It’s not too often that you stumble across a pairing of artists with such a sense of cohesiveness and originality. Fortunately for us, this is the case with Berlin-based Christoph Varga (otherwise masquerading as producer and composer SEIITH) and his new creative partner Kiko King, whose forthcoming joint track Neighborhood Sniper is due to be released on 29th March.
Having previously worked on projects with creativemaze, Massive Attack, Tricky and Robot Koch, King has locked himself away in the studio for the past few months, obsessively creating new music after touring extensively with Icelandic artist Gus Gus. With a common ground found in the form of their two psychotic/creative personalities, Varga explains that the communication and the creative process between the pair is based on a mutual understanding about style and music.
“We don’t actually talk a lot when we create,” he explains, regarding any particular songwriting process. “There’s usually no bigger concept behind a track when we’re in the studio – it’s quick and dirty.” King agrees – “It’s based off what is felt, rather than what is thought,”.
Having first met bleary-eyed at Berlin staple Golden Gate, Varga and King’s paths originally crossed as a result of a fistfight between the latter and a friend of his new collaborator. One thing led to another, and a few days later the duo entered the studio to begin work on their first record – the result of this process being their new release.
The perfect storm of SEIITH’s ethereal production values and King’s poetry results in a haunting and intriguing composition, deconstructing traditional ideas of ambient electronica. Intimate and mellow, there’s no need for excessive over-production – the punchy beats and straightforward lyrics speak for themselves. It’s an intelligent track; hypnotic and blurry in parts, and sharp in others. The dry vocals leave it with a raw quality, a 5am-in-the-Berghain-dark-room vignette, so to speak.
There’s usually no bigger concept behind a track when we’re in the studio – it’s quick and dirty
Regarding the concept behind the record, King sheds a little light on this. “It concerns darkness, and the ability to navigate through it without leaving scars,”. It’s easy to see how this is reflected in the structure of the track itself; with minimalist textures and clean lines, there’s nothing for the artists to hide behind.
In terms of mixing – courtesy of Lucky Waschkowitz at Mesanic Music (Parcels) – it remains faithful to Varga’s previous works, maintaining his trademark style whilst refusing to shy away from new territory. There’s an eyebrow-raising perspective at work here – presumably, in part, to King’s employment of the four natural elements as inspiration. There’s a freedom and playfulness to the track, whilst hanging on to an unsettlingly dark quality, making the work a little meatier. The mastering by Zino Mikorey (Ólafur Arnalds, Milky Chance, Nils Frahm) is seamlessly executed and comes as a result of an organic artistic process – a remarkable feat all round, considering the track was written within two hours.
Ultimately, it’s a bold and compelling record, curious and articulate in its nature. The avant-garde experimentation SEIITH and King have undertaken works perfectly, leaving the listener with a piece which stands more as an immersive experience in itself than your typical run-of-the-mill electronic track. With these two artists, you’re never really sure what to expect – although you can be guaranteed that they’re heading in a fairly unorthodox direction.
Neighborhood Sniper will be released on March 29th courtesy of Done With Human.