Proc Fiskal: The Scottish Sound Collagist


I gave up my career as a collagist probably back in year 5. Who knows, had I continued, I could have followed in the footsteps of David Hockney with his one-point perspective photo collages or Matisse with his vibrant cut-outs - nothing is impossible guys. One collagist who most certainly powered through into year 6 and beyond, is Joe Powers, aka Proc Fiskal. The producer and DJ from Scotland’s compact capital manages to overlap and overlay combinations of sounds in a way which collagists of Hockney and Matisse’s standards would be impressed by.

Jungle, Breaks, Drum n Bass, Grime, Dub, Proc’s music is a kaleidoscope of genres. I’m not a fan of pigeonholing tracks and artists into genres but fuck me there’s no chance of doing that with Proc Fiskal. The past couple of years has seen Joe Powers release a few EP’s and a 16-track LP on the UK heavyweight Hyperdub. This year he’s come out of the gate quickly having already released some curious stuff during this equally curious period of lockdown.

Lung Edits Vol 1. & 2., released only a few weeks ago are technically on another level. With so much going on, it’s a wonder he’s able to cut and chop recordings and paste them so seamlessly over such powerful melodies. However, these edits show more than his musical talent, with his typically Scottish sense of humour on point throughout - If you don’t quite understand, go find a Scottish neighbour and ask them for some milk - a single interaction is all you need. There are edits of Jason Derulo’s Watcha Say, an ambient rendition of Alice Deejay’s Better Off Alone and, of course, Akon’s Locked Up.

This level of humour is a general trend throughout Joe’s releases. Frequent voice clips with thick Scottish accents which always seem to put a smile on my face make their way into the majority of his tracks. The Paul Fisk Albas Oil remix of Watcha Say slows down at points to allow “There’s plenty of that. Sit the fuck down” to pierce through, while his debut LP, Insula, ends with the recording of a local lad announcing “I live in the real world. That’s how I like to live”. You really get the sense that Joe’s having fun putting these tracks together, and I’m having some real fun listening to them.

Humour aside though, Proc Fiskal’s music has a production value that is very much serious. The sheer quantity of sounds and samples used could be seen as frantic and messy if not tied together well. And that’s where the quality lies. By paying attention to the details, he excels in merging sharp and acute highs with humming basslines and chopped melodies. Any 3-4 minute sound collage with his name on it is evidence of that.

I can’t help but reminisce while listening to Proc’s music. His EP’s sound like the perfect accompanying soundtracks to the glitchy 8-bit games of my childhood which I have the excitement of revisiting whenever I stumble across a bar with an N64. However, with this trip down memory lane also comes the sense that this is something completely new and never-before-heard in a weird and welcomed juxtaposition. He manages to weave an invisible thread of connection between the past and the future through music.

Joe’s portfolio up to now is no less than a musical mosaic. Each track, each release, each piece so different, yet all coming together to produce a body of work that at the very least surpasses my end-of-year art project all them years ago. Lang may yer lum reek Joe!