MIX ONE

“When Construct approached me about doing a “home listening” mix, I knew immediately what I wanted to do for it. In previous ambient/experimental mixtapes, I had begun experimenting with making multi-track collages in Ableton, stacking denser sounds and sculpting them more fully than would be possible with just turntables and a mixer. This time, I wanted to see how far I could push that technique.

I spent a few weeks selecting tracks—current obsessions as well old favorites, some dating back to when I was just 14 years old—and began fitting them together. The music more or less dictated the structure: certain tracks fit together almost as though they were stems of the same piece, and the overall mix gradually came together in nodes and clusters. The hard part was finding elements to connect those in a way that contributed to the overall flow. My initial goal had been to have a minimum of two tracks playing at any given point, so that you never heard a song in its unmixed state. That soon proved unwieldy, however: things got too busy, and I found that I was piling things on just for the sake of piling them on. There’s a stretch of the mix that more or less segues from track to overlapping track, but there are also passages of three or even four simultaneous tracks, and at one point, I added a synthesizer pedal tone to help facilitate a blend.

The title, “Radiator Songs,” will become obvious from a glance at the tracklisting, but it also fit the creepy cast of the music, as well as the occasional sounds of hissing steam or bubbling water that kept cropping up. (I also thought it fitting because the mix turned out to be surprisingly tuneful in places, much more so than I had anticipated.) In the end, a kind of narrative began to suggest itself, and I had the impression of a haunted heating unit building pressure, clanking and wheezing and singing to itself in the dark. The mix was made in the depths of winter, and it probably sounds like it.”PHILIP SHERBURNE