Podcast 770: Cristi Cons
The relationship between XLR8R and Cristi Cons, the alias of Cristian-Ioan Munteanu, dates back to 2016, when we sat down with him in a Berlin café to discuss his musical origins in Bucharest, Romania. Since then, we’ve invited him to Los Angeles to play our events (as both a solo DJ and as SIT, his collaboration with Vlad Caia), watched him at Sunwaves festival, and had him helm our podcast series as Amorf, a collaboration with Caia and pianist Mischa Blanos. (In 2019, Caia and Cons also contributed to the first edition of XLR8R+, delivering a previously unheard track alongside work from Huxley Anne and Vincent Casanova).
All this goes to say that, as an XLR8R reader, you’re probably familiar with Cons’ background, but here’s a summary for those who don’t. He was raised in a household devoted to classical music and graduated from Bucharest’s Music Academy. But soon he traded in the cello in favor of synthesizers and drum machines to begin making his own loopy minimal, inspired by the releases of Rhadoo and Petre Inspirescu, with whom he has since spearheaded a rich local music community. (We covered that here.)
Outside of his work as a DJ-producer, he is also a co-founder of Amphia, a record label that aims to exhibit multiple facets of electronic music. In the decade since its inception, the imprint has featured the work of fellow Romanians like Inspirescu, Dubtil, and Rhadoo, but also Kamran Sadeghi, DeWalta, and Christopher Ledger—a meeting ground for masters of slick, minimal grooves. Last year, Cons returned there with Out of Cycle, an album of hypnotic trip-hop, downtempo, and groovy house tunes.
After all that, Cons recently put out Black Swan, a new EP on Adam’s Bite—the Swiss label that has put out the work of Barac, Traumer, and Ion Ludwig. And to celebrate it, he’s shared with us a solo podcast, taken from an all-night-long set at the Loft in Manchester, England in August. Much like the release, it’s rich in bass-driven groove and hypnotic textures. Across its 90-minute run-time, you’ll hear tracks from Christopher Ledger, Janeret, Nolga, and many more.
01. What have you been up to recently?
After a busy summer of touring, I’m finally settling down and getting back to studio work, which I’ve been missing a lot!
02. You’ve just put out a release on Adam’s Bite. What can you tell us about it?
The idea came from Adrian (Martinesque), who was kind enough to invite me to do a record for Adam’s Bite, giving me total freedom in terms of musical direction. As I was going through a transition phase in workflow and approach, it took me a while to find a balance I was happy with. I hope people will receive the record well and resonate with the new direction.
03. You say that you’ve been going through a transition phase in workflow and approach. What do you mean by this?
The lockdown gave me plenty of time to explore different genres and to experiment with alternative production techniques that laid the ground for Out of Cycle, the first album that I’ve produced as Cristi Cons. The process of making that record changed my workflow significantly; I switched from recording a single jam and editing to multi-tracking and arranging everything in the box, which gives me more freedom in terms of arrangement. Mixing has become one of my main passions and has changed the way I critically listen to music. And last but not least it has opened my view to other genres that I love experimenting with, hence the downtempo, trip-hop tunes on Out of Cycle.
04. What have you been listening to?
I’ve always been quite open with the music I listen to, trying to find inspiration in different genres. Recently, I’ve been listening to Youssef Dayes, Kamaal Williams, and Tom Misch. I’ve also been digging into instrumental hip-hop and trip-hop because I’m trying to immerse myself into the art of sampling. As far as electronic music goes, I’m looking into old and new music. I think it’s always good to have the best of both worlds.
04. Where and when did you record this mix?
The set was recorded in Manchester, England at The Loft, for an all-night show organized by my friends from un_mute in Miami and Animal Crossing from Manchester.
05. What was so memorable about this particular set? What’s next on your horizon?
As I don’t often play an all-night set, I was happy to challenge myself and try to find the balance between playing a warm up set, which I think is vital for setting a good vibe, transitioning into the main part of the party, which can be tricky, and of course closing the night in a notable fashion!
06. What’s next on your horizon?
There are a few projects I’m working on which I won’t disclose quite yet. I’ve been changing the studio setup so I hope I’ll make the most of all the new acquisitions.
XLR8R has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to XLR8R+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
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