London-born, Brighton-based DJ Lorca, aka 22-year old Xxx Xxxxxxx, remains a relatively new emergent from Brighton’s resilient house music scene. But off the back of his debut white label release ‘Moments’ on Live Ones last July, Lorca is now known not just as prolific but also as critically acclaimed, dropping an unrelenting string of 12” singles on high-profile record labels Left_Blank, Third Ear and now Dummy.
It was the latter label, Dummy Magazine subsidiary Dummy Records, which served up Lorca’s most successful single to date this March; a breathtaking and rhythmically-charged 12” release by name of “Can’t See Higher/Missed Me”, infused on side A with a deep, angular bass, hypnotic samples and a searing, drone-like fuzz, affording on side B something of a more low-end tribal undertone to Lorca’s signature focus and endearing drive.
Throughout Lorca’s rapidly expanding discography, it is clear that the headphone-panning idiosyncrasies in the rhythm-section are key to the success of his sound. But whilst a subtle influence from dubstep (most apparent on ‘Moments’) has tended to fade over time, tentative shades accrue on occasion in the whirring, errant instrumentation of tracks like ‘Hold Back’, ‘Giant Star’ and others. Sample-wise, Lorca is consistently soulful and selective, tending towards the subtle re-layering of female vocals in line with his nostalgia-driven choice of samples and patient, slow-burning compositional ethos.
Acclaim has come (deservedly) from all sides. Not only have his tracks made the cut for BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes curated by the likes of Modeselektor and Scuba, but Bonobo included ‘Can’t See Higher’ in his 2012 Bestival DJ set. Since the start of his collaboration with booking agency Elastica Artists, Lorca has made appearances across the Europe and the UK, including festival sets at Croatia’s Dimensions and Echo Festivals, as well as acquiring the position of DJ in residence at weighty Brighton club night AKA AKA ROAR.
Following Lorca’s most recent release, a blissfully smooth Faith Evans vs Nuyorican Soul remix on Corsica Studios’ club night-turned-label Church, and ahead of two new remixes due out before the end of the year, I caught up with Sam to discuss his gradual shift away from dubstep, ideas for a new live show, and first-hand take on the place of vinyl in a scene where DJs are increasingly shifting towards CD and digital formats…
tP: Lorca isn’t your first project, how did this one come about?
L: I was originally making dubstep, but then I started making other stuff as my taste began to develop. I ended up getting into more chilled out stuff. I just got bored of dubstep after a while.
tP: Why ‘Lorca’ the name?
L: I was living on a houseboat called ‘Lorca’. The houseboat was named after the poet, ‘Lorca’, who I’ve checked out and I like – but my DJ name is not quite so romantic. He is no great influence on me.
tP: Who would you consider your contemporaries?
L: They change all the time. When I first started doing Lorca in 2009, Joy Orbison and Scuba were huge, and ‘HYPH MNGO’ had just come out. That was a real turning point for me.
tP: What kind of effect has working with bigger labels had on the way you like to work? Does it affect your ability as an artist to refine and rework your tracks over time?
L: When I’ve done a track – they are done. I’ll never go near it again. But it varies – with Dummy, Leo came to my house in Brighton and just said ‘play me everything you have’ – and I played him my demos, some really rough demos – and he kind of let me choose what I wanted to release – that’s the way I like to work. tP: But can too much perfectionism in your writing hurt?
L: Yeah – its very confusing when you’re working on tracks. I’ve had tracks I’ve been working on for months, and if you listen to the fine grain of them, you end up messing the track up entirely. I’ve done that enough times. I’ve done 15 versions of some tracks before switching back 10 versions and settling with that. I think sometimes I pay too much attention to the fine grain and not enough to the feel of the track. Its ultimately more about the feel – you can get lost entirely if you go too far into the grain of it.
tP: And does reaching this wider audience have an impact too?
L: It does. Can’t See Higher on Dummy Records brought me up a level and really put pressure on me to make something just as good every time! But you can’t think about that. For now I’m going to try and make what I want to make. tP: So what else have you got coming up we should know about? You’ve just put out a record with Church…
L: That remix with Church was my choice, I thought the two tracks blended together well. I also have two more remixes for different labels coming out. One is coming out in October, and then another definitely before the end of the year.
tP: Have you ever thought about doing gigs outside of clubs, maybe in a more relaxed setting?
L: Yeah, definitely. The more I DJ the more I think about doing something slightly different. I’ve been thinking about a live show. So many people go to clubs for the madness rather than the music. Its just the setting DJs have to play in if they want to advance themselves. Thing is I’m in this DJing scene now where my music is played by DJs, so I’m not playing in the library just yet…
tP: Do you think there is much place for vinyl now that so many DJs have been liberated by the CD?
L: I use both vinyl and CD. CD because you can burn so many tracks, and I find myself a few days before a gig wanting to work something new into my set. Beatport has so many tracks you won’t find in your record store down the road. That is the easiest way to get new music – its instant. I still pick up records when I can, I prefer the sound of them and they are definitely more fun to mix with.
reprinted with permission from USSU Pulse Magazine.
I was first introduced to near-Brighton project Shinamo Moki by a friend, Erik (who lives in NY, but seems to know more about the music scene here than I do), when the pair released their most recent EP “For You” on his (excellent) label a few months ago. Since that spacey, idiosyncratic release, which premiered on these pages, Shinamo has blossomed further along ambient lines exposed in two singular trickle-down offerings: the gentle and drone-embellished “Relic (demo)” and its decorated (and headphone-panning) younger brother “Ultra” - sold on its drawn-out, rhythmic bursts of sprawling, misty reverb, which conjure mental images in mine of the top note of old pianos played in dusty rooms - and that sound, somehow captured and endlessly prolonged.
This sharp, striking effort from 22 year old Brighton producer Lorca is, put simply, breathtaking. Deep angular rhythms and a faded, drug-induced bass-line palpitate and lace a ghostly gallop of a rhythm, slowly but surely drawing together across six minutes to climax in a sleek slow-burning, futuristic and synthesised complex. This one is a Dummy release, scheduled for March 19th.
Porcelain Raft and M83 certainly share a penchant for the ethereal, even if Porcelain Raft instantiate this through a totally unpretentious set of bedroom loops and samples and M83 do so through sheer size and spectacle. The opening act, a duo fronted by London-based Italian Mauro Remiddi and recently signed to Secretly Canadian, release their much-anticipated debut album ‘Strange Weekend’ on January 24th.
Though working within a similar sound-pallete, Porcelain Raft eschew the kind of sprawling, multi-layered, synthesized bombast of M83 in favour of some gentle backing drones, live drummer and fleeting guitars. It still swirls, but in tune with a classic 60s vibe, particularly on the mildly anthemic ‘Unless You Speak From Your Heart’. ‘Put Me To Sleep’ brews a powerful mood from stark beginnings anticipated in a searing, rushing ambience.
M83, having broken through in the UK on a previously unimaginable scale, largely due to the strength of ‘Midnight City’, released album ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ in the UK in 2011, the follow-up to 2008’s excellent Saturdays = Youth. The show began with this creature’s atmospheric entrance before a show dominated by older songs kicked into force. ‘Graveyard Girl’ was a mysterious absence; ‘Couleurs’ a predictable highlight with exaggerated middle-techno section. The airy strides of ‘Kim & Jessie’ as second song made way for a substantial section of the middle being made up of new, abstract and essentially more minimalistic, space-age and European themed dance tracks - altogether with less harmonies and more instrumental. Not quite so engaging on an individual level, though in the context of a live show defused the sheer power of their ‘wall of sound’ in to something with a little more dynamics.
This week, the king of choral RnB, Active Child, plays a one-off show at St. Pancras Old Church, Philadelphia’s Sun Airway showcase at Hoxton Square and Male Bonding headline a night at The Garage with Gross Magic and The History of Apple Pie. Also in the city for the coming week are Spectrals, Babeshadow, Julian Cope, Real Estate, Spotlight Kid, Bear Driver, Bon Iver and Architecture In Helsinki. Full list below.
Dirty Beaches + Ela Orleans @ Bush Hall, London (Monday)
A rare live date for brazened post-punk star Alexander Zhang Hungtai, but surely one of many more to come. I championed his track ‘Lone Runner’ back in August for its influence ‘squeezed from modern lo-fi, a smattering of 40s and 50s swing and pop…[and] bleak colourless imagery’. Support comes from Ela Orleans, purveyor of the other half of Dirty Beaches’ split 12” ‘Double Feature’.
Nadja + Petrels @ Cafe Oto, London (Wednesday)
Nadja are an experimental drone/noise metal act going strong since 2003. In support comes Petrels, a fascinating ritualistic choir act whose most recent album ‘Haeligewielle’, came out on Tartaruga Records in June.
Binnacle Festival 2011 @ The Old Blue Last, London (Sat + Sun)
A self-proclaimed ‘micro-festival’ at The Old Blue Last pub in Shoreditch, which might be practically very small-scale but is packed full back-to-back with new, electronic talent. For many of the artists playing, this will be their first show. Favourites on these pages who will be in attendance include Acid Glasses (making their UK debut), Seams (who just released his Binnacle 2011 mix) and Conifers. You can read the full line-up over at Safe Concerts. Not to be missed for any London-based fans of experimental electronics and blissful lo-fi dance music. Grab MP3s from international debut-makers Sun Glitters and MOTHS below. Tickets here.