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Resident Advisor Podcast : RA.837 Gabrielle Kwarteng

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RA.837 Gabrielle Kwarteng : Spend enough time at (or listening to) The Lot Radio, and chances are all you’ll find Gabrielle Kwarteng. Even though she lives in Berlin now, the American DJ wears New York on her sleeve, repping for the station that helped make her name (she won a Mixcloud award for “Best Eclectic Show” pretty early on). Sure, you could call her sound eclectic—she jumps from house to Afrobeat to Jersey club and beyond—but it seems like “intuitive” might be a better word. She has the taste of someone raised by musical parents on a diverse diet of albums, of someone who eats, breathes and sleeps records.

Buoyed by her success in the US, Kwarteng moved to Berlin in 2019, not too long before the pandemic. Like so many other up-and-coming DJs, her momentum almost stalled as a result. But here we are in 2022 and Kwarteng is more successful than ever, with a string of upcoming festival dates highlighting her wide, transatlantic appeal. Her RA Podcast is equally welcoming, with a taste for house music that feels perfectly pitched between the classic and the new. You can hear an old soul, but she also has cutting-edge tracks from the likes of NIkki Nair, and a gutsy, fantastic edit of “Can You Feel It?” by Tom Carruthers. The mix also reflects her recently getting back in touch with her roots, featuring smatterings of East Coast club music and ballroom, all wrapped up with an exquisite finishing touch courtesy of a long Moodymann play-out.

Resident Advisor Podcast : RA.836 Deadbeat & Sa

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RA.836 Deadbeat & Sa : We probably don’t need to tell you who Deadbeat is. (He even did a previous RA Podcast for us, all the way back in 2007.) But if you need a refresher, he’s one of the most important and revered artists in dub techno. The Canadian artist came up in the Montreal scene alongside other trailblazers like Akufen and other Canadians (think Cobblestone Jazz, Mathew Jonson, Wagon Repair, etc). His early records for ~scape are some of the most classic and influential minimal there ever was, but dub is always at the heart of his work, and runs in the veins of BLKRTZ, the prolific label he runs himself.

Sa Pa, on the other hand, sits somewhere in the ambient zone. Originally from Adelaide, he’s found a powerful creative sparring partner in Deadbeat. The two released their first album together, The Mountain, earlier this year. It’s the 50th release on BLKRTZ and maybe one of the most monumental records in either artist’s catalogue, a triple-LP that harks back to the hypnotic, plink-plonk days of yore with the strong cross-genre underpinning that marks Deadbeat’s work these days, and plenty of lovely atmospheric wiggles.

The duo’s lengthy RA Podcast, taken from two different recordings at their Absurd Dub Lustre party in Berlin, mirrors the LP’s sound, weaving through tracks new and old. It’s full of warm, dubby vibrations and smooth transitions.

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Resident Advisor Podcast : RA.835 Marco Weibel

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RA.835 Marco Weibel : Marco Weibel is the epitome of modesty. Over the past decade, the New York artist has quietly amassed a loyal following through expansive DJ sets that touch on everything from spiritual jazz to disco, but rather than credit himself, he lets the tunes speak for themselves. This humble attitude has won him the respect of veterans such as Lefto, as well as a growing fanbase from all corners of the musical spectrum.

When he’s not DJing, Weibel curates nights at various New York venues and co-runs Darker Than Wax, a label based out of Singapore (where he was born and raised). His selections showcase rhythm and texture over drops, but he always has an arsenal of radiant house cuts or UK garage to fire up a crowd. Cavernous crates aside, the cadence of his sets is perhaps their most distinguishing feature. On his weekly shows at Lot Radio, Hawaiian funk is followed by broken beat while at the club, 2-step spills into dembow techno and rich amapiano.

While his mixes and performances usually start out on the melodic side, his RA Podcast switches things up. Unleashing a whirlwind of jungle before moving onto ’90s-flavored house and other loopy styles, his session highlights local talents with plenty of delightful transitions throughout. Peter Brown’s spacey soul flows into Aquarian’s pulverising breaks, Ayesha’s percussive techno precedes heart-tugging house and heavy dub morphs into Kerri Chandler’s acid. Fluid and rolling, this is a true digger’s delight.

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Resident Advisor Podcast : RA.834 Emerald

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RA.834 Emerald : Emerald is a name that should be familiar to any Rinse FM devotee—she’s been DJing on the UK dance music radio giant since 2014, and has just started a new flagship slot called The Dance Show on Friday nights. The Londoner is a consummate radio DJ, blending together genres and tempos with pitch-perfect mixing and an ear for hooks that makes each track stand out. (She calls herself “genre fluid.”)

She’s said so much in the lengthy, excellent interview below, so we can keep this part brief. Her RA Podcast combines newer favorites from Lauren Flax, Queer On Acid and Neil Landstrumm with older, recently acquired records from DJ Deeon (1994) and FSOM (1992). If this is your introduction, then take a listen and make a note to check out The Dance Show next Friday. And if you already know Emerald, then you know this is gonna be a good one.

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Resident Advisor Podcast : RA.833 Nick León

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RA.833 Nick León : Nick León is part of a newer generation of Miami producers who infuse modern-day club music with sounds from around the region, everything from Miami bass to reggaeton. In León’s case, his most recent—and most exciting—music has focused on beats inspired by reggaeton and its sub-genre perreo, but with a musical palette that speaks to a love of electronic music from Aphex Twin to Burial to music on labels like NAAFI and TraTraTrax. (This is a predilection he shares with DJ Python, whom León just launched a new party with.)

It’s on the latter label he released the Rompediscoteka EP, one of the canniest genre fusions he’s done yet, meant to hark back to the feeling he had when he first discovered reggaeton. (It came with eye-opening remixes from Maral, Kelman Duran and Henzo, producers whose personal-but-global approach mirrors León’s own.) He also head a head-turning EP on Future Times, which threw Miami-style electro into the mix, with an ambient touch.

Like his productions, the young Miami DJ’s sets can range from slow and low to high and tight, and his RA Podcast captures León in peak-time mode. It’s a Latin-spin on everything from techno to tech house to cool-kid club music, with selections from Nico, Simisea, Siete Catorce, Ricardo Villalobos and MM adding up to a vibrant and rhythmically restless hour that soars across genres and scenes.

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Resident Advisor Podcast : RA.832 Ciel

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RA.832 Ciel : Toronto’s Cindy Li, AKA Ciel, has a knack for balancing warmth and pressure. Her productions and mixes often feel coated in an iridescent gloss, evoking the trippy stylings of ’90s UK tech house and the swung drums of classic New York house. In between that, though, there’s lots of vigor via sleek electro, rippling trance, barrelling techno and big, bad breakbeats. Her style may lean towards the atmospheric but it’s loaded with moxie, giving her the versatility to close out a main room or kick off the afters.

Her fluid movements between bouncy basslines, spiraling synth patterns and weightless house grooves are just one facet of her impressive rise as a DJ and producer. When she’s not behind the decks, presenting radio shows or working on the excellent Parallel Minds label she runs alongside other Toronto acts Yohei S and Daniel 58, Li throws herself into community work. Committed to diverse dance floors, affordable housing and overall equality in the music industry, she’s a hard worker in the realest sense of the phrase.

Li’s RA mix is a treat. Rolling through scintillating drum work, wonky rhythms and dreamy pads, it feels like quintessential Ciel. In her interview below, she described how she enjoys “the challenge of trying to combine and make cohesive all the diverse styles of music I loved in a DJ set.” Judging by this mix alone, it’s safe to say that Li succeeded.

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Resident Advisor Podcast : RA.830 Roy Davis Jr

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RA.830 Roy Davis Jr : The decade-spanning career of Roy Davis Jr. is intrinsically intertwined with the history of house music. As one of the defining voices of Chicago’s underground, he’s worked both behind the decks and behind-the-scenes. From handling Strictly Rhythm’s A&R sector in the ’90s to joining seminal production crew Phuture to launching his own Undaground Therapy Muzik label, Davis Jr. isn’t just a veteran but a compendium of dance music knowledge. Daft Punk cites him as an influence while the likes of Disclosure, Zed Bias and Waajeed have sought him out for collaborations.

He may be best known for his 1998 single Gabriel with Peven Everett—now a garage anthem on both sides of the Atlantic—but his discography and DJ sets go well beyond club hits. Weaving in soul, gospel, disco, techno and acid into a deep house framework, he marries raw funk, plush melodies, hypnotic synths and stripped-down arrangements. All these elements are beautifully captured on his RA Podcast. Moving from a state of eyes-closed bliss to body-moving grooves, the near two-hour session is as grounding as it is free-floating. Spiritual, sensual and tightly mixed, it’s a lesson in multifaceted house music.

Resident Advisor Podcast : RA.829 HAAi

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RA.829 HAAi : There’s a track on HAAi’s upcoming debut album, Baby, We’re Ascending, called “Louder Always Better.” That kind of sums up her approach right there. (See also: “Biggest Mood Ever.”) Since her first record, 2017’s “Be Good” her approach to dance music has been to make as dense, overwhelming and uplifting as possible. Much has been made of her background in psychedelic rock, which definitely informs records like the muggy, intense Motorik Voodoo Bush Doof Musik, but it’s not the whole story. A better point of reference might be DJ Harvey lost in the Australian desert, but comparisons are beside the point. At this point, HAAi is completely unique.

The Australian producer has made quite a name for herself as a DJ in her adopted hometown of London, and while her album shoots off in all directions—from ecstatic rave-pop to sultry stunners—her RA Podcast captures the spark that makes her such a beloved force behind the decks. Weaving powerful techno from artists like Atrip and Piska Power with weirder, adventurous music courtesy of Cocktail Party Effect and Sha Sha Kimbo—plus a few tastes of HAAi’s new album—it’s an eclectic mix that’s as windy and unpredictable as her records. Plus, it ends with classic track by The Cure. That’s just good taste.

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