23.10.2012, Words by Karen Chan

Dummy Mix 141 // Ricardo Donoso

As a solo electronic producer, Ricardo Donoso has released two full-length albums to date, titled ‘Progress Chance’ and ‘Assimilating The Shadow’, both via Oklahoma label Digitalis Recordings, one of the most captivating homes in the electronic music scene. Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Ricardo Donoso now resides in Boston, and performs and produces under his own name, as well as composing music scores for film and television, a subject he studied at university. He also used to be a part of Ehnahre, an avant-garde/death metal band in which he played percussion, and one half of drone and noise duo Perispirit, who are now in hiatus.

Donoso’s latest LP ‘Assimilating The Shadow’ came out in September, in which he showcases an inclination towards techno, despite the lack of rhythmic structure and percussive pattern. Unlike his first album ‘Progress Chance’, which explores the dark and creeping textures of synthesizers, ‘Assimilating The Shadow’ displays a resistance towards the boundaries of genre, taking experimental, techno and noise templates, and blending them with different hazy, slovenly range of sounds. The album creates an eccentric and profoundly suspenseful ambience, delivering some of the most evocative sounds in recent memory. Much like his recent release, staying true and sticking to his immersive agenda, Ricardo Donoso has submitted to Dummy a mix composed of completely original material. Rendered with atmospheric cinematic aesthetics, its sparse and morphing delicacy edges through a spacious and at times raw territory, providing a wonderfully inspiring and emotional ride. You’re invited to enter the strange world of Ricardo Donoso. Listen below.

Hi Ricardo! How’s it going?

Going well thanks, keeping busy – thanks for having me.

What’s this mix about?

The mix consists of audio recordings from 2008 – 2012, I managed to revive some old
hard drives that had some old cues from a film I scored, sketches of tracks that were
abandoned and some improvisations, there are also some sketches from potential
new material. The mix itself follows a transformative narrative – starting off subdued
& introspective then plummeting into darkness only to come out the other side more
powerful and controlled. 

I think the mix encapsulates a lot of threads of my work, and is a good window into how I got to where I am now. These rhythmic filmscore cues really served as a blueprint for my first record ‘Progress Chance’ and the darker, more ambient work has always been there. To me the mix is an extension of ‘Shadow’, showcasing raw
blueprints to that sound.

How has the studies of film scoring shaped your take on music production?

Writing a cue for me is about instilling some sort of feeling, whether it’s about conveying something dramatic for a film, or adding something for a car commercial, it still has to have an emotional effect. I’ve really embraced that mentality recently with my solo work. I used to be more reluctant to make things sound grandiose, ‘filmy’ or ‘epic’ but it does come quite naturally for me, especially with the scoring background. 

I like ‘Assimilating The Shadow’ a lot, how did the album come about?

I wanted to take the ideas on ‘Progress Chance’ to a higher level, and really focus on
the dancier elements and develop them. It was recorded throughout a transitory and
positive time and I really tried to tap into something transcendental.

I know you used to play drums in a death metal band called Ehnahre. Has it in any way impacted on how you make electronic music?

Absolutely, I learned so much from those guys, especially Ryan McGuire, the chief composer. They may not even be totally conscious things, but everything is interchangeable – and vice versa, things I would do electronically I could incorporate into my drumming. It still amazes me how you can apply techniques and ideas from these seemingly disparate styles together – it’s all connected.

What’s exciting you at the moment?

It’s exciting to see barriers coming down more and more within scenes. Starting to see
more techno heads getting into more abstract music and vice versa, more festivals
doing some really amazing and challenging line ups – more walls are coming down,
which is good.

Best thing you’ve heard/ seen this year?

Best thing I’ve seen was definitely the Femminielli show in Montreal I caught, totally
fucking amazing. Best thing I’ve heard has to be the new Robert Hood.

What’s your favourite chocolate bar?

I prefer to use my empty calories on beer.

What’s next for you?

Lots in the works. Just finished a straight dancefloor 12”, working on a new Scuba
Death record, and scoring a documentary film with Digitalis boss Brad Rose next month. Working on a Euro tour for early 2013.


Digitalis Recordings released Ricardo Donoso – ‘Assimilating The Shadow’ LP in September, 2012

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