It doesn't happen the most often, but when music makes me cry, I fucking bawl. A couple years ago I found myself at show headlined by folk-punk duo Girlpool. Never having heard the two, within about thirty seconds of their starting their set, I started to feel tears streaming down my face, the currents not letting up for the whole of their forty-minute set. Now, they are great songwriters and their octave-over-octave harmonizing is electrifying, but I was more overwhelmed by what they represented to me at that point than anything else. Namely, I was just utterly inspired by two people simply making the music they wanted to and presenting it on their own terms.
I hadn't thought about that concert in some time until a few nights ago after making my way through fifty-eight tear-filled minutes watching Macunian club destructor LOFT utterly destroy their Boiler Room set. From the opening seconds, as the producer and DJ effortlessly blends harsh noise before moving into sensually aggressive club edits, batida, and bass-heavy heaters, the listener either has to adapt their expectations or simply get left behind. Just a quick glance at the brutally hateful comments speaks as much to the rampant transphobia that subsists within society as it does to the close-minded nature of so many dance fans. For me, the video popped up in my inbox on a day when I was questioning my own ability to listen to my gut and trust my instincts as an artist, something that I had a far easier time doing after watching this brain melter of a set.
As frequent visitors to this site have likely picked up on, I don't exactly hold too many contemporary DJ's in high esteem as more focus seems to be on self-promotion than, well, talent these days. Listening to the vast majority of sets and mixes I do hear, rarely does it feel like a DJ is trying to say anything through the music they select or recombine the parts into a wholly new assemblage. And podcasts and mix series like Dekmantel and Boiler Room tend to reinforce what's so stale about the current status quo rather than shake it up. So when my dear friend Ron Like Hell started urging me to check out the Romanian production duo Khidja's podcast for Dekmantel, I knew I was in for something special (even if it did take another three or four weeks). Within about a moment of clicking play on this truly effortless admixture of jazz, punk, and irascible grooves, I understood exactly why this particular mix had been recommended so highly to me. Rather than chasing trends or playing the latest bangers, Khidja compose an album-like tapestry of music taken from across the vast spatial-temporal spectrum, the tracks ceasing to be individual elements as they are absorbed into the mix's own gravitational singularity. It's a rickety rollercoaster of a ride that goes through several acts before reaching its eventual conclusion and, taken in alongside the previous day's LOFT mix, a deeply inspiring double-header. Enjoy and be weird<3