PURE Guest.010 Silvia Kastel
Fluid sounds ingeniously dissolving boundaries.
Italian experimental music producer Silvia Kastel developed her musical style in NYC and Berlin, and is now based in London. She has been immersed in the Italian avant-garde electronic scene since her precocious teens. Kastel grew out of a scene where the lines between free jazz, noise, industrial, sound art and all things extreme were fluid. Her past experiences have equipped her with a set of skills and values that are rarely seen in clubs. Her background as a trained sound engineer and a regular improviser gave her an edge. Over her career, she's explored a myriad of genres, including no wave, dub, minimalism, improvisation, etc. Kastel's debut album "Air Lows," released on London-based label "Blackest Ever Black" in 2018, includes an even wider and deeper range of influences than before, grasped the steady rhythmic pulse of dub, and fused it with the musique concrète and unique synth sounds inspired by Japanese minimalism and techno. It's a vivid and extraordinary work that brought a fresh perspective to electronic music.
As a resident guest of NTS Radio, then this year she was also invited by the "Dekmantel Selectors" and avant—pop music scene "C2C Festival (Club To Club)." Kastel's tracklists are as exploratory as her own music, taking in pop, dub, leftfield and experimental club sounds from across the globe. Her mixes don't make you feel stuffy and keep the sense of hearing fresh, they are forward-looking and inspiring.
Did you go in a specific direction for the mix? What were you trying to get across with the track selection, would you describe yourself as a digger? How do you find and buy records?
This mix is a condensed version of what I played in London last weekend at Venue MOT. I gravitated towards groovy, sensual beats and fun, catchy vocals. I'm also a sucker for a nostalgic pop edit, so you'll hear some Sonique and Destiny's Child. Also had to play Namasenda's classic "OK Bye" to close as I 100% relate to the mantra "24/7, 365, I've been on my grind yea I've been on my grind." That's my life at the moment trying to juggle full time studying, work, a music career, moving and two lovely spoiled cats. Yes I love digging - I mostly find music on Bandcamp, promos I receive, friends.
Would you like to use this occasion to introduce one of your album or tracks? What was the concept of it?
I've just released my second-ever remix at the end of October. The label Mais Um approached me to remix a track from Howie Lee's album "Birdy Island". It was already one of my favourite releases of the year so it was a no brainer. I chose "Time To The Sun" as it was the song I resonated to the most emotionally. It features YEHAIYAHAN, who's an amazing singer. I loved working on it and the challenge of distilling that emotion I felt for the first time hearing it. I broke the track into three sections. In the intro, I recorded the main melody layering strings and FM synths, which I thought made it very romantic and cinematic. Then I stripped down the original to just the voices and percussion with added harmonies here and there. The third and final part is my favourite, I took apart the melody again and just had fun with the synths and voices, it's eerie yet still emotional. (I hope)
We can feel that you continue to break through your own boundaries and explore many different genres, and we believe that you will continue to develop in the best way in the future. What motivates you?
Music has got me through so much in life, and I see the power it has over people. That motivates me, sharing emotions with no need for words. I'd like to write lyrics again at some point but also really enjoy the power of vocalisations and sound alone. Making music is something I don't have conscious control over, I just need to do it. It's hard to be creative when I'm feeling anxious and stressed sometimes, but I'ver learned to accept it and not try to force things out of myself. It's kind of basic but ironically, I've made much more music since I started thinking like that. Pushing yourself all the time isn't necessarily a good thing, for me it was about finding a "good" type of anxiety, a simultaneously productive and forgiving one, so to speak.
Did you have any ambitions other than music?
I'm into psychology, biology and neuroscience. I'm currently studying and I haven't narrowed down a specific area of research yet. Broadly speaking, it will involve music and its effects on the brain.
After living in Italy, you also went to NYC and Berlin, and finally chose to live in London. How did that decision come about?
I grew up in the South of Italy, lots of farms, beaches, etc. Sounds idyllic, but the downside was of course the general narrow-mindedness and extreme isolation. I basically had no friends, didn't fit in. I resorted to the internet like every other teen, to pursue my interests and not go insane. As soon as I finished school I moved to NYC, studied sound engineering, did internships, met lots of musicians and artists, formed a band. Years after I moved to Berlin to pursue my solo career, and I started dj'ing. The Berlin years were very important and formative, but I never felt at home there. I always wanted to live in London and I missed the cultural diversity that I experienced in NY. Besides, I wanted to go back to study and it's easier for me here in English.
Which artists or labels have pricked your ears recently? Could you share with us some of your favourite movies or artists?
Labels: Youth (Manchester), Osare Editions (Amsterdam), Enmossed (US), Chinabot (London) to name a few
Film: Éliane Radigue – Échos by Eléonore Huisse and François J. Bonnet. Éliane Radigue is one of my favourite artists ever who completely changed my approach to music. I love this film as it's an intimate look into her creative process, as well as her personality.
Artists: Too many! Last week I got this book from Tomoko Fuse, who is an amazing origami artist. FeyFey is a super interesting young designer based in London, she did a great shoot with Hanna Moon earlier this year. Her clothes are inflatable and almost mascot-like. I mean that in the best possible way, mascots are pure art.
Photo Credit: Amy Gwatkin, Marco Torri
Hagan – On Sight
Erik Luebs – Alarmed
SPEKTRALSOUND – Big Up
Aluna – Envious (Sharda Remix)
Sharda – Tunnel Vision
Toddska – Cowboy
Aæe – Volvo
Blck Mamba – What U Gonna Do (w/Rouge)
Baltra – Work It Out (Martyn Bootyspoon Remix)
Gage – Floodgates Minimal Dub
ukd – Blackdown
Wachita China – D1E AND REPEAT (SANSIBAR Suelo Mix)
OSSX – IT FEELS SO GOOD (OSSX edit)
RZ Canin – Consulate
Nikki Nair – Low Dimension
Lag – Kontrola
HUUMO – Fortune Cookie
Slikback – SMOKE
Yushh – Periwink
Arad – State Of Her Boat ft. Stine Omar
benuebermensch – CORONA MAKES ME LOSE MY BREATH
La Materialista ft N-Fasis – Taka Taka (Siu Mata Edit)
Lycox X JLZ – Beat com Qualidade
D'CANTWO JR., MORIS BEAT & NÍDIA – BOUGE LE CORPS
De Schuurman – Nu Ga Je Dansen
Lechuga Zafiro – Sapo Diablo
Zaliva-D – End Of The Sky (Skyshaker Fem4Fem Edition)
Cecile Believe – Drop
MMM – Everything Falls Into Place
Blawan – Under Belly
Davia x MRo – Breathe (Traz Agua Remix)
Namasenda – Ok Bye
© 2023 PURE G