Language of Colours – Astral Industries – Denovali
Samuel van Dijk is fascinated by contrasts. He explores the rough and the smooth, the loud and the quiet, the cerebral and the visceral in aquatic and naturalistic worlds where electro, techno, dub and ambient are blurred into one. This means that as both a producer, dj and comprehensive live act, the Dutchman can take you from the furthest reaches of outer space to the depths of an oceanic abyss via crackling and frozen tundras.
He does so under three aliases—VC-118A, Mohlao, Multicast Dynamics, but all are interconnected and related, with a modular approach to making and performing music meaning that a pumping breakbeat live-set can easily be transformed into an abstract sonic landscape by reducing and modifying elements, playing with textures and reworking structures.
Known by electronic music obsessives as one of electro’s shining lights, the last decade has seen van Dijk excel in both EP and LP format. His achingly beautiful melancholic moods and roomy, absorbing grooves are so fully realised that they work well beyond the club context and have come on top labels like Delsin, Frustrated Funk and Silent Season amongst others. They include highlights like the tension between raw machine sounds and ethereal pads that were explored on VC-118A’s underground classic Vaxna; the critically acclaimed album Inside, which was inspired by virtual reality and imagined water worlds; Shift Register, which was made from largely one-take hardware jams with an instinctive and lo-fi finish, and the slow burning techno of Mohlao’s Landforms LP. Of course, his Multicast Dynamics album quadrilogy on Denovali also laid out immersive ambient worlds in truly escapist ways.
His thrilling sets of guttural and gritty techno, futuristic electro or cathartic ambient are hugely immersive and always emotional, and take him pumping out a peak time festival set, to twisting you inside out with an intimate session in a cosy club or playing an experimental soundscape set in more thought provoking settings with his own avant garde visuals. Whatever he does, though, dance floor experiences are rarely as immersive and emotional as those crafted by this multifaceted artist.