Thursday, 31 October 2013

SAINT PEPSI WE BELONG TOGETHER

It's basically like this guy just cannot stop making good music. Like, it's literally impossible. Who am I talking about? I'm talkin' 'bout Saint Pepsi (real life dude: Ryan DeRobertis). His style seems to be changing with pretty much every new song he releases and that is not a bad thing whatsoever. Not only does it show versatility in his own creative process, switching effortlessly from the emo-trap-wave of Fader-premiered breakthrough hit 'Unhappy' to the urban grooves of this lovely number: 'We Belong Together'.

The title gives it away, but this is basically a remix of Mariah Carey's POP CLASSIC of the same name. Mariah Carey is one of my favourite ladies of pop, so this song arrived as pretty much a bonus package for me.

It's the garage flavour of this song that really gets me though. There's a I'm-getting-ready-to-go-out-tonight-and-I'm-gonna-look-fabulous or maybe I'm-in-a-rush-to-get-home-and-I'm-stuck-in-traffic-but-I'm-dancing-in-my-car-so-it's-ok kinda vibe to the itchy hi-hat shakiness of the driving beat - an instant late night classic with all the trimmings. A jangly snippet of funky disco guitar adds a lovely flourish of spice to the tune - calling to mind Saint Pepsi's own roots in sampling classic-if-obscure disco and funk tunes to massively fun effect (when I first wrote about him, for instance) and also his past and current contributions to label/collective KEATS//COLLECTIVE - as does the ubiquitous but always nice to hear "Woo! Yeah!" James Brown sample and the occasional group chant of "PARTY!" - is this EVER a party song!

Then there's his treatment of the sample. As soon as Mariah's vocals come in, it's clear that this is like... an instant hit. If you don't like it then I dunno you must just like a certain type of music or something - because anyone with OPEN ears can hear the goodness here. Yes, it's from a classic song itself, but the way they have been treated, the different landscape, the new imagined vehicle for Mariah Carey's voice as ultra-urban and retro-futurist, are inventive and fun. Chopping that same sample up and throwing it around at the end like confetti is just the icing on the cake. Love it. Who doesn't?

This, by the way, comes from a compilation by entity STYLSS; it's the latest in a series of monthly collections of songs by likeminded artists: Suicide Pact. This is Volume 9 of that btw.

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LAZY INTERVIEW #16: SAMUEL


← #15: ARISTOPHANES 貍貓 #17: BOTANY →

Here's a thing. It's time. Time for another Lazy Interview. The series is coming along nicely now. Sure is. You could, if you wanted to, actually have a flick back through past Q&As in the series - you can do that literally by just clicking where it says "INTERVIEWS" above. That's only if you want to. No one is forcing you. Hmmm.

So anyway yeah this is the latest one. It was a relatively quick turnaround. From pitching this guy to Dummy, getting a glowing green-light, writing about his Falling Star EP for them, and then writing about it for me (here), and then actually sending him the below questions, it's been a week since I first heard Samuel's music. Who is he? Well, this no-surnamed enigma of a man is a singer who recently released an EP, co-produced by Okzharp, that not only pushed boundaries musically - with a super smooth intergalactic post-R&B feel - but that also acted as a showcase for Samuel's voice; it has dynamic fluidity and capacity for expression that feels fresh at all times.

In any case, let us read.



Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
I am Samuel and I make music bits. I live in Lewisham, from the green shores of Ireland.

Why did you decide to start creating music?
Just to feel better, really. Sadder, funn-er, detached-er-er, hopefuller. Lovinger. All the er's.

How would you describe your sound? What makes you and your style stand out?
I find it hard to process many things at once. I am loyal. I like clear bits. To hear fucking beautiful sounds and not want to overcrowd that beauty. Space to let the bits breathe. Milky. Milk with edge. Gangsta milk. Um, I don't know that it stands out. I don't know that it's good. I know that I am in it and that I feel that it is probably me within it, by the time I get to you hearing it.

Is there a perfect time and place for listening to your music?
At night. When your body settles and your mind starts to close out, in a field with a scotch egg and folk that you love.

What inspires you most when writing a song?
Love.

What is your most memorable musical experience?
Growing up in catholic convents, singing to the Jesus doll. If you allow yourself to believe in him, singing to him can blow your fucking heart out.

What are your favourite three songs at the moment?
Tramp and Tom Waits - Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet
The Abyssinian Baptist Choir - I Want To Ride That Glory Train
+ I really gotta settle on the third coz the finality of this is making me palpitate.

Who do you most admire in the music world?
I try to keep my blinkers in place. I guess music for me is glued into a therapeutic need/want/mess. I make it because I need to. I don't need to share it or have it dazzle out my ego but I do need it. So I find it hard to listen to other peoples music. I would like to have music friends but I can't. Ha! It's painful, doll.

In your opinion, what is the future of music?
I don't care to know this. Who could care? If I could know the face of my first born froglette, I'd probably just wait. Or the day to die. Yea, some things should be care-less.

What's the future of your music - what do you hope to do next?
I hope to keep making it. Maybe I could share it, or perform it to folk who like it. To keep making music.

What, aside from music, is most important to you?
Hair. I know a day will come when it shall leave me and that makes me sad. But then, there are sadder things to feel sad about.



Samuel seems to have appeared from nowhere, with nothing but the beautiful Falling Star EP under his belt - a mystery as much as he is a talent. The above at least sheds a little more light on him. A little more. He seems genuine - wanting to create music to enhance everything: to "feel better" in every respect. In some ways, excluding himself from the current music world by keeping his "blinkers" in place, it not only allows him to concentrate on his own development as an artist, but it also allows his sound to be unpolluted by anything as fickle as fashion, the transient trends in music not affecting his sound.

And what about his sound? Well, you'd better check out the EP if you haven't done so already. Then you'll see that he pretty much sticks to what he says about not wanting to overcrowd beauty - it is a stark collection of sounds, something that allows each note to breathe, each element of each song never goes too far, never suffocates other elements, everything growing organically together in stunning simplicity. All he is concentrated on is his sound, his music, or rather the process of making music, being able to leave part of himself behind in each song without worrying too much about the result, or even the future at large - doing things in the moment. He said it best: "I make it because I need to." When something is this necessary to a person, no real influence can be made on it. It's pure.

Losing one's hair is also a sobering thought.



← #15: ARISTOPHANES 貍貓 #17: BOTANY → - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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VULKANO SPIDER SPIDER [FREE HALLOWEEN DOWNLOAD]

Hi everyone. Whoa. Feels like it's Halloween today? I'm sorry, I'm being sarcastic. It doesn't feel like it at all. I'm sitting looking out the window at a pretty dull day half-watching Russia Today considering a cigarette even though my mouth has been numbed by a too-strong coffee. In case you're wondering, I usually go for Al Jazeera but my TV has decided not to find it today - maybe it's a sign of Halloween after all. Halloween. Abby Martin certainly makes you think doesn't she?

Anyway, here is like, a Halloween treat or something like that. Maybe it's a trick. It's a bit of both. Rather than trick or treat it's more like "trick AND treat" (trick 'n' treat). Basically, it's by Vulkano and it's called 'Spider Spider'. Despite being trois mois old, this Swedish duo have given this song free download status for Halloween, something akin to offering up a virgin for sacrifice but with less gore and more music. I last wrote about these two - real names: Lisa Pyk-Wirström and Cissi Efraimsson - in July when their song 'Vision Tricks' sparked my interest; it called to mind the unnerving minimalism of The Cure's 'A Forest', complete with thick and rumbling bassline to add a bit of menace.

This song though is like a dark sound poem illustrating the movements or thought patterns of an actual spider. The dull thudding bass is definitely a spooky sound, almost like some homemade instrument made of human bones in a dodgy old shed in the middle of some overgrown garden of a derelict mansion. Or something like that. It's blissfully simple, following the same notes and patterns throughout, more like a creepy dance song than a pop song, the repetition like the frenzy of a cult-level mantra set to thumping kick drums, rolling toms and rattling-chain tambourines.

Cissi's vocals yelp in unaffected clarity, injected with the same passionate quirkiness that the music exudes. Opening, she sings, "I am out on spider hunt, I collect them, I collect them" - a line that drips with a light weirdness in which the rest of her lyrics are soaked. It's a fun song. Not pretending to be or even straying near the realms of "goth" or anything like that, it's interesting to see something music with such an unconventional spirit so near to pop - Vulkano recently went on tour supporting Kate Nash. Imagine that!

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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

SAMUEL FALLING STAR EP

Sparks of brilliance sometimes just come from nowhere without any forewarning. Such is the case with London-based Samuel, an enigmatic no-surnamed Irish-born singer & songmaker. Recently he has worked with Gervase Gordon, aka Okzharp - 1/3 of London trio LV - to produce this brand new Falling Star EP.

It's a collection of sounds that have really put a spin on the world of R&B, falling much more into a kind of swirling post-R&B protoplasma, a place where all the form and style of "urban" music is taken from the streets and blasted into far-flung galaxies where physicality is something dreamt-up. Much of this is owing to the noises that in all their careful minimalism make for an enormous atmosphere of a futuristic space-age of music. There are distorted delayed synths in the menacing subby sea of 'Death Star Wonder', sounds of lasers rippling by like a neon-tinged dogfight in space - which is kinda perfect as the song is an intergalactic vision of dancehall-flavoured music, a club night orbiting Earth where there is no day, only the eternally danceable night.

Likewise, in 'Boom Boom Boom', the ultra-clean snapping beat of "present-day" R&B becomes an otherwordly, liquidly-distorted bounce, the romantic pizzicato strings become ultra-computerised beeps. Hip hop faces the future in the short-n-sweet title track 'Falling Star', its shuffling rhythm combining sharp synth chords with fidgeting lead bleeps that become more and more paranoiac towards the end of the song. Here also, Samuel's vocals themselves go through a change with a Jamaican lilt that he clearly seems to enjoy singing with, feeling each note with a longing ache.

One of the crucial elements of all good R&B is of course the voice and it's no different here. Samuel's soulful vocals change to suit each track; they're clean and almost sing-along in 'Death Star Wonder', holding up against the harsh sounds of the song; then there's his tongue-in-cheek parody of contemporary R&B with some of the lines in 'Boom Boom Boom' - "Errbody say hey, hey", mentioning "East Coast" and "West Coast", and declaiming "I'm not a fighter. I'm a lover, baby" halfway through. But in 'Steam Train' his vocals are softer, wrapped in a thin mist of hush that totally suits the slow chill of the song - it's a perfect start to the EP, one that instantly introduces the glistening melodies of imagined planets before going into a gloriously minimalistic verse: each sound is left to resound by itself, Samuel's voice given space to reverb heavenly over everything else.

I wrote about this EP for Dummy magazine at the end of last week. It's difficult to sum it up using different words than I used in that article, so I think what I'll do is just copy and paste them here. Yeah, it's lazy, I know, but, well, maybe there's just no other way to say what I think, ever consider that? "These are isolated idylls of romance; all of it holds reminders of traditional modern pop music, yet its far-flung progressive sound makes it something much more exciting." Pretty much. Where will we find Samuel's voice next? Singing in a pod slowly making its way across the universe... Perhaps not, but if ever there was a sound to remember when the sound of R&B music begins turning its head towards the endless chasm of the future, it's this Falling Star EP.

PS. This is released on Ninjatune affiliate, Technicolour.

PPS. Check out my interview with Samuel!

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Friday, 25 October 2013

MEISHI SMILE SEOUL

I got like food poisoning or something. It's not very fun. I'm only eating the freshest, most sanitarily made food ever from now on. I probably won't, but that's really all I want to do. No more germs, I've had enough. So I'm in my dressing gown sitting on the sofa feeling generally shiddy. But it's ok because I thought of something nice to write about to perhaps lift my spirits.

I've been meaning to write about this guy for a while now, but much of his recent SoundCloud stuff is mixes, live sets - basically not original songs that I could pick out and pin down with writing for you all here (whoever is reading). His name is Meishi Smile and he's a DJ, producer and co-founder/owner of Zoom Lens, a label/collective that releases some pretty leftfield, experimental stuff. I'm happy that finally I have found something that I can write about, an original Meishi Smile song to send everyone blissfully into a nostalgic dream. Indeed, the man himself describes his own music as "an eternal homage to the feeling of summer and youth taken by 2D form." Taking many cues from videogames, anime, and Japanese pop culture in general, that's certainly what it sounds like.

This particular song I believe had an earlier form, as it's apparently the "2013 Ver." but I've not heard it so let's imagine I never said that and listen to it instead. It's called 'Seoul' and it's ready for your ears now.

Delicate glitter needles of synth like shards of magic ice raining down provide the first melody that melts in your mind. Soft rolling chords provide a wash of cushioning for the piano notes and the minimalistic house-style beat with its thin open hi-hats and reverbing claps. Magical chimes glissando into to the main section of the song, where saw-wave bass synth alternates between octaves and white noise hisses throughout. The melody is now layered to include strings and popping flute sounds, too - an ecstasy of noises - all the way to the all-too-early end of the song.

Inspired as it is by Bomberman 64 (I actually spent a while getting sucked into its soundtrack) and Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (two grrrrreat games for the N64!) the song contains in it that charming, memorable, melodic feel of videogame soundtracks - the ability for music to both soak into the background AND into your memory is quite a feat indeed. Speaking of videogames, 'Seoul' is taken from the new Zoom Lens-curated Untitled Mix, a downloadable collection of songs that goes towards supporting indie game developers and their projects. Go for it!

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

PHACTS FROZEN

It's a sunny day! Hooray! Even in the mire of Autumn there are crisp sunny days. It's nice because it just enlivens the general atmosphere of your surroundings. Listening to music doesn't become the escapist lament of your environment and instead celebrates it, becomes a pliant soundtrack of your day. Yeah so yeah it's like this today and this song is sounding pretty cool. Making me want to go outside.

It is called 'Frozen' and it is by a Dutch producer called Phacts. He's based in Utrecht, Netherlands and also goes by the name of Asterisms, under which he creates "ambient, future garage". Phacts, in comparison, is a whole other kettle of fish. It's bassy, in-your-face, and most likely intended for dancing to - indeed he calls it his "bass/dancefloor alias", which it basically is. In 'Frozen', however, a number of styles go together in making this a genuine iceberg of classic and future noises that go towards creating a big, mean atmosphere.

Beginning with a strange, unplaceable few samples, of singing and a dusty piano playing, something that makes you anticipate some boom bap hip hop beats, it quickly winds into what he himself has tagged as a juke sound, akin to house with a more ghetto, aggressive sound. Attitudinal vocal samples loop over syncopated kicks, head-nodding claps, and hi-hats with fluctuating tempo. Every now and again, a full-throttle jungle beat teleports in from nowhere, providing a flawless switch of styles that is anything but jarring: sudden and smooth.

Futuristic soft synth wibbles and wails throughout, caressing and cushioning your ears and allowing the beat and samples to deliver harsh, rough-edged sounds instead. The fusion of hip hop style sampling, danceable bass and beats with ornamentation in the form of jungle interludes is something that gives the song a fidgety, schizophrenic feel, but this also means that it's bustling with energy and as such it's an exciting tune. Looking forward to hearing more from this man who has, incidentally, already performed alongside some pretty cool names already, including atmospheric Shigeto, Only Real and Cashmere Cat (to name a few), at the Valkhoff Festival in the Netherlands this summer.

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

TARA CAROSIELLI DISCO LIGHTS

Here's something. Well, usually there's always something, but here is actually something. What does that even mean? I don't know. But what I can be sure of is that it is a good song that deserves a little more recognition. It's the kind of thing that could be very easily played on the radio all day every day for a long while and that is not a bad thing cause generally that means that it's a) a good song, and/or b) catering to popular tastes of the day. That's kind of exactly what 'Disco Lights' by London singer-songwriter Tara Carosielli is. Yep it's got this delicious feel to it that's not only catchy but danceable too.

I stumbled across this by chance, as with most things, but what I found out just now is that, despite this being the only song on her SoundCloud, Tara also has also uploaded a number of other R&B-flavoured jams that include the played-quite-a-lot 'Resistance', which is very nice indeed. For me, she's kinda come out of nowhere but I suppose she has to have come from somewhere, and from that somewhere she has been releasing music all the time. All of it is characterised by her own smoky soulful voice, an element in her music that is lilting with melody and the tinge of a London accent: quite beautiful.

Co-written and produced by Seton Daunt (a songwriter + producer for Sony/ATV - sorry if I'm wrong) the song is a futuristic post-R&B vehicle for Tara Carosielli's wonderful voice, which here seems to have its own special spotlight, picked out in all its clarity. Her vocals are also layered at some points with a low-register version - an added treat that brings a late-night dance feel to the song. Her voice decorates the song in other ways, reverbing after the chorus and providing part-of-the-music ornamentations of "Mmm-mm-mmmm", all of it dripping with attitude.

Essentially it's a pop song, but with its leanings toward garage and perhaps moreso drumstep - thanks to the bustling beat pummeling out a slow rhythm, the subby gloss of simplistic bass and waves of distorted cyclical synth - it's a pop song with a nocturnal attitudinal edge and a lovely hook: "Why are you so cruel to me?" - it's pretty sumptuous. There are a number of reasons why this could become a big success and the talent of Tara Carosielli is certainly one of the most crucial.

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Monday, 21 October 2013

STRANGEHEAD ㄷㄹㅊㅅ (DREAM CHASER) [FREE DOWNLOAD]

For ease I am not going to be dealing with the Korean characters, although here is a fun fact: it's called Hangul and instead of being written straightforwardly, each word is a 'block' of these little characters. Isn't that fun? Someone should create some blocky typography of English in this way. It'd look nice I think. What am I saying? Who cares. The Hangul here - ㄷㄹㅊㅅ - if you want to know, is like an acronym or abbreviation, cause it's in letter and not word form, and says: d r ch s. DRCHS - a truncated form of Dreamchase(r)? I guess.

Anyway, in the depths of the night I found this song and I enjoyed it a lot so I am writing about it right now. It's probably really bad for LA trackmaker Strangehead because I'm writing about this in a not very good mood so I don't think I'll do the song as much justice as I normally would, however I do hope that you - whoever is reading, skimming, or ignoring this writing right now - enjoy the song no matter what gibberish I blather, what garbage words I tip-tap into this word box right here. Pls enjoy it. Let's call it 'Dream Chaser'.

Caught up as I was in the 80s synth dreamscapes offered by people's musical reaction to the film Drive and its College & Kavinsky-dominated soundtrack, the love of this type of music has never left me so the opening to 'Dream Chaser' is like a sudden step into an alternate world populated by electronic beauty and the tough undertones featured in games like Streets of Rage. However, this song is the kind of thing you'd hear once you've cleaned up the city in that game, don't you think? It begins as a foray into dubstep tinged by bleeping arpeggios and a smooth lead synth heralding good news.

Claps lead up to a lovely winding build-up awash with freestyle beats, snares roll and hi-hats buzz with insectoid surgicality, the second part of this song being marked by the fun vocal sample of "Readyyy... Go!". It's a plunge pool of low melodies bopping over wide Sonic-inspired chords, clean and smooth and delicious. A second "take-off" at like 1:38 sends us into fantastically happy world, where house piano chords stab and vox synth provides simplistic melodies (sounding like a K.K. Slider song from Animal Crossing). More dynamic changes - strings join the show for drama - claps in a frezy. Then everything suddenly fades out leaving you with candy-popping soft synth mixed with a pop song sample from where I don't know.

How nice was that? And with all the videogame references I've made it's clear that, whether intentionally or not, the often underrated, earworming videogame sounds have made their influence known. With the song levelling-up its atmosphere of fun and magic, the title seems very apt indeed.

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Saturday, 19 October 2013

AVAY MIRACLE

Just open your eyes and click more things than usual and embrace curiosity and be inquisitive and you'll soon find yourself discovering some pretty cool music. That's literally all there is to it. As such, I've been clickin around like a madman in the last couple of days, sometimes until I realise I'm very deep into the unholy early hours of the morning. So it happens. In any case, the fruits of this labour produces some really nice new sounds to listen to.

This track is obviously one of them. It's the kind of thing that you can be instantly drawn to just from the first few seconds of listening. It is called 'Miracle' and comes from a Russian producer who usually goes by the name MAD-B but has eschewed this moniker for the less-in-your-face AVAY; he accompanied the track with a note: Meet my new project named "AVAY". And what a happy meeting it was. Therefore, I would also like to introduce to you the deeply delicious sounds of this soulful number.

Being relatively minimalistic perhaps makes this an even more captivating experience. Softly caressed electric piano sounds sit atop driving tunnels of bass punctuated with heart-stopping kicks. Ornamental synth bleeps drop like glistening icicles into the deep of the track. After a mid-section sampling some Russian dialogue, the beat comes in with renewed gusto, adding dragging-wind-up hi-hats into the equation and occasional cymbal crashes. Its finish is stark and lonely, leaving you with the kick and ambient fizzes after what was an emotive, even moving, song.

The star of the show here, besides the beautiful production, is the singing. It's a sample, a slowed-down, low-register version of the vocals in The Temper Trap's song, also called 'Miracle'. What's clear is that it is gloriously layered and pockmarked with lilts of romance scintillating like some religious revelation of love, the words "And I may not always believe / But you're nothing short of a miracle" taking a new significance in the hear-thumping slo-house electronica of AVAY's rendition of the track. Watch out for this guy: he could be on to a winner.

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Friday, 18 October 2013

LAZY INTERVIEW #15: ARISTOPHANES 貍貓


← #14: CUUSHE #16: SAMUEL →

I have a lot of time for the very talented Aristophanes貍貓. Long story short, she's a female rapper/MC from Taiwan who has collaborated with quite a few up-and-coming, experimental producers, including Canooooopy and Lidly. I can't remember how, but I first stumbled across her song 'The Peach Blossom' - it's a dreamy showcase of Aristophanes' evocative and effortless flow, drenched as it is with tones that ache with longing. Her voice is one that sticks with you: whether it's slow and considered or delivering rapid-fire rhymes, it's distinct and expressive.

It's at this point that I'd like to mention that I know she raps in Mandarin. I can't understand Mandarin. Can you? I reiterate: I can't. But it's possible to actually enjoy music without knowing what people are saying - how many raps do you know all the words to without looking up the lyrics? Yeah, exactly. It is, however, very nice to know what the lyrics are. With Aristophanes herself rapping about many things, from Nietszche and the politics of Taiwan, to old Chinese folk tales and love, it would be cool to know exactly how she is approaching these subjects. On the plus side, we can be sure that her delivery, the expression she puts into delivering her lyrics, is spot-on.

Anyway, without further ado, here is some insight into the inner workings of the creative mind that is Aristophanes - yep, it's another Lazy Interview, a semi-regular Q&A with artists I've written about on YES/NO before. Read on read on...



Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
 I’m a female MC from Taiwan. Most people call me Aristophanes in the music world (yes I picked this Greek name as my stage name), and many people call me Li (but this name has nothing to do with my real name though it looks like a Chinese name). Now I am a teacher, and my job is helping children to write stories.

Why did you decide to start creating music?
 I had never thought of making music till I listened to the first Chinese rap song 3 years ago. I tried to write novels and danced a lot then. I love reading. But I rarely listened to music. My love of music is generated from my love of literature. The very first time I found that rap lyrics are like poems, I thought that I could also express myself like a rapper.

How would you describe your sound? What makes you and your style stand out?
 Actually I’ve never thought of how I would describe my sound. Only listeners have the right to describe. I just create sound and make myself die in the sound after each song is completed. I rarely listen to my songs. To me, they are just fossils and specimens. I’m more interested in the unknown creature - my songs not yet written down.

 What makes my style stand out? The culture I grow up in and my instinct do. My body, my voice and my thoughts are shaped in Taiwan. And my instinct captures my love, anger and my definition of art. Maybe my gender plays an important role in it, too. But I don’t want to emphasize all of them. If someone took off my culture, my instinct and my gender, my independent soul would be naked but still feel safe because it’s fearless to say anything.

Is there a perfect time and place for listening to your music?
 I don’t know. I always listen to my songs in my studio because I’m recording them. Sometimes in the taxi because I need to memorize the lyrics in case I fuck up in shows. I believe that’s the worst place and time to listen to my music. Any place and any time are better than that! I’m not sure if I claimed that the best way to listen to my music is standing on the top of a palm tree whilst a storm tries to pull you down, would somebody try?

What inspires you most when writing a song?
 Mostly images. Sometimes just a color came up in my mind, and I thought “the color of this beat is blue!” or something like that. So I use this to take pictures with my eyes in my life, like a bee collecting pollen. Sometimes movies and stories inspires me.

What is your most memorable musical experience?
 Maybe the first time I heard Jean Grae in The Roots’ album. I was on my way home and listening their album “Tipping Point”. I fell in love with her flow then. She inspires me a lot!

What are your favourite three songs at the moment?
 Akua Naru – The Journey Aflame
 Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo – Let Me Go
 Sainkho Namtchylak – Tuva Blues

Who do you most admire in the music world?
 This is a difficult question because there are so many great minds existing in the music world. When it comes to MCs, I admire Sibitt [of Triune Gods] (a genius based out of Japan), Talib Kweli (because of his flow) and Akua Naru (the ways she presents her voice). Producers like J Dilla, Madlib, 9th wonder… and some musicians who are not defined as “hip hop” artists, like Sainkho Namtchylak.

In your opinion, what is the future of music?
 The great minds that can dig deeper into the possibilities of humanity will be the future of music. That’s the future. Maybe it sounds ridiculous because it seems there's no straight relevance between my answer and music. But what are we thinking of the “future”? I believe this term has something to do with “progress”. Not only the passing of time, but also something new and better generates “future”. I don’t think the form of music is the most important thing to define “what’s new”. So many styles pop out then disappear in a short time, and I pay no attention to their short life and I don’t define them as future. Only the great minds can make the future no matter what kind of music they make. If there is no “progress”, the coming 10 years may be the longer “present” instead of being the future.

What's the future of your music - what do you hope to do next?
 I don’t know. It depends on the people, the music, and the thoughts I will meet in the future. If I have known what it is, I must have made it already. But if you need some clearer answers, yes I’m planning to make my first album now.

What, aside from music, is most important to you?
 Literature maybe. I love any kind of arts but most of time I read. I don’t have any time for writing now and maybe I will write some stories in the future.



I don't think anyone before has written as much back to me as Aristophanes has. Chatting with her after this interview, the 23-year-old told me that the hip hop scene in Taiwan is not mature at all - it's burgeoning, fledgling, but it's not there yet. As a result, whether she wants to be or not, Aristophanes is a pioneer. I've not heard of or from many other, if any, female MCs from the island nation, so for Li - another name Aristophanes goes by - it's an opportunity to make a lasting a mark on a scene that seems to have a long way to go.

So that's one thing. Her pioneering spirit. Then there's her honesty - especially in saying that "rarely listened to music" before she discovered rap - which not only makes her a more likeable person but which also galvanises her as an artist with integrity. In addition, her comments about the future of music are refreshing, inspired and inspiring in their own right. In some ways, it's very true that the style or form of music does not matter. Pushing the boundaries is what matters, exploring sounds and ways of expression is the true way to find the future.

What more can I say that she hasn't already said with succinct sincerity? All I do hope is that Aristophanes can help become a part of the future of music, rather than an extension of the present - her determination to truly progress and make something different, forgetting what her contemporaries may be up to, seems to be evidence of this. In any case, PLEASE check out her music I do highly recommend it.



← #14: CUUSHE #16: SAMUEL → - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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LIFE & LIMB FOOL'S NEST (LIES "PROMISES" REMIX) [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Hello. Remixes, not always but often, are really fun. It's not just a re-tweaking of a finished song, it's a whole new song, a whole new person's creative vision based on the original elements launched into the world by the original creator of said elements. It goes to show not only how interesting it is to have somebody else's take on things every once in a while, but also that "art" - yeah that includes music - can never be finished. Even Marcel Duchamp "remixed" the Mona Lisa by drawing a moustache on the original and calling it L.H.O.O.Q (which is a pun cause in French, the reading sounds like elle a chaud au cul). As long as remixers are out there in the world, art of any kind can never be considered utterly finished. In anything's contemporary, original format, however, it is difficult to see a new beginning - that is, unless you are the kind of person who can remix things.

But I'm talkin' too much! About stuff! Stuff!

So let's talk about this song. It is, as you may have guessed by now, a remix. And it is a very nice example of a kind of completely different take on the original. In this instance, the track - 'Fool's Nest' - is originally by a one-half-Italian, one-half-New-Yorker duo called Life & Limb. It's a nice chunky slice of synthpop that is buzzing with saw-waves and sentimental overtones.

Enter LIES. This Italian duo - Oscar Cini and Piero... something - (whom I've written about a couple of times before) have essentially softened the original and turned into something more dreamy, more intangible in a way, than the structured original. They've sped up the pulsing lead synths of the original, teasing with the hint of tumbling hi-hats in the background as the vocals come in ghostishly looped on one syllable with forever-eternal glassy synth chords sweeping the whole song with their ambience.

It's the kind of thing that makes you drift off a little; LIES' style of embedding an addictive, cyclical beat in amongst a bristling thicket of noise has that kind of effect on a person. Thin snares pummel the offbeat with minimal hi-hats riding high above a constant click and the steady, sometime-rolling thump of the kick. A wonderful take on a song which is now similar to this one in title, and a bit in sound, only: even the atmosphere changed from sentimental and slightly sad to one of feelingless dreaminess. Hooray for the (good) remixers of the world!

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Thursday, 17 October 2013

BOTANY QUATIC [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Moving on from the sparkling, busy ambience of Texan producer Botany's 'Simple Creatures' featuring the vocals of RYAT, uploaded earlier this month, we arrive at the mellow yet mean sounds of his latest offering, 'Quatic'. Both songs come from an album due for release on 28th October called Lava Diviner: Truestory, a "loosely" conceptual offering that tells the musical story of a cult praying for a volcano to erupt - a vision of smart hip hop that mixes intricate beats and super-atmospheric sounds.

What we have in 'Quatic' is a lot of watery sounds, or perhaps liquid would be a better description; it isn't A-quatic after all. Instead here are images conjured of an subterranean world never seen but for a select few - a world of scorching magma bubbling, of unintelligible spirits inhabiting the very molten rocks themselves. Sumptuous sounds illustrate this hidden world, quietly cradling its liquid lava flow, as sluggish as it is brimming with dangerous power. Atmospheric.

The noises that go into creating such an image are legion. Blooping synth hides in the background like a constant measure, zither-like sounds strum, scratched-glass sounds stab the air, chopped vocal samples whisper gently, synth vox joins the pattern of the bloops, blobs of bass squelch their way along, and ambient air disturbances sound like distant roars or shrieks of the roots - the heart - of the volcano itself.

That's not to mention the beat. A boom bapping sensation, as faltering as it is strong. Dustings of hi-hats skiffle rapidly along with a dull shuffle that sounds as real and raw as a dented, well-used hi-hat should. The snare rip-slaps to the solid bounce of the kick. As traditional a hip hop beat as you could imagine, with a less than traditional approach to the surroundings and cargo of that beat. Spencer Stevenson, the real name of Botany, is onto a winner with this kinda sound.

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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

SAINT PEPSI UNHAPPY [VIDEO]

Wow it's here. And I never thought it would get here. Or, at least, I never thought there would be such a thing as an "Official Music Video" for one of Saint Pepsi's songs, but it's happened. It's rather incredible, really, that this song 'Unhappy' has gone as crazy as it has. It's not because I thought it was a bad song and was like, "how could THIS do well?" it's just a very different kind of song which I am very glad has done well.

I already wrote about the actual song itself when it 'came out', well, before it came out officially but it was floating around somewhere anyway so I thought whatever. The reason it was waiting in the shadows for because it was due to be premiered on The Fader - what a way for an underground internet (undernet?) artist to be heard by a much wider audience. But basically: a sped up sample of an acoustic lament about the end of summer from a late 90s emo band set to candy-shimmering synths and attitudinal trap beats. Who would've thought it would work? On paper, it's totally huh wtf. But in practice, it's actually omg wow.

The video is below. It is directed by Alexander Girav and there are also a lot of other people involved, the names of whom you can check out if you go to the actual page of the video on YouTube. For now, sit back, enjoy the bittersweet, nouveau-nostalgia of this track with the added visual bonus of a rather charming, blossoming new relationship that forgets everyone else to have fun together.

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Monday, 14 October 2013

CIARA BODY PARTY (BOYS GET HURT REMIX) [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Right, firstly, in like every post I've written about Boys Get Hurt I've called it a duo. Two people. That is, Yuki and Takumi. Due to I don't know what reasons, Takumi "quit" at the start of this summer. So basically, everything I've written about these guys has been wrong. Well, this guy. It's just Yuki Abe now. If you'd like to have a quick refresher course on his music, then please be my guest.

So this is just a singular project. Anyway that's enough of that. Mr Abe emailed me the other day notifying me of his new song, a remix of Ciara's 'Body Party'. The original is a downtempo pool of sultry slow-jamz R&B that positively steams with tip-of-the-tongue sexuality - obvious, but not obvious enough to be outrageous. It's just the kind of song that Boys Get Hurt would remix and he's done a good job of it, too. Yep, it drips with disco sensibilities with an uptempo beat, taking the slow heart out of the original and replacing it with a ticker that is pre-wound-up and ready to move.

Giving Ciara's vocals from the original a lot of room to breathe, running the course of the song instead of cutting it too much, this fast-paced rendition takes you from the velvet-clad bedrooms of slow-jams to a disco hut on a beach somewhere. Marimba chords support other tuned percussion melodies, little glockenspiel loops, that lend a joyous vibe to the tune - that feeling of endless summer which Boys Get Hurt gets absolutely spot on every time. There's a little string melody in here as well that sounds familiar, like it could be the same decorative cluster of sounds that graced Madonna's 'Holiday'. The spirit of the song is just that though: holiday. Fun in the sun. Beach dancing until sunrise.

It's always fun listening to Boys Get Hurt. This kind of dance music, a collection of sounds that recalls the soul of early 90s pop with emotive recollections of summer and a beat that's always buzzing with energy and busy with percussion, is lovely. You can always rely on Yuki Abe to deliver this friendly familiarity that in every new track bursts with freshness. And this is FREE TO DOWNLOAD as with most of his songs. Woo!

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99LETTERS MACHINE

Here's something noisy. Cause, you know, sometimes you need something noisy and boisterous to purge your mind of those tiniest of feelings that can really do a number on your mood, like small occurrences that can - albeit irrationally - ruin a perfectly good day. So something that can knock some sense into you is a good thing. Music can do the job of that proverbial "knock", though, cause we don't wanna get too violent with our good selves do we? No.

So here is 'Machine' by 99LETTERS - an Osaka-based DJ and producer who spends his time between Japan and France, real name Takahiro Kinoshita (or just Taka). According to his SoundCloud page, he's made music since 1998, beginning the process using a Gameboy for its sounds. But everything evolves, does it not? And now what supposedly began as chiptune style stuff has grown into some pretty hectic dance music with more than a little nod to the industrial side of techno. That, at least, is what I hear in 'Machine', which is 99LETTERS' latest single & offering to the ears of the world.

The song, aptly enough, starts with the sound of some machine or mechanical process - the perfect little intro to what is a relentless grinding of buzz-saw bitcrushed bleeps, a shower of rapid-fire sparks of distortion. That is underpinned with a beat that at first combines well-rounded kick with almost-out-of-time hi-hat flourishes, later extending to the sheer fizz of open hi-hats alternating with a fat, whip-like snare. It grows with intensity after a break that pummels you with ear-crunching low-low synth like digital gravel or the spirit of chiptune awakened through a séance with a blender as the medium. Or something. Indeed, the Taka himself says that part of this song was created by "some sampling with my gameboy."

It's lively and does not pull any punches, laying itself out from the start as a track fully intended to get the blood racing. More of that crunchy bass appears at the end, until the track fades out but whether or not this is because the SoundCloud stream is promotional, or if it is actually intended, I don't know. In any case, it will be out soon (???) on Japanese dance music label, House Studio-R.

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CFCF BEYOND LIGHT [VIDEO]

Hi. Does anyone remember that really awkward time that I said "wOW man GR8 set!!" on Twitter to CFCF when actually it wasn't even CFCF playing? What an eejit I was. But since that time, since that month, I've grown up exponentially and already I feel the sage wisdom of a 200-year-old mind kept sharp with goji berries and rice wine. Gone are the burgers of my youth, gone are the raging sugars and the tendency to mistake identities. Tranquil mind.

In any case, yeah, I said it. Moving on, I can say that I really like CFCF. I first got to know the music of Montreal-based Michael Silver (for that is his real name) through his remixes of a couple of HEALTH songs, namely 'Triceratops' (my f-f-favourite) and the very-different-sounding-almost-opposite 'Before Tigers'. This was a long time ago now and he's been doing all sorts of business since then.

Most recently, as you can probably tell, he's released a new video for a song called 'Beyond Light'. If you watch the video I bet you'd think, "computer graphics fo sho" - and you'd be wrong. These are actually created non-computerly. Pretty cool. CFCF himself tweeted, "yes please do watch the Beyond Light video in the highest possible resolution plz. As loud as possible. In a sensory deprivation tank." The closest I can get to a sensory deprivation tank is a pair of headphones so that will have to do.

Starting simply enough with what sounds like two battling MIDI electric guitars, other instruments introduce themselves with subtle gusto, hi-hats shuffle at trance-like tempo, kicks like someone stamping on a huge, hollow wooden floor - dusty and muffled - with the rhythmic stutter of a heartbeat accompany the plasma-sweep of a wibbling bassline. It's an exercise in looping to ecstasy, invoking a hypnotic state - especially with the video blinking its trip-o-matic kaleidoscopic visuals at you, this is one mesmerising song. Big tribal drums every now and again beat an earthy punch that provide reality's interruption into this ceremonial dance.

This comes from his second album, Outside, which is released 21st October on Dummy Records (except for North America which is 22nd on Paper Bag Records). So keep an eye out for that よ.

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Friday, 11 October 2013

LIQUID.SUNSHINE (天照汁御神) LIVE @ 2.5D // LIQUID.SUNSET

I heard liquid.sunshine, aka 天照汁御神 (please what does this mean?) aka Hosh'ki Tsunoda, a few days ago in a live show on 2.5D, an internet channel based in Shibuya, Tokyo, that hosts all sorts of live performances in the name of art and culture. His cosmic and wholly encompassing experimental approach to hip hop pretty much made my day that day - it was a Wednesday. It wasn't actually that long ago at all. But all the same: I loved it.

Luckily Meishi Smile, owner of ZOOM/LENS label/collective and maker of music himself, captured the live sights and sounds of this very interesting set and uploaded it to YouTube. Saying that it begins with a sample of Fred Durst saying "chocolate starfish...!" will give you a small inkling as to the influences (yes, nu-metal) at work on Hosh'ki Tsunoda. In any case, I urge you to stick this on and have a listen to it. You will enjoy it a lot. Well, maybe you won't, but if you like instrumental hip hop with an intergalactic slant that dips its toes into the choppy sea of electronic experimentalism, whilst retaining the brash beats of retro hip hop, you probably will like this.

In other news, Mr Tsunoda released an EP called liquid.sunset - it is a collection of accomplished beats that swim in seas of luscious electro sounds. Here, let me talk you through it from the beginning to the end.

'Seashore Mosaic' captures the sound of literal waves crashing against the sand, but in synth chord form; it also captures the sound of seagulls cawing, but in a much more aesthetically pleasing series of wah-wah synth leads. A very nice break in the drums explodes about 1:20 on this one, leading the way for a bustling second half that has all the cheer of a jolly jaunt by the seaside. Against a crackling backdrop, there are super-high-register clicks to accompany to the beat right to the end.

Those clicks, and more besides, shine out of the beat of 'Visitor at 2am' - there's more of that cheerfulness, too, albeit in a different form: not a fresh day sun-in-your-face cheer, but one of seeing a friendly face at an unexpected point in the night. It's a mildly pulsing and tentative happiness in the slow rhythm here, in the gently bulging bass synth, the lo-fi chords and sparkling leads.

That slowness continues as a blissful hangover in 'Sphere', whose crackles and liquid drips of ambient noise flow underneath a swaggery saw-wave bass, delayed synth blips and 16-bit spears of dramatic gleaming sound. Organic acoustic sounds mark a change in dynamic here, where big taiko drum sounds steal the show from the earlier hip hop shuffle of the beat. Towards the end, all of the sounds of the song layer into a rich, almost overwhelming waterfall of sound.

The hypnotic world of 'Headphones', a mesmerisation of flanging space-age synth that wraps you in the otherworldly isolation that can occur whilst wearing headphones. Not unsurprisingly, it sounds really nice with headphones on. Glitching blips and stabs of digital pads puncture the staccato baseline.

Claps ahoy in next track 'Breathe In', whose beat is a bustling, syncopated foray into a floating world of glitzy swagger - a soft, unintelligible vocal sample hangs like mist in the midst of the clangour of this track. Another expertly woven tapestry of layered sounds that compliment each other like cherry pie and ice cream.

'Lusty Lusty' finishes the journey of liquid.sunset with a gentle track that is sunken in the depths of some smooth sub-bass. Beginning with a sparse, 4/4 rhythm, it mutates by the end through some nice offbeats into something with more attitude, warming up as it goes along, a stuttering sound like a robotic dove cooing spirals in and out of earshot; the end is as charming and cutesy as the start, with popping, muted synth bops to see us out.

See? It sounds nice doesn't it? Keep an eye out for more from this guy, I don't think he's quite finished yet - usually, with such an inquisitive mind as goes with experimenting with sounds, there's a lot more for them to explore in the future. So I look forward to more.

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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

BRETON GOT WELL SOON [VIDEO]

How can something so good stay so hidden for so long? Well that's one question I ask myself about a lot of music sometimes. It's all out there, just waiting to be discovered, and there you are, all the time, waiting to be told about it, shown it, played it. One of my friends told me to check out Breton and I did but I couldn't find anything new that they've done. But then it turned out that they released a new song a few days ago so I was pretty happy to hear something new.

They're from... I don't know. They seem to have a substantial following in France but they definitely seem to be English. Who knows. You can tell me. Please do, if you know. Anyway, one thing is for sure: Breton have made a very mean-sounding, strong sound for their new single 'Got Well Soon' - the video is steeped in the amateur yet visceral atmosphere of young criminality and suits the sound perfectly. Have yourself a little watch of it. But as for the music, the first thing that jumps out is that bass synth. There's something balefully heraldic about it, in the way that it sounds a little like a horn, but there is something unnerving, something not-quite-right about it too, and that's perhaps in the slightly-trebled pitch-bending heart of this particular noise. It's the first thing that jumps out and possibly the song's most addictive sound.

Alongside this dark, gritty sound that conjures images of rudeboys walking tough, a we-mean-business atmosphere, there is a beat that is wholly disco: woodblocks clink alongside sharp hi-hats and the thumping alternation between kick & snare. The vocals, too, lend themselves to the rough-and-ready appeal that the bass already establishes, unpolished and legion as they are, summoning the dark-pavement feel of street-born chants of aggression yet with a confident laid-back swagger in the lilts of the chorus.

Clean arpeggios of electronic beeps and a fat saw-wave bass solo towards the end provide the tenets of electropop - albeit dark electropop brimming with attitude - that make this such a catchy number. Add to that the winding synth that makes you wanna turn this aaall the way up and the lush disco beat and you have 'Got Well Soon' - an honest, genreless tune that is surely only a sign of good (better?) things to come.

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EONE AIRPORT LOUNGE

Here's a guy who I haven't heard very much from at all until his record label sent me an email detailing the release of his new EP. This is Eone, the Brighton (UK) producer whom I first knew as "Evil1" when I wrote about his mean-yet-ambient track 'Monochromatic World' at the end of last year - it's actually one that features on his new EP, Dispersion, released at the end of September on Brighton label Numerology Records. On the whole, it's a dark journey characterised by experimental ambience and techno sensibilities - with soft synths, he mixes brutal kicks and brooding bass that rumbles your bones.

I've today decided to write about my favourite track from the EP, 'Airport Lounge'. It is simply bustling with sounds, from intergalactic fizzing ticks and dripping taps, to whirring hard-drives and masses of background noise - papers being shuffled, a murmur of voices, the general white noise of the air. In fact, it sounds as if he quite possibly did sample an actual airport lounge to capture those ambient sounds. Have a listen to this wonderful melting pot.

Alongside those flitting noises, soft stellar synths sweep across the board with a cold and glossy sense of futurism. A muffled kick pattern comes in alongside the urgent timekeeping fizz of half-open hi-hats; this gives the song an understated rhythm without exploding into a full-blown beat that would perhaps take away its actual feeling of an airport lounge - the lassitude of waiting endlessly without consequence. Unintelligble altered vocal samples wind their way through the song, both high-register and low-register, forgetting the original vocal sound, giving it a decidedly urban feel, something hard-edged and bristling, almost like the not-so-lighthearted jargon of airport and airline staff, it rushing into your ears without it making much sense.

It's a song that seems to be over almost instantly, but at the same time it's one that climbs into your mind and stays there for a while. Those futuristic sounds seem to melt into your consciousness, creating and evoking the feeling of cold detachment in our modern world. If you liked this, you can find more intense variations on this vibe on the Dispersion EP - please direct yourself to listen to most of it on Numerology Records SoundCloud.

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Monday, 7 October 2013

N-QIA SHOOTINGSTAR // TREE [VIDEO]

Last time I heard from Tokyo duo N-qia it was their collaboration with Italian producer Neeva for the song 'One Day' on his Even If... EP. That particular song offered up orchestration and melody in the midst of an EP fraught with deep, dark sounds - my favourite out of all the tracks on it in fact. So naturally I wanted to follow up and see what N-qia were doing now.

Turns out they're doing an album. Doing, making, whatever, but an album is imminent from these two. Yep, producer Takma (aka solo artist Serph) and vocalist Nozomi will be releasing Fringe Popcical 26th October on Japanese label Virgin Babylon Records. Until then, we have the following songs taken from that upcoming release with which to enjoy ourselves.

First off there's 'Shootingstar', the perfect showcase to this duo's style of alternative, "unexplored" pop. With Takma providing staccato MIDI-esque guitar sounds alongside soaring clouds of bleeps, the track runs as a house tune with the four-to-the-floor beat thumping below. There are plenty of moments where the song breaks, like sunlight through clouds, to provide bright piano work, chords that conjure the smell after summer rain, the consequent glitter of golden sun on soaking pavements.

Nozomi's vocals are stunning, urgent whispers often in monotone that gives a sharp humanity to the coastline of complex sounds that Takma lays down, adding contrast with her slow, considered style against the frenetic percussive and melodic patterns of the song; her voice offering up a subtle starkness with its layered and sometime-harmonising mist of hush.

They're even more haunting in the dramatic track 'Tree', where they shoot through like rapid cross-hatchings of vapor trails. Here they follow the melody of the song, which is one seemingly struck with powerful notions of human cohabitation with nature (that's what I imagine, anyway). Her style is one in which her voice holds onto each single note with lingering love, so each change up or down is breathtakingly vivid.

The video for this track features what resemble Balinese shadow puppets; the music, too, is reminiscent of the orchestra of instruments that usually accompanies these traditional shows, the gamelan. The percussion in the song is lush and clattering and is supported by a rich sea of plucked strings, a modern day gamelan if ever there was one. Takma seems to be at his best when the sounds he creates are most compositional, orchestral, and the strings, flute-like noises and soft synth vox sounds he weaves together are perfect evidence of this. The beat in this track, especially when it first comes in, is something that cannot be ignored, either - it's addictive and effective. What else can I say but that this is a beautiful track with an equally beautiful video.

The album Fringe Popicical sounds as if it is going to be a wonderful collection of well-composed, gloriously percussive tracks inspirited with visitations of ethereal vocals. Look out for it. Well I will be looking out for it so you could just look out for my own look-out, ok?

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Saturday, 5 October 2013

MAURICE AYMARD & GUI BORATTO HOME

So much of life is hassle, but then again so much of that hassle is life. To live carefree doesn't mean a lack of hassle; it is a lack of perceived hassle. Where do we stand but in our own minds considering our to-do lists, taking hesitant steps towards our futures with our pasts reluctantly shrinking behind? It is all there. And this is the mire of a life too-considered, thought of too-deeply, where merely the weight of reality is unshakeable and burdensome. So, yeah. Music is medicine for the human condition. Music is distraction. Music sounds good. No matter what type you like. Sing-alongs, cry-alongs, dance-alongs - whatever. It's all important.

Sorry about that. Don't mind me. I've just been thinking too much. Luckily I've been doing it whilst I've been listening to music so it's kinda like it could've all happened in a dream or something. And right now I'm sitting on a very housey cloud (no I'm not "on drugs", I just have an imagination) and its the glorious repetition of this kind of music that is good for p much hypnotising you and calming you down. In a different scenario though, like at night in a club, that repetition serves the same purpose - inducing a trance-like state - but fits the situation, making you dance like crazy and not calming but creating euphoria.

What's been doing this to me, you ask? Why, it's 'Home' by Maurice Aymard & Gui Boratto (whom I wrote about in August). This is the lead single from Maurice Aymard's forthcoming debut album, Between Stars (on Aymard's own label, Galaktika), which is gonna be - if this song is anything to go by - a cool collection of Latin-spiced house tunes.

'Home' is a great collaboration between Venezualan Barcelona-based Aymard and Brazil's Boratto, who flew to Barcelona and went "straight from the airport to Aymard's studio for an intense 24-hour session". What I noticed first is that, despite being house/dance music, everything here sounds completely organic, home-grown; there are real instrument sounds here ranging from shakers and bongo drums to bass guitar (complete with actual plucking sound and fingers moving along the strings) and drums in general: cymbals lightly crashing and understated hi-hat shuffle.

An organ with liquid chorus plays out some delicious jazzy chords which evoke watching the manic pace cities at night with tired eyes. The bassline is dripping with groove. Synth sounds join the party (or what could be a guitar) with a really nice tremolo melody, twinned with delayed lead synth that sends retro shudders through the whole thing and high-pitched strings help give that urban sense of drama.

And if that wasn't enough for you, the single includes a remix of the song by Berlin-based English producer & DJ, Jay Shepheard.

He gives it a more electronic twist, turning into something closer to a club track, whilst retaining and somewhat enhancing, with beefed up string section especially, that dramatic nocturnal feel that the original exuded. He takes some of the original tremolo melodies and stretches them out with major delay. Jazzy piano chords are interspersed throughout alongside a female vocal sample. The bass is now synthetic, with an 80s-style 'wah' to it; staccato synth chords also rapid-fire across the board in the second half of the track. Dreamy soft synth and strings lead us out to a medley of percussion.

Please, if you enjoyed this, keep an ear out for more from Mr Aymard to come.

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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

BODHI IMPERFECTION

How about some HOUSE? Yeah? Yeah? Good idea, great idea, let's do it, let's have some house, wooo. So, anyway, I was once in somewhere when someone said to me, after I noticed that they were listening to something by Cyril Hahn, that I should "love the house bruv" - and I am thinking now: yes, love the house; continue to love the house and do so in all its new, weird and wonderful forms. Love the house always. Don't be a fan of only house - that's STUPID - but love the house. Love the house like your own house, flat, residency. Love. The. House.

And who, in their right mind, doesn't like a little bit of house, a house tipple, a shot of house, every now and again? You're right: not many people. So in the spirit of that, I thought I'd share a little bit of some house music that I have found. If my SEO for "house" doesn't go up, I'll be like well annoyed. Just kidding, I'm err doing this cause I like the song. Can it be called a song? Track I guess. It's a house track. And it comes from Australian label Future Classic, who are ploughing right into the future with a load of decent releases recently (just have a look & listen fo' yoself); in some ways, just that stamp, the FC one, is enough to know that this is gonna be tasty tune.

It's called 'Imperfection' and it is by a duo, made up of Luke and Olly, called Bodhi - they are from Cardiff (that's in the UK you know). Ready yourselves for a very rhythmic encounter.

Thick and meaty multi-layered goodness dwells in this song, like an extremely tasty multi-storied sandwich but one that jumps outta your hands and dances into your mouth. It's progressive, too, taking you from a simple kick pattern, adding in different spices and all sorts like making a delicious curry or something: in comes the hint of bouncy bassline, the sharp metallic hiss of regulated hi-hats, chunks of chopped vocal, rushing ambient crackles, flakes of tambourine. Then it all explodes into an indomitable groove, thanks mainly to a funky bassline that rumbles ridiculously low-register. My eardrums are getting a massage through this vibration.

Emotion and romance is added through the help of a vocal sample (where is it from, do u kno?) that cries out wonderfully throughout the track, chopped and reconstructed with a clear ear for what's gonna get everyone going. As it continues, a wave of synth chords rise ever upwards through the noises of the song to bring the excitement and interest in the track to a literal boiling point, fever pitch, a limitless barrier seeming to have been broken to how much euphoria can figure in this short space of time.

Whew. I feel exhausted. My mind itself has been dancing. It has sore feet. Anyway, you know this is on Future Classic and it's the Imperfection / No More EP and it's out 7th October.

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RYV HWUT EP [FREE DOWNLOAD]

To the uninitiated, the title of this post could seem like a bit of a mess or a mistake or both: a messy mistake. But never fear, it is actually not a mistake. This is the hwut EP by American producer RYV (also known as real-life-person Charlie Abbott). If you're wondering, though, what "hwut" means exactly, then all you need to do is cast your mind to King Of The Hill cause Hank Hill says "hwut" all the time. Alternatively, Urban Dictionary can tell you a lil' bit. As for RYV, I dunno, could be the Czechoslovakian for 'jerk' (rate of change of acceleration) in physics.

But let's move on. Enough of this - who am I to speculate? Let's listenate to this music. I'm sorry. Anyway, I found it the other day thanks to Spazzkid, who in some way, shape or form, knows Mr RYV. One listen was enough for the music to convey its quality, which is generally a good thing is it not? Like, why should you have to listen to it a zillion times to decide whether it's good or not? A short-but-longwinded-story shorter: three nice songs.

The atmosphere overall seems to grow wider, expanding into seemingly unexplored territories, the vibe more lonely and spacey as we venture further from where we are sitting to the outer reaches of hwut. From the cool coldness of the intergalactic flute synth chords and mechanical hotch-potch of percussion on the spacey opener 'Yaspring' (with some awesomely integral vocal samples and crackling lead synth stabs), we move onto the floating glitchness of 'Yuhhh' with its heavily reverbing xylophonic cloud, sounding by the end as though we are drifting off somewhere, into the nether-hwut.

'Betweentimes' starts with a shock, a dissonant sweep of a harp, to let us know that the journey through hwut is almost at an end. It is brimming with an uneasy atmosphere, poised as if ready to explode into something different yet remaining tensely on-guard the whole time. Organic-sounding perhaps-double bass supports the thin, abrasive chords with a dark and moody slo-jazz flavour; electric crackles pierce through (it actually sounds like he's sampled an electric attack from Pokémon?) as thin strands of a beat click their way through the song. Cut-up vocal samples form a cutesy yet unnerving melody.

This is a sometimes mindbending journey through tasty sounds and an increasingly alien atmosphere - delicious and flavoursome. And it's a free download courtesy of LA art/music collective & independent record label, Stereocure. All three songs. I know right? Cool.

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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

DISCLOSURE F FOR YOU (ONRA REMIX) [FREE DOWNLOAD]

This is a cool surprise. If you liked the original Disclosure song 'F For You', especially if you liked it for its housey, garagey flavours, then you may not necessarily like this unofficial remix by Paris-based man of hip hop, Onra. Not only is it a completely different speed, but it has a completely different feel. Some will like it, some will not.

I like it though. It's really cool to hear a song so huge get this kind of treatment is very nice indeed. I liked Disclosure's original, but it wasn't my favourite track of theirs, nope not at all. I think in this instance, Onra has given this song such a makeover that it can never return, at least in my eyes, to being that original song. I basically prefer this version.

If you've heard of Onra before, good for you, you're really clever at music; if you haven't, then... well I was going to write his biography out and then I realised that, well, Wikipedia has done it just fine already. Anyway. Now it's time to listen, so do it.

Onra gives it a retro feel, glints of metallic sound shine throughout, with a chord progression in the glistening synth that breathes an organic spirit into the track. Before, 'F For You' was clinically produced - in this remix, there is an earthiness to it that cannot be denied. A super slo-down hip hop beat and waves of mean, pulsing bass underpin these major changes to the fabric of this song; above, it's decorated with a nearly indiscernible tinkling of bells. All these throwback sounds give a charming appeal to the remix, whilst keeping the original hook of the original preserved like something in an echo tunnel. Laid-back and nicely chilled.

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BOTANY FEAT RYAT SIMPLE CREATURES

Here is something for you. It is from two American artists. One is called Botany (Spencer Stephenson IRL) and he is a producer from Texas. The other is called RYAT and she is a singer; in this instance, she provides vocals whilst Mr Botany lays down a long and winding road of heady noises.

This comes, by the way, from Botany's upcoming album - out 29th October on Texan label, Western Vinyl - called Lava Diviner (Truestory). It is so-called because it's kind of a concept album about a religious cult that prays for a volcano to erupt, but also being his debut album, Stephenson himself feels that it's a "cathartic release" - an eruption that was just waiting to happen. And fair enough too: his last release, an EP called Feeling Today, was released aaaall the way back in 2010.

But aside from the mysteries and canon of trivia that lies behind this release, what is there? Well, there is this song called 'Simple Creatures'. It is an amalgamation of organic noises that clatter together in orgiastic repetition, presided over by the sweeping layered lilt of RYAT.

The sond creates the perfect setting: euphoria tinged with darkness that illustrates the simple pleasures of simple creatures. Hi-hats judder, bells tinkle, electronic boops bob along, tapping percussion - a general yet intricate mash of makeshift metallic clink-clanking forges a path almost into the crater of the volcano itself, followed by the chorus of voices provided by RYAT. Her thousand-layers of vocals are as addictive as they are blissfully easy on the ears. A drivingly relentless yet understated bass upholds all of this. It reminds me of entering the Fire Temple in Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the first time: heat warps the air and the intensity of your surroundings just overwhelm you. This is what this song is like. But it is sweetly overwhelming. As such, it'll be really nice to hear how 'Simple Creatures' will fit into the journey that I expect Lava Diviner (Truestory) will be.

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