An “exploration of aquatic themes” from Russell E.L. Butler.
Across their career, Russell E.L. Butler has used techno as a means to invoke freedom, resistance, catharsis and hope. Butler’s 2018 debut album, The Home I’d Build For Myself And All My Friends, was written in the aftermath of the 2016 Ghost Ship fire in Oakland to map out, in their words, a “sonic blueprint of an idealistic space” for them and their community.
While Butler has stated that their music draws from the cultural history of their native Bermuda and the black, queer disapora, their propulsive machine music – predominantly improvised on a modular synth – shares the utopian ideals of early Detroit techno and the satisfying crunch of raw Chicago house.
Although Butler is renowned for their improvisational live sets, they’re also a prodigious DJ, comfortable with swinging from jazz and hip-hop to jacking techno and classic house cuts in a few strides. Their FACT mix covers the full spectrum of their musical interests with tracks by McCoy Tyner, Romanthony, The Other People Place, Gemini and more.
“This is a mix I made in further exploration of aquatic themes that have come to interest me in music,” Butler says of the mix, the core of which came from their set at De School in Amsterdam on the first Het Weekend of the year. “Vastness, possibility, loneliness, introspection.”
“I feel that there is a great deal within the aquatic music pantheon that focuses on the coast. Waves crashing, seashells, sand, the sun,” Butler continues. “This mix focuses on the depths. A slow descent into the deep crushing pressure of the inner self. The first tune is my favorite composition by McCoy Tyner and is meant to memorialize him.”
Find Russell E.L. Butler’s music at Bandcamp.
McCoy Tyner – ‘Atlantis’
Raekwon ft. Ghostface Killah – ‘Rainy Dayz’
Special Request – ‘Capsules’ (Lee Gamble Remix)
Frankie Knuckles Featuring Lisa Michaelis – ‘When the Rain Falls (Rainapella)’
DJ Qu – ‘Conjure’
Marcel Dettmann – ‘Rerun’
1 Vision – ‘My Underground’
Underground Resistance – ‘Livin for the Night (Free Mix)’
Romanthony – ‘Trust (Wah Trust Mix)’
K15 – ‘GWRH’
Omar S – ‘One of a Kind’
Noleian Reusse – ‘Untitled’
Dirtymind – ‘Rip It Up’
Lowry Boys – ‘Shag Carpets’
JMMF – ‘Paraesthesia’
The Other People Place – ‘You Said You Want Me’
Black Music – ‘Lost Love’
Steve Summers – ‘Call of the Wild’
Aphrodisiac – ‘Everybody Jump’
Gemini – ‘Klonopin’
Escape Artist – ‘Supernature’
Deee-lite – ‘River of Freedom’
Yak – ‘Mido’
Bambounou – ‘VVVVV’
MixxMaster – ‘Is There More To Life Than Dancing?’
Listen next: FACT mix 757: Lila Tirando a Violeta