Layla Fassa spent some time in pre-lockdown Los Angeles with Stella Ahn, who brings a visual artist's eye to her music.
This cover soon became a signpost for me. I went to Los Angeles to meet up with Amazondotcom, real name Stella Ahn, one Thursday evening in November last year at the artspace Human Resources. Tucked away on an otherwise quiet street in Chinatown (although I later learned that Skrillex regularly throws ragers around the corner), I knew I was in the right place when I saw that same tawny dog from the album cover seated at the entrance like a friendly bouncer.
I walked up, pet the dog, who I later learned is named Rainbow and is Ahn's near-constant companion, and entered the lobby of the artspace, searching for more signs. I found two. One was taped above an unattended bin of Tecate, asking for a $2 donation to take one, and the other was on the wall: "Go upstairs 4 show." Music was already streaming out of the main room downstairs, and upon entering, I made out in the darkness Siete Catorce, seated on an oversized black floor cushion, DJing off his laptop, flanked by two video projections of cityscapes. Ahn joined him a few moments later, sitting with Rainbow and another laptop. I joined the smattering of people seated on cushions scattered around the room, drinking milky white makgeolli out of green plastic bottles. It didn't feel like an art opening or a club night, but more of a laid-back house party. People would chat a bit, gaze off at the projections, or close their eyes to the music, which was by no means ambient. Early 2000s R&B samples blended into purely percussive overtures, a club set tweaked down to a relaxed BPM. It felt comfortable.