My name is Edward Griffiths. I am 50, have been involved in music and the arts from running raves and clubs as a promoter to working across many fields from fashion design to film props and costume. I have been fortunate to experience many wonderful creative voices that have become essential tools for survival and happiness regardless of my own failures and successes, often recalibrating my understanding if the world and reigniting easily quashed passions.
I currently (though somewhat occasionally rn) run the XOLO series of events, seeking to create a platform for artists to bring attention to them and their works. Since lockdown started I have continued this through a series of online events and by sharing contacts and connections so as to enable artists to create their own events and achieve exposure. I also make sound under my own monikers OLO snd TZT (names that are quite simply emoticons representing my face so that I did not have to seek crappy names that might seem too try-hard).
I was offered several formats for this list and have chosen to speak through music about a transformational process that music serves for me on a very personal level - I am not wishing to try to impress anyone but rather to share music that has connected some loose wires for me, I hope it might for others too.
I could not really tell a linear story here as each piece contains many elements of my theme, that of loss and isolation, fury and frustration and the search for antidotes and paths toward energy, acceptance and celebrates happiness despite any trials.
Each of these has the potential to ruin and make a day. Each is truly a part of my survival kit.
There were so many artists I feel actually guilt for not placing here as they are equally worthy and many are friends who I feel I am letting down by their absence, but these tell the story I want to tell today and are either less known or less obvious and fit together as a personal toolkit.
Last Exit - An Eye For An Eye (from Iron Path)
An agonised, guttural roar, a call to battle, the bellowing that accompanies loss and fury.
This outpouring soundtracked some pretty awful emotions that were added to with lockdown, and yet it also could top and tail this list for its force can also be a blast-clearing of unwanted memories and the battle can be relished in the final questioning, lingering notes...
hmurd - Shepherd’s Delight
This artist and very dear friend has a very special place in my life, from sticking with me through some difficult experiences to actively supporting me as an artist and promoter, to introducing me to new ways to create and educating me about musical coding and production... the list goes on...
When Harry performed this piece live at The Glove That Fits the room ignited, simply a joy! This piece is one of so many I could have chosen but it crystallises the elegance, loving warmth and gentle humour they deliver and it has come to embody simplicity and pleasure for me, their head leaning to one side, beautiful face in a gentle smile, a magical elven being leading us forward.
Ibukun Sunday - Like A Laser Beam
At the very beginning of lockdown I was reading so many desperate posts and hearing such plaintiff music from artists as they struggled to cope. I was no different so I got in touch with Threads to organise the XOLO x Threads*TAKEOVERS as an antidote to isolation. This artist appeared at the second event but this track had been lifting me and showing me beauty from the moment I heard it just before the first event and has become a constant sonic friend. There were several other tracks that could have also filled this spot but they are by better known artists and have already had plenty of attention so I chose this artist as his work is for me a quietly growing voice I really want to share.
This wonderful and sadly lost artist has spoken in such complex and awe-inspiringly nuanced voices. From the initial amazement that these sounds could exist (truly few were sending sounds this far out when he emerged) to finally connecting more to the beautiful yet strained psyche that created such sounds through perseverance with the pieces, the journey to falling in love with his work has enabled me to better manage my own internal noise and appreciate music’s role in exorcising personal demons. It is hard to explain quite what I mean with this artist’s work as it can seem like a cascading wall of fragments, an onslaught, but beneath the initial clutter emerges funk and fury, emotions tumble and wrestle and it is like glimpsing dimensions that remind me of the first time I tried to imagine infinity. Fear and wonder in equal measures. I wish I could thank this artist in person and my love goes out to those that were left with loss and pain. Nevertheless his work remains for me a potent expression of all that it is to tussle with ourselves, our function and existence. Most of us can relate to the various states of mind that have been imposed over the past year and we have had a fairly common experience of having reality torn apart, Qebrus is for me a complex, often challenging and sometimes beautiful expression of these states of flux.
Alex Ortega SY/IN
I have been compelled by this artist since the first hearing and pretty much stalked him for a set for the first XOLO x Threads*TAKEOVERS event. His music snd label, HIDE Productions are consistent and reliable in delivering works of immense potency with sounds and visuals that cross the divide between electronic and rock origins, alluding to future histories as lessons and delivering blistering sonic statements that are delicate and elegant as much as they can seem violent, though never gratuitous. This piece is the forerunner for his latest release and as a set I cannot divide it apart, for me it works as a whole that takes me on a ferocious emotional workout and delivers me back home smiling through my tears. The visual and sonic are inseparable here, the story it tells acts as a vehicle for my own rather personal elements. This work was one of many that could speak equally as well but my obsession with his presence as an artist at my event gave me the much needed confidence to deliver the rest of the event and as such represents my return to confidence in general after some bruising times.
Blind Idiot God - Stravinsky/Blasting Off
My friend Dan Sumption introduced me to this visceral, explosive, obsessive beast of a track in the late 80’s and I have returned to it so very many times, sometimes out of joy and other times to release me from fury! Hailing from the post punk scene in NY it occupies a cathartic role; voicing frustrations and mowing-down private gremlins, an antidote to lethargy.
Kim Cosmik- Cycles (original mix)
I struggled to choose between many tracks by Kim. Our long-standing friendship of 30 years and often shared history has been soundtracked for me by her many times over. I chose this track however as it represents a full arrival with clarity and force. Over lockdown Kim’s Hybrid events have carved a path and a deservedly massive following, the many artists involved have become a solid m, unified and growing family online, linking artists across the globe, a family I am proud to be part of despite my awkward fit, my music being very much at the edge of their general oeuvre.
For me this track relates and responds to her VOID release from ~’95 ( https://youtu.be/fyvurGZEOTY ).
The sparse, bleak industry underscored by snappy sub-rhythms of that release answered with this piece, transposed from anger then to energy now, still contained and soaring but now very assured and certain. This is solidity in times of chaos, a steady guiding hand from a much loved, trusted and deservedly respected artist and friend.
Christian Vogel - Cancion Sintecta
This track has been the soundtrack to both desperation and hope many times, crying into the void as well as promising emergence into a brighter future. I have tended to exit once the beat starts as it pins the vast swathes down and this track has enough power in the first minutes to speak to and for my heart.
Sophie - LOVE
The first track I ever heard by Sophie and still one of my favourites, though I was really close to exchanging this for ‘It’s Okay To Cry’. This track is truly strange and should not work, however it does as this masterful artist seemed to always generate such exquisite beauty out of what could have easily been trite ugly pop sounds. Losing her from the world of music is a tragedy but her magic lives on. This piece reminded me to be bolder, to compromise less, feel more, it is a tiny grain of of a piece that still thrills me the second the odd squealing noise is emitted and makes me feel that it is possible to achieve genuine freshness in what was beginning to feel like a sonic Groundhog Day. Rest in peace and thank you for waking me back up X
This final track was super difficult to select, I agonised over it for days!
I finally settled on catharsis as my favoured resolution to stasis. I bought this 1985 recording on tape in by The Bow Gamelan Ensemble from the somewhat unique ‘These’ records store, as I was fascinated by the raw sounds and wild methods producing them; explosions in upturned baths, flames on shattered glass tubes, general ordered mayhem! I relate this directly to my cure t love of artists such as Fabio Volpi_Dies ( https://youtu.be/0FVbg9f5s9A ) and Luigi Furno (
https://youtu.be/HO-lLsxyl2s ) whose works also explore textural and visceral sonics. It is a freedom from linearity coupled with a search for beauty in what might be fairly termed as hard-ASMR , though I am less than certain the artists themselves would agree, but it serves a descriptive purpose. It is well worth watching videos of the Bow Gamelan Ensemble also as it gives more context to the sounds, however this piece was my introduction hence my selection. I placed this last as it offers a good deal of anarchic freedom, something I sense we need to explore once more after this tense year!