060 - Haron

One of my favourite experiences when exploring new art is the thrill of discovery without expectation. Priming information, through reading a review or watching a trailer, is an inevitability of the digital age, but there's still so much to be said for cold discovery, arriving at a project with no background information, no expectations and being a blank canvas for the artist's vision to fall upon.

Often I will only read the first line or summary of a new album review, or watch the first 30 seconds of a movie trailer, before deciding if it is worth the investment of time. When this method pays off, the rewards are fantastic and in 2018 there were few greater examples of this for me than discovering the debut album Wandelaar from our latest featured artist, Dutch producer Haron.

Originally from Afghanistan, Haron’s family relocated to the Netherlands when he was just four. Initially producing hip-hop in his teenage years, he now lives in Amsterdam and it is here that he shifted towards the ambient and classical sounds found on Wandelaar. From the gorgeously gentle piano opening of Lotuseter to the slow scuttling sounds of Selenieten (imagine Aphex Twin's Bucephalus Bouncing Ball played at quarter speed), it's a magical record all the way through to its cinematic conclusion, the brilliantly titled Music for Elbows.

Wandelaar is so complete and fully formed that when eventually I read in further detail about the release, I was a little surprised that Haron had only recently begun producing in the ambient space, having previously worked broadly within techno. Often the album sounds timeless - piano compositions have that way about them - and yet in totality, it still feels overtly contemporary and innovative.

Haron’s inspiration for his Métron mix was the transition of late nights as they shift into early mornings. Flicking between deeply ethereal, trippy cuts to beautifully sparse, mellow textures, TV music and field recordings, it's a fascinating plunge into the infinite possibilities of ambient sound. And frankly, with 35 tracks across 75 minutes, it's just a weird, wonderful and visceral journey that is probably best experienced without any forewarning. So stop reading and jump in.

I spoke briefly to Haron about film, kids TV and what he’s up to at the moment. You can read the full interview beneath the artwork below.

Hey buddy - loved the mix, really interesting. Can you tell us a bit about the selections you made?
The mix is centered around late night movies & early morning children's shows. Particularly that certain point at night  when nighttime television programming switches to daytime programming. Have also been checking out lots of classic Japanese Horrors lately. That's the vibe, by and large.

There's a number of excerpts from Boombah the kids TV show - I didn't know anything about this before so am intrigued as to how you came across the show?
Boohbah is amazing, it's like the strange and bit disturbing cousin of Teletubbies. There was a time in Dutch television history that this was basically the only thing on at night, so there was no choice but to watch Boohbah after coming home from a night out. But I enjoyed it though. Made me have nice dreams. Great music and visuals also, wouldn't be out of character over at Adult Swim. I'm trying to get my little nephew into it, but don't think his parents and grandmama really approve.

Towards the end of the mix there's a great selection from Apichatpong Weerasethakul's amazing film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Any films you've seen of late that you'd like to recommend or talk about?
Ah yes, everybody should watch Tsigoineruwaizen by Seijun Suzuki. His second film after his ten-year sabbatical and the first of his Taishō Roman Trilogy. A departure from his earlier Yakuza-shenanigans (which are great btw) as he turns to an absurdist ghost story in this one. At times truly frightening like Kobayashi's Kwaidan, but executed in idiosyncratic Suzuki manner, eccentric and fairly erotic! Peculiar dance routines alternate with moments of suspense in phantasmagorical fashion. It's the most fun you can have watching a delirium unfold, basically. Sublime stuff.

Another one would be Pather Panchali by Satyajit Rai, the first part of his Apu Trilogy. An Indian Neorealist classic. Had it on my watchlist for a long while but only recently found the right moment to give it a go. Takes its time to build, but delivers an overwhelming second hour and finale. Truly deep imagery, and a great soundtrack by a relatively young and unknown Ravi Shankar. Powerful movie, probably one of my all-time favourites. 

Recent favourites would be The Florida Project and The Rider.

Is working on music for film and television something you would be interested in pursuing?
I actually have worked on some shorts. Maangerij from the Wandelaar album is a rejected track for a TV-movie. All in all, It was a nice experience and I wouldn't mind another interesting project, but it's not an end goal.

Wandeleer was a bit of a departure for you, moving from more electronic sounds to the organic ambient world you created for that record - what inspired the change in direction?
The structures of dance music just didn't work out for me anymore, I found it too narrow and limiting. It was never really that much of a conscious choice, though. Just got interested in other stuff.

Working on anything new at the moment?
Yes, I am preparing a live show for Rewire in March. It's going to be new compositions and elements of Wandelaar, in either 5.1 or quadrophonic format, accompanied by a pianist. Also working on a collaboration with Cucina Povera for a new record on BAKK's Plafond series. Hope we can make that work, loved the album she put out last year!

We always ask for a couple of out there recommendations of stuff you're enjoying at the moment that we might not know?
Prambanan/Mabad by Wahono released on DIVISI62. Great label!日 月 by Chie Mukai & Justin Simon. Terribly overlooked 12 inch. Heavy stuff though.
Fellini's Casanova OST by Nino Rota has been getting a lot of rotation lately.
Everything Mohamed Mounir made from the late 70's to early 90's  The Sexual Loneliness of Jesus Christ by Jackie Leven. Great album also. Love his accordeon-voice on this one.Digging this mix by Kazuya Matsumoto:

I also can't stop listening to this mash-up:

Bruno Nicolai - Flessione
Håkon Stene - Prelude to HS
Luc Ferrari - Feb 2nd, 1975
Bjork - Aurora (Music Box)
Tashi Wada With Yoshi Wada And Friends - Bottom Of The Sky
Etelin - Vixen and Kits
Chris Watson - La Anunciante
Benedict Drew - Crawling Through Tory Slime
Toru Takemitsu - Dreamtime
Chas Smith - October '68
Boohbah S01E02 - Pearly Shells
Hiroshi Yoshimura - Water Planet
Ahnnu - Scaling
Ursula Bogner - Winkel Pong
Nuno Canavarro - O Fundo Escuro De Alsee
Rebecca - Dead Sleep
Boohbah S01E02 - Pearly Shells
Tashi Wada With Yoshi Wada And Friends - Ondine
Ippu-Do - In Time, Out Of Time
Meitei - Moryo
Ahnnu - Intercept
Vito Ricci - Yours
Mołr Drammaz - INGELO (U) IO
Heejin Jang - Restless
Franco Nanni - Part 4 (Toccata II - Sogno II)
Janek Schaefer - Tree At The End Of The World
Boohbah S01E01 - Skipping Ropes
Uwalmassa - Untitled 03
Bernard Parmegiani - Accidents - Harmoniques
Senyawa - Kayu
O Yama O - Iroha
Tokihiko Morishita - 狸囃子
Franco Nanni - Part 4 (Toccata II - Sogno II)
Nuno Cannavaro - Untitled 4
Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr - Dawn Of Boonmee (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives)
Yoshio Ojima - Radio Star
Métron Records 2018. Hampshire, UK.