On Saturday 24th March at The Curtain in East London, the Stones Throw affiliated musician, writer, and poet Anika will perform a piece called Writing Robot alongside music from her rich back catalogue. Writing Robot is a collaborative project with Computer Programmer, Raoul Sanders.
Following the gig, the evening will shift into club night format and we've invited two of our favourite London selectors to provide the soundtrack: Shy One, E.M.M.A + more TBC.
Anika (Stones Throw)
Shy One (Touching Bass / Radar Radio)
E.M.M.A (Producer Girls / Astral Pane)
Noah Hope (commune)
Annika Henderson is a musician, poet and artist who rose to fame as ANIKA with two highly acclaimed eponymous records (Recorded with Geoff Barrow of Portishead and his band Beak>, released on Stones Throw in the US), and was touring the world. She is well known as a DJ too, hosts a radio program on BCR Berlin Community Radio, is seen and heard in experimental cinema and collaborates with a variety of artists and musicians among them Jandek, Shackleton, Dave Clarke, Michael Rother (Neu!), Andreas Reihse of Kreidler, T.Raumschmiere (Sleeping Pills and Habits), Doireann O'Malley, Ricardo Domeneck, Stine Omar / Max Boss (EASTER), Phillip Geist (for a live video mapping project and soundtrack in Tehran, Iran) or Yann Tiersen. Last year Anika released an album with her new Mexico City-based project, Exploded View, on Sacred Bones (US).
"White cables hang from hearts, beats they’re guided synchronised", musician, writer and poet, Anika writes in her 'Scratcha' poem, observing today’s world. Man created machine by abstracting reality into a binary rule set: 1, 0. We made a model. Now it changes, as reality tries to fit that abstract model. Music and our tastes have been guided and influenced by common denominators; we want more of what we already know. But what does this hold for the future of art? For the future of musicians and the future of writers? Are artists making themselves redundant by sticking to the winning formulas of the past?
Such questions form the frame of this very special performance, when Anika takes to the stage next to a writing robot. The machine generates the lyrics, the artists intones them, opening-up an ongoing conversation between lyrics, voice, and music. The Writing Robot is a collaboration between Anika and Computer Programmer, Raoul Sanders.
Mali Larrington-Nelson is 27 years old, but already she's been involved deeply in music for nearly a decade. It began for her in 2003, just as grime was emerging as a musical force and having its “wot u call it” moment. A youth club DJ course with scratch wizard DJ Blakey gave her the bug, she began to collect those early white labels – by Wiley, Target, Danny Weed, DaVinChe, Musical Mobb, Dizzee, Wookie and Scratcha – and to DJ as part of a crew.
Just a year later she began to play with Fruityloops, trying to find her own sound within the spectrum of grime. Undeterred by those who called her beats “weird” or “different”, Mali disguised herself behind the Shy One alter-ego, putting her beats online with only a cartoon face to identify the artist.
Though she loved grime's innovation and energy, its insular attitude – and particularly the dominance of unreliable and flighty MCs over producers – meant its appeal began to wear a little thin. Meanwhile Mali began to pick up on dubstep sounds, and go back to hip hop, jazz and the whole wider world of music, and gradually drifted away first from grime and then from production itself.
Thankfully, though, the support of Scratcha DVA convinced her that her skills and eclectic tastes still had value. When he signed the “Decaffeinated Love EP” to his label, she began to take things more seriously, investing in a keyboard and monitors and beginning to hone her tracks for serious soundsystems. Feeling able to cut loose from constraints of tempo or genre, she began to take in the influence of everything she listened to and make it her own.
Now unconstrained by anyone's demands, she has been able to hone a distinctive sound that keeps the lo-fi punch and quirky synths of grime but explores her funkier instincts through house rhythms and varied tempos. Now, with “Bedknobs and Boomkicks” we see the emergence of a fully-fledged talent, schooled through years of creative hard work and hard knocks and completely confident in who she is musically.
E.M.M.A. is a London-based DJ/producer whose technicoloured electronic music draws on hard-hitting club beats, rap and grime structures, UK funky rhythms, and melodic synthesizer music. Since the release of her astonishingly good debut album Blue Gardens in 2013, E.M.M.A. has been a regular presence on the capital’s underground music scene, DJing around the city and co-hosting the Angel Food show on Radar Radio alongside music journalist Aimee Cliff.
This programme has been created with support from the British Council.