German DJ, producer, electronic music artist and Boys Noize Records label head Alex Ridha, best known as Boys Noize, is arguably one of the best and yet sadly under-appreciated electronic music artists in the entire world – in fact, his 2012 effort, Out of the Black landed at number 8 on this site’s Best of List that year; and as a live performer and DJ, Ridha is an charismatic, energetic figure whose propulsive and brash sound has rocked some of the world’s best known clubs. One of my favorite music memories of the past year was seeing Ridha DJ and at one point, he playfully used a sample of Afrika Bambaataa’s Planet Rock, which not only pays homage to one of the godfathers of hip-hop but also pays homage to the godfathers of all things electronic music, and fellow countrymen, Kraftwerk.
This year marks a big year for Ridha as his label Boys Noize celebrates its tenth anniversary with two live shows featuring some of the biggest names in electronic music – tonight at Webster Hall and tomorrow in Detroit with collaborator Skrillex, And Ridha will be releasing a double vinyl EP Strictly Raw, Vol. 1 which is slated for a June 2 vinyl release and a June 22 digital release. The album will feature collaborations with Tiga, Johnny Sack, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Atom TM, Pilo SCNTST and a few Boys Noize tracks. As Ridha explains of the album, “The idea of the Strictly Raw, Vol. 1 release is to take a drum machine and 1 or 2 synths and make a track with it. Over the years friends came in and out of my studio and sometimes we ended up jamming on my machines.” Since this year is the tenth anniversary of the label, Ridha wanted to collect the good ones and put them together on an album.
The latest single from Strictly Raw consists of cascading layers of wobbling synths, industrial clanging and a propulsive yet skittering beat. Interestingly, the track manages to walk a tightrope between a chilly minimalism and a forceful, assertive propulsion; you can practically imagine the sound ricocheting off walls and hitting you in the chest.