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Hatti Vatti
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Anyone who took even a shallow look at post-2010 Polish electronica couldn’t possibly miss out on the moniker Hatti Vatti. The musician, who hails from Gdańsk, has spent the last few years trying to resurrect music from the genre spheres of dubstep and dubtechno. As it turned out, he was very successful at that. His first EP Algebra and full-length Worship Nothing are the highest class works. He got his songs out to a wider audiences with an album recorded with Noon, which featured an entire line-up of Polish rappers. Counting in his side projects: Ffrancis with Misia Furtak, the punk outfit Gówno or an upcoming LP with Stefan Wesołowski as Nanook of the North we end up with an impressive set.

Piotr Kaliński, a.k.a. Hatti Vatti, invited us to his temporary residence in the very heart of the Old Mokotów. Over a cup of tea, we sat down in a small room, mostly occupied by studio gear, albums and a desk, which is the producer’s working station. For a good few hours, we were immersed in the world of music of many various genres, and very surprising at times.

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THE ESSENCE

Before you came here, I selected a few albums that mean something to me. Let's start with Tangerine Dream, on of my favourite bands. It's a sin to listen to them on empeethrees, they mostly recorded in analogue, which gave a natural and beautiful sound. A really important thing to me is With The Artists by Rhythm & Sound. For many years, it's been my favourite musical project. At that time, no other thing in electronic music has had a similarly strong effect on me. A lot of dub, but not in its classical form. After all, they're the people behind the cult Basic Channel. Some think they were the ones to spread techno in Europe. The cut Queen In My Empire is one of my best-loved songs. The record is really used up by now, I bought it in Berlin many years ago, and more specifically, in Hardwax, their store. If, at a big occasion, I play vinyls in clubs, I always play that. A minimalist production, plus great singers. I always wanted to do something similar, and a few vinyls signed as Hatti Vatti came out on a similar assumption. Back to Germany, that was the golden age of dub techno, the internet wasn’t as strong and the computers weren't as omnipresent, so a huge chunk of the music was made with machines. With no ado can I say that the sound of this kind co-define me as an artist in the most basic terms.

A lot of dub, but not in its classical form. After all, they're the people behind the cult Basic Channel. Some think they were the ones to spread techno in Europe. The cut Queen In My Empire is one of my best-loved songs.



Moving on, Skull Disco, fucking awesome stuff that came out in 2009, which I also bought in Hardwax in Berlin. This EP features songs by Appleblim and Peverelist, curated by Shackleton. At a point, the dubstep, still strongly stemming from the UK's garage, merged with dubtechno and to me, that was the most musically interesting moment of the genre. Every month, real gamechangers came out. Now all there is is duplication, and the mere genre devolved, even in its name. Things like that had their five minutes of fame and nothing else came out of it, although the sound hasn’t aged a bit. Here, some albums by Synkro, a guy I worked quite a lot with, after all, we still stay in touch and I really appreciate his productions. My musical adventures started getting serious with him, as I released my first album on his label. The small world of MySpace, I wrote him and it worked out. Then, you’d be writing Burial and he'd reply, seriously. A remix of my cut by Andy Stott, happened in a similar way, no intermediaries, no managers - an interesting highlight from the times before social media were gigantic and dehumanised. Those days, I really liked playing this song by Clouds, don’t confuse them with the currently popular techno duo. They were from Finland, and Ras G did a peculiar remix of the track Timekeeper on one of the EPs. I loved playing it, because people had no idea how to act on the dancefloor. The tempo seems right, but the entire rhythmic system is completely broken.

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Great things also came out in the 170bpm tempo music, more drum 'n' bass, and more exactly, its sub-genre autonomic, mostly associated with Exit Records. Like Dbridge or Instra:mental; I’ll play a single by that duo, a one-sided vinyl, a so-called white label. In case you didn’t know, Instra:mental was made up by Boddika, who is currently making techno, and he stopped liking the sound like this, and Damon Kirkham, known as Kid Drama. What they recorded sound like 80s music. Classic analogue instruments, the sound that brings Tangerine Dream or Chromatics to mind. I liked playing them at a club; I never understood why calmer music's not to be played at a party. In a club, you can do so much more than dancing.

They were from Finland, and Ras G did a peculiar remix of the track Timekeeper on one of the EPs. I loved playing it, because people had no idea how to act on the dancefloor (laughs).

The Bug, a master in his category (that he probably made up himself), whom I really appreciate and respect for his stubbornness. When I was in a better mood and wanted to bring the house down, I played this very track, Skeng. It’s about 10 years old, but I never grow bored of it - you can't stand still when it's on. Oh, like DJ Pinch from Bristol, the Tectonic label: he did a cut that opens Appleblim's podcast (Henry & Louis – Rise Up remixed by him – ed.) For many years, this song remained unreleased, so when I saw it at a store, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. I love that kind of minimalist productions, to a point, it reminds me of Rhythm & Sound, sister effects with reverb or delay on minimalist synth sounds

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A POLISH NOTE

Let’s move on: Czesław Niemen and Enigmatic is one of my most loved albums. A wonderful release, a beautiful golden cover. Many times, I've listened to it with flushes of excitement, it has a number of great compositions. I often return to it, it also has a convenient format, Bema Pamięci Rapsod Żałobnych on one side, with the three remaining compositions on the other, their dynamics a little different. Księżyc, a project that's legendary and incredibly important to me, pretty difficult to get at some point, until they were given a second life a few years ago. An interesting story here: recently, I had a chance to meet them, and I owe it to Noon. We went to a special closed show, where he was helping out a bit with production. No guests, the purpose was to record it on video, so I was basically the only person in the audience and I had a private gig of my cult band (laughs). From my point of view, a totally emotional thing to live through. It's one of the albums I'd take to a deserted island. I don’t get bored of it and it still moves me, even though I’ve known it for a dozen years.

With Polish music, I like when these things have a local undernote and you can hear they were made in Poland. Some Communist nostalgia, the Slavic soul and the like. Here, an album by the aforementioned Noon, a test press of his first release, Bleak Output. This is a Polish thing of the sort. A rarity, a present from Mikołaj, it was never on sale. To make it more interesting, I bought this album once, sometime in 2000, at the Dominican Market. Some gentleman sold me the album for 10 zloties, not even knowing exactly what it was. As far as I remember, that was a sampler of the album and I think even Noon didn’t have it. Unfortunately, I lost the album at some party. Luckily, Mikołaj gave me this test press, it somehow softened the blow. It’s still a collector's item, but I can’t get over that loss.

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THE WORLD

This is an incredibly weird one, And It Rained All Night by Thom Yorke, remixed by Burial. I think after that track, they even started cooperating more closely and released an EP (that was an EP also recorded with Four Tet – Mirrors/Ego – ed.) I bought it at Empik (a Polish counterpart of Virgin Megastore and similar chains - trans.) for a few or a dozen zloties, I was really shocked that I got it right there, at that price.

I’ll show you a few albums I sample from. I brought many of them from Japan. Of course, sometimes, I sample off everything – a CD, YouTube or even YouTube on a recorder. One of my gems, Soviet disco bought somewhere in Ukraine for 2 zloties. This is early 80s and one of the socialist Baltic republics – Latvia. The entire thing is called Disco Alliance, the band is Zodiac. A notable psychedelic cover, a real good job. Then, Yasuaki Shimizu, I have two albums from that gent. I used one and sold it, as it turned out I bought in Tokyo for nearly nothing, while it’s a really rare item in Europe. This is one of a few vinyls I've sold in my life, I almost never get rid of them, with a few exceptions. Back to Yasuaki Shimizu, it's interesting ambient electronics and some guitar. Music for Commercials is made of tracks he recorded for that purpose. It has this Japanese drink, which I like very much, on the cover. A peculiar album, no wonder this artist has die-hard listeners.

One of the releasing absurdities that I own, definitely worth a photo: a Japanese album made up entirely of horror sounds. I had to buy it, though I've no idea what for. Can you hear this? Hammering pins in a coffin, werewolf voices, and creaking door here. No music, just things like that. Maybe somebody uses it in theatrical plays, I've no idea.

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One of the releasing absurdities that I own, definitely worth a photo: a Japanese album made up entirely of horror sounds. I had to buy it, though I've no idea what for. Can you hear this? Hammering pins in a coffin, werewolf voices, and creaking door here.

Another Japanese artist, Mr Masa Matsuda and his synthesisers that he used for recording various interesting melodies. It really sounds wonderful, that period was really strong and productive in Japanese music. You have to admit their music is very different from the European one, there are nearly no hits here. I brought really a lot of it, I managed to ship 170 albums in total from Japan. I had to mail a separate package which had a hard time on a plane, but luckily, it made it home safe and sound. Moving on: another buy from Tokyo and sisters from Nigeria, 1979. I really like African music, so I couldn't resist it. I've never seen a stand with so many African vinyls. Of course, a lot of represses from Awesome Tapes From Africa, but also a lot of original releases from all these weird countries like Lesotho, Uganda, Mozambique, a really huge museum and unfortunately, high prices. Loads of Ethiopian albums. I've also been to Ethiopia, but it's hard to get original stuff there, not to mention vinyls. Karolina Rec, Resina, has also told me about that recently. She was also looking for aboriginal music there, she brought loads of CDs and unfortunately, most of it is some weird pop-bubblegum, interesting, albeit not what I meant. The true albums are most likely available in New York, and most of them have already found home. Coming back to Tokyo, it really has awesome shops. I've spent a few hours with Łukasz Stachurko and Groh, arguing over who’s taking over the recorder for a listen, there was only one for the three of us (laughs). We've picked some 50 albums with the fastest digging ever – we've listened to some 2 seconds of each track to have a slight idea, and we had probably an hour to do it. Piles of albums, thousand of pieces, literally. Look, this is, for instance, something very popular in Japan – anime soundtracks. You'd expect it to sound very synthetic, but it’s not that at all, it’s more 70s and rock, like Wings. It was novelty to me that manga/anime sounded like that at some point. Wonderfully released, with posters and booklets to be found inside.

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I've spent a few hours with Łukasz Stachurko and Groh, arguing over who’s taking over the recorder for a listen, there was only one for the three of us (laughs). We've picked some 50 albums with the fastest digging ever – we've listened to some 2 seconds of each track to have a slight idea, and we had probably an hour to do it.

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I've got loads of 7-inches too: Japanese dancehall, Polish oldies, Jamaican music, after all, I come from the dub milieu. As you can see, the release is second to none, but the tracks are genius. It's all pretty hard to remember, there was a moment of a total overflow of this music. Dancehall is an interesting genre, and it never caught on in Poland. After all, it's a good alternative to pop, trap or all other party stuff. Along with jungle, it's my favourite dance music, with no ostentation, fun-loving. It's interesting to see how it’s released: the records are skewed, the tracks shuffled and often wrongly pressed, and the sides are completely topsy-turvy. I'd like to go there someday and see how it works now. There's incredibly weird music on that 7-inch, the like of Japanese Irena Santor (or Polish Shirley Bassey - trans.) This is hard to stomach for us Europeans, to our ears and cognitive mechanisms, that lady just wails, yet it’s in what they do. It sounds like an auntie bleating at a wedding. But look at how it's released: in the booklet, there are moves to be done in this particular dance. In this case, sampling is okay, but not super-easy, as there's a lot going on, the easiest bits to sample are ones that are sonically transparent. It also depends on the music you do, whether it’s a backing track for an MC, based on prominent loops, or microsounds on synthesisers in electronic mosaics. I’ll show you a sample and we’ll see what comes out. (Piotr samples and creates a musical theme – ed.). A simple beat, the Japanese melody from the 7-inch and here's a rough draft of a track. The great advantage is that the sample is unrecognisable. Obviously, in the producer world, it's a bummer to do obvious samples, from famous stuff. It'd suck if I sampled Madonna or Leszek Możdżer, not to mention samples from the same genre, it’s out of the question. Digging out something original is a lot of fun and it's probably the best part.

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THE CDS

I can end with telling you a bit about the CDs. There are mostly albums that I got from someone or bought while travelling. In the Middle East or Asia, the CD culture is still thriving. In Mumbai, for instance, I bought an album by some Mr. Dulcimer Man for 5 zloties and it’s excellent. There are only two songs, 40 and 15 minutes, respectively. I got that one in Iran, it’s Persian music, not exactly classic, more of a film soundtrack, and the composer's name is Mohammad Reza Aligholi (the album is Gypsy Moon). My favourite guitar band are My Bloody Valentine and in my hand, I’m holding Loveless, their most wonderful album, moreover, signed by the group’s singer, a real treasure for me. At OFF Festival we had adjacent dressing rooms, so I couldn’t stop myself. Kevin is my idol and I couldn't get round after a short exchange and album signing (laughs). Here, Muddy Waters, I really like black blues from the 1950s/1960s, and at the same time, I can’t stomach the contemporary white one. I got that album as compensation for a symbolic set I played in a tiny record store in Reykjavik in December last year. The owner let me take one item from the shop and I took that. You mentioned Luomo, yes, I really like him, especially the music he writes as Vladislav Delay. I also have the legendary Miłość from Gdańsk. This, for example, is a Kate Bush CD released in 1985 and when I bought it at an auction, it turned out that it was the original pressing, and it was in an excellent state, even though it's 31 years old. There's Four Tet, Boards of Canada, Sully - I really like British electronica. From my guitar fascinations, Ścianka, Ewa Braun and Nirvana. Look, here, another Japanese album and a fascinating fact. You know, in their country, some books are printed in reverse and the CD is made that way, you just open it the other way round. At some point, I also had an album by Ryuichi Sakamoto that worked like origami, when you opened it, it became a tall paper flower vase. The Japanese really beat everyone in terms of interesting release forms. As it turned out, here, I've got an excellent combination of freaks and classics.

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I got that album as compensation for a symbolic set I played in a tiny record store in Reykjavik in December last year. The owner let me take one item from the shop and I took that.

THE PHENOMENA

Let's not miss these, the most twisted releases. Here's an album that's a computer game. You had to record the vinyl onto tape and from it, to a computer. An absurd thing, not only was it a Polish pressing, but also you lost an incredible amount of data. You know what that band is? Papa Dance. You turn on the game, and there, some trivia, the likes of 'what does Paweł [the frontman - trans.] like having for lunch?'. A few years ago, there was that thing released by the producer Rockwell, who recorded the track Reverse Engineering. It's recorded entirely in reverse, all samples and elements, so it sounds extremely atypical. What’s more, you play the vinyl from the middle to the end and the printing is also reversed. Anything that could be is done topsy-turvy. In the past, there was also porn on vinyl, the mere sounds of sex. Framed there is Blade Runner and it’s worth showing. Although I’m not a big science fiction fan, I’m a fan of Blade Runner, both the film and the Vangelis soundtrack. I bought that for 3 zloties in Tokyo, brand new, the 1992 edition. An example of technology that's never caught on for longer. It's called Laser Disc and long story short, it's a CD with a film, the size of a 12” vinyl. A real technical abomination. What's more, we won’t find any music there, just the film, although it looks like a CD version of a vinyl. Let’s say it's the granddad of DVD. In Poland, we didn’t even have a lot of compact discs, and the Japanese had their great proto-DVD. So let's conclude it this way: if I order a pizza and I can’t imagine its size as regular, medium or XXL and I ask for the diameter and somebody says 30 cm, then I get it right away, this is exactly the diameter of a vinyl record, 30 cm is 12” (laughs).

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Hatti Vatti, Piotr Kaliński - producer and musician from Tricity, Associated with MOST and U Know Me labels. Active on the Polish scene for 10 years. He has over 15 vinyl releases on labels from different countries to his credit. He regularly plays all over Europe and in Japan. His unique, distinguishable style mixes various genres and a trademark approach to the technical side. He collaborated with many artists: with Noon in HV/NOON, with Misia Furtak - the duo FFRANCIS, and with Stefan Wesołowski - “Nanook of the North”.

Translated by Helena Marzec

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