Shadow Jugglers Episode July 26, 2008

Broadcast on 26-Jul-2008

7:00am - 9:00am


Tonight we were joined in the studio by Fractal, a DJ, producer and sound designer based on the west coast. According to his bio on


Thor ‘Fractal’ Kell sometimes confuses himself with both an abstract mathematical concept and a Norse god of thunder. Suspiciously enough, both of these themes show up in his music, along with a serious jones for science-fiction sounds and samples. He has been accused of being from the future, which he declines to comment on. Ask him about music, on the other hand, and you get a distinct reaction:

“Genre isn’t a big thing for me”, he says, “but feel and texture really are. I like things with a sense of space and myth and future, of being able to soundtrack some film about landing on other planets. If that happens to be a progressive track or a minimal techno record, or some pop song, so be it.”

So be it indeed. As a DJ, his sets veer and twist to suit the circumstance: ambient and downtempo breaks on a beach at sunset, eclectro-disco bombs in an underground club, emotion and depth for a radio set. It all gets brought together with impeccable mixing, a desire to avoid the double cliche of “just playing records”, and an inch-perfect sense for the unexpected and delightful.

His production work waves that battle flag for the unexpected high. Video-game tech house tracks sit beside brooding progressive records, which are in turn bookended by heavy, heavy breaks, stompy battletech, and lush ambient works. The Fractal remix touch has been applied to Chris Fortier, AFK, and Blake Jarrell, along with netlabel favorites Spada, Russian Linesman, and Limbo. On the bootleg front, The Beatles, Libra, and The Streets are some of the notables that have found themselves the subjects of lovingly illicit reworks. In terms of originals, he can claim an EP of techy business on the mighty Mmmph netlabel, a release on Inaspace as one half of Royal Assassin, a terrifying breaks track on A:Loud, and four tracks signed to Primal Recordings. This, of course, to say nothing of his assortment of work for his own Tide Pool label.

Tide Pool is something of a story in and of itself. Suffice to say that it was started as a netlabel for leftfield masterworks, off-kilter dancefloor devastators, and general wonderment in late 2005 while Thor was in the throes of corporate disillusionment. Featuring the now familiar anything-goes music policy, Tide Pool’s first 10 releases made fans out of people like Jondi, James Holden, Cass, and Josh Wink, all the while amassing thousands of downloads. The label has recently relaunched with much pomp and fanfare - check it at

Thor currently lives in Victoria, BC, on the west coast of Canada. If he’s not writing about himself in the 3rd person, you can probably find him playing or making music in his slowly-decomposing studio. He hopes you like what you hear.


With support from SJ resident DJ Soo!