DJ advocates for LGBTQ+ safety in the underground club scene
Initially gaining reputable status in the underground club scene, house producer Octo Octa has since been on the rise, taking the past decade by storm for the completion of six studio albums. The co-founder of the T4T LUV NRG label, Maya Bouldry-Morrison presents her third piece to Octo Octa’s “two-year exploration of the connection between music and ritual,” an extension EP to 2019’s For Lovers EP, and her LP Resonant Body. Now, in 2021, Octo Octa brings forward She’s Calling, a three-track piece that sets out to bring thematic elements from her previous work to a final conclusion. She’s Calling presents powerful elements of house, techno, breakbeat and euphoria, each reflecting the experimental skills Bouldry-Morrison has developed and explored over the years of her work as an artist.
In much of Octo Octa’s production, she focuses on the spiritual connection between the human soul and dance. For Bouldry-Morrison, creating music is a powerful mystical experience, and she often focuses on the concept that dance music is a tool for connecting ourselves with nature. Although She’s Calling is a short EP, it represents everything Octo Octa has set out to achieve in her time as an artist; while it reveals thematic elements of self-discovery, it also represents her passion and demand for the protection of queer safety in the underground night-life community. Overall, She’s Calling provides listeners with three lengthy, upbeat tracks that will get people off their feet and on to the dance floor.
The first track, “Goddess Calling,” sets out to capture moments of liveliness and ritual festivities. It begins with a classic house beat that is soon carried out with droned synthesizers and high-pitched, humming echoic sounds. Before you know it, you will find your ears drowned out by a series of electronic sounds that fall into a continuously extended and somewhat monotonous rhythm. This continues for around four minutes until people get a quick shift of atmospheric bell tones before returning to a similar melody as before, but with heavier breakbeats. Near the end of the track, listeners find themselves transitioning between the heavy and lighter melodies.
“Find Your Way Home” was written just before Bouldry-Morrison canceled her tour due to the pandemic and headed off back to the states for quarantine. In her press release, she explains that the song title was initially intended to be metaphorical, but as worldly events continued to take place, the title became prophetic. The song represents the artist diving into herself to find peace during chaotic times. Opening with a dramatic intro, this track represents extremely funky vibrations by bringing together contemporary club sounds with old-school beats. This track is a lot more exciting than the previous in regards to listeners being fascinated by the unexpected.
The final song on the EP, “Spell For Nature,” acts as an evocation for the artist. According to her Bandcamp page, in this track, “Octo Octa is asking in her own voice to connect with nature personified in the form of a goddess.” Bouldry-Morrison believes in the traditional practices of using spoken word formulas to bring connections to your life, so for this track, she used a recording of her spoken word poem as the song’s lyrics. Her lyrics conclude the EP’s theme, along with the final themes of her previous work, stating, “There’s a light in the center of the woods….and you’ve been listening your entire life. She’s calling.” The lyric “She’s calling,” matching the album’s title, is repeated slightly, fading out into a final, airy dance beat. Although this EP is short, the songs are long, and together they complete a listen that electronic dance/house and club music lovers will enjoy. As far as connecting the self to dance, although the melodies and rhythms seem to fall short, it presents an upbeat mix that would be tricky not to move to.
50 percent of all album proceeds for She’s Calling will be donated to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which works to protect freedom for gender identity and expression.