Nine Nights Presents: The Defiant Ones



Nine Nights is a streaming series celebrating Black culture, curated by GAIKA, GLOR1A, Shannen SP and Zara Truss Giles. Invited to participate in the Unsound 2020 online program, Nine Nights has created a new video essay. Gaika will chat with viewers on the Unsound Discord during the stream.

“Over the past decade, a new wave of Black avant-garde electronic music has been gathering momentum in the United Kingdom. You won’t find it in art galleries or museums, but lit under neon, testing itself in real time. This wave of fearless dancefloor experimentalism can trace its ancestral roots to the Manchester and London club scenes of the late eighties nineties and noughties.

Born out of post financial crash political turmoil and rapidly mutating technologies, the late night social infrastructure supported independent artists immersed in Jungle, Garage, Grime, House, Techno, Bassline, Niche, Southern Rap, UK Drill and everything in between. These artists embraced hybridity in and of themselves. They have simultaneously absorbed global trends to create a unique form of sonic defiance that resolutely refuses to be easily categorised.

Whilst we can hear the effect of this in today's charts, Black British experimental electronic music, at its core, remains visibly independent from anything else. Ideologically it has its roots in the merging of DIY punk ethos and the sound system rebellion of Carribean immigrants. This is indivisible from the UK’s history of mass immigration and class warfare. Collectively these influences have given birth to an ecosystem that continues to run parallel to the mainstream recording industry whilst simultaneously influencing it.

As the river of time ebbs and flows it seems that history repeats itself. The future of UK club culture is in heavy flux and the artistic questions posed by these experimentalists are more poignant than ever. Venues are closing, cities are locking down. The rise of right-wing populism runs counter to the natural progressivism embodied by artists willing to test boundaries and challenge perceived normalcy. Ever-evolving methods of musical creation and dissemination provide opportunities to further decentralise and increase the power of musical subcultures, yet access to resources are becoming scarce.

In this video essay GLOR1A, Elijah, Shannen SP, Iceboy Violet and special guests discuss the past present and future of this movement alongside an abstract visual investigation of the philosophical, emotional and techno-political spaces that gave birth to it. Film and Score by GAIKA, Nine Nights and TSE Records.”

Register for Unsound Discord here.

This event is free of charge, but you can support Nine Nights and donate here.