Just another WordPress.com site

Archive for November 2010

Healthy Candy from Australia's The Death Set

Put on your ADD hat for this one.

Mishka presents The Death Set's latest mixtape, Artificially Sweetened

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


Written by M

November 30, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Bands We Like: Austrian Keyboard Wrecker Dorian Concept

Dorian Concept, Austria's keyboard prodigy. Photo credit 13th Plate blog

When an Austrian kid starts taking piano lessons at a young age, he could go in one of three directions: loathing the piano for life, becoming a classical virtuoso, or using his expert training to make a new kind of music all together. Dorian Concept went with door three. Named for a bit of harmonic jargon known as the Dorian scale, the 25-year-old Austrian joins the ranks of young producers serving intelligent dance music fans something a little more hip hop, retaining all the futuristic sounds of electronic pioneers of the 90s.

Setting Dorian’s sound apart is the jazz like composition of his melodies. He applies a funky Rhodes style to the halfway tweaked out sounds from his preferred MicroKorg, falling nicely over beats that follow a fairly strict boom bap until a syncopated pattern fades in to complicate things.

Dorian has dropped the bulk of his recent work on Dutch label Kindred Spirits, save for a handful of 12″ on other labels. Following his debut When Planets Explode this past May, he released remixes of a Jamie Lidell song and a Three 6 Mafia song on the same record. The Lidell remix goes as expected, but his hash of Three 6’s “Stay Fly” let’s you know with a drone why Dorian’s in league with artists like Flying Lotus. It’s tempting to make a Prefuse 73 comparison too, but the construction comes from the mind of an instrumentalist and not a sample chopper.

Aside from the talent and the relatively new found recognition, Dorian has got his youth going for him. With this much interesting sound accomplished by his mid 20s, we’re waiting to see what tricks he pulls out next. With his instrument virtuosity and one-man-army production style, he’s like a young Squarepusher. We know Dorian won’t mind that comparison one bit.

Check out Dorian Concept’s video for “Color Sexist”


Dorian Concept: Color Sexist from Halvor Bodin on Vimeo.

Written by M

November 30, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Poland's Igor Boxx Drops the Skalpel and Conducts Sound Surgery

Igor Boxx's Breslau is out now on Ninja Tune.

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”

Written by M

November 29, 2010 at 6:04 pm

House Music is Child's Play to Suriname's DJ Chuckie

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?

DJ Chuckie live at Electric Zoo 2010. Photo credit Ben Hider/Getty Images

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 @ Electric Zoo Festival 2010 in 1080p from YogaTard on Vimeo.

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

Written by M

November 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Bands We Like: LA's Beat Manipulator Nosaj Thing

This is, quite literally, not your dad’s hip hop.

Photo credit Kayt Jones/LA Times

In fact, parts of it don’t sound even remotely like boom bap and rhymes, but be sure that this is the direction LA producers are taking it. Like fellow Angelean acts Flying Lotus and TOKiMONSTA, Nosaj Thing builds beats around dream-like sonic textures. Armed with an MPC and a sense for tweaking drum sounds, he demonstrates how live a laptop DJ set can be. Finally! A little action and not just the screen’s glare on a face pale from years of basement habitation. Nosaj Thing clearly knows his way around 16 pads, turning complex sound triggering into an effortless dance.

Since his first full length, 2009’s Drift, Nosaj Thing has done a number of notable remixes, like this one of The xx’s “Islands.” Nosaj Thing has a way of deconstructing a track and building it into something new before your ears. It’s a technique that’s especially notable on his remix of Radiohead’s “Reckoner.” Nosaj lets Thom Yorke’s vocals play out before dicing them into bits. It’s this attention to detail that gives Nosaj Thing’s production real replay value. He’s currently working on his next release, and the collaborations carry the kind of star power only true beat nerds can dig: Jon Hopkins, Daedelus, and Dorian Concept, to name a few.

Check out a particularly solid little mix Nosaj Thing did on KEXP earlier this year.

Written by M

November 24, 2010 at 10:54 am

South Korean-American Rock Diva Jihae's New Video for "My Love"

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.”

Written by M

November 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Music, Photo of the Day

Tagged with , , ,

Mexicans with Guns Stays Low and Keeps Firing

This is what it sounds like along the treacherous border between Mexico and Mexico from the future.

"Icaros" is featured on Friends of Friends' new compilation.

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.

Written by M

November 22, 2010 at 6:09 pm