RA.866 Daria Kolosova : Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Daria Kolosova was one of the brightest stars of Kyiv’s incredible techno scene, when the city was among the best places for the genre anywhere in the world (and remains so, even under duress). Now living in Berlin, Kolosova’s style and sound feel both timeless and progressive. She’s been DJing since she was a teenager—after falling in love with dance music via her dad’s collection—and has built up a style that has taken her to the world’s most renowned techno clubs and festivals.
In spite of her popularity, Kolosova does things differently to many of her peers. She’s spoken about her respect for and recognition of techno’s origins, and her DJing style pays homage to the genre’s history. Her sets span eras and continents, with a ’90s bent that encompasses not just hard, rolling techno but breakbeats, electro, IDM and prog. Her RA Podcast is a brilliant collection of old and new, from Goa trance to Julia Govor, expertly mixed with a storyteller’s hand.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/886
RA.885 Cormac : You might describe Cormac McCarthy as a late bloomer. Or he might describe himself that way. Though he’s been in the dance music game for a long time—a regular at Trash and Nag Nag Nag, and a resident of and booker behind the old Sunday WetYourSelf! parties at fabric—it’s only more recently that he’s come into a sound that he can call his own, something that connects more clearly with who he is.
That sound is rooted in the queer history so important to him. You could call his RA Podcast hi-NRG, to be general. It’s that vibrant, pounding, melodic and synthetic sound that came out of the post-disco early ’80s, combining the flair of disco with the strut of Italo. There’s new and old here, because McCarthy is a champion of evolving iterations of the genre (think Chinaski or Jennifer Cardini). Over this two and a half hours you’ll hear Patrick Cowley and Madonna, but also a whole lot of other, less obvious stuff too. We could go on, but McCarthy explains himself pretty well (and eloquently) in the interview on the RA website. One hot tip: watch out for his upcoming Queerly Beloved podcast series, where he talks to queer artists about their relationships with music.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/855
RA.884 Etapp Kyle : Since emerging (to most the world) on Ben Klock’s Klockworks label, Ukrainian producer Etapp Kyle immediately caught attention of Berlin’s techno cognoscenti, with a sound that seemed perfectly fit for the Berghain school: taut, slyly melodic and just the right amount of funky. Over the past ten years, he’s refined his sound to a science, but also opened it up: his records on Ostgut Ton, particularly 2020’s Nolove EP, showcase a mastery of sound and space. This is techno you can sit in, and let it wash over you.
As a DJ, Kyle is generally associated with a functional, if atmospheric style of techno (and, more recently, electro), but on his RA Podcast he invites us into something of a different space. In a way, this mix represents the spirits of his productions, with a wide-open soundscape touching on everything from ’90s techno and trance, including some goodies from Canada and Denmark, along with core electronic acts like Future Sound Of London, Autechre and today’s modern electronica poster-boy, Skee Mask—BPMs and genres be damned. It’s a mix that veers from melancholy to emotive to ecstatic, sometimes even silly, and it’s a real pleasure, capturing one of techno’s more creative and restless voices.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/884
RA.882 Otik : Before starting his own label Solar Body, Otik released music on labels like INTERGRADED, Keysound, 3024 and Shall Not Fade, doing his rounds on the imprints that make up a constellation of the UK’s most exciting club music. (To keep it simple, we can call it broken techno, but that’s not the whole story.) He hails from Bristol, and takes in that city’s unique and enduring blend of techno, dub and drum & bass history, but what sets Otik apart is the sense of atmosphere and space in his music. Perhaps RA’s Taylor Bratches put it best: “Otik’s precise club music floats on a lush, celestial plane.”
You can hear it in his upcoming EP Xoul Trap, where even a straightforward house beat on “Unorthodox” rides an updraft of choral vocals and eerie synths, as if carried by the wind. Otik says his RA Podcast is meant to be a little more straightforward than usual for him, sticking purely to club music, but it’s still full of twists, turns, throwbacks (hello, “Router” by Pangaea) and, of course, the melodic and atmospheric qualities that make Otik tick.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/882
RA.883 Fever Ray : Co-mixed with @Aasthma.
There are few people who have had as much of an impact on contemporary electronic music as Karin Dreijer, whether with their brother Olof in The Knife or with their solo project, Fever Ray. From massive indie-pop hits to paradigm-shifting dance records, Dreijer’s work takes a psychedelic, plasticine approach to synth pop, with their trademark pitch-shifted vocals and psuedo-tropical beats. As Fever Ray, they’ve tapped into the global club music underground, working with producers like Nídia, Paula Temple, Deena Abdelwahed, Vessel and, on new album Radical Romantics—one of our favourite albums of the year so far at RA, hands down—even Nine Inch Nails.
Another important collaborator in Dreijer’s world is Peder Mannerfelt, the Swedish techno producer who has been working with Fever Ray since the first album back in 2009. He co-mixed this RA Podcast as part of Aasthma, his duo with Pär Grindvik. The mix is a survey of Dreijer’s favourite dance music, some of which informs their one-of-a-kind sound world as Fever Ray. There’s plenty of music from the groundbreaking East African scene centered around Nyege Nyege Tapes, plus DJ Haram, Equinkoxx, Tayhana and more, and even two exclusive, upcoming Fever Ray remixes from Avalon Emerson and Nifra. It’s a rare look into the musical tastes of a true visionary.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/883
RA.881 Elisa Bee : Hard work can pay off. Just ask Elisa Bee. The Sardinian producer and DJ has been working diligently since 2007, exploring and then refining a style of techno that has that rare, hard-to-put-your-finger-on quality: a soulful reverence, paying homage to the old days and the originators without just copying them. She struck it (relatively) big with an EP on Unknown To The Unknown in 2019 and has since become a fixture on labels like Hardgroove, Symbiosis and Balkan Vinyl, imprints that specialize in a kind of meat-and-potatoes techno that underlines both the fundamentals and subtle innovation. She’s also a resident at Milan’s Tempio Del Futuro Perduto, which she talks about at length in the interview below.
Now, in 2023, Elisa Bee is part of a vanguard of younger techno producers who carry the flag for the ’90s without resorting to pastiche or the bigger-is-better aesthetic of much of the rest of the contemporary European techno landscape. Her RA Podcast is as buttery smooth as it is propulsive, flying through tracks from like-minded artists like Austin Ato, Nocow and Black Girl/White Girl. Sleek, vintage and futuristic all at once.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/881
RA.880 Bill Kouligas : Bill Kouligas is the mind behind one of modern electronic music’s greatest and most innovative labels, PAN. His remarkable ear for music meant that he released some of the earliest records from luminaries like Yves Tumor, Helena Hauff and Eartheater, helping to jumpstart several remarkable careers. And each PAN release is lovingly and lavishly packaged like an art object in itself, an approach you can read more about in this month’s feature-length cover story.
The Berlin artist’s RA Podcast is an audio companion to that cover story, and it underlines not only Kouligas’s range as a label A&R but also as a DJ. Reflecting the label’s evolution from straight-up noise to musique concréte to leftfield dance music and then avant-pop, the mix cycles through stages of strange, staggered beats, almost celestial ambient music, passages of overwhelming noise and sound that sublimate into floating clouds before solidifying back into club music, and a couple engaging spoken word passages and endless manipulations of the human voice. In other words, it sounds a lot like PAN.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/880
RA.879 V.I.V.E.K : Once upon a time, V.I.V.E.K Sharda was unhappy with the sound at UK nightclubs and parties—sound that he felt couldn’t capture the deepest, truest vibrations of the music he wanted to play and hear—so he just made his own sound system. (Naturally, he called it System.) That should give you an idea of how seriously Sharda takes his wubs and his sub-bass, and if you have even a passing interest in UK sound system culture or dub’s crossover with dance music—including, yes, dubstep—then you’ve probably heard of V.I.V.E.K, or at least heard one of his chest-rattling records.
Along with producers like Om Unit and Kryptic Minds—both of whom feature in the mix below—Sharda has never been one for following trends or concerned about scenes. Instead, he’s fully devoted to the pulse of dub and the luxury of bassweight. He’s put out slow but steady stream of ultra-heavy releases on his own labels System Music and VIVEK, and now he’s on a mission to change perceptions of what 140 BPM music can sound like. That’s what you’ll hear on his RA Podcast, a meditative and occasionally tectonically-shifting mix that highlights dubstep, dub and its many offshoots—not just staggered drums and subterranean low-end but smooth swing and soulful melodies, too.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/879
RA.878 Akua : There are DJs, then there are DJs who capture—and live—a moment in dance music’s evolution. Born in Los Angeles, but based in New York for the better half of a decade, Akua has established herself as the latter, an important voice in the East Coast’s techno scene. Akua’s DJing practice is fueled by her research in the Black dance music archive, a crate-digging approach that embodies the spirit of late ’10s dance music initiatives devoted to honoring the Black roots of techno, such as dweller and Make Techno Black Again.
Akua’s sets are minimalist and raw extensions of the foundations laid by the pioneers of ’90s U.S. techno. Most prominently, the work and influence of DJs like Jeff Mills, Claude Young and Jay Denham can all be heard across her mixes. Her old-school meets new-school sound has catapulted her from the New York underground into the European techno circuit, where recent gigs have seen her perform at dance music institutions like Berghain and Dekmantel. Akua’s RA Podcast is her in full-throttle mode, featuring all the stripped-down, hypnotic groove of early techno aside rushes of searing acid, carefully speeding up until closing at a healthy sprint.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/878
RA.877 Eddie Fowlkes : As he’ll happily tell you, Eddie Fowlkes has been DJing for 42 years. That’s a long time for anyone, but especially for someone who never really stopped. From his early records on Juan Atkins’ Metroplex record label through to newer releases on his own labels City Boy and Detroit Wax, he’s been doing his thing and staying true to himself and his timeless combination of Detroit dance music genres. He doesn’t always get his dues alongside his fellow Detroit techno pioneers in the Belleville Three, probably because his sound was always more hybrid, a blend of techno and house that he would come to call techno soul, including on his landmark 1993 album with Moritz von Oswald and Thomas Fehlmann, The Birth Of Technosoul.
But Fowlkes is still a force of nature, and a master at mixing too, having four decades to hone his craft. You’ll hear that skill on his RA Podcast, which comes in the wake of two more prominent releases, for Rekids and Classic Music Company/Defected, that might help (re)introduce him to a wider audience. Touching on soul, jazz and funk, this is functional but deep stuff played by a master selector, whose hands you can always hear in the mixing—a personal, human touch that defines techno soul.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/877
RA.876 Rebolledo : Mauricio Rebolledo is one of those veteran artists who has stood the test of time. He can play Burning Man, go back-to-back with DJ Tennis and mentor young producers with unwavering finesse, staying true to his signature sound of sparse, psychedelic chuggers. Where many of his peers have embraced a more commercial sound, the Mexican artist likes to keep it weird, opting for touches of Krautrock and hazy atmospherics in both his sets and on his albums.
He tends to be associated with tribal drums and screwy trance, but in reality, the Hippie Dance cofounder and long-time Kompakt affiliate is a man of many influences—as heard on his RA Podcast. Whimsical interludes of French dance pop and retro synth-wave are interspersed with shoegazey electronics (“Dive” by Pale Blue) as well as plenty of his own productions, which blur the lines between minimal house and techno.
This is a hypnotic, brooding journey that starts and ends with versions of Justus Köhncke’s “Elan,” which adds to the mix’s loopy feel. (There’s also a Prins Thomas remix thrown in for good measure.) No peaks or climaxes here, just long plateaus of zigzagging synths and winding chords. Turn on, tune in and drop out, as they say.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/876
RA.875 ISAbella : There’s an old-school touch to ISAbella’s sound. Breakbeats, rolling tech house, progressive house and trance pepper both her studio mixes and her debut EP, transporting listeners to a place of peak ’90s indulgence. It’s no wonder, then, that vintage rave sounds are a signature tenet of MARICAS, the club night and label that she helped start in 2018.
Her love for the ’90s is tangible on her RA Podcast, an emotional journey across breakbeat house, trancey techno and funky electro. First-rate throwbacks such as Canyon’s “Move” and “Lightspan Soundwave” by The Shamen exude a carefree euphoria, while heavier cuts like Desert’s “Moods (Club Mix)” intensify the feeling of rapture. Even the contemporary releases, like Bashkka’s excellent “C-quence Of Calamities,” feel rooted in nostalgia.
MARICAS mixes are usually energetic from the get-go, but ISAbella opts for deep, drum-heavy cuts like dBRm’s “The Third Room” for a good half hour before picking up the pace, eventually closing out with winding, psychedelic techno. The mix’s most striking element is how personal each track feels—a reflection of her intimate relationship with these records. Each one evokes a special poignancy and though these ephemeral selections were largely improvised, ISAbella believes they “show what’s going on lately and what’s going on forever.”
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/875