Here’s a recap of some notable broadcasts from last week.
Hailing from Ploieşti, Romania, photographer, producer, and DJ Andu Simion was born into a changing world. After the Romanian revolution stamped out the last vestiges of Soviet-era communism in Eastern Europe, and neoliberal custom dictated that the now-free nation state be brought to market, the echoes of these tumultuous events reverberate in the collective memory, architecture, and cultural products of its artists. Collapsing the space between brutalist aesthetics and the assembly line, Simion took to the Blast Radio airwaves to ruminate on the sounds and construction of his new album, Random Studio Incident, by giving different pieces of the record extra space to breathe and develop. Taking its cues from rave music’s escapist designs and Detroit techno’s path toward syncopating the means of production, the album offered an uneasy euphoria of brooding acid house and minimal IDM grooves that seemed to serve, much like Simion’s photography, as an attempt to document the feelings, hopes, and anxieties of a nation in flux.
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Detroit-based DJ, producer, and educator Dru Ruiz pivoted his prowess as an early riser into the long-running, biweekly show Morning Whispers that helps the Blast Radio airwaves wake up and/or wind down every Tuesday and Saturday AM. Sporting a soothing mixture of lofi beats, dubplates, rocksteady cuts, and other positive vibrations for greeting the day or calming busy minds, the show is careful to craft a gentle mood that nudges listeners toward centeredness and relaxation. While the selections themselves convey a pronounced warmth, through the tape hiss and persistent vinyl crackle, Ruiz’s echoed watermarks run throughout, radiating positive messages and affirmations behind the mix that help anchor the cozy ethos underpinning each broadcast. Designed to be the perfect accompaniment for the liminality of bedtime, “whether you partied all night, or are just waking up,” as Ruiz quipped throughout the broadcast, Morning Whispers offers a soothing reward at the other side of an alarm, or just the right amount of sway after a long night.
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Mexico City-based producer and JukeMX affiliate DJ Eric Uh kicked off a presence on the Blast Radio airwaves with a test broadcast for a potential new show. Tentatively titled Footwerkz & Networkz, Eric Uh discussed exploring the contributions Mexican and Latinx producers have made on the development of Chicago’s footwork scene, and the genre’s proliferation globally. Given the connections drawn between house music’s cross-cultural roots and practitioners, there’s a strong basis for continued digging into both the past and the crates. Switching between English and Spanish as he elaborated on footwork’s evolution both regionally and internationally, Eric Uh identified New York producers AceMo, MoMa Ready, and Kush Jones as being at the forefront of the scene, and paused throughout to let AceMo’s 2017 album Black Populous move from the bed music to being the focal point of the conversation. With new iterations of footwork percolating daily, Eric Uh’s show should prove an essential node to help keep you in the know.
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Beaming in from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Maison Dufrene, Dime Store Radio, and Radio L'envie selector and curator Paul Dufrene has been a welcomed addition to the Blast Radio airwaves with his new morning show taking listeners through the interlocking tributaries of a wide variety of musical genres. Living up to the promise of daily broadcasts, Dufrene’s mixes include everything from psychedelic folk, to ‘60s garage rock, to early doo-wop and R&B, to cosmic and outlaw country; and with enough roots, dub, exotica, and tropicalia sprinkled in, the varied yet vibes-based asethetic is all-encompassing in both its scope and possibility, leaving listeners poised for what could be next in the rotation. While the gems are seemingly bottomless, Dufrene has a particular interest in cover songs: Eartha Kitt doing Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man'', Big Youth trying on the Beatles, and two Bob Dylan covers, including David T. Walker’s adroit rendition of “Lay Lady Lay'' all worked to provide markers for listeners less familiar with treading the boundary waters, yet eager to see what may lie around the bend.
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After serving as Liftgate’s first guest for his new laidback series Press Play, Pittsburgh-based producer, beatmaker, and DJ pvkvsv’s solo arrival on the Blast Radio airwaves was a logical next step. Having primed the community with choice selections, candid conversation, and opaque references to new projects on the horizon, these broadcasts have offered further insight into what pvkvsv has on deck. Recently, listeners were given a glimpse of one such project in its nascent form, as pvkvsv invited the community to tune in and watch the creative process unfold. Audiences witnessed pvkvsv adjust the arrangements, fine-tune voices, and add additional flourishes to the track in real time, peeling back some of the mystique while offering exclusive insight into how new beats and collaborations enter the world. Familiar to anyone who’s ruminated on a puzzle, agonized over choosing the right word, or doggedly pursued that eureka moment of a solution suddenly falling into place, pvkvsv’s broadcast was a helpful reminder that the process of creating itself can become an impactful work of art.
Kicking off Blast Radio’s acknowledgement of Women’s History Month, Simona Zamboli brought a special edition of her weekly show Simona’s Sonic Diary to the airwaves for another installment of improvisational sounds inspired by the producer’s changing moods and milieu. While crafting an evolving, free-form track through deft usage of modular synthesis, drum sequencing, and ad hoc melodic flares fit the mold for a typical installment of the ongoing series, the context of this performance heightened the emotional register through which to examine Zamboli’s work. The rolling barrages of kicks and thick, blown-out acid bass lines reflect the growing urgency to continue opening spaces within the electronic music community for women and nonbinary creators, but the implications of these sounds reach beyond those bounds. In a world where demands for space and equity are often met, at best, with symbolic gestures, the greatest detriment to understanding history remains repeating its errant conclusions. But creators like Zamboli help remind us that better outcomes are possible if we remain committed to their arrival.
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US-born, Berlin-based producer and DJ Paul Bonomo, aka Snax, has lived many lives. After founding art-rock and disco-pop projects, Bonomo emerged in the early ‘00s as Snax, crafting his tracks from the ground up, and alongside artists like Peaches, Jamie Lidell, and Scissor Sisters, helped cement an electro-funk aesthetic globally. Now, Bonomo’s inaugural broadcast on the Blast Radio airwaves saw him assume his house music moniker, BOX OFFICE POISON, to spin an all-out rager for a good cause. Covering an eclectic range of tracks from across the dance music spectrum, the broadcast raised money for OutRight Action International and their support of the Ukrainian LGBTIQ community. With spring approaching and clubs like Berghain cautiously reopening, the fissure of normalcy coupled with so much heartbreak and uncertainty presents a complicated duality. But as Snax helped demonstrate, pivoting these moments of celebration into means of support is an essential tool for keeping marginalized struggles in the conversation, and to help us all shake off the fatigue to continue fighting for what’s at stake.
Serena Stucke (Testu Collective)
Returning with a special International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month installment of Cinema for the Ear, Serena Stucke of Testu Collective curated a selection of tracks by women producers ranging across electronic and experimental spectrums. Functioning as the Blast Radio community’s go-to destination for auditory art house, Stucke kept the show’s marriage of the creative and the cerebral alive after delivering an explicit caveat at the beginning of the broadcast. “Even though this day has obviously turned into a capitalistic holiday, I hope that it can still be a reminder of how many women have paved the way for human rights, and to understand that women’s rights around the world are still unequal,” Stucke said, expressing a view informed by her firsthand experience as a photojournalist in a previous life. While many of Stucke’s choices highlighted pioneers and contemporary artists using their work as a site of struggle, Gavilán Rayna Russom’s Trans Feminist Symphonic Music stood out for its scope and sheer necessity at a time where basic human rights are again under siege.
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