AYBEE Articulates The Alphabet of Rhythm
Fifteen years deep into a riotous and defiant career, AYBEE – the multi-platform artist from Oakland, California and founder & chief alchemist at the Deepblak imprint doubles and triples down on the credo of ‘jumping off the ledge’ when creating his own dynamism of techno and house music.
“The Motion Syntax EP”, released in June on London-based label DMK, finds AYBEE communicating with great necessity, the fundamentals of movement. Crushed pills, algorithm music producers and touch screens, all qualifiers by the ill-informed of what “club culture” should be, have helped to package and sell a demographic their own perverted bill of goods.“The Motion Syntax EP” reverses the ‘numb weekend’ mentality on electronic music and keeps the idea of AYBEE as a metronome… not a background painting.
The “keep the jets fuelled” frenetic urgency of the first track “DShix” invites the listener to take in and move joyfully in the moment, whilst keeping tabs on what fresh hell may be lurking around the corner. The three remaining tracks on the EP are just as candid moments filled with talking drums, purring soundscapes and sweaty basement scenarios.
We recently spoke with the Berlin resident about his thoughts and inspirations surrounding the EP and the current dance music culture.
I was recently revisiting the Fact Against The Clock episode you did. While observing your process I could not help but notice all the jazz posters scattered around the room, especially one of Thelonious Monk. What influence does Jazz have on your compositions?
AYBEE: It’s not as much my compositions as it is my thinking, my spirit. One thing we do is copy and repeat A LOT in modern music, but I was never that interested in technique as I am intent. Intent in Jazz. The improvisation sets up the possibility of that THING happening. That thing that opens a new door. The Monk gaze keeps me honest, that reminder to go left. He reminds me that you know what they want, so don’t do that, ’cause we have never benefited from the status quo. Our salvation lies in the possibility, and that’s a left turn.
Which reminds me of a great conversation you had with John Corbett earlier this year pertaining to the choice of doing what not is expected and how “Cookie Cutter techno” erodes creativity.
AYBEE: Right. The cookie was never cut for me. That’s for the incumbents, those with incumbency and prior advantage. I am from that void that Sun Ra speaks of, the suppressed question.
After listening to The Motion Syntax EP, it seems you are getting quicker to the point, more succinct if you will. What was the overall idea behind this EP?
AYBEE: I feel like I have tried to communicate through sound all these years. A call and response so the response seems to come back. I am teaching the basic alphabet of rhythm in a sense. Hoping they get the syntax… then maybe the sentence, paragraph etc. Dialogue, last chance dialogue… make any sense?
Yes, it does. I know you mentioned using a different process, pre-selecting your sound patch when you wrote The Odyssey. Did you go about this project in the same way?
AYBEE: Most of the tracks came out of my Drum Machine, so I just rolled with the raw grooves. Completely different from the album.
The song “Belts” sounded like a cousin from the album.
AYBEE: That track is 7 years old, it had been sitting around. Had to keep it complex.
Funny because Belts totally sounds like it was from a different era of production for you! Not better or worse, just familiar.
AYBEE: That’s why they pay you the big money, you got the ears! [Laughs] I’m reverse engineering back to that era in a way. I did it backwards.
Right. Don’t get it twisted, Neukölln Cohibas speaks to me, but Belts bemoans a different type of sound.
AYBEE: [Laughs] Yeah, Belts is “Grab your purse and coat, they coming.”