lan Abrahams has been in motion his whole life—growing up in South Africa, coming of age in London, decamping to Lisbon, and finally settling in Berlin—and his deeply syncopated brand of electronic dance music has evolved with every step of the journey. As Bodycode, Abrahams harnesses his desire to “unlock the psyche via the body,” layering martial tech-funk with gorgeous wisps of melody, heady effects, and a liberal wash of otherworldly vocal samples. Somewhere between the beats for the body and melody for the soul, Abrahams believes, lies the Bodycode.
While living in London, Abrahams began recording as Portable, an experimental, atmospheric techno project with a strong African-percussion influence. Abrahams founded the Sud Electronic label with his partner Lerato and launched a string of releases on Background and ~scape records. Upon moving to Lisbon, Abrahams conceived of Bodycode, a more dancefloor-centric project that would shift the focus from the Portable’s headier textures to a more body-moving aesthetic. Abrahams
wanted to combine his love of science-fiction with a naturalistic approach towards sound and rhythm. “Many times I would spend a night camping with my laptop,” Abrahams says, “gathering ideas from the surrounding reflections of the light and sound off the rocks and sea.” The result is Abrahams’ first full-length as Bodycode, The Conservation of Electric Charge, a whirlwind of percussive, multi-layered techno released on Spectral Sound in 2006. Critics were impressed (Resident Advisor called it “a work of depth and integrity,” and URB applauded his “control and use of layers, deftly shifting layers on top of each other with the speed of tectonic plates”), and dancefloors started filling the world over.
After a three-year absence, Abrahams resurrected his Bodycode moniker with his second Spectral full-length, 2009’s Immune, an intricately textured album of vocal-laced house. “I just felt it a good time for a warm, nurturing aesthetic,” says Abrahams of Bodycode’s shift in tone, “We need that right now.”