Hear Australia's new wave of female electronic innovators
There’s a wave of creative electronic producers coming from all around the country right now, with new names and new innovators landing every week.
It’s an inspiring time to be following experimental and electronic music in Australia, as a more diverse range of artists than ever before continue to push against the biases, conscious or unconscious, that might stand in the way of their voices being heard.
So with that in mind, and in celebration of International Women’s Day, here’s a selection of female-identifying electronic producers you might want to keep an eye on. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. Once you are looking in the right places, a vast and diverse set of new perspectives will open up to you - perhaps you can use this list as a jumping-off point.
A couple of years ago Becki Whitton took a risk. She moved away from Canberra’s close-knit experimental music community and went down to Melbourne to develop and refine the sound of Aphir.
Her ethereal and complex choral-influenced vocal harmonies seem to shift in and out of dense electronic soundscapes like flickering holograms.
Her utterly unique approach has seen her become a sought-after mix and mastering engineer in Melbourne, and has drawn her into the Provenance family, a record label run by Double J’s own Stu Buchanan. She’s part of a diverse roster that also includes Lovely Head, KAIA and Medicine Voice.
Melbourne multi-instrumentalist Carla Ori carries a restless energy throughout the entirety of her debut album Like Heaven in the Movies, where she melds post-punk, synth-pop, tropicalia and even hip hop with effortless glee.
It is, put simply, great fun.
Biscotti’s album is out via Listen Records, whose rapidly expanding roster also includes Simona Castricum, Hi-tec Emotions and Beloved Elk.
After moving from Sydney to Melbourne last year, electronic producer Corin Ileto, aka CORIN, was welcomed into the broad Wondercore Island church, an eclectic roster that also includes Hiatus Kaiyote and Jaala.
With the support of Wondercore and local filmmaker Tristan Jalleh, CORIN has gone all-in on a dystopian science fiction vision, with her music taking on a razor-sharp futuristic edge.
Her live show is a unique combination of structural club sounds and classical chops, as Ileto frenetically works her electric piano to within an inch of its life while constructing shining, architectural grime-scapes.
Jikuroux is a prolific Sydney-based producer, DJ and co-founder of the crucial club night EVE. With titles like ‘Bio Weapon’ and ‘Fractured Pulse’, her jagged club sounds are menacing.
But on ‘Teardrop’, she flips Elizabeth Fraser’s iconic Massive Attack vocals into a sparkling anthem, surrounded by storming drums and soft trance-like synth clouds.
Producer Antonia Gauci is well-known to Sydney musicians as one of the in-house engineers at iconic Studio 301, where she holds down a day job working with some of Australia’s biggest pop and electronic artists.
On ‘Control’ – the debut track from her solo project Leftenent – she reshapes those pop sensibilities into something more subtle and complex.
Madeleine Cocolas is a classically-trained composer and sound designer who relocated from Australia to the US a few years ago.
Landing in New York City, her new release ‘Lunar’ is an imaginary cosmic journey that works samples from NASA’s public sound library and shimmering synths into soundscapes that feel like an update on the retro sci-fi soundtracks of the 1970s.
In a former life, Madeleine was a music supervisor for Australian television, with a hand in selecting tracks for shows like Please Like Me and Dance Academy.
In her own words, Mei Saraswati has been “rambling for a long time.”
Eschewing traditional pathways for a more DIY approach to music production and release, Saraswati’s Bandcamp has grown to become a delightful wander through her musical obsessions - nature, field recording, soulful harmony.
Most recently, she lent her voice and production to a number of tracks on the collaborative C0OL PO0L compilation, which brings together a collection of Perth’s finest electronic artists to celebrate and protect the biodiversity of Perth’s Beeliar Wetlands.
On debut EP Lost & Found, 22-year-old Sydney producer Mookhi navigates a variety of styles with ease.
Lead track ‘Foul Play’ is low-key but catchy as hell, leaning on deep piano licks and smart drum programming to craft a moody trip-hop atmosphere around Billy Fox’s pop vocals.
Elsewhere on the EP she flips from hi-fi Mura Masa-esque sound design to earthy breakbeats, restlessly exploring but always laser-focused. It’s simply a stunning debut from a young producer still flexing their muscles.
Sydney producer Phoebe Twiggs, aka ptwiggs, deconstructs bass music and conducts experiments with the broken pieces.
Industrial percussion acts as scaffolding for a disorienting mix of sonic elements and manipulated ambiences. Her hypnotic productions make me feel like it might be reprogramming my brain from the inside out.
Raquel Solier has taken a long path through Melbourne’s independent music scene, from starting out as a punk drummer and co-founding cult Melbourne upstarts Oh! Belgium, to her more recent work making deconstructed R&B under the name Fatti Frances.
After taking time out to start a family, Solier has come back with a vengeance - literally - now wreaking havoc with her bent and frenetic bass music project Various Asses.
Solier attacks a sound palette drawn from grime and future bass music with the rhythmic precision of a veteran timekeeper. She reworks Gloria Estefan and Coolio samples from her adolescence into visceral, insistent experimental workouts.
Her most recent tape was released via Nice Music, who also have Fia Fiell and Nina Buchanan also on their roster of esoteric experimentalists.
Melbourne-based experimental producer waterhouse crafts worlds of sound that go beyond contemporary club tropes to evoke rich moods and emotional associations.
Her recent 17-minute ambient piece ‘i will myself not to use apathy as a sword’ combines washes of melancholic sound to devastating effect, and is a work that, in her own words, is designed to “mediate feelings of violence and sadness, relief and dissociation.”