RA.868 Femanyst : Before she was Femanyst, Akua Grant was called The Lady Blacktronika, also known as the First Lady Of Beatdown. Beatdown was a type of of ultra-deep house characterized by creamy chords, soulful melodies and, in Grant’s case, honeyed vocals. She ran an integral label called Sound Black Recordings, home to some of her best tracks. But around 2017, she turned towards what was essentially the polar opposite: industrial-tinged super hard techno, full of distortion and anger.
This is where we find Grant now, as Femanyst, with a mix that shows off heavy-duty techno that still has a heart. She started her own new label, called Dark Carousel, and has released on Paula Temple’s Noise Manifesto. She manages to take some of the hardest techno around and imbue it with her signature melodic style. This is probably one of the toughest RA Podcasts yet, but it’s also full of feeling, dynamism and tension. Get your best listening setup ready and sink in for two hours.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/868
RA.867 Cardopusher : Name a genre, and you can bet that Luis Garban has tried his hand at it once or twice. Once a staple of the mid-’00s IDM and breakcore scene—think Tigerbeat6—as Cardopusher, Garban found a temporary home in the dubstep scene afterwards, before shooting off in what felt like a million directions. He might be the only artist to release on both Hyperdub and Boysnoize Records. He makes music that can sound like the future or the past, sometimes both at once, and the Venezuelan-born, Spain-based producer’s name is shorthand for musical adventurism and variety.
Last year, things got even wilder with the debut of Safety Trance, a new alias that explores pan-Latin club music, with a focus on collaboration and shorter, structured songs. (Artists he’s worked with include Arca, Iceboy Violet and Virgen Maria.) It’s some of the best and most creative work of his career, riding a larger Latin techno wave producing some of the best music around these days.
If that weren’t enough, returning to Cardopusher, Garban has a career-best EP on the way for EVAR Records, pulling together the various strands of the project into a multi-genre, Gen-Z-friendly raveathon. Loaded with original tracks from both projects, RA Podcast could be billed as Cardopusher vs. Safety Trance, with highlights coming from Atari Teenage Riot, VTSS and Venetian Snares, which should give you an idea for the kind of controlled chaos you’re in for with this one.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/867
RA.866 Dam Swindle : Roughly ten years ago—if we pretend the peak pandemic year-and-a-half doesn’t count—Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets first came together as Detroit Swindle, before changing their name to Dam Swindle towards the end of 2020. The original name was meant as a tribute to one of their favorite musical legacies, but recognizing that it didn’t come across how they meant it, the duo changed their name to pay homage to their other favourite place: Amsterdam. Dales and Smeets have become core parts of the Amsterdam house scene in their time, especially with their excellent Heist Recordings label, which they started back in 2013 (hey, now *that’s* literally ten years ago).
It’s easy to understand why the duo have become so popular. In person and onstage, they’re goofy, funny guys, the kind of people you might describe as the life of the party. And musically, they’re massively appealing, marrying a European tech house strut to deeper and more soulful inspirations, a preoccupation reflected in Heist’s impressive artist roster: Ge-Ology, Demuir, Byron The Aquarius, Matthew Herbert and more.
Their RA Podcast comes at a time of reflection and change, looking back on the decade-plus history of both act and label and plotting their new album, which they say will expand their horizons even more. The mix is eclectic but smooth, pulling together tracks from the likes of Omar-S, Lil Silva, Ruf Dug and Genius Of Time (with one of last year’s most underrated tracks). It’s always a treat to hear consummate club DJs in a more relaxed mode, and this one’s no exception.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/866
RA.865 Anetha : When it comes to the sound of modern-day techno—fast, melodic and polyglot, working in genres like trance and gabber—it’s hard to find an artist more clearly representative than Anetha. The French DJ encompasses all these influences with style, landing on a lithe sound that’s both heavy and nimble, earning her a first residency at Paris party Blocaus (and, currently, Awakenings and Fuse, among others) and appearances on labels like Work Them and Oaks.
What really sets Anetha apart, though, is her commitment to developing and uplifting the artists around her. She launched her own label, Mama Told Ya, in 2019 with a unique and heartwarming concept: each release would highlight an artist, often young or new to the game, and feature one collaboration with Anetha herself. It’s a move that turns the usual label-artist dynamic on its head, making each new record a fully-fledged collaboration, and lending her own gravitas to the artist she features. And a year later she started an agency—or what she calls a “creative engine”—to help those artists in a more holistic way.
Her RA Podcast is a perfect way to start 2023: with energy and verve, and a perfect balance of light and dark. This is techno at its most creative, dark and discombobulated beats cut through with glowing vocal samples from some of the most recognizable songs of the past five years. If you wanted to explain to someone what techno sounds like in 2023, you’d do well to start here.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/865
RA.864 Skee Mask : Skee Mask is one of dance music’s greatest crossover stories of the past decade, with new albums greeted with the attention usually reserved for an Aphex Twin or a Caribou. (“Loved seeing this on r/indieheads,” said one Reddit user, on the release of the 2021 LP Pool.) It’s not hard to understand why: albums like Compro, he blends well-worn dance music tropes with incredible, detailed soundscapes and spine-tingling melodies. And on his 12-inches, he brings that sensibility to the dance floor, with an approach probably best described as articulate. Even on his most ambient of tracks, everything is in its right place. Along with founders the Zenker Brothers, his music outlines everything that makes Munich outfit Ilian Tape one of the best techno labels going.
On the decks, it’s kind of a different story. It might surprise you if you only know his albums, but Skee Mask is an incredible DJ, balancing his predilection for hip-hop and UK-informed sounds with laser-focused techno. He can adapt to all sorts of situations—there’s an incredible recording of him DJing with four of the best grime and drum & bass MCs in the business—and on his RA Podcast he focuses on the techno side of things, with nearly two hours of pacey techno and creative mixing, with dips into acid, electro, garage and more. It’s a party-starting mix from a genuine star, perfect for getting through the holiday doldrums or pre-gaming your NYE plans. Like Skee Mask’s best records, it’s something to enjoy in any number of settings.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/864
RA.862 Earth Trax : You might have first heard of Earth Trax under his original alias, The Phantom. Or maybe his given name, Bartosz Kruczyński, which he uses for gorgeous ambient music. Or Pejzaż, where he cuts up Polish records from his vast collection. Or as part of Ptaki, another sample-based project he did with fellow Warsaw resident Jaromir Kamiński. You get the idea—dude makes a lot of music. And a lot of it is very good. Earth Trax is the project that really made us swoon, with a soft-focus, sunset-hued meld of techno, breakbeat, progressive house and trance.
On wonderful records like LP1, melancholy is the operative word, but Kruczyński isn’t exactly a sadsack. It’s more complex than that, nailing the tears-on-the-dance-floor vibe with the part that many people forget: it’s still club music. That’s why tracks like “Dream Pop,” which kicks off this mix, are so successful—they’re heavy but never weighed down by emotion, with a skip in their step and a robust low-end to go with the sighing vocals.
Kruczyński’s RA Podcast is something of an excavation of this sound, using his own tracks and those of like-minded producers to sketch out a style that’s equal parts rousing and pensive, midtempo but still propulsive. Over two and a half hours he lets these tracks breathe and leisurely mixes them together, almost like an old-school progressive house double mix CD but in the more vibrant, varied clothes of today—before it starts to unravel into an extended, beatless outro that’s worth sticking all the way until the end for.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/863
RA.862 Yazzus – 2022.12.02 : Yazzus is probably one of the most exciting DJs out of the UK right now. But she doesn’t play the usual UK stuff. Instead, her work—her productions and her DJing—is both a historiography and a dialogue of the Black Atlantic connection, taking in dance music genres from both sides of the pond. Her work, encompassing techno, electro and sometimes house, is an Afrofuturist project that combines past, present and future. Her recent EP, Black Metropolis, accomplishes this with a genuinely innovative take on ’90s Black dance music that uses a vintage template to do something fresh.
She calls her RA Podcast a “Black excellence” mix, traveling between eras and places, featuring artists like Skin On Skin, Paul Johnson, Drexciya and Huey Mnemonic. It’s part of her mission to highlight (and remind people) about the Black origins of dance music, and also the vitality of today’s Black dance music. This mix is a history lesson, a narrative and a rave all in one, something we’re proud to host from an exciting young mind in the electronic music scene.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/862
RA.861 Sedef Adasi : Being named a resident at Berghain is likely an unattainable dream for so many DJs, but for Sedef Adasi, it all happened naturally. The Turkish producer grew up in the mid-sized Bavarian city of Augsburg, where a lack of spaces she felt comfortable with—she’s mentioned DJing in shoe stores—led her to start her own party, HAMAM Nights. From there she made her name with a vibrant, diverse sound that encompasses breaks, electro, techno and more, with soft-focus melodies and plenty of vocal hooks. She’s one of the first residents at the legendary club to truly reflect the glorious cross-pollination of dance music styles in the ’10s, when techno absorbed ideas from dubstep, garage and more.
Adasi represents both floors of that club, and you could imagine this RA Podcast going down in either room, but of course, she exists outside that club’s narrative too. What you’ll hear here is a cutting-edge and dynamic blend of electro and Latin techno—with two tracks from 2022 MVP Nick León—mixed with grace and finesse. Her sound is immediately approachable, well-paced and full of catchy moments and breakdowns. Listen and find out.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/861
RA.860 Kai Campos (Mount Kimbie) : This month, UK duo Mount Kimbie put out a double-album that is essentially two solo records welded together. It’s not terribly surprising: each member lives in different countries (the hip-hop inspired Dom Maker in LA, techno head Kai Campos in London) and they’ve talked about their differences and what each brings to the table in past interviews. MK 3.5: Die Cuts | City Planning splits the duo’s kaleidoscopic sound into its constituent parts, with Maker’s side focusing on woozy hip-hop and R&B and Campos’s reflecting a love of straightforward ’90s techno, as dance floor-friendly as anything the group have ever released.
It’s the latter that we’re here to showcase with this week’s RA Podcast, which is a recording of Campos’s new live set. In a way it’s a more fleshed-out, comprehensive companion to the his side of the album, but it stands on its own as a blistering techno performance. Combining the melodic sense and quirky arrangement tics of Mount Kimbie with a pulsating, stripped-back approach borrowed from Detroit techno—classic drum machine sounds used to the fullest—Campos reinvents himself as one of London’s best techno artists. Like the new Mount Kimbie album, it’s different, welcome and impressive.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/860
RA.859 Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy : As part of our celebration of 21 years of club culture, we’re featuring some of our favourite DJs from around the world, highlighting the parties and clubs most important to their lives in dance music.
The Loft is one of the most storied and sacred spaces in dance music history. Founded in Manhattan in 1970 by the late David Mancuso, The Loft was a party unlike any other: relaxed and gently psychedelic, with pristine audiophile sound played at a medium volume level kinder to the ears. You didn’t need to blast the music to appreciate the sonic perfection of the music and the system it was played on. Over the decades, Mancuso invented his own influential style of DJing, letting the records breathe rather than mashing them together. Mancuso, who died in 2016, had many acolytes over the years, perhaps none more prominent than Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, who provides our final 2122 birthday RA Podcast: a tribute to The Loft.
Murphy has an impressive resume without The Loft: she’s a long-time radio DJ, founded the Classic Album Sundays series and started her own Lucky Cloud Loft Party in London, in collaboration with Mancuso. Her DJing style, slow, steady and respectful of the music, channels those years spent at The Loft, and her RA Podcast embodies the disco-influenced sounds that define the party, played with care, love and reverence.
RA.858 DJ Voices : As part of RA2122, our ongoing celebration of 21 years of club culture, we’ll be featuring some of our favourite DJs from around the world, highlighting the parties or clubs most important to their lives in dance music. DJ Voices will be playing our RA2122 party in New York this Saturday, November 29th.
DJ Voices is a prime example of an artist that really can do it all. The New York-based artist, originally from Florida, has been an integral part of New York’s electronic music as a DJ and as a booker at one of the city’s best venues, Nowadays. Voices got her footing as a selector as a founding member of the DJ collective Working Women, but these days she performs solo through her Nowadays residency and her radio show on The Lot, Nothing In Moderation. Her sets are known for their psychedelic dynamism—her selection, with which she prioritizes “energy and drama over genre,” often flits from rolling low-end music, uptempo tracks (that she then slows all the way down) and wonky leftfield beats.
“It would be hard to overstate how much Nowadays is part of my story at this point, personally and professionally,” Voices told RA in the following interview. Her approach to assembling this mix she recorded for us makes that abundantly clear. The mix she recorded for RA—which sprawls out over almost three hours—features tracks that she has either played in her five-year tenure at Nowadays or that she plans to play there in the future. She organized the set in a similar way to the way she goes about her Nowadays sets. She kicks off with fast and nimble bass music (“I like to start fast in hopes of people dancing half-time”), then transitions into a knotty web of dubstep and bright percussive tracks and closes with weightless jungle. The playlist she sourced from to create this mix featured music from every Nowadays resident. It’s this same thoughtfulness and meticulous attention to detail that has made her a household name in her local scene.
RA.857 Marie Davidson : For our RA2122 series, we’ve been focusing on dyed-in-the-wool DJs paying tribute to the places that were most important to them. But what if you’re an electronic music superstar and you didn’t necessarily get your musical education in a club? That’s how we come to Marie Davidson, a Canadian artist who counts among the world’s most engaging and electrifying live performers, mixing techno with electroclash and post-punk for a sound that feels familiar but totally new at the same time. In 2019, she announced she was retiring from live club music, and then formed a band with fellow Montreal scenesters. But on her RA Podcast, she returns to dance music with a cannonball-sized splash.
To hear her tell it, Davidson only became interested in DJing recently—she’s only been doing it for a few months. It’s a new way for her to explore club music and also pay tribute to the artists she loves, without putting her whole self out there in the same way required of live performances.
But you could never tell that Davidson is new to DJing. Her RA Podcast is a masterpiece of modern techno building and pacing, dipping into straight-up trance several times in a way that reminds us of Sasha’s legendary Global Underground 013: Ibiza mix CD, with an hour of steady tension rewarded with one hell of a melodic payoff. She sounds like she’s ready to play at some of the world’s best clubs, proof positive you don’t need to have the usual backstory to be an excellent DJ.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/857