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Kangding Ray – ZITTY

Kangding Ray, resident DJ in Berghain, is one of the most exciting sounds
Architects of the city – for a space in which a better world appears

Kangding Ray
Photo: Marie Staggat

Above the roofs of Neukölln, David Letellier realized that he had a dream. The French sound artist, the Berghain community better known by its stage name Kangding Ray, has turned his attic apartment into a loft filled with light. Through a large window facade, the sky falls into an open space that includes both studio, studio, kitchen, dining room and living room. David Letellier, son of a family of Norman carpenters, came to Berlin in the early 90s to perfect his studies in architecture, did not become an architect, but one of the most techno DJs exciting of the city.

What has disturbed him in the architectural profession is the endless time that can pass between the planning and the realization of a project. "I was too young and impatient for that, the responses of my records were faster," says the 41-year-old who walks around his house and heads to his music corner. , of cables, mixers, synthesizers and guitars reminiscent of He used to make industrial rock music before starting to sample recordings in the field In 2006, he released his first electro album "Stabil "on the Chemnitzer label, Raster-Noton." I've never intended to become a professional musician, "he says, the fact that he was able to do that and to Traveling the world today, from Dubai to China to China and Morocco, has finally to do with architecture.

Kangding Ray
Photo: Marie Staggat

Because Kangding Ray, who was named after a city in China's Sichuan Province, is a sound architect who can design music in the room like no other in his field. It's like he's fashioning sounds into ephemeral sculptures that take shape shortly before dissolving into the room before dissolving again. "For me, music always has a context, when I compose, I wonder where is it played?" He said. He is particularly influenced by the architecture of Berghain, where he is every three months or so, but also by the Japan Labyrinth Festival, where the sound of his music spreads over wooded hills. Or from Kraftwerk Berlin, where he created "Skalar" with light artist Christopher Bauder, a spectacular sound and light installation for the CTM 2018 Festival, in which the senses were so confusing that one could hear the sounds and hear the colors. , "This should be experimental, but not a super-intellectual project for art lovers, for which you need a ten-page booklet.I wanted to trigger some direct emotions."

This hard machine music can even trigger emotions in us is a miracle – and the theme of David Letellier's life. On his latest album, the sinister masterpiece "Hyper Opal Mantis", he explored the variety of emotional states ranging from sensual desire to melancholy and catharsis. His Ara label, founded this year, is also dedicated to emotive club music, which does not have to follow the contemporary imperative of hard, Schneller, Krasser. "Sometimes I think pure electronic sound seems very natural," he says. "A guitar sounds like a guitar, a violin like a violin, but a synthesizer can be very close to what we hear in the forest, sounds of birds, land or a volcano." To match that, his latest Techno Project, the EP "Azores" (Figure), named after the volcanic islands of the Atlantic, "because the plate is very mineral and rough".

Making sure that something that pleases human nature deep within us through the artificial synthesis of sounds sounds like a paradox, but it's the experience of a night out club with Kangding Ray . Ideally, during nights like this, what its favorite author, Hakim Bey, calls a "temporary autonomous zone". A space in which the laws in force are supplanted, in which the authorities lose their power and in which the possibility of another better world can appear. Networking, resistance, anarchy. "Almost every time I take out a record, I change my flat or flatten my studio," says David Letellier, whose music can never be thought of without the space in which it emerges. Hopefully, he will not have to do it after the next album. Because his new house on the roofs of Neukölln, where he has been kissing for years, has just become too beautiful.