We’ve been in contact with Nela (who also DJs and produces music under her moniker laced) in the past when she worked for the Canadian electronic music label Audio Bambino. She sent us an email about the upcoming EP by Los Angeles-based duo Xen Model, which will be released on her relatively new label Causal Chain. It was very pleasant news indeed! You can stream the Xen Model’s track „Controller“ now and read a little bit of the story behind the label below

I’ve listened to the Xen Model’s upcoming project, and I was blown away. The track „Controller“ stood out the most from the project for me. It is hard to describe with words, but Nela used the term „Braindance“ (from IDM – Intelligent dance music; imagine artists like Aphex Twin, Autechre, Squarepusher, Venetian Snares, Boards of Canada, μ-Ziq) which captures the mood of the music accurately. It’s like a living organic-electronic-hybrid thing, something between a modular synthesizer, a liquid alien-like creature, and a plant all in one. I tested the track during my warmup DJ set in KC Hviezdne noci (Ladovňa) in Bytča, and it was absolutely magical. The track leaves a lot of space, for echoes and various effects, so the DJ can play with it and give it another spin.

Xen Model

Timesaver is the name of the Xen Model’s third full-length album and second release on Causal Chain. The 9-track LP stays true to the duo’s eccentric sound while delving into the introspective side of their productions. Club-focused head nodders “Pin Cycle”, “Face Forward”, and “Controller” accompany key tracks like “Arm’s Edge Reach” and “Grip Dial”, which channel the duo’s affinity for ambient music. “A Bright Star” spotlights a catchy guitar hook and features close collaborator 11ai. Xen Model’s signature play on halftime structure is engaged in bass-heavy cuts “Ripstream” and “Local Group”. The album comes to a close with a radio edit of their previously released track “Lurch”, which clusters the duo’s myriad styles and influences in an encapsulating statement of the Xen Model sound,“ reads the official text. The best is to experience the music itself with an open mind and in a comfortable setting.

(Xen Model) Photo by John Bonetti

I also recommend a video of a Xen Model’s performance at blozxom music sessions.

Causal Chain label story

Nela started her label during the pandemic, finally realizing the idea, that she has got for a couple of years. It grew from the need to stay connected with her friends and artists from a distance.

Causal Chain releases are also tight together with the ethereal graphic design by Bruno Lauzon Tanzi.

She told us via e-mail: „I had just met my partner Bruno and I was telling him about my idea of starting my own label and told him I was just missing a visual designer. Him being a graphic designer, he offered to help me jet-start the label with the first compilation.“ Then, in April 2020 Causal Chain released their first compilation (Bandcamp link) with all artists from Montreal, representing the modern electronic sound of the city. „Some of them being new friends at the time and others being artists I had admired for a long while (some being people I knew from when I first started raving and going to experimental electronic music shows around 2014-2015).“

On the first compilation, we can find the evocative percussive track “Slither“ which is produced by Nela (laced). It was her first experiment when she recorded her hardware instruments into Ableton and arranged the song later in the DAW.

„I had never done that before. Being in lockdown helped incubate a lot of aspirations I had regarding the label and my own music. There was nothing else to do!“

I asked her what are the things she is most passionate about regarding the label and music. „Giving a platform for artists to release on is the biggest part of it. Building a sense of community and connecting with others is what mostly drives me.“

The album is available on CD and will be distributed to streaming services worldwide on Friday, March 3rd, 2023. There will be a surprise ringtone pack available as well. Bandcamp Pre-order here.

 You can follow Causal Chain on Instagram / and the duo Xen Model as well

Text: Krištof Budke

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