The first nanoseconds of an Eris Drew song or mixtape resemble the work of a maestro dramaturge. Everything—sound scratches, cutting in vocals, record manipulations over a breakbeat most times—happens at the front. Drew disdains giving warnings, it’s her way of saying, “Screw the algorithmic vanilla shit going on in corporatized tech and house music today.”
So get ready to be flushed into action. Utilizing turntable-only techniques such as doubles tricks and hot mixing, her lingual stamp rolls out in real-time. No need for a sophomoric normcore drop. Go grab a Coke with a turkey sando and run that intro back.
“It is as much about how I don’t use my samplers” Drew recently told Attack Magazine. “I don’t time stretch, use splicers, or “fix” the timing issues in my rhythm samples. I want the groove to be loose, like hip hop and the most vibrant hardcore tunes I love. So I keep the drummer’s timing and let the pitch change as I speed up and slow down the samples. To get my timing right I usually beat match the record to my song by hand, just like I would DJing live, and then hit record on my sampler. This way, even if I sample a square house beat it still isn’t perfectly on the grid.”
2019’s bomb-ass “Eris Drew’s mixtape Raving Disco Breaks Vol. 1” introduced this breakcore artist to a greater audience. Drew, the loving partner of DJ and producer Octo Octa, wove a blunt, strong narrative of embodiment, defiance and cultural transcendence on that mix. (They’ll both be performing at the T4T LUV NRG party, Fri/14 at Public Works) Mixing disco house with broken beats, dropping Miami Bass jams with boogie keys, and blending rave tunes with diva vocals? Listen, that funk. The after-hours lock-in feel remained un-cut. Drew put it all on Front Street.
It’s a ginormous, witchy, earth-quaking seduction of a vibe she calls “Motherbeat.” Arriving at her consciousness while she was being driven home from a party, high on LSD in 1994, this is a rapturous divine feminine energy and ancient healing force. Captured in 120 minutes of dunking on your millennial “meh” approach to mixes.
“Fluids of Emotion,” the three-song debut solo release, recorded at Eris Drew’s parents’ home in Chicago and mixed in the Interdimensional Laboratories in Detroit, stays relentlessly committed to that hallucinogenic spirit of rave and love while providing the moment-to-moment vitality of true breakcore. Loose, unquantized studio techniques make these songs—unlooped snippets of physical media—vibrant creations that have a soul and pulse.
“Instead of trying to innovate with new plug-ins and other technology, my approach is to make each song about something real and particular’ stated Drew during an interview earlier this year. “That is something which sets my songs apart from a lot of the hardcore and rave dance tracks which influence them. Think about the energy and intensity of hardcore and rave more than the individual sounds. Make your maniac hardcore out of anything you want, just like the originators did before you.”
Within the first 10 seconds of single “Fluids,” her pocket of sound gets to work: vinyl wrinkles, scratches, vocal shards, and 808 drops all ride on a carpet of warm keys. Tempo mircotensions move about, vocal instructions bark, but it’s the turntablism that actually speaks. With the closer “So Much Love to Give,” we get a piece of upbeat hustle that fluctuates between house and breakbeat. It’s the sweet spot Drew and Octo Octa have been reclaiming for the past couple of years, swimming upstream, past the trends, distilling groove and mysticism.
“Transcendental Access Point” uses 4/4 identity and trippy melodies to deliver a vocal remembrance of someones first time smoking a “very special joint” laced with a little DMT, taking in a harpsichord concert, where each note was “moving and dancing with an apparent individual and collective will.”
As mentioned in the liner notes, this debut is “proto-rave ecstasy music” in the most rawest, beautiful form.
T4T LUV NRG WITH ERIS DREW AND OCTO OCTA
Fri/14, 9:30pm-3:30am, $25
Public Works, SF
Tickets and more info here.