“Feminism” and “Representation.” Two words that have often been bombasticized and distorted in conversations in music. What exactly does it mean to be an “ally”? How many of these “empowerment” posts from labels are merely performative? Furthermore, when female representation in the EDM world is often discussed, it remains in the realm of the mainstream, in high-energy genres, and is used often as a virtue signal for labels. In reality, “female representation” and “empowerment” tends to fly under the radar in smaller genres, with smaller artists who are just trying to make headway. The new Beat Queens Compilation by Sterefox, however, seeks to answer these questions and provide real support to artists via their season 1 release. A 14-track compilation from artists across 5 continents, the work demonstrates the calm, strong perspectives of female producers from chillhop, lo-fi, and future beats genres, which often receive less attention in exchange for heavy house and bass hitters.
Stereofox is not merely seeking to overstate its own virtues by featuring women. With this compilation, Stereofox has reduced its label cut to 20%, with 80% going straight to the producers, and any profits from the vinyl campaign will be donated to charity (collectively chosen by the producers), supporting an organization that helps female creators grow and thrive.
In addition to the strong intent of advocacy with the release itself, the project makes for a vibrant listen, a scintillating escapade into waves of gentle percussion and ebbing instrumentation. The tracks, while all thematically serene, all delve into distinctive cultural and idiosyncratic identities. Elements like the Taiko and Shamisen (on a standout track from Miyuki Kuzuoka) take center stage, replaced with harps, saxophones, guitars, and tranquilizing keys.
With its global scope and ambitious altruism, the compilation satisfies all facets of the listener experience, providing both a meaningful message and a weightless, pleasureful listen. One can only hope for more compilations such as these, and perhaps even louder voices for the incredible producers who brought this music to the forefront.
Listen to the compilation now and find it on your preferred streaming service here.