Review: Booshank - Operating With A Blown Mind
Emerging from the depths of the Melbourne club scene, shrouded in dreamy ambience and ready to wind you up, is Booshank. Operating with a Blown Mind, coming off the Butter Sessions label this Friday, is a record of synthesis between downtempo galactic sounds and their club-ready counterparts.
The cascading synths of F.T.H. are a perfect introduction to the record, drawing you in until you’re far away, bouncing to the warped claps and wondering how you got there. This layering of low-fi bass with crisper, gentler synths is a welcome continuation of the work we’ve last seen of Booshank via Domestic Documents, this time around showing an even greater sense of control across the journey of the track. As it peaks into euphoric melodies and even some xylophonic tendencies, the wavy ambient track Andys is more than welcome. Its syncopated beat and oceanic soundscape gently sways you side by side and keeps you calm before the storm; sudden reverbed synths hint at something more, a mixing dream meaning this track could easily find its way into the halftime of a set near you.
Though if you’re not one for meditation on the dancefloor, this record’s still got you with an exciting cameo from Japanese producer Gonno, whose own warm, minimal techno matches up nicely with Booshank’s. With an impressive stockpile of danceable tracks and collaborations with the likes of Nick Höppner, Gonno’s remix of Andys is a welcome booster to the EP, priming it for the dancefloor with breakbeat and acid elements. The original track’s dreamy elements are seamlessly mixed with a more loop-driven and chaotic sound in the foreground, a warm up for Booshank’s energised finale in Come On Honey. The sparing use of warped piano makes this track, bursting through at the midpoint to tease just how big this track could be, before settling back into the delightful, cascading synths that are so central to this record.
A bedroom record, a midday sway and a club stalwart all in one, Operating with a Blown Mind is your all-rounder for the winter sessions.
We exchanged words with Booshank on the record:
What got you back onto producing after a break of a couple years? What have you been up to since your last release?
Actually most of the Butter Sessions EP was recorded a couple of years ago, I spent a bit of time with the label finalizing details which delayed the process a bit. I think the end result is definitely worth the extra effort we put in. I've been studying hard for the last couple of years so it's been hard to find time and energy to out into music.I also find that when I spend time away from making music it takes me a while to get back into a productive head space, so yah it's been frustratingly slow on that front. I've made a lot of time recently to work on music, focusing in particular getting better at finishing ideas. Funnily enough I was getting into Eurorack around the time of my Fjord Falcon EP on my label in 2017. I'm amazed I managed to get that release done and then get the label off the ground with all the distraction!
Can we expect to see more of you in line-ups around Melbourne?
I'm well and truly over regular DJing. I played regularly in clubs and bars around town from 2004 until a couple of years ago. For a period I was very connected with that, and found club DJ gigs as a great emotional and creative outlet. I guess my tastes have moved on and I'm finding other ways to exercise those parts of myself. That said I still really enjoy DJing with friends. It's a great experience to collaborate on creating a time-limited vibe. You know how it goes though, you've got to work if you want to play gigs that don't suck, and I haven't been working for that to happen for me. For years I've been wanting to get a live set together but I haven't found a way to make it work. I've prepared pretty much complete live sets but have felt like I've been forcing it, like it hasn't been an honest expression of myself. It's something I'll keep exploring but for now it doesn't feel right.
Gonno’s remix fits very snugly amongst the record, did you two have much chance to discuss and collaborate, what brought him into the mix for this record?
Yep it's a great remix! I agree that it complements the rest of the record. The process was quite distant actually. Sleep D and myself had a think about who would be good to include, then they put me in touch with him. I sent him the necessary bits and pieces and he took it from there. I figured his back catalog speaks for itself! I'm pretty sure the remix that appears on the record is the first one he submitted. The few remixes I've done have been mostly isolated (from the original artist) experiences. My creative process can get really derailed by someone giving me direction, like it really takes me out of the moment. I extend that same autonomy to people I'm creatively involved with where I can.
What are the plans for production in 2019, both for Booshank as well as a projects like Couch Acid generally?
Well I've produced a baby that we're expecting in a couple of weeks, I don't think that anything I do in the studio can top that! I've got some time-off booked for when she's born, and am hopeful that in between changing nappies and marveling at fresh life I'll find time to make some music. As mentioned earlier I've had a very busy couple of years, so I've put my label Couch Acid on ice for the time being. When I was planning the label I agreed with myself that I'd do two or three releases then see how I feel, whether or not I want to continue. I did four releases over about 18 months and am very proud of the whole project. I'm always coming across artists that I'd like to do a release with but don't have the time or money to do it properly at the moment. I've also been considering the environmental impacts of releasing music on physical formats, and am conflicted about being responsible for creating plastic that will one day end up in land fill. That said, there's allot of pleasure in holding something you love, so maybe music records, tapes, books, artwork etc get a pass? We need to be super careful about what we consume, even more so about what we produce. It's crazy to think that all the plastic that's ever been produced still exists as plastic, and that it will never naturally break down into it's constituent parts. We're already fucked if we can't solve that problem.