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Rise by Dawit & Dolo

By Philip Sherburne

No matter what selfish instincts may drive Capitol Hill these days, the collective spirit has always ruled D.C.’s music community: Just see the vast family tree of punk’s iconic Dischord Records, for example, or the extensive web of connections behind the Positive Force collective. In recent years, the same has proven to be true of the city’s electronic music scene, as labels like Future Times and 1432 R have fostered a collaborative free-for-all among left-field producers. The duo of Dawit & Dolo represents a high-level summit between those two imprints, pairing 1432 R co-founder Dawit Eklund with Future Times’ Max D (Andrew Field-Pickering, aka Maxmillion Dunbar). Neither is a stranger to garbled frequencies or knotty constructions, which makes the clarity of their new house track, “Rise,” particularly striking. 

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The 8 Best Mixes of the Month

By Philip Sherburne

Washington, D.C.’s 1432 R label may have a nondescript name—as addresses go, it’s the kind of house number you could walk back and forth in front of for like 10 minutes without noticing the correct door—but their sound is unmistakable for the way it mixes up lumpy machine beats with quavering synths and gooey samples, caked in resin, that sound like they’ve been scraped out of the grooves of moldering records. This mix for RVNG of mostly (all?) unreleased material comes from regulars like Mikael Seifu, Dawit Eklund, and Ethiopian Records as well as new-to-me names like RBCHMBRS and Zem Su Yung; music journo Sami Yenigun also turns up with two tracks, and if they’re the ones I think they are (the tracklisting’s a little tough to decipher; the whole thing floats by like a dream), he’s got a real way with squirrelly, idiosyncratic house grooves. 

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Lies Are Chic by Dawit Eklund

By Philip Sherburne

Surly sounds are rarely as invigorating—or even liberating—as they are on “Lies Are Chic”, the quick-stepping, shadow-boxing new jam from Dawit Eklund, co-founder of Washington, D.C.’s 1432 R. It’s all in that gnarly square-wave bassline, which doesn’t even sound like notes so much as an ellipsis made of snarls, or a string of pearls the color (and texture) of a bruise. The snapping, shuffling sense of movement—steer clear of those snares unless you want to get hurt—faintly recall the turn-of-the-millennium West London broken beat of labels like 2000 Black. It makes sense: that, too, was a vision of funk at once joyous and intractable.

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Psycho Animus by Dawit Eklund

By Philip Sherburne

Washington, D.C.’s 1432 R label launched earlier this year with a record by an Ethopian artist, Mikael Seifu, that fused techno and ambient tropes with percussion and vocals from his native country. He’s back on the label’s second release with “Tuff Ruff”, an even more seamless merger of Ethiopian elements with Western club rhythms. But the record’s flipside suggests that 1432 R isn’t turning a blind eye to what’s going on in the label’s own backyard. “Psycho Animus” is the work of a Virginia-born, D.C.-based producer named Dawit Eklund, and while it’s his debut, it sure doesn’t sound like it.

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