WORDCOLOUR


NSMA-MIX-001




Our first mix comes from London-based experimental composer, Nicolas Worrall aka Wordcolour.
An exhilarating hour of bright, moody textures and intricate electronics spanning between ambient and breakbeat.

We’ve been fans for sometime, transfixed by the sparse productions that have seeped out of his arsenal into the digital sphere.

Meticulous compositions that have found a peculiar balance of delicacy and devastation, no better realised than his production ‘Rounds’ an accompaniment to Es Morgan’s contemporary dance show ‘Mum, I'm in the fourth dimension, see!', devised from warm arpeggio synth lines that spiral around your consciousness like a blanket, sheltering from shards of bass that pierce thereafter. 

His NSMA-MIX continues to explore such sounds to a dizzying effect.

Where his exceptional 'Blowing Up The Workshop' mix, was an intimate manifestation of ambient-led sounds coloured with ASMR and vintage film samples (and lauded as RA’s Mix of the Day & Pitchfork's Best 20 Mixes of 2019 no less), here he flexes a more grittier selection of tracks destined for peaktime club listening.

Stream the mix above and read our interview with him below.

Artwork - 'The Body Beyond' by Matthew Stone


First of all, thanks for kick-starting our mix series - stoked to have you!
I think seeing as we’ve just entered a new decade, that’d be a decent place to start. Any resolutions for 2020?

I always have the same NY resolution which is to “Get My Shit Together”. This year my resolution is to be more specific with my goals.

Could you tell us about your collaboration with Es Morgan? How did that come about?

So I collaborated with Es last year on their piece “Mum, I’m in the fourth dimension, see!”. Es is a queer performance artist and writer who’s practice draws on contemporary dance, live art and drag. The piece itself explores themes of gender, identity, lost utopian futures, and the very real dystopian futures of climate crisis and rising nationalism.

I’ve known Es for a while and originally got involved when they were developing the piece in 2018 with their dramaturg Charlie Ashwell.  It began with me outside-eyeing in rehearsals and just helping choose appropriate music cues for different sections.  But the three of us seemed to have a really good common language and so these sessions led to Es and Charlie asking me to write the music.

It was a really interesting project to work on.  I was trying to reflect this idea of lost futures in the music and so was looking for soundworlds that represented a past idea of what the future might feel like.  I ended up referencing Vangelis a lot.  But then also trying to contrast this with sounds that could only ever exist in the present moment: wind, a match striking, a breath etc.


Is this something you’d like to continue exploring into other mediums; soundtracks for films or art exhibitions maybe?

Yes, definitely! I feel like one of the exciting things about wordcolour as a project is that it can mean lots of different things.  
From being a club DJ and producer, through to more ambient or experimental work and collaborations with artists from other disciplines.

Around two thirds through your ‘BUTW’ mix, there’s a gorgeous triplet of ‘Rainbow-led’ samples, that climaxes with the touching YouTube Clip of one man’s encouter with a double rainbow. It feels like the full affirmation of bittersweet - both hilarious and melancholic in equal measures.

What inspired you to choose those samples?

I actually had this idea kicking around for years I think. The idea of cutting up Judy Garland and Kermit the Frog and getting them to kind of duet, and then pairing them with this youtube video.  It went viral in around 2009, and it’s basically just one guy somewhere on the outskirts of Yellowstone National Park filming this double rainbow and being completely overwhelmed by what he sees.  His emotional reaction seems just way over the top and I think the video went viral because people found it so funny.

I was interested in it because his tone of voice is so evocative and I wanted to see if I can reframe it to get us to feel something of what he felt.  It’s still funny but it’s also kind of sad and moving too. In general with the BUTW mix I was mostly interested in choosing vocal samples for their emotional tone. Letting that be almost more important than the content of what anyone is saying, letting it be the main guiding force behind the mix. 

It’s like how you walk into a room and all your friends are laughing and you laugh too before you know what the joke is, or you hear someone speaking in a language you don’t understand and if they sound very distressed you feel distressed too.  There’s something deep in our biology that means we respond very strongly to tone of voice and with the BUTW mix I was interested in playing with that.

You ever clocked a double rainbow?

Once I think. So intense.

Your unreleased productions have already gathered support from likes of Hessle Audio mainstay Joe, and R&S affiliate Yak.
When can we expect these to be officially released?

Yeah, it’s been really nice to see those tracks getting played a bit! Hopefully my debut EP should be coming out in the second half of this year.
Keeping the details close for now but watch this space.

Finally, tell us about this guest mix and what we can expect next from you?

So this is much more of a club mix - the sort of stuff I’d play out.
I’ve only been DJing for a year or so, so doing a mix like this is about me exploring what I like and how I enjoy stitching things together.

There’s some producers I really love in here. The mix starts with a track by Flaty who had an amazing album out last year called “Generic TARGZ”.  
It ends with a forthcoming Minor Science remix that you should all keep your eyes out for because it’s the best.

This year I’m looking forward to playing out more as a DJ, and writing more music!
I’m also feeling like this might be the year of 160BPM.  Let’s see.