’s very dystopian. Luckily drum & bass has always had that character so these pieces have helped me define an atmospheric quality that fans of genres understand and appreciate.”

It features Sarah Hezen – one of the best new vocalists we’ve heard in a LONG time…

“Alex Evans does our vocal recordings was helping Sarah with her own stuff and he told me to check her out. It’s great to find a vocalist who’s got such a distinctive voice and hasn’t worked in drum & bass before. Besides MCs – Metropolis, SPMC, Skittles – she’s the only vocalist on the album… Our first track together was a drum & bass track Will You Be Mine. For a while I was looking for another artist but then realised I should stick with her and we made Superimposed.

A lot of people have compared it to Massive Attack and Portishead. That wasn’t by design but I can hear those influences myself; I wanted to go broad on the album and explore a lot more musicality, Sarah’s voice helped me do that with this particular track.

She’s quality and the fact she’s not done any D&B tracks before was great; it would be too easy to get big name vocalists but that wasn’t the vibe. D&B is a little bit new for her. She does trip hoppy experimental stuff that is very cool. I took her to Fabric and a big Shogun party and she got really into it. She was inspired and got a lot of energy from it.”

There is a lot of techno in the album; just not what you’d expect to hear from it.

Techno is coded into Entropy’s DNA…

“I’ve been playing techno for years. It’s part of my roots. I play it on my radio show. I’d love to make more of straight-up techno but it’s hard to find a place where you end up with wicked music and not compromise. Or if I have merged techno into the drum & bass I make I have to compromise somewhere… Your back catalogue becomes you’re own biggest enemy. You can’t go without people’s opinions because they buy your music!

That said, the whole album is made through intense synthesis and lots of techniques used in techno and that’s brought a new direction to what I do. So there is a lot of techno in the album; just not what you’d expect to hear from it. Like Acidic – I made that as if I was making an old school Wink style acid techno piece but it’s all-out drum & bass.

I love this way of working from another genre and building it into a D&B tune. When you think about it, that’s the history of drum & bass… Taking an element or sample or spirit from another style and building into your own thing.”

The references range from Massive Attack to Josh Wink to Hans Zimmer. He’s pushed himself to the limits. He’s paid acute attention to cohesive details…. Entropy lives up to every bit of hype. Next level Icicle business. Just when you thought he couldn’t get any cooler.

Icicle – Entropy is out now on Shogun Audio: iTunes Also available on Shogun Audio.

Join Icicle at the Entropy album launch! 

26.11.14: Corsica Studios, London

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