“When I first entered the modular synth world, there was this moment of, 'What the fuck? I’ve never heard that sound before,’” Ridha explains. “To me, that was huge, because I always try to make harder sounds than those that previously exist. With modular synths, it's not like having different guitars or a keyboard with different patches. It's going one step further—you must build the guitar, then decide what it will sound like, how it will be played, in what ways it will react. This process is incredibly inspiring to me. It's this mystery of, 'What am I gonna patch together next, and what is it going to do?'”
The +/- album exhibits Boys Noize's evolutionary blueprint for bridging diametrical musical positions while testing the limits through self-discovered modular workflows. A sense of otherworldliness and a suspension of time is shared on “Affection,” an ethereal, trance-gated Atlanta Bass singalong featuring alt-R&B singer Abra. One also finds this feeling in the monumental, metallic atmosphere of “Act 9,” a brooding ballad featuring Vinson. “Ride or Die” with Kelsey Lu and Chilly Gonzales has Boys Noize juxtaposing the beautiful with the delirious. A tapestry of blissfully affective moods is woven through a pummeling tribal backbone as if Lu’s lush melancholy arrives to heal all the synapses seared by 140 bpm excess. The essence of +/- is found in such paradoxical worldbuilding and the undeniable attraction it elicits through the unfamiliar, a rare accomplishment in an era of algorithmic refinement.
“Polarization was a word that arose constantly during the writing and recording of this album, whether in the news or in my own understanding of the different aspects of my music,” says
Boys Noize. “But ‘polarization’ assumes that everything must be black and white—the truth and the music deserve to be far more complex.”
Collaboration, however, does not come at the cost of having to compromise. Boys Noize's lifelong commitment to the throbbing, dark energy of the underground makes its presence known throughout +/-. Each single, whether “Girl Crush” with Rico Nasty or “Nude” with
Tommy Cash, comes paired with a b side that would challenge any of the aforementioned performers’ fans but revs the engines of the die-hard ravers awaiting their next hit of Boys Noize at his hardest. Visual artist Eric Timothy Carlson, designer of Bon Iver’s acclaimed 22 a Million, joined Boys Noize in developing expansive illustrations and iconography for the album and all of its individual works. The artwork offers an esoteric key of glyphs and symbols, mapping the contradictory influences and emotions which served as the elements for an audio alchemy. Through both image and sound, +/- surveys the anything-is-possible output of a distinguished techno producer exploring a newly opened world of distinct collaborations, freed from all confines, in a state of evolution of both genre and self. From the time Boys Noize held his first vinyl record to the release of +/- today, there is still one thing this DJ from Berlin knows will never change: it’s all in the mix.