🎵 IT012: High-Rise
✏️ Rachel Ailey
🗓 31.07.18

Mixcloud / Spotify

Rachel is an artist and printmaker living in South East London.

Hi Rachel, can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

It’s an abbreviated version of a playlist I’ve been adding to for years. It started off when I lived on an estate in Peckham and used to endlessly Shazam the music that would melt through the walls, then it just got out of control from there really. The tape’s a mix of east coast and west coast rap, grime, and a heap of hip-hop - old school, experimental, lo-fi, soulful, gangsta, and alternative. There’s also a pinch of trap, because I’m only human.

How did you go about the artwork for the tape?

I listen to this playlist when I’m out and about because it feels sympathetic to the architecture and rhythm of the city. I love British brutalism as – despite dystopian appearances – it was always constructed with utopian hopes and dreams. It’s emphasis on materials means you have all these highly expressive forms which go above just making a habitable space. When I started this playlist I was living in a heaving concrete high-rise, so it was the first thing I thought of for the artwork. This is one of my favourite pieces of brutalism – the Ex-Yugoslavian ‘Fallen Fighters’ memorial building. I drew and painted it by hand, then digitally edited it. I like that you can still see the paint marks through the edit. Hiding the raw materials would be very un-brutal, of course.

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

Aquemini by Outkast is perfect saccharin hip-hop bougie excellence. I’ll take illustration over a portrait any day of the week and this cover is why – it’s funky, excessive, mind-twisting and perfectly encapsulates the album.

Aquemini – OutKast
1998, LaFace
Artwork: Greg Hawkins

Another dreamy illustration – after Christian Sinclair joined, their sound has this trippy soul/trap/electric fusion and the artwork is a cartoon of two bug eyed humans sneaking away from an exploding brain. Say no more.

Sopadelic – Young Bull
Artwork: Mindy Yi

What did you listen to growing up?

Kanye’s The College Dropout was my gateway drug when I was thirteen, and I’ve had a love affair with hip-hop ever since. One of the few benefits of being a Kanye fan is that his sampling leads you to a whole host of new music – through the samples in that album alone I ended up discovering Chaka Khan, Outkast, Lauryn Hill, Biggie, Marvin Gaye, Wu-Tang Clan, 2Pac & Aretha Franklin. American hip-hop will always be my favourite, but as I got older I got more into home-grown grime like Wiley and JME. Now I’ve got a real love for UK hip-hop coming from South Londoners like Loyle Carner, Last Night In Paris and Flohio.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

I work at Central Saint Martins school of art and design, which takes up most of my time! I’m curating a number of student experience initiatives and am involved in the Digital Maker Collective, which is exploring digital and emerging technologies in the context of arts education and the creative industries. My particular interest is in immersive storytelling through augmented reality, and how virtual reality can be used to assist creative arts students with different learning needs.

Where to find Rachel:

︎ tinytempeh_ to see me instagramming pictures of concrete and oculus rifts
︎ anxiousvego to see me hunting down and eating vegan food. Something for everyone.


Kanye West - Addiction / Young Bull - Egyptian Joint (All I Need) / Skratch Bastid - Limoncello /King Geedorah - Next Levels /Miles Davis - Violets (feat. Phonte) / 2Pac - Staring Through My Rear View (feat. Dwele) / Josh Rondaris - Books of War (Feat. Rom From The Park) / Rejjie Snow - The Rain / Flame Griller - Those Are Sheep / Travis Mendes - 10 Years (Remix) (feat. Balistik the Messiah) / Knox Brown - No Slaves / Malcolm London - Northstar (feat. Vic Mensa & Maceo Haymes) / Loyle Carner - Florence /  Teedra Moses - Be Your Girl (Kaytranada Edition) / The Notorious B.I.G. - Hypnotize [2014 Remaster] / Biig Piig - Crush'n / God Colony - Se16 (feat. Flohio) / Cody Chesnutt - Serve This Royalty / Snoop Dogg - Neva Left / Mase - Feel so Good / Kendrick Lamar - King Kunta ︎