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David Kristian
by Andrew Duke

"I'm not upset that they did it, because I do enjoy their work, but one of the reasons I'm not too crazy about being sampled is because I don't like sampling myself; I mean, sampling is OK, but appropriation is a gray area."

Montreal's David Kristian is referring to Jedi Knights and Jega's nicking of a "spacey synth pad" he fashioned and used on a track a few years back on his Discreet-released "Clubfoot" EP. His most recent releases on the Alien8 imprint--Cricklewood (his tribute to the 1956 movie "Forbidden Planet"), Woodworking (remixes from Kid 606, Solvent, and others sourcing Cricklewood) and Beneath The Valley Of The Modulars (material from '94 to '98)--have since included a blunt "no sampling allowed" in the liner notes. Kristian, however, isn't too proud to admit that he has committed the sin of soundstealth in the past. "I would sample things from anime films like mangas because I could not recreate the exact same voices or same atmosphere, and it was also a nod to the style, but I realized at some point that it sort of cheapened my tracks because when I listen back those are the things that I wish I could remove."

Now that he's moved on from sampling others, he's sampling himself-literally. "I do use sampling, but I sample sources in my studio. Like I'll use my own voice for a choir, create something, or record sounds outside and use those." Kristian is adept at a variety of styles of electronic music--from drum n bass, downtempo, and minimal techno, to experimental electronics, drones, and soundwashes--and he's started his own company, David Kristian Sound Design, to deal with the resulting work offers. His forthcoming Room Tone LP on Alien8 lets us in on this new career move, one with which Kristian is especially pleased. "When you're working on a film," he says, "one day it might be a snowscape with a chase scene or [the director] might ask you for the sound of burning spiderwebs--you have to come up with that and it's really challenging."

David Kristian on sound design…

"I've been working in film and video for years and have now started my own company as a sound designer," he explains. His most recent project for which he provided sound, Divided Into Zero (directed by Mitch Davis and Kareem Hussain), just won an award for Best Short Film at the Chicago Underground Film Festival. Hussain's next feature, Subconscious Cruelty, is Kristian's current assignment. Check out some examples of his movie sound sculpting on his upcoming Room Tone full length (Alien8) while you can-Kristian would be happy to work solely in the film field. "To be honest, if I had a choice, I would only do movie sound design and soundtrack work because I get to play around with structure a bit more than on a record album, and also there's a lot more stimuli when you're working on a film. There's a lot of outside inspiration, like you have to create something that goes with an image or a situation, whereas when you're making a record, you're always getting inspired by the same thing, whereas when I'm on my own I have a tendency to come up with the same David Kristian sounds all the time."