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Icicle – The Iceman Cometh


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“I started working on it pretty soon after I finished Under The Ice. I guess I was just working out where to take it.” There’s been a pretty hefty gap since Icicle dropped his eponymous debut album. Three and half years is a fair amount of time to wait for a follow up. But albums aren’t to be rushed, especially when trying to avoid ‘sophomore jinx’. Anyway, it’s not like Icicle, aka Jeroen Snik, has been resting on his laurels. “In the meantime I’ve done some different things, some non-Icicle related stuff. Mostly I was searching for what it should be like – I really didn’t want to repeat the first album or make something that was similar. I spent a lot of time developing my sound design and dynamics, the way I work, my techniques and stuff like that.” Entropy really started to come together about a year ago for Icicle. Once he’d discovered a common theme in terms of how it sounded, everything else pretty much fell into place. “I got to a point where I could hear where it was going,” he explains, “After that it sped up a lot and the bulk of the music was made in the last six months or so.”

I point out that Entropy is, in comparison to Under The Ice, a harder, much colder sounding album, the production a lot more stark. Icicle’s music has always been more stripped back than most, but there feels like a harsher edge to his work on this album than any of his previous material. “I wanted to look more into the future. The very electronic, very well produced type of sound feels like its coming to the forefront. The types of synthesis that we use now, the dynamics, the tricks to make things loud and make the mixes really articulated and wide, to me that feels like progress. Entropy is my imagining of what my sound can be, where it can go and what it may be like in a couple of years time as well.” Drum & Bass production more than any other genre pushes the limits of what it is capable of. Though what can be done is mind blowing technically, it can come of the expense of the music itself. Clinical is good to a degree, but smooth the edges too much and it starts to lose its essence. As someone who’s stretching the barriers of his production style on Entropy, I wanted to get Icicle’s view. “You can definitely over produce. Music is still supposed to be music but it is a type of sound. It comes from synths and working the sound palette. When you talk about the coldness I think it’s more a modern take on it. I think there’s still a lot of music in it but ultimately for me I’m getting to a point where electronic music is more about process and development. My sound has always been quite minimal so I’m always searching for those soundscapes and textures.”

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Icicle’s journey to the point where he’s got album number two under his belt has been mainly travelled via the path of drum & bass, with little diverts into dubstep and techno here and there. While his name and reputation are built on 170bpm foundations, electronic music as a whole has always been the main aim for Icicle since the start. In that regard, you could say Entropy is his way of realising that aim, but still keeping it within the drum & bass space he works in. “From the beginning I’d wanted to be an electronic music producer rather than just a drum & bass producer but its not always easy. In the beginning I made pretty straightforward drum & bass. Quickly you get known for a certain sound and to break out of it is pretty difficult. But with dubstep happening things have got more open and I’m free to do more experimental stuff. With the album it was a place I could really take it somewhere. Really, if you think about, if the album has a couple of dance floor tunes that people will play the album is already a success,” he says laughing. “But then you have lots of music left to experiment. That’s why I have the Entropy interludes as a thread through the album but also as a no rules, no dance music mindset for me to make some music in. With some of the other stuff that’s on there, you can get away with that on an album. I’d say my progression has definitely come a long way.”

Icicle’s progression as an artist includes focusing on and developing his live show based around much of the material featured on Entropy and more. When a drum & bass producer say they’re doing a ‘live show’ it’s usually viewed as a cynical way to tag a few more zeroes onto their fee and let a computer do most of the work. Not in Icicle’s case. “It’s based around an Akai MPC, a Virus TI, a bunch of compressors, a bunch of effects, a mixer; a keyboard to play stuff live. I do the effects live, mix things out live, do the dynamics etc. The reason I started doing it is because you can do it, it’s not that much harder. It’s hard… but not impossible to do. Not everybody will see the difference between doing that and doing a laptop set, but I will. Especially in the current climate where you can turn up with a USB stick and just play like that. Some of the skill has gone out of performing.” It’s that appreciation for the art form in its various guises that has always kept as one of drum & bass’s most popular figures: his love for all aspects of the craft. “I don’t know if the live show will be more successful but for myself it’s a massive challenge, and for people who do care about it will stand there go ‘wow you can do it that way?’ That for me is where the fun is. Where it feels like you’re pushing yourself or doing something difficult and doing it well you know?”

Entropy is out now on Shogun Audio. Get info and tickets for his Entropy album launch party herewww.shogunaudio.co.uk/events/icicle-entropy-album-launch-party


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