The chapters of Maoupa Mazzocchetti’s artistic evolution almost exist within self-contained microcosms. Folded into the various iterations lie different personas or ideas, and typically defined by the release of an album, each is more irreverent and subversive than the last. “For me, it’s not only about music, I like to create a ‘total art’”, he explains. “Everything in my music is linked to an idea, or to a “concept”. With all the albums I’ve done, I like to create a universe.”
Leaning into pop sensibilities, 2018’s Gag Flag introduced the ‘Snippet Boy’ persona, where its predecessor, Laugh Tool, paid unspoken homage to the tape-damaged DIY sounds of 1980s Britain and Belgium. Worlds apart, maybe, but they make sense in the same discography, and his latest album takes the conceptual approach to new heights. Mazzocchetti reflects on how “it was more about the exploration of the idea of “music genre” and a substance linked to it.”
Released on BFDM, UXY Dosing © centres around the manifestation of a new tongue-in-cheek genre: MDM, AKA Maximalist Dance Music. Maximalist as the label suggests, the album is compositionally overwhelming, drawing from countless styles while a stellar cast of names lend their talents across its 12-track duration. But rather than lazily cherrypicking certain musical tropes for his diabolical creations, Mazzocchetti favours a singular form of experimentation that treats source material with a detached irreverence.
“I refused to be too serious with my music. I try to do the best music I can, but it’s not a reason to be serious. I like when it’s special and quite elaborate, but also plays down those elements through the introduction of humour”, he says. “Nobody wants to know the pain you had to build this complex break in the third song. Nobody really wants to know the magician tricks. There’s too much that is serious in life, so I prefer to put some distance between my music and the idea that I’m taking it very seriously.”
There’s a dichotomy at the heart of the album; something that will help to better understand Mazzocchetti’s perspective should you wonder how experimental tendencies and playful irreverence can co-exist. Citing dextrose as the fuel behind MDM and the UXY Dosing © sound, liner notes are an exercise in world building. In the same way “reggae music is linked with weed”, he saw it as the “perfect effect to fit with this dense and maximalist music”.
It’s all indicative of someone that doesn’t take himself too seriously, simultaneously poking holes in the concept of genre while suggesting that they can’t exist without the inextricable link to some sort of chemical substance. In this instance, it just happens to be the high consumption of synthesised sugar.
“It’s a fake energy” – you’re eating sugar, you’re very excitable, and at the end it’s finished completely”, he explains. “And with the music, it’s this kind of energy – it’s very dense and energetic, but it’s also very digital and all this candy made by fake sugar, it’s only a copy of the true energy.”
Mazzocchetti went on to explain how this concept of synthesised approximations extends to the music. “I tried to copy some sounds in a digital way”, he says. “For example, there’s some cello at the end of the track with ZULI, and it’s a cello I patched on computer. It’s only with a keyboard and it sounds so strange – you can feel it isn’t real cello. And it’s the same with ‘Moon Is A Bell For Meteor’: in the middle of the track there’s this voice noise, and it’s something you can do with your own voice, but this doesn’t sound as real. It’s a copy of organic sounds but in digital way, and it’s the same as dextrose and energy. You can imagine some kids taking pills with sugar and dancing to this kind of music – it’s funny. It’s not about drugs, it’s just about all this sugar they are putting everywhere to keep you addicted.”
On a release where humour and heady sonic experimentation sit in uneasy juxtaposition, there is of course method to the madness. If it wasn’t already apparent though, Mazzocchetti tends to take the road less travelled. From a keen interest in spatial dynamics to gleaning field recordings from the most unexpected of places and unconventional approaches to electroacoustic composition, it took some time to achieve the desired sound. But in the process of researching and road-testing various types of gear, he would stumble upon the perfect tool.
In fact, Mazzocchetti came across the winning formula by recommendation. “I love synthesisers and old machines, but I was looking for a new texture, a new sonic palette. So I quickly looked at modular synthesisers, but it wasn’t musical enough for me”, he explains. “If you take an instrument you can do what you had in mind, but it’s more difficult with modular synth. So I looked into sound design racks and instruments. I met Lorenzo Senni at Nuit Sonore festival, and he showed me Kyma Pacarana. It’s a really interesting piece of hardware, and it’s a pure synth/FX/video/sound design processor. I really enjoyed working with it. For me, it was really new to work so deeply in the computer like that.”
The resulting sound is dense. Deconstructing and remapping familiar sounds to his own design, a whole spectrum of styles influences have been distilled into this newfound ‘texture’. If you’re looking for a track that encapsulates the core tenets of UXY Dosing ©, look no further than the breakcore-meets-trance pointillism of ‘7NE’. Maximalist, almost to the point of becoming oppressive, the appropriation of aural tropes are fleeting in a way that’s thrilling and disorientating in equal measure. It’s a lesson in how wild, genre-defying collision can be rendered in surprising harmony.
“UXY Dosing © is more about a philosophy than a style”, Mazzocchetti reflects. “Don’t try to copy or looks like something already existing, do your stuff, try to surprise and exasperate yourself. Fuck’em all and feed’em fish.”
Over to you then…