Dance music with soul - Shur-I-Khan in Glasgow
Tom Szirtes has very kindly interrupted his music-making time to speak to The List. But what can he be working away on? Another atmospheric down-tempo slow-burner under his DJ and production alias Shur-I-Khan? Perhaps his on/off membership of improvisational live dance outfit The Bays is on again? ‘No,’ he says, ‘I’m writing the soundtrack to an iPhone game right now. I’ve never done it before, so we’ll see how it goes.’
This isn’t an unusual state of affairs for Szirtes, who grew up in the Hertfordshire town of Hitchin, went to university in Bristol and now lives in London. The producer of a bunch of EPs and two artist albums (Advance and Waypoints, as well as an as-yet-untitled third) for Jimpster’s Freerange label, he used to work as a videogame programmer for companies such as Sega.
‘I was playing piano at the age of six,’ he says, ‘but at the same time, I was one of those geeky kids who spent a lot of time in front of a Sinclair Spectrum or a Commodore Amiga. Of course, the technologies involved in both later merged, so it’s now not that much of a departure for me to make music on a computer.’
Describing his style as ‘dance music with soul’ (‘I know that sounds a bit crap,’ he qualifies), Szirtes draws upon the influence of drum & bass, jazz, Jean Michel Jarre and Art of Noise to create a clean, sophisticated sound. Not only that, he even runs more than one label: his co-running of one of these, Dark Energy Recordings, with Glasgow producer Milton Jackson, is what precipitated this very live date.
Tronicsole at the Admiral, Glasgow, Sat 25 Jul