Awakenings Easter Thursday
Thu Apr 9
After his first release in 2002 on local Glasgow label "S.U.D.", Alex was soon snapped up by the legendary dance music label, Soma Records, on which he released his seminal first album, "Incommunicado" to critical acclaim in 2004. This deeply emotive release utilized cutting edge production techniques to give birth to a beguiling new style, which was lauded throughout the house and techno community. Tracks, such as the anthemic "Chicca Wappa" and his own vocal masterpiece "Don't See The Point", announced the arrival of an already accomplished newcomer amongst the heavyweights in the scene. Upcoming Berlin indie label Vakant immediately recognized this young producer's extraordinary talent and provided a platform for a series of ep releases that continued to tantalize enthusiasts not only within the techno-driven German capital, until the keenly anticipated arrival in 2006 of album no. 2, "Paradolia", back on Soma. Paradolia is defined as the human ability to creatively perceive coherent images in randomness, an unusual word by anyone's standard, but then Mr Smoke is an artist very far from the ordinary. A Rorschach test this was not, more a sonic experiment that explores the parameters of Alex Smoke's potent psyche. "Paradolia" is swollen with ingenuity and experimentation perfectly suspended in an intoxicating symmetry of melancholy and melody. This release, like its predecessor, welds the influence of disparate genres into one homogeneous opus. In "Prima Materia" Alex unites for example two early influences in Chicago House and Classical, detonating a symphonic explosion, unlike any before. 2006 also saw Alex join the elite wall of fame of Soma's mix compilation series, "Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi.". Following in the footsteps of Ewan Pearson and Luciano, Alex was also given the opportunity to portray influences past, present and future on one release with no prescribed genre-related parameters to his selection. Naturally, the Smoke release is a rich journey through eclectic genres and subgenres, from Burial to Basic Channel through to Model 500. Throughout his relatively short career Alex has become an in-demand remixer, already with remixes for Steve Reich, Depeche Mode, Mylo, Junior Boys, Funk D'Void, Radio 4, Jay Haze and Envoy under his discography belt, to mention but a few. His dynamic live set has, since the first Soma release, been consistently in demand, leaving almost no country on the world map unvisited, nor unimpressed for that matter. This brings us to the here and now. Or should that be the Hum+Haw? For this is the name of Alex's burgeoning label project with former Soma man Jim Hutchison, which will house his forthcoming releases, as well as nurture young Glaswegian talent and international musical electricians. Again you will try in vain to categorize this youthful label on the brink of their first release. Almost out the other end of the pipeline, is an experimental hip-hop collaboration between Alex (providing the electronics) and LA mc, Non, of The Shadow Huntaz fame (delivering the hip and the hop). 2008 will witness Smoke's third studio album and the development of his live set to include more hardware equipment and thereby expand his boundaries and resonance even further. Expect the unexpected.