Sunday, 27 December 2009

10-20 – Lake [Highpoint Lowlife]

The second EP to be released from the Landforms series after the fantastic Island and the debut self-titled album from earlier in the year. The Landforms series will conclude in 2010 with Isthmus and Mountains but to round off a brilliant year for Highpoint Lowlife 10-20 drops some more haunted electronica.

The reverb drenched ‘Overloam’d’ comes on like a eerie underwater hip-hop traffic jam, distant breaks, alien bubbles, and horns make up a lilting groove. ‘Endzone’ and in fact the EP on a whole is more laid back and fluid as the name suggests compared to some of his work. The subtle twirling, looped melodies reach out and hypnotise like shimmering water. ‘Boat’ gives me pictures of the gentle chug of an engine against the simple calm of an open lake.

The finale comes in the form of ‘GolgothA’, which echoes the s/t albums aesthetic more than the rest of the EP does, with the sounds of an industrial past distantly working while the sound gets filtered through an 8-bit rendition of natural landscapes: A fitting end to this addition to the Landforms series.

Buy: 10-20 – Lake

Buy: 10-20 – Island

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

>>> Looking Forward >>>

2010 is already looking like a bumper year with plenty of artists ready to release more wonderful music, so to heck with trying to sum up the last year for now… I just want to share with you twenty or so artists from genres far and wide, established or new to the game that I’m looking forward to hearing more of next year.

Darkstar: With a debut album on the way for the mighty Hyperdub the early sings of which sound like a really interesting deviation from the garage sounds to more song based electronic pop not unlike their recent Radiohead remake. They’re set to make waves next year and I for one can’t wait to see what they come up with.

Joker: It’s been a huge year for him already with 12” after 12” of heavy, fun and addictive music. But with an album in the works and unreleased business like ‘Tron’, its VIP counterpart and ‘My Trance Girl’ sounding amazing in the dance he’s bound to take off even more in 2010 and that’s even before the rumours appeared that he’s working with Silkie at some point.

James Blake: This guy has so much talent, he can sing and produce some insane music. He’s made some of my favourite music this year yet has only released two records for Untold’s Hemlock recordings. He’s got another on the way with Airhead on BRAiNMATH and he features in the live setup for Mount Kimbie so fingers crossed for plenty more in 2010.

Mount Kimbie: They made two amazing EPs this year for the amazing Hotflush that just blew me away. Their off-kilter take on hip-hop slanted garage/electronica experiments are so refreshing, they just show so much promise so more from them is a must. And with a Hemlock in the pipeline it should be an exciting time.

Starkey: A long time favourite of mine, who’s debut album Ephemeral Exhibits I still can’t stop listening too for its hyper coloured, melodic street bass sounds. Well he’s all ready to drop another album on us called, ‘Ear Drums and Black Holes’ on planet mu, which has also had an amazing year… With more vocal workouts and hyperactive party music, its bound to be a treat.

Guido: After finally getting my hands on ‘Beautiful Complication’ and ‘Chakra’ after maybe a years wait I’d just love to see more releases from the incredibly talented producer with his unique blend of bass addled R&B and with a rumoured full length on the way, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Esben and the Witch: After bumping into the Brighton band online and listening to the demo ‘33’ that they gave me, I just knew they had potential and since they’ve picked up a manager, released a track on Dance To The Radio and gained lots of attention for their distinct haunting sound. Good luck to them next year, I hope there are more release and plenty of gigs on the horizon.

Golau Glau: The mysterious duo just keep sending me brilliant demos, many of which you can hear yourself on their myspace and last fm sites. They make a slinky silver pop sound that encompasses electronica of all kinds with a beautiful sense of pop. Good luck to them for next year, where I just hope to see more of the same, more attention and someone to release their music.

Worriedaboutsatan: following a really big year for them, where they gained a lot of attention for their album Arrivals and released a double remix album, I’d love top see them play more and gain more attention as well as do their thing in the studio, sculpting epic post-rock infused techno and electronica. Good luck to them in 2010.

Trouble Books: The MIE signings have made some of my favourite low-key home made indie pop in the last few years, there music has so much heart and is a joy to hear, the Endless Pool EP this year was just beautiful as was The United Colours Of… the year before. There set to continue the trend with another album ready to drop in 2010 and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

Pariah: He’s been sending me some brilliant demos that showcase his wonderful hip-hop leaning future garage sounds that both make you want to move and make you fall into a state of bliss. With tracks like ‘Detroit Falls’ and plenty more he’s a real talent and one to watch. I wish him lots of luck and hope to see more releases soon.

Lost From Atlas: Young local band from around my way that sound like they should be signed to Big Scary Monsters, mostly instrumental post-rock that meets technical, melodic math-rock with loads of energy and ideas. Their demos where very solid indeed and last time I heard they were making their debut album so lets wish them luck with that.

10-20: The glitchy electronic producer 10-20 may have been my surprise of the year. He echoes the ghost of hip-hop as well as industrial landscapes or some eerie premonitions of a distant future in his sound. His debut album from the brilliant Highpoint Lowlife just kept getting under my skin, plus he’s set to release two more sections of his landforms series next year already, let alone anything else he has up his sleeve.

Jamie Vex’d: After some game changing releases and mixes this year I’d love to see more releases and maybe even a full length on his own or in the Vex’d partnership. His twisting colourful sounds have been a highlight of my clubbing year, when he tore up Leeds recently.

LHF: They’ve only really come to my attention recently with their showcases on Dusk & Blackdown’s Rinse FM show but this crew are set for interesting things in 2010 after just being signed to Keysound to release an album. There sound comes across like a mixture of years of dubstep/garage experience with added hip-hop and house elements that doesn’t quite sound like anything else out there.

Flying Lotus: One of my favourites is set to come back in fine style for 2010 with a mix for DJ Kicks in the works (probably) and another album, which I think is called ‘A Space Opera’ EDIT its acctualy called ‘Cosmogramma’ and its due on Warp in April. He’s bound to come back in fine style.

Polar Bear: They just singed to the wonderful Leaf label and I can’t wait to hear more from this massively creative collective, who always bring new ideas to the table and play brilliant live shows. A new album on the way called, ‘Peepers’… I think… should be a treat for all you jazz lovers out there.

Geiom: The Berkane Sol head honcho is always on point making addictive and timeless music that fuses together electronica, dubstep, garage and house music in fine style to create a sound all of his own that just oozes soul and energy. I’d love to see loads more release from his label and him, maybe an album or something too its been some time since his first.

Terror Danjah: I’ve been playing catch up with him this year after the brilliant instrumental retrospective Gremlinz and 12” on Planet Mu. His distinct horror film grime funk gets under your skin and wont budge, it shows just how much musical talent there is in grime and he’s set to make moves with releases on Hyperdub and Butterz all in the pipeline.

Cooly G: I really fell for ‘Love Dub’ and ‘Narst’ this year and just kept finding myself going back to them time after time, then came the wonderfully skeletal ‘Weekend Fly’ that’s still growing on me. I’d love to see plenty more from her dubbed out funky house that sketch out some seriously soulful sounds and with a rumoured EP of collaborations on the way it looks like we’ll get it too.

Honourable mentions to: Pantha Du Prince, Owen Pallett, Banjo or Freakout, Deerhunter, Atlas Sound, Ikonika, Hyperdub, Kode9, Blue Daisy, Hyetal, Peverelist, Soul Motive, Burial, DVA, Ill Blue, Apple, Hotflush, Scuba, Joy Orbison, Hessel, Heny G, Deep Medi, DMZ, Swamp81, EL-B, Ghost, 2562, Tectonic, Gemmy, Rusite, Breakage, F, Taz Buckfaster, Trim, Durrty Goodz, Wiley, Rolo Tomassi, Youthmovies, Holy Roar, Big Scary Monsters, Highpoint Lowlife, Fantastic Mr Fox, Black Ache, Kapsize, No Pain In Pop, Jam City, Warp, Hemlock, Greena, Untold, Brackles, Shortstuff, Roska, Ramadanman, Pangaea, Apple Pips, Dam-Funk, Nite Jewel, Omar-S, Kyle Hall,, Samiyam, Slugabed, Salem, Gang Gang Dance, Floating Points, Ramp, SBTRKT, Gnomefoam, _, Rack & Ruin, Dot Rotten, Royal T, DOK, Swindle, Nocturnal, Zomby, FaltyDL, The xx, Blunted Robots, Wigflex, MIE, Talons’. All people I’m looking forward to hearing more of in 2010 not to mention many I’ve forgot to include and the many inevitable surprises.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Peverelist – Jarvik Mindstate [Punch Drunk]

The Jarvik heart is an artificial heart, a mechanical replacement for the biological heart an idea that echoes Peverelist’s music and explains the artwork for this his debut full-length record. The music he makes has this mechanical soul a flowing tech infused blues in the vain of much electronic music from the past. The need to make machines have a human soul and connect to us has a long history from Kraftwerk through the finest Detroit techno producers and many of today’s artists. The artwork also looks a little like the insides of what you’d expect to be under the swamp tinged digital camouflage jacket of the Hyperdub compilation ‘5’ or some kind of Jungelist outfit. Jarvik Mindstate is the debut full length from a producer that’s always had my attention, Peverelist the head honcho of Bristol label Punch Drunk.

The echo-drenched fanfares of ‘Esperanto’ ushers in the album while drum patterns, masterfully programmed to create some stone cold grooves, deep shifting bass tones and techy melodic loops make epic futuristic shapes infront of your speakers. These are all traits of Peverelist’s sound every track has a subtle stripped back feel that opens up gradually and develops into something stronger than the sum of its parts. The super minimal half-stepper ‘Revival’ with another Bristol mainstay Pinch has an epic sense of space and dread, a darkness that’s barely held together by an unknown force. The fantastic ‘Bluez’ is up next, a track that I’ve been wanting to get my hands on for some time along with ‘Esperanto’, the deep soulful organ melody that ushers in the bumping space bass really grows on you. The super dry mechanical sounds get drenched in a subtle merck and hypnotise relentlessly before prolonged synth pads and chiming robotic bells and that original organ loop drops in again and your left with a beautifully bitter sweat dance floor moment.

The title track ‘Jarvick Mindstate’ isn’t dissimilar to ‘Bluez’ with its looping organ style riff, but this time its altogether more urgent and tinged with electro snares that snap around the bumping kicks before descending into spaced out breakdowns and teasing hypnotic loops. ‘Yesterday I Saw The Future’ is another new track I’d not heard before the album and it’s an undoubted highlight for its booming bass lines mesmerising subtle melodies and watery underbelly. Its echoes Bristol’s jungelist past in its kick patterns and history he’s very familiar with. The beast that is ‘Infinity is Now’ a track that was released last year on Tectonic still hits the spot just as it did then, the twinkling twirling techy arpeggios get me everytime. Pev’s music stands the test of time well I would have been happy to hear older gems like ‘Roll With The Punches’ on here too, tracks I always find myself digging out.

The jungelist vibes are even stronger on ‘Not Yet Further Than’, with all its pent up urgent energy and distinct techno dystopian future soul that could soundtrack a chase scene in hover cars in a sci-fi film set in a flooded city. The uplifting housey chords on ‘Valves’ really echo Detroit for me, as do the skipping high hats. Pev’s touchstones are always highly filtered through his unique sound and come out as twisted mechanical-soul that works its way into your mind. Another favourite ‘Clunk Click Every Trip’ makes a comeback to finish the album off in fine style. I had a surreal moment playing this track at a club night at a gig venue where Sigue Sigue Sputnik just chilled at the bar in full on glam rock gear, its not something I expected to happen and the coincidence that Sigue Sigue Sputnik and ‘Clunk Click Every Trip’ rhyme was pretty funny. Anyway the track just slays it by building and building with the retro drum machine bleeps and reverb before dropping the perfect answer to all that build up, a sweat euphoric string section that gets you reaching for the sky… only to drop that away for another sublime build only to conclude at the very end of the track, goose bump inducing stuff.

Jarvik Mindstate is a hell of an album Peverelist pulled off a full length with ease showcasing his single vision and sound so well. For some that vision is going to be to much, just as some of his peers such as Shackleton whose darkness is sometimes over whelming but for some you’ll find yourself coming back to this album time after time. 2562 and Martyn pulled off quality techno-infused album this year as well yet Peverelist’s vision still sounds so different, it just goes to show that even the techno inspired dubstep producers can’t really be lumped in together so easily, the range is vast. It’s up there as one of my full-length highlights that’s for sure.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Depakote – It Ain’t ’94 Anymore [Highpoint Lowlife]

Highpoint Lowlife have had a hell of a year, constantly surprising me with brilliant releases covering many electronic avenues. As a little present they’ve released a free album from Low End Theory’s Depakote of all out party starting hip-hop, full of old school samples that will get you reaching for the lino and those dust off the breakin’ moves this holiday season.

Download: Depakote – It Ain’t ’94 Anymore [Highpoint Lowlife]


Thursday, 17 December 2009


The return of the semi regular, ‘randomly selected platters from my record bag that I’m really feeling right now’ blog post, maybe it needs a catchier name…

Joy Orbison – BRKLN CLLN/J.Doe [Doldrums]
Two 12”s, a few remixes and all the hype in the world. His first release on his own label, Doldrums, shows he deserves it too. BRKLN CLLN is the subtler cousin of Hyph Mngo, just as catchy and full of blissful energy. J.Doe takes the diva samples and throws it down old school house style.

Geiom & Shortstuff – No Hand Signals/Wardenclyffe [Planet Mu]
Tag team antics from two heavy weights, Geiom’s music is always special and Shorstuff makes some of the most exciting stuff around and together we get hyper coloured house variants built to move you. There is something grimy about Wardenclyffe, its like eski-acid house. No Hand Signals picks up the tempo but keeps the funky bump.

ASC – Porcelain/Focus Inwards [Nonplus+]
More Nonplus+ I can’t get enough… having missed the d’n’b boat entirely this is the first label that’s getting me excited about the sound. Super smooth half stepping d’n’b that’s so minimal it sounds like electro being fed through a wormhole. The flip takes in dubstep a tempo, big up the multi tempo 12” crews for pushing DJs to think and ride that pitch shifter!

Headhunter – Prototype (Modselektor remix)/Sex At The Prom [Tempa]
This 12” sounds massive: Modeselektor return the remix favour and make their own take on dubstep, which sounds like big room techno with a dark edge. Sex At The Prom goes deep with acid bubbles and hypnotic bass. It’s like Berlin and Bristol are tearing each other a new one on the same 12”.

Starkey Ft. Badness – Ok Luv/Ok Luv (instrumental)/Multidial [Planet Mu]
Taster of things to come from Starkey’s next album ‘Ear Drums and Black Holes’ due March 2010: super smooth hyper soul with grimy undertones and epic colourful melodies. Multidial, heads right to the dance floor with robo-bass and energy surges, killer.

V.I.V.E.K. – Kulture/Meditation Rock [Deep Medi]
Big room material from V.I.V.E.K., dub techno undertones pulled off in a very Deep Medi way, your soundsystem will shake. Things get ravey with Kulture,the filtered stabs re-live the hayday and make you want to loose it in a field outside the M25. But there is something else here too, an eerie blissful dub vibe... Which is where Meditation Rock picks up from.

Joker – City Hopper/Output 1-2 [Tectonic]
These tracks aren’t even the catchiest Joker tracks this year but I still can’t shift them from my head. He keeps it grimy and techy for Tectonic, Output 1-2 especially. City Hopper makes you want to roll around the city with your windows down, swaggering funk and irresistible melodies that somehow remind me of the circus.

Instra:mental/Skream – No Future (Skreamix)/Minimalistix [Nonplus+]
Minimalistix is THE one here: Skream takes it into tech infused stripped back and subtle roller territory while No Future tears the dance a new hole. It’s like the evil twin of his Zomby Float remix and will have to do until that drops fingers crossed…

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

DâM-Funk – Toeachizown [Stones Throw]

This is an epic collection of home made retro G-funk from long time LA musician DâM-Funk who’s been in the game for longer than we know, he may well have only just been picked up as a synth funk superstar of the underground and reached our/my radar via Mary Anne Hobbs showcases and Low End Theory hype or association with long time quality label Stones Throw and even a bit of hype from Animal Collective: but he was also one of the original session musicians for Dre-era G-funk workouts from the likes of Warren G and Nate Dogg to name but a few, which is a hell of a pedigree and one which you can hear ring through Toeachizown. This is a massive; mostly solo collection made on a big range of drum machines/drums, synths new and old and a bit of studio trickery. There is a really live freeform feel to it. There is that smooth machine funk sound that sounds so old it’s new, there is a retro futurism at work. Toeachizown is the laid back jus’ chillin’ cousin of Hudson Mohawke’s glitchy ADD funk or a loose sun drenched long lost hip-hop soul brother of Kraftwerk.

It’s the drum machine boogie that often draws me in and the opener is no exception, ‘Let’s Take Off (Far Away)’ starts with crunchy funk drums before really getting its groove on with deep synths, spiralling psychedelic melodies and treated vocoder vocals. The tracks start off sounding a little bit kitsch or overly retro at times but as soon as the grooves set in you really get swept up in it all and it becomes something way more exciting than an exercise in retro funk. The soulful twinkling melodies on ‘Mirrors’ are another highlight they bring a laid back sunshine vibe to even the coldest winter evening. The low-down blazed out funk of, ‘Brookside Park’ is such a killer track that I find myself keep coming back to time and time again, you can loose yourself in the spaced out sounds and lazy drum beats. ‘The Sky Is Ours’ comes on like a long lost 80s version of what Kanye West tried to achieve on 808s & Heartbreaks minus the auto-tune, that’s swapped for DâM-Funk’s sweet laid back subtle tones. For some reason ‘Searchin’ 4 Funk’s Future’ and ‘Fantasy’ make me think of old computer games, more specifically Out Run on the Saga Master System with it’s rolling beachscapes, palm trees and Ferrari where you just keep rolling on and on through sun blazing scene after scene. The first disc finishes on the melancholic funk of ‘Keep Looking 2 The Sky’, a hopeful synth ballad, where sweeping soundscapes meet crunchy groove beautifuly.

It’s more of the same on the second disc, ‘Toeachizown (D-f’s Theme)’ taking it in a smooth direction before the silky funk of ’10 West’ is so laid back and mesmerising that, the way the strings play off the dirty funk bass lines and electronic drums is a joy to hear. There is so much to digest in this two-disc set that sometimes parts wash over you, but on repeated listens you always find new interesting passages to get your ears around. Another gem has to be the three parter ‘A)Flying V Ride/B)Burn Straight Through U/C)Candy Dancin’ Ft. Mark De Clive-Lowe’ which seams to be spread over two or so tracks. It just flows into one big sweeping funk odyssey full of soul and boogie. The bumpin’ ‘Hood Past Intact’ is easily one of the highlights; the hard grooves and addictive melodies will make you move. ‘I Gots 2 Be Done Wit’ U’ drops in a similar vain, the skweee/8-bit funk really has space to breath on this one a similar feet is pulled of on the sublime ‘Spacecapdes’ too. The skippy drum patterns on closer ‘In Flight’ offset the lounge keys to make for a funky lilting listen to round off the collection.

There has been a trend this year for washed out lo-fi nostalgia, especially in indie circles with the whole hauntological pop or glo-fi/chill out thing (which kind of just reminds me of ministry of sound compilations played at the wrong speed with reverb and usually a boy singing something inane just out of earshot) but also in dance with italo being cool again again again… or people like Omar-S and Kyle Hall dropping some quality throwback house music, FaltyDL sounding like the ghost of NY and garage or Mordant Music being MM... Bar a few exceptions, like the ones noted above and maybe a few more its something I’ve not really been able to get on board with and its left swathes of indie blogs and websites left to rot on my rss feed until another trend kicks in. But DâM-Funk’s nostalgic funk has really got me addicted. Toeachizown might be over long for some but it just goes to show how prolific the man is, its an epic collection that you can just sink into a feel the loose laid back funk fly around you or make you want to get up and swagger.

BlueFunk District presents Dâm Funk from eckelwood on Vimeo.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Pinch – Get Up Ft. Yolanda [Tectonic]

It’s pretty safe to say that ‘Get Up’ is pretty much a dubstep classic the vocal version with sometime Massive Attack collaborator Yolanda first featured on Pinch’s debut album Underwater Dancehall but it never reached vinyl to much disappointment to many headz, but good things come to those who wait and two years later we get a vinyl release with the original vocal, dub and a splattering of quality remixes from: RSD, Guido, Jack Sparrow and LV. They all bring their own style to the table too.

The original vocal and dub by Pinch uses smooth rolling bumping drum patterns, pulsing bass and dancehall dub accents to play off the soulful vocals that makes it sound as fresh today as it ever was. The melancholic feel that the vocals about moving on and not giving up, that shift along with the emotive strings comes across like the age-old house diva template updated for the dubstep world and somehow sounds timeless.

The remixes are on point too the highlight of the bunch has to be from Bristol legendry RSD. He brings his own wonderfully deep and warm propulsive soundsystem shaking bass lines, a beat that makes you want to wiggle and piano flourishes. It all comes together perfectly into a good time party starter that should induce a grin on any soundboys face. Guido also brings the class, with a remix that somehow echoes houses hay-day and the new slinky soul infused purple funk of dubstep. The subtle boom-bap drums build a smooth groove before deep house chords take over and play off the vocals to make what sounds like a long lost 90s house hit that’s been left to mutate and maybe melt into something by Dr. Dre in a cupboard somewhere ever since.

Jack Sparrow takes his version deep into dubstep territory with huge bass pulses and a half-stepping beat that still has a bump to it, this is one made for the big dark rooms out there. LV comes from a very different angle with a dub heavy disco version with plenty of rootsy vibes and the slinkiest smooth bass around, as always with LV it grows on you in a subtle fashion.

The ‘Get Up’ package is so solid, full of quality from the outset. Its worth the cash alone for the full vocal and RSD remix, yet you get so much more. Tectonic and Pinch bring the goods yet again.

Originally written for Sonic Router.


Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Untold – Gonna Work Out Fine EP/Stop What You’re Doing (James Blake remix)/I Can’t Stop This Feeling (Pangaea remix) [Hemlock]

Its been a very big year for Untold with 12”s appearing on the regular that have torn up dance floors and confused the hell out of them too, sometimes both at once. His own label Hemlock has also been leading the way with fine examples of the UK’s freshest underground dance music with the likes of Fantastic Mr Fox & Rich Reason plus the brilliant James Blake all featuring. Now I’m not sure why I haven’t written about these 12”/10” until now they’ve been on my radar for ages not to mention being absolute percy’s, so instead of letting them slip…

The ‘Gonna Work Out Fine EP’ is a two-disc beast that explores an inspired concept and pallet of sounds to grate effect. Untold takes Chicargo house pianos, strings, kicks… the whole sherbang and twists it all up with the gnarly raw energy of grime and of course Untold’s own fresh take on dubstep. It’s an experiment that’s really paid off bringing a hell of a lot of fun and energy to dance floors all over the place as everyone from Gilles Peterson to Modeselektor and countless dubstep heads all reaching for it.

The title track takes a grimy percussive loop before dropping a smooth housy twinkles and chord sequences then dropping some huge pulse-x like bass on you and flipping out with skippy drums that make for some slinky grooves. Now onto one of my favourite tracks of the year, ‘Stop What You’re Doing’ really does make you freeze in your tracks. I’ve seen people go crazy for this as much as I have seen them utterly confused. He takes the beat-less eski style experimental grime template he did for the sublime ‘Anaconda’ and twists it even more, it’s taking Wiley’s ideas and running with them into the unknown, just like Zomby has done with ‘Mercury’s Rainbow’. The track twists and shifts into a massive grin inducing psychedelic club weapon that’s unlike anything else around right now. ‘Don’t Know, Don’t Care’ is the housy-est track of the lot so far using stabs and piano to full effect, in fact its like a Bob Sinclair summer time peak floor in Space anthem remixed by Wiley on the sly while he drinks Champaign with porn on in the background. It’s the stupidly infectious down turning bass motif that gets the hip wiggling, incredible track. The sexy little vocal samples splattered throughout really remind me of Lil Louis’ ‘French Kiss’… man I’d love to hear Untold fuck that one up…

The super slinky ‘Palamino’ is another highlight and sets disc two into motion. The pulsing organ licks and twinkling chimes offset the spectral pads that just keep rolling and building before all hell breaks loose and Untold’s knack for bumping percussion and energetic bass are unleashed, this time in an explosion of carnival vibes, that really show the UK funky crew how its done its really something. ‘No one Likes A Smart-Arse’ has a ravey edge to it not unlike the recent output of Hot City but with more bump, wiggle and flex. The closing track, ‘Never Went Away’ takes the supernova space station boogie that he used so well on the Hotflush 2 outing ‘Just For You’ but with the Gonna Work Out Fine sound pallet. So you get spaced out atmospheric pads like your entering a space station and the insane energy but all done in a super smooth house meets grime fashion, the bass is just so addictive and the high-end screech samples get you shaking it.

The remix 10” is an absolute killer too taking two very talented producers takes on Untold. First up is James Blake a guy we’ve only seen one 12” from until now, but what a record that was I for one can’t stop playing it. His sound is very unique taking in soulful almost gospel tinged R&B vocal samples, which he sings himself and twisted smeared synth lines that come out sounding like a freaky Joker experiment mixed with the group he does live vocals with Mount Kimbie. He turns in a inspiring remix of ‘Stop What You’re Doing’ where he ups the hype, adds some beats and lots of harmonies until you can’t take the building dance pressure anymore and it makes you want to move like your crazy. Pangaea works his garage muscles on his version of ‘I Can’t Stop This Feeling’, the original of which can be found on the flip to ‘Anaconda’ a track that is so full of energy and tension its insane. He takes that energy and harnesses it into his own unique 2-step sound; the result is the liveliest Pangaea track released yet. After his deeply emotional track ‘Memories’ this year it’s a really welcome release to have.

Next year Hemlock and Untold are set to continue the trend with releases from: Ramadanman, LV, Mount Kimbie and himself all dropping on the label, plus another brilliant track for the BRAiNMATH label soon and plenty of surprises I’m sure. Untold, his label and associates have made some of the freshest most fun and downright brilliant music this year. I for one cannot wait to see what they come up with next.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Moritz Von Oswald Trio – Vertical Ascent [Honest Jon’s Records]

I’ve not heard anything quite like this before, who would have thought that a jazz, dub, techno album would sound so f*#in’ good? Well the Moritz Von Oswald Trio did and for that I’m thankful, as Vertical Ascent is one hell of an album. I’m vaguely aware of Von Oswald’s history as one half of Rhythm Division and Basic Channel the dub techno pioneers from Berlin but I somehow missed the boat on all that and now I’m stuck playing catch up. One thing I do know for sure is that he has worked his magic here and done something pretty special.

Vertical Ascent is an epic sprawling piece segmented into four numbered patterns and at the most basic level sounds like techno heads freely improvising dub with specially made metallic percussion and banks of synthesizers. It’s done in such a subtle, minimal and inspired fashion that it comes out greater than the sum of its parts, the music really draws you in and makes you want to listen and listen.

The patterns range from deep minimalist dub workouts with a dark brooding edge to shimmering percussive sessions with an African sort of vibe, overall things don’t get to dark not pitch black anyway it’s more like rain day darkness where the clouds break every so often and beams of light filter though the ever moving clouds.

Vertical Ascent is an undoubted highlight of my musical year.

Buy: Moritz Von Oswald Trio – Vertical Ascent [Honest Jon’s]

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Worriedaboutsatan – Arrivals Remixed

Arrivals is a wonderful album that fuses post-rock with a love of techno an idea that was always going to lend its self to remixes, so after grabbing the special addition and finding an extra disc full of them (see here) was a real treat, but they weren’t done there... They gave out files and challenged people to turn in their interpretations, plus the usual commissioning and put together an epic two disc Arrivals remixed package. Worriedaboutsatan get their creations twisted into many different shapes over the twenty-five tracks from post-rock ambiance through glitchy electronica, many strains of techno, drum & bass and beyond by an array of artists and even have a re-tweak themselves.

Ithaca Trio open the two disc epic with a swirling almost SAWII like Aphex Twin classical soundscape rendition of ‘You’re In My Thoughts’ it’s a super chilled effort and gets things off to a good start. Fieldhead takes things deeper but on a similar tip, it’s a subtle dark rendition of ‘Arrivals’ with sinister atmosphere and a splattering of percussive elements and bass that picks the pace up a little. It’s the techno renditions that get things really rolling though; Worriedaboutsatan’s post-rock meets minimal experiments really lend themselves to a dance floor kick. So the reappearance of Marco Zenker from the special addition disc is more than welcome, it rolls with minimal bongo grooves techno drums at a nice spaced out hypnotic dance floor pace. It’s just the start of a minimal/techno section to this compilation too as Apparatus shows with his deep and bleepy number, which sits somewhere between Villalobos and the Leeds Warehouse sounds of LFO but with added post-rock. And Josh Tweek pumps up the bass and seduces you with it as it shines through his micro edits.

The tempo is upped again when Toby Dixon, Saapsss and P45 turn in glitchy d’n’b refixes the former showing a melancholic yet hopeful vision of ‘You’re in my thoughts’, a track that pops up a lot which just goes to show how very good the original is on Arrivals. Saapsss gets a broken beat bump going under the sweeping melodies and quick edits. Then P45 makes the soundsystem’s rattle with big dub bass and a fizzing minimal dancehall like beats, it’s when the deep driving bass kicks in along with an energising loop that this remix really takes on a life of its own.

It’s Golau Glau who pull out a very unexpected re-shuffle of one of my album favourites ‘Pissing About’ the Silver Pop duo take things dark and bassy with sub a plenty and a spaced out atmosphere where they twist and tweak new grooves and edits out like its child’s play. It’s an undoubted highlight and doesn’t sound quite like anything else here let alone much else I’ve heard from them.

The disc is finished off with an eerie offering by Genoud which fuses Worriedaboutsatan’s atmosphere with subtle electro shuffles and a beautifully restrained mellow re-jig by Her Eyes Like Static that just builds into a fuzzy M83-like number that came with the special addition remix disc.

Disc two just keeps the good things rolling out: Dr. Birch’s remixe take a more laid back approach and give off a really zoned out blissful atmosphere that’s more than welcome as does the wonderfully deep layers and techno pulse of Khixxbrrr’s edit that sound like somewhere between the autumnal sounds of GAS and a space station docking procedure. Template, go both electro and glitchy and really organic all at once, utilising voice and brining out the instruments more from the electronic haze. Galissando build a sweeping variant on ‘One Down’ using that pulsing bass line to great effect, they have a really good sense of atmosphere too.

Casstro turns in a slamming d’n’b meets melodic post-rock effort, that works loads better than I could have expected and is the most beat driven of the second discs first half. Enkidu get all uplifting with a melancholic twist giving ‘One Down’ a shake up, that makes the melodies sing and just comes across beautifully. The glitchy atmosphere of Weikie’s Jar remix is a super minimal at times, deranged and spooky at others take on ‘Evil Dogs’ like a stripped back Squarpusher interlude that breaks out into a ghostly breakdown and bass addled finale.

Her Name Is Calla crank up the tension fuelled horror soundscapes on their remix and give a wide screen beauty to the back half of the album. Worriedaboutsatan finish off the package with two remixes of their own, one gagged and one cracked: the first being an ambient relaxing affair with hushed conversations in the background that make you feel like your eves dropping in a Gus Van Sant film about death. The dubbed out electronics act as a bed for the ringing guitar tones and it lulls you into a hypnotic state with ease. The ambiance is soon broken when they breakout into cracked mode on the final track with electronic pulses and percussion underlying those melancholic tones of ‘I Am A Crooked Man’ and builds into techy soundscapes.

Arrivals Remixed is one heck of a package; with some really diverse takes on Worriedaboutsatan’s music, there is so much to explore and get lost in. It’s a remix album that steers well away from the usual remix album pit falls of faddy electro throwaways and the like. Instead you get loads of artists taking the wonderful sound pallet of Worriedaboutsatan and twisting it into new and interesting shapes.

Listen Via Sportify

Words: Worriedaboutsatan on Sonic Minefield

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Golau Glau – Foolstide

They’ve only gone and made a Christmas present for you all, you can download it for free on the link bellow. It’s their unique silver pop take on a Christmas single about ‘when the Puritans banned Christmas for 13 years in the 17th century’. The b-side is a x-mass vision of off-kilter-8-bit about, ‘Greek tragedy and The End Of Time (Doctor Who)’ subjects that resonate with the time of the year perfectly if you ask me. Both tracks are full of funk’d up drum loops, seasonal vibes and liquid bubbles of Christmas bass. It sounds not unlike pulling a cracker and the toy falling in the gravy, a scene that is met with a mixture of traditional joyfulness but with a meaty undercurrent of slightly drunken unease and silliness when you suck the toy of its meat goo, as a younger sibling is playing on there new Nintendo in the background, enjoy.

Download: Golau Glau – Foolstide


Monday, 30 November 2009

Dot Rotten – Something Out Of Nothing [Rotten Riddims]

Dot Rotten is back with the underground album Something Out Of Nothing the follow up to one of my favourite grime CD’s of recent times R.I.P. Young Dot and the free promo This is the Beginning that got him some well-deserved attention a while back, so SOON has quite a bit to live up too. Dot is on a fierce independent tip producing most of this himself and self-releasing, he’s got the fire to pull it off too.

After the opener with some dodgy teacher skit things quickly pick up with a solid first track before you get ‘Two Step Non Stop’ which sounds like the official lift off of SOON with a dirty broken beat, horn stabs and a skippy grime meets hip-hop funk feel welcoming you in and setting out the stall, ‘I’m Not Stopping’ has a similar thing going on. And before you know it you’re in deep and he’s playing to his strengths, Dot’s got skills when it comes to adding darkness and emotion to tracks; he comes out sounding like a UK version of hard underground southern hip-hop at times with grimy edge. On ‘Get Money’ and ‘Best Of Me’ he pulls off the emotional struggle bars brilliantly where as ‘The Roads Are Cold’ and to a lesser extent ‘The Days’ gets a little let down by the grating auto-tune hook that he’s no doubt got skills with but sometimes misses slightly, the beats and lyrics are dark and on point though. Not many people have pulled off the bars about struggling and reaching for more so well and with such emotion maybe since Boy In Da Corner Dot has got a knack for it and its refreshing to hear honesty along with hype in grime, which brings me to ‘There’s More To Life’ where Dot rips up Dizzee’s classic beat from ‘Brand New Day’ and more than holds his own.

It’s not all emo-grime though he can go hype when he needs to as his ‘Talking The Hardest’ remix and bars show, he plays Giggs at his own game and even ups the stakes by brining energy and aggression. He brings some greeze to some low down dirty synth funk on ‘I’m Going Hard’ with Faith SFX on the buttons turning in a beat that stands tall with Dot’s productions. He pulls it off again on the ‘Rowdy Riddim’ freestyle with a splattering of old bars I swear I heard on SB.TV/Westwood and all that; the remix bars still sound good. ‘Don’t Diss The Program’ is another highlight, maybe even my favourite on SOON. Dot’s production is deep, dark and skips along with energy while him and clipper go at it with bar after bar. The chorus is too much: ‘I’ll crack your head like a coke can’. ‘They Don’t Know About Me’ and the preview of ‘Violence In The Music’ show Dot has really been working at song craft, his stuff is sounding less like he’s just got a sick beat and rhyming on it and more like fully formed songs than ever before.

Dot shows his ambition on ‘Ride For Me’ on a quality Terror Danjah beat he drops a track with a bright and trancy Pop/R&B hook and lyrics about girls. Danjah pretty much has the perfect beats for keeping it grimy while having that musical ear for the mainstream, it reminds me of JME’s ‘Over Me’ produced by Deco and that’s the way I’d like to see grime go mainstream without to much compromise, bright and gully. Dot’s reaching for the money and he’s got the talent for it, but there are still a few more underground albums in him yet before that avenue is explored.

Something Out Of Nothing is a diverse affair with dark, gully, emotional, hype and a little bit of cheese all thrown together and it holds up well. Dot’s productions are on point as are his flow and lyrics. It’s a grower though it’s not all instant hype and cheap tricks, he takes it deep and it shows. You really have to stick with him a bit before it opens up. It sounds like he’s been working hard on song craft, every track bar the freestyles are a full on song where everything feels tied up and like one solid piece rather than just balling on beats full tilt with 8 bar rallies. He can do both and do it well mind but its refreshing to hear fully formed tracks on a grime mixtape. I might still prefer R.I.P. Young Dot right now but it’s still early days and you can see Dot is improving his craft and putting the work in, SOON is still dark and rough but it’s slicker than the last. He’s not done yet either with the Extra Attention CD due to drop pretty soon, it looks like a good year for Rotten. Dot is the full package he can write songs, spit bars and produce beats, if/when he breaks out and makes moves for the mainstream, which he’s threatening to do he’s easily the best placed to do his thing and keep his personality by making music and not just a quick buck. But who knows if that will happen the grime kids are seeing green and reaching for it, but for now enjoy the sounds because Dot nailed it.

Dot Rotten Interview & bars on SB.TV

Dot Rotten - Two Step Non Stop

Download: Dot Rotten Presents – 50 Free Instrumentals

Download: Young Dot – This Is The Beginning

Friday, 27 November 2009

Kowton – Stasis (g mix) / Countryman [Keysound]

Keysound have stepped up a gear this year dropping more 12”s than ever before and doing it fine style too, with unique takes on the bass sounds of the underground. Starkey and Durrty Goodz dropped a killer 12” of hyperactive street bass anthems, Zomby did his aquatic gloop & bass rendition of label bosses Dusk & Blackdown, DVA showed off the dark side of grime and Grievous Angle re-fixing a jungle anthem into a rolling garage number all to great effect. But with Kowton they come with something all together different that manages to sit so well with Keysound and expand it’s sonic pallet.

‘Stasis (g mix)’ gets things rolling: here Kowton takes garage and deep dubbed out minimal techno and fuses it to a Youngtsa-esq half stepping dubstep sound. But lowers the tempo and ups the groove to create a really unique zoned out groove led number, which just rolls out like a long lost garage joint that Basic Channel and Youngsta forgot to make back in 2001. The deepness is hypnotising.

Things get minimal with ‘Countryman’, a four to the floor pump and a relentless bass pulse replaces the garage vibes with something altogether darker and sinister. The track builds and rolls with dub samples and a subtle groove, it feels so simple but ends up greater than the sum of its parts. The minimal half step house rhythms really feel like a fresh slant on the dubstep techno sound.

Kowton takes it deep with this 12” and showcases his unique vision in full effect, plus it’s yet another example of bass heads lowering the tempo and upping the groove, an experiment that’s working wonders at expanding the whole scene into different territories by bringing DJ’s and producers from all sides into the mix in a multi-sided tempo shifting genre skewing bass monolith. Kowton and Keysound bring the goods on this hypnotic platter, it’s a 12” not to be missed.

Originally written for Sonic Router.


Blackdown Interview & Mix:


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Atlas Sound – Logos [4AD & Kranky]

The album that nearly wasn’t… Logos lives and sees the light of day after the kafuffle of the demos accidentally leaking and Bradford Cox (the man behind Atlas Sound & front man for Deerhunter) shouting about it being scrapped. But all of that blew over, you can’t hold a man like Bradford down for long, he’s prolific to say the least and consistent too. One of my first ever posts on this blog, when I wrote even worse than I do now and never expected anyone to be watching (to be honest I still don’t expect anyone to be watching…) was about Atlas Sound’s debut album Let The Blind Lead Those That Can See But Cannot Feel a record I fell for after being skint at university looking for legitimately free quality music online, which is where I stumble upon Bradford’s blog with epic amounts of demos. The dreamy bedroom electronica that fused shoegaze soundscapes and melodic indie pop or garage rock got under my skin. So when the debut dropped I was all over it and it’s testament to his talent either on his own or with the band that I’m still looking to his releases when so much indie is leaving me cold, the Deerhunter/Atlas Sound axis really hasn’t had a misstep yet.

The first thing you notice about Logos compared to the one that came before is that its less glowing electronics and more ambient punk, not unlike a stripped back Deerhunter sound with less punk and more ambiance, yet holding back on the fuzz. The first couple of tracks set a dreamy drunken mood with that hazy doo-whop feel that appeared on Microcastles. ‘The Light That Failed’ and ‘An Orchid’ are very strong openers.

The track ‘Walkabout’ with Animal Collective’s Panda Bear aka Noah Lennox has been talked about quite a lot in indie land and rightly so it’s a joyful yet laid back hazy summer afternoon of a track. I’ve never really got on with AC or Panda Bear’s music its always feels like its missing something but here on ‘Walkabout’ it works, it’s like a super lo-fi Fatboy Slim track gone right…

‘Shelia’ goes back to the haunted doo-whop-pop, and its just as catchy as ‘An Orchid’.

But its the centrepiece ‘Quick Canal’ with Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier really brings the album together, it’s an almost nine minuet long hazy journey through glowing spaced out electronics and haunted vocals. It’s maybe the second most electronic sounding piece on Logos along with ‘Walkabout’ and ties it quite nicely to Let The Blind… the previous album. I’m not familiar with Stereolab but the vocals fit very nicely on a track that’s been floating about in demo form for ages on Bradford’s blog.

‘Kid Klimax’ is my highlight of the back half of Logos a half that still seems to be in ore of ‘Quick Canal’ and decides to keep things subdued rather than top that beast in the middle. ‘Washington School’ comes on like ‘Walkabout’ from the darkside, all synth bass and twinkling loops, taking away joyful abandon for hazy dreamscapes and it works a treat. The title track closes in much the same way Logos started in a day dreaming stripped back doo-pop world of its own.

Logos is a very nice album indeed, for me it’s missing some of that bedroom electronica that made Atlas Sound so appealing in the first place, but when that’s there its on point. Plus the adding of the stripped back Deerhunter-esq doo-whop is an undoubted highlight and makes the Atlas Sound project a good varied listen. The simpler feel really lets his song writing shine through so all those abstract yet personal lyrics come out. In a year that indie records have pretty much left me cold, Atlas Sound have pulled off a little gem of a record.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Sigha – Rawww/Hold Your Heart Up To The Light/Untitled #2 [Hotflush Two]

Sigha hits back with three subtle slices of deep dub techno on another 12” for Hotflush Two. There is a really hypnotic aquatic feel to his productions and a tracky minimal style that just rolls and rolls with the smallest of progression until you’re locked in the groove submerged in bass and dubby techno rhythms. He operates somewhere between the London/Berlin/Bristol sounds of the gray area that fuses dubstep andtechno he fits with people like Emptyset or October just as easily as he does Scuba and Shackleton.

The ten-minuet roller ‘Rawww’ is the chirpiest of the bunch with bright synths that work up through the water like bubbles in a futuristic tech soup made of nano-bots and a nice easy groove that ebbs and flows with enough punch in the beats to make you move and enough sub in the bass to give you that eyes closed blissed out dance floor feel. ‘Hold Your Heart Up To The Light’ is a deeper broken groove affair, its got a half step techno thing going on not unlike the recent Kowton 12” on Keysound or indeed Scuba’s last double EP. Sigha’s use of clicks, crackles and field sounds really bring some atmosphere to his productions. ‘Untitled #2’ sits in the ground somewhere between the last couple in a swirling bumping world of it’s own hypnotising you in its techno Zen.

This is another quality platter from Sigha and Hotflush they really know how to keep the techno sounds alive in dubstep today and show signs of becoming not only main stays in techno DJs sets but maybe even leading them in new directions. His first 12” is still a personal favourite of mine but this one is easily on par.

Links to download...

Sigha’s Hotflush 02 Podcast


RSS feed:

Direct download:

or just go to:

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Hudson Mohawke – Butter [Warp]

The debut album from genre-skewing hip-hop producer Hudson Mohawke was always going to be a mad one. His first beat tape Hudson’s Heaters hinted at him being a madcap party starter that fused strange and sometimes goofy samples with hip-hop sensibilities to create something all together different. A vision of hip-hop that has a lineage with people like Madlib and J Dilla where the beats do the talking. But it’s more than just a look back at those producers things are being pushed forward. A slew of young artists are taking inspiration from all over the place whether it be the slick R&B of Brandy, Timberland and so many US chart hits or the hip-hop underground via the vibrant bass sounds of dubstep and the off-kilter smeared synth sounds of Skweee/Chip-tune or the LA/Glasgow beat scene. With all that and more in the pot a whole new dance sound is coming to the fore, one that’s been bubbling under for some time.

With Butter HudMo picks up where he left off with the Polyfolk Dance EP earlier in the year, that was full of colourful cartoon-like playful beats with so much energy it came on like a sugar rush. Butter takes the goofy cartoon style even further but manages to keep things the right side of cheesy/fun by setting it against some seriously well-crafted tracks with a shimmering, highly polished mutated party sound.

The hair-metal meets grimy hip-hop opener that flows into ‘Gluetooth’ with its bright and glitchy bounce and buzzing low-end bass funk getting things off to a rip roaring start and sets the tone for the more instrumental beat based tracks perfectly. He comes on like instrumental Outkast at their most insane and follows in the hip-hop tradition of silly skits with the lead into the supper sugary ‘Joy Fantastic’ with the vocal tones of Olivier Daysoul that gives a good performance on a track that straddles the fine line between cheese and brilliance. A trick that’s pulled off to better effect on the prince-like ‘Just Decided’, which might not be as insanely ear worm inducing but it hits the spot for me.

But where he really shines on Butter for my money is on the super shiney glitch addled instrumentals like the skippy chipmunk soul and synth funk of ‘3.30’ or the broken beat twisted horn action of ‘Trykk’ and the skipping high-hat funk of ‘Velvet Peel’. These tracks make you want to sing along even though they have no words, you can almost hear Andre 3000 letting rip without him actually being present and to me that’s more powerful than much of the vocal contributions on offer here, which do show potential and work a treat but get trumped by the power of the productions.

The beat boxing, bleeped out ‘ZOo00OOm’ is another highlight for sure the flowing bass drones and SNES bleeps come on like Timberland with an eye on the dance floor, its future funk at it’s best. ‘Rising 5’ pulls off a similar trick but comes off as a more laid back smooth groove, the twinkling soul vibes snapping drums and Rhodes keys give it a poppy Dre-era vibe, which brings us nicely onto: ‘Tell Me What You Want From Me’ with Lo-Fi-G-Funk maestro DâM-Funk which is a vocal highlight that meets somewhere between the pure computer game synth funk of his own productions and the glitchy soul of HudMo’s there is a sweet, smooth flow to it with a healthy air of cheese. Nadsroic’s contribution on ‘Allhot’ works well too she comes across like a robo-songstress over the big beats.

The track that was almost vocaled by R&B superstar Rihanna, ‘FUSE’ is brilliant you can only imagine what it could have been like with such a vocal on top, there is melody a plenty and so much slick shine. The charts need a bit more fun injected into them with a bit more freaky, interesting yet insanely addictive instantly enjoyable beats and going by this effort HudMo could well be the UK’s answer to the R&B super producers and deliver on that. It sure would cut through the vapid auto-pilot pop that comes off like background music for fashion show or the soulless/sexless teen-bop/auto-tune R&B imported form the US and imitated here by TV show contestants or people chasing the money sound all of which lacks so much funk and fun that its depressing or the coffee table indie anthems by numbers of so much more joyless chart fodder… I can dream can’t I? Sure keep it slick, fun and shallow with loads of up front pantomime and bring on the show but a little more twinkle in the beats a big more fun experimentation with personality would go a long way.

And that’s what he’s got, there is so much personality to Hudson Mohawke’s music its full of life, energy and humour; Butter is one of the most fun albums I’ve heard for a little while, sure it’s a bit goofy and fly’s all over the place skitting from idea to idea and back again but its all the better for the playful nature of it. The super shiny and bright production gives everything a brilliant glow that just demands attention and attention is what he’s got with rumours a plenty of him executive producing for big names such as Rihanna and Erykah Badu, which could be very exciting indeed. Butter is a solid debut album from an interesting, diverse producer with some serious potential that most importantly puts a smile on your face.

Play: Butter Star Galactica

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Guido – Beautiful Complication/Chakra [Punch Drunk]

You know those tracks that you hear and they just hit the spot perfectly, but don’t seem to come out for about a year for you to actually own and play out yourself… well ‘Beautiful Complication’ is one of those and it just dropped through my door. I first heard it on the excellent mix by Guido from late last year. I’ve posted it before but its worth another listen so you’ll find it bellow. For me ‘Beautiful Complication’ featuring the vocal talents of Aarya is the perfect mix of slick R&B and synth heavy soul shaking dubstep coming from the new breed of producers that are going through a hell of a purple patch this year. It’s been in my head on and off ever since I heard it, like a love song beamed in from the future designed to lodge it’s self in your brain plus his productions always creep up and grow on you. The slinky emotional and soulful voice of Aarya playing off the deep, bright synth lines, midi orchestra and horn sounds work perfectly and add another dimension to Guido’s twisted soul anthems.

The flip comes in the form of ‘Chakra’, which is on a similar loved up tip with sweet housey piano’s and melodies offset against some deep rough bass and a vocal mantra proclaiming ‘I can make you feel good, I can make you feel me’ I think anyway... There is something about his midi sounds that brings out a simple almost Detroit techno feel to his music, a machine soul. The clicks and snaps of the drums have a hip-hop boom bap skip to them that really suits the Timberland gone haywire on a dub soundsystem vibe. Guido has such a musicality to his work, his stuff just screams melody and accessibility. With rumours of Hudson Mohawke being picked up to work with R&B stars like Rihanna maybe Guido could one day follow suit and as his future soul already sounds like R&B’s next step. But who knows what will happen I’m just glad this is finally out, Guido brings the goods and Punch Drunk delivers.

Download: 29 Minuet Mix by Guido

tantalized – guido
beautiful complication - guido, aarya & ruthless
chakra – guido
you do it right – guido
orchestral lab- guido
johnny 5 – gemmy
mad sax – guido
do it! – joker
tango – guido
digidesign - joker

Sunday, 15 November 2009


A rummage through my record back…

Cluekid & LD – I Don’t Wanna Cry/Jupiter 9 [Bullfrog Beats]
The jungle vibes are strong on this one, emotive diva samples and Detroit techno chords play off some serious 140 jungle experiments with some soul shaking bass. Not unlike Skream’s insane ‘Burnin’ Up’ and last years ‘Monkey Style’ on Subalicious.

Geiom/Hizatron – Bubbles/Von Glooperstine [Berkane Sol]
Bag on sight white 12” business from the Notts crew. Geiom comes with a skipping techy bubbler, which sounds not unlike a robot short-circuiting to a garage pulse that switches up into a 4x4 bump. Hizatron takes us on a low-slung bleep’n’gloop tip, minimal in a techno sense but with an ear for fun.

LV ft. Errol Bellot – Don’t Judge/(Fantasic Mr Fox Remix) [2nd Drop]
Deep and rootsy excursions into dub: A-side, has lush horns, instrumentation and vocals off-setting the sparse beats and bass. FMF kick up the rhythm section and get squelchy on the bass creating some kind of garage/digidub hybrid.

Quest – Last Dayz/The Unknown [Deep Medi]
Some of my favourite anti-social tracks right here, epic slices of deep soundsystem future funk. Those breakdowns take you to another place, while the synths add the energy.

Heny.G – Area 1/Retro Love [Gangsta Boogie]
This plate has been on the cards for ages and delayed for to long, but now its hear and takes some seriously funked up dance floor kicks that bring the boogie while the soulful bass and pads bring the bliss.

Brackles – Rawkus/Air Pie [Planet Mu]
He’s been unstoppable this year and this 12” is no exception. Mad energetic twisting synths and that broken beat meets garage shuffle he’s so good at along with Shortstuff. Pure dance floor energy from the grey area that brought you future/garage/funky/dubstep/grime/electro/techno/house-U-call-it?

FaltyDL – Party/Alpafun [Ramp]
Low down garage funk with plenty of soul and the party vibes to match. Like Ghost moved to New York and started a warehouse party with a house band made of funk legends and free cocktails.

Sully – Reminder/Jackmans Rec [Frijsfo Beats]
Bumpin’ garage beats and a rude rough and ready bass pressure that sounds so dark and swung. These tracks have been a long time coming and they still kill it.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Kryptic Minds – One Of Us [Swamp 81]

Even though this is their second album One Of Us seems like a debut, a fresh start, a new sound. After countless years producing D&B and gaining a reputation as being some of the biggest in the game they decided to change the game and get involved with dubstep. Many D&B producers have made the transition to the deep and dark side of dubstep with grate success, Breakage, Instra:mental and Martyn all spring to mind alongside so many others. So Kryptic Minds story may not be that out of place but the unique sound they are brining back to dubstep kind of is. They hooked up with DMZ heavy weight Loefah and his newborn label Swamp 81 and together they have really set a statement of intent. They are going right to the dark side, with dark as hell atmospheric half step a sound pretty much pioneered by Loefah and Youngsta back in the early days of dubstep and a sound that has been neglected a little in recent times. One Of Us is that statement.

A menacing intro apparently made up of field recordings of walking on gravel melts into ‘One Of Us’ which first appeared on a 12” earlier in the year with ‘Six Degrees’ on the flip. It’s a dark almost subtle track, I say almost as these tracks have a huge amount of power to them but its restrained. Bass pulses, half step beats with some of the nicest sounding intricately swung high hats around, they really build grooves with the high end of the percussive spectrum. What Kryptic Minds do best is atmosphere and all of these tracks ooze with it. They don’t vary the template at all and this really creates a dense journey with a singular vision that’s so well executed.

The drops on the slow-mo industrial tribal-like ‘Generation Dub’ are so big, when they want to pummel you with bass they really know how to. Some of this album reminds me of Distance’s Repercussions from last year, especially the more percussive numbers with the more restrained less gnarly bass lines. Kryptic Minds keep the buzz saw bass patches for their d’n’b and go for a darker sound. ‘Stepping Stone’ is another highlight, with Arabic samples and a low slung bass groove and crisp rolling hi-hats with dubby techno pulses slowly building. For some reason they remind me of the dark end of Unkle when they turned a bit prog at times, at times this is a bit of a put off and at others it’s not even on my mind.

The opening strings and pads, drenched in crackle on ‘Something To Nothing’ really draws a Burial comparison it’s some seriously wide-screen cinematic tension building, like a high budget ‘In McDonalds’. ‘Secure Lost’ is on a similar tip with dubbed out vocal snippets and loads of field sounds, there is even a slight garage beat to it, but in half step, so you get bursts and tension, bursts and bass pressure. A Reece-like ghostly bass even features in all its looming glory. The restrain really adds a mesmerising distopian atmosphere drenched in a longing sadness.

‘Chosen Few’ is maybe the most aggressive dance floor punisher; the grizzly bass rasps are built to shake up the place. Yet it’s still pretty restrained in its evilness. They show that you can be dark and aggressive without becoming a cartoon. The album gets a little brighter with the last two tracks, glints of light can be seen anyway, and the brighter elements shine through. ‘Organic’ has a similar feel to ‘Stepping Stone’ and the closing track ‘Distant Dawn’ even twinkles with a bit of dewdrop melody and like the name suggests, the sound of a breaking dawn. There is such a free flowing organic feel to this album, where a lot of dubstep sounds made for the city, I can’t help but feel a rural warmth, loneliness and darkness in this.

Swamp 81 is set to shake and meditate soundsystems around the world, with rumoured Burial & Loefah hook-ups and a 12” from Skream on the way it’s bound to get attention and rightly so. Kryptic Minds take on the half step sound on One Of Us is drenched in cinematic proportions of atmosphere, if you’ve been in a club and heard some of these tracks in the mix the jump out at you in a way others don’t, with a fully formed world attached to them. If this album has a companion this year it has to be Clubroot’s self titled debut on Low Dubs, they’re both singular visions with Clubroot rolling out a slightly lighter garage sound compared to Kryptic Minds. A lot of people get compared to Burial but this release really does echo his sound all be it minus the garage and haunted crackle, Kryptic Minds are a hell of a lot smoother, precise and spaced out but with a similar depth in production with layers of field recordings and melancholic atmosphere. Sometimes One Of Us feels a bit to tasteful or even a little boring but in the right frame of mind it’s an epic listen that creates a fully realised world of its own that subtly progresses from pure darkness to smidgens of light, I guess it depends on your mood.

Blackdown Interview & Mix

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Maths – Descent [Holy Roar]

Maths have been on my radar for a while after releasing a quality split EP last year with Throats on Holy Roar, it set my stereo on fire with pure energy and relentless passion. They utilise the screamo tools of shredding guitar riffs and as the name suggests a throat bursting vocal delivery. They couple that with a post-punk meets hardcore musicality that sounds heavy as hell but with purpose. The band self recorded this album in their home studio in Norfolk and its testament to their talent that they nailed the sound. A sound which has an effortlessly flowing intensity that builds and peaks at all the right times, they don’t just go for the one, two, three, four shred brutality of other heavy bands they decide to build something and come out the better for it.

There are so many highlights on Descent and the album effortlessly flows as one whole piece. ‘Belief in Sorrow’ kicks things off with backwards tones and a shining melodic sound, like you’ve just woke up a bit a bit dazed and melancholic before you are smashed into despair with heavy riffs. They build solid powerful tunes that twist and turn effortlessly into each other, which the flow into the second track ‘Culpa’ shows, with its chugging riffs that soon melt into emotive chords and the funk’d up bass of ‘Wilderness’, which reminds me of Sonic Youth a bit, there is a spaced out emotion to it that something like Daydream Nation has.

The relentless pressure of ‘From Her Journals’ and ‘Boundless’ feed with euphoric power into ‘Sleep Deep’, which has an intense crescendo full of brutal physical drumming and adrenaline fuelled riffing topped off with throat shedding vocals, but the build isn’t all they have here, they soon drop into a melodic section that prolongs the intensity. It tough to make the vocals out through the shrieks and shredding but you get a hell of a lot from the delivery and odd word you pick up on.

It’s the guitar tones and tight interplay that keeps Maths sounding heavy with an evocative edge, they know when to turn on the power and throw out a melody. ‘…And Left To Die’ shows them at their melodic best, with a pent up calm before the storm feel to it that you just know is going to break out sooner or later. And that comes true with ‘Branches’ where they really tear out.

Where as ‘Belief in Sorrow’ starts the album and sets the tone, ‘Belief in Hope’ ends it and you really feel like you’ve got something off your chest. The music is so emotive and passionate that the sheer power of the music and vocal delivery give you this release like you’ve gone through something horrible and come to terms with it, they’ve managed to make a real emotional journey with this album it sounds like an honest hearts on the sleeve, all out release of a record.

Somehow Descent manages to sound epic even though it only clocks in at around thirty minuets and some of the songs only around two, they’ve got an ear for a tune and a concise vision that’s executed with an intense passion that keeps you coming back for more. Maths follows up the split EP in fine style, if you’re into heavy guitar music with heart and emotion that manages to keep well clear of cheesy cliché and an emo mope then Maths are for you.

Buy: Maths – Descent

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