Exclusive mix 80: Indigenous electronics with Brussels-based producer Empty Taxi

Originally a percussionist and jazz drummer, Empty Taxi’s Zoe developed her own sound, which she describes as indigenous electronics, through field recordings, beat productions and vocals. Set to play at schiev festival next month, Zoe provides an expressive and experimental, hour-long oriental journey into the depths of the Indonesian villages she recently traveled to, while giving us a little hint at the end as to where her next travels will take her.

Can you describe yourself in a few words? Your sound, approach to making music, your influences, how it all started, etc…

I make music, which I call indigenous electronics because it has an anthropological approach as well as a digital one.

How did you first start making music? How does it fit into your life?

I used Printmusic to create random scores, which turned into my first compositions, then played jazz-fusion drums hoping one day to play with Steve Coleman and the Metrics. Don’t know but it fits anyhow, for sure.

Is music a full-time thing for you at the moment? If not, what are your other occupations?

Yes but there is still some other extra half time in events production.

Can you describe the mix in a few words? What is its overriding influence, where would it best be enjoyed, what makes it special?

I made it last night, as a last minute request so I can only say that it’s honest. I guess you can listen to it during a calm moment or at work, although it might turn out to be too harsh sometimes, which is also what I like, because it’s true. It’s really special (to me at least) because it includes field recordings I made in Indonesia last month, as well as a recording by ethnomusicologist and new friend Palmer Keen (Aural Archipelago), works from producer friends, south east asian noise work which came with the book ‘Not your world music’ by Cedrik Fermont and Dimitri Della Faille.

Can you tell us about the exclusive track on the mix? Why did you chose to include this one? If it isnt one of your own productions, how did you come across the artist?

All the field recordings are exclusive. I didn’t even have time since I’m back to listen to them. One of the recordings was made by brilliant singer and family RIMU & BILI at DANA KAKA traditional village where I stayed in the island of Sumba, south Flores (Indonesia), another was made at Prai Jing Village at a dead ceremony. The family is playing gongs and by the end of the recording we clearly hear the lamentations of the dead’s brother crying/singing the stories he lived with him and how he will be missed. The villagers were so true, warm, human and generous, it is one of the best memories I have in my brain right now.

When and where did you record it? Describe the room, the furniture, the walls, the view from the room, the neighbourhood, the weather at the time, etc…

Last night, in my living room in Brussels, while watching splendid lights out the window, rain and reflections on the stoned roads.

What’s your favourite track on the mix?

The last one and all the other ones before.

What are your top 3 albums of the year so far and why?

I don’t know actually. I’m pretty bad at listing top 3, top 10 or whatever the top.

What do you have coming up in the next few weeks?

Touring in UK next week, working at my job, beers, Berlin Loop, getting things ready for the studio, Schiev. Ghent, chocolat chaud.