Art by Harry Gassel and Eric Hu.
Around the release of Scenes 2012-2015, Galcher Lustwerk and Alvin Aronson's first record as Studio OST, the duo suggested that their sound was inspired by the bustle of their New York City home. But something in their vaporous and otherworldly take on techno tropes felt it more more bound to the sky than street, a heavenly and untethered version of the skittering and careening sounds they'd issued on their own. Later this month, they'll head further skyward on with a follow-up EP called Eventide/Ascension, a four-track that features some of the weightless beats they explored on their debut, and even more airy pieces—like the beatless version of "Eventide," which ominously slides around like a time lapse of a thunderstorm above a city skyline.
In advance of that release—which is now due February 28 on Galcher's own Lustwerk Music label—the pair have turned in the latest THUMP mix, which finds them further exploring that spacey side. They didn't turn in a tracklist for the set that they called a "soundtrack mix," but the hour-and-45-minute excursion soars through the clouds of ambient music's most gossamer realms—making room for one of Underworld's most spectral songs as well. It's blissful, buoyant, and peaceful introduction to what the Studio OST project's all about if you're only familiar with the pair's solo efforts. Check out the mix below in full, alongside a characteristically concise email exchange with the duo about the mix and their new record.
THUMP: How are we meant to enjoy the mix? What's the perfect setting?
Alvin Aronson: Listen to it while you're doing something else.
Galcher Lustwerk: I've been listening to it in the studio when I need a break
Is synesthesia a real thing and if so, what color is this mix?
Aronson: I don't know if it's a real thing...
Lustwerk: White like snow.
Was there any specific concept to the mix?
Lustwerk: We pulled together our favorite soundtrack-y music, and some of our own ambient tracks as well.
Aronson: And we wanted to make something longer—about the length of a feature film.
Do you have a favorite moment on the mix?
Aronson: The parts where nothing much happens – the second track by Sun An is one of my favorites.
Lustwerk: I look forward to the Koss track about an hour in.
If your LP was a tribute in part to the way that New York City shaped you, what's driven this new release?
Aronson: Since we were putting together a 12" rather than an LP, it made sense to pick out some songs that DJs might want to play.
Tell me a bit about your relationship to film scores. Obviously this is a "soundtrack mix" and your name is Studio OST, do you think of the music you make more in line with that sort of thing than more functional club music?
Lustwerk: Anything can function in the club. I play soundtracks all the time in the club.
Aronson: Yeah I don't really worry about functionality, except maybe when mixing a track down.
Do you think of this new record or any of your music in particularly visual terms? What film could it score? Or is that too literal to think about this sort of thing?
Lustwerk: The main visual that comes to mind is a room with equipment and speakers in it, but that's 'cause I think about the actual making of the music.
Aronson: The thing about soundtrack music is it's always unfinished. The music is a part of some other experience, so there's this openness that allows it to work in different situations. And once you release it, there's no way of controlling what people will do with it, for better or worse.
There's a peacefulness at the heart of the mix, and to some degree in the EP too. Is something drawing you to lighter/wispier sounds right now or is that just where your head's at?
Aronson: I can't listen to techno all of the time.
Lustwerk: I'd like to be at peace.
Pre-order Everntide/Ascension on Bandcamp.