A new audio mix series where we call upon the most interesting artists/DJs/record labels and ask them to peer into the near future. How they take it from there is entirely open to interpretation. James Healy, founder of label Air Texture, presents this mix with forthcoming material from the likes of Biosphere, Reagenz and BNJMN, as well as bringing many influential, out-of-print releases back into play once more: a vividly-realised deep dive into the world of experimental electronic, ambient, and New Age.
About this mix
In Brooklyn circa 1995 it was dangerous at the first L Train stop Bedford Street; dangerous, and exciting. Art crews would squat abandoned factories for weeks at a time, creating weekend long “sensory environments” where performance art, DJs, video, sculpture, food, and interior architecture all had equal weight. Students seemed to be putting down their brushes in earnest to experiment with turntablism and audio collage. With an eye towards the DIY minimalists of 60/70s era NYC – artists like Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, and Gordon Matta-Clark – and with an ear tuned to rebel musical spirit – John Cage, La Monte Young, Eno, Boogie Down, and Planet Rock – aesthetically savvy DJs would create all night audio journeys to huge crowds.
The programming covered anything and everything: classical, hip hop, ambient, dance, world music, spoken word, to the latest electronic from England, Germany, Detroit, Chicago, and New York. These were true storytelling experiences that changed my views about what DJing and music performance could be forever. Air Texture celebrates those nights and the global community at large who create music out of category: some call it ambient, others experimental; off the dance floor but still in the electronic music family, it’s an important foil to the all night rave.
I chose electronic music innovators from the last three decades to show a lineage, as well as important labels in the 90's that really pushed ambient music forward. I reached for older selections including: German composers Klaus Schulze (Tangerine Dream) and Holger Czukay (Can);FFWD (one of Robert Fripp's hardest to acquire collaborative albums); influentials 90s labels such as Astralwerks, plus the now sadly out-of-print Instinct and EM:T. All can be considered vital in laying the foundation. On the forthcoming side of things we have Reagenz (Jonah Sharp of Spacetime Continuum and Move D) presenting live material due out next year, some BNJMN from Air Texture IV, a deeply moving piece from Brooklyn originator sound artist DJ Olive, and a special cut from Air Texture V by Biosphere. I tried to create the mystery and optimism of those storytelling sets in this mix for Boiler Room. Thank you BR for the opportunity to present this mix of new, favourite and rare material.
Our weekly audio mix series where we call upon the most interesting artists/DJs/record labels and ask them to peer into the near future. How they take it from there is entirely open to interpretation.
Upfront 003: the third in our forward-facing mix series comes from Supply Records boss, on-fire producer and Boston native John Barera, tearing through the city's unsung house heroes.
With every mix I've been doing lately, I try and reframe some of the music I love in order to give context to the world I'm creating with my own work. Like the first song in the mix: it's like finding pieces of childhood and using them to set a mood or a place where the story starts and patching things together to paint a bigger picture. Common threads, feelings and things that are indefinable. Colours and strokes, a jagged stab. The underdog. That's what interests me.