Listen to Jouissance, a glitzy return from synth-funk purveyor Harvey Sutherland
The Melbourne musician's first single for the years comes off the back of a period busy with production credits and remixes.
Header image by Nick McKinlay.
Harvey Sutherland is a musician who at this point, needs no introduction to Australian electronic aficionados. The Melbourne-based producer has become one of the country's greatest assets in dance music, whether it be through his own work - there has been a plethora of EPs, singles, tapes and remixes arrive from Sutherland since his introduction back in 2012 - or as a go-to heavyweight behind-the-scenes, notably working on Genesis Owusu's groundbreaking Smiling With No Teeth with credits flirting across many other pioneering Australian records.
Over the last two years or so, the musician has seemingly been squared in the latter half of that divide to his work, building his skillset and versatility behind-the-scenes and with remixes that have teased his sound throughout the last 24 months. On the remix front, you can count edits of Disclosure, Franc Moody, Tycho, KIAN, Genesis and The Presets' Julian Hamilton into his discography, while in production-mode, his presence is felt within the core of Smiling With No Teeth's versatility, and the switching, synth-backed sounds that dance behind Genesis' vocal.
Now, however, Harvey Sutherland's production prowess returns to the centre stage with his first single of the year in Jouissance, a track that feels like a reminder of the musician's craft after a bit of time spent in the background, per se. It's a dizzying return to form from Sutherland, delving into the depths of his sound and how he's consistently able to bring something to life through dancing synthesiser and rich tapestries of percussion; Jouissance grooving with touches of funk and disco that unite to create a signature Sutherland sound.
"For me it represents an obsessional energy, a frustration in finding the funk," he says on the single. "It’s about acknowledging my shortcomings along the way." It's a nice tie-in to the single's title Jouissance, a term he learnt after working with a therapist: "There’s no easy English translation, but it’s the itch that demands scratching, a masochistic desire," he continues.
There's a video arriving alongside the song by French VFX artist Michael Renassia too, born after initial plans were halted by lockdown - like everything else in the world. "I had to improvise. I borrowed a friend’s Handycam, strung up a green screen and got to work," Harvey recollects. "Michael took all my janky fragments and turned it into something amazing - he rode the waves of neurosis that the song tries to convey + went deep into the zone."
The end result is this twisting search through funk music's most addictive fibres; Jouissance capturing the heart to Harvey Sutherland's work, and the decades of history that's explored within his dizzying synth melodies. It's one hell of a time, and you can take a dive into the song below: