Heavy sleeper

Adultnapper compiles a mix-CD of seriously deep techno.

HIGH VOLUME A contemplative Harris rises through the electronic ranks.

HIGH VOLUME A contemplative Harris rises through the electronic ranks.

A lot has happened to Adultnapper since he was last featured in these pages back in 2003—for instance, he wasn’t called Adultnapper. But then, the artist formerly known as Francis Harris—who’s playing at Cielo on Friday 23—has always enjoyed playing around with nomenclature. “My full name is Christopher Francis Harris,” the DJ and producer explains, “and I had been known as Chris for my whole life. I hated the Francis and was embarrassed by it. But when I moved to New York 11 years ago, I decided to introduce myself as Francis as an experiment and see how far I’d go with it. It was almost a sort of depersonalization. And Adultnapper is an extension of that process.”

That at least explains the odd moniker, sort of. But a couple of name switcheroos are among the least of the changes that Harris has gone through in the past few years. Back in ’03, he was basically just a tech-house DJ—albeit a very good one—with a track or two on Matter/:Form. Now, he plays at superclubs around the world and records soulful techno for top labels such as Steve Bug’s Audiomatique, Joel Mull’s Railyards and his own imprint, Ransom Note. It’s for Audiomatique that Harris just mixed an excellent collection of moody, melodic techno, prosaically named Audiomatique 2.O, that includes works from such artists as Alexi Delano (who’s also spinning at the Cielo bash), Gui Boratto and himself. (Ransom Note, meanwhile, is about to drop an EP from the experimental-techno artist [a]pendics.shuffle.)

Though the Audiomatique CD contains only a few Adultnapper tracks—and Harris had only a limited palette to choose from, specifically the Audiomatique catalog—the mix retains Harris’s emphasis on a stately, almost somber, sort of electronic dance music. “That was a real challenge, and I was worried about that,” he admits. “But it actually fell into place quite easily. I used a lot of my own loops and effects throughout, which helps to give it an overall Adultnapper feel. But I was lucky—the label gave me access to all these new, unreleased tracks, which fit in perfectly with the mood I wanted to convey. And the key to the whole thing was ‘Prana,’_” he continues, referring to a rubbery, delicate dub-tech track by Trentmøller. “It really tied the whole thing together. That one, going into my “Madeleine”…it’s a pretty dramatic transition.”

But back to Harris’s fixation on alter egos. “I always liked the idea of the producer being anonymous, that it could be anyone,” he says. “That attitude puts the emphasis squarely on the music instead of the personality involved. But we’ve totally gone away from that—it’s such a cult of personality now. Of course, I’m doing press and all that, but even in my press photos, it’s not really me—it’s this character of Adultnapper.” And it’s a role that is on the brink of taking Harris to the top.

Adultnapper plays the Made at Cielo party Friday, May 23. Audiomatique 2.0 is out now.

Back to My Roots EP (Innervisions)