In the age of Soulseek and Traktor, the concept of hybrid DJing isn’t exactly new, but few DJs embody the schismatic spirit and energy that the Internet and contemporary mixing technology enables. Just because someone has access to the right material and software/equipment doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to use it properly, both in terms of laying out a narrative and technical ability, and more often than not the result will be clunky and unappealing from the get go. New York’s (by way of Austin, Texas) Brandy-Alexander aka Miss Kenzo, a relatively new name with an immediately recognizable voice, does not fit within that trend of. Offering a fresh take on what is a distinctly New York sound, Miss Kenzo’s sound is built on Ballroom and Club music, the two forms forming dual backbones for her to insinuate threads of the hardcore dance spectrum. Fans of crews like KUNQ and Club Chai will find solace in the storytelling quality of Miss Kenzo’s past mixes and her entry for Mask Mag, titled “Belladonna of Madness”, is a great place to start.
Beyond DJing, Brandy-Alexander is a model who has entered the fashion world with the express goal of shedding light on issues affecting black, queer and trans people in her community. The connections between the fashion world and hybrid DJing styles are well established (see here, here and here) and the Miss Kenzo project feels like a natural extension of ground set out over the past decade, allowing her to explore the the tensions between euphoria and violence inherent in queer club scenes and music, often through brilliantly laid out non-linear narratives. On top of that, her mixes bang, supremely functional arrangements and surefire function starters. Her Astral Plane mix doesn’t pull any punches, leaping into breakneck hardcore before settling into a breakbeat and crash-laden groove, punctuated by trance loops and constant stylistic curveballs. It’s 45 minutes of pure energy that bares repeat listens, if for no other reason than to decipher MK’s intricate arrangements. Download the mix here and check out more Miss Kenzo here.