Stefan Smith


Stefan Smith has channeled an elevated reverence for process, texture and synth-extrapolation with the release of Stefan Smith on the Sapiens imprint. A relative new-comer to the land of rapid-fire releases and dance floor formulae, Smith is deeply steeped in the art of music creation, performance and theory. As a graduate of Mills College's revered music department, Smith's prosaic understanding of music partially explains his migration to Sapiens, a label headquartered in Paris, France, which, under the direction of techno luminary Agoria, has been expanding the realm of possibility for what a techno label can become. Collaborating with musicians, visual artists, film directors, shamans and sound designers, the young Sapiens platform releases may include "political speeches, radio hits, dance floor tunes, sensorial or cognitive music or a gentle computer virus". Smith's contribution will definitely fall on the more delicious end of this spectrum, having woven a synth-lover's dream tapestry. The nine tracks composing Stefan Smith draw the listener in on a river of oscillators, which push just past the banks of perceptible sound with with flawless production and loving sound treatment. The idea behind the album is very raw and organic. Smith focuses on atmosphere, mood, tones, and frequencies, rather than melodies. His productions are a response to the subliminal, and about feeling. This album came together from a natural flow of working with computers and synthesizers, and also from the musical connection fostered with Sebastien Devaud (Agoria). His approach to the album's production was to edit as little as possible, keeping the original feeling of chance and temporality intact. We can sense here Smith's intuition as sound designer, a role which has enabled him to work with artist Nicolas Becker and through this association further contribute work to Philippe Parreno's Anywhen exhibition at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall. The feedback generated by studio experimentation gives birth to new ideas for aural shapes and textures. If one were only to lie back and identify the various wave forms, like butterflies and birds flittering through dappled sunlight, in each track's canopy of bountiful synth elements the mind's eye would dance with the steady intervals of Smith's real-time probe of his machinery; however, deep tracts of emotion and effortless grooves won't allow for a purely sensory listen. In the spirit of exploration, enjoy the ride.