Here’s a recap of some notable broadcasts from last week.
First impressions can be a lot of pressure, but DJ Andrea Ghita officially broke the ice with a 5-hour-long broadcast that gave an extensive overview of what listeners can expect whenever she goes live. Moving with ease through a variety of genres, the Detroit underground veteran kept the mood light, bobbing through a selection of jazz and soul derived stylings that had Dusty Springfield rubbing shoulders with Jazzbois & Kid Abstrakt, before spiraling out further, encompassing wider spans of influence that found Mariah Carey, Moodymann, Common Factor, and Sister Nancy all coming round in the mix. By sticking to the established feel-good, head-nod pace, Ghita maintained precision control over the temperature, alternatively heating and cooling the set, which yielded a series of gentle peaks and valleys. As the records piled up, it began to feel like no decade or dimension was out of bounds as long as it played nice and subscribed to the vibe.
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Born and raised in South London, Charlie Dark has always put his community first. Whether it’s been through his early years supporting pirate radio stations, throwing parties that prioritized free expression and diverse selections, or organizing a renowned running club, Run Dem Crew, to offset some of the nightlife’s sharper talons, Charlie Dark has always looked for new ways to foster connection and love, both on and off the dancefloor. Now, the former Mo'Wax label affiliate, producer, and remixer has brought his station, Run Dem Radio, to the Blast Radio airwaves with an inaugural broadcast. Featuring a takeover by Lebz Anufu and friends, the marathon showcase brought together sets from Ambassador, Si Kemp, Cengiz, and Anufu, and delivered a hearty assortment of reggae, dancehall, dub, disco, rocksteady, house, drum & bass, and jazz-derived stylings that kept the party bouncing through the better part of Saturday, all without breaking a sweat. Keep it locked on Charlie Dark’s channel for more broadcasts from Run Dem Radio, and the man himself.
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Under normal circumstances, winter can be a difficult time to navigate with anything remotely resembling happiness; and COVID winters really torque those feelings of isolation and hopelessness out of joint like a playground bully. Like many of us, Jonathan from electronic dream pop duo Corbu has been feeling it lately. In an attempt to reconnect with his creative spirit, Jonathan took to the Blast Radio airwaves to vent some grievances, talk about life, and share a selection of demos from the band’s private stash that have been percolating beneath the funk. A deep believer in the power of dreams, Jonathan’s experimentations with cataloging them and weaving their thematic content into his music have been a guiding light through this wave of weather, demonstrated by the groovy collection of sketches and partially constructed tracks revealed throughout the broadcast. Overcoming in the moment, Jonathan’s excitement to re-engage with each project was a helpful reminder of art’s value purely as personal expression: that like dreams, they too can be private missives only meant for one.
Producer and Exit Records honcho dBridge made a triumphant return to the Blast Radio airwaves with a brooding and tender installment of his long-running mix series, The Aptitude Show. Known for crafting innovative and emotive drum & bass tunes, and giving a home to like-minded low-end travelers, dBridge offered up mellower fare for this episode, weaving together elements of downtempo, braindance, acid house, dub and dark techno into a swirling montage of sensual and alluringly menacing vibes. Finding purchase in the liminal space between club shadows and the bus ride home, the laidback tempo and yawning pads held their own amidst the growling bass and ominous synth tones that cushioned the selective placement of vocal samples and watermarks. Like a chaotic night out, or dreams that linger long into the day, the fluid juxtaposition of spaces that aligned throughout dBridge’s mix ran on its own internal logic, rendering a haze of nervous potential that managed to pivot the threat of a hanging sword into the crystalline fractals of a mirror ball. Welcome back dBridge, we missed you too.
Before making his debut on the Blast Radio airwaves, producer, musician and visual artist Obaro Ejimiwe, aka Ghostpoet, announced on social media that his new show, BLACK JOY + RESISTANCE, would pivot on two central questions: In the days that we’re living in, what is Black joy, and what is Black resistance? Having written on Twitter that broadcasts could take many forms, Ejimiwe began the series by playing Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s 1972 album, Blacknuss, in full. A jazz polymath, renowned for his outspoken views and virtuosic ability to play multiple instruments at once, Kirk’s record provided a useful starting point for the dual questions that underpin Ejimiwe’s new show. Composed predominantly of covers, Kirk’s accomplishments at circular breathing allowed him to simultaneously produce a rich chorus of saxophones while humming and occasionally pushing lyrics though the layers, which gave tracks like “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “My Girl” at times a both suffocating and liberative feeling. This duality, like the original works on the album, provided the perfect foundation for Ejimiwe’s explorations with BLACK JOY + RESISTANCE to take root.
Balearic-born producer and global house DJ Kiko Navarro made his debut on the Blast Radio airwaves with a spacious and breezy Valentine’s Day mix that combined new wave, sophisti-pop, dance, easy listening, and smooth R&B stylings with Navarro’s original work and remixes. Stitched together by a wash of interlocking synth pads and cloudweight drums, Navarro’s selections shared an ethereal quality and subject matter that conflated love with the sway and swoon of island life, eliciting an intoxicating emotional response delivered through the effervescence of warm air on the surf. But don’t let the flowery language fool you: flirting with soft rock and new age can still result in a firm backbeat. Featuring tracks by 10cc, Sade, Minnie Riperton, and multiple cuts by Scottish dance trio The Chimes, each successive movement provided enough tug on the pocket to anchor the set, as the pulsing bass notes and thick piano chords tied us tighter to the mast, seemingly for our own protection.
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Pittsburgh-based producer, DJ, audio engineer, live analog visual technician, and frequent broadcaster Ben Peters, aka Liftgate, recently launched a new show on the Blast Radio airwaves called Press Play, which envisions a more laid back approach to the format of a typical B2B set. Eschewing meticulous beatmatching and the choreographed dance of finding the other’s footing, Liftgate invited fellow Pittsburgh DJ and producer pvkvsv over to pass the aux and share their favorite tracks at a leisurely pace. Choosing from a wide range of electronic, R&B, footwork, soul, and drum & bass stylings, the pair took time to break down each selection, shout out listeners reaching out on social media and, at one point, offer up some succinct life advice in the form of a lyric from “Make It Shake” by Turkana, Suzi Analogue, and Queens D. Light: When life is ass, then make it shake. Keep it locked on Liftgate for future episodes of Press Play, and tune in for more informal hangs and casual bangers.
Mr Twin Sister
As we enter the third year of touring and live music remaining a fraught and anxious affair, being a working musician has never felt more like traversing an active minefield. And with so many options available to artists, the ameliorative path is not always clear. But NYC-based art/dream pop practitioners Mr Twin Sister recently brought the curatorial arm of their outfit, MTS RADIO, to the Blast Radio airwaves to test the community’s ephemerality and convenience. Fresh off the heels of the band’s eclectic and vivacious new album Al Mundo Azul, getting an extended look at the songs that helped fuel their inspiration has put their fanbase on the hunt for clues to its construction. Making their Blast Radio debut with a nearly six-hour collection of tracks assembled in the free-associative style of their the long-running mix series, Mr Twin Sister combined ambient, hyperpop, dancehall, ‘60s garage rock, dub techno, and more, showcasing the full sonic palette informing the band’s ever-evolving creative spark.
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DJ, producer, and Black Catalogue founder Monty Luke understands the power of a thoughtful and well-constructed archive. As physical objects, their collected contents have the ability to fold time along any axis, letting us reach into the past while providing a fertile foundation for an informed present and future. Luke’s recent featured broadcast, Sounds of the Phuture, posited the theory that all three states of being – past, present and future – can be achieved simultaneously through intuitive mixing and the recombination of sonic material from each temporal realm. Using the Blast Radio airwaves as a testing ground, Luke layered thumping house rhythms atop a variety of plucked and bowed strings, organic percussion patterns, staccato horns, and choice tracks from an array of records that mapped how Black artists across genres have tried to transcend time and space. Noting the Afrofuturist stylings and aspirations of Sun Ra, as well as the many regional varieties of house and footwork music, each selection doubled as a hinge for listeners to experience time through competing and complementary vectors.
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