Fact Mix 862: DJ Travella

DJ Travella is responsible for the most exhilarating music of recent years, injecting crackling cybernetic energy into singeli in a semi-improvisational style incorporating production, DJing and live performance.

If you want to hear the future, listen to DJ Travella. The 19-year-old producer born Hamadi Hassani is responsible for the most exhilarating music of recent years, injecting crackling cybernetic energy into singeli, a genre which has resulted in some of the most important developments in electronic music in the last half decade. For those of you paying attention, partially thanks to devoted online support from patron saint of the experimental Arca and esteemed music meme lord La Meme Young, ‘Crazy Beat Music Umeme 2’ has been one the defining tracks of 2022, a turbo-charged transmission of full throttle, red-lining, hyperactive rave polyphony. Between the release of Travella’s essential album, Mr Mixondo, on Nyege Nyege Tapes back in April, his own Instagram documentation of ecstatic street parties in his hometown of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and his recent run of European performances, which have seen him brandishing his trusty Bluetooth keyboard like Herbie Hancock shredding a keytar solo, it’s clear that this is Travella’s time and the best we can do is keep up.

His mix for Fact, or as Travella has tagged it, MR MIXONDO MX SICK FACT MIX, which foregoes a tracklist, instead featuring improvised remixes of tracks from Mr Mixondo as well as several unreleased productions, is a thrilling glimpse of his creative process, an improvisational hybrid between production, DJing and live performance. Recorded live in Virtual DJ, Travella loads an expansive deck of carefully selected samples which he is then able to cut rapidly between, crafting constantly evolving compositions on the fly. Layering a relentless percussive charge and melodic instrumentals which reveal the producer’s preternatural ear for soaring emotion and steamy sensuality with a cacophony of pitched-up glissandos, chipmunk ad-libs, sword shings, glass smashes and Travella’s signature surprise breakdowns, he creates a sparking feedback loop, in which samples, pre-sets and motifs from dembow, trap, hardcore rave and R&B are constantly fed through singeli’s hybrid accelerator at blistering speeds.

Performed live, aided by his Bluetooth keyboard with which he triggers samples mapped to different keys, Travella is able to step away from the decks in moments of live improvisation where every element of his process flows through and out of him, acting as producer, performer and composer all at once. While the terminal velocity and sensory overload of his sound bears all the hallmarks of a cybernetic music born of online spaces, the inherent physicality of the producer’s ability to smash together software and hardware in a totally singular way marks DJ Travella as a visceral antidote to any sort of fevered, doom scroll nihilism. His is a sound that outpaces and overwhelms the speed and spectacle of the vast array of influences he draws from, wrenching you up and out into unhinged street parties and onto frenetic dancefloors, begging you to move as fast as you’re able. This is the most vital stuff around at the moment: if you want to hear the future, listen to DJ Travella.

You can find DJ Travella on Instagram. Mr Mixondo is out now.

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