080 – Art Of Tones

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By now we all know the French have an indelible connection with house music. That majestic period in the mid-late 90′s which shaped what became known as the ‘French touch’ spawned a generation of exemplary house producers, of which a select few have continued to represent those ideals into the now. Ludovic Llorca is one of those select few, and makes his addition to our series under his more club orientated Art Of Tones guise, but his musical accomplishments are far from one dimensional. Under his real name, Llorca was behind a string of big jazzy and soulful house records on F Communication in the 90′s, and his New Comer LP of 2001 was a Future Jazz masterpiece, in similar vein to the timeless work of his fellow countryman of whom he shares the same first name, Ludovic Navarre aka St. Germain.

From the sounds of things Art Of Tones is a name we’ll be hearing a considerable amount more this year, after a year or so without new original material surfacing following his highly regarded records for Room With A View.

We caught up with Ludovic from his modest home studio in Perpignan in the south of France, where it sounds like he’s quite literally living the dream.

After your releases on Room With A View in 2011, we haven’t seen too much new original material from you in 2012, has that been intentional? What have you spent most of your time working on in 2012?

That wasn’t intentional. I worked on many tracks, finished a couple of them, but didnt release them or propose them to any label. I’ve been wanting to finish a “big batch” of tracks for either an album release, or many releases on different labels. I thought about an AOT album for a while, and then decided recently that time wasnt right for this. I realized there were a lot of house / deep house albums released, and nobody cared about them, because they are mainly a collection of dancefloor tracks.

I deeply believe in the concept of an album, but it’s got to be more than gathering some nice tunes. An album, to me, is made to be listened to, from the beginning to the end. Nobody does it anymore today, because they say people have changed their way of listening to music. I think whenever an artist respects this basic rule of creating one long piece of quality music, people are ready listen to 45 mins – 1 hour of good music.

We know you’ve been writing music since the mid 90’s spanning from Techno and Acid to deep and jazzy House, Downtempo and everything in between. Where would you say Art Of Tones fits amongst your broad musical palette?

Art Of Tones was a way for me to get rid of the “jazz-house” sticker people labelled me with. And I wanted to release club tracks, whatever the genre – house, deep house, techno – and stick to a more “electronic” approach, as opposed to the Llorca thing that sounded more “acoustic” and easy to approach.

We know you’re currently based in Perpignan in France, is that where you’ve always been based? What can you tell us about your current studio setup there? Can you see yourself moving abroad anytime in the future?

I moved to perpignan 3 or 4 years ago. I needed to move out of Paris. There wasnt a proper electronic music scene anymore there, and the night life sucks. It’s expensive, with the same parties and same DJs over and over. Even though there were clubs and parties, they didnt offer the kind of music I wanted to hear – at least until last year. You know, DJs like MCDE, Jimpster or The Revenge are not popular there. It’s been slowly getting better for the last 2 years – the last Resident Advisor “Real Scenes” they shot in paris is quite a good picture of the nightlife there.

Anyway, I was tired of it, and thought there was no point wasting so much money there. So I moved to south of France, and let’s sum it up this way: sun everyday, beaches, mountains, very friendly people, excellent food and wine everywhere – these are the kind of things i value, for half the price i was paying in Paris. There aren’t many electronic clubs, but if I really, really want to party, I can drive to Barcelona or Montpellier, it’s about 1hr 30 away.

As for my studio set up, it’s pretty easy: one computer, a keyboard and a mouse. I’m not a “hardware” guy, i’ve been composing with computers for years now – I like it simple, even though I have to admit – I could use some hardware synths, a big console mixer, some compressors and EQ…

I read that you have been working on a new album under your original and arguably better-known Llorca alias, how is that all progressing? What styles will we hear in that album and when might we be able to first hear it?

It sounds less “jazzy” than the first album, obviously. Mainly songs, with a midtempo, modern, funk/soul feel, plus a couple of slightly more electronic tunes. But it’s not a house or deep house album. Its focusing on songs and singers, rather than instrumentals, club tunes and bassdrums. I’ve been working on this LP for while. Maybe too long. Many tracks are ready, I still need to finish a couple of them. And let it go… because i guess at the end, i’m way too demanding about this second album. Thats why i havent released any second Llorca album yet. And because I was busy with the Art Of Tones thing and some side projects.

What can you tell us about this mix, how did you record it and who are some of the artists featuring?

I recorded the mix at home, using serato and vinyls. I spent some time carefully choosing the tracks. I wanted the mix to feature some recent tracks i’m playing in clubs (like the Rainer Trueby remixed by Session Victim), some stuff people may have forgotten about, or never heard of (like this “Soldiers Of Twilight” dub), and some tracks that have been following me through the years – like this “Solitude” track released on Defender 20 years ago, or Optimo’s “Cast Out”, that has been one of my favourite tunes for a long time. Plus a couple of classics like the Earth People track).

I spent some time re-EQing some old tracks that sounded really bad on vinyl (mostly lacking treble) before starting the session. I also wanted the mix to go through different moods, I wanted to sum up in one hour what i would do in a club in 2 or 3 hours – and that wasn’t easy because some of the tracks I picked up were 115 bpm, and some were 128 bpm.

What do you have coming up in the early parts of 2013 that you’re able to tell us about?

I’m finishing this big batch of Art Of Tones tracks and gonna release them as EPs for different labels. Got in touch with a couple of people here and there, but couldn’t tell you where it’s gonna end up. One thing’s for sure: I’m pretty happy with what I have so far, and I guess it’s gonna be a good year for this AOT project!

Tracklist:

Rainer Trueby – Welcome To Our World (Session Victim Remix) [Compost - CPT 408-3]
The Popular People Front – The Principles Of Freakin [PPF]
Soldiers of Twilight – Feeling So High – SOT Mix [Basenotic]
Voyeur – Blame it on the youth [Madtech]
Black Ops – Touch The Light [Losofono]
Jedi Knights – One For M.A.W [Evolution]
Recloose – Electric Sunshine (Andres Remix) [Rush Hour - RH 046]
Blacksmif – Microweight [Blah Blah Blah - BBB 004]
The Unknown Factor – Solitude [Defender] (*)
Boris Werner – Can’t Let Go [Remote Area - REMOTE 021D]
Earth People – Dance (Beats) [Cabaret]
Fulbert – Insouciance [Soul Notes - SN 1204]
Joshua Iz Feat. Diz – It Iz What It Iz (Joshua Iz Vizual Dub) [Vizual - VIZ 006]
Paranoid London – Paris 1 [Paranoid]
The Mole – Last Ditch [Musique Risquee - RISQUEE 021]
Atomfunk – Oustider – The Si Brad Atomfunk Dub [Toko]
Optimo – Caste Out [Specialist Interests - SPEC 002]

Note about The Unknown Factor’s “Solitude” :
Track was part of a concept album released on Defender Music, called “The Unknown Factor : The Basic Factor Album”. Artist names were left unknown, altough the cover quotes Andre Bagley, Deep Dish, Mr Onester and Steven John Craden. The notes say : “We intentionally withheld each track’s producer credit”.

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