< Every so often I’ll happen up on a tune or a DJ mix that will strike me in a very specific way, leaving me vaguely unsettled and uncomfortable but enthralled at the same time. LHF’s mix for FACT magazine is a great example of this; it’s one of the most simultaneously fascinating and bizarre DJ sets I’ve heard in quite some time. I recognize LHF from his recent release on Keysound Recordings; I confess to having glossed over his EP, even though I usually follow Blackdown’s label (and his blog), but I will definitely make a point of revisiting it now that I’ve heard this mix, which sounds, quite frankly, like nothing I’ve ever heard before. 135bpm amen cutups sit side-by-side with huge and crisp percussion of a much more contemporaneous style; tribal-esque bongos skitter at a claustrophobic pace beneath a host of tritones and other dissonances; delerious indecipherable chopped-up vocals chatter maddeningly behind swooping synths, until everything drops out to film samples every self-respecting junglist will recognize. What a strange, strange assortment of sounds. It made me intensely uncomfortable, in fact; but for some reason, I can’t stop listening to it.
Boomkat’s 14tracks collection has an eerie knack for corresponding to my current thoughts and considerations, so how fitting that on this dreary, dismal morning I awake to “14tracks: Echospace Exclusives”. The spectral, Rhythm+Sound-esque dubscapes of Deepchord, Echospace, Cv313, etc etc etc are the perfect accompaniment to any cloud-covered day or quiet meditation. I’ve got The Coldest Season on right now; but thanks to this newsletter I’ve got a whole string of live recordings of which I was previously unaware to soundtrack my Wednesday as well. Word up Boomkat.
I heard this before any of James Blake’s other tunes, and it was the reason I started paying attention to him. Love, love, love this tune.
James Blake - I Never Learnt to share
Dubstep has been around for some time now, we all know that; including in the US, even though it’s newer here. The US interpretation of dubstep, however- much like the US interpretation of jungle- is markedly more upfront and aggressive, and it was for that reason that for the longest time I thought there was no such thing as dubstep I’d like. But inevitably the other faces of the genre made their ways into my awareness, and around the beginning of 2009 I discovered (and fell head over heels in love with) the sounds of people like Scuba, Burial, Martyn, Pangaea, Ramadanman- all the stuff I write about here on a regular basis. It’s been an uphill battle since then, however, as a DJ and an outspoken voice in music working in America (and not in New York City), to convince my peers to accept these sounds as just as valid a part of the canon of Proper Dubstep. So it is, I confess, with a teeny hint of smug self-congratulation that I link up to this mix. I own quite a few of these tunes on vinyl and have spent significant time listening to others of them; and yes, my friends, there is much more to dubstep than that super-tough “bro-step” style. Class is in session.
For the last week I have been listening compulsively to the music of Fernando Corona, aka Murcof. These tunes have proven to be a beautiful example of what I love about minimalism in electronic music; they are uncluttered and spare but microscopically detailed, each sound in itself having a sense of intimacy. Even when the music moves into a stop-and-start awkwardness, punctuated only by tiny clicks, these tunes feel warm and organic; Corona’s velvety orchestration carries the tunes forward on a swell of lush, bittersweet melancholy.
Murcof is not a newcomer, and his music may well be old news to some of you, but allow me my moment of celebration, please…
A tongue-in-cheek, IDM-meets-booty homage to club music. “Git It”, indeed.
I’ve never heard of Crystal Fighters, nor have I ever heard of the label which put this out, but (needless to say) my interest was piqued instantly when I saw dBridge and Sepalcure on the same record. My personal preference is for (needless to say) dBridge’s remix; following in the footsteps of his stellar Love Hotel/The Dim Light, this tune is a subdued, off-kilter number, electro-inflected drums stepping at halftime dnb tempo over moody pads. The original is interesting as well, with indecipherable stuttered vocals and an almost-too-awkward-but-still-funky groove; it wasn’t Incredible, but it was enough to make me curious about the rest of Crystal Fighters’ work. I was surprised to find myself actively disliking the Sepalcure remix- actually, let me rephrase that: I was surprised to hear Sepalcure, whose work I generally enjoy quite a bit, using those damn chainsaw wobbles. It’s an instant turnoff when I hear it on home listening speakers; when I hear it on a club system I often have to fight the urge to clap my hands over my ears and and run out of the room (sometimes I don’t fight that urge, truth be told); I was quite disappointed to hear it on a Sepalcure tune. But overall this was an interesting record, worthy of attention, if not purchase.
A deep and dreamlike set, by turns lush and sparse, melodic and angular, this mix was a real treat. The tunes, which are consistently interesting and engaging, progress seamlessly, both in terms of technical mixing and track progression. Expertly put together in all respects and simply a joy to listen to.
NONPLUS008! My favorite label of recent times comes correct with some storming techno. Essential, ‘nuff said.
Now we know which of the inimitable duo is responsible for the eerie, brooding soundscapes that permeate much of Instra:mental’s music. He’s got a 10” scheduled for release on NakedLunch (the label’s Soundcloud account, where samples of both tunes can be found), and if the tune on his own Soundcloud is any indication of what’s to come, I can’t wait till the rumors of a forthcoming LP come to fruition…
And just a little shameless self-promotion to round it out…
Join us on Saturday, August 28th, at the Arts Garage (1533 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia PA 19130) for the second public event hosted by our collective No Love. Open bar from 9pm-11pm, live art till midnight and future garage, post-dubstep, beats, boogie and bass all night long. For free content, be sure to check out our blog.
As you might imagine of someone who’s devoted as much time to DJing and music research as I have, the Search For The Great DJ Mix is an ever-present element of my daily regimen. Yesterday, I found one: James Ruskin’s FACT mix. A near-two-hour exploration of techno, spanning everything from Aphex Twin to Marcel Dettman, from Dopplereffekt to Scuba, all seamlessly laced together. The diversity of selection and obvious skill in programming and mixing make this set exactly the sort of thing I’d like; in fact, it’s not dissimilar in intent from the kind of set I might play. (Hence “techno-plus”, the name I am considering for a tongue-in-cheek, Clockwork-Orange-referencing descriptor of my 140bpm-and-below sets.)
Anyway: James Ruskin’s FACT mix. The tracklist and artist info are all included. Enjoy, as I am.
Now this is what I call some exciting news. We all heard dBridge’s remix of “Belleview” on Commix’s peerless Fabriclive.44 mix (it’s freakin’ killer), and Instra:mental’s remix of “Japanese Electronics” on the sixth Autonomic podcast (also freakin’ killer, in a completely different way); bits and pieces of the Burial remix of Commix’s 2007 Metalheadz masterpiece Be True have been floating around for the last year and a half or so, ever since mention of it was made on BBC Radio 1; however, there hasn’t until just now been any intimation of these all getting released, much less ALL IN THE SAME PLACE, and amongst so much other talent to boot. Can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait.
Frozen Border.06 (Frozen Border)
Just like the title says. Sixth in the string of hand-stamped, white-label, anonymous releases on the ubiquitous Frozen Border imprint, each side of this record delivers a deep, deadly and dubbed-out dancefloor destroyer. The a-side keeps the dub on the the funky stepper tip, with shuffling kicks overwhelmingly providing the backbone for some lightly twisted synths. The b-side is the winner in my book: cavernous, warm and gritty yet utterly menacing, dub chords with just a slight hint of atonality to maintain tension pulse in and out of a thundering bassline and a relentless kick-hat piston. This release would be just as comfortable sitting next to a Dettmann tune as it would by a Maurizio record…in fact I have a feeling that might be exactly where it ends up going…
DJG - Hydrate EP (Warm Communications)
This steady cross-pollination (as it were) of genres is a trend in the evolution of electronic music that’s really making me happy. I’m counting the days till the walls which once so rigidly delineated the different genres and the people that followed them respectively are broken down altogether, and I can’t help but think that day is approaching swiftly. To that end, I’d praise or at least mention this release even if I didn’t much care for the tunes that were on it- this is DJG’s first foray out of the dubstep world- but in this case I appreciate not only the record’s evolutionary function but also its contents. The almost-tangible reese bass is what makes the original mix of “Hydrate”; surging up out of the tune from underneath a steady kickdrum pulse, a classic three-chord piano resolution, snippets of vocal and delicate syncopated percussion, it is sure to imbue any halftime/”Autonomic” set with a tone of powerful, sober joy.
This is where I think Consequence’s remix falls short. Although his bubbling reinterpretation of the drums is interesting enough, the sounds he uses are not substantive enough to carry the tune past his revision of the bass, which lacks all of the force and warmth of the original and leaves his remix sounding merely stylized rather than fresh. Never fear though: for the final cut we have DJG returning to the dubstep realm with a 140bpm mix that- reminiscent of Scuba’s beautiful string of sped-up halfstep dub techno releases (the sound I fell in love with)- elegantly highlights all the understated dub elements of the original. All in all, this is a gorgeous record; I can’t wait for it to arrive at my studio.