“Erased Dreams” is Hotto’s first long, low-tempo project.
The Helsinki-based artist is well known for his thunderous DJ sets and deep, bass-heavy house productions, but with “Erased Dreams”, Yotto reveals another side of himself.
The 8-track ambient album, released on Anjunadeep’s new sister label Reflections, may seem like a departure from Hotto’s usual style, but he’s always made music like this. With Reflections, he finally found her a home.
Throughout his stellar career, which includes a Billboard #1 LP and official remixes for artists like Joris Voorn, Gorillaz and Coldplay, Hotto has produced ambient tracks to help him look within and recharge his creative battery. But when COVID hit, her inner world took over. “At first I was really productive with club music,” says Hotto, speaking from his home in Helsinki. “But after a while I started doing something completely opposite.” Hotto found himself exploring another form of expression and had no other plan than to create. But when he put the tracks side by side in a playlist, he recognized a synergy and the outline of the project began to take shape.
The result is more of a continuous soundscape than an album; an ethereal, dreamy experience designed to accompany the listener as they turn inward and step away. If club music is a form of escape, then so is it – but instead of looking outward, we get lost inward.
The structure was inspired by The KLF’s 1990 album Chill Out – a concept album written as a sound diary to document the band’s road trip across America. Hotto says “Erased Dreams” is also structured like a diary and acts as a documentation of his inner workings and feelings during lockdown.
It is therefore logical that an overriding theme should be that of repetition and continuity. “I bought a guitar that I didn’t know how to play,” says Yoto. “So I started playing with pedals and everything, trying to see how far I could stretch a sound, so a lot of the album is about me trying to create endless sounds from different sources. ”
This is certainly the case of the first single, “Silhouette”, released on June 13. It’s a melancholy, atmospheric track with hints of 80s nostalgia and Sansa’s vocals as smooth as glass. The track conjures up images of vast, endless landscapes; the sense of space is enhanced by sparse chord changes and field recordings of heavy rain. “Silhouette” is so human it feels like an extension of emotion, and Hotto says the idea came to him like a dream. A sound drifted towards him one day and he grabbed it by the tail and built on it until it became the entity he envisioned. “I think the beauty is in its simplicity,” says Hotto. “It’s slow and steady and it’s growing.”
Hotto found the experience of creating this album surprisingly liberating. He’s spent his entire career defining himself by a certain sound, and with ‘Erased Dreams’ he reveals just how much more there is to him as an artist – a sentiment that is reflected in the album’s title. . “That music is usually removed or erased or shelved because I’m focusing on something clubby,” he says. “And it all sounds very dreamy and nostalgic.” There’s a common thread that ties every track in “Erased Dreams” – the same that ties the ambient and club productions of Yotto. There is a sharpness and simplicity to his style that makes all of his work instantly recognizable and unmistakably Hotto.
Club music will always be at the heart of Hotto’s work, but his ambient catalog will no longer remain in the shadows. Together, these parallel forms of expression do not dilute Hotto’s art; they make it even stronger.
“Erased Dreams” is available now on Reflections.
LIST OF TRACKS