Auxx | 23/09
A student of forward-thinking, experimental sounds, Auxx has established a dynamic identity to his musical aesthetic. He’s as comfortable with creating meditative melodies as he is with the craft of electronic heaviness. Either way, his cognition for deploying a broad spectrum of sounds always seems to result in a fascinating output.
In a short space of time Auxx – aka Louis Sterling – has put out a carefully crafted brand of music that’s punctuated by experimentation and an assertive ear for heavy, head-nodding beats. His latest EP ’23/09′, released through Canadian label Urbnet, is a fine extension of those premises, though with this records it feels a more exploratory piece of work that heightens the stylistic ingredients of what has cemented his artistry.
On this record I definitely wanted to push my production technically. With my debut record back in 2015, I was almost limited to how I would go about creating the tracks, as I was still in my early stages. In the last two years I’d been going to different club nights and festivals in the UK, so the exposure to the sound system culture and the left-field spectrum of music had a huge influence on where I am now. It’s been a case of musically remaining conscious of I am personally with my work.
On the 7 track LP Auxx brings in a number of top-tier collaborators: Kidkanevil, Dips, Jean Deaux, Mali Bone, Proton and Valance Drakes. This collaborative approach was key to the output of what Auxx wanted to achieve with the EP. “The highlight of the project was actually getting all of the people involved. Sometimes when I propose projects to artists, they’ll look at me weirdly, not reply or just flat out say they would not know how to contribute. Explaining my ideas to someone is like quickly having to solve a puzzle and just throw it on display.”
It’s the inspiration that Auxx omits through his work that attracts other artists to get on board. His fresh approach allowed someone like Kidkanevil to be naturally drawn to his ideas and concepts – “Sometimes remixes can be tricky if the parts are not particularly inspiring you, but this one was super easy and came together really naturally, all the parts sounded great already so was just a case of finding a new way to flip it.”
All the artists featuring/ remixing on the record come armed with their own ideas and individual styles, with Auxx’s finesse blueprinted on each track. The EP has overtly draws upon jungle, break-beat and grime, giving it a very UK sounding feel that brings together all these genres in an original and interesting way. It’s compellingly disparate at times, with sonic textures patterning the tracks to create a juxtaposed aesthetic with resounding affect. Auxx’s ‘Underlying The Beautiful’ is graceful and cosmic, emphasized by skittering drum beat patterns and disruptive yet rhythmic melodies. Kid Kanevils remix of ‘23/09’ is characterised by marching drums, veering off into break-beat/ drum and bass terrain, while original track featuring Jean Deaux has relentless energy with a raw, darkness evoked through its output.
Valence Drakes’ remix of ‘Underlying The Beautiful’ has a Burial-like demeanor, with wood-block claps and an off-beat shuffle that attracts with its eschewing, atmospheric sounds. On ‘95’ ft Proton, intermittent blips and heavy bass hits bounce off each other, with Proton’s vocals pitted against the break-beat framework of the track. Dips’ appearance on ‘Black Wings’ is evocative, with the disposition of grime against break-beat creating a complex yet endearing quality. Mali Bone features on the bonus track, ‘Lilth’, which is fuelled by electronic glitches undulating beneath sparse soundscapes and the meandering vocal.
’23/09′ is a revealing look into the aesthetics and inspirations of one of UK’s most promising artists. Judge each of these tracks on their own merits and you find they offer up wonders of their own. But the great thing about this EP is the continuity of the UK crafted theme, with break-beat and grime soundscapes creating a record that has a clear sense of identity and purpose.