Unearthed: Cooly G— Playin’ Me
Posted in Unearthed
BITCHES BE CRAZY
Last week, I got into a discussion with one of my editors about a female producer/DJ I don't like. I was flippant, derisive and condescending, so when I got back from lunch my editor asked me why I hadn't been easier on her. He said something about how it was odd that I, as a young woman in the electronic music field, had chosen to step on another girl instead of hold her hand so that we could crash through the glass ceiling together. I get what he was saying: there are enough impediments for women in a male-dominated industry, and so I shouldn't make it harder on any girl who's trying to make the playing field more even.
The thing is, I'm not going to be any easier on women who want to break into electronic music. A bitch has to earn her hype, and I am in favor of any impediments that keep the stupid ones out of my earshot and my Twitter feed.
This is where I point my finger at Cooly G. She released her first Hyperdub record, a 12" with the tracks "Love Dub" and "Narst," in 2009. Those two tunes, along with her other pre-album cuts ("Him Da Biz," "Digitally Deeper") deal in airtight beats and snippets of her own silky voice to balance sensuality with manic, kneck-jerking rhythms. Only a few of Cooly G's earlier releases, like "Landscapes" and "It's Serious," made it onto her debut full-length, Playin' Me. Instead, the LP is dominated by songs that veer toward a post-dubstep producer/singer-songwriter territory, if only because Cooly sings over nearly every one.
Throughout the course of this year so far, I've noticed that a lot of the women who have turned heads often sing over their productions: Grimes, Julia Holter, Laurel Halo, Ryat, and Nina Kraviz (to a certain extent—Nina mostly annoys me for other reasons, which will be dissected another time). It's a bit disappointing to me, because it almost always draws the line between straight-ahead dance music and poppier crossovers, and female artists usually choose to stay on the latter side of that line. I have no idea why—it's probably different for every female artist—but chicks don't seem very interested in trying their hands at house, techno, trip-hop, juke, etc., which means that Maya Jane Coles is going to be one of the only ladies to play at Electric Zoo this year. It totally sucks that electronic music is really male-dominated, but women often choose to exclude themselves.
I admire Cooly G because she seems smart, easy to get along with, strong, independent, and like the type of woman who doesn't take no BULLSHIT. I expected Playin' Me to be a shoo-in for my list of top albums of the year, although I was looking forward to hearing a woman do something different in the context of what other women are doing in electronic music. Cooly's past releases prove that she has what it takes to hold her own in terms of production, so it was a let down to find that she didn't leave them to stand alone. But you will probably love it.
*Note: Send me girls making electronic music! I know about Steffi/Colette/etc, but please do drop a line in the comments, via Twitter, or to my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your music or music produced by bad bitches that you know of.