Kode9 Solo Debut ‘Nothing’ Features Track With The Spaceape


Hyperdub boss Kode9 has announced the release of his solo debut album, Nothing, due out November 6. The full-length arrives after acclaimed albums with his late musical cohort The Spaceape — 2006’s Future and 2012’s Black Sun — who passed away in 2014 after a lengthy battle with cancer. The dynamic between Kode9’s moody soundscapes and the creeping tension of Spaceape’s raspy poetry was tailor-fit from the start, and it’s good to see that he’s featured on “Third Ear Transmission” on the upcoming album.

According to a missive, Nothing is “obsessed with zeros. The album throws horror soundtracks, sampled library records, and J-pop into a no man’s land between grime, early dubstep and Chicago footwork.”

In 2016, in collaboration with simulation artist Lawrence Lek, Kode9 will tour a live a/v set which revolves around an evacuated, fully automated, luxury hotel known as The Nøtel, whose corporate logo features on the album’s cover.

The project explores a post-scarcity world in which the only thing in short supply is humans. The performance guides the audience on a first-person tour through the uncanny architecture of the Nøtel. In sprawling chambers deep within slick glass corridors, they encounter warped spaces, quantum clouds, gravitational pools, dancing voids and holograms of the dead.

A launch party for Nothing will take place on November 7 at Corsica Studios in Elephant and Castle. The lineup features Kode9, Scratcha DVA, Ikonika, Cooly G., DJ Spinn, Taso and DJ Paypal.

Tracklist for Nothing

  1. Zero Point Energy
  2. Notel
  3. Void
  4. Holo
  5. Third Ear Transmission feat. The Spaceape
  6. Zero Work
  7. Vacuum Packed
  8. Wu Wei
  9. Casimir Effect
  10. Respirator
  11. Mirage
  12. 9 Drones
  13. Nothing Lasts Forever

DJs React To The Spaceape’s Passing On Twitter

The Spaceape

As the music world comes to terms with the untimely passing of DJ Rashad, Frankie Knuckles, MC Sparks and others in recent months Hyperdub’s news yesterday that vocalist/poet Stephen Samuel Gordon (a.k.a. The Spaceape), a solo artist and collaborator with Kode9, Burial, The Bug and Martyn, had died after a five-year battle with cancer was almost too much to handle.

Fans, friends and peers have been offering their condolences on social media since the news broke. Several notable DJs have paid tribute to The Spaceape on Twitter, describing him as a poetic giant.

Sadly, his death comes a few weeks before the release of The Killing Season EP, which is his first collaborative release with Kode9 since their 2011 album Black Sun, due out on October 28.

Here’s an assortment of some of their heartfelt tweets — from the likes of Skream, Maryanne Bobbs and Ambivalent — who pay homage to the poetic giant.

Rest in peace, Stephen Samuel Gordon, and thank you for all of the brilliant music you gave us. Continue Reading

Chicago Footwork Pioneer DJ Rashad Reportedly Dead

DJ Rashad

Chicago footwork pioneer DJ Rashad has reportedly died of a drug overdose. He was 35. According to Complex, the sad news was broken earlier today on Twitter by DJ Godfather and was later confirmed by collaborators DJ Spinn and Chance The Rapper. DJ Rashad was known for songs that were founded on a mishmash of hip-hop, R&B, house, techno and jungle that utilized jerky polyrhythms for dramatic effect. He produced various releases over the years, with his most recent Hyperdub album, Double Cup, featuring collaborations with Addison Groove, Ear and Spinn & Taso, issued in October 2013 on Hyperdub. DJ Rashad has a track on Hyperdub’s 10.1 anniversary compilation due out in May and was expected to perform at the three upcoming Hyperdub anniversary events. Matt Mauldin’s newly launched Southern Belle imprint will release Rashad’s We On 1 EP on April 28.

An official statement regarding Rashad’s passing is expected on Monday.

Update April 27: Fellow DJs have taken to Twitter to express their condolences. You can read them here.

Hyperdub to Celebrate 10th Anniversary with 4 Compilations and Club Events Around the World

Hyperdub 10.1

Hyperdub, the venerable bass label run by Kode9 (read our 2011 interview with Steve Goodman here) known for quality releases covering UK funky, grime, hip-hop and footwork, has announced plans to celebrate its 10th anniversary in a big way with four compilations and various events taking place all over the world. The first compilation, a two-disc package titled Hyperdub 10.1 due out May 19, will feature new music from Kode9, Kuedo, DJ Rashad, Mala, Kyle Hall and others, with the second featuring older tracks from the imprint’s catalog including Burial, Cool G, Mark Pritchard and others. All of the parties take place in Europe, but it’s probably safe to bet that Hyperdub will be hitting North America and Asia to celebrate their milestone.

Tracklisting for Hyperdub 10.1

Disc 1
01. DVA – Mad Hatter
02. Kyle Hall – Girl U So Strong
03. Mala – Expected
04. Kuedo – Mtzpn
05. Kode9 – Xingfu Lu (Helix Remix)
06. Morgan Zarate – Kaytsu
07. Flowdan – Ambush (produced by Footsie)
08. Taso & Djunya – Only The Strong Will Survive
09. DJ Spinn – All My Teklife
10. DJ Taye – Get Em Up
11. DJ Earl – I’m Gonna Get You
12. Heavee – Icemaster
13. DJ Rashad & Gant-Man – Acid Life
14. DJ Earl – Bombaklot ft Rashad & Taye
15. Kode9 & The Spaceape – Chasing A Beast
16. Quarta 330 – Hanabi

Disc 2
01. Burial – Spaceape ft Spaceape
02. Cooly G – It’s Serious ft Karizma
03. Champion – Bowsers Castle
04. DVA – Natty
05. Funkystepz – Hurricane Riddim
06. Ill Blu – Clapper
07. Walton – Aggy
08. Ikonika – Idiot
09. Kode9 & The Spaceape – Am I
10. Morgan Zarate – Hookid
11. Mark Pritchard – Wind It Up ft Om’mas Keith
12. Terror Danjah – Dark Crawler ft Riko
13. DOK – East Coast
14. Terror Danjah – Bruzin VIP
15. LV – Sebenza ft Okmalumkoolkat
16. Kode9 – Xingfu Lu
17. DJ Rashad – Let It Go

Hyperdub 10 Dates up until end early June

Friday 18th April
Glasgow – School of Art
Kode9, Ikonika, Scratcha DVA, Terror Danjah.

Friday 16th May
Milan – Dude Club
Kode9, Rashad & Spinn, Cooly G, Scratcha DVA.

Sat 17th May
Rome – Warehouse
Kode9, Rashad & Spinn, Cooly G, Scratcha DVA.

Fri 23rd May
London – Fabric
Room 1 – Kode 9 W.Flow Dan, Cooly G, Rashad & Spinn, Laurel Halo LIVE
Scratcha DVA, Ikonika, Okzharp.
Room 2 – Mala, Fatima Al Qadiri, Terror Danjah & Riko, Morgan Zarate, Champion, Videeo & Nitetrax.
Room 3 – Ossie, Ill Blu, Walton, Funkystepz.

13th June
Berlin – Berghain
Kode9, Laurel Halo, Cooly G, Scratcha DVA, Kuedo and more special guests.

14th June
Barcelona – Be Cool
Kode9, Rashad & Spinn, Cooly G, Scratcha DVA, Ikonika.

Throwback Thursday: Our 2011 Interview with Hyperdub’s Kode9


Hyperdub’s Steve Goodman lives a double life, juggling a career in academia, running his label, and making some of the headiest dubstep on the planet. Here’s an unpublished interview Zack Kerns conducted with Goodman in New York City back in 2011. 

“Dubstep as a world has become so complicated and diverse, to the point where the word is almost meaningless. In a way, that’s great for the music because there’s not a direct correlation between the word and a sound.” Coming from Hyperdub label boss, Steve Goodman, better known to many as Kode9, this could be one of the only generalizations that rings true anymore in regards to the loaded genre descriptor. For those who have followed the scene’s trajectory over the course of the past decade, it might seem almost surreal that the term has been stretched this thin, somehow encompassing everything from James Blake to Skrillex. Still, what is equally striking is that, in the midst of all the decontextualization, Kode9 could very well be the most qualified person to definitively make that statement.

Before bloggers were grappling with micro-genres and pop stars began singing over half-time wobbles, “dubstep” was a niche term used almost exclusively to reference the dark, bass-heavy two-step mutations that Kode9 and contemporaries such as Loefah and Digital Mystikz were producing back in the early to mid-2000s. And yet, in spite of the runaway inertia now characterizing the music’s evolution (as well as its rampant over-saturation), Kode9 has forged one of the more thoughtful and respected pathways into the present day. After introducing the world to Burial and cementing his own talent with his production work, he’s managed to constantly build upon his credibility by taking on an increasing number of roles, at the core of which is Hyperdub. As a label, it’s one of the most admirably influential imprints to take shape in the past decade, one that is continually broadening its scope without ever compromising its principles. As it stands, in 2011 he is a successful DJ/producer and a noted author/philosopher/teacher — in essence, a true renaissance man of low-end culture. Now officially an international figure, he is set to drop his sophomore album with long-time collaborator, MC Spaceape, entitled Black Sun, nearly five years after their debut. Of course, in these accelerated times, five years is almost a generation, and so it seems that this particular sunrise will be shedding light on a radically altered landscape — one in which they are originators and innovators, but once again, merely wanderers in a strange new terrain.

On first listen, you’ll notice that they’ve instinctively re-oriented themselves to this environment — Memories of the Future was almost singularly rooted in meditative tempos, brooding toplines, and the pure physicality of subsonic bass pressure, yet right from the start, opener “Black Smoke,” charges into the unknown with a bold intensity that had been previously withheld.

“We didn’t want to do anything quite as heavy or catatonic as the first one,” explains Kode9, “‘Black Smoke’ is almost like our exorcism of the first album —getting it out of our system…it’s actually quite an uplifting track as it builds and becomes more frantic.”

“It’s still that post apocalyptic, fictional world in which that album takes place, but it’s dealing with: different moods, and different colors…literally, it’s not such a dark place.”

The cleansing does make way for new shapes and sounds, and even five years down the line, they are still in command of a distinctly unique style. Like before, many of their tracks are driven solely by the swell of bass pulses and ambient percussive textures — in some instances it can even catch you off guard (Oh wait, I’m not actually hearing this drum-work, it’s just being implied). “It’s something we like doing occasionally,” says Kode9 about these stealthy rhythms that wind their way through the negative space. “How can you get momentum going without any drums? That’s our own little sub genre called bass fiction.”

Of course, this bass fiction was being actualized on Memories of the Future as well — in fact, the dynamic between Kode9’s moody soundscapes and the creeping tension of Spaceape’s raspy poetry was tailor-fit from the start — but it’s how they’ve fleshed it all out this time around that really gives it a sense of progression. In addition to the expanded sonic palette, the claustrophobic nature of their first outing has also given way to a greater sense of freedom, as well as a noticeably wider range of emotions.

kode9 steve goodman

“It just doesn’t have so much on its shoulders; it’s not so weighed down,” admits Kode9. “I mean, it’s still that post apocalyptic, fictional world in which that album takes place, but it’s dealing with different things than the first album dealt with: different moods, and different colors…literally, it’s not such a dark place. I think it’s quite a surreal place, but it’s not just one characterized by…dread.”

In some ways, it’s not too surprising that much of that nervous anticipation has been funnelled elsewhere. Sure, traces of dread still linger, but so much has occurred in and around the fictions that they’ve constructed over the past few years, it’s as if many of the events they foretold have literally come to pass. In that sense, they are traversing the aftermath of their own vision, one that has exploded across an array of consciousness, and at this point, they have no choice but to inhabit this mutant terrain.

On the other hand, something about these compounding parallels seems to have had a sobering effect as well.  Spaceape’s lyrics in particular seem much more grounded topically, and his confessional tales about relationships and physical decay can seem disarmingly real amid all the sci-fi abstractions. And Kode9’s productions come across as substantially more alert throughout: even on the final track, “Kryon,” a collaboration with Flying Lotus that has been surprisingly stripped of its rhythmic propulsion, the layered wall of synths creates a stark yet demanding kind of ambience, something that you wouldn’t have come across in the first album’s deep, contemplative haze.

As to the specifics behind the message they’re sounding? Well, that is ultimately up to interpretation, but one thing is for sure: they have been at the core of a powerful idea for some time now, one that continues to radiate outwards in fascinating ways. Despite that, there are signs that indicate it has grown too massive and might already be buckling under the gravity of its own weight. It could all be inevitable, but if the energy is still there, maybe this darker breed of light can escape that pull, unveiling new future sonics in the wake of its shadowy glow.

Images via Facebook

Album Review: Ikonika / ‘Aerotropolis’ (Hyperdub)

Ikonika Aerotropolis


When you’re buying your next flying car, as historians have long predicted you eventually will, Ikonika will be bringing your vision to life and congratulating you on your purchase with a delivery of the far future right to your doorstep. Operating an ’80s electro/R&B swing that rolls its sleeves up, both in fashion (“Mr. Cake”) and graft, Sara Abdel-Hamid effortlessly connects grime subterfuge, maximalist parameters and ringtone investment (“You Won’t Find It There”). Her swooping out of polygon palaces, (“Eternal Mode”) flies with a faint purple hue, lining its golden curves made out of refracting straight lines.

Any malevolence is carried out in a utopia where violence isn’t so much a concept — you’re probably not even allowed to swear, Demolition Man-style – but hostilities are applied by digging down with the same hollowed out, tubular tools. Regulated by a robotic-armed conveyor belt, humans have long been driven out of the area, made to flee through the sleeve’s computer-designed maze, “Mega Church” boasting a 100% success rate when it comes to failed breakouts. Ikonika’s brave new world slides down the temperature gauge using sleight of hand and tricks of the light; “Backhand Winners” puts insubordinates in the firing line of a grand slam schemer, and “Manchego” uses a console converter to produce joypad grime in tune with original Chicago house.

Putting meat on bones — the key to the album’s success — Ikonika turns her crystal tips into burning spears and icicle keys into finger blistering platters. Absorbing.

File under: Rustie, Kode9, XXYYXX