I fucking adore Thanksgiving. And like so much in life, it’s a ritual that is directly rooted in the exploitation and suffering of others, however we might wish to believe otherwise. Though I can totally dig those who wish to not celebrate it at as a result, it’s always felt far more subversive, to me at least, to run with it and genuinely celebrate love and gratitude (while throwing the fuck down in the kitchen and distancing oneself from the day’s historical origins). I learned how to cook as a pre-teen from my father and the day has always been one in which we’re up by 9am (at the latest) and usually cooking until 4 or 5 (right now, I’m just warming the bench while he dismantles the turkey prior to roasting). I mean, really, what other holiday is simply about food and family? Like, that’s it. Just eat and love (and be loved). Whether it’s your biological family or an ad hoc one assembled from friends and loved ones, it’s a day to actually reflect upon and celebrate the fabric that binds us together while transmuting excess into something far more, well, spiritual. If family is the vehicle through which we first learn to accept and embrace difference, Thanksgiving could also be titled Difference Day as it’s a day to let personalities and lives distinct from your own wash over you. Permit yourself to be at peace with them. Amen.
OK, with it being a sluggish day, it feels apt to share a quintet of tracks that are purposeful and even stubborn in their grooves.
ASC is one prolific dude. Having helped to steer drum’n’bass into far more experimental and adventurous territory over the past two decades, the producer born James Clement has also made a name for himself as a composer for films and video games. A serious sound designer who produces cinematic ambient for labels like Silent Season while frequenting more experimental DnB labels like Nonplus Records and Samurai Red Seal, he also runs the Auxiliary Transmissions label, which put out the 2013 EP from which I’ve snagged the A1 cut “Stolen Memories.” Moving steadily at a high double-digit BPM, the track embodies the type of microscopic temporality that I feel has become a hallmark of contemporary electronic music production. Each beat contains multitudes and the latent virtual is pinned to a butterfly board, its wing twitching as the last drops of life exit the corporeal husk. The rest of the EP hews a bit too close to hotel lobby downtempo, but “Memories” is built to last.
Terrence Dixon is a god. Like, having been obsessed with dance music going on for fifteen years now, his music has discography is a living testament to the infinite difference and repetition that makes techno ever-fertile territory to mine. Whether through his maniacally focused Population One output or under his own name, Dixon’s productions excel at infusing martial beats with a free-jazz spirit that threatens to use the dance floor as a landing strip, always about to take flight. There’s a reason Amsterdam dance music powerhouse Rush Hour took its name from a track off of his 1995 EP Hippnotic Culture. Released under the Pop1 alias back in 2016, “The Move” centers around an upwardly mobile quartet of notes that hoovers up everything around it, off-beat toms clattering about while brief bars of jazz-tinged insanity pop into the mix and exit before one can even start to make sense of it all.
Pangaea is a beast. And this remix from last year is the definition of a monster stepper as it boasts a neck-snapping beat and acidic sonics, begging to be layered, blended, and rinsed thoroughly.
Alongside Pangaea and Dixon, Ann Arbor’s Tadd Mullinix is a producer whose various output has inspired me for over a decade. Be it the arpeggiation-laden beats of Dabrye, the schizo acid of James T. Cotton, or the recent hardcore continuum-informed output of X-Altera, Mullinix’s productions always possess a laid-back busyness that always manages to leave me enchanted. Pairing up with Shitkatapult artist Daniel Meteo for a 2016 album of digital dancehall-inspired dub, the on-the-nose title of “Digidubx” presents the listener with an extended fifteen-minute mix centering around a wiggling bassline that is continuously submerged and re-excavated from a sea of echo and reverb. Drowning never sounded so good.
And to close, some monster synth riffage over a dubwise backbeat and deviant phrasing.