Cue Points: Emily Jeanne
This is Cue Points, a new series where DJs get granular with current tracks in their sets, giving us the low-down on what makes them work.
There’s a sculptural quality to Emily Jeanne’s sets. Equally as adept at bringing peak-time heat as tapping into more introspective and experimental dancefloor hypnotism, the Belgian-Vietnamese DJ and producer tends towards selections that carry intricate textures and rich melodicism – whether that be skittering breakbeat and heady techno cuts or ethereal drone and dub resonance.
A resident at Funke in Ghent and on Kiosk Radio, earlier this year she released double-single Blue Dawn / Ao Sen on Peder Mannerfelt‘s label, continuing to build her reputation as a producer of dizzying, slinking techno.
Ahead of her set at Nuits Sonores & European Lab Brussels this weekend, Emily Jeanne delves into a handful of tracks from her current repertoire – from guaranteed head bangers to wistfully euphoric closers – and gives a taste of what you can expect if you’ll be catching her in Brussels tonight (13 October).
Zoë Mc Pherson – Wait Blended (Kasimyn Gendang Remix)
I’ve been using this track as an opener. It might be a little bit of a theatrical way to introduce myself but I like the wicked sounds in here. The remix has this rhythmic squarewave pulse to start off with and you hear this sweeping portamento topline creep in slowly. The original starts off with a broken beat & some top notch sound design before this sweeping topline comes in. The remix builds up in suspension by stretching the melody’s presence for about 3 minutes and then breaks down again, without a kick drum that comes in. When I’m halfway through the track, I mix in a 4/4 kick drum and loop a part of the rhythmic section before the last breakdown comes in because it gets really intense at that point.
Ficilio – Fluid Form
This one is quite stripped back, minimal & percussive yet almost all of the sounds hold an organic feel to them at the same time. I use it in the beginning of my sets, it’s perfect to slowly absorb the vibe of the floor while I decide which direction I’m going to go in. It’s dreamy and hypnotic but the percussive elements still cut through. A good way to get people moving. My favourite blend with this one is Rosa Rugosa by Olof Dreijer. The heavy bounce of Fluid Form plays so well against the steppy hook of Rosa Rugosa. I’m a huge fan of The Knife, and you immediately recognise it’s a Dreijer tune. I loop the first 4 bars to gently introduce the quirky melody.
Alexander Kowalski – Belo Horizonte (Heiko Laux Remix)
This is an old one I dug up recently. This might be illegal to some, but I speed it up a lot since I play at a much higher tempo. Leaning more on the minimal, tech-y melodic side. It’s a nice one to play when I feel there is a need for a breakdown. Heiko’s groove can take over from any track that comes before it, building up the tension towards a minute long breakdown. The breakdown & groove are so sensual in a minimal way, and then the energy slaps back with this kick & clap pattern.
I love all of Mor’s productions and I play all of her tracks a lot, but this recent one is my favourite. I love the snappy snare and this fluttering percussive sound that almost feels like tiny bits of compressed air moving around you. This might sound like a strange explanation to most people. I spent a lot of time in my dad’s printing office when I was a kid. There were usually 2 old Heidelberg printing machines operating at the same time and they produced these hissing sounds. I loved sitting between the two printing presses and the intro from Mor’s track remind me of the Heidelberg sounds. The track unfolds with a chopped up vocal and continues to smack with the percussion. Guaranteed head banging with this one.
Anz – Stepper
Another track with a chopped up vocal but with a different vibe to it. To me, the vocals translate the effect of the physical effort of dancing to your breathing, like, you’re a little bit tired but you can still go for some hours. Then there’s the broken & bouncy kick pattern that allows your body to move to a slower pace, to catch your breath. Some tracks are such fun to play and seem to effortlessly enhance anything you play alongside them, and this is really one of them.
Gacha Bakradze – What You Say
A euphoric (and melancholic at the same time) tune that I used as a closer at De School and that has been on repeat while traveling. It feels like the end of a good summer with a lot of memories for the future to cherish. It’s the feeling I have every time a set comes to an end, happy that I’ve had a great time but sad at the same time that it’s over. The melody is so beautiful, and the percussion around it compliments it without overtaking. It falls together so nicely, such a tune.
I met Gacha when I played at Left Bank, the club he runs in Tbilisi. The club is a community-focused space and, having this idea of the sense of community in the back of my head, trying to link this feeling to a specific moment during a set. It’s most felt towards the end. I’m not mixing or looking for a track to play next, just the last minutes of being able to connect with the people who are still there with you.
Emily Jeanne plays Nuits Sonores & European Lab Brussels on 13 October. The festival runs from 12-15 October.