Argentinian-born Alejandro Mosso has been performing and releasing music for over a decade, experimenting with different styles under several aliases along the way. Fast-forward to 2016 and he is working only under his birth name, releasing mainly through his own label, mosso
, with occasional outings on labels like OOTO Family. Later this year Alejandro will take a big step in releasing his debut album via Third Ear, a widely-respected label home to the likes of Delano Smith, Brendon Moeller and Thomas Brinkmann. ‘Isolation Diaries' is a beautiful record that is, in Ale's own words, "warm, emotive and nostalgic but not dark nor sad".
As Alejandro explains in the interview below, world music was a big influence on the album and the same is true of this podcast. The first half travels through Bulgaria, Iran and Armenia, the second sees Alejandro present some of his own recent productions alongside those of Four Tet and Petre Inspirescu. A goldmine of a mix from someone deeply invested in the discovery of music. Enjoy.
Lonely Bird - The Bulgarian Voices Angelite With Huun-Huur-Tu & Moscow Art Trio
Mochaéré - Trio Chemirani
Your Strong Mind - Djivan Gasparyan
Taliyate - Tartit
Evening Side - Four Tet
Anima - Ramzi
Monsoon - Anchorsong
Chosen - Petre Inspirescu
Tassaouit N’akhazi (Alejandro Mosso EDIT) - Ikewan
Tikjda - Alejandro Mosso
Xylophone (Alejandro Mosso Rework) - Mugwisa International Group
Zahara - Martin Zadak
Azimuth - Afefe Iku
Hi Alejandro, what’s good? What’s new?
Hello! What’s good and new? The summer weather in Berlin lately!
A pleasure to have you on the Nocturama series and we love the mix. Can you talk us through the tracklist a little?
I am very glad that you like the mix. It’s a quite special selection of music. I wanted to share some of the music I’ve been listening to and that has inspired me over these past years. In particular during the production of the upcoming album on Third Ear. The mix goes from Bulgarian polyphonic singing, Persian tombak percussion, Armenian duduk and tuareg chanting to some electronic stuff from Four Tet, Petre Inspirescu, some lesser know electronic artists and myself. I tried to thread a line from some inspiring, weirdly called, “world music” to electronic productions that share a similar sensibility for timbre and melody.
Have particular holidays or travels inspired you to dig into these styles of music?
Traveling is clearly a huge source of inspiration in my music. Even though South America, Europe and Japan have been my most intense touring destinations, I was particularly compelled and intrigued by some occasional trips to Morocco and Turkey. I must admit that I’ve been recently quite captivated by the mesmerizing sounds of north Africa and the east.
I also love to do something I call virtual tourism. Sounds quite silly, but I often look up for distant places, landscapes and cultures through the internet and try to learn things I don’t know (Google Earth is amazing!). Somehow this research is always driven by music and at the end I always end up discovering something I like. Of course it is a completely different perspective than being “on site”, but somehow it can help you discover music in a more naive way, with less information on the background, history, etc. Though this information is crucial for the understanding of the music, it is not so for the simple enjoyment of it. Any ethnomusicologist would kill me for saying that… hahaha
Where, for example, did you find the Bulgarian choral track that opens the mix?
My first encounter with Bulgarian choral music was in a record shop in Tokyo some years ago. Japanese people have this amazing collector or encyclopedic mind, so you can find anything you want there, from all over the world, perfectly organised and catalogued. This particular record I included in the mix was bought here in Berlin in Dussmann Kulturhaus (which has a very interesting “world music” section I highly recommend). It is a collaboration between a Bulgarian Voices choir and a Siberian throat singing group. A pretty unique sounding combination.
Though you perform as a live act rather than as a DJ, are you also a record collector?
I wouldn’t call myself a record collector. Of course I have many records I have listened, enjoyed and collected through all these years, but I don’t have an “obsession" or “need” to have every record, to store it and show my friends how cool I am. For me, music has never been about possessing it, I think it is more important to absorb it and incorporate it to your soul. After all music is abstract and immaterial, no?
If you could go on a musical discovery mission to one country, where would it be and why?
I truly hope I will have a long life to visit all the countries I am interested in, but I guess if I had to choose now I would love to make a “musical discovery mission” from Morocco, Algeria, Mali and Niger to Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan with India as final destination. If anyone is interested in funding this journey, do come forward :)
What is some of your favourite music from your native Argentina?
I grew up listening to a lot of traditional folkloric Argentinean music like Atahualpa Yupanqui, Mercedes Sosa and stuff like that. But to be honest it was not my choice, but that of my fathers. Only after my adolescence period I rediscovered some of the so called “native” music and started enjoying it. I also always enjoyed the nostalgic and warm feeling of tango which is a part of the everyday culture in Argentina. But besides all this traditional music, there is a lot of great rock, alternative and electronic music coming from Argentina that I love.
What else do you love about Argentina? and what do you not love about it?
I love the culture, the meaning of family and friendship, the dramatic spirit of people that somehow always manage to keep high spirits and hope in tragic times and last but not least the food. The thing I don’t love about it: nothing ever works as it is supposed to.
We can’t wait for your album ‘Isolation Diaries’ to come out later this year. How would you describe it to someone unfamiliar with your music? What were the inspirations and concepts you had in mind whilst writing it?
The album took form after a long process of introspection, liberation and listening of unknown music to me. In a way the album is a dialectic synthesis of two different but complemental periods of my career. The first one: young, naive, free, unprofessional and experimental, where I was mainly trying to create the weirdest possible sounds with limited technique in production. And the second one: professional, controlled, with a developed technique and a very precise sound. Somehow it is a balance between the free and impulsive spirit of my early days and the experience, structure and professionalism I have developed over time. I think the album is warm, emotive and nostalgic but not dark nor sad, percussive and melodic but not balearic, tribal and organic but still very precise. I think it expresses my emotional state of these past two years quite honestly. It has been a couple of years of voluntary isolation, retreat and introspection, hence the title.
What do you do when you need a short break from the studio?
I spend a lot of time in the studio, which happens to be in my apartment, so I often need some fresh air, I either meet up with some friends for a drink or go for a walk for about 1 or 2 hours without any particular destination.
Favourite studio snack?
Drink of choice?
Beer in summer, brown rum in winter.
Films or books?
What was the last book you read?
This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin.
What is you oldest memory related to music? Can you remember of a song you listened to as a child for instance?
It is not my oldest, but a very strong one and kind of funny: the Italy Football World Cup song of 1990
(I was 7). Very cheesy song, but incredibly emotive for me at that time. And if I have to be honest, I still get the same feeling when I hear it. Guess the football drama in Argentina had an effect on me then.
Finally, sorry to put you on the spot but do you have any good jokes?
Not really, I am not a good joke teller as I always start laughing before I get to the end or even before I start. I guess my talking is way slower than my thinking.
mosso007 is out now.