Techno Henchwomen Try Out Their Own Version Of Star Time


If you had to pick two reigning kingpins of the current techno scene, Richie Hawtin and Ricardo Villalobos would be good bets. Both are prolific producers and jet-setting DJs who can demand eye-popping sums of money for a single gig. They are also, as it happens, best buddies—twin techno messiahs with an overlapping fan base of swoony, devoted followers.

Magda and Cassy are two of the most prominent females in this mostly male-dominated scene. Magda records for Hawtin’s minimal-techno label M-nus; she and Hawtin often work together. Cassy is well-known for her collaborations with Villalobos—her earthy singing voice (a product of her half-Caribbean, half-Austrian ancestry) adds amazing depth and textural richness to some of Villalobos’s best tracks. Because of their associations with the Richie-Ricardo juggernaut, though, Cassy and Magda both end up being eclipsed— unfairly so—by their more famous friends.

Thanks to She’s a Dancing Machine and Panoramabar 01, this is all set to change. The two mix CDs respectively make evident Magda and Cassy’s formidable prowess as DJs. True to Magda’s upbeat personality, her mix is agile and busy—loops from 70-odd tracks are stitched together using Ableton Live software to make something fun, frisky, and new. Cassy’s mix, meanwhile, is mixed by hand on a pair of decks, and it’s slower and more sultry, leaning toward deep house while Magda’s mix speeds into minimal techno.

Both ladies also include recent tunes by themselves in these mixes, showcasing their considerable might as producers. Interestingly, Magda includes tracks by Hawtin, and Cassy includes a track by Villalobos, but they use their capabilities as DJs to reframe their music entirely, giving it new layers of context, depth, and meaning. In their subtle ways, they make the tracks their own.