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Label of the Week: Upon Access

14 February 2019 | 12:39 pm | Caitlin Medcalf

At this point in her career, Paris Forscutt AKA MADE IN PARIS is arguably one of the most exciting and recognisable names in Australian techno. She's emerged a leader in underground electronic music, creating melodic techno that provides the listener with the grounds for an apt sonic journey through carefully crafted sound production. She has a sound that's instantly recognisable as her own, something that is a testament to the strong eye she has for both vision and curation.

In 2016, Made In Paris extended her exceptional curatorial hand out to creating a label of her very own. She called it Upon Access, and since then, the label's been developing at lightning speed, but never once compromising the intended vision or curatorial quality first dealt by her. To give you an idea of the strength of her vision, the label is over two years old and already has ten fully realised releases.

In an interview with Underground Sound, she describes her vision for the label as one that was "created to push not only my sound but others producing like-minded music."

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August, 2016 saw the labelhead herself take to the first release with an epic two-track affair, UA001 titled You're Wrong. The slow burning title track opens the release, with a spacious, undulating sizzle. Sustained layering, a light melody and Made In Paris' meticulous ear for keeping everything neat and tidy define this one. Track two 'Mystic Path' takes on percussion as its focus, using a light mid-octave key stab to keep this one moving.

The first release on the label is all about suspenseful layering, keeping everything super dark and ensuring that each track takes you with it from start to finish.

Melbourne producer SOMERSAULT was up for the label's second release, and that came in the form of another two-track EP titled Stampede.

This one sees the label extend from techno onto a tech house tip, the title track opening the EP with those crisp hi-hats and contrasting it with the soft industrial techno hits breathing in and out of the backdrop. As the sound opens up, we're gifted with this beautifully hi-octave chime that falls away into a light tech-house drop. Track two 'It's Erotic' falls under the same spell, contrasting those crisp hi-hats with aquatic drips ebbing and flowing with the beat in the background. As it progresses, the climax hits a rich, full soundscape that makes incredible use of the space it's created. In the same vein as Made In Paris' first release on the label, Somersault's contribution on UA002 is breathtakingly expansive, and allows you as the listener to continue on the same journey you embarked on with UA001.

Melbourne's DANIEL VERHAGEN cites Nils Frahm as an influence, and there's damn good reason as to why. His Delusion EP added something new to the label, a focus on melody that feels a little more classical.

The title track sees Verhagen utilise his contemporary classical training in a similar way to Frahm, and employing modern electronic music conventions with different styles of thinking. That beautifully crisp piano line is expert in its delivery, and underneath the mood is set by soaring strings, long, lush pads and a percussive line that never once feels invasive. 'Arcadia' rounds out this EP, with more of an emphasis of making those strings pop, ensuring the tribal percussive sequence never feels overpowering and dotting in light field recordings to add space to this one. He's an expert at storytelling through sound, which is why his release sits right at home on Upon Access.

Made In Paris returns to the label nine months later with her Lost Perception EP. This feels like a real high point not only for her as a curator, but for her as a producer and creator too.

She opens the EP with title track 'Lost Perception', and instantly we're transported to another world. Making use of those bassy hits, this one's all about the bass and the little fills that break up the tension in between. She's given the percussion more of a spotlight here, using it to fill out the track rather than to dominate. On the flip, 'Kairos' breathes in and out with the beat, that mid-range arpeggiated synth coming in to put emphasis on just how well programmed those low-ends are. She's a master of knowing when a sound needs to begin and when it needs to end, never leaving something in the forefront for too long.

Four releases in, and we can see a pattern emerging here - strong low-ends, tracks that tell a story and never once cling to convention.

Out of Melbourne, William Kiss joins Upon Access for the label's fifth release just a little bit short of a year after the label's inception.

Employing that crunchy techno hi-hat to kick it all off, Kiss opens the Black Sky EP with the title track, playing with tempo as a means of adding intensity. The syncopation of that booming bass in the foreground gives a sense of urgency that lingers throughout the entirety of it. 'Revival' closes it out, employing more of a tech-house sensibility this time around. The sound design of this one never finds a peak, which I think actually makes this one all the more interesting - the journey is careful and one that is only experienced through addition and subtraction.

For the label's sizzling sixth release, she heads internationally for the first time to invite German artist RENATO into the Upon Access family. The Flux EP is filled with two vital cuts that add a new dimension to the label altogether.

For the first time, there's a focus on those frazzled, higher octave sounds, but they don't ever feel out of place. 'Outcomes' opens the EP, bringing in static-like synths underneath an array of deep pads. Building to a strong peak, the descriptor on Soundcloud says it has 'sci-fi vibes' and it really does. If you listen closely, you're gifted by these little hits of signal static and glitchy sequences. 'Alter' employs long- drone-like melodies drenched in reverb to take this one home. Renato's a master of those technological stabs, showcasing his skills as more than just a producer in the second half of the track.

EVANS brings deep tech house to the fore for UA007, Habitat. The three-track EP also features two remixes from UK producer FELIX WITTICH and Germany's MOOSEFLY.

'Habitat' is an absolute monster of a jam, building with intensity as unsuspecting instruments are quietly layered as the track chugs along. Before you know it, you're soaking in multitudes of sounds that kind of just crept up on you.

Felix Wittich takes this to more of a melodic place, bringing in higher-octaves, a simpler bassline and layering arpeggiated noises atop one another for a slice of carefully crafted melodic techno. If Four Tet made techno, I feel like this is what it would sound like. Moosefly plays delicately with the sounds provided to him on Evans' original, instead opting for a quiet percussive jam, filtering through stabs of the melody as he pleases.

Around a year ago from the time of writing this, Made In Paris put out the label's eighth release, an EP of her own titled Erratic. The three track release spans two originals and a remix from a homegrown duo aptly named THE JOURNEY.

The title track opens the release, this one seeing her dip her toes into a touch of vocal processing, slower melodies and in a similar way to William Kiss' 'Revival', never letting the arc of the sound design go higher than a certain point. It's linear in that sense, but she's skilled at taking the listener with her, so it never once falls flat. 'Dispatch' pairs light, chime-like percussion with echoed high-octave piano phrases and a pulsing melody that would surely go off on the dancefloor.

The remix from The Journey brings this one into tech house territory, leaving all the best elements of the original, but incorporating layers of percussive hits to add interest.

Upon Access returns to Germany for the ninth release on the label, this contribution coming in from SAIVE. This two-tracker is called Surviving.

For the first time on the label, there's a vocal track in here. 'Surviving' incorporates a beautifully apt female vocal to work in harmony with the instrumental, but never once dominate it. Operating mainly in the mids with the bass sitting hard in those lows underneath, the track is beautifully crafted. For track two, he employs deep house producer KLEIBER to give him a hand. 'Alya' is tragically cinematic in its no-hold-back approach. The build and drop is exhilarating, leaving you breathless with each ebb and flow.

There's a lot of firsts for the label on this release; first vocal track and first collaboration, but neither of those uncharacteristic additions feel out of place here.

And for the label's most recent output out mid last year, prolific techno master Juliet Fox was on board, bringing a violently apt addition to the label in Sunday Morning Illusion.

Known for her relentless approach to producing, the EP's opener 'Eternity' places whispers of her vocals echoing underneath a staccatoed stab of the melody, a syncopated bassline that never once falters and best of all, that beautifully contrasted string that comes in for brief motifs throughout. On the flip, 'Unconditional' is a little more on the traditional side, bringing rolling bouts of industrial bass to the fore, but that's not the focus here. In the same vein as 'Eternity', it's about the track's hidden features and the ways in which she's chosen to let them be heard.

More recently, the label's begun their first various artists release series, UAVA Vol. 1. The release aims to capture a range of sounds that resinate with the label and their vision.

Four tracks have been included thus far, kicking off with DOPPEL's journey through his eerie track 'Watershed'. Somersault returns for track two, 'Wyde', one with a name that speaks for itself really. Sweetland comes in with 'Osaka', a beautifully impactiful number born out of inspiration when traveling through Japan, and finally, one from labelhead Made In Paris titled 'Forgotten Soul' that features her own emotionally captive vocals.

For a label that's just over two years old, Made In Paris has not once let her creative vision falter. Through knowing exactly what it is she's after, she's been able to both filter and flex her eye for the label's vision. The additions of her own releases on the label show just how dedicated to her vision she is, and if Upon Access has taught us anything, it's that her ascension as an artist is set to be meteoric.

The label itself has excitingly grown over the years to include producers from all around the globe doing what they do best. It's a specific platform, but one that's been born out of something creatively whole and best of all, thoroughly believed in. The journey each producer takes you on with every release is an important one in solidifying that this label is not just about putting out music, but it's about telling a story too.

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