From being the residence of classical composers including Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert to legendary venues like the Burgtheater and the Wiener Musikverein, Vienna has been a cultural mecca for centuries. One of the artists carrying the torch for the Austrian capital’s electronic scene today is Clemens Bacher, a free jazz drummer, multi-instrumentalist and producer who makes intricate, outside-the-box music under the name CID RIM.
For the video for his effervescent single “Serra Serra,” off the musician’s recently released debut album Material on LuckyMe, Bacher wanted to pay homage to the city’s rich arts heritage. Created by the taste-making label’s co-founder Dominic Flannigan and director Pete Marsden, the stylish clip juxtaposes footage of him drumming, a dance performance, historical texts and scenes from a documentary about forward-thinking Viennese composers and painters circa 1900.
“In their perspective, they were living on the edge of some radical changes in society and Europe in general,” Bacher tells Playboy over email. “They tried to unmask what’s bubbling under the surface and thereby kind of foresaw World War I and II. In a way, it’s comparable to the times we are living in now.”
Equally influenced by John Coltrane’s avant-garde compositions and English electronic pioneer Squarepusher, the classically trained artist has produced for rappers like Theophilus London and Okmalumkoolkat and done burbling remixes for Sky Ferreira, CHVRCHES, The 1975 and more. As cofounder of collective slash label Affine Records, Bacher has also helped build a community of like-minded experimentalists, including frequent collaborators Dorian Concept and The Clonius. “Vienna’s jazz scene was always good, but over the last 10 years it has evolved to something truly amazing,” he says. “There are no boundaries between the jazz and the electronic music scene, and everything that’s between those two. We all hang out and influence each other, it’s very inspiring.”
Although he’s released a handful of EPs and singles throughout the years, Material is Bacher’s first full-length LP, which simultaneously sounds like a distillation of his career thus far and the next chapter. “I think it’s important to get your own voice and your personality before you start putting out records, and I have the feeling not too many people see it that way anymore,” says the part-time music tutor. While his polyrhythmic percussion is the star of the show, Bächer uses bright synth lines and hypnotic computer bleeps to shade the album’s 11 tracks in glorious technicolor.
To help flesh out his ideas, he enlisted guest vocalists Samantha Urbani (formerly of New York indie pop group Friends) for the triumphant “Repeat” and South African post-R&B crooner Petite Noir for the swirling “One Last Thing.” “Serra Serra” in particular was written during one of Vienna’s notoriously unforgiving winters while Bacher was in hibernation mode. “Slowly the urge of a strong contrast to that grey coziness got bigger and bigger, and in that case, it emerged in this exaggerating euphoria the song has,” he recalls. “I asked a friend if he could play a proper Top Gun guitar solo over it and the singer Lylit to do pretty much the same with her beautiful voice to intensify the core vibe of the track.”
These feelings of exhileration also extends to the musician’s dynamic live shows. Ahead of his upcoming European tour (with North American dates to come in 2018), Bacher had a friend build him a custom LED lighting setup designed to “ampify the brutal and excessive optimistic energy my music has.” “What I do is I jump between playing the drums and several MIDI instruments in each song. I like to keep myself busy on stage and the rhythmical light show magnifies that,” he explains. “It’s pretty intense.”
Watch the “Serra Serra” video below and get Material here.