UK based Con's Universe first release on Concrete Kïn is tearing up the Beatport charts. We sit down to hear his inspiration behind the music and what's next for the artist
First things first, what's the background to the track title?
So, for those of you that don't know, a 'murmuration' is a sort of mass-congregation of starlings in the sky, which typically happens throughout the autumn and winter months. I once read about murmurations in an article - the name derives from the sound the starling’s wings make when thousands flock and seamlessly glide through the air. It’s much easier to explain visually, so if you get a chance, please google some murmuration videos!
What I have tried to do in my track is depict the feelings and emotions a starling goes through when immersed in a murmuration (as we, the listener, look on as a spectator).
The beginning of the track is the initial congregation - heavy hitting, hectic, driven. Multiple sound-elements (birds) steadily build up around each other to amass as one unit.
The track then develops as the starlings finally climb high, align, and start getting into rhythm. I created very light, floaty synths, and whilst playing around with the LFO, started to imitate a swaying motion, similar to what you visually see in a murmuration (and also the sounds I imagine the wings make). There is also research that a murmuration is created to detract predators, so by trying to replicate this feeling into sound, it was important for me to create the dramatic pluck over the top. This also gives the track a bit more of a focal point, and a darker element overall (the main pluck sound)
Finally, as the murmuration/track continues, there is a complete drop (similar to falling out of the sky), then straight back into the heavy-hitting beat as the whole track comes together as one as the track/murmuration reaches its crescendo and finally tails off.
What are the inspirations behind your music?
There are so many factors when thinking about inspiration. I started off by making DAWless jams on my synths and posting them online. I was 100% inspired by the incredible community of musicians on Instagram, and often would see new tricks and techniques people used when making their own music. Not only did this help develop my understanding of synthesis, it also started my addiction to buying more and more hardware! I’m completely immersed in the learning experience behind music production and remaining continuously-curious is what keeps driving me forward.
When it comes to styles and types of music, I am pretty open to what I listen to. I grew up a drummer, have played everything from classical, jazz, through to thrash and hardcore. It’s important that I can make an emotional connection to the music I listen to/make it – be it through melody, lyric, beat. Music can tap into emotions even the most well-rounded, secure people can’t control. If I can make anything that even remotely comes close to this, I will be happy.
Favourite artists right now and who would be your perfect collaborator?
Ooof. There are so many. I’m really enjoying the music ANNA makes. It’s very progressive and melodic whilst hitting some super deep and dark elements. Massano consistently comes out with incredible tracks that I feel are unique to him. Anyma and Innellea are staple listens for me at the moment. They manage to break boundaries between audial and visual in their art. Collaboration-wise I would love to work with anyone who is keen to break artistic boundaries, and someone I can learn a hell of a lot off!
The sounds you create are incredibly rich, what advice would you give producers wanting to create that cut through synth?
I think it’s key to let all the elements in a track ‘breathe’ – this is almost an evolution on ‘less is more’. It’s fine to have loads of layers in a track, but not have them all playing at the same time. Automation is key, and utilising LFOs in the right way will give space for new frequencies and sounds to flourish. It’s very easy to get lost in buying loads of gadgets and plugins, but I’ve found just learning a few will be enough to get a release out there that is nice on the ears! I also send my tracks out to various discord channels for brutal feedback – this is extremely helpful from a technical standpoint. I mix everything on my Sony XM3s, so having people listen with more advanced monitors can be really helpful.
What's next for Con's Universe?
Well, I am still new to production, so the plan is to keep on learning and developing as both an artist, and producer. My ‘sound’ is starting to settle now, so expect to see more techno-based tracks over the coming year.
In addition to the above, I’ve been working on a three-piece EP which takes the listener through the journey of enlightenment - each track flowing into the next. The first being very erratic, hard, fast techno. The second starting off quite dark, but moving into a lighter, more surreal sound. The final being very peaceful, light and chill. Think ‘We are the Brave’ to ‘Colorize’ to ‘Anjunadeep’. I guess time will tell if this works out, as it’s pushing my boundaries to the max! It's throwing a few genres up in the air too, so I'm trying to work out how well that will be received!