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Monday, 4 April 2011
Bristol’s Immerse Records were one of the first people to really support this site, with their label boss Kidkut providing one of our first mixes and with their output. Having released a texturally brilliant album by Kontext called Dissociate, along with a steady stream of great 12”s last year (from people like XI, Arkist, Late, Simon/off and Cloak & Dagger) their first release of 2011 comes from Outboxx, a pairing of Bristolian producers pushing a decidedly more house tempoed groove.
Jacob Martin (who also produces as Hodge - his excellent ‘Conjecture’ is out now digitally through Pollen) and Matt Lambert’s debut 12” under the moniker, ‘Kate Libby’s’ b/w ‘Bertie’s Groove,’ feels live, as if it was somewhat improvised during a particularly fruitful session. ‘Bertie’s Groove’ is overly infectious, the lush chord and bass progression splintering off into shards of pure sunshine, whilst ‘Kate Libby’s’ is more stripped back, powered by the constant shuffle of the handclap. Outboxx’s is purist house music; a little ponderous, produced with a sheen and built with a steady injection of musicality – something that doesn’t surprise when the duo’s partnership is broken down into specific roles.
With news of their second single being signed to Well Rounded’s house music offshoot, Well Rounded Housing Project, we caught up with the guys to peddle our snapshot Q&A and grab our 76th Sonic Router Mix - an extended session though likeminded grooves.
SR: Can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info? Whats the Ouboxx project all about?
Jake: It’s just us jamming, having some fun and making some music!
It’s more straight up house music. Is that something you’ve always been interested in? Are you influenced by certain producers or tracks?
Jake: Yeah we are. Loads of them. We’re generally influenced by music that sounds kinda raw and crackly… lots of 80s funk, garage and house music...
You are a duo. How does the partnership work in the studio?
Matt : I’m on the keys...
Jake: I’m on the computer making the beats, the partnership works well – it’s fun. We basically just jam...
I know you producer other stuff under different names but how did you first get into making this kind of music? What was it that infected you to do so?
Jake : When we make music we don’t really have an idea or direction at first, just jam for a while and see what happens. We both are really into a wide range of music and what we are making is a result of that.
Matt : I’ve played keys for more than 10 years on and off and been in a few funk bands and am interested to keep up that side of things as well but I’m getting more and more into electronic/dance music by the day. I’m influenced by people like Benji B, Gilles Peterson – People that generally play good music.
What’s your production set up like?
Jake: The set up is Matt’s Nord, some AKG mics, a R-09hr and Cubase. The hand held recorder is really important as it enables us to use field recordings; the voice in Kate Libby’s is a recording of shouting at a fireworks display. The keys on the tracks are all audio, no midi, we generally try and just get one takes from Matt to give the music a natural feel.
You’re Bristol based. The city has a shining reputation for dubstep/bass music in general, how is the house scene down there? Is it something you go out to a lot?
Jake: It seems the genres are really blending in Bristol, currently when going out you end up hearing a mix of genres which is what we love. There’s always something exciting going on in Bristol, for example this weekend we went down and saw 2562 play in the Idle Hands record store which was amazing, such a great, intimate atmosphere.
Immerse has often represented more of a dancefloor edge, but with releases like the Kontext album, it put itself into slower, more introspective territories. What’s it like to have your first tune out with them?
Jake: Its real cool, Adam Kidkut is a great guy and its nice putting out our first tune through friends in Bristol…. that just kinda makes sense to us. Immerse has some really exciting stuff emerging from less established producers, definitely a label to watch.
And the follow up is on the Well Rounded Housing Project. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Jake: The follow up is two tunes rooted in house music but also a slower hip hop track (‘Brighten My Day’) with Naomi Jeremy which kinda rounds off the release nicely for us. Its great being able to put out what we want with no restrictions on style, Donga is real open minded like that.
Anything else forthcoming?
Jake: Not as of yet, we have a few tunes that we have only just finished so time will tell I guess...
Tell us a little bit about the mix you’ve put together for us…
Jake: The mix is just tunes we are loving at the moment, it ran over an hour and it could have gone on for a lot longer. The mix starts out with some of the slower hip hop stuff we are really feeling and moves into house music. The Behling & Simpson and Portrait guys are ones to watch out for, loving their music... the new Appleblim & October Schmorgasbord release is a killer collaboration. Oh and had to put in the Andy Mac and Kidkut + Arkist tracks. Big big tunes!
Any words of wisdom, for our readers?
Matt : Jakes alright really.
Jake : Don’t try and take a photo with Matt. Ever.
DOWNLOAD: Outboxx – Sonic Router Mix #76
Outboxx - Brighten my day (forthcoming Well Rounded Housing Project)
Sesped - Bastards (forthcoming Pollen)
Deft - Blade Runner Blues (unreleased)
Rob Hindle - Buenos Aires 2am read by Jonathan Tafler (LateNightTales)
Grooveman Spot - Going On (Jazzy Sport)
Portrait - Moving on (forthcoming Well Rounded Housing Project)
Anthony Shakir - Detroit State (Space Dimension Controller Remix) (Rush Hour)
Outboxx - Kate Libby (Immerse)
Chez Damier - Soul Minimal (Mojuba)
Outboxx - Bertie's Groove (Immerse)
Behling and simpson - Politics (unreleased)
Kidkut + Arkist - One Year Later (forthcoming Hot Flush
October & Appleblim - NY Fizzzzzz (forthcoming Smorgasbord)
Kowton - She Don't Jack (Idle Hands)
Andy Mac - Asteroid (forthcoming Punch Drunk)
Gerry Read - Untitled (forthcoming Fourth Wave)
Bakey Ustl - A Tender Place (Unthank)
Vessel - Glitter (unreleased)
Mean Poppa Lean - Personality (Leon remix) (forthcoming Well Rounded Housing Project)
Outboxx -Falling Apart ft Naomi Jeremy (unreleased)
Domu - Save it ft Face (Tru Thoughts)
Manifestations is the debut release for the Californian producer, Mono/Poly, on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label. Long hinted at, it follows a slew of varying releases from artists like Jeremiah Jae, Taylor McFerrin and Austin Peralta, the EP marks something of a return for Brainfeeder to those clunky, unpredictable hip hop instrumentals FlyLo specialises in with tracks like ‘Forest Dark’ severely bringing the crush.
The first thing Mono/Poly’s released since his Paramatma album was released on USB by Tastefull Licks, Manifestations accentuates on the themes that made that album and tracks like the Fat City backed ‘Oil Fields’ or ‘Red & Yellow Toys’ so essential. Adept at both hazy synthesized sunsets, and facemelting bass growls he’s a producer for whom subtlety plays a bit part on tracks like ‘Punch The Troll In The Neck’ - which hits in a similarly scruffy way to the work of Free The Robots - but then he’s all about the interplaying nuances on tracks like the enigmatic ‘Glow.’
When we spoke to him back in November 2009, Mono/Poly admitted that his music is “everything from hip hop, drum & bass, fusion, dubstep, electro and more” and it’s a sentiment that this EP only further illustrates. ‘Glow’ for example, stutters through synth progressions, framed by clipped hip hop drums before an almighty bass line, freewheels out of nowhere, nailing the track to the low end frequencies and a track like ‘Needs Deodorant’ blazes keynote electrified boogie and the kind of scything bass synths Skream employs, simultaneously.
Put simply Mono/Poly makes you realise that a lot of other peoples beats are either unimaginative or well... just a bit shit; and Manifestations, in all its super compressed glory, is a great synopsis of his work - one part a colourful, textural explosion and one part brown tone, thunderous-bass-drop club music.
Words: Oli Marlow // Out: Now
This Saturday Instra:mental launch their debut album, the long awaited Resolution 653 at a secret location in London. Joined by Detroit's own Urban Tribe leader DJ Stingray, Instra:mental's Autonomic compatriot and Exit Records boss man dBridge and Workshop's Kassem Mosse the night will unite the diverse strains of Instra:mental's musical universe in one club.
To celebrate, the promoters, Black Atlantic, have armed us with three copies of the album and 3 pairs of tickets to giveaway. To be in the running email us with the answer to the below question by Thursday.
Q: Instra:mental's label is called what?
Please Note: Winners will be announced on Thursday and notified by email. Please ensure you can attend the event upon entry, the venue will be announced on the FB event shortly.
Friday, 1 April 2011
Free compilations are a blessed thing, though they’re often an awkward balance to get right. Aligning something new and fresh with the genuinely impressive can be hard, and it’s not really been done that well since the first Echodub compilation, Anechoic Chamber, came out back in late 2008. And whilst that compilation was an exploration in the deeper, oceanic side of where techno and dubstep were brutally and lavishly mating with gusto, it explored the possibilities that pairing offered perfectly. In an age when you could very feasibly download a compilation’s worth of material in an hour from Hype Machine, its reassuring to know people are still working on creating well thought out collections.
The Truants blog are a bunch of such culprits. As an independent magazine focusing on electronic and rap music, started in early 2010 by two writers based in Amsterdam, they’ve achieved an impressive archive of editorial in a short time; and as a select group of tastemakers they’ve just released their first ‘pay what you want’ compilation, Truancy One, of which the proceeds go to the Libya & Region Appeal. Featuring 14 artists from all across the globe – established producers like Teeth, NGUZUNGUZU sit next to blossoming beat makers like Brey, Brenmar and Mele who in turn compliment new names like Glass Actors, Square Mode and Tanka - it embodies their musical ethos as a blog that writes consistently about DJs a producers from all over the world.
In an attempt to shed a bit of light on the quality of the music, which focuses more on house influenced grooves, we caught up with Immy Soraya from Truants...
SR: What made you want to put together a free compilation? What are you gaining from it?
IS: The idea of releasing a compilation has been running in the back of our minds for a couple of months but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that we started approaching the artists on Truancy One. We initially wanted to release it through a couple of digital retailers but figured a free release would be a good move. You could say it was a fairly impulsive project, but I think it’s a good thing to not hold back tracks from the audience especially since it’s so easy to release tracks digitally nowadays.
What I personally gain from it is getting the name of my platform Truants and its new label Truancy Records out there, and it makes me incredibly happy to read positive feedback on the compilation too. We offered an option to donate to the Red Cross Libya & Region Appeal and seeing the donations slowly but surely come in is extremely good for my karma, haha.
What does it represent?
The entire vibe of the compilation embodies our ethos as a platform, in the sense that it represents good music from both familiar artists and up and coming ones that people should look out for. The reason why we chose to put out a compilation rather than giving away single tracks is because we feel that this way, it stays with our readers for a longer time as it carries more weight and impact.
How did you pick the artists?
Most artists are involved with our platform in a way and we’ve approached musicians that we admired specifically for the project too. Some were suggested by producers we were already working with, and a couple of them ended up in my inbox one way or another.
What are your personal highlights?
The opening track ‘Steady Moving’ by the Montréal duo Grown Folk is a big one for me personally. Amazing vibe! I’m really stoked with ‘Some’ by the Helsinki producer Teeth too - his EP ‘Shawty’ is dropping on 502 Recordings soon - it sounds amazing on a big sound system. A special shout-out to Brey, aka Die Barbie Musik Kollektiv as well, who literally dedicated his contribution to us by naming it ‘Tru4ncy,’ a bit of a dark and grime-y tune with amazing percussion. I’ve listened to these three most times probably but I love all the fourteen tracks on there, really. We only put tracks on there we truly loved so I approve of them all, and I’m extremely grateful towards everyone who participated.
Are there plans to do more?
Definitely! We wanted to wait and see how the reception would be for the first edition but the feedback is overwhelming! If we can work it out and if our engineer doesn’t end up hating us, we’ll try to release a free compilation every other month. In the periods between the compilations we’ll be putting out actual releases by artists we’ve featured and will be featuring, but these will be properly released so we’re not turning the label into a giveaway central.
DOWNLOAD/DONATE: V/A – Truancy One
Truancy One – Full Tracklisting:
1. Grown Folk – Steady Moving
2. Teeth – Some
3. NGUZUNGUZU – Story Riddim
4. Darling Farah – Varsity
5. Brenmar – Boy U Got Me
6. Glass Actor – What I Couldn’t Do
7. LOL Boys & Teki Latex – Modern
8. Chaos In The CBD – Ima Do It Right
9. Melé – Pyrex Vision
10. Tanka – Short Sighted
11. Femme En Fourure – Femdom
12. ITFW – Surgeon
13. Square Mode – One Way
14. Brey – Tru4ncy
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Twenty six year old Glaswegian digital artist and sonic experimenter Tom Scholefield has been slowly rising in stature over the last couple of years. With mixes across a multitude of blogs and DJ sets in increasing demand it's hard to look across his rapidly diversifying body of work and pin him down to any one specialist artform – but it's under the banner of his audio-visual label, Display Copy, that he is most productive. As an artist he has been called upon to produce some high profile commissions including the hallucinogenic neon paint splashed video for Hudson Mohawke's 'Joy Fantastic,' the cover for Oneohtrix Point Never's Rifts album, as well as further OPN art, a Laurel Halo video, Mogwai posters and he has also worked with labels such as Optimo, Warp and DFA. You may well recognise his work if you’ve followed the recent releases on Numbers and the labels the crew ran beforehand, but in short, Scholefield’s is no small portfolio.
Optimo Tracks, the first record released on Display Copy was written for an AV installation at legendary club night Optimo Espacio in 2009 – the CD featured three tracks that flip between walls of screeching metal, analogue noise and sleek Detroit machine pulse with a remix from No-Fun-Acid impresario Carlos Giffoni sewing up the carnage left at the end. The second release on the label is Tom's debut full length album titled Light In Extension – a direct translation of his artist name Konx-om-Pax, a moniker taken from the Greek Eleusinian Mysteries. The tracks across the record draw a line like the vapour trail of an ascending rocket, piercing out of a collapsing constellation of abstracted industrial noise, techno and hypnagogic acid and into a space realigned across his own transformative vision of what transcendental noise can be.
To illustrate his influences, Tom made us a mix - number 75 in our ongoing series - that incorporates past and future signposts along his musical trip...
SR: First of all I want to ask about your name, Konx-om-Pax – is it from the Alistair Crowley book?
KOP: No, it isn't. People always seem to think that but it's from Giacinto Scelsi, an avant garde composer, it's the name of one of his songs. I didn't hear about it until people started telling me. It means Light In Extension, that's where I got the name from because I thought it related quite nicely with the visual aspect.
There's a relationship between the textures of the tracks on Light In Extension and the visual aesthetic of the artworks Tom produces – a nostalgic futurism...
Yeah, that's sort of it – BBC Radiophonic, Board of Canada influenced fuzziness to it. I listen to a lot of techno, when I make stuff I'm engineering it to sound good live, and simple. That's from years of playing techno and listening to what club music sounds like, so when I'm making weird fucked up synth stuff I'm still engineering it in the same way you would a House record. How it sounds loud on as PA
Did you start out making noise music?
I started out making really really hard Jeff Mills-y techno when I was about 15, on a Yamaha DJX keyboard. Really purposeful hard as fuck loopy techno. It sounded really bad and then I learnt more about production and stuff, moved away from more traditional music and got into noise based stuff later on.
On the mix there's a thread between the tracks that ties them together, a sense of formlessness to it, an amorphousness which is a counterpoint to the more structured techno...
They are two really clear things in my head and I understood when you said formless, I like the really loose and unformulaic – no rigid bar structure or tempo, music that doesn't have a repetitive structure. Really weird compared to more traditional dance music. There's definitely quite a strong link between most of the tracks in the mix.
There’s a noisiness and a trance-y, meditative aspect running through to the last track... a kind of religious, ritualistic trance music...
That sounds like something out of Blade Runner doesn't it? I found that last track on a really cool blog; it was tagged with the genre 'Ceremony'. I like that there was a genre called Ceremony.
And my mate Team Brick, I saw him in Bristol, came to the Mogwai show and hung out and gave me and Dominic from Mogwai a tonne of CDRs that he'd been making; a couple of noise ones a couple of really fucked up electro ones, and that track was off one of his electro albums that kinda sounded like a noise producer trying to copy the Analogue AFX series. Interested to hear a noise producer trying to make dance music, it doesn't sound quite right and that's why I liked it.
There's a dirtiness and darkness to one end of drum and bass that is very noisy, is that a kind of dance music you ever got into, or has it been purely techno?
You know that drum and bass track on Moving Shadow,? Dom & Roland 'Can't Punish Me'. I bought that on vinyl when that came out when I was about 16, and the bassline in that was by far the gnarliest bass noise I'd ever heard. And later on it kind of sounds like a sort of Japanese noise bassline or a Throbbing Gristle synth noise or something like that - just really nasty. It's funny how those noises then developed into dubstep and stuff like that, but it was just a real noisy resonance, the resonance was also quite high up, an acidy bassy sub sort of thing. Probably one of my favourite basslines ever, I think.
How did you come to work with Oneohtrix Point Never, and Carlos Giffoni?
Dan sent me a message on MySpace a couple of years ago after he saw one of my bits of work and asked me to design his Rifts artwork. That was quite an interesting working relationship because he's probably got one of the most overactive, visual, crazy, out-there imaginations I've ever met – it was this never ending gmail chat about ideas. I would say something and he would give me paragraphs of the most in depth code like language to describe what he wanted me to do. I was having to decipher this really personal language that he has to describe whatever the fuck he's going on about. But I got it because it we eventually came to something that he liked, though it probably took a couple of months to get that Rifts artwork to something he was liking.
I just got to know Carlos through that; we hung out in New York and he took us to this Venezuelan restaurant and ordered some really cool food, gave me some really really really strong weed, I don't think I've ever been that high in public just a pure grass joint before going out. Fucked me up properly, it was a good night. He kept it in the fridge and went “do you want that”, I smoked about half of it then was in another dimension for the rest of the night going round New York, it was cool.
I wasn't going to ask you anything like this, but since we're here on the topic - do drugs play any kind of a part in your music and art?
Not necessarily, I think every couple of months I use a joint to help me out, that's about it... maybe one spliff, creatively, if I seem to get stuck on something. All it does is remove me from the stress so I can take a step back and look at stuff. I could probably list all the things I've made when I've been stoned and they're all generally the funnest most colourful things I've ever come up with. But I mean, I don't rely on it, or I don't condone it, or encourage anybody to do it. I've had a few interesting psychedelic experiences in my life, but I think that influences the visual side of things more than the music stuff.
Are the inspirations for your art and music drawn from the same influences?
Yeah, everything comes from the same bracket, sort of 60s to mid 80's diy avant garde, handmade animation sort of stuff from Europe and America. Piotr Kamler.
Do you consider your work as having any nostalgic elements, with all the hypnagogic stuff around Oneohtrix, the American synth-age sounds, or is it a continuation of your current existence?
I think everything I do is relating towards creating a wee world of my own where I feel safe, and that's probably not nostalgias... I don't know, it's kind of difficult to describe 'what does nostalgia mean,' but I'm trying to create a world that I sit in and trying to seduce other people into that world where everything is a bit safe and nicer. I don't like living in this period of time now with everything that's going on, I much preferred it when I was littler and wasn't aware of all the bad things in the world. I don't know if that makes me sound like a hippy...
That's a fairly common sentiment, people feeling more comfortable in their childhoods...
Well, when you've got people like David Cameron running the country I don't want to be part of that. I'd rather just be able to put my mind somewhere else and not have to think about that.
Is that what you use music and art for, as a form of escapism?
Yeah, I think so. Escapism, and partly the reason why I do all these mixtapes and put up the tracklistings is just so other people and maybe get into it and realise there's more music out there than the newest UK dubplate that these blogs are going on about. There's tonnes of music that's been made in the 40's and 50's and 60's that's just as interesting. I think the fascination of the new really pisses me off, and how people discuss and compete against each other in having the newest music and how that equates to being the best. I like new music but I don't like how it is automatically assumed that because it is brand new it means it's good and there's just so much out there that's been made a long time ago that's just as interesting. It's kind of automatic: if it's new it must be good and only four people own it. It's not a competition.
Everything is like a never ending announcement, like we're stuck in an internet train station with fuck all info about all that is happening but there's no real criticism. I think I just need to get off the internet for a wee while and get back in to the studio; it's making me go a bit mad.
The momentum of the new and the lack of criticism doesn't give people much of a chance to put anything into a greater context. If there were more analysis going on there'd be more reference to older works and people would have the chance to slow down and discover more of the older music...
There's a really great interview with James Stinson (Drexciya) talking about how he makes things and how he was quite adamant that when he is making stuff he cuts himself from everything – obviously no internet, no going to clubs, no radio, just involving himself in his own little universe to make stuff and I think that's one of the best bits of advice you could get if you want to make something proper. You've just got to ignore everyone else and get on with it and I think I'm probably headed into that world at the moment, stopped going out as much and trying to just ignore all this noise that's buzzing about and getting on with making music and working on the film.
So what projects are you working on at the moment?
I'm just beginning to storyboard my first short film, an abstract piece influenced by stuff by a polish animator called Piotr Kamler and stuff by the Brothers Quay.
I'm going to be working with another Glasgow character animator and it's going to be really surrealistic and psychedelic. I'm going to be soundtracking it. I'm going to aim to be able to have it as almost like an installation piece, with people working with ambi-sonic sound, producing it. So it's like a step up from the 5.1 – this is all early days. Set up a guerrilla cinema system with an ambi-sonic sound generator so the sounds will be travelling through space in 3D. It will be really intense I think.
Have you done much sound installation in the past?
The only think I've done recently was at the Tramway as part of the Nurse with Wound event, I made a projection installation piece, there was sound to it a well but it was more of a passive, almost background element to it, it was really just to soundtrack the cafe space it wasn't intrusive in any way.
Piotr Kamler has done an amazing thing with Bernard Parmegiani, an Italian composer: Une Mission Ephémère is probably the coolest thing I've ever seen. I think that's a big influence on the animation film stuff I'll be doing, a surrealist non-space with abstract stories and characters I think.
This year I'm supposed to be doing more stuff with Oneohtrix. I was chatting to him about doing something on the Software label, but I don't know. Doing some music video promo work for - this is early days yet – for Hyperdub and a promo for Domino. Can't say what bands yet, just music video projects for two different labels. I quite like that I'll be working with a rock band and working with a dub thing – both visually very similar but at different ends of the music spectrum.
Psychedelia is the joining force between most of these things.
Is that what you tend to look for?
I think that's why people ask me to do stuff.
Because they're after that Hypercolour?
I think that's generally the common thread between everything... or they just want it to be a bit weird.
DOWNLOAD: Konx-om-Pax – Sonic Router Mix #75
1. Konx-om-Pax - 7th Dimension (Rustie Remix)
2. Team Brick - Track 3 (Klad Heist)
3. The Human League - Disco Disaster
4. Alexander Robotnick - Ar Stack 2
5. Konx-om-Pax - II
6. Bernard Parmegiani - Échos/mélopée
7. Carl Craig - Sound On Sound
8. Konx-om-Pax - Chevy Chase Mega Looper
9. James Ferraro - Untitled (Clear)
10. SPK - Stammheim Torturkammer
11. Synergy - Terminal Hotel
12. Oneohtrix Point Never - Gates of Sanct Vacui
13. Konx-om-Pax - Glacier Mountain Descent
14. Madhya - Thème Solennel de la Rédemption
Monday, 28 March 2011
Hotflush are giving away a track taken from their forthcoming Back & 4th compilation; a 20 track, 2CD compilation of old and new material, chronicalling the rise of the label on one CD whilst looking to the future with the other. Back & 4th includes exclusive tracks by people like Sepalcure, FaltyDL, Boxcutter, Sigha, Roska and more and its released on 4th April.
The track in question is by Boddika, and its called 'Warehouse.' Boddika of course is the solo alias of Al Bleek, one half of the Instra:mental duo, co-owner of Non Plus+ and one of the most prominent producers over the first few months of 2011. Hitting a raw electro style square on the head the Boddika releases on [nakedlunch] and Swamp 81 are hard, and consistently playable, a trait they share with this track.
DOWNLOAD: Boddika - Warehouse
Rightfully lumped in the whole ‘beats’ movement that exploded around LA and the release of Flying Lotus debut album Los Angeles album, Austrian producer Dorian Concept has since moved on. His ‘Trilingual Dance Sexperience’ 12” on the Affine label, upped the tempo, along with the quota for facemelting synthesizer workouts and since then he’s stood out during his live performances, unleashing new material live on the mini KORG (using anything and everything to hand – a shoe or his face are two memorable examples). Her Tears Taste Like Pears then, is his first outing for Ninja Tune - a label whose continual metamorphosis now includes Slugabed, an SR favourite whose recently signed to the label - and it really highlights Concept’s knack for caterwauling lead lines.
‘Thankyou For All Time Forever’ sets the tone for the 4 track EP perfectly. With the bassline permeating the found sound suddenly it’s the lay up for the title track’s alley-oop slam dunk. As the eponymous track rises and bubbles its evolutions dissipate, with the kick drum’s punch nailing the whole thing to the dancefloor. ‘My Face Needs Food’ travels that rude boy techno route we’ve come to expect from Wigflex staple the Hizatron, the kick drums toying with their route notes as the synths drape their melodies over the top, pirouetting down through the laser tones into ‘Toe Games Made Her Giggle.’ ‘Toe Games...’ centres itself around two things, the swell of the keyboards and the gallop of the drums, playing out like a high pitched sprint to the finish of the EP.
Her Tears... is a solid example of the kind of genius Dorian Concept, himself something of a child piano prodigy, is capable of; it’s frenetic, but grounded by the harmonics and chord structures. Whilst other producers might hone in on the beat, rigorously pushing the shuffle or reaching for the pound to get their point across, Concept does what he does best, layering harmonious synth after synth to jaw dropping effect.
Words: Oli Marlow // Out: Today
Sonic Router x Hivemind.fm: Xpldr Session
Hosted by James Balf.
Catch Sonic Router on Hivemind.fm every 2nd and 4th Sunday between 10pm-12am.
STREAM: Sonic Router x Hivemind.fm: Xpldr Session - 27.03.2011
Direct Download (Right Click/Save As)
Hype Williams – Untitled [Hippos In Tanks]
RP Boo – Eraser [Planet Mu]
DJ Roc – Fuck Dat [Planet Mu]
DJ Roc – One Blood [Planet Mu]
DJ Spinn – Fall Back [Planet Mu]
DJ Rashad – Rashad [Planet Mu]
DJ Spinn – Studio [Planet Mu]
Hype Williams – Warlock [Hippos In Tanks]
DJ Elmoe – Where My Ghost At? [Planet Mu]
DJ Nate – Footwerk Homicide [Planet Mu]
Darq E Freaker – Rhythm & Slags [Oil Gang]
Waifer – Gunman Skank [Earth 616]
General L.O.K. – Gama [Total Package]
Intsra:mental – When I Dip [Non Plus+]
Optimum – DS10 [Hum & Buzz]
Addison Groove – Sexual [Swamp 81]
DJ Rampage — Deep Inside (Ramaz Re-edit) [Night Slugs White]
Jacques Greene – Another Girl [LuckyMe]
Bee Mask – Canzoni dal Laboratorio del Silenzio Cosmico [Spectrum Spools]
Burial – Stolen Dog [Hyperdub]
FaltyDL – Hard [Swamp 81]
Sugar Minott – Devil Is At Large [Dug Out]
Ital Rockers – Ital’s Anthem [Basic]
Blawan – Bohla [R&S]
Steve Poindexter – Computer Madness [Muzique]
Blawan – Lavender [R&S]
Joy O – Jels [Hotflush]
.19.4188.8.131.52.5.18 – hg06# A [Horizontal Ground]
Thomas Bangalter – Outrun [Roulé]
Lil Silva – Pulse Vs. Flex [White]
Champion – Lose Control [forthcoming Hardrive]
Slackk – Synthetics [Forfront]
Head High – It’s A Love Thing (Piano Invasion) [Power House]
Altered Natives – In My House [Eye4Eye]
T.Williams – Peoples Choice [PTN]
Ossie – Terantular [Lightworks]
Portable – The Ghetto Escapes [Karat]
House Faze – Come… With… Me… [Final Cut]
Jus-Ed – I’m Coming (Levon Vincent Remix) [Underground Quality]
Lowtec – Looser [Non Plus+]
Hype Williams – Mitsubishi [Hippos In Tanks]
Jus-Ed – Let’s Groove [Underground Quality]
Burial + Four Tet + Thom Yorke – Ego [Text]
Round Two – New Day [Mean Street]
Burial – Street Halo [Hyperdub]
Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley – Jack My Body (Home Made Version) [DJ International]
Omar-S – Strider’s World [FXHE]
Luv Jam – Mature Oak [Phonica]
Friday, 25 March 2011
After hearing the vaguely mysterious Berlin/London duo’s album, 'Find Out What Happens When People Stop Being Polite and Start Getting Reel,' from last year on I couldn’t quite see what all the fuss was about. Maybe it was the auto-tuned crying baby or Pokemon samples that put me off a bit, but all the blatant use of samples just didn’t work for me. The ideas were good but it never really sounded like it worked that well, plus plenty of other people (labels like Not Not Fun, Editions Mego, Olde English Spelling Bee) have been doing this hazy, spaced out, slow motion, genre clusterfuck thing well enough for Hype Williams not to hit home too much. So when their latest album One Nation arrived on the Hippos In Tanks imprint, the fact that i bonded to the content took me by surprise.
There are four tracks in particular that make One Nation. The first is the opener ‘Ital’ and it’s screwed, smeared atmospheres, pulsing warm bass lines and those dissonant synth sounds that morph in speed and texture like they’re being played on a broken tape deck. It’s a key sound to the album that appears again and again and puts it head and shoulders above previous material. The sample baiting has been addressed here too, with the duo making them less obvious; notably the only time a sample is really prominent is with with the spoken word stoner wisdom on the second standout, ‘Untitled;’ the contortion of the melodies is tantalizing and when the bass drops through them the muffled euphoria really comes.
The hyperactive hi-hat workouts on ‘Warlord’ offer a quicker, more serious, junglist edge - whether or not it’s a juke influence at work here remains to be seen but the tempo fits, as do the drum machine cow bell flourishes. ‘Mitsubishi’ feels like a warped take on Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works all slow, shape shifting house complete with child like lead lines. The production, or seeming lack of it, means that it doesn’t really punch like house music does, but it’s a hazy take on the sound but it works a treat amongst the static of the other tracks.
The brilliantly titled ‘Your Girl Smells Chung When She Wears Dior’ has a sunny shimmer, complete with hip-hop drums it plays out like an opening to a movie fucked purposely into new shapes. The hazy glow of ‘William, Shotgun Sprayer’ sounds like your favourite summer jingle being played on the last dregs of battery life through your walkman whilst while ‘Jah’ is the most intense noise exploration on the album, giving off a anxiety soaked train ride through a dystopian city sort of vibe. The album soon melts back into that sweet hazy bliss though when ‘Break4Love’ enters the equation and Hype Williams let its widescreen mellowness, sink in.
Primitive in its processes, One Nation is almost blissful, but completely blazed out; the most mature approach to date from an act whose ramshackle experiments in sound are on everyone’s – including Hyperdub boss Kode 9, who has confirmed they’ll be releasing an album on his label at some point in the future– lips right now. Much like the work of Actress, the production techniques may sound like you’re listening to the album through someone else’s iPod on a noisy tube train, but inherently, therein lies some of its out of body charm.
Words: James Balf // Out: Now
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
To be fair to Zeppy Zep, this mix/post/textual fellatio should have happened a long time ago, but whatever; things get in the way and needs must. It still doesn’t detract from the quality of his music and it’s nice to have our initial rush of interest cemented with more great music. - Ed
First popping out in a mix from Manc beardo xxxy, Zeppy Zep’s production moniker, is characteristic of the personality contained in his music - it’s just as animated, fully dosed up on high octane dancefloor workouts. Tracks like ‘Marillion’ emulate the snare work of the afore mentioned chromosomed one, hitting in a typically splashy way, glitching into frams over weird concoctions of reverbed chords, but it was the awkward drum fumble of ‘Rebis’ that first sent us into a headspin. Built around a true earworm of a leadline it flips through beat progressions ending up in a 4x4 strut that pounds over the descending vocal snatches with authority. It’s a bonafide show stealer and the tune that opened the door for us to a handful of original productions and his remix of former SR mixer The Phantom’s ‘Night Game.’
Long since the third producer in our Polish club music Bermuda triangle, he’s channeling the energy and rush of a sweaty dancefloor straight into his melodies and he’s just confirmed his debut solo release on Fortified Audio. Along with fellow countrymen The Phantom and Sentel he brings something fast and fresh to his releases, not afraid to ‘do a Canblaster’ and drop straight out of a rigid house kick sequence and run headlong into something completely different 8 bars later. It’s refreshing and duly exciting to dwell on the prospect of new music from him, so we pinned him down through his weeping, alcohol-soaked familiar, grabbed an updated version of his Sonic Router mix and shot him some questions designed to give him the platform to introduce his music properly.
SR: Can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info?
Zeppy Zep: Hi, my name is Michal and I'm from Cracow, Poland. I'm 21. Sometimes I make tunes and play parties.
Outside of music who are you? What do you do on the daily?
I do some graphic design, I should be in an art school by now, but things went out and I am not. Procrastinating. Playing Quake on dm17.
How did you first get into making music? What was it that infected you to do so?
I think I always wanted to make music, but this need kind of exploded right after primary school. I remember I bought Prodigy's Fat of the Land and Chemical Brothers Come With Us on a cassette. Damn, those beats sounded so fine I just wanted to do something like that. I knew my schoolmate was making hip hop beats and he told me about Fruity Loops. Then I saw a music magazine, with a CD attached, I remember Fruity Loops 4.0 had just been released so they've put a Demo version on a CD. I bought a magazine and boom, I was making music.
First it was hip hop beats, and then they slowly turned into more electronic stuff. My dad is a musicologist and he can play nearly every instrument, we had a piano at home but I barely played on that thing, I never took any lessons either.
What’s your production set up like? What’s your favourite bit of kit in the studio?
Funny thing is, it's still FL Studio. Yes, I tried Ableton and Logic but always ended up returning to FL Studio, it feels like home there. Nowadays, multiple display-pro-tools-uberproducers laugh at this but I don’t care, I love this piece of software. I got a MIDI controller but I don't use it, it’s kind of a shame that I play better on qwerty keys than on normal piano. I am planning to buy some superb monitors, right now I use typical computer speakers but I know them so well it's enough to make a fair-sounding tune.
Favourite bit of kit goes to Soundgoodizer, for this ridiculous name.
Where do you take inspiration from when making music? I mean it’s easy to hear the funky influence... something that Poland is getting something of a rep for at the moment. What’s the scene like in your native Poland?
The most boring thing is to look for inspiration in the same genre as the track you're trying to make. You should teach yourself to discover the great little things in places you'd never think of exploring. For example, I got this hardstyle sample pack and some sounds are just awesome. I am also a fan of early NFS games soundtracks lol.
Speaking of funky - yes, it had its big time in Poland but seems like the things are changing now, some people play more house, some others more of that "future" stuff. People are very open minded, we have plenty of awesome events going on, even in Warsaw which used to be a more fidget house oriented place. And of course brostep is getting dangerously bigger…
Zeppy Zep - Rebis
Are there any producers you rate that the world should know about?
Hoodmode, I saw his soundcloud lately - niceness. Lokiboi is a talented beast. Sentel are getting stronger every second. Also, from Poland - Vanatoski and Intreau.
We’ve heard a few production bits from you that’ve blown us away, ‘Menace’ in particular, plus there’s your remixes of people like The Phantom too. Does it differ for you, the way you approach remixes to normal productions?
Remixes have deadlines haha. I don't know, I feel that my The Phantom and Tom Encore remixes are polished just as I wanted them to be. I heard that you can somehow focus better on someone else’s track than on your own, but I don't think it’s true.
Have you got any releases have you got in the pipeline? I saw a bit about a 12” coming on Fortified Audio, can you tell us a bit more about what’s coming up?
Yes, ‘Menace,’ ‘Rebis’ and ‘Marillion’ are coming out on Fortified Audio but as slightly different versions. I did those tunes some time ago and want them to sound a little bit more fresh. Also my Tom Encore remix is out now on Concrete Cut.
Tell us a little bit about the mix you’ve put together for us…
There are some dubs from Superisk and Lokiboi plus Hoodmode’s ‘Everything’ - that guy I told you above. Two Blawan tunes, he's killing it right now, I cannot wait for ‘Getting Me Down’ to be released. There’s Jamie XX - so obvious but so damn good - some acid sounds - everyone already knows that 2011 will be year of tb-303 references right? The outro is John Roberts, with this sweet piano breakdown, really soft stuff.
Any words of wisdom, for our readers?
When in elevator, press floor number and close button at once - it won't stop on other floors.
DOWNLOAD: Zeppy Zep – Sonic Router Mix #74
1. Tom Encore - Spellbound (Zeppy Zep Remix) (Concrete Cut)
2. Gil Scott-Heron And Jamie XX - I'm New Here (XL)
3. Objekt - The Goose that Got Away (Objekt)
4. Superisk - Life is Live (Dub)
5. Ben Westbeech - Falling (Dark Sky Remix) (Strictly Rhythm)
6. Hoodmode - Everything (Dub)
7. The Hundred In The Hands - Pigeons (Blawan's bare bones Remix) (Warp)
8. Lokiboi - Marina Faib (Dub)
9. M.I.A. - It Takes A Muscle (Pearson Sound Refix) (XL)
10. Damon Wild - Aqua (Synewave)
11. Hackman - Made Up My Mind (PTN)
12. Martyn & Mike Slott - All Nights (All City)
13. Mount Kimbie - Mayor (Hotflush)
14. Hardrive - Deep Inside (ZYX Music)
15. Beat Pharmacy - Piece of Mind (Ramadanman Refix) (Deep Space Media)
16. Joy O - Jels (Hotflush)
17. Blawan - Kaz (R&S Records)
18. John Roberts - Ever Or Not (Dial)
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
With a retrospective album, ’23,’ out last week, the latest platter from Opit boss lady Subeena lands on her fledging label. Harbouring three tracks it shows a different side to the producer who worked with Jamie Woon on ‘Solidify,’ with a trio that jumps from spaced out ballads to brooding tech-house and jackin’ acid. The looped strung melodies on ‘Wrong For Me’ are luscious and warm, sounding a little like Addison Groove’s latest sample excursion on the A side of his forthcoming 3024 12”, giving Subeena’s mid range heavy vocals the pillow to fall back on as the scattergun snares pit er pat into being. It’s an odd pairing - the two melody lines fight for life atop the fizzing bitcrushed hi hats – but once the final revolution of drums comes into effect you can see where the track was all the time building to.
‘Space of Flow’ draws on a blend of UK flavours, pairing that UK funky flutter with a hard tech-house kick drum and surging saw waves. The snares add some rudeness but overall it’s kind of restrained given the brashness of the components. Full of brooding and slow melodic tension it has an uneasy air, but benefits wholly from the harmonic progression and drum detail. ‘End of Reason’ bumps like a bastard hybrid of funky and Chicago house, playing of that muted bass tone that Egyptrixx harnessed so well on his debut full length ‘Bible Eyes.’ Squiggling with acid (a vibe that, along with Blawan, Subeena looks to be bringing back this year) it’s not a million miles away from something you might hear from Altered Natives - it’s got that same knowing swagger to it.
It’s hard to place Subeena with the styles presented on this 12”, and that’s something that after a few listens you can tell she’s aiming for. With a more militant discography sitting in the wings it’s fascinating to hear her using her voice as a new element and with a multitude of styles at her fingertips it’ll be interesting to hear where she goes next.
Words: James Balf & Oli Marlow // Out: 29th March 2011
Monday, 21 March 2011
Toby Ridler’s combination of stark glacial melodic spikes and rolling drum play are indicative of someone who’s embroiled in their own world. Sure, ‘Closer’ – the A side of the first release on his freshly minted Cold World Industries label - shares a sample pack with Addison Groove and Pearson Sound, but is the cerebral swirl sitting behind the relative simplicity of the repetitive lead line that sets him apart from other producers. Like his last release, the Not Even backed Spectre EP, ‘Closer’ is more like grime - playing out like a hypermelodic devil mix that’s been peppered by an over enthusiastic finger drummer – and that rawness displayed is probably the most interesting thing about the Becoming Real project.
You could call it Eski influenced. You could call it juke influenced, but Ridler’s work stands apart - the over-riding elements at play here are the tapestries that the ice cold synthesizers weave in your mind. Like the densely layered work of El-P on Cannibal Ox’s game changing The Cold Vein album, ‘Antarctic City’ is more of a tumble down production, almost regimented by the kick drums and jarring snare drums that sit back from the headroom of the mix just enough to make you really concentrate on them. Its beguiling; almost anti dancefloor but completely pro trance (in terms of the faraway mindstate kind of spiritual trance), smothered in stark layers and snatched vocals, shifting up a gear into something danceable with a proper snare at around the 3 minute mark.
Jam City’s refix of ‘Closer’ re-positions the track for the darkest of dancefloors, with the Night Slug keeping the menace of the original but transporting the focus of it to the bassline whilst he ups the snare quota a million percent. That threat and sense of brooding is perfectly translated into a Jam City-house-tempo-roller. It’s the flag in the summit of Becoming Real’s third EP, a stark and brash marriage that’s tortured itself purely for its own benefit.
Words: Oli Marlow // Out: Now
Friday, 18 March 2011
It’s harrowing to comprehend the state of the Pacific right now. Whilst millions of people’s lives have been irreversibly affected by last Friday's earthquake, its aftershocks and the tsunami it prompted, the Western world continues on the same, slightly altered axis. And whilst good intentions and well wishes make for great social network status updates, it takes a certain kind of person to pull their finger out and do something. Something that might actually make the average internet user donate to the Japanese Red Cross - an organisation that can directly help the Japanese population in this time of media hysteria.
What follows is information on Nihon Kizuna, a project and compilation cultivated by sometime journo Laurent Fintoni, who arrived in Tokyo the day before the earth’s surface ripped open, and his associates...
“Following the earthquake and tsunami which devastated the northern coast and prefectures of Japan on Friday March 11th 2011, a small group of Tokyo-based artists (from Japan, Ukraine and France) and one visiting London-based journalist (from Italy) decided to pull their efforts and contacts together to do the only thing they could to help the country and its people – sell music to raise awareness of the devastation that hit the area and raise money for its people and the relief effort.
The motivation behind Nihon Kizuna was simple: in face of the feeling of helplessness many felt here in Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami this compilation seemed like the best way to express our support and love for the country and its people. Amid widespread scaremongering and panic from the foreign media it felt only right to stand tall alongside the people of Japan who have always welcomed foreign artists and musicians with open arms and hearts.”
Over 40 internationally renowned artists have contributed to the Nihon Kizuna compilation, which was reportedly put together in just 5 days, including people like Kode9, Kuedo, Illum Sphere, Rudi Zygadlo, Om Unit and a slew more who you’ll have read about if you’ve followed our writing over the past 2 years.
It costs £10, or whatever you are willing to pay for it, and the full list of artists who have contributed music is below.
BUY: Various Artists – Nihon Kizuna / 日本絆
Kode 9 (UK) – 9 Samurai (Hyperdub Records) **
Don Leisure (UK) – Trio of Desserts *
Kuedo (UK) – Zap (Planet Mu) *
Himuro Yoshiteru (JP) – Missing Links *
Onra (FR) – High Hopes (All City Records) **
Tatsuki (JP) – Mirror In Bologna (Original Cultures) *
Om Unit (UK) – Lavender (All City Records) **
Danny Drive Thru (UK) – Prescience (Fat City Records) *
Slugabed (UK) – Rockin U (Ninja Tune) *
Ken One (JP) – Mindrain (Raid System) *
Paul White (UK) – Grimy Light (One Handed Music) **
Darkhouse Family (UK) – Lemon Drizzle (Fat City Records) *
Illum Sphere (UK) – Sweat The Descent (Hoya:Hoya / Tectonic) **
A Taut Line (UK/JP) – Azul (Dyskotopia) *
Fink (UK) – See It All (Ninja Tune) *
Mus.sck (US) – Happiness Is The Best Face Lift (Car Crash Set/Daly City) *
Rudi Zygadlo (UK) – Perdu (Planet Mu) *
Broken Haze (JP) – Move Forward (Raid System) *
BD1982 (US/JP) – Aluminium Riddim (Seclusiasis/Diskotopia) *
Nightwave (UK) – Hokusai Dream *
The Electric ft. Yarah Bravo (UK) – Beautiful (Memory9 remix) (Organically Grown Sounds) **
Ernest Gonzales (US) – Beneath The Surface (FoF/Exponential) *
Jono McCleery (UK) – Garden (Ninja Tune) **
Ido Tavori (UK) – Haunted Top Hats *
Jay Scarlett – The Rising Sun (Ampsoul) *
Paper Tiger (UK) – Lunar Notes (Jus Like Music) *
Kid Kanevil (UK) – One For Tokyo (One World Records / Ninja Tune) *
Takuma Kanaiwa (US) – Senpo World (Concrete Sound System) *
B-Ju (GE) – Philly Run (Mux Mool remix) (Error Broadcast) **
Primus Luta & Lonesome D (US) – Lockdown (Concrete Sound System) *
2phast (IT) – JapaN *
Doshy (DE) – Space Attack (Robox Neotech) **
Sesped (VE) – Too High To Drive (Jus Like Music) *
Yosi Horikawa (JP) – Passion (Eklektik Records) *
Audace (FR/JP) – Indestructible Soul (Inductive) *
Scrimshire ft. Inga Lill Aker (UK) – Warm Sound (Wah Wah 45s) **
Kan Sano (JP) – Bless (Circulations) *
Elliott Yorke (UK) – Wormhole Squirm (Five Easy Pieces) *
Daisuke Tanabe (JP) – Artificial Sweetener (Circulations) **
Super Smoky Soul ft. Guilty Simpson (JP/US) – Knockout Kings (Circulations) **
Emika (UK) – Count Backwards (Ninja Tune) *
Eccy (JP) – EFH (Slye/Milk) *
Throwing Snow (UK) – The Luck Without (A Future Without) *
XLII (UA/JP) – Standuptall Nippon (Raid System) *
Pete Sasqwax (UK) – Aggro A Go Go *
Virtual Boy (US/FR) – Thrust (Turnsteak remix) *
F.A.M.E (US) – Real Surreal (F.A.M.E/4OneFunk) *
re:ill (JP) – We Are Possible (Circulations) *
The Qemists (UK) – Stompbox (Ninja Tune) **
Kper (IT/FR) – Chotto *
*exclusive to compilation
** previously released
P.S. "Tokyo is not glowing green or empty, contrary to what you may have read in the press" according to Fintoni who is currently still out there.
Glasgow-based Welshman Koreless is the latest name to pop out from Pictures Music’s always interesting roster of post-genre bass music, and it would be an understatement to say there’s a considerable hype brewing around the young producer. Maybe for good reason; his debut single for Pictures is the kind of coolheaded first salvo that barely conceals its ‘look how exciting I am factor’ through spare, focused atmosphere. Or maybe the lack thereof - one might say these tunes are core-less; and that person would be very sorry for that pun. Regardless, the two tunes here don’t consist of much - mainly staccato chords, pillows of sub-bass and tumbling vocal samples - and the atmosphere is intimidatingly austere.
Now, I’m the last person who wants to read juke and footwork into everything, but it’s difficult not to hear it in the jumpy pulse of these tunes, particularly ‘MTI.’ It and ‘4D’ are fascinating hybrids, but utterly transparent in their construction (really, you can see right through them). Yet Koreless betrays an ingenious sense of seamless fusion so insidious that it’s barely even detectable, but deeply ingrained in the coarse fabric of this music. ‘4D’ slips and trips on a precariously balanced and diced bass riff (hence the juke reference), but the vocal that struggles to stay afloat on the brittle organ tones. It’s relentlessly chopped and cycled, like it wandered off from some old garage tune and lost its way. ‘MTI’ taps a similar vein but in slightly more maximal fashion, floating on a cloud of filtered fuzz but retaining the same basic construction of fragile melodies and gasping vocals.
It might be tempting to dismiss something like this as trend-hopping or shallow appropriation, but you’d be missing the point entirely: there’s something organic and tight about Koreless’ music, an inchoate ideology forming that’s just as reduced and efficient as his music.
Words: Andrew Ryce // Out: Monday 21st March 2011
Thursday, 17 March 2011
Following yesterday’s bumbling and unintentional twitter debate on the deployment of tracklists for online mixes the latest contributor to our ongoing mix series hasn’t given us one. Now, that doesn’t make us hate him, it doesn’t make us think he’s being intentionally difficult nor piss us off in any respect – he may have just not realised we usually include them – but it does stoke a level of interest in listening to the whole thing in its entirety.
Ossie is a producer that’s been bubbling under for a while now, making moves on the UK funky underground with his own decidedly warped take on the house sound of now. Turning his hand from tribal jams like ‘Ossie Baba’ to R&B refixes that heat up a dancefloor he’s just released the enchanting earworming ‘Tarantula’ on the freshly minted Lightworks imprint. It’s his biggest success to date, all hip shaking percussive manoeuvres, deep pulsing synth stabs and then there’s that mulitlimbed lead line that creeps and lurks in the most resplendent corners of your room late at night. Packaged with the tougher ‘Creepy Crawlies’ and a Funkineven remix of the A side on the flip, it marks both the dawn of a new imprint and the realisation of Ossie’s music – something that, judging by our quick exchange, has evidently been a long time coming.
With more releases on the horizon, including a 12” release forthcoming on Kode9’s Hyperdub incubator, we caught up with him to learn us a few things about him, his links to Live FM (and one of Joy O’s favourite selectors) Petchy and his future endeavours. Plus he turns in the latest instalment in our ongoing mix series, #73, a 90 min mix which features plenty of his own material set amongst some of his favourite house records.
Sonic Router: What do you do on the daily and where are you from?
Ossie: Born and bred in East Ham (East London). I’m in my final year of uni, studying music technology. When I get home its straight onto the decks or logic; so it’s music all around really.
What first got you into production and what’s your set-up like? Have you got a favourite bit of kit and how do you approach working in the studio?
At an early age I was intrigued at how tunes were made. I took a production course in the summer when I was 11 and that’s when I first saw Cubasis VST. I remember going with my mum to Stratford Computer Fair and buying a crack version of Cubasis and I guess that’s where it all started. Throughout secondary school and college I was making beats in my spare time, though then it was mainly R&B and hip hop.
Set-up wise I’ve got a Macbook Pro, PowerMac G5, Logic Pro 8,Yamaha, MG16/6FX, M-audio Axiom 49, 2 Novation Launchpads and a MicroKorg.
My Macbook pro is one thing I couldn’t go without. Once that’s in front of me everything just flows. I never have a plan when producing. I just creatively mess about.
How would you describe your sound?
A fusion of everything really, I use a lot of percussion and synths, which gives a vintage but current feel. I try and have stories or mood in my tunes especially when producing house, and having produced R&B previously helps with build-ups and structuring.
I sample now and then hence the spontaneous remixes I put up on my Soundcloud, but most times I try and emulate the sounds used from the tracks I’m feeling at the time. I think I’d be a sample freak like Kanye if it didn’t cost so much.
You take influence from all over: We hear American vibes, UK vibes, Deep, Hype, African house, any house. You bring it in and make it your own, give us a clue how those strings got drawn together…
I go through phases when I’m listening and making music. I am never listening to one genre and this is what’s heard in my production. For example at the time I made ‘Ossie Baba’ I was listening to Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, Roy Ayers, Marvin Gaye you name it. I don’t just listen to house so in my music you hear everything which I hope will be my advantage as there’s something for everyone. When I started making house I was listening to a lot of Bugz in the Attic, 4hero and Vikter Duplaix and at the same time UK funky was just on the horizon so I just brought all influences together.
I guess cheeky refix’s come into that somehow: we’ve heard your take on the odd R&B legend or pop freak in our time lurking on the radio waves/soundcloud… I guess that’s another big part of your sound? How do you channel that into something more Ossie…
Yeah I’ve been making remixes from day. Once again it’s because I listen to such a variety of music. When producing my versions I make sure from the start that it sounds as far from the original track as possible while still keeping the best bits - if that makes sense? That way if compared to other remixes of the same track it stands out as Ossie.
Tell us about Live FM and Petchy? You’ve mixed with him we’re all feeling it, that energy is infectious…
Petchy is my friend’s brother so I’ve always been around him since school days. Petchy was at Live FM when I had started to make house and I was swinging him tunes to get a reaction. I gave him ‘Tarantula’ after I made it, the buzz really started from then and it just escalated. That mix you heard with us back to back was the first mix I recorded. I started DJing in October and I fast tracked myself to DJ in time for the release.
Seeing ‘Tarantula’ on a 12” is pretty sweet since it’s been making moves on the UK Funky scene for a bit now. How’d that track even come into existence? Can you tell us a bit about that release, what’s the inspiration/sound for the tracks?
To be honest I don’t remember much of making it because I made it so long ago now, but what I do remember is l was experimenting with sounds. I have this method I use sometimes when I’m producing, when I open up Logic the first sound I hear I use. So instead of sieving through for ages looking for a particular sound I do it that way to be spontaneous. It cuts production time and brings together certain sounds I wouldn’t normally put together. I did the same thing for ‘Creepy Crawlies’ because time was of the essence and I needed to make the B-side asap.
Talk to us about the state of funky right now and where you fit in with it today… What music are you feeling at the moment, any producers you think the world should know about?
The state of funky is healthy and I love the fact that it’s very tribal orientated, which allows me to go crazy with my drum patterns. Hard House Banton, Fuzzy Logic and Roska do it for me. I think they’re the cream of the crop when it comes to producers in the scene right now and I’m sure the world already knows about them. If you don’t where have you been?
After this Lightworks 12” arrives what have you got in store for us? Any more releases you can chat about on the horizon…
I've got a release scheduled for May coming out on Hyperdub, the tracks called ‘Set the Tone.’ I made it about three years ago even before ‘Tarantula.’ I just had it sitting in my hard drive for a while. I haven't got anything planned after that; I'm waiting for these releases to come out and for uni to finish before I do anything else.
Tell us about the mix you’ve turned in for us...
It’s mainly all the tunes I’m feeling at the moment, a few refix’s and remixes from me. Exclusive wise the B-side to ‘Set The Tone’ is in there. It’s called ‘Power of Love.’ Apart from that it’s just a bit of everything, typically Ossie.
Have you got any words of wisdom for our readers?
Perfect your craft!
DOWNLOAD: Ossie – Sonic Router Mix #73
No tracklist given.
Words: James Balf & Oli Marlow
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
The third edition of bass music magazine Trap - the one that this site's editor scribes features for - is back from the printers and out now. Featuring an SR penned article on Pearson Sound's club night, Acetate, you can catch one in your local store/venue shortly (check facebook.com/trapmagazine for a list of stockists).
Other great features in this issue include P Money, Icicle and Breakage, and luckily, in this age of optimum digitalisation you can preview the issue via the widget below.
Seek a physical copy out though, the paper quality really is awesome.
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
David Kennedy has always been a name to follow ever since tracks like ‘Offal’ and ‘Blimey’ started to surface under the Ramadanman moniker on labels like Soul Jazz and his own co-run Hessle Audio imprint in 2008. Since then his ascension to becoming one of the most eloquent and spatially aware producers on the – for lack of a better catch all term – bass music scene has been quick and decidedly fruitful.
Any followers of our prose here will no doubt be versed in his use of powerful basslines, field recordings and his love affair with his recently acquired classic drum machine sample pack. In the tail end of last year, he really grew to prominence unleashing anthems like ‘Work Them’ on Swamp 81’ and ‘Glut’ on Untold’s Hemlock imprint; but when you consider both the fact that he released 8 singles last year (under his Pearson Sound guise - the one he’ll be using henceforth - as well as as Ramadanman) and the quality of each of them it really doesn’t come as a surprise that he’s gracing clubs the world over every weekend.
“It’s ridiculous really but hey… it’s just making the most of it,” he tells us of his constant travelling over a crackling phone line. “Especially as I’m young and energetic, I can take it a bit more than some people who’ll perhaps get bitter [laughs]. I can quite easily function on no sleep whereas I know some people for whom doing an all nighter would throw them for a week or whatever. I seem to be able to handle it at the moment…”
“I had a lot of stuff out last year so it’s gonna bit a bit quieter inevitably,” he muses when the snatched conversation turns to forthcoming material for the early part of 2011; “but I’ve got a Maurice Donovan 12 inch - the Chicago House legend is making a comeback for 2011 - that’s coming on Sssssss or whatever it’s called. Then there’s a little white label which is coming on Night Slugs in probably a month or two…”
All of this is of course in addition to his contribution to his instalment in the fabric mix series, FABRICLIVE 56, which is due out next week. It’s an impeccable mix, drawing on Kennedy’s hard drive packed with exclusive blends and unreleased productions as much as it does his current DJ sets. It’s a mix that cements his raised profile and continuing residency at the London nightclub perfectly.
In honour of his launch party for the CD, happening at fabric this Friday which features a Room One lineup to rival any club (the full Hessle Audio trio + Joy Orbison, Mala b2b Pinch, Julio Bashmore and Midland) we’ve been given 2 copies of FABRICLIVE 56 and 2 pairs of tickets to the rave itself to giveaway. More info on the event itself is available here.
To be in the running to win these prizes just email us the answer to the following question by the end of play on Thursday.
Q: David Kennedy’s club night, which he runs up in Leeds, is called what?
Please note: winners will be notified by email.
UPDATE: You can stream 30 mins of FABRICLIVE 56 thanks to The FADER.
Monday, 14 March 2011
Putting out your debut label release is a big statement. Colouring in your imprint’s grandiose mission statement with just two cuts is a tough ask, but the Hull based Forefront guys seem to have straddled that quandary with ease on their first single - a split between the fractured personalities of Slackk and Hervey Jenkins.
Slackk, the obsessive figure behind the essential grime archive and resource, Grimetapes, has been turning his attention further towards UK funky of late, brining that grimey edge to his own productions - you may have caught on to his Wiley loving Eski-house experiments via his last 12” on the formidable Numbers or checked his beats all over the radio from Dusk & Blackdown and beyond… ‘Synthetic’ sees Slackk at his bumpin’ best, channelling the house aesthetic through his grimy lens. Rumbling echo drenched drums boom and bubble, whilst bleepy synth motifs twist with an urgent tension against some addictive shuffling hi-hats and bongo rhythms, that’ll definitely get you shaking a leg.
The flip comes courtesy of a mysterious garage don from way back when, Hervey Jenkins. He’s the kind of guy who’d give Chicago house legend Maurice Donovan and NY’s very own Frankie Solar a run for their money in a dance off, powering through the voguing until they were all down to their string vests. ‘Steelo’ is a sweaty slice of R&B chopped and flexed into a tough garage number that’ll have you skipping across the dance floor, champagne in one hand with fixed gun fingers on the other.
Words: James Balf // Out: Now via Rubadub
Sonic Router x Hivemind.fm: Editor's Choice
Hosted by Oli Marlow.
2nd Sunday of every month // 10pm – 12am.
STREAM: Sonic Router x Hivemind.fm: Editor's Choice 13.03.2011
1. Charlie Sheen x Twin Peaks Theme (mlr blend)
2. Donnel Jones - You Know Whats Up (Nino Remix) [FREE DL]
3. Beatbully feat. Slow Hand Motem - Expecting Company [forthcoming Dodpop]
4. Coco Bryce - Wobble Trouble [Fremdtunes]
5. Chairman Kato - Fuck This [unreleased]
6. Crackazat - Bouncer Pounce [forthcoming Beyond Jazz]
7. Gerry Read - Last Time [forthcoming Dark Arx]
8. Cosmin TRG - Izolat [50 Weapons]
9. Ceramic - The Message [forthcoming EYE 4 EYE]
10. Lokiboi vs. Ratchatcher - Untitled [unreleased]
11. Joy O - Wade In [Hotflush]
12. Blawan - Lavender [R&S]
13. Actress - Gershwin [Nonplus+]
14. Photek - 101 (Boddika Remix) [forthcoming Phoek Productions]
15. Missy Elliot - Get Ur Freak On (Doorly Bootleg) [FREE DL]
16. Logos - Atlanta 96 [Unreleased]
17. Kid Simpl - Ghostsuit [forthcoming CarCrashSet]
18. Hodge - Conjecture [forthcoming Pollen]
19. Mista Men - Melancholy Dreams of Plastic Trees [unreleased]
20. Om Unit - Prawn Cocktail [forthcoming Civil Music]
21. Hyetal - Diamond Islands (Boddika Remix) [forthcoming Black Acre]
22. Jacques Greene - Holdin On (Braiden Remix) [forthcoming Lucky Me]
23. Blawan - Bohla [R&S]
24. Canblaster - Clockworks [Nightshifters]
25. Hot City - Going Down [forthcoming Moshi Moshi]
26. Artifact - Dusty Grave [unreleased]
27. Misery Peat - The Hyde [forthcoming EYE 4 EYE]
28. NKC - Marie [forthcoming Awkward Movements]
29. Zoltan - Better Places [forthcoming Granholme]
30. Sentel - Shut Your Eyes [unreleased]
31. Low-Tec - You Don't Know My Name [Super]
32. How To Dress Well - Ready For The World (xxxy Remix) [Tri Angle]
33. SBTRKT - Living Like I Do [forthcoming Young Turks]
34. Knowing Looks - WNCL004 MASHED [FREE DL]
35. Artifact - You Could Be [unreleased]
36. Kasrave vs Joy Orbison - Untightled [FREE DL]
37. Arkist - Fill Your Coffee [forthcoming Apple Pips]
38. Tom Encore - DSCHRD [forthcoming Concrete Cut]
39. Graphics - Wiping The Eye [forthcoming Granholme]
40. Aleks Zen - High Life [forthcoming Berkane Sol]
41. King Geedorah - Krazy World [Big Dada]
Direct Download (Right Click/Save As)
Friday, 11 March 2011
As bleak as the world can look sometimes, music has an unabashed and effective power to change and alter a state or thought process. A lot of our inner pains and outer squabbles seem inconsequential given the recent turmoil of international events, which is why I reached for Beatbully’s Kosmik Regn between my extended binges on BBC News 24 today. It’s like regular SR co-founder Jimi The Xploder says, ‘skweee just has that power to make you smile,’ and for whatever selfish reason I find myself clambering for it now.
Hailing from Norway, Beatbully co-founded the Dødpop label, an outlet who’ve proved themselves more than dedicated to the strains of computer funk and synthetic beat music you can find across their two Dødpop presents compilations and the preceding run of 7”s – which have been collated on CD on the aptly titled As and Bs. Reportedly influenced by electronic pioneers Kraftwerk as much as by the boogie of Egyptian Lover, Beatbully’s music is smarter than its primitive equipment suggests. Restrained in places, saving its punch for the underlying melodies (see ‘Move Your Feet’) rather than the force of the boom and the bap, it locks on to a groove, exploring the furthest possibilities in the truest sense of skweee – making the most out of limited means.
Tracks like ‘Bølleboogie,’ ‘RnBully’ (which was given away on XLR8R back when Dødpop Vol 2 hit the shelves) and ‘Ajer vel’ contort the lower frequencies, croaking and seething at the bass whilst blossoming into high pitched hooks and lead lines that embed themselves deep into your eardrums. With the laid back nature of ‘Expecting Company’ (which features one half of last week’s SR mixers, Slow Hand Motem on vocal duty) however, Beatbully proves that he also excels at the pensive, sunshine side of the synthesizer, offering more than just fluorescent clad 8 bit drum structures. Layering his tracks with relatively simple melodies (see album closer ‘Buddah nr. 2’) he creates an electronic haze worthy of lengthier lament.
Maturing a little in his harmony over the years (check ‘Robot I Tromma’ on As & Bs to hear him in tearout, smash and skweee mode) Beatbully’s created a happy distraction from reality, a clever debut album containing 9 tracks that explore his own sound set in depth and offer a neat progression.
Words: Oli Marlow // Out: 21st March 2011
A series of destructively brilliant 12”s have swiftly shifted Kassem Mosse’s profile from little-known purveyor of slo-mo, deconstructionist techno to something of a spearhead for a particular strain of house music. Along with his contemporaries and friends on the Workshop label (particularly Lowtec and Even Tuell), as well as UK devotees like Kowton, Instra:mental and Joy Orbison, his is a slowed-down, sub-heavy and druggy sound. Its overall effect is intoxicating in the extreme, insistent analogue grooves transposed into odd new dimensions and sounding liable to crumble at any second. With its obsession with bass, space and swing, it’s perhaps unsurprising that his music’s been picked up and widely adored by large swathes of the UK’s bass scene.
Mosse’s music is one of stasis, of single moments looped and stretched out into infinity, of single grooves allowed to run their course until they simply fall away. That was immediately evident on his earlier Workshop releases - the stuttering electro of Workshop 03’s A-side is a particularly potent example – as well as the build-release churn of the subtly anthemic ‘578’ (the Omar-S remix of which was the highlight of last year’s Freerotation festival). It’s even more explosively apparent in his sprawling live sets, which send minds into an even more extreme version of his recorded output’s fucked tunnelvision.
But if his recent 12” on Kinda Soul was Mosse at his warmest and most welcoming, its finest moment ‘Thalassocalyce’ emitting the same vaguely dystopian glow as Autechre’s Amber, this new Workshop release finds him at his most forbidding. Its tracks operate at faster pace than his usual narcoleptic, smacked-out tempo, but appear locked into even darker moods than usual. The untitled A-side sets up the same sort of infinity loop, but this time with a short and stammering vocal sample which hangs in space above his familiar, albeit peculiarly muted, bass gurgle. The main B-side’s rattling drum syncopations and uneasy, sinister drone constitute an inversion of deep house stereotypes - music of alienation and separation, despite its distinctly human warmth. It’s just as effortlessly beautiful though, and its soft pulses of melody imply something else again, tiny flickers of hope in a sea of darkness.
It’s Mosse’s finest contribution to the unerringly on-point Workshop label so far, and sits neatly alongside his best work. And as ever, excitingly, with another release for Nonplus in the pipeline, it feels like just the tip of a mighty, mighty iceberg.
Words: Rory Gibb // Out: Now
Thursday, 10 March 2011
The internet’s got a lot to answer for. One consequence of it’s of access to media is becoming clearer as broadband becomes an ever more entrenched feature of modern life: a new generation of musicians are starting to take influence from across the board, with scant regard for genres or scenes. Sydney’s Dro Carey is a great example. His music draws from a host of sources – dubstep and UK bass sounds, classic house and techno, R’n’B, noise, jazz – and works them all into strange, asymmetric shapes.
Some feel immediately linked to the dancefloor, albeit abstracted, with upcoming Hum & Buzz release ‘Hungry Horse’ and recent track ‘Wreckshop Sugar’ stuttering with the same nervous energy that drives Night Slugs and Hessle Audio. Others, like the music from his recent Venus Knock EP, sound more in line with the warped lo-fi tape and synth experiments of travelers like Oneohtrix Point Never and Mordant Music. All are bound together by their twitchy, nervous energy, as though recorded live rather than sequenced, and all are presented as part of Carey’s complete online persona. His BRAIN-SO-SOFT Tumblr site places his tracks in the context of the music and art that influence them. Alongside his home-made videos and the prolific stream of sound constantly finding its way onto YouTube, the resulting sprawl is a subversion of social networking’s ability to summarise peoples’ entire lives for easy consumption, nigh on impossible to unpick or decode easily.
We caught up with Carey for a chat about his music making process, R’n’B’s current peak in popularity and how he became interested in UK dancefloor sounds despite living on the other side of the planet. In return, he’s recorded us a mix that offers a clue as to the diversity of his tastes, and how his music brings them together in jarring, but strangely coherent, ways.
SR: How long ago did you start making music?
Dro Carey: It was really when I was about thirteen or so, but I was actually doing scratch DJing, and was first inspired by hearing DJ Shadow. Then I wanted to do cutting up records and things, so that was the beginning, but I moved through a lot of different types of music. I played in free improv, noisy groups, a lot of different stuff – I’ve done ambient music too, there are some secret ambient releases under a different name.
When did the Dro Carey music start happening?
It was a couple of years ago when I thought of the name. It was just to do with hip-hop beats, basically, so that’s why it’s a marijuana pun. I was inspired by mixtapes where they have parodies of celebrity names, like Antwan Swisher and stuff like that, so it was Drew Carey to Dro Carey. It’s a fairly simplistic kind of thing. It was almost a bit of a joke because I was doing more experimental things at the time, and I thought this would be rap stuff, but I then just started working more with software rather than live instruments, and the electronic stuff still stayed as Dro Carey even when it veered away from straight-up rap stuff.
What sort of music inspires the stuff you’re making at the moment?
There’s definitely a lot of UK influence. I guess about a year ago I heard Shackleton for the first time and I hadn’t really listened to any UK electronic stuff, and then I just went through listening to everything on Hyperdub, a lot of grime, Joker, all the big dubstep names. It took a while to get into it actually, because I guess I wasn’t coming from any kind of club scene, and the interest I had wasn’t about that side of it. I’ve been going to more things recently because I’ve been getting to the stage of doing live sets myself, but really I didn’t come from a background like that, so it was more from listening to them in a personal space and it wasn’t about the heaviness of the bass.
Sonic interest, rather than functionality?
Definitely. And I’m still really interested in all the different strains of the UK stuff, I can’t quite separate all of those sub genres, but I profess to like garage, two-step, funky… I’ve listened to a number of old releases but probably, at the end of the day, there’s more of an American influence: techno and house, particularly Detroit artists. Classic stuff and more recent artists like Omar S, guys who are still going like Moodymann and Theo Parrish. Even the oldest acid stuff, definitely Model 500, Anthony ‘Shake’ Shakir…
So you came to the UK stuff with very little club context – is there much of a scene where you are?
Electro and electro house is particularly popular in Australia. There’s obviously interest in dubstep but on a particular level – it’s the early or mid 2000s in terms of UK stuff, the 12”s on Deep Medi, Loefah, Skream, big on the wobble but with a fairly basic sub. They’re definitely not fully aware of all the influences you’ve got coming into it now, especially with a label like Night Slugs. There are obviously some places that have nights with more interesting stuff, but it’s largely electro and nu-disco. It’s quite different, the scene here, really, and I guess it fits with the sunny weather and vibe. But that’s not what really resonated with me. It was usually the gloomy London and Detroit sounds.
Has there been much interest in your music where you are?
It’s usually been abroad – Japan, obviously the UK, the US, in New Zealand.
I suppose the internet allows people much further afield to swiftly find your music.
Yeah, you say that, but I was on a message board thread to promote a Canberra show, and they were all saying they didn’t know Dro Carey was Australian. So the problem can be that the internet makes you so mysterious that people might not even know you’re there!
You seem to be one of the first musicians (alongside people like Odd Future) really taking advantage of Tumblr to create an online space for your music and project a complete personality online.
My idea of how you put music online has changed from what it used to be. For past projects I’d make a MySpace page or stream them on Soundcloud, but I was actually inspired by the way hip-hop is promoted online, particularly by Lil B. The way he would deliver songs in their first appearance online would be a YouTube video. You just build an archive of things that people can gradually get into. That idea came from his stuff, and from not really worrying whether people were actually seeing it. The Tumblr is weird, it’s quite impersonal with a fairly stark design, but it just groups everything together and I post whatever images are interesting me. And then there’s Twitter and Facebook pages, so an assault from every angle.
What approach do you take when producing?
I would like to get some analogue equipment but right now it’s just a midi keyboard hooked into Reason. I take an approach whereby I sample everything and try to adapt those to form elements of the track. So it may not be a bass synth I’m sampling but I would make it into one, or it wouldn’t be a keyboard or percussion but I would make it sound like that. It’s really sample based, but not really loop-based, playing samples as if they were actually instruments. But I try to make sure that… Well, if things are still too recognisable I feel they haven’t really served the purpose of re-appropriation. Then again, I’ve got some fairly long vocal loops from R’n’B that people probably can pick up on sometimes. I guess the rules are different for acapellas, you can jack more of that.
I suppose it depends what you’re aiming to get across. There might be something specific in the vocal loop you’re interested in.
Yeah, you hear something in the vocal you want. But I do often try to modify them quite a bit.
That’s happening quite a lot at the moment, there are an awful lot more people referencing people like DJ Screw as an influence on the way they treat vocals.
That was a big influence on me before I’d ever heard of witch house. Admittedly, it may have only been for a few months before, but I’d heard of screw tapes before that.
It’s interesting the way that’s happened recently. There are an awful lot more people, perhaps vogueishly, referencing R’n’B, juke, chopped and screwed hip-hop and so on.
R’n’B didn’t used to be cool! It’s funny, because I’ve read quite a few reviews of the Venus Knock EP on Trilogy Tapes where people talk about an R’n’B influence. While I like R’n’B, on that record a lot of my tracks don’t sound like it. They’re quite harsh and gritty, where R’n’B is about really smooth, slick production. So I’m kind of surprised that people have mentioned that. But then it’s a reference point that’s quite in fashion at the moment.
Do you tend to have a specific aim for a track in mind when you start?
Yeah, but often I stop right in the middle and redo everything, and it ends up sounding totally different. There’s a track called ‘Much Coke,’ which is a bit sunny. The original one was much darker and I didn’t like how it was sounding. It was all in the same sitting, I just switched everything up, worked with the same samples but it totally changed from what I envisioned. It took on a new cocaine association, Miami kind of thing.
Intensity’s an interesting thing when you’re doing instrumental beats. I try to build up and strip down percussion over the course of a track and generally keep things quite quantized. But I’m not ever trying to make a particular format or genre, or even aim for a club track, but I do appreciate the linearity of those type of tracks. I admire an evolving techno track more than a one and a half minute, Los Angeles, jumping all over the place kind of thing. I do like that kind of stuff but I tend to like longer and perhaps more ‘compositional’ electronic music.
But there’s a certain similarity between your music and, say, a lot of the current LA beats stuff in the sense that it’s really grainy and gritty sounding…
I never really consciously seek to downgrade the quality of a sample. I’m not trying to do really lo-fi stuff. I put it through a lot of effects, but I guess the main device I use is changing the pitch or the speed. That brings out a lot of interesting textures.
There’s a turntable-based musician/sound artist called Philip Jeck who’s talked a lot in interviews about the process of slowing samples down – the fact that when everything’s slowed down you start to hear new things you didn’t even realise were in the original track. On a separate note, it’s quite interesting that you live in Sydney, where it’s a lot brighter and sunnier, but your music’s so much darker.
It is. As I was saying earlier, it’s drawing from totally different places. It’s darker and it’s more reflective of internal things – of me, rather than external influences.
You talked about playing in free-improv and noise groups earlier. Do you find that the process of being expressive when making electronic music different to that process when playing an instrument? Do you feel you have the same capacity for emotional expression when you’re making sequenced electronic music?
I think once you’ve got a foundation going, you’ve got a bit of a beat going, you like it and you start to jig around in your chair, nodding your head, dancing in your seat, you start to experiment on the keyboard playing live over it. That’s what I do – not going in and penciling in all the individual midi sequences, but maybe playing something live and then quantizing it afterwards. I get into a pretty similar zone as when I was playing jazz on piano and clarinet.
Shackleton’s always adamant that he avoids strictly quantizing and using loops, in favour of something that’s more spontaneous. I suppose that’s why his music sounds so human. That, and the fact that melody is so often implicit in his percussion rather than being made explicit through synths.
It reflects that point, that there’s almost a melodic thing going on with percussion that you wouldn’t actually call ‘tuned percussion’ in the technical sense, like a vibraphone. You’re using a kick or a snare, but technology allows you to turn it into tuned percussion.
How did you get involved with Ikonika for the Hum & Buzz release?
She was looking at YouTube actually. Sometimes I do videos for other artists’ tracks if I’m into them, and she was looking up Girl Unit and watched the video I’d made for ‘Shade On’. It was cool that Girl Unit, Jam City, Night Slugs, they welcomed the videos I made, they actually used them to promote the tracks. And then the artists followed me back on Twitter. It’s weird, because I put those up before there was a lot of buzz about that label – that’s from Girl Unit’s first EP. I really love that EP, ‘Wut’ is anthemic, but it’s not as interesting to me as that first EP.
But yeah, she saw that video on my channel, saw some of my tracks on there – tracks like ‘Venus Knock’, the synths on that one appealed to her. It’s interesting; I don’t think I would do anything as repetitive as that again, it’s a bit hypnotic. She started following me on Twitter, and then she asked if I could send any tracks I’d been working on, so I sent a zip file. She said she wanted to put out two of them, ‘Candy Red’ and ‘Hungry Horse’, on the third 12” from her new label Hum & Buzz. She’s been great. I’m also working on an album for them as well. She’s pretty harsh about it, she’s pretty much going to curate it! I had a bit of a session a few days ago where I did a load of tracks, which I thought could probably be the album, and I sent them through and she only wanted one [laughs]. I really appreciate that in the end though, because we’re in no rush and she’s trying to get the best possible music out of me. It’s great because I’m always doing tracks and I probably would have wanted to change them anyway!
And you’ve got more music coming out on Trilogy Tapes in the near future, right?
We’ve got about four more different records in the works. What basically happens is that I put something online and Will [Bankhead, Trilogy Tapes boss] gets in contact and says ‘this should be on the record.’ And I’ll possibly be doing a limited white label of R’n’B remixes as well, but I haven’t done one for a while. They’re the only things I’ve had negative feedback for. But I think even guys like Deadboy cop criticism for their remixes. I guess people out there hold the originals quite close to their heart, and they may not particularly understand what we’re doing to them.
There’s been a real fad for R’n’B refixes recently…
There’s this weird fascination with Cassy in particular. The Local Action record is good, I liked it, but I got this sense that there was a bit of a glut of R’n’B remixes so I stopped doing them for the moment. I’m working on remixing Diddy’s ‘Dirty Money’ - this is something I guarantee no-one thinks is cool! But it’s actually a really good album. The production on it’s incredible, though the rapping isn’t very good. I’m into the whole package of those tracks really. I’ve listened to The Dream’s albums a hell of a lot, I’m into the saccharine, sugary melodies, I like those as much as whatever interesting synths I might hear. I like to think I appreciate it as a genre, rather than some sort of cultural platter to pick from.
What are your plans for the future, beyond the album with Hum & Buzz? Do you have any plans for live shows?
Yeah, I definitely want to do more live shows. I want to do two kinds, one where I’m constructing tracks live, and also DJ sets. As I mentioned, I’m doing more limited vinyl runs for Trilogy Tapes, and I’ve also got one coming out on Ramp. It’s quite different, it’s probably a bit more polished sounding than the Venus Knock stuff, and I guess it’s more paying tribute to classic house and techno. I’ve also got a release coming out on a Sydney-based label called Templar. I start a lot of projects, and what tends to happen is that they get interrupted by people who want to release my tracks from those projects. I’m working on a remix album of Australian experimental artists, with material going back to the eighties and early nineties. I get a lot of ideas like that, do one or two tracks, then come back later at some point.
It’s weird, I’ve never done any promotion of any of this stuff myself. It’s always just been people coming to me. I never cease to be surprised.
DOWNLOAD: Dro Carey – Sonic Router Mix #72
Missy Elliott – Ching-a-Ling
The Notorious B.I.G. – Nasty Girl feat. Diddy, Nelly, Jagged Edge and Avery Storm (Instrumental) [Prod. Jazze Pha]
Jozif – Jus You
Moodymann – Runaway
Blackstreet – Deep
Busy Signal – Jafrican Ting
Levon Vincent – Six Figures
Optimum – Light Year
X-103 – The Gardens
Urban Tribe – Program 1
Portable – Find Me
Max B – Techno Shit feat. French Montana
Bok Bok – Ripe Banana
Steel – Shake That
DJ Clap Pina – Bass GuaraChazz
Dro Carey – All Behind Wingless
Low Deep – Down Like That (Instrumental)
Missy Elliott – Hot Boyz Remix Acapella
Lloyd Banks – Fly Like The Wind Feat. Jim Jones (Instrumental) [Prod. Germ]
Abner Malaty – Spirals The Seer of Sound
Drake – Unforgettable Feat. Young Jeezy
Words: Rory Gibb