Electronic Duo Protect-U Release First Record From New Label, U-Udios

Protect-UPhoto by Christina Nguyen for DCMD

On their new record, U-Udios One, Protect-U‘s Aaron Leitko and Mike Petillo create a sonic sphere that stays fresh throughout its 48-minute runtime. They accomplish this under the premise that no one sound should be repeated across multiple songs. Synths produce arrhythmic coughs, airy whirrs and gurgling crescendos at the same time on the brief “UFO Roots” alone.

As longtime collaborators, Leitko and Petillo drew from a considerable stockpile of unused songs and ideas for U-Udios One, the debut release from their new cassette/digital label, U-Udios. To develop a thematic coherence from the diverse collection, Protect-U emphasized works that married natural vibrancy with a futuristic, apocalyptic bend.

“I favored pieces where the density of the sounds made the music feel organic and alive, but also sort of inhuman/post-human,” said Leitko. That duality is also represented in the nature of the recordings themselves.

“Some of the tracks are deliberate and composed, while others are edited from longer improvisations,” said Leitko. “We tried to represent a pretty even balance of those two approaches and also to just pick things that flowed well with one another.”

U-Udios One indeed finds balance in its often brooding, mechanical atmosphere (see: “Nobody Gets Paid”) that is lightened by buoyant, highly danceable beats (“Basement Viridescens”).

U-Udios was born from the desire to promote some of the many projects recorded at Protect-U’s studio in Takoma Park, Maryland, as well as older live sets. While the series is available online, Petillo said there is value in the tactile nature of U-Udios’ tape recordings.

“We chose to do cassettes for probably many of the reasons why a lot of other great labels are working in this medium: so that there would be a more permanent physical object people could grip,” he said. “We figured the production on these particular songs would sound appropriate on a tape, too.”

With at least two more releases planned in the series, U-Udios is set to continue to provide a certain physicality to abstract sounds.

Protect-U will celebrate its record release show on Saturday at Takoma Park’s Airshow. Show 9 p.m./$10