Dark and unfathomable...

We are all forces of nature. And our music reflects everything we endure. One dark and unfathomable album that arrested us recently was the returning Phon.o, AKA Carsten Aermes - and he’s certainly been mirroring the light in his life. ‘Black Boulder’ has sat oblique on our stereo for weeks. Melding together plummeting shards of dark sound Phon.o’s recent musical evolutions sit somewhere along a metaphorical ley-line that stretches from early 21st Century Croydon, via recent Glaswegian escapades then zips through the heart of Berlin and beyond.

“You definitely could say it’s UK influenced,” concurs Carsten. “I think in the last few years there was a big fresh impact of music and it came more or less just from the uK. I don’t like everything but I like a lot of this post-dub stuff. I don’t like grime very much. I liked it maybe six or seven years ago when it came up but I really got sick of this wobble thing. Then I lost the focus on the uK but eventually came back to all the cool, melodic, funky and garage stuff. But I still have my roots in Berlin, so I think they combine a little bit.”

Having been influenced by the dub magnitudes of Basic Channel’s Hard Wax record shop, yet growing up alongside Modeselektor in the same ‘umfeld’ or circle of protagonists, Phon.o’s LP ‘Burn Down The Town’ on Shitkatapult etched him out as arguably one of the co-architects (of what we enjoy calling) ‘bastard dancehall’. But then after working with the more rap orientated Chris De Luca for a few years as ‘CLP’, Carsten vanished. Only to re-emerge in 2011 with the two scintillating singles on 50 Weapons ‘Slavemode’ and ‘ABAW723’, and it’s here where we sighed our reliefs.

Now eleven complex tracks fill the void of Carsten’s recent heartbreak and consequent creative rebirth. He’s also swapped the cut and paste thrill of CLP hip-hop obsession with more soulful studio studies as Pantasz of Bodi Bill fame nails his track ‘Twilight’, whilst multi-cultural mascot Tunde Olaniran brings severe depth to the pseudo-2-step svelte of ‘Leave A Light On’.You may have already noticed a pre-occupation with light. ‘Black Boulder’ is heavy in name and nature. Recorded in the bleak Berlin winter, after the break-up with long-term lover Sandra, it’s reflective of cold introspection, long shadowy hours of technical obsession but also the rebirth of life that we endure as spring.

“I worked in autumn and winter time, so it felt like the album should be something like a rough stone,” he affirms. “I had a picture in my mind that somehow it should be something mystical and rough and raw and not really perfect build until the end. Sometimes it sounds a little melancholic but there is still a shimmer of hope or some positive things. It’s somehow melodic and dramatic…but there’s always the chance of a hope.”


This interview appears in the July 2012 issue of Clash Magazine. Find out more about the issue HERE and subscribe to Clash magazine HERE.


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