Serving up the sounds shaping New York City right now: ambient shapeshifter Dedekind Cut and Brooklyn-based clan Dub-Stuy Soundsystem.
Many musicians are stylistically difficult to pin down, but Lee Bannon takes aesthetic experimentation to another level entirely. The Brooklyn-via-Sacramento artist followed up his mutated jungle hybrids and state-of-the-art boom bap for MCs like Joey Bada$$ by diving into industrial-tinged soundscapes and other far-afield territories while adopting new pseudonyms — including Dedekind Cut and ¬ b — for a variety of albums and labels. On the first half of our New York City spotlight, he analyzes his fluctuating artistic identity and shares some unreleased tracks with emotional exorcist Serpentwithfeet. Joining us in the second half of the show is Quoc “Q-Mastah” Pham from Dub-Stuy, a Brooklyn-based record label, collective and sound system that’s been growing roots in NYC’s largest borough since 2013. With their bespoke stack of speakers known as the Tower of Sound, Q and the Dub-Stuy crew are bringing a modern yet reverent approach to ’60s and ’70s sound system cultures of Jamaica, the UK and beyond.
If you like what you heard, check out Alex Zhang Huangtai’s new album under his own name, Knave of Hearts, seven piano compositions recorded between 2012 and 2015. He has also released more experimental forays as Last Lizard.
Listen to Dedekind Cut’s other releases – American Zen, Thot eNhançer ep and R&D with Houston producer Rabit – in addition to his LPs under his own name over at his Bandcamp.
See photos from New York City’s RBMA Festival this past May when the New Museum became a NON State, and later that same evening when NON vs. N.A.A.F.I. took over both floors of Manhattan club Tropical 128.
In an attempt to understand the mathematical term dedekind cut, here is its Wikipedia page as promised. Good luck.
Goldie’s 1994 classic “Inner City Life” featured “the voice of drum & bass” singer Diane Charlemagne, who passed away in 2015 after a struggle with cancer.
Watch this video of Zach Hill drumming in handcuffs – and, while you’re at it, deep-dive Death Grips’ whole YouTube channel for a glimpse into their thorny nature and unpredictable aesthetic decisions.
Listen to Lee Bannon’s Ambient Essentials playlist over on Spotify, featuring artists like Laraaji, Biosphere, Grouper, Brian Eno and more.
Find some of Double Tiger’s dub, reggae and roots productions – along with tracks featuring his vocals – over on his Soundcloud.
See photos of Dub-Stuy’s Tower of Sound over at their website and learn more about soundsystem culture dating back to soundclashes in Jamaica in the ’50s and ’60s – predating dancehall, ska and reggae – in this comprehensive Daily article.
Read about Hackney’s Caribbean and Jamaican diaspora post-World War II and the soundsystems that emerged from that community – some, like the notorious heatwave, 12 bassbins loud – staking their claim in parks, halls, clubs and other venues across East London.