Minimal Violence’s debut album, “InDreams”, is a start-to-finish, full-throttle ride through raw, high energy techno. Their records have always captured the exhilarating spirit of their live shows, and on “InDreams” they bottle up that livewire, punk energy into its most concentrated form yet. Recording with a haphazard collection of hardware machines, with initial takes live off the floor to capture the raw energy, they embrace upfront directness in everything.
Ashlee Luk and Lida P are rising stars in Vancouver’s thriving DIY scene, following their records for some of its best-known labels – like 1080p and Genero – as well as Lobster Theremin, First Second (part of All City) and Ninja Tune’s Technicolour which will also be home to “InDreams”. Since forming in 2015, they’ve stamped their stripped back, no-holds-barred ethos onto the city’s close-knit music scene. Putting on nights and connecting with like-minded peers, they’ve carved out a corner for the kind of music they wanted to hear: dance music with a punk spirit. They started itinerant club night Sacred Sound Club, booking acts like Broken English Club, Posh Isolation, Schwefelgelb, Siren collective and more. Ashlee also co-founded CURRENT, a feminist electronic music symposium for women and non-binary artists, which ran for its second year in 2018.
The album was recorded at Deep Blue, a DIY studio and venue complex, where their studio runs off a small space heater in the winter, and gets so hot in the summer that they could only record at night. Adapting to makeshift conditions is in keeping with their ethos. They like to figure out things as they go along, and embrace the mistakes they make along the way. Their set-up is a case in point: they make their music on hardware, lots of which doesn’t always work properly, and which is often not intuitive in the way it should be used. They often write synth lines on the MPC where notes don’t follow conventional progressions. The results are strange and atonal, and have become part of their sound. “We never want to fix it”, Ashlee says.
The pair first met working in a Vancouver restaurant in 2012. Ashlee had been in punk and minimal synth groups (and is currently also in punk group Lié), so took to experimenting with synths. These early experiments culminated in an invitation by Soledad Muñoz to release what would be their debut on her Genero label.
They’ve been eager to perform from the start, volunteering themselves early on for a support slot for Patricia (Opal Tapes, Spectral Sound), where their then nascent live set-up was put through its paces. It’s a reflection of what Lida says was inherent in the punk philosophy that they initially approached the project with, “where first you play a bunch of shit live sets then you figure it out and record it eventually”. Although they have since revised this initial workflow there are still aspects of it that they hold on to, many of the tracks recorded for the album are ones that they had already been playing live and the decision to record was based on crowd response. Their live sets being, as they describe,“a testing ground for future recordings”.
They’ve grown and changed since their debut EP for Genero. Where it’s tougher moments were buttressed by gentle atmospherics, “InDreams” is unapologetically direct: from beginning to close, it’s driven forwards by a steely, unrelenting momentum. “The more we’ve been playing, the faster and harder it’s become”, Ashlee says. They’ve expanded the ideas behind this record, too, inventing the dystopian ‘InDreams inc.’ corporation which proposes to deconstruct the barrier between our dreams and waking reality. Inspiration drawn in part from early industrial groups who employed esoteric imagery to blur the lines between themselves and their audience was a jumping off point for the record’s rave-inspired, cult imagery designed by Kevin McCaughey (Boot Boyz), as a banner to bring the album together under.
“Building the concept of “InDreams” helped us see the album as a whole and helped guide us when shaping the record. Dreams are the ultimate escape from reality, we exist in this whole other dimension for a large portion of our life. We wanted to create a fictional corporation, InDreams inc., reminiscent of a megacorp you would encounter in cyberpunk novels or films, that marketed these dreams as experiences. The parallel between physical and psychic reality also serves as a metaphor for the resistance against binary and the assumption of knowledge”.
Realising their individual vision on a bigger scale than before, they’ve continued to embrace the imperfections and ideas which are sparked by free-flowing creativity. They’ve spent the past three years channelling and documenting their unchecked, uncompromising sound and on “InDreams”, that creative ethos is realised with more clarity than ever before.
1. Untitled Dream Sequence
3. June Anthem
4. New Hard Catch
5. Persuasive Behaviour
7. Virus Prophecy
9. Last One At The Rave
Stream clips here