Many thanks to Kristoffer Patrick Cornils and all the artists and labels on this list for contributing to making 2016 a great year for music.
Soren and I have known each other since I was just sixteen. We met at a gig in my small hometown of Ithaca, New York, where the number of DJs present exceeded the size of the additional audience. Two years later we started DJing together, and two years after that, Blank Slate was born. Soren has been a friend and mentor, and he has deeply influenced my musical education. Soren’s more imaginative and challenging music is ingrained in the label's foundation, and it’s a privilege to build on this tradition.
We also share a common interest in non-Western music, and if you’ve ever been lucky enough to catch Soren DJ you’ve undoubtedly heard his propensity to sprinkle a variety of international music into his sets. In the small and enclosed world of dance music, the fact that music flourishes beyond the confines of the West is often overlooked. Whole forms of dance music wait to be encountered, enjoyed, and understood.
All too often, when producers interact with international music, the association is very limited. Music is simply packaged and inserted into the dance music formula, often at the expense of the original material’s groove, rhythmic complexities, and sampled material. Among friends, we’ve dubbed this phenomenon “ethnosploitation."
A more respectful method is demanded, even at the cost of accessibility. Such a fuller and more wholesome interaction between the structures of dance music and the nuances of non-Western music is the methodology that holds this record together. Soren allows his sampled material to sing true — letting the sample dictate the structures of the track. The result is a beautiful musical balance.
Soren proves yet again that dance music’s formulaic nature can be embraced and challenged simultaneously. Hats off to him.
As always, keep your eyes peeled for his upcoming projects.