Xylitol has been the musical nom-de-guerre of artist, practical electronics enthusiast, and student of network aesthetics Catherine Backhaus aka DJ Bunnyhausen since she released her first NDW-soaked mini CD ‘Functionary’ in 2006. Recorded in short-life housing in Deptford over six over-productive months, its prescient collision of roller-rink synthesizer, primitive rhythm-box and polyglot sampleadelia has subsequently been recognised in some quarters, by the likes of Simon Reynolds and Woebot, as a ‘lost classic’.
The agitative synth punk of the NDW underground and DIY ‘Kassettentaeter’ scenes, the kaleidoscopic melodies of Cluster and Harmonia, and the caustic innerspace surrealism of Nurse With Wound (whose mainstay Steven Stapleton contributed artwork to her most recent 7″ “Kunst ist Tot”) have been constant touchstones for Xylitol over the 10-year duration of the project. Like its precedents in ‘minimal wave’, tape-art and early grime, her music both pushes against and revels in its own technical constraints.
Xylitol has so far released four EPs and one 7″ on her own PierogiiDisc imprint including a set of collaborations with fellow travellers including Pete UM, Sculpture, Belbury Poly and industrial legends Nocturnal Emissions. She also has releases on film maker Peter Strickland’s ‘Peripheral Conserve’ label and has co-released 7″s and tapes with Libbe Matz Gang and Gloria Gloucestershire (a pseudonym of Planet Mu / Mordant Music’s Ekoplekz).
To fill the gaps between ‘physical’ releases, she also irregularly posts mixtape updates on her Mixcloud page, comprising sketches, songs and works-in-progress.
When not recording and performing as Xylitol, she is running free radio art and practical electronics workshops at art galleries, festivals and community centres; she is also a full time researcher of the entwined histories of network art and countercultural practices.