Artists like nothing better than paint another gloomy picture of our dystopian future. But not all of them manage to do so with needed elegance and grace. Luckily, our today’s heroes and the winners of the Best Electronic Song of March 2019 Tournament — RVSKCTRL — are quite an exception. This dark bass and future garage duo are not about obvious gloom. Their side of darkness has a rich palette of sensations in audiophilic form.
Who’s in Control?
RVSKCTRL is a creative symbiosis of two independent electronic artists from Cherkasy, Ukraine: Michael Maximow aka Raevsky and Alexander Khomenko aka Dark Side Control. As Khomenko recalls, he had always wondered how the music piece is created. Unable to keep this question opened, he decided to try everything on his own. In 2006 he started writing music and experimenting with various genres until he finally felt for drum and bass. Since he had no friends on the electronic scene, he taught himself everything, writing different beats and bass’ for a year.
Having wave and drum and bass backgrounds, these two musicians merged into one dark bass and future garage dedicated unit.
Their first record — Dark Side EP released on the label RUNE CHILL Recordings — was a challenge right off the bat. A challenge addressed to the commercial electronic scene, to themselves as musicians, and to our whole way of consuming music. It’s no wonder it was appreciated right along by the likes of Niels Binias or the late Øfdream.
Their second, and first independently released, EP Diva has a much darker sound and a haunting artwork by Ukrainian tattoo artist Yana Korol. This release was supported by London-based record label and promotional channel The Games We Play as well as an independent music platform Sacred Doctrine (Poland).
You can see the change of heart, not just in the way these two records sound. Even the names of the tracks are spelling out totally different sentiments. If there is hope in Dark Side EP— like in the track called “Love Will Always Win”, Diva leaves nothing much but despair — like in “A Horrible Dream” or “Burnt Coils”.
photo: Yana Korol
It gets darker, and at the same time, it gets deeper and more layered. But the beauty of future garage is in the fact that you can change your music whichever way you within it.
The Future of Garage
The term “future garage” was created by Whistla back in 2009. London-based DJ, the founder of Sub.FM radio and the “Future Garage Forum”, the owner of the L2S Recordings was the first one to use it in his interview.
So what is future garage exactly? According to his own words, it’s not so much a subgenre as a movement. “In a sense, it’s to give garage a future.” — he said. “A future outside of cheesy clubs and holiday resorts. Inject the garage sound with fresh ideas and fresh influences, moving it away from a ‘smart shoes and no hoods’ type affair to the more underground, and ultimately more long-lived and healthy, scene.”
Basically, future garage is a vast electronic scene, a breeding ground for a variety of musical experiments, which, technically, can have very little in common. “In this respect, I think future garage isn’t really a genre at all, it’s not a final destination like dubstep was,” — Whistla continues. “Instead, I see future garage as a collection of DJ’s and producers that share a vision of what garage can and should be, but who all have different visions at the same time.”
The music Won’t Spread Itself
It’s pretty evident that for every artist, music comes first in his career. Still, there is a lot more to it than just creating music, and promotion is one of the crucial points.
RVSKCTRL seems to be a kind of collective that concentrates strictly on creating music. On one hand, that seems fair considering their attitude against the commercial scene. On the other, there is an eternal question of liaising between an artist and his listeners. Does one owe it to them to be easily spotted?
In other words, let’s imagine that you’re not piling all your records in your room like good-old Muslimgauze. So, if you’re already spreading your work among the streaming services, why not to go the extra mile with active social media, creating a full-on community of like-minded admirers. To say the least proper feedback is what makes us evolve.
Of course, you can have a specially trained person for that cause. Or you can push yourself through into the world with little steps like a Louder.me Tournament. The crucial thing is to never stop taking those steps. Because music wouldn’t exist if there were no one to listen to it.