Visual artist and designer Nicoló Cervello locates an industrial club space in constant transformation as the perfect setting for ABADIR’s mutagenic approach to splicing different Arabic rhythms with symbiotic club styles.
Mutate, the new album from Cairo producer ABADIR and the landmark 50th release from the taste-making, scene-stealing Shanghai imprint SVBKVLT, was born out sonic experimentation. “I was trying out Maqsoum loops at high BPM blended with jungle tracks during one of my DJ sets,” explains ABADIR. “I noticed that the Maqsoum rhythm complements the Amen Break in a refreshing way. The first time I actually tried integrating both in my productions using “call and response” was when Ice_Eyes asked me to remix one of their tracks. The result was the closest to what I had always imagined to be my own club sound. I set out to make an album using the same technique with some of my favorite club genres. My aim was to mutate those genres, collecting different types of Arabic rhythms and cooking them with Jungle, Jersey Club, Reggaeton, Footwork, etc.” A highlight from the album, ‘Pyrolysis,’ is a thrilling concoction of percussive workouts, intricate sound design and visceral samples, a lethal blend of two musical traditions that emphasise freedom of expression and communal movement. “It’s an irreversible equation, like a chemical reaction, where the output is a melted piece which cannot be broken down into its separate inputs,” continues ABADIR. “Instead of ‘deconstructing’ or generally looking beyond club music, I made some fatty, straight up dance floor music.”
The exploratory approach to club composition showcased in ‘Pyrolysis’ resonated with visual artist and designer Nicoló Cervello, who, on being exposed to ABADIR’s music and ideas, was inspired to construct an environment that would serve as a psychogeographical investigation into the kinds of spaces this mutated club sound might make most sense. “The video is developed around a single element, a 3D scan of an abandoned warehouse,” Cervello explains. “In the description of the model it was mentioned that the space was soon to be turned into a club venue. I was instantly captivated by the space and I saved it in my collection of “found” 3D objects. I liked the idea that the space was captured right before a radical mutation, forever preserving the raw potential of the architecture in digital form. When Rami introduced me to his idea of mutated club music, I immediately reconnected with that potential space. From there, the idea of building the entire video around that single ambient came instinctively. That warehouse model represented the abstraction of what a club is to me: a space that undergoes constant changes through the music played in it. The idea was to pay homage to the concept of the club as an ever—mutating reality.”
Revolving around a continually roving, 360-degree shot of a dimly lit warehouse space, in the video for ‘Pyrolysis’ Cervello cuts in between four stationary pillars to create CGI dioramas that demonstrate the transformative potential of discarded space. Initially pulling focus on digitally-rendered detritus – discarded speakers, broken scaffolding, loosely connected stage lighting and concrete rubble – the artist slowly introduces a constant rotation of his found 3D objects. The wooden foundations for a cabin nod to the community-building potency of transitory club spaces while simultaneously emphasising the precarity of such communities and spaces, an errant gas tank and flammable material eventually engulfing the structure in flames. Urban exteriors reproduced as interiors signal a left turn into the surreal: infinitely generating waste tumbles from the ceiling, the smoldering remains of a tree stump smokes in the destructive proximity of a particularly vicious looking speaker stack, meadow flowers spring up from the warehouse floor while a levitating car and chunk of rubble rotate around each other in impossible angles. Like Area X in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, this is an environment in constant mutation, a visual metaphor both for ABADIR’s mutant body music and for sprawling, community-based networks within which space and sound is reformed, developed and discarded, a living, breathing ecosystem.