Wednesday, 28 December 2011

>>>Move Forward >>>

Let’s look to 2012 and check out some artists on the new side that I think are well worth keeping an ear out for. They’re in no real order and ultimately just people I want to hear more from next year, check it.

For reasons unknown he still hasn’t had a solo track out on wax, just the sick remix of Trim’s ‘I Am’ on Butterz, ‘Circle’ is a killer grime track that deserves some attention on wax. He’s got plenty more in the bag too. His style is rude yet slinky. He can twist out some serious beats that flow as hard as the hit.

Splurt Diablo
Another badman grime producer, this time in the form of Family Tree’s Splurt Diablo. He’s another guy that hits it hard and differently. Alongside Preditah, Faze Miyake and Darq E Freaker they’re the guys killing it outside of the Butterz camp in grime right now.

Dro Carey
Pretty sure I tipped him last year too and you know what he killed it and I’m still hyped for whats to come in ’12. He had some killer tracks on Trilogy Tapes, Hum & Buzz as well as Ramp. I’d love to see what he can do over a full length but I’d settle for a handful of killer 12”s again any day. His sound is twisted.

He had a big year in ’11 bring out consistent 12”s of UK Funky, something scene hasn’t quite come to terms with doing outside of a select few for some reason. I’ve got a feeling his ’11 highlights are just the tip of the iceberg though; ‘Lose Control’, ‘Lighter’ and ‘Sensitivity’ with vocals from Ruby Lee Ryder are too big.

Jhene Aiko
She made a quality mixtape in ’11 that I just kept going back to. It hit the spot for me in that dreamy R&B vibe where The Weeknd, Drake and Frank Ocean couldn’t. Her voice is sublime and the beats feel pretty effortless. I’d settle for something as quality as ‘Stranger’ in ’12 and I’ll leave happy.

Kevin McPhee
He’s been impressive with a run of 12”s for [Nakedlunch], Hypercolour, Idle Hands and remixes on Fourth Wave, Man Make Music over the last year but I bet its only the tip of the iceberg. His sound is deeply twisted and hypnotic sitting somewhere between deep house, bass and hyper coloured synth experiments. Well worth a look.

Gerry Read
Gerry has been on the radar for a while making some seriously deep dub infused techno for the likes of Dark Arx, but by the end of the year he really spread his wings with a twisted take on deep house and bass vibes for Fourth Wave that really grabbed my attention. He just keeps rolling out the odd ball bangers, so I can’t wait for his ’12 material.

‘Shawty’ was such a wicked track; it really grabbed your attention. He dropped several other quality releases in ’11 too, yet I can just see him making another anthem in ’12 simply because one of the best tracks I’ve heard from him ‘Vibrate’ still hasn’t hit wax.

Lando Kal
As half of Lazer Sword he’s always been a load of fun, but Lando broke out this year with some quality R&B sampling, colour fuelled synth vibes of his own, taking in house, garage and bass like many had in ’11 but his twist on it oozed quality and banged hard. Tracks for Hotflush and Rush Hour really caught my ear, more is welcome, vibes.

Vessel is part of the Young Echo collective out of Bristol who are doing a lot right now and the EP on Left Blank showed us another reason why they’re on to something. Like a few of my other tips Vessel seem to sit in their own world between deep dubbed out house, twisted synth experiments and hefty bass weight. I’m pretty hypnotised.

After a quality showing on his SR mix this year he really got me on board, with a Brainfeeder release on the way he’s been grabbing the attention of the likes of FlyLo by the sounds of things too. His EP on Pictures Music this year was quality. That dusty, decayed, twisted take on beat music really sucks you in.

El Kid
Mixing twisted electronics akin to post-punk/synth experiments with dance beats El Kid has nailed it with a 12” on Left Blank in ’11 and also showed his slow burning funk’d up house vibes on Immerse. El Kid has reach and I can’t wait to hear what he comes up with next. He’s part of the Young Echo crew out of Bristol, they’re all well worth a watch, keep an eye on Kahn, Zhou, Vessel & Jabu too.

Day dreaming, early morning hangover music of the highest order, sink in and feel the vibes. He’s from The Hague and makes some irresistibly neat and subtle electronics with a bright twisted atmosphere. Keep an ear to the ground for this one.

He’s a badman that’s been kind of keeping it on the down low this last year, I first tripped up on one of his beats inside one of those epic free zips Butterz gave away. It was a mad percussive remix of one of their beats; I just had to investigate more. His sound is twisted as you can hear in his remix of Javeon McCarthy’s ‘Love Without A Heart’ which easily out does the original for me. Hopefuly he’ll ease out something freaky for us in 2012.

With other Hyperdub artists DVA and Cooly G dropping albums in ’12, which I’m also looking forward to, I just hope that Ossie has similar ambitions because he’s a killer producer with some serious scope. Plus I can’t get ‘Tarantula’ and ‘Set The Tone’ out of my head so I’m seriously in need for more where that came from.

Swing Ting
Raw, low slung and swung UK funky hybrids are the call of the day for this lot and I’m all for it, they have a hip-hop swagger to them somehow too. They’ve kept it dark and hard with their 12”s in ’11 you can place them somewhere between Mosca’s slinky rawness, Breach’s rudeboy workouts and the spaced out vibes of Beneath and that isn’t a bad place to be.

They sound like the dark underbelly of UK Funky, like a neverland where Youngsta rules. Its heavy, dark and swung, just the way we like it. The debut EP on No Symbols isn’t far off dropping and it’s just the tip of the iceberg if the mix he did for Blackdown is anything to go by.

He’s got a raw energetic dance floor thing going on has NKC, his Pyramid’s EP on Forefront really hit the spot for me. It’s a tough UK funky hybrid with some bashy attitude and a house lean that sits somewhere between Cosmin TRG’s Rush Hour vibes on tracks like ‘Sirop’ and my next pick, Presk... He brings the energy and gets things moving, can’t wait for more.

He really hit a vibe with his release on Fourth Wave this year, a twisted broken, sample laced, big and bashy dance floor vibe. He later paired it with some garage slink and techy sounds for 12”s on Doc Daneeka’s Ten Thousand Yen label and Audio Culture with another Dutch badman Cinnaman. His tracks have rarely been out of my record bag and I would love more to join them.

He makes some solid slabs of broken bass heavy techno akin to 2562/A Made Up Sound. He’s already dropped some quality #’d 12”s on his own label and a big remix for SBTRKT amongst others. He’s just getting started and alongside guys like Blawan and Pariah and their Karenn project they’re keeping raw techno vibes alive.

When he showed up on Butterz this year I couldn’t stop playing ‘Skipping Rope’ it’s a twisting flexing slab of grimy bassline that I couldn’t help but move to. Tracks from that EP kept coming back too, TRC found himself as the foundation for two of the best vocal grime tracks around in ’11 when Trim rode ‘I Am’ and Royal T did a twisted garage take on ‘Oo Aa Ee’ for the killer ‘Boo You’ with P Money, Blacks and Stickman. I’m itching for more fire from TRC in ’12.

His 1Xtra show is one of the only reasons to tune into the station his bassline, meets garage and grime vibes have been killing it. He’s one hell of a selecta and no slouch when it comes to production too, his remix of S-X ‘wooo’ bred a new lease of life into the already addictive track when it dropped on Butterz earlier in the year, plus his outing on BBK’s Tropical 2 was pure summer time vibes. But when the killer refix ‘Brandy & Coke’ drops next year on a cheeky white for Local Action he could really have a runaway dance floor bomb on his hands.

With their mix ‘The Perfect Lullaby’ they fused that Night Slugs, UK Bass vibe to R&B and made some seriously luscious refixes to great effect. Then killed it later in the year with an EP on Kingdom’s Fade To Mind label with a spooked out bashy, drum machine wielding, synth heavy selection that was pretty irresistible.

Ruby Lee Ryder
She’s absolutely killed it in ’11 on just two tracks: Terror Danjah’s rawkus big room grime anthem ‘Full Attention’ and Champion’s bumpy funky number ‘Sensitivity’. I don’t think I’ve been this hyped about a UK funk vocalist since I heard Katy B on ‘As I’ or ‘Tell Me’. Hopefully we’ll see Ruby Lee keep on the sick beats from people like that for a while yet, because it sounds far too good. We can only dream of pop this raw and fun to spread in ’12... Maybe with vocalists like Ruby Lee, Terri Walker, Lily McKenzie and Miss Fire the UK is onto something.

They’re another one I tipped last year and they didn’t slouch either continuing their killer shows on Sub FM and dropping a quality handful of 12”s on Keysound from various producers in the crew. They still sound like no one else, they make their own world and its one I want to hear more of. More 12”s, more sets, maybe an album and I’m more than happy.

Main Attrakionz
In ’11 the Green Ova gang kinda nailed that spaced out euphoric vibe on their countless mixtapes. ASAP Rocky and Lil B kind of took the attention when it came to that Clams Casino vibe in hip-hop in ’11 but for me Main Attrakionz where way ahead of the pack and it’s something I hope they keep rolling in the new year.

I’ve already gone on for too long and have no doubt missed a bunch but there you go, happy New Year. Keep it locked.

Honorable Mentions: Helix, Golau Glau, Ghosting Season, Young L, Logos, Visionist, Kahn, Dropping Gems, Wanda Group, DjRUM, Artifact, King Louie. Knowing Looks, Gang Colours, Pedestrian, Gunplay, Ifan Dafydd, Palace, Mosca, 5kinandbone5, Cooly G, Tom Trago, Bok Bok, Throwing Snow, Manny, Hookworms, Space Dimention Controller, Hype Williams, Laurel Halo, Jam City, Damu, Erra, Alex Zen, Starlito, Royal T, Kowton, Maxmillion Dunbar, Darksky, Walton, Funkystepz, T.Williams, Nochexxx, October, Outboxx, Hodge, Maya Jane Coles, DVA, Chairman Kato, J.G.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Golau Glau presents: Libraries & Vinyl / Saturday 12th November, 2.30pm @ Test Space, Leeds.

My favourite silver pop duo/project Golau Glau are running an exhibition at the Test Space in Leeds from 10th-13th November 2011. They’re an interesting one, an anonymous collective that caught my ear a while back so much so we at SR caught up with them and gave away an EP earlier in the year. So when they ask for me to head down the road with some records I’m more than willing...

In their words the Exhibition will feature...

‘A new sound and photography work about the closure of public libraries, ‘Public Interest’, and a selection of other sound works, videos and photographs by Golau Glau. There will be a programme/zine to accompany the exhibition, and it’s free to get in’.

As well as that they’ve put together a killer opening line-up featuring some serious local talent: Hookworms are doing their thing live so expect a psyched-out dream-like stare rock vibe from them. Runners are turning in a DJ set, so it sounds like we’re in for a mad one there. Plus Ewan Jamieson from the ace local photo site A Negative Narrative touches down with a set of his own. You know its all people Golau Glau like...

EXHIBITION LAUNCH: Thursday 10th November, 7.30pm, FREE ENTRY

All well and good you say, but here comes the (other) good bit...

‘James Balf from Sonic Router will be playing a laid-back vinyl-only DJ set and Lauren Smith from Voices for the Library is doing a talk on public library closures’

Yeah I’ll be spinning a 90-odd min selection for Golau Glau right after the talk from Lauren. I’ve never played after a lass talking about library closures before so it should be a nice change of pace. Plus this is one of the reason I love Golau Glau they keep it outside the box and get some interesting ideas rolling. I figure they feel the passion and energy people have for the two subjects make for an interesting juxtaposition. One that’ll make for an event that’ll reach a different audience than it usually would.

Head down Thursday for some bands, I’m hoping to make it. Then reach on Saturday where I’ll be playing a laid back selection of oddities, slow motion house, synth explorations, plenty of bass and anything else I can fit in my record bag.

Test Space are event producers, promoters, artists and curators. Test Space is also currently a physical space in the centre of Leeds, hosting exhibitions, gigs, live performance, theatre, pop up restaurants and club nights.

Test Space, Unit 2-4 Melbourne Street, Leeds LS2 7PS

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Trim – I Am [Butterz]

Trim is prolific, this year alone he’s released four mixtapes. The grime scene veteran, ex-Roll Deep member and an undisputed grime war hero that isn’t shy of barring with the best has been on one of late, he seems revitalised as his e work rate suggest. He’s got something to say and the beats to back it up. The last time he hit wax was on an experimental eski-esq banger from Becoming Real and that’s just the tip of the ice-burg when it comes to Trim taking on some seriously out there beats. He’s barred on everyone from Starkey to Harmonic 313 in a quest to explore new ground. Hooking up with Butterz seems natural, they’ve been putting out quality instrumentals the last few years that always hit hard but kept it interesting too plus they’ve been crying out for full vocal treatment after some hardcore radio testing with some fine MCs on Rinse.

Trust Butterz to get some quality cuts from Trim and put them on wax, picking Trim after the garage leaning grime banger ‘Boo You’ from P Money & Blacks is a no brainer. They keep that ‘Phase Two’ vision on track by bringing in the MCs and continues to expand their sound. Here Trim vocals two absolute percy’s from the Butterz impressive back catalogue: TRC’s ‘Skipping Rope’ and D.O.K.’s ‘Chemical Planet’ with a remix of the title track from Birmingham’s Preditah to round off the package.

TRC’s instro does exactly what it says on the label, it’s got that skip and Trim hits his stride with his vocal version ‘I Am’ with a tight flow that matches the supple beat bar for bar. Those midi hi-hats and horns next to those irresistibly funky synth lines have that melancholic vibe that suits the introspective self depreciating bars he spits, lines like ‘Put myself in a pickle and belittle myself, piggy in the middle trying to wiggle myself out, I’m the only one who can let myself down’ or ‘East side we’ve got flees, sniffs, we’ve got weed’ and the chorus ‘this is what I am...’ really fit that down key synth melody. But that track still has that grime edge, since the skip is relentless and the synth bright enough to bring out that dark-side humour Trim has which also means it fits that confidence and bravado of lines such as ‘Trim’s in the rave don’t bring your girl out’, ‘I’m a star I can light the sky, with no fireworks’ or the twisted ‘when I creep I have the whole room crawling’ just as well. It’s Trim being Trim you get what you see.

Preditah turns in a filter heavy remix of ‘I Am’, that still manages to keep that sweeping synth funk but adds a stop start kicking rhythm to replace that energetic bump the original has, it’s got a moody edge to it that suits Trim’s vocals especially on the chorus. The skippy flow Trim brings in his bars play off the laid back widescreen energy of Preditah’s instro to add a nice bit of tension that really teases out the introspection and turns the track from a bumping party track to a late night blazer, the mood is flipped.

The flip ‘Notice Now’ see’s Trim upping the aggression over D.O.K.’s Sonic inspired banger ‘Chemical Planet’, he rides that tough funk with some serious bravado, chatting about how you’ve got to take note and when he goes in like he does on this 12” it’s hard not to agree. If you wade into his stream of mixtapes this year you get sizeable glimpses of just how good Trim is but that star really shines when you get a concentrated dose such as this.

Originally written for Sonic Router.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Sonic Router at Fabric This Friday

We’re very honoured to be hosting room three at Fabric alongside some of our favourite labels Hessle Audio and Tectonic this Friday. Get down early since the bill is jam packed with names you don’t want to miss. Plus Sonic Router DJs will be kicking off proceedings in room three: MLR 10-11 & Me (jimitheexploder) 11-12.

You still have a little time to enter our competition to win tickets by heading over here.

See you down the front.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

XXXY, My Panda Shall Fly, Nightwave, Throwing Snow, Seams, Anthony C & Me @ The Nest, Dalston LDN. 27th May / Forefront @ The Lamp, Hull. 28th May

Catch me at The Nest at the end of the month: I’m spinning with XXXY, My Panda Shall Fly, Nightwave, Throwing Snow, Seams and Anthony C in London for God Don’t Like It. The line-up is big and there events are solid, it’ll be a good way to start your long bank holiday weekend. Then I’m switching it up in Hull with Forefront Recordings: head honcho Webstarr is putting together a soundclash and invited me along. He just put out a record from Slackk and has one on the way from NKC and they both sound like hot ones. If you’re in the area drop in it’ll be live.

Grab the promo mix I did for God Don’t Like It bellow.

Kevin McPhee – Get in With You (LV remix) [[Nakedlunch]]
Mau’lin – Deeper Than the Sun [Ho Tep]
Boddika – Soul What [Swamp 81]
FaltyDL – Hip Love [Ramp]
Unknown Artist – Unknown [Analogue Solutions]
Head High – It’s A Love Thing (Piano Invasion) [Power House]
Thomas Bangalter – I Don’t Know Why [RoulĂ©]
Maurice Donovan – Satisfied [ssssssss]
Funkystepz – Fuller [Hyperdub]
Champion – Loose Control [Hardrive]
Ossie – Tarantula [Lightworks]
Elgato – Music (Body Mix) [Hessle Audio]
DJ Qu – Babyluv [Strength Music]
Addison Groove – Minuets of Funk [3024]
Dark Sky – High Rise [Blunted Robots]
Desto – Glass Clouds [Ramp]
Silkie – Float [Deep Medi]
Alex Zen – Pimp Shoes [Berkane Sol]
S-X – Woooo (DJ Q Remix) [Butterz]
Teeth – Shawty [502]
Ekoplekz – Dayton Romance [Mordant Music]


Jimi the Exploder mix for God Don't Like It by Anthonygdli

Free before 10pm, £5 after, close at 4am @ The Nest.


Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sonic Router x Hivemind x Xpldr Session // 24.04.11 @ 10-12pm GMT

SR has a fresh new look, we’ve re-launched check it out on plus I’m on the radio tonight at 10-12pm GMT over on

Since this weekend is a long slow hot Easter weekend I’m going to play it as such so tune in for a slow burning, spaced out, BBQ lighting, sun beaming session. We’re going to take it from 110 upwards, I’m keeping it long and loose. Long blends, deep grooves, BBQ beats.

It’s the Easter, eggs out warm down. All wax, crackle included, keep locked for DJ dates in May.

My last show can be found here.

Sonic Router X Hivemind.Fm: Xpldr Session - 27.03.2011 by Sonic Router on Mixcloud

Archive and tracklist on SR later...

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Ekoplekz – Memowrekz [Mordant Music]

Ekoplekz first came into view via. Punch Drunk late last year and it was an unexpected and downright refreshing release for the label that acted like a pallet cleanser. Not many people expected a dubbed-out beat-less noisy analogue freak out from one of the leading lights of the, for want of a better word… dubstep scene. Peverelist’s open policy of putting out pretty much anything he’s feeling as long as you’re from Bristol paid off yet again though. When you dig a bit deeper the move makes a lot of sense, noisy freak outs aren’t to far removed from dubtsep’s outer limits as the label in question here: Mordant Music has been working with another Bristol freak from the scene Shackleton for years, he draws together those distant yarns in his own way. You can connect threads further field too: Ben UFO pretty much played a noise set the other night on Rinse, debuting some extreme guitar excursions by Andrew Coltrane from Trilogy Tapes that’s a label who’ve dropped a 12” from Dro Carey who has been known to get a bit dissonant with his sound pallet all while keeping that dance slant rolling, same goes for Egyptrixx and his noisy past you hear filter into his Night Slugs… Then you have the general love for people like Hype Williams and Forest Swords from the scene… But right now we’re concentrating on the latest long-player/double-cassette and don’t worry digital collection from Bristol’s improvisational analogue experimentalist Ekoplekz.

Memowrekz is an epic thirty three track workout of dub infused dissonant synth music, it’s a tough one to pin down. It’s the sound of the Radiophonic workshop on a bender, blazed-out taking Dr. Who on an adventure through cavernous warehouse full of abandoned synths and dub records, in some sort of alternative universe where they’ve come alive, joined forces and have minds of their own. But this time the Doctor just chills out and vibes off the mutant soundboy’s and rolls another… It’s a dystopian vision but one that draws you in, it’s dissonant but never gets overtly confrontational. Its tough to draw comparisons, the record sits somewhere within that bunch of freaks on Olde English Spelling Bee: Stella Om Source and maybe even Forest Swords, its got the synths of one and the heavy dub of the other. But that’s to simplistic… You could draw lines with the Not Not Fun stable: Sun Araw’s and Peaking Lights dub-psych jams, both the heavy and breezy angles... It even fits next to Oneohtrix Point Never, but its way more free flowing, compelling and as much as I dig last years ‘Returnal’ it seems simplistic and rigid compared to Ekoplekz. This is the album I wish that one was in some ways.

The free flowing nature of these tracks brought on by the improvisational nature of the way Ekoplekz works really shows and pays dividends. Deep synth squiggles get shaped before your eyes. Beats bubble under, when they appear at all. Echo drenched surges of noise build layers of intensity on top of the warm synth tones. It’s intertwined with the odd bass and guitar line, dropped deep into the synthetic ocean of sound. The aesthetic should surely be harder work than it is, but Memowerkz makes for a really enjoyable listen. Blissful bright passages making each tonal change in mood and texture really pop, the extremes are balanced with ease, it’ll grab you, draw you in and take you somewhere you wouldn’t expect. Ekoplekz and Mordant Music are a killer combination: wrap your ears around this.

Mix: Electronic Explorations #146: Ekoplekz

Originally written for the revamped and fresh looking:

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Sonic Router x Hivemind x Xpldr Session // 27.03.11 @ 10-12pm GMT

This Sunday 10-12pm GMT I’m back on Hivemind FM for Sonic Router lock in to hear a load of fresh wax on the Xpldr Session. Big up Oli for the last show which you can find in the archives on our mixcloud along with our other shows. Scribble it down: every second and fourth Sunday of the month, lock in, and end your week with SR. Join our facebook group for updates and listen to our track of the day while you’re at it.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Esben & The Witch – Violet Cries [Matador]

Brooding post-rock addled haunted indie soundscapes are what Brighton trio Esben & The Witch deal in. They’ve been on my radar since the very promising EP ‘33’ appeared a year ago, meanwhile they’ve been honing their skills at gigs and in the studio. Only to get picked up by indie big guns Matador, they even landed a spot on the BBC sound of poll and unleash this, their debut album. It’s an assured slow burning long player that shows a young band with plenty of vision and a load of potential. To my ears at least they can sound like If Zola Jesus had a slightly more epic, atmospheric hazy sound and binged on post-rock then you’d get somewhere close, there is a haunted disconcerting beauty to them both. If you took Warpaint out of their garage and recorded them having a near death experience through blown amplifiers in a bigger garage with more plug sockets for drum machines and effects units, you wouldn’t be far off either. They even stand quite well with Laurel Halo’s off-kilter lo-fi pop too. It cold even be said there’s a hint of Portishead in there somewhere but that’s enough comparisons: on with the album.

They build soundscapes that slowly unveil: opener ‘Argyria’ melts into view before teasing a more song like structure then seeping into the next track ‘Marching Song’ which makss a welcome re-appearance from the ‘33’ EP and its sounding better than ever its all high drama and pent up tension. The melancholy, delicate beauty of ‘Marine Fields Grow’ is one to really sink into. We’re really rolling with the one two punch of ‘Chorea’ and ‘Warpath’ slap bang in the middle of the record. They both have a bit of drive and intensity its where the album starts to burst into energy, emerging out of the hazy unsettling dreamscapes into something more sinister. ‘Chorea’ has some seriously luscious shimmering guitars, machine drums and sweeping vocal melodies. While ‘Warpath’ runs with a different kind of energy, there is a melodic, other-worldly spiky almost HEALTH-like post-punk shimmer to the guitar lines before it all drops into a spaced out state of bliss.

We get all tender again with ‘Eumendies’ hushed tones, layers of sound and bubbling building electronics that flow out of the quite before getting a bit twisted and upping the energy and fragmenting into bursts of noise and haunted melody and back again then right when you least expect it, an indie disco thump... The final track ‘Swans’ chimes, drones and rings into effect and ushers Violet Cries out in fine off centre style that goes from haunting dissonant passages of shimmering melody it’s a sweet low key ending. Esben & The Witch are a young band that have really found their feet with the debut album, they’re still growing and mutating but they’ve got confidence in their sound and it shows. The song writing, vocals and soundscapes all come together beautifully. Violet Cries is an interesting listen and a solid record, they’re ones to keep an eye on, they’ll be one of the best new bands around for a while.

Video: Esben & The Witch - Warpath


Saturday, 26 February 2011

Sonic Router x Hivemind x The Xpldr Session // 27.02.2011 @ 10-12pm GMT

Justify Full‘Catch Jimi The Exploder presenting The Xpldr Session for Sonic Router every 4th Sunday at the same time from 27th Feb 2011’

Yeah I’m stepping up from my ustream sessions to hosting my first radio show on Hivemind FM this weekend for Sonic Router. I’ll be taking over every fourth Sunday of the month @ 10-12pm GMT from Oli, he’s still doing the second Sunday of every month so you know. Just a quick heads up to remind people it’s coming. Get ready to lock in, jump in the chat room. Expect a range of vibes, loads of beats and bass. It’s going to be live!



Saturday, 5 February 2011

LHF – EP2: The Line Path [Keysound]

LHF are a shadowy organisation and to be honest that’s just the way we like it. They comprise of a production crew of about seven. They keep it tight and have built a world of their own that seems both far-reaching and contained all at once. You never know which way they’re going to turn next when you listen to their sets but it always fits and sounds unmistakeably LHF. The Line Path EP is split between producers Amen Ra and Double Helix two of the group’s core members.

Double Helix keeps the bumping rhythmic dubtep patterns going like on the previous EP. The horn samples give ‘Chamber of Light’ a Wu Tang kind of feel when they hit, well Wu Tang if they also featured Mala on the buttons. The drums and space are as infectious as ever; Double Helix has got a way with programming that really gets things bumping. Tablas, woodblocks and all manner of percussive nuggets just keep rolling on the next track ‘Bass 2 Dark’ too. Bursts of jabbering bass synths hit out of the rhythmic shuffle and pulsing sub bass.

Amen Ra’s track ‘Candy Rain’ sounds like it could be taken from the Brainfeeder stable, its got a similar de-tuned, melted vibe that a lot of Samiyam’s work has. The unlikely coupling of what sounds like an accordion or a synth version of it, steppy rhythms and warm lazy bass tones give the track a bright lilting funk. It’s undoubtedly a highlight. He rounds of the 12” with a techy dystopian vision on ‘Trifle’, its all dusty driving synths and gritty textures played like the soundtrack to a sci-fi race scene set in the ruins of Detroit.

The Line Path wets the appetite, which is a good thing considering the amount of quality material they’ve got. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. Two EPs in and I’m already hoping an album is on the horizon.

Amen Ra & Vibezin Live @ The Boiler Room

Originally written for Sonic Router.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Royal T – Orangeade EP [Butterz]

With a few 12”s already under his belt as well as some impressive tracks here and there Royal T has been making all the right moves, ‘Beat Fighter’ and his ‘Hot Ones’ remix have barely left the bag since they dropped. So here he is with his latest EP on Butterz, who’ve had a hell of a run lately with percy’s from TRC and DOK still very much fresh in the mind, plus the much called for vinyl release of the sublime ‘Wooo’ riddim by SX, anyway on with the T.

Fizz and bubble into action with ‘Orangeade’ a rhythmically skippy hyped up grime weapon that bangs hard with enough intensity to keep floors alight. Atmospheric pads and synth whines shuffle into bumpy beats and big bass tones to great effect on this one, it oozes hyper-funk. Remember a cheeky Beastie Boys single called ‘Alive’ well ‘Whistle Song’ isn’t it but the whistle melody does make me want to sing ‘dip dip dive, so-socialise open up your ears and open up your eyes’ over the top of it. In fact it sounds like what would happen if Daft Punk did too many lines of coke/glasses of orangeade whipped out the talky-box, lived in Bow and remixed it at 140bpm. Which obviously means it’s a catchy little banger... The return on the devil mix concept is a welcome one, especially when it’s done well. In the hands of the likes of Zomby, Untold and more recently Logos the beat-less/restrained twisted grime instro pioneered by Wiley is an inspired creation. Royal T also pulls it off on ‘Music Please (Devil Mix)’ morphing the hyped up synth leads into a pent up hypnotic gem that keeps on brooding.

Royal T is really starting to show his versatility and is growing into his own now ‘Orangeade’ bangs differently. They’ll be plenty more on the horizon too as you’ll no doubt know if you’ve heard his slinky garage remix of TRC on the radio recently. He shows some serious breadth and quality keep an eye out. Just a quick word on the promo video too the OGz: P Money, Lil Dee and Blacks go in hard they’re tight and sharp on T’s beats its one of the best promos around.


Originally written for Sonic Router. Check out the Interview and Mix.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Dro Carey – Venus Knock EP [The Trilogy Tapes]

The young Australian producer is one to keep an eye on this year; his blend of haunted hip-hop is really on point. The debut 12” is a super limited affair for The Trilogy Tapes so get in quick. If you miss it don’t fret because we’ll be hearing more, Ikonika has already mentioned picking him up for a release on Hum & Buzz. The ‘Venus Knock’ EP shows Dro Carey flexing his muscles and knocking out some seriously twisted mutations. Imagine a heavier variant on the ghostly R&B of How To Dress Well or Hype Williams playing off the computer funk of Actress or 10-20 and the twisting bass heavy drum machine/sample workouts of DJ Rashad then you’ll be somewhere close.

We start with a strong opener with the brooding ‘Get Rid Of This Guy’, which takes rolling 808 drum patterns and plays them off a menacing sluggish synth tone. Along with the infectious chopped vocal motifs it’s a real winner. Quick on its heels is the booming title track ‘Venus Knock’, bass hits punch wholes in your chest as an angry buzz swoops into view through a post-industrial haze it’s sinister. Flip the wax over for the slow motion smudge of ‘Dead Keys’, which feels like its come fresh off the set of a horror film with a scene set in a Chicago house club. The vocal hits twisted in and out of shape against the creeping backdrop. While the closer ‘Glitter Variables’ sounds like a submarine in trouble sampled and chopped into the form of a lost Dance Mania record. A solid EP all round.

Dro Carey Trilogy Tapes Promo from DC vampira on Vimeo.

Friday, 31 December 2010

Looking Forward >>>

There is plenty of music to look forward to in ’11 as always, so much so that this list could go on forever. So I’ve chosen a load of people I’m looking forward to hearing more of in the coming year. Plus I’m keeping it to people that are either bubbling under, pretty new, just need shouting about or have something cool on the way I’m excited about.

They dropped plenty of teasers in ’10 their first EP for Keysound is just the tip of the iceberg just check out their massive radio/mix archives for proof. More EPs and hopefully an album on the way in ’11 means we’re all in for a treat. They’ve built their own world that sounds unlike anything else but gets close to what I’d imagine Flying Lotus soundclashing DMZ on a pirate radio station in another dimension would be like.

Martin Kemp
Easily sitting quietly at the forefront of the UK’s dance underground the Blunted one keeps the quality stuff creeping out consistently. His sound has so much bump, flex and weight that they’re a pleasure to dig out. Its got to be tough to make a tough yet supple house groove that really flexes but he makes it sound easy. More of that will make ’11 more than a pleasure.

He’s been so consistent with his deep techy bass addled vision of the UK house sound in ’10. I’m always reaching for his beats and those of his Deep Teknologi label mates. There is something about the dark side of UK Funky that really appeals to me, the balance of rough and raw with a subtle soulful flex is a killer combination.

Kassem Mosse
At the front end of ’10 I was still pretty bored of house/techno it had been years since I’d been excited by the sound. UK funky and its hybrids slowly brought me back to that tempo and this man Kassem Mosse alongside, MMM, Kyle Hall, Omar S and John Roberts feel it again. A steady stream of 12”s would keep me hooked for sure.

Bakey Ustl
His debut EP on Unthank is one of the most fucked up and compelling house 10”s I’ve heard for some time. I’m really looking forward to hearing what’s up his sleeve for ‘11. More curveballs and mad house grooves are more than welcome around these parts.

Jam City
He’s been taking it kind of slow in ’10 after some hefty hype before anything had really happened he kept his cool and a couple of 12”s later and I’m on board, expect big things from the Night Slugger next year. Rumours of an album on the horizon and god know what else should see that he has a big year. His sound is just infectious, that raw blend of eski grime, supple electro and an ear for turning things on their heads are a good combination.

Non Person
He just dropped a few hints in ’10 but its wet my appetite that’s for sure. The 12” on Clouds label Channel Zero is a killer slice of out there hip-hop with a heavy bass music thread running through it. Sitting somewhere in no mans land between Clouds, Brainfeeder and Mount Kimbie, Non Person finds a place of his own. I’d love to hear more.

Every time a track of his comes on the radio my ears prick up. There is something about his synths and infectious melodies that puts him next to the likes of Hyetal, Rustie and half of Night Slugs as someone that can bring a load of emotion to a dance floor in a twisted euphoric ball of energy. With releases on the way for Keysound and Local Action in the pipeline he’s going to be making moves and I can’t wait to hear it.

Esben and the Witch
Like quite a few tips here they where one of mine for last year as well and they delivered some quality stuff bubbled under and got singed to Matador, where they’ll be releasing their debut album ‘Violet Cries’ next year. Top quality brooding post-rock drenched indie music.

Dro Carey
Hazy dreamlike visions of hip-hop and R&B from a youngster from OZ, he’s had one 12” so far on Trilogy Tapes, a load of tumblr posted bootlegs and the odd mix. It all sounds pretty irresistible I’m intrigued. With forthcoming material on Ikonika’s Hum & Buzz label and god knows what else he’s got to be one to watch.

Golau Glau
The mysterious silver pop duo have been a top tip of mine for some time now, they’ve got an album in the works and have been in the lab getting their sound down. No one does the haunted silver pop like them and I for one can’t wait to hear what they come up with.

Murdz 86
He’s a UK Funky machine, raw house sounds with some of the most infectious percussion around. Its tough but with a load of flex, big bass and dance floor potential. Along with the likes of Funkystepz, Ill Blu, Coobe Beatz and Mad One, Murdz is someone I’d love to see releases from in ’11 because every time I tune into Live FM his tracks make my head turn.

Royal T
He’s been around a while but has built up a nice set of 12”s over the last year or so for the likes of No Hats No Hoods and Butterz, which are a solid foundation to build on for this coming year. He’s always switching up and coming differently with his sound by making grime bangers that fit his vibe and spread it out all at once. Alongside SRC, TRC, Teeza, Swindle, Darq E Freaker, Spooky and a load of others grime beats are in good hands.

So many more…

Monday, 27 December 2010

Mixes of 2010

This is a tough one the amount of mixes that can be found online is pretty insane, week in week out another arrives and gets a play. So off the top of my head I bring to you a selection of the finest mixes from this year. They come in no particular order, so don’t watch the ranking...

The Final Ruffage Session w/ Ben UFO, Ramadanma & Pangaea
What a way to start a year by killing off one of the best radio shows around: Ruffage Sessions. It was the brainchild of the above Hessle Audio crew, they made moves from their Leeds base with this show, not to mention their club night that went by the same name, which also ended this year in a quality send off with Shackleton, Kode9 and every Hessle guy within a 1m radius. This show was a special four-hour send off on Sub FM before the crew headed off to new things. It was bitter sweat at the time but ever since the crew have moved onto bigger things so its all good.

Bonus Best of Ruffage Sessions

Burial & Kode9 for Mary Anne Hobbs’ last show on Radio One
This was a watershed moment this year, Mary Anne Hobbs left radio one for pastures new after leaving one hell of a legacy and impact that rings through the UK underground far and wide. She managed to coax out Burial for a mix with non other than Kode9 and it’s a special one that’s for sure.

Ben UFO - Hessle Forever and Ever and Ever Mix #62 for LuckyMe
If your some kind of fool that doesn’t tune into the Hessle Audio show on Rinse every other thursday or so w/ regulars like Pangaea and Ramadanman or go to clubs then you’re missing out on one of the best DJs around in Ben UFO. His record bags are deep his mixing is insane, genres clash in the smoothest most unexpected ways, he’s the one and this will give you a taste.

LHF – Keepers of the Light Mix
This mysterious crew turn in mix after mix of solid gold on Sub FM and from their studio’s, they where one of my tips for ’10 and they continue to be for 2011 and you can see why from getting your ears around Keepers of the Light. I’m not messing around when I say they carve their own unique sound out in these mixes, it’s a world of its own.

Petchy on Live FM
Its tough to pin point an actual mix here, he’s on the radio most weeks and kills it every time with his MC Topsee. They epitomised UK Funky in 2010 with their raw charismatic pirate radio party vibes. Tune in to see for yourself or you’re missing out big time but catch the vibe from this teaser.

DJ Spinn & DJ Rashad’s Mix #195 for Fact
Two original juke heads go deep into the mix for fact and show us how its done Chicago style, which is a refreshing change to hearing bits from people from outside of the scene or cruising youtube, which was about the only way we could hear this until this year. It’s a mix full of hypnotic party vibes with a load of soul and drum machine workouts to die for.

Addison Groove Mix #157 for Fact
Headhunter went ape-shit this year and decided to break juke in the UK, he got addicted to the drum-machine/sample workouts and took it upon himself to make his own variants of the Chicago sound all while representing the native sounds of Rashad, Spinn and many more to UK audiences, it caused a hell of a stir and you can taste it in this mix. If you didn’t already have it this one from late last year is a must too:

Peverelist Mix #218 for Resident Advisor
He’s got to be one of my favourite producers around, no one sounds like him and that goes for his DJ sets too. His mixing is tight and selection on point, he lets the music breathe and find its own feat perfectly. Here you can see him blur the lines between dub, techno and dubstep in a distinctly Bristol way.

Levon Vincent Mix #46 for mnmlssgs
This came early in the year and still kills it big time. His spacious, tracky dubbed-out techno sound already feels timeless in its own way. If you like to get lost in a groove then you’ll be swimming in this one. Deep NY underground house sounds just keep bumping, it’s a subtle one that gets under the skin that’s for sure.

Shackleton Mix #133 for Electronic Explorations
Rob Booth’s EE mixes have been an inspiration for some time now and he pulls in one hell of a guest on this one. Shackleton’s sets are more like hypnotic tribal freak-outs than mixes. He plays live via laptop instead of DJing and does it the only way he knows how… Like a post-apocalyptic bass-addled thing, no one sounds like Shackleton. Its dark yet groovy spaced out and intense. His Fact CD has to be one of the best since Omar S too.

Kyle Hall & Floating Points on Rinse FM
Two amazing producers/DJs get together and cause mayhem on the airwaves by digging deep into their crates to create a vibe so big it stretched from Detroit to London. Rare house and techno gems sat alongside modern UK bass variants and laid back funk rollers with ease. You get the feeling these guys could keep mixing for days and it wouldn’t get tired.

Brainfeeder Radio w/ Flying Lotus, The Gaslamp Killer, Ras G, Samiyam, Daedelus, Jeremiah Jae, Tokimonsta, Teebs, Strangeloop, matthewdavid, Kode9 and more…
Flying Lotus decided to celebrate the release of Cosmogramma and enjoy 420 with an epic live session that went on for hours from his crew Brainfeeder and anyone else that was in town. It was pure vibes all night long.

Darkstar Mix for 20jazzfunkgrates and Fact Mix # 200
This mix came right at the top of the year and showcased Darkstar’s vision, it was some kind of utopia with plenty of soul and space filtered through twenty-first century machines. If you book end it with their Fact mix last month ( you get some kind of insight into a group that created one of the best slow burning albums this year

Club Autonomic’s Layer Podcast Series
This was one hell of a series that set the tone of Autonomic’s moves this year. Headed by Instra:mental & dBridge the crew unleashed genre bending blends of techno, d’n’b, house, indie, old school electro and god knows what else in a seamless mix of new and old wearing their influences on their sleeves and reaching out into the unknown all at once. Oh yeah they also ran one of the best labels around Nonplus+

Braiden’s Journey Home Mix for Low End Spasm
One of the best DJs around is on Rinse most weeks, right now he’s showcasing an irresistible melting together of sounds that range from old school electro to UK bass variants via house and techno. He does it like no one else. This mix from earlier in the year gives you an idea of what he’s been about, but tune into his Rinse show for further reaching up to date selections they can’t be messed with. His breakout single ‘The Alps’ isn’t to shabby either.

Elijah & Skilliam Mix # 175 for Xlr8r
The Butterz crew killed it this year bringing fresh new life into instrumental grime, making moves as DJs and by setting up a label they showed there was still a raw party vibe hiding in grime’s underbelly. They kept it upfront with talent new and old, Terror Danjah, Swindle, Starkey and DOK feature heavily as well as up and comers like Royal T, SRC, TRC… Pure energy. This mix showcases their sound as well as any other they dropped this year.

Geiom’s mix for Planet Mu
He always puts out a solid mix, here we get a quality blend of sleek techy funky and many of its hybrids. It’s the mix that introduced me to Stella Om Source too. Quality producer, quality label, quality DJ.

Terre Thaemlitz Mix #188 for RA
A laid-back mix of ambient material and other quality selections from DJ Sprinkles, Terre crosses genres and spans many years here to great effect, it’s a beauty.

Since this list has been mostly about Internet downloads a shout out needs to go out to all those inspirational cats on the radio who week in week out turn in incredible moments of musical bliss: Dusk & Blackdown, Oneman, Brackles, Bok Bok, Elijah & Skilliam, more Petchy and any time Jackmaster reaches.

Not to mention all the Sonic Router mixes. My personal favourites have to be: Blawan, Non Person, Pariah, Clubroot, SRC, Dynooo, Orphan101, Icicle, Hypno, Distal, Desto, Oli’s bleep and Hivemind’s and Always Everything’s too, Eighteen, oh and Xpldr #1/#2/#3 by me if I had to give myself a shout…
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