Egyptrixx is one of many aliases of Torontonian David Psutka. His latest album under the Egyptrixx moniker, ‘Pure, Beyond Reproach’ channels vast swathes of plastic floating around the Pacific Ocean, via crunchy and abrasive synthesised sounds.
We had a brief chat about our respective cities; Toronto as a massive city that was originally planned to be suburban, with dysfunctional public transport and useless politicians; and Dublin as a much older, smaller city with similar problems. We also touched on the connection between Ireland and Canada, with thousands of Irish emigrating to Toronto during The Famine, and the strange, almost Irish accent of Newfoundland Province in Canada, before jumping into a dialogue about the new album, out this Friday.
I was listening to the album today and the image it gave me while listening was a sort of industrial factory in a rainforest. Was there any world that you imagined when you were creating it?
Yeah, something similar to what you described, in terms of aesthetic. The record is channeling the imagined rhythm of oceanic shuffling of micro plastics and plastic glitter floating in the Pacific Ocean. So the record channels the clatter and collisions of all these pieces of plastic in the water on a microscopic level. It’s similar to the description you just made because it’s both natural and artificial, it’s both disgusting and trashy and also natural and serene. And I think that tension exists between those things, between beauty and trash.
Is there a visual counterpart for the new record?
ANF (Andreas Fischer) the artist who did the artwork for the record, we collaborated like we have on all the records. There’s no video component like with previous records, but we did work in tandem developing the art design, and the cover is definitely in line with the aesthetic we established with previous work. It’s almost a literal representation of sound on the record, quite colourful and splashy and abrupt.Album artwork for ‘Pure, Beyond Reproach’
In a previous interview I read that you developed a strict set of rules while composing ‘A/B Til Infinity’ alongside AND. Did you stick to a ruleset when composing this album?
For the early records I was establishing the parameters of the project, it was new then. This record which is the fourth one still exists within those parameters, as they’re still holding strong. This record wasn’t as in depth of a collaboration, like we built ‘A/B Til Infinity’ from the ground up, but those rules and parameters are still there, for sure.
It’s how I work with a lot of projects; there’s a lot of work upfront establishing rules, objectives, parameters and aesthetics, and once they’re in place it becomes somewhat easy to create material because you have these rules to fall back on.
So you don’t just jam at a keyboard until you find a sound you like?
There are moments… The process of starting with nothing and ending with a record is sort of like a book, as in there are all these different stages, like chapters, and there are moments where there’s improvisation and jamming and coming up with stuff. Parts on the record feel free and formless, so there is some improvisation, but even in that there’s a particular synth, or sound, or key, so there’s still adherence to some rules.
Can you go through any of the rules that you stuck to on this album?
Just the aesthetic of vast amounts of garbage, I was channelling the North Pacific Gyre, both in an artistic sense and also in an ethical way, to fixate on it… So I wanted to stack tonnes of sounds on top of each other, vast amounts of textures, lots of different tonalities and timbres. I wanted it to be dumped upon itself in a haphazard way, channeling the way that garbage exists in the ocean. So there’s a lot of really stacked sounds on the record, but they all snap onto a rhythm, which is the way that I think the ocean organises this stuff, it ends up settling into a shape depending on the currents.
Your last three albums seem rooted in an exploration of sound. Do you ever find it hard to draw a line between experimentation and musicality?
I think that the Egyptrixx project, and most projects that I work with don’t have musical objectives in the first place. I’m working with a lot of non-musical inspiration, a lot of structural and textural influences, and so my definition of it working is different from the way you would define success for lots of other more conventional music projects. I’m working with a different set of rules to musically memorable songs, and I don’t find it limiting, I find that after four records I’m only scratching the surface and feel that I’m really starting to express the idea successfully. It’s an interesting way to work.
‘Pure, Beyond Reproach’ is out February 2nd on Egyptrixx’s Halocline Trance label. Pick up a copy of the album on Boomkat.