Saturday, 2 May 2015


Here's a lovely rich and crunchy gravel-zest slice of future funk from a producer called Lancaster. What do you need to know? His real name is Luis Rodriguez and he is from Philadelphia and from the looks of things he was born in 1996, making him like 18 or 19. As many other talented purveyors of future funk are, he is an associate of KEATS//COLLECTIVE – spiritual home to other creators of modern funk/disco/soul classics, including Skylar Spence (fka Saint Pepsi), Harrison, and Rollergirl, to name just a few on their long and illustrious roster.

Looking at the lists of artists included in their compilations sometimes it's like… Pokémon, or something equally collectible. Each of the numerous artists exists in this stylistic, aesthetic-led, nostalgia-breathing space, yet they're all different people, with their own individual styles and flairs. Let's get going on the Future Funk Trading Card series – that would be suuuper fun!

Anyway, here we are with Lancaster (a fine name) and his track 'Sunset Dance'. It begins with a sample of some sort of interview with… some punk people (forgive me for not knowing), something which pops up throughout the track; they talk about being individual, and not wanting to wear Lacoste clothes, and how punk is "overwhelmingly loud". An interesting thing: the interviewer notes that in being different to everybody else, punks end up looking the same. More on this in a second~

This song is thick with funk, a multicoloured miasmia of music that samples a lo-low pitch-shifted version of '80s group Manhatten Transfer song 'Spice of Life' , distorted and overdriven, with classy-breezy horns added along with semi-brutal ricocheting drums – it's even tagged "oversaturated".

Now, this could be a reference to the actual music itself, or something else: if you take the snippets of punk interview present here and equate them with future funk, this track could be taken as a message about the current online music scene being oversaturated. Maybe. Rodriguez also says in the SoundCloud description, "this song means a lot to me." On the other hand, the insertion of this punk interview could just be ascribing to a punk aesthetic, a rebellious spirit, alive in the sample-heavy music of future funk; this kind of attitude, just because it's not distorted guitars and gobbing on people, can thrive in any new music form. For me, chopping up old songs and making new jams outta them, well, I love it, and I definitely think there's something punk about it: nobody's asking permission here, it's about producers using raw materials (samples, sounds, effects) in any way they want in order to portray a fantasy, an idealised throwback to the past, a netting of old music bent to the will of the producer and moulded in whichever way they want: it's freedom.

Another note in the SC description simply says "press play pt 2," which – judging from the title of his 2013 Bandcamp release Press Play, could be heralding a brand new album from Lancaster. Hooray! (maybe)

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015


I found this in my neverending list of things to write about today and I remembered how… unplaceable it is. It's totally experimental and you know from the first computerised vocal drop that you're in for a treat: "Fuck actual music, listen to TSHORTS," it says. Ok, you think, I'll do that for now.

A plaintive synth melody repeats for most of this track with the same feeling as a little fish innocently swimming around a coral reef, imbued with submarine mystery: no thoughts in mind except going about its business. 'Aquarius Flex' isn't all about that cutesy, vacant innocence though. Not at all. Because you've got to take Canadian producer TSHORTS' collage of beats into account: an 808-flavoured series of shimmering rhythm changing hi-hats, pitch-shifted snare rolls and clusters of kicks – I mean, if we keep going with the whole fish-in-the-sea thing, then these beats represent the disordered uniformity of coral structures, a natural and irregular brutalism in miniature.

And there you are, a pair of eyes looking from above, the sea warping your vision, refractions and ripples making it difficult to see – flitting, barely perceived objects dart around: the rapid-fire, frenetic synth chords of 'Aquarius Flex', and the sometimes woozy, half-intoxicated version of the melody that appears sometimes.

The track is also a game of two halves. More like two-thirds and one-third, but there's no epithet for that; soon we burst into a world of robust, truncated bass gently and elastically stretched in pitch sometimes, and following an unpredictable kick pattern, a minimalist seascape far away from the coral colony where the wide ocean beckons and bloops with unknown, unfathomable sights and sounds.

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Tuesday, 14 April 2015


The sun is hanging low in the sky, hitting the magnolia tree outside the window, throwing dappled shadows on the table where I'm sitting writing this. I love magnolia – it's like blossom (or it just is blossom), but big blossom, blossom that means business, Serious Blossom swaying in a sleepy breeze… and it's in this blissful spring-but-feels-like-summer evening that I stumbled across this track by 不明 FUMEI (不明, pronounced 'fumei' means "unknown"). I think Fumei might be from Italy but I could be wrong, might be German or something else. Who knows. Anyway, unfortunately the track in question, 'Ginseng Coffee', is only 1'30" but it's currently on repeat, sending its nice vibes into my brain.

Something about boom-bappish hip hop sounds like this fit this time of day so effortlessly – and if we're talking specifics then I suppose you'd have to say it was the listless offbeat clacking for the duration of the song, the soft but robust bass locked into the kick drum for undeniable rhythmic harmony, the lounge-leaning chords oozing with somnolent tremolo, phasing icy synth, hollow vox-esque sounds plaintively echoing a half-done melody in the midst of sunny heat haze; it's all this that makes this track so lovely, all of it culminating in a sound lightly decayed by its own innate sense of bliss.

'Ginseng Coffee' (which is just titled 'Ginseng' on the release – see below) embodies chillment of a very high degree crossed with otherworldly wooziness, summoning the groggy feeling of having fallen asleep in your garden and waking up with hot skin and absolutely no concept of time, birds zipping home to roost with chirps and whatnot, blue sky littered with near-dissipated clouds.

  • It's from a split release between 不明 FUMEI and o k h o called La Caffeteria, a 22-minute long selection of beats in the same vein as this, born from an apparent concept of sitting in a café, track titles including 'Espresso', 'Smokers Zone', 'Take A Sip' and 'Beans Smell'. Perfect leaning-back-with-a-coffee music. Buy it here. And here it is below :)

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