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Helena Hauff played Panorama, releasing ‘Qualm’ this week (listen)

“When I started, my ambition was only to play in this little bar around the corner every now and again,” she says. As a teenager in Hamburg, she was into Nirvana, the Stooges and her favourite band, late 80s British trance-rockers Loop – “just rocking out in my room on my own”. But when she went to a techno club at 17, her conversion was instantaneous and total. It does not take a musicology PhD to see why the grottier end of techno would appeal to a fan of the primal repetition of the Stooges and Loop – but at Hamburg’s notorious basement dive the Golden Pudel she also found people whose ideas resonated with her.

[…] Her success has come alongside several other women breaking through in the former boys’ club of underground techno: she cites Cologne’s Lena Willikens and Siberian superstar Nina Kraviz among her favourite acts. As with most things, her approach to the topic is pragmatic. “It’s important we talk about this, but I’m not on social media, I’m not like [disco/house DJ] the Black Madonna, for example, who’s very active on Twitter and determined to get her message out there,” Hauff says. “But I know other girls say they started DJing after they saw me and that’s really, really cool. Every woman who goes out and does whatever she wants to do, and makes music and DJs and is visible, helps to make a change and make a difference.” [The Guardian]

German DJ/producer Helena Hauff is releasing her sophomore album Qualm this Friday (8/3) via Ninja Tune. “The title has a duality that Hauff enjoys – the German word ‘Qualm’ (kvalm) translates as fumes or smoke, whilst the English meaning refers to an uneasy feeling of doubt, worry, or fear, especially about one’s own conduct,” reads the album description on Bandcamp. Right now, Helena is streaming four tracks off the album, including “Hyper-Intelligent Genetically Enriched Cyborg” which just got Best New Track on Pitchfork a few days ago. They write:

From her start in Hamburg’s underground club Golden Pudel to a 2017 BBC Essential Mix that earned her accolades, Helena Hauff has remained relentless in her pursuit of a sound she describes as “grainy and rough and a bit fucked up.” It’s what her upcoming album Qualm excels in: Drawing from the harsher end of techno and EBM, Hauff’s songs are made from from bristling, gnarled textures and sleek futuristic tones. “Hyper-Intelligent Genetically Enriched Cyborg” is the relentless centerpiece of Qualm, a dystopian slice of electro that’ll shove a soundsystem into the red.

Helena DJed the outdoor dancefloor The Point at Panorama as The Killers were playing their headlining set on the Panorama Stage last night (7/29). The Black Madonna (who she mentions above) was supposed to play The Point at Panorama on Friday before Yaeji, but that didn’t happen. Other electronic artists that played the NYC fest on Sunday include Moodymann, Jlin and Laurel Halo. Floating Points and Bicep were among those who DJed Saturday. Did you catch Helena? A few photos of her set are in the gallery above.

Ninja Tune also released a short film (by Max Saroka and Vanessa Ivan) based on Qualm, and you can watch that along with streams of the four aforementioned songs below.

Helena was also just recently profiled in a feature on The Guardian, and you can read some of that quoted above, and more here.

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