Listen loudly: 16 of the best IDM tracks, curated by UTO - Music - Mixmag

Listen loudly: 16 of the best IDM tracks, curated by UTO

The French electro-pop duo compile their favourite IDM music and sit down with Belle Richardson to talk fireplaces, Radiohead's 'TKOL' and opting for ease over difficulty

  • Words: Belle Richardson | Photos: Marcos Dos Santos
  • 23 April 2024

There are two halves to UTO, Neysa the poet and Emile the musician. Both hailing from France, the couple have been travelling the world since the band's inception in 2017 — exploring, creating and poking holes in the roles of love and art through their music.

With British influences woven throughout their electronic indie-esque sound, 90s UK rock, Britpop and IDM inspirations are audible in the duo’s lyrics and production. “We are like the English muffin you can find in a French store,” as they put it — listing drum 'n' bass, UKG, and jungle among their muses.

Their debut EP, ‘Shelter for the Broken’, landed in 2017, marking the start of nearly a decade-long musical and romantic partnership that would centre the eccentric pair under a scope of intrigue.

Their latest full-length record, ‘When all you want to do is be the fire part of fire', is their first to be recorded in English — borrowing its title from within the lyrics of Bill Callahan's 'Sycamore', encapsulating where the pair now find themselves in 2024.

Read this next: The 15 best IDM tracks according to Plaid

Inspired by “deconstructed rhythms” and “big mainstream club bangers”, ‘When all you want to do is be the fire part of fire’ draws on UK dance influences like Overmono and Four Tet. Blurring, merging and beclouding the boundaries of artists and lovers, human and nature, genre and sound, artistically, UTO explores liminal space in their recent release.

Concerned with "the spaces between", the album invites us to peek into their world, a murky landscape of indie-electronica, poetic lilting lyrics and otherworldly creatures.

This theme echoes in the titles of the nine tracks, ‘Midway’, ‘Unshape’, and ‘Zombie’, a creature that walks between life and death. Even ‘Plumbing’, evokes a sense of transience, a mundane yet mysterious vessel hidden away in dark corners of familiar places.

Celebrating the arrival of their latest album release, UTO introduces us to their IDM favourites in a 16-track playlist spanning from Jimmy Edgar to Burial.

Check out our Q&A with UTO's Emile below.

Can you tell us about your introduction to IDM? Do you have a particular ethos when it comes to the genre?

I discovered IDM from buying the remix album of Radiohead’s 'The King Of Limbs', every track was a blast. No particular ethos here, we love experimental tracks with deconstructed rhythm as much as we love a big mainstream club banger.

The title of your LP is a lyric from Bill Callahan song 'Sycamore', what does that line "when all you want to do is be the fire part of fire" mean to you?

The fireplace is where we meet at the end of the day, the fire is what we try to keep alive during the day. It’s about wanting to be the fire part of fire, without having to be the charred wood that has been devoured. We make music as we make a fire.

What art, culture and experiences in your life inspired this LP?

Maybe inspiration comes from the things you forgot. This album is about desire, about being romantically frustrated bedridden with a cold, about a spell written on a napkin, about a border between heaven and hell with a trespassing Zombie smuggling gifts, about a bad lyricist who takes a certain pleasure in failing and starting again.

Read this next: Spectogram art: A short history of musicians hiding visuals inside their tracks

You once said “Everything that is difficult is good”, how does this sentiment intersect with your art?

And now I disagree with myself! It’s hard to be able to make things simple and easy. Now I would rather say something like: "The easier it is to do, the easier it is to hear".

Talk to me about the selections you’ve made for your playlist

A lot of Warp artists from the 90’s and 2000's´here. Acid, glitch and melody — plus industrial distorted sounds and heavy club music. Listen loudly to all those tracks!

Next Page
Newsletter 2

Mixmag will use the information you provide to send you the Mixmag newsletter using Mailchimp as our marketing platform. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us. By clicking sign me up you agree that we may process your information in accordance with our privacy policy. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.