Ellen Allien's new work LISm is already being referred to as a milestone in the label's history: rarely has an LP from the circle of BPC artists deviated so far from the club context as LISm. The label boss has radically disposed of all established musical templates and created space for 45 minutes of sonic experiments that lie well beyond any functional paradigm – a highly emotional soundtrack for one's "inner cinema", but also a creative process with a considerable fun factor.
The starting point for LISm comes in 2010. Ellen is approached by two choreographers and dancers to compose music for their dance performance Drama per Musica. Under the direction of Alexandre Roccoli and Sevérine Rième, the performance took place on March 7th 2011 as part of the Spectacles Vivants Festival at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Drawing from the genre-spanning structure of her DJ sets, Ellen invites the listener to experience the piece as a musical journey with constantly shifting scenes and impressions.
After the successful performance Ellen initially leaves the music resting on her hard drive before deciding, in early 2012, to revive and rework the stage music for her next album. With this in mind, she invites her label mate of many years, Thomas Muller, and the Berlin-based DJ and producer Bruno Pronsato, aka Steven Ford, to her studio in Berlin. The choice of these two co-producers is far from coincidental: Thomas's meticulously produced techno tracks consistently hit the spot with their highly unique electronic sound design, while Bruno, aside from his releases on Perlon, Telegraph and Philpot, can look back on a career as a speed metal drummer and is among Ellen's favourite producers. As could be expected from this constellation, LISm offers up a considerable breadth and openness of style: rhythmic slivers and fragments are arranged like pieces of a jigsaw until they eventually form a recognisable whole and take shape in the mind of the listener. Instead of focusing on beats and melodies, Ellen works over long phrases with parameters such as volume and tonal density. Swing loops, piano motifs and vocal fragments recited like mantras are just a few of the associative elements that pass before the inner eye – until they too are finally merged into the rhythmic flow of a timelessly serene, perfectly danceable down-tempo electronica track. At this point the musical elements, connected by an overarching melody, paint a coherent and memorable picture – a very spiritual picture, as Ellen stresses, which in turn offers a profound insight into one's own emotional world. LISm, originally created in the context of the performing arts, thus generates its own images and associations with their own content in its second phase of conception. The extremely unique and challenging nature of this work also opens the door to intriguing conjecture about BPC's stylistic orientation as the label moves into the future.