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PICKS: Christian Duka's Sonic Scenarios

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PICKS: Christian Duka's Sonic Scenarios

There are many ways to conceptualise the act of DJing, and many reasons to avoid doing so; selectors follow Frankie Knuckles' quietly curative example of avoiding the spotlight and letting the audience make their own sense of what's going on. Perhaps its best to let others provide perspective, such as Christian Duka. Duka has many professions; he lectures coursesn on electronic music, he makes music (including soundscapes similar to those of fellow Italian producerwizard Gigi Masin), and he creates multi-sensory installations, using 'spaces as sound design tools and the bodies of performers and audience as living sculptures'.  It's no wonder that he's laid the bricks of one of our most fascinating soundroads yet, enjoy!


Calista Divine - “Astray” 

Ideal listening scenario: making love (not suitable for one night stands)

Ah… Calista Divine! These guys are my favourite post-rock band and mates from my dear Bologna. Astray is basically a goosebumps infused experience of catharsis. I once made love over this - it was probably the best intimate, physical experience of my life.

Malibu - “Held”

Ideal listening scenario: headphones, sat down, by the sea.

I don’t know how many times I fell in love with the girl speaking halfway through, without even knowing who she is - judging by her voice she must be incredibly beautiful. I feel I have been next to her every time I have heard this track - witnessing her sadness expressed through sounds of sighs, panting and whispers.

Varg - “Spit Sugar Free Redbull Into My Mouth” ft Chloe Wise, Matti Bye, Christian Augustin & Henrik Söderström

Ideal listening scenario: on speakers at any yoga session in gentrified areas… Actually one of the funniest jokes I have ever heard.

MARMO - Alchimia

Ideal listening scenario: in a club night at 6am in front of massive stacks of powerful speakers, dancing. This one is a psychedelic trip in techno form, some say it makes them feel as they are some sort of warriors, to me it makes me imagine walking through ancient deserts filled with secrets.

Maryanne Amacher - Head Rhythm 1 and Plaything 2

Ideal listening scenario: focused listening.

This is an earfuck - in the first two minutes part of what you are actually hearing is sound created by your own ears. She exploits a phenomenon called Otoacoustics: since your ears are cavities, sound resonates in them; in other words, your ears become tiny loudspeakers. She created sounds capable of enhancing this effect; on that track, you are hearing Marianne actually “playing your ears”.

DVKA - Freezing Dynamics

Ideal listening scenario: headphones, laying on grass on a summer night sky in the countryside, watching the stars

Those drones somehow speak about letting things flow as they will and to not hold onto anything - for how much my intellect might grasp this concept, this track makes me feel it deep within my insides. It also makes me feel like floating in space.

MARMO - STE-002 14-08 I (or the whole album if you have time)

Ideal listening scenario: headphones, walking through open fields at sunset in summertime. Alternatively, on a rooftop watching the skyline at night in winter.

To me this speaks volumes about being out of comfort zones. The contrast between soothing soundscapes and distorted rhythms is as discomforting as deeply peaceful. It offers me catharsis when going through difficult periods (I am listening to it right now suffering a heavy winter blues). It was performed live in collaboration with my best friend, Marco Maldarella, after being stranded in the middle of nowhere in southern Italy.

Cryo Chamber - Nyartlathotep 1 X Howard Phillips Lovecraft - The Music Of Erich Zann

Ideal reading/listening scenario: the short story linked here must be read listening to the mix in the evening, alone at home. Dim the screen of your computer, and light a candle near you.

Around 5 years ago, inspired by the reading of H.P. Lovecraft stories, I started making drone music. Later on I discovered an entire community dedicated to the creation of “Lovecraftian” music - weirdly enough, it sounded exactly like what I was making. This mix is a collection of tracks done by artists of that community/label: Cryo Chamber.

I have no words to spare about the short story other than it freaks the shit out of me - and I love it.

Stravinsky - The Lullaby Of The Firebird 

DISCLAIMER: never listen to a version that is not directed by Gergiev - he’s the only living person that gets this piece.

Ideal listening scenario: Headphones or quality speakers, low to no lights in a comfortable sofa or bed at home, after the end of difficult periods.

This “track” (in the clip below, up to 39:55) makes me cry 9 out of 10 times. It stirs me up in ways I hope I will understand one day - the way this is placed in the whole symphony makes me think about death, rebirth and transformation.

Pelagea - “I want you to - asmr meditation” X William Basinski - “Watermusic”

These MUST be played back together, mixing the audio of the two videos on two different tabs. Must be listened with low to no lights (computer screen must be turned off).

Ideal listening scenario: Headphones or quality speakers, low to no lights in a comfortable sofa or bed before sleeping.

The mix is morphine in sound form, cause of countless pre-sleep eargasms.

Tab 1:

Tab 2: