Tag Archives: Decisions


It’s easy to get bogged down in the constant balkanization of contemporary dance music. Keeping up with the lexicon alone is a formidable task and while classification is important, jargon is almost always utilized as a means of keeping the uninitiated out. Understanding dance music as a continuum of mechanized global rhythms, grafted, hybridized and superimposed into new forms, offers a key to the madness though, offering a path that sees not homogeneity, but the similarities in the constituent elements of seemingly disparate material. It’s a skill that Sydney’s SCAM has brought to his work as a writer, DJ and producer, building out from the clunky “global ghettotech” terminology of the late 2000s to make innate connections between seemingly dissimilar rhythmic logics.

2018 saw the release of his debut Vibrio EP on DECISIONS, a body of work matching “OTT emotionality and TMI sentimentality” with a focus on slime and the chemical interactions that lead to effects like bioluminescence and petrichor. Seayams provides vocals for two tracks, grounding the work’s frisky bio-chemical motions with a distinct humanity and allowing its two instrumental tracks the space necessary to flourish. American R&B and rap are obvious reference points, but EP closer “QQ” is also based on a Coil sample and the skittish drum programming throughout recalls the angular constructions of a range of regional club music.

The bonds created throughout Vibrio continue to be explored in SCAM’s edits, works that offer subtle mutations on post-punk, rap, dancehall and techno. It’s these edits that allow ESG to sit comfortably with Stefflon Don in a SCAM mix, making rhythmic links between ostensibly dissimilar tracks and offering a correction to the temporal and spacial record in the meantime. His Astral Plane Mix does exactly that, making simple connections across recent time (Araabmuzik into Dinamarca couldn’t be wrong) and drawing in contemporaries like Air Max ’97, Emily Glass and Fridge into an assemblage of familiar vocals twisted into new shapes. The mix offers a curatorial approach devoid of the pretenses of the critic, allowing new forms to develop at an instinctual pace and hybridities to develop naturally. Grab a copy of Vibrio here and download AP Mix 182 here. Track list after the jump.

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DSCF6038, by Nadja Angermann

Photo Credit: Nadja Angermann

The most successful attempts at sonic collage exist as living documents that are near-indecipherable to anyone but their creator. Comprised of constantly shifting planes and ignoring the usual temporal constraints of recorded music, collage allows for a freedom of movement and shape and for its creator to take on the role of auteur or architect as much as composer, DJ or producer. Avbvrn, a Frankfurt-based, California-born artist, has based his practice in exploring the expansive potential of edited material, both his own and from myriad other sources. Currently studying composition in Frankfurt, Avbvrn’s musical universe is both constantly expanding and concerned with the hyper-specific, grafting tangential threads between Pat Benetar and Grischa Lichtenberger, while crafting an increasingly idiosyncratic aesthetic based on sheets of intricately-textured noise, sharp angles and empty space.

Releases to date on DECISIONS and JEROME, as well as a recent album-length self-release, sketch out the rules of engagement for Avbvrn’s often dysphoric original material. Tracks like “Flood” and “Containment”, both released in 2017, are claustrophobic to the extreme, comprised of ratcheting percussion, overlapping drones and a conscious withholding of groove. Avbvrn always leaves an open door for the listener to jump through though and both eventually mutate into surprisingly effective club tracks, reconstructing themselves subtly as if behind a curtain to be exposed at a later juncture. The obfuscation of intention is not carried out to confuse or condescend to the listener, but like a complicated dish, the final result is often concealed until near the end of the process. Further singles and compilation tracks for ANBA, Bio Future Laboratory, Cartridge Material, Country Music, Intruder Alert and Slagwerk continue to flesh out this approach, often aiming at a more concrete functionality, but always maintaining a coy, transformational attitude.

Which brings us to Avbvrn Snacks, a series of sprawling edit compilations featuring re-works of tracks from contemporaries, edits of edits, and some of the most beguiling blends you’re likely to come across anywhere. Functioning as an unconstrained, ever-expanding ecosystem, the packs often use familiar lenses/methods (epic collage, musique concrete, screw mixes), but rarely come off as trite or uninspired, instead maintaining a level of uncanny ingenuity. That quality extends to his mix work as well and his entry for Astral Plane Mix 179 effortlessly melds the meticulous compositional energy of his original work with the mad hat exuberance of Avbvrn Snacks. Components of the mix are familiar, but the track list only lends a sort of key to guide your way through the 57 minute run time. As a contextual project, the mix hits on a ton of recent, standout material from the global experimental music community, but more often than not, those threads are spun out into Avbvrn’s distinct web of comprehension, not so much re-contextualized as refashioned into a new whole. Hit the jump for a full track list and download Astral Plane Mix 179 here.

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Coming in as the fourth release on Air Max ’97’s Decisions label, Jikuroux’s Ruptured Pulse EP has had us geeking out since we first received the promo, a whirlwind of drums and sneaky brilliant melodies that tend to stick out in mixes. Based in Sydney, Jikuroux is a co-founder of the EVE night, a “crucial” outpost according to AM97 that has hosted international artists like Venus X and Imaabs as well as likeminded Australians Strict Face, Jalé, Rap Simmons and Aspartame. On the production front, we’ve only heard bits and pieces from Jikuroux, an edit found in a self-hosted mix from 2014 and, most recently, tracks from Ruptured Pulse floating around mixes and sets including our own session for Dummy. Set to be released on September 30, we’ve got EP opener “Only U” on premiere today, a beatifically cut throat track that balances battering ram kicks with rhizomatic synth work and enough digital noise to make the whole thing feel like its coming apart at the seams. On September 23, EVE will host the Ruptured Pulse release party in Sydney, featuring fellow Decisions artist Waterhouse as well as Candlelyte, Scam b2b Aph and AM97 himself. Each respective release on Decisions has involved a drastically different approach and as the crew grows it’s exciting to see how it develops and engages with the small, but brilliant, scene that Australia has to offer.