The Irish duo Lakker have a way of showing us how the sound and the spirit of techno has developed beyond just the obvious four-to-the-floor beat. The 22nd FIBER podcast is a good example of fluidity due to the overlapping of form and style in sound as well as in visual design. “Techno for us is more a sound, intensity and feeling rather than a specific pattern. We also wanted to mix this with some of our more UK influences, like some of the interesting rhythms that Funky and Dubstep have produced.”
Lakker aka Dara Smith and Ian McDonnell have released their records on labels such as Blueprint, Killekill and Stroboscopic Artefacts. Their output is rather difficult to categorize, as their releases shift between rhythmically dense techno and ambient. In addition to that the various podcasts they have released are even more difficult to pin down. Their recent mix for Electric Deluxe, for example, gives an insight in their musical origins:
“We both started with metal then on to rave/hardcore, gabba, breakcore and Birmingham techno, then on to ‘IDM’ and the old Warp/Rephlex sound, then a bit of electroacoustic and now a mix of everything from UK funky to techno to ‘experimental’ sound design, contemporary classical, noise, pop… anything honest that has an impact, emotionally or physically, on us.”
Dara and Ian like to mix things up; techno with UK influences and some field recordings, but their music is also accompanied with visuals. On their website you can find these animated GIFs that refer to their music. Dara, who is responsible for these visuals, is hooked on the captivating designs made by the Dutch graphic designer Karel Martens.
Martens uses a grid in his graphic designs, but instead of holding tight to the contour of the grid he lets form and colour overlap outside the grid. These collisions lead to a complex structure composed out of simple graphical forms and primary colours, resulting in a captivating whole of hybrid forms and vivid colours. “You have to play with a grid, just as you have to play with reality” says Martens in a documentary on his work.
Dara explains how there is a connection between the workflow of Martens and their visuals and sound: “I’ve always loved big bold simple graphic shapes, and wanted to see how much I could do with three shapes that make up our logo and a few strong colours. This is a method of working that carries over from my approach to making music where I’ll come up with a very tight rule and see how much I can do from within the constraints.” As such, Lakker’s productions and Martens’ designs exemplify how stretching up boundaries from within a chosen aesthetic can lead to surprising circular and colourful interpretations, both musically and visually.