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Alex Smoke

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Biography

Alex Smoke is an acclaimed Glasgow-based techno producer/DJ affiliated most notably with Soma Quality Recordings, as well as his own label, Hum+Haw. Since 2002, he's released dozens of 12"s of glitchy, shuffling minimal techno tracks, as well as a few full-lengths that push his sound into more experimental directions, often incorporating his own vocals, cinematic soundscapes, and the occasional acoustic instrument. Born Alex Menzies to a mother who was a music teacher, he studied classical music as a child after receiving a scholarship for the Durham Cathedral Choir School, where he played cello, piano, and drums. Billing himself as Alex Smoke, he made his recording debut in 2002 on the Savalas Underground Developments (S.U.D.) label with Random As. The 12" EP caught the ears of both the Berlin-based Vakant and the Glasgow-based Soma Quality Recordings labels, the latter renowned for its long-running catalog (founded in 1991) featuring such big names as Slam, Daft Punk, Percy X, and Funk d'Void. Beginning in 2004 both labels began releasing 12" EPs by Smoke: those on Vakant include Simple Things (2004), Ring.Click.Tink (2005), and Hanged Man (2007), while those on Soma include Chica Wappa (2004), Lost in Sound (2005), and Prima Materia (2007). In addition, Soma released a couple full-length albums by Smoke, namely Incommunicado (2005) and the more vocal-heavy Paradolia (2006), as well as the mix CD Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi. _03 (2006). By 2007, Smoke had become a prolific remixer as well, with clients including Mylo, Junior Boys, Steve Reich, and Radio 4, among many others. He released the Hanged Man EP on Vakant and Prima Materia on Soma before establishing Hum+Haw in early 2008 with an EP titled Vaporub. F in F appeared on Vakant in 2009, while a few more EPs appeared on Hum+Haw, culminating in Lux, Smoke's third album and his label's only full-length. Following two remix singles on Soma in 2011, Smoke released a new EP of original tracks titled Mu on Vakant in 2012. In 2013, Smoke released a full-length by his experimental alias Wraetlic on Convex Industries. He also made his debut on revered Belgian label R&S with a 12" titled Dust that included a remix by Tessela. This was followed by another EP for the label, RS1403, in 2014. Smoke released an EP titled Stauner on Optimo Trax in April of 2015. The following month, a more experimental, classical-influenced LP titled Order & Disorder, credited to his given name, was issued on Ricardo Donoso's Kathexis label. He returned to R&S in early 2016 with Love Over Will, the least dancefloor-oriented Alex Smoke full-length yet. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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