Angel-Ho unveils her global neo-pop with the lead single from her upcoming ‘Death Becomes Her’ album, Mar 1

6 December 2018

Angel-Ho announces new album Death Becomes Her, released via London’s Hyperdub on March 1, with lead single ‘Like A Girl’ featuring Brooklyn-based emcee K Rizz.  

The Capetown-based performer, producer and DJ released her Ascension EP via Halcyon Veil in 2015, followed by an EP and Red Devil album debut on the NON Worldwide label, which she co-founded with Nkisi and Chino Amobi.

Inspired by Lady Gaga, Missy Elliot, Bjork and Kanye West among others, Death Becomes Her features transatlantic collaborations with the likes of Nunu, Baby Caramel, Asmara Maroof of Nguzunguzu, Bon and Gaika

 See the Hyperdub website for details.**

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James Ferraro’s ‘Burning Prius’ reviewed

8 February 2016

The heady buzz of Los Angeles’ fair weekend attracted a healthy crop of gallerists, artists, indie rock musicians, tumblr fans and European collectors to the front gallery of Château Shatto with Jean Baudrillard’s photography still adorning the walls. As this is the time when most of the contemporary art world descends on Los Angeles for Paramount Ranch and the more blue chip Art Los Angeles Contemporary, the evening crowd is chatty and especially eager to blow off some steam once Nguzunguzu takes over the basement with a night-long DJ set. A performance like James Ferraro’s ‘Burning Prius’ within such a trafficked weekend presents a kind of intervention.  It’s the work of someone whose predominant medium has recently been the hypercapitalist detritus of West Hollywood, Mid-Wilshire and Santa Monica; places dubbed the ‘Miracle Mile’, that refer to pets as “companions” and characterize an evangelical gratitude to Lifestyle with slogans such as “Fortunate People in a Fortunate City”. The impulse to play on these signifiers is irresistible, and have been plucked before as elements of other LA-focused performances including Steven Warwick’s REENGINEERING VILLA AURORA.

James Ferraro, 'Burning Prius' (2016). Courtesy Château Shatto, Los Angeles.
James Ferraro, ‘Burning Prius’ (2016). Courtesy Château Shatto, Los Angeles.

Ferraro’s domain of absurdity can be somewhat opaque, if not completely indecipherable. Much of his more recent corporate muzak contrasts with his earlier tape work with The Skaters, where odd ecologies of loops are built toward random cacophonies, or simply droned along until their point of expiration. Since then, he’s ditched the rawness of analogue audio and produced under the monikers Bebetune$ and Bodyguard, as well as eponymously, morphing into a more recent phase riffing directly off of banal commercial MIDI arrangements. ‘Burning Prius’ is unique amongst the pile of silica gel, iguanas, Dubai and the other references that Ferraro brings into his work, extending his focus onto an overlap between digital and classical arrangements, as well as opening up his work to performative composition.

On January 29, Ferraro is hidden amongst the crowd, acknowledged by a few close friends but largely clandestine. About fifteen minutes past 9pm a quartet of cellists in SWAT gear walk into the dull roar of conversation and take their places as a soundtrack of police sirens, surveillance helicopters and diffuse traffic patterns begin to roll off the speakers. Beginning with a police blotter and then proceeding into annunciations by a talking Prius computer, the performance builds up with the background drone for some minutes before the cellists play their first note. The sounds are angular, distinct and sharp, acting as punctuation as the babble of the cold, synthesized hybrid car voice recites phrases like ‘Destination’, ‘Traffic’ and ‘Los Angeles’. This uneasy pattern between the cellists and the Prius continues until the droning background Angeleno street ambience grows precipitously more unruly, leading to a crescendo that tastefully unifies the three strains of sound. Only the Prius is left audible at the end of the performance, naively and incessantly requesting destination input.

James Ferraro, 'Burning Prius' (2016). Performance view. Courtesy Château Shatto, Los Angeles.
James Ferraro, ‘Burning Prius’ (2016). Performance view. Courtesy Château Shatto, Los Angeles.

Ferraro’s performance obviously points toward the early ‘90s post-Rodney King tumult where both Los Angeles’ society and ecology were in crisis. Entire neighborhoods erupted over myriad social and economic inequities, followed two years later by the Northridge earthquake, all of which was then quite figuratively echoed by Hollywood’s depiction of volcanoes emerging out of the La Brea tar pits. As Mike Davis concludes of LA’s urban cauldron in Ecology of Fear, “Seen from space, the city that once hallucinated itself as an endless future without natural limits or social constraints now dazzles observers with the eerie beauty of an erupting volcano.” With Ferraro’s performance, this discord is reimagined, forcefully folded into the greater narrative of LA’s zenned-out lifestyle.

The hybrid link between society and ecology in Los Angeles encapsulates the very real day to day ubiquity of green juices, affirmation classes and tantric meditation overlaid with evening sunset Instagram filters. Ferraro’s method over the past few years has been to pick and choose from these varying lifestyle signifiers and present them raw, unfiltered and frustratingly naked. In a similar vein as Parker Ito’s painting, where torrents of symbols and internet imagery are spread across canvases with sprawling, complex layering, Ferraro’s nonlinearity presents social and consumerist signifiers absent of any comprehension. Ito characterized his work in Artforum as like when people who don’t read Chinese get Chinese characters tattooed on their bodies”. Ferraro, too, doesn’t care about recontextualization. Instead he bankrupts his constituent symbols of any real narrative and, in the case of ‘Burning Prius’, shoves them all together in the foundry of Los Angeles’ ever-confused and displaced human and natural ecologies. **

James Ferraro’s ‘Burning Prius’ was performed at LA’s Château Shatto on January 29, 2016.

 Header image: James Ferraro, ‘Burning Prius’ (2016). Performance view. Courtesy Château Shatto, Los Angeles.


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TELFAR X Future Brown

12 September 2013

In a match made in utopia fashion designer Telfar Clemens and our favourite ‘fake capitalist’ Babak Radboy echo the mainstream fetishism of the day by introducing the forthcoming TELFAR line. It’s a collection of customizable sportswear that they describe as neither conceptual nor practical; “highly polished, eminently accessible, yet stranger than any underground production”.

The backing instrumentals come from a track called ‘Marbles’ by none other than 2020 hyper-stars Future Brown. As a band named after an inorganic colour, its an ideal complement to the creepy grins reminiscent of Shanzhai Biennial‘s Yue Minjun-inspired branding campaign, as well as DIS’ ‘Watermarked I Kenzo Fall 2012′. Mind is blown.

See the video below and read a recent interview we did with Radboy. **

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A look into NA, Fade to Mind and the future

3 September 2013

Releases from Fade To Mind, the US sister of the Night Slugs label, manage to be both perfectly contemporaneous and yet simultaneously futuristic, at least in the classically dystopian sense of the word. Absolutely now, they present a music which is overwhelmingly born from, fed and fuelled by information noise. This refers equally to the genre-transcending sounds and also the way they are presented: released in byte-sized chunks – single tracks, remixes, EPs at best, and revealed via SoundCloud in rapid bursts, a swarm of inspirations that result in a high-speed, vertiginous club mix built from grime, garage, hip hop and bass music components. It’s a music born of contemporary modes of exchange and diffusion – Fade To Mind displays an extraordinary level of collectivity and osmosis between the artists, who often tend to team up or remix each other. And yet in the work of Kingdom (the label’s founder), Nguzunguzu, Fatima Al Qadiri and others, there also hovers the older conception of dystopian future; the sense of stimulus-fatigue, the friction of co-existence with alienating mass technology.

Forthcoming weeks bring new additions to the Fade To Mind catalogue. The first of these will be by NA (Daniel Pineda), half of label leading-lights Nguzunguzu, whose ‘sad, sexy, scary’, RnB-meets-footwork sound quickly became a point of reference rather than, as is usual, being compared to other artists, after the duo emerged in 2010. As if Nguzunguzu’s works weren’t foot-friendly enough, Pineda announced that the upcoming EP ‘Xtreme Tremble’ will be more ‘dancefloor oriented’. Listening through the three impactful tracks resolves this seeming-paradox: compared to Nguzunguzu, NA’s solo recordings are further stripped-down, confronting the listener with a sound hi-tech, heavy and minimalist at once, thus moving Pineda closer to the territory usually occupied by Kingdom, and thereby cabling another connection between the Fade To Mind roster.

Meanwhile, yet more osmosis occurs beyond the label – for instance, Nguzunguzu have produced two tracks for Kelela, she’s collaborated with Kingdom and will be dropping her Vocalist mix on Fade to Mind soon, while the spirit of cooperation extends beyond the limit of the label itself. Future Brown –a collective project consisting of Pineda, his original band mate Asma Maroof, long-time collaborator Fatima Al Qadiri, and J-Cush of Lit City Tracks -have released just one track so far (independently from Fade To Mind). The surprisingly simple, hooky, club-friendly ‘Wanna Party’ features Chicago rapper Tink and production from (inevitably!) another Fade To Mind artist, vogue/ballroom-house DJ and producer MikeQ. The slightly trappy track provides a sneak-peek of Future Brown‘s full album, which will also feature Shawnna, Maluca, Ian Isiah and Kelela. Even though there has been little revealed about the project (and the record itself is still in the making), what we know about the project so far suggests it will function as a summary of a certain aesthetic: unashamed genre cross-pollination, a collaborative working policy, and the implicit idea of Web-driven club music.

The imagery Future Brown choose to employ reveals the latter explicitly: they share both their initials and their logo font with Facebook, reinforcing the fact of the Web as an environment in which their brand of music thrives, as much as it does on the dancefloor. The aesthetic employed by Fade To Mind-related artists seems to acknowledge the point that, no matter where the artist ideally imagines their work being played out, in reality it is all-too-often heard through ubiquitous white ear buds or tinny laptop speakers. This may actually have informed the label’s signature sound palette; as per Kingdom’s work, his label’s output teems with the nag of ringtone-synths, a hyper-bright, brittle 8-bit aesthetic and a certain plasticity, which can evoke a Fisher-Price version of Raster-Noton.

Future Brown’s forthcoming LP will most likely be an interesting detour taken by these artists, both when it comes to sound (more hip hop-influenced), as to the shape and length of the album. Fade to Mind’s policy, on the other hand -small doses of singles, EPs and unaccompanied tracks -may have yet more method to it, understood after an extended encounter with their output: whilst many of them are thrillingly heady, attention-grabbing and intense, sometimes their chiptune-on-steroids, cropped and distorted edges make them easy to overdose on. The future, unless taken in moderation, is (as it turns out) a disorientating place to be. **

NA’s Xtreme Tremble EP is out on Fade to Mind September 2, 2013.

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Kingdom – ‘Bank Head feat. Kelela’.

Kingdom - 'Bank Head feat. Kelela'.
28 March 2013

Sometimes the art work of the Fade to Mind aesthetic threatens to overshadow the work of its artist, almost. As part of that LA/ New York based world of excellent electronica melting RnB, dub and pop into an exquisitely contemporary sound for the body, it’s artists like  Kingdom whose output is frustratingly sporadic. But it makes the music all the more thrilling when it does finally drop. So, following the New York producer’s 2011 Dreama EP and an intermittent record of dub reworks, VIP Edition, a new EP titled Vertical XL is due for release on Tuesday, May 28.

Adding to the new music credentials is that Kingdom actually runs the Night Slugs sister-label and is responsible for putting out a stable of excellent outfits, from Fatima Al Qadiri to Nguzunguzu and ‘Blank Head’ featuring vocals from LA-based RnB artist Kelela is no exception. See the EP track list below.**


1. Bank Head (feat. Kelela)
2. Zip Line
3. Corpse
4. OG Master
5. Viper Lash
6. Takedown Notice
7. Viper XL

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Like Leaves

Le1f. Like Leaves.
13 November 2012

The day after Halloween and in the wake of hurricane Sandy, New York rapper-producer Le1f’s first, free appearance at London’s Birthday’s is teeming with implication. It’s as if, with only a month to go before Apolcalypse, weird things are happening. Weather patterns, government and public opinion is changing. It’s as if the world as we know is in a state of transition that is equal parts liberating and disconcerting.


Continue reading Like Leaves

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