Tag Archives: Know V.A.


The intersection of rap and hardcore dance music has been fertile for years now with artists like Dark0, DJ NJ Drone and Drippin all putting a spin on everything from drill to gabber. As time has passed, some artists have expanded beyond the club track format to explore the outer reaches of the sound, digging into the interstices between era and genre with the goal of crafting narrative-rich long form pieces. Amsterdam’s Know V.A. in particular have impressed with their desire to draw substance from extended original pieces, releasing two separate editions on Signal Life (“RIP”) and DISPLAY (“Reification”) respectively. Those compositions utilize familiar forms (grime synths, 808s, trance riffs, dembow arrangements), but push towards abstraction, allowing reproducible tropes to extrapolate over a wider space. At times, the releases come across as a standard mixtape as tempos and energy is revved up, but the peaks and valleys of both tapes are unpredictable enough to allow the listener to consider their more nuanced qualities.

For their Astral Plane Mix, the Amsterdam duo has crafted an entirely new original piece, titled “Purity” and this time extended to 54 minutes. Fueled by the gabber and trance they listened to as youngsters, the piece takes on an epic quality, simultaneously exhausting and invigorating as it crescendoes over and over again. In a text sent over by the artists, the piece explores “losing the spontaneity of life and the randomness of nature” that follows a “drive towards perfection in the manufacturability of the outer world and the inner self.” That hyperreal emptiness is felt throughout “Purity” as layers of sheen crumble into grotesque noise and club constructions emerge, fizzle and burn. Unlike other sci fi-minded music though, Know V.A. smartly stray away from cliched vocals and narration, keeping the composition entirely instrumental and maintaining its all important sense of enigma. No track list but you can find more Know V.A. here.


European footwork producers generally either comprehend the fine details of the genre and its culture, or they completely miss the point entirely. The hip hop and ghetto house influence isn’t always easy to grasp, and the off-kilter nature of the footwork sound cannot be replaced with simple drum programming, breakbeats, or a sped-up Lex Luger kit. For every Feloneezy and Jackie Dagger, the Continent generally conjures up ten painful misappropriations of the venerable Chicago sound. Amsterdam-based duo Know V.A. (Marijn Brussaard and Feico De Muinck Keizer) don’t exactly peddle explicit footwork, but their productions generally do reside roughly around 150-160 beats-per-minute and retain the cross-eyed fervor of the genre. Last year’s O Horizon EP, out now on Lowriders Recordings, featured manic rhythms combined with the bountiful precision of dubstep and an overarching hip hop aesthetic. DJ Earl & DJ Taye, as well as Rabit, contributed remixes to O Horizon and the duo has since opened for Evian Christ and Mssingno, and collaborated with recent RBMA inductee Torus, placing them at the forefront of Amsterdam’s growing cadre of non-traditionalists. It’s no surprise that Marijn and Feico point to Los Angeles’ beat scene as a key influence and like many of their global contemporaries, their output seem to rapidly unspool the more you rinse it. In the months since the release of O Horizon, Know V.A. haven’t released another official project, preferring to work on their live set, watch the EP percolate and spend time in the studio. “Prisma” is the result of that studio time, a sly, aggressively circular heater with more than a few footwork and jungle signifiers dug into its fabric. It’s clear that Know V.A. have a keen understanding of the past history and contemporary historicity of the music they peddle and songs like “Prisma” represent the care with which they approach dance culture.