The month's best mixes: cosmic connections and oceanic electronics

ADAB brings Afrofuturism into the psychedelic mix, while Russell EL Butler taps into the African diaspora

Neptunian Influence: ADAB

Much of the science fiction that influences electronic music comes from popular western culture: with televised rocket countdowns and moon landings, space flight is man’s technological, and sometimes national, conquest of the unknown. Yet for many underground techno artists, Afrofuturism holds a deep aesthetic value: it’s not a conquest of, but a return to, the cosmos, where spiritual connections and identities can flourish. For the themed mix series Neptunian Influence, Cleveland-based artist and member of underground party crew In Training, Miah Benton (AKA ADAB), creates a fascinating, psychedelic mix of hard drums, cosmic reverberations and searching voices.

Beats in Space 1000 with Tim Sweeney

When Tim Sweeney moved from Maryland to study at New York University in 1999, he signed up to host on the campus radio station, WNYU 89.1 FM. A largely solo affair in the early days, Sweeney spent his Tuesday evenings as Beats in Space, mixing live and talking to callers. When he started working for James Murphy’s DFA label, his star began to shine, tapping into the mid-00s punk-dance scene and honing his affable, downbeat charm. When he graduated in 2003, the show continued – it’s now considered one of the longest running college radio shows in the US, and has featured hundreds of guest DJs. Last week, Beats in Space celebrated its 1,000th broadcast. For these two and a half hours, it’s Sweeney at the controls: playing some of his favourite records throughout the years, all punctuated by sweet messages left on the hotline by past guests.

XTC with Fauzia and Sherelle

Sherelle and Fauzia are two London-based DJs, radio hosts and friends who have been bringing killer selections and a sense of joy to the drum and bass scene. They’ve grown up on US club sounds like Chicago footwork and Baltimore bass as much as UK jungle and breaks-centric rave, and their sets feel thoroughly modern for it. While Sherelle cut her chops on youth station Reprezent Radio, their joint show on NTS Radio, XTC, is aptly named – hinting at rave legacies while focusing on the thrill of the now, with beats from 160BPM-and-climbing.

RA.686: Russell EL Butler

Russell EL Butler is a producer and DJ from Bermuda who lives in Oakland. Drawing from the Bay Area’s electronic music and radical black political histories, their 2018 album, The Home I’d Build for Myself and All My Friends, taps into ideas of place and African diaspora. Their core inspiration is Detroit electro duo, Drexciya, who Butler says “reinvented a black mythos” with their emotive, oceanic electronics. For their Resident Advisor podcast, Butler finds a softer groove than on some of their solo productions: softer elements (melancholic synth pop and romantic R&B) create contours in the tougher elements (modular electronics, and new house and techno jams).

Groove 216: D Tiffany

In her hometown of Vancouver, D Tiffany hosted DIY dance parties and co-founded Intersessions, a workshop series for women to access production and DJ equipment. After spending time in Australia – where she met sister-in-sound, Roza Terenzi – she returned to Canada and started her own label, Planet Euphorique, which hits a sweet spot between deep house rhythms, dusky electro and ambient breaks. Her sound feels fresh rather than nostalgic, and there’s a real playfulness to her taut, powerful blends. Keep an ear out for a moment from the Queen of Pop in this new mix for German publication Groove.

Bleep Mix 71: Logos

When UK producer Logos was writing his 2019 album, Imperial Flood, he spent a lot of time listening to Brian Eno’s Ambient 4: On Land and thinking about ecological soundscapes. Through his record label Different Circles, which he runs with Mumdance, Logos has spent years working on a sound that’s moved from “weightless” – ambient grime instrumentalism that uses sonic vacuums to maximise impact – into something more robust and sinister, using field recordings and sound collage to uncanny effect. This extends to his taste in techno music, and his style of DJing. In this Bleep mix, Logos focuses on tactile movements and dark energies, featuring tracks from UK contemporaries like Demdike Stare and Pessimist, among others.

Contributor

Lauren Martin

The GuardianTramp

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