Podcast 597: Experimental Housewife
Nostalgic selections from ExHouse.
Podcast 597: Experimental Housewife
Nostalgic selections from ExHouse.
Evelyn Marie Malinowski (a.k.a Experimental Housewife)—or “ExHouse” as she’s better known—is a San Francisco-based DJ, producer, label owner, percussionist, and professor. Experience serving as either a drummer or keyboardist for various post-rock and experimental projects has shaped her into a multifarious and cross-disciplinary creative force. She began DJing aged just 12, and has since become an inspired curator whose approach is genre-defiant but driving, each thoughtfully curated set replete with rhythmic energy.
As a producer, Malinowski chooses unconventional pathways to make hypnotic music. Her records are markedly repetitive and droned out. Something always feels a little off, but the results are rejuvenating, forward-thinking pieces of nostalgic electronica. Her debut full-length album, Place Writer, released on Jacktone in late 2016, is a strong demonstration of Malinowski’s drowned out ambience. She’s also released experimental and dancefloor-focused music on her own Perfect Location, ANTIME Berlin, and Schmer, and has contributed to multiple compilations and collaborative efforts.
Malinowski applies her natural knack for collecting, compiling, layering, and mapping to broader environments as an academic. She is a scholar of English Philology specializing in Virginia Woolf and Modernity Studies, and she bears proficiency in Germanistik, Queer Shakespeare, and Sound Studies. She has taught and lectured on these same subjects.
Her XLR8R podcast was recorded late last month and is centred around one record: Underworld “Jumbo” (Rob Rives & François K. Main Dish), the opener incidentally. It reflects on San Francisco’s “deep blue sky” vibes and late ’90s electronic music heritage, all the while looking forward with optimism as to where we’re going as a species. As with all ExHouse sets, it’s full of soothing pads and dreamy distortion, further proof that things can sound good while being mixed genre and mixed era.
What have you been up to recently?
It’s been an active year. I have been writing a lot of new music and making exciting alliances with communities new to me. I’m still busy with managing my temporary record label project, Perfect Location, and gigging often. I’m also working on my dissertation.
12 is an early age to begin playing records. How did you find your way into DJing?
I was a very energetic, positive child with a lot of imagination, and I think that dance music, especially ’90s club hits with big beats and house flavor, revved my hyper mind while giving it a home. Strangely, I have always had a knack for organizing, compiling, and categorizing. Apart from seeing synth gear and DJ equipment as ultra-cool when I was a kid (I have always liked gear and tools as well), I started making mixtapes before I knew mixers even existed.
What were the first records that you bought?
Best question ever! I’m proud to say that Sasha’s Xpander EP, LSG’s Shecan, Bedrock Foundations, and Pat Foosheen’s Forest of Azure/Invisible Landscape were among my very first record purchases! Also lots of random Hooj Choons releases, like Cygnus X, Solar Stone, Tilt, and others. There’s more, of course: I also had a lot of 16B, Lexicon Avenue, Futureshock, Sister Bliss, and James Holden at the time, a perfect mixture of trance and progressive house. Some of the game changers for me back then were Cass & Slide “Diablo” or “Opera,” a lot of the Van Bellen remixes, and Deep C feat. Randall Jones “The One.” I still love these tracks so much.
How does your career in education influence your career as a musician?
It’s nerdy but I definitely see my DJ sets as educational, and I likewise treat my lectures as sets. I prepare and organize, and sometimes feel nervous, but I rely on my collection to pave the way for the message or thesis.
Sure, all listeners learn something from DJs by way of waiting to see what the DJ plays, holding out to see whether the DJ can construct an arc, and also sussing out the presence of technical skills; however, I assign much more potential to DJing than that. A DJ interacts with an audience both as a whole and individualistically: while you may be moving as a group on the dancefloor, you are still having an intimate, anti-group thinking experience with the set, so long as the DJ can resist making the set about themselves. I can’t think of anything else in modern ritual that has the power to move a group and simultaneously hold space for the individual. DJs should show the ability to respond to and work with the ranging knowledge and availability an audience has, just like how a good educator should take the time and energy to spotlight every student’s unique strength, for a classroom is populated by students with ranging knowledge on the course subject as well as their personal street smarts.
And while both a DJ set and a lecture are considerably hierarchical in function, because all attention is on them, they are both performances during which an audience gives the DJ or lecturer voice, and, to some extent, trust. I believe in using those opportunities to produce fodder that inspires and connects, not noise that takes attention away from one’s own journey. No matter what, the DJ must demonstrate their mastery over the art, just as a professor must demonstrate mastery over their subject.
When and where was the mix recorded?
In my home studio right before Detroit festivities, late May 2019. Just for this season and occasion.
How did you select the records that you included?
As always, I build my sets around one or two tracks I feel strongly about including. From there I find the rest of the stepping stones and make sure there is a comprehensive and enjoyable arc. In this case, I knew I had to include the opening track, the remix of “Jumbo,” in order to represent San Francisco deep blue sky vibes. The first time I ever heard “Jumbo” was in Oakland off of Golf Links Rd., 1999. Been loving it ever since. I definitely wanted to feature a variety of new and old favorites.
Is there an overarching concept or theme surrounding it?
San Francisco deep blue sky vibes and late ’90s electronic music heritage combined with realistic optimism about where we’re going from here as a species. Soothing pads and dreamy distortion are favorites of mine, and I think they are handy in dealing with contrasts and grey areas. In this case, they say something about how difficult it is to give space to vulnerable emotions when everything is so cute and beautiful all the time. It’s like feeling sad that you can’t be sad, a symptom of living in sunny California. There’s a clear turning point and departure though in the middle of the mix that I feel is quite important as well, where things sort of drop off and get ugly, but there’s something driving things forward.
How does it compare to one of your club sets?
At parties, I tend to take my time a bit more, if given enough time, and I get more testy, like I’ll play pop remixes or old anthems mashed up with really serious industrial techno and cheeky stuff like that. I like to sneak into all kinds of zones, but my references are a little less concealed. And I always consider the audience and meet them wherever they’re at.
What’s next on your horizon?
I’m looking forward to my summertime gigs, and I’m wrapping up the last Perfect Location 12″ release, featuring myself, gayphextwin, Roche, BLEIE, and Loren Steele. It will be sent to the plant soon. My crew, Run The Length Of Your Wildness, is about to release its second vinyl compilation sponsored by LA label Hobo Camp. I should have a mini-album done soon for Last Faith Studio.
Due to issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the podcast here.
Editor note: Items with the slash indicate mashed up, three- or four-way mixes)
01. Underworld “Jumbo (Rob Rives & François K. Main Dish)” [JBO]
02. Sage Caswell “All of Gardens” [Spring Theory]
03. DJ Sodeyama “Miles Pt. 2” [трип]
04. Unknown Artist “∂ Partial 001” (Eye Deep Leez) / Emmanuel “Improve” [Arts Collective]
05. Dilated Pupils “Remi Style” [DP Beats]
06. Deepchord presents Echospace “BCN Dub” [Modern Love]
07. King Of Spin “Lifestyles (Part 2)” [Ronster]
08. Private Press “Into The Circle” [Oblique Music]
09. Randomer & Cadans “Anchor (Len Faki Hardspace Mix)” [LF RMX]
10. Qnete “Gaze” [shtum]
11. Raw Silver “Neoprene Jacket” (Speaker Footage) / ALEKS “Cloud City” [Unreleased]
12. Daniela La Luz “Tomorrow Won” [Housewax]
13. Urulu “Meteroid” [These Things Take Time]
14. The Wamdue Kids “Echoes & Instruments” [Sounds.]