Nicolas Bougaïeff Announces New Album "The Upward Spiral"; Listen To "Thalassophobia"




credit: Mischa Fanghaenel
Berlin-based producer and artist Nicolas Bougaïeff today announces details of The Upward Spiral, his debut album for Mute. The album is out on July 24 on digital and limited double blue vinyl formats.

The announcement is accompanied by the first track, “Thalassophobia”, whose nosebleed kicks and synth bleeps betray the track’s deeper meaning: “It’s about looking inwards. It’s a Greek word that means fear of depth, actually literally it’s fear of water, but it’s the fear of unfathomable depths,” Bougaïeff explains. “I’m pointing to the fear of depths; both literal and metaphorical. It’s a beautiful word that has attracted me going back years.”

Listen to “Thalassophobia” here.
Pre-order The Upward Spiral here.

On his new album, Bougaïeff reframes familiar tropes for his own mind-expanding vision of body music. Punishing industrial techno charges the album at surface level with beautiful-meets-bleak energy. But peel back the layers of brash ferocity and there’s a hell of a lot more going on than first meets the ear. The culmination of years of hard work, Bougaïeff grew the album from the seeds of a bespoke composition technique; a carefully thought-out studio experiment in how to bend a love of techno into innovative new shapes.

Across nine metallic misadventures, which Bougaïeff describes as “little open scores”, he blitzes drum patterns and sharp synthwork into a satisfyingly effective blend. Intricate rhythmic structures lurk beneath the “strawberry jam” of the surface aesthetics. This rhythmic illusion seeps into every crevice of a record that brings a slice of academia to the rave.

On the creeping mutation of “Nexus”, gabber, IDM and drum ‘n’ bass collide. “Flying High” soars with bright melody, taking the ear to new places while assuming the form of an ambient trance shapeshifter with echoes of martial drumming. “Positive Altitude” picks up where the previous track left off, but goes even deeper into hard, hypnotic trance. Distortion rusts at the corners of “Inward Megalith”, while the title track takes the minimal route. “Inexadorable” is the most unrelenting and sinister-sounding track on the record, except Bougaïeff’s intentions for the album sing to the tune of optimism and commitment rather than nihilism and destruction.

The Upward Spiral continues Bougaïeff’s decades-long love of club music, a love that has compelled him to challenge conventional wisdom, delivering genre-busting Berghain sets that expertly blend French-Canadian hip-hop with Tchaikovsky, moody techno and ambient. Launching his debut record as a producer in 2013 – the Movements EP with Max Cooper – Bougaïeff has since put out a string of singles on labels including minimal techno imprint Trapez and an EP on novamute in 2017, Cognitive Resonance.

The Upward Spiral tracklisting
1. Embrace Hope All Ye Who Enter Here
2. Thalassophobia
3. The Upward Spiral
4. Inexadorable
5. Nexus
6. Flying High
7. Positive Altitude
8. Inward Megalith
9. Listen Carefully To The Heart Beat