Premiere: Vorso – Badlands (Inspected)

Vorso has dropped the most epic body of work possible. It starts right here…

Album season is upon us.

It’s always been this way. Post-summer craziness. Pre-Christmas intensity. Sept-Nov has forever been one of the most fruitful times for albums across all genres and movements.

But this year – most likely due to the lockdown period a few years back – has been especially exceptional for super high grade bodies of work that you just know are going to play a lead role in your life soundtrack for a long time to come.

KOAN Sound. Ternion Sound. Genic. QZB. Eprom. The Chemical Brothers. Current Value. Genic. All of them have dropped big, BIG LPs in recent times. Huge, expansive, meaningful documents that really capture a mood and tell a tale well beyond any type of dancefloor or genre context.

As of today, October 18, we can add Vorso to this list, too, with his debut album Holonomy.

A lavishly widescreen yomp across every sound that has ever influenced or inspired the young UK artist, Holonomy is a genuinely remarkable sonic adventure.

20 tracks wide and an hour and a half deep, it’s arranged in a clever almost score-like way that blends and melts the tracks together and weaves us listeners between everything from neuro D&B futurism to neon-clad house music to straight-up unclassifiable cosmic glitchcraft.

Galvanizing and compounding everything Vorso has achieved so far, squeezing it into a tight ball, throwing around the solar system and cranking the volume up to infinity, Holonomy is the most honest, ambitious and positive Vorso the world has heard to date. And it starts with this beast of an opening track – Badlands. Premiered right here on 1 More Thing.


To make it even more special, it’s Inspected‘s 50th release. Always ones to go in on the details and really put their soul, character and belief into their output, the label has matched Vorso’s energy and integrity every step of the way with the artwork and a stunning vinyl release.

To say this is a special album is an understatement. We called up Monsieur Vorso earlier on this month to find out more.

Congrats on the album! I know this has been a long time in the making…

It’s almost been four years since I started the first track. That really crept up on me! I’d been thinking about an album and I was working on another really big, really slow project which I thought might end up being the album but I still haven’t finished that yet.

During the process of that I thought I’d take a break from it and make a few tunes to put on an EP. It turned out that EP didn’t happen and I just carried on making more and more stuff and it all kinda started coming together with elements of the tracks coming into one another. I thought ‘okay this is an album now’. I still haven’t finished the other thing!

Haha. Was there a defining moment when you realized it was more than an EP?

Badlands actually. And The Lighthouse. I’d just moved into my new house and set up a music room which is the first time I’d really had a proper writing space rather than a bedroom studio. I started rewriting Badlands which was quite rollery/techy but it didn’t work out that way. I was working on a melodic element and realized that tied together with The Lighthouse.

From there I started to realise how many ideas between the tracks were bleeding together. There was no way I could split them up into EPs, they were all talking to each other.

Love that. It’s almost like a score with little motifs hidden amid the tracks…

Yeah! I’ve always been interested in that kind of thing. It’s been a conscious interest to me but in Holonomy it was unconscious and a lot of the tunes feel like they wrote themselves in a way.

Awesome. So we’re premiering Badlands and that’s the opening track. It really sets the scene. It goes through so many different phases before going in very hard indeed! What a bold opening statement!

Ah thank you. It went through many phases. I wanted it to grab people’s attention but also carry a certain cinematic strength. Like a futuristic movie scene vibe and a bit of pressure, you know? I like an intro to have a bit of everything that the album has to offer in way. I did a similar thing with Chef’s Suggestion – to have as many ideas as possible in there. As the title suggests… If you’re going to listen to one track from the album, make sure it’s that one.

I like that. Talking of titles… Holonomy. I didn’t know what this meant. I looked it up. Felt incredibly thick. Then found a description on Reddit where someone compared it to the type of movement you might get from parallel parking. Is that right?

Yes! I saw that comment as well and it’s such a good way of describing it. When you look at Wikipedia it’s kinda incomprehensible, but I came to know the term through university via camera optics.

I know I’m going to butcher this and annoy any mathematicians reading but it sort of describes how going along paths through higher dimensional spaces lead to rotations. I liked it because it’s a nice word to say and it has thing nice sense of confusion. Like getting lost in a higher dimensional space. I like how it sounds and it’s a bit of a reference to Zoolookologie, a Jean Michel Jarre kind of album title. It really stuck with me.

That’s awesome. I like how it suggests the movement and fluidity on the album too. You go in so many directions that by around mid-album it feels like you could go anywhere and it would make sense.

Yes exactly. I was thinking early on that it was getting a bit long and I wondered about separating it out into a house EP and a D&B EP and things like that but that wouldn’t have worked. The tracks feel like they could all be part of the same thing while being as far apart as I can make them. I thought I’d go for it as a whole body of work.

Wise move. Great time for it. Inspected have always championed the multi-genre, no restrictions vibes. And it’s their 50th release too!

Yeah! I’m so happy and honoured that the album is going to be that release. They’ve really gone in on everything and made such an effort. The vinyl with Ed Cheverton’s artwork. I’m so happy with it! I’ve always had a lot of love and taken a lot of inspiration from Inspected ever since I started digging for less mainstream electronic music. I did it in a bit of a backward way. I knew nothing about the big genres like dubstep and drum & bass but knew about neurohop. It’s like ‘oh hang on, neuro is also a thing!’

Haha. Was there a final point where you felt it was all ready and complete?

Yes there. I had millions of versions of every track and there was a point where I thought ‘this is it, I won’t do the annoying thing and make changes when the masters come back.’ But the masters came back and I made changes to around six of them. I had to. There were more bits I wanted to say with the tunes. I’m glad I did now but it’s very hard to let go. I’m still getting used to not working on things when I get up every day. It’s tempting to open the old project files up even now it’s done and it’s out there.

Haha. I do wonder if your day job plays a role in the creation of the album? I know you work in some really interesting tech things like AI…

It’s been very inspiring. It’s hard for it not to inspire other things I do in life. I work with a lot of automation and I spent a lot of time finding out how I can engineer ways I can generate sounds on Ableton.

That’s not AI-based, though. That’s randomization; making generative Ableton racks to make a lot of sounds I can use in tracks. That’s taken me down the modular rabbit hole and I’ve started collecting modules and analogue synths. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve start implementing that into my newer stuff.

Oh cool. That’s interesting. So your day job is very future focused but in the studio you’re exploring in the other direction and going analogue

Yeah I guess. Industry wide there’s a huge shift towards AI and I can’t say too much about what I do with my work, but I’ll say it’s definitely one of the most positive uses of AI I’ve seen. For music I’m holding back from it until it’s sorted out ethics-wise. Only because AI is trained and it’s important for me to know where that training data has come from. So for now there’s no AI in my music. If I was training it myself then that would be fine but I need a much stronger computer! It’s an interesting area isn’t it?

Fascinating. And pretty dividing. If I was just writing then I’d be a bit worried but I feel my work is so personality based that I don’t worry AI is going to take my job just yet!

I think what everyone needs to remember is that tech people want the idea that it’ll put creatives out of jobs because it makes it a talking point and it generates funding and divert some money that’s in music to tech. But I think what it will eventually do is support personal-brand interest. Someone who wants to read an article wants to read it from a human, not an AI written one. People want to hear what you think about something. The same with music. We want to hear something made by a human. We want to hear their soul.

Yes! Maybe background music will be AI but the substance that people want is human. So in terms of Holonomy now. What do you want the world to know about the album?

All I want is for people to listen to it and find something they enjoy on there. It’s the most personal project I’ve worked on and it would be lovely if anyone who’s enjoyed my music before had a listen because I feel like it’s much more what I wanted to go for with everything else. Like the most polished thing I’ve made.

Love that! The most clear articulation of the Vorso that lives in your mind?

Yeah absolutely. And I got there by going into it with no plan whatsoever, just seeing how it goes and where it takes me. And this is where we’re at. SO it really is the most authentically Vorso thing.

That’s brilliant, it’s not contrived. No parameters. No constraints. It’s the sound of freedom!

Yes! Exactly! And that’s why it’s such a long album. I know the process is usually that you make a lot of songs and see wat sticks and refine it down to a smaller amount but this didn’t really happen like that. I wanted it go out in this way because it’s all part of my life and the process.

Totally! Big up the long form body of work. It’s a great time for albums isn’t it? I think we’re feeling a little lockdown silver lining here, right?

I think so. Lockdown was such a weird one and a very frustrating time for all of us. I was separated from my partner for four months at one point which was very saddening but that whole slow down gave me the time to work on music and explore the local area as well. I’ve grown up on the south coast and found out how unique the area I live in actually is. Even areas five minutes away from where I live, like Chesil Beach. So having the time to explore those areas definitely had a big influence on the album. The gatefold image on the vinyl expresses what I found in the area around me, too! Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with how this has worked out. I hope anyone reading this enjoys the album!

Vorso – Holonomy is out now on Inspected

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