Archive for January 2011
Beats in lambent light.
The hip hop beat has gone in a million directions since its boom bap origin, and weird bloopy ambient sounds make more of an appearance daily. Sure, a few LA producers are leading the way (Flying Lotus, Daedelus, Tokimonsta), but the best Japanese producer in Berlin, Lambent, is taking it to new levels of warped abstraction. It’s head-bobbing music for anyone with a quadruple-jointed hydraulic-mechanical neck.
We’re not sure how Lambent ended up in Germany from his native Japan, but his locale has had a bit of an effect on his sound. He’s not following the nu rave trend or anything. According to his Facebook page, the inspiration for his sound comes from an island in Japan called Ishigaki. The weird thing is, Lambent has never been there. It just inspires him. If that’s not in the samurai spirit, I don’t know what is.
Lambent augments the sounds of nature with staggering synths and drum beats. You’ll hear flowing water and gusts of wind suddenly get hit with a storm of synthetic sound. Each track is a walk through the park during the robot apocalypse. Check out “Biscuits” below.
Lambent – “Biscuits”
Now, for some sounds from the land down under the land down under.
The great examples of electronic music coming out of Australia (Ghoul, Spoonbill, Cut Copy) shouldn’t overshadow the killer stuff being made in scenic New Zealand. The island nation conceals gems like Benny Tones, whose album Chrysalis made plenty of noise in NZ. Well, it’s gaining some speed and we just heard that the album is due for an official world release in March. Congrats, Benny!
Benny got his start doing live sound for Electric Wire Hustle, a New Zealand band that combines live instrumentation with MPC sound triggering. On his solo effort, he’s branching out. The self-titled single features vocals from another Wellington NZ artist. Sacha Vee lends her neo soul style to Benny Tone’s blippy beat. Thanks for going heavy on the sweet laser sounds Benny!
Hear “Chrysalis” here.
Dilla Day is coming on the 13th of February! Here’s why.
J Dilla produced some of your favorite songs and you didn’t even know it. From The Pharcyde’s Labcabbincalifornia to Common’s Like Water For Chocolate, Busta Rhymes’ “Woo Ha” to Janet Jackson’s “Got Til It’s Gone,” not to mention De La Soul’s “Stakes is High,” one of the most celebrated hip hop beats of all time. He would have kept going too, but some booms and baps are too hot for this world, and J Dilla died at the tender age of 32 of a rare blood disorder five years ago.
His birthday is on the 13th of February, and Stones Throw Records — which released a ton of his posthumous work — is collaborating with Stussy to host DJ events in LA, Vegas, DC, Toronto, and Vancouver to commemorate this great artist.
But nothing planned in Detroit?! Because there isn’t a Stussy store in Dilla’s hometown, it looks like it’s getting skipped on Dilla Day. C’mon, Stone’s Throw! As if Detroit hasn’t had it hard enough.
Regardless, we’re positive that someone in Motor City is having an unofficial Dilla tribute show, as there will likely be in cities across the USA. Let us know about a Dilla Day event near you!
For true fans who won’t be near a party on the 13th, we urge you to sit back in your easy chair and give a have a beginning-to-end listen to Fan-Tas-Tic Volume 1, Welcome 2 Detroit, Donuts, or any other production by one of the greatest of all time.
Rest in peace, Jay Dee!
Let’s get ready for Dilla Day “People!”
“Yeah, we don’t want to do anything to scare your children. That’s the last thing we want to do. We don’t want to scare anybody.”
That ominous quote drops into the middle of Demokracy’s “Zone,” a track from the Russian duo’s forthcoming Double Star EP that will almost definitely scare your children. It’s one of several scratchy, nearly indecipherable vocal samples buried within heavy, pounding drums and layer upon spooky layer of synth. Demokracy’s records are ensuing nightmares. (If you’re looking for pleasant dreams, listen to Boards of Canada.)
The droning bass is something you hear in a lot of electronica today, but it’s Demokracy’s treble end that’s more adventurous and filled with bent bells, twisted sustains, and shrill stabs of noise that will make you think you called the fax machine number by mistake.
Frightening as it might be, Demokracy’s music is engaging. Every time you give one of their releases a thorough headphone listen, you find something new. Russia is proving to be a hotbed for this kind of stuff, and Demokracy’s native Siberia is no exception.
Hear Double Star EP right here.
Caution: beats in proximity.
The USA west coast instrumental hip hop renaissance has been in effect for a couple of years, and there are finally enough studios taking rogue beatmakers off the LA streets and giving them a home. Proximal Records is one such place, and they gave the world a taste of what was to come with 2010′s Proximity One: Narrative of a City. That compilation — which featured up-and-comers like Sahy Uhns, Dam Funk, and TOKiMONSTA — is getting a revisit through Proximity One: Narrative Remixes, a short remix comp due out next month.
Like the original compilation, this short run remix release brings together scene standbys like Daedelus and newbies like BearClaw. You can tell by the tracklist:
TOKiMONSTA – Cigarette Lust (90% Wake Mix)
Teebs – Wind Loop (BearClaw’s Cicada Remix)
Dam-Funk – A Day At the Carnival (Benedek’s Freak Show Mix)
Dr. Strangeloop – Strange Utopia (Lawrence Grey’s Rat Hole Mix)
Daedelus – Off Angles Edges (Sahy Uhns’ Tension Remeditation)
After what they’ve shown us so far, we expect nothing but the best from this advancing label.
One of Ninja Tune’s contributions to the new sound of soul is singer Andreya Triana.
The South East Londoner was scooped up by the label last year, releasing her debut album Lost Where I Belong in August. A track from that album just got a remix treatment from one of our favorite new producers, LA’s TOKiMONSTA.
She’s got some good stuff to work with. Lost Where I Belong is a Bonobo production, and as usual, his beats meticulously produced yet organic, and mellow. They’re perfect as a base for some of Andreya’s soulful crooning. TOKiMONSTA makes this number a little more blippy. It goes from soul to bass-heavy R&B, with plenty of synths layered into the mix. It’s not as ambient and trippy as some of TOKi’s own album work. It’s like the two artists meet in the middle to create this sort of in between sound. Hear below.
Andreya Triana – “Far Closer” (TOKiMONSTA remix)
If you’ve heard any of his stuff before, you’ve surmised that the guy has some pretty unexpected tastes for a pioneer hip hop musician.
The word “eclectic” barely comes close to describing the seemingly random track choice that Daedelus blends. In his signature style, things get weird sounding every two to three minutes. You can’t stop listening because you want to hear what direction he’s going.
At one point, a Bjork remix blends seamlessly into a Drake song, which switches to a song by AC Slater (not that AC Slater), which somehow fades into “Strawberry Fields.” What?! Exactly. This is one you have to hear to believe.
Check out the mix here.
DZA is not trying to ride the Wu train by any means.
He’s a producer who creates epic electronic bangers in the frozen tundra that is Moscow. Somehow, you can hear the chills and snow through his echo-y snare sounds and drippy synthesizers. The imminence of subzero temperatures is especially loud and abrasive on his 2010 beat tape Five Finger Discount. Tracks like “Cold As Hell” and “Eskimo” really reflect his plight.
The weather must still be getting to DZA, because there are a couple of fresh tracks up on his Soundcloud page. There’s a fast and spastic remix of a song called “deezahstar” (for which the original is unfindable on the inter-webs), a dubstep-paced track called “MT SKOROST,” and a collab with one of our new obsessions, Romania’s Montgomery Clunk.
Still waiting on a collab between DZA, KZA, and Phantomhead Murderah, but that might just be a pipe dream.
DZA & Montgomery Clunk – “New Year Loop”
They just released a short EP called Awesome, featuring the original track and a little remix. On both versions, Bibal has retained his Dilla-esque beat style that stays sexy and smooth despite the jitters and stutters.
The two Parisians make a great team. The title track “Awesome” lives up to its name, but the less-than-two-minute runtime leaves you wanting more! Here’s hoping they put this new soul sound on a full-length.
Download the tracks for free right here.