Selections: Lyra Pramuk
In this series, Selections, we invite DJs, producers and label heads to dig into their digital crates and share the contents of their Bandcamp collections. This week, Lyra Pramuk highlights traditional and futuristic vocal works, ferocious club rhythms, generative sound experiments and more
In this series, Selections, we invite DJs, producers and label heads to dig into their digital crates and share the contents of their Bandcamp collections. While hearing new music played out by your favourite selectors has been put on hold as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s never been easier, or more important, to support the artists and imprints releasing tracks, albums, EPs and comps in the midst of all the madness. In lieu of opportunities to discover new records on the dancefloor, Selections will give you the chance to nab sounds from the crates of tastemakers, and support the people behind them while you’re at it. Win-win, right?
This week, Berlin-based artist Lyra Pramuk highlights traditional and futuristic vocal works, ferocious club rhythms, generative sound experiments and more from the likes of Ustad Saami on Glitterbeat Records, Cucina Povera, TYGAPAW, ZULI, Duval Timothy and more. There’s a keen sense of experimentation, and voicings both human and instrumental, to be found across these choices; it’s an energy that can be found across Pramuk’s own creative work. Last summer, the Holly Herndon and Colin Self collaborator released her debut album, ‘Fountain’, which found her fusing elements of classical singing, pop and contemporary club and electronic music into a stunningly futuristic collection, created entirely using her own voice.
Lyra Pramuk has also contributed to a new compilation on Barcelona label, Modern Obscure Music. Titled ‘PRSNT’, the collection is a global project comprising music, video and written works from artists including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Lafawndah, Lucrecia Dalt and Visible Cloaks. Each musical piece lasts just 32 seconds, with the collection serving as a commentary on our shortening attention spans in the digital age, and how it has impacted the ways we consume music today. ‘PRSNT’ will be released on 23rd April, and can be pre-ordered here.
Dig into Lyra Pramuk’s Selections below.
“A truly timeless and special recording. From the liner notes: ‘Ustad Saami is the last living Surti master, a precursor of the ancient, Islamic devotional music of qawwali. Even under threat of Islamic fundamentalists, the master has spent his life as a dedicated practitioner of a vanishing art — one that has been passed on from generation to generation since the 13th century.’
“Here we hear Saami accompanied by his four sons from the rooftop of his home in Karachi. What makes me the most sad about our contemporary music culture is our failure to recognize and honor the breadth of musical lineage and history which is given to us. The streaming economy inspires no appreciation for long-form, historical musical arts. Without properly funding and archiving, without education and without patience, we are on our way to lose many different musical cultures. When we lose these cultures, we lose ourselves. And for what?”
“I’ve had trouble listening to music during the pandemic, I think due to anxiety - I’ve mostly been playing the same sound bath YouTube videos for months. But another that has stuck out to me is Tygapaw’s full-length debut, ‘GET FREE.’ This feels like techno as it’s meant to be heard, and I haven’t heard traditional electronic dance music that felt so fresh and raw in quite a while.”
“This one has been on heavy rotation in my house for the past months. I keep turning back to it as a multimedia art object, a revolving hall of mirrors guiding me through our contemporary moment. It’s smart, surprising, and makes me feel good in my own body. Have a listen.”
“My friend showed me this tape by Ghanaian pop artist Ata Kak, and I fell in love with it immediately. From the liner notes: ‘The seven tracks on Obaa Sima traverse a pop music landscape that encapsulates international modes – rap, techno, saccharine melodies – while reflecting contemporary Ghanaian music via highlife-style refrains, aggressive rapping and use of Twi language.’
"The artist, whose given name is Yaw Atta-Owusu, recorded everything DIY at his home in 1991, and I just really connect with his raw passion and musical innovation with little means. A really special find.”
“Loraine James’ second album for Hyperdub won’t be released until June, but I literally can’t wait. Loraine is one of the hardest working artists in electronic music and her releases show it. If the lead single ‘Simple Stuff’ is any indication, this will be a huge record.”
“I’ve been following Cucina Povera’s work for a few years, and her work has become a kind of contemporary lifeline for me. I really deeply connect to the folkloric spirit of her work. Healing and joyful.”
“Matt is a friend of mine from university, and his debut is just full of life and texture and so many surprises. Ambient samples, tape textures, percussive improv, evolving rhythmic cells, shimmering melodies - a sparkling little feast and companion.”
“ZULI’s latest release on UIQ is an EP created in the wake of all his studio gear and a whole record becoming stolen and lost. It is ferocious, it shreds, ZULI is a genius, and I miss the club.”
“A totally different world. Loving it, feeling squeezed and pulled by its multiplicity. Still figuring it out. It’s feeding me.”
“In his latest release as Hexorcismos, Moisés Horta uses a neural network that he trained to synthesize a new constellation of post-pandemic 3ball music derived from YouTube videos. As he describes it, this is ‘one of many possible futures where 3ball music continues to be renewed based on a symbiosis between pre-Hispanic rhythm technologies and Western artificial intelligence.’
“These generative tunes feel distinctly human in nature and stand as some of the more exciting musical output of machine learning collaborations that I’ve heard.”