#61 - Plaster
Shifting things away from the house-flavoured vibes of Manchester veteran Deboa and into deeper, darker territory, the next release in the EPM Podcast comes courtesy of Italian experimental producer Gianclaudio Hashem Moniri, aka Plaster. The podcast takes the shape of a previously unreleased live set, recorded at On Site Festival in Taipei, Taiwan. Composed of 8 live tracks, it is a journey through complex electronic textures and themes; dystopian electronica, fleeting hints of refracted techno, and bleak, robotic atmospherics, all drawn from the darker recesses of the Plaster palette.
Plaster began its existence in Rome in 2008. Originally comprised of Gianclaudio alongside Giuseppe Carlini, the project was built on a shared love of sound both complex and texturally unique. Now functioning as a one-man operation, Plaster’s music is mostly characterized by a sultry attitude, aiming to mix ambient music, deep beats and sharp angular noise. Their technique is attuned towards balancing rough sonic textures against the grain of the audio landscape, with each sound engineered to be starkly appealing, but also to hold great depth, allowing sounds be interpreted and delved into as stories in themselves
Following a number of releases on the exploratory Kvitnu label, Plaster’s path to date has culminated in releases on some of the most highly respected labels currently operating. These include the pioneering experimental techno label Stroboscopic Artefacts, and Andrea Parker’s seminal Touchin’ Bass imprint. Their first appearance on SA was through the Stellate compilation, alongside Dadub, Roll The Dice and Silent Servant, releasing two tracks of pure, heavy textural electronic exploration. Subsequently, a second dedicated release in Sept 2013 on the acclaimed Monad series confirmed Plaster as an exemplary part of the SA family.
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Q&A with Plaster
1. Please give us a quick run through of the music in the podcast. Is it typical of a Plaster live show?
Actually no. The show in Taipei was developed to be an Audio/Video performance, and I chose these tracks for their particular reactions with the visuals. At the moment I’m playing a techno based set, with some unreleased stuff mixed with the old one.
2. How does your approach to DJ sets differ? Do you branch out musically or stay within the Plaster ‘sound’?
I had the chance to DJ once in my life, and I was a bit scared about it. First, It was in Japan and I didn't know how people would have reacted, secondly, my DJ set was after Regis and he’s really straight on his performances. Based on this, I decided to do something completely different, with a very slow beginning, building up to a powerful finale and luckily the audience really appreciated the show. Coming back to your question, in this case I mixed loads of stuff, from electro, to dark techno, ambient to experimental, through the mixing of 3 to 4 tracks simultaneously I've created a very textured set that I enjoyed.
3. Tell us a bit about the circumstances surrounding Plaster becoming a one-man show. How has the split affected your working relationship, with yourself in Italy and Giuseppe now in Australia?
At the moment Giuseppe is back to Italy and we talked a lot about working together for Plaster, but there are still big circumstances that make it impossible at the moment. We tried a reunion in Berlin for Krake Festival and we were really excited for it, but our differences on viewing the project are almost the opposites and it has been hard to deal with. We both agree that for now, it's better not to work together, so I'm developing the project by myself until something will change.
4. How do you view the electronic music scene in your native city Rome?
Hard question : )
Well, i think there's no a real scene, but clusters of people, promoters and clubs, which make events, festivals, parties and so on. I'm not a party guy or an omnipresence to all the events but in my experience I've seen that there is no real connection in most of the cases. I guess that Rome still suffers the presence of Berlin and London’s scenes. We tend to copy rather than create something new, but of course Rome can offer a wide range of different interesting acts, from techno to experimental and we know with each other but it's hard to define it as a scene.
5. How did the hook-up with Stroboscopic Artefacts and Touchin’ Bass occur? And how has working with such prestigious labels shaped your progression as an artist?
I feel very lucky that I had the chance to work with those labels. In both cases there was an interest from their side, which has been a positive surprise. I had the chance to experiment and push with the sounds and those labels has a respectful audience, so Plaster has widely reached more people than I expected. At the moment I'm only working with Andrea Parker and Touchin' Bass.
6. Are there plans for a Plaster album in the pipeline?
Hell YES! It's more than one year that I’m concentrating on it, collecting sounds, sampling, re-sampling, looping, playing with synthesizers and so on. I'm writing something that seems to come from 2030 and in the last 2 months it started to have a more defined shape. I hope to release it in 2015.
7. You’ve stated before that you are heavily influenced by the darker electronic music of the 80s and early 90s. Which artists and sounds in particular are you referring to?
Yes it's true. I'm a big fan of that period, I think it has been very interesting for the uses of the synthesizers or samplers and the melting pot of styles. Some bands in particular that I like from the 80s are Cabaret Voltaire, Coil, Clan Of Xymox, Art Of Noise, Devo etc etc. and in the 90s Massive Attack and Nine Inch Nails which in my opinion are very representative of the mix of rock and electronica.
8. You’ve played at a few festivals this summer. Any particular highlights or funny stories?
Yes luckily it has been an active summer. Well, a nice experience was in Japan, while I was figuring out how to manage the bed in the room because I was in the typical Japanese hotel (Ryokan) and it was a bit difficult to adapt the sheets and all the stuff straight on the floor. At the beginning I managed on building the bed in different wrong ways but at the end a person in charge for the hotel has made it for me. Nothing spectacular but has been funny : )
9. We’re allowing you one trip in a time machine to any point in music history. When and where would you go, and why?
In prehistoric times, for filming with Stanley Kubrick... : ) Jokes a part I always feel that I missed the best rock bands while they were at the beginning of their career. So maybe I would like to go to the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s and be part of that rock, progressive and psychedelic movement.
10. And which one record would you take with you?
A bit obvious, but I’ll choose ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’. That album has still a huge influence on me.
Plaster Live @ On Site Festival (Taipei)
02. Walking on Deodron
07. Signal From A Gold Sky (Live Edit)