June 26, 2017 Interview by Native Instruments 

by MICK BENJAMINS ANNA JORDAN: SCULPTING SOUND AND DESIGN

Berlin-based sound designer, music producer, and painter Anna Jordan released her debut LP Botanical Utopia in 2016, a body of music that resonates with deeply textural, downtempo electronica and house. Using KOMPLETE 11 ULTIMATE, Jordan recorded the album under her production alias The Allegorist and released the LP on Kraak Records. As a sound designer, Jordan also produces scores for short movies, and works in various post-production roles. Talking to Native Instruments, Jordan reflects on her time growing up in Hungary, her development as a visual and musical artist, the hurdles she overcame, and her approach to the creative process.

Which came first, painting or music?

I grew up in a religious family where listening to music was not allowed. The only time I heard music, for example, was from the radios of cars passing by. Later, when I moved to Budapest, I got involved in the art scene, and painting was my first form of expression.

How did you learn to produce music?

I learned almost everything online, by watching tutorials on YouTube, and through practice. I felt too shy to go to meetups, because I didn’t know anything back then. Luckily, I love to learn, and when I set my mind to something, I keep going at it until I succeed.

When did you decide to turn this into your job?

Deep down I always wanted to make music, but needed to get other parts of my life on track first. Moving into my current apartment was a big step for me. I finally had a place for myself, where I feel safe and at home, and had the possibility to grow.

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August 15, 2016 Bucketlistmusicreviews 

"The Allegorist’s debut album Botanical Utopia, released on the Kraak record label on June 27, 2016, is unusual for electronic dance music. It’s not the album’s deep, downtempo house beats that sets the Allegorist apart from other artists in the genre. There are plenty of chilled-out house music producers. It’s the haunting and, well, unintelligible singing that’s so memorable about Botanical Utopia.

According to the artist, the vocals are in the “fictional majestic Mondoneoh language.” My curiosity aroused, I researched this mysterious Mondoneoh, but found nothing. I’m therefore assuming the Allegorist invented the language for the album, or appropriated it from some obscure source not easily Googled.

Either way, it is a creative approach to music making, and Botanical Utopia is one of the more cutting edge albums I’ve heard this year. The singing sounds like rhythmic tribal chanting, which the artist explains is meant to “connect all nations and honour all our ancestors.” It can be repetitive, but dance music is usually repetitive, loopy, and rarely as avant-garde, as it is here.

“Floating Mantra” opens the album with a catchy synth-pop beat and chanting. One of the deepest and grooviest cuts on Botanical Utopia is “Aurora Borealis,” a dark and brooding string-heavy track with a hypnotic, subtle house beat. When the Mondoneoh chanting emerges, the track becomes pure cinematic house music. “Alaskan Malamute” begins with a terrifyingly cold arctic wind blowing over more of the dramatic strings and a downtempo breakbeat. The beat slowly transforms into a pounding, spine-tingling electro banger.

There’re a few deep and dark house songs like “Ragged Traveler,” but the most interesting track here is the album’s final cut “Desert Walks,” an experimental ambient opus that sounds like something from a David Lynch soundtrack. The Allegorist’s more dance-oriented tracks are a catchy version of nu-disco, but I prefer the experimental stuff, with minimal house beats, so the listener can kick back and blast off on a mental journey to another planet.

Botanical Utopia is too dramatic a for daily listening, and too experimental for most nightclubs, but after a few listens it started to grow on me. These sounds would fit well into a sci-fi movie soundtrack, and would also suit Montreal’s Mutek electronic music festival. In fact, the Allegorist reminds me of one of the avant-garde performers at this year’s Mutek: Aïsha Devi. The production on Botanical Utopia is quite impressive for a debut album, and I’m interested to hear more of the Allegorist and the “majestic” Mondoneoh language."

 Written by Rob Coles
*edited by Danielle Kenedy