Galaxian talks spirituality and ‘Paradise Engineering’

Glaswegian producer Galaxian is not one for heading down the well-trodden path. By meditating on questions of inner-alchemy, freedom and transcendence, a four track EP entitled Paradise Engineering was created and has now deservedly found a home on Helena Hauff’s Return To Disorder imprint. It will be the mark of the 11th release, continuing the ‘punk rock and techno together’ manifesto set out by the label boss.

Galaxian sets out ‘an intricate web of self, spiritual and socio-technic exploration and critique’, evident in the various vocal samples and general aesthetic and texture of the artwork and sound. We got him to run through some of the tracks that inspired him whilst writing the release, venturing from Aphex Twin to Alan Watts.

1. Aphex Twin – Matchsticks

I used to totally rinse this album when it first came out in ’94. Coming back home at 9am or 10am from late night raves and chilling to this. Very orchestral, I’d have it on repeat and especially this song. It took me elsewhere, I don’t know where but it took me, still does. Paradise Engineering owes a lot to this being ingrained in my psyche and emerging a couple decades later.

2. Aphex Twin – Come on You Slags

You Don’t Matter finds it dark pads in this heavy hitter from Aphex Twin. Such a great track and stands the test of time with ease. Wasn’t something I was trying to emulate deliberately but after I had made those parts it did remind me of the Aphex track.

3. Photek – Rings Around Saturn

I composed Mutual Arising over many months and left it to stew for weeks if I couldn’t tease out what I wanted. I realised that it would benefit from a bassline and it made me think of Photek’s seminal track ‘Rings of Saturn’ which is an all-time favourite of mine. The bassline on that is infectious so my idea was to attempt something that would hook you in, that was moving and had an emotional pull. It’s almost a bass guitar sound I used rather than the usual synth or acid bass.

4. Objekt – Ganzfeld

Apart from all the other infectious elements exploding out of this track it has another addictive bassline that grabs you, a quality I tried to bring to the Mutual Arising bassline.

5. DJ Stingray 313 – Dendrite

In Sherards track Dendrite you can hear a much lighter and less urgent mood going on here. One of his most melodic and for me, a standout.  This was an aspect I wanted to bring to the new EP. I really wanted to explore something less ominous, uplifting without being cheesy or cheap. Mutual Arising is a far less aggressive affair, more sensitive. Emitting somewhat of a blissed out melodic feeling.

6. Underground Resistance – Interstellar Fugitives Mix

The whole vibe, percussion and uplifting synth parts of Life Force are very much inspired by the work of Underground Resistance.  It’s not from any one track as such but their general output. Rooted in political, social, racial and equality issues their flavour of techno/electro represented a feel and philosophy that was far removed from what others were doing.  Pure funk and soul.

The vocal part I added later on and I wanted it to have an empowering message which is also a characteristic of the Underground Resistance sound.  In trying to connect with our humanness I’m also trying to extend that feel and impulse to the core essence that co-exists and is bound up, although out with everyday sense –perceptions.

7. Alan Watts – Interdependent origination

A pivotal influence on me has been my delving into anarchist literature, ideas and a little later on I found myself submerged in all things related to consciousness, metaphysics, psyche, ego, mysticism, Taoism, Vedanta, self-actualisation.  I feel it was a natural progression for me and one in which I’ve found myself drawn deeper into. It’s impossible for this not to inform my music and I’m actually quite excited about the possibilities of what could be borne out of that. I have listened and read Alan Watts, Terence McKenna, Krishnamurti, Jung and the like quite extensively.  

The idea and title for “Mutual Arising” came about after hearing Alan Watts speak about this principle. As my understanding of it goes, in Taoism everything is in a constant state of flux. There’s an interplay of seemingly opposite forces, coming into and out of being, simultaneously, as one, they suggest and imply each other, without one there is not the other. Chaos & order, birth and death, night and day, hot and cold, black and white, positive and negative and so on.  Different aspects of the same whole, integral to each other, unified and harmonious, not as separate, distant and external from itself or indeed ourselves.

8. Lullabies for Insomniacs 

Particularly on songs like Paradise Engineering and Mutual Arising you’ll hear string type sounds and ethereal textures. I’m an avid listener of ambient and classical music.  These days I prefer real world ambiences, organic textures as opposed to synthetic, mechanical sounds.

Lullabies for Insomniacs is a great source of ambient DJ mixes. I’ve been listening to them for 2 years now. Given the right setting it can be excellent for getting into a meditative state and sinking into the depths of the music and Universe, sometimes producing a potent and profound experience.

9. Underground Resistance – The Seawolf

UR’s Seawolf has such a nasty acid sequence it’s hard to beat but with You Don’t Matter I used that as guide to achieve a gnarly acid sound and sequence that not just squelched but packed a serious punch.

10. The Weather Underground

I was rather intrigued by the activities of this 1960/70s US militant revolutionary group known as “The Weather Underground”  they declared a State of War against the US state and were committed to the dismantling and downfall of modern industrialised society through armed means and they actually carried out direct actions to try and bring that about. Obviously quite contentious but none the less a fascinating part of 196/70s militant groups and atmosphere at the time.

In “You Don’t Matter” there are lot of twisted and chopped snippets of vocals which I sampled from “The Weather Underground” interviews.  Asking questions about the legitimacy of the State, systematic, structural violence & oppression, hierarchal societies, question the message from the State that “What you do doesn’t make any difference, you don’t matter”,  questioning the legitimacy of using violence to counter violence and “This belief in people, rather than in technology, we have all been taught to be jaded about, cynical about, how could it possibly be especially here in the middle of a technological wonder”  These questions seems more apt and poignant in the current social milieu.

You can purchase Paradise Engineering now via Return To Disorder here.

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