Never hesitating to play to their strengths and tap into the techno capital’s hidden talent pool, Sound of Berlin kickstarts 2023 with a 29-year-old upcoming producer Marie Tjong-Ayong’s debut ‘Green Lashes EP’, out on 24 February. Sonic forest bathing packed with minimal, percussive lushness, it is a release that sometimes evokes the abstract polyrhythms on Bambounou’s ‘Final Conference’, at other times the glitched-out grooves of Facta’s ‘Emeline EP’. At its centre, the EP reminds us of the power of electronic music to create headspaces no other genre can – even enable us to become one with nature amidst the modern concrete jungles. “Overall, the EP represents for me a kind of transcendence, nature and body,” she described her debut.
Putting the best foot forward, the opener ‘Kick In The Garden’ does exactly what it says on the tin. Minimal techno without the bells and whistles, reverb kicks dominate the lower end and syncopated doubles of rimshots propel the beat forward, chopped-up chords chirping and panning around as if you were playing tag in someone’s backyard. “Kick In The Garden is a very playful, groovy piece,” Tjong-Ayong described the track. “I hope it animates to dance.”
A different ballgame entirely, ‘Than Sadet’ is a 7-minute scenic drive named after the National Park on the island of Koh Phangan off the east-coast of Thailand. “Than Sadet is a journey,” Tjong-Ayong summed up. “I produced this track within one day in Thailand, on a beautiful island. It represents the many colours and sounds of the island as I perceived them.” At 118 BPM, bottom heavy with juddering baselines and thick organ chords held for full eight bars at a time, Tjong-Ayong keeps the track ebbing and flowing through the subtle melodies, holding the energy, and then releasing it one gigantic wave – the Balearic vibes in Tjong-Ayong -style.
“These tracks are my first finished ones as a producer. I wanted to give myself complete freedom to create something with my possibilities,’ Tjong-Ayong explained. “To enter a new musical space and leave old habits and feelings behind when making music.”
For a lot of people, pandemic was a blessing in disguise. Ayong was one of them. “During the pandemic, all possibilities to play live broke away, new ways opened up,” she recalls. “Since I had been listening to techno and house for a long time and started to collect vinyl, I also started to deal with the production of this music. Ableton was pulled onto the computer and the first drum machines and synthesizers were procured.”