Archive for November 2010
Put on your ADD hat for this one.
Sydney-by-way-of-Brooklyn’s The Death Set gives us an erratic sampling of their all-genre mash-up style hosted by NYC clothier Mishka. Mash-ups are dead, you say? Never! As demonstrated on the Artificially Sweetened mixtape, there’s so much that hasn’t been done; ODB and the B-52s, Jay Reatard and the Beastie Boys, and an especially sick little blend of Biggie’s “Hypnotize” and Roni Size’s jungle anthem “Brown Paper Bag,” although you could mix animal noises with that bass line and it would sound good. Furthermore, that track could have done without the vocal cuts from “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Now, I’ve just spent too many words describing a single minute on this 43 track stew of music new and old. Maybe just download it, it is free after all.
For any of my fellow nerds out there, here’s a video giving a technical breakdown of some of The Death Set’s equipment straight from the band’s mouth, thanks to ProAudioStar.
In the studio with The Death Set
The production duo Skalpel, Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudło, stepped out of Poland’s obscure DJ scene in 2000 with a disc called Polish Jazz, a DJ Shadow-esque sample frenzy cutting from the annals of the immensely rich jazz tradition of its namesake. The sounds from this album gained the attention of Ninja Tune, who subsequently signed the pair. For fans of the label, Skalpel was a revival of Ninja’s most revered work. Like DJ Food’s Kaleidoscope and Amon Tobin’s Supermodified, Skalpel’s self-titled debut on Ninja Tune was composed of seamlessly blended samples from forgotten realms of music from the past. Where the original songs lacked a heavy beat, Skalpel injected funky breaks. Truly, they were the type of discovery every beat junkie hopes for.
Following two acclaimed LPs on Ninja Tune, several 12″s and a handful of Solid Steel mixes, one half of Skalpel is setting out on his own. Igor Pudło, under the name Igor Boxx, tells the tale of his hometown in the moments surrounding its bombardment during World War II on his album Breslau (former name of the city known today as Wrocław). For Igor, the album is an exorcism, a retrospective on his life in his hometown. Here, he witnessed destruction and rebirth as a child, watching the veneer of capitalism pulled over a communist-minded populous of a war-ravaged landscape. He grew up with his home’s then-new found openness, and embraced the music that emanated from far outside the walls of Breslau.
Breslau is a piece of direct storytelling through instrumental music. While we might be tempted to call it the soundtrack to every life as so many past instrumental hip hop albums, this one tells a specific tale. Simultaneously doleful and sanguine, with all the sampling know-how that brought this music to the world stage, Breslau is one for the ages.
Igor Boxx’s Breslau is out today on Ninja Tune.
Hear the story of Breslau in Igor’s own words.
Check out Igor Boxx’s video for “Last Party in Breslau”
Remember when you heard someone talking about the growing ubiquity of making music, and how tomorrow’s hottest sound is not coming from New York or London, but is probably being created as we speak by some kid in Suriname?
That kid’s name is DJ Chuckie. Chuckie found his way onto the global airwaves from South America’s tiniest nation. Growing up, he caught the mixing bug and took his chosen format to a level beyond anyone from his home country in recent memory.
Chuckie found his way into the Hague’s DJ scene in the early 90s and made enough of a sound in the Netherlands to end up as a featured act at the massive Sensation party. If there’s a DJ in the world deserving of an intensely ornate, winged DJ booth, it’s Chuckie. His renditions of other house DJs’ tracks have gotten him in the mix all over the place, including sessions by David Guetta. Most recently, he teamed up with French DJ Gregori Klosman on a remix of “Mutfakta.”
We haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Chuckie live, but if you happen to be along his path through the world, be sure to check him out. I mean, look how much fun he’s having in this footage from this year’s Electric Zoo festival.
DJ Chuckie is currently performing in North America.
Wed 11/24/10 New York, NY Roseland Ballroom
Fri 11/26/10 Montreal, QC Metropolis
Sat 11/27/10 Toronto, ON Kool Haus
Now here’s a sound we’ve been expecting to come back.
After listening to her music and watching her new video for “My Love,” Jihae feels more like something I dreamed up than an actual person. The South Korea-born New Yorker sidesteps all sorts of categories with her androgynous voice and a deadpan delivery that cuts right through you. Since her last effort “Elvis is Still Alive,” Jihae has shed the ballad-esque feel for a denser sound that’s just as slow. On her newest release Fire Burning Rain, the production features a little more ambience and drum machine laying ground for Jihae’s detached voice (yup, Portishead comparison).
In “My Love,” Jihae asks: “What do you like best about me?” Well, we’d have to say it’s that expressionless, beautiful, distinctly Korean face. Also, the Sade voice with a Courtney Love attitude. It’s simultaneously pained and b*tchy, with a palpable coldness in her lyrics.
We’ve been hearing good things about how her sound translates on stage, as well as the visual spectacle enhancing her performance. A taste of that visual effect can be seen in the “My Love” video, which shows Jihae and her band rocking out 90s alternative rock style, meaning they stand virtually motionless while multicolored light filters wash over them (another thing that we couldn’t help but notice was the drummer’s 90s vest, but hey, we’re not here to judge). If anyone can make that decades-old sheen look good, it’s Jihae.
Hear more here.
Check out Jihae’s new video for “My Love.”
This is what it sounds like along the treacherous border between Mexico and Mexico from the future.
Thanks to the third installment of Friends of Friends’ compilation series, we got an earful of San Antonio’s Mexicans with Guns, the production alias of Exponential Records head Ernest Gonzales. MwG takes the sounds of Latin radio and turns them into ghettotech masterpieces. It might start with a slick, summery maraca, but in no time it’ll grow into an unapologetic crunk beat.
The comp features “Icaros,” a track that begins with a tweaked tribal vocal, moving into matching sounds of a drum circle. Suddenly, there’s a raw synth apreggio and the organic soundscape drops into pounding 808 bass drums and a slicing, reverberated snare. Give it another minute, and the whole thing switches yet again. This time, double-timing into a jump up club beat. By the end of it, it’s hard to remember how the track started, prompting you to play it right back from the beginning. You got us with that little trick, MwG.
What’s behind his lucha libre mask, we’re not 100% sure, and we don’t really care as long as the beats are this crunchy. If you want to hear where his sound has grown from, check out this year’s single Me Gusto. It’s remarkable how much the Latin rhythms shine through even when they’re buried so deep in laser sounds.
Once again, a sound reaches our ears from Australia and has us hooked.
Without using anything resembling a standard drum beat, Sydney’s Ghoul makes you do that neck-and-shoulder dance without realizing it, so you look like a spaz on the train. The four-piece band doesn’t always sound like one, pulling together a collage of little sounds to form a rumble — something like a digitized Homelife song but more dreary. Vocalist Ivan Vizintin sings in a throaty voice that fits the group’s range, emulating dance rock and sing songy IDM alike.
Ghoul has an upcoming EP called Dunks due out in January, to be released by Speak N Spell, which previously brought us sounds from Black Lips and The Walkmen, among others. Dunks is just a little appetizer to get us all hungry for their full-length release, which will be out later in 2011. Ghoul just gave the world a tasty whiff of what’s to come with “3Mark,”. The track moves from sound clutter to glitch a-la-Radiohead to funky clapping beat, with Ivan’s appropriately ghostly vocals coming at us straight before getting chopped into the beat. Before you know it, there’s a near-complete Afrobeat rhythm breaking out.
If this is any indication of how Dunks will go, we’re all ears. I’ve got a premonition that we’ll be talking about his again real soon.
J Dilla would have been proud to know that his drum beat format is alive and growing tentacles in the care of producers like TOKiMONSTA. With wide bass drums that you feel more than hear keeping a stuttering, staggering rhythm in time, this chick from LA has mastered our favorite permutation of new school hip hop instrumentals.
In the style of fellow Angeleno Flying Lotus, TOKiMONSTA’s tracks have lo-fi texture, making even the most synthetic sounds feel organic (think Boards of Canada). In some of her songs, the funky hip hop drive is in the forefront. “The Word” on her myspace page runs over an especially clean break slowed down just enough to make the vocal sample cry.
TOKiMONSTA’s debut full-length “Midnight Menu” dropped over the summer, and since then the airwaves have been filling up with footage from her live performances, like the one below from a Japan appearance.
We’ve got an elementary understanding of what all the buttons on that console do, but TOKiMONSTA clearly has it under control. The sounds from space she’s looping and mashing were hand picked by her classically trained brain, so there’s some real logic beneath the piles of tantalizing noise. It still sounds like good old fashioned cruising music to us.
Catch TOKiMONSTA on tour in the US now!
Thu 11/18/10 Austin, TX @Antone’s
Sat 11/20/10 Dallas, TX @Trees
Mon 11/22/10 Lawrence, KS @Granada Theatre
Wed 11/24/10 Denver, CO @Ogden Theatre
Fri 11/26/10 Los Angeles, CA @The Music Box
Sat 11/27/10 San Francisco, CA @Mezzanine
Mon 11/29/10 Portland, OR @Wonder Ballroom
Tue 11/30/10 Seattle, WA @Showbox At The Market
Wed 12/01/10 Vancouver, BC @Rickshaw
We recently told you how pumped we were to see our favorite Colombian hip/hop/reggaeton/everything group receive a nomination for the Latin Grammy for Best Alternative Song. Apparently, all the good vibes did the trick. Congratulations to Choc Quib Town on their first Grammy win!
The group christened their new award-winning status with a stage-shattering performance of the song that won it for them, “De Donde Vengo Yo.” Way to kill it, guys, we knew you would!