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Vladislav Delay, Eivind Aarset and AGF give generative shape to dread noise with creative coder Olivia Jack’s open source video synthesizer, Hydra

To accompany Vladislav Delay and Eivind Aarset’s collaborative track, ‘Single 22’, audiovisual artist AGF used Hydra, an open source, browser based video synthesizer to create live coded generative visuals.

As Room40’s Lawrence English notes, it’s little wonder that Sasu Ripatti and Eivind Aarset found each other eventually. Both artists have challenged the precepts of their respective musical fields, Ripatti over the course of his genre-defining career as Vladislav Delay and Aarset with his relentless efforts wringing every tone, shade and mood of sound from the guitar, an approach that has lead to essential collaborations with innovators such as Jon Hassell and David Sylvian. Together, as Delay/Aarset, the artists probe further past the frontiers of improvisational sound, folding immense slabs of radioactive feedback and low end weight over transcendent electronics and void drones. Like echolocating alien monoliths in pitch-black depths, their compositions gain shape through the cumulative pressure and steady energy pulse of experimental sonic excursions, transmissions sent outwards to be enveloped back into an ever expanding texture, flickering in and out of focus. This is sound that defies description, music that has to be felt, a quality that belies the visceral practice of each of these artists. It makes sense, then, that Ripatti’s partner and frequent collaborator Antye Greie, the audiovisual artist AGF, would seek an equally elusive visual system to accompany ‘Single 22,’ a highlight from Delay and Aarset’s collaborative album for Room40, Singles.

“I took part in a workshop during the pandemic led by Olivia Jack demonstrating her Hydra project to us online and it was so fun,” explains AGF. “I adore the generous browser based concept, the accessibility and the math translation into colors and movement. I find the live coding community wonderful, a true community, not what is today used to market business. I thought I’d try my first piece based on a sketch. To me the value is accessibility, post aesthetics” Combining the results of a research practice which explores the aesthetics of distributed networks, feedback, collaboration and chaos, Hydra is an open source, browser-based platform for live coding visuals. Built with the express purpose of enabling real time, online peer-to-peer collaboration and inspired by analog modular synthesis, Hydra allows connected browsers, devices and people to output a video signal or stream and to receive and modify streams from other browser, devices and people. Multiple visual sources, including oscillators, cameras, application windows and other connected windows, can be transformed, modulated, and composited via combining sequences of functions. The code for these functions is displayed on screen, the open source nature of the code projected outwards from the browser window.

Developed out of the notion of using a modular synthesizer as a model of understanding the web, Hydra reconfigures the web page as a site for performance, recoding the browser window through which the page is presented as a distributed stage that can be shared by everyone using Hydra to connect into the performative network. “Rather than think about a webpage as a ‘page’, ‘site’, or ‘place’ that you can ‘go’ to, what if we think about it as a flow of information where you can configure connections in real time?” Jack asked in a 2019 interview in CDM. “I like the browser as a place to share creative ideas – anyone can load it without having to go to a gallery or install something.” By converting the browser page into one node of a generative feedback loop, Jack creates a non-hierarchical, distributed space of collaboration, in which every node influences and interprets every other. It’s this non-hierarchical model that Hydra cribs its name, a reference to the distributed nervous systems of hydra organisms. Just as AGF is drawn to the accesible, post aesthetic process of using Hydra, so too do Delay and Aarset’s respective sounds ebb and flow into each other throughout Singles, engulfed in a collaborative system of feedback. The dread noise of ‘Single 22’ is given shape through Olivia Jack’s code, jagged glaciers of glitch and shredded pixels guided in and out of existence by AGF, Delay and Aarset’s indefinable textures made manifest in intangible mathematic shape.

‘Single 22’ is taken from Singles, which arrives on Room40 on July 8. You can find AGF and Olivia Jack on Instagram.

Watch next: Anetha, UFO95 & Orgaphine uncover mutant forms of slippery sexuality in Wet For It

Fact Mix 864: Bloomfeld

For his joyous Fact mix Bloomfeld relentlessly chases different forms and definitions of ecstasy, tracing the connections between dissociative Euro-hedonism and contemporary Pan-African music.

As the ringleader of Berlin-based, multidisciplinary art collective Overthinker Mob, Bloomfeld is all too familiar with riding the line between concept-orientated, heady approaches to music and tracks aimed squarely at the body, sound that rattles bones and live performance that you can feel in your internal organs. Conceived as an anonymous space for unfinished music that can be understood in various ways as overthought and founded with the intent to disrupt conventional models for distributing music and visual art, Overthinker Mob gestures towards a more holistic, community-focused approach, the same approach that Bloomfeld takes towards his own production and selecting. His debut album, LARP OS, is a reflection on the producer’s nascent years through the lens of live-action role playing games, a performative practice of assumed identity that Bloomfeld identifies with in his everyday interactions. “For my part I am blessed with the ability to distinguish and compartmentalise the characters I adopt to navigate my circumstances, and I have a strong bond with all of them,” he explains. Choosing a model that reflects moving between the personalities of multiple avatars, as opposed to a single protagonist identity, Bloomfeld rejects a singular sound, choosing instead to amplify polyphony, drawing from a wide breadth of sounds and styles and in so doing tracing the connections between them.

It’s this adventurous sense of audio exploration that drives Bloomfeld’s joyous Fact mix, which sees the artist chasing different forms and definitions of ecstasy across continents and decades. “This mix compiles a few recent findings for my ‘Ethnofuturist Transmissions’ and ‘Non-Physical Rave’ playlists, as well as more aged ones,” he says. “I’m not saying I wasn’t just messing about with a bunch of bangers, but I tried my best at deconstructing some familiar sonic aesthetics connotated with ecstatic European hedonism to uncover elements that overlap with both modern (Pan-) African and ancestral concepts of ecstasy.” Bounding between gqom, amapiano, trap, dark ambient, breaks, bass and techno, Bloomfeld relentlessly pursues the superposition of dissociative euro-hedonism by powerfully physical rhythms developed with the precise purpose of guiding ecstatic movement. In this hybrid space, held between ‘Ethnofuturist’ body music and ‘Non-Physical’ braindance head-scratchers, experimental stalwart Objekt and rising Berlin producer Notte Infinita tune in to the same dark euphoria and erotic tension as gqom royalty Newlandz Finest and DJ Lag and industrial amapiano duo Aryu Jassika and Bujin.

The irresistible skip of Gafacci’s iconic amapiano and azonto update of Haddaway’s ‘What Is Love’ amplifies the loose joy of contemporary UK funky collective Funkystepz, while DJ Lag and Sinjin Hawke’s cyber-gqom smasher ‘Raptor’ channels the same maximalism as a vintage trap instrumental from UZ. Whether it’s Bliss Signal’s scorched-earth ambient into Bambounou’s intricate puzzle box breaks, Massacooraman’s ice-cold instrumental grime autopsy of Prettybwoy’s’ ‘Shadow Riddim,’ paving the way for Lorenzo Senni’s brittle straight edge rave to seep into lysergic percussive reflection from Space Drum Meditation, or NKC’s cacophonous hard drum sound lending riotous energy to Gafacci and Chefbanku’s ‘KICKY’, it’s clear that Bloomfeld is constantly juggling different conceptions of the ecstatic – whether narcotic, transcendent or simply just giddy. What’s clear above all is that Bloomfeld is having the best time, despite the fact that he, and we, might well be overthinking it.

You can find Bloomfeld on Instagram. LARP OS arrives on July 1, on Lobster Theremin.

Tracklist:

Objekt – ‘Secret Snake’
Notte Infinita – ‘ID’ (unreleased)
Newlandz Finest x Omagoqa – ‘That Bass’
DJ Lag x General C’mamane – ‘No Childs Play’
Aryu Jassika x Bujin – ‘Miss Madam Flesh Eater’
Gafacci – ‘What is Love’
Funkystepz – ‘Ninjaclart’
Newlandz Finest – ‘N.F.C.S’
DJ Lag x Sinjin Hawke – ‘Raptor’
UZ – ‘Trap Shit V6’
Bloomfeld – ‘QR vs. PIN’ (unreleased)
Bloomfeld – ‘Bad Idea’ (unreleased)
Ludwig Wandinger – ‘ID’
Bliss Signal – ‘Slow Scan’
Bambounou – ‘Temple’
DJ Lag x OKZharp – ‘Steam One’
Hectic Boyz – ‘Badlands’
Notte Infinita – ‘ID’ (unreleased)
Mafou – ‘ID’ (unreleased)
Alys – ‘ID’ (unreleased)
Logic1000 – ‘Derriere’
Bloomfeld – ‘Voodoo Bref’ (unreleased)
Prettybwoy – ‘Shadow Riddim (Massacooramaan Remix)’
Lorenzo Senni – ‘Rave Voyeur’
Space Drum Meditation – ‘Müde Augen’
MM – ‘Tompocalypse’
NKC – ‘Hissing’
Gafacci x Chefbanku – ‘KICKY’

Listen next: Fact Mix 863 – ELLES

Future Shock: Hamill Industries

A look inside Hamill Industries’ Vortex, an installation showing now at Future Shock featuring a soundtrack by Floating Points.

Devised and engineered by Barcelona creative studio Hamill Industries and soundtracked by an original score from Floating Points, Vortex is an interactive light, smoke and sound installation that generates a series of smoke rings, suspending our sense of disbelief and disconnecting us from our surroundings by visualising how music travels through air.

Currently installed at Fact and 180 Studios’ new exhibition Future Shock, Vortex is one of the first pieces encountered as you enter the subterranean spaces underneath London’s 180 The Strand. Originally conceived for the 2016 edition of Barcelona’s digital arts festival, MIRA, the installation reacts to sound and generates an increasingly complex sequence of light patterns.

“We really wanted to work with smoke and haze as a possibility of making invisible forces visible,” says Hamill Industries’ Anna Diaz, who works alongside her creative partner Pablo Barquín. “We were trying to think about an installation that would be able to reproduce, or at least give a sense of how music can travel trough space.”

In this film, Fact talks to Diaz about the genesis of the piece and how it was inspired by Barquín’s interest in fluid dynamics. Diaz also explains the experiential ethos of Hamill Industries, whose videos and installations – including their frequent collaborations with Floating Points – aim to add an immersive tangibility to audiovisual art.

Vortex is showing now at Future Shock, at 180 the Strand, London. Future Shock runs until 28 August, 2022. For tickets and information on opening times, visit the 180 The Strand website.

Watch next: NONOTAK on turning their love of illustration and architecture into audio-visual art

Anetha, UFO95 & Orgaphine uncover mutant forms of slippery sexuality in Wet For It

Casting their gaze over a menagerie of cybernetic, biomechanical and chimeric creatures, producers Anetha & UFO95 and CGI artist duo Orgaphine build a world in which fetish and phobia blur into one another.

‘Wet For It’ is the second collaborative track from producer, DJ and Mama Told Ya label head Anetha and rising talent UFO95, aka Killian Vaissade, a lethal, headlong charge through subterranean technoid textures, death drive synthesis and IDM inflected alien choruses, drawing influences from the duo’s shared love of hardcore techno, contemporary reggaeton and experimental sound design. “Killian is one of the most talented and proactive producers of his generation,” says Anetha. “I love his work and his universe.” Appearing on his second album, Use your difference to make the difference, ‘Wet For It’ is a thrilling glimpse of a new live project from the two artists, serving as an introduction to their collaborative sound. “With this new album I wanted to go further in my music making process, to not fix boundaries,” explains UFO95. Finding inspiration in ’90s IDM, specifically Richard D. James’s releases as Polygon Window, UFO95 worked to incorporate these sounds into Use your difference to make the difference. To match the dark ecstasy of the music, Anetha and UFO95 enlisted the talents of another creative duo, Orgaphine, the collaborative project of CGI artists Salika Kadita and Computer.kitty, to build a suitable world for ‘Wet For It’ to live inside of. The result is an ecosystem that surges between psychosexual manifestation and body horror mutation, in which fetishes and phobias blur into each other.

Following a twisted menagerie of cybernetic, biomechanical and chimeric creatures, Orgaphine explore their own sexual identities and bodies through various environments and avatars: shallow-breathing horse babies illuminated by floodlight, visions of an entropic, hermaphroditic fertility goddess, nests of umbilical cords and fallopian tubes. “The narrative is centered around Agena, who is the bird-like being with horse legs,” explain Orgaphine. “Agena moves around in this universe and connects with the horses through hoses and creates symbiotic, mutually benefitting relations. Agena is there to nurture the horses.” This central figure appears throughout the world of Wet For It, running figurative and literal lines through and from its different figures and scenes. Both nurturing mother and bound abomination, Agena’s erratic movement traces the strange momentum of Anetha and UFO95’s sound. “We tried to create a sexual space we can bring multiple sides of ourselves into and challenge a dominating stand on these topics; internalised ideas of our own bodies and sexuality,” Orgaphine explain. “Though we introduce sensitive topics, especially in the context of sexuality, like fear of umbilical cords, hyperventilation, dysphoria and the visual language itself, we wanted to tell a story where we can explore such things not for the sake of phobia, but to be recognized and included.”

“It does speak to some darkness, but we feel like, seen purely, it’s simply what’s going down in their world and they are having the best time,” they conclude. In the virtual worlds of Wet For It, sites of horror are reproduced as erotic zones, low-lit, Twin Peaks-esque nocturnal woodlands become a space for exploration, breath play reconfigured as a characteristic of the defenceless and viscera slick horse baby. A industrial cavern and rain-lashed canyon house strange bio-mechanical golems processing in solemn strides, dysphoric forms obscured by metallic face filters suspended from metallic exoskeletons, technologically mediated reproductions of their own likenesses constructed as ceaseless voyeuristic avatars, consigned to a trudging search. In the visual’s climactic moments, ivory white horses, born of fallopian nests swollen with eggs, are butterfly pinned to the concrete of a warehouse floor, the flailing dance of Agena channelled into a mutant ritual of care performed by an ersatz mother.

You can find Anetha, UFO95 and Orgaphine on Instagram. ‘Wet For It’, taken from Use your difference to make the difference, is out now.

Watch next: Rebecca Salvadori reflects on intimacy, community and liminality within London’s contemporary rave scene in The Sun Has No Shadow

Primary Optics: NONOTAK on turning their love of illustration and architecture into audio-visual art

With NONOTAK’s Daydream V.6 currently showing at Fact’s Future Shock exhibition at London’s 180 Studios, we revisit our 2020 documentary on the audiovisual duo’s immersive work.

NONOTAK is an audio-visual collaboration between illustrator Noémie Schipfer and musician Takami Nakamoto. Together they’ve been exploring space, sound and light across installations and live shows since 2011, appearing at festivals such as MUTEK, Sónar and Houston’s Day For Night.

The duo’s extensive catalogue of works focus on the interplay between Schipfer’s geometric patterns and Nakamoto’s sound design, brought to life by stunning projections and lighting, triggered with the aid of Ableton Live and Resolume.

“With NONOTAK, it’s more like drawing inside a space compared to when I was drawing on the paper or painting,” Schipfer says. Nakamoto, who is a former architect, approaches the creative process almost like the design of a structure.

“When I write music I always think about spaces or there’s always a sort of abstract vision going on in my head,” Nakamoto says, “and then I start to put colours or emotion in the idea I have and I start to think about what it could sound like.”

In this episode of Primary Optics, Fact met up with NONOTAK at the 2020 edition of Lunchmeat Festival in Prague, where they performed their stunning AV show Shiro, which took place in the city’s Divadio Archa. The duo spoke to us about their career, inspirations and the technology behind their ambitious audio-visual productions.

NONOTAK’s Daydream V.6 appears at Future Shock until 28 August, 2022. Tickets are on sale now via the 180 The Strand website.

Watch next: Primary Optics: Pedro Maia on creating ‘live cinema’ for music from analogue film

Fact Mix 863: ELLES

A celebration of summer for hedonistic ravers from naive affiliate and Rinse FM resident ELLES.

Since her first release in 2016, London-based DJ, producer and Rinse FM resident ELLES has delivered emotional rave vibes across the world through her music, sets and radio shows. The capital’s queer party scene and warehouse raves proved to be formational in the evolution of an eclectic style that draws on house, post-punk, UKG, ambient and pop music.

ELLES has been closely affiliated with Lisbon’s naive label since the start of her production career, a relationship that grew out of a close friendship with the imprint’s founder, Violet. Since 2019, ELLES has released two solo EPs on naive and its naivety sub-label, a number of collaborations with Violet and, in May 2022, her debut album, A Celebration Of The Euphoria Of Life.

Largely written during the pandemic when clubs were closed, A Celebration Of The Euphoria Of Life follows a conceptual arc that tells the story of a night out, acting as a personal love letter to the tapestry of people, spaces and experiences that make up the club scene. To mark the album’s release, ELLES delivers a Fact Mix that both reflects the reflective tone of the LP and celebrates the first full summer of freedom since 2019.

“To celebrate a well-earned hot girl summer for us all, this one’s for the ravers – hedonistic warehouse shakers with some softer elements peppered in for good measure,” ELLES says. “Includes ones from super talented mates like J.Aria who has a gift for bangers drenched in emotion and soulfulness, and BLEID who’s naive fam and an incred producer, also FAFF and Angel D’Lite who never fail as producers or DJs. We open with Trim’s brooding self-love anthem, there’s a visit from Tinashe in the middle – an artist whose mixtapes inspired some of my very first productions-  and we close with Afterglo off my new album with a spectrum of high octane bumpers along the way <3” 

Follow ELLES on Instagram and SoundCloud. A Celebration Of The Euphoria Of Life is available now on Bandcamp.

Tracklist:

Trimbal – ‘Confidence Boost (Harmonimix)’
FAFF – ‘Course Poursuite’
Groovy D – ReezyBiz
Amaliah – Speedy G
DJ Q – All That I Could
Lisene – Moral Panic
NSDOS – Mount Lico Dream – NSDOS [Nehza Recs]
Tinashe – ‘Ecstasy’
Bored Lord – ‘Get Loose’
Dillinja – ‘My Love is True’ (Capone Remix)
Cryptobitch – ‘DDoNK CrySyS’
Spokesman – ‘Acid Creak’ (Pierre’s Reconstruction Mix)
DJ これからの緊急災害 – ‘FUCK THE PA1N AWAY’
SASHA THEFT – ‘affection143’
Angel D’Lite – ‘Werk My Body’
Stones Taro – ‘Extasy’
BLIED – ‘Forever Lame’
J.Aria – ‘NO WORDS’
Bliss inc. – ‘Radiant Reality’
Iceboy Violet  x Emily Glass – ‘Are U Connected’
Dog And Fox – ‘Who Gets The Cows?’
ELLES – ‘Afterglo’

Listen next: Fact Mix 862: DJ Travella

Rebecca Salvadori reflects on intimacy, community and liminality within London’s contemporary rave scene in The Sun Has No Shadow

An evocative portrait of the city’s in-between spaces, within which it is possible to extract oneself from relentless urban malaise, suspended in transit from one time and place to another, in a process of psychological and spiritual transformation.

In one of the opening scenes of The Sun Has No Shadow a modulated voice quotes art critic and media theorist Boris Groys, suggesting that: “the openness to exteriority and its influences is an essential characteristic of another feature of the modernist inheritance and that is to reveal the Other within oneself, to become Other.” 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. “I have always been drawn towards environments and situations that felt transitional, open, not fully finished,” explains Salvadori. “I believe it might be because these contexts allow you to exist in a less mechanical way. They are more layered and have a space of possibility within them. When an area has been conceived for a specific need, everything feels more compressed and mechanical. The edges of a city are spaces in-between, areas where the intentionality of urbanisation becomes transitional and almost left to itself.”

In this way FOLD, perched on the edge of an E16 industrial estate, takes on the wild aura of the “edgelands,” seperate from the relentlessness of the city and tinged with the transient energy of wilderness, charged with transformative potential. In the excerpt of Salvadori’s film presented above, the filmmaker’s passage through these liminal environments serves as both a record of navigating the complexity of London’s outer reaches and a prescient diagnosis of a contemporary condition. Flashes of hi-vis trousers illuminate the ghosts of the second summer of love haunting Salvadori’s frame, mapping the distance between London’s rave scenes past and present. Loops of night vision footage of Salvadori’s friends at an after party repeat as an unseen speaker narrates the experience of watching themselves on screen, the visual repetitions taking on the constant rhythm of a four on the floor beat. These vignettes, displaced form discernable space and time, seem to wrestle with the psychic difficulty presented by the commercial and corporate intensities of urban life, parsing the tension between a desire for and an assumed need of various kinds of dissociation, be they emotional, political or narcotic. These liminal spaces present an opportunity for escape from the city, but whether this is an escape from an overwhelming network of automation and commodification or an escape into a DIY formation of community is left intentionally vague by the filmmaker, an inscrutability emphasised by facial blur, voice modulation and detached subtitles. “Sometime ago I received a message from someone I don’t know,” Salvadori recalls. They said: In your work everything happens in its exact own time, I felt I was not watching a video, just being in myself, part of a continuous life of something. It was a really weird feeling.”

Salvadori continues: “Just like it might happen in very loud and crowded environments, connections are begun, interrupted, lost and remade; one stumbles across conversations only to abandon them again.” Her deft cuts between the exoskeleton of FOLD, industrial fan and red LED light framed against the chilly grey of an early London morning, and fly-on-the-wall documentation of the club’s inhabitants evoke the exquisite disorientation of the club space, capturing a very particular sort of sensory overload. Soundtracked with distorted fields recordings of the club in full swing, this montage is inscribed with the disembodied words of an unknown raver. Enveloped in a blown out recording of machinic techno churn, the cacophony of image, sound and text approximates the experience of overhearing something beautiful from a stranger dancing next to you, rising above the smoke and the din for an instant. “The subtitles, often sharing personal thoughts, phrases cut out of the context or straightforward statements, add into this constantly evolving layered complexity that I find fascinating, this undefined stream of something,” says Salvadori. “Facial blur and voice modulation are choices born from a combination of both the club privacy policies and a reaction to my attitude towards portraying close friends. With the The Sun Has No Shadow, I felt the need to detach; for the first time those portrayed are not fully themselves, my friends, but more vehicles for a specific symbolic moment.”

This dissociation into symbolism manifests literally in the excerpt’s climax, where the haze and blur of the crowd dissolves into the abstract rupture of what Salvadori terms ‘euroemptiness,’ an evolving graphic language comprised of shifting combinations of animated shapes and colours. “When I started filming I didn’t have any sense of boundaries; myself, the camera and what was being filmed felt equally important, to the point where I found myself disappearing behind the camera,” explains Salvadori. “I had to stop and subvert the trajectory flux: instead of filming everything I saw, I isolated and started making abstract animations. The simple animated geometries have always represented my desire for silence and emptiness. Then years after my first experiments, ‘euroemptiness’ has grown into a portal for new dogmatic messages. In The Sun Has No Shadow, the graphic language is not silent anymore; it is inviting both for myself and those watching to find and follow that light that never fades.” By disrupting linear techniques of film editing, Salvadori formally subverts the momentum of her own frame, reinscribing the transitional liminality from her subject to the screen. The constantly evolving collage of shapes effects an inward turn, pulling focus on the voice and text that is woven into the texture of the frame, another modulated voice relating their experience of being lost in the dance. “I enjoy it because it’s like looking into a lens,” they assert, “a way to condense information whilst the body is undertaking a process, this constant feeling that nothing belongs to you.”

Presented with a desubjectivised procession of abstract images in process, the momentum of the footage preceding it is revealed, a record of transformation within liminal spaces that enacts another process of transformation, once removed, in its relationship with the viewer. This shift in perspective, a rupture of the subjective gaze by abstract projection, opens up The Sun Has No Shadow to the audience. Transient intimacy between strangers, captured in a way that is dissociated from linear time and conventional space, invokes a community in process, constantly fluctuating, shifting shape as soon as a recogniseable group is formed. “Where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.”

For more information about Rebecca Salvadori and her work you can follow her on Instagram. The Sun Has No Shadow was commissioned by curator Adriana Leanza for the hybrid show Synchronous Errors, which took place at FOLD earlier this year and will be shown at Futur Shock, curated by Karolina Magnusson Murray, at FOLD on June 9.

Watch next: Zoë Mc Pherson moves through a healing dub elixir in I Expect Nothing (Straight)

Fact Mix 862: DJ Travella

DJ Travella is responsible for the most exhilarating music of recent years, injecting crackling cybernetic energy into singeli in a semi-improvisational style incorporating production, DJing and live performance.

If you want to hear the future, listen to DJ Travella. The 19-year-old producer born Hamadi Hassani is responsible for the most exhilarating music of recent years, injecting crackling cybernetic energy into singeli, a genre which has resulted in some of the most important developments in electronic music in the last half decade. For those of you paying attention, partially thanks to devoted online support from patron saint of the experimental Arca and esteemed music meme lord La Meme Young, ‘Crazy Beat Music Umeme 2’ has been one the defining tracks of 2022, a turbo-charged transmission of full throttle, red-lining, hyperactive rave polyphony. Between the release of Travella’s essential album, Mr Mixondo, on Nyege Nyege Tapes back in April, his own Instagram documentation of ecstatic street parties in his hometown of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and his recent run of European performances, which have seen him brandishing his trusty Bluetooth keyboard like Herbie Hancock shredding a keytar solo, it’s clear that this is Travella’s time and the best we can do is keep up.

His mix for Fact, or as Travella has tagged it, MR MIXONDO MX SICK FACT MIX, which foregoes a tracklist, instead featuring improvised remixes of tracks from Mr Mixondo as well as several unreleased productions, is a thrilling glimpse of his creative process, an improvisational hybrid between production, DJing and live performance. Recorded live in Virtual DJ, Travella loads an expansive deck of carefully selected samples which he is then able to cut rapidly between, crafting constantly evolving compositions on the fly. Layering a relentless percussive charge and melodic instrumentals which reveal the producer’s preternatural ear for soaring emotion and steamy sensuality with a cacophony of pitched-up glissandos, chipmunk ad-libs, sword shings, glass smashes and Travella’s signature surprise breakdowns, he creates a sparking feedback loop, in which samples, pre-sets and motifs from dembow, trap, hardcore rave and R&B are constantly fed through singeli’s hybrid accelerator at blistering speeds.

Performed live, aided by his Bluetooth keyboard with which he triggers samples mapped to different keys, Travella is able to step away from the decks in moments of live improvisation where every element of his process flows through and out of him, acting as producer, performer and composer all at once. While the terminal velocity and sensory overload of his sound bears all the hallmarks of a cybernetic music born of online spaces, the inherent physicality of the producer’s ability to smash together software and hardware in a totally singular way marks DJ Travella as a visceral antidote to any sort of fevered, doom scroll nihilism. His is a sound that outpaces and overwhelms the speed and spectacle of the vast array of influences he draws from, wrenching you up and out into unhinged street parties and onto frenetic dancefloors, begging you to move as fast as you’re able. This is the most vital stuff around at the moment: if you want to hear the future, listen to DJ Travella.

You can find DJ Travella on Instagram. Mr Mixondo is out now.

Listen next: Fact Mix 861 – Nsasi

HAAi, Jon Hopkins, Akira Uchida and Tom Furse combine music, choreography and AI on Baby, We’re Ascending visual

Dancers morph into birds and trees in a soaring journey across time and space.

In the video for HAAi’s ‘Baby, We’re Ascending’ – the title track from the DJ and producer’s debut album, made in collaboration with Jon Hopkins – sweeping melodies, soaring vocals and a hardcore-inspired rhythm are brought to life by a combination of real-life dance and AI technology. Choreographed by Akira Uchida and animated by Tom Furse, the visual is both a kaleidoscopic interpretation of the track and a stunning technical achievement in its own right, in which three dancers morph seamlessly with flowers, birds and trees.

“I’ve worked with Tom across my entire album, including the video for ‘Purple Jelly Disc’, the AI clouds on the digital album cover, my Mixmag cover and now for this,” says HAAi. “He’s also creating some bespoke visuals for my bigger shows this year which I’m really excited about.”

“I met Akira virtually as he had choreographed a dance piece to an older track of mine called ‘Feels’, which blew me away. His interpretation of my music and translating it into movement was really emotional to watch. It was a no brainer for me to work with both Tom and Akira on the video.”

Furse is best known as a member of The Horrors and as a solo musician in his own right, but more recently he was inspired to try using AI to create visuals and animation. “I’d seen examples of the technology before with things like the famous ‘avocado chair’ but after hearing about VQGAN+CLIP on the Interdependence podcast I woke up a few mornings later and thought ‘OK, I’m going to give this a go today’. That morning cracked my entire creative practise wide open. I wasn’t just doing music anymore. It also changed the way my eyes saw the world.” When Furse first heard the track, he wanted to convey the feeling he says he gets with a lot of HAAi’s music, “a kind of rushing feeling, a sense of being propelled through the atmosphere at force.”

“So there’s already that feeling of flight, and married with ideas of ascension it seemed only natural to explore avian forms. Across my work so far there’s been a lot of botanical exploration so I also incorporated that into my prompts for the AI knowing that I’d get some interesting results as it tried to figure out whether any part of a dancer was supposed to a bird, or a flower, or something in between. But also as Akira pointed out to me, ascension is also about change, and the life journey of a flower illustrates change very poetically.”

Uchida had a similar response to the track, which he wanted to communicate through the choreography. “The first thing that impacted me upon listening to the track was this feeling of it being heavenly and ethereal. The peak in the song gave me a very specific feeling of falling upwards into the sky and beyond (not to be confused with flying) which inspired some of the visuals at the end of the video. There is also an immensity in the sound which I felt was important to capture as well as a powerful feminine energy I wanted to channel in movement.”

The production of the video was a collaborative process, with Uchida shooting the dancers in front of a green screen in a New York studio, and Furse processing the footage with conventional means before running each scene through a machine learning synthesis process called Guided Diffusion.

“This is still an emerging technique and I believe possibly the first time it’s been used at this scale,” Furse says. “I’ve seen 5-10 second clips before but it’s such a time consuming process I’m not sure if anyone has really had the freedom to set the time aside to make anything longer form. Personally I can’t wait to start using and see this process in more conventional narrative storytelling. It has so many possibilities.”

“Collaborating with Tom was a really enriching experience,” Uchida says. “Though I had worked with green screen before, working with AI in this way opened up a whole new world of possibilities and challenges as well. As we were both undertaking a new process in our own ways, myself working with AI and Tom working with dance, a lot of our collaboration had to do with problem solving and coming up with creative solutions.”

Although Uchida and Furse were in close contact throughout the process and communicated on revisions before reaching the final edit, the unpredictable nature of the AI rendering presented some challenges in developing the choreography. “We did a few tests throughout the process, so I had a reference as to what might work better than other choices, but ultimately I was choreographing without having an exact idea of how this would turn out,” Uchida says. “I knew that we wouldn’t be able to see some of the more subtle details in their expression, so I focused on creating large powerful movements which convey a strong intensity, while focusing on the form, so the feeling would still translate and remain present regardless of the outcome.”

In their earliest iterations, the results from machine learning algorithms trained to create images created some strange and variable results, but recent developments allowed Furse to create visuals with some degree of predictability. “The results can be unexpected, although not enough to be completely unrepeatable,” he says. “The details might be different each time but your general output will still be in the same world if you’ve crafted the prompts and the process well enough.

“I would love to train my own models but there is some pretty serious time and processing power needed to do so and gain impressive results so I used various open source models for this video. The openly available nature of this technology is an interesting component, it’s just waiting there for people to use. Who will emerge as the Bach of promptism and AI image synthesis? Someone’s bound to come along and really blow some minds, and I’m excited for them.”

Baby, We’re Ascending is out now on Mute Records – order and stream it here. Follow HAAi on Instagram and SoundCloud.

Follow Akira Uchida on Instagram and find out more on his practice at his website.

Follow Tom Furse on Instagram and explore more of his visual work on Foundation and Versum.

Baby, We’re Ascending credits:

Video directed by Akira Uchida & Tom Furse
Choreographed by Akira Uchida
Animation by Tom Furse
Executive Produced by Box Artist Management / Ben Totty
Assistant Producer – Julia Norman
DOP – Ethan Stupp

Cast:
Taylor Graham
Lucy Vallely
Chantelle Good

Watch next: Zoë Mc Pherson moves through a healing dub elixir in I Expect Nothing (Straight)

Zoë Mc Pherson moves through a healing dub elixir in I Expect Nothing (Straight)

The audiovisual artist’s collaboration with filmmaker Manuela Aguilar depicts a dialogue between the lonesome brutality of unforgiving terrain and the defiant strength of the human spirit.

Zoë Mc Pherson describes Abyss Elixir, their latest release for Ciarra Black’s Pendulum Recordings imprint, as “made to mend.” Eschewing collaborations, which have defined so much of their previous work, here, they drill down into a deeply emotional and personal sound, incorporating weighty low frequency with visceral warmth to craft an alien sound precision engineered to flow through flesh and bone. “The overall tracks were written for heavy sound systems that have this unique capacity to hit your heart, strongly influenced by dub music,” Mc Pherson continues. “As you make that effort to allow that space and process your wounds, it is strengthening and developing your position, while observing all that is around you, its history, what changes, as well as what needs attention to change further.” This is a process that is enacted in the audiovisual treatment of the record’s opening track ‘I Expect Nothing (Straight),’ a collaboration with filmmaker Manuela Aguilar which sees Mc Pherson performing a ritualistic dance of catharsis and healing, drawing strength from the lonesome brutality of unforgiving terrain.

The sparse textures of Mc Pherson’s soundscape are reflected back in the vast, open landscapes we witness them moving through, their spasmodic movements twitching instinctively in time with the throb and tick of the track. Just as patches of pixelated glitch mark their use of low-end distortion, their movements seem to move in phase with their surroundings, flowing to match undulating rock formations and windswept plains, or jerking in rigid sequence, as though safely channeling lethal electricity from the cables stretched overhead. In shots that evoke the defiant solitude of the opening scene of Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas, Mc Pherson’s physicality cuts through desolate visions of crumbled concrete and twisted metal, splitting earth-toned expanse with flashes of jet black and radioactive green. Slowly building momentum, Aguilar’s film reveals itself as both recorded healing ritual and experimental road trip, in which the artist’s internal progression and emotional landscape are projected out into the world around them.

Throughout the entirety of I Expect Nothing (Straight) the intensely charged atmosphere and joyful rebellion of dub is palpable. Here, sound systems and turntables are replaced with electricity pylons, sheer rock faces and scorched earth, the healing properties of bass weight invoked by Mc Pherson reproduced in Aguilar’s vision of the natural world. Depicted as finding solace in solitude, drawing transformative power from the earth, the artists synthesise a new kind of elixir. Laughing in the face of the abyss, Mc Pherson moves within a tense equilibrium between the crushing weight of the world and the defiant strength of the human spirit. As the final pulses of distortion and reverb echo into silence, Mc Pherson walks purposefully into the darkness, the healing ritual complete.

For more information about Zoë Mc Pherson and their work you can follow them on Instagram. Abyss Elixir is out now on Pendulum Recordings.

I Expect Nothing (Straight) Credits:

Co-Direction, Music, Performance – Zoë Mc Pherson
Co-Direction, Editing & VFX – Manuela Aguilar
Director Of Photography – Ginevra Marino
B-Roll Footage – Zoë Mc Pherson, Suzy Poling
Movement Coach – Kiki Ramos Sorvik
Styling – Konstantinos Efstathiadis
Wearing – Helena Stölting
Nails – Thams Does Claws
Gaffer / Assistant – Matias Boettner
Color Grading – Franco Palazzo
Production – Zoë Mc Pherson and Pendulum Recordings

Watch next: IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII & Thomas Collet reflect on industrialisation and the anthropocene, live at Berlin Atonal 2021

Fact Mix 861: Nsasi

A hybrid DJ set and live performance from one of the founders of Kampala’s ANTI-MASS collective.

Early in his life, Ugandan DJ and musician Nsasi earned a reputation for challenging authority, something that led to him being excommunicated from a seminary during childhood. His icon was Tshala Mwana, a scandalous ’80s pop star who lived and performed dangerously – qualities that Nsasi has sought to emulate in his own life and art.

Nsasi is currently one of the driving forces of ANTI-MASS, a collective based in Kampala whose parties have become vital spaces of safe expression for the city’s queer community. Together with co-founders Authentically Plastic and Turkana, Nsasi pushes a fluid, hyper-modern style of club music that seeks to disrupt traditional forms, his own style drawing a line from Kiganda percussion to Chicago house and beyond.

Nsasi’s Fact Mix is a thrilling window into his club sets, combining live performance of his productions and traditional DJing in a manner that reflects the experimental nature of ANTI-MASS as a whole. “It’s a trance-inducing kind of vibe that transitions to a more groovy dancey vibe,” Nsasi says.

“I chose to layer all the tracks with my live stems creating a seemingly hi-LFO medium. It was done on purpose to muffle the sound and effects on them to have not so clear a relation to what seems to be said when voices appear, but rather have some type of connection or to be reminded of something – to feel something in relation to how you’re hearing the set and how you feel when listening.”

You can follow Nsasi on Instagram and SoundCloud. ANTI-MASS recently released their debut compilation, DOXA – follow them on Instagram and Bandcamp. Once you’ve listened to Nsasi’s Fact Mix, check out the recent entries from ANTI-MASS co-founders Authentically Plastic and Turkana.

Fact Magazine · Fact Mix 861: Nsasi (May ’22)

Tracklist:

Ciara ft. Ludacris – ‘Oh’
Bungalovv  – ‘Alacran’
Da Gold Dust – ‘Sizokhonga’
Galtier – ‘My Mess Is A Face’
Oskido ft. Candy – ‘Tsa Ma Ndebele’
Honey Drip ft. King Shadrock – ‘Brand New Flava’
Remiseria Temperley –  ‘Leguero Hacelo Bien’
Remiseria Temperley – ‘Hospital Canin’
NKC & MM – ‘Beams’
HYPNA – ‘DRM//BLL’
Oyisse – ‘Rare’
Slikback – ‘Lasakaneku’
Authentically Plastic – ‘Strakka’
Chrisman ft. Yunis – ‘Ku Mwezi’
DJ Swisha – ‘Grape Surgery’

Listen next: Fact Mix 860: Manuka Honey

Intonal Festival 2022: Hiro Kone

The world premiere of Hiro Kone’s new live show, an extension of her recent album Silvercoat the throng.

In the last of a series of highlights from Malmö’s Intonal Festival, we present the world premiere of Disruption and Epokhē, a new live show from New York-based musician and producer Nicky Mao, otherwise known as Hiro Kone. Mao has been exploring the experimental fringes of ambient music and techno for over a decade, using an array of electronic hardware and synth modules to create meditative and unsettling music that resists easy categorisation.

In recent years, Mao’s music has found a home on Dais Records, where she has released three albums: 2018’s Pure Expenditure, 2019’s A Fossil Begins To Bray, and Silvercoat the throng, composed during lockdown in 2020 and released in 2021. Disruption and Epokhē is an extension of Silvercoat the throng, inspired partly by the words of the late philosopher Bernard Stiegler: “The age of disruption is the epoch of the absence of epoch.”

As Mao explains: “Current technical systems are preventing our expression of will and what we are left with is a fragmentary sense of existence. The incomprehensibility of our times, faltering mutualities, diminishing worlds, a lack of growth in transgenerational experience – all lead to an unbearable psychic weight and an inability to conceive of new forms of life together.”

Mao resisted the urge to fill the space in this work, exploring instead how absence gives dimension and form to our lives, a theme quite pertinent to a time of pandemic and lockdowns. “If light does not break, if shadows are not cast, how are we to process and then disseminate all that we have experienced? And in these current modes of existence, will we experience an epoch together ever again?”

Intonal has been one of the highlights of Sweden’s electronic music calendar since it was first held in 2015, inviting international artists to perform alongside the country’s own pool of innovative experimental artists. Run by the team behind the intimate Inkonst venue, Intonal’s programme sees a host of commissions, one-off performances and club nights take place across the city.

Intonal’s 2022 festival was its first full edition since 2019, with 2020 cancelled and 2021 taking place in a hybrid format due to the pandemic. “The whole point of a festival is to bring people together – a proclamation so self-evident that one would never reflect upon it under ordinary circumstances. But the last two years have given us cause to do just that,” the festival team says.

For more information on Intonal, visit the festival website. Follow Hiro Kone on Instagram and find her music on Bandcamp.

Filmed by Jonatan Gyllenör and Henrik Hellström.

Watch next: Intonal Festival 2022: Fulu Miziki

Intonal Festival 2022: Fulu Miziki

The Kinshasa group perform at the Malmö festival with their orchestra of DIY instruments constructed from salvaged items.

In the second in a series of highlights from Malmö’s Intonal Festival, we present a performance from multidisciplinary Kinshasa collective Fulu Miziki. The Afro-Futurist collective, whose name roughly translates as “music from the garbage,” are famed for their DIY ethos, constructing their instruments and costumes from salvaged objects.

Fulu Miziki’s instrumentation changes as their music evolves, and has included guembris built out of computer casings, keyboards constructed from wood, springs and aluminium pipes and flip-flops used as percussion pads. For their latest EP, Ngbaka, the group experimented with electronic textures and production techniques, recruiting Sekelembele and DJ Final to help create a hybrid sound that was developed in Kampala during Covid-19 lockdown.

Intonal has been one of the highlights of Sweden’s electronic music calendar since it was first held in 2015, inviting international artists to perform alongside the country’s own pool of innovative experimental artists. Run by the team behind the intimate Inkonst venue, Intonal’s programme sees a host of commissions, one-off performances and club nights take place across the city.

Intonal’s 2022 festival was its first full edition since 2019, with 2020 cancelled and 2021 taking place in a hybrid format due to the pandemic. “The whole point of a festival is to bring people together – a proclamation so self-evident that one would never reflect upon it under ordinary circumstances. But the last two years have given us cause to do just that,” the festival team says.

For more information on Intonal, visit the festival website. Follow Fulu Miziki on Instagram.

Filmed by Jonatan Gyllenör and Henrik Hellström.

Watch next: Intonal Festival 2022: WaqWaq Kingdom

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII & Thomas Collet reflect on industrialisation and the anthropocene, live at Berlin Atonal 2021

A collaborative audiovisual performance, recorded live at last year’s edition of Berlin Atonal.

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII, or Barcode, is an enigma. In an effort to shirk the personality cults that can develop when an audience’s primary tool for engagement with music is social media, the mysterious producer and musician removes their personality entirely from the distribution process of their music. In an age where the widespread adoption of streaming services has removed most value for most musicians releasing their music in digital formats, artists have had to transform themselves into the product, their music becoming a means of signal boosting their personal brand and in so doing imbuing their practice with value. In a critical gesture, Barcode collapses these distinctions, reducing their identity to a visual marker of their creativity as product, a barcode, within which all the information pertaining to the potential value of their artistry is contained. In the absence of any identifiable artist, the listener is left only with the music, evocative and experimental percussive compositions that defy any easy genre definitions or corporate categories. When it came time to translate the project into a live audiovisual performance for the 2021 edition of Berlin Atonal, it made sense that their collaborator, glitch artist Thomas Collet, also had his mind on how inextricable contemporary art is from capital.

“This whole project started during the pandemic, when it was nearly impossible to travel or record videos outside,” he explains. “It’s in that particular context that I decided to explore Google Earth, seeking new images. During this long journey I developed a fascination for industrial forms. Gravitating around Google Earth during curfew made me realize how much our lives are intricately related with industrial culture. It took such an important part in our evolution during the last two centuries that we can barely think without it. This particular mindset led us to the anthropocene we live in today. This concept describes a new geological epoch, where the human impact is more significant in earth’s ecosystems and geology than ever. Google Earth in itself emphasises this idea of a world sculpted by human activity.” A seemingly infinite procession of god’s eye view images of industrial phenomena – supply chains, shipping crates, megaports and coastlines dotted with oil tankers and supply ships – are presented in counterpoint with plains, mountains and seas, simultaneously exaggerating and collapsing the enormity of the vast, globally connected network of industry that enrobes planet earth. Through Collet’s pixel manipulation these artificial forms saturate, warp and shift into patterns that resemble organic forms, as vast aerial images car parks are duplicated, taking on the structure of a teeming ant colony, while 3D rendered shipping crate blueprints glitch and drip like petrol floating across water.

“When Barcode contacted me for Berlin Atonal it was an incredible match between the music and the videos. I can’t imagine a better place than an old electric factory to play this set.” Collet continues. “Destructive processes ground my experimentations and I can feel this in Barcode’s work too. Glitch art has always been a way to create a singular version of reality. In this case it can erase data to the point where the landscapes are consumed and melted into other material. It gives the sensation that time is accelerated and we are travelling through the anthropocene era. It reaches a point where industry becomes a camouflage of nature, and the other way around. You may feel that you are staring at romantic paintings, watching these over-industrialized sites in their terrific beauty. In these experimentations I had this feeling that I was mining glitch in Google Earth, using the same processes I could observe in industry: starting with raw materials to glitch into processed ones.” By aligning his art practice with industrialized processes of production, Collet enacts Barcode’s depersonalised approach to art in his visuals, mapping the extraction of value from the earth onto the aestheticization of distortion presented in his work. Pixels are rendered as precious ore or oil deposits in his excavative approach to glitch art, the most basic units of digital imagery coded as the most basic objects of value within the natural world.

“We live in the information era where data is a new resource, it seems essential that artists use it as well,” Collet concludes. “In this regard glitch art processes open a new narrative where digital doesn’t only produce tangible data, but also generates artifacts through its own destruction. The idea that we can eternally stock everything online seems foolish to me, therefor I prefer to show the fragilities and weaknesses of the medium I use.” By probing at the stress points of digital imagery, Collet formally captures how difficult it can be to think on a planetary scale. He exaggerates how dwarfed our personalised perspective of the world is by global industry, twisting it into even more intricate and overwhelming forms. Capitalising on this inertia, he replicates the feeling of standing in the bowels of Kraftwerk, the old power station and longstanding home of Berlin Atonal, an epiphanic instance of feeling at once impossibly small and intensely alive – insignificant on the scale of a supply chain, yet all powerful on the scale of the consumer.

You can find IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII On Instagram and at Bandcamp. For more information about Thomas Collet and his work you can follow him on Instagram.

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII x Thomas Collet – Live at Berlin Atonal 2021 Tracklist and Timestamps:

1. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII – Electric Rated Gesture 00:00
2. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII – Outlook Remains Untouched 04:06
3. user09081994 – Help Yourself 10:23
4. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII – All the Hours I Spent in Bunkers 14:00
5. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII – Qatidiq 17:12
6. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII – Exoteric Resistance 21:01
7. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII – A Kenotic Song About The Megamachine 23:23
8. user09081994 – A Red Warning Flag 26:50
9. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII – Why She Is Hiding in the Other Man’s Eyes 32:40
10. Grand Inc – Stress Kicked In And Hurled You Toward 37:59

Watch next: Xenoangel simulate mythic archaeology on the back of a world beast in Supreme (Slow Thinking)

Fact Mix 860: Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey serves a sweat-drenched selection of the steamiest tracks pulled from the sexiest corners of the Latinx club scene worldwide.

DJ, producer and gal-dem’s resident astrologer Manuka Honey is one of the brightest lights of the Latinx club scene in the UK, folding in sounds from the breadth of the Latinx diaspora alongside sharper-edged shades of gqom and the bludgeoning weight of industrial into an irresistibly steamy and undeniably charged sound. Over the last three years they have mixed for Rinse FM, Club Chai, BOXOUT.FM and BBC Asian Network, released their own productions and remixes for Promesses, Daytimers and YCO, most notably their debut EP, Industrial Princess, for NAAFI, all whilst writing an invaluable horoscope column, kindly dispensing enough zodiac wisdom to guide us through the swirling chaos of the last few years. More recently, together with Baby Cocada, she founded SUZIO, a London-based, Latinx collective and party, which she describes as “an intentional space to hear the hottest sounds from across the LatAm underground.” The first SUZIO party will see Toccororo, Sueuga, Florentino, Nyksan, as well as Baby Cocada and Manuka Honey themselves, tearing up The Grace on June 18.

Manuka Honey’s Fact mix is the perfect warm up, serving a sweat-drenched selection of the steamiest tracks pulled from the hottest dance floors throughout the Latinx club scene worldwide. “As always, I wanted to showcase the darkest, sexiest, most unhinged beats I could find in my library,” they say. “From Venezuelan turreo sessions to shatta from Martinique, the guiding principle I used when creating this piece was remembering my love of tying together sounds that share a vibe, not a genre. You’ll also find quite a few of my own productions and remixes scattered throughout the mix, too.” She continues: “I built this mix in Ableton. I love building mixes in Ableton so much. I’m a perfectionist and often treat mixes and radio shows like one big track I’m producing, and that’s exactly what I’ve done here. I suppose that means if anyone tells me the mix isn’t perfect I’ll probably cry.”

Bouncing elegantly from contemporary reggaeton anthems from DJ Gere, Lautaro DJ, Alan Gomez and Plan B, deadly perreo variations from Nick Léon and Luciano DJ and low-slung shatta from X-Man, JD&JDS and Shaydee to future-facing Latinx club artillery from Arca, Merca Bae, Cardopusher, Imaabs and King Doudou, sweltering edits from MODABOT & MANNYDOJO, Jags 639, Amor Satyr and Miss Jay, riotous baile funk from DJ Scuff, JC NO BEAT, MC Teteu and DJ F7, as well an unreleased Florentino hookup with DJ Python and Manuka Honey’s own lip-biting take on steamroom reggaeton and beyond, this is one for sunny ragers and debauched basements, to be played as loud as you possibly can.

You can find Manuka Honey on Instagram, Bandcamp and at gal-dem. Their next release arrives in the autumn on Florentino’s Club Romantico.

Tracklist:

DJ Gere x Lautaro DJ – ‘BAJALO SUAVE’
Safety Trance – ‘Agarra Lo Que Es Tuyo’
Alan Gomez, Lucas Rmx & Matias Mareco DJ – ‘Raka Taka Taka’
DJ Tao & John C – ‘JOHN C DJ TAO Turreo Sessions #4’
Beta Canseco – ‘Jadea’
Manuka Honey – ‘Noise Complaint’
Nick Leon – ‘Bachetrón’ 
Arca – ‘Tiro’ 
Zona Instrumental – ‘Sacala’
Luciano DJ – ‘Intro Teléfono Perreo’ [Feat. Mister Remix]
Plan B – ‘Hora De Perrear’
X-Man – ‘Pon Di Beat’ [Feat. Shannen & Natoxie]
JD&JDS – ‘Copilote XTD’ 
POBVIO – ‘KONTAKTO 2020’
Merca Bae – ‘Bubbaloo’
Shaydee – ‘Kipembe’
King Doudou – ‘LSDLNG’
DJVivaEdit – ‘Call All The Putas (Party Break)’
Baby Cocada – ‘BPR’
MODABOT x MANNYDOJO – ‘BAJALE’
Entrañas, PVSSY – ‘Calor’ (Jags 639 Remix)  
Manuka Honey – ‘Industrial Princess’
GLOR1A – ‘Running Man’ (Manuka Honey Remix)
Dixson Waz – ‘KLK Coño’
Florentino – ‘Sicaria’ [Feat. DJ Python] (Unreleased)
Amor Satyr – ‘Ward 21 x DJ Lag’
Manuka Honey – ‘Pestañas’
Imaabs – ‘Crush’
st.grimes – ‘Lenta’ (Miss Jay Remix)
DJ Scuff – ‘Clap Clap’
JC NO BEAT, MC Teteu & DJ F7 – ‘Eu Vou Machucar Só um Pouquinho X (Black Lança) Catucando Gostosinho’

Listen next: Fact Mix 859 – Changsie

Xenoangel simulate mythic archaeology on the back of a world beast in Supreme (Slow Thinking)

Multidisciplinary artists Marija Avramovic and Sam Twidale combine live simulation, hybrid poetry, 3D animation and reactive sound design to explore symbiosis and synchronicity in a world which is both ecosystem and organism.

Marija Avramovic and Sam Twidale describe themselves as “scavengers of virtual worlds.” Since 2017 they have been working collaboratively as Xenoangel, combining their multidisciplinary practises to create worlds animated with an intricate fantasy cosmology of interconnected systems, media, organisms and objects in order to further explore and develop a variety of research interests and influences. Whether taking on the existentialist thought of Jean-Paul Sartre in After Intelligence (2018), interpreting the magical realist cinema of Akira Kurosawa alongside animist and techno-animist beliefs with Sunshowers (2019), or coding political theorist Jane Bennet’s theory of ‘vibrant matter’ onto Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s 1971 science fiction touchstone Roadside Picnic in The Zone (2019), Xenoangel build virtual ecosystems that are complex and expansive enough to encapsulate the broad scope of their thought. “It’s about making worlds which are autonomous and independent of us,” explains Avramovic. “It’s really about watching a universe from the perspective of the observer.” In their latest work, Supreme (2021), the artists utilise the object oriented ontology of philosopher, ecologist and realist magician Timothy Morton to evolve their own theory of ‘slow thinking,’ at once an expressive mode and a philosophy of engagement. “In a very direct way, the basis of the idea is thinking at the speed of mineral exchange in a forest, or the movement of tectonic plates to make mountain ranges,” explains Twidale. “Something less human, less capitalist, less instant,” adds Avramovic. “In some way it’s banging up against this idea of accelerationism, trying to think of some sort of alternative where instead of pushing to extremes, maybe you need to slow down and be able to think in the same key as the world around you,” continues Twidale. “That could be the natural world, or the inorganic world, or it could just be your neighbors.”

In Supreme, Xenoangel collapse these definitions into a self-contained, symbiotic ecosystem, following the progress of a monolithic world beast and the organisms that have taken up residence on its gargantuan back. “There is this myth, which is present in many cultures, of a world existing on the back of a creature, so we created a completely imaginary beast,” says Avramovic. Created using a synthesis of 3D animation, A.I. systems adapted from video game code, collaboratively sourced text and a painterly approach to color and composition, the world beast is presented to us in a fluid succession of view points, ranging from the smallest, granular scale, where the observer glimpses the world from the perspective of its most minute texture, to a roving, planetary scale view, where we are able to observe the world beast in its enormous totality. Teeming with technicolor life, radioactive foliage and jutting rock formations house incomprehensible lifeforms, lumpen, tendrilled and curious. Throughout the course of the work these lifeforms explore and adapt to their surroundings, seeking to synchronize with the world beast by excavating artefacts from the world beast’s past, embedded within its huge form and in so doing harmonizing with the world beast’s song, finding a means of expressing their interdependency through resonance. “The name ‘Supreme’ comes from this supreme type of relation,” explains Avramovic, “where the inhabitants on the back of the beast are synchronized with the beast. The creatures of Supreme are trying to synchronize with the beast, with the world, and they do it through their singing. They’re listening to the sounds of the beast and they are making their sounds in harmony. The more synchronized they are, the more artifacts they will be able to find and rediscover messages from the previous world.”

Each of these artifacts is represented by a virtual object, objects which appeared in a previous Xenoangel work, The Zone, an act of artistic cannibalisation which in itself embodies interconnected and symbiotic aesthetic relations. Each artifact also corresponds to a different text, contributed by six collaborators tasked by Xenoangel to write a response to the work and the broader themes of symbiosis and interdependence. Manifesting different perspectives of the same ecosystem and organism, Serafín Álvarez (in collaboration with the neural net-enabled A.I. language model GPT-3), Paul Robertson, Roc Jiménez de Cisneros, Phoebe Wagner, Corinna Dean of The Archive for Rural Contemporary Architecture and the experimental performance collective VVAA all put forward variations on Timothy Morton’s conception of the symbiotic real, a term that implies non-hierarchical solidarity between human and non-human entities, describing the inseparability and inherent participation of organisms within a given ecosystem – a relationship manifested in the hybrid, symbiotic form of the world beast. In the online iteration presented above a poem written in response to these texts by Xenoangel serves as both lore and language for the world beast and its inhabitants, an adapted corpus of free association and expression that works to capture the atmosphere of the world beast, rather than attempt to explain its symbiotic existence. Thus the world beast’s inhabitants are recorded as: “A people. / There are characters. Many. / And they are nodes. They are synapses,” while “Logging trucks form psycho-commercial traffic jams,” evoke some distant memory of “Mechanical ant lines with their sylvan swag.” Just as the creatures of the world beast enact an evolving practice of virtual excavation, Xenoangel inscribe a figurative excavation of myth, simulating a linguistic mode of mythic archaeology that functions with and through Supreme’s live simulation of the world beast.

Photo by Virginia Bianchi Gallery, ArtVerona 2021.

“The critters are uncovering little snippets of a past world, or a world from a different timeline, understanding all these stories around their main story, like us discovering artifacts from the archaic people of our world,” explains Twidale. “There’s this really interesting idea from Federico Campagna, who talks about an end of a world, but not the end of all worlds. There is a world which follows and you need to imagine the entities which take it on. He says we can imagine them because the first people in the world are the archaic people of the world, so we imagined that these critters on the back of the beast are these archaic characters who arrive somehow and are trying to understand what their world is.” In this way, the role of Xenoangel’s discursive art practice is coded as the exploratory behaviour of the world beast’s inhabitants, a relationship delineated in the poem’s opening lines: “I’m thinking about something. / Slow Thinking is a myth.” By positing slow thinking as part of the fabric of the world beast’s mythos, the programmed excavation of the world beast’s history and the supreme, symbiotic relationship it has with its inhabitants doubles as the artists’ interrogation of their own thought. Their living, breathing world, “the shape shifting critter that took forever to shift shape,” becomes both vessel and avatar for this mode of thinking, one of Morton’s hyperobjects, objects so vast in temporal and spatial scope they become unplaceable, animated as both biome and beast. To look at it another way, slow thinking might be understood as one possible way of engaging with the enormity of Morton’s ecological thought, an engagement that serves as the lifeblood of both the world beast and of Supreme.

“Ecology has now become a very interesting topic for artists,” says Twidale. “Everything you’re trying to look at within ecology has parallels within society as well. Being able to think about the symbiotic real is to realize that you already live in this kind of interdependent, interconnected system, you can’t escape it. You have to learn how to maximize that and get the best out of it, you have to understand that you’re with this environment around you.” This grasp of their inherent interdependency is borne out not only in the duo’s artistic response, but also in Xenoangel’s approach to collaboration. “Our practice is becoming more and more collective in terms of involving more and more people,” continues Avramovic. “It’s such a nice ground to have a dialogue about these things. This sort of art is a good place to have paradoxical situations, because art allows that.” Ultimately, the paradoxical, impossible scope of slow thinking finds immediate expression in the languid progress of the world beast, its real time animation outlining Supreme as a marker by which to navigate Xenoangel’s broader philosophical investigations. By thinking slowly through the symbiotic real of this virtual ecology, the artists construct a contemporary myth as sense-making apparatus, an interdependent parable for navigating the present. “If you take the ecological viewpoint of those things, art has forever had a connection with nature,” concludes Twidale. “It’s not surprising that now people are interested in this approach, it’s just the way you look at nature and your position within it.”

For more information about Xenoangel and their work, you can visit their website and follow them on Instagram.

Watch next: Akiko Haruna embodies yearning and melancholy with Yakusoku

Intonal Festival 2022: WaqWaq Kingdom

Kiki Hitomi and Shigeru Ishihara present the world premiere of Glitches Jungle, a commission for the Malmö experimental music festival.

Malmö’s Intonal Festival has been one of the highlights of Sweden’s electronic music calendar since it was first held in 2015, inviting international artists to perform alongside the country’s own pool of innovative experimental artists. Run by the team behind the intimate Inkonst venue, Intonal’s programme sees a host of commissions, one-off performances and club nights take place across the city.

Intonal’s 2022 festival was its first full edition since 2019, with 2020 cancelled and 2021 taking place in a hybrid format due to the pandemic. “The whole point of a festival is to bring people together – a proclamation so self-evident that one would never reflect upon it under ordinary circumstances. But the last two years have given us cause to do just that,” the festival team says.

Fact is proud to present highlights from this year’s event, which took place from 20-24 April. The first performance is from WaqWaq Kingdom, the project of Japanese artists Kiki Hitomi, vocalist for King Midas Sound and Black Chow, and Shigeru Ishihara, aka breakcore producer DJ Scotch Egg. Their psychedelic electronics combine traditional Japanese min’yō with elements of dancehall, footwork and dub, drawing on ancient Shinto mythology and Japanese Matsuri festivals that honour local gods.

WaqWaq Kingdom’s Intonal performance, titled Glitches Jungle, was a world premiere developed from their recent residency at Inkonst. “Using the Erica modular synth to twist and distort natural forms, WaqWaq explore the algorithmic relationship between nature and technology. The result is Glitches Jungle, a futuristic landscape sculpted through a hybrid of ancient indigenous patterns,” the festival says. The performance also features audiovisual artist Kalma, whose real-time reactive and generative video projections provide an audiovisual backdrop for the duo.

For more information on Intonal, visit the festival website. Follow WaqWaq Kingdom on Instagram.

Watch next: KMRU & Aho Ssan erupt in post-apocalyptic extremity with ‘Resurgence’

Fact Mix 859: Changsie

UK funky meets electro on a mix from the NTS resident and DJ behind Tokyo’s Joyride party.

For those eager to hear underground dance sounds in Tokyo, Changsie’s Joyride party – held in a reggae bar in Shinjuku until late 2019 – was one of Japan’s most beloved club nights. The Chiba native’s love of UK garage, dubstep and electro was central to the night’s open-minded musical ethos, and led her to perform on bills in Tokyo alongside Will Bankhead, Errorsmith, Total Freedom and Theo Parrish.

In early 2020, Changsie made the decision to relocate to London to start a new chapter, where she began a monthly residency on NTS Radio. Although the pandemic briefly put gigs on hold, over the past year she quickly established herself as a fixture in the city, playing regularly at clubs like Phonox and Venue MOT while appearing at Manchester’s White Hotel and Sheffield’s Hope Works.

Changsie’s Fact Mix is a “short but condensed mix” that begins and ends with two of her favourite genres: UK funky and electro. “Those are my all-time favourite sounds that are both characterised by heavy bass, crisp snares and melancholic riffs,” Changsie says. It features tracks from some of UK funky’s key figures – D-Malice, Ill Blu, Cooly G, Scratcha DVA – woven around music from Skee Mask, Ploy, Fiedel, OMAAR and more.

“The experience of living in London has given me the opportunity to get to know more and dig deeper into the sound of UK funky, and I have included many tracks I have discovered here as well as those I consider to be in the same lineage of music. My general approach to DJing is to find common elements such as bass line, snare sound or melody between tracks from different genres, and I think this mix demonstrates well the fun I have doing that.”

Follow Changsie on Instagram and SoundCloud. Changsie will be appearing at Outlook Festival 2022, which this year takes place in the UK for the first time – for tickets and more information visit the festival website.

Tracklist:

Lukid – ‘Twisted Blood’
Apollo – ‘Gave Your Love’
DJ Xandy ft DJ Shyne – ‘Bengala’
D-Malice – ‘Indian Time’
Cooly G ft Karizma – ‘It’s Serious’
Ill Blu – ‘Dragon Pop’
Molinaro – ‘Ploy-3X’
Scratcha DVA – ‘Walk It Out’
Bakongo – ‘3 x 2’
OMAAR – ‘No,no,no!’
Big Boi – ‘Kryptonite’ (Nick León Baile mix)
Sherwood – ‘My Slave’
Fiedel – ‘Likedeeler’
Brassfoot – ‘We Made It out the Hood Ma’
The Deacon – ‘Funky Revolutions’
Skee Mask – ‘Wiz’
Zeki 808 – ‘Sketch’
Ploy – ‘Move Your Body’

Listen next: Fact Mix 858: Low End Activist

Akiko Haruna embodies yearning and melancholy with Yakusoku

A highlight from the producer, vocalist and movement artist’s 2021 project, Be Little Me.

Over the last few years Akiko Haruna has emerged as a unique talent, shaping a background in experimental choreography and audiovisual art into a holistic practice within which production, composition, vocal performance and movement run into and inform each other. On their breakout 2019 release for the reliably excellent Where To Now? Records, Delusions, the artist introduced us to a sound incorporating ominous low end, driving club percussion, dense electronics and vocal manipulation, sculpting an expansive sound stage populated with visceral physicality that felt inextricably body focused, a reconstructed dance music. A more angular, aggressive iteration of this sound can be heard on ‘Die and Retry,’ Haruna’s propulsive contribution to Timedance’s year-defining, 2020 compilation Sharpen, Moving, demonstrating an anthemic ear that finds its fullest expression on Be Little Me, the artist’s debut EP for Numbers. Skewing towards exploratory club pop, the project sees Haruna chasing the electronic eroticism suggested at in their previous projects, placing frenetic dance floor experiments side-by-side vocal tracks in the lineage of SOPHIE and PC Music. The most evocative – and most singular – of these is ‘Yakusoku,’ in which Haruna’s sensual vocals drift through the murky thrum and cold fizz of their production, lending a melancholy, erotic charge to an intricate volley of percussive throb and pulsing bass alchemy.

In the track’s visual accompaniment, Haruna picks out melodic lines from the track’s dense intensity with precise and fluid movement, a duality emphasised with camera work which swoops from slow and crisp to staggered and blurry. “As a director, I love working with movement and creative practitioners who want to extend their storytelling further via their own bodies,” says director Jade Ang Jackman, of art collective and publication Babes With Blades. “As a trained experimental dancer, producer and singer, Akiko becomes the embodiment of her unique sound and style. For us, at Babes with Blades, that is part of what our studio is about and it was brilliant to collaborate with an artist who takes ownership of various modes of her own expression and her British Asian heritage.” Adding yet more expressive texture to a track laden with emotional weight with their movements, Haruna’s physicality and climactic tears gesture towards the ‘promise’ of the track’s title. “I’m in this art form because I desperately want to connect with people,” the artist recently told DJ Mag and it’s this drive to connect that can be overwhelmingly felt as Haruna catches the eye of the camera between their movements, their glancing, black-toothed smile projecting outwards, their audience made complicit in the emotional surge of the music and the movement.

‘Yakusoku’ is taken from Be Little Me, out now on Numbers. You can find Akiko Haruna on Instagram and at their website.

Yakusoku Credits:

Director – Jade Ang Jackman
Studio – Babes with Blades
Director of Photography – Thomas English
Gaffer – Will Stuetz
Focus Puller – Sarah Tehranian
Lighting Assistant – Elise Dadourian
Producer – Emilie Bruyere
Production Assistant – Moyinoluwa Saka 
Production Studio – Eden Creative
Editor – Georgie Daley
Colourist – Thierry Phung
Additional Production – Drew O’Neill
Additional Director of Photography – Laura Seward
Runner – Mbalu Kamara
Styling & Creative Supervision – An Nguyen
Make-Up – David Gillers
Costume Design – Tara Hakin
Styling & Jewellery – Guia Bertorello
BTS Photography – KT Allen
Video Commissioned – Ashley Mak

Watch Next: Malthus draws strength from sickness in Won’t Go Easy

Fact Mix 858: Low End Activist

Low End Activist captures a sound that is not so much dark as it is low-lit, amplifying raw emotion over melancholy, ferocity over aggression.

Between heading up his own, self-titled imprint, running the vital “modernist hardcore” label Sneaker Social Club, bringing the moodiest sounds from UK rave to Lovefingers’ ESP Institute as Patrick Conway, collaborating with Appleblim as Trinity Carbon and consistently delivering some of the deepest, darkest basement club anthems around, Low End Activist continually proves himself to be an essential artist, archivist and architect, operating at the front lines of the contemporary face of the hardcore continuum. On his breakout 2019 release, Low End Activism, the producer drew enduring power and crackling electricity from a 1988 VHS recording of the Muzikon Sound System, captured on the Blackbird Leys housing estate in Oxford, where Low End Activist grew up. Citing a city divided between some of the UK’s most privileged and some of its most deprived, the powerful unity of the multi-ethnic, working class community of the Blackbird Leys estate and a uniquely intense sound that shirks darkness and despair for defiance and jubilation, it’s clear that this same energy influences everything Low End Activist turns his hand to, the rough ecstasy of Muzikon’s cacophonous rhythms and joyful MCs echoing in all of his productions. Most urgently, he reflects on his relationship to soundsystem culture on his new album, Hostile Utopia, which pairs blistering bass pressure with thrilling features from Mez, Emz, Killa P and Cadence Weapon, each running roughshod over the producer’s singular sound.

“The mix is a snapshot of a typical Low End Activist club set, 88 – 160 bpm,” the producer explains. “Shouts to Henzo, Cando, FFT and MINDER for the unreleased heat. I also included some soon to be released Sneaker Social Club bits from Alan Johnson and Trends, Boylan & Slimzee, as well as some recently bounced projects of my own. Shoehorned together at Pirate studios here in Berlin and some final tweaks in Ableton.” Setting the tone with the sparse percussive tick and resolutely fucked, 1000-tonne bass of an unreleased Henzo weapon, Low End Activist takes turns lolloping and barreling through a smoked-out, heads-down selection of some of the heaviest dancehall, dub, dubstep, grime, techno, UKG and hardcore, piling fresh heat from Zoë McPherson, Josi Devil, VTSS and Katatonic Silentio on top of modern classics from Kowton, Source Direct and Surgeon, moving deftly from the alien dub and paranoid pressure of Time Cow, Equiknoxx and Low Jack to ice cold grime from Trim and Flowdan. It’s the mix’s final sequence that best illustrates the weighty tension between intensity and ecstasy, defiance and celebration, that Low End Activist continually draws from, a sound that is not so much dark as it is low-lit, amplifying raw emotion over melancholy, ferocity over aggression. The transcendent breakbeats of The Brothers Grimm’s iconic hardcore anthem ‘Exodus’ triggers a sweat-drenched victory lap through the producer’s own mutant hardcore constructions, Boylan’s satanic take on Logos’ perennial ‘Glass,’ FFT on a deadly, vaporized grime deconstruction, before levelling out into the always unplaceable textures of Autechre’s ‘Stud,’ a track that, fittingly, contains some of the most emotional low end headfuckery ever recorded.

You can find Low End Activist on Instagram, Bandcamp and SoundCloud. His latest album, Hostile Utopia, is out on June 17 via Sneaker Social Club.

Tracklist:

Henzo – ‘Who Knows What’s On’
Zoë McPherson – ‘Alva’
Josi Devil – ‘The Devil’s Dance’
Time Cow – ‘Chipheads Dub’
Low Jack – ‘Lasers’
Cando – ‘Release The Bees’
VTSS – ‘Trust Me’
Blazer Sound System – ‘Heaven’s Gate’
Kowton – ‘Basic Music Knowledge’
Katatonic Silentio – ‘Pow Snake’
MINDER – ‘A.N.P.R’ [Feat. Korron & Harrison]
Henzo – ‘Is Find Never Mind’
Jo Rae – ‘EG20EG’
Alan Johnson – ‘Stillness’
Source Direct – ‘Black Rose (Blawan Remix)’
Commix – ‘Change (A Made Up Sound Remix)’
Trim – ‘Man Like Me’
SP:MC – ‘Inside Looking Out’
Surgeon – ‘Bad Hands Break’
Mosca – ‘From Ere Til Eternity’
Equiknoxx – ‘Congo Get Slap (Mark Ernestus Remix)’
Wen – ‘Swerv’
Aardvarck – ‘Monkey See…’
Kamran – ‘Zero G’
Kyle Hall – ‘Girl U So Strong’
Trends, Boylan & Slimzee – ‘NinetyNine’
Flowdan – ‘Plans In Motion (Marcus Visionary Remix)’
The Brothers Grimm – ‘Exodus’
Low End Activist – ‘Airdrop 3’
Low End Activist – ‘Airdrop 1’
Logos – ‘Glass (Boylan Devils Mix)’
FFT – ‘???’
Autechre – ‘Stud’

Listen next: Fact Mix 857 – Sarra Wild

KMRU & Aho Ssan erupt in post-apocalyptic extremity with ‘Resurgence’

An explosive edit from Limen, the first collaborative project from Kenyan sound artist Joseph Kamaru and French electronic composer and producer Niamké Désiré.

Peel and Jar, from Kenyan sound artist KMRU, and Simulacrum, from French electronic composer and producer Aho Ssan, were three of the most important electronic records from 2020, one of the more intense and challenging years in recent memory. KMRU’s tender field recordings and gauzy ambient compositions provided a much needed balm to quotidien anxiety, while Aho Ssan’s impossible jazz simulations and Max/MSP patchworks, released towards the beginning of the year, gathered urgent resonance as a prophetically incisive response to the mediated experience of living through a pandemic hunched over our smartphones and laptop screens. Though approaching sound from different directions, both artists emerged as vital new nodes within the tradition of Black radical music, combining virtuosic compositional talent with exploratory technological experimentation. Exploring each other’s practices over the course of years, in 2021 Berlin Atonal commissioned the pair to create a new composition for Metabolic Rift, which would allow them to develop the personal responses to a rapidly changing world initiated on their solo records in a new, collaborative direction. The result was ‘Resurgence,’ a searing rumination on the post-apocalypse, inspired by Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, that sees the collaborators pushing each of their sounds well into the red.

Appearing above as a cinematic edit, ‘Resurgence’ sounds constantly on the verge of collapse, excavating a soundscape that finds sharp definition in distortion and entropy, echoing the themes of cosmic creation through uncontrolled destruction that Akira revolves around. “I never made something so extreme,” says Aho Ssan. Opening with melancholy drone threaded through textural intricacy, the visceral glitch potential of the duo’s sound design suggests itself gently before erupting into metallic slabs of searing feedback synthesis melting into radioactive bass, cranked as though intended to wipe out the entire composition in its’ enormity. Receding momentarily, a coda kicks back in with scattered percussive blasts and errant trap hi-hats, threatening at the last minute to cohere into a foundation rattling rhythm. This progression is mirrored in the edit’s visual, edited by Aho Ssan himself, which manipulates a volcanic landscape being simultaneously shaped and destroyed by an eruption captured in stroboscopic slow-motion. At once reference to and a departure from the destructive potential addressed in Akira, KMRU & Aho Ssan superimpose the hubris of humankind with the overwhelming planetary power of tectonic activity, evoked in the cavernous bass tones that undergird ‘Resurgence’. Oscillating between conceptual and technical dichotomies, the duo conjure a duality of perspective and tone, tempering both of their singular sounds in the molten material of their collaboration, in which extremity is alloyed with intricacy.

This duality pervades the entirety of Limen, the first collaborative project from KMRU and Aho Ssan. On Rebirth, which opens as a transcendent reprieve from the scorched violence of Resurgence, builds in celestial ambiance and gossamer detail, before becoming overwhelmed shredded feedback and overdriven waves of bass. Ruined Abstractions, the record’s strongest statement, surges between cacophony and delicacy, digital density placed in counterpoint with soaring orchestral passages. In much the same way that Peel, Jar and Simulacrum felt like records perfectly of their time, Limen erupts as both a powerful alliance between two of the most important voices in contemporary experimental electronic music, as well as a prescient diagnosis of the precarious times we are living through, a soundtrack for navigating collapse.

‘Resurgence’ is taken from Limen, which is out now on Subtext Recordings. You can find Aho Ssan on Instagram and Bandcamp. You can find KMRU on Instagram and Bandcamp.

Watch next: Malthus draws strength from sickness in Won’t Go Easy

Malthus draws strength from sickness in Won’t Go Easy

Multidisciplinary artist Malthus explores childhood trauma, violence and frailty with his debut EP, COUNTRYCIDE, which features contributions from Blackhaine, Sid Quirk, Magnus Westwell and Rainy Miller.

Following a string of enigmatic singles, ‘Heroin’, ‘Run Red’ and ‘I Hope For No Cold Shoulder’, each a heady concoction of rusted industrial textures, sparse neoclassical arrangements and chilly electronic composition, multidisciplinary artist and musician Malthus takes stock of his unflinchingly intimate sound and practice with COUNTRYCIDE. Shot through with the artist’s singularly raw delivery, at once strained and grandiose, as though pushed out with violent force from deep behind his ribcage, the collection of songs are a reflection on his childhood growing up in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, and his formative experiences of trauma, violence and substance abuse. “I wrote this whole thing about childhood and I guess it was my attempt to let go of a lot of the things that had been following me around for my adult life,” he explains. “I was pretty ill for over a year after I caught Covid so this was really my passion project to get me through a lot of the days I couldn’t leave the house – it’s been my tether and my rock and I’ve remade it countless times trying to get it right.” Won’t Go Easy was born out of his struggle with sickness, days of constriction and frustration wracking each swell of radioactive strings and deep bass throb. At once cathartic lament and euphoric rallying cry, Won’t Go Easy plumbs the depths of debilitating illness while amplifying the magnitude of the resolve and strength required to persevere, shedding new light on how the artist’s past has shaped his present. “Won’t Go Easy was written about the burden of trauma being so affected by your past that you kind of lose function,” he explains. “I’ve spent so much time alone just kind of soaking in my life that I needed to remind myself that it does get better at some point – creating this work from that feeling gives me that validation of improvement.”

“Writing and producing my first EP came alongside getting more into movement and filmmaking too, and making this film with Martha Treves was such a gorgeous process,” Malthus continues. “We really gelled creatively and it was enough to get the whole project over the line when I had kind of run out of steam after my year in hell.” Captured in the twisted woodlands and along the windswept coast of Dorset, Treves’ visual takes us from the candle-lit confines and stained glass of a tiny chapel to an expansive outside, placing the viscerality of Malthus’ contorted corporeal frame in counterpoint with a god’s-eye view of natural beauty, skin and bone in chorus with soil and limestone. “In many ways the film is led by journeying and movement,” explains Treves. “Malthus had told me about his year of illness and the frustrations that come with being physically unwell, so it seemed fitting to create something that experimented with restriction and disruptive movement. I had always admired and been intrigued by Malthus’ jagged and irregular movement style, and having the opportunity to collaborate with him on a film that uses this movement to explore his personal experiences was really exciting. We shot the film over two days in Dorset and in the midst of Storm Dennis. The epic weather, fluctuating between 60 mph winds, hail downpours and sudden bursts of sunlight, seemed to echo the mood of the track itself: it was unpredictable, fierce and otherworldly.” Draped with tattered wool and asymmetric cloth, Malthus’ twitching movements convey months of pent up tension, as though bound by his own body, held taught against the world. As Won’t Go Easy reaches its’ climax with ecstatic horns and soaring vocals, Malthus’ movements turn skyward, unfurling against the Dorset sky.

Won’t Go Easy is out now. COUNTRYCIDE arrives on May 25. For more information about Malthus and his music you can follow him on Instagram. You can find Martha Treves on Instagram.

Won’t Go Easy Credits:

Director – Martha Treves
Movement Direction – Malthus
Producer – Malthus and Martha Treves 
Fashion and Styling – Jon Morales 
Cinematography – Owain Morgan 
Production Assistants – Zoe Dimoldenberg, Celeste Chambers-Hill
Edit – Martha Treves, Clémentine Bartaud 
Colour – Daniela Rotaru 
Titles – Saskia Wood

Watch next: Laila Majid & Louis Blue Newby find queer utopian potential in the swamp with south florida sky

Fact Mix 857: Sarra Wild

A euphoric trip through jungle, R&B edits and Lebanese pop from one of Glasgow’s most vital DJs.

“I’m not good at recording mixes,” Sarra Wild says at the start of their Fact Mix. ”I prefer being in front of a crowd.” Although recording a mix at home may not be the Glasgow DJ’s preferred setting, this thrilling hour-long set nevertheless pulses with the energy and love of the rave that has turned Wild into one of Scotland’s most exciting DJs.

Since Wild began their music career as a club promoter, they have sought to champion marginalised communities through their bookings and DJ practice, an ethos that considers everything from the venues they perform in to the sounds they play and produce. Wild is also a co-founder of OH141, a music and arts platform that launched to prioritise the experience of womxn, people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community in Glasgow.

Outside of DJing, Wild is a sound designer and producer who has been featured at galleries and festivals including the V&A Dundee and Flourish by artist Camara Taylor, presented at Glasgow International and The Gallow Gate. Wild has also acted as a mentor and curator through the Rising Residency programme initiated by OH141 and Jupiter Artland.

On their Fact Mix however, Wild channels 2am rave euphoria, starting on a blissful wave with Iceboy Violet’s ‘White in the Violet in the Hotel (RMR)’ and travelling through jungle, techno, R&B edits from Ploy and pop from Lebanese artist Nancy Ajram via tracks from Anunaku & DJ Plead, AceMo and S-Type. “I didn’t edit shit so what you’re hearing is basically me stepping up in front of the decks and doing what I need to do with a bottle of red wine,” Wild says.

You can follow Wild on Instagram and SoundCloud. Wild will also play the next TTT party at London’s Venue MOT alongside Will Bankhead, PLO Man, Covco and Ron Morelli – buy tickets here.

Tracklist:

Iceboy Violet – ‘White in the Violet in the Hotel (RMR)’
Special Request – ‘Pull Up’ (Tim Reaper Remix)
Proc Fiskal – Dvus – the last a – pope fish scale deja mix
Dillinja – ‘You’
OSSX – ‘Big Yawn’
3Phaz – ‘Exploit’ 
Blu Cantrell – ‘Breathe’ (Ploy Edit)
Anunaku & DJ Plead  – ‘Clap Clap’
J-Zbel – ‘Nem de Porc’ (Bee’s Edit)
Nancy Ajram – ‘Ya Tabtab Wa Dallaa’
Khia – ‘My Neck, My Back’ (Ploy Edit)
K Wata – ‘What Do You Want?’
AceMo – ‘Freak Out (Ignore All)’
S-Type – ‘Be Where You Are’

Listen next: Fact Mix 856: Klein

Fact launches new issue featuring Caterina Barbieri, Klein, Ivan Michael Blackstock and Malibu

Fact’s Spring/Summer ’22 issue features four covers and launches in tandem with our new exhibition, Future Shock.

Championing the new wave of electronic artists bridging the physical and virtual worlds, the new issue of Fact’s print edition is available now featuring four cover stars: Caterina Barbieri, Klein, Ivan Michael Blackstock and Malibu, with photography by Gabriel Moses, Jim C. Nedd, Furmaan Ahmed and Igor Pjörrt.

Fact’s third issue also features exclusive original contributions from artists including UVA, Weirdcore, Actual Objects and Tavares Strachan, as well as features exploring the work of Lyra Pramuk, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and visual collective Tundra.

The new issue is published in tandem with Future Shock, a new exhibition curated by Fact now open at London’s 180 Studios, 180 The Strand. The exhibition, which runs until 28 August 2022, features several artists featured in the new issue, with original commissions from Actual Objects, Caterina Barbieri and Weirdcore.

Future Shock, which features 14 leading international artists and collectives working at the cutting-edge of audio-visual technology, transforms 180 Studios’ subterranean spaces through mesmerising and pioneering digital technology – from generative and interactive algorithms, AI and 3-D digital mapping, to spellbinding laser work, holographic projections and ground-breaking electronic music.

Fact’s Spring/Summer ’22 issue is available now and will be distributed internationally by WhiteCirc. It can be bought direct from The Vinyl Factory’s online shop, from Boutique Mags or from selected stockists. It can also be purchased at Future Shock.

Tickets for Future Shock are available here.

Stockists:

180 The Strand, London
Artwords, Broadway, London 
Artwords, Riv St, London  
Barbican News, London   
Charlotte St News, London   
Good News, London  
Magazine Brighton, Brighton   
MagCulture, London   
Magma, Cov Garden, London   
Magnum News, London    
Phonica Records, London 
Rainbow News, London   
Rare Mags, Stockport   
Stack Mags, London  
Unearthed Sounds, Poole  
Unique Magazines, Newcastle  
Village, Leeds 
Actual Source, Provo   
Amen, Madrid  
Athenaeum, Amsterdam    
Basheer Graphic, Singapore  
Eslite, Taiwan    
Garage, Moscow
Podipisne, St Petersburg    
Gudberg Nerger,  Hamburg
LMDS, Shanghai   
More More Artbook, Shanghai   
Odd Kiosk, Barcelona  
Papercut, Stockholm  
Post Nothing, Bogota   
Print Matters, Zurich   
Readallion, Kyiv    
Reading Room, Milan  
Rosa Wolf, Berlin    
Sendpoints, China   
Skylight Books, LA    
Smoke Signals, San Francisco  
Top Hat & Tales, Faversham  
Tonic UK, London 
Journals, Sydney 
Mag Nation, Melbourne 
IMS Stadsfeestzaal, Antwerp 
IMS Kaasrui, Antwerp
IMS, Hasselt 
Megusta Utrecht, Netherlands
Magalleria, Bath                                       
Marsell Paradiso, Milan
Barnes Noble (Various) USA                   
Books a Million (Various) USA
Allscript, Singapore

Read next: Future Shock now open at 180 Studios with new immersive works by Caterina Barbieri, UVA, Weirdcore, Gaika, Romain Gavras, Ryoichi Kurokawa and more

Hélène Vogelsinger’s Patch Notes modular performance released on vinyl

A spiritual modular session, originally recorded for our Patch Notes series.

French composer and sound designer Hélène Vogelsinger’s Patch Notes performance, originally recorded for Fact back in 2020, is being released on limited 12″ via The Vinyl Factory in May.

The limited vinyl features two live tracks recorded by Vogelsinger for the series, which celebrates modular synthesizers and the art of making electronic music with hardware.

As part of the practice behind Hélène Vogelsinger’s modular synthesizer compositions, she explores abandoned places, connecting with their energies to create immersive moments. For this performance, she serendipitously stumbled across an abandoned castle in the French countryside.

“The installation and the recording session are always a process within the process, which takes a few hours. Technically it requires a good organisation: three modular cases and hundred of cables, a generator, a camera, lights and again so many cables,” explains Vogelsinger. 

“It is something really intense, especially in those types of abandoned places, where you have to avoid a lot of obstacles. I love the fact that they have layers of stories and histories, with different occupants, often crossing times, and always full of beautiful and melancholic poetry.”

Order Hélène Vogelsinger’s Patch Notes here in advance of its release on May 20.

Watch next: Patch Notes: Vicky Clarke

Laila Majid & Louis Blue Newby find queer utopian potential in the swamp with south florida sky

Enacting a queering of Swamp Thing as both science-fiction icon and adaptive model for exploring and challenging identity, artists Laila Majid and Louis Blue Newby look to the peripheries for slippery aesthetic and linguistic forms that defy categorisation.

In the latest work from artists Laila Majid and Louis Blue Newby, the swamp emerges as a particularly fertile space for exploring collaboration. south florida sky, a composite video work featuring hand-drawn animation from Alice Bloomfield, GAN animation made in collaboration with Elliot Elder and sound design from Jennifer Walton, was a central work in their most recent show, not yet, which took place at London’s San Mei Gallery earlier this year. Drawing influence from queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz’s essential book Cruising Utopia, in which he models queerness as an inherently future-facing, utopian mode, Majid and Newby find slimy potency in the swamp as a site of relational intensity and exchange, in which everything slithers in and through everything else. “The swamp can really question and challenge the essentialized and stable identity of the individual, which is valued and celebrated more than ever in 2022,” the artists assert. “The swamp as a facilitator of collaboration and the construction of polyphonic artistic voices feels more politically urgent than ever.” Existing, fittingly, in relation to and of the same matter as the curational group art project Most Dismal Swamp, the most recent iteration of which, MUSH, Majid contributed to, the swamp is rendered as both a space and entity, existing across different media, both virtual and devirtualized, into which context, form and discipline are submerged. Within this hybrid space Majid and Newby explore the peripheries of aesthetic and linguistic expression, probing the slippery limits of image, language and sound that is not yet, liminal forms bursting with transformative and transitional potential.

This potential is personified in Swamp Thing, around which south florida sky is situated. Taking the iconic DC comic hero’s legendary characterization by Alan Moore, an eco-superhero and centuries old sentient plant suffused with the consciousness, memories and emotions of a man, Majid and Newby code Swamp Thing as “a vessel for disidentification,” enacting “a queered process of recycling the encoded meaning of a cultural object, and making a new space for the queer or minoritarian subject, one usually peripheral to mainstream narratives.” To this end the entity is represented in counterpoint with itself, initially wrought in the intricate lines of Alice Bloomfield’s stunning animation, in which twists of tree branch and folds of damp rock are captured in sensual curves that threaten to engulf Swamp Thing’s hunched form. As burnt orange swamp flowers blossom from its’ veins, garbled voices sound in polyphony, the voice of Swamp Thing and the voices of the swamp projected as symbiotes of the same organism. This speech, inspired by the visceral subjectivity of New Narrative literature and adapted from found phrases by Majid and Newby, lends lyrical physicality and sensuousness to Bloomfield’s representation of the character, her illustration itself a reworking of a panel from the Swamp Thing comics, an artistic corruption in which the still image is injected with renewed expression, made animate in the primordial ooze of the swamp. From the painstaking lines of Bloomfield’s animation we are confronted with the synthetic blur of Elliot Elder’s GAN animation, the result of a neural network glutted with hundreds of images of various versions of Swamp Thing across different media, as well as swamps, slime molds and mycelium.

“One of the major challenges was really trying to push the work away from resting solely on the aesthetics of the GAN which have been used so thoroughly in contemporary practices,” Majid and Newby explain. For both sections of the video work, the original digital image is further mediated by being re-recorded on 16mm film, a gesture towards analogue tradition and digital technology that is in direct conversation with José Esteban Muñoz’s formulation of the queer, utopian mode as “a conjuring of both future and past to critique presentness,” as he asserts, “utopian performativity is often fuelled by the past. The past, or at least narratives of the past, enable utopian imaginings of another time and place that is not yet here but nonetheless functions as a doing for futurity.” This entangled relation between the analogue and the digital is played out in the work’s sound, with Jennifer Walton employing computational techniques alongside live instrumentation, layering cello recordings from Shovel Dance Collective’s Dan Evans into the eerie textures of her score. “We wanted to find a way for the sound to reflect the atmosphere of both the swamp and the GAN sequences,” explains Majid and Newby. “The sound slips in and out of abstraction- moving between the more musical sound of the cello, electronic noise, and digitally processed vocal samples taken from the accompanying script. It was also important for us that the texture of the video sequences be reflected in the sound– for example, the grain of 16mm footage or the slipperiness of the digitally produced GAN footage translated into specific sonic textures.” Translating the hum and buzz of the swamp into dissonant noise and claustrophobic throb, Walton’s composition builds to a climactic sequence of orchestral mutations, heralding the arrival of a character in a constant state of reforming and remaking.

Majid and Newby started collaborating back in 2018, when they both graduated from Chelsea College of Art. “Initially starting as an online exchange of images which we’d send to one another, this discursive process soon developed, whereby we were able to pool these common interests into making artwork together,” they recall. Since then they have worked on the collaborative shows hold my hand by the tail (2019) at Transition Two and healthy pink (2020) at springseason and their work has been featured in the group shows Sour Persimmons Chasm (2019) at Ex Baldessarre, curated by Andy Holden, and Hydrangea (2019) at Underground Flower, Nakhon Ratchasima. “At its core our practice stems from this act of collecting and storing images,” they explain. “We have a shared image archive that we are constantly updating, one that consists of scanned archival imagery, video and film stills, pornorgaphy, google image search results and memes. Each of these image types come with its own unique weight and texture, and consequently speak to varying ways in which visual culture can be transferred and consumed. The bringing together of a high-quality scanned halftone-printed image with lower quality image mined from Reddit, for instance, opens up a new visual language, one based on mediation itself.”

The memetic valence of their work, borne out in Majid’s role as one of the admins of the beloved and deranged meme account doyoueverjustfuckingascend, imbues the same density of expression observed in south florida sky in the print-based works of not yet. The artists obscure found images with layers of muted contrast and lysergic noise, as though dipped in the rich acidity of the swamp to which they constantly return. The result is a humid complexity that recontextualizes mediation into the condition of the swamp and the swamp-like, a mode of hybridity and interconnectedness that resonates with Muñoz’s transtemporal model for queerness as utopian performativity. It is also the condition of Swamp Thing, as well as the mode in which it is and does, captured poetically in the words of Alan Moore, in Swamp Thing Vol 2 #34, published in 1985 and included as an epigraph for not yet by the artists: “Through him, I sprawl with the swamp, sopping, steaming, dragonflies stitching neon threads through the damp air surrounding me… Beyond him, I wrestle the planet, sunk in loam to my elbows as it arches beneath me, tumbling endlessly through endless ink.”

For more information about Laila Majid and her work you can visit her website and follow her on Instagram. For more information about Louis Blue Newby and his work you can follow him on Instagram. They are currently working on a new collaborative show at Xxijra Hii gallery, which opens later this year.

Watch next: Holly Childs & Gediminas Žygus pen a love letter to Odesa amidst planetary emergency with ‘, Throw’

Fact Mix 856: Klein

London artist Klein features as one of four cover stars in the third edition of Fact’s print publication, captured in the singular vision of photographer Gabriel Moses and in conversation with her friend and collaborator Curtly Thomas. To mark the occasion, Klein excavates a fragmentary soundscape that finds deeply expressive and personal texture within dissonance and disruption.

Poet, critic and theorist Fred Moten describes Klein, inimitably, as “discomposer and multiple instrument,” situating the London based, British Nigerian artist within the Black radical music tradition among those who have redefined and continue to redefine what it is to speak, sing and play. Her virtuosic practice sees her adopting, rearranging and discarding the conventions of discipline, genre and form so rapidly that it can, at times, be tough to keep up. At once prolific and obfuscating, at any given moment she might be quietly uploading new music to her YouTube channel, currently the sole imprint of her internet presence, collaborating with some of the greatest artists and musicians of our time, including Mark Leckey and Mica Levi, or staging ambitious live performances in some of the most important venues in the world, such as London’s Barbican Centre, or Berlin’s Volksbühne. These shows, sprawling works incorporating improvised movement, stand up comedy, live MCs and spirallic performance, are central to grasping where Klein is at as a composer, director and artist, corralling a rich history of influences spanning viral videos, UK grime, cultural theory, mid-Noughties hip-hop and r&b and intimate details from her own life, entangled in everything, all at once, constantly rotating in flux, sensuous and spiritual in equal measure.

All of this in the wake of Harmattan, an eerie and beautiful collection of restless (dis)compositions for broken violin, Yamaha keyboard, trumpet, drum machine, guitar, harmonica and tuba, described by Moten as “a soundtrack of epic revolt against beginnings and ends, drill trapped and re-released into release from communication into lush, unbounded share.” Klein guides us through a sonic dust cloud, which is also a West African season, which is also a supernatural feeling of belonging, through Roc Nation and Ibadan, amidst postcode wars, hand in hand with Charlotte Church and Jawnino, disparate voices melted together in the “broke brocade and sand” of Harmattan. She pulls off a similar trick with her Fact mix, excavating a fragmentary soundscape that finds deeply expressive and personal texture within dissonance and disruption. Of the mix, Klein says: “this is for the topline swolla, shotters, ballers, opps, Ester Dean, Making The Band, Wasiu Ayinde, all the topline dons, without y’all I wouldn’t be here.” Charting her own Black radical music tradition, joining the dots between pop music’s industry insiders, song writers, her own musical idols and the drama of her own life, Klein swerves through foundational tracks, her own compositions and twisted samples, chopping and screwing jaggedly between musical moments in service of diaristic directness, or as Moten puts it in Black and Blur, “total construction as a means of achieving immediate utterance.”

Taking the jubilant bounce of fújì, a Yoruba genre named after Japan’s highest peak and developed out of wéré, improvisational music performed to wake Muslims before dawn during Ramadan, as a marker by which to navigate the music of her life, Klein teases out the connective tissue between avant-garde composition, spiritual songs, nu-metal and hip-hop. She suffuses the sounds of Igwe Remi Aluko, a contemporary star of the genre, with her own original score, adding harmonica and keys to Aluko’s spirit-steadying vocals. She slows the royalty-fee OST of YouTube channel Grace For Purpose’s video delineating the contemporary resonance of the biblical story of Samson and Delilah to a melancholy smudge, before smearing sampled voice and instrumental unrecognizable with the dense feedback and frazzled guitar of Korn’s ‘Here To Stay,’ perhaps a nod to Dizzee Rascal’s iconic sampling of the track in ‘Sirens,’ another gesture back towards Klein’s formative musical experiences. Snapping back to the present with TisaKorean’s slow-mo, sci-fi sex anthem, she wrings renewed expression from interrupting her own flow, clanging and clashing to create singular shifts in sound. It’s a technique born out formally when she infuses unknown dread and churning tension into a recording of a private birthday celebration of Wasiu Ayinde, otherwise known as fújì innovator K1 De Ultimate, with a frozen synth dirge, a disorientating instance of dissonance mirrored in the stark contrast between the doom-laden horns and ecstatic delivery of Shady and Katie Got Bandz joyously chanting “eat the team” in the classic Chicago drill album ‘Go In’.

Shady is overwhelmed by the impossible jazz simulations and Max/MSP patchwork of Aho Ssan; Klein’s own orchestral reprieve of ‘Michael’s Interlude’ running into the lo-fi hip-hop irruption of the recently released ‘XXL’ gives way to the exhumed dancehall of French beatmaker ma2t; Aye Jae Beats’ flex dance music is screwed to a slurred shuffle, as Klein wrongfoots the dance once again, shaking you off any beat you may have been riding, before winding back up into the fleet-footed skip of Wasiu Ayinde, who reappears rejuvenated, his classic 1990 Fuji Collections allowed to roll uninterrupted, space made for the king. Stepping into the spotlight, Klein blesses us with an unreleased cut, a lilting sound collage of overlapping chatter and piercing vocalisations, shot through with noisy loops reminiscent of Aaron Dilloway and pitch shifting turntablism in the style of Shiva Feshareki. Arranging, notably, the religious music and voices of Nigerian Islamic royalty Rukayat Gawat and Lady Evang, Bolatito Oke, a.k.a Malaika Jah in contrapuntal dichotomy, Klein closes with a single, ferocious spin back, instantaneously connecting spiritual musics of west Africa back through the jagged soundscape of her own musical traditions, as well as to the club and DJ culture of her home. It’s a jarring anticlimax that is, in spite of itself, the perfect final note, a closing and breaking of the loop.

Find Klein on YouTube. The third edition of Fact’s print publication launches later this week.

Tracklist:

Igwe Remi Aluko – ‘Oleku’ (Klein’s OST Edit)
‘Be Careful Of This Spirit | Men and Women’s Biggest Nightmare’ [YouTube Rip]
Korn – ‘Here to Stay’
TisaKorean – ‘Backseat’
Wasiu Ayinde’s Birthday [YouTube Rip] (Klein edit)
Shady – ‘Go in’
Aho Ssan – ‘Simulacrum III’
Klein – ‘Michael’s interlude’
Klein – ‘XXL’
ma2t – ‘bustagreed’
Aye Jae Beats – ‘Insiders (Outsiders Part 2)’ (Klein Choppin N Screwin Edit)
Wasiu Ayinde – ‘Fuji Collections’
Klein – ‘In From The Cold’ (Demo)
Charlotte x Joe Interlude (Klein’s Media Trained Edit)
Klein – ‘Comedy Style’ / ‘Skyfall’ [Feat. Charlotte Church] (Edit) [Feat. Rukayat Gawat]
Lady Evang, Bolatito Oke, a.k.a Malaika Jah – ‘Adorin Motito’

Listen next: Fact Mix 855 – Gramrcy

Holly Childs & Gediminas Žygus pen a love letter to Odesa amidst planetary emergency with ‘, Throw’

Developed from a poem written in heat of the summer by Childs on visiting Odesa, Ukraine back in 2018.

For the 2022 edition of Rewire Festival, writer and artist Holly Childs and composer and sound artist Gediminas Žygus commissioned a new video work from filmmakers Marijn Degenaar and Nicola Baratto, to accompany a new live performance that would debut at The Hague’s foremost experimental music and arts festival. The result was ‘, Throw,’ an audiovisual composition that started life towards the end of 2021, but that has gathered new, devastating resonance over the first few months of 2022. Developed from a poem that Childs wrote in the heat of the summer on visiting Odesa, Ukraine back in 2018, ‘, Throw’ is a reflection on fleeting moments of desire entangled inextricably with an intoxicating sense of place, as well as love letter to and from Odesa, an invocation of the city in both the interiority of the viewer and of a memory of its exterior physicality, caught out of time. “Odesa is a beautiful and often mythologized city in literature, and itself an influence on modern literature as it was a hub for a lot of writers and poets throughout the 19th and 20th century,” explain Childs and Žygus. “After we invited Nicola and Marijn, together we started adapting the poem to a musical composition in December 2021 with the idea that we would shoot the video in Athens (we decided to film there in order to get plenty of sunshine in early spring). It was just meant to be a spiritual homage to the magic of this Black Sea trading and tourist city. But the composition took on a completely different meaning as we worked on it, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine escalated in the last week of February.”

Centering around a yearning dialogue between two voices, one of them director and performer Marijn Degenaar ‘, Throw’ refracts sunlit vignettes of the city on the Black sea, focusing imagery through a lens clouded by heat haze and sea spray. In the context of the unremitting brutality of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the melancholy nostalgia that steeps each of the work’s voices speaks to unbelievable tragedy, the longing of its protagonists expanding into a eulogy for peace in a country shrouded by war and a sun-tinged prayer of hope for a return to the light. “We were devastated for our friends in Ukraine,” Childs and Žygus continues. “We had scheduled to shoot the video in early March in Athens; working on it became a way of dealing with anger, fear and grief. Remembering what Odesa is, was, and will be when invasion is over.” In this sense the esoteric directions given by the film’s protagonists work to locate Odesa both in memory and, more urgently, in the transformational phase the city has been thrust into. The search for the city is also a search for those who know the city as it has been, as well as how it can be. “The characters who voice the track triangulate physical materials in a quest to find *you*, the one who is missing, describing to you where they are, using what’s close at hand as echolocation, radar, a verbal map, bouncing locational information between available landmarks,” explains Childs. “And what are the most significant landmarks? The sun, the moon and the earth. This feeling of triangulation begins and ends with celestial elements.” Bloody toes and towels on the shore serve as talismans of a specific time, just as the pontoon, the bistro and the dolphinarium are elevated to totems of a specific space, markers by which to navigate the sun and the sea.

Artists and filmmakers Marijn Degenaar and Nicola Baratto manifest this urgent act of location in the passionate duet of the work’s protagonists, ossifying their love in a bisected and bisecting ornament. “When thinking about creating a video for “,Throw”, we felt that this duet song embodies a fervent sense of urgency and remote romance,” they describe. “The video narrative was written as a quest for a never setting, perpetual sunset, revolving around a central object of desire. This icy spherical vessel carried by the two characters is somewhat the matter of their conjunction. We were thinking of how the two characters’ separated journeys could still evoke a sense of liminal unity, as if they would be far apart on different continents but still experience a connection, a drive that motivates their complicated meeting at sunset.” Framing the lovers’ movements in gauzy light, water refractions and lysergic, spirallic camera work, Degenaar and Baratto capture moments of intimacy and natural beauty with the timeless blur of daydreamed memory. Sibilant speech and serotonin synth arpeggios imbue each glimpse of sun with heartache, distorted, hard dance bass hits and cinematic sound design dressing each scene with poignant theatricality. “The two figures are inspired by the mythical Persephone and Sisyphus, and their journeys between the realm of the living and the underworld,” continue the filmmakers. “Naya’s vessel carries sand and fire on her path in-and-out darkness while Marijn bears water and air on his journey towards the sea. While carrying their respective half vessels with Ocean and Earth towards the shore, they spiral into a dreamy quest of flashes, glimmers, shimmers, glitters.”

As Gediminas Žygus notes, their collaboration with Holly Childs has consistently “been defined by intimate and emotional experiences of working through and confronting various forms of planetary emergency.” Their first collaborative album, Hydrangea, explored the ways in which platform capitalism, conspiracy theories and online surveillance set the tone for political and private discourse throughout much of the 2010s, giving rise to the commodification of information as a pernicious new mutation of neoliberal expansion. In their follow up, Gnarled Roots, the pair followed these threads into even deeper and denser territory, taking the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11 and the 2008 financial crash as epochal turning points, the latter of which paving the way the chaos of speculative economies and cryptographic tribalism of our present day. More practically, the artists have found the scope of their collaboration moulded in part by the crises they have encountered over the past few years. “Pandemic travel restrictions meant we worked in different continents for two years,” Žygus continues. “We have been variously caught at the historic acqua alta extreme high-tide event in Venice in 2019; in the Australian bushfire crisis in 2019/20; we developed our second album Gnarled Roots in (and about) the forests in Druskininkai, Lithuania, adjacent to the Belarusian border which has since become the setting of a growing refugee crisis; as well as developing preliminary materials in Odesa for an album that we are working on for release in 2023.”

‘, Throw,’ joins those projects as an incisive and urgent response to the ever increasing complexity of the flattened expanse of the now, an intimate portrait of personal emotional response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine amidst a relentlessly bleak newscycle and a constant stream of open-source intelligence, a sun-drenched daydream of what was once and what will hopefully be again.

You can find Nicola BarattoHolly Childs, Marijn Degenaar and Gediminas Žygus on Instagram. For more information about Rewire Festival, follow them on Instagram and visit their website.

, Throw Credits:

Music and Text – Holly Childs & Gediminas Žygus
Video – Marijn Degenaar & Nicola Baratto
Voices – Danae Io, Marijn Degenaar   
Performance – Naya Ferentinou, Marijn Degenaar, Yannis Iasonidis
Costumes – Serapis Maritime
Jewellery – Sankto Leono
Production Coordination – Viktor Gogas 
Mixed and Mastered – James Ginzburg

Nicola and Marijn would like to thank Bend Studio, Despina Pavlaki, Yannis Iasonidis, Manolis Lemos, George Tigkas, Jola, Ilias Sanidas, Easton West, Yiannis Mouravas. Shout out to Poseidon too.

Commissioned for the 2022 edition of Rewire Festival.

© & ℗ Subtext / Multiverse LTD. 2021

, Throw Lyrics

Set stones become towers,
Losing half-steps stubbing pinky toes on the rocks by the sea.
Playing loops on our backs round the pebbles in the waves flow eternal,
Bloody toes against stones in the sand by our towels on the shore.

Our final steps reflect in pendant glow,
in the sun, and on our skin.
Wash it all away and we drink water,
Wash it down the sink and we want shades.

As the sun darts lights, our silver gowns are fountains reflected,
Hair up, funnelled down our backs, in the sun, off the sea.
And the sun dips, as the sun would dip,
and sea mist bubbles,
|In the waves of the water

On these seaside paths we have no drama,
In our separate tracks we all feel free,
To meet up at the fireworks:
Join us at the pier, on the way to the dolphinarium.

Throw it all away into the water,
Forever dragging sand into the sea.
2 dark moles bilaterally below your shoulder blades
and a lighter one reflected just beneath,
, throw

So once it’s gone, skipping over turtles by the docks,
that when the sun dips — Like they always said it would dip,
you can Wash it all away on wanting water,
Throw it all away on needing shade.
And When you get out of the pool,
Call me.

Sand and sea slide,
Skimming salty sequins graze your angles,
The forever sunset sinking the horizon
, sweat

Join us at the cafe off the path to the pontoon by the breaker,
We can pitch it off the pier to make-believe.
, throw

Watch next: Safa explores percussive musical traditions and potential georealities with Ouda And The Strikers At Najd

Caterina Barbieri shares transcendent visual for ‘Broken Melody’

A co-commission from 180 Studios and Fact.

Caterina Barbieri has shared the second single from her forthcoming album, Spirit Exit. ‘Broken Melody’ arrives accompanied with a gorgeous visual from director Iacopo Carapelli and artist Ruben Spini, which sets stunning, slow-motion footage of levitating bodies against Barbieri’s equally transcendent synths and haunting vocals. Picking up thread of ‘Knot Of Spirit’, a collaboration with “futurist folk” musician Lyra Pramuk and the first release on Barbieri’s recently launched label platform, light-years, ‘Broken Melody’ showcases the composer’s custom modular synth rig, which she developed over the course of the making of Spirit Exit in her home studio in Milan.

Spirit Exit marks the first album Barbieri has written entirely in this studio and was recorded during Milan’s two-month pandemic lockdown in 2020. The follow-up to 2019’s Ecstatic Computation and 2017’s Patterns Of Consciousness sees Barbieri exploring internal worlds, drawing influence from St. Teresa D’Avila’s foundational 16th century mystical text The Interior Castle, philosopher Rosi Braidotti’s posthuman theories and the metaphysical poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Elements of the footage taken for the ‘Broken Melody’ visual will feature as part of ‘Vigil’, a multimedia installation from Caterina Barbieri and frequent collaborator Ruben Spini, newly commissioned by 180 Studios, which will feature as part of Future Shock, a major new exhibition of 14 leading international artists and collectives working at the cutting-edge of audiovisual technology.

Future Shock, which opens at London’s 180 The Strand on 28 April and runs to 28 August 2022, transforms 180 Studios’ subterranean spaces through mesmerising and pioneering digital technology – from generative and interactive algorithms, AI and 3-D digital mapping, to spellbinding laser work, holographic projections and ground-breaking electronic music. Tickets are on sale now via the 180 The Strand website.

‘Broken Melody’ is out now and is taken from Caterina Barbieri’s forthcoming album Spirit Exit, which arrives on July 8 and is available to pre-order now. You can find Caterina Barbieri on Instagram.

‘Broken Melody’ Credits:

Artist – Caterina Barbieri
Label – light-years
Concept & Art Direction – Caterina Barbieri & Ruben Spini
Director – Iacopo Carapelli
DoP – Giuseppe Favale
Editor – Iacopo Carapelli & Elena Petitti di Roreto 
Colorist – Orash Rahnema
Post production – DEEPICE, Mauro Moretti, Roberto D’Ippolito
Titles – Nicola Tirabasso
Produced by C41
Executive Producer – Barbara Guieu
Production Manager – Maria Borgognoni
Assistant Producer – Lorenzo Poloni
Co-Produced – Blackball 
Co-commissioned by 180 Studios and Fact Magazine
Scenography – Fabrizio D’arpino
Assistant Scenography – Elena Strafella
Prop Master – Gianfranco Parmigiani 
Movement Director – Elisa Zuppini
MUA – Greta Giannone
Characters: Inga Lavarini, Federica Nicastro, Omar Jaimes, Costanza Candeloro, Filippo Beccati, Joselin Solange Morales, Giulia Fossati, Gabriele Gangi, Elisa Zuppini
Phantom Operator – Claudio Fusini
1st AC – Paolo Gobbi
2nd AC – Davide Bongiorni
Stage AC – Riccardo Lorenzi
Gaffer – Francesco Galli
Elettricista – Fabio Proserpio, Marco Marangoni n
Key Grip – Riccardo Villella
Grip – Alessio Zecchinello, Fabio Macchi
Rigger – Luca Fachini, Enrico Comeo 
Drone – Turbostudio 
Drone Operator – Rocco Diddio

Watch next: Lyra Pramuk live at Volksbühne ft. Kianí del Valle and Nana

Safa explores percussive musical traditions and potential georealities with Ouda And The Strikers At Najd

Animator Sabine Saba pairs textural graphics with the dizzying metres of ‘Ouda And The Strikers At Najd’, a highlight from Ibtihalat, the debut album from musician, architect and researcher Mhamad Safa.

On Ibtihalat, Safa explores the percussive musical traditions from across north Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, wrestling with geopolitical complexity and musical migrations while at the same time gesturing towards possible future iterations of these sounds. From North Africa, Safa lifts elements from gnawa, West African, Islamic music with ritual significance that spread across the breadth of the continent via musicians forces to relocate to the Moroccan coast, amazigh, polyrhythmic music indigenous to the Berbers of north Africa, and raï, Algerian folk music notable for its anti-colonial lyrical content and it’s adaptation by women vocalists and performers (cheikas) as emblematic of sexual liberation and hedonism. From the Arabian Peninsula, Safa references Sea Music, more commonly known as Music of the Pearl Divers, work songs devised by the ship builders, seamen and pearl divers of the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf, laywa, ceremonial music from Bahrain, UAE, Oman and Basra, Iraq brought over during slave trades from Kenya, South Somalia and Tanzania, and samiri, music related to Zar rituals of exorcism and spirit expulsion. Drawing from a sprawling, yet intrinsically linked, patchwork of cultural exchange and musical tradition, Safa threads richly textured percussive compositions, headfuck assemblages of sound design, micro-sampling, algorithmic sound technology, psychoacoustics, field recordings, and their graphic interpretations. “The album crafts a multi-patterned sonorous speculation, reflective of percussive musical traditions whose histories and presents shapeshifted with spatial and logistical yet celestial imaginaries,” he explains.

For the dizzying visual accompaniment to the evocatively titled ‘Ouda And The Strikers At Najd,’ which plays on the complex metres of gnawa, animator Sabine Saba layers graphical texture, manipulating imagery of rock formations, classical architecture and bisected fibre optic cables. “This exercise unsettles the proposal-driven use of computer graphics by examining existing georealities initially modeled into being,” explains Saba. “It peeks through their shifts and rifts to look for possible future encounters between humans and land.” Like Safa’s production, Saba unpicks historical forms in order to speculate on future potentialities, blurring and blending environmental and technological progress over rapidly expanding and contracting timelines in the rapid evolution of his animations. As ‘Ouda And The Strikers At Najd’ pinballs between low-slung lollop and high tension spring, drilling guttural vocal chops into many-metred percussion, robotic arms and precious metals are folded into an jittering landscape of ancient caves and rotating coliseums, shining chrome and sand-coloured stone.

‘Ouda And The Strikers At Najd’ is taken from Ibtihalat, which arrives on April 29 via Lee Gamble’s UIQ. For more information about Sabine Saba and her work you can follow her on Instagram. You can find Mhamad Safa on Instagram.

Watch next: Most Dismal Swamp slides into a mixed reality k-hole with MUSH