gyrofield creates deceptively heavy bass music that plumbs for hidden detail and feeling. Known for her highly technical, darkly introspective drum & bass, her productions are just as well-suited to the analytical home listener as a rowdy subterranean basement. Cut and spliced drum patterns frame singsong vocals and eerie synth melodies, which guttural rumbles tear through. At times, the results sound furiously industrial. At others, they’re full of heartbreak and melancholy.
“I love the idea of dance music that doesn't try too hard to box itself into a certain style, mood or tempo,” gyrofield tells us on a video call from their bedroom, where they still prefer to write music. That thirst for diversity has always been there — before they settled on d&b, gyrofield was sending hyperpop demos to Monstercat — but is more pronounced on recent releases, encompassing Autechre-adjacent ambient, glitchy electro and breaks-infused synthpop. Just this year, gyrofield dove into the 140 BPM sphere on Deadbeats, forging the supercharged, metallic stomper, ‘Insecure’, which draws from her expertise in bass design.
“I pick up the low-end experimentation from drum & bass and dubstep very strongly,” she says. “Even in my earliest drum & bass tracks, I experimented with intricate movements in the low-end — the techno rumbles or gliding low-end that didn't stick to a particular pitch, which is more of a thing in 140 BPM music. I think those points are very commonly shared in UK dance music, even in UK techno.”
Growing up in Hong Kong, it was the internet, not the club, that gave gyrofield their first taste of dance music. With the full musical spectrum available at their fingertips, they discovered artists like Skrillex, DMZ and Sum 41 on YouTube — “Pop and rock became more electronic during the 2000s, and that's how I found electronic music,” they explain — before uncovering the heavyweight end of d&b. Noisia’s ‘Outer Edges’ and Culprate’s ‘Dawn’ EP both proved pivotal.
They recall listening to Culprate on their earbuds while waiting for the school bus. “I'd be blown away by the fidelity of the sound, but also the intricate fill work,” they say. “My understanding of it has always been shaped by the personal listening experience.”
That’s hardly surprising, given that gyrofield was around 12 or 13 when she started producing. After a smattering of releases, she reached out to Unchained Recordings — which champions a broad church of electronic music from its Shenzhen and Hong Kong bases — hoping to secure a DJ slot at one of the label’s parties in mainland China. But it wouldn’t be until a visit to Bristol for university, which coincided with an Unchained takeover at The Love Inn, that gyrofield would set foot in a club. “I was 17 at the time, so they snuck me in,” she says. “That was where it clicked for me, why the music was written like this, to have that low-end feeling, because it really does translate on the system.”
It was after this initiation that gyrofield’s reputation within the scene grew. They found an early supporter in IMANU, who championed their track ‘Kaede feat. Leanna’ — a combination of swooning synths and wistful vocals — in the Facebook group DnB Talk, and soon had UK label Overview knocking on their door to release the ‘Tech Flex’ EP.
Their subsequent EP on deadmau5’s mau5trap label, a collection of “glittery” tracks titled ‘Synopsis’, caught the attention of d&b’s gnarliest neurofunk producers. “Noisia were playing some of it during the Farewell Noisia tour, which was a nice look for me,” they say.
Her DJ debut came at some socially distanced sit-down sets, before sharing the bill with Paul T & Edward Oberon at Unorthodox Event’s queer drum & bass night. “My identity as a queer, non-binary person is always underlying my music,” she says. “That was how I found my voice and my identity and felt comfort in it.”
Part of gyrofield’s development as an artist, she reflects, has been about finding her distinct style as a queer drum & bass DJ. Whereas others like Mandidextrous evoke a “positively dramatic presentation”, gyrofield’s sets are more brooding, with blistering synths masking contemplative depths. “We all have different ways of expressing queerness,” they say. “That's something I’ve tried to make peace with — my music having all the meaning of my life, which as it stands is queer, and I deal with mental health all the time. It's quiet but has intense points. That's what I embody in my work.”
In many ways, gyrofield’s productions are diaristic. Living alone and abroad for the first time during lockdown unveiled some unaddressed mental health issues, and writing music provided catharsis. Even now, her productions conceal breadcrumbs signifying “small nuances of emotion”, her experiences of gender transition, and the act of creation itself — all of which remain identifiable only to the artist. “I like having a personal meaning that's deeply encoded but not explicit,” she says.
Documenting their life like this means that gyrofield is a constantly evolving project. Who they were when they started producing is very different to who they are today — they dropped the e-girl avatar from their early recordings, for example, when they trialled some Boards of Canada-inspired tracks. They cringe to remember it now, though acknowledge it was part of their creative journey. “I can't be disapproving of what I did when I was 15, because that was part of me. It was how I found my reality,” they say.
She takes the same view towards her sound, which continues to evolve as she hoovers up experiences. The end of lockdown reignited her passion for dance music, pulling her out into clubs and exposing her to new influences, like jazz and techno. “It made me realise how valuable having that social aspect to music was,” she says. “These events are all less than three years apart, and that blows my mind a bit. But I guess that's what happens when you document your process of growing up with music.”
We’re currently in the throes of another chapter, which has gyrofield mingling with drum & bass’ big leagues. She contributed to Critical Music’s ‘20 Years of Underground Sonics’ V/A last year, and has since returned to the label with the coolly restrained track ‘Retinues’. Noisia also recruited her to remix ‘Banshee’, which she refurbished with baroque harpsichord-like synths. Now a link up with Metalheadz is forthcoming. Their debut on the label this summer, ‘Oligarch’, hinted at the lessons they have gleaned from their 140 BPM experiments, which are helping to refine their sound.
“I wanted to make it feel like James Blake's earlier releases, where there was a lot of texture, but also negative space,” they say. “But the idea didn't work at 140. One night, I decided to put it up to 170. I wrote my own piano to this sampled acapella, rendered both out into the same thing, and then chopped everything up. It was this very complex and detailed sample. It's one of those sessions where I think I wouldn't be able to make something like this again for a long time.”
Such a quick rise through drum & bass’ ranks begs the question: where will gyrofield go next? For now, she says, “intuition and technical know-how” will guide her search for “ever more fleeting and ephemeral ideas”. “I think something big has to start from the smallest point,” she says. “I've had some really great moments, like playing Boomtown and Outlook for the first time, but it's nice to have those moments on the back of quiet and patient work.”
gyrofield /Strange Logic’ (Unreleased)
Donato Dozzy ‘Vetta’
gyrofield ‘One City’ (Unreleased)
Tom Finster ‘Little Circles (gyrofield Aerobic Mix)’
gyrofield ‘Hesitation Loop’ (Unreleased)
Cocktail Party Effect ‘Sun Down’
Roy Davis Jr. ‘Gabriel (gyrofield Breakbeat Mix)’
Pearson Sound ‘Alien Mode’
gyrofield ‘Oblast’ (Forthcoming)
gyrofield ‘Mile Run’ (Forthcoming)
gyrofield ‘Missed Call(s)’ (Forthcoming)
Riko Dan & Mumdance ‘Hungry’
Code Walk ‘Inside’
gyrofield ‘Snake Charmer’ (Forthcoming)
gyrofield ‘Head Rush’ (Unreleased)
gyrofield ‘Gossamer’ (Unreleased)
gyrofield ‘Antiprojection’ (Unreleased)
gyrofield ‘Dry Mouth’ (Unreleased)
gyrofield ‘Akin’ (Unreleased)
Matrix & Fierce ‘Climate’
gyrofield ‘Lagrange’ (Unreleased)
Trex & T>I ‘Run The Sketch’
Buunshin ‘Player Two’
gyrofield ‘Vega’ (Unreleased)
gyrofield ‘Requiem’ (Unreleased)
gyrofield ‘Mel's Teapot (ft. xia)’
Current Value ‘Weight’
gyrofield ‘Dirac Rhythm’ (Forthcoming)
gyrofield ‘Retinues (Dubna VIP)’ (Unreleased)
Sam Binga & Rider Shafique ‘Get Down (ft. Magugu)’ (Unreleased)
robbyt ‘The Esplanade’
Spectrasoul ‘Untitled Horn’
Hydro & War ‘AX7’ (Unreleased)
Wardown ‘Instant Money’
gyrofield ‘Forever Ballet’ (Unreleased)