Although I grew up in West London, I feel most at home in South London with its vibrancy and multiculturalism. What I love about Brixton is that, for all of its flaws, there is a really sense of community – especially amongst the black people that are its beating heart and long-time residents amidst all the gentrification of late. I love listening to soul music whilst pottering around the neighbourhood on a weekend, it just fits. Lovely Day is so full of joy and Bill Withers has an incredibly expressive voice, his groove is so natural in this song and you can’t help but feel relaxed and content whilst listening to it. I have had it on repeat for an age.
I just moved to Porto, into an artist community housed in an ex-brothel – which coincidentally also faces a working brothel. The city smells salty but smoky, something to do with the bachalau spinning in shop windows and the dusty roads being dug up.
Somewhat stupidly, I didn’t realise Porto isn’t actually that warm. So I walked to a €1 second-hand shop for cheap clothes. I came across a shimmering green striped blazer resonant of Madonna’s jacket in the 80’s film Desperately Seeking Susan. After surgically removing its beefy shoulder pads, I put it on and headed out.
On my way to a bar I was searching for a lighter and put my hand into the jacket pocket only to feel a floppy, damp piece of paper. I pulled it out – it was a note written in swirly blue biro scrawls in slang Portuguese. To be understood only by its owner. It felt so intimate, as if I was walking past a house and looking inside the window. Excitedly asking people to decipher its meaning, it seemed to be part to-do list, part shopping list, with a few unusual recipes thrown into the mix. But I wanted to know why some were scribbled out, or ‘X’ed, and some weren’t. One of them said something like ‘pick-up Julia from the airport’, it wasn’t crossed off and so I wondered if she was still there… waiting.
The hieroglyphs started to make some scrappy, mildly coherent sense on Google translate. Some were simple, like ‘chemist butcher’ or ‘3.30 make & bake 2 cups to make gel’. But one struck me as particularly unusual, it said: ‘Vejo Pia de Doce ja bele 200 g. Cauana’, which Google translated to be: ‘I see Sweet Sink already beautiful 200 g. Cauana’. Whichever way I typed ‘Cauana’ on Google translate, nothing showed up. I assumed it must be slang as I’ve heard that Google translate uses Brazilian Portuguese. I searched ‘Cauana’ on Google, which produced soundcloud links to an artist based in Curitiba, Brazil.
Described by Brazilian electronic festival, Xama, ‘the presentation of Cauana the last time we rubbed our feet in the fine sand of Algodões when night fell and a splendid moon bathed us to the sound of their exquisite selection was something overwhelming.’ Although I’ve listened to everything she’s posted on soundcloud – and you should too – I picked her previous Xama set for this piece.
Although Cauana is on the other side of the world, chance encounters led me to be her biggest fan.
With this piece, I hope she gets some soundcloud likes.
My city that often drives me fucking nuts, that I have to break my back and work full time and do music in the evenings or my days off, that literally doesn’t allow me to take any fucking time off. Yeah.
I’ve worked very hard to finish my EP “not2b” with my friends Zoee and Suny. We talk about breakups and being shit at love.
So many times I’ve hit the studio in my work uniform, all that sweat and tears that went into creating the project reminds me of this crazy fast city I live in. Bitch we made it
This, thick, demands to be listened to loud on high quality headphones or a speaker system that will blow through your insides. Abrasive like concrete as you graze against it – yet structure for your backbone.
The Techno version pounds with the driving so characteristic of the genre. The Slow Version draws this out, with a pulling to somewhere ethereal. This tension captures the essence of the power of this sound for me: the smoke-like inability to be tied down to ground, yet the solidity of feet planted. Techno has been a core part of my life this past year. Berlin’s techno. Something about this kind of dark, heavy, persistent sonic brings a certain comfort to me. Womb-like.
Paula’s last name is apt. When I listen to this track I think of coming to a hard-walled no-frills low-lit space, for some kind of cathartic worship. I think of how it rids all excess of me. I think of moving collectively in a sea of sweat-laced bodies seeking release, connection, ecstasy, rhythm. I think of the bodies churning in some militant unison, at liberty to reach, march, sway, touch. And to be utterly free in those moments, immersed in the darkness. I taste a sweet edge.
Zero Days is an anonymous project from an underground producer, who hired me to write biography for it. A biography about Zero Days without revealing who they are, so not really a biography at all, more an introduction I guess? It wasn’t obvious how to do it. I played the music through my bluetooth speaker placed halfway down the long, thin, tall stockroom where K ans I were sorting jeans. One of Topshop Oxford Circus’ 14 stockrooms, it bent around the edge of the building at a 90 degree angle, so the only place where you could see both entrances was at that right angled corner.
For about an hour we worked and nodded, before agreeing that Zero Days was perfect for these sunparched hours here, or an underground commute. There was something metaphorical in the sound, a really clear reflection of the strange, artificially lit corners of London.
“Zerødays is a long-imagined homecoming, a yearning for a city plagued by yearning, a frosty metallic city where citizens bind themselves together with warm nostalgia. The music documents this emotional reset button, the lonesome homesick walks, the eyebagged transition months, the steady reacclimatisation to the city of ghosts.”
[three gusgus bus photo)
[a mix recorded at my favourite Berlin club night; add to cool alongside Marshmello], [add Love If If We Made It]