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About this artist

b. Thomas Knak, 7 February 1973, Glostrup, Copenhagen, Denmark. Juxtaposing skittering micro-beats and minor melodies, Opiate creates beautiful music. On his 1999 debut Objects For An Ideal Home, he echoed Brian Eno’s original conception of ambient as simply ‘environmental music’, to create an album specifically devised and intended for home listening although the musician says that the ‘home’ isn’t necessarily ‘your three bedroom flat’ but can be ‘your body, your brain, your mental space or anywhere you choose to feel at home’. Opiate does not use keyboards or drum machines and says that eighty percent of his sounds are ‘from daily life objects - such as scissors - through a microphone’. Knak processes these ‘samples from other sources’ through his Macintosh computer. Although intricately produced, with an acute attention to detail, Knak has dubbed his recordings ‘spatial music’. That is, he deliberately eschews excessive layers, melody lines and effects, instead leaving space for the listener. The Copenhagen-based musician fulfils this aim with grace and beauty, making music with a beguiling charm and a peculiar clarity. ‘This is music, ’ acknowledged BBCi’s Olli Siebelt, ‘that reminds me of nursery rhymes played at half their speed.’ Knak’s recordings have a cherished naïveté: on ‘Quick Save On A Sunday’, a rare vocal sample interrupts Opiate’s clicky beats with a delightfully un-rock ‘n’ roll exclamation ‘Toothpaste!’ (Other vocal samples include the repeated single words ‘People’, ‘Welcome’ and the gurgling of small children). Knak has notably collaborated with Björk, contributing to two tracks on her Vespertine. The by-products of this liaison were ‘Undo’ and ‘Cocoon’, two pretty songs based around Knak’s introverted micro-beats. The original blueprint for the latter can be found on While You Were Sleeping, a compilation of rare and hard-to-find releases. Knak has produced commercial music for television, radio and business, runs the Hobby Industries imprint, records under his own name and as Gloria Hirsch, and is a member of James Bong, Future 3 and System. He has released music on labels including City Centre Offices, Morr Music, Vertical Form, Raster Noton and April and has remixed illuminati such as Björk, Bomb The Bass, Piano Magic, Tied And Tickled Trio, Lali Puna, and Carsten Nicolai. (NB: Not to be confused with the Carlisle, England-based heavy metal band of the same name.)