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The Guest List: Portable serves 15 essential cuts from his refined subterranean collection

The talented South African artist offers a captivating snapshot of the sounds that make him tick

  • Patrizio Cavaliere
  • 21 December 2021

Celebrated South African artist Portable treats us to a delectable list of subterranean club jams on his immaculately chosen Guest List.

Alan 'Portable' Abrahams has been turning heads in the dance community for two decades, regularly turning out inspired productions on some of the world's most revered electronic music labels. His unique sound elegantly fuses indigenous African sonic flair with the futurist sounds of techno, deep house, and experimental electronica. Having been raised in post-apartheid era South Africa, his studio career was launched in earnest following a move to the creative hub of London, UK. He founded the highly regarded label Süd Electronic alongside partner Lerato Khati from where he released a string of acclaimed releases. He's contributed exquisite music to benchmark labels including Perlon, K7!, Live At Robert Johnson, Background and Dial Recordings, and – on top of his studio production – performs live shows as the underground's most prestigious venues and events.

After swapping the London clamour for the relative serenity of Lisbon in Portugal, he launched his BODYCODE alter-ego project for Detroit label, Ghostlyinternational / Spectral, releasing two sensational albums under the moniker. Never one to rest on his laurels, a move to the German subcultural capital, Berlin, was his next big move, and it was from here that his music reached a new level of exposure. His 2014 track 'Surrender' received a Best New Track designation from Pitchfork, and later appeared in a re-edited form on DJ Koze’s critically acclaimed DJ-Kicks mix. His most recent EP, 'My Event Horizon', landed last month on the French label, Circus Company, setting the scene majestically for his hotly anticipated forthcoming album on the label. To celebrate the new and soon-to-be-aired material, we reached out to Portable to supply us with a list of some of his personal favourite picks. Unsurprisingly, the titles he came up with are every bit as nuanced and captivating as we'd expected from an artist of his calibre.

Hit play on the incredible list of tracks below, and get to know a little more about the dazzling sonics that makes Portable tick.

Portable 'I Feel Stronger Now' (Bodycode Remix)

"As a taster for the upcoming album and with Circus Company, this is dancefloor heat."

Move D 'Inside the Freero Dome'

"As a resident of the legendary music festival Freerotation, I've played live in the Freero dome, so it's magical to have Move D release his set from this moment."

Lawrence 'Birds on a playground'

"An ever-evolving artist and head of Dial Records, Lawrence seldom fails to please."

Theo Parrish 'In motion'

"Anything by Theo is always on constant rotation at my studio in Paris, and this one is no different."

Moodymann 'Keep on Coming' (feat CD)

"The label of the legendary Italian club takes it with a stellar track by the legend Moodyman."

​Dog Patrol 'Soapland' (Marcellus Pittman remix)​

"One for the early hours on a smokey dancefloor when your soul is about to lift off!"

King Mutapa 'Children Will Play'

"A fellow South African made his debut on this excellent label and is proudly flying our country's flag into the future!"

Portable 'My Art Sets Me Free'

"Available solely on the 'My Event Horizon' EP this track is an excerpt from a Portable live set."

Andres 'Lisbon Love'

"Detroit mainstay's homage to a city — Lisbon — where I was privileged to be resident for a number of years. There is no better thing than Lisbon love."

T.B.B.M.C 'Minority Justice'

"This heavily limited 7" is released and the tunes are taken from Joaquin Joe Claussell's much loved Raw Cassette series."

Norm Talley & Moodymann 'Jus Hangin' (D'Julz Remix)

"(This is from a) brand new label by Norm Talley, Upstairs Asylum Recordings. The first EP features a roster of house legends Moodymann, Omar-S & D’Julz"

Norm Talley / Various Artists 'Unity Vol 1'

"Just the names on the compilation alone got me bubbling, all my favourite producers on one compilation."

De Schuurman 'Nu Ga Je Dansen'

"Future classic by on NyEge NyEge Tapes which is a Kampala-based label."

Plus 1 'Junction'

"This is one of those tracks for your long drive across a beautiful countryside... Or even between gigs or parties..."

Polback 'Drumental'

"Heat from this Angolan label called Seres Producoes and promising producer, Polback."

Thanks so much to Portable for this wonderful list. You can buy his new release 'My Event Horizon' here

Photo credit © Christophe Pastel.

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