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A Magazine for Sheffield

Alois Escape mixtape

Martin Schenker, vocalist of Swiss synth-pop mavericks Alois, has created an exclusive mix for Now Then, with experimental electronics flowing into avant-garde ambient.


  1. Atoms Song (feat. Thomas Stankiewicz) - Teebs
  2. Amanhecer Tabajara (À Alceu Valença) - Fernando Falcão
  3. Role In Creation - Yves Tumor
  4. Atuka Mhondoro 808 (Club Edit) - Jacob Mafuleni & Gary Gritness
  5. In a Beautiful Place Out In the Country (Original By Boards of Canada) - Mira Calix & Oliver Coates
  6. Wang East (Instrumental) - Mike Fabulous
  7. Sketch - Andy Mac
  8. Some Music - Elias Agogo
  9. Maracatu Atômico - Gilberto Gil
  10. Rest' la maloya - Alain Peters
  11. Suboceania - Tropical Hi -Fi
  12. Tulum - Banda Westfalica
  13. War For Ground - Momo Joseph
  14. I See so I See so - Broadcast
  15. Nina - Ritornel

When I was a kid, I had this tape recorder and I would record my grandmother’s old guitar with it. I can still remember how one day I recorded some weird chord progression and it felt like these sounds were somehow the pitch-perfect picture of the mood that I was in. Creating something can be a very powerful feeling! This childhood experience gave me the confidence to know that I have this personal space in my life that no-one else can control. In 2002, there was a big exposition in Switzerland - I remember going there as a kid. There was an art installation on display from a contemporary artist, with all these incredible flashing images and abstract electronic music. Watching and hearing it, especially at that scale, I felt like I was being hypnotised. This made me aware of the fact that there was something about music itself that could literally expand your mind.

I went through some difficult stages in my life where I felt stuck in the place where I lived. It was as if I was lost in this vast creative desert. While going through this psycho-emotional freeze, I remember thinking to myself that I wanted to make music that could maybe be able to pull me out of this state. I wanted to create tunes that would make me want to dance and have this sense of freedom inside. I love to buy records and discover older artists and also genres that I wasn’t aware of before. Through record digging I discovered music from Brazil and from the Caribbean. These were the type of productions that used electronic instruments but combined them with traditional rhythms. I guess I already saw some parallels between this music and what I wanted to make. I knew now exactly what this music should feel like, physically and emotionally. My band Alois is a proper band, as in we all play instruments, and we play together, but we also use our studio as an instrument. It’s like a big playground for us, hence also a big part of our sound.

From the perspective of a listener, the right experience of sound can help you see yourself in that piece itself and allow you to process your emotions through the act of interpreting this piece. For example, I used to love these harp compositions from a Peruvian huayno compilation. There’s absolutely no rational explanation for this, this music just filled me with joy and pain at the same time. There’s a thin line between composed music, sound art and therapeutic tools. There's a huge variety of "healing music“ out there, from relaxing ambient songs that guide you through meditation all the way through to tracks that are based on specific body frequencies. There are people who need to listen to these types of recordings every night so that they can relax enough to fall asleep.

As a musician, creating music helps me transform my emotions into something outside of myself. The process of making Azul had many different stages, and I’m really happy that we’ve had this huge privilege to finally release this music. For me, making music is not just about self-therapy, music is a constant companion and an endless world to discover. It’s also a tool that comes in handy during times like these, where you are sometimes forced to be alone. As challenging as these times can be, if you have the right set of tools, they can also be really creative and transformative.

The songs found on this mixtape helped me through some really rough times! Some of these tracks are really colourful, but there is also something inherently melancholic about them as well. None of these songs are background music, and I’m pretty sure that all of them came from the heart. I personally love when a song can create this sonic landscape, and allow you to immerse yourself in it. It’s like diving. On that note, I just want to wish you all a great dive - may this music quell whatever blue you might be dealing with right now.

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