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TOXE

A key member of the formidable Staycore crew, Gothenburg, Sweden-based Toxe (FKA Tove Agelii) has asserted her position as one of the most forceful, talented artists in the club music world over the past year, pushing an aesthetic that is as raw and unforgiving as it is delicate and inspiring. With a year left of high school and her debut Muscle Memory EP out on October 16 via Staycore, Toxe has seen a remarkably quick rise into the popular consciousness, first garnering attention for tracks like “Martial Arts” and “Offense” and further bolstering her credentials via collaborations with fellow Staycore members Dinamarca and Mechatok. Meanwhile, Tove started the ever-growing Sisters Facebook group, an in increasingly influential space for female producers, DJs, writers and label employees to share music, discuss sexism in the dance music world and occasionally work to take down a repugnant label head. And while Tove doesn’t like to take credit for founding Sisters, her role in instigating the movement is undisputed and her place as a positive and motivating presence for other female producers is well known.

With Muscle Memory out next week and a move from Gothenburg planned for next year, it’s easy to see Toxe’s name spreading like wildfire in the not too distant future, especially considering how fully formed and considered the EP is. Her Astral Plane mix is also remarkably consistent, showing off Toxe’s ability to switch up tempo with ease and utilize a range of vocals (from Missy Elliot to Jandro) over tracks from Muscle Memory and efforts from producers like v1984, Kamixlo and Zutzut (not to mention a host of her Staycore co-conspirators). It’s an all-enveloping listen that, despite changing speed several times, always seems to be moving at an energizing pace, smacking the listener with brusque, machinic kick patterns while soothing those hits with brief flits of angelic melodies and addicting hook work. We spoke with Tove via email about the mix, Sisters and the concept behind Muscle Memory, which is about as sure a thing as we’ve heard all year, words which can be found after the jump/below the fold. Also check out the full track list below the interview.

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mobilegirl

If you haven’t noticed yet, we have quite a bit of love for Stockholm’s Staycore crew, featuring crew leader Dinamarca in the mix series back in May and letting loose Mechatok‘s tightly bundled contribution just a few weeks ago. In the meantime, the Ghazal and Dinamarca headed posse released the excellent Staycore Summer Jams 2K15 compilation, a mission statement of sorts, but also an introduction to the crew’s wide-ranging talents and individual components. Dembow, tarraxo, kuduro and gqom are the rhythmic forms that draw Staycore together, but across the compilation’s13 sprawling tracks, a multitude of individual aesthetics exist, tied together by an undeniable drive for percussive experimentation and, well, fucking up the dancefloor. Munich’s Mobilegirl has been a source of admiration for a good while now and when she sent a small pack of her productions over in April, we knew we had to enlist the multifaceted talent for our mix series.

Without an official release and only a handful of tracks and bootlegs available, Mobilegirl’s musical career is in an exciting nascent stage, drawing in influences at a rapid pace and churning out a kaleidoscopic take on contemporary R&B and trans-Atlantic/tresillo rhythm-based club music, all seen through a shattered mirror. Tracks like “Ice Sheets” and her take on Dinamarca’s “How About” show a measured restraint and an almost meditative quality while her remixes of TLC and Brandy show a more jagged side of the Mobilegirl sound, bringing out the bite in the vocals on top of propulsive, harsh drums. Her entry to our mix series is a wild affair, more of a collage than a traditional mix, although the untrained listener might consider it haphazard. Running through tempos, vocalists and blaring synth-based melodies, Mobilegirl touches on tracks from Staycore label members (including several tracks from Summer Jams), as well as contemporaries like DJ Nigga Fox, Angel-Ho and DJ Jio P. At times, the fabric of the mix seems to tear apart, but before the listener can adapt, a new track, chant or trance-indebted synth line has entered the picture and carried the project into the next stage. Boiled down to its individual components, It could be a party mix, but simply sticking with the beat is hard enough, let alone following the non-existing groove. And at this point, it’s difficult to foresee how Mobilegirl will sound in six months, a year, two years, etc., but the current output is tantalizing and if her Astral Plane mix is anything to go by, the future is bright for this young producer.

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Traditionally a stronghold for house and techno forms, Northern Europe is slowly becoming fertile ground for a wide range of producers mutating Caribbean, South American and West African into their own idiosyncratic aesthetics. Even Scandinavia, hardly thought of an outpost of black or brown culture, is home to several important outposts, all part of an interminable trend that points to the mucking up of monolithic dance forms (for the better). Few individuals have managed to bridge the many gaps between the hegemonic clubs, labels and scenes that striate modern European dance music, but Munich-based artist Mechatok has, somehow, effortlessly infiltrated both worlds. A recent adoptee of Stockholm’s intoxicating Staycore crew (Dinamarca, Ghazal, Toxe, Mobilegirl etc.), Mechatok has developed a remarkable unique sound that touches on many trans-continental motifs, but rarely settles on one consistent groove. Unlike, many of his contemporaries, a Mechatok track often trots along at a leisurely pace, eschewing snares almost entirely and never giving in to an ad lib-heavy approach.

Often sitting around 120 BPM, Mechatok bases many tracks around rhythms like the tresillo and often utilizes round, wooden-sounding percussion, a welcome change from the metallic soundscapes that dominate contemporary club music. That isn’t to say that tracks like “Regio” and “Gulf Area” aren’t machinic, just that Mechatok’s sound palette offers a welcome reprieve from the monotony that marks much of the material we come across. It’s an aesthetic that can already be described as distinctly his own and one that has garnered the attention of Munich’s Public Possession, better known for Balearic-tinged releases from Bell Towers, Samo DJ and Tambien, who will release his debut later this year. Several of the tracks from that release can be found in Mechatok’s excellent Astral Plane mix, an original-heavy 30 minutes that goes a long to explaining how both he has managed to entrance figures as disparate as PP label heads Marvin & Valentino and Mssingno. Moving at a breakneck pace, the mix weaves through gqom, weirdo rap from Haleek Maul and Young Thug, implacable chants and a bevy of Mechatok originals, rarely sitting down long enough for the listener to feel comfortable, but always retaining enough percussive thrust to keep the body moving. Along with the aforementioned Public Possession release, expect plenty more to come on the release front from this promising young talent who seems to be bridging just about every sound, scene and movement we currently enjoy.

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dinamarca

Part of an increasingly strong contingent of producers, DJs and promoters pushing Caribbean, Central and South American sounds in Europe, Dinamarca has seemed to appear everywhere in recent months, from rampant collaborations to tireless work on his burgeoning Staycore label. With a name that simply means Denmark en español, it’s no surprise that Dinamarca has slowly begun to infringe on the London-Berlin hegemony in European dance music, bringing an exuberant, technicolor approach to the skipping, ever-in-motion sounds of dancehall, reggaeton and kuduro. Last December’s No Hay Break, released via Staycore, functioned as an announcement from the producer, an immensely listenable effort that still gets routine airplay from a collection scene figureheads. It’s subsequent remix volume featured Drippin, KABLAM and EndgamE, three of Northern Europe’s club music luminaries, as well as DJ New Jersey Drone and Imaabs. It might look bizarre from an outsider perspective to see Latin American club sounds flourish in Scandinavia and other Northern European locales, but considering the success of Berlin’s Janus, Oslo/Bergen’s Ball Em Up and Dinamarca’s own Staycore, its existence and continued expansion is actual rather logical. Granted, it takes strong individual actors to make all that happen, but the seeds for future success have clearly been planted and it will be a pleasure to watch Staycore and its various contemporaries grow over the coming years.

Back in March, Dinamarca contributed a mix to the excellent Mixpak FM series, lacing the New York label with a ton of original work and finishing off the mix with a Spanish version of “No Type”. That finishing move might just become something of a tagline for the Swedish producer as he signs off of his Astral Plane mix with an incredible version of “Trap Queen” by Gusho. Collaborations with KABLAM, Kid Antoine, L-Vis 1990 and the NAAFI All Stars pop up throughout the rest of the mix, which is a characteristically unrelenting affair. Odd percussion sounds, ringing and sirens appear throughout the mix, which is almost certainly aimed at representing a club environment. Staycore has a compilation featuring future label signees and friends coming very soon so expect to hear some of the material within imminently. And be sure to grab No Hay Break and the Remixes as they’re some of the most visceral body music to come out this year!

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