Admiral Greyscale and Baron Mordant are the shadow-hosts to Mordant Music, a constantly sporing subcultural entity which, as well as releasing the insidiously essential Dead Air, has spat out collaborative emissions with dubstep artist Shackleton (notably 2004’s now-classic ‘Stalker’ 7”) and comedian Simon Munnery (the pornographic View Mastur toy). I contacted the pair for a furtive electronic interview...
Why 'Mordant'? Does the aesthetic dictate the music or vice versa?
Admiral Greyscale: “I think the deathly aesthetic unquestionably fuels the art... it’s a beast that feeds on itself in perpetuity.”
Why is now the right time for a soft explosion of British Weird?
Baron Mordant: “We're right down to the marrow now in terms of yield and an exciting final finality is being viscerally heralded from all quarters, whether it be doom, dubstep, noise, folk or our own brand of death-throw archiving. It is certainly an overall period of mourning and a vast shedding of sonic skin. The glee club has finally departed and a realistic social interaction, imbued with a stark musical framework, has begun to infiltrate everyday lives... '1984' with a better soundtrack. Pound for pound the overall salvation factor is actually in rude health.”
Is Philip Elsemore pleased with the results of his participation?
BM: “A wonderful combination of ecstacy and reticence...'ecstaticence'.”
Is MM part of a British musical lineage?
BM: “MMore an overall cultural lineage that music is the host to... Chris Morris and Leerdammer are as influential as Aphex Twin. The lineage is cosmic and not confined to Broadstairs.”
AG: “We’re pretty keen on Tulse Luper (a fictional British raconteur invented by filmmaker Peter Greenaway). Leonard Rossiter is also a talisman.”
So how would you describe your relationship with good old Blighty? Is there a kind of patriotic pride to MM?
BM: “Blighted by shortsightedness more like. As cultures clash and dovetail, with only a handful of mavericks to applaud, I'm firmly opposed to patriotism. It's the vast unknown that I pledge allegiance to... I'm fed up of the forecourts.”
What influenced your decision to make each MM release a covetable 'item'?
AG: “We fumble in the wake of Mo Wax, 4AD, Factory and all those labels/artists for whom a visual identity is as fundamental as the sonic output. We’re also both collectors by nature to differing degrees. We approach the making of everything with an eye on whether or not we’d treasure the item ourselves.”
Given the amount of samples used on Dead Air, how did you decide what went in and what stayed out? Was there a particular 'feel' you were looking/listening for?
BM: “It distilled itself from a lifetime of influences somehow... the BM/AG 'Grey Library'. There were several phases of aligned creativity and it was certainly not just tossed off, however despite the convoluted processes both creatively and socially Dead Air can be looked upon as a veritable 'chicken in a bastard'... only the listener can decide to delve deeper or treat it as scree.”
AG: “We generally aim for a nuance, a vague notion of something... anything overly familiar tends to get lobbed overboard.”
How did the relationship between MM and dubstep come about?
BM: “Dubstep is somewhere in the MM tea-leaves albeit a peripheral cuppa. Sam Shackleton is a friend who happened to be making music in that vein. MM released 'Stalker' which defies the dubstep tag in my book. It's more John Carpenter to my ears. The recent 'I Want To Eat You' (available on double a-sided 10” with MM’s ‘Hummdrumm’) is certainly in dubstep's six-yard box. Sam's totally 'Mordant' and will breach our defences at some point again in the future.”
What do you feel MM's music shares with dubstep?
BM: “The burden! Note for note, not much, although I am into the tempo and convex production. I think it's suffocating itself and maybe that's the point. We certainly inhabit the same bitumen lined vacuum.”
First published in Plan B Magazine, 2007