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“I think my tendency for repetition comes back to my admiration for shoegaze or drum & bass,” Unfollow, aka Tony Boggs told us. "Just taking a blissful moment and stretching it out as far you can. There is some sort of state of otherness you reach once a sound has been pounding into you for a while. It’s like a k-hole for the soul or something. It’s becomes a background for your imagination, it gives you time to dream and make it your own as you listen. Trance in the truest form. Wolfgang’s Voigt’s Gas project and Steve Reich were big influences to me; they definitely use repetition to their advantage.”
Tony’s contribution to the Blue Tapes series is genuinely beautiful and evocative techno. It’s not pretty, and you probably wouldn’t want to dance to it, but on a cellular level the insistent, massing tics of repetition infect and rework you; you feel your soul pulsing.
“I think I find hope in repetition,” Tony confirms. “I try to make things so they’re just slightly off, I embrace the glitch. Make it wrong. In the end, I kind of think of my music as sad techno. I’m really excited about dance music these days as there are a lot of amazing things happening. I certainly try to make dance music, but I feel I come up short. It always sort of circles back and ends up sounding like me, sort of like a curse. I’ve always been able to clear a dancefloor pretty quickly. I’m not sure that’s a skill though!”
A curse wouldn’t be inaccurate, except - for all its coolness, its almost-harshness - there is no detectable hostility or malevolence in this music. A spell, then, or a machine-mantra. Something that repairs. Survives.
“I think about hard times when I listen to my own music,” Tony concludes, “blissful yet painfully monumental times. Leaving a loved one in intensive care and driving away from the hospital with the music super loud and just pounding away on the steering wheel. When you need something that’s heavy but not ignorant of the emotions you may be feeling. I think my music is good for drinking alone or maybe at 3am on the dancefloor when everyone’s drugs have run out and all the poseurs have taken Uber rides home.”
Praise for blue twenty-one:
"Unfollow falls into a line of artists - Pole, Junior Boys, The Field and Wolfgang Voigt's GAS - who can pop the communal dynamic of dance music inside out to make tracks that evoke deep loneliness. Like the latter two in particular, he plays off the meditative mantra of techno's four-to-the-floor against the eternal now of the drone. Sculpted clouds of noise evoke both blizzard whiteout and the roar of blood in the ears at the same time." - The Wire
"Unfollow’s new cassette in Blue Tapes is pretty great. Shy techno for introspective cyberpunks, futurism shrouded by a fog of distortion devoid of aggression. If Demdike Stare adopted a puppy, this would be its dance." - 20 Jazz Funk Greats
"All My Rifles is built around repetition, feelings of release and disquietness in equal measure, and, well, anti-dance techno. It has that muffled, well-worn quality to it that makes it sound like it could have been produced one-hundred years ago." - Dukla Prague Away Kit
"A beautifully immersive technoid dream machine that finds itself skirting around the trance toned psychotropic subliminal mind messaging mirages oft crafted by Astral Social Club for what is essential a hypno-tronic head pill providing for an experience that’s not to unlike a multi layered wig flipper radiating jubilantly amid a full on tripping and pulsing surround sound sensory bliss kiss." - The Sunday Experience