Tag Archives: Scratcha DVA


Decibel Festival, like many other contemporary festivals that straddle the dwindling line between underground and overground forms of dance music, was heavy (to say the least) on four-on-the-floor house and techno. In fact, the festival’s adherence to technical linearity was so strong that one could posit that the steady pulse of a kick drum defined Decibel 2014. From the late night Ostgut Ton showcase at Q Nightclub to Phuture’s TB-303 jams, house and techno from the world over could be found at Decibel, but the respective genres’ British and German constructions took center stage. This created something of a dilemma for a team looking for more rhythmic variance and, shall we say, a global purview than your standard techno bro fest. Fortunately, the Decibel lineup provided pockets of brilliance in the form of jungle, footwork, grime and kuduro, allowing us to indulge in gaudy, kick drum-heavy performances from T. Williams, Wolf+Lamb, Nadastrom and more.

On Wednesday night, Arca and Total Freedom, with music video art auteur Jesse Kanda providing visual accompaniment on a huge LED screen, took to EMP’s Sky Church with a vengeance, weaving syncopated kuduro and dembow rhythmic patterns into a number of contemporary pop hits. The Sky Church, a massive room in a corporate music mausoleum, is an odd venue to hold a genre and gender bending performance from three prodigiously talented artists, but a small, dedicated crowd, equal measures repulsed by and smitten with Kanda’s Vine compilation-meets-high concept body art, was up for the challenge proffered by the CDJ wielding deejays. A percentage of the crowd was even made up of holdovers from Max Cooper’s technically proficient, but disappointingly linear performance (the following night’s dancer-assisted showcase featuring Cooper was supposedly far superior) that preceded Arca’s takeover, a less surprising development than one might expect considering the breadth of interests and knowledge among the Decibel crowd.

Hit the jump for the totality of our Decibel coverage…

Read More

Leon “Scratcha DVA” Smart has never been one to genuflect to dance music standards, making a career producing off-kilter, often indigestible tune under the UK Funky banner. March’s Pretty Ugly LP was a challenging listen to say the least, and while DVA’s refusal to acquiesce to convention is admirable, the album is ugly and twisted at times. Next month (November 20), DVA returns for his second release of the year on Kode9’s legendary Hyperdub and based on the previews, he has ironed out many of the wrinkles imposed on Pretty Ugly. The Fly Juice EP consists of four stuttering, soul-inflected house tracks that borrow from all corners of the bass music sphere, from funky and garage to grime and techno. DVA calls it “power house” and it’s hard to disagree considering the heart pumping nature of the EP. Astral Plane fave French Fries will contribute a remix (!), as will Hype Williams member Inga Copeland. Stream the previews below and be sure to grab one of the year’s most exuberant dance releases on November 20.