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Fantasy Realm

Deep Cuts

Fantasy Realm

Welcome to our fifth monthly Deep Cuts article. With hopes of aiding those of us suffering from cabin fever in this strange time, this month’s theme is Fantasy Realm, its prompt question was 'what music conveys its own unique world?'The illustration comes from Trav.

Music from this months' writers is combined in the mix below, put together by Cycling Sugar Glider; a Deep Cuts writer who recently returned from a couchsurf in Cuba, where he had nearly finished his second circle of the globe. Writers' full answers are below the mix, the mix's tracklist is at the end of the article. All the spotify-friendly music mentioned is gathered chronologically in this helpful playlist. (Last month's theme was Wordless Tone)

When editing Deep Cuts contributions or suggesting changes, I try to aid clarity, but never to change tone, voice or message. If you turn on the mix and/or start reading, over the next 60 minutes and 6,857 words you’ll fly on airplane mode through Singaporean apartments, photoshoots, parties, carparks, dreams, onwards through Bass DJ extraordinaire Jossy Mitsu’s PS2 portal, on to the riverside where Howard Made and her insect friends sleep on moss pillows, where celestial grub falls like dew and this ridiculous sentence makes sense. Enjoy.

Will x

 

Sarah Kuhail 

When Will told me about Fantasy Realm I didn’t have to think twice, I know I had Yoshimura’s Green album in mind, it’s brilliantly peaceful and always takes me to special places... I always get lost in Feel [appears at the start of this month's Deep Cuts mix] though, it’s captivating and gives a unique sense of calm.

We obviously always bond over music, one of my closest friendships developed by sharing electronic dance music. If you look through our online conversations, all you’d see are links. The first time I heard this album though, I was spiraling into an anxiety attack and I asked this friend for a calming melody. She sent me it and somehow, it created peace in me and depth for our friendship.  I’m listening to it as I write this and I’m already somewhere else.

[editor’s note; it’s amazing that two writers in a row have mentioned Hiroshi Yoshimura in a submission, with such similar stories (see the second entry in last month’s Deep Cuts article). I was first introduced Yoshimura back in 2018 by a conversation between Moses Sumney and James Blake on the latter’s radio show. The reissue of Yoshimura’s 1982 album Music For Nine Post Cards was one of the only albums that Sumney was listening to when recording his amazing debut LP, Aromanticism.]

Sarah Kuhail is currently studying Digital Culture and Society at KCL.

 

Trav

'''You're never truly outside, because even when you're outside, you're always inside your own head” … A line from the 1993 film Naked which echoes the whole point of this topic.

The knowledge that we can create whatever worlds we desire using the power of thought and music is a perfect tool for us to use. The transcendence that certain music can allow us, especially at times of isolation, is a meditation in itself, something which can never be taken away from us… Right now, we are all experiencing a shared and involuntary isolation, which is a strange thing for us as a collective so used to having the freedom of travel whenever we want it. Sure, we have an allocated hour or so to essentially 'stretch our legs', but the large majority of the time, time when we used to have the choice to be outside and around other people, must now be spent in solitude. This is where the true magic of transcendental music becomes apparent. Certain music can literally lift us out of the space we inhabit and take us on journeys of imagery, emotions and thought. This music is all the more powerful when we are forced to be in our own confines, when we really need to let the mind go.

I have selected a few pieces of music, be it tracks or albums, which never fail to take me away to somewhere exotic, places I have seen, places I have been to or places that my mind has created. Always cathartic, they lift me into spaces that seem to literally dissolve the walls and confines of the room I sit or lay in and breathe new imagery, like a film playing in my head. The music I have picked for this topic is the most powerful example, for me, of 'transcendental'. Each track is completely different to the other, but they all share the qualities of intense sparseness, incredible depth and constantly changes, evolutions and growth.

I find myself listening to these pieces of music many times over and still find new areas for my mind to wander in. New gaps between notes, pauses I find myself slipping into, angles of chords I had never heard before. I can completely switch off to everything else and let the sounds take me somewhere, always surprising but always beautiful and calm. A perfect sense of clean fresh air, of warm distant life, the hustle and bustle of make-believe places and the haunting loneliness of landscapes I imagine. I have been on the edges of North African markets, feeling the life bursting around me, climbing further up hills to observe city skylines, disjointed examples of what the mind creates from memory and experience. Then thrust into flight over cold glacial mountains, floating perfectly above lakes then cast down into depths of brilliant blue water to lost places.

Places which have no relevance to things we see on earth and then places so comfortable and familiar I feel like I have lived in them. The worlds break down, melt, morph and change like waking from a powerful dream, they slip away almost the instant I can see them, and the music has taken me somewhere new. These pieces of music are a comfort blanket to me, a profound healer and tranquilliser, I don't use them lightly. They are my go-to meditation, I hope they can translate over to other people and affect them as powerfully as they do me. To lay back, comfortably, with good lighting, nice smells, good temperature, this is key. Creating a space your body is comfortable in so your mind can leave freely is the best way to journey with this music. I think in this current time we need to use the tool of this music to escape and let ourselves be completely lost. It's probably the only way we can really be found.

[Trav put forward a few hefty-length tracks for this month’s playlist, alongside Gaussian Curve’s Clouds lp, whose track Broken Clouds appears at 0:48 in the mix.]

Trav is the artist behind Deep Cuts’ original cover art, check out his website here


Osman Khan

[written and sent at some point between 3-5am]

it sounds like ... waking up in the morning to an empty house on the first day of the week im working from home but i cant focus because the house is in a mess so im doing chores while singing and thinking about what to have for tea. then i turn on the news and realise the pandemic has gotten a lot worse around the world. so im in a bubble at home in a bubble in singapore. It sounds over the top and manufactured much like life over here.

[Osman sent in 12 tracks for the playlist, including Maro, Ariza’s Why, which appears at 3:22 in the mix]

Osman works as a legal associate in Singapore. His Instagram bio is ‘kebab’.


Jossy Mitsu

Like many, I directly associate both memories and sound with space, space and emotions. For me, no music does this better than the Acid, Electro and Breakbeat crossover, which makes me feel like I’m a game character on a journey of exploration through space and time in a virtual world!

As a child, I spent far too much time playing PlayStation and computer games such as Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo, and Tekken, and whether I was aware or not, I was absorbing the soundtracks and sound palettes. A dance matt game I played called Dancing Stage Euromix (released in 2000) had tracks that increased in BPM as the levels got harder, including everything from Disco to Acid, from Hardcore to Hardstyle. I’d pretend I was really in a club while playing and came to associate the excitement of the games with these sounds.   

When I first heard Josh Wink’s Higher State of Consciousness as an adult, I remember feeling nostalgic for the virtual world of those late 90s/early 2000s games, particularly the fighting and driving games, which were often soundtracked by similar music. The build-ups in tracks like this sound like a mixture of a crazy fight scene in a sci-fi film, speeding through a tunnel on a motorbike in a game and whizzing through hyperspace in the middle of an animation. The combination of the pedalling breaks and the crazy distorted acid line produces such an intensity, I’m jealous of people that danced to it at raves when it came out!

Hearing the 303-style Acid synth over House, Electro or Techno, sounds to me like a dark corner of space with moving lines, like The Matrix, or even one of those classic Windows screensavers. Like I’m moving through a vortex or digital tunnel, and in my mind, the pads’ chords make it starry and mystical, and the crashes and effects are like streaks of light or little explosions. One of the most representative examples I can think of is Thursday Club’s A Place called Acid (1995) [57:00 in this month’s mix]

When I listen to music by icons like LFO and Drexciya I feel like I’m in the light cycle race from the 1982 Tron film, and at the same time somewhere futuristic, maybe due to the subtle elements of randomness or unpredictability in the composition. The glitches, blips, laser sounds and grainy noises are reminiscent of the sound effects in classic sci-fi films and all contribute to the spacey texture. Music from this era frequently references the exploration of other worlds, and Drexciya have many works based around exploring the deep sea and space e.g. Neptune’s Lair and the Deep Sea Dweller series.

The more experimental side of Electro’s clashing notes and odd melodies can be strangely hypnotic and ethereal, like it could have been made by friendly aliens! Some of the more vocal and groovy Electro like Aux 88 and Underground Resistance from Detroit sounds like a 1980s impression of a club in the future. I can imagine DJ Stingray soundtracking this perfectly, at a rave in a different dimension – think of the blood rave from the opening scene of Blade, but without blood!

I’ve previously heard parallels drawn between electronic music rising in the 80s and futurism, since the new synths and hardware coming out at the time were able to create sound unlike anything before, representing progression and evolution through technology. This was clearly reflected in the imagery of the artwork and videos of the time, with dark/monochrome colour schemes and common references to space, technology and science.

Over the last few years, themes in numerous posters for underground parties have paid homage to this aesthetic while showing innovation, often integrating grids/wireframes, optical illusions, cartoon-style drawings and sci-fi typefaces. This represents an appreciation for the music and rave scenes of the late 80s and 90s that is shared among promoters, DJs, producers and ravers today. As lighting, animation and A/V techniques have advanced, I’ve been lucky to witness some mind-blowing examples of how visuals paired with live audio can construct an immersive experience that feels like you’ve entered another realm, or travelled through time.

Producers and labels currently releasing underground music (club, experimental, electro, techno, breakbeats, hardcore and more) are also exhibiting these themes in their artwork (many released independently), with some of my favourites being Corrupt Data, Club Glow and Fractal Fantasy.

A producer whose music very vividly takes me to the dark space reflected in these designs is Filter Dread. His combination of sound effects, dark basslines, glitchy samples and a UK harshness makes me feel like I could be dancing my way through a grid city. Similarly, I love how Solid Blake’s version of electro sounds as though it’s taking me simultaneously to the bottom of the sea and to an Alien rave in outer space.

This feeling translates across other genres and different BPMs. For example, Pearson Sound’s Earwig is a squelchy slo-mo version, like crawling through a tiny wormhole in space. Faster tracks in rave and jungle that sample film scores - e.g. Acen’s Trip II the Moon (part 2) - sound like a cinematic, twisted acid trip.

DJ Rashad’s I Don’t Give A Fuck makes me feel like a character trapped in an 8-bit game that I don’t want to be saved from, and I get a warm, fuzzy, futuristic version of this from Ikonika’s music, like in the epic Aerotropolis album:

The influence of synthwave, acid and electro of the 80s-90s in all of the above, and in music by artists like Casisdead (I even saw him rap over Cybotron’s Clear at a festival once) is a testament to how enduring the sound and aesthetic of this era is and will continue to be.

Jossy Mitsu is one of the UK's most explosive, flexible DJs, and is a member of the Bass collective 6 Figure Gang, alongside Sherelle, Fauzia, L U C Y, Yazzus and Dobby.


Nana Fani-Kayode

Fantasy is defined as; ‘the faculty or activity of imagining impossible or improbable things’, applying that to music is almost too easy. Music, by default, is all about imagining impossible or improbable things, whether its genres, ideas, feelings, unique worlds which convey the inner emotional landscapes of the writer, producer, composer. So, on the surface relatively straightforward, but then where do you go in a time of isolation?

Less than a month ago it would have felt fine to ask any reader to push beyond the surface, to grapple with concepts, but that all feels like it belongs in an older, distant timeline where music could hurt, hack as well as heal. Whilst that is always valuable and necessary, it just feels out of sync and a little mean. At the other end of the spectrum is a desire to keep it light and uncomplicated, stick to tunes that reflect the current need for comfort. However, that is problematic too, it feels a little too easy, the last thing I would ever champion is flabby, loose thinking just because the chips are down. Shifting sands can sharpen our vision, provide clarity and push us forward. So, my tips for isolation listening; sink into the blissful and bucolic when you need it, stay engaged with the cool/edgy, and always find five or more minutes for new things, or new-to-you things.

So, a compromise: somewhere between comfort and concept that, overall, keeps us connected rather than over-reflective in our isolation, because we have enough of that. My makeshift fantasy categories are: New musical pastures: home to the new and fresh, where boundaries are reset, and new languages emerge. Slick and cool: tracks that just sound slick maybe a little detached, lean towards hipster and edgy, always a welcome addition to any playlist. Earthy: the place is familiar, it might seem safe but then an artist will offer a fresh set of eyes to watch through.  

Sudan Archives best embodies the idea of the New Musical Pastures, so many elements run through the music; structured Classical composition, Nu Soul, Electronica, Hip Hop, Trip Hop and Folk, but it never feels referential or merely blended, all grounded in her passion for music from Sudan. The 2018 EP Sink showcases the talents of this beautiful, musical spirit. A mostly self-taught violinist and past music technology student who floats along to her own melody. Tracks to fold into; Sink, Nont For Sale and Beautiful Mistake, all three reflect this thoughtful pondering, undercut with something bolshy, edgy and elegantly articulated. The vocals feel philosophical and dreamy without sounding trite, while the nod to Sudanese classical music is elevating and intoxicating. The world of Sink is dreamy, but it has hard edges, a place where any thought of rushing is impossible, almost nonsensical, and yet nothing is ambling or aimless. It’s a look into the future, where poetry and reflection are the sole currencies.

Further NMP listening:

Prabhujee- Ravi Shankar (Beautiful melodic intoxicating)

Jasdik Hom- Dam (the whole album its confrontational, introspective and its banger after banger maybe watch on Youtube for the translations)

The Crow- DJ Food (Literally feels like flying, a harder modern classical composition, it speaks of a world above our heads, it’s heavy, dark, all encompassing, beautiful)


Then came Cool, which reminds me of a great party where the DJ is not interested in crowd pleasing and definitely does not take requests. This world is inhabited by daring fashion types, never-heard-of party favours, seductive bodies and dancing. Dancing is high on my ‘things I miss the most at the moment, alongside grouchy DJs who just play bangers. In homage to that I offer Branko & Princess Nokia’s Take Off [06:08]. The track matches its title exactly; Nokia taking off to greener, better pastures, and leaving old, worn out things and people behind. With the usual hip hop posturing she asserts her cool, talent and philosophy for moving forward and never looking back.

The opening line ‘60s box braids in my hair, I rock weave, me no care’ conjures up images of fly street fashion and the give-a-shit attitude that gives Hip Hop, in all its forms, edge. Nokia spits about leaving it all behind, the wasteman elements of that life continually propelled by her cool and talent; it takes her to beaches, mountain ranges, jungles, all set against the backdrop of spacey, low fi electro beats and almost stream of consciousness like humming over the top. She never looks behind, spitting out ‘life is filled with more exploring’. Any party with Nokia at the helm is about expression. 

Further Cool:

Cloudbusting – Kate Bush (Surreal, bracing and beautiful)

Baltimore -Nina Simone (Simone Baltimore reconstructs Baltimore through sound articulating its roots, rules and rhythms)

Get Ready – Ursula Rucker (The battle cry of a warrior goddess world of powerful imagery and action)


Last but certainly not least, Earthy, the musical equivalent of a hug. The world of Earthy is familiar, tangible, we understand how it works but then there are artists who once again make the world mysterious, interesting and compelling. At the time of writing the news of Bill Withers’ death has just broken, there are not enough words to describe how the deep the love is. Withers had a rare ability to take the seemingly small and inconsequential everyday things and articulate their beauty and value without sounding trite. While Lean On Me is currently doing the rounds, for me Lovely Day is musically richer, while still focusing on the importance of human connection in the vast expanse of existence, being inspired by love to carry on going in spite of the struggles. His rich, earthy and almost operatic tones soar throughout the track accompanied by a growing wall of sound. The sunlight might have hurt his eyes, but he finds positivity and keeps a tight hold; it’s enough to carry him through. The sun might not be physically shining, but that is what the sun does fills me with calm and positivity despite the grind. Lovely and earthy.

[editor's note; Benji B’s radio show always has a fantastic mix of NMP, Cool and Earthy. His most recent episode is particularly well balanced in these qualities, opening with an amazing triplet of Bill Withers tracks, the spoken intro in this live version of Grandmas Hands particular blew my head off, hilarious and warm and beautiful, an astonishing window into sunshine. The show also features my favourite track that’s not in streaming services, a glittering earthly gem.]

Further Earthy:

Make it happen - Mariah Carey (early Mariah bangs. This song moves away from the tin whistling showboating taking her down in the lower, richer bass like, gospel end of her range totally rousing)

Susan Jane by Eugene McDaniels (Simple, bluesy folk and sexy)

Nana works as a tv producer, taking initial ideas and seeing if they have legs. 


Howard Made

Everything Bjork touches is otherworldly, but this her third album Homogenic is a perfect form of escapism. It was her own form of escape, written after she was nearly murdered by her stalker (who then committed suicide) and fled to Spain, where she recorded most of the record (though it is more of a homage to her native Iceland). She usually encompasses many instruments and genres in each album, but was adamant this album would mark a change to her artistry, sticking to one particular sound made up of explosive beats (like an Icelandic volcano), icy ethereal vocals and stunning strings (with thanks to the Icelandic String Octet), hence the name Homogenic which describes a gene with only one alternative form, or one allele. I have nothing but love for this human, she can do no wrong in my eyes. Please Bjork let me live in your brain , wrap me up in your synapses and cradle me to sleep with a elysian lullaby. Listen to this album before bed for the ultimate dream aid.

HUNTER: The exaggerations of emotion in her voice are unreal. She’s an absolute vocal acrobat, how she manages to maintain her signature child-like innocence, but at the same time it can be so powerful and explosive, is beyond me. (I also just found out that geographically Iceland is the youngest country).

JOGA: An ode to Iceland, she wrote this after returning (as the rest of it was recorded in Spain).

UNRAVEL: The saxophone.

The organ.

Thom yorke did a cover of it.

I just listen to this and cry to be honest not much more I can say.

BACHELORETTE: The lyrics were written by her friend and poet Sjon, it is a continuation of “Isobel”, a fantasy character invented by her, birthed by a spark in a forest and here to teach city folk the errors of their urban culture. This character is also explored in the song Isobel off her album Post, and also in Human Behaviour.

So today I walked to Highfield Park in Manchester and there’s a little forest and I bathed in its glory. I imagined myself so small that I could curl up and sleep in the petals of a petunia with small portion of moss for a pillow, I’d shower in droplets of morning dew and wave hello to the yellow of the sun and all my insect friends who I would live harmoniously with, maybe even go for a very slow ride on a slug. I wished for an acorn chariot pulled by two noble grasshoppers but then thought about the logistics of it for a while and realised their movements would be inadequate.

ALL NEON LIKE: The interlude in this song:

‘Don't get angry with yourself

Don't, don't get angry with yourself

I'll heal you’

More often than not I am internally quarrelling with and hating on myself, but if I put this on it makes me feel protected, when she repeats these lyrics on the outro it calms me down.


5 YEARS:

IMMATURE:

ALARM CALL:

PLUTO:

The screams are far too intense for my fragile mind right now, it isn't half anxiety inducing, could give a paracetamol a headache. But at appropriate times it could go offffffff

ALL IS FULL OF LOVE:

So celestial, so pure, so transcendent.

 

Even the album cover is genius, although the idea was Alexander Mcqueen’s. Because the music in it is all about being from one place, the album cover is a warrior queen made up of every culture.

Please forgive how unpolished and nonsensical this is, alas these are crazy times we are living in, to all of you I prescribe a walk avec Bjork.

Howard Made is the current writer of our weekly Sunday Jams feature. She also designed outfits for our stage at Boomtown.


Julia Star

Bbymutha is my esoteric queen. She's a real goddess. In these difficult times I have to remind myself that I am that bitch and that I will get through this. Hopefully I will not die and if I do I'm going to hell to have a good time.

[Lookin for Me appears at 09:38]

Julia Star makes intense cathartic music.


Kael Onion Oakley

I feel like everyone thinks about running away and disappearing every so often, possibly holding onto the fantasy that upon your eventual return all your problems will have vanished. This song [11:20] kinda sums up my feelings on that - the escape, the peaceful isolation, and the realisation that as much as you can pretend you won’t, you’ll always feel attached in some way to where you’ve come from.

There are dark undertones to much of Gnarls Barkley’s music, I like how it’s rarely at the forefront, but they make no attempt to hide it. Every time I listen to them, Cee-Lo’s booming vocals welcome me into their strange world with open arms and a knowing smile. The lyrics slowly lure you in, and I feel that’s why the songs always resonated with me. Plus, this used to be my go-to album when I played far too much Minecraft back in the day, which was a nice lil escape in and of itself.

Kael is a freelance graphic designer.


Will Soer

Fantasy Realm. ‘What music conveys its own unique world?’ I noted that theme name and prompt question a few months ago, and didn’t think much of it. A month or so later my mum drove me from London back to my parents’ house, after I heard rumours from a whole bunch of different sources that London was about to go into lockdown. I saw one supposedly official army document shared on a whatsapp group, stating that they would shortly be deployed to prevent travel in and out of the city. I also decided that we should use Fantasy Realm as our next Deep Cuts theme, it seemed obviously ideal. The army document turned out to be bullshit, but I’ve stayed at my parents for the last 23 days nonetheless.

I recently turfed up an article that I read in 2015, the year I started listening to certain radio shows a lot:

‘Annie Mac’s Sunday show, the best thing on Radio 1, has done that rarest of things and built a genre of music around it: a soft, electronic, Monday-fearing sound that creates an alternative reality in which the biggest artists on Soundcloud were Britain’s most successful popstars.’

Annie’s Sunday night show affected my music taste more than almost any other music thing, except maybe Arcade Fire’s 2010 album The Suburbs. Arcade Fire solidified my obsession with music, presenting it in the most rich, engrossing form I’d ever seen when they headlined Reading festival. Annie Mac solidified my favourite way to consume music; guidance by a characterful, spontaneous DJ. A DJ who just wouldn’t play certain stuff, who might play that if they’re in the right mood, who frames common experience (fuzzy evenings, lonely walks, heavy parties) though their own personal aesthetic. Going back to Nana's contribution, the best radio DJs can guide you through new musical pastures without losing that warm, earthy quality of character, presenting fascinating music in a way that makes sense.

This is an amazing time for radio. It’s generally a great time for radio anyway, there are so many great DJs and stations mixing shows that are totally distinctive, playful, experimental, you name it. But this time, right now, is an amazing, amazing time for radio. Below are a few fantastic radio shows, all of which I know I'll be revisiting for years to come, all recorded in the DJs’ homes during this crisis. 

I’ve listened to Rosy Ross’ En Vacances more than any other show this year, when working, walking, spending time with close ones. Earthy and beautifully curated, it's inspired by Ross’ childhood lived by the coast, the strangeness of seaside resorts refracted through memory, and then again through a fantastic record collection. My favourite finds from the show can be found in last October's episode, The Jones Girls' majestic Nights Over Egypt and DJ Kaos' joyous Love The Night Away (Tiedye remix), but her first quarantined home-broadcast captures a really special moment, an isolated selector gradually gaining confidence and inspiration. [Ekkah’s Figure it Out appears at 25:35 in this month’s mix, and 29:57 in the show below]

We drift further inland, into a deep, dusty forest, where night falls, pulling powdered Celestial Grub down with it, pulling us into the waters of sleep, there time stretches and strange textures crystallise.

In the morning, Floating Points of pure positivity glitter in the air, pearls that upon closer inspection reveal themselves to be tiny windows back to sunlit moments around the world.

Our journey ends upstream in London, where… Moxie and Jossy Mitsu…. greet us. Their shows’ names don’t fit the metaphorical thang I had going on there, but anyway, Moxie walks us deep down through London’s subterranean tunnels, into the dark throbbing night culture, where Jossy Mitsu’s pixelatted vortex ensnares us, leaving no thoughts of sleep.

Alongside editing and writing for Loose Lips (Deep Cuts is his baby), Will maintains a blog and radio show named Out Of Body Pop, covering music that's accessible but zoney.


Joel Baker

Today I’m here to talk to you about the subversion of classic euphoria, mapped out by three, (and I cannot stress this enough) very different hyper pop tracks, and why you need to start taking this stuff seriously (which definitely doesn’t preclude smiling or letting said euphoria engulf you) if you haven’t already. My argument is that when you put a track of this specific style on, you don’t have to let your mind wonder, to interpret it in the way the artist intends. 

You might be thinking “Christ!  I haven’t even heard this yet and I already hate how shallow it’s surely got to be”. I want to remind you that just because a piece of music can be understood quickly, it doesn’t mean it lacks depth. Here, it is references that add layers to each onion and the overall proverbial veg patch. 

P.S. This is about the fantasy realm I think these tracks all feed into and not somewhere I necessarily plug my headphones in to escape to.  Having said that, it’s a realm I’m definitely impressed is so vivid.

The first track that gets a mention is Namasenda’s Donuts. It opens with the lyrics “hanging around in the parking lot, cab down, eyes closed in the parking lot.  Donuts, we’re doing donuts, Motorola, yeah.” The next poignant line is “..I’m here right now, can you call me up?” just as an undeniably perfect trashy euro-trance synth line builds. There’s a fairly strong likelihood if you’re reading this that you remember using a Motorola Razr in the day and MSN at night, joy riding in hatchbacks in carparks and along with these things you probably remember trance-pop artists like Cascada and Basshunter (aka gods).

To make a track where the lyrical content and sound hit the nail so firmly on the head that those artists themselves never even managed it that well, is mesmerising. It’s like an audio description of a trance-pop music video from the golden era of the genre. In about 2016 I couldn’t help buying the CD single of Basshunter’s All I Ever Wanted. On the front was the iconic couple from his series of music videos serenading in a swimming pool. I showed this crappy scratched physical copy to my brother a while later when he visited (funnily enough to see the man himself play live at a questionable student event). I said something like; “remember this?” to which he simply replied “yep, their’s was real love”.

Next let’s talk about A.G. Cook’s remix of Stay With Me by Pink E Swear.  This is the track that convinced me personally of the strange/almost MDMA serotonin flashback/type gut wrenching euphoria this sub-genre can provide.   If you’re not convinced; please hear/see the haunting echo on the vocal, later in the track, once the main vocal hook is already ingrained into you. I say ‘see’ because you can basically visualize the re-recording of this section of the vocal, on a plush squash court (hence the incredible echo/reverb).  There’s only one other track that makes me get the same sickening sense of euphoria and that’s Hudson Mohawke’s Fuse (but that’s another story) [Fuse appears at 13:45 in the mix]. This track pre-dates the previous by 2 or 3 years yet they’re both from the same audiovisual world. This hits different.

Finally, to round this little trio off I’m going to talk/possibly just remind you of one of SOPHIE’s original tracks from the now legendary series of singles on Numbers; Just Like We Never Said Goodbye. Unlike the AG Cook track, you probably can’t even attempt to dance to this one (except maybe just lobbing your hands in the air and holding them there). It’s so stripped back, yet so full. No kick drum, no problem. A euphoria that builds and builds to absolutely nothing akin to a drop, but why do I want to just put it on again straight away?  Somehow it isn’t even a tease; the listener and the track kind of reaching climax together (no, not like that, you minx).  Simple explanation: the warping/building trance keys that don’t relent.  To quote the track “…and it makes me feel and it makes me feel and it makes me feel..”.  Makes me feel like lobbing my fucking hands in the air with a grin on my face.

I’d like to end this by saying that all the tracks I mention here aren’t actually ones I would have gravitated to on my own. I was shown all three of them by friends and just want to share the connection I feel they have as a trio, that’s potentially beyond anything I’ve ever heard across another genre/sub-genre.  Admittedly one could argue they’re just of a certain era (two of them are from half a decade ago), but I think it goes deeper than that. It’s an audio aesthetic, for lack of a better term.  I’m not claiming to be the first to point this exact aesthetic out either, I just think as many people as possible should let themselves get lost in tracks like these.  Some would argue it’s the higher pitched/sometimes auto tuned vocals that define the fantasy realm of these choons but there’s a reason I decided not to dwell on that correlation between them.  That correlation is only one stroke of the paintbrush (although yes there is surely some influence from proper/happy hardcore there and that’s lovely).  I used to think of this sub-genre as a bit lighthearted and silly, but fuck me I was wrong!  Anyway, I’m off to say some hail Marys for that sin and head to bed.  Btw here’s Fuse in case you haven’t heard it: 

Joel is an OG Loose Lips crew member.


Amber Davies

Music is my comfort blanket. I don’t remember much of my childhood, but one thing I’ll struggle to forget would be singing with my mum to 80s New Wave in the front room, or my dad producing and making trance records in his music studio. BilIy Idol and Simple minds blasting in the kitchen while my mum was washing up or waking up in my father’s flat to the beats of Orbital playing through his sound system. Still now, New Romantic, New Wave, Dub Reggae and 90s electronic music is the backbone of my music collection.

I once did some research into why people love music and I was surprised to hear that music fools the brain into thinking that it’s speech. Our brains love patterns and rhythms. The faster the music, the faster our breathing and heartbeats are. It’s like when you have a conversation with someone and it’s flowing well, ideas bounce off each other, it makes you feel great right? That’s the same as when music touches you.

I’ve struggled over the past 6 years on and off with depression. This was due to a toxic relationship deteriorating, becoming homeless, then coping to be a working single mother. It was hard and incredibly lonely. Music has always been my company and way to escape from some of the stress and pains of reality.

When I first stepped into modelling, I found myself listening to a lot of music that made me feel sexy and confident, that moved my mindset from having no self esteem to feeling like the most beautiful, seductive women in the room, before I eventually learnt to be who I am now. Whenever I listen to F**k with Myself by Banks or Cool Girl by Tove Lo it takes me back to being in front of a camera and having people stare at me, exposed in my underwear with bright lights blinding me. I remember just closing my mind to all my surroundings and listened to the beat. Envisioned the girl I wanted to feel like, I became her.

I really enjoy listening to what I call the odd balls of electronic music. I love hearing music which ihas something different to say, I don’t want to listen to what everyone else is listening to, we should strive to promote our differences. I get a kick out of finding hidden gems of pure talent in such an over saturated market. I resonate with Down Tempo, Chillwave, Trip Hop and Electronica, that’s where I seem to find my true passion for music. It’s something about the way the artist can make you join them through the waves of their music. Join them through a four-minute journey and submerge yourself into an audio bubble bath.

I have dreams of one day being at Burning Man festival at sunset listening to the likes of Boards of Canada, Tosca [whose track Annanas appears at 28:30 in the mix], Howie and Comic Visions, dancing in the dust, completely detached from every responsibility in life. Seeing people dancing, surrounded by lights, fires and metal sculptures of art. Away from any building, any street, just dancing in the desert. Being with people all escaping and being their true free selves. It’s like a safe place for me to feel completely careless and alive in. That would be my true fantasy land to go to.

If I had one artist to recommend it would have to be Gavinco. His music takes me to a place where I feel distant from everything. His album Mt Fuji is my audio stress ball. It flows like a wonderful fairy tale for the mind to relax to. I hope he does the same for you.

Amber describes her style of dancing as ‘like a willy trying to do the helicopter’.


Jack Hunter

This track comes from one of my all-time favourite bands, and by extension, is one of my favourite albums. Yes, you heard me right, this track is an album in its own right. First released in 1999 under the name Jerusalem, the track was segmented into six different parts - all coherently part of the same piece. In 2003, the song was re-released with a bonus 11 minute track, which was the song in its original form. This brings the final runtime of the track to an extensive one hour, three minutes and thirty-three seconds!

Don't let the runtime intimidate you, however - this song is a journey in its own right, as pictured in the re-released album cover of this album - men in post-apocalyptic gear, wandering through the desert. The crushing riffs, sonic timbre, and insane tone carry this mammoth like nothing else - a truly pulverising and weighty experience. A complete meditation on the senses. The monotonal vocal delivery almost brings the listener into a full sense of hypnosis. Almost ceremoniously.

In conjunction with the gravity-defying riffs comes some of the most impressive and otherworldly guitar solos ever put to record. Now, egocentric guitar solos have never taken my interest, however, in this piece it truly adds to the experience, and creates a sonic diversity to the steady pacing of the track, without delineating from its mesmerising conceptual nature.

Close your eyes, press play, and most importantly, listen as loud as possible! You'll come back into this world a different person, I guarantee.

_"Follow the weedian, Nazareth! "_

Jack DJs as Dog Eyes, runs the Index Tapes imprint, and acts as Loose Lips’ head of social media.


Livia Cesa

[1:03:00]

Livia takes photos at London’s formidable club The Cause, and works as digital ambassador for the marketing department of SOAS.


Nadiya Taylor

Ever since I heard this track on a rainy day in Mile End 9 years ago, I always get a bizarre case of synaesthesia - I can taste the salty air, feel the goosebumps on my skin from the cooling ocean breeze, I can almost feel the dampness of the sand underneath me. I can see the changing colours of the pink sky through the gap between the arms wrapped around me in a tight embrace, with the palm trees swaying in an oscillating dance. The dreamy piano riff (sampled from Françoise Hardy’s Voila!) opens the track, setting a perfect film-noire scene for fateful love. I can just about make sense out of the lyrics, the arms around me are partly covering my ears letting only some sounds reach my eardrums, making the singer’s voice sound muffled.

The haunting voice belongs to Alex Zhang Hungtai, Taiwanese-Canadian singer and songwriter for Dirty Beaches and, later, Last Lizard. The real reason behind the singer’s murky sound is a low pass distorted filter and Alex’s penchant for eerie cinematic sound, 50’s rockabilly era and Lynch-esque aesthetics. Incidentally 6 years after this track was released in 2011, Alex had a cameo appearance in David Lynch’s sequel to Twin Peaks, as a member of a fictional rock band called Trouble.

Lord Knows Best is a song without a time stamp - written in the past decade, it wouldn’t sound out of place at one of the surf rock parties at Rendezvous Ballroom in the 60’s (a famous gig venue at that time in Balboa, California). As for me, the dreamy lyrics from Lord Knows Best [1:05:40] are a perfect trigger that evoke familiar memories and brings up the same scene over and over again. Perhaps this time I will add a new one - I’m driving off into the sunset in a convertible Buick. 

Nadiya Taylor is Loose Lips writer and a member of the all-female Sisu DJ crew which hold a residency at the Concrete Lates.


Mix Tracklist:

Hiroshi Yoshimura - Feel
Gaussian Curve - Broken Cloud
Maro, Ariza - Why
Branko - Take Off (Princess Nokia)
Bbymutha - Lookin’ for me (feat Ttbby)
Gnarls Barkely - St. Elsewhere
Hudson Mohawke - Fuse
Caribou - Home
FKJ - Go Back Home
Kaytranada - culture / what you need
Bombe Estereo - Mar (Lo Que Siento)
Ekkah - Figure it Out
Tosca - Annanas
Systema Solar - El Boton Del Pantalon
Miss Rio - Funk The System
S3A - Chapitres
Bombe Estereo - Sintiendo
Fred - Loverman
Tornado Wallace - Primitive Aperitivo
Marquis Hawkes - Lets do it
CJ Scott - Asshole ’n’ Elbows
Thursday Club - A Place Called Acid
Laidback Luke - That Kinda Party
Four Tet - Insect near Piha Beach
Mina - Il Cielo en una stanza
Dirty Beaches - Lord Knows Best