Upfront 041 / October 27, 2015


Our first classical Upfront, and maybe the most inventive mix of the entire series.

About this mix

This mix for gives a taste of my DJ-sets at the NONCLASSICAL club-nights. These nights have been running since 2004, and present live contemporary classical performances alongside DJ-sets of remixes & re-edits of new classical music. I've done quite a beat-driven, up-tempo mix – what we would call 'Allegro' (120-127 bpm) in the classical scene ;-).

Many of the tracks are remixes from the Nonclassical label (including several unreleased versions). I've also included a few of the artists & composers featuring at Sound Unbound weekend festival at the Barbican (Thomas Gould, Maya Beiser, James McVinnie, Klavikon), where Nonclassical will be doing a couple of evening sessions. And I've also included an exclusive from a ballet: "Bayadère: The 9th Life" - which has previously only been heard in the Royal Opera House during it's 4 day run.

An important feature of the 'Nonclassical' Remixes is that all the sounds in each remix come from the original master recordings of that classical piece - so that in most of the tracks on this mix, the kick drums and percussion that you hear were actually created from acoustic, classical instruments (e.g. those crunchy drums in the Marcas Lancaster remix are all made from plucks and slaps made with a cello). It gives the remixes a very unique and organic feel, what we call the 'nonclassical' sound. In Klavikon's work, this is taken even further. He recreates a full studio production completely live (with no looping or sequencing); just using killer piano technique and a heavily modified piano.

If you like what you hear, look out for upcoming Nonclassical events. We have a monthly night in Dalston and often do bigger gigs in London and beyond. Plus we're always looking out for adventurous producers and DJs to get involved in future Nonclassical remix projects, so get in touch...

Gabriel Prokofiev

Boiler Room says...

The notion of de- and re-construction is the foundation upon which Nonclassical is built. Much internet ink has been spilt as of late about the resurgence of classical, not just as a influence to pay lip service to but as an active force. People talk about the lines being blurred – well, that's pretty much Nonclassical's MO, and it has been for over a decade now.

Between releases and events, quite the cast have been involved: electronic auteurs Mira CalixVex'd and Thom Yorke (who pops up here) have all contributed remixes; Errorsmith and Optimo DJ sets nestle shoulder-to-shoulder with outings for contemporary composers of all stripes, up/downscaling to match the environment. Prokofiev has worked extensively with the LCO too, which is a double thumbs-up in our books for obvious reasons. The approach to everything Nonclassical does is commendably malleable and progressive – neither of which words are commonly associated with the starched-shirt world of 'proper' classical music.

This mix is no different: Already after a few minutes, it is careening forward at a brisk pace, with quick segues between the component parts. The mix is rhythmically creative, deeply satisfying from a timbral perspective, and imbued with a real sense of the unknown. At times it arcs gracefully (makes sense, given there's a ballet exclusive in there); parts are reminiscent of Steve Reich's tricksier moments; some passages even feel like Herbert-ian or Hessle-ian drum tracks. Genuinely.

One year exactly into our Upfront series, and it's arguably the most inventive yet.

Gabriel Szatan

Gabriel Szatan

Gabriel is one of the show programmer/hosts, and BR's Editor-in-Chief – somehow.