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The Guest List: Kate Stein curates an ode to NYC

Kate recently debuted on Playground Records with her ‘Mystic Saddle Ranch’ EP

  • Arun Ramanathan
  • 26 July 2021

Over the last decade, Australian born DJ, producer and spatial designer Kate Stein has taken over both coasts of the United States making LA and New York City her homes. But of recent, she’s had to spend a lot of her time outside of NYC, making her miss the city profoundly — there are a million ways Kate could describe what she loves about New York, but when we spoke to her, we decided it was best for her to let us know through music.

Known as a top-shelf selector who seamlessly drifts between tribal sounds, dark disco and synth wave, Kate’s approach to sound is much like her chutzpah for life — it flows with spontaneity and a distinct balance of obscure wildness with big and beautiful aesthetics. She even shows this in her more experimental and ambient outings too. New York is a state of mind deeply embedded in her — Kate’s debut EP ‘Scene Byway’ saw one of her personally favourite producers Autarkic step up for a remix of her single ‘Mystic Saddle Ranch’ which is just buzzing with the kind of urban psychedelia that resonate with NYC — check out the video which she bills as an homage to her favourite city in the world here.

The Aussie-New Yorker gives us a preface for her Guest List that exudes everything she loves about NYC. “For me, these tracks depict what it’s like to live in New York — it's an addictive city, it's like a drug, it's absolutely a tumultuous relationship, the highs are so high, the lows are rock bottom. From arriving 10 years ago, bright eyed and bushy tailed, hanging out in indie clubs, shows I've seen, warehouses…musicians homes I've visited, NYC based artists I’ve worked with, new and old friends — New York I Love You.”

Miho Hatori 'Tokyo Story'

I met Miho in Chinatown styling one of her music videos for ‘Cibo Matto’ in 2013. I’ve followed her music ever since and love the colourful energy of her latest album released in January. “Between Isekai and Slice of Life” was conceived of and produced during the lockdown in NYC, and the floaty downtempo vibe of its opening track “Tokyo Story” whisks listeners away on a soft daydream.

Equation 'The Answer (X² (RB) Mix)'

One of those obscure tracks that I can’t remember how I found. ‘The Answer’ was released on Nu Groove Records in 1989, but the track feels timeless. Produced under the alias Equation by Rheji and Rhano Burrell, both were responsible for creating experimental, deep house in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They also worked under other aliases, including 'New York House'n Authority'.

​Jokios Kultūros - Everyone's Got To Make A Living

I found this edit by Jokios Kultūros just a few weeks ago, and as soon as I heard it I fell in love. It's so groovy, with a really simple approach. The lyrics remind me of the city grind mentality, mixed with a lot of soul. This track creeps up and builds the energy, I’m really looking forward to playing it out this summer.

​ Midnight Magic 'Beam Me Up (Each Other Remix)'

I had the pleasure of opening for Midnight Magic — it was my first official DJ booking ever and I was so nervous! A nine person ensemble; Midnight Magic are NYC infamous. Fellow Brooklynites, Each Other (a new project by Max Pask and Justin Strauss), have crafted an extended peak-time stormer of a remix for the ‘Beam Me Up’ 10 year anniversary. The churning analog drum and synth production, it’s somehow ravey, new-wavey and lush all at once.

Soulwax 'E Talking (Nite Version feat. Nancy Whang)'

Honestly this track never gets old, it reminds me of too many (adventurous) nights out, and I can’t get enough of that dirty base. Of course Nancy Whang is a Brooklyn legend, I worked with her when I first moved to NYC archiving LCD Soundsystem memorabilia. I was (and still am) definitely a fan girl!

Suicide 'Girl'

I could listen to this track on repeat. Suicide were years ahead of their time! The proto-electronic music group from NYC brought drum machines and synthesisers to punk music, and their influence on genres like industrial dance, techno, and ambient music are deeply felt.

Rigopolar 'Espiral'

Rigopolar is an incredible producer, and the nicest guy! He was based in NYC until just recently, I had the pleasure of booking him and I play his music out all of the time. I remember playing this track on the Bushwick Boat for a New Years Day sunrise in 2020 - this track always takes me places.

ESG - UFO

Taken from the LP 'ESG - A South Bronx Story', released on Universal Sound records in 2000. Originally released on "ESG" EP on 99 Records in 1981. ESG are iconic - they need no intro!

Eli Escobar 'NY SO HI'

NYC staple Eli Escobar absolutely had to be included in this chart. Sampling Sylvester 'I Need Somebody to Love Tonight' — his track ‘NY SO HI’ — pretty much sums up why I am addicted to this city.

Kate Stein - Mystic Saddle Ranch (Autarkic Remix)

Producing my own tracks has been a big part of my NY experience, and having an inspiration like Autarkic remix one of my tracks was a dream. For ‘Mystic Saddle Ranch’ he twisted the track with a lot of funk machine. Cowbells rattle for flavour as acid modulations elusively intersect… big city vibes. When 8 million people live in a concrete jungle, anything goes (and the corresponding music video depicts that!).

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