Logo by Rap Simons
A key node in Australia’s small-but-dedicate map of boundary pushing club music producers, DJs and promoters, Sydney’s Body Promise show airs weekly on FBi Click radio and this Friday they’ll expand into label territory with Harmony From A Dominant Hue, a 15 track compilation featuring artists from across the electronic music spectrum. Named after an early 20th century color theory manual, the compilation traverses a number of moods and textures with artists like Jikuroux, Marcus (Not Singing) and Kimchi Princi providing drastically different takes on club and club-adjacent material. Body Promise’s Amelia Jenner sent over the following statement on the release, which reads like a mission statement:
What started out as a humble radio show on FBi Click in Sydney, Australia has now turned into a fully fledged label focussing on boundary pushing club music. Tired of hearing the same bro dominant house and techno that has become the norm in Australia, Body Promise emerged as another platform for this incredibly diverse community that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. The time has come for them to unleash their debut compilation into the world. Over a year in the making, the compilation is the culmination of everything Body Promise stands for. It is adventurous, transportive, and unpredictable.
It doesn’t focus on one certain genre in particular but rather on a vibe, opting to work with artists who have the same attitude towards music as they do.The act of arranging these seemingly different tracks into one complete body of work means that complementary sounds, moods, and textures become apparent in ways they not have been seen otherwise.
Longtime listeners will be familiar with this ethos, one born out in the crew’s own selections and their guests which have recently included DJ NK, Mina and Svani, as well as a host of Australian talent. We’re lucky to have Mya Gomez & Felix Idle’s “T2 Meltdown” on premiere today, a highlight of Harmony From A Dominant Hue and a collaboration that seems to haunt long after it ends. Heavy breathing, distant firecrackers and wind make up the atmosphere on “T2 Meltdown”, skewing towards the baroque before ratcheting drums and diaphanous effects take over. Look out for Harmony From A Dominant Hue this Friday and don’t sleep on the Body Promise show.
In a recent interview with RBMA’s Lauren Martin, former Vex’d member and Knives boss Kuedo discussed futurism and its roll in electronic music: “I don’t believe it’s the essential job of music that calls itself “futuristic” to literally attempt to reach into a future and bring us back a piece of it early.” In a genre where the vast majority of releases are proposed in the context of a relentless push forward, the future is a near-constant trope, brought up and considered in an infinite array of subtle and not so subtle ways. As Kuedo notes though, futurism does not have to envisage an or preview what the future holds and more-often-than-not, it’s a far more apt tool for understanding and contextualizing the personal and the present. Which brings us to Kid Smpl, the San Francisco-based artist who will be releasing his second full length, Privacy, through Kastle’s Symbols label on November 11.
Never one to sit on his laurels, Privacy comes on the heels of a mixfile release on Smpl’s own Display label, a collection of hardcore techno experiments, and a smattering of radio and remix work. From his first releases on Seattle’s Hush Hush Recordings, Kid Smpl’s music has balanced an ardent futurism with an innate sense of the present and Privacy is the fullest realization of that project to date, an album that deals with day-to-day digital life, in all its complex inconsistencies and contradictions, through searing surround sound epics. The sonic tropes from previous works are all there, especially the strangled vocals, but like his recent “Promise Emulation” mixfile, they’re rendered on a larger scale, We’ve got LP standout “Riven” on premiere today and it’s a prime example of Privacy‘s expansive scope and present-day futurism, a futurism that attempts to represent the grotesque nature of the present far more than any predictive stab at what is to come. Pre-order Privacy here and check out a full track list for the album after the jump.
Earlier this year, London’s NTS Radio celebrated its fifth year in existence, a landmark event for a young organization that has had an indelible impact on electronic music in particular and underground musics in general since it was founded in April 2011. In all likelihood, your favorite artists and labels have had an NTS show at some point in the past half decade and the station’s special programming – rapidly expanding into the live, a/v and performance sectors – is to be lauded. Like most special arts organizations, the people behind NTS are what makes the operation tick, which brings us to Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura, one of NTS’s star employees and one of its many unsung DJ heroes. The TTB show (also her alias while DJing out) runs for an hour every month and is consistently home to some of the best pop ephemera, contemporary folk musics, noisy gems and off-kilter club jams. It’d the sort of show where Terry Riley, Minnie Ripperton and Nidia Minaj share air time, a splatter of sounds that offers no particular preference to era, genre or geography.
Of course, much has been made about the legacy of open format radio in the UK (station founder Femi Adeyemi has even been compared to John Peel), but there are few shows that truly embrace that like TTB, with an ethos that is at once ultra-specific and completely egalitarian, a platform for emerging artists as much as it is a treasure trove of gems from past decades. Tabitha’s Astral Plane mix is an extension of that ethos, avoiding the poles of revivalism and futurism to reach an optimal creative fusion that is truly her own. It’s heady and hazy without genuflecting to much to either sonic niche, a genuinely transportive experience that occasionally erupts into bouts of noise and propulsive club sounds. On November 5, Tabitha is bringing Lechuga Zafiro, Bonaventure and Alx9696 to London, a fittingly eclectic line-up that should have dancers in a state of ecstasy from start to close. If you’re in London, we heavily recommend that night, but the rest of us will have to settle for Astral Plane Mix 127. Hit the jump for an interview with Thorlu-Bangura and a full track list.
Photo by Rachel Roze
Orlando Volcano’s Escape From Nature has proven to be one of 2016’s most exciting new labels, an outlet for club and club-related material with a focus on sonic exploration and a strong audio-visual connection. Detroit’s 2Lanes, who showed up on the label’s EFN Sound Library Volume 1 compilation, is the latest artist to join up with Volcano’s outfit, bringing bleak techno diagnoses and warm sonics on the Diamonds In The Rough EP. Glimpses of human emotion abound on “Jet Slit”, a scintillating piece of amorphous sound that comes is an an EP standout despite being Diamonds In The Rough‘s shortest song. Stream it below and look out for the full release on October 28.
A key part of the genre blurring wave of artists that emerged in the early 2010s, Moscow-based Pixelord has never sat comfortable in one scene or sound, partially due to his constantly wandering interests and partially due to his position as a fervent proponent of sounds outside of his city’s hegemonic house and techno culture. Cursed by the faulty nomenclature of post-dubstep and bass music, the hybrid-focused sound of the early aughts has been derided by many as soft and directionless, but many of today’s most influential artists and labels arose out of that supposed morass, capitalizing on the lack of a dominant sound to expand their and their listeners’ sonic horizons. Six or so years down the road and Pixelord, the head of the Hyperboloid and Terminal Dream labels, is a prime example of that fertile era, coming to age on labels like Car Crash Set, Error Broadcast and Leisure System and going on to release two albums through his own channels, the latest of which was released in September.
Utilizing elements of electro, garage, trap, footwork and more, Pixelord’s approach to Human.exe, his second full length for Hyperboloid, is clear from the get go, a deeply technological approach to club music that coalesces around a singular sound palette even as tempos and structures fluctuate. Tracks like “Telepathic” and “Axis” are both digital and metallic without falling into the trap of sounding cheap, fully formed club tracks with a somber edge that tends to enunciate the cyborg themes that dominate the record. Pixelord’s music has always had a vivid quality to it, a natural focus on the widescreen realized in his rich synthesizer tones and patient approach to song progression. Predictably, Pixelord’s entry into our mix series is chameleonic from the get go, 45 minutes of bent-but-not-broken rhythms that both recall and build on the themes brought up throughout Human.exe. Like the album, Astral Plane Mix 126 starts fast and percussive before settling into a more easygoing groove, bridging album tracks with likeminded material with a deft touch that more-often-than-not flatters both. Much has been made over the state of “underground” electronic music in the aughts and while many observers have retreated to the safe confines of accepted four-on-the-floor forms, artists like Pixelord continue to expand and experiment, testing out new collisions with the enthusiasm of a true believer.
If you’ve got caught one of our recent Radar Radio shows, you’ll surely have caught at least a glimpse of “With Eye Contact, the luminous closer of LOFT’s forthcoming Turbulent Dynamics EP. Out this Friday on Astral Plane Recordings, Turbulent Dynamics is LOFT’s official debut and the fifth release of the year for APR, a release that has been in the works for the entirety of 2016 and that has gone through a number of forms on its way to its current incarnation. Turbulent Dynamics on the whole is an immersive listen and “With Eye Contact” is a perfect example of that, a patiently unfolding effort that holds a grotesque beauty, digging under the proverbial skin as much as it soothes. Stream “With Eye Contact” below and pre-order Turbulent Dynamics here.
To many, Lanark Artefax aka Calum MacRae was introduced in July of this year, the month that saw the release of the Glaswegian artist’s Glasz EP, a dense five track effort released through Lee Gamble’s UIQ label. Garnering support from a host of influential DJs, ranging from Mumdance and Mary Anne Hobbs to Beatrice Dillon, Gamble and Mosca, Glasz has proven to be one of the breakout releases of 2016, drawing fans from across the electronic music spectrum to his brittle sonics and uncanny rhythmic structures. Preceding Glasz, Artefax released the Windox Rush EP, a similarly woozy, albeit less fully formed extended player released through Cong Burn Waves. For one reason or another, Windox Rush is no longer available online, making Glasz the Glaswegian’s functional debut, a fitting circumstance for a release that truly sounds like nothing else released in 2016 (or before it for that matter.)
In interviews, MacRae points to monumental IDM figures like Autechre, The Black Dog and Mike Paradinas as all having had an influence on his sound, a path through recent history and sound that seems to point more towards their approach to structure and experimentation than it does to exact sonics. In charts and other interviews, MacRae points to the expansive musique concréte of Valerio Tricoli, SKY H1’s “bleak but really lovely” sounds and UIQ label head Lee Gamble, all artists in the PAN universe, as contemporary reference points, a map of artists utilizing drastically different toolsets to approach what might be called with avant-garde music with heart. Which is exactly where Lanark Artefax and Glasz sit, a fundamentally left field leaning project that nonetheless functions on a corporal and emotional level rarely found in experimental musics. His Astral Plane mix is a case in point, a rich collage of voice, texture and rhythm that begins with work from Emra Grid, Broshuda and D/P/I and climaxes in efforts from Félicia Atkinson & Jeffre Cantu-Ledesma and Renick Bell. Of course, Mazzy Star’s “Into Mist” ends the mix, a romantic gesture that is hardly out of place in the context of MacRae’s music. Get Glasz here and catch us eagerly looking out for whatever is next for Artefax and UIQ.
Having already debuted on Portuguese label Enchufada and featured heavily on the Boko! Boko! JOY compilation (which she co-curated with Tash LC and DJ Chin) in the past few months, London’s Mina is back with the Satellite EP, a collection of five light hearted efforts that traverse ground from dancehall to UK funky. “Balafon Bata”, a collaboration with Freetown-based Sillati, is a highlight from the EP, a propulsive number that sees Mina take a more meditative route than her usual sun-dazed, replete with droning bassline and brillaint mid tempo syncopation. Having previously worked together on “New Patan”, the a-side to the Kabala single, Mina and Sillati are clearly a winning combo and future work from the duo would surely be appreciated. Satellite is out September 28.