Guest Selector: Exterior

Edinburgh producer Exterior shares some of his favourite tracks ahead of the release of his new EP, Plagued Streets of Pity, out this month on Hobbes Music

Feature by Nadia Younes | 06 Feb 2019
  • Exterior

Since abandoning his hardcore and noise-rock roots, Edinburgh producer Doug MacDonald has taken a turn towards the electronic with his musical moniker Exterior.

Just under a year since releasing his debut EP Public Transport on London-via-Barcelona record label Land Recordings, for his latest release Exterior has kept it local. His new EP, Plagued Streets of Pity, is due for digital release on Edinburgh-based label Hobbes Music on 8 February, and is also available on 12'' vinyl.

The release comes not long after Exterior performed a thrilling live set for Hobbes Music’s fifth birthday party at The Bongo Club in Edinburgh, alongside the likes of Nightwave and Michelle Manetti. The four-track EP also features a remix of its title track by fellow Hobbes Music affiliate DALI, keeping things firmly in the Hobbes family. MacDonald talks us through some of his favourite tracks.

James Holden – Renata
[Border Community, 2013]

This was the most formative electronic track for me. Undulating, inexplicable synths, winding against dynamic kicks and live percussion. This song really showed me the power of what could be done with electronic music. I especially love the way the track grows and expands, keeping a specific identity whilst changing constantly. A river in sound.

Bruce – What
[Hessle Audio, 2018]

A seductive and relentless assault on your midriff. Although not out for long now, What really made me think about how one vocal sample can be used to create tension over time. Again a wonderful example of steady rhythm with careening, disconcerting sound art on top. I played this at a New Year's party much to everyone’s bewilderment and my own pleasure.

DJ Spoko – War of the Pizzi
[Lit City Trax, 2014]

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a dance-seizure when War of the Pizzi is dropped. Backwards/forwards snares in a four-minute tussle with addictive bass and leads. A cheeky number and very forward-thinking at the same time. Tragic that DJ Spoko died last year, only 35 years old.

Swans – Oxygen
[Young God Records, 2014]

Who says dance music needs to be made on Ableton by someone in their bedroom? Oxygen takes repetition, rage, glee and transcendence straight to the heart (or the intestines). This will either clear the dancefloor or ignite it. Only Gira can say which.

Jlin – Challenge (To Be Continued)
[Planet Mu, 2017]

I vividly remember thinking 'how the fuck did she even think of this?' Challenge is the last track of Black Origami but feels like a beginning. An eruption of movement in seemingly disparate directions. Percussion, vocal snaps, snares and unintelligible shards of noise. A maelstrom from the future.

Jon Hopkins – Everything Connected
[Domino, 2018]

Oh J-Hop! Not really the most consistent live performer, but this tune is what the kids refer to as a ‘belter’. My favourite moment is halfway through where it seems like it’ll just wash off into ambient pish but it bounces back hard, dry and relentless, like a randy Alsatian that just won’t take its bath.

DJ Nigga Fox – Apocalipsiii
[Príncipe, 2015]

The track swings and pivots, at times staggering, at others bounding. There is such a clever use of withholding and releasing the main riff. There is also a really great sense of progression in this song and aspects changing over time, but in a sudden, broken way. You should see the dancing it unleashes when dropped at the correct juncture.

Holly Herndon – Interference
[4AD, 2015]

Interference is a track both frustrating and rewarding in unequal measures (moreso the latter). No matter the number of listens, I still hear new audio within it, sometimes radically so. Overall I think this makes most sense live, seeing her singing and embedding her voice in the music. The album version on Platform has a coldness and distance which is part of its power. Then you see her wee ginger grin and think, ‘eh!’ Interference alright.

Clark – Butterfly Prowler
[Warp, 2017]

If I had to pick a single biggest influence on Exterior then it’s Chris Clark. Butterfly Prowler is a solid, cogent, dreamlike, lion of a track. It is a perfect distillation of pleasure and programming. The emotions at play here are optimistic and comforting whilst dragging you forward with them. It’s also a masterwork in how to mix electronic music, but then so is the whole of Death Peak. Curse him.

Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares – Kalimankou Denkou (The Evening Gathering)
[Elektra Nonesuch, 1987]

As I now grasp, these ladies combine traditional Bulgarian vocal styles with contemporary classical composition techniques. Quite simply some of the most beautiful vocal music I have ever heard. We live in great times, I believe, especially when listening to this.

Plagued Streets of Pity is released 8 Feb via Hobbes Music