If stagnation is the death to creativity, then we can expect some really exciting work from Toronto producer XI (sometimes known as Ultragamma and now part of new production duo Ambalance) who packed his bags and moved to Berlin.
With the large exodus to Berlin by many musical types from across North America, Germany has now become the hotbed for musical inspiration. But for XI, (Christian Anderson), who was excited at the prospect of embarking on a new life change, it was just the right “life move”.
“Many people move here because of the music and culture,” XI explains over the phone on his way to the airport. “But [for me] it is more about the people that are here and just wanting to be around people that I find creatively inspiring. Creativity is drawn from experience, so if you are always stagnating in the same experience your creative output is going to be dictated by that. I think a new life experience just enhances my ability to go new directions and avenues.”
Always known as a musician who doesn’t shy away from musical reincarnation, his newest music project Ambalance sees him creating music with beatsmith Skeleton Bone. XI, who has always claimed to not be fond of out of studio collaborations, has rethought his stance with the newest release of the Cokewave EP.
“It’s worked out really nicely,” XI claims. “To be able to write stuff in isolation and be able to bounce it off of each other, take time with the process and not really rush it.” Also new for XI is the decision to release Ambalance’s debut on Bandcamp, which he admits, alleviates the worrying about labels, press, genre or any of the other external factors that might hamper a musicians creative process.
“We literally just make the music we like. If we think it sounds good we put it out for free—no obligations. It is really freeing creatively and fun.”
I ask him if this is the last of his many musical characters–if XI, as a musician, has finally settled into whom he is? He pauses, starts, and then stops again. “I am going to put this in the nerdiest and most embarrassing way possible,” and then confesses that he loves RPG games a lot and makes a parallel between creating a character for a game with creating new production monikers.
“I kind of look at making new monikers in the same sense as if you are playing a warrior or a wizard, they are two different types of characters, and it’s the same if I am making house music or weird ambient drone experimental music. They are going to be two different things, and in my mind I think about them as being two different characters.” He laughs and adds sheepishly “I think it helps me to categorize where things go in my head.”
Come see XI on Halloween in his legend of Zelda Costume on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at The HIFI Club
By: Donatella Connolly
Photos: Omar Al-Samadi