Titonton Duvanté’s legacy in music spans nearly three decades, and it all began in Columbus, Ohio. His natural affiliation with melody and groove was evident long before he studied Audio Engineering at the local state university; as a child, he’d spend hours in his bedroom carefully analysing records and trying to replicate his favorite sounds using two cassette decks and a Casio keyboard. When his course shut down, he pivoted to study Music Composition & Opera Performance, and spent the later part of his teen years playing piano and writing songs. During this time he discovered the likes of Philip Glass and Steve Reich, and these minimalist compositions have informed the refined rhythms he’s been making ever since.
Through watching two PBS specials, one on The Beatles’ production techniques, the other on synthesizers, Duvanté became captivated by electronic music. It was the sound of the future, and a means to realize the ideas that were fizzing around in his head. He fell in love with drum & bass, particularly the work of 4Hero, which led to the purchase of his first modest setup. He began making rave tunes before teaming up with Todd Sines, Charles Noel, and Mike Szewczyk to form seminal techno band Body Release, all before going solo. Integral in this decision was his first trip to Detroit in 1993, when he saw Jeff Mills play for the first time. Through the ‘90s, he’d frequently travel to the Motor City, while putting out his music on the likes of Daniel Bell’s 7th City and Carl Craig’s Planet E Communications. Through his work, and his own Residual Recordings label, he’d go on to spearhead a rich Midwest music community.
Over 20 years later, interest in Duvanté’s work remains as strong as ever, which is testament to the enduring quality of his productions. He’s released only two albums, the last being 2001’s Selections For Intercourse, but he’s maintained a steady stream of quality EPs. He’ll Permanence & Gravitas, a new album, on Italian imprint Yay Recordings this year, and he’s preceded it with “Disconsolate,” a contribution to EDMjunkies+30 that represents his feelings towards the pandemic. 2020 was his most difficult year yet, he says, because he suffered from debilitating anxiety. He composed the track in late April and, with its swinging rhythm and exhilarating synth work, it’s another dancefloor weapon from a Midwest master of the groove.
With all this going on, we thought it was about time to have Duvanté compose an EDMjunkies podcast, so he went away and sifted through the tracks that he had found himself going back to but hadn’t been able to play out because of the pandemic. He also dug into the hundreds of promos sitting in his inbox. Once he’d whittled these down to around 100, he headed round to his friend’s house in Columbus and pieced them together on the fly. Full of wonky jams and long, drawn out mixes, Duvnaté’s mix is a vivid demonstration of what makes his work stand out: refined Detroit techno through his own fresh and funky lens.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I have been working my tail off with two day jobs! I’ve been working between 65 and 80 hours a week. Any spare time I have is used to make tunes. I have also rediscovered my love for cooking. I’m doing my best to experiment in the kitchen and hone my skills there.
02. What have you been listening to during lockdown?
Quite a bit of neo-soul. Siouxsie & the Banshees, Cocteau Twins, Space Captain, Q, Alfa Mist, Depeche Mode, Rayvn Lenae, J*Davey, Stereolab, Hiatus Kaiyote, Teakup, Pierre Codarin, and Georgia Anne Muldrow have also all been on heavy rotation.
03. When and where did you record this mix?
The mix was recorded on May 3. I did it at my homie Mike Amerine’s place which is eight blocks from mine.
04. How did you go about choosing the tracks that you’ve included?
As with all of my mixes, most of my time was spent searching for tracks that fit my current vibe. I usually start with about 300 and narrow that down to about 100. My sets are always improvised; I just figure out the starting track and then get in that zone. There a few artists that did not make on the mix that I am really feeling, like Poten, Madezh, and Pressure Point.
05. What setup did you use?
A pair of Technics 1210s and a pair of Pioneer XDJ 1000s. I used the Rane MP2015.
06. What can the listener expect?
A wide variety of vibes and styles. Acid house, breakbeat jammers, and wonky, melodic jams. There are long blends and funky basslines.
07. What’s on your horizon for 2021?
My main priority is finishing my next album. Permanence & Gravitas will see its release this autumn. I’ve also got quite a few remixes on the way. And I’ll be getting back to playing music for people in real life. I’ll be helping heal my pain through sound and movement.
EDMjunkies has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to EDMjunkies+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
Full EDMjunkies+ Members can download the podcast below. If you’re not an EDMjunkies+ member, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
01. Payphone “Where it Hertz” (Hypnotic Mindscapes)
02. DOTT “Neo Boom 01” (Unreleased)
03. Big Ever “Otto” (Incienso)
04. Hoshina Anniversary “Rokumeikan” (ESP Institute)
05. Unknown Artist “Dummy 01.1” (Carpet & Snares)
06. DOTT “Hope I’m not Asking Too Much” (Unreleased)
07. TRO “Housewolf” (Blkmarket Music)
08. Big Ever “Rolled Into” (Incienso)
09. Gladstone Deluxe “Retrograde” (Self-Released)
10. Pinball Spider “In One Ear” (Banoffee Pies)
11. Dan Only “VRIT” (Unreleased)
12. Nsdos “Yen” (Standalone Complex)
13. Brenner “Rolers” (Unreleased)
14. Matt Freeman “Hit of Acid” (Self-Released)
15. DOTT “Feels like Right” (Residual Recordings)
16. HLX-1 “Curious City” (Seclusion)
17. Gora & Eloy “Lotzmann Peitsche” (Residual Recordings)
18. Todd Sines “Line Spike” (Residual Recordings)
19. Hansgod “Open Vril” (Metrohm)
20. Juan Sanchez “De Neel in Me” (Fiedeltwo)
21. Snad “Incline” (Residual Recordings)
22. Clint House “Late Night Griot” (Fun in the Murky)
23. Innershades “We Rebuild” (Residual Recordings)
24. Jon Gravy “Over Now” (Red Rack’em Threemix) (Fortunea)
25. Titonton Duvanté “Disconsolate” (EDMjunkies/Resiudal Recordings)
26. TRO “Babybad” (Unreleased)
Photo Credit: Simone Clayborn