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Meemo Comma
Meemo CommaPhotography Ken Street

10 under-the-radar releases you may have missed in the last three months

Featuring YL Hooi’s hazy, late-night soundscapes, Meemo Comma’s anime-inspired compositions, and an eight-year anniversary compilation courtesy of Seoul-based nightclub Cakeshop

We’re already a quarter of the way through 2021, and against all odds, the mood seems to be finally shifting. Systematic inequality, discrimination and police brutality continue to darken day-to-day reality for many, but at the same time, vaccine programs are rolling out worldwide. Countries are putting together reopening plans, and being able to entertain the idea of a future, plans and potential – as opposed to the purgatory of an endless present – feels like it might be on the horizon.

Despite the difficulty setting right now – the pandemic’s economic impact has hugely affected the arts, with those already struggling financially being hit the hardest – new and under-discussed talents in the world of underground music are still finding a way. For the first edition of our quarterly roundup for 2021, we’re continuing to acknowledge the lower-profile musicians, artists, and producers with strong communities, real visions, and important statements to make. Here are ten essential Q1 releases, all available on Bandcamp.


WHO: A Melbourne-based electronica artist conjuring up dusty, dubwise post-punk transmissions that live between worlds.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING: Across Untitled, YL Hooi and her collaborators draw from the rich wellsprings of dub, bossa nova, lovers rock, dream pop, and noise, tying them together as ten richly evocative songs. Like a chanteuse taking to the stage at The Roadhouse in Twin Peaks, Hooi uses her languid voice to guide us through a series of hazy, late-night soundscapes. They unfold with the logic of a dream and the heft of those moments in life when time slows to a crawl, and everything is illuminated with perfect clarity.

FOR FANS OF: Pauline Anna Strom, LA Vampires, HTRK.


WHO: The East London producer and vocalist who reinvents herself song by song.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING:  Broadcasting from the hinterland between wakefulness and sleep, Flashes In Time is a set of seven, dusty-eyed explorations for early mornings and late nights. An addictive integration of ambient folk, lurching machine funk, and experimental noise, on the surface Flashes In Time marks a departure of sorts from the global club music continuum she’s previously drawn from. However, when you listen a little deeper, it’s really a case of reordering priorities to create something more appropriate to the mood and feel of 2021.

FOR FANS OF: ANZ, Tirzah, Matthew Herbert.


WHO: A New York-based producer and DJ navigating the slipstreams between techno, footwork and ambient.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING: Tomu DJ’s February EP release functions on multiple levels. The title, Ambient 2, is an obvious reference to the “If xxx is so good, why didn’t they make an xxx 2” meme. Beyond that gag, in the pandemic era, where clubbing is off the many for many, Tomu seems to be reconsidering techno, footwork, and jungle as new modes of ambient music – while triggering melancholic memories of life before Covid-19. All of that said, the EP’s centrepiece, “Wild Woods”, is moving trad-ambient in the mode of Pauline Anna Strom. Ambient 2 rewards more with every listen.

FOR FANS OF: RP Boo, Debit, Ciel.   

A.G, 333

WHO: The East London DJ, radio host and producer connecting the dots between grime, drill and UK garage.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING:  Through her work and background as a DJ, broadcaster, producer, and graphic designer, A.G has established herself as one of those artists with a top-to-bottom, inside-out understanding of the cultures she moves within. Her first Bandcamp release of 2021, 333, hovers at an intoxicating halftime bounce. Across three tracks and an edit, she blends space-age synthesisers, nostalgia-triggering VGM noises, and jacked-up rhythms with a Day-Glo cyborg sensuality. There are many pathways onto A.G’s dancefloor of the mind. Once you’re there, the idea of leaving is a tough ask.

FOR FANS OF: Ikonika, Swing Ting, Shy One.


WHO: A Melbourne-based duo using the heft of drone-metal and neo-classical to make a statement that can’t be ignored.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING: As Divide and Dissolve, saxophonist/guitarist Takiaya Reed and drummer Sylvie Nehill draw strength from their respective Black & Tsalagi (Cherokee) and Māori heritages. Together, they create instrumental recordings and live experiences that combat the horrors of colonisation and white supremacy with heavenly melodies and unforgettably punishing wall-of-fuzz sonics. Gas Lit was produced by Ruban Nielson, the mind behind psych-funk band Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Across its eight songs, Nielson supports Reed and Nehill as they articulate their message with brutally crushing clarity. Records like this don’t come around that often.

FOR FANS OF: Moor Mother, Mdou Moctar, Liturgy.


WHO: The Brighton-born recording artist blending classic anime soundtracks and Jewish mysticism with breakbeats.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING: Neon Genesis: Soul Into Matter², Lara Rix-Martin, aka Meemo Comma’s new album on Planet Mu, explores the ideas of singular consciousness and sacred technology. Rix-Martin grew up watching Japanese anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Ghost In The Shell and was fascinated by their use of Jewish themes, Hebrew folklore and Kabbalistic symbols. They helped her understand her Jewish identity, and with Neon Genesis: Soul Into Matter², she blends elements from both worlds with the rhythmic abstractions of footwork, jungle and digi-dub, and the pulse of techno. Neon Genesis: Soul Into Matter² is music that reaches for something deeply profound, an experience we can’t quite touch.   

FOR FANS OF: Kenji Kawai, AceMo, Lighght.


WHO: The Kenyan sound artist captivating listeners from Nairobi to Berlin.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING: Over the last year, Joseph Kamaru, aka KMRU, has nonchalantly secured his spot as one of the new decade’s most important ambient artists. His breakout double album, 2020’s Peel, recalled the atomised sonics and textural decay of William Basinski at his finest. Eight months on falling dreams, a recent eighteen-minute opus, captures the endless present of the pandemic with haunting clarity. Across it’s sprawling soundworld, Kamaru’s drone textures undulate like waves lapping gently against the shore. falling dreams is soothing, but what menace lies beneath the waters?

FOR FANS OF: Katie Gately, Lawrence English, Chris Watson.


WHO: A compilation of qqom, uk garage, and deconstructed club that pays homage to one of Seoul’s coolest nightclubs.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING: Every time I’ve visited Seoul, the Cakeshop nightclub, located in the South Korean capital’s cosmopolitan Itaewon district, has been an essential visit. Over the last eight years, they’ve provided a platform for a global who’s who of hip-hop, juke, footwork, house and techno DJs to connect with Korean audiences. In turn, this has helped incubate Seoul’s fast-rising local talents. 8 Years of Cakeshop brings together sixteen tracks from the producers and DJs who’ve rocked the Cakeshop. A document of late nights, sweaty dancefloors, and the spark of a scene on the rise.

FOR FANS OF: Jubilee, DJ Lag, Scratchclart.


WHO: One of Tokyo’s deepest record diggers and his collaborator, an experimental guitarist.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING: If you enjoy abstract percussion and ambience, Reconstructions is a pure joy. In 2018, DJ Chee Shimizu, the owner of the storied Organic Music record boutique and Takahiro Matsumura, the guitarist who performs at Miku-Mari, rehearsed and presented an improvised performance together in Tokyo’s ForestLimit venue. Reconstructions presents the best of their rehearsals as two sprawling pieces. Expect windchimes and Andean chajchas, Tibetan bells and pyramid crystals, CD-J percussion collages, guitar-controlled synthesiser software, and a whole lot of bliss. This one is extraordinary.

FOR FANS OF: Hiroshi Yoshimura, Fennesz, Midori Takada. 


WHO: The low-profile Auckland-based producer using traditional Māori instruments to reimagine what electro might be.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING: Over the last four months, Aotearoa New Zealand producer, instrumentalist and vocalist Mokotron has released two spine-tingling EPs, Battlezone and Tatau O Te Pō. On the latter, he effortlessly blends signature 80s hardware electro-boogie with the sounds of Taonga puoro (a set of traditional Māori instruments) and vocoded vocals. Tatau O Te Pō’s drum machine funk and squelchy synths evoke all the old school breakdance battles you see in movies, but the content speaks to indigenous concerns in the 21st century. Call it edutainment, perhaps.   

FOR FANS OF: Egyptian Lover, Drexciya, Cybotron.