Thursday, October 29, 2020
Arts + Culture Music New Music: Electronic tracks touch down, from Moor Mother...

New Music: Electronic tracks touch down, from Moor Mother to Mauritius

Avalon Emerson, Otik, Chiminyo, more bring sounds from around the dance floor world.


Last Friday was one of the biggest release dates in 2020. A serious amount of quality music was unleashed to the world. We’ve decided to do a lil roundup of what to check out in the very busy electronic music lane. Enjoy.

Let the record show that poet, MC, polymath, and revolutionary Moor Mother showed up for the culture at least TWICE in this hectic 2020. “There’s been so much trauma” leaps out of the speakers on the first track from the Circuit City LP and you already know what it is. Who Sent You? from earlier this year by her free jazz group Irreversible Entanglements at the time sounded complete, where now, six months later, we all see it was barely a fair warning. Circuit City was originally conceived as a soundtrack to Moor Mothers’ theatrical production of the same name which she wrote: “to address and eliminate systemic problems with the injustice of housing rights, public vs private ownership, and technology.” Protest jazz, freakout electronic mayhem, despair arranged to tumultuous frequencies. Unpleasant times put on blast…

But straight-up tho, it just feels good to see and hear, Moor Mother, put this shitstorm of a year into proper chaotic music form. Reminding us all: We see the evil for what it is. More info here.

CoOp Presents just put out an all-new double-album compilation entitled Plug One. It features a plethora of global talent from in and around the world of broken beat and beyond—some already well-established in the field, some very much on the come-up, and some brand new artists. The comp is an acknowledgment of a continually evolving sound from the label formed by IG Culture & Alex Phountzi, luminaries in this field of rhythms born from the African diaspora.

This imprint, this series is always one to check for, giving the status on what is happening upfront with broken-beat and the many funky strains its created over the past 20 years. Plug One affirms this electric movement, with a deeply fluid current running throughout, with tracks ranging from the cosmic psych jazz of LCSM to the classic UKG tweaks of Groove Chronicles, to a veritable who’s who of 2020 bruk talent.

The full compilation drops in November. But to set it off, something a little different to what’s come before from the stable, and a shining example of the sonic growth of the collective. This first track, “400 Years,” delivers a powerful message. In Reginald Omas Mamode IV’s own words…

“Being of Creole Mauritian origin, I have, for much of my life, been aware of the story of my descendants. It’s a story of survival in the face of violence and abuse. The abusers, European colonialists who collectively subjected populations of peoples across all continents to countless violent, murderous atrocities. All of which, void of reparations, continue still now to have resounding economic, social, political, and psychological effects. The island of Mauritius was a sugarcane producing colony, which used slaves for labor. Those slaves, some of my ancestors, were bought and sold amid an era of African slave trading. Lasting approximately 400 years..”

The digital single of “400 Years” also includes two weighty refixes courtesy of Gonz and CoOp Presents label boss, IG Culture. The maverick has not lost the touch for moving heads and crowds. More info here.

You could describe Chiminyo’s sound technique as electro/indie/futurepop/Brazilian beat/Euro-R&B and not be wrong. Matter of fact, that would just be the start. There is a kinship to the Brainfeeder label in the way this artist works in pluralities. But it’s not gimmicked, this is serious fusion. Shimmery. Airy. Bright. With impressive percussion, wearing that influence from Brazil all over his debut release. After battling serious health challenges, supposedly he spent his recovery from having half of his kidney removed by wiring up a “MacGuyver” drum kit that triggers other sounds via code he wrote while on intense painkillers from surgery.

I AM Panda” is a multi-genre testament to ingenuity when facing adversity. Anyone who is a fan of jazz-electronic frequencies should make it a priority. More info here.

Raised in Arizona, Avalon started to make, release and play music in San Francisco before moving to Berlin in 2014. In 2016 she released one of Resident Advisor’s Top 10 Tracks of the Decade, ‘The Frontier’, an emotive and colorful techno song that became a hit thanks to Avalon’s ear-catching melody. Since then, she has toured the world’s most famous clubs and festivals and remixed the likes of Slowdive, Robyn, Four Tet, Lena Platonos, and more.

According to RA, by the time she started working on her DJ-Kicks mix in an East LA bedroom, the pandemic was in full swing. But she had been prepared: She relocated to Los Angeles from Berlin two months before COVID hit. The idea was to focus on songwriting and producing and get away from the slog of the tour life. From that wise choice, we benefit from a full plate set, that moves from pop songs, to hectic techno and into a four on the floor “Shari Vari” cover by The Dirtbombs.

Choice people, choice. If you don’t like a track, just wait three minutes, you’ll find one. More info here.

Otik, the Bristol-born, East London resident, returns with offbeat techno sunbursts that keep those in the know and newbies scratching heads while grooving in living rooms or outdoor spaces. “Amor” is a staple of Keysound Recordings label co-founders Dusk + Blackdown’s sets, that in several years has never failed to get folk running over to the booth asking “what the…?!!” in London, Denver, Montreal, or Berlin. Those low hits with the streaming ephemera running on top,  peak dancefloor euphoria. According to legend when played in a club, it sounds like bright white shards of light are being thrown down from gaping fissures in the heavens. Ok, I’ll give ya that. 

On the flip “Seasonal FX” is different though no less powerful. A 140bpm breakbeat roller written in the dark winter months leading up to Christmas ‘19, the chords ride an emotive groove, playing off a fragmented vocal. Drum and Bass flashbacks, all day. Overall, Otik delivers the solid two-tracker. More info here.

John-Paul Shiver
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

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