What an exceptional year it’s been for Kimyan Law.
Expanding on the narrative that he’s been developing and universe he’s been building since his debut album Coeur Calme in 2014, this year saw him launch his own label [ + + + ], a series of EPs that culminated in his fourth album Emblem Of Peace, a short cinematic piece entitled Uaminifuand a concept live performance.
Each creative dispatch sculpted with meaning and laced with all kinds of references and easter eggs for the most scrutinous explorer of his musical universe, the Vienna-based artist has hit auteur levels of detail and inter-disciplinary range this year; the more of his work you take in, the more you get back from it. If you’re new to Kimyan’s world, or only really starting to see his universe unfold then this old interview I did with him for UKF about his previous album Yonda is one of the best snapshots of what’s come before Emblem Of Peace and how he approaches his art.
For an even more extensive exploration of Kimyan and what makes him tick as an artist, story teller, vibe weaver and all roles in between you can check this exclusive mix…
The cherry atop of a ridiculous scrumptious 2022 Kimyan Law cake, this mix brings together many of the sounds he’s been honing this year plus many of his influences. At first he hurls us deep into a pool of powerful, percussive, emotive drum & bass with his own tracks blended upside cuts from the likes of Spectrasoul, Royalston, Fixate & Skeptical and Insideinfo before wrapping up with a more freestyle finale that takes in the likes of Burial, Phuturistix and Dorian Concept.
Merging his own musical world with the wider sonic universe that unites us all, Kimyan’s mix is a beautiful hour long excursion that helps to make even more sense of his inspiring and prolific output and leaves you under no illusion as to how wide his vision extends. Enjoy and get to know…
You just did your first live concert. How did that go?
It was good! I was very pleased with it. This time, I was involved in everything. I decorated the stage set with the huge emblems I had built. So getting all of that to the club, then setting everything up, meeting the technicians, sound check, lights, the vinyls… It was a very busy day and I’m very grateful for all the help I got. Also my light technician had an ear infection so she was replaced by someone at the very last minute. I met him for the first time while we were doing the soundcheck.
Wow, short notice!
Yes. It couldn’t be helped but he understood what I wanted to achieve and it was all fine. So that was the first part; me doing the Emblem Of Peace performance, then the second part was a curated night with friends of mine playing the music I love at Fluc nightclub. Musically it was jungle, two-step and things like that.
I wanted the sound to be at a level so people could socialise and chat to each other. I cut the sound at -4dB for the live show so it was loud but not too loud. I’m not a fan of the music being too loud at festivals. It’s often very harsh. Then for the second part of the evening we set it so it was quieter than that. So people come out of the concert which was one hour of quite loud drum & bass and cool off and chit chat a bit.
Did it gradually get louder?
Yes it did. The plan was to gradually go from that cool down – chit chat into music as the main focus again. They were playing a lot of music I really like. TRG, Burial, DJ Rashad, footwork juke stuff. Really good music. I was in the middle trying to sell vinyls and posters.
Love that attention to detail! Did you get a moment to take it all in and appreciate everything you’ve done?
In the days afterwards. Now even. It was so much to take in, and I’m very introverted too. Having to stand on stage and talk. Everyone coming to see me play, it’s quite overwhelming. But I think it went it well. I was just kinda functioning, if that makes sense. A big grounding for me, too, was having my grandmother there. That was an honour. She was a music teacher for such a long time so that was very special.
Lush! What does she make of your music?
She sees and respects it. When I make a record I bring her a copy then she’ll sit down with me and we’ll have a very structured critique. She’ll have notes and references and questions prepared. I’m always quite nervous about it because it’s very thorough but I love her wisdom and perspective and having that generational interchange is a blessing. It’s very inspiring.
Love that. What do your family make of your film, too?
I think they enjoyed it. I’m not sure they knew what to make of it. It caught them off guard a bit because I didn’t keep them posted about it in the build-up. It was like, ‘Oh you’re doing films now, too?’ I was so busy making these things I didn’t share my plans with the private side of my life much. The screening we did was great.
Was that hard from an introvert perspective?
It was okay. It was good training for me to speak on a stage to a group of people. I don’t like it but I did it anyway. I have to kinda function and go through it. Seeing the short film on a cinema screen is unreal, the main thing I’m glad and excited about it is the fact that after all those days and nights we (Apex Film and myself) accomplished it. Couldn’t have asked for a better team! The screening was a strange circumstance because it might seem like it’s all about me but it’s not about me. The protagonist is not me. Does that make sense?
Entirely! Kimyan Law is a character in a universe you’ve created. You’re able to distance your personal self. It’s about the story and the world you’ve created.
That’s it. Using myself to portray something or someone that’s a vehicle for meaning.
The film leaves us on a cliff-hanger! Very much ‘to be continued’…
Very much. Especially as I got so many ideas while I was doing it. So yes it is to be continued. But, of course, funds permitting! If I had unlimited resources I’d be writing and directing so much more. Who wouldn’t if they had the opportunity?
Innit! So this is the climax of a whole year’s work. Launching the label, releasing all the EPs that built up into an album, the live performance, the film. That’s a humungous output. Are you happy with how it’s all gone?
It’s been my most successful year so far, I think. I am very pleased and grateful with how it’s gone. I need to take a few steps back and reflect on everything to maintain that next year. I need to take a deep breath and think about what comes next. I need to zen out and go into the forest for a bit.
Yeah I bet. And this mix you’ve done for 1 More Thing is a full stop on it all – it rounds up everything, highlights from the Emblem Of Peace and your influences
I’m glad you see that. But there’s no doubt because you’re an intuitive person who loves music and understands the language of it.
Haha. At first it surprised me because you said you were going to do an influences mix but it starts with album material. But then you go into your influences. I like that.
I’m glad you do. At first I was going to go full abstract. Full abstract for me might alienate people a little though. For example if I was going abstract then that could include full noise or very very experimental. I didn’t want to exclude people so I highlighted aspects of the album and drum & bass I really like – like old Spectrasoul records and things like that – and then I went to more abstract corners. I’m glad that translated and I hope people like it!
Love that. So what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far during all this?
Oh wow that’s a very big question. I don’t know… I think the lesson is that the things I do – the inter disciplinary things – they need to come out as they are, or as they want to be. Whatever I’m working on or fabricating should come out in its most natural form in order to make [ + + + ] what it is. Does that make sense?
I think so. Just let the art guide you to where it needs to be and don’t over-complicate things?
The funds are the only limit!
What do you want people to take from Emblem Of Peace?
I hope people have time to take the whole journey in. It’s more pieces than I’ve ever put out into world. The story is out there and you can visit it in your own time. I hope people look into the details and watch the film – I’ve hidden so many little things in the film that will help people get the gist of what this is about. There are so many connections and little references deeply woven into things so I hope people have time to find them and enjoy them.