Thursday, 14 December 2017

๐Ÿฃ BOD [ๅŒ…ๅฎถๅทท] — EMPTY MOUNTAIN WEEPS ALONE [็ฉบๅฑฑ็‹ฌๅ“ญ]

The screaming cosmic synth that hits at the start of this track, it arrives scathing and scorching, but shot through in the midst of its scratchings and scrapings is this plasma modulation, a sense of the steel and unbridled progress of the present and its outstretched hands craving the years ahead and beyond. The decayed whistle and muffled impact of a bomb, the PA system speaking to the crowd as you embark a ship to a future industrial megacity. This is the scene-setting power of two-thirds noise one-third classical in 'Empty Mountain Weeps Alone [็ฉบๅฑฑ็‹ฌๅ“ญ]' by LA-based musicmaker Nicolas Zhu aka bod or Baojiaxiang[ๅŒ…ๅฎถๅทท] ('Baojia Alley'), presumably named after the same street in Chengdu. Maybe not.

Halfway through this short sharp snippet of sound we are introduced to this gargantuan construction site, the glitching beat like heavy machinery working in unison clashing together cranes and cement mixers and all the movement and drills and hammers and metal and muscle carving away at the surface of the earth and constructing a cradle of consumerism. In the background the silken tones of a traditional Chinese lute-like instrument (there are many so to name one would be a guess), like a sigh of nature drowned out by the grunts of advancement, reminscent of the hole-boring mall-making and gaudy grandiosity at tourist destination Yangshuo. Nature as stomped on by humanity. And it ends, the rush of cars in the rain, piano sounding a gentle shrug as protest, a casual hands-in-pocket lonely lament.


  • ๐Ÿ”” This wonderful experimental piece arrives from bod's upcoming release for Zoom Lens called Piano Compositions: a 17-minute piece of which this snippet is in fact the 3rd movement. It's out and available tomorrow (15th December).
  • ๐Ÿ”” Read about the strange carnival that is Yangshuo right here, which we wrote about as part of our Visits travel series.


๐Ÿ“ 
bod [ๅŒ…ๅฎถๅทท] Internet Presence ☟
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๐Ÿฃ NITEROOMS — HEADWAY

One of our favourite tracks of 2017 so far now and yeah that's 100% sincere and it's this track by South Wales trio Niterooms. What makes it so interesting? Well, there it isn't just the atmosphere of the track—that in itself is intriguing, a swirl of a picture so melancholy so swooning sad, but at the same time so interestingly done, so nuanced, that it cannot be called simply sad but needs to be addressed for its tight and stylistic attention to detail. The drums tap and tick, thump and thud with all the laid-back authority that trap-infused percussion commands, helped into a realm of oozing monochrome and disappointment by fantasy guitar that twangs and resonates all liquid oblivion. The basic effective dynamic achieved by removing the hi-hats and letting the beat click naked in a tide of sub, the structural ease of it calms the spirit, nothing to remember, nothing to challenge, only a story to hear, a painting to be engulfed in.

Niterooms are from Brithdir, "a small forgotten mining town in South Wales," and fittingly their music sounds like that of something forgotten, something discarded, something glittering and vital left at the bottom of an empty well, the tatters of a dream now whipped into some semblance of being by sheer emotive energy. Whilst a "band" they manage to create the same soundscapes that you'd hear in Drakean pop, that sort of post-R&B trap-flavoured sound with confessional lyrics, a candid soul laid bare in the whirls of something dreamy and unreal. The vocals croon low on the brink of despair and in various meters, quick triplets mixed in with slow lines. A clear lament of lost love, sorrow as old as time, like the story of Orpheus that moved even ghosts as he ventured to find his wife in the Underworld.


  • ๐Ÿ”” 'Headway' is taken from the band's debut self-titled EP, which you can stream on Spotify (recommended).
  • ๐Ÿ”” The suitably hazy visuals for the video above were conceived and created by Ed Townend.


๐Ÿ“ 
Niterooms Internet Presence ☟
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๐Ÿฃ ROXINY — THE LIGHTS

At first it's like this beguiling machine that's just been fired up, something dusty and proto-analogue, a powerful piece of engineering, some sort of vehicle with which to reach some out of reach place, conceptual locations and sectors of emotion. Firstly you notice that synth don't you, modulating like an off-balance spinning top, some sort of antique Beyblade, but in its true actuality is something like a benevolent swarm of bees – like ideas lit up and in motion – buzzing and bustling brightly and busting speakers with a tape delay sort of sound, warped but warm. It's called 'The Lights' and it's by NYC-based Dominican-born Roxiny, "granddaughter of a revolutionary who helped mobilise against Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo."

As it builds with all its added elements into a refraining mantra, this song whirls with intensity. The constancy of the buzzy bee melted synth chords, laying a simple progression down like a veil over the song's backdrop, keeps it ticking over, jostling like electrons heated up, the noise of potential energy, whips the track into a frenzy by the end. In this supercharged soup we also find a sparse vintage beat keeping time from somewhere in the past, as well as guitars that slapdash and croon metallic, raw and unadorned. But it is the voice of Roxiny, with its intimate glam-garage-rock echo, the movement from lulling tones smouldering to yelling loud fiery powerful, it is this that drives the machinery, adds lightning to the growling tumult of clouds growing on a bluesky horizon, a hazy forward-march.


  • ๐Ÿ”” 'The Lights', which is a free download as you can see from the SC embed above, is taken from Roxiny's upcoming Rituals EP.


๐Ÿ“ 
Roxiny Internet Presence ☟
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Friday, 8 December 2017

๐Ÿ“ฃ LAZY INTERVIEW #34 — LOOM

What does London Ambient mean?

That's what we asked London-based producer Loom of his recently released EP. He tell us over email that it's "an imaginary musical history that's in the air in London." In fact that is almost exactly, to the finest detail, what London Ambient sounds like. Snippets of acid-inflected synths wibble and writhe throughout; rave drums crash plosive and tribal; a conjuration of the city at night, its dimly lit streets, its hidden clubs. "So much great stuff has come out on London," he continues, "so I wanted to touch on that."

It begins with 'Heavy Glow', a beatless prelude in hefty synth and sub that sets the atmosphere for what follows—but you'll have to read our review to see what else we thought (a lot of things). We may have established that it's a love-letter to the UK capital's heritage of dance and electronic sounds, but what we were really bursting to know was if he was named after Loom, the 1990 Lucasfilm graphic adventure game. Could it be? "I've got no idea what that is mate," he wrote back. "It's not really the name that matters, it's the work attached to it." Touchรฉ. But still.


๐Ÿค



w h o   a r e   y o u ?   w h e r e   a r e   y o u   f r o m ?   w h a t   d o   y o u   d o ?
I am a person who enjoys making music, eating kebabs and DJing. I was born in the 90s and raised in rural (farmland, raves and dogging) Suffolk. Now I live in South London with my girlfriend.


h o w   d i d   y o u   s t a r t   c r e a t i n g   m u s i c ?


I thought So Solid Crew were really cool when I was like 11 and wanted to be DJ Oxide. I got some decks for Christmas started DJing, I was DJing in bars at 14 around Ipswich, playing old house music. I wanted to learn how to produce so I got Reason or Fruity and it went from there. 


h o w   w o u l d   y o u   d e s c r i b e   y o u r   s o u n d ?


It changes, right now I'm really feeling a lot of house, techno & jungle, so I'm trying to work them into my music. It’s very UK sounding, but I love the older US stuff as well. 


i s   t h e r e   a   p e r f e c t   t i m e   a n d   p l a c e   f o r   l i s t e n i n g   t o   y o u r   m u s i c ?


Club, if it's a banger, or on the motorway at night if it's one of my moody, beatless ones.

Even if everyone hated what I was making, I don't care as long as I'm challenging myself
w h a t   i n s p i r e s   y o u   m o s t   w h e n   m a k i n g   a   t r a c k ?
I run purely on instinct – I enter a brain-dead state to write music and try not think at all. Certainly other music influences creep in, plus moods/atmospheres/memories.


w h a t   i s   y o u r   m o s t   m e m o r a b l e   m u s i c a l   e x p e r i e n c e ?


Probably going to a grime/DnB rave at 14. We all knew the owners daughter and she would get us in. The first time there I felt real sub bass, saw live DJs/MCs, saw people fucked, drug dealers, gangs, plus the fear of my mum finding out made it an amazing experience. That real hit of adrenaline, fear and wonder I felt, I always try to capture in my own music and DJ sets.


w h a t   a r e   y o u r   f a v o u r i t e   t h r e e   s o n g s   a t   t h e   m o m e n t ?


1.
Or:la – Wendy Wild


2.
WK7 – Rhythm 1


3.
S.O.N.S – Acid Dreams (Trance Jungle Mix)



w h o   d o   y o u   m o s t   a d m i r e   i n   t h e   m u s i c   w o r l d ?


I don't admire anyone but my mum.


i n   y o u r   o p i n i o n ,   w h a t   i s   t h e   f u t u r e   o f   m u s i c ?


New music will be released, some good, some bad, same as ever innit. I hope underground music keeps evolving. Most producers quickly become comfortable and lazy. Even if everyone hated what I was making, I don't care as long as I'm challenging myself and keeping things interesting.


w h a t ' s   t h e   f u t u r e   o f   y o u r   m u s i c   –   w h a t   d o   y o u   h o p e   t o   d o   n e x t ?


Start a label, DJ around the world, keep releasing tracks I'm happy with.


w h a t   i s   m o s t   i m p o r t a n t   t o   y o u ?


           Kebabs.


๐Ÿƒ





๐Ÿ“ 
Loom Internet Presence ☟
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L  A  Z  Y    I N T E R V I E W    S E R I E S

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Thursday, 7 December 2017

๐ŸŽฅ RARE FACTURE — VERSE GIRL

This track, with its indelible europop atmosphere, is wave of euphoria, but dimly lit and soaked with rain. Icy chords wobbly softly, snowy and glacial, sadly fall like an electronic hail, strings spin tension, descending icicles of sound sparkle, a cradle of sharp throwback arpeggios whirling over a pulsing beat and the propellant bass both bumping the track into overdrive below the stuttering serenity of the track. There is this serenity to it, somewhere in there, the light at the end of the tunnel of urgency that it does summon, and it sounds like this for good reason.

Salt Lake City duo Rare Facture tell us that 'Verse Girl' was inspired by women "who have ended up in abusive or controlling relationships but can't escape." Continuing, they explained further over email: "It's about the reality of there being a happier world out there with someone who loves you for you. I guess in the end, like much of the songs we write, 'Verse Girl' is about love."

This simultaneous heartbreaking and heartwarming quality, brightness and darkness, energetic and unfathomably kinetic trance sound yet downcast and slow-motion, the dual nature of love spun with throwback synth-pop that feels as timeless and as timeworn as the inspiration for the track itself. The duo went on to talk about the video for the track itself, which in its monochrome and snow-filled way reflects the song's lyrical and sonic elements—and, in yet more echoes of the track's inspiration, in a case of "art imitating reality," the duo tells us, "the girl in the video is literally the girl the song is about."

Euphoric and dysphoric, the hard, sad realities of life and the specks of hope that come with it are reflected with this digital fantasy of sound.




๐Ÿ“ 
Rare Facture Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

๐ŸŽฅ GIANNI PACI — IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT [ๅˆๆผ” • PREMIERE]

Gianni Paci tells us that he wrote 'In The Middle Of The Night' "at a time when many of the pillars of stability in my life were crashing and burning like it was the end of the Roman Empire." And with that in mind the savagery of the song doesn't just blast satisfyingly out: it makes sense.

"Rather than turning inward," he continued. "I took all of that anger and incredulity and channeled it out into this kind of nasty send off."

There's the guitar, turning in on itself, the exploding distortion. And not to mention the drums, which similarly pound their way supercharged and fuzzed-out between the roaring open chords and the regular crunch of that deathly palm-muting. The raw energy, particularly of the drums which sound as though they're being played in the room next door but still loud and popping enough to be featured, is delicious.

But alongside the incendiary drums and the gravely sweeps of abrasive guitar, the vocals play out in a different way. Not only does that guitar summon something dark in its quality, there is something in what it plays also, something sultry, close to flamenco in key and rhythm, which combined with the distortion gives it a harsh, metal edge. Further mix this with the crooning vocals and you have this subversion of doo-wop flavoured garage rock which has the vocals falling in line with that tone when Paci sings the titular mantra "In the middle of the night, it's a scary place / In the middle of the night, won't you keep me safe."

'In The Middle Of The Night' is jarring – not beautiful, soaring, heavenly – but clashing, verging on strange. But it is a fruit punch: Paci's voice spins catchy pop-leaning lovelorn lyrics, parts of the song are familiar – the pre-chorus "So what am I to do?" – and this is the sweet fruit; simmering throughout however is the punch, pungent and pugilistic, intoxicating, woven with overdrive and broken wavelengths. Together it makes for this wonderful inversion of norms which has arisen from what Paci himself calls "feelings of great loss and abandonment."


  • ๐Ÿ”” The video for this track, echoing the decayed aesthetic of the music, was directed, shot, produced and edited by Gianni Paci.
  • ๐Ÿ”” 'In The Middle Of The Night' is taken from Gianni Paci's I Tried To Right My Wrongs, But I Made A Left EP, which is out now. You may purchase it from Bandcamp.


๐Ÿ“ 
Gianni Paci Internet Presence ☟
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Monday, 4 December 2017

๐Ÿฃ WILD & FREE — FERNS AND STUFF

The groove piledrives through this track, the glossy dancefloor sparkles its glitter and the lights cut through the dark and dust. But mainly let's address that groove: bass guitar seems to somersault and cartwheel, it's an acrobatic full-bodied bass, tinged at the edges with metallic pugilism, something thudding about the way it curls like a snake covered in scaly armour around the bumping beat, the kick and abrasive handclap. Groove lies at the heart of this one, powers it, propels it forward.

LA duo Wild & Free, aside from these disco-summoning rhythmic patterns, also inject some faraway sense of darkness, of faded neo-noir, into 'Ferns and Stuff'. Stuttering synth arpeggios blip and boop twinkling in the air, and gradually there are these high pitched string sounds fluttering around this one particular note and effusing a sort of ambient tension with that soft persistence it has; and with wide sweeping chords that wobble with wonky progressions there is the guitar, half-surf half-late night jazz, distorted and starkly angled against its foundations. Vocals seem to speak from all sides, from beyond the vanishing point, a thin ghostly croon adding human intrigue to the dance steps painted boldly all over this one.


  • ๐Ÿ”” 'Ferns and Stuff' arrives courtesy of Lisbon-based label Discotexas, and is taken from Wild & Free's album Shapes on Shapes, which is out now also on Discotexas. You may purchase it via this hyperlink.


๐Ÿ“ 
Wild & Free Internet Presence ☟
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Friday, 1 December 2017

๐Ÿ’ฝ LOOM — LONDON AMBIENT

JAAAAAA. The first big chords of producer Loom's London Ambient EP bristle with drama. The complexity of them and the progression as the opening track 'Heavy Glow' soars onward. The space between the chords and the robust sub that drops depth charges in these ambient moments. The orchestral clarity of the sampled violin hits versus the twangs of metallic synth that play syncopated melodies ending each phrase in a series of satisfyingly jarring triplets. The darkness and distortion of it. And the thing is that it feels like late-night London, the looming exterior of a club on an empty orange-lit street, and the slow-motion crowd of its interior; the camera turns slowly on its axis. It is the prelude to the three juddering tracks that follow.

First up: 'Aacccid', a track true to its name, featuring the overdriven booming kicks and handclaps that conjure warehouse dancefloors, distant smoke machine times, the vomit of strobes, the uptempo rave counterpart of house music that was born and nurtured in the UK. But over the top, in place of the squeegee elastic synths typical of this '90s style, there are clarion clusters of synth boops that cut the air glacially, less soft fizzy Refresher bar and more hardboiled tang of a melody pop; rave cymbals crash.

A slosh of crushing handclaps is the abrasive punctuation of aptly 'Dog In The Fight', combined with plasma kicks and a constant gloop anti-groove of sub-bass that gives it this urban swamp sort of feel. Beginning like an unaccompanied grime instrumental the track morphs into a UK funky sort of rhythm, complete with wobbling wah-wah synths, something closer to the acid that gives the previous track its title, a retro sound; one of the things that characterises London Ambient as a whole, these sounds of yore, a motif extracted not from nostalgia but from objective heritage and contemporaneous revivalism in electronic dance music.

Raving breakbeats thud and thump at the heart of 'Saturday Job At Laser Quest', part throwback dancefloor destiny and part heart-thumping excitement and fear of a laser quest party. The middle section is tense, poised, all the smell of the smoke machines and the strobing lights and the heavy laser gun in hand. Slimy synths drip-drop all over this one, a biohazard sort of sludge that gives this track a wonderfully dark edge to its retro-facing beats.

But ending as it began, beatless and textured, London Ambient bows out with 'Forever', a postscript to everything that's gone before. It's a touching swansong of crunched rumbling synth that fizzes with crackling decay and chugs along with a flanger effect, decorated with zipping little plasma synths resonating like echoes of the synths from the previous track in a cosmic void, chirruping like alien animals calling out to each other, and bitcrushed little trinkets. A simple melody plays on glossy blooping synth, melancholy and heartbroken but innocent in its melody, something human and emotive above the harsh electronics, the contrast of glassy clarity and the drone of the bass below, humans doing what they can in the murk of reality. A robotic voice wheezes the word "Forever…" The lights come on, the music stops, everybody has to go home.

London Ambient is both fantasy and reality, cinematic and observational, pushing forward but with a reverence to the sounds of the past. Crucially, atmospheric drops abound—even from looking at the waveforms as the tracks play on SoundCloud you can tell this. It's another relic of the past – another motif for Loom in this instance – taken carefully from the UK's earliest love affair with dance and a trope of the collection of genres that make up "rave"; the beat falls away and there is this ambient void in which sweat-jewelled dancers sway and eyes-half-open leaning on each other, an almost motionless vacuum; a chance to breathe, let the music sink in, feel. And that is London Ambient.




๐Ÿ“ 
Loom Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 30 November 2017

๐Ÿฃ ะฅะฌะะ ะ”ะ˜ะก — ะ ะะ—ะ ะฃะจะ•ะะ˜ะ•

The satisfying snowbreeze from the underworld, this calming wave of white noise that is so abrasive and scratching at your ear canal and like the ghost of a chainsaw somersaulting through the sky, a downpour from tungsten grey clouds soaked in distortion. That is the crux of this track by Russo-Ukrainian duo Dmitry Gruber and Marianna Diakova aka ะฅัŒั‘ั€ะดะธั (Hjรถrdis), the shoegaze wall of crushed wavelengths that rifles through the track at all times. Called 'ะ ะฐะทั€ัƒัˆะตะฝะธะต' (meaning destruction or demolition) it's a song whose lyrics, sung in contrasting plaintiveness by Diakova, read simply in translation: "I want to destroy / Everything I see / Everything I feel / Is nothing."

Speaking to yes/no via email, Gruber told us that the track is "mostly about feeling, when you're calm, dreamy but very destructive at the same time." And at the heart of this song is that explosive gale of a guitar sound that feels as though it could strip cement from the metal bones of a building, and propelling it there is this driving energetic beat with popping kicks and snares, yet there is this golden guitar chord all liquid and chorused and with this brilliant rippling sheen to it, and there are these sunny vocals, innocent and fresh like clear sky after rain. It is exactly that balance: dreamy but destructive. "Some kind of ambivalence," Gruber clarifies. And you feel it, this infectious nothingness, how it would be to crush a derelict building with one thumb vs. imagine flying without a care. Similar feelings.




๐Ÿ“ 
ะฅัŒั‘ั€ะดะธั Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

๐Ÿฃ ELMARI — YOU KNOW ME

Taken on some sort of spacewalk now, the long weightless sway into starry void, the cosmic vacuum just existing there and a figure slowly spinning into some oblivion, it's not loneliness they feel as they drift but more a sense of solitary contentment, the secret mystery of oneness unfolding itself in the expanse. That is what it feels like anyway, 'You Know Me' by East London producer ElMari, it feels very space-destined, future-aligned, and that is first and foremost down to the nature of those synth chords: stripes of the heavens swipe in thin fizzing neon swathes of sound. But of course it's not just the actual quality of the sound itself, it's how that sound progresses that gives it this windingly slow velocity.

It's also the decreased attack and relatively low sustain of the synth which gives it that slow-motion feeling, along with the sparse beat, well placed clusters of hi-hat ticks and clacking snares as well as the syncopated solidity of the robust kicks, this lack of accentuation minimal nature summon that galactic feel, the simple melodic twinkling of synth mirrors the sparkle of distant celestial bodies, and the rumble of modulated bass in the middle gives intensity and power. But within there is something human, the vocal sample, stammering and effusing a sultry R&B flavour, and suddenly it wasn't a solitary spacewalk but an low-gravity airlock sex scene that this track conjures. Or maybe it's both.


  • ๐Ÿ”” More of ElMari's releases can be found over on his Bandcamp for download and listening purposes.


๐Ÿ“ 
ElMari Internet Presence ☟
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Monday, 27 November 2017

๐Ÿฃ DOWNSTATE — HOW TO FIX AN IBM FAX MACHINE INSTRUCTIONAL GUIDE 1996

This one is a scenic soundscape, a canvas painted with old tools, vintage equipment employed in the creation of something new and something beautiful, something that summons an elsewhere. In the description of the track on SoundCloud musicmaker and creator of this particular track – the descriptively titled 'how to fix an IBM fax machine instructional guide 1996' – downstate wrote: "I made this with the drum sounds from a dying roland jv30 and the korg M1 digital synthesizer." At points it's like breakcore made with an old drum machine, which in fact might be exactly what it is, with the percussive clacks and metallic zings zipping and trilling with glitch intensity and wheezing retro quality.

There is that newness to it, painted with old brushes and old paint. But then there is this golden-age sound to it, and it probably has a lot to do with the warmth of this, the analogue warmth in the thick chords that bubble in their slow singular refrains, as much as it has to do with the quite literally gleaming melodies that ache and twinkle zither-like above. And in this classic sound is perhaps an inherent leaning towards cinematic, scene-setting, VGM-style (thinking Earthbound, Streets of Rage, for instance), the expansive, exploratory feel of it. downstate also mentions that they probably "could have cut the hiss from the broken keyboard but i like it sounding like shit its authentic." But that hiss, that decayed grey noise hovering throughout, does indeed add to it, does add authenticity, gives it the swathing static of ages gone by as a backdrop.




๐Ÿ“ 
Downstate Internet Presence ☟
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๐Ÿฃ CITY FATHER — COQUETTE

A tumbling drumkit and a set of disembodied hands engaged in a rapture of rhythm, the hammering and clatter-tshh of the virtousic fills and thuds that trill and flood the air with hard bristling organic sound, the ultimate in percussive propellant, summoning the speed of rolling down inclines and speeding around corners late at night with dim street lights thumping your peripheral vision. The beat in 'Coquette' by LA producer City Father is full of life, both by extension of its sense of movement and also by its intimate, sound-coming-from-the-room-next-door aesthetic, ostensibly real sounds that breathe and scrape with robust physicality.

It begins thin, just this thunder-and-lightning of percussion bumping the track along on a backdrop of nocturnal void, as well as this sampled panting whispering and sheafing through the track like turning the page of a dusty book, the regular breathing of a late-night rendez-vous, but harshly cutting through the sound, a particular detail of memory on loop. The track morphs via scintillating synth details, fibrous and plasma-like, into something with more body, sludgy synth bass rising like a tide towards the end – something like a vocal hooting and crooning wordlessly colourful in the monochrome of it all – heating the track up into a scathing crescendo before it cuts off and fades into forlorn quiet, the empty feeling of despondence.




๐Ÿ“ 
City Father Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 23 November 2017

๐Ÿฃ HOTWAX — ROCKAWAY FEAT. STEFFALOO

The ten ton, no ten-thousand ton, crush of the kicks here, like the engine room of a huge vessel as it hums cyclopean across the stars, is the glorious intensity that lies at the foundation of 'Rockaway' by Floridian musicmaker Hotwax. It is this slow-down techno rumble that perforates the stillness of the air, the blank pugilism of it summoning hard trebles as well as full-body bass for a robust beat. It's the simplest backdrop to a swishing of mists that rain down like veils—vocals that cut across your hearing and drip down like oil in water, fathomless reverb like galactic ghosts in this tract of minimalism.

These are provided by Steffaloo, a prominent voice in chillwave, whose simple harmonies resonate and vibrate to give extra texture to the already grainy phantasm of her tone as it reaches out across the dark of the track. Alongside this, simple synth clouds bop and gleam softly, a tangle of silken fibres that threads through the void. Ornaments orbit the beat: panning abrasive shakers, decayed metallic cowbell, shuffling hi-hats, handclaps followed by veils of fog. The atmosphere is a sunken one, where the heaviness of the water weighs huge and choking, and where the prettiness of life glistens and sparkles in the winnowing waves above.


  • ๐Ÿ”” The quite wonderful Steffaloo-featuring 'Rockaway' is taken from Hotwax's debut album Communicator out now on 2060 Records. You can download it free-of-charge, or $7 for a cassette, from Bandcamp.


๐Ÿ“ 
Hotwax Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

๐Ÿฃ TYLER — TOUCHING

'Touching' by South African producer Tyler purportedly inhabits the world of Wave, an environment like domed gardens on a terraforming planet, palm fronds jostling against plexiglass in artificial breezes: artificial, harsh, but deep and thriving with life. The musicmaker arrived to the scene just over a year ago, courtesy of a friend who suggested he listen to the Plastician's now-defunct Rinse.fm show—citing that "the slower tempo allowed for a more emotive journey," he ditched his previous dustup outputting moniker Melodik and blasted off into space for this, his first ever release.

And space is what it is. With the reverse synth sounds, tinged with Middle Eastern elasticity in its slow aching melody, it sounds very much like a cosmic version of the theme for Shifting Sand Land from Super Mario 64; whilst the twisting scattered glitter mingles with the warbling modulated waves of cold synth for that air of elsewhere mystery, the bass below rumbles with ascending melody, slow and steady, pushing the music upwards for a determined feel, more like the Mario 64 Bowser Road theme in feeling: big, impending doom, otherworldiness, but ultimately gritted-teeth pushing forward. And then we have more textured flute sounds into the bargain, enriching the track with body as the beat ticks and rattles, a rolling of clacking fills and trills.

This is scene-setting stuff—the wild expanse of it, the far-flung exotic nature of it as the spacey synths mix with closer-to-home melodies of Eastern persuasion, familiar but altered in form, silicon sands reaching out to a black horizon that glows where the void meets the sharp dunes of the desert, human vocal samples ghostly and faded like the memories and paranoia of explorers bound never to set foot on Earth again.




๐Ÿ“ 
Tyler Internet Presence ☟
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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

๐Ÿฃ NELWARD — ALIVE IN SCREEN EP [ๅˆๆผ” • PREMIERE]

From the first glitching funk of Alive In Screen by netlabel DESKPOP associate Nelward, the rattling fuzzed-out chiptune, is an indication of what's to come. It's theatrical, it's marinated in videogame sensibilities and grilled over coals of groove, summoned by textured bristling beats and found-sound lusciousness. What hits you next in opener 'brain dance' is the melodic motif in its intro: big guitars play this sweeping chromatic introductory statement, grandeur and compartmentalised mystique, as we go swaying into the track's thick synth chords, velcro beats, and more importantly somewhat the space between these sounds that itself is a motif in this otherwise brightly maximalist collection of tracks.

That same melodic motif appears later in the track, wordlessly, floatily, by featured singer Paige Williams. It also pops up as the soapy squeaky clean synth hook in EP single 'apple shampoo', slightly altered, more uptempo, but noticeably there. Later we find it at work in final track 'toy world', a Mario Galaxy-themed environment with a collage of percussion—drip-droplets, insectoid hi-hats, clattering wood, water streaming, marimba. Here the motif is minimally orchestral at the beginning, and in the slow-jam lounge of the second half it appears throughout, the lobby of a space hotel, glorious muzak. This instrumental ends things on a calm note, wrapping up the motif with a neat bow in a drifting, unhurried manner that gives the impression of infinitely floating.

To a lesser extent we see this utilisation of this motif in 'seafoam breeze', where the Prince-meets-playground-rhyhmes of Nelward's vocal sings "easy as 1-2-3", that same melody echoing throughout. Similarly 'the wild firmament' seems to follow that similar pattern of notes, though on a scale that it would only be recognisable to your conscious mind sped-up. This track is a heavenly interlude that sweeps in million mile waves of gentle soft synth, augmented with carefree idling whistles and occasional trills of bopping synth. Tropical, like an afternoon nap on a beach; waking up sunburnt.

'seafoam breeze', in more than just its title, has this upbeat sunny nature that summons tropicalia more than other tracks; and with its glistening lances of synth and warm vocal hook in the chorus, 'apple shampoo' ("…the only kind I've ever used") is similar, though it feels more bathroom based: like a carefree, idealised showertime, it summons suds on shining white tiles, a steaming showerhead, ending in a flurry of lather as the beat double-times and we end up in a neat outro of bubbling percussion.

We did mention Prince. Aside from this tropical-ness, there is groove infused in much of Alive In Screen, but more than this there is a combo of guitar shredding and flamboyant, often sensual vocals, the combination of which really does summon the late great pop maestro himself. 'the minus world', named for the Mario Bros. glitch, begins sounding similar to the creeping urgency of the Mysterious Forest theme from Zelda: Link's Awakening, but goes on with Prince-esque vocals ("Thought I was done before I even began!") a similarity heightened by panting in/exhalations, mingling with its 8-bit neo-noir heist atmosphere, complete with metal guitar bridge and noodling. Again, in melody and emphasis – "You're a strawman, alright / sticks and stones won't break your bones / cause you're a strawman! Alright / la, la-la, la-la…" – the hook in 'strawman' excels in its reminiscence; in fact the whole song, its deep wobbly bass carving a sunken nocturnal groove, gloopy and sludgy with its swing rhythm, the luxury noir with crystalline chimes and atonal chords that effuse pure mystery, it's similar, it's Prince in a SNES cartridge.

Taking compositional cues from both the complexity of classically inspired videogame music and the relative simplicity of pop grooves and hooks, Nelward has incorporated two disparate worlds into one cohesive collection, crunchy textured beats punctuating all the way. Lyrically, it's fun—he speaks of "oatmeal for dinner" in 'Brain Dance', is concerned about his "eggs and toast" in 'apple shampoo' (let alone that song's chorus), and begins 'the minus world' with a line about being in the zone where buffalos roam, amongst other delightful lines, aligning with carefree throughout. There is a clear influence from videogames, owing to chiptune sensibilities – most noticeably in the bitcrushed beat of 'the minus world' – and the general feel, such as the vibe of 'the wild firmament' (see Cosmic Cove Galaxy theme from Super Mario Galaxy 2), the cinematic intro to 'Brain Dance', scene-setting flavours throughout; even the name, Alive In Screen, suggests this.

More than that, the title summarises: in its entirety, Nelward's EP is the interests of a person with their mind rooted in imagination (…In Screen), but which does not stop at introspection and branches into reality (Alive…) with guitars 'n' groove and the vocals of a real-life person aplenty, these two sides joined not only with comprehensive composition and construction, but with that persistent motif bookended by the first and last track. It threads through for seamless relation between each track, and in its repetition and refraining it creates a sense of instant classic, something to be remembered, the grail of pop.


  • ๐Ÿ”” Nelward's Alive In Screen EP is released tomorrow, 22nd November, courtesy of DESKPOP. You can pre-order, and order tomorrow and thenceforth, from Bandcamp for a paltry $4—or more if you choose using this hyperlink.
  • ๐Ÿ”” Accompanying Alive In Screen is the created by artist brainfoam. The bubbly lo-fi saturation and pastel flavours of the artwork match with the carefree and imaginative feeling in the EP—not to mention the Saved By The Bell abstract shapes highlighting the friendly, accessible nature of the music. Features a pre-banana Nelward, which makes sense given the mention of food in some of the lyrics; dressed normally, only as somebody who can write a song about the type of shampoo they use in the shower should be.


๐Ÿ“ 
Nelward Internet Presence ☟
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Friday, 17 November 2017

๐Ÿ“ฃ LAZY INTERVIEW #33 — E.M.M.A

October saw the release of 'Mindmaze', a track by London-based producer and DJ E.M.M.A. It's an unexpected cocktail of two colliding eras of dance: courtly, medieval, harpischord-based whimsy of the past vs. the electronic beats and high-energy of sweaty dancehall. The tract of lutes 'n' flutes that appeared in the track was lifted from Mindmaze, a dungeon crawler-slash-educational quiz featured on childhood-forming Encarta '95. Why Mindmaze though? "God knows to be honest," the producer speaks to us via email. "I made it in 2014, I can remember sitting down and thinking this Mindmaze theme would sound great as a UK funky type beat, but I can't remember why Mindmaze popped into my consciousness 20 years after the fact. It was just something I vividly remember engaging with as a child."

Perhaps it is the polyphonic complexity of baroque music, fugues and counterpoints – something that finds its way into things like videogame soundtracks, and only fractionally in underground, internet morsels and dance music – which simply sounds good against a beat that no Renaissance composer could have imagined. Indeed it's not E.M.M.A's first scrape with utilising the centuries-old form. "Some of my melodies – particularly on [her 2013 album] Blue Gardens – turned out to be baroque and I think maybe doing a homage to the most baroque tune I could think of kinda just seemed like a good direction to go in," she explains. "I've always been obsessed with what Encarta 95 provided us with before the world wide web came on the scene. I'm not sure why this ends up influencing my music, but we are where we are."

There is a nostalgia in E.M.M.A's music, too, with the sonic referencing in 'Mindmaze' following tracks like the 2012 'Dream Phone', referring to the '90s boardgame of the same name. She brings the humdrum of childhood memories, TV commercials and PC encyclopedias, storming into the adulthood of our modern age with hard minimal beats.

Alongside her own musicmaking, E.M.M.A founded Producergirls, an initiative encouraging women to get into producing, hoping to address the gender imbalance in the music industry. The free DIY workshops began in early 2016 and, thanks to a recent, successful Kickstarter campaign, will spread outside the current London base to cities across the UK. With this to look forward to in the future, for now the producer takes some time out to navigate the mindmaze of the lazy interview.




๐Ÿค



w h o   a r e   y o u ?   w h e r e   a r e   y o u   f r o m ?   w h a t   d o   y o u   d o ?
I was born in Liverpool and lived near Chester before moving to Brighton and London, where I've been for about 7 years. I produce electronic music and DJ, have an NTS radio show with Aimee Cliff called Angel Food. I started the nationwide Producergirls workshop series with Ikonika, Dexplicit, P Jam and Nightwave to encourage more women to try out electronic music production and to see if we can make the industry more gender balanced. 


h o w   d i d   y o u   s t a r t   c r e a t i n g   m u s i c ?


My friend Paul showed me FL Studio in around 2007 and was very encouraging of my earliest creations. A few of my friends were producers and I wanted a piece of the action.


h o w   w o u l d   y o u   d e s c r i b e   y o u r   s o u n d ?


Colourful, whatever the opposite of passive is. Active. I try and make it provoke some sort of dialogue with the listener. Maybe like a musical conversation. In terms of nuts and bolts, it's mostly synth orientated and set in a different imagined world a lot of the time. It varies from track to track.


i s   t h e r e   a   p e r f e c t   t i m e   a n d   p l a c e   f o r   l i s t e n i n g   t o   y o u r   m u s i c ?


At the risk of sounding like a clichรฉ, the middle of the night I think! That's when I make it.

I've always been obsessed with what Encarta 95 provided us with before the world wide web came on the scene
w h a t   i n s p i r e s   y o u   m o s t   w h e n   m a k i n g   a   t r a c k ?
Nature and our relationship to the universe and different times—past, present and future. But then again it depends on the song. I wrote 'Magna Kanye' because something Kanye said about making music really inspired me at a time when I wasn't really doing much, but Aimee and I decided to start Angel Food. I needed a tune for radio which was reflective of the battles I've had in this game. 


w h a t   i s   y o u r   m o s t   m e m o r a b l e   m u s i c a l   e x p e r i e n c e ?


When my first 12" came out on Wavey Tones in 2012. My close friends Tom and Letty started the label to release my music. I remember hearing it being mastered in a studio not far from my house at the time and then holding a copy of the test press in my hands. It just made me see London in a completely different way too, and it was when I started to think that I might actually be a real musician. 


w h a t   a r e   y o u r   f a v o u r i t e   t h r e e   s o n g s   a t   t h e   m o m e n t ?


1.
The Horrors – Ghost

2.
Nightwave – Limelight 


3.
Xao – Karrakis


w h o   d o   y o u   m o s t   a d m i r e   i n   t h e   m u s i c   w o r l d ?


Suzanne Ciani, who I saw at Cafe OTO last week. The OG pioneer of the modular synth.


i n   y o u r   o p i n i o n ,   w h a t   i s   t h e   f u t u r e   o f   m u s i c ?


In terms of the industry, it's smashing up privilege, dismantling self-interested structures, opening up access and reclaiming the art from the gatekeepers so that the industry is what it should be: welcoming to all, with skills shared for free.


w h a t ' s   t h e   f u t u r e   o f   y o u r   m u s i c   –   w h a t   d o   y o u   h o p e   t o   d o   n e x t ?


I'm working on another album.


w h a t   i s   m o s t   i m p o r t a n t   t o   y o u ?


Peace.


๐Ÿƒ




  • ๐Ÿ”” Feel free to purchase E.M.M.A's's Mindmaze / Pumpkin Emoji 12", out now physically and digitally courtesy of Coyote Records. Various options for purchase are available via this exact hyperlink.


๐Ÿ“ 
E.M.M.A Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

๐Ÿฃ JESSI LEE — NEVER NOT [ๅˆๆผ” • PREMIERE]

This song has a very easy way of draping itself around your head and enveloping you in its softness, in its blanket of silken sound that is evident from the very first depth-charge sub-gloop bass, synthetic yet with this deep organic tenderness, a classic feel, that seems as though it could be a plucked double bass. And adding further softness to 'Never Not', Jessi Lee spins aching vocals, whisper-crooning from far-off, taut and quavering with memories, or as the producer-singer herself calls them, "those ghostly things that stay with us."

"And even though they're still there, we can move forward and look back on those things from afar as lessons learned fondly."

The NYC-based musicmaker takes us through the song via email. "'Never Not' is about love that endures even after it has been lost," she explains. "[It's] a dreamy experimental take on deconstructing a '50s style doo-wop ballad."

Self-admittedly more a producer than a singer, Jessi Lee tells us that this song – a minimalist exercise in experimental yet familiar styles – is quite personal to her: "I felt like I really had to be the one to vocalize it," she says, "and honestly use this music as a device to come to terms with my own love lost. It was very cathartic to say the least."

The twirling modern imaginary ballroom of 'Never Not' is realised in a video directed by Frankie Leroux>, which uses Coney Island as the backdrop—"a location personal to the story behind the song," says Jessi Lee; "Everything was very deliberately placed," she continues, "from the setting sun to using Coney Island as a character itself."

The slow steps of the bass underpin the fabric of the song, this intense rumble, these notes each one a cloud of pastel fog slo-mo exploded from thin air. Simple drum machine aesthetics make up the rest of the beat, an electronic tom keeping gloriously slow time. Chords like a mist sweep their way through. Ticking percussion peeps out at the chorus, warm and dreamy, it embraces you, the illustration of closeness.

Equally, it is distance, the miasma of feelings that float in the air after a relationship ends, a sultry sashay of tragic proportions, a slow dance till the lights go out.


  • ๐Ÿ”” 'Never Not' is taken from Jessi Lee's Deep Rest EP.
  • ๐Ÿ”” Jessi Lee plays saxophone in The Love Experiment and also is a sometime writer and performer with future soul duo, Broken Luxury.


๐Ÿ“ 
Jessi Lee Internet Presence ☟
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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

๐Ÿฃ LILAC — FEELINGS

Huge. The expanse of it, the ambience of it, the wild sandstorm blight of it, the pastel colour pleasantries taken and ripped to shreds and thrown in mad gallons of confetti across the every corner of Earth, the wind-up toy nature of it, but without that metal key at the back instead it spends a third of its duration inhaling air, capturing energy like charging a spirit bomb and gradually that meter is filling and—bloop! It reaches the top and this wondrous track charges into life, crowds the air like a cloud wrapped round a goddess cartwheeling to the ground the loudness of it crunching like thunder. And afterwards it fades into the ether, gorgeously slipping away into silence.

lilac's track 'feelings' is quite literally a long explosion of sound, thick layers of gossamer fibres glowing grey and pink and teal and then more robust rumblings under these electric coils of noise, a beat if you can even call it a beat like ultra-slowed trap, the kick overdriven self-detonating, delayed satisfying sidechaining with each distorted boom, sharply crashing cymbals cracking with each slow syncopated percussive hit, dynamic clusters of rattling snares, clipped handclaps keeping time for this gargantuan swaying rhythm. How soft at the same time, how muffled, the rounded cushioning of it, the feathering, the tenderness of it and how that tenderness warps and self-destructs into obsessive longing, a swirl of sound, of feeling, that takes up every surface every empty nodule of the mind.


  • ๐Ÿ”” More fabulous tracks from lilac are available in a streaming as well as downloadable medium over on their Bandcamp.
  • ๐Ÿ”” Must admit: originally led to lilac because their profile pic is Lindsay (played by Linda Cardellini) from Freaks And Geeks.
  • ๐Ÿ”” Affiliated with SoundCloud collectives you may know: otter boys, Tsundere Fan Club, and REGRET.


๐Ÿ“ 
lilac Internet Presence ☟
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๐Ÿฃ COOL TRIPS — LANDMARK

The melting atmosphere, the horizon spilling onto the earth and the grand oil colour splashes, the waves of thick stodgy paint, swirling and whirling together and running over the land like a flood in slow motion. That's 'Landmark' setting the scene for you, the low-slung sludgy psychedelia of it crafted by Portland-based musicmaker Cool Trips—not the typical sun-glittering stuff you might be used to, but this inhabits a different time of day, a different state of mind, the chorus crooning in with grounded wisdom: "I can't live forever / forever's too long."

"I think the hook is going to tend to sound a little morbid to a bunch of people," says Cool Trips in an email to us, "but to me it's about living and dying in moments in a metaphorical sense more than anything... and learning where the high roads are and how to find them. It's strangely positive given all the reminders of inevitable death." And to frame this darker theme, this slice of surreal reality, the kick drum slams overdriven and the tottering bassline skips and dawdles, abrupt atonal synth sweeping sharply above, the vocals call out as if from a different dimension, as if already having died and giving melodic advice from beyond the grave, a slow and steady zombie march of sound.




๐Ÿ“ 
Cool Trips Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 9 November 2017

๐Ÿฃ GREG WANDERS — SINES

The sound of comfort, the sound of homely embrace, warmth and familiarity, the steps stepped a thousand times before, the furnace of love simmering the blood and the hot eyes of side-by-sideness, the cradled-by-someone feeling, enveloped enwrapped blanketed with safety and solace. 'Sines' by London-based Greg Wanders seems to fill your ears with gratitude and grace, a tract of soft sounds that conjure scenes of homecoming and fitting in, a heavy organ-esque synth sound that bubbles voraciously, squeezing up and down in pitch with theremin smoothness, an airship sailing through the clouds as the sun sparkles on the vessel. Because there is also this grand sense of expansiveness here, of skyward destinations, that oozing synth, the twinkling string sounds that seem to come from far afield, the glints of sun on long-distance travel.

Greg Wanders tells us via email that the creation of the song came "at a time of unease with song writing and my life-situation." Walking into the studio, he had low expectations of what would happen, "moving in circles of self-doubt and spending too much time in my own thoughts." But eventually the first line of the song that he sings with a soulful heartfelt croon – "Sines everywhere that I go" – the truncated echo of a cosy room, and the sine chords followed, warm, like a gurgling bath of sound, a slow beat punctuating, sometime vocal samples creeping in with virtuosity and the skipping-mind fizz of anticipation.

"The song is focused around human connection," he concluded, "which has been a topic I’ve wanted to write about for a while so it felt good to finally find the words, it felt completely natural."




๐Ÿ“ 
Greg Wanders Internet Presence ☟
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Monday, 6 November 2017

๐Ÿฃ JREAMS — SEOUL

This is a bright electronic patchwork, an irregular mosaic of sounds, crackling tracts of airy modulated synth sounds touched with abrasion, a collage of differently pitched slices of sound that rainbow nocturnally or overcastly with a pastel-grey hue, impacting like hazy memories. These sounds get stitched together with a wealth of samples, a moneybag of it, mechanised glonks and clops that scritch-scratch trickling and boldly waterfalling throughout—colossal textures. Created by US-based Jreams, this track is called 'Seoul', and fittingly features samples of a lady speaking Korean, as well as found sounds taken from around the country itself.

"I found Korean culture fascinating and decided to take a trip over there and couch surf around Seoul," Jreams says, explaining the background of the track in an email to YES/NO. "I reached out to this radio station there and got a spot to play on Seoul community radio and then was invited to a few shows after that were all hip hop and electronic focused. I started making [this] track while I was over there and finished the rest of it when I got back to the states."

He concludes: "I wanted to showcase how great of a place Korea is."

The video for the track, pulsing with boomerang-esque forward-reverse scenes, glitching mashes of colour, and shots of the bustling city life of the Korean capital, fits the music itself, the beat sounding like bookcases falling down flights of stairs against explosions of colour, the grit and hard angularity of the place mixed with the airy dreamlike feel of its technological wonderland ideals and aspirational aesthetic that seeps into the population's everyday style.




๐Ÿ“ 
Jreams Internet Presence ☟
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