With the debut mini-album of his new project Olekhar, experienced Canadian DJ of Ukrainian origin Alexander Harris presents his personal vision of how the music of the future may sound.
“Jays in Space” results from a successful experiment in the hybrid crossing of spacey electro with proto-house. Although light and unobtrusive at first glance, this music is made with laboratory precision. In each of the five tracks of the mini-album, Olekhar deftly hid many cultural codes: echoes of the 90s, the influence of different scenes, and the legacy of cult labels.
“I played my first vinyl set when I was a schoolboy in 1999,” the artist recalls. Since then, he has actively performed as a DJ and worked as a bartender in a vinyl store in the early 2000s. It is not surprising that now, when many forgotten styles of electronica of the 90s have received a fresh impulse, Olekhar combines them into a new brew with Doctor Strange’s dexterity.
Every detail of “Jays in Space” captures the zeitgeist succinctly. The hilarious cover looks like it was made in one of the first graphic editors, while the album itself was exclusively produced in the old-school Logic 9 DAW. “I was not chasing new technologies. I worked in the well-known Logic 9 and used the sounds of the Yamaha DX-200, Dave Smith Tetra, and VST synthesizers from LingPlug, which new editors no longer support,” Olekhar admits.
As a result, “Jays in Space” rests on two pillars: minimalist breakbeat house in the spirit of Leftfield and early progressive. A couple of years ago, Roza Terenzi, No Moon, and Alex Kassian brought this sound back into fashion. Olekhar continues and develops their ideas. For example, how the rhythm section works here makes distinguishing between steady four-on-the-floor patterns replacing broken rhythms and vice versa somewhat tricky. A classic trippy trick: Olekhar deliberately confuses and directs our attention away from dissecting music in favor of the sensations within. In some tracks, the trip is enhanced by ambient elements, or as it is called in Japan, kankyo ongaku, which can be translated as “environment music.” But if the pioneer of the genre, Hiroshi Yoshimura, listened to nature, Olekhar is seeking alien sounds as if they’re coming from space. These otherworldly passages pop up here and there. And they are scattered across the tracks so freely as if Olekhar’s sequencer violated the laws of gravity at some point.
Other than that, “Jays in Space” indulges in Balearic (“Astro Surf”), classic deep techno, and James Holden’s micro-house with glitches. And this combo makes a gentleman’s set for any DJ for contemplative afterhours once rave euphoria settled in.
Olekhar’s debut mini-album is released on his Jays in Space record label.
“Jays in Space” is available on streaming platforms and for purchase on Bandcamp and Juno Downloads.
Written by: Alejandro Serrano
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