Manami Baba is one of the most exciting selectors emerging from the Bristol circuit. Playing at most of its top venues, her eclectic, party-starting style has caught the ear of some of the city’s foremost tastemakers, leading her to sets at Secret Garden Party, and regular appearances at One Two Five, Dazed, Two Faced, Cirque and Triple Cooked. Her entry to the “At a Glance” series does not disappoint.
The mix opens with eerie, industrial textures that soon shift into a soaring, orchestral arpeggio line offset by tom drums and snatches of vocals. The epic overtones of the introduction then simmer down into a stretch of lush, albeit distinctly leftfield, house cuts, with playful synth lines wriggling around driving 4/4 percussion. The snarling acid and brutal 808 drumwork of L. Karsh’s “Robotnik” at the 20 minute mark is a welcome tonal change. Slowed down, the track oozes sleaze, snaking its way into an Italo number with wonderfully vocoded vocals. The ever-ascending lead of Neil Landstrumm’s “Sahara” injects a welcome dose of trippiness to proceedings and anticipates a passage of moody, rolling techno. The 50-minute mark sees a fantastic switch into a particularly ethereal electro cut, with airy 303 hits puncturing smoky pads. Towards its conclusion, the mix turns dreamy once again, with blissfully dubbed-out house and even a sly drop of Basic Channel winding the mix back down to ambience. This is an expertly crafted mix that nonchalantly blends together highly contrasting moods and genres and takes the listener on an aural journey: fantastic stuff.
-- Was there a theme or underlying concept for the mix?
“I didn’t want to pin down this mix to a certain genre or sound. I chose and ordered each track to give the mix a narrative. It starts off just slowly building the energy up to the darker, slightly wonky passage in the middle. I then gave it a nice uplifting climax which concludes by bringing it back down to earth. I guess it depicts a bit of a weird journey or an adventure. What that journey is is up to the listener’s imagination.”
-- What’s the ideal setting for listening to this mix?
“For when you want to continue the party for an hour longer.“
-- What draws you to selecting a track?
“I love raw percussive textures and a nice groove made from funky rhythms. Generally though I don’t look for anything specific, anything that’ll get me moving.”
-- We recently caught your fantastic mix on 10Twenty radio for the Sisterworks collective. How good do you think the Bristol scene is at promoting women and providing a platform for them to express themselves?
“Ah thank you! Bristol is definitely at the forefront of encouraging and engaging women to get into the music scene which makes it a super exciting city to be a part of. We have Bristol Women in Music who host mixing lessons, Saffron Records are a female label aiming to tackle gender imbalance, and SisterWorks held their first workshop a couple of months back giving women the opportunity to try new things within the creative industry. There are a lot of amazing women who are really pushing this movement forward, but that push needs to come from both sides if we are to see consistent and permanent change in this city and beyond. There’s still a long way to go!”
-- Given the vast influx of student DJs over the last few years, what do you think makes a student DJ stand out from the crowd?
“I think for me the easiest distinction would be whether they really love the music. Someone who loves it is naturally going to dig deeper for more/new sounds, make an effort in their selections, engage with like-minded people, share their passion and be willing and open to learning from others.”
-- Lastly, how is your dissertation going? We heard you sacked it off to do this mix…
“… Please don’t tell my parents.”