Devised by Décalé’s Matthias Orsett and Maxi Fischer, the new compilation «Intenta: Experimental and Electronic Music from Switzerland 1981-93» co-released on Les Disques Bongo Joe surveys under the radar hinterland electronica and post-punk beauties made in Switzerland. For this mix, Orsett & Fischer have linked the past with the present, folding together haunting ambient moods, glacial pastiches, and spoken word experiments: Switzerland soars.
Tell us about this mix.
We made it in a similar spirit as our compilation Intenta, there’s an overall melancholic feeling. It’s exclusively made of Swiss music and loads of stuff are in the «Feng Shit» mood, our LYL radioshow. While working on Intenta, we also realized how vibrant the contemporary Swiss scene is. We wanted to pay our respect to this, so why restrict ourselves to the past? We really like artists like Martina Lussi, Neu Verboten or labels like CAF?, Unvague or Kashev Tapes. We also included stuff from a forthcoming project we are working on with Fizzè.
How did you come up with the idea of doing the compilation?
We started to play records together three years ago, our first gig was in Lausanne and it was a complete mess. The day after we were having a listening session with synthpop, new-wave, avantgarde and experimental music at Matthias’ place. After a couple of glasses of Islay Whiskeys, we had the idea of working on a French-speaking compilation, so we started our re search, Maxi in France and Matthias in Switzerland. After few weeks, we realized what a terrific territory Switzerland was in the ‘80s so we decided to focus on Swiss music only. Fun fact: during this listening session, we also listened to the first LP of Lapassenkoff, Shing a Ling. And that became part of the second release of Décalé. We were productive this day!
Intenta came out pretty diverse: You’ll find synth-pop, jazz, post-punk, new age, world music to leftfield dance in it.
We found a lot of things in different musical niches. At some point we realized we had to stop digging and start working on a tracklist. This came pretty naturally. Intenta isn’t covering any movement or scene of that time, it’s a selection of what we personally love, from avant-garde to proto-house. Once the selection and licensing was done, our idea was to split the compilation into what we felt could be an equivalent to the listening session like we had at Matthias’ place that one night, and a more dance-driven part. That’s what comes through on the first versus the second record.
Partnering up with Les Disques Bongo was an obvious choice for you?
It actually started by coincidence. We met Mega Wave Orchestra label boss Christian Oestreicher in summer 2017 in his house in Geneva. It was literally two streets from the shop so we decided, encouraged by our good friend Philippe Heim, to pass by and say hi. We discussed the project and listened to the records we were targeting. Cyril Yeterian told us to come back once finalized and things came super naturally. We work a lot with him, it is as fun as instructive, everyday. What he has created with Bongo Joe is huge. The label is spreading incredible music all over the world and we’re really proud to be their 50th release. Intenta will probably reach much more people thanks to this collaboration, that’s wonderful.
Why did you pick the name «Intenta»?
It comes from Latin, the roots of the four Swiss official languages. It can be translated to «intention» and, since we’ve decided to start this project in March 2017, we’ve been surrounded by people with incredibly good intentions. We met specialists, if not outright lexicons of Swiss music, who guided us down the road. We were enormously supported by friends, diggers and record dealers. Intenta could also be translated from latin as “agreement”.
Connecting all these musical dots between Geneva and St. Gallen must have been quite a a journey.
We wanted to meet with all of the artists in person, and we almost did! Most of the artists were pleasantly surprised and happy to dig up their old memories, and this is where the magic began. Those meetings gave us a better understanding of everything: the way these musicians approached their music, how they were connected to a scene, or rather often no scene at all. We laughed a lot, drank a bit of wine. All this encouraged us very much. And we realized how inspired these Swiss musicians were at this time and bonded beyond the Röstigraben and language barriers, even if sometimes these guys didn’t know they were doing the same kind of music, while their studios were just a couple of hundred meters away.
What’s coming next?
We’ve been a lot in record shops and flee markets to find good music for the label but we feel now is the time to do something more than only reissuing music. We’re also working on a Various Artists project inspired by our «Feng Shit» radioshow. Stay tuned!
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