Currently based in Montreal, Raphaël Valensi is a rather nomadic electronic music artist, keyboardist, vocalist, and producer, who can trace the origins of his music career back to 2012. That year, Valesni released an oddball beattape under the name Laura Ingalls and they joined the psych rock outfit Death To Ponies as a keyboardist and vocalist. Those early experiences inspired Valensi to experiment further outside the electronic dance music and DJ-focused music they had started to get known for.
Valensi’s latest project Nahash can trace its origins back to 2013. While residing in Shanghai, Valensi started the project as a way to chat the soundtrack for the end of the world. Interestingly, he had started to develop a reputation for being relentlessly experimental, eventually releasing metal-inspired electronic music through Huashan Records, the label home of some China’s freakiest drone and noise acts. Valensi also hosted the “Let’s get naked and listened to a bunch of drones” parties at Shanghai’s Shelter Club.
In 2017 Valensi relocated to Montreal, where he quickly became SVBKVLT’s main mixer and mastered. Valensi also simultaneously released a handful of collaborative tracks and remixes with Shanghai-based electronic artist Osheyack on a handful of labels, including Bedouin and CGI. Interestingly, last year Valensi’s Nahash project went through a radical reinvention that was first single on Valensi’s remix of Gooooose’s “Plasma Sunrise,” a dancehall and jungle house remix, which which featured tribal drums, warm percussion, harsh noise textures.
Last year, Valensi released his latest Nahash album, the critically applauded Flowers of the Revolution. Inspired by his reading and research into the role that the US played in installing dictators throughout much of Latin America. “The harsh and industrial sounds I used as a way to talk about what happens when the harsh reality of neo-liberalism takes over a country that could do very well without it,” Valensi explains. “I was reading and watching documentaries about Haiti and Cuba and trying to imagine what those countries would be without any western influence. The ‘flowers of the revolution’’ are the flowers that never grew, the fields that were burnt down, the plants that were trampled by boots.”
The album itself features seven original tracks, a a collaboration with frequent collaborator Osheyack, plus a handful of remixes from Elvin Brandhi featuring Duma’s Kanja, Gabber Modus Operandi and DJ Plead. Flowers of the Revolution’s latest single is the El Dusty-like “Sangre y poder.” Centered around thumping and stuttering beats, explosive blasts of airhorns, thick layers of arpeggiated and undulating synths, rousingly anthemic hooks and metallic clang and clatter, “Sangre y poder” is a slick mesh of jungle house, cumbia and industrial music that manages to be accessible and euphoric.