Zemi17 is a musical project that Aaron Taylor Kuffner created in 1997. Zemi in Japanese means cicada. The 17 references the 17-year lifecycle of the periodical cicadas found in the northeast of the United States. This musical project over the last 2 decades has taken on many forms – but has remained rooted in the ideals of co-opting the music and culture surrounding electronic dance music in an effort to cross it over to a wider mystery. Zemi17’s music is heavily influenced by the sounds of nature and often incorporates both field recordings and algorithms from the insect and bird kingdoms into its production. He performs both as a DJ and Live PA sets in a genre he titled Space Haus. For years in the late 2000s and early 2010s his production work focused almost exclusively on compositions made for custom built surround sound systems. Over the years Zemi17 has been associated with many different groups including the Blackkat Sound System, Havoc, Amoeba Technology, Zero Gravity Thinkers, Complacent Nation, The Danger and The Bunker.
As a recording artist Zemi17 began by releasing a series of 17 mix tapes as the musical wing of Cicada Enterprises, and later pressed 7″ and 12″ records in the late 90s. In 2003, he self released a special spool set of 25 original recordings both from studio sessions and live sets created between 1998 and 2003 entitled “The New York Years”. In Indonesia he produced 2 volumes of The Orchestra Jangkrik dan Gamelan Listrik Aneh in 2005 and 2006 respectively, which fused the modal structures of gamelan with cadences of insects. In 2007 he produced a minimal techno album entitled The Backdoor to Wisma Langit (Hotel Sky) that was created entirely with manipulated gamelan and insect samples. In 2014, Zemi17 released the Impressions EP on The Bunker NYC label, featuring two reworked tracks (Impressions, and Rangda) originally from Wisma Langit album. In 2015 Patrick Russell created a widely acclaimed remix of Rangda also released on the Bunker label. Zemi17’s Zipper EP followed in 2016 featuring 6 tracks (Zipper, Trickles, An Army of Crickets, Remission, Roses, and Wading). In 2018 the track Awera was released on the Bunker 15-year compilation. In 2021 the Bunker is scheduled to release a full length EP of Zemi17 compositions written for and performed on the Gamelatron Bidadari.
As a performing artist Zemi17 has toured the world several times over from the strangest of underground venues from Siberia to Sofia to San Francisco, as well as Live and DJ sets at Portugal’s largest electronic music festival Boom and Ireland’s largest music festival Electric Picnic. Music Archive on Soundcloud.