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Ben Grenrock doesn’t get out of his seat unless the BPM settings are right.
“Fury,” the first track off producer and DJ Huxley Anne’s recent EP, FIGS, isn’t a song you experience so much as one you’re engulfed by.
It builds slowly, unfurling bit by bit in whispered textures and panning chimes. It stretches itself three-dimensional as Huxley introduces first a chasm-deep kick and then hi-hats that flutter in the upper frequencies like dying leaves. Wordless vocal samples resolve from a fog of eerie tri-tones, cementing the track’s personality as powerful, seductive, magnetically evil. By the time the drums fall into their inexorable stalk, “Fury” has become immersive in the way VR still wishes it could it could be, enveloping listeners in a haunted forest they can neither find their way out of nor have any desire to leave.
This is Huxley Anne’s greatest strength as a producer. Like the best horror movie sound designers, she unites just the right aural stimuli—both recognizable instruments and the meticulously sculpted, digital equivalent of Foley noise—in just the right ways, constructing fully realized environments of sound. Her new EP is filled with them.
“Fury” might be the most vivid example of Huxley Anne’s sonic world-building to date, but the other three cuts on FIGS are nearly as transportative. There’s the apocalyptic half-time factory of “Shame,” the cyberpunk nightclub in which guest vocalist HEZEN performs “Boy, No,” and the gritty and gorgeous space western that “Agarwood” evokes with its hip-hop drums and jazz samples to get lost in. Despite exploring very distinct styles on each track, Huxley gives FIGS a cohesive sound by striking an ever-shifting balance between the Beat Scene boldness of Flying Lotus, the dance-floor-ready darkness of producers like G Jones, and the artistic curiosity of Yosi Horikawa’s evocative sonic collages.
Self-released this past July, FIGS culminates a twelve month period in which Huxely Anne collected coveted electronic music credentials like 90’s kids once collected rare pogs. Following a guest-residency at Low End Theory during the hallowed club night’s final months, she played Bonnaroo, opened for half-time power-duo SHADES, toured the U.S. with Space Jesus, played dates in Europe with Ivy Lab, and was nominated for Best Female Artist (Bass) at the 2019 International Dance Music Awards.
Huxley’s rise to prominence feels both deserved and inevitable. Her DJ sets have become the stuff of bass music legend, and after flashing her production chops on her 2017 debut, Illium, FIGS and the mind-bending video she directed for “Fury” ought to cement her as a creative voice that merits undivided attention.