I’m off on my honeymoon tomorrow but thought I’d give some notice about upcoming radio appearances. I’m not sure when yet, but my latest Thirty Five mix is going to be broadcast on the Bleep43 podcast at some point. If you’re not already a regular subscriber then make sure to rectify that now. Second, a recording of my performance at Süd Electronic last October will be broadcast on my friend Patrick‘s Eclectic Electric show on Purple Radio, Sunday September 13 at 19:00. Enjoy!
I did a mix on my birthday at the weekend. Hip hop, house and techno, mixed on the edge of my comfort zone, pace-wise. CD length. Download here.
Katalyst – How Bout Us (feat. Steve Spacek) [BBE]
Luke Vibert – A Fine Line [JBC Sounds]
Geto Boys – Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta (LP Version) [Asylum Records]
Gang Starr featuring Inspectah Deck – Above The Clouds (Explicit) [Virgin]
Harmonic 313 – Word Problems [Warp Records]
Hudson Mohawke – Root Hands [All City Ireland]
Tensnake – TheThenUnknown [Running Back]
Chez Damier – Why [Mojuba]
Kai Alce – Smoov Bumps [Deep Explorer]
DJ Marin – Love Fantasy (Rondenion mix) [TrebleO]
Domu – Dubs Journey [TrebleO]
Reggie Dokes – Chicago Pimp [Clone Loft Series]
Jared Wilson – Bangkok Four Seasons Hotel [Blank Artists]
Osborne – Wait A Minute (extended) [Spectral Sound]
Mass Prod – Focaccina (Jus-Ed Soul Stir mix) [Kontra Music]
Trinidadian Deep – Future Sonic [Future Vision]
Andre Zimma – Music (Atjazz remix) [Swedish Brandy]
James Kumo – Space Dancer (Planetary’s What Happens In Orbit Stays In Orbit remix) [Metamorphic]
Mr. G – Makes No Sense (Radio Slave’s Shaking The Tree remix) [Rekids]
Matt O’Brien – End Of The Beginning [Offkey Industries]
Deuce – Guttering (original mix) [Ostgut Ton]
Orphx – Threshold (Substance remix) [Sonic Groove]
Sven Weisemann – Trackz [a.r.t.less]
Shed – The Lower Upside Down (Surgeon remix) [Ostgut Ton]
Jacek Sienkiewicz – Connections [Cocoon]
It took me a while to notice, but it turned out my last order from Juno was missing a number of tracks. All were available for download individually but in the zip files (which appear to have been automatically split at 2.5 GB) a number of the tracks/art were missing. I detailed this for Juno customer service and they reinstated my order so that I could download the missing stuff. I’m totally pleased with the response but it was a bit of a hassle figuring out what wasn’t there.
I e-mailed them again to find out how this could happen and they said it hadn’t been reported before, but they are upgrading the download system and it will be faster and more reliable in the future. Anyway, I thought I’d pass the info along so that people check their zipped downloads if they pull them down this way.
From Luke Vibert’s early productions on Rising High, Mo’ Wax and Ninja Tune through his reinvention in nearly every form imaginable since the early part of this decade, he has always remained resolutely idiosyncratic and recognisable while adapting himself to changing genres and technology. He’s also turned in some excellent DJ sets which display the same sense of quality and eclecticism.
Despite this reliability and novelty regeneration I seemed to loose track of him over the last few years, so he was one of the artists that I made an effort to catch up with. Setting the time machine back to August 2007 I found Chicago, Detroit, Redruth on Planet Mu and his collaboration with Jean Jaques Perrey, Moog Acid On Lo recordings. Both albums sounded interesting enough, but Vibert’s faster acidic side is a bit hit and miss for me. I picked up God from the former and Vision For the Future from the latter. Both albums as a whole were too acid-indulgent for me, which isn’t really a fair assessment of the whole, but I’ll stand by mu clip-based judgement that they aren’t his best work in their totalities. That said, God is exactly the kind of hip hop that only he can pull off, with lush choral samples over rudely distorted toms. It also has some of the best deitic samples aggregated in one place. Vision For the Future is reminiscent of his Lover’s Acid record or Kerrier District from a few years back. In that way it’s a useful sort of track for me, as I don’t buy a lot of house that sounds like this. Hell, not much house sounds like this. It’s just good with an unusual feel and mood to it.
Fast forward to last month and the release of his Rhythm album. From the first bar I was fondly reminded of Tally Ho! Indeed this album reminds me more of that release than anything he’s done since then, in that it’s mostly instrumental hip hop and it’s full of surprises (and ridiculously creative song names). When shopping I tried to dissect it unsuccessfully. While I could have probably lived with only two or three of the tracks, I really wanted the whole album, as it clearly deserves that monicker, despite its actuality as a repackaged collection of Japanese 12″ releases in an affordable release.
That said, one track stands out because it’s so unusual and good. A Fine line is another track using choral singing in hip hop to mad effect. I don’t know how it works, it just does, and it’s successful enough that it’s been swimming around in my head for a couple of weeks now.
The title track Rhythm didn’t leap out at me until I’d heard it a few times (probably because it takes a bit to get going). It’s all about the claps and reggae samples that come in about half way through. They’re huge. If anything I just wish this track was longer.
Concertina Turner, James Bond in a Jimmy Hat and Harmonica Sellers all have a classic funk feel to them, which will definitely appeal to fans of the classic Ninja Tune sound. Simultaneously it reminds me of DJ Premiere’s production on Moment of Truth. Same era(ish) I suppose.
But as I say it’s mostly just an enjoyable straight-through listening experience for the oddity of his orchestrations and left-field sample sources, which arrived right on time for me. I think this one has some shelf life in it.
To top this off, I’ve just noticed a second album in as many months called We Hear You on Planet Mu. I’ve not yet had a chance to check it but will endeavour to report back following the next batch of purchases.
As those few people who have found me lurking in the Facebook shadows will know, I probably only log in to it about once/month, as I really don’t want to allow myself to get sucked in to social networking round III, but I had been mulling over some involvement there. As my friend Guy recently introduced me to the concept of Pages, I’ve gone and set myself up with one, which is primarily a feed of this site in the Facebook realm. I’m sure some unique content will emerge there eventually however. For now I’ve posted up the three very short videos of me DJing in Latvia from a few years back, as I didn’t have a video facility in my blog at the time and they were only posted in a zip. Anyway… if you fancy it you can add me here, but please take no offence if I don’t reciprocate, as I really can’t do social networking sites without thwarting all productivity/life, and I’m determined to spend a bit more time generating mixes, music and web content for my site (which will in turn appear in Facebook).
While lots of fans of the dubstep fringe have heaped praise on Martyn and 2562 (myself included, and Burial before them), I reckon Hessle Audio deserves more attention than it’s already got, if nothing else as a gateway to what the Hessle artists are doing elsewhere. TRG and Pangaea were two of the first dubstep artists I took an interest in beyond Burial, on a tip from Ali Wade. Both artists have a dark, sparse ethereality which is what first drew me in and distinguishes them from the thin and generic synthesis that first defined dubstep. Since then Hessle has been my first port of call for the new school sounds from South London Holland wherever they may originate. Ramadanman’s Blimey is similar to what you’d expect from the early TRG and Pangaea releases with some fairly creative beat work and Joe’s Grimelight/Rut drops big unabashed classic synth flavour that makes Detroit techno fun again.
The Hessle discovery I’m most excited about is Untold and his own Hemlock Recordings. His shit is on a different vector. Not only does it take more chances than most music I hear anywhere, it does so with the right ingredients, restraint when it’s needed, and a good deal of variety. The only thing I can really compare his sound to is the all-over-the-shop remix of Modeselktor’s ‘Black Block’ that Rustie turned in last year, but even that can only serve as a marker for the care that goes in to each measure. I’ve come across four of his releases digitally so far and the only track I haven’t bought is Discipline – not because I didn’t like it but because I didn’t feel like I really needed it when I was getting Bones (from the Discipline release) and all of I Can’t Stop This Feeling, Kingdom and Sweat. Basically all of this is essential. One thing I particularly like is that he knows when to turn the bass off. That’s something that turns me off less mature dubstep. He has a great sense of how to avoid the low bass drone that eventually loses its impact and takes on the characteristics of seismic white noise. He gets away with some pretty crazy things with bass, managing fairly active sub-bass, tight, punchy kicks and resonant basslines simultaneously, without inducing suffocation. It’s fairly remarkable stuff.
I also found James Blake’s Air & Lack Thereof on Hemlock. The title track most reminds me of Dimlite, which is a similarity that’s pretty difficult to pull off. Those who’ve checked my mixes in recent years will know how highly I regard that comparison. The B-side Sparing the Horses is a new level of madness. Galloping (geddit?) kicks lead in to bass and synth enormity of heretofor unknown size, punctuated with huge air gaps of elephantitan ball massivity. This is futurity today.
According to RA, James Blake runs with Mount Kimbie – which brings me to Hotflush Recordings. The Maybes EP is a lovely collection of the sort of scratchy synthesis that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Vladislav Delay record. I could see these guys on Warp before too long actually. I’m finding it really difficult to describe this stuff, probably because it’s just different. Is it really even dubstep? Experimental dubstep I guess. Just give it a listen.
Also in the dubstep/not-dubstep category we find SCUBA‘s recent material (not to be confused with King Britt’s SCUBA). Klinik is basically a mnml minimal percussive techno track with some atmosphere. The only thing remotely dubsteppy about it is the unusual placement of the beats. At any rate, it’s good minimal percussive techno. It’s not surprising then that Marcel Dettmann remixed From Within last year. It’s throbbing deep, dark techno with a nearly industrial edge. Actually it reminds me a bit of Studio Pankow’s Zoologischer Garten (which I opened this mix with a while back) – one of my favourite ever tracks. On the virtual flip side SCB removes the vowels and remixes his own Hard Boiled, which transforms an atmospheric, technoey dubstep track in to an acidic, spacey and somewhat dubby techno track. Anyone maintaining an aversion to dubstep that’s stuck with me this far should definitely test their resistance to this.
Rounding out my recent Hotflush purchases, I picked up Jazzsteppa‘s Jakin/Two, which puts the dub back in dubstep. I’d assumed the dubby bits were sampled but when I just visited their discogs page I noticed that BarBie plays the trombone. Impressive stuff. I also got Pangaea’s Mosaix, which does some very cool things with an upright bass.
So set your label search to H, filter by dubstep and find good shiz.
I’ve just noticed that at some point recently my comments settings were changed to require login. I hope this hasn’t put anyone off, as I didn’t realise this was the case. Anyway, it should be a little more usual now. Please let me know through the new contact form at the bottom of the page if you have any problems, as that definitely doesn’t require login.
While I’m at it, I’m trying out the new (to me anyway) Thematic Theme Framework + Second To None Child Theme but I’m still working on tweaking it, so bare with me if there’s any disruption or odd changes as I go. At some point I should really set up a test site…
It’s in no way peculiar to electronic music that most artists fail to find ways to stay fresh. It may seem an apt critique due to the reduced bureaucracy between making music and getting it in to the hands of music buyers, but this again maintains in all forms of underground music. Prolific artists can be found everywhere. Some like Madlib find ways to marry that output with impeccable quality. However, he’s blatantly an exception that proves the rule. Point being, it can get difficult to overcome the cynicism that builds up when once-adored musicians seem to lose the plot. I’m by no means the most cynical music buyer I know and I made a conscious effort to put my open mind where my ears are with this last shop, revisiting many of the artists I’ve lost track of over the years. What came of it? Mostly disappointment with a few nice surprises – so not a lot different than any other arbitrary segment of what I sought.
Having said all this I think it will be clear how refreshing it is to see Mark Pritchard reinvent himself yet again as Harmonic 313. As part of Reload, Jedi Knights, Secret Ingredients and Global Communications (with Tom Middleton) and as Link and N.Y. Connection solo, he was responsible for a huge swath of my favourite ’90s house, techno, electro and ambience. Then they suddenly fell off the map towards the end of the ’90s. A couple of years later he re-emerged as Troubleman on a downtempo/broken tip, which was nice stuff but not really that exciting. When you stack up the breadth and consistency of his work in the 90s; when you consider what he’s been doing relative to the route that Tom Middleton’s taken; when you consider that the Troubleman stuff was yet another new style to add to those he’s mastered and when you consider that most people would just repeat a “working” formula ad nauseum, he was doing alright in my book. I just wasn’t blown away.
Last year Harmonic 313 arrived. I loved Dirtbox and with the addition of When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence I was sold. At face value Harmonic 313 sounds like the new school of post-Jay Dee stumbly massive-bass synthetic hip hop like Flying Lotus – which ain’t exactly wrong, but probably insufficient. There’s a great deal of musicality that isn’t typical in hip hop and while the template would be this new style of hip hop there’s loads of more traditional music merged therein. Dirtbox clearly owes a debt to dubstep, No Way Out almost sounds like a resonant analogue take on slow Detroit house, Word Problems is pure Speak and Math sinister analogue hip hop, Battlestar is hip hop for MC’s sake, Flaash squeezes the Harmonic 313 sound in to an early Chicago house context and the rest of the album seems to bring the Warp heyday up to date, tapping in to Boards of Canada or Plaid styles with some simple but beautiful baselines that lend themselves perfectly to the size of his base.
If this weren’t enough, I highly recommend his remix of DJ Mujava’s Township Funk, which hints at how Harmonic 313 could squeeze itself back in to the Global Communications and Jedi Knights sounds of old. The baseline is pure dub and the beats are basically house but this track can’t be pinned down as any one thing other than a master’s synthesis of multiple styles in to a new, perfectly sensible thing. It’s brilliant. Mark Pritchard is back (if he was ever really gone).
I should be just about caught up after this. Some of this stuff had a delayed digital release, which I am only now realising is fairly common (or this could be down to my over-reliance on Juno). But I also made an effort to check out artists that I’ve lost track of recently, which is the major contributor to the amount of music found here. Referencing blogs, e-mail lists, mix track lists and message boards is excellent for finding tips but if you really want to find stuff there’s no substitute for mining every artist and label that you can think of. It’s gotta be done periodically, even if it does require a monumental investment of time.
I’m determined to actually write some reviews of this stuff and you can expect some mixes before too long. There’s some fantastic stuff in here.
2562 – Embrace
2562 – Love In Outer Space
Black Jazz Consortium – Dark Points EP
Burial – Ghost Hardware EP
Dam Funk – Rhythm Trax Vol 4
Dam Funk – Let’s Take Off
Harmonic 313 – When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence
Ismael Pinkler – Trote
James Blake – Air & Lack Thereof
Joe – Grimelight
Kai Alce – Disillusionment EP
Luke Vibert – Rhythm
Monolake – Atlas-Titan
Mount Kimbie – Maybes
Norm Talley – The Journey
Ramadanman – Blimey
Reggie Dokes – Chicago Pimp
Reggie Dokes – Spectacle Of Deepness EP
Scuba – From Within
Sigha – On The Strip
Untold – Kingdom
Untold – I Can’t Stop This Feeling
Untold – Sweat
V/A – Viewpoints: Chapter One
Alton Miller – Inner8 (Gerd’s No vox mix)
Andre Zimma – Music (Atjazz remix)
Benjamin Brunn – Im Kaufhaus
Bernard Badie – Truth Hurts (dub mix)
Black Jazz Consortium – Deepness
Bodycode – Hands Free Computer Interface (The Mole remix)
Burial – South London Boroughs
Chateau Flight – Instant Replay
Chateau Flight – Rituel
Chez Damier – Why
Clyde – Roll Of The Beast (original mix)
Cro Magnon – Eclipse (DJ Mitsu The Beats remix)
Cro Magnon – Time Flies (feat Steve Spacek – original)
Cyrus/Random Trio – Indian Stomp
Daniel Meteo – Pure I (James T Cotton remix)
Daniel Meteo – The Beat Of The Heart
Dave Aju – Weebles
Delano Smith – Hystery
Deuce – Guttering
Dimlite – Quiz Tears (instrumental)
Dimlite – Ravemond’s Young Problems
Diverse – Against Me
Diverse – Beyond Beyond (feat Madlib)
Diverse – Escape Earth
DJ Aqua Beat – Our Transition
DJ Gregory/Gregor Salto – Con Alegria (main mix)
DJ Marin – Love Fantasy (Rondenion mix)
DJ Mujava – Township Funk (Mark Pritchard’s version Excursion)
DJ Sprinkles – Brenda’s $20 Dilemma
DJ Sprinkles -Grand Central (Deep Into The Bowel Of House)
DJ Sprinkles – Midtown 120 (blues)
Domu – Dubs Journey
Domu – What’s Your Number (original mix)
DXR – Wonka
Ferdinand Fehlers – Hearth
Fred Everything – Elevate (Maurice Fulton mix)
Hakan Lidbo feat Emma Astram – El Presidente
Hanna – Perfume
Hanna – The Clown
Hanna – The Race
Home & Garden with Chez Damier – In & Out (JT Donaldson dub)
Hudson Mohawke – Root Hands
Ill Suono – Angel Beat (Dabrye remix)
ISoul8 – Free
Jacek Sienkiewicz – Connections
James Kumo – Space Dancer (Planetary’s What Happens In Orbit Stays In Orbit remix)
Jared Wilson – Bangkok Four Seasons Hotel
Jark Prongo – Helios
Jazzsteppa – Two
Jean Jaques Perrey/Luke Vibert – Vision For The Future
Jori Hulkkonen – Fermi Paradox
Joshua Iz – Get To Know (Latin)
Kai Alce – Kzr Gruv
Kai Alce – Smoov Bumps
Katalyst – Dedicated (feat Diverse – album version)
Katalyst – How Bout Us (feat Steve Spacek – album version)
Katalyst – Non Stop (feat Supernatural – album version)
King Midas Sound – Lost (Flying Lotus remix)
King Midas Sound – One Ting (Dabrye remix)
King Midas Sound – Too Long Dub
LAL – Saturn (Dimlite remix)
Laurent Garnier – Back To My Roots (Panoramix)
LD – 2 Bad
LD – Traumatic Times
Legowelt – Loverstory SH21
Linkwood – Hear The Sun
Linkwood Family – Piece Of Mind
Lowtec – Chord Memory
Luke Vibert – God
Manuel Tur feat Blakkat – Golden Complexion (Papa Bradock’s Minnie Mouth remix)
Marco Bernardi – Mystery Of Nazerus (2562 remix)
Mark Pritchard/Om Mas Keith – Wind It Up (instrumental)
Mass Prod/Jus Ed – Mass Prod (Jus-Ed Soul Stir mix)
Matt O’Brien – End Of The Beginning
Matt O’Brien – Serotone (version)
Mr G – Makes No Sense (Radio Slave’s Shaking The Tree remix)
Mr Oizo – Positif (LFO remix)
Mr Oizo – Z (album version)
Nigel Hayes – Back Together (Abacus remix)
Nutty – Mdali (Brooks mix)
Opolopo/Amalia – I Do (Domu’s Discotech mix)
Orphx – Threshold (Substance remix)
Osborne – Wait A Minute (extended)
Ost & Kjex – Have You Seen The Moon In Dallas? (Maurice Fulton remix)
Pablo Bolivar – Into The Televerse (Andy Stott remix)
Pangaea – Mosaix
Patchworks feat Darius Rachaud – Celebration (Slight Return)
Patrice Scott – Azteck
Patrice Scott – Nuonce
Pierce & Twirdy – Cuaba (Babicz Style In Full EFX mix by Robert Babicz)
Pinch – Lazarus (original version)
Randolph – Lonely Eden
Robert Babicz – A Night In Melbourne
Ron Trent feat Robert Owens – Deep Down (dub mix)
Rondenion – Tokyo Deep! Love Is Like A Diamond
Sam & Gigi – Bau Au (Patchworks remix)
Scuba – Hard Boiled
Scuba – Hundreds & Thousands
Shed – The Lower Upside Down (Surgeon remix)
Skream – Percression (original version)
Sleazy McQueen & the Nasty Fruits – Let’s Try To Love ($tinkworx remix)
Stephen Beaupre – Les Filles (The Mole remix)
Steve Oh – In My Zone
Sven Weisemann – Trackz
Tensnake – Holding Back (My Love)
Tensnake – TheThenUnknown
Titonton Duvante – On Top
Titonton Duvante – R U N Trouble
Titonton Duvante – Unzip!
Trinidadian Deep – Future Sonic
Untold – Bones
Version – The Brighter Side (Atjazz instmix)
Wyndell Long – Deep-Deep