Earlier this year, London’s NTS Radio celebrated its fifth year in existence, a landmark event for a young organization that has had an indelible impact on electronic music in particular and underground musics in general since it was founded in April 2011. In all likelihood, your favorite artists and labels have had an NTS show at some point in the past half decade and the station’s special programming – rapidly expanding into the live, a/v and performance sectors – is to be lauded. Like most special arts organizations, the people behind NTS are what makes the operation tick, which brings us to Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura, one of NTS’s star employees and one of its many unsung DJ heroes. The TTB show (also her alias while DJing out) runs for an hour every month and is consistently home to some of the best pop ephemera, contemporary folk musics, noisy gems and off-kilter club jams. It’d the sort of show where Terry Riley, Minnie Ripperton and Nidia Minaj share air time, a splatter of sounds that offers no particular preference to era, genre or geography.
Of course, much has been made about the legacy of open format radio in the UK (station founder Femi Adeyemi has even been compared to John Peel), but there are few shows that truly embrace that like TTB, with an ethos that is at once ultra-specific and completely egalitarian, a platform for emerging artists as much as it is a treasure trove of gems from past decades. Tabitha’s Astral Plane mix is an extension of that ethos, avoiding the poles of revivalism and futurism to reach an optimal creative fusion that is truly her own. It’s heady and hazy without genuflecting to much to either sonic niche, a genuinely transportive experience that occasionally erupts into bouts of noise and propulsive club sounds. On November 5, Tabitha is bringing Lechuga Zafiro, Bonaventure and Alx9696 to London, a fittingly eclectic line-up that should have dancers in a state of ecstasy from start to close. If you’re in London, we heavily recommend that night, but the rest of us will have to settle for Astral Plane Mix 127. Hit the jump for an interview with Thorlu-Bangura and a full track list.