OSSX charge through a mix with the kind of unstoppable momentum that makes it physically and emotionally impossible to leave the dance floor.
OSSX do not fuck about. The East Coast dream team of Equiss, Lektor Scopes and Elise waste no time in plunging us head first into 90 minutes of unadulterated, peak time pressure. “This would be typically how we would play stepping up to the decks,” the trio assure us, “we wanted to capture our regular club set energy.” While this might be just another day at the office for these three, make no mistake that this is OSSX at the height of their powers, a set with the kind of unstoppable momentum that makes it physically and emotionally impossible to leave the dance floor.
This is a masterclass in keeping bodies moving, a deft journey through techno variations from across the globe, joining the dots between Japan, Europe, the UK, New York and LA, woven seamlessly into the trio’s unparalleled celebration of American dance music, finding the through line between NYC breakbeat, Jersey club heat, riotous Philly club edits, filthy Florida breaks and Miami juke. They even find time to unleash a handful of their own solo productions, unreleased OSSX cuts and an irresistible ‘Dare’ rework.
Yet it’s with their focus on UK styles that OSSX are really flexing here, moving flawlessly through an immaculate selection of UKG, lurching bassline, ferocious jungle and G-force-inducing speed garage, showing particular love to Bristol duo Disaffected, who come out swinging on three separate occasions. Invoking the spirit of oldskool hardcore in a breathless sprint to the finish, OSSX kiss off with a Styles P classic, the perfect note on which to join the rest of the party.
DJ Shufflemaster – ‘Fourthinter’ 1morning – ‘Flow’ Huey Mnemonic – ‘As Above So Below’ D-Base – ‘Love Is Deeper’ Disaffected – ‘Now We Will Commence’ Lektor Scopes – ‘Touch It’ SP:MC – ‘Big Request’ Tah – ‘Talk Tuff’ OSSX – ‘Dare Edit’ DJ Sega – ‘Stand Out’ (DJ Sega Remix) Nienna – ‘Around Here’ Abe & Ayo C – ‘4 The Big Gurlz’ Green Velvet – ‘Shake And Pop Instrumental’ DJ K Shiz – ‘Hands On Your Knees’ (Arch In Ya Back) Sticktalk – ‘U Right Now Shut Up’ Soul Mass Transit System – ‘Wine’ Chontane – ‘After Images’ Alarico – ‘Boya’ Deniro – ‘MPC Tracks A2’ Point Reyes – ‘Icy Acid’ Kanyon – ‘Conga Mix’ 1morning & The Sixth Sense – ‘Untitled’ OSSX – ‘????’ Skeptic – ‘Vots Dub’ Tessela – ‘Rub’ OSSX – ‘Queso & Bones’ Near Dark – ‘Vile Child’ Disaffected – ‘Offie Scran’ Tre Oh Fie – ‘Sit On It’ OSSX – ‘Make Nice’ Duburban – ‘Heartbeat’ Lost – ‘Elevate’ Radicall – ‘In The Air’ Coco Bryce & Breaka – ‘Want U’ Disaffected – ‘Kiwi Passion Fruit Guava’ Moresounds – ‘Warcloth (Amen Fi Coleco)’ Styles P – ‘Good Times (I Get High)’
A visual that explores the “elegant muscles” of a structure that protects Japan from tsunamis and typhoons.
In the video for Malaysian producer Tzusing’s new single ‘偶像包袱 (Idol Baggage)’, director Jesse Kanda sets the track’s finely-tuned drums and tense strings to footage of one of the largest anti-flood tanks in the world.
“Innocently and most primarily, I wanted to show the beauty of this structure by itself,” Kanda says. “Personally, the narrative of the video is of emotion and its direct relationship with the body in the process of dissolving separation. Relentlessly looking into direct experience – with patience, with love. The typography that is arranged over the video is the Heart Sutra from the Buddhist tradition which correlates to this process.”
‘偶像包袱 (Idol Baggage)’ features on Tzusing’s new album 绿帽 (Green Hat), which is released on 31 March through PAN. The album “meditates on China’s complicated history of patriarchal heteronormativity, and how these archaic double standards continue to dominate the culture in pervasive, often invisible ways”.
Director/Editor: Jesse Kanda Producer: Kana Fujimaki Cinematographer: Timothée Lambrecq Drone/Photography: Steve Gaudin Transport, Health & Safety: Tomo Takahashi
Music written & produced by Tzusing Mixed by Jondu Mastered by Enyang Urbiks
Gabriel Moses: Regina features the premiere of two new short films.
London-based photographer and filmmaker Gabriel Moses, who has previously worked with musicians including Skepta, Little Simz and Pa Salieu, will hold his first exhibition at 180 Studios this April. Gabriel Moses: Regina features around 50 photographs from his career across fashion, music and sport, including never-before-seen images.
Regina will also see the premiere of two new short films, including Ijó, commissioned by 180 Studios, that follows a group of young ballet dancers in Lagos, Nigeria, exploring common themes within Moses’ work through the intersections of art, family and culture.
Inspired at a young age by black and white ancestral photography, identity and community has continuously shaped Moses’ aesthetic, which draws on both his South London roots and Nigerian heritage, as well as images by acclaimed artists such as Gordon Parks and Malick Sidibé.
A self-taught photographer, Moses was offered his first directing role with Nike at the age of eighteen and went on to be the youngest photographer to shoot a cover for Dazed. He has collaborated with brands and designers including Adidas, Beats by Dre, Dior, Moncler, Supreme, Apple, Burberry, Virgil Abloh and Pharrell.
For his Fact mix HOWE imagines a near future in which the radio of a Ford Fiesta, abandoned somewhere in the dense smog of London, circa 2050AD, picks up fractured radio signals from a fast fading past.
The sound of multidisciplinary artist HOWE is broadcast from deep in the heart of his base of London, distilled from the cacophony of a youth spent embroiled in the city’s club scene. Though taking cues from across the musical spectrum, HOWE’s productions and installation works envision a world of maximal, highly emotive pop constructions, wherein sci-fi visuals, MIDI orchestras and vocal manipulation are spun together as a single, urgent transmission. His experience as a filmmaker and visual artist only serves to amplify the cinematic flavour of his approach to music, in which the stakes are always high and the world he inhabits is in a state of constant precarity.
His Fact mix is borne out of this dramatic tension, a speculation on a near future scenario in which the radio of a rusted Ford Fiesta, abandoned somewhere in the dense smog of London, circa 2050AD, picks up fractured radio signals from a fast fading past. “I wanted it to feel as though a listener from future London is experiencing ghost transmissions from the past,” he explains. “Jungle, D&B and Dancehall pirate stations, talk radio and Classic FM smashed together to form a smorgasbord of mutated sonics.”
Serving as a reflection on his discovery of electronic music, HOWE’s space pirate radio show includes a post-apocalyptic edit of Skilibeng’s ‘Bad Everyday’ – which will be available on Bandcamp, with all proceeds going towards aid for those affected by the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey – a vinyl-only, drum and bass sequence, freshly dug from his mum’s house in homage to his years working in a record shop and guesting on radio shows as a teenager, cyber punk street fight soundtracks and an eerie tapestry of OSTs and HOWE’s own productions, with a particular and well-deserved focus on composer Juan Cristobal Tapia de Veer, the architect of the singular soundscapes of beloved contemporary cult series Utopia and the inescapable charms of The White Lotus.
Nene H explores the experiences of her queer, POC community navigating the colonial history of art and culture in Western Europe.
On her recent EP for Live From Earth Klub, Trifecta, Nene H offers up three tributes to cities that hold special significance in her life, reflecting on the places that have shaped and inspired her as an artist. Having channeled her deep love for Istanbul into an homage to Sirän, a rave collective for cultural exchange she co-founded last year, with ‘Ring the Sirän’, and sent up the self-serious European techno scene in her current base of Berlin with ‘Fukken Lie’, here, with ‘Hold Ud, Skat!’, she opens her heart to Copenhagen, a city she feels accepted her at a time when she felt most lost.
“The last of these three videos is dedicated to Copenhagen, where I found so many brown, queer sisters that inspired me so much, living their own truth, creating their own spaces, reality and culture in Europe, with experiences that are peculiar to our existence in Western European countries and thriving because of it, nevertheless,” she explains. “It became a very powerful visual language surrounding this EP and this became such a personal and important project for me.”
“The story is about how we as POCs often find ourselves away from our origins and experience the world through a westernised perspective,” adds director Noah Umur Kanber. “We see our history in stolen and sold objects seen through museum glasses. The community we create is not only for survival but also for understanding. We see each other and we help each other to find the lost pieces in ourselves, reclaiming the relics’ cultural heritage and creating the new history of our culture.”
Set against an urgent technoid charge, we see in small moments of joy between friends the texture of everyday solidarity within their community, yet the process by which this is made into a spectacle for those of us in the audience is not lost on anyone. Throughout, the camera is turned back on us, a subversive act of confrontation that connects the colonial practises of the museum with the Eurocentric standards of the art scenes within which Nene H thrives regardless.
Sibling DJ duoS-candalo pay homage to the whirlwind vitality of queer and Latin house.
Tania and Dominik Humeres Correa have been making waves in their base of Berlin for years, bringing heartfelt sensitivity and queer sensuality to lovesick house, swollen-hearted techno and dewey-eyed trance as THC and DHC respectively. Though separately they’ve quickly become fixtures of the scene, with Tania playing a quietly legendary residency at Radiant Love and Dominik making a series of feted solo appearances on Berlin’s number one bathroom-based cultural export, HÖR, it’s together, as S-candalo, that the siblings are at their freest and most transcendant.
Over the last year the duo have honed in on an irresistible strain of steamy euphoria, a sound that is as influenced by their Latin roots in Bogotá as it is by the LGBTQIA+ and FLINTA club cultures they inhabit. This is perhaps best exemplified by their new party La noche, which they run alongside Radiant Records’ Byron Yeates, the first edition of which features kindred spirits Angel D’lite, eoin dj, Cáit and ferrari rot.
”This is the first S-candalo mix in a year,” Tania and Dominik say of their Fact mix. “After taking our sound on the road we prepared a mix that represents us in our truest form. With our music, we want to reflect on our culture and heritage whilst celebrating Latin and queer influences on house music. Intent is everything and we hope to make music that empowers us as well as our listeners.”
“In the first half of the mix you can hear the smoother side of S-candalo and in the second half the club sound you can expect from us.” Moving through a selection of club tracks both pumping and playful, this is S-candalo at their most elegant and urgent, a testament to the whirlwind vitality of queer and Latin house and a blueprint for the kinds of parties we want to see more of in the world.
Multidisciplinary artist Charlie Osborne explores performance anxiety and liminal space surrounding a mysterious talent show in a haunted bingo hall for her short film, Bury-Man-Lane.
“Aisha, I get so bored like, like I’m internally beating myself up.” These are the first words we hear from Charlie Osborne, a multidisciplinary artist, musician and performer who makes work on the presumption that “the internet is a genre and protection can be found in objects, mascots, easter eggs and symbols.” What follows lands somewhere between an urgent threat and morbid fantasy, free association tripping towards destruction: “I swear to god one day I’ll grab the perfume, you know, not the liquid kind, the aerosol kind, and I’ll grab a lighter, you know, a Clippers, the shiny ones, and I’ll go up in smoke.” It’s this space in-between, a liminality conjured out of performance anxiety and contemporary malaise, that Osborne moves through in her short film Bury-Man-Lane, a portrait at once personal and phantasmic. “Although my writing style is based in magical realism, I kept weaving in real life events,” she says of the film’s stark opening. “There’s a scene where myself and close friend Aisha share dark fantasies in the back of a car. It’s based off this time when a girl at my school did go up in flames in the playground after dousing herself in Lynx and a boy flicking a lighter at her. It was only for a split moment and so she was by miracle un-harmed. I’m always drawn to these ‘close calls’ lucky escapes and this idea of mischief. It’s like a bleak form of entertainment.” Apocryphal tales, intimate myths and surreal, domestic lore proliferate the world of Bury-Man-Lane, in which the mysterious power of an enigmatic talent show, which seems to take place outside of time, in a limbo that may or may not be haunted, generates a gravitational pull through which the film’s characters orbit. “I wanted all my characters to seem like they are in search for something hopeful and that in the fog there’s something good out there for all of us,” Osborne continues. “I wanted there to be a common thread that ties all the characters together and so I chose an event. TV talent shows, music videos and performing for social media became a key reference when thinking about what this ‘event’ in the story of Bury-Man-Lane would be.”
Drifting between surreal CGI sequences – swarms of digital cheese puffs swirling around the film’s titles, a weather beaten talent show flyer, contact telephone full of angel numbers, buffeted by computer-generated wind – and restless, hand held photography, all washed oranges and pinks, Y2K optimism blurring into the dull light of the present, Bury-Man Lane plays out like a fever dream. Osborne’s world is one of plush toy iconography and desiccated frog totems that guide people to their true loves, in which characters down energy drinks to the point of internal haemorrhage and friends transform themselves through finger tip impact meditation, trapped by empathy felt so keenly it’s painful. “Alongside the script I wrote a poem called ‘Metal detector, get me some gold.,’” she notes. “I wanted it to sound like it was beckoning for something and that it was linked to all these characters I’d created. The words, phrases and lyrics started linking back to my childhood in Cardiff. It felt like a thread of rage and the words felt hoarded like, ‘am I really writing about my absent Dad again?’ But at the same time, the poem became an anchor for this entire project.” Bursting forth from the film in a climactic performance, Osborne’s words emerge like a magic spell, an act of magical realist manifestation, the invocation of a hit, the bag, or success, viral, material or otherwise. Drawing together the ritualistic invective of a chewing gum-spat ceremony, the voyeuristic charge of an exploratory bedroom dance recital and the film’s hauntological score of lilting ambience and driving synthesis, a Daniel Lopatin soundtrack refracted through Photo Booth and GarageBand on a knackered laptop, Osborne’s verse and performance channels the crackling potential energy of Bury-Man-Lane, the first and last word.
“Time becomes so warped post graduation,” says Osborne of the film’s conception, which was, in part, made in response to the stress she felt on completing her studies at Camberwell. “It feels like there’s a set of conditions we all have to resist in order to be artists. I don’t want things to be survival of the fittest, although the energy that builds up as a result of this madness can be exciting. Life felt like one big collective talent show amongst many obstacles. I wrote the script for Bury-Man-Lane as a response to that feeling. I was unsuccessful in receiving funding so I saved every penny I could and started shooting with a crew of friends.” The artist zeroes in on this untethered anxiety – conversations are muttered and thrown away, gazes are never met and expressions rarely change. This is no clearer than in the “passing-through space” in which the talent show takes place, a venue richly evocative of warped time and unrealised ambition. Captured in the faded glory of Sydenham Bingo Hall, one unseen character describes the space with the words of a ghost story (“No one ever lives there, no on ever wants to be there, they just gotta be there”) as those trapped in its limbo emotionlessly count pennies, eat crisps and pass a “little fried-ass frog” back-and-forth for eternity. “In my work I like playing with a grubby-glossy aesthetic and I try to get that in my films,” explains Osborne. “When I was location hunting I was thinking about where the characters would hang out. On one hand they are introverted hermits, performing for their phones in a private bedroom, and then on the other hand they are avoiding home, always on the move. The space and set had to enhance their skater, loner, party people, misfit archetypes.”
“It was a real pleasure to work with all the cast whom for most was their first time in a film,” she continues. “When directing I was always craving for it to look slightly contrived, like their emotions were wrapped in plastic. I wanted to story-tell through the choreography as much as the dialogue, so I collaborated with artist Gulliver Whitby to create a twitchy, bird like movement. This image of a flock of birds and a flyer moving across the screen wouldn’t leave my mind. It opened up the idea that somehow my characters are subconsciously dictating one another from scene to scene, through this choreography.” Though at times disconnected, it’s clear that the characters of Bury-Man-Lane are dancing to the same beat, disaffected by the material conditions of their existence yet steadfast in their faith in each other, drawn by the irresistible pull of the show, a stage on which to be seen. It’s in this way that Charlie Osborne’s performance rips back through the sequence of signs, sigils and spells of the world observed through her eyes, her band’s frazzled anthem the flicked lighter that sets the perfumed flame of Bury-Man-Lane ablaze.
Cast – Charlie Osborne, Aisha Kacie, Annastasia Mikhailova, Isabella Pinto, Tara Strange, Theadora Sutherland, Hemi Shannon, Cosmo Conway, Jude Woodhead, Amon, Sammy Neale, Travis Barton, Brandon Westly, Esme Ashley Smith, Kurtis Lincoln, Morgan Lee Johnson, Ines Sacof, Nathaniel David Trevor Bailey, Ratiba Ayadi, In Tongues (Tara Cunningham, Sam Bates & Pike Ogilvy)
‘Metal Detector’ written and performed by In Tongues & Charlie Osborne
In Tongues are Tara Cunningham, Sam Bates, Pike Ogilvy
Director – Charlie Osborne Writer – Charlie Osborne Producer – Charlie Osborne Director of Photography – Jack Cullis Editor – Dominic England Composer – Reuben Joseph Costume Designer – Gulia Galiberti 3D Effects Supervisor – Finn Dove First AD – Teddy Skinner First AC – Edward Melbourne Second AC – Ruben Neviazsky Movement Director – Gulliver Whitby Sound Designer – Reuben Joseph Sound Recordist – Zak Ferguson Gaffer – Marcus Kartal Spark – Charlie Ring, Marc Milay Props Handler – Miriam Aston-Hetherington Photographer – Bella Santucci Make-Up Artist – Eve Lyttelton Colourist – Chris Poole Runner – Kitty Drury, Jack Whitby
Special Thanks to Dominic England, Reuben Robinson, Gulliver Whitby
Van Boom leaves no space for the faint of heart in his Fact Mix, an elegant onslaught of hard techno and post club at terminal velocity.
Splatters of feedback, squalling noise and battering ram drums sound the alarm: Van Boom has arrived. The Kuwait-based producer, DJ and organiser has been performing playful plastic surgery on the dour face of European techno since his debut EP frown was released back in 2019, hammering out a hard, fast and sexy take on the sound that lurches between hard-faced aggression and tongue-in-cheek melodrama. On MORFEUS, his 2020 EP for ANBA, and more recently on Prosthetics, his debut album and inaugural release for Varg2™’s Cease 2 Exist imprint, Van Boom hones a razor-sharp, high-tech industrial foundation with elements of post-club chaos, ’00s bass gymnastics and interpolations of Arabic scales lifted from the rich, idiophonic musical traditions of the Gulf region. “The soundscapes I produce capture, distort, and then fragment the industrial terrain I grew up around,” he told METAL. “I definitely would consider myself to be an outsider, but I mostly felt that way growing up in Kuwait,” he continues. “It’s also been difficult to connect with musicians in Kuwait who found my sound to be too abrasive and outside of what they’re used to. My music is a personal expression that, I hope, can resonate with the feeling of ‘otherness’ – of feeling othered in your own country.”
On Prosthetics, which the label describes as “a mangled mirror to the social and state forces with which he lives,” and the album’s accompanying collection of remixes, featuring flips, inversions and eviscerations from some of the producer’s closest friends and brightest inspirations, including Endgame, Estoc, E-Saggila, Sorcery, VTSS, Whiterose, Deena Abdelwahed and Slikback, this feeling is distilled into potent concentrates of eldritch ambience, punishing percussion and mutilated sound design, pushed to the most dissociating and cathartic extremes. The same pressure is applied throughout his blistering Fact mix, an elegant onslaught at terminal velocity. “Pure darkness in industrialised terrain is the theme of the mix, which incorporates genres from hard techno and post-club sound,” he explains. “I wanted to demonstrate how club music could be reflected in a sinister setting with a unique twist.” Brandishing unreleased weapons from Exploited Body, Estoc and Cardopusher, Van Boom leaves no space for the faint of heart, plunging us into the shadows without so much as a lighter to guide us, letting us loose at lethal speed to be overwhelmed by the discordant force of his sound.
Take a trip across an impossible virtual reality-inspired landscape in a scene from the Canadian artist’s latest feature.
In this extract from Jon Rafman’s new film Minor Daemon: Volume 1, the protagonist travels from the farthest reaches of space and time, across an arid planet populated by wild beasts towards an impossible landscape filled with floating islands. It follows the narrative and structural logic of a video game – appropriate considering the film’s premise, which sees two virtual reality gaming-obsessed men trying to secure their freedom as they journey through a Hieronymus Bosch-like hellscape.
Minor Daemon, which is currently showing at London’s 180 Studios, builds on Rafman’s earlier work, from his early experiments in Second Life through to the animated project that saw him weaving his own dream journals into an epic feature film. The world of Minor Daemon is Rafman’s most outlandish to date, a computer-generated fever-dream universe that drawing on the landscapes of online worlds to examine the relationship between technology and social consciousness.
Tickets for Minor Daemon are available now from the 180 The Strand website. The presentation at 180 Studios coincides with a solo exhibition of Jon Rafman’s work at Sprüth Magers, London (3 February – 25 March 2023).
Tripped-out techno innovator Spekki Webu and visual artist Matti Vilho explore cycles of death and rebirth in a hallucinatory vision of infinite reincarnation and emotional transformation.
Spekki Webu has been transporting the Dutch underground electronic music scene to alternate dimensions for over 15 years. Probing the lysergic spaces in-between techno, trance and ambient, the DJ and producer conjures immersive sonic worlds with a preternatural ear for dense, narcotic compositions drenched with propulsive tension and extraterrestrial atmosphere. Between his legendary sets, his own productions and his influential label, Mirror Zone, Spekki Webu has demonstrated a direct line of contact with these worlds, enabling audiences to tune in to their strange frequencies and share in their transformative potential. With Optic Portal, a multidisciplinary imprint refracted straight from the Mirror Zone, he seeks to shed light on these exploratory transmissions, working with audiovisual artists to make these sounds visible. It’s this urge that lies of the heart of Signal Transmutations, a collaboration with visual artist Matti Vilho, orchestrated by Joni Stanley of Veli Studio, one of the co-founders of Post Bar and one of the minds behind Solstice Festival, where Spekki Webu played live for the very first time. “I’m fascinated about the interconnectedness of audio signals and digital real-time image generation,” explains Matti Vilho. “Signal Transmutations for me is about the birth, death and rebirth of digital signals affecting each other with every cycle. It’s like a metaphor for our lives.” In the excerpt presented above, Spekki Webu and Matti Vilho give us a glimpse of their new, live AV show, which they will be debuting later this year.
“When the time has come to go for us humans and we have learned enough over the course of life, we join the new dimension and enter the light. Signal Transmutations is our perspective on this take,” adds Spekki Webu. “I see the experience of Signal Transmutations as a meditative journey which you can dive deep into and zone out. You don’t need to understand everything, the emotions that arise are most important,” continues Matti Vilho. Spekki Webu spirals through an atmospheric assemblage of gas leak ambience, submerged skitter and possessed drum programming, swirling viscous globules of reverb through oozing loops of found sound, riding a constant creeping tension between organic and synthetic textures that is reflected back in Matti Vilho’s cyclical landscape, the rebirth loop manifested in the time signatures of the music and the space of the virtual world. Screens are submerged in swamp water as far future technological interfaces hover and rotate, glowing fiberoptic cables drape from an enormous cluster of fungus, wires wound tightly into its mycelium. “The combination of alien and mundane has always been present in my work,” says Matti Vilho. “The giant fungus-like tree is an abstraction of the Tree of Life, connecting the past and present in a continuous fluid cycle.” Trance-inducing sound flows between smudges of hallucinogenic colour, organic matter and alien hardware, all captured through the imprint’s namesake ‘optic portal’. “The fun thing is that Matti hasn’t been sending out any visuals to get my music going,” notes Spekki Webu. “I started developing sketches of sound and shared this with him. The visual world building took off organically from there. It’s a mutual bond of trust we built over time.”
“When performing my music, I am always trying to transmit a set of emotions,” he continues. “This live performance is a journey into the next realm, balancing in between the various stages of life and death.” As is evidenced in his mind-expanding Fact mix, which saw the artist utilising a hybrid live set up, allowing him to layer rhythms, ambience and sound design on the fly, Spekki Webu’s approach to live performance allows him the freedom to delve deeper into the Mirror Zone, to coax out irresistible groove and vertigo-inducing depth. “Going live allows me to take full control of the audience,” he expands. “I can narrate my story down to perfection and translate every detail, taking people along on this introspective journey. I have always been a keen listener of ambient, experimental electronics, noise, and avant-garde music. Signal Transmutations is a spiritual approach on these types of music, it really feels like I am entering a next step within my career as an artist.” This renewed focus on the more esoteric corners of his sonic vocabulary serves as the impetus for Matti Vilho’s visual response, as he accentuates its intoxicating blend of technicality and spirituality. “The music of Spekki Webu is so much aligned with my taste that it was really natural right from the beginning to explore the ideas together,” he concludes. “The whole technical aspect is also in the theme of the show: cycle and rebirth. Each software we use discusses with each other and affects each other.” Whether spiralling through Spekki Webu’s sound or Matti Vilho’s images, Signal Transmutations marks a jumping off point for Optic Portal, the start of a deeper dive through both artist’s transportive practices, as well as a state of transition, as we phase from our world to the mirror zone.
You can find Spekki Webu on Instagram. For more information about Matti Vilho you can follow him on Instagram and check out his Vimeo.
Laila Sakini takes a somnambulant stroll through heady experimental transmissions, insomniac club rhythms and a treasure trove of unreleased material from friends, collaborators and the artist herself.
“I think music should be about what we can’t say easily,” Laila Sakini told Zweikommasieben last year. “It should hold and express feelings that we have. Sometimes it compounds the feelings I have, which might be sadness or something that lifts me up and I like the fact it doesn’t fit into a paradigm – an either / or.” Since the release of the Melbourne born, London based musician, DJ and curator’s stunning debut album, Vivienne, in 2020, Sakini has continued to draw from the most personal places, circling around a sound of extraordinary emotional generosity, picking out the most complex feelings with stark arrangements of sparse instrumentation, subtle effects and her own haunting vocals. Strada, Into The Traffic, Under The Moonlight, Princess Diana Of Wales and Paloma are records made to be felt as much as they are to be heard, with Sakini coaxing delicate physicality out of a dizzying array of instruments, including piano, cello, bass clarinet, violin, glockenspiel, timbale and recorder, as well as intricate manipulation of reverb, space and found sound. “The spark and the light that keeps me going is the curiosity I feel doing music,” she continues. “It’s a very embodied reaction.” Capturing with striking clarity the quiet mania of London’s liminality – late night cigarettes outside of basement clubs, lonely walks home through cold morning light – Sakini makes a space for us in her sound, mirroring in her instinctual playing the restless pulse of reflective thought.
It’s with the same tender fluctuations that her beguiling Fact mix unfurls, a somnambulant stroll through heady experimental transmissions, insomniac club rhythms and a treasure trove of unreleased material from friends, collaborators and Sakini herself. “Felt like I should step away from my usual forlorn and filmic style to draw on some of the sounds around me from the goings-on in the UK / London,” the artist explains. “So this is a ‘what I’m listening to now’ type mix. Theme I suppose is: it’s like… almost at the club. Dance music with DIY energy. Trance/dub chords + bass, strings, cliffhangers, harmonised vocals, field recordings, found sound. Music is by myself and others, mostly from the UK, who exemplify this union of club and grub.” Delivered with the intimacy of a solemnly passed aux chord at an afters, or of a DJ set for a handful of close friends, Sakini moves between these tracks with a loose elegance, opening with a spoken introduction, halfway between a whisper and a moan: “So this is what was asked of me / And I’m not always that sure of what you mean.” Feeling her way further into this ambiguity, the grey area between club and grub, Laila Sakini threads together music that expresses that which is difficult to say.
Simmering feedback, amniotic low end, aching strings and ecstatic swells of synthesis swirl through untitled works from Civilistjävel! and Astrid Sonne, Dali Muru & The Polyphonic Swarm play through a “soundtrack of Transcarpathia and whirling unresolved hum”, courtesy of Belgian experimental outpost Stroom and Elklink share DIY recordings made at Green Chimneys rehabilitation centre for children and animals for Farm Stories, the second archival collection from Adris Hoyos and Graham Lambkin. Malvern Brume unleashes a screeching seance of ice-cold industrial throb, smudged through scuffed dub techno from Conrad Pack and Leeway. “Renaissance space music” from Geiwissen ebbs into choral luminescence shot through with concrète murk from Holsen&Cassiers, while the inverted Shepard tone depth charge beat magick of Grim Lusk sets the stage for the ethereal, water-logged majesty of This Mortal Coil’s ‘Acid, Bitter and Sad,’ an essential cut from 4AD’s ’80s compilation Lonely Is an Eyesore that sounds like the alternative supergroup is playing backwards from the bottom of a storm drain. “I think adequately recounting the impact of an experience using sound, primitive or developed, relieves some of the explanatory burden for the person who is doing the sound making,” reiterates Sakini. “I think in that way sound provides a wider scope for expression which may more more apt or useful when trying to describe complex emotions.” With these songs Laila Sakini speaks volumes, an emotional polyphony to be heard clearly and felt keenly.
Multidisciplinary artist Female Pentimento enlists the talents of digital visionary Axonbody for the enigmatic visual for ‘Zugunruhe’, named after the German word for anxious or restless behaviour in migratory animals.
Though often drawing from personal pain, the work of Female Pentimento shines divine light on a world full of wonder. In her music, organ drones are layered with visceral sound design, ASMR whispers and lacerated noise to amplify a constant tension between transcendent beauty and cathartic horror. In the same way her imagery, intricate composites of photography and digital composition, conjures moments of beauty so surreal they constantly threaten to tip over into the sublime. Through the eyes of Female Pentimento, our world is teeming with apparitions, Ignes Fatui, Brocken spectres, luminous glories and Heiligenschein, natural phenomena that come the closest to manifestations of the miraculous. “I grew up in the Methodist church and I think subconsciously a lot of traditional, Christian symbolism has been embedded in my psyche and made its way into my work; light being one element,” the artist told Coeval Magazine. “Its ability to transmute the physical and speak to a more beautiful, inner world withstands the cliches and religious connotations for me.” Eschewing depictions of human beings for alternate realities inhabited by alternate forms of energy, Female Pentimento seeks to transform the world as means of exploring our place within it, a biospiritualist practice that finds divine inspiration within nature. Digital visionary Axonbody shares a similarly metaphysical approach to image making, blurring the natural with the synthetic until they are indistinguishable from each other, collapsing all matter into vibrant material, bursting with potential energy. The two share such common ground that their collaboration feels destined, the meeting of two minds dedicated to both inner and outer discovery. It’s fitting, then, that the two come together for Zugunruhe, a searing hymn to turmoil and transformation, exposing a spirit in crisis.
“In the video we use the motif of birds to speak directly to this idea of ‘zugunruhe’, which is a term that refers to the instinctive restlessness that many migratory birds experience,” explains Female Pentimento. “I think as a concept it’s an interesting metaphor for the liminal phase of a healing process, that is, wanting to change your physical or mental state but not knowing how and feeling lost amidst the desire.” Stroboscopic flares, storm clouds swollen with electricity and warped murmurations of birds depict states of continual flux, perched on a knife edge between change and destruction. Artificial light penetrates grey rock formations while ancient stones burn with pale fire, the natural world ruptured by unnatural forces. “The notions of cycles and rebirths is something that has always been very central in my work,” continues Axonbody. “What is left after a form of energy ascends from one layer of reality to another? Can some of it stay left behind, and what would it look like? I think I connected very closely to ‘Zugunruhe’ because of that. The friction between the whispered voices and the screams in the vocals feels like a very raw depiction of this state of confusion someone can feel when being on the verge of big changes, or transformation, this feeling of fear and attraction towards that next layer of reality, the next stage in your life.” Female Pentimento describes the track as “a response to my own desire to heal from abuse but not having the tools or know-how to do so,” and alternates between tender spoken word, ethereal harmonies, strangled song and eviscerated howls, lending clarity to catharsis. “I wanted to capture the longing and chaos of that process,” the artist continues. “I was interested in exploring different sonic temperatures, so there are parts of the song that are quite cold and barren, while other moments feel a bit warmer and soothing. I think this reflects the emotional ups and downs that can come with the journey to mend one’s heart.”
“I’ve been a fan of Axonbody’s work for a few years now and I’ve always been drawn to his ability to organically speak to the metaphysical,” says Female Pentimento of their shared vision of ‘Zugunruhe’. “I think what makes Female Pentimento’s work so special is that while depicting very unique and surreal scenes, there is some sort of omniscient quality to it,” continues Axonbody. “It feels like these images are already a part of you before you even see them, like finding an old film photograph that you took in a past life. I think that’s a very precious feeling that not a lot of art can convey and I love the work for that. It just feels very natural and universal. I have a very iterative approach when it comes to creatives process; I’ll start by going very spontaneously into it, drafting as much as possible based off emotion and intuition, and then get back at it, deconstruct it and refine over and over. For this collaboration this approach was especially perfect since Female Pentimento and I have a very connected and symbiotic visual language, so it felt like the video just built itself very naturally based off the song. The process was so fluent that this space in between our worlds somehow manifested itself naturally, and reaching a balance was actually very organic.” Shot through with chaos, the pair’s shared biospiritualist vision begins and ends with the organic, from invisible vapours in space to petrified tree roots deep underground, dark skies over shallow seas giving way to tireless flocks. From out of these phenomena there arises a presence, manifested in glitching angel apparitions and green laser light, a spirit very much in crisis yet held in place by the terrible power of the numinous, an expression of immanence that sheds light on our place in the world by transforming it.
Katatonic Silentio embarks on a tripped out crawl through “a combination of shadowy, ethereal and intricate ambiences,” a glimpse of the sounds and textures she draws from for her latest album, Les Chemins De L’inconnu.
Mariachiara Troianiello is a sound artist, live performer, DJ and independent researcher, though she prefers the title ‘sonic sculptor’. The Milanese artist has developed a singular sound practice through experiments with the form and function of radio, a topic she began to explore as part of her undergraduate thesis and continues to explore with residencies at EOS Radio and LYL Radio, as well as her ongoing project Expanded Radio Research Unit, which she describes as an “independent radio art platform for innovative works at the intersection of music, spoken word, performance and sound.” Her focus for Expanded Radio Research Unit varies wildly, from speculative soundtracks for David Cronenberg’s Crash, Videodrome and Naked Lunch, to a 40-year retrospective of Polish Experimental Radio from Studio Warsaw, to her own mixes, which see her moving between sonic abstraction and lethal precision aimed squarely at the club. Active as a DJ for over 15 years, Troianiello is just as comfortable winding between musique concrète, spoken word and outsider music as she is techno, dub and drum & bass, displaying an omnivorous appetite for sound that is just as clearly reflected in her own productions. Since 2018 she has been releasing projects as Katatonic Silentio, finding kindred spirits at CyberspeakMusic, Bristol Normcore, Youth and, most recently, Ilian Tape.
Back in 2021 she released Tabula Rasa, a six-track excavation of foreboding atmospheres and ornately crafted bass, serving a heady concoction of razor-sharp sound design and blunt force pressure. The following year she followed up with an album proper, Les Chemins De L’inconnu, a return to the depths with a renewed clarity and a more delicate approach, balancing cavernous, sub-aquatic low end with viscous, organic textures and eerie soundscapes, described by the label as “a psychedelic trip to wake up the warrior” and the kind of record that could out smoke even the likes Skee Mask and the Zenker Brothers. For her Fact Mix, which Troianiello describes as “a combination of shadowy, ethereal and intricate ambiences underpinned by broken beats, alternating between urgent and gentle rhythms,” we’re shown a glimpse of the kinds of sounds the artist draws from to transport us to the world of Les Chemins De L’inconnu. Embarking on a tripped out crawl through heady haze and visceral sludge, Katatonic Silentio drags us through a hallucinogenic swamp of ambient, dub and chug before eventually swimming up through sporadic breaks and d&b, the paranoid scramble of Source Direct’s ‘Stonekiller’ serving as a dim beacon in the darkness, a surge of propulsion into the celestial skip of nthng’s ‘1 2 Butterfly’.
As Fact and 180 Studios present the Canadian artist’s new film Minor Daemon: Volume 1, we look back on his explorations of reality in the digital age, from excursions into Second Life and Google Street View to a 3D-animated dream journal.
In Jon Rafman’s latest film, Minor Daemon: Volume 1, two young men who share an extraordinary gift for virtual reality gaming attempt to secure their freedom from a Hieronymus Bosch-like hellscape. The feature-length film, showing at London’s 180 Studios until 25 March 2023, pulls together many of threads that the Canadian artist has been exploring throughout his career – online communities, identity, the increasingly thin boundaries between the digital and physical worlds – and tells a story that drills into the anxieties surrounding our fast-moving technological present.
Rafman first came to prominence in the late ‘00s with two ongoing works: Kool-Aid Man in Second Life and Nine Eyes of Google Street View. In the first, Rafman would conduct live guided tours in the online world of Second Life through the avatar of a soft drink mascot, contrasting the absurd character with the often overtly sexualised alter egos many participants would create for themselves. In the second, Rafman trawled the vast database of Google Street View (then a new venture for Google) for strange vignettes, accentuating the odd glitches that transpire when images are stitched together.
In both of these formative works, Rafman acts as a digital flaneur, wandering around the strange corners of cyberspace to document our strange new reality – a role he has played ever since, archiving the digital detritus of the modern web. “When I’m surfing Google Street View or exploring Second Life, the narrative impulse is always there,” Rafman said in a 2009 interview. “An underlying theme or goal is a constant search for artistic tools and methods that best represent or reveal modern experience. So I look for ideas and inspiration from those who also struggle to represent their experience of modernity, whatever the time period or era. In fact, I believe the different generations or time periods that have been termed modern are more similar than different. I mean, be it Geoffrey Chaucer in the Middle Ages or the contemporary artist Cory Arcangel, the artist has searched for how to represent and critically examine the present.”
In recent years, Rafman has continued to push the boundaries of digital art with a host of challenging narrative works such as Dream Journal, a feature-length film soundtracked by Oneohtrix Point Never and Andy Morin that explores the effects of technology and information overload on the contemporary psyche. Last month, he provided the album cover for Lil Yachty’s new album Let’s Start Here, which plays with the nightmarish aesthetic of AI-generated imagery. As we are bombarded with art created by AI tools such as Midjourney, Rafman’s early work feels particularly relevant to our present situation, showing us not just the deepest, darkest corners of the web, but an early indicator of what would ultimately become mainstream digital culture.
Caution: Some of these videos contain NSFW content
Kool-Aid Man in Second Life (2008-2011)
Second Life, launched in 2003, was one of the earliest examples of what would now be classed as a ‘metaverse’, a digital space where all forms of high and low culture collide. By conducting tours in this digital domain, Rafman acknowledged its role not simply as a video game, but an extension of human creativity. “It’s not so much the amateur technologies themselves that inspire me, but what amateurs are doing with these technologies, what they are using the technologies to create,” Rafman said in 2009. “I just love looking at stuff that people have created without the intention of it being called art. I mean, stuff that is made by people semi-naively, by people who are simply excited to create things.”
Nine Eyes of Google Street View (2008-ongoing)
Rafman’s exploration of Google Street View, an archival project that came to be known as Nine Eyes of Google Street View (named after the nine lenses on the 360-degree camera used to capture the images), can be seen as a search for a more honest representation of the world than traditional photography can offer. Horses wander streets, people fall off bikes, suspects are apprehended and a farmer chases his sheep. “In Street View, I first believed I had found a more truthful and more transparent world because of the seemingly unbiased and neutral way in which reality was photographed,” Rafman said in 2009.
You, The World, And I (2010)
You, The World, And I can be read as a companion piece to Nine Eyes, in which the narrator attempts to recapture memories of his lost love by trawling Google Street View for chance images of her. “That Google Street View image began to replace all other memories of her,” the narrator says. In the end, the original image disappears, presumably overwritten as Google periodically updates its image database – a reminder that even in an age of technological permanence, the internet is an ephemeral place.
Remember Carthage (2013)
As Rafman’s experiments with narrative filmmaking evolved, so did his source material. While You, The World, And I created a haunting collage from Google Maps, Remember Carthage constructs a documentary-style narrative with footage from Second Life and PlayStation 3-era video games. Imbued with a sense of loneliness and isolation, the narrator’s commentary recounts a search for an abandoned resort in Tunisia, unable to determine ancient remains of the site from their reproductions – an idea mirrored in the fictionalised culture depicted in the digital footage.
Named after Erisichthon of Thessalay, a gluttonous king from Greek mythology who was cursed with an insatiable hunger, this film concluded part of a trilogy of works that includes Still Life (Betamale) (2013) and Mainsqueeze (2014), films that studied niche internet culture such as cosplayers and hentai pornography enthusiasts. ERYSICHTHON‘s subject is the infinite loop of user-generated content – a reference perhaps to the Greek king, who eventually consumed himself.
Sticky Drama (2015)
Oneohtrix Point Never’s 2015 album Garden of Delete was initially teased through an alternate reality game, which hid arcane lore about a fictional ‘hypergrunge’ band called Kaoss Edge and an acne-afflicted humanoid alien called Ezra amongst PDFs, MIDI files, a fake label profile on SoundCloud and an obscure Blogspot scattered via hyperlinks across the web. This was expanded on in the video for standout track ‘Sticky Drama’, a grossed-out tale of teenage cyberpunk LARPers that plays on the gamified aspect of the Garden of Delete backstory.
Dream Journal (2016-2019)
Rafman’s latest work, Minor Daemon, wasn’t the first to dive headfirst into full 3D animation. Dream Journal (2016-2019), spawned from Rafman’s practice of animating his dreams using 3D software, and turned into a feature-length animated film that explores the psychological effects of technology and information overload. Its absurdist landscapes and vaporwave soundtrack (provided by Oneohtrix Point Never, James Ferraro and Death Grips’ Andy Morin) play out like a fever dream, with a visual style that recalls the slew of cheaply-made, algorithm-baiting kids content that flooded YouTube during the same period. From our current perspective, Rafman’s work can sometimes look dated – but together it creates a historical document of our strange and ever-changing digital reality.
Punctured Sky (2021)
Punctured Sky is the strange tale of a video game designer trapped by his ex-lover in the game they were designing together. Structured like a point-and-click adventure game, the film has its origin in a personal story of Rafman’s, in which an old friend tells him he can’t find any mention of a video game they used to play with each other after school called Punctured Sky. Subjective reality is a common thread in Rafman’s work, but in Punctured Sky it takes on a personal dimension, of a reality reconfigured by the broken memories of someone else.
Minor Daemon is showing at 180 Studios until 25 March 2023. Tickets are available now from the 180 The Strand website.
The presentation at 180 Studios coincides with a solo exhibition of Jon Rafman’s work at Sprüth Magers, London (3 February – 25 March 2023).
Jon Rafman: Minor Daemon 180 The Strand, London, WC2R 1EA 2 February – 25 March 2023
Artist Sevi IkoDømochevsky visualises the kind of catastrophe that KMRU and Aho Ssan make audible in their Fact Mix, one that is painful to comprehend, yet serves as a prescient diagnosis of our present.
Kenyan sound artist Joseph Kamaru, otherwise known as KMRU, and Aho Ssan, the French producer and composer born Désiré Niamké, are two of of contemporary electronic music’s most fascinating and vital figures. While the former artist’s prolific experiments with field recording have seen him develop an approach to ambient composition that emerges from and through the listener’s relationship with the sounds of their physical environment, the latter artist uses the infamously byzantine programming language Max/MSP to delve deep into the infinite possibilities of synthetic sound. Across his catalogue, on records such as Peel, Jar and Imperceptible Perceptible, KMRU emphasises the importance of listening to what you might usually miss, using patchworks of field recordings, foley and processing to bring small details into sharp focus. In contrast, Aho Ssan operates in more speculative and expressionist space, on the one hand contorting synthesis in unexpected directions while with the other simulating sounds previously unheard. On his 2020 album, Simulacrum, Niamké created Max/MSP patches to simulate The Mensah Imaginary Band, a synthesised ensemble inspired by his grandfather Mensah Anthony, a trumpet player who in the ’50s led a Ghanaian band across the Ivory Coast and acted as a conductor at the country’s famed Abissa Festival. Having never met his grandfather, as well as never having heard any recordings of his music, the artist created The Mensah Imaginary Band as a means of connecting with the music of his heritage, making sounds lost to memory material. Though perhaps counterintuitive, KMRU and Aho Ssan find immense, crackling potential energy in the contrast between their approaches, embracing chaos and cacophony and for their astounding collaborative work, which has seen both artists eschewing the minimalism of previous solo projects in favour of an intoxicating hybrid form of ferocious digital maximalism.
“I never made something so extreme,” Niamké says of his first recording with KMRU, a brooding composition made up of dense swarms of noise, groaning low-end and heart-wrenching synth improvisations, proof incarnate that, in the right hands, ambient, far from floating off in the background, has the all-consuming power to engulf entire rooms, volcanic eruptions of sound channeled into a deeply resonant collaborative expression. Commissioned by Berlin Atonal for their Metabolic Rift event, that first recording would grow and develop to eventually bloom into Limen, the duo’s 2020 album for Subtext. Here, driven by the internal and external pressure of the pandemic, the collaborators explored the dichotomy of their partnership further, taking cyclical processes of destruction and creation as a leaping off point to record an album structured around duality in sound, concept and execution. The result, in the words of Subtext founder James Ginzburg, unfolds as a soundtrack for “deconstructing history as it detonates around us.” It’s amongst the rubble of this detonation that we find ourselves for KMRU and Aho Ssan’s latest project, an audiovisual mix created alongside visual artist Sevi Iko Dømochevsky, who plunges us through the smog of a post-apocalypse, gliding through ruined environments and ecosystems like a reality warping ghost haunting a dead planet. “The approach of the mix was quite seamless,” explains Kamaru. “It’s evident how both of our works juxtapose onto each other and the mix feels like an antiphony between our sonic worlds. I began the mix with subtle tones and tracks currently unreleased and Désiré did the same with a more abrasive ending, an alternating response to the first half of the mix, which imbues an attunement to the reality through stillness, chaos and regeneration in a dialog between both of us.”
“I can’t seem to escape the idea that humans are so blissfully ignorant of the reality of the world,” asserts Dømochevsky, framing KMRU and Aho Ssan’s apocalypse ambient in motion blur and synthetic haze, languidly moving between a haunting sequence of catastrophic scenarios. The bleached ribs of a rotting leviathan protrude from a drained sea bed like spiny columns in a post-apocalyptic cathedral, its gargantuan spinal cord jutting from a carcass slick with sea water. Salt and whale blood swirl together in the discordant drones of unreleased material from KMRU, the sounds of a Berlin train serving as a quiet reminder of a world left to ruin. Space Afrika’s ethereal smudge of The Orielles ‘Beam/s’ strikes an eerie dissonance against a crimson sun setting over a radioactive sea, their haunting refrain, “something true, something real” warped into a chilling portent of what at present feels like our planet’s inevitable climate collapse. Just as KMRU’s soundscapes drift between dissociation and unease, an amorphous smog thick with tension, Dømochevsky’s imagery seems caught between entropy and undulation, streaked with analogue grain, the beautiful accidents of corrupt technology. The frazzled onslaught of Aho Ssan & Josèfa Ntjam ‘Dislocations’ bleeding into an excerpt of ‘Ego Death,’ performed at the 2022 edition of Unsound by Niamké and Resina, signals an explosion into psychedelic glitch. Frames within frames mimic the hyperactive pulse of news cycles in the age of social media, a perpetual deluge within which it is at times impossible to discern the difference between legacy media, OSINT reportage and deepfake spectacle, where natural disasters vie for their place within the attention economy, fighting for position alongside TikTok trends and targeted ads. Dømochevsky visualises the kind of catastrophe KMRU and Aho Ssan have made audible, one that is painful to comprehend, yet serves as a prescient diagnosis of our present.
The Canadian artist’s computer-generated fever-dream examines the relationship between technology and social consciousness.
180 Studios will present the UK premiere of Minor Daemon (2022), a new film by Canadian artist and filmmaker Jon Rafman, from 2 February – 25 March 2023. Set in a surreal dystopia, Minor Daemon: Volume 1 is a feature film that tells the story of two young men who share an extraordinary gift for virtual reality gaming that could secure their freedom as they journey through a Hieronymus Bosch-like hellscape.
Rafman, whose work explores the relationship between digital technology and the communities it creates, is also known for collaborating with Oneohtrix Point Never on his video game-like narrative feature, Dream Journal (2016-19). Minor Daemon picks up where the striking Dream Journal left off, utilising consumer animation technology to raise aesthetic questions about computer-generated moving images, projecting the anxieties of 21st century techno-society into 3D motion.
Building on the often disquieting qualities of Rafman’s earlier works, Minor Daemon presents a computer-generated fever-dream universe, drawing on the landscapes of online worlds to examine the relationship between technology and social consciousness. The presentation at 180 Studios coincides with a solo exhibition of Jon Rafman’s work at Sprüth Magers, London (3 February – 25 March 2023).
An intimate ambient soundtrack to the ups and downs of 2022 from the perspective of experimental producer and sound artist Nexcyia.
Nexcyia is the musical alias of Adam Dove, an African-American/French sound artist and ambient musician who splits his time between London and Paris. His artistic practice, which encompasses sculpture, installation, painting and moving image as well as sound art, explores notions of alienation and otherness in the African-American experience. “We never really speak about the sonification of race and the racialisation of listening,” Dove told The Wire in 2022, discussing his 2021 installation INTER(FEAR)ENCE. Inspired by the Black sociologist and civil rights activist WEB Du Bois’ idea of a “transparent wall”, he placed a speaker underneath the glass of a car door playing a muffled recording of the late Sandra Bland, a Black victim of US stop and search policies. “Black and white people can only see each other, today, they can’t hear each other,” Dove said.
The notion of otherness is something that he explored in his stunning 2020 debut EP, Crawl, released on London’s Alien Jams label. Across its six deeply layered compositions, Dove combined manipulated found sounds with granular synthesis to create intimate expressions of his inner experience through vast ambient vistas peppered with delicate textures. On his follow-up, the Origin EP released on Cafe OTO’s in-house label Takuroku, Dove crafted a broader meditation on place, time and being.
When recording his Fact Mix, Dove opted to approach it in a personal a fashion, as he would when creating one of his own records. “I started recording the mix on laptop back at my family’s house in the suburbs of Paris,” Dove says. “The mix conveys different moods throughout 2022 – I see it as a soundtrack and wanted to keep a memory of how the past year has been so crazy for me. The energy intentionally changes throughout the mix almost reflecting the ups and downs of that time, dealing with mental health, chronic illness, losing my grandfather Clyde Vernel Dove, moving house three times because of shitty situations.”
“It’s also the longest mix I’ve recorded so I wanted to compile something special with all my favourite artists,” Dove says of the mix, which includes music from Racine, Stone, crimeboys, Florian T M Zeisig (as spool), Igor Dyachenko, mu tate and arad acid (as dj bathtime). “The mix starts off and ends with Barcelona based artist Nueen – I first heard the track ‘Link IV’ on a mini UK tour I did with him November last year in Glasgow and Manchester. The tour was organized by the lovely Conna Haraway & Deep Softy who run INDEX:Records – we also had the amazing Slowfoam on tour with us.”
Nexcyia will be touring in February and March 2023, playing several dates in London, as well as shows in Florence and Madrid – find more info at his website. Follow Nexcyia on Instagram and SoundCloud.
Nueen – Link IV (forthcoming 3XL) Stone – Guh gab_i – stasis_relief_ Xenia Reaper – Stereo Dipole [APPX-09] crimeboys – deja entendu (dub) (3XL) AshTreJinkins – zonedOwt [1 for Tre] (2016) duun – Losing Track With Discosexo Corell – Under the Surface (forthcoming Appendix.Files) dj bathtime – subzzero-_+ Igor Dyachenko – melt Slow Attack Ensemble – November, 1st in Detroit Oliver Coates – Forest Arrest/Search For Body Unt – For The Love Of Money 1 (forthcoming) DJ Birdbath – to see (forthcoming Appendix.Files) DJ Birdbath – spec (forthcoming Appendix.Files) mu tate – salt cat mu tate – me when u (forthcoming) crimeboys – red shift (3XL) Joseph Theodor – What Are You Thinking About Bogdan Simeonov – somewhere else Racine – Le clocher de Hamelin_M (forthcoming) McGregor – fuse_0xe5(d1) OL – 1Bar (formyset mix) crimeboys – Deja Entendu w- James K (Single Version) (3XL) usof – Brat Corell – G7 (forthcoming Appendix.Files) editer h – no culture (shiner’s edge remix) spool – its alright, seven 1 (forthcoming) Nueen – Link I (forthcoming 3XL)
Movement artist Holly Blakey reunites withdancer and actor Nandi Bhebhefor a visceral response to the writing of Alan Moore, adapted by producer and musician Andrew Broder alongside serpentwithfeet and Kazu Makino.
Back in 2020 the Minneapolis producer and multi-talented musician Andrew Broder was tapped for the soundtrack for The Show, a fantasy neo-noir film written by legendary comic book writer and national treasure Alan Moore. Having previously worked with Moore on the score for the authors semi-autobiographical, audio novella Unearthing, Broder jumped at the chance, crafting a suite of evocative compositions channelled from the dreamscapes of Moore’s script, which follows a detective searching for a mysterious artefact around Moore’s birthplace of Northampton. The Show Original Soundtrack sees Broder revisiting the score, remixing and re-contextualising his own sounds with the help of a stellar cast of collaborators, including Moor Mother, Billy Woods, Denzel Curry and Haleek Maul. For ‘These Seas,’ Broder enlisted the talents of serpentwithfeet and Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead to spin the surging instrumental into an urgent anthem for dreamers, weaving an interpolation of Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’ together with hiccuping samples, synthetic squelches and propulsive percussion. “It was a cool opportunity and challenge to make a track around Alan Moore’s lyrics, to hit his reference points and underlying thematic narrative,” explains Broder. “Serpent and Kazu both have such unique and different approaches to singing, so transportive and perfect for a song about living and dying in dreamworld. This is a track for the scary and exciting club in one’s dreams.” For the track’s surreal visual movement artist Holly Blakey reunites with dancer and actor Nandi Bhebhe, who Blakey captured in the “gum chewing, colour changing portrait” Wrath – presented by Fact as part of Holly Blakey’s stunning Fact Residency. Translating Broder’s pulsating synth swarms into visceral, instinctive movement, Blakey and Bhebhe draw the dream in close to the body, spinning between sexual tension and violent release.
Opting for eerie monochrome and low resolution infrared, Blakey plays with the internal spectacle of dream space, bleaching the colour from much of the visual, drawing attention away from aesthetic detail and pulling focus on the brutal simplicity of her stage and the rawness of Bhebhe’s movements. When Blakey does introduce colour into the frame it is as an obscuring gesture, rather than adding more detail she takes it away, with pixellated, high-contrast footage invoking the visual language of surveillance, a dancer trapped in a dream, as opposed to moving freely through it. With the introduction of another dancer the scene strays further from our initial understanding, leaving us questioning whether what we have witnessed was a dance or a possession, the prelude to a demonstration of intense physical intimacy or a violent exchange. This ambiguity is central to the project, both in Broder’s music and in Alan Moore’s wider writing practice. “Alan Moore is such an inspiring writer, thinker and social critic – uncompromising in his artistic vision,” concludes Broder. “I wanted this record to pay tribute to those qualities and step out of my own character a bit, work with some new friends and make something dark and mysterious but also confidently physical, with a lot of momentum. I am moving into more focused exploration of electronic music now, away from my time as a songwriter. I want to approach music with little adherence to genre, and a universal outlook, dwelling less on the self and more about painting with sound. Like Moore, trying to find some threads to weave together the cosmic, psychedelic realm with the more human and vulnerable melodic sense, something that still aches.”
Through intense introspection and a DIY approach to sound, Richie Culver taps into the loose, potent energy of the afterparty, capturing the feeling of discovering worlds thought impossible in cigarette smoke and shitty speakers.
Richie Culver is responsible for some of the most quietly devastating music of recent years. Already infamous for his visual practice, which has been described as “squat art” (a label the artist is more than happy to stand behind), in recent years Culver has turned his attention to music. Between Post Traumatic Fantasy, an EP for Italian label SUPERPANG, A Change Of Nothing, a collaborative release with Pavel Milyakov for his own label, Participant, and his debut album, I was born by the sea, last year, Richie Culver announced himself as a musician with an unmistakable voice, shining new light on the themes of his work and in ways both excruciatingly raw and singularly evocative. While his visual works portray autobiographical vignettes of outsider observations and macabre parables scrawled and sprayed across canvas, walls and cardboard, fleeting and fraught glimpses of a difficult past captured with a crackling, transient urgency, with his music, his words are set adrift on threadbare loops worn raw and ragged, spray paint rendered as synthesis, glacial swells of ambience, industrial throbs of noise and dark insomniac drones exhaled together as thick melancholy haze. For Culver the transition from visual art to music is hardly surprising, he came up in the rave, developing his outlook on both art and life in the thick of the free party scene in and around Hull, a period so formative that the spirit has never left him. “I remember when I first got introduced to rave culture and then, shortly after, club culture, instantly deciding on the spot that I was going to dedicate my life and soul to this,” he explains. “With no tools, talent or links I rolled the dice.”
“This mix gently echos the underbelly of a desire or obsession to be part of something that doesn’t really exist,” he continues. “Maybe it was a myth? It can’t have been because I saw people succeeding, getting paid to do something they would do for free. Was that too much to ask? That was always my goal.” Moving through a choice selection of tracks from the year past, remixes, re-edits and a trove of unreleased material, Culver chases the ghosts of dance music through the atmospheres and ambiences of his formative years, like sifting for ecstasy in the cold waters of the Humber. “I remember watching Boyz N The Hood when I was around 12 or 13,” he recalls. “Laurence Fishburne’s character, Furious Styles, always stood out to me. He was my secret idol. I never mentioned it to any of my friends at the time when we would watch it on repeat. None of us had great male role models but I figured we were all thinking the same thing. This was my first glimpse of what I thought a man should be. Someone to look up to, someone to give you good advice at those critical stages of life. Someone who cares about you. Even though it was through a TV screen. He gave me hope, some kind of a blueprint to turn to when those life-changing, crossroads moments should appear later down the road.” It’s this hope that pervades much of the new material presented here, like Rainy Miller’s reverberant, avant-drill rework of ‘Daytime TV’, taken from an upcoming collection of remixes of tracks from Culver’s debut, which threads skittering hi-hats and queasy bass surges through the original’s sombre ambient cascade, or the staccato synth stabs of ‘We got to be,’ heralding distant crashes of percussion, evocative of breakbeat and hardcore, only heard from miles away in the distance.
The mix is littered with crossroads moments like these, an unexpected burst aquatic surf guitar warble, courtesy of Pavel Milyakov, signalling an onslaught of new sound, the unreleased ‘Scream if you don’t exist’ unravelling in hiccuping piano licks and pitch-shifted exhortations, an unhinged mantra spiralling off into the void. The deadpan delivery of ‘Afterparty stranger,’ a stark spoken word piece, splits the mix in two, finding Culver viscerally inhabiting the creeping paranoia and low self-esteem of an addled memory, his worst impulses echoed back at him, his desperation relived with unflinching clarity. In the mix’s most poignant moments, Culver pulls focus from his own voice to the voices of others, wrenching open the ribcage of his own experience to make space for a new polyphony. ‘Oh my god they’re gone’ sets bright, looping chimes against an etherised monologue from Culver’s wife, who draws from her experiences working as a death doula to work through the transcience of life and the permanence of grief. As the mix draws to a close, Culver exits the stage to let a text-to-speech tool play him out, as though breathing artificial life into words too painful to be spoken, too painful, even, to be scrawled. What we’re left with is a retrospective of sorts, both of Culver’s recent releases, instant cult classics, inscribed messily in the canon of outsider music and experimental electronics, but also of the full circle that brings Culver back, through art, to music. Through intense introspection and a DIY approach to sound, the artist is able to reproduce the loose, potent energy of the afterparty, capturing the feeling of discovering worlds thought impossible in cigarette smoke and shitty speakers. “At age 15 I left school early as I got a good job offer on a caravan site,” Culver concludes. “At age 17 I left that job and decided to dedicate my life to rave in whatever way the genre would accept me. A decision I made on my own. I never did find a place in any kind of genre.”
‘Dream about yourself’ (Re-Edit) ‘Daytime TV’ (Rainy Miller Remix) ‘We got to be’ ‘Gateway drug’ ‘It’s hard to get to know you’ Pavel Milyakov & Richie Culver – ‘Track 2’ ‘Scream if you don’t exist’ ‘Afterparty stranger’ ‘Create a lifestyle around your problems’ ‘Clenched jaw’ ‘Underground flower’ (Rainy Miller Re-Edit) ‘Oh my god they’re gone’ ‘A victim of my own thoughts’ (Nuno Loureiro Re-Edit) Blackhaine & Richie Culver – ‘I’m not gonna cum’
Artist, composer, producer and DJ Holodec tunes into the ethereal sounds of a dog’s eye view of Los Angeles.
Holodec met Kelman Duran outside the old Chinatown studio of NTS in Los Angeles. “He had the show before mine,” he explains. “We were both out in the alley smoking, just chopping it up and it all grew from that, here we are now.” Where we are now is still Los Angeles, yet viewed through through many different lenses at once, superimposing the contemporary experiences of diasporic communities with reflections on the sociopolitical conditions of America in the ’90s and ’00s, as well as more personal reflections on universal themes of family, love and loss. Such is the setting for All Dogs Come From Wolves, an album encompassing Holodec’s irresistibly narcotic sonic palette, low-lit sounds for blissed-out ravers, as well as a statement, a reminder that you need to understand where you’re from before you can know where you’re going. Released on Scorpio Red, the label run by multidisciplinary artist Ans M and Duran and home to essential projects from ONY, LC & Charles Verni and Duran himself, All Dogs Come From Wolves is described by Holodec as “an album about one and their environment, their thoughts, feelings, sounds, textures, smells, conversations. The things one hears in the distance, what one sees in the distance. An album for the city – any city, your city, where you are from, where you are at. Stylistically speaking, the sum of all my influences, a convergence.” He continues: “The album is constructed as scenes, sequenced out. Not entirely linear but nonetheless connected, coexisting. Think of it as a someone’s photo album. If you found a random photo album on the side of the street, looked at it from cover to cover, you can probably get a good idea of that person’s world. There’s a sincerity you can’t replicate.”
‘Dog’ and ‘Just U,’ two highlights from the album, unfurl as twin snapshots of the same space, the smudged, reverberant keys and synthetic murmur of the former track’s ambient interlude winding up into the restless, 2-step skip, pining synth line and smoked-out, pitch shifted vocals of the latter, the pulse of the city felt with a full heart. Director Allek Bien‘s hyper-saturated visuals reveal a dog’s eye view of LA at night, dust particle tracers dissolving into technicolor powder, ghostly graffiti blurred into a single, continuous texture, the city’s subway tunnels stretched into infinity. Holodec’s words surface fleetingly amidst the city lights, like phrases momentarily glimpsed from a moving car: “sound of city / sounds of cities in which I formed / sounds of cities in which I survive.” Picking out an instinctive poetry from the humming polyphony of their home, Holodec and Bien paint a portrait in superimposition, the continual condition of the streets they grew up on. As shaky pet cam footage is layered on top of itself, the artists depict a city both past and present, a gesture which is both a “statement” and a “toast,” a sentiment which leads back to the potency of the album’s title, an affirmation that looking back will show you the way forward. “Past lives become this life, this life becomes the next life,” says Holodec. “The title speaks to the spectrum of one’s evolution. Remember where you came from. Savour the present. Build the future.” Though transmitted from the complexity of immigrant identity within the cursed history of contemporary America, Holodec’s message pulls focus on the kinds of optimism one can find in solidarity, “a toast / all dogs come from wolves / we survive together.”
A journey at light speed through the universe of Akua, focusing on old school techno from the ’90s and early 2000s.
Over the past several years, Ghanian-American artist Akua has established herself both as a fixture of the New York’s dance music community at venues including Basement and Public Records, and as an internationally renowned techno DJ who has played at festivals such as Draaimolen and Dekmantel, and clubs like Berghain and C12. Central to her approach is activating timeless strains of raw, mechanized expression while also educating her audiences on the Black futurity that lies at the foundations of techno, as she told Fact in 2019.
In keeping with this focus on Black artistry, Akua’s sets are frequently filled with foundational US techno from Detroit and Midwest artists, music she feels is raw and straightforward yet deeply immersive for the listener. “I’m fascinated with old school techno because it seemed the only thing that truly mattered then was finding and following one’s authentic groove and I yearn for this energy so much in the present day,” Akua tells Fact. “I see the opposite very often in the present day as DJs and artists are so attached to achieving perfection and following trends in what they share with their audiences especially because of technologies we engage with through our practice.”
It’s this era that Akua hones in on for our first Fact Mix of 2023, an all-vinyl, high-octane trip through the cosmos that provides a jolt of much-needed energy for the new year. “The mix is definitely a journey through my universe at light speed,” Akua says. “It clocks in at around 146bpm the whole time. It starts out a bit intense but by the end of it after many twists and turns has a euphoric ending once it’s reached its destination.” Featuring classic tracks from K.Hand, Robert Hood and Spank Spank of Chicago acid innovators Phuture, as well as artists who were inspired by American techno innovation like Surgeon and Steve Bicknell, it looks resolutely to Akua’s vision for techno’s future while referencing the past.
Akua’s interest in the era also stems from a deep commitment to researching the vast archives of techno’s past – not just the classic tracks but the art of the techno mix itself. “I am constantly listening to and searching for ’90s techno mixtapes and I wanted to create something that emulates the vibe and energy of all of my favorite promo mixes,” Akua says of her Fact mix. “Some [of the mixes] that have inspired me the most have been by artists including Jay Denham, Claude Young, and Jeff Mills (all who have tracks are featured in the mix), Mike Dearborn, and DJ Hyperactive. I love how carefree and fearless they were in their mixing and how they were not so focused on technical perfection but rather on creating a compelling story that connects and resonates deeply with dancers.”
In the first of a new series of audiovisual mixes, Fact is extremely proud to present a new collaboration from visionary jungle powerhouse Tim Reaper and digital artist and DJ Jack Anderson.
Tim Reaper is one of contemporary dance music’s most prodigious talents, a wildly prolific producer and life-long jungle devotee balancing revivalist rigor and bleeding edge innovation, all with an era-defining grace and intimidating skill. Between his label Future Retro, Globex Corp, the Simpsons-themed, 7th Storey Projects sub-label he runs with friend and collaborator Dwarde, a steady stream of solo releases over the course of a decade and the hard-won, well-deserved ascendency he has experienced over the last few years, Reaper has emerged as an essential bridge between the jungle die-hards and the scenes that surround them, splicing the old-school ’90s sound with elements of techno and drum and bass while maintaining both the hardcore spirit and a preternatural ear for the future of the sound. A dedicated digger and obsessive trawler of jungle and d&b forums and message boards ever since he picked up an Andy C mix CD that came free with a copy of Mixmag he was using for his Media Studies GCSE, Reaper is both a devoted student and one of the key technicians of jungle’s current iteration. While wielding an encyclopaedic knowledge and profound respect for the old-school styles developed at institutional London jungle parties Rupture, Jungle Syndicate and Technicality with one hand, Reaper is able to tweak and re-tool his productions with the other, deftly expanding jungle’s horizons while staying true to the discipline of the pioneers that came before him. Yet his overarching project is one in service of the scene, paying dues to the old heads while shifting focus to the new guard: artists brought together for his legendary run of Meeting Of The Minds compilations, collaborators Dwarde, Sully and Kloke, as well as Future Retro regulars Kid Lib and Phineus II. Never one to hitch himself to the hype that surrounds him, Tim Reaper plays by the same rules he always has.
Jack Anderson similarly blurs the line between artist and technician, having developed a multi-disciplinary digital practice that has seen him create visuals for DJ Python, Anthony Naples, Simo Cell and Lil Uzi Vert, 3D design for Mugler, direct and VJ at Draaimolen Festival and produce stunning music videos for xl.iks, Elise Massoni and Huerco S. Anderson is also just as at home in the rave as he is behind the laptop screen, DJing as Jek and dropping killer mixes for the likes of down2earth, The Lot Radio and Juanita’s Mix. A longtime fan of Tim Reaper, here, Anderson blends live 360-degree footage with audio-reactive effects and live improvisations to bring his singular vision to a lethal transmission of Reaper’s own productions, some unreleased exclusives, classic remixes and contemporary heat, pitching even further into the future than Reaper has done previously. “This video is inspired by my relationship with jungle music and travel/transit,” Anderson says of the visuals. “I wanted to visually interpret how Jungle can separate the mind from the body, in a way teleporting you to another world. I focused on the energy of the mix using the complex drum breaks to drive the distortion of footage, and more moody parts to create interesting forms in the generative system I used. This mix is incredibly technical and I wanted the visuals to match Tim’s pure skill and track selection. I used a 360 camera to film hours of commuting and then ran the video through Touch Designer to apply the audio-reactive effect. I then mapped a MIDI controller to certain parameters and jammed over the mix.”
It’s not simply the sheer velocity of Reaper’s sound that Anderson is able to translate into visuals, but the distinctive dialogue between tension and stimulation experienced when traversing the harsh density of a metropolis, head down, hands in pockets, head phones on. Organic, liquid effects smear and warp sunlight shone through foliage into pulsing, mutant greens, acid rain spattered along a bus window. Streets and sidewalks rotate and liquify in time with the pitch-black ooze of bass and relentless barrage of breaks, pedestrians flipped and fractalised beyond recognition. Blocky urban architecture is melted down into mercury, spread out into rivulets with each whip-fast transition. The result is like experiencing your commute to work in some dystopian future, trying to move around with corrupted augmented reality optic nerve implants. In this way Anderson pays homage to jungle’s cyberpunk pedigree, capturing the sound’s irresistible vibration between dark euphoria and ecstatic paranoia in glitch and blur, channeling the technologically-enhanced anxiety of the hyper-stimulated present. This quality is something that Tim Reaper is also abundantly aware of and can be heard across his catalogue, as well as in the monotone mantra of Amit’s ‘Swastika’: People. Government. People. Truth. People. Government. People. Conspiracy. “Because I’m a web developer as well, I sort of know the implications as to how much data is being collected about all of us by all these places,” he told Tempo. “All the dark patterns, all the manipulation. All the A.I. and algorithms that work out what you’re like and feed back at you.” Reaper’s distinct approach and attitude builds a case for jungle being as apt a soundtrack today as it was in the ’90s and, together with Jack Anderson’s visuals, provides us with a glimpse of what it might be like in the future.
We curate a selection of our favourite commissions, documentaries, music videos, audiovisual works and mixes we presented in 2022.
Most people would agree that 2022 was a mess. It was a year spent in permacrisis, with goblin mode thoroughly engaged, a year in which vibes were shifted, culture wars were waged, won, lost and cancelled and very real wars were escalated in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Whether we’re in the Endcore now, or have communally relocated to Clown Town, the spaces for culture, more specifically the spaces for the singular kinds of expression Fact has been mapping for the last two years, have been and continue to be in a constant state of fragmentation and atomisation, emerging as theatres for what Dane Sutherland of Most Dismal Swamp describes as “arcane, encrypted cultures flourishing among the recesses of an online megalopolis and reinforced by offline organisation and social balkanization.” Perhaps a most dismal swamp is a fitting metaphor for the mess of 2022, what Sutherland identifies as an “inextricably entangled, adversarial Mixed Reality system: a bazaar of amateur heresies, microworld-building protocols, and dog-whistle memetics,” a place for the goblins to dance.
It is a flattened space, in which the teething problems of nascent technologies are transformed into new art practices and visual disciplines and the collapse of speculation on the future reloads the end of history, rendering the present absurd and impossible to parse. In the most recent memo from consultancy and creative studio Nemesis, Emily Segal, Martti Kalliala (of Amnesia Scanner) and Lucas Mascatello borrow a concept from sound/information theory: “The amplification of a dissonant signal creates distortion with artefacts (random sonic material accidentally produced by the editing process). These artefacts can themselves become an aesthetic.” We see powerful reflections on this dissonant amplification and distortion in Torus and Mark Prendergast’s hypnotic visual for ‘3000 Mirrors’, which uncouples footage of the sun from its digital footprint, transforming ghosting and lens flare into separately autonomous digital entities, in the now familiar lysergic squirm of Stephen McLaughlin’s GAN animations for Maxwell Stirling, or in the knotty patchwork of visual systems and effects used by Actual Objects to create the surreal ‘Notoriously Fast’ video for VTSS.
Exhaustion, chaos and confusion are some of the central tenets that writer Shumon Basar points to in his definition of ‘endcore,’ another term that could be used for the time and place that is 2022, where even that which has been accelerated is accelerating, the future has already been cancelled and signifiers and references are wrenched from their original contexts and stuck on top of each other – Katamari Damacy after the end of the world. We have seen some of the most exciting emerging artists and musicians grappling with these ideas: Hannah Rose Stewart and Blackhaine capture an egregore formed from the “architecture, ephemera and history of the working class in the North” in a bleak virtual environment, Thomas Harrington Rawle and Bjarki explore an alternative near-future in which corporations have weaponised mindfulness meditation and self-care practice to enslave what’s left of a divided humanity into its infinitely expanding workforce, while Visio and Rustan Söderling collapse myth and folklore into the post-apocalypse, imagining a great re-enchantment once civilisation has faded away.
In his final column for Spike Art Magazine, Dean Kissick asserts: “We’re told every morning that life is miserable and hideous, which it’s not, and also that culture is high-quality and life-affirming, which is plainly ridiculous. This is breathtakingly diabolical because the opposite is true: life is still beautiful, it’s culture that’s in the doldrums.” While we may largely agree, Fact has had the privilege this year of bearing witness to music and art that reminds us of Kissick’s optimistic take on life. See Lyra Pramuk’s intimate performance of bodily affirmation, live at the Volksbühne, or Theo Triantafyllidis and Slugabed’s comedic CG vanitas, a intricate assemblage of crab legs, apricot halves, esoteric knight’s helmets all serving as a joyous reminder of quotidian absurdity. Tune in, almost every Monday, to the Fact mix, which this year has presented the most forward-thinking, boundary-breaking, horizon-expanding producers and DJs you can hear right now. 2022 might be a swamp at the end of time, but there’s a lot that’s worth seeing and so many worth listening to.
In an original commission from Trauma Bar und Kino and Fact Magazine, concept artist and 3D designer Hannah Rose Stewart and musician and performance artist Blackhaine present MIASMA, a haunted world of lost souls, abandoned spaces and egregores. At once a visceral live production and an intricate digital environment and performance built in Unreal Engine, MIASMA is enveloped by what Stewart describes as “socially imbued feelings of loss, ghosts, magical realism and the uncanny in post-industrial society,” chasing an egregore formed from the “architecture, ephemera and history of the working class in the North,” as well as death drone, the Japanese dance theatre of Butoh and abandoned urban simulation as seen through the eyes of philosophical horror writer Thomas Ligotti.
For this episode of Patch Notes, we invited Manchester-based sound artist Vicky Clarke to 180 Studios for a special performance of her AURA MACHINE project, accompanied by visuals from her collaborator Sean Clarke. The piece, which takes the listener on a journey through what happens to a sound object when processed by a neural network, sees Clarke perform with live objects including her AURA Sculpture #1 STEEL – a resonant AI generated transmutational object and a glass bong.
In September 2021, Lyra Pramuk premiered a special live show at Berlin’s Volksbühne based on her album Fountain, developed in collaboration with choreographers Kianí del Valle and Nana, who brought a new dimension to the music of Fountain through dance and movement. In this original film from Fact, the trio talk about their own personal relationships with Fountain, the inspirations behind their work and the live show, and how the ideas and themes behind Fountain closely align with the movement of the body.
In this film, Romain Gavras and Surkin provide a unique insight into their collaborative project and audiovisual triptych, Neo Surf, which featured at Fact and 180 Studios’ Future Shock exhibition in 2021. “It’s almost more controversial to see a positive side, that even when the world is collapsing, kids will be kids and do stupid shit,” Gavras says of the work, offers a uniquely optimistic view of the future despite a sense of slowly unfolding catastrophe.
Created at 180 Studios’ XR space at 180 The Strand in collaboration with Actual Objects, ‘Notoriously Fast’ is a sci-fi horror thrill ride starring Martyna Maja, the artist known as VTSS. Drawing inspiration from Leos Carax’s modern classic Holy Motors and Jonathan Glazer’s astonishing Under The Skin, Case Miller, Claire and Rick Farin seamlessly blend live footage, CGI and A.I.-assisted imaging to create a high-speed fever dream steeped in visceral surrealism.
In this documentary, creative studio Actual Objects go into the themes and ideas behind their immersive installation Vicky, which featured at Fact and 180 Studios’ Future Shock exhibition over the summer. The narrative, which tells the story of a disaster from multiple different viewpoints and is augmented by sound design from Theo Karon, is spread across multiple screens, each of which houses a different character reflecting on the situation in different ways.
Still Life With Platypus, an original Fact commission, sees digital artist Theo Triantafyllidis and producer and sound artist Slugabed navigating a series of increasingly complex and surreal vanitases, ultra high detail assemblages of crab legs, apricot halves, esoteric knight’s helmets, glowing mesh nets, lit cigarettes and tree trunks, as well as the titular Platypus, revolving and reacting to Slugabed’s atmospheric score.
In this film, directed by Fact’s Pedro S. Küster and featuring exclusive footage from the live performance of the MUNCH Museet commission Not Yet, experimental saxophonist Bendik Giske discusses the many innovative techniques that go into creating his work, from circular breathing to using microphones mounted on the instrument to create different tonal qualities. Giske also discusses the inspiration behind Not Yet and the idea of ‘stepping out of the binary’ to create a unique tonal and spatial experience, one that communicates with both the audience and the performance environment.
‘Spores,’ a sinister highlight from London-based producer aircode’s debut album Grounded, sets foreboding squalls of noise against creeping horrorshow keys and ritualistic percussive clanks, constantly flirting with the sinister suggestion that something ancient and sprawling lurks just beneath the surface. The visual, made in collaboration with director Federico Barni and the South London Botanical Institute, cuts between a third person perspective and the perspective of a botanist, as glimpsed through the lens of a microscope, exploring interconnected ecological systems at both a micro and macro level.
In ‘Bot Møther’, art world provocateurs Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig enlist the talents of CGI artist Darío Alva for a suitably surrealist visual for their exquisitely dissonant experimental jazz salvo, which smashes together squalls of saxophone and ripples of percussion with the sounds of sci-fi artillery, like an amphetamine-fuelled, midnight jam hammered out oblivious to an ongoing alien invasion. Alva taps into this surrealist barrage to bring us an urgent news bulletin, a scabrous send-up of the ludicrous spectacle of the sluggish spin of new cycles spewed forth from outdated legacy media institutions.
Eden Samara’s debut album Rough Night bounds from cosmic introspection on ‘Ultimatum’ and ‘Interlude’ to the sun-dappled skip and sensual stumble of ‘The Local’ and ‘Growing Into Your New Skin,’ weaving between bittersweet torch songs and near-future sex jams on ‘Sophie,’ ‘D4M,’ and title track ‘Rough Night’. Samara explores her internal worlds with openness and generosity, bringing us along for the ride no matter how raw and real. It is this exploratory quality of Rough Night that formed the primary inspiration for Samara’s collaboration with friend, artist and animator Natalia Podgorska, a hallucinatory game world modelled around each track from the album.
On Turn Of Phrase, Maxwell Sterling interpolates spatiotemporal displacement into highly emotional, richly textured sound design, feeding neoclassical instrumentation and arrangements into an experimental electronics centrifuge to distill a sound that is at once atmospherically expansive and technically rigorous. It’s this anachronism, of space and time, of composition and process, that audiovisual artist Stephen McLaughlin teases out with his maximalist visual response to ‘Decay Time’, arranging twitching GAN animations, video montage, Baroque lettering and esoteric iconography to construct a dream like sequence of intersecting histories and bisecting timelines, a blossoming rhizome of aesthetic practices past, present and future.
On the beautifully dazed visual for ‘a romance, the opener of more eaze’s album oneric, ‘a romance’, directors Zoé Martin and her husband Leo Gack transport us to the moments that follow on waking, as two young creatures of the night awake to the aftermath of a particularly debauched party. Cinematic synth swells and tactile sound design signal the first crepuscular rays of dawn light, a wave of warm distortion duplicated in the twilit haze that illuminates the site of what reveals itself to have been an orgiastic banquet charged with vampiric desire.
Emerging out of the curatorial experiments of Dane Sutherland, whose focus had previously centered around gallery exhibitions, distributive sonic fiction, club nights and other live events, Most Dismal Swamp is described by its creator as “an art project, a curatorial MMORPG, a fiction, a party, and a mixed-reality biome.” MUSH is the latest iteration of this process, an immersive world build adapted from a site-specific installation at the 2021 edition of Mira Festival in Barcelona, that blurs the lines between film essay, cursed ASMR and weird fiction.
Under the gaze of experimental filmmaker and video artist Rebecca Salvadori, refurbished factories and warehouses, industrial parks, dimly-lit underpasses and motorway-adjacent woodlands are produced not only as hedonistic spaces, the as yet undeveloped real estate upon which London’s clubs and free parties can find an all too often temporary home, but as liminal sites of transformative potential, in which one is suspended in fleeting moments of intimacy and communal connection. Cutting between non-linear documentary and abstract montage in a dissociative assemblage of image, sound and text, The Sun Has No Shadow navigates a vital shared territory between the moving image and live sound and performance, splicing footage from Canning Town institution FOLD and its beloved Sunday day rave UNFOLD next to testimonials from ecstatic ravers and Salvadori’s own friends.
Care More is artist Thomas Harrington Rawle’s series created in response to the confusion and absurdity of contemporary narratives of self-care in an increasingly cruel and atomised world. The film takes place in an intricately rendered, broken universe, in which the Care Corporation have weaponized mindfulness meditation and self-care practice to enslave what’s left of a divided humanity into its infinitely expanding workforce. In Affirmation Chamber, Rawle explores another of the dehumanizing procedures employed by Care Corp in the form of an overwhelming barrage of affirmation via immersion in a rigor mortis death grin “Affirmizer Helmet”. Featuring a stellar cast of voice actors, including VTSS, Bruce, Breanna Box, Joanna Kuchta, Hinako Omori, Mui Zyu, Enzo Samuel and Cathal Mckeon, the writer and co-creator of the Care More universe, Affirmation Chamber plays out against rich, textural sound design from producer Bjarki and serves as an introduction to their new live AV show, which debuted at the 2021 edition of Sheffield’s No Bounds Festival.
Developed from a previous collaboration between the producer and sound artist Torus and filmmaker Mark Prendergast, 3000 Mirrors uncouples footage of the sun from its digital footprint, transforming ghosting and lens flare into separately autonomous digital entities. Opening on rolling clouds, evocative of the infinite scroll and the imperceptibly frictionless relationship we have with our screens, the radial flare of the sun indicates a technologically enabled flattening of the star, it’s image digitally reproduced as visual effect. Just as Torus’s arpeggiated euphoria begins its serotonin spiking ascendency, the sun and its iPhone-induced visual artefacts are separated, moving as tracers disconnected from one another, as though manifesting the tension between silence and sonic swell that drives Woudstra’s production.
Set in a similar universe as Russel Hoban’s 1980s science fiction novel Riddley Walker, a stylistic portrait of a new Iron Age occurring two thousand years after a nuclear apocalypse, VISIO and Rustan Söderling lead us through a landscape of post-apocalyptic mythology, illuminated by fairy light in Youth Grows Forever, which explores the birth of a new mythology as the world becomes magical again following the end of civilisation.
Rising Manchester DJ Abena, one of the figures behind All Hands on Deck, the city’s foremost open deck party and DJ workshop for women, non-binary and trans people, spins through an ode to weird, trippy warm-up set sounds.
No one captured the manic energy of 2022 better than DJ Travella, the 19-year-old producer from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania responsible for the most exhilarating music of recent memory. Injecting crackling cybernetic energy into singeli, he has developed a semi-improvisational style incorporating production, DJing and live performance, in which samples are triggered using a Bluetooth keyboard he wields with the flair of a glam rocker. His Fact mix features improvised remixes from his album Mr Mixondo, one of the most essential projects of the year.
Ehua makes music that drifts irresistibly between shadow and sensuality, formed from dense swirls of carefully crafted sound design and lethal percussive gymnastics that permeate space and envelop bodies, precision-engineered for loose, instinctual movement. For her Fact mix she ventures further into the evocative expansiveness of her sound, exploring deconstructed and experimental soundscapes.
Juggling a day job in data science, creating deep learning models for predicting natural disasters, with running the reliably brilliant CHROME imprint, his long-running NTS show and releasing killer mixtapes for Promesses, Cav Empt and $hotta Tapes, Felix Hall’s is one of the deadliest ears around. His Fact mix bounds through some contemporary dancehall standards, a loving selection of some of 2022’s best dembow tunes, as well as some prime contemporary club cuts.
Latvian-born, Amsterdam-based producer Himera’s Fact mix is what falling in love on the internet sounds like, the overdriven, hyper saturated soundtrack to vaping in the club, k-holing in the bathroom and crying on the bus on the way home.
Stockholm-born, Bristol-based DJ k means leans hard into the deep, dark and amphibian, pitching us into a irresistible descent through high-pressure industrial throb, dread techno, ghost footwork, deepest, darkest dub and everything in-between.
A stark juxtaposition of comfort and discomfort, pleasure and pain, delicate and harsh from the Glasgow-based artist, DJ and producer KAVARI, who draws inspiration from drum and bass, industrial, hard dance, noise and ’90s electronica, creating tonally and rhythmically intricate tracks and edits that cross into the pop realm.
To mark the occasion of her cover feature in Fact Magazine Issue 03, Klein excavates a fragmentary soundscape that finds deeply expressive and personal texture within dissonance and disruption, navigating the music of her life by teasing out the connective tissue between avant-garde composition, spiritual songs, nu-metal and hip-hop.
If you have so much as a little finger on the pulse of south London’s unfuckwithable club scene, chances are mi-el needs absolutely no introduction. As co-booker of south Bermondsey institution Venue MOT and one of the driving forces behind the livestream and party series Late Night Shopper, as well as the brains behinds the reliably incredible design for both organizations, mi-el’s impeccable sonic and aesthetic tastes have been instrumental in setting the vibes throughout the pandemic and post-plague celebrations. For her Fact mix she turns in an irresistible session of formative music, ferocious club flames and some personal favorites, all as hot and humid as a 40-degree storm moving over London.
On perhaps the most ambitious Fact mix of the year, Sarahsson obscures beauty with grotesquerie, scraping ethereal sequences of harmony and light raw with squalls of dissonance and chaos, joining the dots between Adele and Giant Claw, System Of A Down and Anna Von Hausswolff, Bad Bunny and György Sándor Ligeti. “One of the themes I’ve been interested in musically recently is this idea of ‘vague music,’ these kind of suggestions of sounds and things that are almost there but maybe obfuscated or ambiguous in some way,” she explains.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing the lysergic sounds of Spekki Webu, chances are he was sending you into orbit. For his Fact mix, it’s clear we’re already there, drifting through deep space, enveloped in black hole drone, the dull light of distant stars suggesting itself in reverberant echoes, like condensation dripping in a cosmic ocean cave.
Torus embarks on a pilgrimage through sound and harmony, extracting the purest seams of emotion from the most maximalist forms of dance music, distilling intensely evocative compositions out of an omnivorous sonic palette to guide us, gently, on a transcendent commute through ambient music for apoplectic times. TikTok tornado siren resonance to study/relax to.
Torus embarks on a pilgrimage through sound and harmony, a transcendent commute through ambient music for apoplectic times.
One of the most arresting moments from The Flash, the modern classic split record from Torus, the production alias of visual and sound artist Joeri Woudstra, and DJ Lostboi, an alter ego of producer and composer Malibu, appears on DJ Lostboi’s track ‘Ordinary People’. The distorted trill of a dial tone opens the track, three friendly notes chiming in quick ascension, looping briefly only to be cut short by the synthetic familiarity of Giffgaff’s answerphone automaton, at once evoking that singular loneliness experienced while waiting in vain for a voice to fill the void and the pining dislocation of long distance calls with loved ones. Lostboi’s response: a melancholy sigh. It’s a moment of both raw emotion and tongue-in-cheek melodrama, a classic move from the “world emo boss,” but it’s the emotional weight of this sequence that Torus dials in on in his recent, vertigo-inducing expansion of the track, ‘Ordinary Twilight’. Taken from the ‘Deluxe’ version of The Flash, released earlier this month, here we start with the sigh, the muffled dial tone stretched out, drifting through a low, ethereal hum, the sounds of digitally-mediated intimacy and hours spent staring at phone screens, a small, quiet moment, amplified exponentially. “When I’m looking for music I’m not only looking for songs I like, but specifically what I like about them,” he told TANK Magazine. “Often it’s just one pad or a chord progression. I think focusing on that specific detail helps me understand myself and my own music more and helps me become more puristic in developing myself sonically. Finding sounds and looking for a way to harmonise them is kind of like a pilgrimage.”
This deferential approach to sound design is something that informs all of Woudstra’s music, which sees him extracting the purest seams of emotion from the most maximalist forms of dance music, distilling intensely evocative compositions out of an omnivorous sonic palette. But it’s the smallest details that matter most, a quality Woudstra’s productions and mixes share with Malibu’s cinematic soundscapes and DJ Lostboi’s irresistibly tender ambient pop edits. In may ways, Woudstra’s Fact mix inhabits a similar space to Malibu’s stunning addition to the series from last year, each weaving together a gossamer patchwork of ’90s trance and chill out, ’00s pop and modern experimental club music with intricate threads of their own production. “This mix is the ambient counter part of my 4444 DJ mix I did for Kaltblut back in August,” explains Woudstra. “Besides the selection being an extension of the latest record on the deeper, more ambient end of my musical spectrum, I tried to reimagine highlights of this summer performing throughout Europe. Closing Laserclub Marseille during sunrise in the mountains; playing two hours of ambient at Horst Festival in Belgium; performing the new live show at Kraftwerk Berlin, performing at sunset in front of my installation at Kunstfort Vijfhuizen, playing the Razzmatazz big room at the Primavera Year0001 stage. Songs that played a significant role on stage and in between stages; such as Opinion’s ‘Transcontinental’, which I play on loop for the entire duration of recent travels. Some forthcoming tracks by myself and close music friends. I haven’t made a proper ambient mix in quite a while and I feel like I’ve been holding it in for this occasion.”
Woudstra’s pilgrimage through sound and harmony moves between these scenes with a knowing, dewy-eyed nostalgia, a personal commute back through thoughts and feelings obscured from view yet thoroughly relatable in their poignancy. Opening with the natural resonance of Rafina Port in Athens, the crackle of iPhone recorded wind buffets seamlessly into the blissed out drift of Opinion’s ‘Transcontinental’. Transplanting short sequences from tracks, like the serotonin-spiking surge of Deadmau5’s ‘Strobe,’ or the gentle ricochet of the intro to Nightlands’ ‘No Kiss For The Lonely’, Woudstra isolates moments of glancing beauty and presents them in a new, suspended context, like carving movement in marble. He pulls soft focus on swathes of crystalline synthesis and visceral gurgles in Elysia Crampton Chuquimia’s ‘The Totaled Angelic,’ as extraordinary to be confronted by today as it was a decade ago, or on the distant stroboscopic loops of his own track ‘3000 Mirrors,’ the ascendent beauty of eye-lid twitching trance refracted three thousand ways. Snatches of heart-in-throat vocals from Kerry Leatham and Florence Sinclair rise to the surface before melting back below the clouds. At the beating heart of the mix Woudstra revisits one of the most beautiful accidents of recent memory, the moment when TikTok user @Maxoto_ found himself in the perfect point of superimposition of four tornado sirens phasing in perfect harmony, a celestial drone chorus heralding the onslaught of freak weather. It’s a fitting sound to signal the close of a year that has consistently unfolded with this kind of tension, caught between optimism and catastrophe, sliding uncontrollably between online and offline meaning making. Woudstra’s mix is similarly awe-inspiring, ambient music for apoplectic times.
The Flash (Deluxe) is out now. You can find Torus on Instagram.
Shaped around words taken from Count Ossie’s legendary track ‘Poem,’ Tom Neilan and Gareth Kirby send up a haunting homage to the reggae innovator in minimal percussion and high pressure bass weight.
“In the stillness of the night and the clamour of the day, Count Ossie’s wise poetic words ring true in every single way. Long live his legacy.” This homage opens the latest project from Alan Johnson, the dub-drenched alias of producers Tom Neilan and Gareth Kirby. Arriving in the same year as the 50th anniversary of Grounation, the ground-breaking album from Count Ossie’s foundational group, The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari, ‘Stillness’ serves as both timeless monument to and urgent invocation of the spirit of the legendary drummer, band leader and essential figure to many Rastafari. Shaping deadly bass weight and minimal percussion around words taken from Ossie’s track ‘Poem’, Neilan and Kirby trace the origins of their reverberant sound while offering a singular statement of their own, drawing from the deep well of earth energy tapped into by Ossie’s words. “This is a track that initially came together fairly quickly in the studio in Bristol, some time back in 2020, mainly due to the fact that it had clear direction and strong narrative for us,” explain the duo. “We think visual representation can be as strong in its effect on the senses as any audio output, in creating an entirely different dynamic in delivery of an idea. Working with Liam Higgins on the visual side of this project really provided us with the ability to journey creatively along paths rarely travelled within this type of music, from an audio visual perspective. Providing the opportunity to explore creativity instinctively and collaboratively on a visual level within a unique project for both of us, we really wanted to deliver something unique and personal.”
“We had similar interpretations on theme and it felt right to take it to a moody, frantic at times and eventually paranoid, place,” they continue. “We think the hybrid direction of both live and still images works well in the context of the musical message.” Snatches of shadowboxing set against fast approaching dusk, lonely rooms framed in black and red montage, monolithic residential buildings piercing dim skies, each eerie image captures the swirling tension and creeping paranoia of ‘Stillness,’ steeped in the uneasy balance between dread stasis and sudden explosions of sound and movement. “Ever since I was a youth / I’ve always been searching for the truth / But having been told so many lies / Life, like good music, never dies,” intones Count Ossie, at once prophetic and cautionary, a diagnosis of contemporary struggle as well as a gesture towards a means of overcoming it. “A man is a sufferer of no mean order / I must die one day you’ll all hear people say / Storing up wealth, ignoring their health / But a tree is known by its fruits.” Directing us back to the earth, the ground and the power that resides in it, both Count Ossie and Alan Johnson are aligned in their grasp of the physical, Ossie in his magical realist proclamations, Neilan and Kirby in the heft of their deep bass excavations, the surge of smoke-filled air rushing from hulking sound system. Designed to be amplified loud in the dark, ‘Stillness’ zeroes in on the introspective potency of dubstep, illuminating internal caverns with their sound, allowing Count Ossie’s words the space their weight demands.
A high-energy trip through international rave sounds old and new from Belizean-American DJ and producer Ariel Zetina.
As a resident of Chicago’s famed Smartbar, it makes sense that Ariel Zetina is strongly influenced by the city’s long history of house music. However, since her 2019 EP Organism, Zetina’s music has pushed the style forward by pulling in a varied tapestry of styles – soca, punta and brukdown (a nod to her mother’s Belizean origin) as well as video game soundtracks and late ’90s trance have all filtered into her process, which has consistently delivered some of the most inventive US club tracks of recent years.
Zetina’s debut album, Cyclorama – released earlier this year on Local Action – continued this run of form, drawing on her background as a theatre writer and her personal experience as a trans woman of colour to craft a dazzling set of tracks rich in narrative. “I imagine all the tracks on this as the lights and action projected onto the cyclorama,” Zetina says of the album. “The whole album is like the cyc, a representation of the sky. Or an imagined sky. An imagined dancefloor. An imagined theatrical production.”
On Zetina’s Fact Mix, she provides a window into the sound of her Diamond Formation party at Smartbar and that of her other nights in the city, including Ariel’s Party and Rumors. It kicks off with Morgan Hislop’s clattering club edit of Samantha Urbani’s ‘Time Time Time’, taking in barrelling rave techno from Devoye, Ikonika’s funk-tinged classic ‘PR812’, James Bangura’s punchy club tool ‘Monterrey’ and Jonny L’s hardcore classic ‘The Ansaphone’ before closing out with MCR-T & horsegiirL’s equine banger, ‘My Barn, My Rules’.
Stock footage and AI techniques combine on Rawle’s sardonic visual for Bjarki’s new single.
Bjarki’s ‘I Wish I Was A Model’ is the latest release on Differance, the new label from the Icelandic techno producer and visual artist Thomas Harrington Rawle. The track’s visual is an extension of Rawle’s previous work in his Care More universe, which exposes the absurdity of contemporary narratives of self-care through the fictional Care Corporation. His previous work, Affirmation Chamber, saw a human being gradually worn away into a smooth metallic humanoid, an idea that is explored from a different perspective in ‘I Wish I Was A Model’, whose video and repeated lyrical refrain function as a wry comment on how people view themselves in relation to their online personas.
“Care More is basically a response to that feeling,” Rawle says. “I’ve always felt making art is such a joyous and wonderful experience, the thru line of my experience in making things has been this. The Care More world is really just a mirror of this world and it helps me tie together my own visual language. I didn’t go to art school or have any formal education in doing what I do so putting it in an imaginary world which I can idly dream about helps makes the process make sense to me.”
While the previous two films in the Care More universe were made primarily with animation, the use of stock footage on ‘I Wish I Was A Model’ together with 3D graphics software Blender and text-to-image AI tool Stable Diffusion adds a new layer of disturbing realism to the ongoing narrative.
“I liked the idea of using Stable Diffusion to warp footage then selectively mask it out,” he says. “I was trying to find the most aspirational footage and throw it into what essentially feels like a meat grinder. I think essentially it feels like our world is becoming more and more fractured and in a state of decline. At the same time though there is this surge in technology. Also increasingly surreal ‘aspirational’ visions about how the world can work or what is important. It’s almost like normal, happy stress-free living is boarding a UFO and slowly taking off. Or sometimes I think of it like the titanic as one side sinks the other side is getting momentarily raised up sky high but then everybody slides down. So in that sense I liked the idea of viewing aspirational imagery and then throwing it through AI to make it somewhat abrasive.”
‘I Wish I Was A Model’ is also the latest in an ongoing collaboration between Rawle and Bjarki, which includes Affirmation Chamber and an AV live show, Look At Yourself. “I like to think the live shows are a bit like a live broadcast from that world.” Rawle says. The difference with the show is that we actively ask people to send pictures, videos and audio in so we can use it as a dataset and also as an input for the visuals. It was amazing when we did it in Amsterdam because people would see themselves on the screen or in the magazine and they had basically been processed in such a way that they would see a picture of someone that looked like them but not quite them, so it creates a bit of an uncanny valley experience.”
‘I Wish I Was A Model’ is the first single to be released on Bjarki and Rawle’s new label, Differance, which will also house Bjarki’s existing bbbbbb imprint. An extension of their ongoing audiovisual collaboration on and off stage, Differance is described as a new home to release and showcase AV projects, and will also incorporate a print magazine called GUM. “It’s the natural next step in our relationship, we can’t be together in a room without coming up with new ideas or stuff we would like to make,” Bjarki says. “Better to have one umbrella under all the things we would like to do, whether it is to start a strange magazine or an airline.”
GUM Magazine’s name comes from the idea that magazines are sometimes seen as disposable items. “Magazines are usually just like chewing gum, it’s single use. you look at it and throw it away – unless you are on the cover,” says Bjarki. “We like to create a magazine that can be based on maybe one person only, or a party. Focusing on forward-thinking art that is inspiring, a bit uncomfortable with volume of vulnerability and truth – candy for the brain.” The magazine will also use QR codes to link the reader direct to AV material that can’t be viewed on the printed page.
“Imagine a chewing gum that boosts your serotonin levels so much into a euphoric state but will taste like rotten horse marinated in chlorine. It will be something like that,” Bjarki says.
‘I Wish I Was A Model’ is out now. The track features on Bjarki’s new EP, ‘Look At Yourself Part 1’, which lands on Differance in January 2023. Bjarki and Rawle will also be playing live in forthcoming Foligno, Italy on 29 December and in London in the New Year.
Behind the scenes of Mosse’s latest film, now showing at 180 Studios.
Richard Mosse’s Broken Sceptre uses a range of scientific imaging technologies to capture environmental crimes in the remotest parts of the Brazilian Amazon. Created in collaboration with artist and cinematographer Trevor Tweeten and composer Ben Frost, the film, now installed at London’s 180 Studios, is the result of three years of painstaking documentation, using satellite imagery and extreme close-up techniques to capture macro and micro perspectives of a man-made environmental disaster.
Art21’s new documentary, What The Camera Cannot See, follows Mosse, Frost and Tweeten as they travel across the world to film under-reported world events in zones of conflict, repurposing surveillance technologies and scientific tools to capture stories and scenes that evoke deeper understanding and motivate audiences to act. “Climate change exists outside of human perception,” says Mosse. “I’m interested in trying to find a way to express deeply complex things by looking at these loaded landscapes. Bigger subjects that the camera can’t necessarily see.”
“Photography is at the very heart of understanding the velocity of deforestation and I began researching the cameras in the satellites that produce all the data, Mosse says in the documentary. “But what really made me more curious was the fact that the same cameras are being used by agribusiness and mining to maximize the exploitation of the land.”
“But I also wanted to change gears because a lot of the stuff we see in the Amazon is taken from over, from a high altitude. What about the stuff we don’t see, the non-human? If you take one square inch of life in the rainforest, it’s tripping with life. Just the amount of species is extraordinary. Scientists use ultraviolet lights to try and show things about plants. So I borrow that language and created these very strange, almost gothic nocturns.”
As well as going behind the scenes of Broken Sceptre, What The Camera Cannot See talks to Mosse about his career to date, from his early photojournalism documenting the missing persons crisis in postwar Balkan nations to later video works The Enclave, centred around war in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Incoming, about the migrant crisis. “I’m very interested in trying to find a way to express extremely, deeply complex things by looking very carefully at these loaded landscapes, bigger subjects that the camera can’t necessarily see,” Mosse says.
Broken Sceptre is showing at London’s 180 Studios, 180 The Strand until 30 December, 2022. Tickets are available from the 180 The Strand website. The installation is showing alongside Always Everything’s Lifeforms exhibition, which also runs until 30 December – tickets for that are available here.
Artist Chris Golden seeks to channel the spirit of nature within his digital practice, rendering natural objects within a virtual space and in so doing manifesting what he understands to be their true essence.
“It’s about the rebirth of a new reality,” says artist Chris Golden of his new film, Psychic Magic. Working in Unreal Engine and Cinema 4D, Golden seeks to connect objects, colour and form across digital and physical planes, developing his practice around the belief that a consistent energy flows through the natural and the virtual world, a belief which allows him to explore both the real and the unreal. “The film starts in this rocky desert space where we come across this summoning sculpture,” explains Golden. “The sculpture awakens the spirit of nature and the world is reborn.” Setting esoteric imagery – an alabaster horse head balancing on a stone pine cone, a bed of flickering candle stubs – against a gently euphoric score from Ross Ross, the artist lends cinematic weight to a tableau brimming with hidden meaning, an abandoned ceremony of a lost civilisation, the release of an earthly power long forgotten. “Psychic magic focuses on exploring the essence of reality,” continues Golden, “spiritually influenced and sharing alternative states of being.” As plucked MIDI strings and a chorus of synthesis mark a shift in perspective, the process of rebirth begins in flashes of blue light, snatches of voice marking the start of a new world, the natural reborn inside the digital.
“I see this spirit of nature as a manifestation of our true essence,” says Golden. “In my own practice, escaping into nature allows me to re-centre myself and allows myself to connect to an alternate perspective that I can bring into my life to spark creativity and inspiration. Bringing the need of balance into my life is so important to continue to grow and expand continuously, so the film is inspired by this point of view.” Golden’s new reality exists in this balance, blossoming from the overlap between natural forms and 3D render, caught in the interplay between photorealism and uncanny digital textures. We are presented with a sequence of scenarios that challenge our perception of reality and unreality: an open flower with a metallic stamen, tree bark dappled with impossible blue light, dense foliage frozen in time. What is reborn in these images is our own grasp of reality, each a manifestation of the natural and the digital in superimposition, existing across multiple planes of existence, coursing with psychic magic.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing the lysergic sounds of Spekki Webu, chances are he was sending you into orbit. For his Fact mix, it’s clear we’re already there.
With a powerfully psychedelic blend of trance, techno and ambient Dutch DJ and producer Spekki Webu has continually explored the realms of immeasurably deep, totally immersive sound system alchemy, seeking to open up portals to transport you, body and soul, to somewhere else, oscillating on another plane of existence entirely. In the opening moments of his Fact mix, it’s clear we’re already there, drifting through deep space, enveloped in black hole drone, the dull light of distant stars suggesting itself in reverberant echoes, like condensation dripping in a cosmic ocean cave. “It’s a super tripped out one,” explains the artist, “taking it a bit back in the BPMs, which I haven’t been doing for a while. I have been going back into some rhythmic, noise-orientated music that has been inspiring me lately. Lots of movement and hypnotic repetitive sound design.” A ghostly hum begins to assert itself, an eerie surge of bass echo and spiralling tessellations of phantom whispers, the steady throb of a monolithic presence moving in the darkness, clanks, stutters and glitches signalling a creeping chorus of high-tensile twinges moving slowly up your spinal chord. Perhaps this is the Mirror Zone, the transformative space from which Spekki Webu’s influential imprint takes its name. “Mirror Zone is you and me, it’s life,” the artist told Patterns Of Perception. “Everybody has a journey with his or her inner self throughout life. I have seen a few very good friends within my inner circle change so beautifully as human beings. That’s what really gets me inspired, that is the Mirror Zone for me.”
“Endless back and forth. Fragmented memories. Reconstructed dimension, new beginning.“
“It lifts off at a certain point in the mix,” continues Spekki Webu, “balancing between minimalistic hypnotism and more trance state textures with a shamanic twist for everybody, in all dimensions. The mix consists of my own tracks, tracks by friends, and upcoming label material. I have been experimenting with a hybrid setup, so the mix is hybrid recorded, mixing tunes while playing sound structures, rhythms and sound design live.” From out of the shadow the muffled sounds of bludgeoning kick drums ooze into focus, smudged until almost unrecognisable, addled chatter and voice floating through the soundscape like smoke. This faint suggestion of hardcore pressure unfurls as a nod to the artist’s formative years tripping between hard techno and gabber raves in Delft, Rotterdam and The Hague, something he cites as one of the primary inspirations behind his love of all things dark and psychedelic. “Experiencing how artists tried to push themselves time and time again to break boundaries, be unique and have an identity – to do what they really wanted to do and show such dedication – has been very inspiring and important for my mindset as an artist and label owner,” he has said. “The experimental and psychedelic part that comes from there is definitely something that has stuck with me as well within my style. In and around the country there were sound systems doing illegal raves, often playing harder styles and having a very psychedelic touch.”
“Vacated soul. Reborn into the new. Not how, but why?“
As more urgent percussive textures begin to take shape, hefty drums vibrating bones and internal organs, reminding us once more of terrestrial weight through stellar webs of static, Spekki Webu tilts into a one-way stream of forward momentum, disparate elements swirling together into more familiar configurations. Building to a relentless chug towards clarity, a mushroom-tinged techno pulse reveals itself slowly, the bright glow of a luminous planet swimming into focus on the event horizon. Shifting between jet black rattle and gauzy aquatic textures, IDM trills and ticks bobbing across the mix like eye floaters, our pulse suddenly quickens, our direction is set, a plunge back into the gravitational pull of solid ground. An interplay between dread ambience shot through with shadowy percussive charge and moments of illumination evoke stars streaking past into space, while gradually, from the darkness, a profoundly somatic groove winds its way to the surface. Phasing through patches of light and shade, riding a raging stratospheric tide of tension, Spekki Webu darts between polyrhythms before opening out onto this new planet’s surface, hurtling into chasms of sub bass and deep trenches of alien sound design. As though staring through mist into the sun of a new world a sequence of melancholy, piano-laced trip hop haze sets a new scene, before Spekki Webu releases the rhythm of our descent entirely, making contact with a textural coda of glitched-out ambient, caught in the overlap of extraterrestrial radio signals, a new sound from a new place.
“Ending cycle. Field of Eternity. Into the light.“