Bell Curve’s kaleidoscopic music pushes from the club out into the cosmos. As a co-founder of New York label and promoter Worst Behavior, she has fast become a pillar of the city’s underground music community, championing future-seeking sounds from the ever-expanding ecosphere of soundsystem culture and bass music. Her own productions and DJ sets draw from an equally eclectic pool of sonics, reconfiguring familiar club sounds into tracks that defiantly evade easy categorisation. Following collaborations with Deep Medi / Young Echo MC Rider Shafique and critical acclaim from the likes of DJ Mag and Resident Advisor, new EP Obelisk for Berlin’s SSPB provides a daring evolution of Bell Curve’s soundworld, channeling the bristling intensity of her previous work into a more expansive headspace. Alongside six mesmerising new tracks from Bell Curve, the EP features a remix from Hessle Audio rising star Toumba.
Obelisk was conceived as a deep dive into a specific aspect of Bell Curve’s soundworld, focusing on more minimalist, psychedelic sonics. While much of the material was written over the course of several years - sketches developed alongside Bell Curve’s recent hyper-kinetic releases, the EP finally coalesced during a particularly prolific 6 months in the last year. Stripping pieces back to skeletal rhythmic architectures and exploring slower BPMs, Bell Curve opened up space for transcendence, avoiding the allure of breakdowns and drops to instead use subtle gestures to guide pieces to ecstatic peaks. Club sonics are here plucked from their original contexts and expanded outwards - icy rave stabs on “Staircase” ascending into the heavens or the astral breaks and springy bass of “Hope It Gets Better”. Subtle shifts in tone and texture guide the listener through the trip, reverb tails slowly extending into lysergic drift or rippling grain and feedback rising from pulsing bass tones. Jordanian producer Toumba amps up the tempo on his remix of “Staircase” while maintaining the original’s emotional core, bolstering the track’s dextrous rhythms with distinctive Levantine timbres.
Throughout, Bell Curve demonstrates her masterful command of tension and release, locking listeners into hypnotic rhythmic coils that build to feverish pitch before opening out into celestial expanses. Obelisk captures a constant push and pull between emotional states - from anxiety and melancholy to joy and euphoria, working through turmoil to find transcendence. Tracks like “Dance Skeleton Dance” particularly invoke this duality, drawing catharsis from darker sonics, reconfiguring bass pressure and anxious percussion into a humid dancehall stepper. “Without U” contains emotional struggle as part of the very circumstances of its making - written while working through heartbreak, its delicate repetitions and searching tone reflecting the process of reconnecting with oneself. Title track “Obelisk” forms the emotional core of the EP, coalescing from weightless vapors into dramatic synthesizer motifs, evoking euphoric memories of complete immersion on the dancefloor and our ability to find ecstatic experience even in the contemporary hellscape. The EP and track name were inspired by sci-fi series The Broken Earth Trilogy by NK Jemisin, a work that explores contemporary power dynamics and ecological issues through the lens of dystopia and magical realism, featuring giant floating obelisks as remnants of an ancient technologically advanced civilisation. Bell Curve’s own Obelisk provides a perfect analog - processing human struggle through futuristic sonics and capturing the human experience while also providing an escape from it.
Obelisk compiles Bell Curve’s most compelling and enthralling work to date. Reveling in dazzling repetition and delicate sonic nuance, it is a cathartic and defiant statement in an industry that increasingly demands hollow immediacy and caters to short attention spans - an homage to struggles and affirmation of strength and self-belief, while equally offering euphoric escape for those willing to spend time inside its mystic whorl.