The idea of someone who just casually produces intricate, awesome music as part of their daily routine really resonates with me. In a world in which every aspect of our lives is stage-managed to the nth degree – tweets are drafted and redrafted, status updates quality controlled and that’s all before we even get to dressing ourselves – the notion of just throwing something together, putting it out there and seeing what people make of it is as radical as it is inspiring. Berlin local Siriusmo (aka Moritz Friedrich) is just about the best approximation of the casual superstar I’ve come across in recent times. While Siriusmo is a prolific recording artist, evidenced by 17 EP releases in a career spanning just 13 years, he only released his first official studio album in 2011, titled ‘Mosaik’ – a random assortment of the things he found interesting, particularly in the keyboard world (part techno, part glitch, part nu-disco, part video game), at the time. Between then and now he put out compilation disc ‘Pearls & Embarrassments’, a brutally honest reflection on his oeuvre to date. And June 14, the , and remixer will release his sophomore effort, ‘Enthusiast’. ‘Enthusiast’ comes defined as “a person who is highly interested in a particular activity or subject.” With ‘Itchy’ you finally get the sense that Siriusmo’s love of music is no longer a passing fascination.
As a professional artist (painter/illustrator/graf man) Siriusmo lives off temporary jobs, dabbling in construction work now and then. Elements of both those day jobs bubble through on ‘Itchy’ which is also probably one of the most aptly named songs I’ve heard in a while. First, there is his ability to build. That ‘Itchy’ starts off so sparse, random beats and jumpy synths, and manages to still have a hold of your attention a full three and a half minutes later is testament to Siriusmo’s skill as a construction worker – the foundations of ‘Itchy’, while seemingly simple, are undeniably strong. Then there is the artistic aspect. That is where, in the hands of someone less creative, ‘Itchy’ could easily have fallen over. With a base layer as straightforward as that energetic synth line, the temptation is to throw everything you have in your beat-maker’s arsenal at it in order to impress your listener by just how expansive you can make it. Instead, Siriusmo does without cliche (bar, perhaps, that abrupt slowdown at 1’40″ which I love so much I am more than comfortable to overlook) and, in a way that reminds me of the best Simian Mobile Disco, lays certain pathways out on the sonic table only to throw it into reverse and track back another way the next bar. A combination of this ability to confound expectations and a reluctance to showboat makes ‘Itchy’ an immersive listen.
The amount of detail packed into this track is astounding. Stylistically, Siriusmo seems to be about exposing the component layers of tracks fleetingly only to then obscure this brief glimpse of simplicity by piling them all on top of each other again. It is the keen awareness of this composition that distinguishes tracks like ‘Itchy’ from more mainstream electronic music which tends to mix so thoroughly that any original minutiae is lost. Accordingly, this is not quite for the nightclub but it’s definitely too lively to remain constrained to your headphones. Listening back, of his lengthy back catalogue, the Boys Noize and Modeselektor contemporary (apparently there is something of a German techno clique going on), has said, “On each record there is one song that I still like, the rest – unfortunately – is shit.” That contention may or may not hold up historically but if anything is sure, ‘Itchy’ has got to be one of the tracks the self-deprecation extraordinaire might look back on and be proud of.
Siriusmo – Itchy