Max Cooper

Max Cooper is a London based musician and geneticist primarily releasing on Traum Schallplatten. The combination of his scientific and musical influences are evident in Max’s turntablist DJ sets, technical production style and abstract research topics. Max Cooper's sound ranges from stark electronica remixes of huge bands like Hot Chip and Au Revoir Simone to the fuzzy, buzzing dancefloor sound of his breakthrough "Serie" releases. But it's all, he says, inspired by his need to "match the emotions in the head with the emotion that can come out of the monitors".

That's why he put serious time into perfecting his own unique take on electronica before breaking through with the underground smash Harmonish Serie in early 2009 - a Raveline "heavy rotation" track and a top 5 vinyl hit in Germany. By then, with releases on more than 20 labels like Traum, Perc Trax, Autist, and veryverywrongindeed, he'd been DJing for more than 10 years, and he still holds down two of his earliest residencies - seven years each of road testing new material at two clubs, Firefly and Stealth, in the midlands of England. His first sets there were as a turntablist, influenced by hip-hop DJs like Craze and Q-bert, but since he first started producing his own tracks in 2006 he's irresistibly moved toward a "less-is-more" approach to music.

This move, also, was inspired by the subject of his day job: genetics. First producing music as a science student, he's managed to keep up a parallel life in science alongside his music, taking his PhD at the same time as being labelled a "Future Hero" by Mixmag and appearing twice on the UK's biggest dance programs on Radio1, and continuing to work a genetics researcher for University College London as he had his first top 10 minimal hit on Beatport with "the Shufflebox EP" on Autist, not to mention a top 5 electronica hit with his remix of indie darlings Au Revoir Simone.

But as Max says, it's not two disconnected lives; each has a marked affect on the other. In fact his breakthrough and best-known tracks, the Serie releases - Harmonish Serie, Stochastich Serie and the recently released Chaotisch Serie - are inspired by his academic interests, with each release being associated with scientific and philosophical ideas in order to reinforce the message of the music and promote the ideas to a wider audience.

The Serie releases were each turned into startling music videos via a collaboration with animator Whiskas fX, with the low-fi, dusty surfaces and wobbly hand-held camera of each video giving no hint of the monster power of the mathematical rendering used to create each scene. Unsurprisingly, each video has been a Youtube hit - as has the genetics-influenced "mutation through geometry" imagery of Max's new website Max, meanwhile, is now increasingly focused on trying to align the visual and live side of physical performance - one of the reasons that IDJ magazine named him one of its 10 producers to watch for 2010, with DJ magazine getting in earlier to call him someone to watch right now.

Production, and Cooper's ability to perform his productions live, is the key to his music, which has now expanded to include strikingly beautiful remixes like the aforementioned Hot Chip and Au Revoir Simone, and European dancefloor acts like Extrawelt, Perc and Dominik Eulberg. That in turn has made fans of key DJs like Digweed, Slam, Patrice Baumel, Popof, Pig and Dan, Dubfire, Alexi Delano - and Gui Boratto and Hot Chip, both of whom have used Max's tracks for their compilations.

His production and Max's unquestioned ability to create a unique mood as a live act or as a DJ has also created huge demand for live and DJ sets at techno landmarks like Fabric and in Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Zurich, Russia, Paris, and all over the UK and Germany, including headlining the upcoming Gotwood Festival.

"If I get a feeling about a track," Cooper says, "I drop everything and get straight to the studio. I often start something new at 3AM on a Tuesday morning. If I reflect on an idea until the next day, it becomes diluted".

The key to each production, always, is emotion. "I don’t have any formal music theory training," he says, "though I did have my mother's piano lessons as regular background noise when I was growing up. In some ways I think it could be useful not to be trained in music theory, as it means there are no preconceptions about how to construct a chord progression. It's easier to focus on matching the emotions in the head with the emotions that you want to come out of the monitors..."

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Quote "Shedding Layers by Rob Clouth is easily my favourite piece of electronic music that I have heard so far in 2018" (Andy Fosberry) how am I supposed to remix that!? was a difficult track to approach.

I decided I had to stay true to the original core of the track, the main melodic elements, which I just complemented with some new prophet chords. Then for the rest of the remix it was more of a matter of augmenting than a typical remix. I spent a loooong time working on detailing for this, I wanted to try and bring some industrial sounds in to push further the intensity that Rob had created, and push the sound design complexity as far as I felt I could get away with in the context of what is basically a techno track for clubs.

It's definitely one of the most intense remixes I've worked on for some time, and I've been playing it out a lot recently with good effect. But I hope it can also work as an interesting home listening track. As usual I put a lot of effort into the binaural and general stereo design, so if you listen with headphones you should hear sounds pop out at you, fly behind your head, that sort of thing. I wanted to turn all those clicks and strange noises into an immersive cloud dancing around your head.

The remix package has amazing work by Ben Lukas Boysen, Brecon and Chihei Hatakeyama on there, some beautiful ambient and peaceful moments as well as this monstrosity, I'm certain can you find something in there which will make your day better!

Max Cooper

Rob Clouth - Shedding L ..

(08:41 mins)

Added on: 16.03.2018

 hits: 10736 
You may well have already noticed my mentions of Rob Clouth. He’s one of the best producers there is, in my opinion. Such original, hyper-detailed beautiful sound design and melodic forms, the complete package really. So I’m really excited to have him join the Mesh label with me, with his first EP out today - Full EP stream and downloads here:

The “Transition” EP is a summary of the production techniques Rob has developed over the years, and is accompanied by an audio-visual system Rob created which presents every sound he’s ever worked with, all 50,000 of them in mad granulated chaos, here:

His approach of creating his own software and unusual techniques shines through musically, and I hope some of you enjoy it as much as I do.

For ambient lovers I suggest checking the title “Transition” track first, and for those of you after something more club-oriented then “Shedding Layers” is, well, try it out and you’ll see what happens, it’s been one of the biggest tracks in my sets of recent months.

Lots more amazing music for the label on the way soon!

Max Cooper

Rob Clouth - Shedding L ..

(09:18 mins)

Added on: 26.02.2018

 hits: 25666 
I had a lot of train journeys recently and I love watching the wires seemingly dance around outside the window. I wondered if we could be getting fooled by a similar process during our usual experience of movement and time, and thought it would be an interesting project for a music video set to the music created during the same journeys.

You can find that project and a longer explanation of the video ideas here:

For the music I wanted to bring ideas of frozen moments of the past into play, and no better excuse to get stuck in with the Prophet 6 on some lush classic analogue synth sounds for the main chord sequence, and plenty of nob noodling for a dance of modulating sounds around the main sequence. I wanted to keep it fairly sparse to let the chord patch be central, and just focus on trying to make every element, including the percussion, warp a little, so you can either listen to the track from a distance and hear the harmonic ideas, or delve in to find all sorts more hiding in there.

You can hear the whole EP here:

Max Cooper

Resynthesis [Mesh004]

(05:22 mins)

Added on: 12.01.2018