Written by Yusuf Laher
14 Monday 14th March 2011

According to Planet Mu, the album title’s a reference to one image’s transition into another. Is that a nod to your departure from dubstep?

No, it's more an effort to provide a visual analogue for how I wanted the record to sound. When images dissolve, from one into another, you have a moment when neither is particularly distinct. It looks a lot more abstract and layered. I really like that.

Overall, The Dissolve sounds pretty relaxing and groovy, is that what you were going for?

Yeah, I guess I'd rather win people over softly on this one.

But things do get a bit darker in the third quarter, was that intentional?

Aye... I think the record works in two halves. The second half has a darker edge - maybe not so much darker, as a bit faster and more abrasive in places.

What’s your take on dubstep at the moment? The new black?

I haven't been paying attention – I hear the odd thing on Radio 1... I feel a bit out of place talking about scenes or genres. I've never been able to give a decent answer to questions about what ‘scene’ I'm in. I like that Terence McKenna quote, that “culture is not your friend”.

Okay… the bass lines on songs like “Panama” and “Zabriskie Disco” sound pretty magical, is that you?

Thanks, yeah that's my playing. I left rough edges and mistakes, ‘cos it's too easy to 'fix' everything when it's recorded digitally. A lot of it has been put on old cassettes and messed around with. I had a grainy, under-produced sound in mind, so I deliberately pushed stuff into the red on the cassette or emphasised weird frequencies.

How long did you spend recording, getting things just right?  

I do actually “record”, which feels pretty unique compared to a lot of my peers. I try and make or play as many of the sounds and parts as possible myself, on whatever I can get my hands on. I can't really say how long it takes. It's an ongoing thing I'm constantly working on.

One of the tracks is called “Cold War (vs Ken & Ryu)”. Street Fighter fan?

“Ken & Ryu” is one of my mates… I think everyone my age played Street Fighter II relentlessly. I used to go to sleep with it imprinted on my eyelids.

And what’s the title about? Who won?

Charlie Sheen?

How do you come up with song titles? Are they randomly chosen?  

No, not random. Hopefully they relate, in some way, to the aural experience. Things like song titles and artwork are usually done last though. Mike (Paradinas – Planet Mu) makes suggestions sometimes. He's come up with some great track titles: “World of Leather”.

Which track surprised you the most?

Maybe “Zabriskie Disco”. It went through a lot of revisions. Because of the style, I didn't want it to sound too polished or overdone. I wanted a vintage roughness to it. So I tried to get a balance of grit with the softer sounds... But I guess that applies to the whole record.

You’ve got Brian Greene on vocals on three tracks, who’s he?

Yeah, we worked together before on “A Familiar Sound”. He's a friend. I'm not into 'phoned in' vocal spots - I can understand why some listeners are turned off by vocals completely... Hopefully it sounds like an honest collaboration. We're both into a lot of the same stuff. Soul and funk is probably our biggest overlap.
Been doing a lot of shows lately?

Not really, and I think not having to play every weekend has shaped things. It’s allowed me to be a bit more indulgent and take on longer recording sessions. Stuff like that… It also allowed me to not make any money.

So are you looking forward to playing the new material live then?

Yeah, although I'm gonna be careful to try and match the set to the surroundings. I'm really interested in doing some sets with my electric guitar. They can be tricky to set up, but in the right place, with the right visuals, I think it could work.

What are you listening to at the moment, anything exciting?

Here's some stuff I'm really enjoying, old and new; Ekoplekz, Heterotic, Teengirl Fantasy, FaltyDL, Beaumont, Peaking Lights, Free, the first Spritualized album, Sun Araw, Hype Williams, Space Dimension Controller, Peverelist, Gonjasufi, Steve Birchall, Oriol, Sonny Sharrock, Badun, Harmonia, J.D. Emmanuel, Bronski Beat, Josh Sixty, Broadcast.

One random fact nobody knows about Barry Lynn?

I don't actually cut my own hair, despite appearances.

When do you think the world’s going to end?

I'm not prone to apocalyptic musing. It makes me laugh that so much astronomy coverage for the general public is Armageddon-themed. And neither Buddha nor Jesus would answer this question, so I'm on the winning team if I skip it.

The Dissolve is out on Planet Mu, April 25. For more info, check out

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