Manuka Honey fuses the ancient with the future on bold debut, ‘Industrial Princess’

Image: Naafi

Manuka Honey, like her namesake, is a rare and alluring talent. There is a captivating etherealness about the London based DJ and producer, and her work as an astrologer only deepens the mystique. Drawing from the grooves of her Pakistani-Latin heritage, her eclectic DJ sets combining folky cumbia and kuduro rhythms with pounding bass, techno and grime quickly saw her rise to prominence behind the decks, but is it her work as a producer that truly encapsulates the seduction of her craft. Her debut EP Industrial Princess, released via Naafi, storms through the whole gamut of her influences. But unlike her club-driven DJ sets, here they are presented through her bewitching point of view as 4 broken, jarring compositions of industrial electronica.

The EP opens with the titular Industrial Princess, a dark, growling monster of a track that mixes tribal-like chants and flourishes with buzzing, mechanical synths and a pounding industrial beat. This intertwining of the ancient with the hereafter is a constant motif throughout the EP, with Honey reimagining traditional sounds through post-modern techniques and instrumentation. On Diabl@ a doumbek is appropriated by way of stuttering pads and then transfused with its organic sound, and on Pestañas the influence of gqom’s minimal, raw and repetitive bass beats to echo traditional drums can be felt. 

Across Industrial Princess, Honey’s music leaps from transcendental euphoria to deeply ominous in a matter of moments. The electronic reggaeton of SSling is stupendously groovy, but then the track takes a sharp turn towards grating synths that reveal a simmering distress which has been there from the start. The music is transportive and in the business of conjuring emotions, be it joyous, dreadful or more often than not, sexy.

The enthralling sense of ritualism felt on every track positions Honey’s esoteric sensibilities front and centre. The result is an oracular body of work driven by a dark futurism. It is the envisioning of an mechanised utopia where civilisation returns to primordial mysticism, an occultist rave in the heart of a machine over which Honey, as the infallible industrial princess, has complete control. And she demands that we the people of this dark, unknown territory, dance.

You can download Industrial Princess here, and listen to the title track below: 

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