Friday, 30 June 2017

🐣 DSC — WAKE UP

The overwhelming clean feeling of this track, the minimalism of it, the lack of clutter, fresh and chilly powers forward like the generator to a giant dream machine. Hard kicks nononsensely thud with rounded edges, pushing the listener towards the waking end of the spectrum of sleep, each one a bulge against the wall of unreality that you're cushioned in, cocooned in warmth and heavenly flavours; the snare is carefully abrasive, punchy with a sandpaper roughness to it. And the internal noise kicks in, the jostling judder of soft synth bass, a podgy unthreatening sound, a byproduct of the biological engine working at the heart of this sound. The minimalist dimension of sleep begins to give way to an ambient blare of daybreak: heavenly synths shine golden like a veil.

Sharper synths join in, flute sounds, conjuring divine scenes atop Mount Olympus, cloudspun tales in the form of synth washes, occasional incidental melodies played with a clear set of synth bloops. Shakers shuffle, hi-hat flashes like slo-mo strobes, the glitter of chimes specks speckles sparkles of light the decorative welcome of the day formulating an awakening for you. Although with its distinct house feel, 'Wake Up' feels more like when you must wake up having fallen asleep at someone's house and you have to get home in the depths of the night. In a shimmer of opening eyes at 6:41, DSC implores us "wake up…wake up…wake up…" through hazy echoing samples and moving into the track's finale that is a bristling tapestry of mini handclaps and we drag ourselves up with renewed energy and head into the cool of dawn.




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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

🐣 ANNE DEREAUX — ROCK AWAY (SHINES REMIX) [εˆζΌ” • PREMIERE]

"I listened to the original quite a few times and really just tried to put myself in that situation," Shines tells us, talking about the creation of this remix, debuting today on yes/no. The original 'Rock Away' by Nashville-born LA-based Anne Dereaux is imbued with a brooding attitude and beset by hard thudding beats. Shines takes that looming atmosphere and stretches it out over a collage of percussion, knife-edge cymbals and clanking hi-hats and organic clops and clicks, sub-bass glooping with subtle confrontational booms, vital and spooky, like noises of a nocturnal forest. Dereaux's vocals float ghostly with reverb, resonating in the mysterious thickets of sound.

The track moves via an insectoid flourish at 01:45 from its first, trap-inflected tract to a midsection whose lo-fi clacking beats underpin a bubbling cauldron of synth, tick-tocking in its slow-motion clock swaying rhythm, heady ambience swirling with phasing coils of twinkling sound like watching a meteor shower in an intoxicated haze, the sound building from the sparse yet viscous brutalism of its first section into something ambiguous. The third and final section is doused with clarity, the sounds warmer, less abrasive, glimmers of glitter as the vocals call out and whirl like dappled sunlight. "The goal was for you to go on an introspective trip," explains the producer—and as we move from the dense depths of the forest, lost, stumbling unwittingly through thick undergrowth, and make it into spots where finally you can see the sun through gaps in the trees, it feels as though this goal was thoroughly achieved.


  • πŸ””
  • πŸ”” In related news, Shines' self-titled EP is out now.


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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

πŸ’Ώ PAISLEY — 404 FUNERAL

'Time Passing' – one of the more diminutive tracks among this selection of seventeen – is as good as any a place to start off this odyssey of beats. Fluttering whooshes like the track's just landed on your windowsill and will start cooing to you at any moment, it arrives with decayed instrumental sample, glitchified percussion with hi-hats that fizz, kicks that thud with MegaDrive distinction. 404 Funeral is a selection of vignettes that feel like this. 'U Got It Going On', one of the more wobbling tracks in this series of seventeen, feels decayed, suffocated by age and warped beyond recognition, with elements that feel similarly bitcrushed; 'Squash' feels like a flood, fifty-two seconds of mashed beats and samples that feels like a luscious rainstick of sound.

Paisley's new stream of lo-fi creations – "made well over a year ago" – does go beyond just tape cassette decay and crackling nostalgia. The retro VGM sound to some of the percussion is matched by a sharp and delicious outpourings of drum sounds, like on 'What's Your Name' where behind snippets of Japanese dialogue a hi-hat dimly ticks with rounded flavours, and by the real-life drum-kit's-next-door feel beat in 'Lost My Suica'; here the outdoors noises, the singing birds of evening and the whir of insects, are evocative of the track's eponymous story: losing a Suica card (one of Japan's numerous, regional travelcards) means walking through the pseudo-suburbs that blossom between Tokyo's main hubs, thus hearing the city differently—here is where the titles of these tracks meet their content perfectly, a contemporary urban idyll. Indeed with this in mind the album's title could refer to the organicity of these tracks, embedded in the real world: '404' refers to a missing webpage and the 'funeral' part, well, netdeath: becoming a web ghost.

So 'Sunday' is chilled, samples like colours melting into each other stream along with a sleepy feel. In 'Until Next Time' the music wobbles rapidly like eyes welling up, the samples plaintive, painting the thoughts you have after a goodbye. But it's not all rose-tinted: 'I Need an Adult' seems to signify, with its exorbitant trap-infused beat and dramatic icy tones, a twinge of despair, a sense of longing exuding from its cold booms. Amidst the warped pianos that sound like television in black-and-white with no remote controls, rotary dial telephones, floorboards and gas lighting, there is more. Stand-out and yes/no favourite '1992' sounds like a joint right out of Earthbound, 'Battle Against a Machine' to be exact, with its huge gloopy constructivist beat and cold-sleek sampling; 'Nobody' makes groovesome use of a funk sample, 'Doomed' weaves in MF Doom—'One For Rex' glosses futuristic with hollow synth melodies.

404 Funeral skips along for just twenty-one minutes of your time, each track just over or just under a minute long. But it is that exact brevity which makes Paisley's morsels of music so delectable. To conjure a feeling through music, any feeling, is impressive, but to do it in a matter of never much more than 100 seconds feels wonderful, a bagful of gems, a batch of cookies, sketches, a pile of postcards that etch images for us, evoke comfort or love or adventure or relaxation, that temporally, spatially send us elsewhere: time passing.




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🐣 AUGUST ROSENBAUM — NEBULA

The sense of space, the resounding sense of vast expanse, the music here frames a snapshot of infinity, the conjuration of something gargantuan. Before its delicate guitars and dustyroom ancient pianos – vital human instruments, organic and tactile, the strings of the guitar pealing rounded and faint glimmer in the gloom of space, the gentle pluckings made intense in the hold-your-breath quiet of the track – before all that, August Rosenbaum crafts orchestral awakening sets the scene: majesty, and awe in the scale and glow of that majesty. The piano that follows gloops drily with melancholy, a lament under the eaves of wonder and fear, clanging with reverb that seems to call out, cello aches wooden and earthly, bass thumps subtle like heartbeat in your ears.

And a plaintive song, an analogue melody pings out with microdelay, plinking and blinking in tempo rubato, an alien sense at odds with the anthropoid regularity of sound blanketing the canvas, its dendro-life physical and easily manifested beneath this new noise, this unidentifiable sound, non-physical, abstract, void-born. It plays out a future romanza amidst the strewn neoclassicism vibrating through space. The music dissolves and rematerialises a whole new beast, shining beacons javelin through an ominous arpeggio, a brass growl, an ascension of strings, an introduction of the proverbial bigger picture. 'Nebula' paints loneliness, a sense of being small, an intergalactic search for more-than-this—and it paints discovery, the response to our calls, the giant unknowable to our minute but powerful and personal curiosity.


  • πŸ”” 'Nebula' is the first track to demonstrate August Rosenbaum's upcoming album Vista, due for release via Copenhagen record label Tambourhinoceros on 24th November. You can download the track from Bandcamp.
  • πŸ”” The unnerving video for the track was directed by Andreas Emenius and made in collaboration with Prxjects, "a culture laboratory initiated by Mercedes-Benz."


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🐣 LUNAR — GLAD YOU STAYED

Swirling with emotive intensity this track exists in a mist of sound, an all-encompassing atmosphere that seems to veil everything around as you listen. A dreamy slow-jam drenched with feeling. Piano chords reverse-resonate from distal zones between the percussive punctuation of the swaying beat, fading-in to the warm dusty clonk of the chord, plaintive and balladic. These layer up, forming cushions of sound upon which the voice of Lunar herself floats lilting and mumbling, the colloquial endeavour of the singing style effusing honesty into the nebulous haze of the track, her words sometimes nuanced with quavering ornamentation.

The lovesong quality of 'Glad You Stayed' shows itself through those cradling vocals, the to-and-fro embrace of the beat with its swishing hi-hats and powerful drum fills and its skittering percussive thickets, where sometimes Lunar's voice quivers without instrumental interruption, whirling and caressing the air with its creaking silken tone. High string sounds twinkle achingly in the chorus, the acute pinch of longing, gut-twisting desire, glimmers sharply, contrasting with the syncopated thump of the kick throughout. The track ascends at the end, whooshes of sweet textured sound rising with sparkles of vocal sample ringing out in the crystalline white noise of it all, the rush of love in a crescendo of memory.


  • πŸ”” This is Lunar's first upload on SoundCloud—keep an eye on it for more from this London musicmaker.


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Monday, 26 June 2017

🐣 AMELIA AIRHORN — NY IS RED HOT

The glaze of future funk, glossy vaporwave offshoot, sparkles in the big city flavours of 'NY Is Red Hot', broiling in cola sweetness and carving out a groove that bubbles with feel-good-ness, and in fact with summery red-hot-ness as well. In Amelia Airhorn's single, with its wanna-join-in communal-feeling vocals, the guitar chords hit with a robust shimmer of funk, the brass blares triumphal like beacons of upscale uptown sheen, strings glimmer like streetlights, the bass croons in subtle columns weaving with the deep thump of the beat, the jostle of it all a whirlwind of disco and dancing, the keen future funk fade-ins and fade-outs providing not only subtle parallel to builds and drops in terms of dynamic feels, but also with its irregular amplitudinal consistency conjuring a real life setting: moving through a club, nearer further from the speakers, outside for a cigarette, leaning in for a warm lips-to-ear conversation.

This track, at once flavourful both in danceability and in the inherent nostalgia-summoning, somewhat filmic nature, is or at least was a common feature of the earlier music of Ryan DeRobertis aka Skylar Spence, the pop-infused retro sample collages that awoke from then-vaporwave component Saint Pepsi. This is one half of Amelia Airhorn—the other being The Knocks, a duo with a similar penchant for funk though with a more polished surface, more KitsunΓ©-ready, more mainstream friendly: they never had to contend with actual Pepsi Co.'s legal team, for instance (DeRobertis' moniker change occurred in 2015).

The evocative yesteryear collage nature of the track plus album artwork and the retro airbrushed typography, this mirrors the collaborative cocktail. On its own 'NY Is Red Hot' brims with energy and noise, shines bright in the nocturnal glitz that surrounds it like mist, conceptually frames it; but with context, this merging of underground SoundCloud musicmaker and pre-initiated pop producers represents a meeting of the new unexplored avenues of making a success in music and the well-trod halls of namedrop beatmaking, traditional and unconventional, past and now, the span of time and attitude that is the foundation of future funk.


  • πŸ”” This single is taken from Amelia Airhorn's 18-track debut release, The Knocks & Skylar Spence Present...Amelia Airhorn. You can download it for free from ameliaairhorn.com, where you'll also find fun background on characters in the Amelia Airhorn universe, i.e. NYC itself.


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🌭 THINGS THAT ARE TASTY — YANGSHOU

Ah, China, a true land of food. Provinces and regions with distinct and diverse specialities, combinations of cultures, centuries of developing delicacies and handed-down family recipes have meant that this vast and historical land has a wealth of offerings when it comes to chowing down on ultimate food delights.

The thing we quickly learnt about Yangshuo and China in general is that it is easy to get ripped off by paying over the odds for things that should cost a lot less. The cost of beer and coffee differed madly depending on the venue, and Chinese food was really expensive along the main areas; it's weird to be in China and for Western-style food to be your cheapest option but that's how it is.

🍴 Ancient Building Steamed Dumplings θ€ε°ι—¨ζ±€εŒ…
Steamed buns or bao (εŒ…) are the go-to choice for a hungry snack in China. The warm doughy delights are a slither of the price they are sold in the UK, each one is 1.5¥, roughly 17p, rather than the £1.50 we saw them being sold for at some trendy food market in the UK recently. Often the roadside places that sell bao are really local, meaning the owners speak no English and there is no english signage—learning a few Chinese characters meant that we could point at the fillings we wanted. This technique took a lot of trial and error but ultimately worked. 🍴 Lucy's Place
We managed to find a small piece of solace at Lucy's Place, sat outside enjoying their everlasting happy hour with some of the cheapest beer in town. Their food is pretty tasty – we tried a burger and a wrap and these were acceptable – and the people running it are really sweet and welcoming. It's kind of bar you nip in for a drink before dinner but end up staying all evening, sit outside, sip a cold beer and watch the Chinese crowds pass with sheer intrigue, saying the name "Lucy's" to each other and seeming to wonder why these strange-looking Western people are sat outside it. Note: a lot of Chinese passers-by asked for our picture or just took our picture while we were sat out the front of here.

🍴 Pizza Kitchen
Pizza, pizza and more pizza. Everywhere in Yangshuo seemed to sell pizza. Whilst sat at Pizza Kitchen we realised that they were supplying the pizzas from their woodfired pizza oven to all of the restaurants in the vicinity. As we munched on our veggie pizza – tomatoes, sweetcorn, olives, broccoli, not bad – we saw the waitresses whizz pizzas off to restaurants up and down the street. A pizza monopoly. Pizzapoly.

🍴 Pizza Corner
We also had pizza at Pizza Corner which, let's face it, is everyone's favourite type of corner. If only all of the corners in the world were made of pizza. Woodfired pizza oven. The decoration and general vibe is a rather cute and kitschy Chinese interpretation of an Italian garden cafΓ© engulfed in a thicket of attractive plants and greenery and the pizza wasn't too bad either.

🍴 Echo Café
A few roads away from all of the madness and down a beautiful tree-lined street we popped into Echo CafΓ© for some breakfast and a coffee. It's a fresh, cute space with a Western owner—a Chinese girl runs things. The prices were a little high for the amount of food on the plate, the fried egg was quite small, but it was tasty and the coffee was good. Also when we were there a tiny tiny puppy was running around and we cuddled it too which made our visit amazing.



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Friday, 23 June 2017

🐣 IMS — STILL CRYING OVER YOU FEAT. IEVADELI

It is this gentle freefall feeling, the misty atmosphere that washes all around—the thick warm waves of synth curling like clouds and fluttering with energetic pulse, the twinkling simple melodies pinging off into the starry distance of the song, the nocturnal feeling of abiding loneliness, a strange comfortable longing, the feeling of a break-up yet still being in love, sprinklings of pinprick hope scattered on the melancholy majesty of the soft chords. London-based producer Imad Salhi aka ims crafts this vessel of emotive sound with not just a certain optimism in the sound, but in the rhythm, the shuffle of the beat, the gloopsome robust bass groove: in the hopeful bounce of it all.

"The track was inspired by a conversation with a friend, as she shared her plans to win her boyfriend back," explained ims. "The energy of the song comes from her eagerness, whilst the melancholic feel reflects her despair." Lithuanian singer ievaDeli provides vocals that reflect the feeling of the song, crooning with doubt and ache in the verses, whilst in pre-hook parts her voice raises up, beginning to soar and take flight, bright and positive. Still there is uncertainty, in the synth vox that bubbles as the hook, in their wordless worry the sounds are cyclical, the way internal anxiety and sadness create circles that sometimes feel unbreakable. Yet glimmers of goodness are the mainstay of 'Still Crying Over You', suggesting that a positive outlook on life means everything.




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Thursday, 22 June 2017

🐣 DOMCO X BOBBY WOODY — PASS THE WATER [εˆζΌ” • PREMIERE]

The way this track just goes instantly with no delay, no intro, no front, only drops you straight like the steepest flume into the cooling plunge pool of this track with a zoom and it's a smooth patchwork of chopped up samples flutes and sunlight grooves the chimes glittering and warm vocal snips, textured and blissful—the way there's no losing time here is one of the first things about this track that endears itself.

"Touch down like Neil Armstrong"—the first words of DomCo conjure space, being unearthly, above it all, and put you in good stead for the tight laid-back flow that follows. His switching tempo, wordplay, references are memorable, polished, reeling off a rhythmic list of big hitters – "I'm a mix of Satan, Martin Luther, Malcolm, Eddie Jr, Obama, your baby momma and JFK's shooter" – and self-deprecatingly hinting at his personality: "Always got a chip on my shoulder like it's fucking Lay's / I keep my hair nappy and natural, fuck waves."

'Pass The Water' continues in the hands of Baltimore-based Bobby Woody who jumps in for instant tag-team appeal with bars that bounce elastically, dispersing his thoughts with humour: "Bump the DomCo EP or we not speaking / Bump the DomCo EP or we not eating," going on to claim, "I'm just passionate and I look dumb when I'm indifferent / I shit better bars than you when I'm freestyling tipsy." He references videogames – "Niggas say they respect women, but play games with cheat codes" – as well as anime – "Full Alchemist I don't need no metal / Fuck no hands, bitch I bike without pedals" – well put mentions that subvert regular tropes and titles; DomCo chats about Gohan in the skit-ish outro too, in what is a lighthearted end to a playful-fiery track, the start of what sounds like it's gonna be something serious.


  • πŸ”” 'Pass The Water' is taken from DomCo's upcoming FOURTEEN EP, whilst Bobby Woody has his Cartoons Are For Kids EP set to drop in August.


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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

🐣 YOMO-DA — ODAYAKA?

It's a sea-based intro, setting the scene with the clopple and clapping of watery sounds morphing to the crash and topple of waves on a beach. A tract of piano with dramatic baroque flavours of minor-major modulations switches between daintiness with light trills and skipping notes and something more colossal, strong robust chords; between a picture of the calm sea and the ocean fraught with ferocity. A plaintive melody chimes in, something reminiscent of the opening theme to Zelda: Link's Awakening, which also features strong maritime themes with 8-bit renderings of sea and surf. At 1:10 chimes whisk us from the ocean scene, the cresting waves, shifts the camera from directly focusing on the sea to the town cradled in the bay, the buildings overlooking the blue expanse.

Japanese musicmaker yomo-da turns the track into a jazzy illustration of life by the sea, a bossa-nova rhythm in the soft percussion the tingling cymbal shuffle and offbeat allure of the bass-rimshot pattern, a Latin coastal groove that soaks your mind with sultry azure visions. Warm organ chords play with airy turbulence and romance, a fluttering tremolo pulsing in your ears with a dreamy, far-off appeal, the muffled bed over which the piano returns and tumbles virtuoso, twinkling with the angularity of light and shade in the city, the bustling boulevards, narrow lanes, breezy palms, all of it fading into an aching silence where this conjuration gradually dissolves. 'Odayaka?' is the sea – fickle, light, beautiful, vast – whilst it also reflects the moods, the hearts, of the people who live with it.


  • πŸ”” 'Odayaka?' is taken from yomo-da's recent EP, γ‚ˆγ‚Šγ¬γε››ζ–Ήη”° (Yorinuki Yomoda – The Very Best of Yomoda). Released by Japanese netlabel OMOIDE LABEL, you can download it from their Bandcamp page on a name your price basis.
  • πŸ”” In the SoundCloud description of this track is written:

    γŠγ γ‚„γ‹ γŸγŠγ‚„γ‹
    ζ΅·γ‚’θ¦‹γ«θ‘Œγ“γ†

    mild, magnificent
    let's go to the sea

    The title, 'Odayaka?' refers to the mildness of the sea. Yes it's nice, it's breezy, calm—but, taking special note of that question mark, not always.

  • πŸ”” The artwork for the EP was created by ε—ι›²ε“‰ζžœ Saika Nagumo. The selection and mastering of the four tracks for the EP was done by OMOIDE label owner, YZOX.


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🐣 PODGY FIGURES FEAT. BONKAZ — MAD TING

Grime grime grime. Recognised by countries other than the UK in recent years, it's having something of a renaissance. Only something of one though, because it never really went away: people just started talking about it more. One component of the genre who seems to have always been around is Dot Rotten, who lends his production finesse to this one under new name, Zeph Ellis, which he changed since he shifted his focus to producing over the last couple of years. The beat clacks with the slap of rapid-fire handclaps, sharp cymbals tsing with reverb and wobbly synth rains down on the jostle of the beat like meteors: this is 'Mad Ting' by Podgy Figures.

Indistinct vocal samples ghostly and icy crystalline ambient gossamer runs like mist through the dense tree thicket beats, gently looming as the track rolls on, first up with emphatic bars by Croydon rapper Bonkaz (you may know him from his 'We Run The Block') that rolls into the hook where the beat's poised and calm, the ice cavern synth frozen glacial chimes spinning its web as "mad ting, mad ting." Podgy's bars bristle with laid-back growl, referencing a few choice sports amongst other things "we gave rudeboys their showers / you don't want encounters / we're the founders / out man running like rounders" and "man's investing / dem man are fake like wrestling"—This track judders both with the spooky electric charge of Zeph Ellis instrumental and the controlled venom that these two up-and-comers effuse with energy.


  • The video for 'Mad Ting' was directed by Jay Parpworth.
  • πŸ”” The track is taken from Podgy Figures' new EP Gingerbread Season, which is out now.


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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

🐣 LIL PEEP — BENZ TRUCK (Π“Π•Π›Π˜Πš)

The menace of the crunching bass and the downtrodden guitar, the slapdash strumming leading into a graveyard of sound that looms like something poised to pounce but never does—it's that ever-present threat of sound, melancholy on the edge of negative action, which gives 'Benz Truck (Π³Π΅Π»ΠΈΠΊ)' its brooding atmosphere, a gothic gloom that is charged with potential energy yet which seems to shrink and wallow in grief. It does both. Producer smokeasac attaches a disjointed drum machine the dirge, thin gasping snares crack whilst kicks gloop and thud, subtle hi-hats ticking slow and sometimes tripling up like origami assault rifles takata-takata-takata just adding to the hype of the track, the electricity of it that you'd swear didn't exist here if it weren't as palpable and downright tangible as it is.

Slurring mumbling darkly with downcast confidence is Lil Peep, whose laid-back rap flows slow like spilled apple sauce, delivered with laissez-faire aplomb and a mellow fierceness. He casually delineates his situation whereby he has obtained money and success, enough for "iced out teeth on an iced out whip / with the limousine tints, you can suck my dick." He goes on to pre-empt accusations of sell-out that seem to come with the attainment of fame – "who you wanna hate now? pretty soon you gonna hate me" – as well as boldly stating: "all the money that I make now / I'll never let it change me." His tone, something like a drugged Jesse Lacey would sing over the top of something Brand New might play if they injected beats into their hard emo sound, is soaked with reverb, and conjures a persona at once calm and collected, less emo crying and commiserations, more stoic control of life.


  • πŸ”” The track is taken from Lil Peep's album Come Over When You're Sober, set to drop at some point soon I guess. You can purchase, stream and/or download 'Benz Truck (Π³Π΅Π»ΠΈΠΊ)' via this lil link here.
  • πŸ”” The Russian word Π³Π΅Π»ΠΈΠΊ in the title refers to the exact type of Benz truck he's talking about: G-Class—the word, read as something like "gelik" in English, and let's assume it's a slang term, throws up images of black boxy cars on Google.
  • πŸ”” The video for the track was directed by Get Mezzy (also editor), SUS BOY, and Wiggy. It was animated by Chadwickmak and Connor Moy.


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🐣 SAUX — FOR I KNOW

Instantaneous. The lush pop rhythms and delicious pop flavours flowing and bubbling and resounding and spreading like a magical ether have a rare timeless appeal, an ease and fluidity that enables the track to reach you with instant effect. The first few seconds: the shuffling groove in the percussion, the indefatigable retro gloss of the glassy chords. It really is a lightning strike of pop. In 'For I Know' Netherlands musicmaker Saux has it covered: the simplicity, the sumptuous sounds, the summer-ready sulter. Barely any accoutrements dangle from the bones of the track, xylophonic luscious bones that frame the vocals lilting with pop melody, making this a minimalist's dream, a groovesome abstraction of cool longing.

Kicks thump, handclaps clop organically. The simplicity is one of the crowning glories of this track. Few elements come together to make 'For I Know' what it is. For added tropical poolside conjurations the constant stutter of a palm-muted guitar makes its sunlit entrance into the track, summoning a decades old adage of sound, heightening the retro quality, the simple lyrics as sung by Saux and friend Sjaak Thissen with its subtle harmonies slowly unfolding in the sashay forwards. Minor additions in the beat, the regularity of it, hi-hats, some shakers in the finale alongside, the guitar that mirrors the vocal hook. The sounds dissolve wonderfully into the well preserved space, reverb painting a sense of expansive universality whilst the dusty instrumentation, the intonation of the vocals rich and whispering, creates a sense of carefree intimacy, closeness not yet attained.




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🐣 DEEPSLEEPER — YEARS

The slow creep, the gradual rising up, the heavy burden feel becoming lighter, this slow climb upstairs, how luscious it awakens. 'YEARS' is a slow-burn of ascension and progression, of multi-instrumental additions, a cake mix of sounds with more and more tasty things poured in for good measure. We begin with decayed crystalline chords like glassy harps playing downtrodden modulations that seem to warp and shimmer sweeping in a haze of tiredness and surrender, as if these are the final motions to perform for a day: it is returning home after dark, work firmly out of mind but the pull of sleep dragging you down, the numbed feeling of knowing the drudgery starts again tomorrow. It is the theme for the unrelenting office worker, the effected chords tragic but sparkling minutely with satisfaction and comfort.

And here is our ascent. LA-based musicmaker deepsleeper begins to take us away from the dull dimness of the kitchen table, the lonely after-work dinner, and we are imbued with an uplifting sense of carelessness as we move upwards, somewhere beyond the real world. The warming-up-orchestra feel of the singing strings, the rich tones of brass, all of coming together into a densely forested seam of nurturing ambience, low rumbles beneath, the strings shimmering, the brass end-of-the-day tearjerking cheerful, the steady growing howl of it all, the roaring crescendo, the white noise waterfall whoosh, the big drums beating our approach, mindcleansing, bodystopping—the welcome fanfare of sleep and dreaming, our grand reset.


  • πŸ”” This is deepsleeper's first single. Credits on this dreamy track are as follows: trombones by Mike Richardson; violins by Steady Holiday; upright by Blake Estrada; drums by Kiel Feher.


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🐣 J TROPIC — THINKING OF U

The contemporary swing of syncopation pervades this track, with its DK Jungle Parkway delicious marimba chords clunking and other percussive xylophonic chiming, a tide of cut jewels and raw gemstones that tumble and shine in the summer sunlight feel of this track, the jiggling impatient two-step speed of it, and all that cut-glass beauty exquisite as they are cute with all their tiny sounds, like a wind-up toy, like a music box, the glossy sultry sumptuousness of it. Throw a handful from a pack of Fox's Glacier Fruits up into the sky and watch the sun glint in each one and catch them in your mouth and taste the flavour, feel the satisfying gem quality—the sounds of 'Thinking Of U' are much like this.

Then there is the crunch and click of percussion, the clack of the snare, the whistle-toggle rapid tambourine ticka-ticka-ticka-ticka fast but subtle in the glorious chorus where the glomping clonks of marimba speed up and ring out more frequently, the ever-present tickling shifting sands of a rainstick or similar lending yet more texture to this chock-a-bloc tract of sound, J Tropic making it so that it is simultaneously minimalistic and well ornamented, a delicate blissful balance from the London-based musicmaker. This is not even mentioning the vocals, which play their part lilting and crooning in the verse and deftly, energetically spinning the hook, "I'm always thinking of you"—how it exudes summer, freshness, life, positivity, heat, passion, chill, all at the same time, the tilt of our star in the blue sky, the rustle of green leaves, the warmth on your skin, the flow tide of romance.


  • πŸ”” You can variously buy and stream J Tropic's lovely track via this link.


πŸ“ 
J Tropic Internet Presence ☟
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🐣 MARIUS — EASY

This one tumbles and crashes and thuds and explodes with organicity, a track that jostles with maddening energy, a multi-limbed cartwheel, a staircase of descending rhythmic rigid boxing gloves pugilising each step, a combination haymaker of a track—and this is all courtesy, mainly, of the gorgeous drums that essentially define this morsel of music. You hear them at the beginning, they stop, and then gradually here they are again, popping out with dusty vitality, muscly forearm ferocity, the raw hi-hats sheafing and swishing, everything breathing, even the underpinning bass sound is like a windpipe of superhuman exhalation, a robust didgeridoo drone that packs a punch as much as those grass-growing living cliff mental mountain drums.

Named 'Easy', this track by Norwegian producer Marius trundles along with flesh-and-bone breakbeats till its tectonic titanic end, when the cymbals rush out and smash like storms in the swaying doses of the new rhythmic 2-step-flavoured beat, feeling closer to metal with its juddering electronics like palm muted distorted guitars. It's a heavy finale. This in contrast to a soft beginning, those chords that fluttered slowly, a fragile innocence exuding from the thin resounding synth; in contrast to the far-off like a distant memory sample that sounds as though it's been lifted from a museum audio guide. The shattering shuffle of this track, its wicked rhythm, its full-blown tree-sap felled-logs life, is a joy of sound, and made even more sweltering in the wake of the shred of quiet that gleams faintly throughout.


  • πŸ”” You can download 'Easy' by Marius, real name Marius Elfstedt, from ToneDen.


πŸ“ 
Marius Internet Presence ☟
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Friday, 16 June 2017

🌭 BK BEATS — STRANGERS

There is a touching sense of heartbreak in this track, or not even of something so specifically affecting, more a sense of something oppressive in the face of innocence, a feeling of being weighed down, on the cusp of suffocation, something about yourself at risk of being flattened. Simultaneously co-existing with this atmosphere swirling and enclosing, summoned by the same robust twinkle of that melody that rings out with icy clarity, that cold resounding polygonal sharp-softness, a melody like javelins of mist that are fragile and precious and that sounds childlike, like an ethereal music box, carefree. There is the threat and the threatened, as created by LA-based musicmaker bk beats in this whimsical yet vital track, 'Strangers'.

Adding to this push-pull of an atmosphere, pitch-shifted digital interruptions in the form of an iPhone message sent sound make haphazard chirps into this ice sculpture of a track, growing rapid and agitated around halfway through. Opposing the sharp icicles of sound are the overdriven drums, a contrast of natural sweetness and natural ugliness, the trap-ish beat leading itself trampling rhythmic amidst the delicacy of the melodies; it serves itself up pugilistically, thrashing with thudding kicks that thump and roll, sword-swish cymbals, distorted bass crumpling, decaying, a tide of strangers, the internal violence of anxiety making itself known, the march of never wanting to show yourself in public marches on. Wrapped up in each other, we face the world.




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bk beats Internet Presence ☟
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🌭 FIREWOOD POETRY — SKIN

This music spreads out beautifully, like a waterfall, like watching water spill from a vessel onto the floor in slow-motion, the gradual coursing-through-veins feeling of warmth, of gentle-handed bliss, a gradual shiver through the body. And just as liquids fit the space they're in, the spillage unfurls and seeks all available channels and carvings and gouges and forms expeditionary rivulets that snake and wind along the earth. The atmosphere in 'Skin' by Canadian producer Firewood Poetry is one of searching, one of blankness becoming unblank, of unknown becoming known.

Fractional fears skitter and creep as the percussion ebbs and flows sharply textured, a grainy crackle like a geiger counter spits and stutters familiar throughout the track; totems of half-knowledge loom in the mild glower of the gloom, that sub-bass outlining indistinct far-off forms; a thin stream of ambient synth materialises and goes through a process of dissolving and then solidifying again; snippets of soulful saxophone exhibit almost sultry longing, illustrate carnal humanity; and the vocals, soaked in reverb, resonate past what we can hear, lilting heartfully, with a rich tone, and are on occasion spun backwards; it is a tract of esoteric flavours, a soundscape that dazzles and bewitches, the spice of occult in the cooling sub sandwich of trip-hop angularity.


  • πŸ”” You can download 'Skin' by clicky-clicking on this link.


πŸ“ 
Firewood Poetry Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 15 June 2017

🌭 INCHANGE — NIGHT SHIFT

The repeating melody at the heart of the track effuses as much down-to-earth somewhat melancholy reality as it does a sense of something secret and unreal, mysterious, discoverable yet undiscoverable at the same time. It plays like a harp, heavenly, warping with effects and glistening into the neardistance, a gentle dreamy arpeggio that oscillates, aloof and empty, pure and puzzling; light and breezy yet dark and looming. Russian musicmaker Inchange offers up a sacred grove of sound, an idyll that is real and organic as dappled light through shimmering leaves, as constructed and awesome as ruined columns and archways: wayward-sounding but refined, cultured.

There is a hint of VGM sound in 'Night Shift', in the exquisite expansive exploratory ambience of the track, in the trickling shuffle of the beat and its call-to-action feel, the fresh pluckings of that refrain, the what's-over-there intrigue of the small pings of delayed guitar that ebb and overlap—it's almost very nearly like a piece of music that could have been included in Zelda: Breath of the Wild (or maybe it's closer to Ocarina of Time's title theme), what with all its scene-setting music that draws up an atmosphere with unobtrusive non-earworming melodies, relaxing with hints of restlessness. The coursing lullaby is founded on glowing columns of sub-bass gloop that charge and pulse beneath everything, adding more fluidity to the track, rising and falling, more subtly dynamic nuances for this multifaceted morsel.


  • πŸ”” 'Night Shift' is taken from Inchange's recently released Through Noise EP—peep it and download over on Bandcamp.


πŸ“ 
Inchange Internet Presence ☟
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🌭 KAMI-O — FEEL

The gradual creeping progression, the unsteady vibe the uneasy feeling, the atmosphere of paranoia, the cyclical introverted mantra of it all, this track is true to its name in that you can do nothing but feel it. The atonal modulation of the sample as it cuts in and out of the static silence as the track begins is unsettling, seeming to occupy a space between traditional notes, and already the speed of the track is evident as it flashes in and out like a nightmare of strobe. A ghoulish call-and-response falls into place as an immediate answer to each sample slice lasers in like plasma on supra-boil, a dislocated feel, jarring, but in so gratifying a way that you wish it'd go on and on glaring and gleaming with its digitised menace.

Glasgow-based producer Kami-O adds yet more elements, sliding them in as the song hurtles on its way forwards, the doof-thud of punchy kicks, uzi-fire hi-hats, and yet more in a plethora of percussion, a hurricane of hissing clicking ticking clacking tapping banging, a rhythmic collage of broken sounds that swish onwards whilst the quivering samples are checked and suppressed and brought back again in simple mathematical dynamics. The subtle rumble of sub, a rasping handclap. Like garage music made with trees and gravel as much as obsolete circuitboards and the troubled souls of broken computers and programming errors, 'Feel' is a phantasm of humans harangued by anxiety and obsession, a foreshadowing of our finding solace in machines.


  • πŸ”” It is possible for you to download 'Feel' if you hop over to Kami-O's Bandcamp.


πŸ“ 
Kami-O Internet Presence ☟
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🌭 AYLIN — ON MY OWN

This luscious slice of music is a wondrous illustration of pop, with its delicious sumptuous percussive sounds, the shuffling shakers, the streaming liquid gurgles, its chimes and its crying-out vocal samples. And in this tapestry of textures, the lush thickets of percussive bristling, there is a smart, city-leaning clarity about the track, seeming to mix this tropical spirit with the colder angular soul of an urban environment, the slick-smooth syncopated chords, the clean subtle gloop of the bass; something restless and lonely in the verses where the synth flutters, confused, from left to right.

Whilst Aylin questions herself and expresses doubt in these more mellow verses, confident resolve arrives in the chorus: "so I'm thinking of myself not you, like I should do" and "I'll be thinking for myself alright, should be just fine." The Romanian singer, in the midst of the snappy funk of the track, sings with a voice that is at once as malleable as it is crystalline, seeming to purr as it sparkles. There is a certain emptiness in 'On My Own'—staging the decision to go it alone as the chorus suggests rather than stick with something that isn't working, even something that's pulling you down, is a difficult thing to do, and the struggle to come to that decision is illustrated with dynamic contrasts between the verse and chorus, between a chilly empty feeling and one of fresh determined wholeness.


  • πŸ”” This track is taken from Aylin's upcoming second album This Is My Otherside, a collaboration with Otherside.
  • πŸ”” Aylin, full name Aylin Cadir, is also an actress at the National Theatre Bucharest.


πŸ“ 
Aylin Internet Presence ☟
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🌭 CULT EXCITER — GET

A warped tropical island feel permeates this track, a wash of what might be steel pans muffled and softened and stretched out into languorous mists of sound, little clouds of chill ambience that summon breezeblown beaches and blue skies as much as the sultry potential of nocturnal outings. Like palm trees in the calm croon of coastal air, these nebulous sounds sway in slow-motion as the the dancehall-flavoured beat skips onwards—the party continues to pop all around but the focus is on this feeling, this fluid electric connection, this illustration of amorous aurae by LA-based duo, Cult Exciter.

Having their origins in Dominican Republic, the musicmakers understandably infuse 'Get' with Caribbean lilt, in that rhythmic swing of the beat, in the smooth fragmented bass that grooves gently throughout. Elsewhere this is a dreamlike excursion. The vocals, indistinct and slurred and doused with reverb, seem to come from elsewhere, from a memory, from a premonition, and fit effortlessly with the fumes of sound that soothingly intoxicate—all this, plus the brushstrokes of spontaneity in the sudden sprinklings of bubbling chiptune bleeps with their matter-of-fact anything-could-happen-ness, generates a sense of magical realism, where something about this club experience is not altogether of this world, where a dream materialises on the dancefloor.


  • πŸ”” 'Get' is taken from Cult Exciter's debut EP, out 23rd June on Point Records.


πŸ“ 
Cult Exciter Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

🌭 MICHAEL O — YOUR WAY

There is something wonderfully intoxicating about this track, something mesmerising—maybe it's in the general uplifting atmosphere of the afrobeat wholesomeness of it, or maybe it's something more physical, in the cyclical three-note melody played throughout that draws you in like a hypnotic spiral, in the instantaneous get-up-and-move feel of the rhythm, the warmth of the track. It soothes and caresses, enlivens and boosts, feels like a 1UP, feels quaint and whimsical but solidly ready for dancefloors and poolsides across the land. Like an uncut gemstone, this is the unassuming beauty the herald of bittersweet emotion that is 'Your Way' by Los Angeles-based Michael O.

There is a delicacy about the synthetic bass sounds, something fragile there, the reverb gently whispering off each note as the sprinkling pings of the repeated melody, feeling like tiny instruments, continue in their happy splendour. The dancehall drums with their offbeat and their busy clacking shuffle suggest carefree movement, but the gradual warm synth that flows in and out like waves on a beach, there is a far-off brave acceptance of something adverse, yet that plinking melody remains upbeat—this is like the true tides of emotion hidden behind a cheerful personality. The tranquillising lilt of the vocals is like a lullaby, even with the autotune hardening the tone. An essence of a person, of an emotion, is in this track, like alcohol in a cocktail, sweetness and sourness and the inebriating feel, an effortless mix of many ingredients, of many feelings, that slides effortlessly into your soul.


  • πŸ”” See Michael O's SoundCloud for more music.


πŸ“ 
Michael O Internet Presence ☟
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🐣 TCTS — DO IT LIKE ME (ICY FEET) FEAT. SAGE THE GEMINI & KELIS (MELΓ‰ REMIX)

TCTS's original 'Do It Again (Icy Feet)' is a brooding slice of funky house that features rapper Sage The Gemini and the lilting voice of Kelis aching in the almost taunting pseudo-hook "icy feet…"—but in this re-do the Manchester producer's track gets more than just a facelift: the cold synth syncopation and robust rigid beat, the dark aura, the digitised mechanical body of the track – as well as all its shuffling funk – gets new life injected into it, becoming a warm, organic, living-breathing track courtesy of Merseyside producer MelΓ©. Snare rolls drop in and snake through lively rattlesome, carnivalesque percussion clatters between bars: it lives!

The serious slightly screwface nature of the TCTS track is, like a frown turned upside down, put on its head and has in this remix all but dissipated, with MelΓ© adding a few cups of French touch-flavour impiousness, the bassline up-front and playful as it bounces through. Similarly the vocals get a slightly oddball treatment, warped and layered and twisted with atonal robotic pitch-shifting, taking the brazen almost cocky nature infused in the original vocals and making them less confrontational, more fun and trivial and leftfield as they repeat unrelenting, "I bet you can't do it like me…" MelΓ© has birthed a yang to the yin concocted by TCTS, conceiving and delivering not just a light side, but a lighthearted side for his body-moving remix.




πŸ“ 
MelΓ© Internet Presence ☟
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TCTS Internet Presence ☟
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