My Inspiration: om10 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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om10 is the dark, techno-infused side-project of Sun Harmonics co-founder Ruairi McGuinness. He releases his latest EP, Range Anxiety, via Kaneda Records on Friday 17th January and will be doing a launch show (with support from Tunnel Club) at Ernest, Newcastle on Saturday 18th Jan. Here, Ruairi tells us about what inspired each track on his latest release. 

There are many influences that drive my om10 output. The obvious ones being eclectic electronic artists ranging from Apparat, at one of the scale right through to Orphx at the other end, with artists such as Jon Hopkins, Blanck Mass, Four Tet, Aphex Twin and Oneohtrix Point Never in between. I’m also massively driven by Brian Eno and his approach to the creative process. I regularly use his ‘Oblique Strategies’ to push through creative blocks, or to build creative walls around myself to push my sound in a different direction.  

The birth of om10 is important to understand the style and production values of the music released. Several years ago I was commissioned to write music for a major TV ad campaign. It was a big deal and over the course of a few months grew into several pieces of really complex, multi-layered music lasting between 15 and 30 seconds. Om10 came about as a creative release from the pressure of that musical complexity. I initially set out to create a few tracks within really a confined structure, harking back to when I first started making electronic music in the early 90’s; no more than 8 tracks, straight-up 4/4 and structured so that I could perform it live. 

These tracks were done and dusted about a year ago – in the depths of winter. I had been planning on releasing them on my own label, Sun Harmonics but when Kaneda made the offer it was too good to refuse. I knew they could get wider exposure for my music and the esteem in which the guys are held meant that they could line up some amazing local talent for remix work. There’re thoroughly top fellas too, which helps.

This one started out with the chord structure and fell into place really quickly from there. To me, it’s got a 90;s groove, with the chopped up vocals and clap/snare which no doubt comes from listening to Underworld consistently for a couple of decades. I use an old iPad quite a bit to program beats in my productions and live performances. I know there are analog synth purists who’d look down their noses at that, but to me, that’s the essence of techno. Repurposing cheap gear for maximum impact; the TB303 was originally designed to replace a bass guitar for buskers and solo performers don’t forget. 

This one is all about the live experience. I originally put this together as a collection of ideas and sketches that could be reworked in a live context, but I kept coming back to it over the course of a few days as it so easily coalesced into a track. There’s a Berghain feel to this one, and I’d like to imagine Paula Temple dropping this in one of her sets. It’s not exactly radio-friendly but I love performing this one live – once even kicking off a set with this in a “you’re either with me or against me” kinda way. I think it worked. The crowd certainly knew that the DJ had handed over to me anyway. 

Portrait In Silhouette
This is probably my favourite track on the EP. I remember this one coming together really quickly once I’d programmed that synth line. It’s several synths layered on top of each other and then bounced down to single track. I’m a big fan of These Hidden Hands and this is absolutely influenced by them, it’s got that Berlin feel running right through it, which for anybody producing techno in 2019 is pretty hard to deny.

EP available here:

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