Cue Points: Tzusing
This is Cue Points, a series where DJs get granular with current tracks in their sets, giving us the low-down on what makes them work.
绿帽 Green Hat, the March-released second album from Malaysia-born DJ, producer and Sea Cucumber label boss Tzusing, is a tense, sinister affair that bypasses comfort for abrasion, and attacks the senses from the off with an artillery fire of industrial-strength techno, deconstructed club impulses, EBM and boulder-hard drum. All grip, you could say, and no skip.
In Tzusing style, the album isn’t without its more playful moments, and there’s also a deeper matter running throughout its dozen or so tracks too, linking back to its title and cover artwork (in China, “wearing a green hat” refers to a cuckold) as Tzusing grapples with the idea and nature of masculinity. (The combination of such themes and genres has led some – OK, one – fan to declare “cuckno” their new favourite genre.)
It’s been widely praised in the months since its release, a period in which Tzusing has racked up some serious air miles – and hand stamps, we imagine – as he’s taken to booths in venues and festivals across the globe: from Berghain to Tokyo’s Vent via The White Hotel, Evian Christ’s Trance Party and Amsterdamse Bos.
Ahead of a stop at Sydney’s Mode Festival, Tzusing takes us through five tracks he’s been playing out recently, from viral TikTok sounds to a new Sea Cucumber release.
Dxrk ダーク – RAVE
I’ve been playing this viral TikTok song that slots well into my set – those that pick up on it will hopefully find some humour in it. It sounds like a track I would have written in 2015, very Belgium new beat vibes. I had a friend explain it to me that it’s because the Gen-Zers got into [Memphis rapper] Tommy Wright III, so this type of aesthetic got popular. Makes sense.
Arjuna: Into the Another World – Clone
Written by Yoko Kanno who is exceptional at OSTs. She got her start writing the soundtrack to Koei’s Nobunaga’s Ambition, which is crazy because it was one of the first PC games I bought as a 12-year-old. I have been looping the end of the first part and using it as a starting track for tempo changing in the mid-point of my sets.
Async Figure – Bad Gateway
A very new school type of club banger. It’s the kind of dance music I spend a lot of time trying to find, but just not that much of it out there. It has a hook and a song structure, but is still extremely functional on the dancefloor. I tend to mix it in with the mids boosted for the guitars to cut through the mix. I then back off on the mids after the outgoing track is faded down.
Ayugo Huang – 滅人山 ft. 桑布伊
Very interesting track by Taiwanese Hakka folk artist. Here he is doing something with a steady clicky beat so I find it easy for club use. The kick isn’t as big as what you’d have in normal club music, but I don’t think it’s a problem when the point is more emotive or melodic. I do boost the lowend a bit just to fill up that frequency.
Coen – Pressure Roll
Coen’s entire Stop, Drop & Roll is on point. Loads of good tracks on here all with interesting rhythms But what do you call this? It’s a bit like a tool track, but not really because it builds to somewhere – it’s not just repetitive. Super percussive and good for layering tracks that have good melodic ideas but not much drum presence.
Tzusing plays Mode Festival, Sydney, on 14 October