A brief list of European things we like at It’s Nice That: Swiss typography, Italian ice cream, and ferociously fearsome German techno. Which means that we really like Hamburg’s finest DJ-come-producer Helena Hauff.
For the past few years, she’s consistently wowed us with DJ sets that lurch at lightning speed between rough-hewn breaks, bruised EBM, skeletally sleek electro, and the kind of good old fashioned heads-down thumping techno that comes to life at five in the morning.
So when the team over at Ninja Tune, one of the UK’s best-loved independent record labels slid into our inbox and said, “Psst, It’s Nice That. We have a full-length visual accompaniment (directed by Manchester-born digital artist Chris Shen) to Helena Hauff’s really good 2018 record Qualm and we were wondering if you wanted your readers to have a world exclusive first watch of it,” we let about half a second go by before pinging off a “YES PLEASE, THAT SOUNDS GREAT, THANKS FOR ASKING US,” email.
We went home that night and we whipped a dongle out and we connected our laptop to our telly and we made our housemates a celebratory dinner — Rachel Roddy’s wonderfully simple lemon risotto, served with a pear and fennel salad, washed down with the really great sub-six-quid Albarino that Lidl sell, thanks for asking — and tucked into _Qualm_in its entirety.
Happily, Chris’ experimental video went down as smoothly as the wine. Using a camera equipped with a “faulty sensor in order to capture erroneous images”, the Qualm visuals offer, or so Ninja Tune says, “a literal interpretation of the title, turning ordinary scenes askew.”
While we weren’t entirely sure what Chris had turned on its head, we certainly had an enjoyably disorientating time with it. Now you can too. Don’t say we never treat you.