Lights/Out Premiere: Nicolas Bougaïeff - Rip Tie Cut Toy Man [NovaMute] + Interview

A mysterious and driving techno cut
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Today, Lights/Out brings you an exclusive premiere from legendary techno label NovaMute, in the form of Nicolas Bougaïeff's 'Rip Tie Cut Toy Man'. Upon pressing play, the track immediately gets right to business, with a thick bassline and crisp percussion. As things progress, a hypnotic and mysterious melody enters the picture and adds another layer of movement to the already driving record. To find out more about the track, we had a quick chat with Nicholas, which you can read below. 

Nicolas Bougaieff press pic 2

About the series inspired by Greg Egan – of which this is the 3rd installment...


Inspired by the books of sci-fi author Greg Egan, I produced and released three records of techno and experimental music: Dust, Permutation Djinn and On The Grid.

The first record, Dust, came out on Mesh in early 2018 with remixes from Deapmash, Guy Andrews and label head Max Cooper. The second record, Permutation Djinn, is a vinyl 12" released on NovaMute in late 2018. The third and last record in the series, On The Grid, is another vinyl 12" coming out in June 2019 again on NovaMute.

My understanding of Egan's work is the positive use of technology for creating a better world. What could be more techno than that?

His writing feels to me like a scientific counterpart to magical realism. He is a superstar of hard sci-fi, a genre which focuses on far future yet scientifically rigorous scenarios. Instead of magic handwaving, he goes to the trouble of figuring out exactly how things could work and then weaves his explanations in throughout the characters' story. His books convey a bewildering sense of unending possibilities. Nothing is impossible, every character is potentially immortal, the very atoms of any solid object can be repurposed and transformed at will. It's a dizzying concept, but there are at least fragments of Egan's ideas that are based in reality and current technologies.

How the sound evolved through the three EPs...

The tracks from the two EPs on NovaMute, Permutation Djinn and On The Grid, were all produced at the same time in early 2018. The sound evolved by stripping down the early Dust soundscapes to focus on driving, out-of-body warehouse cuts. The sound is more earthy, less about mental soundscapes and more about grounding yourself through the bass and rumbles.

The Dust EP, on the other hand, was made to set the scene. The eponymous lead track is a banging warehouse anthem. The rest of Dust is mysterious, confrontational and exhilarating. I wanted to evoke the feeling of exploring Egan's strange virtual worlds. I created ambient tracks that leverage sound design to deliver an intense peak-time feeling without the bass drums.

About "Rip Tie Cut Toy Man” track...

Rip Tie Cut Toy Man is the A2 track from On The Grid 12". The track name is from one of the chapters in Egan's Permutation City, an anagram of the book title. The track itself is a rearrangement of elements borrowed from the previous tracks in the trilogy. As the novel deals with reassembling physical reality, I put that approach in practice in the later tracks. I sampled short loops from the previous tracks and processed them until I got something new.

What does it mean for you to be a NovaMute regular now?

It seriously raises the bar. I started hearing people like Regis and Chris Liebing playing my tracks at Berghain and Tresor. Gig and remix offers started coming in a lot more. It quickly showed me that I need to work ten times harder than what I did to get here.

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