Black Rave Culture is Back With a New Album, New Show, and Same Great Sound

DJ NativeSun, one-third of the D.C. formed DJ collective Black Rave Culture, says the killing of George Floyd was one of the key reasons the group got together in 2020. NativeSun, born Chris Harris, says, “We, as Black men, were in this space where we were faced with how to deal with [Floyd’s murder] at that time. We were starting to deal with COVID, and then we saw this Black man get executed on television.” Harris says he and his colleagues began discussing how to address inequality in multiple industries. In the world of electronic dance music, the three felt they could tackle said industry by working together to create music that inspired them and that the group name would send a message.

NativeSun and the other members of Black Rave Culture—James Bangura, and Amal—had each recorded individual tracks during the pandemic for two compilation albums on New York’s HAUS of ALTR label. On a third September 2020 compilation for that label, they decided to release a track as a trio. Then in May 2021, HAUS of ALTR released Black Rave Culture’s debut self-titled album that the three produced themselves. Dance music sites such as praised the effort for the way it melded Detroit techno, New Jersey house, Baltimore club, and UK jungle.  

On June 2, Black Rave Culture self-released their second album, BRC Vol. 2. Like its predecessor, the new album is full of unrelenting programmed beats with some roots drawn from electronic music’s Detroit-based Black originators, such as Juan Atkins as well as recent UK 2-step and Baltimore breaks. As on their debut, the group produced this second album themselves. Some cuts are straight-forward, fast tempo techno, while others feature skittering drum and bass rhythms. Vol. 2 is largely instrumental, and when vocals appear, they are usually sped-up, looped, or distorted. Some other elements are subtle. “Moroccan Mist” has a bit of a synth-funky 1970s Kraftwerk-like feel to it. “In My Bizness,” with guest vocalist dreamcast moe, evokes house and R&B music. 

While the trio listens to diverse styles of music including South African amapiano and UK Funky, Bangura says that in crafting their tracks they try “not to think about genre at all, it’s just about creating and expressing ourselves.”  

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