Experimental pop and ambient weirdness from Australia.
Eight years have passed since Brambles, the work of Australian multi-instrumentalist Mira Dawson, released Charcoal, their heart-stopping debut album. Recorded in a communal house in Melbourne open to all manner of creative outsiders, the album pulls from piano, cello, acoustic guitar, and saxophone to comprise eight deeply personal tracks that rope you into Brambles’ enchanting world of textured, shape-shifting ambience. Though transportive, the release stops short of being melancholic; instead, it pervades warmth and optimism, like being wrapped up in a warm blanket, says Donal Whelan, who mastered the record.
In the years since, Dawson has kept their head down low. Born in Britain but raised in Australia, they spent much of their time after Charcoal traveling through Europe. During this period, Dawson came out as trans and sought inspiration to begin working on a new record. In 2019 came “Spirits,” a sample of an upcoming second album that leans heavily on Dawson’s own voice and an array of samples that have been shifted, warped, and blended into an otherworldly language. This new work is influenced as much by dream-pop as experimental electronic music and the ambient Dawson has become known for.
With details of the new album to come soon, Dawson has recorded an XLR8R podcast. Compiled in their Melbourne apartment over the last few months, it pulls from pop, experimental, and ambient weirdness—and artists like Iglooghost, Princess Nokia, and even Britney Spears. Beyond documenting what’s been keeping Dawson company through lockdown, it delivers a second glimpse at the new album, both by presenting some of its tracks and showcasing the sonic world behind them.
01. What have you been up to recently?
Finishing off my next album so it can be released this year. I say this every year, but this time, it’s serious. Also, I’m planning some collaborations with visual artists and photographers which is quite new for me as I usually do everything myself.
02. What is it that draws you to electronic music
I like how it’s possible to keep exploring new sonic territory, creating unimaginable sounds and that it’s accessible to so many people. Also, you don’t really need any prior musical knowledge to excel at it.
03. How has lockdown been for you?
It’s been pretty much the same for me as I often isolate making music for days on end. Not being able to skate with friends is the main thing that I’ve missed.
04. What music have you been listening to recently?
I’ve recently been getting back into early 2000s IDM after a big break from the genre. Also, Deftones’ White Pony (20th Anniversary Edition).
05. Your sound palette shifted since Charcoal. What can we expect with your new material?
I feel like Charcoal was made by another version of myself and my new album is heading in completely different territory, I also actually sing on this one.
06. Where and when did you record this XLR8R mix?
I put this together in my apartment in Melbourne in March.
07. What can the listener expect?
An eclectic collection of pop, experimental, ambient weirdness.
08. How did you go about choosing the records that you’ve included?
I chose some tracks that I thought would mesh well together, including some of my own unreleased material and tracks that have had an impact on me recently. I also included some productions by SOPHIE to celebrate her unfathomable genius
09. What are your plans for 2021?
It feels like everything is still up in the air regarding future lockdowns, but I still plan to release more music this year, even if I cannot go on a grand 200-show intergalactic tour!
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.
01. Brambles “Trash Cathedral” (Unreleased)
02. Iglooghost “Sylph Fossil” (Gloo)
03. Jimmy Edgar “CROWN” (Innovative Leisure)
04. Brambles “BANG” (Unreleased)
05. Quay Dash “Queen Of This Shit” (Quay Dash)
06. Shygirl “Slime” (Because Music)
07. The Neptunes “Light Your Ass On Fire” feat. Pharrell & Busta Rhymes (Arista Records, Inc.)
08. Eartheater “Mercurial Nerve” (PAN)
09. Brambles “Orchid” (Unreleased)
10. Yuki Kajiura “Albedo” (Victor)
11. FIS “Duck Dive” (Samurai Horo)
12. Susumu Hirasawa “The Blind Spot in a Corridor” (Chaos Union)
13. Britney Spears “Freakshow” (Jive)
14. Katie Day “Darkness” (Lonelyspeck remix) (Run For Cover Records)
15. Princess Nokia “Dimensia” (Rough Trade Records)
16. Jónsi “Mold” (KRUNK)
17. MikeQ “Feels Like” feat. Kevin Jz Prodigy (Fade to Mind)
18. Lorenzo Senni “Move in Silence (Only Speak When It’s Time to Say Checkmate)” (Warp Records)
19. Sinjin Hawke “Shimmer” (Fractal Fantasy)
20. Brambles “Untitled” (Unreleased)
21. SOPHIE “UNISIL” (Numbers)
22. Dedekind Cut “Tahoe” (Kranky)
23. Deftones “Teenager” (Reprise Records)