Our affinity for the booming Manchester scene is no secret, but the sense of kinship goes far beyond Manc to the many divergent movements coming out of the UK’s northern extremities. The sonic acceleration of the Sheffield and Glasgow scenes has been noted at length, but Leeds and Liverpool have become hotbeds of experimentation in their own right while sounds like bassline, donk and happy hardcore are still prevalent and thriving in clubs throughout the North. Leeds’ BFTT, seemingly one of the busiest people in dance music, has become a key node in the Northern archipelago, linking with Manchester’s Mutualism label and boygirl collective, while running the Leftovers platform out of Leeds.
Leftovers is a good place to start laying out BFTT’s approach, melding sentimental and campy streaks with an unadorned approach to sonic expansion. May saw the release of An Untitled Longing, a compilation featuring artists “operating in or connected to the North” including IceBoy Violet, LOFT and Marlo Egglplant. The compilation was Leftovers first official release and explored ambient forms in the broadest sense, touching on prickly metallic sounds (Sam Ridout’s “Untitled”), extended voice/noise (Marlo Eggplant’s “September 2017”) and elaborate melodic exercises (Clemency’s “SSRI Season / Sleep-In Sickness”). BFTT’s own “75623372 2” is one of the tape’s standouts, highlighting a granular approach that can also be found on 2018’s “iOSMIDI Tracks” for Tobago Tracks.
BFTT’s more club-focused records can be spotted on labels like All Centre, Cong Burn, Whities and now Gobstopper, the host of his forthcoming Versioning EP. Techno is an obvious template, but the BFTT sound circumvents linearity, matching an innate sense of groove with constantly fragmenting structures. That challenging sensibility is met wit a sprightly dose of fun, found in particular on his bootleg work of Britney Spears and Charli XCX for boygirl, but also in the light touch on tracks like “Enin” and his remix of Dervisis’ “Yelde”. from earlier this year.
The mischievous streak in the midst of formal experimentation found throughout BFTT’s production work is expanded infinitely in his take on DJing, which sees an omnivorous rhythmic diet matched with a nous for idiosyncratic progressions. Wonky low end sounds are matched effortlessly with horizontally arranged bliss and tempos are bound to reach 160+. His long awaited Astral Plane Mix exemplifies that approach while also functioning as an affectionate run through of music from friends and family. AP crew Amzondotcom, Chants and LOFT are all included, as are likeminded exemplars of cross-genre excellence like Ariel Zetina, Mr. Mitch and Oli XL. Recent outings for Rinse and NTS show that the BFTT gospel is expanding beyond the usual circles and the Versioning EP for Gobstopper, due August 7, should introduce the Leeds artist to an even larger circle of fans. Hit the jump for a full track list and download Astral Plane Mix 191 here.