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Speculative imaginings on AI, authenticity & a future Singapore in Lawrence Lek’s AIDOL 爱道 (OST), releasing via Hyperdub today, November 27

Friday

Lawrence Lek is releasing AIDOL 爱道 (OST), via London’s Hyperdub, today, November 27, 2020.

This new soundtrack release features music from Lek’s feature length film first shown at London’s Sadie Coles HQ, and more recently as part of Unsound Festival. The third in a series of video by the artist that includes 2016’s Sinofuturism (1839-2046 AD) and 2017’s Geomancer, AIDOL 爱道 builds on Lek’s science fiction universes exploring notion around AI, authenticity, and geopolitics, set against a future imagining of Singapore.

As stated by Lek, discussing AIDOL 爱道 in his conversation with AQNB associate editor Jared Davis for our Artist Statement podcast earlier in the year: “it’s not just this idea of post-humanism, trans-humanism or non-humanism that’s interesting to me. It’s this allegorical nature of a non-human subject.”

See Hyperdub to purchase and listen back to our podcast episode with Lawrence Lek for more.

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2 tired 2 cry: an AQNB music & art compendium

24 November 2020

2 tired 2 cry is AQNB’s third release of new music and visual works compiled and curated by our London, Berlin and Los Angeles-based team.

Part of an ongoing series of these downloadable packages, featuring work by artists in our international community, this next mini-compendium is the second of four to be dropped quarterly. It includes four new tracks and two new original artwork contributions, and is available for sale on our site, or free for our Patreon subscribers.

The theme of 2 tired 2 cry follows a year of collective difficulties and setbacks. Closing out 2020 with some silver linings, and a small shard of hope for the future, the compendium looks towards a long and hard road ahead, that’s not without optimism. This is the sight and sound of upheaval and uncertainty, living with the ebb and flow of life and death. Frustration and exhaustion, anger and grief all live here. We’ve been through a period of emotional extremes, and there’s probably a bit more to come. Hang in there.

Music by:
Angels in America
Acolytes
Mya Gomez
N-prolenta

Visual works by:
Ander Rennick
Giulia Essyad

Cover artwork by:
Gian Manik

Graphic design by:
Alex Deranian

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The Artist Self-Publishers’ Fair returns for a digital cable TV streaming bazaar with 100 artists

22 September 2020

Returning for its sixth edition, the Artist Self-Publishers’ (ASP) Fair will take place this weekend on September 26 and 27, for a fully online iteration featuring 100 artists and publishers, presented by ICA, London. 

For this digital edition of the fair — which features self-publishers such as Emily Pope, Hate Zine, Black Lodge Press to name a few — ASP have drawn inspiration from cable TV and home shopping media. The fair will be a “streaming bazaar” online where visitors can chat with the stall holders, view performances, readings, screenings and purchase zines.

In addition to the publishers that also include the likes of Arts of the Working Class, Nervemeter among others, ASP has programmed guest performers for each day, such as “trans chancers” and arts writers The Right Lube, interdisciplinary artists R.I.P. Germain, Ruth Angel Edwards, as well as musicians Lolina and Scratcha DVA and more.

See the ASP website for more details.**

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Exploring miasma as ghostly presence with a live sonic fable by Ewa Awe in London for AQNB x 3hd 2020, Sep 26

15 September 2020

AQNB x 3hd 2020: Hyperobjectivity, a performance event for small groups featuring a new work by Ewa Awe, takes place at an undisclosed outdoor location in London on Saturday September 26, 2020, presented as part of 3hd 2020’s ECO-Centers companion programme.

In keeping with the ECO-centers theme of a nature-centered political philosophy known as ‘ecocentrism’, Hyperobjectivity explores the ungraspable concerns around climate change, the pandemic and a failing capitalist system that problematise anthropocentrism, colonialist frameworks, and our false mastery over nature. Uncertainty marks this moment, but also a feeling of potential new ways of thinking emerging—away from rationality and objectivity.

For Hyperobjectivity, we have invited London-based Polish artist Ewa Awe (aka Ewa Poniatowska), who has performed at the likes of Tate Modern, London as well as Beursschouwburg Brussels, to respond to these themes. Her work for the event, titled ‘New Miasma Theory Chapter 2’—the second in an eponymous series of fantastical sonic fables—will consist of narrated sonic walks in an outdoor London location, culminating in a ceremonial performance. Exploring the notions of miasma as ghostly presence and ethereal symbols of collective beliefs, ‘New Miasma Theory Chapter 2’ welcomes an audience towards reverie, blurring boundaries between reality and fiction. Produced in collaboration with writer Sanja Grozdanic, the project evokes oral storytelling rituals.

Highly limited bookings for socially-distanced groups of six people are available via Eventbrite. For those unable to attend, the project will be in part documented and shared online.

See the 3hd 2020 website for more details.**

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Quantum Natives release free download of otherworldly ambient video game Cryptic Island Eco-Sanctuary

14 August 2020

Quantum Natives is releasing a free download video game of recent signee enchanted landsCryptic Island Eco-Sanctuary today on itch.io.

Cryptic Island Eco-Sanctuary (2020). Courtesy the label.
Cryptic Island Eco-Sanctuary (2020). Courtesy the label.

Described by the label as an ‘an ambient exploratory experience’, Cryptic Island Eco Sanctuary intertwines the serene and surreal. Talismans and anthropomorphized stones are nestled across the game’s misty landscapes, constituting subtle details of this otherworldly getaway suitable for experiencing amidst lockdown.

Quantum Natives’ otherworldly ambient video game Cryptic Island Eco Sanctuary is available for free download today

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Before and After explores the serendipity of nature, music, & isolation, July 19 – 26

23 July 2020

From July 19 to July 26 in the wilderness of Baveno, Italy, Before and After is hosting a series of events on sustainable futures and new environmentalism through sonic mediation.

The program is organized by Tones on the Stones in collaboration with Terraforma festival’s Threes, featuring Hyperdub‘s Mana, Nicolàs Jaar, as well as environmentalist practitioners Riccardo Blumer, Emanuele Coccia and others. Limited to an audience of 30 people and online streaming, the series will generate a temporary micro-community to assess the value of nature as a place for artistic possibility.

See the Before and After website for more information.

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Between two stars : an AQNB music & art compendium

14 July 2020

Between two stars is AQNB’s latest release of new music and visual works compiled and curated by our London and Los Angeles-based team.

Following the success of the previous even my dreams don’t go outside compendium, we’re pleased to introduce an ongoing series of these downloadable packages, featuring work by artists in our international community. This first mini-compendium is one of four to be dropped quarterly—with four new tracks and two new original artwork contributions—and available for sale on our site, or free for our Patreon subscribers.

Between two stars takes its title from the mythological twins Castor & Pollux, inspired by the very chaotic Gemini season—which ran May 21 to June 21. Assigned guardians of sailors on troubled waters, these sons of Greek god Zeus became the brightest celestial bodies of the constellation named after one of the most controversial signs of the zodiac. The compilation’s curation responds loosely to the implied duality of its theme, exploring a liminal space that exists beyond binaries—a nebulous point between poles that escapes the limitations of language.

Music by:
Iku
Oxhy
Tadleeh 
Yikii 

Visual works by:
Roxman Gatt 
smallboydanger 

Cover artwork by:
Helin Şahin 

Acknowledgements:
Jared Davis, associate editor & compendium co-curator
Matt Dell, music editor & compendium co-curator
Steph Kretowicz, AQNB editor 
Caroline Heron, AQNB managing editor 

Isaac Treece, mastering 

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LIMBO magazine launches today as an initiative to provide new paid work for creatives, July 13

13 July 2020

Launching today, LIMBO is a new physical magazine with all profits from sales and advertising going directly to contributing artists and the magazine staff. 

Edited by Francesca Gavin and featuring over 100 contributors, the magazine includes work from a broad range of artists including Paul Maheke, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Evan Ifekoya as well as Lloyd Corporation. Spanning visual arts, music, fashion, essays and more, LIMBO also features contributions made by well established creatives and business such as Vivienne Westwood who have waived their fees for the initiative.

See the LIMBO website for more details.**

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New Scenario x AQNB—Bodyholes Green Ear Limited Edition

10 July 2020

For this artist edition merchandise collaboration, AQNB teamed up with online platform and exhibition space New Scenario, founded by Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig.

Purchase the New Scenario x AQNB— Bodyholes Green Ear t-shirt here.

The design refers back to their infamous Body Holes project—commissioned for the DIS-curated 9th Berlin Biennale in 2016—where contributors were invited to exhibit their work in a chosen human orifice. The show featured an exhaustive line-up of artists and openings, including Ed Fornieles, Rachel De Joode, Sean Raspet, Jesse Darling and more, along with Hornig’s own ‘Green Ear’ piece, featured here on the New Scenario x AQNB t-shirt.

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Olan Monk enlists James K to explore dystopia & incalculable loss on the disarming electro-infused rhythms of ‘Morticia’

18 June 2020

Olan Monk is releasing album Love/Dead via C.A.N.V.A.S. on June 26, with preview track ‘Morticia with James K’ premiering on AQNB today. A co-founder of the label, the artist has hosted a variety of guests under the C.A.N.V.A.S. imprint nights in London, including Flora Yin-Wong and Elvin Brandhi. Olan Monk continues to push his experimental post-punk approach, enlisting the PAN-affiliated vocalist for the top-line of this electro-infused track.

A wailing baseline provides a steady jolt to the undertones of ‘Morticia’. Lo-fi kick and clap patterns rock mechanically as James K’s voice commands the headroom. The reverberated croons and industrial beat evoke stylistic elements of Portishead’s ‘Machine Gun’, sending the listener into an equally ominous and disarming state.**

Olan Monk’s Love/Dead is out via C.A.N.V.A.S. on June 26

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Read an open letter by over 60 Black artists & cultural workers in Switzerland to address anti-Black racism in the country’s arts institutions

17 June 2020

Over 60 Black artists and cultural workers in Switzerland have signed an open letter to address anti-Black racism within the country’s arts institutions, in an action that could serve as a useful template for similar calls globally.

Sent to 77 Swiss organisations last week, the letter demands a long term and concrete commitment to change, following social media posts by these institutions on social media. As stated in the letter: “We hereby ask you to be truly accountable and take action beyond the stage of social media. We ask you to implement real, tangible change and to become section leaders when it comes to anti-racist practices in the arts and culture landscape of Switzerland.”

The letter is available in English, French and German, making for a valuable resource towards further action against anti-Black racism in other contexts worldwide.

You can read the letter in full here.

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100+ labels & artists compiled by DJ & producer Raheim to spotlight black-owned operations before Bandcamp’s fee free Friday, Jun 5

5 June 2020

Raheim (aka Rahim Afful-Brown) has put together a list of 100+ black-owned labels to look out for ahead of Bandcamp‘s effort to support artists impacted by COVID-19 by waiving all sales fees on Friday, June 5.

The online music company’s effort has become imbued with added urgency as Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and systemic racism took off in the United States and the world, following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. London-based producer Afful-Brown—who also presents a monthly show on Reprezent Radio—sent out a tweet looking for black-owned labels on Wednesday, which gained so much traction he’s shared a public spreadsheet of artists and organisations to look out for today and in the future.

Put together with artist and musician Annie Pearson, the resource list is organised according to label name, owner and genre, along with Twitter handles, SoundCloud, Discogs and Bandcamp accounts, where applicable. The guide includes names like UNIIQU3’s Club Queen Records, Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland’s World Music and MikeQ’s Qween Beat, as well as Teklife, Rhythm Section, Scratcha DVA & Shy One’s DVA Music, Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder, Actress’s Werk Discs, and many more.

Bandcamp’s fee-free Friday is running from midnight to midnight PST on Friday, June 5.

You can see Raheim’s list of labels here.

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online threat blends Canto-pop & post-club motifs on the solemn textural electronics of ‘Unmeasured Nature’

7 May 2020

online threat is releasing album Contrapuntal Transfiguration via Hong Kong’s Absurd Trax on May 8, with preview track ‘Unmeasured Nature’ premiering on AQNB today. This project marks the Toronto-based artist’s full-length debut following their release of a Canto-popinspired single and ambient-classical mix file earlier this year.

The record seemingly deconstructs and reappropriates the aforementioned style of Chinese instrumentation into a more harrowing facade, while ‘Unmeasured Nature’ is a liminal landscape of seemingly distorted 90s-era Canto-pop sonics and post-club motifs. Detuned bowed strings cascade upwards at the start of track. Solemn MIDI-synth melodies cruise between textural electronics, periodically breaking under DJ one-shot samples reminiscent of Elysia Crampton’s 2013 mixtape El Sueño Del Forastero.

In the press release, the artist states how the project is a “psychic break willed by the subconscious urge to escape. It is the transportive freedom beyond the somatic, expressed through ritual”. This cerebral liberation appears to be equally defined by homage to bygone eras and the chaos of contemporary life.**

online threat’s Contrapuntal Transfiguration is out via Absurd Trax on May 8.

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Gratefully yours: Download even my dreams don’t go outside, AQNB’s music & art compendium from our community to you during lockdown

22 April 2020

even my dreams don’t go outside is a download-only release of new music and visual works compiled and curated by AQNB (purchase below).

The compilation consists 10 new tracks and five visual artworks from artists who have featured on the London and Los Angeles-based editorial platform in the recent past, as well as from those helping to define our scene into the future. It’s inspired by the endless scroll of introspection that has come to define the day-to-day of life in self-isolation, and exists to build positive momentum for our scene and financial support for the artists involved during lockdown.

From our editor, Steph Kretowicz (aka Jean Kay):

even my dreams don’t go outside maps a chunk of AQNB’s network and relationships, bringing together a dispersed but interconnected group of artists that echoes our community approach. I first heard of Milan’s Heith and London’s Fauness through my colleagues and compendium co-curators Matt Dell and Jared Davis, themselves based in Barcelona and London respectively. The same goes for candlelight, aircode and—in a roundabout way—Kelman Duran & Ans M. Matt enlisted Isaac Treece from New York for mastering and Isabelle Harada in Los Angeles to help with the API.

I’d come across Elvin Brandhi in Berlin at Creamcake’s 3hd Festival, along with the visual work of Tea Stražičić. My friends at Berlin Community Radio (RIP) introduced me to RUI HO in 2016. Alexander Iezzi, Philip Hinge, Emma Pryde, 650mAh (from whom I learnt about Spaghetti Club), along with Dasychira, ssaliva and Keru Not Ever, all appeared through AQNB at one point or another. Together they make up a web spanning New Jersey, Wisconsin, Montreal, Brussels, Rotterdam and more. Jennifer Mehigan, who donated her time and skills to the cover art, is based in Belfast but I met her online when she still lived in Singapore. We go way back, five years, and we’ve never met in person. This compendium is as much an effort to support our scene, as it is recognise the artists and the people that inspire us, wherever they may be.”**

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Dane Law disrupts cerebral senses of space and sound on the algorithmic MIDI-pizzicato of ‘Delph’

16 April 2020

Dane Law is releasing album Algorithmic Music for Synthesized Strings on April 24 via Astral Plane Recordings, with preview track ‘Delph’ premiering on AQNB today. This record contains Dane Law’s latest iteration of disruptive MIDI-instrumentation algorithms — a style the London-based artist cultivated on 2017 record r.bit with Genot Centre and on United in Dance with Quantum Natives in 2016.

This track is admittedly somewhat disorienting. MIDI-pizzicatos duck between culminating swathes of reverb sentimental of Caterina Barbieri’s 2017 track ‘Scratches on the Readable Surface’. Palpating sub frequencies and timbres bewilder cerebral senses of space and sound. The artist categorically isolates and shifts around nuanced tones of stringed pizzicato. Between rapid cycles of algorithmic deconstruction and reformation, Dane Law creates a sonic assembly of “synthesized strings” that defies linear sequence.

Dane Law’s Algorithmic Music for Synthesized Strings is out April 24 on Astral Plane Recordings.

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Announcing even my dreams don’t go outside: An AQNB art & music compendium from our community, out Apr 22

13 April 2020

AQNB is releasing even my dreams don’t go outside, a download-only album of new music and visual works on April 22.

Compiled and curated by our team, the compendium features contributions from artists featured on the platform in the recent past, alongside those helping to define our scene into the future. It’s inspired by the endless scroll of introspection that has come to define this time in global crisis, while aiming to build positive momentum and financial support for the artists involved during lockdown.

Music contributions come from Dasychira, Elvin Brandhi, Fauness, Keru Not Ever, Rui Ho, ssaliva and others, as well as visual pieces by Tea Stražičić, Alexander Iezzi, Emma Pryde and more. See the lovely cover art by Jennifer Mehigan below.

More to come, watch this space.**

even my dreams don’t go outside (2020). Compendium cover artwork by Jennifer Mehigan. Courtesy AQNB, London.
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We’re still here: Flexible dub electronics redefine proximity & visibility at the Quiet Time label’s Los Angeles debut

31 March 2020

A thick, red-stained haze seeps out from behind the DJ booth at Chewing Foil. Pulsing layers of afrobeat rhythms and harsh pseudo-industrial sounds swirl around, engulfing the audience into an appropriately post-apocalyptic dance floor. The dense air permeates a chain-link perimeter around the stage, obfuscating the performers and gear before eventually fading into the darkened corners of the room.

Pessimist at Chewing Foil, Los Angeles (2020). Courtesy Quiet Time, Los Angeles.

Quiet Time label is throwing their first party in Los Angeles. Following releases with  artists like Kareem Lotfy, Debit, and Tony or Tony, the previously New York-based label is celebrating their recent move to the Californian city with the presentation of headliner Pessimist. Performing on March 7, the Bristol-based producer is known for his nuanced fusion of techno, dub, and drum n bass. Perhaps it’s due to a retrospective COVID-induced clarity on what’s worth going out for, the unusually good sound in place of the venue’s otherwise ramshackle speaker system, or the solid lineup of supporting locals—the party atmosphere starkly contrasts the expected restless apathy of the Los Angeles after hours scene.

Motion Ward’s JS opens the evening with a dark storm of textures,where a thundering low-end provides a  base for the interjection of coarse tones that carry a melancholic optimism. LIL M, invigorates the dancefloor with an energetic cross-genre mix. Heavy sub bass and frenetic electro-infused jungle breaks blend into Mosca’s ecstatic 2011 UK garage track, ‘Bax’. Pessimist’s repetitive lines of darkly minimal DnB have the crowd locked in. Collective energy oscillates like cycles of an electrical current. Surging breaklines, sharp claps, and diving synths accumulate over a long-form techno structure, while detailed and intricate textures crest waves of smoke that swallow hoards of dancers in moments of close listening.

JS at Chewing Foil, Los Angeles (2020). Courtesy Quiet Time, Los Angeles.

Pessimist’s flexible techno industrialism disarms the crowd’s spatial orientation, abstracting the sonically distant and immediate, while substantiating a prophetic set up for social distancing. Bodies fade out of sight yet remain seemingly connected via the music in the air. Almost everybody stays until the end, savoring the space carved out by Pessimist’s dubb-y bass. The impending lockdown is around the corner. And even if we can’t see each other—there is a certain comfort in knowing that we somehow remain together.**

New York’s Quiet Time presented Pessimist, LIL M, and JS at Los Angeles’ Chewing Foil on March 7, 2020.

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Sébastien Forrester pays homage to Gnawa music on the expansive psychedelia & rhythmic drone of ‘Spiral Line’

27 March 2020

Sébastien Forrester is releasing EP Spirals via Paris’ KOWTOW Records on May 15, with preview track ‘Spiral Line’ premiering on AQNB today. This is the latest album from the Paris-based producer, whose frenetic electroacoustic atmospheres have enveloped their prior works.

This track slowly builds into an expansive drone of complex rhythmic timbres and folk music motifs. Psychedelic guitar melodies and vocal hums carve out headspace atop pummeling drum patterns reminiscent of James Holden‘s and Maalem Houssam Guinia’s 2016 EP Three Live Takes. Forrester explains how the work is inspired by Gnawa, a traditional style of music played in Morocco and parts of North Africa. Within the the trance-inducing FM synthesizer experimentations and relentless hypnotic rhythms, the artist pays tribute to a genre’s heritage and the legacy of rituals in the North African region. **

Sébastien Forrester’s Spirals is out via KOTOW Records on May 15.

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Seven Orbits envisions post-rave-induced psychosis on the brutalist rhythmic exercises & sobering textures of ‘Ravevv101’

19 March 2020

Seven Orbits is releasing album EP0001 via SVBKVLT on March 20, with preview track ‘Ravevv101’ premiering on AQNB today. This is the London-based artist’s musical debut.

This track challenges the electrifying hustle of hallmark rave motifs, transforming them into sobering automations. Reverberated sirens ascend over granulated breakbeats and pulsating white-noise subs reminiscent of Shapednoise’s 2019 record Aesthesis. As the brutalist rhythmic exercises subduct under swaths of blown out bass lines, the artist reaches a conclusion: the rave is over and an impending psychosis looms in its aftermath.** 

Seven Orbits’ EP0001 is out on SVBKVLT March 20.

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Traumabarundkino makes room for some things new with events from Juliana Huxtable, Ziúr, Year0001 & more through February

5 February 2020

Happening throughout February, Berlin’s Traumabarundkino will be presenting a number of events, alongside and independent of the ongoing curatorial program for Mary-Audrey Ramirez & LUKAS8K‘s QT, UR, EA collaborative exhibition.

The Mitte-based venue has been working towards diverse collaborations with a spectrum of creative organisations and artists, since establishing itself in June 2018. This month that focus reaches a new level by featuring the five-year anniversary of Stockholm’s Year0001 label, the inaugural Break It Off presented by Juliana Huxtable and Ziúr, as well the launch of Borshch Magazine‘s ‘Dark Side’ issue, plus other things.

Here’s the list of scheduled events so far:

See the Traumabarunkino FB event page for details.**

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