Flitting effortlessly between Afro disco and acid house, this young London producer is dancefloor dynamite
Nope, it’s not somewhere you’d end up on a wild out in Benidorm: O’Flynn is the alias of electronic music producer Ben Norris, purveyor of nimble, globetrotting house and disco jams. Since 2015, when James Blake played his track Oberyn on Radio 1, O’Flynn has been steadily releasing low-key secret weapons in DJs’ record bags. There’s Tyrion – inspired by the percussion he heard while on holiday in Morocco – which Four Tet dropped in a set on the streaming site Boiler Room. Or TKOTN, included by Bonobo on his mix for London nightclub Fabric’s esteemed compilation series.
O’Flynn’s music flits between contemporary takes on the Afro-disco revival and even, as on his recent Ninja Tune release, acid house. It calls into question the ease with which (largely white, usually male) music producers are using African samples (a children’s chant; a polyrhythmic drum beat) for some quick “exotic” flavour. But O’Flynn does it rather seamlessly, like a boogie-fied Auntie Flo. He has said his passion for African music runs deep and, in 2016, he was involved in recording the mataali drum and vocal troupe Mubashira Mataali Group in Uganda.