Operating on the solid foundations of Post-Industrial edge and Martial aesthetics, the new project of Parisian musician Dullmist, KOMPROMISSION [KPMN], morphs the echoes of his 80s influences into a cloudy maze of colliding bleak emotions to set up minimal, terse and danceable dystopic synthscapes to stir a heartfelt and visceral dialogue between the soul and the machines, delivering a familiar, yet gripping and poignant analog synthetic sound carved in Brutalist geometry and drenched in neon-lit noir existential dread and bitter romanticism. The album “Oscillations Urbaines”, via the independent French label IDIO [T] PHONE RECORDS, is certainly one of the most intriguing debuts of the year.
Thanks so much for the interview. Can you start by talking about the origins and your musical and creative paths?
I got into music production with my first neoclassical experimental project called Exégèse Sonore. I wanted to create a dark and gloomy universe, tinged with black romanticism, by using symphonic synthetic layers. After meeting the record idiophone leaders, I moved on to a very different project from the first, of which the latter (Kompromission) moved towards a more electronic and minimal register.
When did you first get interested in industrial, neo-folk, EBM, Synth… and how did it evolve?
I got interested in underground music thanks to the initiation of one of my university professors (who is now my friend), with whom I already shared certain references. This steered me towards deeper registers, requiring a seasoned ear and a certain spirit of reflection. After hours of listening and analyzing this vast set of niches, I found my main influences in post-punk, cold wave, experimental music and industrial music.
Do you think that your music carries characteristics of the sound tradition of French cold synths? Or do you identify it as being rooted elsewhere?
It bears characteristics of the French cold wave of the 90s-2000s. The quality of the compositions of the artists of that time, however, responded to technical skills much more demanding than today. It should be noted that musical composition has been radically facilitated thanks to the arrival of sequencing and programming software. To return to my influences, my reference groups within the French current are the following : Dernière Volonté, Position Parallèle, Le Syndicat Électronique, Deux, Bal Paré, Violence Conjugale, Police des mœurs and Guerre Froide.
Do you remember the very first time you played the synth and what prompted you to start this project?
My first synth was a Korg Monologue, with which I work most of my bass pads today. The very first time I started playing, the sound delivered by the synthesis struck me as quite extraordinary. The vast possible experimentation offers the musician full freedom in his artistic approach and that is the whole point of this instrument.
The poetic lyrics paint a dramatic visual and sound landscape that is both tangible and surreal. How do you find the words, the decorations and the dimensions of the atmosphere?
I couldn’t have summarized the universe of my last album better. To go deeper into it succinctly, I would say that the themes present are essentially references to post-modernity: the deafening and incessant noise of cities, increasing urbanity, the movements of bodies and the human condition, romanticism, the world of the night, madness and perversion, brutalist and post-brutalist architecture, the latter of which also had a great influence on the aesthetics of the album cover.
Your music creates a relentless intensity of fear, alienation and nihilism to evoke palpable feelings of disconnection, confusion and pain while emitting alluring vibrations of danger, excitement and fantasy. How cerebral and instinctive is your creative process? What is your composition process? What type of equipment is an integral part of your job?
The common thread of my last album was the exposure of hypermodernity, of “hypermodern times” to use the title of Lipovetsky‘s work. So I wanted to combine both an invigorating and catchy register, through dancing electronic layers, And a more experimental register against a background of white noises and shrillings, in order to strike the listener’s ear. My approach was not to make my music explicitly unapproachable, but rather relatively accessible while leaving the listener a possible field of reflection on more existential questions. It is for this reason that I have worked a lot on the lyrics, which carry a unique meaning for each title, and which no doubt some listeners will be able to identify with.
How did your collaboration with the DIY label IDIO [T] PHONE RECORDS come about?
I met the Idiots through mutual friends, and admittedly a little helped through the internet.
Do you feel comfortable playing live? What are your experiences so far?
I plan to shoot on stage very soon, although I will wait for the health situation to get back to normal somewhat. We already have two or three venues interested in welcoming us, but best of all, none are in France! I hope to block dates for 2022. Advienne que pourra!
Who are the artists who have marked and perhaps defined you as a musician?
What are you listening to now?
Keep up with KOMPROMISSION [KPMN]: