On Our Guestlist: Rhadoo

It’s one thing to produce a great track, but we are only complacently sold once we get to hear a thrilling set from a DJ. Though there can be no set formula, they ought to tell a story, to somehow progress coherently while remaining unpredictable, and provoke some sort of interior renovations to their listeners. They’re not easy to master, not everyone should do both, but there are some dedicated sound painters out there that are simply doing a tremendous job on each aspect. Producing, mixing, track selection and attitude - all flawless - while we can only imagine how much pressure and hard work that involves.
On our guestlist features artists that are outstanding in all the aspects mentioned above. That’s why they often get to be on our guest list.

With thrilling mixing skills, hypnotic productions and sleek remixes, it’s hard to say what Rhadoo does best. As a co-founder of the peerless [a:rpia:r] imprint, Rhadoo has long been regarded as a pioneer within Romania’s electronic music scene. While his label helped instigate a movement for minimal-minded techno coming out of Bucharest, he’s equally lauded for his DJ performances, a passion that he started feeding back in 1995.
“I dreamed about this community, where we could share ideas, music and work together without competition. During this time, I met Petre [Inspirescu], then Raresh, and then other friends started to appear. We started playing together doing things, until at one moment, the label idea became obvious. Since the beginning, the label has always been about releasing tracks of us, our friends and ideas that we liked.”
[a:rpia:r]’s 12-inches have always achieved a legendary status before the wax had cooled; each of their records carries a special weight while every missive feels like a stop-the-clocks event.
Rhadoo has proved his studio prowess with releases on [a:rpia:r], Cadenza, Understand, Minibar, Amphia or Nervmusic. As far as his work release rate is concerned, his approach is all about quality not quantity - but when they do eventuate they are certainly worth the wait and make into a timeless work of art. ‘Geemac’ for example, released on Understand it’s still pure gold after all these years.

On Zanzibar EP Rhadoo is rewriting the grammar of minimal with the help of a half-time beat and a collage of warped vocal snippets, synths, chants and reverb. Most of his music is trippy, but "J Strawberry" is on another level.

Released four years on from the spellbinding Amphia release, ​Semantics EP out on Nervmusic [2019] observes the minimal shapeshifter enacting a puzzle over four tracks — outlining his vision for versatile tech-minimal and his quest for originality in a trend-lead production phenomenon.

Throughout his 25-years career span, Rhadoo takes the idea of aliases seriously, using a rotation of at least five: such as Adsum, Atbash, Bim Bim, Nea Marin and Colorhadoo. The sound of each moniker is distinct, as a testament to the effort that goes into differentiating them. The kaleidoscopic edits are among the brightest tracks in the Rhadoo’s oeuvre, his bread and butter being ‘Janelle Monáe - Sincerely, Jane’ and the lovely ‘Stereo People - Stereo’.
When it comes to DJing, Rhadoo’s sound always feels like an elevated form of thinking out loud. He’s undoubtedly one of the finest floor fillers, stitching together new, old and never-heard-before music. Whether it’s your first or hundredth listen, the addictive ride of his mix always fuels the same surreal feelings of euphoric hype.
Rhadoo became an adept of a very technical and dark style of minimal, mastering it better than anybody else and being able to teleport his audience into a twisted universe of intelligent sounds. He blends stripped-back cuts with surgical precision, building to a climax that’s as groovy as it is hypnotic, this exceptional ability in the mix being what distinguishes him by far from many of his peers.
A milestone in his career - fabric 72 reiterates his skills as a selector and his meaningful input in developing the community. Rather than unveiling the closely guarded bombs he takes with him around the world, Rhadoo almost exclusively featured unreleased material from our home country. This Fabric mix has a surprisingly uncanny knack of getting under your skin - the transitions are flawless, and the interplay between the tracks is often just as interesting as the source material itself.
His regular stream show on Dommune Tokyo is something of a masterclass and an invitation to glimpse his astonishing record collection. Understanding what makes a dance floor tick, he doesn't just get from A to B, using that transition as a chance to explore the chemistry between the tracks.

Despite the tracks are mostly warped and trippy, the mood for much of Rhadoo's sets are positive and uplifting, helped by bright synths entwined with pumping percussion and basslines that seem to morph as each track goes on. Much of it is utterly unrecognisable and potentially unreleased, a characteristic only accentuated by Rhadoo's nonstop cutting between different elements of tracks and occasional three-channel mixing. Rather than clapping and cheering, people get lost in their own heads.

Rhadoo has managed to stay in people's hearts and electronic music charts without compromising. With everyone shouting so loud, there is something quite profound in the actions of those who purposefully mute their promotion and let the faith in dedication to music let the real appreciators gravitate themselves towards their output and happenings. Leaving a strong mark in a very discreet manner, he’s making an impact through music, watching the seeds he planted blossom into the artistic community that he so deeply craved during the post-communist years in Bucharest.
Rhadoo is an auteur – an artist with a unique and expansive vision. The power of his work has already proven to be cumulative, deepening and developing with time, refining an individual sensibility and a sound which is rigorously and irreducibly his own.
He has come to be seen as both an arbiter of taste and a sign that an electronic act has arrived. This weekend, [a:rpia:r]’s figurehead will carry us through to Sunday evening with the type of heady selections and technical wizardry we’ve come to love him for.

curated by Bianca Iulia