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Fact Mix 840: Time Is Away

“Something to move to and think with.”

For our final mix of a relentlessly difficult year we can think of no greater duo to see us into a new, hopefully brighter one than Time Is Away. We’re sure our sentiments will be shared by those who, like us, have sought solace, inspiration and joy in Elaine Tierney and Jack Rollo’s monthly NTS show. Each transmission unfolds as a finely wrought collage of spoken word and a spectacular record collection, part mix, part soundscape, displacing the listener in both space and time. Tierney and Rollo were also responsible for one of our very favorite releases of the year in the shape of Ballads, a spellbinding selection of songs of varying shapes and sizes that together present a somnambulist listening experience every bit as unknowable, uncertain and nostalgic as those months spent rediscovering the music of our youths in the toughest months of the lockdown. At once familiar and undiscovered, Ballads was the soundtrack, both literally and spiritually, of a displacement of a different kind, out of time, out of space.

Tierney and Rollo pull off a similar trick during their Fact mix, which they’ve entitled ‘Column Break,’ seeing the selectors adding the texture of their radio shows to a session of music for dancing. “This mix, recorded during December 2021, is our attempt to grapple with what has been an anxious and difficult year for everybody,” they explain. “Moments of ecstasy and release rub alongside closed loops of doubt and worry and a feeling of collective dread. It also represents an attempt to reconcile the dense layered approach we take to our radio program with the kind of open-ended dance records we might play in a club. In this way, it is a tribute to consciousness-expanding and time-dilating collaged mixes we listened to obsessively as teenagers in the 90s. Mixes, like Coldcut’s ‘70 Minutes of Madness’ or Warp’s ‘Blech’ tape, that ignored tempo and genre and revelled in odd combinations and dreamlike jump cuts. That’s not to say that we have achieved anything as complex or beautifully made as those mixes but just to give a feeling of what we have reached towards.”

“This year, as the flow of night life has stopped and started, thinking about dancing, together or alone, has mattered. Hopefully this mix might provide a key: something to move to and think with.” As we’re faced with yet another period of isolation and angst, music to move to and think with, both together and apart from those we love, becomes more and more essential. The weird intimacy of video calls and kitchen dance parties is perfectly evoked by the gently seismic groans and heartbreakingly beautiful vocals of Eylül Deniz’s ‘Rubyat,’ the melancholy IDM stomp of Beefcake’s ‘Comp. 03 Marisella’ and the skittering majesty of the best Björk remix we’d never heard. Doc Scott’s essential take on lysergic ambient techno legends System 7 is the afters tune we’ve always wanted to hear, while the sexy shuffle of Fruit Of The Loop’s ‘S*Explore (Boy You Turn Meex)’ melting into the gossamer skip of Laurence Rassel & Terre Thaemlitz is the introspective, tears-in-the-club turn we’re always hoping for.

Slowing Aphex Twin’s remix of Curve’s ‘Falling Free’ to a slightly wine-drunk crawl before speeding up To Rococo Rot’s Gigi Masin-sampling ‘Die Dinge des Lebens’ to an uplifting chug evokes the continual contraction and expansion of time symptomatic of rolling lockdowns, a narcotic pace picked up in the prog trance pulse of Transform’s ‘Never Back To Earth’ and the wonky lollop of Kelshure’s ‘Life Of A Hustler (Version)’. The ambient mix of Kirsty MacColl’s underrated hit ‘Walking Down Madison’, which excavates her haunting delivery from underneath Johnny Mar’s overdriven riffage, signals a jaw-dropping, legitimately thought-provoking intermission, before winding back up into ’90s trance from Life Form, melodic jungle released earlier this month from Harmony, a coda from Armenian legend and duduk master Djivan Gasparyan and a familiar refrain from Eduard Artemyev’s iconic score for Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker. This is how dancing through a pandemic has felt for us, music to move to and think with.

You can catch Time Is Away every month on NTS. You can also tune in to Jack Rollo’s morning show every Friday. You can follow Time Is Away on Instagram.

Tracklist:

Eylül Deniz – ‘Rubyat’
Beefcake – ‘Comp. 03 Marisella’
Björk – ‘U Kur (Hibernation)’
System 7 – ‘Interstate (Doc Scott Mix)’
Chicaloyoh – ‘Impulsions Soniques’
DJ LA – ‘Indian Vibes’
Fruit of the Loop – ‘S*Explore (Boy You Turn Meex)’
Laurence Rassel & Terre Thaemlitz – ‘Useless Dub’
Curve – ‘Falling Free (Aphex Twin Remix)’
To Rococo Rot – ‘Die Dinge des Lebens’
Transform – ‘Never Back to Earth’
Kelshure – ‘Life Of A Hustler (Version)’
Kirsty MacColl ‎– ‘Walking Down Madison (6am ambient mix)’
Life Form – ‘Come Down’
Harmony – ‘Divine Toll’
Djivan Gasparyan – ‘Brother Hunter’
Eduard Artemyev – ‘Meditation’

Listen next: Fact Mix 839 – De Schuurman

Fact 2021: Patch Notes

We select some of the most memorable Patch Notes sessions from the year gone by.

Last year, when we launched our Patch Notes series, the world was largely locked down, with artists confined indoors to their homes and studios. As we turned the spotlight on artists from around the world whose practice involves hardware synths, modular setups and samplers, the series offered an intimate look at their creative process behind closed doors.

In 2021, as the world began to open up, we were able to capture these artists in a wider variety of unique locations, from the quarries of Italy’s northern lake region to the rooftops of São Paulo. Other locations included Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works and a plant shop in Seoul – all showcasing some of the world’s most innovative electronic performers outside of their own four walls.

With the threat of new variants looming, this year’s Patch Notes programme offers a reminder that live performance is as important an outlet for creativity than ever. Below are some of our favourite performances from across the year, from extended modular sessions to hardware techno and sampler-based wizardry.

To watch all episodes of Patch Notes from 2020, check the series archive.

Nkisi

In July 2021, Fact travelled to Italy’s Nextones Festival, where NON Worldwide co-founder Nkisi was performing alongside Caterina Barbieri as part of her new light-years platform. While we were at the festival, Nkisi performed an exclusive Patch Notes performance for Fact, set amongst the rocks of the Roncino quarry in the Ossola Valley that is home to Nextones.

Nkisi’s setup was one of the most unique we’ve seen on Patch Notes, with a strange electronic wind instrument providing eerie textures. “[I performed with] a couple of drum machines and FX pedals (this time I took my Korg Tribes out), a CDJ connected through a Tera Echo FX pedal, my Siren noise machine, and my favourite gear of the moment, the SOMA pipe, Nkisi says. I got into their gear through a friend showing me Ether, their electromagnetic recorder.”

Tantão e Os Fita

Tantão e Os Fita are an electronic trio from Rio de Janeiro, comprised of visual artist, vocalist and composer Carlos Antônio Mattos aka Tantão, and producers Abel Duarte and Cainã Bomilcar. The trio’s music, a collision of fractured, noisy beats and half-spoken, half-screamed vocals, are imbued with a raw punk energy, an influence carried over from Tantão’s role in legendary ’80s post-punk band, Black Future.

In this episode of Patch Notes, Fact filmed the trio performing at a warehouse space that forms part of a traditional samba school in the Brazilian city called Pimpolhos da Grande Rio. The props scattered around Duarte and Bomilcar’s table of samplers and turntables are a poignant reminder that in a normal year, this weekend would see the Rio Carnival lighting up the city’s streets.

Qasim Naqvi

Pakistani-American musician Qasim Naqvi is perhaps best known as a founding member of acoustic trio Dawn of Midi, in which he has played drums since 2007. Naqvi’s recent solo releases, such as 2019’s Teenages and 2020’s Beta, have made extensive use of synthesizers and modular systems, and in this episode of Patch Notes, we invited Naqvi to perform at Pioneer Works, a non-profit cultural center in Redhook, Brooklyn.

“The building dates back to 1866 and was originally a railroad track factory,” Naqvi says. “Now it’s a massive performing arts space. With my equipment, I was merging two systems that I’ve been configuring for a couple of years, a Verbos System and a Serge System. I also used a few random modules to connect everything: a Quad VCA from Intellijel and an X-Pan stereo module from Make Noise as the final output.”

Mabe Fratti

Mabe Fratti is a Guatemala-born experimental cellist and composer, now based in Mexico City. Her music makes use of cello, voice and synthesisers, drawing on the influence of classical forms such as Gregorian chants and Sephardi music and combining them with modern genres like shoegaze and dream pop to create expansive, emotive compositions.

In this Patch Notes performance, Fratti performs inside Mexico City’s Museo Anahuacalli (part of the city’s Fideicomiso de los Museos Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo), a 20th century building designed by Mexican painter Diego Rivera to house his collection of over 41,000 pre-Hispanic artworks. It was planned as a ‘City for the Arts’ that would encompass painting, dance, music, theatre, crafts and ecology. The building’s architecture draws on the influence of Teotihuacan and Maya cultures, and was opened in the 1960s after Rivera’s death in 1957.

Fronte Violeta

Fronte Violeta are Anelena Toku and Carla Boregas, a duo based in São Paulo who investigate the behaviour of sound in different environments via performance, audiovisual pieces, theatrical practices and collaborations with other artists. Their duo draw on the influence of the natural world, crafting ambient soundscapes and experimental beat-driven tracks.

In this episode of Patch Notes, Fronte Violeta perform a special improvised session with synths, samplers and effects amongst the metropolis of downtown São Paulo, filmed on a building where experimental music and performance venue Leviatã is located.

Seoul Community Radio Presents: Salamanda

For Salamanda’s contribution to the Seoul Community Radio Residency, the duo decamped to Unlooked For Blessing, a plant shop and café owned by local DJ Jjongho, to gently guide us through a gauzy jam using a variety of synths, sequencers, pedals and software. Using Ableton Live to control looping in real time, the duo used an Akai APC 40 Mk2 alongside a TC Helicon Vocal Box Duplicate, as well as a Korg Minilogue connected to the Boss Reverb pedal for sequencing and controlling delay time, feedback, resonance and envelope generation.

Unlooked For Blessing is just one of a network of spaces that comprise the wider universe of Seoul Community Radio, an interconnected and interdependent cluster of venues, cafés, restaurants, and galleries that provide the bricks and mortar support a scene like this needs. “The electronic music scene in Seoul is small but big, harmonized while being diverse, and has order within disorder,” explains the duo. “Due to the COVID-19 and the pre-existing vulnerabilities of the arts and culture sector, our favorite local venues have temporarily or permanently closed. Accordingly, we’ve been doing more online-based activities and recording mixes for radio broadcasts to reach out to listeners. While doing so, we tried (and are still trying) to find what would be the most interesting way for the audiences who are now watching and listening to us at home.”

Chang Rodrigues

Chang Rodrigues is a Brazilian artist based in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais. For the past decade, she has produced house and techno as Amanda Chang, but under her current alias uses modular and semi-modular synthesisers with skills learned at the La Siesta del Fauno studio from synthesist Ernesto Romeo in Buenos Aires.

Her recent foray into hardware has gravitated towards ambient and experimental sounds – inspired in part by her spiritual outlook, love of yoga and close connection to the natural surroundings of her home country. However, Chang Rodrigues still has a love of techno, and its this side that she explores in her Patch Notes set, as she performs a high-octane hardware session using gear from Arturia, Moog and Elektron.

Luiza Schulz Vazquez

Luiza Schulz Vazquez is a musician and sound artist from Rio de Janeiro, who creates intricate electroacoustic compositions, typically with a Rhodes piano. Her compositions have scored film, dance, theatre and installations across Europe and South America, in venues such as the Sculpture Museum in São Paulo and Warsaw’s Grand Theatre.

In this session, we filmed Schulz Vazquez in performance at Rio’s Parque Lage, a former mansion turned art school and public park sitting underneath the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. The building has previously been used as a location for music videos featuring Snoop Dogg and the Black Eyed Peas, and required Fact to carry her 65kg Rhodes through the Atlantic Forest, 200m above sea level.

Watch next: Fact 2021: Audiovisual

Fact 2021: Audiovisual

We round up a selection of the best music videos, short films and audiovisual experiments we were thrilled to present in 2021.

Fact’s focus on audiovisual art and performance over the last two years has enabled us to follow the infinite number of different directions our favorite artists are moving in, all at once. In a year in which Collins Dictionary made “NFT” (non-fungible token) its “word” of the year and a nebulously defined conception of the metaverse looms over the horizon, it’s clear the boundaries between physical and digital, online and offline, sound and vision, are becoming more and more porous.

Amongst some of the most beautiful, challenging and evocative music videos of the year, Fact has presented a number of works that push and pull at these boundaries, implementing generative systems, wherein sounds literally produce images, and GAN animations, which transform the complex computational processes of generative adversarial networks into otherworldly, warping visuals. We’ve even presented a couple of actual NFTs, although whether these works are even ours to present or not is another, more complicated, question.

Conversely, the series has also provided a platform for artists working in more conventional fields of filmmaking, as well as some who continue to experiment with resolutely analogue techniques, such as hand-drawn animation and physical film manipulation. The fact that the latter of these examples, Pedro Maia and Kevin Richard Martin’s gorgeous collaboration, was sold as an NFT just goes to show how fluid the space we’re trying to catch a glimpse of really is. Below is an unranked list of some of our favorite audiovisual work we were thrilled to present in 2021.

Aisha Madu & LYZZA – BLOOM/ROT

With ‘BLOOM/ROT’, illustrator and animator Aisha Madu explores two opposing sides of producer and vocalist LYZZA, creating twin avatars to accompany two irresistible club compositions, one light and euphoric, the other darker and melancholic. “BLOOM/ROT are two sides of the same coin. They’re polar opposites but not polarised,” explains Madu. “BLOOM is growing, sweet and hopeful. ROT is decomposing, destruction and chaos.” “Musically I really tried to encapsulate the two up and down feelings in my head. I composed the music as if I was a visitor in my own brain, looking around,” says LYZZA. “The first track represents a vision of the light at the end of the tunnel a lot of people have used to keep themselves going in the day to day. The second track represents the low points where one just wants to be left alone and might redirect anger at others or themselves.”

C2C Festival Presents: Arca & Weirdcore – Live From Ibiza

Over the summer, as part of its C0C “The Festival As A Performance” digital program, Turin’s C2C Festival and Fundaciòn Marcelo Burlon brought together experimental composer, artist and performer Alejandra Ghersi with multidisciplinary artist Weirdcore for a very special performance to launch fashion designer, Marcelo Burlon’s new charitable foundation. Featuring guest appearances from pioneering DJs and producers Total Freedom and Physical Therapy, Arca curated a unique concert exploring avant-garde composition, thrilling live performance and experimental turntablism, all of which took place amongst the installations, exhibitions and artworks of a sprawling villa in Ibiza, a venue owned by by the Fondaciòn Marcelo Burlon. The 53 minute broadcast attracted a global audience of 7,619 fans across 34 nations in support of the fundraising campaign for the trans and non-binary shelter Casa Rifugo Marcella, Ghersi not only delivered an overwhelming, virtuosic performance, but also acted as both and compère and conductor, orchestrating a vital cacophony of sonic gymnastics and glamorous theatricality.

Bendik Giske & Matt Lambert – Brist

‘Brist’, which can be translated from Norwegian as “rupture”, is the title chosen by queer filmmaker Matt Lambert and experimental composer and saxophonist Bendik Giske for their stunning collaboration. Commissioned by Oslo’s MUNCH museum for the third installment of their Contemporary Art Digital Shorts series, entitled Queer Desires, Brist was captured by Matt Lambert at the HAU Hebbel am Ufer theatre in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, yet another theatre lying empty during the lockdown. “Devoid of an audience during the pandemic,” says HAU, “the venerable stage stands empty, providing an eerie backdrop for Bendik Giske’s saxophone performance of his new composition.” Combining the jar-dropping physicality of Giske’s live performance with dim, sensual lighting, glistening latex stretched taut over straining flesh and the sleazy grain of 16mm film, with Brist Lambert equates the physical distance of social distancing and public curfews with the pent up desire of a furtive touch. The empty space of the deserted HAU1 theatre is contrasted with Giske’s solo journey around its labyrinthine sprawl of bathrooms, hallways and backstage areas, all the while pursued by a masked stranger.

Carl Gari & Abdullah Miniawy – Live @ Haus Der Kunst, Munich

Egyptian poet, singer and artist Abdullah Miniawy has been collaborating with Carl Gari for close to five years, debuting back in 2016 on The Trilogy Tapes with Darraje, before releasing The Act Of Falling From The 8th Floor to critical acclaim in 2019 on AD93. A highly conceptual project, the six-track release saw Miniawy coming together with the German trio, made up of musicians Jonas Yamer, Till Funke and Jonas Friedlich, to respond to a poem that describes the poet jumping from the eighth floor of a building in Cairo. As he falls, he describes what he sees on each of the building’s balconies, building a fatalist portrait of Egyptian society under the brutal Al-Sisi regime. The result is an immensely difficult, yet hauntingly beautiful, collection of songs, with Carl Gari providing devastating sonic architecture for Miniawy’s unflinching testimonial. For the group’s performance at the 2021 edition of Rewire Festival in The Hague, which took place both online and offline, they enlisted the talents of multimedia artist and filmmaker Justin Urbach to create a special live documentation of a unique live performance. Combining performance footage with cinematic elements, Urbach guides us through different scenarios, each accompanying a different track.

DJ Stingray 313 & Bahar Noorizadeh – Bioplastics

‘Bioplastics’ is taken from Molecular Level Solutions, a breakneck plunge through the roiling waters of DJ Stingray 313‘s singular sound, fusing clattering percussion and weaponised bass with the kind of glittering future soundscapes that are the producer’s speciality. The track’s video is a collaboration between DJ Stingray and Iranian-Canadian visual artist Bahar Noorizadeh, who explores the twin histories of electro and Detroit’s industrial past, transforming their continuities into a sci-fi parable. “Techno commenced where the factory withered away,” she writes. “One person, one car: two diachronous beats. Automated selves reverberating to the rhythm of brakes, axles and engines, imagineering the assembly line across the walls (picture Chaplin in Modern Times.) What better narrator than the car – or cinema – to speak of a hundred or so years of aporia (picture Hal in Space Odyssey.)”

ecolagbohrsac2021 – Fucking with an online date at a beautiful natural spot somewhere in the Beckenham Place Park

Melding avant-garde electronics with surreal computer-generated environments, ecolagbohrsac2021 is purportedly backed by England’s Council of Legislation and Governing Body of Hyper Real Simulations and Constructs, a fitting sponsor considering how accurately they capture the experience of moving around a city mediated by social media, navigating the virtual stack that sits atop the smog. It’s a theme that’s at the forefront of the exceptionally titled ‘Fucking with an online date at a beautiful natural spot somewhere in the Beckenham Place Park’. The digitised back-and-forth of online dating apps appear transfigured in this hyperreal space, manifested as quotes from Andrei Tarkovsky and lyrics from American hardcore band AFI and British prog group Porcupine Tree. A lonely man mouths off about a bedroom recording setup, while Hatsune Miku drifts off with Porcupine Trees ‘Deadwing’ stuck in her head. “How are you feeling these days,” asks someone. “Ready and Able,” answers someone else.

Elise Massoni – G & More

In the visual for Rinse France resident Elise Massoni’s ‘G & More’, created by visual artist Jack Anderson, the French producer’s complex rhythms and glistening melodies soundtrack a digital forest scene, which zooms into microscopic levels of detail as organic fractals emerge from a falling droplet of water. The video’s serene natural setting is juxtaposed with burned-out cars and industrial waste littering the scene, which are slowly engulfed by the plants that grow up around them. The video’s concept reflects Massoni’s thoughts on the track itself, and Straight is a Lie, the EP that ‘G & More’, is taken from. “Straight is a Lie was made following a series of personal disasters,” Massoni says. “It is a tale of those catastrophes but also of how they came to be resolved.”

Elkka – I. Miss. Raving.

femme culture co-founder Elkka wrote ‘I. Miss. Raving.’ at the beginning of 2020, in response to the initial days of the pandemic. “When this track was originally written I had no understanding of when the sentiment of nostalgia, frustration and unending desire to be out raving, to be alongside friends and strangers would expire,” she explains. “But here we are and it still feels just raw as it did when I wrote this towards the beginning of last year.” “In times like these collaboration has been a saviour,” Elkka continues, “and fortunately I have some very talented friends who were able to create something beautiful and symbiotic to go alongside the music which I think really captures the moment we are living in.” She called upon director of photography Michael Filocamo and director Alex Lambert to create the video.

embryoroom – Ravaged By The Sun (American Cannibalism)

Experimental filmmaker, musician and multimedia artist Edward Quist, who makes work under the alias embryoroom, imagines New York City as a shadowy hellscape in his latest feature presentation, Ravaged By The Sun (American Cannibalism). Developed over the course of the last year with various live lockdown screenings on social media, the expansive audiovisual work weaves together stroboscopic video montage, CGI and a seething score of pitch-black techno and chilly electronics to paint a nightmarish picture of an alternate reality that draws inspiration from the very real anguish and trauma of life under lockdown.

Feral – God’s Country

This year producer and designer Caleb Halter, aka Feral, returned from a five-year hiatus from music with his long awaited debut album, The End, which sees the artist approaching electronic music with the wide-eyed grandeur of stadium shows experienced as a child. “My earliest memories of mixes weren’t on Radio 1,” he says, “but at Labor Day fireworks displays over the Ohio river synchronized to classic rock, at an arena filled with fog at Monster Jam, or at a laser-light show at Cedar Point looking out across Lake Erie.” “I wanted to create a mix inspired by that world, a super-set of agony and euphoria, a flickering radio transmission, spinning the dial across genre and time, all held together by an invisible thread.” Halter returns to similar territory with the album’s second single, ‘God’s Country’. Beginning with plucked strings before building to an epic barrage of driving synthesis and shimmering, effects-heavy guitar, the track arrives with a lysergic visual from director and animator Erik Carter, who follows the bizarre progress of a glitched-out cowboy.

FRKTL – Azimuth

In Azimuth, audiovisual artist Sarah Badr channels a tension between organic and synthetic forms, digitally rendering pulsating alien objects and shimmering surfaces that change and transform in a responsive, symbiotic relationship with the tactile sounds she corals into the intricate texture of her compositions. Resolutely synaesthetic, Azimuth oscillates between the recognisable and the impossible, a dichotomy that is suggested in the work’s title. An azimuth, in geometry, is an angular measurement in a spherical coordinate system and is derived from the Arabic word السَّمْت. When applied in astrology and used as a celestial coordinate, an azimuth is the horizontal direction of a star, or other astronomical object. In one sense the title, and the work, is functional, referring to a unit of measurement, but when applied to the world around us it becomes ontological, a marker for locating an object in physical, or artificial, space.

Galya Bisengalieva – Moynaq

On her latest album, Aralkum, avant-violinist and electronic composer Galya Bisengalieva reflects on what she terms “one of the worst environmental disasters on the planet”, the shrinking of the Aral Sea. Located between Uzbekistan and Bisengalieva’s native Kazakhstan, the Aral Sea was formerly the fourth largest lake in the world, but back in the 1960s the rivers that fed the lake were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects, causing the lake to shrink to 10 percent of its original size by 1997. It is this process of desertification and desiccation that Bisengalieva responds to on Aralkum, which is split into three sections: pre-disaster, calamity and future. ‘Moynaq’ is taken from the first section and takes its name from a long-since abandoned sea port in northern Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic in Uzbekistan. For the dramatic visual accompaniment Kazakh director Sana Serkebaeva imagines the flora and fauna of a lush sea forest, now lost to the heat and death of the desert.

HDMIRROR TV – THIS MUSIC

The audiovisual practice of HDMIRROR is a hard thing to describe, it’s really something you have to experience. If asked, the artist opts for “dysfunctional dance music”, “transformation through overload”, “euphoria simulator”, “neural fireworks” and, perhaps most cryptically, “sabotage and tradition.” Citing key influences as Guy Debord, Jean Baudrillard and Dutch EDM giant Tiësto, HDMIRROR is an ever-evolving site of 21st century iconoclasm, a hard dance glitch in the simulation causing the sounds and images of dance music’s past, present and future to buckle and twist as they are catapulted at frightening speed into the stratosphere. Yet, in spite of the artist’s “high octane music theory”, HDMIRROR’s off-kilter Music for Accelerationists never regresses into techno-nihilism. Uncontaminated by the digital world, the artist’s disruptive audiovisual broadcasts are precision engineered to wreak havoc IRL, imbued with a purity of spirit and a pranksterish playfulness that seeks to commune with the ghosts of rave past while at the same time transcending the machinic grind of the modern music industry. In many ways, “THIS MUSIC” can be understood as a potent distillation of this drive, a hyperreal reflection of what it’s like to rave in a world where the physical and the virtual are constantly at each other’s throats.

Kevin Richard Martin & Pedro Maia – Frequencies For Leaving Earth Vol. 4

Responding in kind to extremely dark times with equally intense sounds, Kevin Richard Martin inaugurated Intercranial Recordings with a volley of solo albums, Frequencies for Leaving Earth Volumes One to Five. Moving from “smacked out jazz” and “massive low-end gravity”, through what Martin wryly refers to as his “gospel album”, to “celestial drones” and “cavernous dubspaces”, these five albums saw the producer plunging further into the sound worlds he has been exploring since the late ’80s. Coming together with Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Maia, Martin sent these sonic explorations into deep space against transcendent analogue visuals. Using a combination of traditional analogue processing techniques and digital technology Maia presents four contemporary variations on 2001: A Space Odyssey‘stargate, each catapulting us past earth’s orbit into the unknown.

Lucas Paris – Light Center Folds

AV artist Lucas Paris explores the softer side of audiovisual performance culture in Light Center Folds, a technicolour exploration of a virtual wilderness recorded live, in real time, for Fact. “Light Center Folds is a digital environment of complexity fusing a range of themes and research into a real time audiovisual environment captured live for the final video work,” explains Paris. “This work stems from the efforts of imagining the rules of a virtual environment from scratch with a conscious effort to move the use of game engines beyond adversity, conflict, attack, evaluation, scoring and reward.” Chasing light particles around a barren wasteland populated with glitched-out emoji collages, grotesque CGI sculptures, skeletal vector art and digital foliage, Paris dives deeper into the virtual space of an audiovisual environment, viewing it through a specifically spatial lens. Exploding flattened notions of user interface, Paris glides between discarded landmarks of digital detritus, expanding the two dimensions of a smartphone screen or laptop display into a fully developed world. 

Marina Herlop – miu

“Since I started making music, my intention has never been to explain a personal story or express my emotions – at least not in a conscious way,” explains Marina Herlop. “There is no extra-musical reference sheltering my music so far, the only principle that has led my creative process has been an aesthetic one.” The first we hear of the experimental pianist, vocalist and producer on ‘miu’, her debut release for PAN and the first glimpse of an album forthcoming in 2022, is a gently distorted layered harmony. The first we see of her in the stunning video from director Anxo Casal is Herlop wrapped in a headscarf, crossing a pink and blue sky plucked straight out of science-fiction. It’s clear that, wherever we are in ‘miu’, this a world of Herlop’s making, an alien earworm that sounds at once hymnal and foreboding. “My will is to create music that is self-contained and thus does not intend to describe emotions, ideas, landscapes, characters or scenes of my life or lives of others,” she asserts.

Mark Prendergast – EYE FALL

EYE FALL is a dizzying meditation on the digital image from artist and filmmaker Mark Prendergast. Using a wide array of imaging tools and editing techniques, Prendergast deftly draws together a jumbled assemblage of video material and digital ephemera into a non-linear reflection on the world viewed through a small screen. “It was made in a period where there were a whole lot of ideas and observations floating around,” explains the artist, “so this work isn’t really about one thing in particular but it’s the end product of around 18 months of thinking about what it is to be a maker in the current visual/cultural climate.” Cutting between footage of his friends, animals, children and objects, Prendergast crafts a kind of videographic free verse, a poetic response to everyday life mediated by digital media, for digital media. “The initial starting point for the work was that I wanted to explore the feeling of being in free fall,” continues Prendergast. “I was feeling – and still feel – that in this contemporary moment the ground is quite unstable and were all in a collective state of free fall. It seems like we’re in the middle of a paradigm shift where meaning, roles, genres, rules of representation, everything is all up for grabs, so I wanted to make a work which is a kind of meditation on the digital image and where we’re all at right now.” 

MSHR – Liquid Conglomerate Presence Cycle

MSHR is the audiovisual performance collective of artists Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy, a collaborative project focused on the building and exploration of sculptural electronic systems, cybernetic compositions that take form as installation work and live performances. For the last decade they have toured the world with their unique, improvisational live show, centered around self-built analog synthesizers that use feedback from light and movement to create dense sonic landscapes. For Liquid Conglomerate Presence Cycle, the duo’s innately somatic approach to synthesis is complemented with reactive visuals that form city-like circuitscapes, which are themselves extruded from diagrams describing the signal flow of MSHR’s electronic musical systems.

object blue – Opened Close (Live on Twitch)

Grotto is a bit like if King Lear had been a millennial soap opera with a happy ending,” says object blue of her latest release for London label TT, a five-track, audiovisual EP that sees the producer teaming up with her wife and creative partner, artist and photographer Natalia Podgórska. “Grotto is a stage,” blue continues. “It’s not a soundtrack to an existing play, but whilst creating it I was thinking about the space we move in, the characters we play, the dialogues that happen.” blue and Podgórska shared an excerpt featuring a live rendition of the project’s anthemic opener, ‘Opened Close’. blue corrals an ecstatic, stabbing synth line as Podgórska conjures a fantastical digital environment around her. “The video is half inspired by object blue’s interest in medieval art and theatre, half inspired by imaginary friends/characters we make up to cope with our home situation (which is what Grotto is about),” she explains.

PDP III – 49 Days

Back in 2018 experimental composer Britton Powell came together with cellist Lucy Railton and producer Brian Leeds, perhaps best known as Huerco S., at Gary’s Electric Studio in Brooklyn, New York. Over the course of a number of exploratory sessions Powell presented the group with a collection of compositional sketches, each centred around multi-tracked electronics and recorded acoustic percussion. Taking these sketches as a starting point, the three musicians then began adding to Powell’s sonic scaffolding with instinctive, improvisational playing, with Railton on cello and electronics and Powell and Leeds working in tandem on laptops. It was out of this period of experimentation and improvisation that Pilled Up on a Couple of Doves was borne, a collection of recordings edited, distilled and collaged together over the course of the next two years. Filmmaker Drew Hagelin contributes a fittingly abstract visual accompaniment, realising a concept devised by Powell with layered projections and slowly shifting editing. Dark ripples and silhouettes fold into each other in gently lysergic patterns, a technicolour filter picking out areas of light defined starkly against shade in a process that mimics the act of listening for recognisable acoustic forms amidst discordant electronics.

Rainer Kohlberger & Jung An Tagen – Emergence Collapse

Austrian-born, Berlin-based artist and filmmaker Rainer Kohlberger and Viennese producer Jung An Tagen are partners in audiovisual chaos for Emergence Collapse, a new collaborative project adapted from the artists’ forthcoming live AV show. Functioning as an extended exploration of the neuroscientific effects of synthetic sounds, the album’s compositions are equal parts dizzying and ecstatic, oscillating between satisfying and frightening, concrete and abstract, as Shilla Strelka describes in the album’s liner notes, “an overstimulated exploration of perceptive processes.” It’s an effect that is stretched to breaking point with Rainer Kohlberger’s visual accompaniment, a swirling, swarming mass of neural nets and machine learning, a Deep Mind fever dream that draws out the lysergic energy of Jung An Tagen’s synthetic experiments while at the same time gurgles towards the bioluminescent, organic qualities his sounds occasionally assume

Robert Dietz & Claudia Rafael – Swallowing Tubes

Producer and sound designer Robert Dietz and digital artist Claudia Rafael are close friends, in fact, they live next door to each other. When the time came for Dietz to think about visualising the sounds of Schnups, his debut EP for Live At Robert Johnson, Rafael was the obvious choice, but not just because they happen to be neighbours. Swallowing Tubes is a profound testament to the strength of their creative partnership, showcasing a stunning marriage of sound and image that seems to work at a molecular level. Drawing inspiration from the dreamy pads and transcendent arpeggios of Dietz’s track, Rafael set her sights on the heavens, using a text-to-image GAN (generative adversarial network) to create an infinite zoom through a lysergic landscape of heavenly bodies.

Sabrina Ratté – Floralia

By utilising a mixture of photography, 3D animation and analog technologies, Canada-born, Paris-based artist Sabrina Ratté investigates the interplay between surroundings and subjectivity. Her practice includes video, animation, installations, sculptures, audio-visual performances and prints, all of which function in service of a multidisciplinary exploration of space, both digital and physical. For her latest video series, Floralia, Ratté draws inspiration from the writing of Donna J. Haraway, the author of A Cyborg Manifesto, as well as science-fiction writers Ursula K. Le Guin and Greg Egan, as she imagines a speculative future in which samples of extinct plant species are preserved and displayed in a virtual archive room.

Ville Kallio – Cruelty Squad

In Cruelty Squad, interdisciplinary artist Ville Kallio envisions a grotesque, low-resolution alternative reality where power, capital and ultra-violence are one and the same, where corporate liquidations involve quite literally liquifying employees and where biomechanical, drug-addled assassins are tasked with “performing wetworks” for despotic conglomerates. This is what Ville Kallio terms “an immersive power fantasy simulator with tactical stealth elements”, a first-person shooter in the style of classic late ’90s and early ’00s games such as Perfect Dark, Deus Ex and Quake, that draws aesthetically from a diverse collection of influences, including Super Mario 64, LSD Dream Emulator and Dark Souls. You play as an “emotionally dead combat-substance fuelled grunt” of the titular Cruelty Squad, a “depraved subsidiary company” headed up by the Corporate Arch Demoness.

Yen Tech – Lazarus

SVBKVLT‘S resident sci-fi rap iconoclast Yen Tech embraces the bombast of pop excess, channeling dystopian swagger and video game hyperactivity into his cinematic sound. It was this quality that artists Korakrit Arunanondchai and Alex Gvojic saw in the rapper and producer, leading them to feature him as a major character in their 2016 collaborative work, There’s a word I’m trying to remember, for a feeling I’m about to have (a distracted path towards extinction). Lazarus is an excerpt of this longer work, and features Yen Tech playing a character preoccupied with realising his digital self, in spite of the planetary extinction he is only barely surviving. Rather than attempting to preserve the natural world, he siphons the last of the life blood of the earth to power his virtual world, a space in which he is able to manifest his unfiltered pop star id. “He becomes a manifestation of his ultimate self,” explains Gvojic, “a pop star, the pinnacle of cultural production.”

Watch next: Fact 2020 – Audiovisual

Grove shares steamy ode to sensuality with ‘Slippery’

Bokeh Versions sees out the year with a lust-fuelled, hybrid visual, featuring digital and analogue processing techniques from Ben Dornan Wilson and Jasmine Butt.

This year saw Bristol-based, polymathic producer and vocalist Grove landing on the city’s most consistently thrilling and iconoclastic label, Bokeh Versions. Following up their uncompromising breakout release, Queer + Black, a potent statement of intent blending hectic breaks with lacerating lyricism, SPICE sees Grove embracing the Bokeh way and delving deeper into mutated forms of dancehall, dub and hip-hop. “This mixtape is an ode to the exciting and lust-filled period of new relationships, and explores everything from steezy self-confidence, to slippery sensual encounters and the soft cheeks of a lover,” they explain. “Delving into the beauty of production that is firmly rooted in both Jamaican and British culture has been a great process of personal growth. Being a person of dual-heritage, the dancehall and dub elements are the Jamaican spice, mixed with the undeniable influence that Bristol has had in terms of sonic darkness and experimentation.”

At the EP’s climax comes ‘Slippery,’ a steamy queer sex anthem, featuring additional production from Giant Swan’s Robin Stewart, which sees Grove going in over humid electronics and dense, distorted bass, a perfectly frazzled marriage of their future-facing approach to dancehall and Stewart’s predilection for ragged noise experimentation. It seems fitting, then, that director Ben Dornan Wilson and artist Jasmine Butt, aka Guest, would reflect this hybridity in the track’s visual. “For this video we wanted to experiment with mixing analogue and digital processing,” explains Butt. “Ben was in charge of most of the digital work, including the original filming and directing at Strange Brew – then I processed some of the imagery in After Effects before filming on 16mm and running through various dark room techniques. After scanning the film, we folded it back in to the final video with Ben leading the edit.”

“It was a really good opportunity to play with quite a lot of new processes,” she continues. “Some parts of the film process were inspired by old special effects techniques. From early cinema up to the ’80s they used to hand paint stencils (or travelling mattes) frame by frame, but this time I used digital software to rotoscope stencil outlines of Grove’s moving form. We then filmed that on 16mm to get stencils, and using DIY contact printing methods (an old enlarger lamp and a pic sync block) I printed different imagery into both the background and the dancing form. This is also the first time using a new technique I found by accident – where if you film a digital video that is strobing quickly between positive to negative, the digital frame rate and the 16mm frame rate slip out of phase, and you get some frames that are a double exposure of both positive and negative image – like a grey ghost image which adds another texture.”

“When filming and printing with 16mm, some of the most interesting things happen in the transitional moments. When one shot finishes and the other begins, or when the end of the film flicks through the contact printer and you can see a glimpse of the process in the couple of frames that get messed up by it. There were a few moments where the film jumped around in the scanner and Ben used these shots in the edit – it worked so well and I really love it when the chaotic and disorderly parts of the process shine through. All the film was hand processed in caffenol – an eco process where the developer is a lukewarm soup of coffee, vitamin C and soda crystals.” The result is a stunning portrait of an artist that stands as a shining example of the new Bristol sound, retooling club music into darker, more lethal forms while obliterating convention in the process.

‘Slippery’ is taken from SPICE, which is out now on Bokeh Versions, in collaboration with Spinny Nights. You can find Grove on Instagram and Bandcamp.

For more information about Ben Dornan Wilson and his work you can visit his website and follow him on Instagram. You can find Jasmine Butt on Instagram.

Watch next: NYX, MA.MOYO and Nick Cobby meditate through nature, symbiosis and collective consciousness in Mutualism

 

Against The Clock: LYZZA

Against The Clock is a series where we give an artist 10 minutes in the studio and see what they come up with.

Brazilian-born, Amsterdam-based LYZZA’s fusion of club music and pop music has been in constant evolution since her debut in 2017, combining lyrics about heartbreak and relationships with abstract beats and neon melodies. It’s a sound that she once called “anxiety pop”, a reference to the uncertain future that her generation faces.

In October 2021, we caught up with LYZZA at Cavalera’s London Studio as she visited London for a gig, and challenged her to make a track in 10 minutes for Against The Clock. “I’ve not watched every Against The Clock video, but I definitely watched a lot of them when I was getting into music production,” LYZZA says. “I thought it was important for me to do this because I feel there’s just not enough footage on the internet of Black women creating music.”

As LYZZA explains, she isn’t used to making tracks in such a short timeframe. “I usually make the body of a track when I feel super creative within three to four hours, or sometimes I lose track of time and it becomes seven hours,” she says. “When you’re in a creative energy you just continue making music, so once the creative wave has passed it becomes more like ‘OK, I’m working on music now’ where you start looking into the mixing, the effects, the compression.”

LYZZA’s Against The Clock session sees her using a lean setup, including a laptop with Logic and Omnisphere for synth sounds, a hardware synth for MIDI control and microphone for recording vocals. “I’m not sure what the vibe is, but I told myself it would be 160BPM,” she says.

You can follow LYZZA on Instagram and find her music on Bandcamp. Look out for new music coming from LYZZA in 2022.

Watch next: Against The Clock: Stiff Pap

Fact Mix 839: De Schuurman

Two mixes from the bubbling innovator that document key moments in his artistic evolution.

In the late 1980s, a chance mistake by Curacao’s DJ Moortje created an entirely new genre. Bubbling house (or bubbling, as it came to be known) was spawned when Moortje accidentally played a 33RPM dancehall record at 45RPM at Club Voltage in Den Haag, and bubbling became a key sound for the Holland’s Afro-diasporic community, evolving over the decades as younger producers entered the scene.

One such artist was Guillermo Schuurman, the nephew of early bubbling innovator DJ Chippie. As De Schuurman, he began producing and DJing in the late 2000s, creating a sound that combined rap and R&B samples with elements of trance and electro house. Although De Schuurman was a central player in Holland’s bubbling scene during this period, many of his tracks went without a proper release.

Earlier this year however, Nyege Nyege Tapes introduced De Schuurman to a wider audience with the release of his debut album, Bubbling Inside. The album features some of De Schuurman’s most notable tracks from his earlier career alongside a few recent productions, tracing his artistic progress from 2007 until today.

De Schuurman’s Fact Mix is actually two separate mixes that encapsulate this journey: a ‘club mix’ largely comprised of his own productions that traces his evolution as an artist, and a ‘hidden gems’ mixtape that features music he and his friends used to listen to in their youth. Both offer a window into a time that has gone largely undocumented.

“A lot of tracks are not even to be found and many of them don’t even have a proper track name,” De Schuurman says. “They belonged to producers who never even released the track.”

Follow De Schuurman on Instagram. You can buy Bubbling Inside from Nyege Nyege Tapes’ Bandcamp.

Fact Mix 839: De Schuurman (Club Mix)

Fact Mix 839: De Schuurman (Hidden Gems Mixtape)

Listen next: Fact Mix 838: Yazzus

LABOUR live at Metabolic Rift

A performance of LABOUR’s recent work ‘the hit of enlightenment (بیگانگی)’, recorded at Berlin’s Kraftwerk.

In September 2021, the team behind Berlin Atonal launched a new live concept in response the challenging conditions presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. Titled Metabolic Rift, the month-long event series combined both an exhibition spread across Berlin’s Kraftwerk venue and a series of concerts that captured the spirit of Berlin through site-specific interventions and live performance.

One of the highlights from Metabolic Rift’s live programme was a performance from LABOUR, the project from Berlin-based multidisciplinary artists Farahnaz Hatam and Colin Hacklander that combines their experience in molecular biology, sound art and post-tonal theory to create works that interrogate existential questions and the power structures that form our collective reality.

LABOUR’s Metabolic Rift performance, which we’re presenting highlights of above, featured the debut of a brand new show. LABOUR says: ‘the hit of enlightenment (بیگانگی)’ debuted at Metabolic Rift 2021, beginning where ‘next time, die consciously (بیگانگی)’ ended the 2018 festival: both musically with an articulation of architectural and acoustic space, and conceptually with the realisation that heteronomy is the condition of all things – that external forces create our notion of self which tends to be constructable and therefore de-constructable.  

“Taking a critical stance towards notions of regulated time by embracing rhythmic instability and sound as sculptural material, LABOUR devise methods of co-existence and distinction through rupture while gesturing towards the possibility of strong, sudden shifts in consciousness.”

You can find more of LABOUR’s work by exploring their Fact Residency. For more information on Metabolic Rift, visit the website.

Credits:

Directed and filmed by Pedro S. Küster
Camera operation by Sven Gutjahr and Alfredo La Corte Machado
Sound by Guillem Alonso

LABOUR is Colin Hacklander and Farahnaz Hatam
with Masaya Hijikata on drums 
visuals by Evelyn Bencicova, Zeynep Schilling, Enes Güç 
plus 26 stochastic group drummers

Thank you to Callie’s Berlin for their continued support

Watch next: Fact Residency: Theresa Baumgartner

NYX, MA.MOYO and Nick Cobby meditate through nature, symbiosis and collective consciousness in Mutualism

A communal collaboration between 14 different artists, Mutualism was created as a collective response to humanity’s relationship to the natural world.

The product of an iterative process of communal collaboration, Mutualism was developed over lockdown in 2020 by electronic drone choir NYX, spoken word and sound artist MA.MOYO, aka Belinda Zhawi, and visual artist Nick Cobby. Described by NYX as “a metamorphic meditation, embodying our relationship with nature, symbiosis transformation and collective consciousness”, the 11-minute audiovisual work emerged from what the choir term ‘symbiotic working,’ intended to generate “a true sense of connection, expression and interdependence.” Unfolding from the image of a match being struck deep within a mass of dense and twisted foliage, Mutualism is slow, introspective trip through the leaves, stones and earth of the natural world, a call and response between the modulated vocal tones, live electronics and instrumental arrangements of NYX, the lysergic visuals of Nick Cobby and the incantatory performance of MA.MOYO.

“Moving slowly together, each phase of development returned a collective of 14 artists to creatively respond to each new iteration, an evolving relationship that became more than the sum of its parts,” explains NYX. Originally devised as 360-degree projection, the above presentation sees the work condensed into a single channel. Revealing itself slowly, Mutualism takes on the resonance of an esoteric ceremony, with NYX’s redefinition of choral music at once gesturing towards devotional forms while shedding light on the potential for new forms of communal performance and practice. By the time the piece bursts into fractals, heralding a stunning, textural polyphony of voice both sung and spoken, it is clear that, through the collective’s process of symbiotic working, Mutualism is a meditation that envelops both artist and audience in service of a truly interdependent experience.

It’s an urge that is reflected in Zhawi’s words, which continually return to a central mantra: “meet me in the middle.” Invoking fire, air, earth and water, MA.MOYO relates natural elements to her own physical senses, situating her body within a shared space and aligning herself to the world around her. “My freedom / Is your freedom,” she asserts. “For that is the only way to live.”

‘Mutualism’ is out now, on the NYX Bandcamp. The choir have enlisted Anna Wall, Deena Abdelwahed and LCY for Mutualism Remixed, which is also available now on the NYX Bandcamp.

You can find MA.MOYO on Instagram. For more information about Nick Cobby and his work you can visit his website. For more information about NYX and their projects, visit their website and follow them on Instagram.

Mutualism Lyrics:

Meet me in the middle
Says the fire
My freedom is your freedom
Yours is mine
Freedom
The grey matter in between
Is ours to share
But you hold the bow
and I the arrow
Its tip in my chest
You’re pulling away
I’m letting go
Will you meet me in the middle

Meet me in the middle
Says the air
Lying on my back, suspended
With nothing but air beneath me
With nothing but space beneath me
With nothing but time beneath me
And the end
Is the middle

Meet me in the middle
Says the earth
You nourish me
with your songs
Funny, and sad
Your words hold me
Anchored
Dug into the soil
I live by your means
By your cycles

For that is the only way to live

Meet me in the middle
Says the water
Your dilated eyes
watch the clouds gather
Meet me in the middle
Is the hour before dusk
The creek high
Reflecting low sky

My freedom
Is your freedom
Is mine
Is yours
Is my freedom
Is your freedom

Mutualism Credits:

Composer and Producer – Sian O’Gorman
Words – MA.MOYO
Contributing Vocalists – Adélaïde Pratoussy, Cecilia Forssberg, Kelechi Anucha, MA.MOYO, Ruth Corey, Rebekah Alero, Shireen Qureshi, Sian O’Gorman
Saxophone – David Boyce
Creative Directors – Josh Thomas, Philippa Neels, Sian O’Gorman
Motion Designer and Animator – Nick Cobby
3D Sound Design – Peter Rice
Embodiment Director – Imogen Knight
Remixes – Anna Wall, Deena Abdelwahed, LCY
Mastering – James Rand
Executive Producers – Josh Thomas, Philippa Neels
Production – NYX Collective Records Ltd.

Mutualism was created with the generous support of Arts Council England and Help Musicians UK, PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music.

Watch next: Fact Residency – Theresa Baumgartner

Fact Mix 838: Yazzus

Yazzus tears through a high-velocity selection of sexy rave, dark room techno and essential selections from classic ’90s video game soundtracks, including Wipeout 2097, Ghost In The Shell, Tekken 4 and System Shock 2.

Picking up where we left off with last week’s Fact mix with Gracie T, who went out with a bang with ‘All Your Love (Ode 2 Hudmo)’, this week we are thrilled to present Yazzus, who tears through a high-velocity selection of sexy rave, dark room techno and ’90s video game soundtracks. “For this mix I dug through ’90s video games soundtracks, finding sexy techno with groove and pulsing rhythms, then pairing with some of my favourite tracks at the moment with this same aesthetic,” she explains. “Video games have always been a big inspiration to me, growing up playing shit like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat with my older brother, I think unconsciously I’ve been vibing to the soundtracks ever since. ‘Battle Stage’ music always has vibrant electronic sounds such as acid, hardcore, jungle and techno, the latter I’ve been connecting with more so, since my move to Berlin. The bounce is also super important too!! Please enjoy and also check out classic game soundtracks, you’ll be surprised how many tracks you can actually enjoy as club music – the PS1 Ghost In The Shell OST is a special one for sure!”

The results are breathtaking, a headlong rush through essential selections from the soundtracks to Wipeout 2097, Ghost In The Shell, Tekken 4 and System Shock 2, cemented together with a hard and fast contemporary sound, including recent tracks from ÅMRTÜM, Roza Terenzi, badsista, Clair’s hardcore rave edit of Sexy Sushi’s electroclash anthem ‘Sex Appeal’ and an unreleased track from Yazzus herself. It’s a thrilling snapshot of the scenes the Ghana-born, London-bred, now Berlin-based DJ and producer has immersed herself in recently, following a relocation to Germany, as well as a testament to the unstoppable momentum she has been building for the past few years. Between releasing an essential EP on Steel City Dance Discs, gifting us two unmissable edit packs, the first a love letter to the ’90s dance music she draws so much inspiration from and the second a killer collection of the bootlegs and edits that have become her signature, Yazzus featured on Mary Anne Hobbs’ 6 Music show, contributed a track to Tresor’s landmark 30th anniversary compilation and made her debut at Berghain.

Not only is her Fact mix exactly what we want to hear at a techno party, it’s also Yazzus at her most playful, weaving in childhood inspirations and a reverence for an extremely personally formative period of dance music into her high-speed, forward-facing sound. Never before have we wanted to both go out and stay in quite so intensely.

You can follow Yazzus on Instagram.

Tracklist:

Underworld – ‘Kittens’ (Wipeout 2097)
Benji303 – ‘Rising Vibes Of An Acid Fantasy!’
DJ これからの緊急災害 – ‘Detroit Remain’
Hardfloor – ‘Spook & Spell (Fast Version)’ (Ghost In The Shell)
ÅMRTÜM – ‘Concentrated’
Takkyu Ishino – ‘Ghost In The Shell’ (Ghost in The Shell PS1)
Sexy Sushi – ‘Sex Appeal (Clair edit)’
Amor Satyr – ‘Toca Aquela’
Namco Sounds – ‘Kitsch’ (Tekken 4)
Towa Tei & Kylie Minogue – ‘German Bold Italic’
Roza Terenzi – ‘Stylish Tantrum’
Yazzus – ‘????’
badsista – ‘TOMOTOMO’
Von Riu – ‘Raveyard’
Eric Brosius – ‘Med Sci 1’ (System Shock 2)

Listen next: Fact Mix 837 – Gracie T

Fact Residency: Theresa Baumgartner

Theresa Baumgartner channels painterly sensibilities and the unbridled energy of experimental music across a variety of disciplines, blurring the lines between installation art, audiovisual performance and experimental film.

When Theresa Baumgartner was at studying at art school, prior to her transition into audiovisual art, she became obsessed with making paintings on a huge scale, so huge, in fact, that by the artist’s own admission they worked just as well as sculptures as they did paintings. By the time she had completed her studies Baumgartner was disenfranchised with the world of fine art and found herself gravitating towards the visceral energy and emotional chaos of the experimental noise and punk shows of her youth. Seeking a more democratic space for her practice, she has ploughed her own furrow, oscillating between installation work, live performance and art film, yet these two formative experiences of painting and punk have continued to inform all of her work.

Whether fucking with the male gaze alongside artist Abyss X, reflecting on defeat and failure with musician Sam Slater, submerging us in the sounds of oceanic noise pollution with field recordist and Cabaret Voltaire member Chris Watson or translating the sonic disruption of producer Muqata’a into textural, painterly visuals, Theresa Baumgartner draws from her experience to imbue her work with emotional potency. As she levels: “I’m more interested in the emotional part in anything. At the end of the day I’d rather have people reaching back into themselves, being overwhelmed or just able to forget about themselves.”

Theresa Baumgartner Presents: Abyss X – Animosity (SOPHIE Remix)

“Surrounding yourself with your friends is influential because you throw ideas around that boil in everyone’s head,” Baumgartner emphasises. “I understand how scenes develop and evolve because you all sit in the same stewing pot.” Contributing to festivals like Berlin Atonal and CTM and heading up lighting design and visuals for Berlin’s pioneering audiovisual space Trauma Bar Und Kino, the artist has been able to move among a wealth of world class talent, drawing inspiration from a plethora of artists and collectives. It was in this way that Baumgartner’s collaboration with Hellenic experimental taste-maker Evangelia Lachianina, otherwise known as Abyss X, developed. “I started talking to Evangelia about this idea for a 360-degree camera and a light installation that I’ve been wanting to play with for a long time,” she explains. “I wanted to have something that was high energy and doesn’t really give a fuck, to let out some steam and make it weird.” Transposing 360-degree footage into a single channel, Baumgartner captures Abyss X at her most distorted, seemingly trapped in an illuminated chamber, moving in a ritualistic fervour to the sounds of SOPHIE’s shape-shifting remix of her own track ‘Animosity’.

“I’m fucking with the male gaze,” says Baumgartner. “There are clear symbols that this is supposed to be attractive, but then I’m morphing her body, morphing her features.” It’s here that the artist’s DIY influences are most apparent. Everything from the visceral performance of Abyss X, the sparse lighting and smoke to the asymmetry of Baumgartner’s frame, her disregard for convention and perfection, imbue the piece with subterranean potency, like you’ve just stumbled across two friends testing their artistic limits in a cramped Berlin basement. “I’m okay with things looking rough, or disorganized and turning that into a statement,” she says. “With stage design especially, often everything’s symmetrical and super slick. I’m okay with it really not being that way, to a degree where I’m really going the other way.” Encouraging each other to push their respective practices further, Theresa Baumgartner builds a world for Abyss X to inhabit, imperfectly and unashamedly.

This kind of world building stems from broader world view that was shared in part by their third, sadly absent collaborator. “The collaboration is basically a tribute to SOPHIE,” explains Baumgartner. “Her production works really well on a technical level, it’s artificial and highly produced, so blending it with the 360 technology fucks that up again. It’s out there, technologically, but then it breaks it, and that is also what SOPHIE did with her music.” Through both sound and image, SOPHIE demonstrated that it was possible to find a pureness of expression and an emotional truth in the most artificial, technologically-mediated places. Through digital distortion and physical theatrics, Theresa Baumgartner and Abyss X pick up this thread, injecting DIY energy into audiovisual art and performance.

Theresa Baumgartner Presents: Vandals (Excerpt)

I do not wish to be known as a Vandal is a 40-minute, audiovisual installation work from musician Sam Slater, performer Lukas Malkowski and this month’s Fact Resident, artist Theresa Baumgartner. Spanning 40 minutes in length in its original iteration, above Baumgartner presents Vandals, a short excerpt of the stunning film that functions as a moving image metaphor for failure, pain and resolve in the face of both. Captured in ultra slow motion with four high speed cameras, the work follows Malkowski, standing naked, falling on his face before picking himself up and returning to his original position. “It’s about defeat and failure, like seeing a car crash in slow motion, watching someone falling, watching the point of no return and then hurting themselves by falling on their face,” explains Baumgartner. “But it’s also watching the rebuild process, returning to point zero again, very slowly.” Slowed to a barely perceptible crawl, through a process of A.I.-enabled upscaling each frame of the film takes on the quality of a Caravaggio oil painting, each second of chiaroscuro amplified in a moving portrait.

“It has this tragi-comedy, Buster Keaton quality, or like one of Samuel Beckett’s characters,” says Baumgartner of Vandals. “It’s absurd and it’s painful, but it’s also essential. Failure is essential in terms of your own practice, you have to be okay with really fucking up.” Originally paired with the new album of the same name from Sam Slater, who collaborated with Hildur Guðnadóttir on her Grammy-winning soundtrack for Chernobyl and her Oscar-winning score for Joker and was the sound designer for the late Jóhan Jóhansson, the excerpt presented above is set against an original composition from Slater. “It is the soundtrack to falling uncontrollably in ultra slow motion; an event happening too fast to control, displayed as a barely moving image,” describes the artist. “It is a simple visual image which speaks to moments of personal and social collapse and recovery, and the repetition of this arc. The music traces this form, ending where it starts, creating a simple audiovisual cycle – in which all things break and something is made from the mess.”

In this sense, Vandals is representative of Baumgartner’s ability to work across different techniques and varying scales, from the largest and most complex to the smallest and simplest. “I like when things are quite minimal,” she says. “It’s one statement. It’s one gesture and it’s quite easily understood, but then by stretching it out for that long and making it 40 minutes, there’s a lot of story in a lot of nothing.” As an installation, both angles of I do not wish to be known as a Vandal will be reflected on each side of a freestanding screen, allowing the audience to move around the depiction of the fall at their own pace, lending real-time movement to the ultra slow scene. What ever sorts of personal or communal failure the viewer maps onto the piece, ultimately what it depicts is a bleak sort of optimism.

Theresa Baumgartner Presents: Seaphony

For Seaphony, artist Theresa Baumgartner reunites with David Attenborough field recordist, sound designer and Cabaret Voltaire founder Chris Watson to create an immersive, audiovisual representation of the alien soundscapes of the ocean floor. “Chris was approached by Oceans 21, an NGO trying to raise awareness about noise pollution in the oceans, which is a huge problem that kills sea creatures,” explains Baumgartner. “Ship traffic, oil drilling, military radar are all really stressful for the animals because after about 100 meters down into the ocean there’s complete darkness, hearing is the main form of communication.” During an expedition to record blue whales in the Sea of Cortez in Baja, California, Watson and fellow field recorder Tony Myatt captured a stunning collection of recordings of not only marine life, but the rupture of these natural environments by human hands. Describing earth’s oceans as “the largest and most sonorous habitat on our planet,” Watson stitches together the recordings captured with Myatt into an hour-long audio piece, simulating the sounds of the deep.

This composition will form the sonic backbone of Seaphony, an installation that will feature three-dimensional ambisonics, courtesy of Tony Myatt, as well as lighting and sculpture from Baumgartner. “The visual effects that we see in the teaser is just a zoom-in on custom light fixtures that I built, which are four-meter-high columns with an LED core,” she describes. “They create this really beautiful, ice melting, glacier effect. I’ll have eight of them in the room and then the whole room will be covered with mirror foil. I wanted to try and disturb the sense of space as much as possible by having a mirror floor, you don’t really know when the room ends and where it starts. The dimensions create this ocean vastness.” Condensed into a single channel, Seaphony takes on a painterly aspect, translating the light, shade and colour of the ocean viewed underwater into a gently warping picture that gestures as much towards Watson and Myatt’s field work as it does Baumgartner’s own background in painting.

“This is something that is quite easily fixed,” she emphasises. “You can build noise barrier walls that would make the ocean way quieter. You could put noise fences around oil platforms or have seaways where there are a lot of fish and sea mammal populations. There are ways to fix it that wouldn’t be so hard to attain.” Plunging her audience into an audiovisual representation of these conditions is a natural extension of Baumgartner’s democratic approach to her art practice. As opposed to keeping her meaning and message concealed by concept and aesthetic, Baumgartner, Watson and Myatt allow us to experience the issue instinctually, providing us with the space to be submerged in sound.

Theresa Baumgartner Presents: Muqata’a – Quboor Mamila قُبور مَاميلا

Theresa Baumgartner met Palestinian underground hip-hop pioneer Muqata’a back in 2018, when she was filming on location in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank, Palestine, for the Boiler Room documentary Palestine Underground. The DJ and producer has become legendary for his unique approach to sampling and looping, which he has developed into a practice which is at once musical and political. “When our land is being taken away, our culture is muted,” he told The Guardian around the time of the release of the documentary. “It’s a way to try and disrupt that – being a glitch in the system is very important. When your heritage is being attacked by the state, you have to find ways of being remembered, so I sample a lot.” Incorporating classical Arabic music, old records reclaimed from his grandparents’ collections and field recordings of Israeli military checkpoints into his compositions, Muqata’a fashions dense and detailed audio portraits of cultural and societal disruption, a project which is invoked by his moniker, which can be translated as “disruption,” “interference,” or “boycott.” It was the intricacy of Muqata’a’s method that initially drew Baumgartner to his music. “Muqata’a has a very special way of using field recordings,” she says, “there’s a lot of texture in his music.”

It’s this texture that Baumgartner zeroes in on for her visual treatment to the producer’s track ‘Quboor Mamila قُبور مَاميلا’, an opening salvo of sinister ambiance, skittering samples and frazzled noise that sets the scene for his new album for Hundebiss, Kamil Manqus كَامِل مَنْقوص. Drawing from her background in painting, Baumgartner layers digitally manipulated images into gauzy, textural vignettes that pulse and flicker to Muqata’s sounds. “It’s the painter coming out of me, but just adding the factor of time to it,” she explains. “Playing with colors and textures, that slow dripping movement. Older versions of the visuals actually stemmed from an obsession with deserts. On Google Maps I would fly over different deserts like the Gobi Desert and the Kalahari and it’s insanely beautiful what those satellite images spit out. With the photos being shot at different times of day, how the sun hits the surface changes, so there’s mistakes in the images. It’s gorgeous, it looks really weird.” Shreds of digital interference and pixelated feedback obscure the artist’s source material beyond recognition, meeting Muqata’a’s sonic disruption with her own audiovisual variant.

“I manipulate the footage in different ways,” continues Baumgartner. “The newer ones are partly the desert satellite images, as well as drone shots and footage ran through an old tube telly and then re-filmed. There’s a lot of procedure in it, it’s a bit like a ’70s special effects workshop, experimenting with analog stuff and seeing what happens.” Fusing a selection of these experiments together in a shifting sequence, the artist found inspiration from the structure of short story collections, specifically Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights. “These short little moments give you more of a hint to the story than just building the whole thing,” she says. “This works across different projects. You make something, but then the actual work happens in the head of the viewer – what people take from it, how people experience it and how it makes them feel. You make a proposition, throw something on the table, and then people take away from it what they want, or what they don’t want. It’s a way of talking to each other.” In this way, Baumgartner enacts an dialogue between two complementary art practices, the politicised patchwork of Muqata’a’s samples and loops drawing out the painterly energies of Baumgartner’s DIY visuals as the artist translates the producer’s aesthetics of disruption into evocative visual forms.

For more information about Theresa Baumgartner and her work, you can visit her website and follow her on Instagram.

Watch next: Fact Residency – Actual Objects

Theresa Baumgartner Presents: Muqata’a – Quboor Mamila قُبور مَاميلا

Fact Resident Theresa Baumgartner translates the disruptive approach to sampling of Palestinian producer Muqata’a into evocative digital image manipulation.

Theresa Baumgartner met Palestinian underground hip-hop pioneer Muqata’a back in 2018, when she was filming on location in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank, Palestine. The DJ and producer has become legendary for his unique approach to sampling and looping, which he has developed into a practice which is at once musical and political. “When our land is being taken away, our culture is muted,” he told The Guardian around the time of the release of the documentary. “It’s a way to try and disrupt that – being a glitch in the system is very important. When your heritage is being attacked by the state, you have to find ways of being remembered, so I sample a lot.” Incorporating classical Arabic music, old records reclaimed from his grandparents’ collections and field recordings of Israeli military checkpoints into his compositions, Muqata’a fashions dense and detailed audio portraits of cultural and societal disruption, a project which is invoked by his moniker, which can be translated as “disruption,” “interference,” or “boycott.” It was the intricacy of Muqata’a’s method that initially drew Baumgartner to his music. “Muqata’a has a very special way of using field recordings,” she says, “there’s a lot of texture in his music.”

It’s this texture that Baumgartner zeroes in on for her visual treatment to the producer’s track ‘Quboor Mamila قُبور مَاميلا’, an opening salvo of sinister ambiance, skittering samples and frazzled noise that sets the scene for his new album for Hundebiss, Kamil Manqus كَامِل مَنْقوص. Drawing from her background in painting, Baumgartner layers digitally manipulated images into gauzy, textural vignettes that pulse and flicker to Muqata’s sounds. “I think of these visuals as paintings, but just with the added factor of time,” she explains. “Playing with colors and textures, that slow dripping movement. Older versions of the visuals actually stemmed from an obsession with deserts. On Google Maps I would fly over different deserts like the Gobi Desert and the Kalahari and it’s insanely beautiful what those satellite images spit out. With the photos being shot at different times of day, how the sun hits the surface changes, so there’s mistakes in the images. It’s gorgeous, it looks really weird.” Shreds of digital interference and pixelated feedback obscure the artist’s source material beyond recognition, meeting Muqata’a’s sonic disruption with her own audiovisual variant.

“I manipulate the footage in different ways,” continues Baumgartner. “The newer ones are partly the desert satellite images, as well as drone shots and footage ran through an old tube telly and then re-filmed. There’s a lot of procedure in it, it’s a bit like a ’70s special effects workshop, experimenting with analog stuff and seeing what happens.” Fusing a selection of these experiments together in a shifting sequence, the artist found inspiration from the structure of short story collections, specifically Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights. “These short little moments give you more of a hint to the story than just building the whole thing,” she says. “This works across different projects. You make something, but then the actual work happens in the head of the viewer – what people take from it, how people experience it and how it makes them feel. You make a proposition, throw something on the table, and then people take away from it what they want, or what they don’t want. It’s a way of talking to each other.” In this way, Baumgartner enacts an dialogue between two complementary art practices, the politicized patchwork of Muqata’a’s samples and loops drawing out the painterly energies of Baumgartner’s DIY visuals as the artist translates the producer’s aesthetics of disruption into evocative visual forms.

‘Quboor Mamila قُبور مَاميلا’ is taken from Kamil Manqus كَامِل مَنْقوص, which is out now on Hundebiss. You can follow Muqata’a on Instagram and visit his website.

For more information about Theresa Baumgartner and her work, you can visit her website and follow her on Instagram.

Watch next: Theresa Baumgartner Presents – Seaphony

Theresa Baumgartner Presents: Seaphony

Theresa Baumgartner and field recordist Chris Watson submerge us in the sounds of oceanic noise pollution.

For Seaphony, artist Theresa Baumgartner reunites with David Attenborough field recordist, sound designer and Cabaret Voltaire founder Chris Watson to create an immersive, audiovisual representation of the alien soundscapes of the ocean floor. “Chris was approached by Oceans 21, an NGO trying to raise awareness about noise pollution in the oceans, which is a huge problem that kills sea creatures,” explains Baumgartner. “Ship traffic, oil drilling, military radar are all really stressful for the animals because after about 100 meters down into the ocean there’s complete darkness, hearing is the main form of communication.” During an expedition to record blue whales in the Sea of Cortez in Baja, California, Watson and fellow field recorder Tony Myatt captured a stunning collection of recordings of not only marine life, but the rupture of these natural environments by human hands. Describing earth’s oceans as “the largest and most sonorous habitat on our planet,” Watson stitches together the recordings captured with Myatt into an hour-long audio piece, simulating the sounds of the deep.

This composition will form the sonic backbone of Seaphony, an installation that will feature three-dimensional ambisonics, courtesy of Tony Myatt, as well as lighting and sculpture from Baumgartner. “The visual effects that we see in the teaser is just a zoom-in on custom light fixtures that I built, which are four-meter-high columns with an LED core,” she describes. “They create this really beautiful, ice melting, glacier effect. I’ll have eight of them in the room and then the whole room will be covered with mirror foil. I wanted to try and disturb the sense of space as much as possible by having a mirror floor, you don’t really know when the room ends and where it starts. The dimensions create this ocean vastness.” Condensed into a single channel, Seaphony takes on a painterly aspect, translating the light, shade and colour of the ocean viewed underwater into a gently warping picture that gestures as much towards Watson and Myatt’s field work as it does Baumgartner’s own background in painting.

In both iterations, Seaphony serves as both an aesthetic experience and a sobering warning of the ill health of the earth’s oceans, or as Baumgartner describes it, “one more thing to add to the list of the many ways in which the planet is dying.” Oceans 21 funds a number of commissions and projects that raise awareness of how industrialization and the incomprehensible scale of the planet’s supply chains are affecting the oceans. “Sound travels very differently and for a long time underwater,” continues Baumgartner. “It stresses oceanic life out and they get disoriented. It’s one of the major reasons why schools of dolphins end up on shores, they get into the wrong stream and then they lose track and they all die.” Though troubling in it’s own right, it isn’t so much the complex relationship between man and nature that insenses the artist, but rather ignorance and complacency.

“This is something that is quite easily fixed,” she emphasises. “You can build noise barrier walls that would make the ocean way quieter. You could put noise fences around oil platforms or have seaways where there are a lot of fish and sea mammal populations. There are ways to fix it that wouldn’t be so hard to attain.” Plunging her audience into an audiovisual representation of these conditions is a natural extension of Baumgartner’s democratic approach to her art practice. As opposed to keeping her meaning and message concealed by concept and aesthetic, Baumgartner, Watson and Myatt allow us to experience the issue instinctually, providing us with the space to be submerged in sound.

For more information about the project and Oceans 21, visit their website. For more information about Chris Watson and his work, visit his website.

For more information about Theresa Baumgartner and her work, you can visit her website and follow her on Instagram.

Watch next: Theresa Baumgartner Presents – Vandals (Excerpt)

Theresa Baumgartner Presents: Vandals (Excerpt)

Theresa Baumgartner presents an excerpt from I do not wish to be known as a Vandal, a collaboration with Grammy-award winning musician Sam Slater.

I do not wish to be known as a Vandal is a 40-minute, audiovisual installation work from musician Sam Slater, performer Lukas Malkowski and this month’s Fact Resident, artist Theresa Baumgartner. Spanning 40 minutes in length in its original iteration, above Baumgartner presents Vandals, a short excerpt of the stunning film that functions as a moving image metaphor for failure, pain and resolve in the face of both. Captured in ultra slow motion with four high speed cameras, the work follows Malkowski, standing naked, falling on his face before picking himself up and returning to his original position. “It’s about defeat and failure, like seeing a car crash in slow motion, watching someone falling, watching the point of no return and then hurting themselves by falling on their face,” explains Baumgartner. “But it’s also watching the rebuild process, returning to point zero again, very slowly.” Slowed to a barely perceptible crawl, through a process of A.I.-enabled upscaling each frame of the film takes on the quality of a Caravaggio oil painting, each second of chiaroscuro amplified in a moving portrait.

“It has this tragi-comedy, Buster Keaton quality, or like one of Samuel Beckett’s characters,” says Baumgartner of Vandals. “It’s absurd and it’s painful, but it’s also essential. Failure is essential in terms of your own practice, you have to be okay with really fucking up.” Originally paired with the new album of the same name from Sam Slater, who collaborated with Hildur Guðnadóttir on her Grammy-winning soundtrack for Chernobyl and her Oscar-winning score for Joker and was the sound designer for the late Jóhan Jóhansson, the excerpt presented above is set against an original composition from Slater. “It is the soundtrack to falling uncontrollably in ultra slow motion; an event happening too fast to control, displayed as a barely moving image,” describes the artist. “It is a simple visual image which speaks to moments of personal and social collapse and recovery, and the repetition of this arc. The music traces this form, ending where it starts, creating a simple audiovisual cycle – in which all things break and something is made from the mess.”

“We thought about the nudity as portraying some level of vulnerability, but also as a question: who do you not want to see fail? Who will be okay with falling on their face?” posits Baumgartner. “To a degree it’s just a body, but those things are choices and are there for a particular reason. In my view the piece is not super sexualized, it’s a naked body. It depends on your cultural background and your own attitude towards nudity, but for me it’s whatever.” At once confrontational and meditative, in Vandals Malkowski’s naked form is transfigured through Baumgartner’s lens and under her lights. In another subversion of the male gaze that calls back to her collaboration with Abyss X, the male form is rendered the subject of our gaze, yet documented in painstaking and slow detail that is almost dehumanising, transformed into illuminated flesh, both the subject and raw material with which Baumgartner paints her digital picture. “People react in very different ways to the portrayal of nudity in that context, some sort of sexualization is quite quickly assumed,” she reflects. “That’s not what it’s about. It’s about being vulnerable and falling on your face. There’s nothing sexy about someone smacking their face.”

In this sense, Vandals is representative of Baumgartner’s ability to work across different techniques and varying scales, from the largest and most complex to the smallest and simplest. “I like when things are quite minimal,” she says. “It’s one statement. It’s one gesture and it’s quite easily understood, but then by stretching it out for that long and making it 40 minutes, there’s a lot of story in a lot of nothing.” As an installation, both angles of I do not wish to be known as a Vandal will be reflected on each side of a freestanding screen, allowing the audience to move around the depiction of the fall at their own pace, lending real-time movement to the ultra slow scene. What ever sorts of personal or communal failure the viewer maps onto the piece, ultimately what it depicts is a bleak sort of optimism.

Though we are invited to witness every second of pain spreading over every inch of Malkowski’s skin as he falls, as well as every excruciating minute it takes from him to pick himself up, the film always returns to the start of the cycle. This kind of repetition could be understood as Sisyphean, but another view is that the stretched out duration of the footage presents us with a seemingly endless number of opportunities to intervene, to recognise the cyclical nature of failure and progression in our own lives. “It’s challenging in its own way,” concludes Baumgartner.

I do not wish to be known as a Vandal will be presented for the first time in early 2022. For more information about Sam Slater and his music, you can visit his website and follow him on Instagram. You can follow Lukas Malkowski on Instagram.

For more information about Theresa Baumgartner and her work you can visit her website and follow her on Instagram.

Vandals Credits:

Director – Theresa Baumgartner
Music – Sam Slater
Dance Performance and Choreography – Luka Malkowski
High-Speed DOP – Christian Klimke
Filmed at Tectum, Berlin

Watch next: Theresa Baumgartner Presents – Abyss X – Animosity (SOPHIE Remix)

Theresa Baumgartner Presents: Abyss X – Animosity (SOPHIE Remix)

Theresa Baumgartner injects DIY energy into audiovisual art and performance.

In recent years Theresa Baumgartner has emerged at the forefront of a new generation of artists blurring the lines between installation art, audiovisual performance and experimental film. Working in collaboration with fellow Fact Resident MFO she has created immersive set design for Jlin, performed live with Juliana Huxtable and Ziúr as part of their live audiovisual poem OFF LICENSE and perhaps most notably, transformed Oscar-winning composer Hildur Guðnadóttir’s Grammy-winning score for Chernobyl into a site-specific, multi-channel performance alongside Guðnadóttir, Sam Slater, field recordist Chris Watson and Francesco Donadello. Yet, despite the dizzying scale and intricate technicality of Baumgartner’s projects, the artist’s interests do not lie in any one discipline or technology but in collaboration, instinct and emotional exchange. More often than not, Baumgartner tunes into her best ideas by listening to her gut. “It’s about creating some sort of feeling that lives with the music,” she explains. “I’m more interested in the emotional part in anything. At the end of the day I’d rather have people reaching back into themselves, being overwhelmed or just able to forget about themselves.”

These will be familiar experiences for anyone who has witnessed the artist’s work in the flesh. More than simply immersive, her work encompasses installation, live performance and theatre, crackling with the synapse-singeing energy of a DIY noise show, or squat rave. Indeed, it was Baumgartner’s formative experiences in punk and noise music scenes that ultimately inspired the artist’s transition from fine art to installation work and AV performance. Studying painting in Berlin, she quickly became disenfranchised with the legacy art world she found herself in orbit of. “It felt a bit weird to come from a working class background and a leftist punk scene, where I was always around noise and the oddities of the music world, to then being basically trained up to create luxury products for people who are already wealthy,” she says. “It just didn’t make sense to me. I started to be really not okay with it, I didn’t want to be in that world anymore.”

Spending more and more time attending and documenting shows across Berlin, Baumgartner began to conceive of a way to transfer her painterly sensibilities into a more democratic space. “I started thinking of the screen as basically like a painting, but just with the added factor of time,” she explains. “I was interested in creating worlds and environments that tell a story.” Distancing herself from the aspects cultural and economic inaccessibility of museum and gallery spaces, the artist set out to create experiences designed to be enjoyed communally, work in service of “creating some sort of feeling that lives with the music.” Though Baumgartner is careful to highlight a completely new set of obstacles inherent within the experience economy of the audiovisual art space, including prohibitively expensive tickets, door policies, funding body politics and mystery money arts patrons, it was in the comparatively democratic space of the live performance that the artist was able to access a more liberating, collaborative art practice.

“Surrounding yourself with your friends is influential because you throw ideas around that boil in everyone’s head,” Baumgartner emphasises. “I understand how scenes develop and evolve because you all sit in the same stewing pot.” Contributing to festivals like Berlin Atonal and CTM and heading up lighting design and visuals for Berlin’s pioneering audiovisual space Trauma Bar Und Kino, the artist has been able to move among a wealth of world class talent, drawing inspiration from a plethora of artists and collectives. It was in this way that Baumgartner’s collaboration with Hellenic experimental taste-maker Evangelia Lachianina, otherwise known as Abyss X, developed. “I started talking to Evangelia about this idea for a 360-degree camera and a light installation that I’ve been wanting to play with for a long time,” she explains. “I wanted to have something that was high energy and doesn’t really give a fuck, to let out some steam and make it weird.” Transposing 360-degree footage into a single channel, Baumgartner captures Abyss X at her most distorted, seemingly trapped in an illuminated chamber, moving in a ritualistic fervour to the sounds of SOPHIE’s shape-shifting remix of her own track ‘Animosity’.

“Evangelia is a dancer and acrobat and does this crazy stuff on a pole in her live show,” continues Baumgartner. “It’s kind of sexy and feminine and the lights lend this strip club vibe, but then it gets really fucked up because of the distortion. I like the contrast with the hyper feminine, this super sexy, super strong woman.” Made in collaboration with BFF (Best Films Forever), a production company co-founded by Baumgartner to support femme, femme-identifying, non-cis, non-straight people to find a foothold in the video production and tech world, the collaboration sheds stark light on the lack of diversity that still exists in audiovisual art spaces. “There’s a crazy lack!” the artist exclaims. “Everywhere I roll up I’m always surrounded by the same people, who are mostly straight guys trying to tell me about my job and that I suck.” Embodying the abject and the libidinal simultaneously, Abyss X’s fishnets and lipstick are stretched and deformed by Baumgartner’s digital manipulation, subverting the processing of the digital image from a tool of commercial production and social media platform primacy to something altogether more confrontational.

“I’m fucking with the male gaze,” says Baumgartner. “There are clear symbols that this is supposed to be attractive, but then I’m morphing her body, morphing her features.” It’s here that the artist’s DIY influences are most apparent. Everything from the visceral performance of Abyss X, the sparse lighting and smoke to the asymmetry of Baumgartner’s frame, her disregard for convention and perfection, imbue the piece with subterranean potency, like you’ve just stumbled across two friends testing their artistic limits in a cramped Berlin basement. “I’m okay with things looking rough, or disorganized and turning that into a statement,” she says. “With stage design especially, often everything’s symmetrical and super slick. I’m okay with it really not being that way, to a degree where I’m really going the other way.” Encouraging each other to push their respective practices further, Theresa Baumgartner builds a world for Abyss X to inhabit, imperfectly and unashamedly.

This kind of world building stems from broader world view that was shared in part by their third, sadly absent collaborator. “The collaboration is basically a tribute to SOPHIE,” explains Baumgartner. “Her production works really well on a technical level, it’s artificial and highly produced, so blending it with the 360 technology fucks that up again. It’s out there, technologically, but then it breaks it, and that is also what SOPHIE did with her music.” Through both sound and image, SOPHIE demonstrated that it was possible to find a pureness of expression and an emotional truth in the most artificial, technologically-mediated places. Through digital distortion and physical theatrics, Theresa Baumgartner and Abyss X pick up this thread, injecting DIY energy into audiovisual art and performance.

You can find ‘Animosity’ (SOPHIE Remix) on Bandcamp. For more information about Abyss X you can follow her on Instagram. For more information about Theresa Baumgartner and her work, follow her on Instagram and visit her website.

Watch next: LUX – Julianknxx – Black Corporeal (Breathe)

Fact Mix 837: Gracie T

A dip into the sounds of the South Asian underground from Daytimers member Gracie T.

Gracie T is a Sheffield-based DJ and member of Daytimers, a collective of selectors and producers of South Asian heritage whose aim is to showcase the talents of their community on their own terms. Since launching in late 2020, Daytimers has quickly become a vital force in the UK scene, self-releasing several compilations of South Asian club sounds and establishing itself with nights at clubs such as London’s Fabric and Manchester’s SOUP.

As Gracie T explains in a recent interview, the invitation to join Daytimers came at a time when she was looking to connect with her culture through music. “Because I’m mixed race, my dad only has a few family members in the UK. I grew up in a really small town in the North East, and I never really had that deep connection to my culture in the first place. We were the only brown family in the village, so I never really grew up around a community.”

“Meeting up with Daytimers and playing their shows and listening to all the amazing music that people make within the collective has been a way for me to discover my own identity in a way that I maybe didn’t really understand before. I’ve been trying to connect my brownness with my love for music that I’ve been doing since I was a kid.”

2021 has been a breakthrough year for Gracie T. As well as a memorable B2B Boiler Room appearance with Chandé back in August, the DJ is one of this year’s residents at Sheffield’s Hope Works. Together with Kitsta and Shannon From Admin, she also runs The Beatriarchy, a platform that aims to provide a safe space for underrepresented artists to share and discuss music.

Gracie T’s Fact Mix combines tracks from fellow Daytimers artists and South Asian producers from across the globe, as well as music from kindred spirits such as RP Boo, LCY and Anz. “This mix dips its toes into the Asian Underground revival, championing underrepresented artists, with dubs and new releases from the hottest talent from Bristol’s Grove to Brooklyn’s Ayesha,” Gracie T says. “Experience a journey through more genres than you can count, carefully selected and blended.”

Follow Gracie T on Instagram and SoundCloud. You can also find Daytimers on Instagram, SoundCloud and Bandcamp.

Tracklist:

Alka Yagnik & Ila Arun – ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ (MadStarBase Remix)
MAIELI – ‘It’s Over Bae’ (Florentino Remix)
RYKT – ‘Thousands’ (DJ Tool)
M.I.A – ‘Swords’
TSVI – ‘Jinn’
Grove – ‘SKIN2SKIN’
Ayesha – ‘Ancestral Roller’
Poirier ft. Warrior Queen – ‘Bang Bang’
Lava Dome – ‘Rhyolite’ (Architect Remix)
kLAP – ‘SOW’
Ape Drums ft. Vybz Kartel – ‘Worl’ Boss’
Desi Sub Culture – ‘Con Man’
Rishi Romero – ‘Bateria’ (Rishi Moombahton Mix)
Daddy Yankee – ‘Gasolina’ (Darama Dub)
Rishi Rich ft. Jay Sean & Juggy D – ‘Push It Up’ [Bhangraton Remix)
Scratchclart X Tribal Brothers & DJ Polo – ‘Pear Drops’
Daytimers – ‘Jatti’ (4×4 Refix)
Ahadadream – ‘Dhol’
4B ft. Bunji Garlin – ‘Carnival’
LCY – ‘Hackney Pigeon’
Kitsta – ‘Wait Up’
Yourboykiran, Chandé & Provhat – ‘Pani Puri Parrots’
Dismantle – ‘Spun’
Diessa – ‘Toumba Remix’
Casement – ‘TERENAINA’
King Monday – ‘Choco Dub’
QWIRK – ‘Shotta’ (Desi Vocal Dub)
Ayesha – ‘Varanasi’
Darama – ‘Blue Frog’
Captain Fuse – ‘Where My Desi Ar (Haath Upar)’
Rude Kid – ‘Brain Freeze’
Phatworld – ‘Sheffield Sound’
Zha – ‘Spice’
Skepta – ‘Asian Girl’ (King Monday Flip)
MadStarBase – ‘Sukhbir’
DJ Pantha – ‘Candy Shop’
Anz – ‘Last Before Lights’
Martin Solveig – ‘Hello’
Yourboykiran – ‘Futurism’
Krithi – ‘Respite’
RP Boo – ‘The King’
Kwengface – ‘Tour De Opp Block’ (Sterlo Flip)
GoodMostlyBad – ‘ID’
Iyer – ‘Men Not Too Shy’ (Cartel Madras Edit)
Team GB & Scartip – ‘Release the Pressure’
Jayhaan – ‘Vat Lavli (Malhari)’ (Desi Jersey Club Remix)
Iyer – ‘Joy & Suffering’
Panjabi MC – ‘Mundian To Bach Ke’ (Yourboykiran’s No Lightbulbs Just Fingerguns Remix)
Slinki – ‘Clash Me’
Tee – ‘Blackburn Belligerent’
Dulha – ‘Ex-Fusion’
DJ Soyboi – ‘91160’
Sente – ‘Coupe (Let It Drop)’ [Diessa’s 160 Graceline Refix]
Bastiengoat – ‘Meant To Be’
Samurai Breaks – ‘Non Stop Body Shop’
Alex Gaudino – ‘Destination Calabria’ (Iyer Rework)
Itoa – ‘Top Deck VIP’
Daytimers – ‘Tere Dar Par Sanam’ (King Monday’s Crying in the Club Refix)
Somatic – ‘Fighting Fear’
Daytimers – ‘Suraj Hua Maddham’ (Provhat’s Anti Chill Pill Mix)
Yazzus – ‘All Your Love (Ode 2 Hudmo)’

Listen next: Fact Mix 836: Sockethead

Mitrilo dream of sci-fi apocalypse in Break-Cycle

AV art collective Mitrilo present 12 stunning CGI vignettes based on astrological interpretations of dreams.

Mitrilo describe themselves as a “decentralized artistic research collective”, focused on live performance visuals, music and audiovisual arts. Comprised of some of the most skilled and visionary artists of the emerging AV art space, including Sevi Iko Dømochevsky, Razorade, Darío Alva, Daniel Benza, Diego Navarro, Otro, Noha Manfredi, Valeria Baret, Cesar Rodrez, Marco Henri and Miguel Ballarin, collectively Mitrilo count Arca, Holly Herndon, 100 gecs, Grimes, Lady Gaga, Ashnikko and Post Malone among their clients and collaborators. “Mitrilo was born out of the necessity of giving a voice to all of our scattered artistic outlets,” the collective explains, “trying to get them together under the same umbrella to funnel all of our efforts towards something more community oriented, and see how much ground could we cover with all of our skills combined.” Their first project as a collective is Break-Cycle, originally commissioned by Mira Festival to be presented as a panoramic, 360-degree projection at IDEAL in Barcelona, which combines 12 stunning CGI vignettes based on astrological interpretations of dreams.

“It was produced in under a month with very little resources and in a very open manner, following a set of basic structure and guidelines,” the collective continues. “We used astrology as our means to extract symbology from a bunch of dreams we had noted down and produced 12 little short movies trying to give an emotional and narrative context to these abstract and universal matters. We never saw the piece together until the premiere day.” Moving through 12 intricately crafted environments to the beat of a surreal, non-linear dream logic, Break-Cycle traces an abstract narrative of regeneration, repetition and reification. “Even in the need of some new course it was possible to form light out of old flesh,” announces the film’s narrator at the beginning of an expansive passage of gnomic verse that serves as the work’s spine, linking each of the scenes with dense, obfuscating storytelling. This is set against an evocative score of science fiction sound design from Grotto Studio, amplifying both word and image with textured, world-building sound design.

Swirling between cosmic storms of the ruins of lost civilisations, sparse wastelands populated with abandoned television screens and demonic dogs, ceremonial ruins that lead a giant golem towards a glowing portal, abandoned train stations, haunted houses, a Lovecraftian cityscape presided over by decaying dragons, a dystopian apartment block, spatio-temporal voids filled with unrecognisable biomechanical apparatus, undulating Eldritch forms, alien altars, a winking server farm housed in a dark cathedral and, finally, a floating steampunk temple glinting in the crepuscular rays of twilight, Break-Cycle seems to revolve around just a few of many possible worlds. Each scene represents, in 12 different ways, an escape, a break from the story cycles they represent, each a new ending, a way out.

For more information about Mitrilo and their work you can follow them on Instagram.

Break-Cycle Credits:

Directed by @sevi_iko_domochevsky
Produced by @mitrilo.st
CGI – @razorade @daniel.benza @sevi_iko_domochevsky @lei.1.6 @rvdimir @cavecanems @hohl0h
Music/SFX – @diegovnavarro @marco.henri.000@seraaan @oottrroo
Voiceover – @dyboski
Vocal processing/Mixing – @marco.henri.000 @juryofficial
Script – @Nohamanfredi @seraaan @riusforza
Production – @rnrzrb_

Watch next: LUX: Julianknxx – Black Corporeal (Breathe)

LUX: Julianknxx – Black Corporeal (Breathe)

Julianknxx reflects on the themes of Black Corporeal (Breathe) and places it within the context of his upbringing in Sierra Leone and Krio identity.

Interdisciplinary poet, visual artist and filmmaker Julianknxx creates evocative work that combines the written word with imagery and performance. Born in Sierra Leone and now based in London, Julianknxx’s practice drwas inspiration from the stories and languages of his birth place while exploring themes of inheritance, loss, belonging and the collective Black experience.

In Julianknxx’s work Black Corporeal (Breathe) – commissioned by 180 Studios and showing now at LUX: New Wave of Contemporary Art – the artist examines the relationship between materiality and the Black psyche. It explores the idea that our ability to breathe – an act that is challenged by everything from air pollution, stress, anxiety and societal prejudice – is more than our lung’s ability to take in air, but a reflection of the way we live individually and together.

Black Corporeal engages with both the physical and metaphysical aspects of breathing and asks if we can reposition ourselves through the extrinsic, the creation of Black structures and realities that allow us to breathe, freely. The work challenges us to see the simple act of breathing as one of meditation and release, a physical act that is both personal and political, reflexive and intentional.

In this film, Julianknxx reflects on the themes of Black Corporeal (Breathe) and places it within the context of his upbringing in Sierra Leone and Krio identity. “This idea that you’re home but you’re not home, it’s been a constant thing that keeps coming back,” he says.

LUX: New Wave of Contemporary Art is open until December 18 at London’s 180 Studios, 180 The Strand. For opening times and tickets visit 180 The Strand’s website. You can also buy In Praise of Still Boys, the 12″ accompaniment to Julianknxx’s 2020 film of the same name at The Vinyl Factory shop.

Watch next: LUX: Hito Steyerl – This is the Future

Fact Mix 836: Sockethead

Sockethead stitches together a smoked-out selection of his own productions in a loose sonic narrative.

Central to the contemporary explosion of unbridled creative energy currently reverberating around Manchester’s electronic and experimental music scenes is artist and lecturer Richard Harris. Working across painting, collage and sound with the same expansive approach, his Sockethead project sees him folding found internet media, live instrumentation, field recordings, as well as both analogue and digital technologies, into his source material, sculpting a loose, exploratory sound that draws as much from outsider folk and DIY noise as it does from Detroit techno and DJ Screw. From sparking up against FUMU and Turinn as part of the Return To Zero collective to drifting in and out of the ever mysterious Michael J. Blood’s cult tape series, Harris’s ragged production techniques and somnambulist vocals are threaded through this new Manchester sound, breaking out into idiosyncratic, mutant forms on his singular debut album, Harj-o-Marj. Released during the pandemic but recorded back in 2018 alone in a caravan on the west coast of Scotland as part of an artist residency, the album stares bravely into the void of the psychological torment and self-sourced melancholy of isolation, wrenching back a well-worn set of makeshift tools for navigating the headfuck anxiety of lockdown.

Tracing a similar vein for his Fact mix, Sockethead stitches together a smoked-out selection of his own productions. “This mix is a journey into my practice of storytelling through sound,” explains Harris. “I have included examples of film scores that have been made in response to moving image, experiments in synthesis and wandering spaces. Performing live has influenced the sonics of this piece for Fact, harnessing chaos and moving constantly. It’s a letter home, to myself, and to my angels.” At once formal and iconoclastic, these cut up compositions demonstrate a reverence for foundational US and UK dance styles while always turning towards the rougher and weirder enclaves of club sonics, flitting between surging drum machine rituals and yearning, wasted soul, stretching skeletal dembows into peals of feedback squall and contorting the exhumed remains of grime instrumentals and screwed hip-hop into twisted, ouroboros sound design. But it’s in Harris’s lyrics that we might pick out his fractured narrative, which returns to themes of isolation and oblivion explored on his debut, shot through with situationist anguish and urban existentialism.

“It’s cold in the city when you’re on your own,” he intones. “It’s cold in the city when you’re loved ones are gone. It’s cold in the city when the night turns black. It’s the neon lights that kinda save me from that.” Blurred vignettes and snatches of dialogue gesture towards Beckettian cycles of surreal frustration and entropy ( “You didn’t need to do that / Why did you do that?”), pitch-shifted mantras suggest a creeping religious weight (“all good souls”) while Harris’s own crackled croon hints at sacrifice and desire (“love comes with its prices”). Ultimately Sockethead seems to exist in a liminal space between the quotidien drudgery of tough, neglected environments and moments of fleeting, narcotic transcendence, playing the songs of the in-between: “It’s cold in the city when you’re awake at night. It’s cold in the city if you keep getting high. It’s cold in the city when you want to escape. I tried it many times but the fear doesn’t shake. But instead I’m here flossing my teeth away.”

For more information about Sockethead and his work you can follow him on Instagram. Sockethead appears alongside Michael J Blood and Rat Heart on True: Volume 1, out now on BodyTronixxx.

Tracklist:

‘Improvisation_1’ (Score from a collaborative film with Joe Whitmore) 
‘Well Of Gratitude’ 
‘Practicing Karate On Swans’ 
‘Good’
‘Fear Of Failure’
‘We Keep Moving’ 
‘Humanising Machines’ 
‘My Teef Hurt’ [Feat. Baby Teef]
‘Yup’
‘Cold In The City’ 
‘The White Hotel’ 
‘Priorities’ (Sample provided by Arli) 
‘Yeah, The Healing Powers’ (Sample provided by Metal Preyers) 
‘I Wish I Knew How To Get Rid Of This’ 
’21’ 
‘Lost Boy’ [Feat. Baby Teef] 
‘Socket’ 
‘3 Times A Week’ 
‘A Knife Is A Silent Weapon’ [Feat. Cloudboi] 
‘Letter Home’ 
‘Drum Track’ 
‘Next to You’

Listen next: Fact Mix 835 – Disco Ma Non Troppo

L I M embarks on a journey of self-discovery in ‘BUBU’

Milan-based artist L I M and Italian director Giada Bossi tell a “coming of age” story about body and identity.

In the video for L I M’s ‘BUBU’, directed by Giada Bossi, the protagonist levitates from the bedroom to the club in a surreal narrative. The song’s house beat initially mimics a muffled heartbeat before the stillness erupts into a joyous club track just as the scene shifts to the dancefloor. The video ends back in the bedroom after an explosive psychedelic sequence that leaves the viewer wondering whether what transpired was dream or reality.

‘BUBU’ is taken from Milan-based L I M’s debut album GLOWING, which tells the artist’s personal story of self-discovery, and was written after a long period of “work, healing and transformation”.

The album was written alongside L I M’s longtime friend and collaborator Stefano Riva. “We worked for two years and a half about this glittering revelation, we choose to unfold the journey of discovery, my identity and the collective experience linked to it,” L I M writes.

“I decided to fully embracing my identity and body and to everyone who can relate to this process I send you all my unconditionally love and support.” 

The video was directed by Giada Bossi, an Italian director whose approach combines storytelling with an aesthetic approach to documentary and narrative. “It is an ode to transformation, a current “coming of age” story about self-discovery and embracement, about body and identity, talking about L I M and many others going through the same path,” Giada Bossi says of the video’s concept.

“Dreams and reality merge, in a journey that has to face others: it is just through the support of people around, that the protagonist dives into himself to embrace his essence.”

GLOWING is released on February 18, 2022 on La Tempesta Dischi. Follow L I M on Instagram and find his music at Spotify. Find Giada Bossi at Instagram.

Credits:

Director: Giada Bossi
Executive producer BWGTBLD GmbH: Philipp Ramhofer
Executive producer Borotalco.tv: Matteo Stefani
Cinematographer: Francesca Pavoniv
Line Producer: Giuditta Mauri
Production Manager: Tommaso Spagnoli
1AD: Viola Folador
Production Coordinator: Matilde Brockhaus
Assistant producer: Ilaria Fondaci
Production Assistant: Leonardo Pavesi
Casting Director: Greta Brunelli
Styling: Aurora Zaltieri
Stylist Assistant: Federica Furfaro
Make Up: Thea Vismara
Hairstylist: Gabriele Marozzi
Set Designer: Carlo Maria Filippelli
Photographer: Anna Adamo
1st AC: Niccolò di Guida
2nd AC: Valentina Chiarello
Data Manager: Matteo Croci
Gaffer Day 1: Alan Zacchetti
Gaffer Day 2: Filippo Ficozzi
Electrician: Gabriel Reyes, Matteo Corti, Filippo Testa
Key Grip: Mohamed Ali
Grip: Fabio Macchi, Giacomo Colombo
Stunt coordinator and stunt performer: Simone Belli
Key safety: Riccardo Cabalisti, Federico Lanzone, Beatrice Tedaldi
Stunt assistant: Cristian Toscano, Lucrezia Mariutto
Visual Art: Martino Pastori
Editor: Filippo Patelli
Colorist: Daniel Pallucca
Location: Spazio36, Tunnel Club
Service: Moviechrome Milano
Camera Car: SkyRent
Transport Equipment: Free Autotrasporti
Driver cast: Arcobaleno Trasporti
Admin: Agnese Incurvati, Annamaria Modica
Protagonist: Ian
Co-Protagonists: Giacomo, Sara Amico, Yuri, Maurilio, Sophie Margot Bercovich
Extras: Alice, Omar Gabriel Delnevo, Silvi, Fra, Andrè Fernandes, Sofia Esposito, Aaron, Federica Giulia
Sacchi, Matteo Paglierani, Marco Tabasco, Annalaura Guastini, Aureliana Bontempo, Francesca Genesi,
Martino Pastori, Giacomo Marchetti, Ludi Mengoni, Albassa
Special Thanks to: Lombardia Film Commission, Andrea Montanelli, Maria Prinzivalli, Daniel Patelli, Cristina
Gaudioso, C3 & friends, DiffRent, Gianluca Colino
Music credits:
Written and composed by L I M prod. by RIVA,
mixed by Stefano Scattolin, mastered by Antonio Baglio.
Label: La Tempesta International

Watch next: Ehua channels the motion of water in ‘Aquamarine’

Ehua channels the motion of water in ‘Aquamarine’

Ehua and Matteo Zamagni explore the paradoxical nature of a liminal shade through intricate costume design and improvised choreography.

Earlier this year London-based, Italian-Ivorian producer Ehua released Aquamarine on Nervous Horizon, an EP inspired by the colours and movements of water. Corralling homemade percussive samples, original vocals and a broad variety of tempos and moods, Ehua explores the depths of her subject matter with a dark and enveloping sound. It makes sense, then, that for the visual for the project’s title track the artist’s sights are set squarely on the bottom of the ocean. Collaborating with director and musician Matteo Zamagni, also known as Seven Orbits, Ehua embarks on an exploration of “the paradoxical nature of the aquamarine colour, it’s presence and invisibility.” Abstract, gauzy close-ups of fabric, skin and pearls give the impression of organic life forms, Ehua’s own movements approximating the ebb and flow of marine life.

“Preparing to shoot this video was a unique experience,” she says. “We turned Matteo Zamagni’s place into a workshop and spent over a month brainstorming, designing and looking up materials to create the outfit and all its imaginary creatures and natural formations. I want to incorporate all my skills in my artistic practice. Dancing is my compass, they way my body reads sound and lets me know I’m onto something good when I’m working on new music.” Drawing inspiration from aquatic lifeforms, Ehua looked to channel the motion of deep sea creatures in her choreography. “To build the vocabulary for the dance improvisation I observed the contrasts between the subtle and almost undetectable movements of corals and the virtual freedom of the jellyfish.”

The result is a hypnotic marriage of instinctual movement, carefully crafted costume and evocative set design, with Ehua and Matteo Zamagni bearing out the cavernous pressure and shadowy sensuality of the track in the most minute detail.

‘Aquamarine’ is out now, on Nervous Horizon. You can find Ehua on Instagram. For more information about Matteo Zamagni and his work you can visit his website and follow Seven Orbits on Instagram.

Watch next: Entangled Others Studio visualise harmony between natural and artificial life in Hybrid Ecosystems

Entangled Others Studio visualise harmony between natural and artificial life in Hybrid Ecosystems

Neural networks trained on the sounds and images of the day-to-day of the world around us generate a constantly shifting, hybrid ecosystem.

Entangled Others Studio was founded to tease out the complex entanglements between the human and the “more-than-human” world. Neural artist Sofia Crespo, generative artists and former architect Feileacan McCormick, sound artist Alejandro Mune and creative researcher Alan Ixba define an entanglement as “a complex state one where no single entity can be said to be separate, or somehow unaffected, by any other present entangled.” In acknowledgment of the continual blurring of physical and virtual space due to the development of more and more complex technological systems, Entangled Others assert that “the rich substrate of the uncanny, eerie spaces between us and the non-human world cannot remain as an aesthetic space, our world cannot bear this self-imposed distance and denial of our inter-twined state of us and other.” Instead, through a communal generative art practice, the studio seeks to encourage and nurture an interconnected world in which the natural and the artificial, the human and the more-than-human exist in dynamic harmony.

Hybrid Ecosystems is an ongoing work that is emblematic of this engagement with everyday entanglement. “The digital and physical world seems at first glance separate, occupying different layers of reality that seem to reluctantly interact, this is further reinforced through the manner in which digital interfaces are designed,” explain the studio. “The reality of our mundane life is that these two layers of reality are in fact tightly interwoven, constantly influencing, interacting, shaping & reshaping, consuming and acting. Our inherited bias towards seeing the man-made, or artificial, as different from the natural world further obscures this reality where digital agents (software & hardware) behave and interact as an ecosystem, also with the natural world.” Aquatic life-forms suggest themselves before rapidly evolving into more complicated variations and blending seamlessly into artificial abstractions, intricate coral formations and deep-sea organisms sharing space with oscillating circuit boards, formless electronics and unrecognizable virtual interfaces.

“By prompting neural models trained on the vast mundane visuality of our world, i.e. with standardised datasets that are considered a benchmark for the status quo of our day-to-day lives, we attempt an exercise of re-imagining,” continue Entangled Others. ” Starting well within the familiar, this exploration of neural-speculative visions of reality attempts to manipulate and distort our mundanity into speculative representations of the digital & physical entanglement: exploring how we can stretch our imagination so as to see a world of harmoniously interacting artificial and natural life as one single, sustainable ecosystem.” Set against the uncanny, discordant tones of Alejandro Mune’s sound design, Hybrid Ecosystems approximates the experience of being submerged, not in the aquatic environs that the work gestures towards, but in the ceaseless currents of an entangled, harmonic environment.

For more information about Entangled Others Studio you can visit the studio website and follow the studio on Instagram. You can also find Sofia Crespo, Feileacan McCormick, Alejandro Mune and Alan Ixba on Instagram.

Watch next: Against The Clock – Stiff Pap

Against The Clock: Stiff Pap

Against The Clock is a series where we give an artist 10 minutes in the studio and see what they come up with.

Stiff Pap are producer Jakinda and MC Ayema Problem, a Johannesburg-based duo whose music combines hip-hop and house influences with South African kwaito and gqom. They describe their sound as “post-kwaito” in a nod to the previous generation of South African club producers, whilst adding their own spin to the genre’s rich legacy to create their own unique hybrid sound.

On this episode of Against The Clock, we visit the duo in Johannesburg, where they make a track in 10 minutes with a simple setup including laptop, Ableton Live, NI Komplete Kontrol MIDI keyboard and APC40 controller, with Ayema Problem layering vocals on top.

As the duo tells Fact, making a beat with time restrictions isn’t something that they’re used to. “The thing about making a beat in that kind of time is that you really get into it and then you wanna keep going,” Jakinda says. “I think that the method we used to record the song was interesting, because we were recording right from the start, which we don’t really do but for the purposes of this I thought it would help us out.”

“We were just in the moment,” says Ayema Problem. “When you get 10 minutes you focus so much on what you’re doing, you block out the outside world, and I feel like we really were in our element.”

Earlier this year, Stiff Pap released TUFF TIME$, an album accompanied by a short film that present a snapshot of life as young Black men in Johannesburg. It was followed by a three-track remix EP, featuring reworks from Nyege Nyege affiliate Menzi, Rose Bonica and Petite Noir.

Follow Stiff Pap on Instagram and SoundCloud, and find more of their music at Bandcamp.

Filmed by Diego Ollivier

Watch next: Against The Clock: Rian Treanor & Mark Fell present Intersymmetric Sequencer 1

Fact Mix 835: Disco Ma Non Troppo

Disco Ma Non Troppo chase lysergic sounds across a dizzying expanse of genres, tempos and moods.

Disco Ma Non Troppo was the name of a series of clandestine, suspiciously well-attended parties that took place in various basements between 2016 and 2018, so-called to reflect the prevailing musical interests of their audience and the night’s four founders: disco, but not too much. Pursuing an omnivorous, communal appetite for the obscure, the lairy, the sexy and the strange, the crew were committed to chasing a mysterious sound across genre, tempo and mood – impossible to describe, but unmistakable once heard. Though the parties have been on a temporary hiatus, nowadays the four-piece channel their shadowy energies into a monthly radio show on 1020.live, a cult YouTube channel and their own sporadic mix series, Deep Bath. For their Fact mix, Disco Ma Non Troppo step out of the shadows only to drag us down into the lysergic, subterranean realm they are compelled to explore.

“The mix is an attempt to marry our current listening habits and the slightly chaotic approach to DJing we employed at the parties we used to run and plan to resurrect soon,” they say. “We’re also available for bookings at children’s birthdays, gender reveal parties, dogs’ funerals, etc. Even though the genres we play are a bit all over the place, there’s a kind of psychedelic spine to the mix that makes it feel coherent to us, despite the breakneck pace changes. We had a lot of fun putting this together (including some friendly head-knocking over track selection) and hope that energy translates into the mix.” Thoroughly breaking open our heads with the cannibal erotica of psychopath murder ballad ‘Bloodsucker’ from 48 Cameras, the esoteric assemblage project of self-proclaimed “non-musician”, poet and social worker Jean-Marie Mathoul, it’s clear that Disco Ma Non Troppo have spent time in some pretty out-there places during the last few years.

Chugging through the skittering concrète of essential electroacoustic composer Ivo Malec, horrorshow hip hop from ’90s illbient legend Spectre, and the vampirically sexy instrumental from Massive Attack and Mos Def’s ‘I Against I’, perhaps the most memorable cut from the Blade II OST, the acid-dipped 2021 update of John T. Gast’s ‘kings x’ (sister_marion_version2021) signals a plunge into even deeper and colder zones. An excerpt from the stunning score to ‘Anti-Clock’, a forgotten British “puzzle picture” from artists Jane Arden and Jack Bond, oozes into the skunk smoke humidity of Shackleton’s ‘Mountains of Ashes’. The post-punk squirm of The Invisible College’s ‘Between Wars’ trips over itself into the pioneering squat rave techno of Jan Duivenvoorden and Curley Schoop.

Reaching terminal velocity with a lethal sequence of depth charge breakbeat from Hamilton Scalpel, vintage, vicious grime from Crazy Titch and the schizophrenic intensity of Georgia’s ‘Walking Around Soho’, Thoom’s vocals break the spell, dragging us out of the k-hole and into the place to which Disco Ma Non Troppo were leading us all along. The third and final section of this variegated trip, which begins with legendary experimenter Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson’s computer-generated choral project The Threshold HouseBoys Choir and ends with the shredded, four chord invective of beleaguered Manchester punks God’s Gift, sees the four selectors letting loose in spectacular fashion, each pouring their respective energies into a thoroughly crooked dance party. Take us back to the basement.

You can find Disco Ma Non Troppo on YouTube, SoundCloud and every month on 1020.live.

Tracklist:

48 Cameras – ‘Bloodsucker’
Ivo Malec – ‘Spot’
The Spacewürm – ‘Spacegerm’
Spectre – ‘Pillars of Smoke (Return to the Temple)’ [Feat. Sensational]
Massive Attack And Mos Def – ‘I Against I’ (Instrumental)
AIR LQD – ‘قتل عربي’
John T. Gast – ‘kings x (sister_marion_version2021)’
T.U.M.S.A. – ‘Nezinu’
Jane Arden and Jack Bond – ‘Mindless ‘(Anti-Clock OST)
Shackleton – ‘Mountains of Ashes’
The Invisible College – ‘Between Wars’
Jan & Curley – ‘Part 2’
Aasthma – ‘Los Angeles’
Hamilton Scalpel – ‘Cadzow Skrak’
Crazy Titch – ‘Icee Mountain Vocal’
Georgia – ‘Walking Around Soho’
Thoom – ‘Kitabi’
The Threshold HouseBoys Choir – ‘So Young It Knows No Maturing’
Ann Southam – ‘Boat, Moon, River (Edit)’
Belan – ‘Belan 1’
Passarani – ‘Reut-Rc’
Toastyboy – ‘Distant Minds’
DJ Abstract – ‘Identity Crisis’
Heuristic Audio – ‘Wisla’
Clan of Xymox – ‘Stranger (Demo)’
Шесть Мёртвых Болгар – ‘10000 / 200 / 20 / 2’
God’s Gift – ‘Discipline’

Listen next: Fact Mix 834 – Skyshaker

Holly Childs, Gediminas Žygus & Mark Prendergast mould themselves to fit their tools in Hand Axe

Artist Mark Prendergast stars as a YouTube unboxer and tech influencer who warps reality around a misshapen ring light.

Back in 2020 writer and artist Holly Childs collaborated with composer and sound artist Gediminas Žygus on a series of works entitled Hydrangea. Culminating in an album for James Ginzburg’s Subtext, Hydrangea explored political conspiracy theories, post-internet theories of history, and both artists’ lifelong experiences with rave culture. Working together with Metahaven, who created artwork and lyric videos for the album, Childs and Žygus attempted to unpack the “use of contemporary and postmodern artistic strategies to design narrative uncertainty,” as well as the ways that political theorists such as Steve Bannon, Aleksandr Dugin and Vladislav Surkov manipulate and weaponise information to design realities for submission and control. Setting gnomic dialogue, read by collaborators Elif ÖzbayMarijn Degenaar and artist Mark Prendergast, against Disney string sections, Ravelian piano impressions and HD sound design inspired by gabber and hardcore, the duo blur the lines between fiction and reality, building a disorienting world in which you’re never quite sure whether you’re listening to post-structuralist theory, a data leak or someone’s desperate attempt to make meaning in a sea of multiplatform noise. For their follow up, Gnarled Roots, a contraction of the title of the original performance of the work, Hydrangea 2: Gnarled Roots of a Creation Theory, Childs and Žygus follow these threads, mapping out an intricate account of 21st Century mythology, taking the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 as its origin story.

The album and performance take this title from the infamous PhD thesis of Australian businessman Craig Wright, a computer scientist and businessman, who in 2016 made the spurious claim that he was, in fact, the creator of bitcoin, the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. This exploration of confused contradiction, the presentation of two possible realities, neither of which seem to have any satisfying consequence, refers back to the original image of the Hydrangea, a plant that blooms either pink or blue depending on the soil it’s grown in, a phenomena which today invokes the deranged spectacle of gender-reveal ceremonies shared on social media. It’s in this space of online artifice and reality-bending that the warped visual for Hand Axe takes place. Created by Mark Prendergast, who also narrates the track and stars in the video, Hand Axe follows a YouTube unboxer and tech influencer making content about a uniquely contemporary artefact – the ring light. “I’m fascinated by the whole YouTube software tutorial / consumer tech review / unboxing content creation phenomena – It seems to be a kind of marker of where large swathes of the western world is at right now, and I’m really interested in the mechanics of it all,” explains Prendergast. “There’s an inherent mania to these kinds of videos, especially the unboxing ones, where the person is trying to keep what is in essence quite a boring activity engaging.”

“The product worship aspect of the whole thing only adds to the mania”, he continues. “In my mind it can all lead to people betraying themselves, at mercy to the strange ‘adsphere’ we all find ourselves in.” The video sees Prendergast receiving delivery of misshapen ring light, yet, rather than disappoint his followers, he warps the world around him and his own form in order to adapt to the defective technology. Drawing inspiration from Michel Gondry’s video for The White Stripes’ ‘Denial Twist’, Prendergast flips the aspect ratio, exposing the mutant properties of the digital image in the process. “When the vertical video format started becoming more prevalent on smart phones and Instagram/TikTok, I always wanted to explore the distortions that happen if you stretch a 16:9 landscape video to 9:16 extreme portrait, as I feel the new formats that arise from the progression of technology can become sites to explore where culture is at,” he says. “When Holly and Gediminas asked me to be in the video, it felt like a perfect opportunity to give space to my inner influencer. The track’s theme of the relationship between human and tool seemed to really be encapsulated in the narrative of an influencer reaching out and turning the camera in order to deform himself around the product he is unboxing. There’s two different versions of the video too, desktop and IGTV. As always, make sure to like and subscribe, and follow @600unboxes for more content.”

“We started making the Gnarled Roots album at a residency in the Lithuanian spa town of Druskininkai in 2018,” explain Childs and Žygus. “It is a small town that used to be a Soviet sanatorium town, that is essentially in a massive, lush and magical forest. We were talking about the history of Lithuanian forests and them as being the containers for underground and illegal activity, such as illegal raves, mafia criminality and guerilla warfare. We were also thinking about forests in general as spaces that can be impenetrable and secret, where some entities are able to navigate the terrain, and others get completely lost – the legibility of the space is a gradient. Druskininkai is on the border with Belarus; and is now also the backdrop of the refugee crisis that is playing out, and that is the subject of an intense informational war that can be seen all through the media.” In Hand Axe, we see Prendergast trying to figure out this new, deformed world he finds himself in, navigating a digitally transfigured topology that only makes sense in relation to the new technology he has introduced into the environment.

“The concept of the track is loosely based around the hypothesis that technological tools and generally design itself, is continuously reshaping the human body,” they continue. “It was originally theorized by architectural and design theorist Mark Wigley. The video Mark has made for Hand Axe works with one of the central tenets we come back to often in our work: “find the false illusion and make it real”. In this video, his character unboxes a ring light, and finds that it’s not as he expected. Instead of questioning the seemingly defective ring light, a tool for casting even light over a portrait subject, he moulds himself to fit this tool, he warps his own dimensions to honor the ring light as a perfect circle. “Human, the species to redesign itself // Making things that don’t work is human.” Committed to manipulating the parameters of reality in service of content, Prendergast pulls the aesthetic potency of Instagram filters and apps like Facetune out of the smartphone and into the physical world, rendering himself a malleable object within his own flattened representation of material reality. In the process of his production, his own image is deemed less important than the capabilities of the technology used to capture said image.

You can find Holly Childs and Gediminas Žygus on Instagram. For more information about Mark Prendergast and his work, follow him on Instagram. Gnarled Roots is out now.

Hand Axe Credits:

Directed by Mark Prendergast 
Music by Holly Childs & Gediminas Žygus
Text by Holly Childs & Gediminas Žygus
Voice by Mark Prendergast

Mark would like to thank Waèl el Allouche, Guus Kaandorp, Ben Smalley and Loulou van Staaveren.

Hand Axe Lyrics:

Some of the resistance stayed deep in the forest
Their space, their rules
And no one would ever fuck with you
Because they can’t find you
Because there are no maps to complex ecosystems
Of places of plants
Maps cease to make sense or have clue

Traversing endless root-lines
Vines cross-crossing pentagrams of foliage
Through thick peat ether and seedy pungent poison fruit
It’s just so vast

Human, the species to redesign itself
Making things that don’t work is human
If you feel the urge to go forwards, look backwards

Odyssey
Stack
Hell

Remote sensing spirits don’t think, they outsource

To smash the world day in, day out
Sunrise it

Watch next:

LUX: Hito Steyerl – This is the Future

A look inside the German artist’s immersive mixed-media installation, which portrays an “optimistic vision of the future”.

German filmmaker and artist Hito Steyerl’s work interrogates the digital world, surveillance capitalism and artistic production. Her work spans essays, such as 2009’s In Defence of the Poor Image, and immersive video installations such as 2015’s Factory of the Sun, which explores the global flow of data in the contemporary digital landscape.

Another key idea in Steyerl’s work is artificial intelligence and its implications for human society. Machine learning is utilised in her 2019 video installation This Is The Future and its accompanying multi-channel installation, Power Plants, both of which are currently showing at LUX: New Wave of Contemporary Art, a new exhibition co-curated by Fact and SUUM Project.

Co-commissioned by 180 Studios and conceived for the 58th Venice Biennale, This is the Future, soundtracked by Kojey Radical and Susumu Yokota, follows a woman who sets out to find a garden that she had to hide in the future in order to protect it. The digital flowers of Power Plants are generated by neural networks that are programmed to predict the future by calculating the next frame in the video.

In this film, Steyerl talks to Fact about the ideas behind This Is The Future and her ideas around the future of machine learning and AI in art and human society. “This Is The Future is an optimistic vision of the future, in that it tries to imagine in future in which there is a lot of plants that have a lot of political characteristics or abilities,” Steyerl tells Fact. “They are able to heal the present, if you like. It is definitely a vision of nature which is more optimistic than the present really allows.”

LUX: New Wave of Contemporary Art is open until December 18 at London’s 180 Studios, 180 The Strand. For opening times and tickets visit 180 The Strand’s website.

Watch next: LUX: Carsten Nicolai – unicolor

Fact Mix 834: Skyshaker

A blistering transmission of chaos and catharsis from the newly founded House of Vemanei Soundsystem.

Skyshaker describes the newly founded House of Vemanei as “an international alliance of chosen families committed to the creation of worlds in which feminine presenting transgender and nonbinary people of color best fit.” Juggling their work as a DJ, composer and filmmaker with their tireless activism as a mainstay of the house and ballroom community in New York, Sky Vemanei spent time with the legendary House of LaBeija and the House of Old Navy, before going on to form the the artist collective House of Vemanei as an incubator for the gender-nonconforming Streamline community. Their Fact mix serves as an inauguration of Vemanei Soundsystem, a blistering, four-deck transmission from a new and vital community. “I was happy to be behind four decks after spending the majority of the pandemic indoors and writing on a laptop,” says Sky. “This mix navigates all the emotions I felt during the pandemic, having lost a friend a day before lockdown, and plotting to leave several toxic circumstances.”

“This mix also chronicles the creation of my house Vemanei, as an extension of my afrofuturist Saved By Air universe. Born out of a confrontation with several leaders in ballroom, my relationship to the subculture evolves ever further as I work to educate and protect my children against the Corporate America that now smells money on them. By the end of the mix, I hope the reckoning was worth it – and the destination is healthier as a result.” What follows is a brutal journey of catharsis and chaos of truly epic scale, in which Skyshaker finds emotional release in the cacophonous, gesturing towards vulnerability and tenderness with a relentless barrage of ballroom, pitch black techno and a lethal array of blends and mashups. Always exhilarating, frequently overwhelming, it’s a virtuosic session in constant dialogue with House of Vemanei’s mission “to transmute our individual pains into collective, purpose-driven tools of reclamation, recovery, affirmation, and self-defense.”

A similar energy radiates from Skyshaker’s latest project, Novox 10, which sees the artist reimagining a selection of tracks from the SVBKVLT back catalog to commemorate a decade of remixes under the Skyshaker alias. “This is a collection of electronic music commemorating a decade of Black voices silenced by anti-Black racism and xenophobia,” they say. “The Black experience remains an inspirational cornerstone of popular music worldwide, yet Black artists with deeper skin color remain doubted, dismissed, and uncompensated. Popular music in Asia is no exception, as fair-skinned Asian artists rise to superstardom and financial prosperity off the backs of Black artistry and Black suffering. Novox 10 emerges in Shanghai as a navigation beyond that contempt into a place of autonomy, authority, and commitment towards the shaping of worlds in which Black people best fit.”

In both their selections and productions, Skyshaker harnesses their singular sound as a raw material with which to forge the House of Vemanei, ensuring constant deference to the queer Black spaces in which this music was born whilst looking forwards to the kinds of spaces it will exist in the future. As they explain: “Born out of the house and ballroom community, Vemanei stands beyond the runway and on the shoulders of transgender women and gender-nonconforming people of deeper skin color. It is their spaces that we aim to create, maintain, and protect. It is their messages we aim to preserve.  Love remains the message.”

Novox 10 is out now on SVBKVLT. You can follow Skyshaker on Instagram.

Tracklist:

Skyshaker [Feat.] ID – ‘ID’
Alice Glass – ‘Stillbirth’
Evanescence – ‘Bring Me To Life (Skyshaker Dusk Edition)’
Health – ‘Body Prison’
SHXT – ‘2016’
Skyshaker x Bulma x Kayla Nicole x Taylor Girls x Flo Milli – ‘Innocently Bundled’
EL MEGA X ZAKMATIC – ‘DAME MI BANDA SINFUL REACTIONS (ZAKMATIC HARD ☠ TRANCE EDIT)’
Gabber Modus Operandi – ‘Dosa Besar’
Linda LaBeija and Skyshaker – ‘Skins (FIXED)’
Loyalty XIX – ‘Synobazz’
Vitamin String Quartet x Uematsu Nobuo – ‘How Deep Is Your Fayth (Skyshaker Fusion)’
Nina Simone – ‘Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Hair’
Teranoid – ‘Teranoid Anthem’
Skyshaker – ‘ID’
B.Yhzz x Polybius – ‘Raptor Gore (Skyshaker Baile Funk Remix)’
Tomas Urquieta x Imaabs x Kali Mutsa x Neana x Chunk – ‘Traga Shalt, Banbra (Skyshaker Fusion)’
Arca x Eva x Massacooraman – ‘Lash Revival Spell (Skyshaker Fusion)’
Tygapaw – ‘The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth’
Tropical Interface – ‘Elements’
Conjure One & Jaren vs. Schossow & Boiler – ‘Icy 2099 (Skyshaker 2011 Fusion)’
Loyalty XIX – ‘Orbita’
‘Give it Up (hands performance version)’
Beek – ‘Higher (Blow Your Smoke)’
Icy Flame x Ce7este x Sasha Manik Emocium – ‘Revelation’
Sky x Keyshia x Ying Yang Twins x Swan Meat x B.YHZZ x MY SWORD – ‘Breakup Spell’
Jikouroux – ‘Ruptured Pulse’
Faze Miyake [Feat. Sasha Go Hard] – ‘Below Me’
David Temessi – ‘You So Strong’
TOLE – ‘Thirst’
33EMYBW – ‘English (Skyshaker Kodeswisha Novox)’
Tzafu – ‘Resurrection’
Bentech – ‘No One Takes Me Down (Svetec Remix)’
Tygapaw – ‘Bag Juice’
I Hate Models – ‘The Night Is Our Kingdom (Skyshaker Shadewalk Edition)’
Osheyack – ‘Parataxon (Skyshaker Remix)’
Manni Dee – ‘The Wolves’
RVDE – ’90s Hammer (Perc Remix)’
4 Strings – ‘Diving (Cosmic Gate Remix)’
Zaliva-D – ‘End of Sky (Skyshaker Fem4Fem Novox)’
Hyph11E – ‘Escapism (Skyshaker and Lenchanter Edition)’
Hyph11E – ‘Escapism (Vemanei Transmission 072720)’

Listen next: Fact Mix 833 – Sha Sha Kimbo

Paul Institute Presents: Ruthven, Live at 180 Studios

Fact invites vocalist, songwriter, producer and proud Paul Institute alumnus Ruthven into 180 Studios for an intimate performance of new songs, ‘123 Days’, ‘Don’t Keep It To Yourself’ and ‘The Window’.

To mark the release of his new single Fact invited Ruthven and his band members into 180 Studios to play some new songs. Directed by Jasper Brown, the performance features an all-new live band, including Ben Reed, who featured on Frank Ocean’s Blonde and Endless, on bass, Avi Barath, who was the musical director for Berwyn & Pa Salieu, on keys, Nicola Sipprell on backing vocals, Calum Duncan on guitar and Ellis Dupuy on drums. At once fragile and swaggering, delicate and steamy, we’re delighted to present this thrilling showcase from a singular artist.

“Music’s kind of been life for me,” admits Ruthven. Growing up around a family of musicians and music lovers, the vocalist, songwriter, producer and proud Paul Institute alumnus would accompany his mother to piano lessons she would teach throughout south London. “I got to know Jazz Piano Grade Three in the ’90s,” he explains, “I know them pieces. They’re just locked in my head.” It’s from this early introduction that Ruthven developed what he considers to be his greatest musical asset, his ear. “I feel like I can hear where the parts are going to go,” he says.

From there he entered the Centre For Young Musicians to play drums, an experience that would solidify the artist’s ambition to become a session musician. The demands of a job in the Fire Brigade, particularly when you’re a new recruit, don’t necessarily lend themselves to outside pursuits, though, and Ruthven switched his focus to work while also spending quality time with his young family.

“I said once the kids get to the age of about five I was gonna give it another ago,” he recalls. This renewed focus found Ruthven learning the basics of production and beatmaking during breaks between callouts on night shifts at the fire station, stashing his recording equipment in a spare locker and subsisting on a steady diet of Prince, Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel. It was right around this time that he heard the instant classic, era-defining ‘B.T.S.T.U.’. “It kind of woke me up,” he says, “and made me realise you could make music in a cultivated way.” When Jai Paul launched the Paul Institute alongside his brother A. K., Ruthven sent in a demo. Recognising him from a song he’d released on his SoundCloud, the Paul brothers caught the artist’s playful vibe and invited him to join the institute.

“Ruthven is a unique guy, with a unique pathway into the industry,” says A. K. Paul. “I’ve seen him come a long way in the past five years working with him for Paul Institute releases. We became friends in the process too – some deep discussions have gone down in the studio! With the production I tried to bring an extra layer of quality and self awareness to what was essentially a deep talent and musicality in his demos. I’m gassed to have been there at the start of his journey!”

“Everything I’ve recorded in these live sessions is going to be my voice,” says Ruthven. “Even if it’s raw, even if it’s brutally honest sometimes, it’s me.” Delivering an electric performance of his new single, ‘Don’t Keep It To Yourself’, as well as two new songs, ‘123 Days’ and ‘The Window’, this is not only a document of the artist’s raw talent but also a glimpse of Ruthven’s new chapter. With the prospect of more live shows and tours on the horizon, it’s clear that what the artist really wants is for people to sing along. “We don’t know how things will go,” he says, “but I hope that I’ve written some stuff that people can really sink their teeth into.”

For more information about Ruthven and his music you can follow him on Instagram and on Spotify. You can also find A. K. Paul on Instagram and SoundCloud. Enrol in the Paul Institute here.

Ruthven, Live at 180 Studios Credits:

Director – Jasper Brown
1st Assistant Director – Ben Kewsick
Director of Photography – Henry Gill
1st AC – Harry Coleman
2nd AC – James Huthwaite
Steadicam Operator – Gary Kent
Camera Operator – Jannick Fjeldsoe
Gaffer – Ryan Anderson
Spark – Brandon Quan
Spark – Emil Nolan
Lighting Assistant – Alex Tarrant
Production Assistant – Becks Brett
Stylist – Yves Alawe
Colourist – Adam Clarke
Vocals – Sean Ruthven Nelson
Keys – Avi Barath
Backing Vocals – Nicola Sipprell
Bass – Ben Reed
Guitar – Calum Duncan
Drums – Ellis Dupuy
Audio Engineer – Danny Thorpe
Audio Engineer – Josette Joseph
Backline Tech – Sam Hair
Commissioner – Aliyah Otchere
Commissioner – Scott Wright

Ruthven & A. K. Paul In Conversation Credits:

Cam Op – Gabriel Monk-Lane
Editor – Patrick Brown
Colourist – Jasper Brown

Watch next: Jack Jelfs traps a robot in Spaghetti Western purgatory in Billy Takes A Break

Jack Jelfs traps a robot in Spaghetti Western purgatory in Billy Takes A Break

Samuel Beckett meets Groundhog Day meets Pinocchio, set against a digital simulacra of the Tabernas Desert in Almería, Spain.

“Young Billy is standing, he is trying to remember. Standing so fine, all painted and shining, with his sailor’s cap. He should watch out for sunburn of course.” So begins Billy Takes A Break, a short from multidisciplinary artist Jack Jelfs that bundles together a miscellany of disparate references, including the infamously dense ideas of Deleuze & Guattari, the equally daunting novels of Samuel Beckett, Harold Ramis’s Groundhog Day and a formative Tarot reading, laying them out in a computer-generated approximation of the Tabernas Desert, located in the Spanish province of Almería. “The desert was used as a stand-in for the American southwest in a bunch of Spaghetti Western cowboy films made in the 60s and 70s, the term “spaghetti” refers to the Italian origin of many of the directors of the films, but most of the actual shooting locations were in Spain,” explains Jelfs. “There are even a few surviving film sets from that era that are now tourist attractions, with names like Fort Bravo and Western Leone. Something about the artificiality and incongruity of these fake towns, dry and dusty monuments to the illusion of cinema in the middle of the Spanish desert, really stuck with me.”

It’s this dichotomy between functional artifice and dysfunctional emptiness that the artist plays with throughout the course of the short. Billy, a gravity-defying contraption seemingly bolted together from rusted sheet metal, bent aerials and a satellite dish that does bear a passing resemblance to nautical headwear, is trapped in spatio-temporal loop by a disembodied narrator preoccupied with trying to define exactly what Billy is, oftentimes with complete disregard for Billy himself. “Billy is rotating,” says the voice, as Billy floats motionless. “Billy is covered in fog,” the voice attempts to claim, as a Spaghetti Western sun beats down on his metal exterior. In this way a tension develops between the narrator and the images we are presented with, as Jelfs zooms out and manipulates the digital topography of the piece, throwing the very parameters of the short into question. “I like works of fiction that knowingly point to the fact that what you’re experiencing is fiction,” he says. “I was thinking about Beckett’s trilogy of novels (Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnameable) in which every character is a fictional creation of another, and all are ultimately trapped in their fictional condition. I’ve always loved the stories of Philip K. Dick too, which are never afraid to pick at the ontological boundaries of their worlds and characters.”

“Also in there somewhere is the story of Pinocchio,” Jack Jelfs continues, “the weird father-son relationship between Geppetto the puppet-maker and Pinocchio, the wooden boy he builds – who seeks an impossible transcendence from the limitations of his material condition.” A strange animosity develops between the narrator and Billy, with the disembodied voice describing “his little puppet head” and “his arms of string”, before sinisterly asserting: “he should watch out, if he knows what’s best.” It was from Jelfs’ dalliances with Tarot readings that the more menacing quality of Billy’s back and forth with the narrator became more developed. “I think the final influence came from doing a few tarot card readings early on in the process of developing the ideas,” the artist recalls. “From the Wheel of Fortune came the idea of being stuck in a Groundhog Day-like loop, the same situation repeating over and over.”

“The other important card was The Devil,” Jelfs explains. “I think that the voice, and maybe the landscape and computer-generated environment itself, are all aspects of some demonic force that keep Billy stuck there.” We bear witness to a kind of ontological torture that the narrator subjects Billy to when we are shown that Billy’s body is indeed hollow. “This house is empty,” asserts the narrator, thrusting functionality upon the negative space within the confines of Billy’s metal borders, before inserting said functionality into Billy-as-entity, “and here’s old Billy, standing so fine, all painted and shining,” before whipping Billy’s function and subjectivity out from under him, leaving him “an old, flattened ghost.” As the tension builds so too does Jack Jelfs’ score, which builds up speed as a galloping cowboy theme, tripping up over itself in rapid loops that glitch and stutter, continually deferring any euphoric release, leaving us trapped in built-up potential alongside poor Billy. “This is hopeless,” the narrator emphasises, “Billy looks sad.”

“From all of this came the figure of Billy,” concludes Jelfs. “A floating signifier (literally floating) and an empty, inanimate body, who’s stuck somewhere between a sci-fi film and a Spaghetti Western, jerked around like a puppet by an invisible agent, and inescapably trapped in both time and space. I’m not sure what he achieves at the end, if it’s death or transcendence or just a break. Whatever it is, it can be undone by just playing the film again.”

For more information about Jack Jelfs you can follow him on Instagram and visit his website.

Watch next: C2C Festival X Fundaciòn Marcelo Burlon Present: Arca & Weirdcore, Live From Ibiza

Maya Shenfeld and Pedro Maia explore ‘still movement’ in ‘Body, Electric’ visual

Shenfeld’s cycling arpeggios are set to a stunning black and white video directed by Maia, created with digital and analogue filming and processing techniques.

Berlin-based composer and sound artist Maya Shenfeld’s music draws from both a classical tradition and experimental electronic techniques, blurring the boundaries between digital synthesis and organic sounds. This contrasting approach is shared with filmmaker Pedro Maia, whose combination of analogue film processing and digital techniques have featured on ‘live cinema’ for artists including Vessel and Shapednoise.

Shenfeld and Maia collaborate for the first time on the video for Shenfeld’s track ‘Body, Electric’, a track that was written during the first Covid lockdown in spring 2020 following a 10-day silent meditation retreat. The track, which appears on her forthcoming Thrill Jockey-released album In Free Fall, is written in a classical sonata form, and combines a soaring romanticism with cycling arpeggios that reflect the physical experiences Shenfeld has had when meditating.

“The introduction came through Matt from Thrill Jockey, and as I discovered Pedro’s work I immediately became a fan and thought it’d be a perfect collaboration for In Free Fall,” Shenfeld says. “I found some parallels in his visual language to my own production process, experimenting with form, time, and especially analogue processing which adds this fine layer of noise and grain – also a key element in the production of the music.

“I love that collaborating with musicians is an integral part of his practice, and the way his work offers an expansion of sound works, making the listening experience, especially in the context of a live show, immersive, inviting the listener to get lost in time and space.”

“In this video we’re responding to some of the concepts Maya explores in In Free Fall, the idea of being on the edge of falling, still movement, three-dimensionality,” Maia says of the video, which features cinematography from Fact’s Pedro S. Küster. “The track has a somewhat romantic flare, a sort of playful reference to the Strum und Drang movement – and the dark forest echoes that. While the contrast, shades, and overexposure are responding to the track’s title: body, electric.

“The main idea was to explore some kind of physical restraint, an idea of movement without moving, a constant panning shot inspired by avatars in video games.” Maia wanted the video to “explore an idea of constant rotation” while being inspired by still photography. Maia used a darkroom technique called solarization, “where the analogue film manipulated in the darkroom while processing creates a partially reversed tone and becomes a game of light and shadows”.

In Free Fall is released on Thrill Jockey on January 28, 2022. Pre-order it from the Thrill Jockey website or Bandcamp.

Find Maya Shenfeld on Instagram and Bandcamp, and follow Pedro Maia on Instagram.

Credits:

‘Body, Electric’ by Maya Shenfeld

Taken from the album “In Free Fall”

With Maya Shenfeld
Directed by Pedro Maia
Cinematography by Pedro S. Küster
Special thank you to Fact

(c) 2021 Maya Shenfeld
(p) 2021 Thrill Jockey Records

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

Fact Mix 833: Sha Sha Kimbo

The LA-based artist takes us on a trip through underground bass, breakbeat and house.

California-born producer and DJ Sha Sha Kimbo’s music is a melting pot of Transatlantic influences. Her formative musical experiences included attending raves in Los Angeles in the ’90s and visiting DMZ in Brixton in 2008, with artists like Mala and Goldie influencing her bass-heavy sound. While Sha Sha Kimbo’s early tracks drew from classic dubstep, in recent years she has returned to her rave roots, combining low-end pressure with the influence of old school house, classic techno and early drum and bass – a sound showcased on her nostalgic debut album Mind Your Head, released last year on her own label, Planet Bliss Records.

Sha Sha Kimbo’s Fact Mix plays out like an entire night’s raving in one hour, hopping between jungle, dub and abstract bass experiments from producers including Kessler, aircode, Ehua and The Bug, via acid breakbeat from Fiesta Soundsystem and rolling techno from Norman Nodge, Michael Burkat and Doctor Jeep. The mix encapsulates the cathartic spirit of her latest EP, Total Chaos, released earlier this year on John Frusciante and Aura T-09’s Evar Records.

“On the heels of Total Chaos, I headed to Northern California to hide out from the pandemic, focus on self care and begin my next project,” Sha Sha Kimbo says. “Nestled deep in the Humboldt County redwoods, I recorded this mix staring at the never ending raindrops and dreaming of the club. Surrendering to the energy of my environment, I wanted to celebrate the different underground energies of techno, house, breaks and more with some of my favorite heaters.”

Follow Sha Sha Kimbo on Instagram and find her music at Bandcamp.

Tracklist:

Kessler – ‘Up The Lagan In A Bubble’
aircode – ‘Eye Roll’
Ehua – ‘3 Silica’
The Bug, Logan_olm – ‘Fuck Off’ (feat. Logan_olm)
Ryndin – ‘LFCSHD’ 
Star Eyes – ‘Brooklyn Pumps’
Trip Factor – ‘Praise Be 2 303’ 
Kessler – ‘Ard Crew’
AK Sports – ‘5AM No Hot Water’
Coco Bryce – ‘Luv Ain EZ’ (LMajor Remix)
Fiesta Soundsystem – ‘Acid Tool’ 
Ayesha (US) – ‘Ecstatic Descent’ 
Marco Parodi – ‘Ritualism’ 
Kamran – ‘Tombak Track’ 
JSPRV35 – ‘Pfand Warrior’ (SYEP003)
Skream – ‘Chesters Groove’ (Norman Nodge Yang Remix)
Michael Burkat – ‘100 Years’ 
Doctor Jeep – ‘Reflexing’
Brent Sadowick – ‘5 HTP’ 
Raito – ‘Ecstasy’ 
Chris Liberator, Sterling Moss – ‘The Cult’
DJ Boss – ‘1st Rendered’ 
??? – ‘Oxygen’
Barbuto – ‘Tiger Eye’ (Natalino Nunes Remix)
Franco Rossi – ‘Pasiphae’ 
Limewax – ‘Ushio’ 
Guhlee’s Hung Up Flip – ‘Every Little Thing’

Listen next: Fact Mix 332: Zozo