Tuesday, 15 April 2014

6 New Releases To Groove To

Lancelot - No. 2

1) Charles I & Craig Williams - This Is It

If there hadn't been so many other songs I was desperate to share with you, I would have done a whole post on this EP, dropped last week on Discobelle. Having also released Attrition earlier this month (which I posted about here), it seems that LA-based tech-magician Charles I has been pretty busy. Joining forces with Craig Williams, This Is It could power a dance floor from dusk to dawn with its dogged energy and quivering pulse. 'Increase The Doses' is a personal favourite, perfectly suited to that 3AM peak, when the climbing synths and urgent vocal sample drive the night into its oblivion.

2) Paul White - 'Song From The Old'

Oh Paul, it seems you can do no wrong. After having read on a SoundCloud comment that the sample was bulgarian, a quick search for bulgarian choir music led me straight to the song's original sample. In a stroke of genius, Paul harnesses the coarse power of the vocals, attaches two-tonne weights to their natural rhythm and creates something raw, dynamic and compelling. 

3) Luke Warm - 'Brockley Spears'

The second track off Luke Warm's promising debut Instant Vibe, 'Brockley Spears' is an impossibly funky soup of old-school samples and vibrant refrains. Compiled masterfully into what is ultimately a house groove, it manages to preserve simultaneously the energy of disco, soul and jazz. This isn't one for side-stepping. This'll make you want to shimmy like an uncle at a wedding.

4) Little Dragon - 'Paris'

'Klapp Klapp' was the song that introduced us to the new sound of Little Dragon's upcoming album Nabuma Rubberband (posted about here), and now we've been further teased with 'Paris', a synthpop lyric that announces, 'It's that time to transform,/To come around, I'm changing'. There's no doubt that the Little Dragon's style is transforming, but compared to 'Klapp Klapp' I'm finding 'Paris' a bit underwelhming. Underpinned by a propulsively rigorous beat, it packs the punch of their earlier work in terms of energy but lacks the moments of harmonic beauty that made Ritual Union so addictive. While the lyrics express heartbreak poignantly, this emotion escapes the music itself.

5) 6th Borough Project - 'Back 2 Black' (Cuthead Remix)

If you read my blog regularly, you might remember that I brought in the new year (go on, have a read) with Cuthead's brilliant album Everlasting Sunday. This time, the German artist is back to provide remixes (alongside Fantastic Man and Ben La Desh) of the fresh new album by Scottish duo 6th Borough Project, Borough 2 Borough. Released last month on the quickly flourishing new label Delusions Of Grandeur (which counts its fans amongst house heavyweights Soul Clap and Seth Troxler), the LP boasts a collection of 'slo-mo grooves' with 'a crawling pace'. 'Crawling' not really being Cuthead's style, he uses this remix as an opportunity to harness the festive percussion of the original, up the BPM and inject some melodic depth with lush synths and a healthy dosage of hi-hat.

6) Lancelot - 'Truth' ft. Ngaiire

This man's music grows on you in the same way that his gorgeous hair luxuriates over his shoulders. Taken from his forthcoming J.O.B. EP, which is to be released on British Anjunabeats sub-label Anjunadeep on April 28th, 'Truth' is soon to be available from a reliable dance floor near you. The track isn't groundbreaking, but as soulful deep house grooves go, it's pretty sweet. Vocals from the gorgeous Ngaiire are what makes this track special, accompanied perfectly by mellow chords and those classic house claps that'll get you moving in a matter of seconds.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Dauwd - Kindlinn EP

I was lucky enough to see Dauwd support Bonobo (all hail) on his North Borders tour last October in Leeds, and it was probably one of the best sets I saw all year. In fact, I came away that night about as excited about Dauwd as I was about Bonobo. The EP he released last year, Heat Division, was beautifully crafted from a mosaic of warm synths, effervescent beats and lovingly treated vocal samples, so I expected a lot from Kindlinn, which was released on trusty German imprint Kompakt this monday. 

While I probably wouldn't rate it over his previous work, I can't say I was disappointed. Having ditched the choppy vocal samples for synth flourishes and a heavy, solid metre, Dauwd's sound seems to be evolving in line with the steadily flourishing techno scene propagated in cities such as Berlin and Detroit. While this mechanised, pounding beat, particularly evident in the EP's title track, makes for deeply atmospheric listening, it also loses (in my opinion) some of the interest that comes with the light, bubbling complexity of some of my favourite Dauwd tracks, such as 'Ikopol', 'And' or 'Aqueous'

You can stream the entire EP below, but if you like it then make sure you buy it on Beatport here.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Recent Rediscoveries

Frankie Knuckles - no. 12

While it is of course very important to stay trendy and hip by keeping up with recent releases, it's also a shame to let great tracks fall by the wayside. So because I have been neglecting my blog so much recently, I've not only posted yesterday about my favourite new releases, but also put together a list of some older songs that have taken me through the last few months.

1) Osunlade - 'Human Beings' (Atjazz Remix)

Osunlade, the man at the helm of the dynamic Yoruba Records, released his seventh studio album last year under the compelling (though perhaps not so snappy) title, 'A Man With No Past Originating The Future'. The LP weaves in and out of diverse soundscapes, opening with ambient meditation, 'The Realm Of Difference', and moving through lilting, orchestral influenced 'Goddess', the more upbeat, tribal-sounding 'Satellite Beneath The Stars' and, one of my favourites, the instrumental jazz fusion 'Eclipse'. The result is spiritual, global and rounded and you can watch the visuals to all of these and more free on YouTube. However, it is 'Human Beings' that was chosen as the basis of a remix EP released this January. Alongside adaptations by Isolée and Luke Solomon (co-founder of Classic Records), the 12" features a rework by the UK's very own Martin Iveson, producer and owner of Atjazz Record Company. With a slightly heavier groove and warm synth chords, the track lends a polished lounge feel to the original.

2) Archie Pelago - 'Avocado Roller'

This isn't the first time Archie Pelago's appeared on the blog, and it won't be the last. The trio of genii hail from Brooklyn, but the energy and drive of their music is universal. Incapable of being boring, the only thing you'll know you're going to get when they start playing is creative passion and raw talent. 'Avocado Roller' was part of last year's kaleidoscopic Sly Gazabo EP, which you should (no, HAVE TO) listen to here.

3) Bishop Nehru - 'Elder Blossoms'

'Elder Blossoms' sees hip-hop heavyweight MF DOOM providing characteristically nostalgic production for the rhymes of up-and-coming Bishop Nehru. The track's rolling instrumental follows the example of Busta Rhymes and Faith Evans, a sample from Galt MacDermot's 'Space' providing the smooth backdrop for Nehru's self-reflective Bildungsroman. 

4) Theo Parrish - 'Summertime Is Here'

Theo Parrish, raised amidst the legendary Chicago house scene and heavily influenced by jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Nina Simone and his own uncle Dexter Sims, has resurfaced recently with the release of 'Flowers', a soulful collaboration with singer/songwriter Andrew Ashong. However, he began producing records when he was just 13 years old and he released his first LP over 15 years ago. 'Summertime Is Here' is the title track of one of his earliest EPs, released in 1999 and sampled to this day.

5) Kimbra - 'Settle Down' (Diggs Duke Remix)

'Settle Down' is the most popular song off the debut studio album by Kimbra, Triple J favourite and sweetheart of the Australian charts. Diggs Duke, on the other hand, is a lesser-known singer, songwriter and multi-instrumental jazz musician from across the pond. While better known for his original compositions, his remixes also showcase an ear for infectious beats and richly layered harmonies.

6) Sonnymoon - 'Nothing Thought'

Woozy melodies and detached, throwaway guitar flutters allow this Bostonian pair to reject emotional intensity in favour of an atmosphere of perfectly unpretentious meditation. However, far from inspiring apathy in the listener, I found myself enamoured with their music's unhurried poise and beautiful lyrics:

I was born with nothing
And nothing, I'll go
Soul split particle
Disperse and flow

7) Suff Daddy - 'Pattern Select/Giscar Sob'

Taken off his 2012 LP Suff SellsSuff Daddy welcomes you with these self-ironising visuals into his world of 'Dope beats, sick samples and twisted Mini-Korg licks, fuelled with weed and Pilsetten.' Hip-hop fans with a taste for clever sampling from the likes of QuasimotoGuts (get this on those summer playlists) or even J Dilla are likely to enjoy the cool, old school style of Suff Daddy. Last year also saw him collaborating with much-loved Japanese DJ Ta-ku on Bricks & Mortar, which you can check out here.

8) Qadafee - 'Sh1ft'

If the awesome artwork doesn't make you want to press play, the name will. Having collaborated with brilliant artists such as Volor Flex (blogged about here) and Elo Method, Qadafee delivers celestial future garage with the sophistication and luster of artists such as Phaeleh or Synkro.

9) Crazy Baldheads - 'First Born' (Champagne Breakfast Mix) 

As the video I've embedded helpfully clarifies, this one is an 'old skool garage nutter'. It was first released as part of a 12" in 1998, featuring the original and two remixes, but we have Kieran Hebden of Four Tet to thank for its revival. Having featured it on his Fabriclive CD, he has also rereleased through his own label, Text Records, writing in the press release how much he loved the 'wicked shuffling beat with amazing chopped samples flying in and out all over the place.'

10) St Etienne - 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' (Masters At Work Dub)

Never mind about Route 94, THIS is what it's all about. This remix is a 1991 house classic so organic that you can hear the vinyl jumping. A prime example of the early magic of Warner Bros Records

11) Mala - 'Calle F'

Mala's 2012 album Mala In Cuba was without a doubt the most substantial release of his career, the British artist taking a step back from the shorter 12" and travelling not only out of his comfort zone, but also his country. The man was already a colossal figure in the industry, not only running Deep Medi Musik but also co-founding DMZ alongside Coki as part of Digital Mystikz, one of the most powerful pairs in dubstep. 'Calle F' sees Cuban beats and brass flourishes refined, reverbed and Mala-fied for a track more composed and indulgent than something you'd expect from his club-oriented EPs.

12) Frankie Knuckles - 'Tears'

This one goes out to 'The Godfather Of House', Frankie Knuckles, who was found dead at his home on March 31st. The past few days have seen a huge outpouring of grief and numerous tributes from all over the world, proof of the scope of his influence and appreciation. 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Recent Releases

R.I.P. Sean Stewart (left), founding member of Australian band HTRK - Number 8

1) Four Tet - 'Gillie Amma, I Love You'

A breathy, slow-burning ballad, Four Tet's 'Gillie Amma, I Love You' was released as part of Boats, a long-awaited compilation by Scottish music and film collective Transgressive North. As spacious and haunting as a Sigur Rós composition, it is only one one of the album's 29 original tracks by artists such as Max Tundra, Son Lux and Rustie. Buy it here and all your dollah goes to helping destitute children in India.

2) Mo Kolours - Mo Kolours

London-based Mo Kolours was dropping samples from his debut self-titled album for a couple of months before its release, the most recent of these being 'Little Brown Dog'. Whimsical vocals meet an unusual arrangement of brass and steel drums in a manner typical to the half Mauritian, half English producer. His exotic, breezy sound and sixth sense in sampling mean that his album will make the perfect backdrop to the sunshine that is slowly but surely re-entering our lives. The album dropped on March 24th on One-Handed Music.

3) Erykah Badu - 'Bump It' (DJ A1 Remix)

A key member of her band, The Cannabinoids, it is perhaps unsurprising that DJ A1 is able to treat some of Erykah Badu's most underrated work with the respect and vision it needs. He released two funky reworks of 'Bump It' and 'Back In The Day' off her 2003 full-length Worldwide Underground, injecting extra groovability into the already impossibly soulful originals.

4) Charles I - 'Attrition Part 1'

A mile away from the feel-good mood of the above, LA beatsmith Charles I's Attrition EP demonstrates the coldest, most unsentimental strain of underground techno. A minimalistic beat and an unchanging tempo plough through both parts of the EP, creating a mechanical inevitablility both thrilling and dangerous. 

4) gøldFFinch - 'Black Pyramid'

The release of gøldFFinch's new Black Pyramid EP sees the Belgian duo joining the ranks of some of the most in demand artists of the moment; those providing high energy tech-house stompers for epicurean ravers across the globe.

6) Millie & Andrea - Drop The Vowels

Manchester-based duo Miles Whittaker and Andy Stott, who have been collaborating since 2oo8 under the alias of Millie & Andrea, have released their new album just in time for a place on my collection of March releases. A merging of Whittaker's dubby bass rumblings and Stott's signature booming techno makes for a dark, gritty and at times overbearing experience, pointedly steering clear of easy listening. Made obvious with track names such as 'Stay Ugly' and 'Corrosive', Stott cites elusive Londoner Jai Paul as one of his influences, describing his production as 'super squashed, super compressed, and then there's something really nasty underneath.' You can stream the album here for free.

7) DJ Koze - 'Nices Wölkchen' (Robag's Bronky Frumu Rehand)

Having doted on DJ Koze's Amygdala as much as any sane consumer after its release last year, I quickly began to get excited about the release of its remix EP (previous ramblings here.) While 'Nices Wölkchen' was by far my favourite track on the album, this remix by first-class German beatsmith Robag Wruhme is unlikely to disappoint even those listeners most averse to its modification. Wruhme's version underpins the original with a mechanical, tech-house beat, easing it onto the dancefloor while maintaining its otherworldly feel.

8) HTRK - 'Blue Sunshine'

The success of Australian rock outfit HTRK has never come easily, with a history of depression and emotional hardship reaching its peak when Sean Stewart, bassist and founding member, committed suicide on March 18th, 2010. The two remaining members, Nigel Yang and Jonnine Standish, continue to write music after this tragedy, their progressive rock sound becoming increasingly influenced by darker strains of techno and dub. Their most recent EP, Psychic 9-5 Club, has just been released on Ghostly International, which warns that HTRK's music is 'not a quick-fix for restless, impatients minds; it needs to be absorbed, contemplated and revisited.' Technically, this was released on April 1, not March, but bite me. My blog, my rules.

9) Throwing Snow - Pathfinder

One of my favourite acts of the moment (see previous enthusing here), the new EP from Throwing Snow has induced a new wave of Parklife-itus. Pathfinder sees Ross Tones continuing to adventure further from club-oriented house staples and pushing the boundaries into more experimental realms of electronic fusion. Its opening track 'The Tempest' places hurrying and uncertain synth melodies against the ethereal vocals of Romanian Ada Kaleh to create a faltering 2-step with the astral feel of a Flying Lotus composition.

10) Clap! Clap! - 'Kaluma'

Another jazz artisan gone electronic pioneer, C Crisci dropped the fantastic Tambacounda EP under the candid moniker of Clap! Clap! on March 3rd. It was released through Black Acre, the record label behind the absolutely brilliant Meditations on Afrocentrism by fellow afro-futurist Romare. A restless collection of pounding, African-inspired rhythms and stirring, tribal motifs, the energy that these tracks manage to evoke belongs somewhere in between the dancefloor and the campfire. 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Fourfit EP

I was so excited yesterday about the release of Max Cooper's long-awaited debut album Human, that I almost didn't notice this gem drop on Soul:R records. Skeptical a.k.a. Ashley Tindall has established a quiet eminence after four years of supplying underground stompers through prominent labels such as Dispatch Recordings, Exit Records and Samurai Music

The four-track EP is dark, neat and heavy, with songs such as 'Desire' and 'Always Be Mine' already circling through mixes by dBridge, Friction and Goldie (to name a few.) The obvious highlight for me was 'Desire', a glorious drum'n'bass stepper that sets jazzy vocals by Collette Warren against relentlessly tight beats and a rumbling bassline.  

Equally as hard-hitting is the second track on which Collette Warren features, 'Always Be Mine'. The tracks are not complex, but Skeptical assembles their essential components with the keen artistry of a man who knows what the finished piece should sound like.

If you like the EP, make sure you support the artist by picking up a copy here.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Parklife Weekender 2014

There is never a time in life when one is so happy to be poor, as when one has just purchased one's Parklife ticket. Having been snowballing in size and popularity since its birth in 2010, the festival has hosted some of the biggest electronic artists of the twenty-teens (Rudimental, Disclosure, Chase & Status) as well as the best-established old-timers (High Contrast, Pendulum). This year is no exception, the huge lineup featuring many of the biggest names in the house music elite. While this barely even scratches the surface of what's on offer, I've put together a list of the acts that I'm most excited to party with. And because nothing is ever PERFECT, I've also decided to whinge about a few people who I would've liked to see listed this year. For those of you who haven't got a ticket, here's what you'll be missing. For those of you who have... I'll see you there!

My Top 12 Acts Of Parklife 2014:

1) Snoop Dogg

Everyone's favourite rap legend will be de-evolving from Lion to Dogg, just so he can drop it like it's hot for us at lucky folks at Parklife. Whether it's nostalgia or timeless brilliance you're after, I'm sure we'll be treated to double helpings of both.

2) DJ Koze

I can barely contain my excitement for seeing this guy, one of my favourite artists of the moment. Having produced one of the best electronic albums of 2013 last April, the German DJ will be coming to Manchester to serenade us with his genius. Look out for his upcoming 12", which will feature remixes from  fellow German talents Robag Wruhme and Roman Flügel.

3) John Wizards

The sole thing I dislike about these South African magicians is that they didn't grace my life sooner. Just have a listen to one of their songs while you read this and I guarantee that you'll be dancing by the time you're finished. Having formed after John Withers, a Cape Town bedroom programmer, and Rwandan refugee Emmanuel Nzaramba met by chance and began to jam together, they went on to release one of the most insanely happy albums ever made. You probably won't see me at their Parklife set, but you might catch sight of a few of my flailing limbs.

4) Submotion Orchestra

These next guys are based within a mile of where I'm sitting right now, in the humble student paradise that is Hyde Park, Leeds (big ups!) For me (and probably many of you as well), Submotion Orchestra pretty much embody all my favourite things about music. Having been releasing consistently sublime compositions since their Submotion EP in 2010, the 7-strong electronic outfit fuse influences of jazz, dubstep, soul and drum'n'bass to form a unique, yet exquisitely adaptable whole. Featuring live instruments and gorgeous vocals from Ruby Wood, their show will undoubtedly bring  something special to the Parklife stage.

5) Flying Lotus

If a genie had appeared to me after my first experience of Cosmogramma four years ago (and it was definitely an experience), my first wish would have been to see Flying Lotus live. Writing a few words about him is a struggle when I could probably produce an entire dissertation about his music, but Mark Richardson wrote that 'his music feels cosmic, bound to L.A.' If musicians painted their work on canvas, he'd be scribbling on the walls.

I almost had a heart attack last weekend when, an hour before I was set to see Jon Hopkins live, I realised I'd never actually bought a ticket. Luckily for me, this was one of the only events I'd been to at Canal Mills that hadn't sold out, and I managed to get a last minute ticket for almost half the price of the original. While this made a smaller and way more enjoyable night, I was shocked that more people in Leeds weren't fighting for a chance to see him after his incredible 2013 album Immunity. This needs to be rectified! Feast your ears:

7) Thundercat

Yes, it definitely is love. If you're a Flylo fan, you may recognise the name from 'DMT Song' off his 2012 album Until The Quiet Comes. The man behind the act is Stephen Bruner, who you'd expect to be destined for greatness seeing as his dad drummed for The Temptations and Diana Ross and his brother played with Roy Hargrove and won a Grammy. Coolest. Family. Ever. A bassist, vocalist and songwriter, he's worked with legends such as Erykah Badu and Stanley Clarke and now we get to see him at Parklife. No big deal.

8) Throwing Snow

A huge name in our capital and beyond, Throwing Snow a.k.a. Ross Tones is the perfect addition to the Red Bull Music Academy stage alongside acts such as Jacques GreeneGold Panda and My Nu Leng. Whilst remaining a sterling accompaniment to any discerning raver, Throwing Snow does not limit himself by trying to cater solely to the dancefloor, his recent Aspera EP sounding almost Bonobo-esque in its paired down, unhurried groove. Make sure to check out the incredible Pennines EP that he's just released with his brother under the name Vellico.

9) Moderat

We already know the standard of electronic music that comes out of Berlin is solid, and these guys are no exception. I don't think I've ever had a song in my head longer than 'Bad Kingdom', just one of the gems on their amazing album II, dropped on Monkeytown Records last year.

10) Soul II Soul

Although the babes in this video might not look so different to your average Shoreditch trendster in 2014, Soul II Soul actually released this UK R&B classic back in 1989. Curious to see whether they were still doing much these days, I stumbled across a video of them on Jools Holland last March. Daaaaaayyyyuuummm, Caron Wheeler has not lost an ounce of cool in 25 years.

11) Captain Murphy

That's right, Steven Ellison will not only bring us the weird and wonderful work of Flying Lotus, but also a set from his rap alter-ego Captain Murphy. Having collaborated with the several members of Odd Future (namely Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt) and the beloved MF DOOM, you can't really fault his credentials.

12) Mount Kimbie

Last but never, EVER least, UK duo Mount Kimbie will be illuminating the Now Wave stage with five years' worth of resounding success under their belts. I remember blogging about their EP Cold Spring Fault Less Youth just before they released it on Warp Records last May (which you can read here, if ya fancy it) and I never really got over how good it was, especially their collaboration with London badman King Krule. I'd also seriously recommend DJ Koze's remix of 'Made To Stray', which you can listen to here and James Blake's awesome remix of 'Maybes' here

Acts I Would Have Liked To See At Parklife 2014:

Now I know this post is already overlong and really, I can't complain about the amazing lineup. But hey, it looks like I can. These are a few of the artists not attending this year who would have completed my perfect lineup.

1) Matthew Herbert

One listen of his 2001 album Bodily Functions and I was 99% this guy is a genius. Following his release of meticulously constructed and exquisitely pointed The End Of Silence last year, that doubtful 1% was forcibly blown away.

2) Modeselektor

I'm not going to try and pin down the genre of German electronic band Modeselektor, as limiting themselves to a certain kind of sound is definitely not their style, though they jokingly specified themselves as 'Happy metal, hard rap, country-ambient, Russian crunk.' 

3) Max Cooper

Tomorrow's a big day. Do you know why? This techno giant is about to release his debut album Human on Field Records. Parklife would have been the PERFECT opportunity to promote it, AND he's from London so it's not exactly a long way to travel. *sniff* Here's are the official visuals from the album's incredible first single.

4) Lapalux

Well we've got the original writers of 'For Love I Come' but oh, how I wish we could be serenaded with Lapalux's sublime, woozy rework as well.

5) Daniel Avery

If 'hyper-rhythmic minimalism and throwback New Jersey garage sound' is something you look for in your techno beat of choice, then I think you better have a listen to Daniel Avery's Drone Logic. His huge, booming sound would have gone down a treat with hardcore Parklife ravers but oh well, there's always next year. Take a listen to the banging new remix of 'Free Floating' that Matt Walsh dropped two days ago. 

Update: I am a fool, Daniel Avery IS playing! Joy of joys!

Now you've heard my top picks for 2k14, let's get a bit of interaction going on. Make sure you post a comment letting me know who you're most looking forward to, who you would've liked to see or whether you DARE to disagree with one of my verdicts.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Four Tet Burn Remix

He's done it again! Having given away a huge amount of free music on Twitter a couple of months ago, Kieran Hebden has now dropped his newest incredible remix, free of charge, on SoundCloud. As usual, the track holds a spotlight to the artist's busy, addictive beats and configures Ellie Goulding's vocals into a haunting canon. The title makes it sound like he did it in his sleep, and I have no trouble believing that he probably could have done. Enjoy it, I guarantee you will!

New Releases

Kelela - no. 7

1) Ellie Goulding - 'Life Round Here' ft Angel Haze

I'm not usually a huge fan of Ellie Goulding, but this cover of 'Life Round Here' is a solid interpretation of James Blake's beautiful original. A collaboration between the chart-topping pop singer and hard-hitting rapper wasn't something I was expecting (or particularly rooting for), but it works. While the high, thin quality of Goulding's voice usually annoys me, its wavering clarity sounds great echoing against the track's deep, full bass. As for Angel Haze's verse, I like how she reference's Chance The Rapper's version and applies the message on a more personal level (...but his is still better.) 

2) Major Lazer - 'Aerosol Can' ft. Pharrell Williams

Now HERE are good verses. Fast and hard, Pharrell sets the tone for a track about people on 'Sinatra'. You know, Sinatra, that stuff that makes you go 'ha ha ha ha ha ha ha'... This is an exciting little sneak peek of Major Lazer's upcoming EP, Apocalypse Soon, which is due to be released on February 25th!

3) Niva - 'Forest View' (Paradisvägen Remix)

Little-known Swedish artist Christian Lundqvist (glad I don't have to pronounce it) has gifted us with this vibing remix of Niva's 'Forest View' and as far as I know, it looks like his first release. The track envelops the dreamy vocals of the original with a pulsing, deep house beat, enriching its groove and lending it a greater sense of direction.

4) Shadow Child & Doorly - 'Piano Weapon'

This is scaldingly hot off the press, the Rinse FM rip having been posted on SoundCloud less than an hour ago. The uplifting keyboard riff is a joyful throwback to early house, and makes you think of how Mike Skinner, uniquely eloquent, reminisces that time goes by but in the underground scene 'that same piano loops over and over and over'. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you best click here.)


5) Moon Bounce - 'Shake'

This came to my attention when it was reposted by Mister Lies on SoundCloud a couple of days ago, and you can see why. An arresting blend of disco, trap and dance-pop, 'Shake' comes off the upcoming Dress Rehearsal EP by US producer Moon Bounce a.k.a. Corey Regensburg. 

6) Leisure Muffin - 'In Wearable Hertz'

This is one of the first releases from notorious underground party in New York, The Bunker, and what a way to get the ball rolling. Michael Hopkins, under the alias of Leisure Muffin, layers bubbling electronic synths with gorgeous violin solos, which get weirder and more haunting as the track progresses. The result is a tone which passes confusingly between lively and deathly, intensely memorable and deeply enjoyable.

7) Kelela - 'The High'

Another highlight of this week has been new music by Kelela, whose amazing debut album I blogged about here. Produced by the brilliant Gifted & Blessed, the song is minimal and low-key with a perfect showcase of her evocative, soulful voice and that gorgeous Yukimi Nagano-esque vibrato.

8) Little Dragon - 'Nabuma Rubberband'

Speaking of Yukimi Nagano, Little Dragon have announced their new album! ARE YOU EXCITED? I AM! This isn't a new track, but a little behind-the-scenes teaser leading up to the upcoming release in May. Not to try and judge the album from this video, but it seems like the album is shaping up to be a bit more jazzy, a fair bit more experimental and a lot more personal. They better not make us wait TOO long.

9) Wolf & Lamb - 'Make Me Fall' ft. John Camp & Patricia Edwards (Navid Izadi Club Dub)

One of the best Mixmag exclusives I've heard in a while, this Wolf & Lamb dub is bouncy and guaranteed to move you. Great though it may be though, it can't better the original. I am completely addicted.


'Prototype', off their 2003 album Speakerboxx/The Love Below, is without a doubt my all time favourite Outkast song. All electric guitar, distorted bass and the dulcet reverberating tones of André 3000, it falls (like most of Outkast's best creations) somewhere between parody and woozy ballad. While you know not to take it too seriously, the rich bass and gorgeous, scrunchy harmonies will leave you dreaming. 

So considering my deep love for the song, I almost weed myself with excitement when I came across Nick Monaco's Classic House Mix on Gator Boots vol. 1, a ridiculously good collaboration between Nick Monaco and Soul Clap that is well worth a listen (along with the Gator Boots vol. 2, which is equally amazing and features this killer remix of Little Dragon's 'Crystalfilm'.) I think I want to say stank you smelly much, Nick Monaco, for livening up the original without destroying its nostalgic charm.


Another one of my favourite versions of 'Prototype' is by Tame Impala, an Australian band whose crooning vocals work well over the song's versatile groove. Who better than a psychadelic rock outfit to pick up on the hazy, spacey feel of the original?

Monday, 3 February 2014

The Knife

What could have potentially been the least productive Saturday of my life was transformed into a journey of exciting new discoveries as this song accompanied the closing credits of The Jeffrey Dahmer Files, which was but a small sample of this weekend's Netflix binge. The very raw and gradually layered texture of 'Still Light' produces music that is poignant, haunting and unsettling, making it pretty perfect for a film about a guy who raped, killed and ate 17 people...

A bit of further research into the Swedish duo and I discovered that it was actually them who did the original of José Gonzalez's 'Heartbeats' on their 2003 album Deep Cuts, which I reckon deserves a little credit and a listen. Entirely different to the downbeat acoustic cover, this version is a funky synthpop mover with an 80's throwback feel.

After rummaging further through their discography, I found that the standard of their stuff is pretty consistently great (though mostly quite a lot darker than 'Heartbeats'.) My favourites spanned from 'A Lung' off their self-titled debut back in 2001 to 'Silent Shout', the title track of their 2006 album and finally 'Full Of Fire' off their most recent masterpiece Shaking The Habitual. 

Being such well-established and obviously brilliant musicians, I feel like I should have definitely known about these guys sooner. NEVERTHELESS, better late than never (as they say) and now I get to nose-dive into a body of work that's 13 years strong. Thankyou, Netflix.

Thursday, 30 January 2014


Woohoooooo, thanks for 10,000 views! Nice to know that my ramblings aren't always going unheeded in a dusty corner of the internet. :) Keep 'em coming!

1) James Blake - '40455'

I'll start with this because I feel like unreleased James Blake is always welcome. Could he be teasing towards a new album? Let's hope! The song itself is alright, a pretty vocal sample and nice harmonies as usual. Having said that, it's nothing special or particularly memorable and doesn't show much progression from the artist, sounding relatively similar to tracks like 'Retrograde' or 'Our Love Comes Back'. 

2) Russell Gunn - 'Bass Head Jazz'

Well this isn't recent at all but I've only just heard it so CUT ME A BREAK, OKAY? Grammy-nominated Russell Gunn is a maestro of jazz/hip-hop fusion and 'Bass Head Jazz' is taken off his album Krunk Jazz, which showcases not only his skill as a jazz trumpeter but also his innovation in the genre. The pitch-bending drones underpinning this track constantly offset the harmonic stability of its meandering improvisations, lending the track a compelling weirdness without breaking its groove. 

3) Arca - 'Fluid Silhouettes'

Jesse Kanda (the genius behind this) produced these visuals to Arca's 'Fluid Silhouettes' for the Spring '14 collection of Montreal-based designer clothes brand SSENSE. Strange, beautiful and more than a bit uncanny, the video shows a series of metamorphic, androgynous figures 'dancing' to Arca's dissonant lines and rippling flow. The project seems to be exploring a means of expression through shape, whether this be visually or musically, and its potential to surpass boundaries. The sporadic synth chords provide a warped disco sound, while the beat feels primordial. The whole thing seems to epitomise uncompromised creative freedom, punctuated by the whisper of 'I need to do what I feel like doing, so let me go'.

4) Jagwar Ma - 'Come Save Me' (The Pachanga Boys Jagwar Pawar Version)

After securing their place on my radar with the amazing 15-minute epic 'Time' back in 2011, the German duo return with another lengthy creation, this time a rework of a composition by psychadelic dance band Jagwar Ma. Like many of the most skilful artists around, the Pachanga Boys raise the bar from good to excellent by gradually layering uplifting music with a meticulously executed build up. The result is slow-release energy that allows the artist to sustain your attention far beyond your average radio edit time constraints. Other perfect examples of this here and here.

5) Urulu - 'Rest'

This is my favourite song off of the new EP by stateside Urulu, Play Something With Words. The final track on the collection, 'Rest' rounds it out with a slower, more laid back groove. I love the smooth, lounge feel of the EP, providing something deep yet pleasingly light for the end of the night. 

6) Disclosure - 'F For You' ft. Mary J. Blige

How do you make a huge, bouncy, garage banger even better? You add Mary J. Blige and some striking, funky visuals.

7) Pezzner & Amina - 'Exit'

Amina's sensual vocals are a perfect counteraction of the harsh, syncopated stabs on this new single by long-established American DJ, Pezzner. 


I could rant for hours about the greatness of this Canadian jazz trio, and their choice of covers is always spot on. This is one of the two James Blake covers on their 2012 album BBNG2 (check out their version of 'Limit To Your Love' here), sitting happily alongside reworks of songs by Earl, Tyler, The Creator, Gucci Mane and Kanye.