Dubbed-out bliss from New York.

Ben Bondy is a DJ-producer based in Brooklyn, New York, and XLR8R+ subscribers will likely already be familiar with his work. In December, we closed a tumultuous year with a collection of transfixing dub and downtempo that included Bondy’s “Poison The Well” plus a collaboration with Opheliaxz called “Dust On The Floor.” There was also exclusive tracks from Exael, Pontiac Streator, and Huerco S as Autobouncer620, who together broadly form a tight-knit crew of producers that has fascinated XLR8R over the past 12 months. They came together in Kansas, where they began sharing their work through Terry Radio, a semi-functioning internet radio station. Today, they flutter around labels like West Mineral Ltd., Experiences LTD, and Lillerne Tapes.

Bondy is one of the crew’s latest members. He connected with them through Special Guest DJ at a mutual friend’s birthday party in 2014. He’d only just started to produce and was reluctant to share his work, but when he did Special Guest DJ introduced him to Exael. With their help, Bondy formed his sound, and in 2016 he was invited to record a mix for Terry Radio, which you can hear here. As with his peers, he keeps self-promotion to an absolute minimum.

It wasn’t until last year that Bondy broke through, releasing two self-releases and two stunners on West Mineral Ltd. (with Exael) and Experiences Ltd. The latter of these, Sibling, was particularly memorable, as was Cilbien Trance on Lillerne Tape Club in August. His work touches on a variety of sonic and conceptual themes, but he uses it as a tool to “reflect on the fleeting emotionality of daily life,” he says. His mastery of rhythms and deft ear for melody ensure each piece is as seductive as his last. He’s scheduled to return to West Mineral Ltd. later this year.

Bondy recorded his XLR8R in late 2020, and we’ve been excited to put it out. Whereas Special Guest DJ’s XLR8R podcast, released last month, demonstrated the murkier corners of tripped-out ambience, Bondy’s submission has a warmth to its edges, with upbeat moments that’ll make you want to move, but importantly not at the expense of texture and groove. It’s otherworldly and goose-bump-inducing at times, with an emotional resonance that’s so often lost in dance music.

01. What have you been up to recently?

Working on some tracks with friends, fucking around with some video stuff lately, and lots of cooking and eating.

02. What music have you been listening to?

Lots of ancient shit. A homie put me on to some Mesopotamia music, plus I’ve been listening to lots of types of folk, and early music discoveries have come out of that.

03. How did you find your way into music more broadly?

I started playing violin when I was maybe six or seven. I was really consumed by classical music until I started playing in hardcore bands as a teenager.

04. Can you remember a period when your sound and style began to take shape?

As an artist I think of sound as a building with infinite rooms. Over time I’ve wandered into a few, and some of those doors have shut but more are always opening.

05. Where and when did you record this mix?

Early December at the crib.

06. What can the listener expect?

Lots of emotional tracks and a few blissed out moments. There’s lots to chew on.

07. How did you go about choosing the records that you’ve included

It’s mainly stuff I’ve been jamming a bit lately, but always looking for a common thread.

08. What’s next on your horizon?

I’m looking forward to some projects from this past year getting wrapped up and being released. We’ve got Xphresh and a new West Mineral Ltd. one in the works, and there’s other stuff I don’t remember right now. I am focusing a lot more on some projects outside of music, and generally spending more time just relaxing and not working on anything at all.

09. What are your longer-term ambitions with music?

Exploring more of those aforementioned rooms and sharing what I find inside.

XLR8R has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to XLR8R+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.

Full XLR8R+ Members can download the podcast below. If you’re not an XLR8R+ member, you can read more about it and subscribe here.

Tracklisting

01. Kiln “Dusker” (Ghostly International)
02. Dirk Geiger “Slow Forward” (Tympanik Audio)
03. Mathematics “Dentosen (Rewired by Yasume)” (Hydorgen Dukebox)
04. Aso Kikuchi “Echo Room”(Childisc)
05. Picnic “Drops in the Water” (DJ Paradise Version) [Daisart; forthcoming]
06. Higher Intelligence Agency & Biosphere “Midpoint” (Headphone)
07. Mouse on Mars “Pull Moll” (Thrill Jockey)
08. Alva Noto + Opiate “Opto Files” (Raster-Noton)
09. Jandek “Your Other Man (Phoenecia Outer Harmony)” (Schematic)
10. Gliese “Bgah” (Schematic)
11. Fizzarum “Phut of Plex” (City Center Offices)
12. Arovane “Thaem Nui” (DIN)
13. Fibla “FoHb” (Expanding Records)
14. Tetsu Inoue “Health Loop” (Instinct Ambient)
15. Ulla “sponge” (Unreleased)





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