Laura Sparrow was always a bit different from the other artists who sprouted during Vancouver's recent purple patch. When her peers preferred hazy, laid-back house, Sparrow reached for old-school techno, pearly IDM and effervescent electro. Her productions followed suit: early records like Maligne Range and Heliacal Rising found an atmospheric middle ground between old IDM and electro. A string of newer releases on her own label and Wania—made in collaboration with DJ Sotofett and E-GZR—expanded her sound in line with the wild rhythms of what she DJs, part of a burst of creativity sparked by a relocation to Europe.
Sparrow is both an excellent producer and a next-level DJ. See her play and you might not recognize any of the tracks unless you're a student of '90s and early '00s IDM. You might not even be able to tell what era they're from. Thanks in part to her formative years in Vancouver, a city where older electronic records are much easier to find than any newer dance music, Sparrow has become an expert in long-forgotten sounds.
Her RA podcast features plenty of familiar names taking less familiar tacks, such as Oliver Ho in tribal mode from 2000 or Thomas Melchior and Tim Hutton collaborating as Vulva on Rephlex in 1994. Tracks like these are mixed in with her own unreleased tunes, creating a decades-spanning dialogue that brings out the futurism of the old records she loves, as well as highlighting the emotion and melody of dance music from this period. Instead of evoking nostalgia, Sparrow has a way of making forgotten and sometimes unfashionable dance records from the past feel as exciting and new as anything coming out today. She's a one-of-a-kind DJ because of it.
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