INFINÉ, the French label which has a catalogue for which the adjective ‘eclectic’ is truly justifiable – there really can’t be many (any?) labels which can boast releases by both Mozart and Carl Craig – is debuting an exploratory new album by Romanian pianist and producer Mischa Blanos, venturing out under his own sail away from the experimental techno trio Amorf.
Renowned as an exhilarating solo live performer, Mischa takes the piano and pushes its rhythmic possibilities – the piano, after all, being a percussion instrument – on City Jungle, an aural interrogation of the massive human hives so many of us now call home.
You can hear the way he meshes modern composition with a dance music aesthetic on his first single drop, “Silicon Road”, which you can listen to below. It has steel, grandeur, a pumping four-to-the-floor beat subverted to a grand theme, based on the Japanese Hirajōshi scale; and references the way we’re all now a new kind of silk road merchant, trading and sharing goods and data on the internet.
From his early education and the realisation of the two EPs he already has under his belt, 2018’s Second Nature and the following year’s Indoors, Mischa has lived in cities around the world and travelled through many others; each, Mischa says, has “a unique atmosphere and pressure … each of them with new rules to follow and different rhythms to attune to.”
As with us all, the pandemic saw Mischa hauled ashore from his travels in Bucharest, which had adopted a 12-hour curfew from 9pm daily; so he spent those long nights in the studio, creating, reliving his travels in sound.
He came to realise in solitary reflection that the pressure he felt in cities was not due to the mass of people but the city itself. He could feel it impose its structure. “The city is an untamed creature and we are creating it, one cell at a time,” he explains. “We moulded soil and stone and built these dazzling places where we can live together protected from wild and unpredictable nature.
But: “If it is made by us for us, why does it feel like a crushing force on the individual?”
And that’s idea – how the city is made by us, for us, but subliminally alters us, that Mischa seeks to explore on his new album.
Mischa Blanos’ City Jungle will be released by InFiné digitally, on CD and on vinyl on May 21st; you can pre-order your copy from the label’s Bandcamp page, here.