If you're at all familiar with Richmond's burgeoning underground dance scene, you've likely heard of the Ice Cream Social artist collective. That said, while they may be known for their dance parties centering QTBIPOC joy and artistic expression, their work as a mutual aid platform is also a core component of the organization — and a good way to get familiar with these efforts is through their new fundraiser album, .NET 1.5.
Featuring an all-Black, queer lineup of artists from around the country, .NET 1.5 is a genre-defying compilation that showcases innovative, Black queer expression, all while also paying homage to dance music's rich history. And this blend is highlighted by forward-facing tracks like Jasmyn Milan's undeniably fun, club-ready head-bobber "Hentai Fantasy," as well as Hunting Dog's "The Drift" — a rave-ready banger that keeps you on edge with its oscillation between stop-start drum patterns and classic breakbeats.
Not only that, but with 12 other tracks from rising talents such as :3LON, MARS OBSIDIAN, NOEYES, BAE BAE, and ARCHANGEL, it's also a release that demonstrates how we can continue to create "creative ecosystems... built upon a framework of mutual aid and reparations."
After all, .NET 1.5's goal is to raise $10,000 for two queer and trans wellness organizations: Local LGBTQIA+ recovery support organization Peter's Place RVA, as well as the Trans Needle Exchange, which provides free hormone replacement therapy needle supplies to trans folk nationwide.
"We wanted to showcase the limitlessness of Black queer expression. Black dance isn't tied to any particular genre. Black people can and will dance to anything. Black expression is the blueprint for all genres," Ice Cream Social said, before adding that funds from the compilation will also go toward compensating the artists involved.
"Part of our values is generating money for artists and organizations to make sure everyone gets fed," they continued. "It's important to us that artists are able to do their work sustainably, especially with the tragic climate of live events alongside other impacts of the pandemic."
Check out .NET 1.5 via Ice Cream Social's Bandcamp, here.