DJ Stingray 313 returns with environmentally conscious techno
Image: Micron Audio
Electronic music is one of our most deft forms of futurism, divining ideations of what the world might feel like beyond our present moment. It’s a quality that Detroit’s Sherard Ingram, aka DJ Stingray 313, has always been enamoured by. Trained by the likes of Detroit’s masters such as Moodyman, Ingram found in techno a passage to the future. His sound would become increasingly more abstract, favouring non-linear patterns and innovative modulations. For Ingram, electronica speaks towards man’s inherent desire to evolve beyond our natural capabilities. Of course, this thirst for innovation has come at a price; the environmental crisis we are facing is largely the fault of our refusal to slow down the advancement of our tools and technology, destroying the planet in a wake of chemical spills, plumes of carbon and tons of everlasting plastic. This conundrum, or more accurately crisis, is the subject matter for Ingram’s latest collection of vespertine techno formulations. Across its four tracks, Molecular Level Solutions looks to imagine the sonic auras of alternative, environmentally friendly technologies, soundtracking the sort of futurist utopia that these promise to bring. It’s interesting that electronic music, arguably inextricable from notions of syntheticism, should be used to offer a deeper investigation into the organic effects of our reliance on synthetics, and delve into the defining socio-political discourse of our time.
Released on DJ Stingray’s own Micron Audio, a self-professed “a hub for a modern and futuristic electro sound,” Molecular Level Solutions is firmly future focused sound design that looks to make the often lofty concepts of renewable and organic environmental technologies more accessible. Bioplastics is an expectedly rubberised, squelchy and bubbling track with latex claps and liquid bass, but also thrumming with an organic, ambient warmth that glows beneath the shimmery bits. Enzymatic Detergents employs a plodding half-time beat that suggests the progression of something being eaten at, while bass and chords are washed with reverb and distortion to create what one might imagine enzymes to sound like as they breakdown matter, or perhaps more so, an exterrestrial language of sorts. Carbon Neutral Fuels, easily the EP’s best, is both breakneck and subtle, like listening to the hardest banging rave track you’ve ever heard from the other side of a wall. It’s propulsive but washed over with a sense of distance, making the track explode when parts come fully into focus such as the wobbling bass and ping-pong pads that add constant kinetic motion. Whether or not Molecular Level Solutions succeeds on a conceptual basis is vague. It’s attempt to de-mystify contemporary science and microbiology by way of avant-garde techno might only add to the overall enigma of its subject matter. Without the incredibly specific titles which sort of explain how you should be listening to each track, the music on Molecular Level Solutions steers clear of any outright statements. There are no hidden messages, coded sound bits or clippings of Thunberg speeches folded into its sci-fi DNA (probably too the nose, anyway), only man using a machine to demystify his own mysteries. And perhaps that’s the paradox of it all; man uses the machine to make meaning, but in the end it’s meaningless without man giving it any meaning at all.
Download Molecular Level Solutions here, and see the music video for Bioplastics created in collaboration with Canadian artist Bahar Noorizadeh below.
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