Midnight Operator

Midnight Operator (CA)

“My take on music is more of a meditative exercise, used to enhance reality, while Nathan makes music as a way of destroying sound.” – Mathew Jonson

From Boards of Canada to Bros, sibling musical duos over the years have enjoyed varying degrees of success, but for both Canadian brothers, Nathan and Mathew Jonson, already established and accomplished musicians in their own right, their coming together as Midnight Operator marks a musical relationship which fuses the analogue world of one to the digital realm of the other, synthesizing the incredible talents of both in the creation of something new and intense.

Between the pair they've released on some of the most respected and influential labels out there including Richie Hawtin's M-nus, Crosstown Rebels, Fool's Gold, Perlon, Sub Pop, Itiswhatitis, and of course, Mathew's very own cult imprint, Wagon Repair.

They've remixed everyone from Chemical Brothers, Moby, Richie Hawtin, Plaid, Kevin Saunderson, Om Unit, Phil Kieran, and Para One, and played shows at the most iconic clubs and festivals the world over; from London's Fabric to Berlin's Panorama Bar to Glasgow's Arches, as well as memorable performances at Mutek (Canada), Sonar (Barcelona) and more recently Boiler Room (Berlin).

Growing up, the brothers made use of digital sequencers and eighties sound modules, pushing them to their limits until the first rudimentary computers began to infiltrate their home. Mathew's long-term passion for the warm sounds produced by analogue equipment persisted, while Nathan became increasingly fascinated by the multivarious routing possibilities exposed by digital software programs, in particular Audiomulch and Generator (a precursor to the Native Instruments Reaktor software). This separate adoption of digital and analogue equipment led to the development of two distinct and divergent sounds; Mathew's idiosyncratic lush, warm, analogue soundscapes which sit diametrically opposed to the Hrdvsion obsession with abrasive, heavy-duty, circuit-mashing and trademark brick-wall-smashed compression. Finally, the pair started working together on what started out initially as a remix and live project, with both cutting up each other's creations. But, as Mathew explains, it wasn't always such an obvious decision to work together: “The small home studio we had as kids was not really built for two people and it seems weird but we only made music on our own for years. We always talked about doing something but for some reason developed in our own direction.”

By 2007, however, they were ready to release the first manifestation of Midnight Operator in the form of a brooding self-titled split 12". A period of several years followed during which time they worked largely independently of each other whilst preparing for the release of Nathan's highly acclaimed second Hrdvsion LP, Where Did You Just Go? and Mathew's seminal Agents of Time in 2010.

In 2011, the decision to play live and begin producing more as Midnight Operator had been made. On stage, there's an innate understanding between the pair, a brotherly intuition, which binds the push-pull sound dynamic of both unique producers into one mesmerizing performance.

In the studio, it is Mathew who carefully sculpts the bass and melodic content with layers of analogue and digital noise before Nathan processes, chops, manipulates and spits the sounds back into the analogue realm, ready for the final mix-down. The second Hrdvsion/Midnight Operator split, "Prettier Than That/Dangerous Behavior" released on Wagon Repair Limited in June 2012 is testament to the success of this production technique, which continues to go from strength to strength, or at least from one absolute extreme to another.

Photo by Johan Delétang

NOCTURNE 1
MUTEK 2016, montreal

Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) - Salle BWR
02/06/2016

QUI : Les deux frères Nathan and Mathew Jonson, musiciens canadiens. Installé à Berlin, Mathew est membre des formations Cobblestone Jazz et Modern Deep Left Quartet avec The Mole. Nathan est aussi connu sous le nom de Hrdvsion.
STYLE : Techno minimaliste chargée d’émotion, rythmes méditatifs audacieux, électro déconstruite et entraînante
NOUVEAUTÉS : Angular – Alex Niggemann remix (2016), Mathew Jonson: Northern Lights EP avec Cobblestone Jazz (2015), Fabric 84 mix (2015)
LABELS : Wagon Repair, Aeon, Crosstown Rebels, M-nus, Perlon, Sub Pop, We Have Friends' Music, Rinse Recordings, Itiswhatitis Recordings
PLUS : Ils ont remixé les Chemical Brothers, Moby, Richie Hawtin, Plaid, Kevin Saunderson, Om Unit, Phil Kieran and Para One
MUTEKs : Mathew Jonson à Montréal : 2005, 2012, 2015, 2003; Hrdvision à Montréal : 2010.

Midnight Operator fusionne l’univers analogue riche, mélodieux et teinté de noise de Mathew Jonson et l’approche chirurgicale et « destructrice » de Nathan Jonson. Leur musique s’attache à déconstruire des motifs sonores méditatifs pour s’aventurer vers des territoires plus dansants, sans jamais perdre de vue ses intentions rythmiques et mélodiques.

En puisant dans sa formation classique en percussions, piano et batterie jazz, Mathew Jonson élabore des compositions sombres et précises depuis 2001. En 2004, il a lancé le label Wagon Repair et a repris le label Isitwhatitis en 2012. Outre ses collaborations avec des artistes tels que Dandy Jack, Minilogue, Jesse Heartthrob et plusieurs autres, on le retrouve aussi fréquemment à la Red Bull Music Academy. Nathan Jonson, lui, expérimente dans une veine bien différente avec son projet à saveur punk, Hrdvision, et sa techno déchaînée aux rythmes entraînants. Très jeune, il a commencé à modeler les sons du clavecin, de la guitare du piano et d’instruments traditionnels australiens et, plus tard, des séquenceurs et autres modules sonores afin de créer une techno expérimentale et des propositions club audacieuses où le son et l’équipement musical se marient de façon inattendue.

En collaborant, les frères Jonson renforcent l’approche musicale de chacun. Ils ont publié leur premier 12’’ éponyme en 2007 suivi au fil des ans de sets à la Fabric de Londres, au Panorama Bar de Berlin, aux Arches de Glasgow, au Sonar et lors d’un set Boiler Room à Berlin ainsi que dans plusieurs autres clubs et festivals. Midnight Operator donnera le ton de cette édition de MUTEK avec leur tout nouveau set live présenté lors de la soirée d’ouverture.

Photo par Johan Delétang

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