Style : Microhouse, Minimal
Related Project : Marc Leclair, Horror Inc.
Label : Musique Risquee, Perlon, Trapez, Mutek
Official Web : www.musique-risquee.com


Akufen (Marc Leclair) is a Montreal based artist who is famous for being instrumental in developing the style of music known as microhouse. This style typically sees Leclair assembling a collage of incredibly short ("micro") samples into complex rhythms that are usually funky and housey.

Akufen first gained notice for his series of three "Psychometry" 12"s on Cologne based label Trapez in 2001 and 2002, with "Psychometry Vol. 3.0" being famously used on Michael Mayer's "Immer" mix. Around this time Leclair also released Akufen material on the Perlon, Background, and Revolver Recordings labels.

It was Akufen's 2002 debut album "My Way" on Force Inc. that catapulted Leclair and his microsampling technique to fame. "My Way" was entirely built around a series of tiny unrecognizable samples Leclair took from local FM radio, anchored by incredibly groovy basslines. The album was a staggeringly intricate piece of production, yet was also highly danceable and funky. The cut-up vocals, glitches, and bursts of noise captured the imagination of the electronic music world, placing Akufen as a leading figure in the "glitch" and "clicks and cuts" movements, and spawning a host of imitators.

The resulting fame saw Leclair become a highly sought after remixer, as he worked on remixes of Cabaret Voltaire, Massive Attack, Force labelmate Luomo, Thomas Dolby, and even Craig David. All of his remixes retained the highly distinctive glitchy Akufen sound that few could copy well.

Leclair's output as Akufen has slowed considerably due to the demands of remixing, with the last Akufen release coming out in 2003 (the "Hawaiian Wodka Party" 12"). His follow up to "My Way" is highly anticipated, but currently shows no sign of surfacing.

However, 2005 saw Leclair releasing original material under his own name, with the album "Musique Pour 3 Femmes Enceintes" on the Mutek label. This release saw Leclair moving away from the microhouse techniques he pioneered as Akufen, instead drawing inspiration from influences such as Steve Reich and Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project to create a highly textured album of minimal dreamlike ambience. The album proves that Leclair is adept at a number of production techniques, and is far from being a "one trick pony".

Leclair is also continuing to release new material under the alias Horror Inc., mostly on the renowned Berlin based Perlon label (most recently on the "Superlongevity 4" compilation).

Leclair has recently gained popularity as a DJ, as reflected by 2004's "Fabric 17" mix CD. Leclair's DJ sets emphasize his love of funk and groove, and are far less experimental than many would expect.

Finally, Leclair is an important figure in the burgeoning Montreal electronic music scene. He has been involved with the incredibly influential Mutek Festival since its inception in 2000, and has encouraged local Montreal artists such as Deadbeat (Scott Monteith) and Crackhaus (Steve Beaupre), as well as Jeff Milligan and Mike Shannon. (Deadbeat's 2002 album "Wild Life Documentaries" has a track called "A Dub for Akufen", indicating how highly regarded Leclair is in Montreal circles.) In 2003 Leclair founded the Montreal based label Musique Risquee with Monteith, Beaupre, and Vincent Lemieux. (Cameron Eeles)

Interview : Akufen Interview in Tokyo (10/10/2004)