The futuristic pop of AGF/Delay returns as the duo drop their long-awaited second album BPitch Control…
words: Andy McColgan
When you think of Ellen Allien’s BPitch Control imprint, you don’t immediately think of pop music. You think of Modeselektor, Sascha Funke, Paul Kalkbrenner, Ben Klock, but not pop. AGF/Delay – is the avant-electronic project of poet and producer Antye Greie (aka AGF) and her significant other Sasu Ripatti, better known as Vladislav Delay and Luomo – might just change that. This month sees the release of AGF/Delay’s second album, Symptoms, the long-awaited follow-up to 2005’s Explode. It’s been described as futuristic pop, but it’s also a challenging and unsettling piece of work, as well as a real grower.
Not necessarily one for the conventional clubbing experience, the album veers towards the off-kilter and haunting realms of Fever Ray’s recent eponymous offering – albeit with a sound that’s harder and more likely to induce nightmares (in the best possible sense). Symptoms features 11 song-based tracks which creep up on the listener in a sinister but bewitching manner – from the broken techno pop of Connection, to the glitchy electro weirdness of Generic, the record is a surreal but strangely compelling proposition. Layered with futurist dub and digital clicks and beats, and held together by the distorted and disturbing vocals of Antye, the album still manages to retain an organic and natural sound. Imagine what Yoko Ono or Laurie Anderson would sound like if they were hanging out with the BPitch Control team. A beguiled EQ caught up with Antye to find out more…
Why the long gap between Explode and this follow-up?
Oh, other commitments, projects, and a different focus. Also, I gave birth to our daughter and we moved to Finland, but mostly we needed time to know what we wanted to collaborate about.
Can you tell us a bit about the other musical projects you’re involved with?
There are a lot, but here’s a summery of our current projects. I do Lappetites; I’m working on film music for a new Chris Petit movie commissioned by Channel 4; I work with Double Dutch, a modern circus outfit; a Gudrun Gut and AGF collaboration is due in September; I’ve worked on Die Mauer, a reflection on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Walll and I’ve worked with performance group Bothnian Draale Pack. Sasu has just released the Luomo album Convivial, and is about to release a new Vladislav Delay album. He’s also about to release a record with the Moritz von Oswald Trio and his own Vladislav Delay quartet. I also see him disappear into the studio and make film music and some secretive things I’m not allowed to know about. And we both travel a lot and perform music in all parts of this planet.
How do these projects compare with the music you make as AGF/Delay?
Maybe an outsider should talk about that – I feel I am too close to see the trees…
We think the album’s great. How has it been received so far?
I get a lot of good feedback from people who usually are not too crazy about my stuff, and vice versa. And that’s good, I think. My prediction has been that critics will not be too impressed but that the record actually works on an easy-listening level – which is something I have not done before. I see the danger, but I’m intrigued by the effect. I’m still waiting for some bombs to explode. There is a huge fan community who likes our take on things – loyal in general. We are waiting for their feedback and response.
Was the idea to make a challenging and yet ‘pop’ electronic record?
Yes! I love the vocals and lyrical content of the record. We both wrote lyrics on this record. Sasu gave me 10 or 12 documents – some of them I just sang straight on some sketches and they mostly worked. I wrote some stuff in the woods. We were looking for a rather strong, violent language.
You are joining an amazing roster of artists at Bpitch Control. How are they to work with as a label?
We can not say yet, really. We just started. I think it will be good…
Can you tell us a bit about your audiovisual shows?
We travel a lot, and Sasu and me take photos a lot when we travel, so we thought we’d show those shots and photos of our trips. I mixed them up with topics such as street art or doors or urban footage or people, so in some songs you see only street art, but from all over the world – South America, Japan, Europe. It’s interesting and a global review in a way.