Gyrofield is One of D&B's Youngest and Most Fascinating Talents
At only 19 years old, Bristol-based electronic music producer gyrofield—aka Kiana Li—is the youngest pioneering talent currently dominating the D&B sound. At 13, she began experimenting with electronic music and quickly advanced into production. But it was the gritty sounds and frenetic energy of drum and bass that she encountered that truly fascinated her and captured her heart.
"It's surreal that so many years later I've started talking to [the artists] and we're fans of each other's work," she said.
Today, her brand of D&B has catapulted her to the forefront of the scene. As a result, her former idols have become peers, and these renowned producers often add her singles and tracks from her latest EP to setlists and playlists.
"I came to [the D&B scene] as a very online musician, which is not the norm for such a live-music-centric scene," she said. "Receiving support from other producers and creatives, especially during my early days of writing drum and bass, really pushed me to continue working on my craft."
Barring collaborations and remixes, the Hong Kong-born composer produces, records, and masters all releases herself.
"I prefer to meet a set of standards by working in my own way instead of handing it over to someone else with their own perception of my music and their own set of standards," she said.
Her first D&B release was her Evaluate EP in 2019, and then shortly after, she followed it with "Out Of My Mind" a single released in 2020—both were immediately met with wide acclaim due to her unique production style.
While few artists in the realm of D&B have experienced such a steady trajectory that gyrofield has, the artist remains grounded.
"Everything else that's happened since then has been nothing short of amazing for me...I am honored to be supported by so many fellow producers in drum and bass, and beyond," she said.
The past two years have been non-stop for Li. After hearing a few demos by the Bristol-based producer in early 2020, tastemaking electronic music label mau5trap enlisted an EP from her. Synopsis, a five-track melodic, drum and bass-centric release, was a hit with international audiences.
Li is notorious for her meticulous production comprised of detailed soundscapes, pensive melodies, and resounding bass. However, at the moment, the prodigious artist is releasing music different from what she's produced before, only slightly deviating from her unique flavor of D&B.
In the past few months, she's gained an appreciation for techno, its adjacent styles, and especially the freeform approach of composing techno.
"I've gone from enjoying extremely detailed and varied arrangements to preferring a 'less is more' approach, and 140bpm bass was my gateway into that," she said.
In addition, Li said she focuses on producing effective low-end design and realizing a more understated style of arrangement within her music, which she hopes to showcase in future releases.
"The low end should never be overlooked...such a small range of frequencies belies its ability to contain textural, rumbling, and oscillating sounds," she said. "There is a huge amount of possibility and nuance hidden within noise...from loud walls [of noise] to minuscule clicks."
Her latest live sets and SoundCloud releases have been eclectic and energetic, with a liquid D&B sound. Much of this work was created last spring and winter, she said, during a time of introspection and learning.
One of the ideas behind creating her latest catalog of music is the utilization of rhythm and repetition as tools for rationalizing the surreal, she said.
"Everything ties back to a steady beat. If you can make a crowd feel that beat, you can play them anything on top."