048 - Kate NV
I'm delighted to welcome our latest guest, the extremely talented Russian producer Kate Shilonosova (aka 'Kate NV' or simply 'NV'). I first heard Kate's music thanks to our previous guest, and trusted musical mind, Alan Briand (aka Shelter). After he suggested I pick up 'Binasu', Kate's first solo release on Keith Rankin's always intriguing Orange Milk records, I found an unusual blend of abstract ambient and avant-garde, Japanese influenced, pop. Like many good pop records, it was a case of love at first listen. Yet with each additional exploration (of which there continues to be many) Binasu offers something more, something new - and there in lies the brilliance of Kate NV.
Whilst the LP seems to have been a little overlooked by the mainstream music media, Kate's work has not gone unnoticed amongst label heads, curators and music fans. With releases for RVNG and a recent US tour with the magical Jessy Lanza it would be no surprise to see her audience expand quickly.
Under the NV moniker, Shilonosova's work focuses heavily on vocal play, often warping and manipulating the voice into something surreal. With her selections here it is clear that vocal performance and manipulation is as much a part of the music she listens to as it is the music she makes. It's a perfectly curated selection of tracks that offers an insight into the mind of one of the most exciting producers around, taking listeners on a psychedelic voyage into the weird but wonderful world of experimental pop and abstract electronica.
I spoke with Kate about her mix, her Japanes influences and what's to come in the future. You can also find a tracklist at the bottom of the page.
Hey Kate, thanks so much for the mix, it’s great. Can you tell us a bit about the selections you made, there seems to be a real focus on vocal work?
Yes, seems so. I guess it is something subconscious.Vocal is my main instrument and i pay a lot of attention to phonetics. The way “the word” sounds is as important as the meaning of the word itself. Thats why i’m so interested in deconstruction of words into syllables and separate sounds.
I like to explore the possibilities of voice integration into the music texture — sampling, voice synths, laughter, whisper and melodeclamation. Laurie Anderson inspires me and I like Paul Lansky, cause he was focusing on processing human voice a lot. the track here is from the album “alphabet book” where voices repeat letters from the alphabet randomly. I’m also a great fan Nobukazu Takemura, the album 10th is one of my faves.I also feel that marimba quite closely imitates the human speech so Midori Takada was an obvious choice right after Paul Lansky’s track. My mix ends with my own track from RVNG label compilation called “peaceful protest”. It is called “ear / ухо” where i also used some voice synths
You’ve just finished touring the States with Jessy Lanza, who is obviously wonderful, how was that? Any plans to collaborate?
The tour was amazing! Jessy and her team are just wonderful guys! i have a feeling that we all knew each other for ages. such a rare thing! and i feel so lucky that it all happened to me. Honestly speaking i was pretty nervous before my flight to canada (the tour started in Edmonton) cause it all was surreal for me— it was even hard to imagine that Jessy found out about me through the internet and suggested to join her on tour, cause i live on the other side of an ocean, i’m from russia (and its pretty far away) and we have never seen each other before the tour :) but everything was just great and i have warm memories of that time.
And sure i would love to work with Jessy and we have some plans but its a bit difficult to work when you are not in the same room together. But i really really hope that we will figure something out
I actually heard your music for the first time through our most recent Métron collaborator, Alan Briand aka Shelter. He sent me ‘Inn’ which is such a great track and has this real Japanese sound to it, so much so that it reminded me of the recently reissued Mariah record - I understand you’re a big fan of Japanese music culture, were there some Japanese releases in particular that inspired some of the sounds on ‘Binasu’?
Oh I love Mariah so much, but I actually can not say say that “inn” reminds me of this brilliant band. I wish I could make something as beautiful as their record haha. I hope someday I will.
I guess Binasu was really inspired by Hosono’s “Philarmony” and Chakra “Satekoso”, Picky Picninc, Akiko Yano, Hiroshi Yoshimura and of course Haniwa chan :) and actually lots of other amazing artists from YEN label
There’s a real balance in your music between pop and avant-garde experimentation, when you go from the glistening sounds of ‘Inn’ for example, to the more abrasive ‘Grass in the Woods’, the contrast between those two parts of your sound is really stark. It's one of my favourite aspects of the record, was that something you planned, or just something that happened organically?
it just happened naturally, most of the tracks from the album came from the same period of time. But I actually thought that probably no one will understand this weird combination of ambient and pop songs. This is where Japanese albums from 80s helped me a lot cause Hosono’s “philarmony” also contains super ridiculous pop tracks along with ambient and thoughtful music. And i never felt that it sounds illogical. Binasu—is just a part of me and my life and the reflection of the way i perceived music in that period of time. And i thought that if it feels natural for me, then probably it would be ok for everyone.
In general Binasu sounded very different from Pink Jungle and your work with Glintshake, your latest output for RVNG was also another sonic shift - do you have in mind already a follow up to Binasu and what it might sound like?
I always percieved writing music as a creation of a scientific work. The world changes, you change and your music also changes. Every album is a new scientific work. It could differ from the previous one, or could be a continuation. The goal is to find the right and honest balance between your intuition and your mind while making music. for instance I made the tracks for RVNG really fast—it took me 5 days or so. I dont even remember how i did it. sometimes i really feel that my chair made all these (as Glenn Gould says) and not me. It happened organically, i really feel that this is the best way to create music— like an exploration of your subconsciousness using the tools you have—your mind and some technical skills.
and as for Glintshake—its just another side of me plus most of our tracks come from improvisations (i really like unpredictable result), so its a team work
Anything exciting coming up for the rest of the year?
I’m working on a new material now. Will see how it turns out. Also me and my good friends filmmakers are working on a short movie based on tracks i made for RVNG. Hope we are going to finish it till the end of this fall.
You’re living in Moscow right now I understand, how is the music scene there right now? Can you recommend some local artists that we might not know but should check out?
I think Moscow music scene is in bloom right now! there's a lot of stuff happening. there is a strong techno scene, hip hop scene and post punk scene. Tho i can not say that i can relate myself to any of these haha. i'm a bit an outsider, still dont know if its bad or good.
you should definitely check my close friends “PTU”, Ishome, “PG tune” (Philipp Gorbachev, Obgon) interchain, “full of nothing” record label (like Moa Pillar, love cult, lovozero), “Avec” record label (celebrine), “ГОСТ звук” record label artists (buttechno) and also kedr Livanskiy. and guitar scene like “Пасош”, “Спасибо”, “Lucidvox” , “Fanny kaplan.
Hassel & Eno— Charm
Georgia—Petwo, Reality Souf Broker
Savant - The Neo-Realist
Laurel Halo - Who Won
Visible Cloaks- Valve (Ft. Miyako Coda)
Laurie Anderson— Blue Lagoon
Paul Lansky - pattern's patterns
Midori Takada - crossing
Nobukazu Takemura —FallsLake
Hiroshi Sato - Doncama (ドンカマ)
General strike - next day
Mariah - 不自由な鼠
OPN- Sleep Dealer
K. Leimer - At Daybreak
Kate NV — EAR / УХО
Words & interview by Jack Hardwicke.