Mix of the Week 24/4: Le Makeup for The Astral Plane

Such a varied mix as this, from Osaka based producer and DJ Le Makeup, is difficult to wrap into words. The usual categories of genre, influence or style would be in appropriate descriptors for the wide-ranging, introspective collection of tracks.

Alternating between the instrumental and the heavily electronic, this shifting texture of the mix is a good place to start. Swapping between traditional instrumentation such as strings, percussion, wind instruments and vocals and synthesised sounds, Le Makeup draws on the varied sources of musicality that make-up contemporary electronic music. Now borrowing from ambient and classical traditions, as much as its origins in DIY electronica and commercial pop, electronic music today is an amorphous soup of a genre, providing great lateral space for artists to combine, reinterpret and experiment, something that Le Makeup does with a happy abandon.

Part of what has given electronic music its new ability to probe and challenge music conventions has been the way that collectives and groups have formed without needing to be defined by local or national boundaries. This mix is emblematic of that. Le Makeup is part of diasporic network of artists Eternal Dragonz, founded by Sydney-based Tzekin (aka Justin Tam, fka Victoria Kim), who have engaged with Asian identity and its representations found across the world through culture and practice. Somewhat similarly, The Astral Plan, while nominally based in the US, have been providing a platform for young, independent artists from Melbourne to Milan to reach a global audience. Their low-fi internet presence belies a deep engagement with the multipolar cultural world that is making some of the most exciting music today.

Le Makeup draws on all of these differing offshoots, crossing from drum beats grown out of Welsh raves to Japanese dream pop from the late 1980s and some of Le Makeup’s own trap-infused work.