A Closer Look At Penélope Martin

So today I am trying something new. I am reaching outside the boundaries of our city to feature an artist whose work I am listening to a lot. This doesn’t mean I am abandoning our community or leaving the idea of “Local” behind. Quite the contrary, I think since we are so informed and shaped by the music we listen to I figured I would give you a glimpse into what I am digging at the moment by getting an artist to do an interview and throw down a mix for our community.

I first heard Penélope Martin’s collaborative work under the moniker ArD2 (a collaboration with Ekis) on the Myles Sergé Radio Show (6one6, Re(form), Space). Sergé (Or Plural or FBK who were guest DJ’ing with Sergé that night) played the Heinrich Mueller (alias of Gerald Donald of Drexciya and Dopplereffekt) remix of their track “Inside the Rock”.

I was instantly hooked.  I loved the remix, but I enjoyed the rest of the “2084” Album even more (You can stream & purchase the 2084 album on the Frigio Bandcamp). The work was dark, haunting, and provided a sonic backdrop for a dystopian future that seemed all to relevant for the Sci-Fi times we all live in.

After enjoying this initial offering, I delved into her back catalogue. I was again impressed by her work with the Zwischenwelt project. Zwischenwelt was the collective name given to the collaborations of Martin, Susana Correira, and Beta Evers. The three worked together to create an album, under the guidance of Gerald Donald, entitled “Paranormale Aktivität”.

It was a CD/vinyl release on Rephlex Records that featured 13 wonderful tracks exploring the depths of the paranormal in our lives. The release really resonated with me. I often just let it float in the background of my daily activities while I am writing and reading. Its provides a nice sonic companion to get you through the long hours spent doing whatever it is that you do.

These experiences prompted me to ask her some questions about her craft and get her to create something for the Local Autonomy Project.  What she sent me was beyond what I could have imagined. She did an interview and created a great mix called “Agharta”. I have had the mix on steady repeat since I got it. In an age where mixes are so disposable, she has created an enduring piece of work that I will be going back to again and again. It really helps also that she elaborates on some of her background as well in the interview. I hope you enjoy the mix & the short interview she did with me below.

Local Autonomy: How did you get into dance music?
Penélope Martin: As a child I liked to listen to my father’s tapes while we were in the car. He used to play everything, from Rock music to Kafwerk. I remember feeling the futuristic sound of Krafwerk more than guitars and stuff like that. A few years later, when I was curious enough to find my own music I found myself playing records with heavy synth lines and electronics beats. Then it came DJing and after that production. So I guess everything came naturally.

LA: When did you get your start DJ’ing and producing?
PM: I stared Djing in the early 90’s, at first it was a good excuse to hang around with friends, then I got more serious and started recording mix tapes and getting gigs locally.
Production came a bit later; I got myself a Mac computer and a copy of Logic. Lots and lots of hours later I managed to learn production and started to make songs.

LA: What has it been like being a woman in a very male-centered music genre?
PM: It’s been OK; I seldom found being a female a problem to work with other producers. It’s better to let the music speaks by itself, but if someone that liked my music wouldn’t want to work with me because of my gender, I would think that this person has a huge insecurity problem.

LA: How did ArD2 get started?
PM: It was while I lived in Brighton, me and Ekis were living and making music together, so we decided to team up and created ArD2. Then Desh joined the crew and we started to develop the sound and concept collectively.

LA: It seems that much of your work with ArD2 & Zwischenwelt deals with issues of futurism, power, and resistance. What makes you interested in these ideas?
PM: Futurism’s always fascinated me; I love the idea of having robots at home actually living and interacting with you. And with power and resistance it’s just that sometimes I get tired of the media trying to manipulate us, treating us like we were idiots.

LA: What themes/ideas/emotions were you exploring with this mix?
PM: I was looking for a laid back feel, something more relaxed, I picture the listener listening to the mix while doing something else. Like background music. By the way, the very first track of this mix is an unreleased track produced by myself. Hope you enjoy the journey…

For More of Penélope Martin’s Work & for Updates:



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