Sunday 31 December 2023


E.M.M.A., aka producer, label owner and person Emma Davies, has intrigued us as a musicmaker since her astounding 'Mindmaze'. A mingling of huge beats and medieval, dungeon synth-adjacent melodies, it was certainly well received here (it was a moment).

But, of course, Davies has done more than blended UK-flavoured beats with fugues to create Renaissance riddims. Years, various projects, two albums (Blue Gardens and 2020's Indigo Dream) and an EP (Change My Mind, released this year) have passed since. Along the way she's crafted commercial and artistic soundtracks, providing audio backdrops for brands such as Gucci, for example, and a selection of short films

Davies is one of the masterminds behind Producergirls, a "beginners' music production workshop for girls" (currently on pause). In a previous interview with yes/no, Davies stated the aim behind the workshop series is "to encourage more women to try out electronic music production and to see if we can make the industry more gender balanced." This is not her only endeavour outside of musicmaking itself. She's the founder of label Pastel Prism, host for NTS show Angel Food alongside journalist Aimee Cliff, and is a regular DJ and mixmaker.

Her most recent release, Change My Mind, is a result of going down a "Miami Vice OG TV series rabbit hole."

"I had a few demos together at the end of 2022 but they were all sort of psychedelic and mellotron-based," says Davies. More Glyn Johns than Jan Hammer. "But having immersed myself in Miami Vice episodes, and taking over the TV for many months ... I was reminded that I actually have a record label named Pastel Prism, which was a reference to the soft powdery hues of '80s aesthetic." Thus the '80s theme stuck. With the aesthetic set, Change My Mind came into fruition "inspired by wanting to extract the most emotion with as few sounds as I can," she says.

And so the E.M.M.A. take on the top tracks of 2023 was always going to be interesting. Broad-ranging but beat-focused, her selection is international and close to home, as involved with atmospherics as it is honed on the thud and boom of myriad BPMs. Read on ☟


Emma Davies: SHIMZ343 is my favourite producer of the year (insert goat emoji here). Listening to this track is like watching a movie. There is a proper narrative going on and a really immersive world being built around you which moves you to a different place from where you were before you listened. I don’t want to say any more because I'd rather you listen and buy the track and see what I mean. Also he’s got a great eye for the visual aesthetic too. SHIMZ34 film soundtrack ASAP plz.

2. Adrian Carter – Motif

ED: I speak to Adi [Adrian Carter] quite regularly and he’s always banging out a hit in the studio. The thing I like about Adi’s music is to me it’s completely timeless, in the same way a lot (all?) of these tunes are. His melodies grasp at the meaning of life while also having the ability to turn any time of day into a party, a party you could imagine happening at any point in the last 40+ years. He’s a wizard. Having said that this tune [taken from October album Salt Horse] is not a party tune, maybe more of an after party, while questioning your life choices.

3. Novelist – Big Novelist

ED: No one needs me to point out Novelist is in a league of his own, but here I am pointing it out. His approach to music is very inspiring, not only how it sounds but how he places his work in the world and the intent behind it. This track released this year [on album 3.5 4 THA RIDE] is one of my favourites, as is ‘Again’. It also goes without saying that as someone also on an '80s flex from time to time that’s a particular characteristic of his tracks and aesthetic that I am a big fan of, his ability to synthesize a detailed palette of film and music influences into something completely unique.

4. Teplice – Revival

ED: Matilda [Jones] aka Teplice was the first person I released on my label Pastel Prism Records that wasn’t me. Shout out Dexplicit who is the other person. This release [Call It Home] on Hot Concept out of Berlin is super dreamy and I love the progression. There are snatches of vocals which I can’t really work out what’s being said, which I think makes it more impactful because your imagination joins the dots and therefore the mood is profound.

5. Etch – Guardare Ma Non Toccare

ED: My pal Etch has had loads of releases this year but I’ve picked this one from a “quick lil mish mash of 1-2min long tracks made in one evening using Italian Library & Film Soundtracks (YES ALL OF IT, EVEN THE WEIRD SYNTHY SHIT, IT’S CALLED FX CHAINS)” to quote the man himself. Me and him have got a collab coming out at some point, I’m sure he won’t mind me saying. We both use FL Studio so I regularly ask him how TF he has done something in his mix. I only ask about 3 people and he’s one of them. There’s nothing this guy can’t do, throw a BPM at him, I dare you.

Taken from Pslightly Psychedelic Sounds Of Italy Vol.1, which appears to be missing

6. Céline Gillain – They Play Games

ED: I simply came across this tune [from Brussels-based artist Céline Gillain's album Mind Is Mud] and liked it.

7. O'o – Moon

ED: As a big fan of the moon, this [track by Barcelona duo O'o] caught my eye. You’ve got to be careful referencing the moon because it’s such a big deal. That’s why I called my track “Ryan Gosling in Space” instead of “Ryan Gosling on the Moon”. I think this track does the moon justice. What we’re looking for here is a feeling of being recharged by the moon whilst simultaneously feeling completely insignificant.

8. Yamaneko ft. J.Day – Nowhere

ED: Yamaneko was the person who kept me sane during writing my first album Blue Gardens. Anyone who’s followed me for more than 5 mins will know I’ve played him in all of my sets, most recently seamlessly and effortlessly blending him with 'Crockett’s Theme' on NTS on a Friday night no less. Get your ears around this.

9. Valentina Magaletti and Zongamin – Candles

ED: Please see answer to No. 6. [taken from percussionist and drummer Valentina Magaletti's album Suono Assente, out on AD 93]

Photography by Sophie Davies [top] and Kate Molins [above]
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E.M.M.A. Internet Presence ☟

Saturday 30 December 2023


Tokyo-based artist aus, aka the human producer, DJ and label owner Yasuhiko Fukuzono, has had a busy 2023. "I've hardly been able to catch up on this year's releases," he says. That's probably got something to do with the fact that, for the first time in a few years, he released a new album under his musicmaking moniker.

Titled Everis, and joint released by UK label Lo Recordings and his own (that's flau, by the way), the album was made "in an empty nest" — a labour of love having lost recordings, data and even equipment. "I made it trying to reconnect with my memories from the videos and recordings left on my phone," he says.

The result is a cinematic, emotive release that feels part nebulous lovesong, part Gold Panda. Everis was followed up later by a remix album, Revise, which features reworkings of Fukuzono's original tracks by the likes of Grantby and Patricia Wolf. Next year will see yet more aus music, with an EP and album in the works, as well as more flau releases. "I have a lot of projects in the pipeline at the moment," Fukuzono says. "I'm not going to stop with just this year."

One of these releases, appearing just a few days ago, is a collaboration between Fukuzono and guitarist and actor Ryosuke Nagaoka. Titled LAYLAND, the collaborative release is a cocktail of crafted experimental beatscapes and improvised guitar odysseys. As an aside, Nagaoka is played the titular role of ancient strategist Zhuge Liang (shoutout to all the Dynasty Warriors fans out there) in a live-action adaptation of the manga Paripi Kōmei.

But on this note of hoping for a nice and busy 2024, not to mention a successful one, we're very happy to introduce aus's top music of 2023, looking back over a year of lounge-laden funk, delicate dream pop, and everything in between. Though admittedly being in a constant state of discovering and buying years-old releases, fresh new music nevertheless made its way to Fukuzono: "These are some of the great songs I found this year." Read on ☟

Maxine Funke – River Said

Yasuhiko Fukuzono: Wonderful singer from NZ.

'River Said' is the title track from the singer-songwriter's April-released album.

Sven Wunder – Take A Break

YF: Music genius.

Taken from Stockholm-based composer Sven Wunder's September-released album, Late Again

Virginia Astley – The Singing Places

YF: Surprise of the year.

Taken from English singer-songwriter Virginia Astley's 2023 26-minute, one-track release The Singing Places.

Charif Megarbane – Pas de Dialogue

YF: Genius.

This track appears on the 2023 album Marzipan by Lebanese composer, musician and producer Charif Megarbane. It is the first full contemporary release by Berlin-based label Habibi Funk.

John Beltran – As the Sunsets

YF: He made a remix for me, all-time wonderful.

Beltran remixed 'Landia' on Fukuzono's 2023 Revise, the remix follow-up to his sparkling release at the start of the year, Everis. 'As the Sunsets' appears on Beltran's limited edition 7" Back To Bahia Vol. 3, released by Detroit's very own record shop-meets-wine bar label, MotorCity Wine.

MSD Elementary Music Class – Happiness Runs

YF: Just found from Bandcamp searching, so so lovely.

Performed by the children of MSD Elementary Music Class for their album What's That Sound? (which also includes a cute rendition of 'Let It Be').

Theo Parrish and Maurissa Rose – Spiral Staircase

YF: Always great!

Taken from Free Myself, the collaborative album between Theo Parrish and Maurissa Rose

Hazel English – There She Goes

YF: I love the original, so I love this too of course.

This is a one-off cover by Australian-American artist Hazel English of the 1988 classic 'There She Goes' by English band The La's.

Purelink – 4k Murmurs feat. J

YF: One of the few electronic ones I listened to this year.

This dreamy track is from Brooklyn-based Purelink's September album Signs.

a.s.o. – Love In The Darkness

YF: Reminds me of Seely.

'Love In The Darkness' is taken from Berlin duo a.s.o.'s debut self-titled album.

Ana Frango Elétrico – Electric Fish

YF: Gives big energy.

'Electric Fish' is from the album Me Chama De Gato Que Eu Sou Sua by Rio de Janeiro's very own Ana Frango Elétrico

Photography by Neon Bunny

aus Internet Presence ☟

Thursday 28 December 2023


From his earliest artistic output Pictureplane, aka human person, artist and musician Travis Egedy, has always been at a crossroads of creative worlds. Coining the term witch house in 2010 to jokingly describe his music (even though the genre "didn’t even really exist" at the time), his early music fuzzed and glittered like a haunted rave. Tracks such as 'Day Glowwed' from 2008's Turquoise Trail and 'Goth Star', appearing on Dark Rift (2009), showed a fizzing versatile style, blending euphoric dance and commmanding drums in a digestible, otherworldly vehicle of earworming melodies. Remixes in this occult-tinged trance flavour for the likes of HEALTH – namely 'Die Slow' – spread his music to a wider audience; indeed, former HEALTH member Jupiter Keyes would go on to co-produce and engineer Egedy's standout 2011 release, Thee Physical.

Occupying not merely a niche of underground internet music but existing more as a touchstone for the alternative of the 21st-century music scene, Egedy's influence and network of creativity is subtle but easy to follow. The late Lil Peep's collaboration with Egedy's "subterranean streetwear" line Alien Body, to take one example (even Billie Eilish was seen sporting a c. 2018 Lil Peep × Alien Body shirt) and releasing his 2021 album DOPAMINE on label 100% Electronica, brainchild of George Clanton, a component of 2010s musical phenemenon vaporwave. All these delicious gossamer threads interweave in a goth-laden Venn diagram of digital-age DIY proportions, with Egedy nebuously in there somewhere.

On that note we are delighted to round up 2023 with a list of Egedy's favourite tracks of the year. From rap to dungeon synth, from black metal to house, it's a smorgasbord of sounds that indicate the continued ingenuity and incredible, singular talents for musicmaking that exist in various spaces in the world. Read on☟

Peso Pluma, Gabito Ballesteros, Junior H – LADY GAGA

Travis Egedy: I was in Mexico City a few times this year and Peso Pluma's name was everywhere. The guy is a superstar, and I'm all about it. I love this whole wave of young Mexican artists doing these "corridos tumbados", or "trap corridos". It's traditional regional music done in a totally new way. I fell in love with this song and have listened to it on repeat since I first heard it. It is Brilliant.

Departure Chandelier – Accipitridae

TE: Departure Chandelier are definitely one of my favorite bands. Self-described "Napoleonic War Metal", They have a new album called Satan Soldier of Fortune dropping in 2024, but they put up a few preview tracks from the album on their bandcamp. The mix of melodic choral synths, raw and blackened guitar riffs and themes of French warfare from the early 1800s is really unparalleled. It is so fire.

Hole Dweller – Greener Pastures

TE: The king of Tolkien-based Comfy Synth. Hole Dweller's music is so inspiring to me. His melodies really can transport you to a distant land of hobbit holes, smoke rings, wizard hats and dragon wings. This is synth music that has left the dungeon and is basking out in the summer sun in a field of blooming flowers. His newest EP, Crossroads was created mostly with a mandolin, and he SHREDS. His records have provided the soundtrack for many Magic: The Gathering games for me and friends.

Westside Gunn, Stove God Cooks – Kitchen Lights

TE: I grew up as a deep underground hip-hop head. To me, what the Flygod and Griselda Records are doing is just hitting everything perfectly that is magical about east coast hip-hop right now. It is gold. This song is unreal. Its so visual. I can envision cooking up drugs on a stove, with piles of cash stacked up under the kitchen lights. Just raw romance, swagger and emotion.

$uicideboy$ – Not Even Ghosts Are This Empty

TE: I really admire SuicideBoys, they have insane work ethic, have amassed an incredibly loyal fanbase, are selling out stadiums, all making the artistic music they want to on their own terms, independently. And their music is fucking amazing. I listen to it a lot. This isn't really my favorite song by them, but it dropped this year and it is very good.

Boys Noize & Skream – Trip

TE: Boys Noize is another artist I admire. He is just crazy talented and masterful of multiple genres of nasty dance music. And he is making some of the best music of his career right now. This track with Skream is hallucinogenic break beat dance floor euphoria. Very good.

DJ Boneyard – Flutter

TE: This year one of my musical obsessions was the Australian/London record label, Steel City Dance Discs. I played so much music released on that label in my DJ sets. Artists like Kettama, X Club, Nite Fleit, X-Coast, Clouds, Mall Grab, and Dagga were riding an insane wave of disgusting lo-fi electro, melodic trance and techno that I was really feeling. "Flutter" is a stone cold electro synth banger that is dark and mysterious. It is just sick as fuck. One for the ravers.

Arbor – Behold... The Age of Pagan Blood

TE: I dont know much about this one man black metal project, other than they go by the name Taurus, who is also the mastermind behind amazing projects like Gauntlet Ring and Fellwinter. This is their debut full-length record as Arbor, and it is masterful. Incredible melodic riffs that bring out melancholic emotions deep from within my inner spirit. It's powerful, introspective raw black metal music and it makes me feel happy to be alive. Sometimes I am blown away that music this good even exists, and is being made by some mysterious person by themselves in a room somewhere.

Trhä – lhum'ad'sejja

TE: An even more mysterious artist, Trhä, has created their own language that they write lyrics in. A crazy prolific artist making some of the most profound sounding, blown out, atmospheric, and beautiful underground melodic black metal right now. I love all of their records, and this one from 2023 is no different.

Twin Tribes – Monolith

TE: I listened to a lot of Twin Tribes this year, all of their records, like A LOT. This was a new single they dropped and its very good. they are masters of goth synth. I first saw them play at a festival I performed at in LA, and was instantly a fan. They are really good songwriters, like every song is a HIT.

Quest Master – Sword & Circuitry

TE: By far one of my favorite artists who is "dungeon synth" adjacent. Quest Master is a master of melody and beauty. The music has an old school '90s Final Fantasy vibe, perfect for role-playing games with your friends. They are just extremely talented and I love listening to their gorgeous records at home. This newest EP is no different, and a brilliant addition to their stunning catalogue.

Këkht Aräkh – Wanderer

TE: The newest track from romantic DIY black metal phenom, Këkht Aräkh, is so sick. Oozing sex appeal, and the music video sees him acting sort of like an underground rapper in the woods, which makes sense seeing as he collaborated with GothBoiClique legends, Lil Tracy, Nedarb Nagrom and Horsehead in the great 2023 track "Deadline". The track feels timeless, and represents a new wave. Fire.

Photography by Bedford Towers taken at Travis Egedy's Brooklyn studio
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