4Bit Productions is a label run by Vienna based artist, composer and sound designer Ulrich Troyer. We sat down with Troyer to talk over his early career, what led him to start his own label and his future plans.
It was a pleasure to distribute your reissue of NOK 2020 (originally released on MEGO in 2000), how does it feel to rerelease the album 20 years on?
I am very happy and excited that my debut EP now is available as full length album & finally on vinyl – a dream I had 20 years ago came true. The re-issue comes with unreleased material from that era and brand new remixes by two of my heroes: Christian Fennesz (MEGO, TOUCH) and Stefan Németh (INNODE, RADIAN) both have been very influential for me when I was working on NOK in the late nineties and I am very happy and grateful that they contributed their take to the NOK planet.
Looking back, (if so) how would you say your sound has changed in the last twenty years?
Back in the days on MEGO being experimental and avantgarde was more important than to entertain. I think my sound has become more accessible to more people over the years – but I think that it still oscillates between 2 poles: sonic experimentation and bass driven club music. I love to combine influences that may not seem to belong together and to create something new and exciting. NOK was based on polyrhythmic patterns made of organic sounds recorded in the kitchen. A reviewer stated “This music sounds like Dub pushed to its extremes“. After releasing NOK on Mego in 2000, Didi Kern – at that time working in MEGO’s backoffice – introduced me to Rhythm & Sound and the Wackies label. Starting from there I went back in history and discovered my love for reggae and dub music and a few years later also for Afrobeat. Looking back, this all makes complete sense to me.
It has been 10 years since your first Songs for William Release on fellow Kudos label Deep Medi Musik, could you talk us through how you came to work with this label and your inspirations behind the release?
Back in 2006 I did a drawing of a guitar stompbox as a comic character and subsequently I had the idea of drawing a graphic novel for this little guy and to compose an experimental dub trilogy based on the character of William, a guitar pedal and his friends living at the 4Bit Studio. In late 2010 I sent the first part of the trilogy to Mala as a demo. He immediately liked it and wrote back. His favourite track was LOST IN ADDIS. We met in Vienna a few weeks later and decided to do the first part on Deep Medi. SONGS FOR WILLIAM part 2, the Deadlock Versions EP featuring Vin Gordon & Didi Kern and the final part of the trilogy were released on my own label. 4Bit Productions is allowing me to release regardless of current label-restrictions and economic demands. After working with different labels and distributors over the past 20 years I am extremely happy to have Kudos as a distributor. Everybody I have worked with at Kudos is great, very supportive and loves music.
Could you tell us what is next for 4Bit Productions? Any exciting plans for the future?
In 2020 I composed material for 2 albums: the first one, called ECHOES, is nearly finished and will hopefully be released later this year, the second one is still work in progress and should be released in 2022. ECHOES is a follow-up release to DOLOMITE DUB consisting of over 30 minutes ambient composition featuring several idiophones in combination with various analog synthesizers.The second album (working title TRANSIT) is based on drum recordings I made with Didi Kern and will be featuring various musicians I deeply admire (I don’t want to tell too much about it right now but I am very excited about the project).