Heiiiiiiii! Happy happy October ~ seasons are shifting, and we’ve got a crisp and calm mix to match. This month’s reigns are led by curator, photographer, radio host, and fire spirit Tessa Beck who takes us on a disco downtown drive.
Beck early life existed exclusively in a rural world, born in Hillsboro, North Dakota, population 1,200. "Without sounding too derisive," she says, "I can say, with clarity, that the isolation I experienced as a young person totally informed my curious tendencies, and the way I discover art, music, fashion, etc. now. The internet wasn’t pervasive in the way it is now until I was probably 12 or 13 years old, and the nearest record stores or venues were an hour’s drive away." The radio, for example, had only two stations: pop and country.
This meant discovery came from people: friends, parents, and friends' parents. "In middle school, my best friend’s dad would make mix CDs for me that usually contained a lot of post-punk and new wave music, which based on my mix, obviously had a big impact. Thinking back on this, I am so charmed by the love in that gesture – how ardent he was in sharing something special to him, and what it might have meant to provide (an albeit small) audience. The love that’s wrapped in the exchange of music or other information is something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately." A hint to some close friends: many of Beck's tracks are nods to moments of kinship.
Disco (and techno) became a centering force in the mid 2010s ("Minimal techno sounds great in a gallery setting.") Beck then moved for the first time outside of northern Midwest, landing in Berlin for half of 2016. The two genres collided one night when Ellen Allien played Voyage Voyage (on this mix) at ipsə. "The absurdity and decadence of this song are enough on their own, but the way I came to it makes it one of my forever favorites. I name Allien as my first favorite DJ, so the opportunity to hear her while being away on this transformative experience was momentous in itself. The atmosphere at that party was especially positive, and in the midst of her predictably fast, bright set – she re-routed with Voyage Voyage. It was one of those magical moments in a party setting where there was this collective inhale, where we were taken out of our individual experiences and processed something as a whole."
Now, Tessa finds herself playing, hosting, curating across North Dakota and Minnesota. She's gearing up to play out more, and her roots shine through on this mix that give us a hint of what's on the horizon. "I’d like both for people who create and share content, and those who consume it to continue examining the underlying emotions or intentions behind the action," she notes. "If it deviates from love or honesty, then I don’t feel that it deserves a platform in a space designated for positivity – especially in today’s social and political climate."
- Glamour Girl, Chicks on Speed
- Deceptacon (DFA Remix By Tim Goldsworthy & James Murphy for the DFA), Le Tigre
- Voyage Voyage, François
- Love Tempo (Fac 79 Mix), Quando Quango
- Cos-Ber-Zam Ne Noya (Daphni Mix), Daphni
- Bad Reputation (Daniele Baldelli & Marco Dionigi Remix), Psycho Radio
- Jumbo, Underworld
- Pulsewidth, Aphex Twin
- October Love Song (Chris & Cosey Cover), Rework
- Say Goodbye (Losoul She's Homeless Mix), Khan feat. Julee Cruise
- You Could Be More As You Are, Saâda Bonaire
- In the Morning, Smagghe & Crosse
- I’ll Come Running, Brian Eno
- Bad Connection, Yaz
- And She Was, Talking Heads
- Once I Had a Love (A.K.A. The Disco Song), Blondie
- Shinzo No Tobira, Mariah
Beck’s mix is paired with Alec Soth's work 2006_08zl0036, a work from the Broken Manual series. The parallels of Beck and Soth's work are everywhere: both are northern Midwestern-based artists who juxtapose rural and urban settings. 2006_08zl0036 is also a pretty direct visualization of Beck's set: a disco ball hung from a creekside tree in the woods. It's how I think Beck's set should be heard: outside, loud, and away from it all.
To follow along all things Tessa, head here.
To learn more about Soth, head here.