Several People Who May or May Not Be Dust Function, Part Two: Kerri Hughes

But Tommy P? I don't know. Something just doesn't track. Like the music on his video. Cool stuff, but not in the style of Dust Function, whose debut drops this Tuesday. "Drops," by the way, is industry lingo for "becomes available." I learned this fact a while back when Philadelphia-based electronic musician, DJ, activist, and goth lifestyle guru Kerri Hughes mentioned that her band, X88B88, would be "dropping" an EP back in the summer of 2018.

"Dropping?" I said.

"Dropping," she said. "It means releasing."

"Oh," I said. "Does anything else mean releasing?"

"No," she said. "Just 'dropping.'"

"And, I suppose, 'releasing.'"

"Fine," she said with an air of aggravation. "'Releasing' means releasing, too. Are there any other solipsisms you want to drop on me?"

This conversation happened at a Depeche Mode concert in June, and I was there with my wife, whose name is also Kerri. As you can imagine, this minor coincidence has led to some hilarious email-related high jinks. Like the time I meant to email my wife about getting almond milk at the grocery store and accidentally emailed Kerri Hughes about almond milk because I didn't see that auto-complete had auto-completed the "To" field with the wrong Kerri.

"Why are you emailing me about almond milk?" Kerri Hughes asked.

"Because I'm lactose intolerant," I said.

And then there was the time I meant to email Kerri Hughes to ask if she'd be interested in recording for Hungry Hour Music and instead ended up emailing my wife. By the time the dust cleared, the answer from both was no.

But I was persistent. I told Kerri Hughes that I liked her haunting solo work as both RedLipssss and Gravers Lane and her work with Philadelphia-based electronic musician ILY as X88B88. I mentioned that whenever I hear one of her tracks when my iPod is on full-random, I think, "Hey! That's pretty cool! I wonder who it is!" I said that X88B88 would be a perfect complement to the cool, hypnotic grooves of brandon the wolf.

And my persistence paid off with a solid "maybe."

"I actually like what you're doing with your label," Kerri Hughes said. "But I've been pretty busy with DJ-ing lately, so I don't have any new material, and I don't see myself recording anything in the near future."

"But if you do?" I said.

"I'll send it your way," Kerri Hughes said.

And what should arrive in my inbox a scant four months later? That's right: the perfect pitch I mentioned when this whole dust-up started.

Now I know what you're thinking: Why would Kerri Hughes need to invent a new secret identity? Why send a query about recording with Hungry Hour Music when she already had an open invitation?

I'll tell you why: Because Kerri Hughes loves a challenge. Sure, she could have easily told me that she was taking her music in a new, experimental direction. And, sure, I probably would have kept my word regardless of what she had recorded. But that's the problem: How would she ever know if I was releasing (which is to say "dropping") her new music because I actually like it or because I'd already spent so much time trying to get her to sign to my label?

No, just sending the music under her own name -- or any of the other names that she's gone by -- would have been to easy for Kerri Hughes.

Which is why she changed her name to Dust Function.



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