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Connecting turntable scratching with modular synthesis, Dutch artist Kypski is on another path of innovation. His new track “Solidary Confinement” featuring saxophonist Benjamin Herman and ModBap producer Ali The Architect shows how Syntablism can open new opportunities for the turntable, beyond hip-hop’s tool of the trade.
Kypski: “I wanted a song with a scratched syntablism hook as simple and direct as possible. But I left some parts with chord changes open for something I didn’t know yet. I felt something was missing. Around that time, Allert Aalders from Dutch synthesizer studio Sonar Traffic introduced me to producers Ali The Architect and Aaron Guice, who is also Ali’s manager.
I asked Ali to add a modular part to the track that I really, really liked. He approached his modular part more like a jazz solo. Not improvisational in a jazz sense, but they were really melodic and polyphonic which fitted the higher chords of the song really well. Also, the double-time beat that comes in at the second half of the song, was done by Ali.
Yet I was still missing something—and it wasn’t vocals. It turned out, strangely enough, that it was a saxophone I was missing. But not just any saxophone: I missed Benjamin Herman’s style of playing. I’ve played live with him a lot back in the day, and he’s one of Holland’s finest jazz musicians.
What led to the realization that a saxophone was the element you were missing, rather than any other instrument?
The saxophone was added really intuitively. Sometimes when I make a lot of sounds and music with a modular synthesizer, I get a craving for organic, dynamic acoustic instruments. This brings a nice contrast to the sequenced synth stuff, even though I played most of the track live in one take.
Aside from sharing the stage with Benjamin Herman many times, what is it about his style of playing which made you ask him for this specific track?
Benjamin Herman is a one-of-a-kind jazz musician. His playing is so laid back and cool; the same as his personal attitude. Also, he can produce an amazing array of different sax sounds just by blowing his horn in a slightly different way. From experience, I know he will always deliver. He’s never let me down. So if I ask him to do something, I know he will approach it with a lot of freedom. He might skip half of what I asked him to do [laughs]. And that’s good. When he feels good about what he’s recorded, it’s good.