Jessy Lanza


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DJ-Kicks Review

by Andy Kellman

A tactile exhibition of Jessy Lanza's taste was long overdue by the time the !K7 label asked the producer to add to their DJ-Kicks series. Lanza, who is known most for her Hyperdub recordings -- including a pair of Polaris Music Prize-nominated albums -- has been effusive about her influences and discoveries in interviews, her 2017 residency on BBC Radio 1, and DJ sessions for outlets such as Brooklyn's The Lot Radio. The fascinating continuous dialogue between her interests and own music is further demonstrated to ecstatic effect here. This sequence incorporates minimal techno, juke, gqom, off-center pop, and a multitude of raw house strains with an exuberance that relents only briefly to reset. Well over half the tracks are from 2020 or 2021, but there's a strong sense that Lanza was scrupulous about disregarding what might be ephemeral. In fact, a few of the most stimulating younger entries -- Masarima's racing "Freak Like U" is built on caroming drums akin to Klein & MBO and an in-heat vocal like a contemporaneous Patrick Adams project -- sound like they predate the small batch of '90s selections. Among the wholly modern tracks are Lanza and labelmate Loraine James' flickering roller "Seven 55," a sweeping stomp from Michael J. Blood, and a highly frictional if low-profile cultural exchange between Chicago's Gant-Man and London's Loefah. The older stuff greatly expands the set's dizzying geographic and stylistic scope. Dating from 1996, Secret Werewolf's "Yage" (sourced from Lanza's hometown of Hamilton, Ontario) is a rubberized mutation of Chain Reaction-style dub techno. The Raining Heart's concluding eponymous track, a slightly forbidding Frankfurt synth pop construction indebted to the ZTT label, was made a full decade earlier (and co-written by Tobias Freund, aka Tobias.). Lanza's FX and intermittent vocal overdubs, including some playful foreshadowing, help to bind the disparate tracks and also give the set the feel of a recording from a small basement party -- one with far-flung musical delegates from Canada, the U.S. and U.K., China, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, and Italy.

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