TiD&B Interview & Mix: MutedPosted by Lady V on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
When asked to introduce himself and his work, Bjarni Rafn Kjartansson aka Muted begins “I have absolutely no musical background so the only thing I use is my imagination” -Â a refreshingly honest but just as modest statement from the 22-year-old Drum & Bass producer from Iceland. After only making music for two years, he has already had releases on Modern Urban Jazz and Alphacut, as well as support from DJs such as Doc Scott, June Miller and Flight, which is quite an accomplishment for an artist at the beginning of his career. Â So if this really is just down to his imagination, then it is clearly no bad thing at all, as what has defined him from the plethora of producers developing from our scene at the moment is quite simply, his signature style; the incredible ability to create such deep andÂ moving music at 170bpm by using sounds with such a unique delicacy and subtely.
An excellent example of this can be found in the ‘Black and White EP’, which has been released this month on Hidden Hawaii.Â Featuring 3 tracks, all “very different from each other, idea wise”, weÂ asked Muted to guide us through it and explain more about his inspiration and the role of his imagination whilst creating them…
Muted ‘Black And White EP’
2. Empty Valley
3. Black And White
1. ‘Nighthawk’ is a track I made whilst living in Reykjavik, I lived there for a year.Â My time in Reykjavik was not the best as I did not like living the ‘big city life’ (I’m from a small town in the East of Iceland calledÂ EgilsstaÃ°ir with a population of 2500Â people).Â One night when I couldn’t sleep, I decided to make a track and I began with an angry beat which I then laid dark synths over and followed with a bassline which actually is my impression of ‘groove’.Â Whilst making it, I imagined it was like a creature crawling in the dark, trying to find its place.Â I guess similar to how I felt in Reykjavik at the time.
2. Â ‘Empty Valley’ was inspired by my hometownÂ EgilsstaÃ°irÂ which sits in a large valley and beside it is a big glacier river,Â LagarfljÃ³t.Â There is a myth that a monster lives in the glacier and it lies on a stack of gold (similar to the Loch Ness Monster), I was thinking about this and decided to make a track with a dark and misty vibe to it.Â I wrote ‘Empty Valley’ in the middle of the night when everything was very quiet and felt empty, I used this feeling along with some snares that I recorded on my crappy Sony Ericsson phone (a pretty weird but special sound)Â to create the track.
3.Â It got to a point in my work where I felt I was making very similar tracks, as if making the same tune over an over again, particularly in terms of stucture.Â So with ‘Black and White’, I decided to step out of my usual style.Â It was actually an experiement, as I wante dto try something new as well as practice something new, hence the weird drum work and the e reversed drums accompnaying it.Â I was also experimenting with a lot of distortion and you can hear the weird bass sounds including a reverb effect on the main bassline.Â When it came to the synths, I used a VST plugin, which was actually for the first time in my life, and ‘Black and White’ was created.
Muted is currently working on his debut album which will feature various tempos, between 120 and 170bpm. Â ”Now I’m working on a pretty different level. I recently bought a Zoom H4N so I can go out to record my own sounds which I use for samples…This new experience has been fun, I’ve been into the woods deep in the night and some other weird places to record sounds and I’m also trying to adopt various instruments in my tunes, like guitars, bass, pianos and basically everything I can make a sound on.”
We are very much looking forward to hearing it! In the meantime, check out this awesome mix featuring some of Muted’s favourite beats of the moment: