Clash takes a look at the dance masters who smashed the last twelve months with their addictive bass manoeuvres as well as matching up the new generation of likeminded acolytes.
MASTER: Laurel Halo
Hear Laurel Halo's 'Airsick' above.
One of the most confounding yet burgeoning voices in dance music this year has been that of Laurel Halo. Zig-zagging from her Ann Arbor base through various musical incarnations to her current veiled, awkward interpretation of techno, she’s quickly transformed into the muse of experimentalism.
Her debut on Hyperdub Records is a web of drones, sonic mists, ill-tempered voices and tiny sketches. Her tracks are short, veiled wanders through the walls of genres, spectral musings that transcend notions of fixed style forms. She rarely retains consistency yet magically underpins the entire journey into a coherent whole.
‘Quarantine’ is a nocturnal sortie into a possible future of opaque techno, or just perhaps one of the more unique and elusive corners of dance music we’ve experienced this year.
BEST BIT: Laurel’s uncomfortable use of jagged prose over equally terse sound spectrums pushes her fast out into a futuristic zone of her own.
ACOLYTE: Fatima Al Qadiri
Bubbling away in one of the more intriguing cultural cooking pots, Fatima is a Senegalese-born, Muslim Kuwaiti visual artist and now musician living in Brooklyn. This zigged and zagged mix has gifted her with a wilful destruction of boundaries that sees her challenge everything from gender to geography over to pummeled plug-ins and, with ‘How Can I Resist You’, hurls the pointlessness of war into the centre of her own distinct hinterland for us to gawp at.
Fatima’s earlier recording career saw her grace the stock room shelves of Tri-Angle Records as ‘Ayshay’, which translates in English to ‘whatever’, and it’s this spirit that continues unabated with her disregard for almost anything that’s existed before.
Tearing down walls whilst making the crushing debris sound so melodic, Fatima’s deconstructions and cross pollinations stand out vividly in a world where such activities are now heralded at the pinnacle of underground culture. She’s blithely political through virtue of her positioning and her less insidious song names such as ‘Vatican Vibes And Corpcore’. And we await her next move with baited expectation.
BEST BIT: Every molecule of mongrelism and wilful reinvention is as refreshing as her sizzling political beats.