Truancy Volume 99: Beatrice Dillon

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The London-born and based artist Beatrice Dillon first came to our attention with her Folkways 2 release on Will Bankhead’s buy-on-sight label The Trilogy Tapes. As well as that project, she has released an impressive number of works ranging from experimental solo and collaborative compositions, musical pieces for art installations as well as soundtracking films. Her mix for the consistently brilliant Blowing Up The Workshop series is a great example of her unique and broad tastes, and we cannot recommend Beatrice’s shows on Resonance FM highly enough.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Beatrice over email about her musical background, past, current and future projects, her music-making process and creating compositions for different contexts. She also provided us with our 99th Truancy Volume, a mix of typically wide-ranging and fascinating sounds that provides a taste for her impeccable crate-digging and selection skills.

Stream: Beatrice Dillon – Folkways 2 (clip) (The Trilogy Tapes) 

What was the idea behind this mix and how did you go about selecting the music for it? “I knew I wanted to include “Reshadub” and I suppose that set the mood, there’s stuff on here I’ve liked for a while and new things that have been listening to.”

What is your musical background? When developing an interest in music, were there any formative artists or labels? “My older brother was really into music so I copied him and then found my own path. I was never particularly into teenage-indie music and later during college I got into buying country, reggae and soul stuff. Those big singers like Donny Hathaway, James Carr, Toussaint MacColl, Percy Sledge. I still love that music, it’s very powerful.”

On your Soundcloud I came across your album with Rupert Clervaux, Studies I-XVII for Samplers and Percussion. Could you perhaps talk about the record, the inspirations for it, the recording process and any whether you have any future plans for the pieces? “It’s a record of seventeen pieces for percussion instruments and samples of those instruments. We just started by doing things like pitching down a xylophone and balafon to the point of abstraction, playback through a snare, shifting on beat/offbeats, what happens when you remove that 4/4 anchor.. We had rules like each piece should be under two minutes with no other instrumentation, melodies/effects at a minimum, etc. I suppose some of it might be a kind of mock of ethnographic records, too. We wanted to use the computer in a basic way, so none of it is looped or built on the grid to a click. In that respect, it’s kind of a remixers nightmare! Having said that… Karen Gwyer and Rene Audiard will be reworking them and it will be amazing to hear their interpretations. The LP will be released in autumn this year on the US label- Snow Dog and we are working on a live/DJ set.”

This album is not the first time that the two of you have collaborated. How did the two of you start making music together and how the collaborative process between you works? “Collaboration between us  is very natural. He has a love of literature and I of visual art and music is where we meet down the middle. There’s usually quite a lot of talking and filter coffee involved. He masters a lot of records for improvised / free music and so it’s nice to be played different things whilst he’s mixing them. We have quite different technical skills with a lot of taste overlap so it’s a good combination.”

You also have a cassette due for release on Where To Now? soon. What sort of record is it – is it in the vein of a mixtape like your Trilogy Tapes release, or your own compositions? “This will be my own stuff, there are some other things in the pipeline later this year. It’s quite hard making music when you love it so much.”

You have created a very wide range of different music projects, as well as doing a radio. How do the different facets of your music making or “curating” interact, if they do? “Seems natural to me that all these things should feed off each other. I love reading those hardwax descriptions ‘…big room DJ tool‘ or ‘…fine tripping DJ tool‘ – the idea of a DJ set being hundreds of rhythms or ideas sewn together, just a different pair of hands handling that collage each time. It’s easier than ever to discover music and make your own collages now which can only be a good thing.”

The artwork for your releases, which I am most familiar with – the Trilogy Tapes cassette and the Blowing Up the Workshop mix, is quite striking. How do you choose artwork for your projects? Do you make any visual art yourself? “The artwork for my Blowing Up The Workshop mix was done by Matthew Kent who (as well as running BUTW) is an artist. He sent me the image of the monk playing the pipe organ with the bright yellow wash and I really liked it. Folkways 2 uses a slanted photo I took of some of my LPs on my floor at home.” Continuing from the previous question, am I right in thinking that the visual aspect of a record is quite important to you? Are there any specific labels whose art direction you especially like? “Tons.. Jack Goldstein’s Suite of 7 inches, the  brilliant weird illustrations and lettering on things like Fat Eyes, Mentally Disturbed, etc. the shiny futuristic sleeves of the Prospective 21e siècle series more recently Frauke Stegmans work for Treader, PAN’s beautiful delicate sleeves, the span of ideas from The Trilogy Tapes. I know I must’ve missed a ton of great music over the years by being put off by the cover! There is also a blog I follow called bracebrace which though not especially dedicated to music, is wild.”

All of your mixes which I have heard contain lots of music which is completely new to me, so I imagine that you must discover lots of new music all the time. In the last several months have you found anything that particularly wowed you? Either an artist or single piece, or perhaps even an entire (sub-) genre of music which you found or that finally clicked? “I’ve really enjoyed Rene Audiard and Düve (Blank Slate/ Supply) also Keith Hudson. I had Michael Talbot Affair on a Blood and Fire comp and always loved it and was familiar – without realising – with lots of his productions stuff for Ken Boothe, but I’d but never bothered to investigate his weirder solo stuff until very recently. Darkest Night on a Wet Looking Road, Man From Shooters Hill or My Nocturne are just so atmospheric and incredible, Flesh of My Skin Blood of My Blood is probably what I’ve listened to most in the past 2 years. I’ve bought that CD three times for people like an evangelist!There is a brilliant interview he did with David Rodigan you can stream online.”

Stream: Beatrice Dillon – The Brilliant And The Dark B-Sides Remix (Live at Cafe OTO)

Do you have a preferred way of finding new music? Any favourite record shops or particularly special record shop finds? “I’ve tried to quell that urge a bit! Though I do still go to record shopping a few times a month. There have been many finds that have been important in bargain boxes or car boot sales or things I’ve been given. There used to be a store in South London in someone’s front room called These Records that had some stunning things. It was fun going to Gramophone and Dusty Groove for the first time last year.”

In 2011 you contributed a score to Claire Hooper’s film Eris, and previously you soundtracked NYX by the same director. In writing an original score for a piece of film, did you find the process to be significantly different from when you compose for an art installation or your own project, and if so in what way(s)? “I love making soundtracks, I love the set framework, having to produce in such specific parameters in contrast to how I go about making my own music. Working with Claire was great – we have a very trusting working relationship and I’m very familiar with her sensibilities and ideas. We adapted it for the ICA with a choir, which pushed it into another direction.”

Have you ever considered releasing pieces, which you wrote for an art project (such as the ADA installation or ‘Two Changes’) or the aforementioned film scores as standalone works, or would you rather have them be experienced in that original context? Do you think they could work outside of those specific accompanying images or art objects/spaces? “I would love to release “Two Changes”, I hired a 3-octave vibraphone for the piece, which Rupert played – it sounded incredible reverberating in the swimming pool. A 12” of “Ada” is due for release later this year.”

Beatrice Dillon’s release on Where To Now? is out in July and can be previewed here along with other interesting material from the label, while ‘Studies I-XVII for Samplers and Percussion with Rupert Clervaux is due for release on Snow Dog this Fall.

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Words by Eradj Yakubov, 23 June 2014. Leave a comment

Recommended: JoeFarr – Sentry EP

JoeFarr (Truants -Antoin Lindsay)In a stellar couple of years Bintus‘ Power Vacuum label has established itself as one of the finest purveyors of the harder club-flattening side of techno. JoeFarr brings us the label’s ninth release; having shared a track with J.Tijn on the labels’ eighth release, the four way split Vectors EP, this one continues Power Vacuum’s consistent tradition of unmistakable warehouse acid. JoeFarr has had a busy half a year, releasing EPs on Belfast’s DSNT (complete with blistering Truss remix), Origami Sound, and Tiga‘s Turbo. With his release on Turbo exploring a less abrasive sound than his DSNT release, JoeFarr returns to the darker sounds of the latter. Power Vacuum then seems like a perfect fit and Sentry doesn’t disappoint.

“On Your Life” as a title, sounding like someone threatening your very existence, is rather appropriate considering the feedback that resonates through the track makes it sound like some kind of electronic animal breathing its last. Title track “Sentry” doesn’t hold back either, pulverising and screeching that make you unsure whether you should be listening to it at a rave or it should be soundtracking dodging bullets from a sentry gun in the most intense Goldeneye 64 level ever. The workout doesn’t stop with “My Sixth” which serves a straight up amelodic pulsing late night club tool. Like the rest of the EP it’s loud and mechanic, made for the warehouses and factories. “Rampart” takes up a similar mantle with the piston-like growls permeating the track, again the lack of melody showing a marked change from JoeFarr’s relatively tuneful Llarose EP on Turbo. Similarly, there’s little that resembles vocal samples, apart from in the final track “What Time Is Now”, where an exasperated robot-like voice calls out over the Farr’s relentless machine funk. It’s a highlight of the EP and ekes out every last bit of sweat in the listener regardless of the context its listened to.

It’s not really been too much of a secret that there is a slew of techno artists over the last couple of years embracing the abrasive; Perc, Truss, Tessela, Inigo Kennedy, all showing that you can make techno hit hard without having to sacrifice the fun. Power Vacuum are very much proponents of this ideology, you only have to look at the cover of label owner Bintus’ Live* & Locked to get a sense of this. JoeFarr continues this tradition and has created five tracks of equally satisfying basement tracks. With this release he’s treading a now familiar path but make no mistake, with Sentry, JoeFarr will make every effort to floor you.

Stream: JoeFarr – Sentry EP Preview (Power Vacuum)

Words by Antoin Lindsay, 18 June 2014. Leave a comment

Truancy Volume 98: Beneath

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Another mad one for you: Truancy Volume 98 comes courtesy of Beneath. The depth and weight of Beneath’s output – initially released on his own white label No Symbols – always has us queuing up for more damage, and he’s found himself in the position of truly being a favourite of critics and punters alike. His productions stand menacingly at the crossroads of dubstep, grime and UK funky, but more recent experiments have proved that even at that deviant intersection, there’s room for manoeuvre. One result of this kind of expansion is that his work really is consistently effective on the floor. It stops you in your tracks mentally an instant before it pulls at your strings and picks up your limbs, with a sound so big you can happily shack out in the long shadows it casts. Another result is that his EPs have showed up on labels as diverse as the legendary Keysound, new spot Niche ‘N’ Bump (which brought us one of our favourite tracks last year, the daintily murderous “Bellz“), and Bill Kouligas’ PAN, which released the mind-warping Vobes EP earlier this year.  You can go grab his latest EP, which sees him moving back to No Symbols, right about now

As well as being a young producer to watch, Beneath has also caught our ears as a selector: his set at Unsound’s closing party last October in particular was nothing short of magnificent, displaying both a burgeoning dexterity and a real passion for the potency of UK dance music. With that in mind, and after appearing on Truancy Volume 71 around this time last year (delivered by Hodge), we’re nothing short of delighted that he’s somewhat shyly agreed to drop a mix for us. Clocking in at around the eighty minute mark, it’s as deep and expansive as the productions we can’t get enough of and goes in some directions you won’t (but maybe should) be expecting. A word from the man himself on his mixing style: “[I]n the past I’d always been quite narrow, in that I would just play my own tracks mainly and some other UK stuff. But I’m starting to bring my other influences into sets and stuff that generally just fits with the vibe I like – so this mix represents that shift maybe, becoming more of a DJ than just a producer who can DJ. Still got lots of new music from mates in the mix though.” No tracklist this time, but we’re sure you won’t have much trouble identifying some of those mates… Without further ado, a mix we’ve all been salivating over: Truancy Volume 98 by Beneath. Stream and download below. 

Truancy Volume 98: Beneath by TRUANTS

Words by Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura, 17 June 2014. 1 comment

Chronicles: Kit – Lownt God Rising

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Chicago upstart (how many times have we heard that since 2012?) Kit is something of an anomaly. At some point along the lengthy, recreating spectrum of hip-hop and R&B the Midwest provides us with year after year (and which enthusiasts avow to pick apart), Kit is situated at a very liminal position, owing his artistic direction to the likes of both Jeremih and King L at the same, unlikely time. Of course we haven’t heard enough from the rapper/R&B-dweller to say anything definitive up until now and without putting out practically any material preceding it, the genre-blurring rapper released his first body of work, the 11-track NewWavey, in July of last year. Comprised of tracks like “Lights On”, the tape’s foreboding opening sex vignette, “My Bad Bitch”, is a fly disregard for steady relationships and effectively features velvety smooth R&B group JODY. Then you have “Cloud On My Mind,” probably the most mind-affecting cut of the whole inebriating collection. The mixtape was a promising first time out for Kit that left listeners wondering how much more strung out the rapper could possibly sound during his next broadcast. Though he does shift from gun-toting to blunt-sparking to racy pillow-talking on a track to track basis the sound of his end product, like a strong cup of lean, remains simple whilst addicting. The common thread that ran through NewWavey was druggy heedlessness, with the production—exclusively done by Jeremiah Meece of The-Drum save for a few tracks—being more than an integral part of Kit’s woozy affect and probably more than half the reason one would revisit the tape, which isn’t nearly a bad thing considering the seeming rapport of the two local acts and how well Meece’s celestial beats worked with Kit’s fucked up lyric.

Stream: Kit – My Bad Bitch

With eyes still dilated from last year Kit, now beside the production aid of the Supreme Cuts duo (perhaps the next rung up on the experimental beat ladder with proximity to The-Drum), opens up his new album Lownt God Rising with “L.W.O.” The beat is booming and wide-screened, appropriately staying well away from the extravagance heard on the producers’ most recent LP, over which the self-proclaimed Lownt God raps disaffected as ever by the sober and simple happenings around him; “you know I ain’t got no manners bruh/ you lucky I even showed up to this shit/ just take a look at my wrist” he says in the first verse.

Stream: Kit- L.W.O. (1833)

It’s no wonder why Kit lifted “Touchdown” from Lownt God a few days before release to tease the album. The beat, one of two the rapper credits himself for alongside the featured makers, reminds us of the transporting capabilities of rap beats in a post-Clams Casino world and could easily rank among the best of the year; the three artists it seems doing their best to summon wraithlike vocal disembodiment while still shaking trunks. “Steve Kerr,” with its Bay Area bounce, will suit well basketball aficionados and hyphy/ratchet lovers alike. Finally, JODY constituent David Ashley, who sounds like a certain trap lord on this occasion, assists Kit on “Running Up Numbers,” a track that further displays the dynamism we all knew Supreme Cuts had, and bit of the same from Kit. Even in the context of increasing Chicago musical fertility, ‘unique’ is a description befitting of both the rapper/singer and production team, who present more hits than misses on one of the more anticipated collaborations the underground had to offer so far this year.

Stream: Kit – Touchdown

Lownt God Rising is available to purchase on iTunes or download here.

Words by Michael Scala, 16 June 2014. Leave a comment

Premiere: Moist Ghost / The Range – Call Me Up / Over You

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If you can pry yourself away from the World Cup on TV tonight (as I write this Arjen Robben actually just scored to take the Netherlands 2-1 up against Spain so we understand if you can’t) we’ve got something interesting for you. Tuff Wax, the Aberdeen/ Brighton based label, are back on the scene and this time it’s a doozie. They return to the 7″ format for a split release between Atlanta’s Moist Ghost (Astro Nautico, Tuff Wax) and Providence’s The Range (Donky Pitch, Astro Nautico).

Moist Ghost… You’re probably cringing, we know, we know, but if you give it a minute you’ll see Tuff Wax have come up with the goods again. If you sidestep a slightly shudder inducing name (and we recommend you do) you’ll find one Sam Wilhoit and his ear for a subtlety; his agitated and somewhat restless sample coupled with a ghostly (sorry) synthscapes make “Call Me” an atmospheric experience. Then you’ve got The Range, a Truancy Volume veteran himself. His Ashanti sample in “Over You” is addictive, and if you’re a real fan you’ll recognise this from his volume back in November. His production, like always, is on point and these two tracks sit comfortably alongside each other. Jaw Jam and Grobbie, past Tuff Wax affiliates, sneak in on a remix flex providing off-kilter and grime-centric examples of beautifully produced tracks. Wrap your ears around the exclusives below.

Stream: Moist Ghost – Call Me Up / The Range ‘Over you’ (Tuff Wax) 

Moist Ghost – Call Me Up / The Range ‘Over you’ split 7″ is available from the Tuff Wax bandcamp on the 30th June.

Words by Jess Melia, 13 June 2014. 1 comment

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