Secret Thirteen Mix 180 - Broken English Club

Oliver Ho of Broken English Club music mix

Portrait by Emma Livingston

Broken English Club (BEC) is one of the many monikers of Oliver Ho, a London based DJ and producer, whose numerous releases and musical ventures are really difficult to count. Oliver started crafting immersive bone-shaking techno for James Ruskin’s Blueprint label back in the 90’s, a sound that was further distilled in his works under Raudive, Birdland and Life. It stands out due to his subtle incorporation of an organic tribal feel, subtle jazzy excursions into groovy and monolithic techno beats. Industrial and post punk influences have always been near Oliver’s musical journey and they began to surface in his post-2000’s projects in a more explicit way. The Eyes in the Heat project surprised with a minimalist and mellow coldwave fueled by The Cure-ish melancholia, while BEC was a natural further shift, where Oliver blended his love of harsh and abrasive synth beats, haunted atmospherics, and the concrete surrealism of urban cityscapes. Industrialised rhythmics interfered with sparse distorted shout-outs, multiple layers of cinematic noises, sparse echoes of live instrumentation. It presents a distorted dystopian vision of the mundane world in a similar way to Ballard’s literary atmospheres.

Secret Thirteen mix 180 is a harsh and dynamic selection, which not only partially summarizes the essence of BEC and some of Oliver’s influences, but also showcases unreleased material from his label Death & Leisure. The latter includes two new BEC cuts. “Myths of Steel and Concrete” is one of the rawest moments in Oliver’s catalogue - filled with piercing high-pitched noise powered by thumping lo-fi rhythmics, while “Our History in Bones” gets closer to power electronics with distorted spoken word echoing over pulsating soundbursts. Here we also meet another one of Oliver’s aliases, Zov Zov, and the track “Spill”, which sounds like a noise artist’s accidental landing within a free jazz jam. Years of Denial’s angst-ladden slow-paced synth leads us into the remaining part of the mix, which varies from intense rhythmic attacks by BEC or Samuel Kerridge to folkish ruminations by Demdike Stare and Billy Green. It also includes obscure French experimental synth outfit Programme or ethereal Eastern hypnosis by Ayshay, now performing under Fatima Al Qadiri. In this selection under the heavy electric shard there is also an underlying emotional tension and deeper atmospheric textures. It passes like a fast drive through a concrete megapolis, which finally gives way to desert sands. At times the mix is reminiscent of the sparse industrial landscapes by British painter Jock MacFadyen, where objects in the foreground hide the vastness of the city scape. “Turner’s Road” might be a good example of it.


01. Broken English Club - Shallow Pits [Cititrax]
02. Haus Arafna - Paranoia [Galakthorrö]
03. Broken English Club - Myths Of Steel And Concrete [Death & Leisure]
04. Pharmakon - Vacum [Sacred Bones]
05. 26Z - Until Death (Us Do Part) [Kl Dark Records]
06. Jandek - Out Of The Cave [Corwood Industries]
07. Zov Zov - Spill [Death & Leisure]
08. Programme - Ce N’est Pas Ca [Ici D’ailleurs]
09. Broken English Club - Channel 83 [Cititrax]
10. XXX - Dont Get Fat [Poverty Is Violence]
11. In Aeternam Vale - La Grille [Khemia]
12. Concrete Fence - Industrial Disease [Pan]
13. Samuel Kerridge - D2 Fatal Light Attraction [Downwards]
14. Broken English Club - Derelict [Cititrax]
15. Bestial Mouths - Hollowed [Desire]
16. Broken English Club - Our History In Bones [Death & Leisure]
17. Atshay - Warn U [Triangle]
18. Demdike Stare & Billy Green - Toadstrip [Finders Keepers]
19. Death In June - 13 Years Of Carrion [New European Recordings]
20. Years Of Denial - Here In The Gut [Death & Leisure]
21. Raudive - Dial [Wires]
22. Consumer Electronics - The Push [Harbinger Sound]

About Author

Paulius Ilevicius is a Secret Thirteen journalist, editor and occasional DJ focusing on more dreamy and melancholic soundscapes. Born in post-industrial town of Pavevezys, currently he lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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