Ketracel is the name I use when writing standard, melodic forms of electronic dance music. Between the years of 1997 and 2008, I wrote almost every kind of dance music: techno, trance, acid techno, breaks, drum and bass, tech house, minimal, hardcore, and ambient/downtempo. During that time, I never really felt like I had musical focus, and given the scope of genres I was writing I had no unification of sound. In 2009 I made the choice to form a project that would focus on a narrower aesthetic range, in particular a hybrid made from elements of techno and progressive house. To begin with I used the name “051R15” (Osiris), but I found that people had trouble understanding what it said, and I even had it misspelled by the label on my first EP; it is still incorrectly spelled on Beatport as “015R15”.
In 2010 for my second EP, I made the choice to change my name to something more easily readable, so I opted to call myself Ketracel, a reference to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Between 2010 and 2012 I released a number of EPs, singles, and remixes, and had my most popular track, Parasomnia, re-released as a single in 2013.
During my time studying composition at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (2011-2016) I mostly stopped writing Ketracel tracks as I was no longer enjoying writing melodic techno, and I wanted to spend more time experimenting outside the constraints of tonality and metric rhythm. In 2017 I have made some degree of peace with writing melodic techno tracks and I hope to have a new EP ready to release by the end of 2017.
Below are some of my unreleased Ketracel tracks. For more, please visit my Soundcloud page.
In 2011, after I had spent thirteen years away from classical music, I decided to go back to university to finish the degree I had abandoned in 1998 after only one year. Since that time I had exclusively written dance music, and while I had explored most of the genres out there, I had always written within the spectrum of what would be considered normal Western contemporary music: music based in a tonality that has four beats in a bar and is structured for DJs to mix with (known as the 12” format). My coursework required me to listen to a lot of avant-garde electronic music, which I simply didn’t get back when I was a teenager, but approaching it with more experience under my belt, I started to feel what I had been writing was overly conservative and really represented only a tiny amount of what is possible with electronic music.
I felt the best way to tackle my problem was to start a new project under a new name so as not to confuse fans of my Ketracel tracks. I took my “Obsidian Audio” moniker up (also named after something from Deep Space Nine) with the aim of exploring a fusion of elements of avant-garde electronic music with those of electronic dance music. This meant writing dance music that wasn’t necessarily in 4/4, didn’t necessarily fit harmonically into a key, and might not even contain pitches that were definable as notes in the context of Western music. I wasn’t even focussing on writing “good” music, it was just about seeing what could be done. From a lot of experimentation I wrote at least a couple of tracks I liked, and I also expanded beyond the experimental-dance hybrid into noise and drone. I haven’t officially released any Obsidian Audio originals, but I did complete one remix which can be found in my discography. The future for this project isn’t certain at this point; it was always intended as a testing ground and I’m not yet sure whether I will continue using the name or not.
MAU is a new project I have begun in 2017 and it’s quite difficult to put into words what this music is about. On a musical level, I wanted to create something that embraces everything I love about electronic music, from Stockhausen to Kraftwerk to Jean-Michele Jarre to Oliver Lieb and beyond. This involves hybridising elements from dance music, ambient/drone, minimalism, noise and tape music.
I also wanted to create something relevant to the world in which we currently exist. I’ve always seen art as not only a personal expression, but also a historical document. In the 1950s, electronic music was being born into a new world where the advent of technology heralded a better, cleaner, more prosperous future; now that future is in serious doubt. I like the idea of taking elements from both post-war avant-garde electronic music, and contemporary electronic music from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, and repurposing them to reflect the loss of that hope for the future, transforming and in some cases destroying them, turning utopia into dystopia.
There is another layer beyond even this meaning though: a search for oneness. We are part of an essentially egotistical civilisation that has an extraordinary sense of entitlement and an inflated sense of its own importance, to the point that we are willing to destroy the planet that sustains us for our own selfish purposes. I see humanity as no more important than any other component of our world, and I see our world as no more important than any other part of the universe; it is all part of one great system in which each part is as integral as the others. I spend a lot of time contemplating the nature of “everything” and my own role within it, so I see this music as a meditation on these thoughts; it’s about finding peace amongst the immense chaos of our reality, or at times it’s about simply accepting the chaos.