Fact Mix: Laila Sakini

Laila Sakini takes a somnambulant stroll through heady experimental transmissions, insomniac club rhythms and a treasure trove of unreleased material from friends, collaborators and the artist herself.

“I think music should be about what we can’t say easily,” Laila Sakini told Zweikommasieben last year. “It should hold and express feelings that we have. Sometimes it compounds the feelings I have, which might be sadness or something that lifts me up and I like the fact it doesn’t fit into a paradigm – an either / or.” Since the release of the Melbourne born, London based musician, DJ and curator’s stunning debut album, Vivienne, in 2020, Sakini has continued to draw from the most personal places, circling around a sound of extraordinary emotional generosity, picking out the most complex feelings with stark arrangements of sparse instrumentation, subtle effects and her own haunting vocals. Strada, Into The Traffic, Under The Moonlight, Princess Diana Of Wales and Paloma are records made to be felt as much as they are to be heard, with Sakini coaxing delicate physicality out of a dizzying array of instruments, including piano, cello, bass clarinet, violin, glockenspiel, timbale and recorder, as well as intricate manipulation of reverb, space and found sound. “The spark and the light that keeps me going is the curiosity I feel doing music,” she continues. “It’s a very embodied reaction.” Capturing with striking clarity the quiet mania of London’s liminality – late night cigarettes outside of basement clubs, lonely walks home through cold morning light – Sakini makes a space for us in her sound, mirroring in her instinctual playing the restless pulse of reflective thought.

It’s with the same tender fluctuations that her beguiling Fact mix unfurls, a somnambulant stroll through heady experimental transmissions, insomniac club rhythms and a treasure trove of unreleased material from friends, collaborators and Sakini herself. “Felt like I should step away from my usual forlorn and filmic style to draw on some of the sounds around me from the goings-on in the UK / London,” the artist explains. “So this is a ‘what I’m listening to now’ type mix. Theme I suppose is: it’s like… almost at the club. Dance music with DIY energy. Trance/dub chords + bass, strings, cliffhangers, harmonised vocals, field recordings, found sound. Music is by myself and others, mostly from the UK, who exemplify this union of club and grub.” Delivered with the intimacy of a solemnly passed aux chord at an afters, or of a DJ set for a handful of close friends, Sakini moves between these tracks with a loose elegance, opening with a spoken introduction, halfway between a whisper and a moan: “So this is what was asked of me / And I’m not always that sure of what you mean.” Feeling her way further into this ambiguity, the grey area between club and grub, Laila Sakini threads together music that expresses that which is difficult to say.

Simmering feedback, amniotic low end, aching strings and ecstatic swells of synthesis swirl through untitled works from Civilistjävel! and Astrid Sonne, Dali Muru & The Polyphonic Swarm play through a “soundtrack of Transcarpathia and whirling unresolved hum”, courtesy of Belgian experimental outpost Stroom and Elklink share DIY recordings made at Green Chimneys rehabilitation centre for children and animals for Farm Stories, the second archival collection from Adris Hoyos and Graham Lambkin. Malvern Brume unleashes a screeching seance of ice-cold industrial throb, smudged through scuffed dub techno from Conrad Pack and Leeway. “Renaissance space music” from Geiwissen ebbs into choral luminescence shot through with concrète murk from Holsen&Cassiers, while the inverted Shepard tone depth charge beat magick of Grim Lusk sets the stage for the ethereal, water-logged majesty of This Mortal Coil’s ‘Acid, Bitter and Sad,’ an essential cut from 4AD’s ’80s compilation Lonely Is an Eyesore that sounds like the alternative supergroup is playing backwards from the bottom of a storm drain. “I think adequately recounting the impact of an experience using sound, primitive or developed, relieves some of the explanatory burden for the person who is doing the sound making,” reiterates Sakini. “I think in that way sound provides a wider scope for expression which may more more apt or useful when trying to describe complex emotions.” With these songs Laila Sakini speaks volumes, an emotional polyphony to be heard clearly and felt keenly.

You can find Laila Sakini on Instagram, Twitter and Bandcamp.


Civilistjävel! + Laila Sakini – ‘Untitled’
Astrid Sonne – ‘Untitled’
Laila Sakini – ‘Untitled’ 
Dali Muru & The Polyphonic Swarm – ‘Swaddledidaf Rosé’
Astrid Sonne – ‘Untitled’
Elklink – ‘Farm Stories 10’
Malvern Brume – ‘Body Traffic’
Conrad Pack – ‘Process Version’
Doomed – ‘Maelstrom’ (Leeway Edit) 
Laila Sakini – ‘Untitled’
Gewissen – ‘sanna 2 –versuchung’ 
Laila Sakini – ‘Untitled’
Holsen&Cassiers – ‘Today’s bright’
Grim Lusk – ‘It’s Happening’ 
This Mortal Coil – ‘Acid, Bitter And Sad’
Dali Muru & The Polyphonic Swarm – ‘My Boar’ (Rework)
Elklink – ‘Untitled’ 

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