The Newcomer: Everything and nothing

patten‘s Kaleidoscope label begins a “new era” with this mystery producer’s debut.

The Newcomer’s minimal bio is as mysterious as her/him. A meteoric rise alluded to, worldwide success, and a sudden disappearance. The possible identity of this shadowy artist is enticing by itself, but in the context of The Newcomer’s first official project under their new name, the intrigue fades into the music, becoming another facet to the fascinating complexity of the producer’s creative output.

In Mirelet Unsette Moiyana, The Newcomer has created a towering statement of intent. Contrary to the suggestion of their name, the album is a masterfully crafted story, created by someone with the experience and talent necessary to bring together the traditional and the futuristic, to create a harmony so rarely captured on record. Ostensibly an electronic record, elements of gentle folk stylings are woven so seamlessly together they are hardly a contrast at all, simply different sides of the story The Newcomer is telling.

As harsh as it is beautiful, as serene as it is apocalyptic, Mirelet Unsette Moiyana demands careful consideration, and to help in the process, Hyponik caught up with the obscure producer to discuss the record.

What’s been happening since we last heard from you (under your previous name)?

Everything and nothing. I’ve made a lot of music, destroyed a lot of music. Smoked a lot of cigarettes. Gave up smoking. Everything and nothing.

How did you originally connect with patten and Kaleidoscope? Why did you feel they were the right landing spot for this project?

We came up around the same time and played together quite a bit. D was one the first to know when I pulled the plug on the project, and a little while later the offer was there to do something through Kaleidoscope and I was very into the idea of doing something with a friend.

Your new alias suggests a fresh entrance. Why did you feel such a rebirth was necessary for this project?

I quite like the idea that names can be outlived, that identity shifts with time. I love the thought of remaining The Newcomer six albums down the line, but I’m still attracted to the thought of shedding skin again. It feels natural in a way.

What are the major themes you see for this record?

Connection and alienation, with others or with self. The deep past, the deep future. The pursuit of purpose and meaning. A hand print on a cave wall.

I went through a period of asking myself whether ancient people would understand modern music at all. If we could go back in time and hand a laptop to some hunter-gatherer and say ‘make something’, what would it sound like? What are the fundamentals of human expression?

The album sounds to me like an album of contrasts; light and dark, loud and quiet, calm and chaos. As much as the album is light and hopeful in tone, there are also harsher elements and moments that sound almost ominous. Was this something you considered in the creation process?

There aren’t many conscious considerations with my workflow. I might focus on a thought or feeling and try to make that super-vivid. I might imagine a strange combination of emotional states like stress and serenity in the same frame. Perhaps I am inspired by opposites, or maybe it’s just these states really do overlap in day to day life.

The moments of serenity in the record sound particularly influenced by traditional folk stylings, why was this important to you? What made the combining of these influences with more “traditional” electronic sounds appealing?

I think we have quite a stale vision of innovation at the moment, caught between a bland utopia on one hand, and a non-existent past on the other. I sometimes think about all the world’s wisdom being slowly lost to the passage of time and modernity. We are very self-referential as a culture, but we may not have all the answers. The dichotomy between progress and tradition doesn’t necessarily exist.

What (if anything) do you hope listeners take away from the project?

A feeling of connection with another human being.

Mirelet Unsette Moiyana is out now on Kaleidoscope, get it here.

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