“From a DJ and production point of view, when you use the SUBPAC, you get that kick, that punch that you wouldn’t necessarily get unless you cranked your studio monitors.”
Condensing the achievements of the academic and writer Steve Goodman, the musician Kode9, and the Hyperdub label that he founded into one short profile is a barmy task. So relentless is his workrate, and so continual is his dissolution of boundaries, that it all defies counting and categorisation. There are the obvious things: DJing in the formative moments of FWD>> and DMZ; allying with legends like Terror Danjah and Kevin Martin; nurturing the careers of Zomby, Joker, Ikonika, DVA, Cooly G and of course Burial; providing a platform for the Chicagoan Teklife crew before and after the passing of scene leader DJ Rashad; and of course his own music, always in partnership with the mighty Stephen Samuel Gordon aka The Spaceape, until Gordon too passed on in 2014, after which Kode9 continued alone and instrumental.
There’s so much more, though. The Scot, who came of age listening to intense techno, hip hop and funk in Edinburgh in the early nineties, forged his ideas and principles later that decade in Warwick University’s mythical, rather cult-like Cybernetic Culture Research Unit. In the heat of drum’n’bass and garage’s forging, maverick and influential minds melded sci-fi, high tech, philsophy, theory and rave culture together. This fed into Goodman’s continuing academic work (most publicly his book Sonic Warfare), but also into his music and into Hyperdub. Originally a blog documenting London’s underground as garage turned dark, Hyperdub turned into a label but also much more than that: a family, a mini-culture, a package of strange and seditious ideas. And since 2008, these ideas have also fed into AUDINT: another mysterious “research unit” examining and experimenting with sound environments, through software, text, installations, records – and a fruitful relationship with SUBPAC!