Entering The Whirlpool: Glacci, Plastician And That ‘Wave’ Sound

Moving from URL to IRL...

'Wave' began initially as a tag.

A slew of producers began uploading material that sat within the same electronic sphere, and – such is the way of things on SoundCloud – they needed a word to tag it as.

Hence 'wave' – at once formless yet also laced with meaning, it's come to cover that dubbed out, trap-beat laden nexus of electronic innovation that filters day-glo sounds via ruffneck low-end physicality.

Plastician was an early adopter of the sound, and helped to push Wave to fresh prominence via his regular shows on Rinse FM.

Signing rising producer Glacci to his Terrorhythm imprint, the relationship resulted in the almighty 'Death Dealer' – a release that touched on wave only to become something muchmore, and something Plastician believes could be the label's finest moment.

Glacci's fascinating and relentlessly innovative album 'Lifeforce' is out now, an album that absorbs countless new sounds to fully break down the wave template and craft an entirely individual voice.

Clash caught up with both the producer and the label boss to to discuss the path to 'Lifeforce'…

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Where did the Wave sound originate from?

Plastician: I’d say it was kind of born out of that sadboys rap style. I began playing stuff like Yung Gud, Shlohmo, Ryan Hemsworth etc around 2012/2013 off the back of spinning more of the LA beat stuff which often dabbled in trap, and it was the less festival sounding stuff I really levitated towards.

Out of searching for more and more like it, I discovered Klimeks and was really into his stuff – I tried to get a release from him for Terrorhythm but only managed to get a single track for the Turquoise compilation in 2013 in the end. He was using the tag 'Wave' on his uploads, and I began referring to that style on the radio as "the wavy stuff" or "wavy beats" which meant people listening to the show began sending music in under that banner too, eventually more uploads were happening and more songs tagged wave, artists began to identify as wave, and now we're at where we are at with hundreds of Wave producers and thousands of people who call themselves fans of wave.

I think it was Klimeks' uploads that triggered me using the term and then the more I used it the more my listeners and producers who listen to the show were getting used to it. The Wave Pool mix in 2015 kinda began the music press' association with the term, and since then we've seen it referred to as 'wave' more and more.

Glacci: I feel it started as a DIY community, artists making music with a similar feeling while being totally different and carving their own sound. It originated more as a URL community, but now things are expanding to IRL. People are flying across the world to attend these shows in London which is amazing to see. More nights are starting to pop up in the US and Europe especially, which is super cool to see, as I can name so many artists I'm currently digging in those places pushing this sound.

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It originated more as a URL community, but now things are expanding to IRL.

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What is guiding it currently?

Plastician: It's pretty much driven by the producers, the output is pretty phenomenal in terms of the amount of tracks now, and with more and more people getting themselves clued up on distributing their music and putting on events it is starting to see small scenes build in cities dotted around the world. Those parties are giving people a real life connection and experience via the genre which in my opinion is needed for any genre to succeed.

The community are determined to help it grow too, there's a proper sense in the scene that everyone is working together in my opinion. The hard work backed up by solid releases is the reason we've seen so much growth since the Wavepool mix 18 months ago.

Glacci: A strong community of musicians from across the world all making dope music. We have Kareful + LTHL representing Liquid Ritual here in London and Skit representing Yusoul. There's also Terrorhythm, Wave Mob, YUME Collective, and many others worth mentioning worldwide.

How would you describe the realm it exists in?

Plastician: I think people have this illusion that it's an online-only thing. If you've attended any of the parties you'll know there's a real buzz about being inside them and everyone feels like they're a part of something really exciting. Listeners and producers/DJs/curators are all on a level playing field. It reminds me very much of attending Plastic People for FWD around 2005, just before the boom in 2006.

Glacci: It's dark, real and sometimes pretty. It's more of a feeling than a select palette of sounds or a certain drum beat. There's something mystical and magical about it, you can feel it more and more at these events as time goes on.

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It's dark, real and sometimes pretty…

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Plastician, what was it about Glacci that made you sign him for an album?

Plastician: I’ve been working with Glacci on the label before he was called Glacci, when he produced as Kyle Cook. I've always been keen on building relationships with talented producers as I like people to associate the label with artists and vice versa. His sound works so well with so much of what I like to play – he sits in the gaps between grime, club music, as well as a lot of the future beats stuff we were releasing around 2013-2014.

When he told me he had an album I was keen to hear as I don't think many producers really work on albums any more – it tends to be EPs more. When I heard it, it all fit into place so well it made me realise there would be no sense in splitting it into smaller chunks like a couple of EPs and a single – it feels like a proper album, the tracks compliment each other well.

Glacci, how would you describe ‘Lifeforce’?

Glacci: I would describe it as a colourful journey through the mind of a young man. I think the album projects a lot of emotions, it gives you a sense of what it is to be a twenty something in 2017. On one hand you have excitement, some moments are truly beautiful, then on the flip at times the album can make you feel cold and lonely as you listen to the ambient moments in the LP. It's a sonic snapshot of this generation born into the age of social media and the pressures and feelings that brings to their lives.

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Plastician you’ve said ‘Death Dealer’ is the best track you’ve released on Terrorhythm in 15 years – would you explain why?

Plastician: I think for me it was one of those tracks that when I first heard it, it gave me instant goosebumps when the track flips into the tail end. I couldn't stop listening to it. I genuinely think I sat there for over an hour with it on repeat. It connected with me in a way that moved me so much.

I love music that does that, and I think over the years I've been lucky to release some music that I consider to be timeless – just go back and listen to 'Macabre Unit – Lift Off', 'The Corridor' by Om Unit or Joker's 'Gully Brook Lane'. This one can sit among those in my opinion as a track that as soon as I heard it, I knew it'd be something we'll be listening to again in years to come. It's easily one of my favourite tracks Terrorhythm has put out.

What was the process of making ‘Lifeforce’ like, Glacci?

Glacci: A lot of these tracks started off originally as unfinished drafts. I had an early version of 'Lifeforce' prior to the final which I scrapped as I didn't feel it was emotive enough. My goal was to make an emotive record, the process of making it wasn't too pretty. I avoided social interaction for a prolonged period of time due to addiction among many other things, I tried as hard as I could to tap into my creative energy and read lots of books. It harvested both good and bad energy, but I tried to use the negative energy to drive my creativity and finish it.

There's a forest near my house which is my space where I go to think about musical ideas, something about being surrounded by nature makes me feel really connected and empowered creatively, so I feel nature played a huge part in the making of this record too.

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It connected with me in a way that moved me so much.

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Rap music was a huge influence on the record, I listened to my favorite Kanye West and Travis Scott records a lot during this time, including 'Birds In The Trap' and 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' which made me want to experiment with strange key changes and beat switch ups, while I also love the dirty and imperfect sound both of these records have.

I attended many metal, psychedelic and noise shows during the making of this record too, which I feel gave me the drive and motivation to experiment with more abrasive and interesting sounds, I otherwise wouldn't have thought of.

How did the Terrorhythm link-up come about?

Glacci: I sent Plastician some music back in 2012, two of which were collaborations with my long time friend Parkinson White, then we released the 'Sapphire' EP back when I was under my own name as my alias. I sent music to him periodically over the years since, until I made this record, then pitched the idea and concept.

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Glacci's new album 'Lifeforce' is out now on Terrorythm.

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