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"There's this sense of very lonely sensuality. And, of course, the obvious paradox of being so connected but so alone," French DJ-producer Joakim says of his latest full-length project, an as-yet untitled followup to this past June's pair of down-tempo electro-pop tracks — "Heartbeats" and "Another Light" — and his first LP since 2011's Nothing Gold.
Described by the Parisian underground veteran as "very deep and warm," the album is expected to defrost chilly listeners sometime this winter. But even though it's in the final stages of production, the Tigersushi label head still can't give a definitive release date.
"Hopefully as soon as possible," Joakim says. "I'm just trying to put out things more spontaneously, especially these days when everything is so immediate, and where the traditional strategies of releasing records are kind of obsolete. Sometimes I think, Why bother? Just release stuff."
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That desire for spontaneity and independence drove the recent NYC transplant to start his new vinyl imprint, Crowdspacer, in January. Still rooted in the underground, but with a distinct "club focus," the label allows him the creative freedom to stray from the more eclectic, "weird" sound with which he's come to be associated.
"I decided to create a kind of different label, where I can do things in a more simple way and with more precise direction," he says. "I had the feeling I needed some alternate labels and identities to do that and because I have too much pressure on myself when I make music as Joakim."
Some of his most recent projects on Crowdspacer include a batch of "small re-issues and re-edits of trance records from the '90s, but very much slowed down," he says. "It becomes like some really weird, slow, psychedelic techno. It's funny, because if you listen to those records at the right speed, it's horrible."
Another recent Crowdspacer project, this time a collaborative effort with fellow French producer Crackboy, was the output of a handful of "ghetto techno" tracks, an of-the-moment sound gaining popularity via producers such as Omar Souleyman.
"It's very raw and quite rough-sounding, but we made tracks that are a little more produced like a club track, but with that [ghetto techno] inspiration," he says of the Crackboy collabo. "An acid bass line and stuff like that."
Headlining as part of the Young Adults Showcase during Art Basel week, Joakim will return to Miami for the first time since March. He aims to "make some kind of journey through the music and through times... mixing more disco with new techno," which is a sampling of tracks that don't necessarily seem to go together. But as the DJ points out: "It's just how the songs connect. Sometimes there's slight references between the songs, to make a story."
A seasoned Art Basel in Miami Beach attendee, Joakim says he's pretty connected to the art circuit and recalls his last Basel experience with fondness. "I just remember last time getting drunk enough to dance to really stupid music, which is very, very, very rare," he laughs. "So maybe that's what is gonna happen again."