Monday, 8 August 2016


Sometimes the best way to whip up a frenzy whilst also creating a wholly original track is not through any special secret method, but through simple addition, subtraction and repetition. When it comes to dance music, maybe all music, this surely is the golden rule—in 'Budge', a recent standalone SoundCloud upload from Isabella – producer of, she says, "odd acid and sloppy techno" – this is, quite gloriously, the case. Full name Isabella Koen, and previously known as Sitting Adult the musicmaker is not only ultra-pro at this dynamic setting down and extraction of parts in music, but also of creating sound itself: the sounds she uses are organic, like half-machines-half-lifeforms moving in unison rather than artificial noises.

The drums start proceedings with juddering kick, thin snare and harsh handclap, overdriven toms making their way into the mix weaving in an added complexity and precision, with a series of beeping bloops and bleeps like building blocks falling into place next, a shroud of shredded plasma gradually making its way to the fore like a mechanised spiritual presence. The track then begins in earnest, a four-note refrain, a digitised sound textured with knife-cut electric treble and plunging bass at the same time, seeming to hang in the air before sheaves of open hi-hat fall and propel the track forward, percussion tumbling now, through various changes in these parts, a tunnel of cold simplicity, a futuristic Hazy Maze Cave (that's a level from Mario 64 if you didn't know), an effortless feat of atmosphere and aesthetics, ghostly and physical, mathematics and rhythm.

  • Isabella's most recent release is the self-titled Isabella (a slightly harder, harsher sound in general than this decidedly minimalist standalone track) released tape-wise on Philadelphia label Embalming Lately; listen + download on their bandcamp.

Isabella's Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 4 August 2016


We're discovering Lily as Lily, rather than Lily as she was formerly/is still known (Ultrademon). It seems a good a time as any; recently she released her debut under this new moniker (her real name), Psychic Jealousy, and it's the first explosive opener from that album that's the focus here: 'Beach Girl'—an exciting swirl of ineffable fun. "Beach girl"... What does it connote? A girl at the beach. But Lily says much more than just this, painting a deeper picture of summer, holidaying, freedom, memories, broad and minute sonic brushstrokes forming an unending, relatable image. Partly, it's the polished late-90s-early-00s-party-music vibe that give it a quality of being somewhat unlocatable in time, lending a fantasy feel to it: or maybe that's just the internet talking.

Slap of snare shakes the track into life, different patterns of syncopated digital synth chords and plink-plonking boops make themselves known, some of these at one point or another becoming part of its frenzied refrain, uptempo beat pulsing pulsing with life beneath it all. These sumptuous and deeply toned sounds, clean and rounded, forming the main crux of the track, are decorated with thin synth arpeggiating down in misty rain, orchestra hits rapid-firing, all of it whirling together, melodies crossing over and changing dynamically throughout, the beat – with its punchy snare and precision hi-hats – dictating changes and keeping foot-tapping, head-nodding, heart-beating time.

  • As mentioned, 'Beach Girl' is the opening track to Lily's recent album Psychic Jealousy, released on Chicago label Deep Space Objects (for which Lily does A&R); listen + download over on the label's bandcamp.

Lily's Internet Presence ☟

Monday, 1 August 2016


Here is music from another world, a foray into a stark and colourful far-off slice of space-time; it's by Ghanaian producer T'Challa and it's an EP, a collection of instrumental beats released under the title Wakandan Sonix – a reference to the fictional African country of Wakanda that features in the Marvel universe. With this sense of extraordinary fiction in mind, the soundscapes that the producer, real name Khalid Iddisah, conjures are just the ticket: otherworldly, interdimensional, future-facing and unique, they summon unknown far-flung places and mind-spaces with brutal beat-led simplicity.

Whilst tagged "Trap", and certainly pertaining to the swagger for the most part, the tracks sometimes actually feel closer to the experimentalism of grime—the beats of 'Epic' hang in the air, wide and open, following a booming remix of The Internet's 'Special Affair', both tracks haunted by rattling hi-hats and clacking snares; 'Analog' has that sub-bass menace, but the beats feel fresh and simple, the chords are brooding and strange, the synth melodies plink playfully. The other remix, closing the EP, a bootleg of 'Because' by Smerz, in fact carves out a house beat as things get deep and dark and sufficiently groovesome. There is seemingly no one genre at work here, more one style at work, one sound, one slant and one direction.

The portal to paths untrod by humans is certainly open: refreshing chords ring out sharply and brightly against a sheer clatter of beats in 'Chaodic' as the tracks swings between these cosmic, sun-after-the-rain parts and its more trappish parts, where sub-bass hums as stuttering laser synths shoot by. 'Djin Music' (named after the supernatural beings, maybe) floats in, marching and whirling soft sounds above the crunch of bass, a church bell donging to signal unhinged saw-wave synthwork, a grimey feeling hung like a shroud over the thickets of percussion here. Personal favourite 'The Endz' is the epitome of grime: a filtered plasma blast for a bassline, the refrain of jangling strings, the jostle and crash of snare and hand-clap together, spacey sunrise synth chords brightening the tone as the track rollicks to its unexpected end.

T'Challa's beatscapes effuse difference and imagination, throw spanners and cog-busting objects into the workings of our minds as we try to figure out what it is or where we're being taken. Distinctions like 'light and dark' and 'future or past', traditional oppositions, seem to fuse in this producer's music. Likewise, simplicity and complexity work together as basic beat patterns and repeating melodies feel unique and intricate, lacing into one another, chasing each other in an un-world where un-things un-happen; a glance into a new dimension where chaos and beauty overlap with graceful severity.

  • You can listen to Wakandan Sonix in its entirety above or on SoundCloud.

T'Challa's Social Media Presence ☟