Rizzla, “Iron Cages”

Nina Mashurova

After years of making a name for himself turning clubs out alongside the most venerable artists in what’s come to be known as dark global bass, Rizzla has finally announced his debut EP, Iron Cages, out September 25 on Fade to Mind.

The paradox of electronic music is that despite being intimately tied to digital culture, it’s a medium that lives and dies IRL—there is little correlation between volume of Soundcloud plays and the experience of warehouse nights. From throwing Boston’s best queer night with D’hana Perry (Battyjack) back in 2012 to years spent spinning at parties cosigned by Teklife, GHE20G0TH1K, Ladyfag, and, of course, Fade To Mind, Rizzla is well into a career as a DJ and organizer that would be impressive in its own right, but it’s good to see some of those sounds committed to wax, both for the archive and for those who can’t make it out.

“Iron Cages”, the first and eponymous single, is dark, full of gun-loading samples and car alarms, stark drops and cold beats. As with Kelela’s Cut 4 Me, apocalyptic electronica is grounded by a human voice, in this case in the form of calmly defiant vocals from Montreal’s Odile Myrtil.

As Rizzla told Fader, “‘Iron Cages’ to me is about taking charge of abusive relationships, sexual or sociological, and the pleasure that ending pain causes. The title refers to being trapped, obviously, but breaking out, and the name comes from the classic book about the mechanisms of American racism by Ronald Takaki.” Rizzla is interested in the music of revolutions—a praxis that takes into account personal uprisings as much as it does mass movements. “Iron Cages” addreses the revolutionary moment of setting a boundary and sticking by it, captured chillingly by Myrtil’s sage declaration: “don’t think I’ll be falling / for your shit anymore.”

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