For a techno artist of his years and experience, Anthony Child caught the modular bug late. “I wasn’t really that interested in it because it seemed like you had to spend thousands of pounds to make a very basic kind of ‘clip-clop’ sound, and that didn’t really appeal to me,” he once toldXLR8R. But after years of working primarily with software, his routine started to feel too comfortable, and the modular seemed like a good way to shake things up—”like throwing a wild animal into the equation,” as he put it. Once he made the plunge, racks of blinking lights and colored cables became central to his craft. In addition to what he’s got in the studio, he carries a portable rig in his carry-on luggage, and has even started incorporating it into his DJ sets.
Far from basic “clip-clop” sounds—or the kind of meandering self-indulgence many people think of when they hear the words “modular synthesis”—the music Child wrings out of his little kit is rich, varied and artfully composed. In this edition of RA Sessions, colorful, dynamic rave tracks seem to emerge fully-formed, though in fact the performance was “completely improvised with nothing prepared beforehand.” The result makes a compelling case for this approach to playing live, and offers a peek at the perpetually evolving methods of a techno luminary.