Operating deep in the shadow realms of the Artist is High Dude, a producer, visual artist and PhD student with an innocuous name but a captivating, black electronic sound. The producer’s new release, a four-track mixed-tempo trip down the rabbit hole called Withstanding, is available today on the always dark and lurking digital label VALE.
High Dude, who hails from France, has strong views on art, both with regard to his own creative endeavors and Art at-large. “Art is nothing but the ideal, only worth the ideal; if it's limited to a mere imitation, copy or counterfeit nature, it will do better to abstain; it would only display its own insignificance, by dishonoring the very objects it had imitated.” So said Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1865, who is quoted on High Dude’s SoundCloud account. Indeed this rings true. Art that merely imitates is not really art at all, and ought to be left alone. On Withstanding, High Dude matches these bold beliefs with a highly cultivated and intentional sound. Although he deftly incorporates popular threads in broken beat electronic music, these four cuts are distinguished as unique creations possible of arising only from one mind - High Dude’s - at one point in time - right now.
Across the EP, High Dude flexes foundational European styles like dubstep and drum and bass. His take on each style, though, is far from traditional. With “Artless” (what superb entendre - High Dude is also a poet) the producer places sophisticated, grainy sound design and well-manipulated foley samples within an arrangement defined by the simple tempo and dark, atmospheric pads native to dubstep.
As a sucker for 170+ bpm music, your correspondent’s favorite tune on this release is “Epicenter”. It’s a mental take on drum and bass. Small, diamond-cut glitches and other delightful details perk one part of the ears while the undulating synthesizers grab hold of the body. The percussion is acoustic and classy, and a muffled voice that sounds like an airport announcement acts as a subtle, disorienting touch. The song closes in a deep, aqueous ambiance that lasts for mere seconds but projects great power. “Shaman’s Weeping” is mysterious, seemingly unable to settle on which emotion it wants to project, therefore leaving the listener in a perplexing limbo. Stylistically, the tune is noteworthy for it’s strange interpretation of psydub material
“My productions aren’t there to entertain. They cannot be consumed. You must think to understand them and accept them as they are. As pieces of art.” These words come from High Dude himself aka Lohan. Someone so self-aware of his creative products deserves a deeper look from listeners who are enthusiastic about the ideas and subtext behind art. If one endeavors to investigate his catalog, peep prior releases on Outtallectuals, Aquatic Collective, and Upscale Audio.