Sex & Gender

feature: spotlight on legendary drum and bass producer jordana aka 1.8.7 #soundcheck

May 28, 2014

Drum and Bass producer Jordana LeSesne got her start playing guitar in punk and metal bands in the late 80’s before being turned on to electronica. She quickly found her way into Pittsburgh’s nascent rave scene distributing demo tapes of her proto drum and bass throughout the early 90’s. She adopted the name 1.8.7 and by 1995 was working with Jungle Sky Records releasing what she defined as American drum and bass.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

Her full length debut When Worlds Collide in 1997 quickly established Jordana as one of the top drum and bass producers in the country. Her aggressive, but uniquely musical take on the sound earned her accolades and regular stints DJing. In 1998, Jordana underwent a much publicized sex change, which was the subject of the July 1998 cover story of Mixmag. Despite increased focus on her personal life, Jordana drove the focus back to her music with her landmark record Quality Rolls. The album features samples from Malcolm X’s endlessly samplable “Message to the Grass Roots” on “Unite,” and introduces one of her pet themes of UFOs on “Deep Stealth.”

In 2000, she released The Cities Collection, a set of 9 tracks inspired by different American cities. Standout track “New York” incorporates early elements of dubstep, rock, and a Digable Planets verse for good measure. Playful and dark in equal measure, The Cities Collection still sounds ahead of its time a decade and a half later. Jordana’s output slowed shortly thereafter. She put out a few remixes and collaborations (most notably “The Intro Dub” with then-unknown Lady Sovereign), but no longer at the breakneck rate of her late 90’s output.

In 2012, an extended interview with Jordana was included in rock journalist George Petros’ The New Transsexuals: The Next Step In Human Evolution (free download here). Most recently, she’s been harkening back to her punk rock roots, integrating distorted guitars into her music. Now based in Seattle, she is also fronting a melodic goth metal band. Expect new music very soon from both her band, and her return as a solo producer.

A track from the EP Jordana is currently working on:

Jordana’s profile on AFROPUNK: