AYA rinses out garage, grime, jungle, rap and mutant IDM on a killer debut album of head-spinning, freehand tekkers, plus an ace guest spot by MC/producer Iceboy Violet. Big RIYL Arca, Autechre, Klein, Mykki Blanco
Landing five years since she first snagged attention as Loft, it’s been a real pleasure to witness AYA really come into her own via distinctive releases with Wisdom Teeth and Tri Angle, a.o., not to mention 2020’s A2A hook-up with Air Max ’97, and blazing remixes for Zuli, Xin and Hodge. With ‘im hole’ she distills and diffuses her ideas at their most singular and elusive, brilliantly transcending reference points in a dynamic definition of style that shreds convention and leaves room for interpretation.
Playing deep into Hyperdub’s fundamentally futurist aesthetics, the 11 tracks pack a dizzying amount of pointillist detail per inch, but aways at the service of a bigger picture and an emotive/narrative arc that dances in the integers many others skip over. Fractal not fractional, Aya's designs spiral and splinter to convey a flux of queered, rapturous and melancholic feels with a naturally avant leaning and playfulness, effectively enacting a sort of hyper noumenal playground for her animated designs to come alive.
It all feels like she's better consolidated her acclaimed live act persona - a sort of Northern cabaret DJ schtick - with ever advancing studio practice; giving voice to her truest self, albeit diffracted thru myriad plugins. It’s a richly strange and satisfying experience to follow from the elision of ponderous computer music and stream-of-conscious lyrics on ‘somewhere between the 8th and 9th floor’ to the dreamlike warp of ‘backsliding,’ with a massive highlight in the drill vapours of ‘Emley lights us moor’ starring a typically captivating turn by Manc peer Iceboy Violet, and killer updates of Yorkshire bleep ’n bass torque in ‘dis yacky’, and Rian Treanor-esque metric experimentalism in the puckered nerviness of ‘the only solution i have found is to simply jump higher.’
‘im hole’ is a real marvel for the times; brimming with daring positivity, a curious emotional intelligence, and artistic spirit that’s hard to ignore and may even inspire others to commit so fully to their own style.