Honcho Campout Series: Mike Servito
Each summer, if you head into the woodlands in south-western Pennsylvania in the US, you’ll find Honcho Campout: a queer dance festival held on the expansive property of an interfaith church, which acts as a sanctuary for various experimental arts and music events. It brings together DJs from across the American house and techno underground, and the setting imbues the weekend with a mixture of spiritual togetherness and heady rave escapism – you’re as likely to hear the manic strains of gabber, happy hardcore and IDM in those woods as classic house and techno. Recordings from the festival are always hotly anticipated, and Mike Servito’s excellent set of jacking house and celestial acid flies the flag for the Honcho Campout vibe: wild and loose, with a joyful glint in its eye.
A month after Loraine James released her 2019 debut album, For You and I, she tweeted: “Never expected this queer Enfield moody sod to have put out an album on Hyperdub, nor did I expect so much love.” Sweet though her self-deprecation is, it’s no surprise that her music has been so well received. The north London producer has made an album that, although abrasive, with IDM and footwork-adjacent rhythms that make your brain fizz, weaves in stories of belonging and identity, of embodied fears and tactile need. It’s a brilliant, imaginative work. In this BBC Sounds show with Tom Ravenscroft, James takes centre stage with a discussion about her music and a guest mix featuring her own tracks.
Phonica Mix Series 66: Roza Terenzi
2018 was a breakout year for Australian DJ and producer Roza Terenzi: she started a residency on radio station Rinse FM, toured relentlessly and released six EPs and 12-inch records, including a split with her Canadian sister-in-sound, D Tiffany, on the latter’s Planet Euphorique label. Roza’s sound is a wicked match for Planet Euphorique: celestial synth melodies whacked over kinetic breaks, electro, trance, and jungle rhythms, all wiggling and bright. She’s a fierce DJ, too, and in this recent podcast for Soho record shop and label Phonica, that kinetic energy bursts through in her quick, slick style.
Mother’s Finest #14: Afrodeutsche
Afrodeutsche first appeared in this column last summer in tandem with the release of her debut album, Break Before Make, on revived UK rave label SKAM. Since then, the Manchester producer and DJ has become a more familiar and beloved face in the UK underground, often seen playing gritty, bass-heavy nights across Europe. This live recording of her set at Mother’s Finest, a techno party at Berlin club Griessmuehle, shows why she has broken through in 2019. There’s that classic and creepy dark electro that inspired the drum machine jams of Break Before Make, but also some straight-up jacking house, acid and rave nuttiness.
Luke Slater is the cool, grizzled uncle of UK techno: you can imagine him, suited and booted, stomping across the floor in some grotty basement to Nitzer Ebb and Underground Resistance back in the day. He got going in earnest as a DJ in the late 80s, when he would play acid house sets at London nightclub Heaven, but he has been producing for almost as long, most notably under his Planetary Assault Systems alias and his own name. In the words of Essential Mix host Pete Tong, he “steps up” here with two hours of techno that fizzles with energy – it’s all got that dark British funk to it, the feeling that comes from seeing post-punk, EBM and techno as kin. Along with Slater’s own music, there are tracks from other British elder statesmen such as Steve Bicknell, and more contemporary names such as Barker.
Ben UFO b2b Joy O at Calibre’s XOYO residency
It’s hard to imagine what underground leftfield house and techno in the UK would sound like today if it weren’t for the influence of Hessle Audio. While trends have come and gone in the last decade, Ben UFO’s star still shines – and acts as a gateway drug for young fans to discover dance music proper. For proof of why, you only need to see the love on social media for his Rinse FM shows, and the reception to his sets at festivals such as Dekmantel, or at residencies including Calibre’s excellent run at London’s XOYO this summer. In this three-hour back-to-back set with Joy Orbison, the pair whizz through 140BPM techno and electro, with flickers of acid, jungle, dubstep and warped rap and R&B, as well as new tracks by peers such as Blawan and Pariah’s self-released Karenn project, and Joy Orbison’s collaboration with Overmono on XL Recordings.