Control, humility and precision - emotion, release and catharsis. There's two sides to Max Cooper. The public side is known for extended festival sets - a hybrid live/DJ performance that explodes from delicate, reflective electronica into abrasive noise within a moment, but just as fearlessly throttles back to moments of stillness and silent beauty - within the same track, across three or four hours of playing, or within the space of a couple of expertly chosen samples. What others producers see as an unbridgable chasm between different styles, BPMs, approaches, instruments and feeling, Cooper views as a single musical toolbox, with every tool is at hand to a producer who's been playing out for 15 years.
The private side of Cooper, meanwhile, is the humble scientist, the producer who works while others network, who is more influenced by modernist classical than dance-music trends, and who introduces new releases on his facebook with the self-effacing "I hope you enjoy this one!" Despite the affirmation of being made a Beatport artist of the year 2012, voted one of Resident Advisor's top 20 live acts, and having, for influential US electronica site XLR8R, a top 10 most-popular podcast and single download, as well as two of its most popular videos, Cooper still feels at the start and not the peak of his artistic ambitions. There are more collaborations with visual artists to come, his debut album, a series of musical pieces inspired by contemporary art, his contribution to the FIELDS live-electronica label and tours - all part of his calling to fuse the gospel of science and rationality with the excess and exuberance of the most creative electronic music.
Blame that on Cooper's background. Raised in a town outside Belfast, Northern Ireland, as a child Cooper was sent to a Steiner school - the only mixed-religion school in the neighbourhood, but also one that pushed its pupils to be free spirits: independent and questioning, reflective and self-disciplined. And that's how, first DJing local student club Firefly during his university years in Nottingham, he simultaneously managed to earn a PhD in computational biology (genetics) and produce his first tracks. And how, while stacking up the hours as a genetics researcher for University College London, he wrote his first significant releases for German techno label Traum Schallplatten: the trilogy of "Serie" EPs, each taking a different scientific concept as inspiration, both musically and in the collaborative animated videos he commissioned from Andrew Brewer / Whiskas fX.
Having retired his research job in 2010, Cooper is now established as one of the UK's most intriguing, prolific electronic acts. There's now fifteen commissioned experimental animations with filmakers like Germany's Henning M Lederer, the UK's Nick Cobby and Whiskas fX, France's Cedric De Smedt, Russia's Dmitry Zakharov and Italy's Vicetto, to accompany his music - and a fanbase that regularly offers up its own own visual take on his tracks. There's a heavily trafficked podcast series that includes two seminal mixes for Resident Advisor and XLR8R, John Digweed's Transitions show, the launch of the Magnetic Mag soundscape series, where Cooper released a hugely successful experimental podcast inspired by the British Library; Cooper's research efforts with the staff of noted music-software house Liine; his recent "4D sound" show in Amsterdam and his soundtrack for Zaha Hadid's pitch for the Japan National Stadium, plus his back catalogue of nearly 60 original tracks and remixes ... With all this, Cooper has pushed beyond his early apprenticeship as a 4/4 techno producer to become something new and unique in the electronic landscape.
As known now for visual experiments as his yearning and emotional reworks of huge acts like Au Revoir Simone and Hot Chip - and his more glitchy, experimental approach to working with traditional orchestral composers like Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm and rising Planet Mu-style mentalist Vaetxh - Cooper continues to evolve, absorb new influence, and change the rules for who electronic artists should work with, and how. The first producer outside of Richie Hawtin's Minus Records family invited to join Hawtin's prestigious booking agency, Clonk, he's also the first musician ever allowed to rework the music of Michael Nyman, seminal minimalist and one of the world's most identifiable soundtrack composers (The Piano, Gattaca).
With Cooper, there's contrast, and also unity. A reserved, clinical producer who's known for the emotion and melody of his music. The writer of delicate soundscapes for the female voice who quietly slipped out an EP of pounding snare rolls called Mechanical Concussion. A remixer of blog bands like MMOTHS, Halls, BRAIDS - and a go-to remixer for techno labels like Herzblut, Bedrock and artists like Bodzin, Romboy and Agoria. A minimalist who likes to relax with a bit of hip-hop scratching and turntablism - and who is working on ways to use turntablism to operate other electronic instruments. A live act known both to be both naggingly hypnotic and blisteringly tough.
A blend of science and feeling, risk-taking live performance and polished musicianship - in 2013, Max Cooper looks ready to become one of the biggest acts in the electronic world.
"Burns with an incredible creative intensity ... sumptuous, enticingly beautiful" - Clash
"Aurally stunning and cinematic at every turn" - Resident Advisor
"Impossibly gorgeous ... the perfect balance between cripplingly beautiful electronica and club-tooled dance music" - FACT
"Insanely good ... nuanced, intricate production, which lends itself so ideally to home listening." - The FADER
"One-of-a-kind artistic vision ... The culmination of an inspired career" - Dancing Astronaut
"Some of the more ambitious and exploratory music crafted within the last few years" - The Music Ninja
"One of today's most innovative electronic musicians" - DJZ
"One of the most interesting and innovative electronica musicians in the UK today" - MusicOMH
"Really excellent... Wants you to dance and cry simultaneously, and will probably succeed in doing so" - DUMMY
"Like Fuck Buttons on a tender hangover" - THUMP
"Incredibly intense" - Pitchfork
"A religious experience .. a master at blending blissed-out, lightweight textures with moments of heavy darkness" - Earmilk
"A quiet elegance that's unique to the genre... prompting comparisons to the likes of Jon Hopkins and Pantha du Prince" - XLR8R
"Joins the dots between techno, electronica and ethereal post-rock" - Dazed
"A trans-genre wunderkind ... Britain's most unorthodox chief conductor" - Dots and Dashes
"A producer who lives to push boundaries while bringing listeners outside their comfort zones" - Less than 3
"Cooper's music remains timeless - complex and fluid but somehow humanistic and emotional" - Beat Magazine
"A must-have album of 2014" - Pulse Radio
A cutting-edge throwback to the early days of blues, or the yearning new voice of formalist electronica? If nothing else, The Slow Revolt is a study in contrasts: lush, romantic lyricism tied to art-school high concept; tight beats coupled with wild guitar abstractions; and a stunning voice that stays with you long after the music fades.
First made visible via his rework of Patten's Peachy Swan, The Slow Revolt's first single, This Dark Matter / Doldrums was two hymns to a dead affair that struck a chord with XfM, Clash, 6music and Radio1 - as well as earning the support slot for MMOTHS recent tour, Ofei, America's Balmorhea, and four dates for new label FIELDS with Max Cooper and Ghosting Season. Originally one man carving out his own rough territory outside today's increasingly formulaic electronica, The Slow Revolt now performs as a two-piece - two expert musicians sparring across live loops, precision triggered beats, guitar, and that voice.
"Stunning" - John Kennedy, XFM
"We fall harder for The Slow Revolt with every listen, you will too" - The Line of Best Fit
"Full of poise and precision, there's an inherent drama to the performance which is difficult to deny" - Clash
"Creeps under your skin without you realising it until you notice how many times you've just listened to it on repeat" - Disco Naivite
"I've lost count of the number of times I've listened to this over the weekend" - Fresh on the Net
Who makes the club? The resident. The DJ who has apprenticed themselves to the audience, the groove, and the dancefloor - watching, learning, and testing, testing, testing … So when the resident starts making music, you hear the results of years of fine-tuned knowledge of what makes dancefloors jump – and an unparalleled knowledge of dance’s roots drawn on to create their first tracks.
Bodyjack is the latest of the residents to smash through. First appearing publically as a UK DMC mix champion scratch turntablist, eight years since of keeping-the-floor-bumping at seminal UK techno club Atomic Jam have soaked him in a block-rockin’ brew of techno, bass, house, garage, and Chicago. Several releases in, the DJ-focused tracks he’s precision designed are earning him a uniformly rapt reception with those take-no-prisoners DJs who know how to make people dance: Woolford to Jackmaster, Jimmy Edgar to KiNK, Bicep to Heidi.
His first two releases - his first on Hypercolour - were a smashes on RINSE and Radio1. That's continued with releases on the super hot underground label Unknown to the Unknown and BodyTrax, the "straight-up DJ trax" vinyl label Bodyjack runs with Clone. There's also committed reactions from DJs in every genre, all feeling Bodyjack's sense of fun and precise deployment of contemporary dance influences: Adam Beyer, Alden Tyrell, Annie Mac, B Traits, Ben Klock, Derrick Carter, Erol Alkan, Gerd, L-Vis 1990, Loco Dice, Marco Carola, Maya Jane Coles, Monki, My Nu Leng, Night Slugs, Woolford, Tong, Randomer, Hawtin, Rolando, Seth Troxler, Truncate and more.
In 2015, there’s already releases planned on Ultramajic and Hypercolour, and a couple of key collaborations and remixes we can’t mention yet. It’s that combination of killer DJ chops, super effective production, pure hard graft, and – as Mixmag put it – "unfuckable-with rave monsters," that will make Bodyjack one of the stars of 2015…
"Unfuckable-with rave thumpers" - Mixmag
"Quite, quite essential" - DJ mag
"I love this" - Annie Mac
"Insane" - KiNK
"Right up my street" - Heidi
"Without doubt some of my favourite stuff at the moment" - Huxley