Do You Need a Wetsuit?
Blue and purple bubbles pop and trickle, while sunlight glints through the water. It is a soft image that lulls you into a fantasy of the sea. But look closer, and this place of utopic ‘Mermaidia’ -or rather a fantasy land full of mermaids- is actually a digital collage on the homepage of a computer screen. The mix of London based artist Zoë Marden takes us into the realm of the body and gender in its exploration of fluidity with its range of female and LGBTQI+ artists (notable names such as Shygirl, Tommy Genesis and Bevelrly Glenn Copeland).
Kokoroko’s mellow ‘Abusey Junction’ opens the MIX, whose languid guitar feels like a warm breeze. Copeland’s operatic masterpiece ‘La Vita’ carries on with its percussion, synth, and life-affirming lyrics. The next song, ‘Yeanoh’ by Kondi Band combines West African folk with US house. The location shifts with the Spanish voice of Rosalia’s ‘A Ningún Hombre’, and Malian Oumou Sangaré’s powerful ‘Mogoya’. Marden’s performances integrate sound, be it by continual feedback loops or field recording, which explains why the voice becomes the central mantra in her playlist. With Pumarosa, “the voice” switches to a familiar British indie rock sound. This is an upbeat, industrial-spiritual anthem for Marden’s performance collective CAMPerVAN. With a breathless tempo about falling in love, we move back to the Gothic rock of the 80s with Siouxsie and the Banshees. We then enter the drum and bass raves of Marden’s teen years with ‘Valley of the Shadows’ by Origin Unknown. Princess Nokia’s drum and bass lullaby ‘Dragons’ follows, with a 2000s gamer-girl video aesthetic mirrored in the MIX’s cover image. Both feel nostalgic and distinctly poppy.
Tommy Genesis’ feminist beat ‘A woman is a god’ is a call to arms in Marden’s collaboration “Unbothered and Moisturised”. After reaching Sophie’s trance-like heights in ‘Sweat’, there’s Boys Noize frenetic remix of ‘Tasty’ by Shygirl. We end with an iconic track from the Sugababes reworked into a hard futuristic sound. Metamorphosis is undeniably a key theme in this playlist, spiritually evoking the body to change and movement, whereby we “slip, slip“, as Marden puts it, into something more animalistic.
Words by Martin Mayorga