Thursday, 16 August 2018

🐣 YEULE — POCKY BOY

Firstly those synths, warped and wild, wrap the track in wreathes of rolling fog, a heavysoft sound that ushers you into this sunken world. Grainy and cutting, like a rain of razor wire, this is the cloud on which you sit throughout the song, the vantage point for witnessing yourself like an out-of-body experience. 'Pocky Boy' is all about this atmosphere, tender but cutting, harsh.

The voice of yeule adds to this sense of sea-mist, this mind miasma, the curdling of nebulous thoughts that end up as "voices in my... head." Her vocal reverbs into itself, a series of cyclical ruminations, sheaves of a diary ripped out scratching together dusty and fragmenting into a distant breeze, incoming.

Ultimately though there is this violent ambience, this scathing wall of grey noise punctuated by the pastel of those synths (struck by their stumbling rhythm, their picking-up-the-pieces irregularity, the head-in-hands voidsome chords of it), but it is given motion by the thump of a meaty house kick: the simple secret to continuing with life. The easter egg of a gun cocking.

And yeule's own voice, looped, echoes itself, a frenzy of movement—by the end, we return to those chords by themselves, ready to begin again; foreboding instead of finality.


  • πŸ”” So the 'Pocky Boy' video is above, of course, and features instant messaging, some urban exploration and a little bit of pocky play, too. Directed by friend-of-the-artist Rabbit Sashimi (actually a thing; though we cannot find a jot of a soul online), it is described by the Singapore-and-London-based yeule as follows:

    "At the dawn of the new age, civilization has been wiped out by an alien race that can shape-shift into the humans that used to walk the earth centuries before. The aliens attempt to grasp the differences of gender and form that humans beings had, even though they do not know the difference because of their nature as non-binary beings."

  • πŸ”” This track was actually released back in April via Zoom Lens, so you may straightaway download 'Pocky Boy' here, should you wish to do so.
  • πŸ”” Aaand... yeule will be playing her first LA show on 23rd August, 7:30pm - 11pm, as part of Zoom Lens-curated night Malform. The location of this show is TBA.


πŸ“ 
yeule Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

🐣 DRONA — FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS

"I moved to America for university on a scholarship and that's when I encountered a stark change in culture," says Indian musicmaker, Drona. The Cornell student tells the story of those cultural differences in 'First World Problems', a track that bumps with bass and blooms of hazy, heralding synth, with clacking percussion keeping delicious, swaying time.

The song makes use of not busying up all the space with instrumental, allowing the vocals room to impact. And it is all about the vocals in Drona's outsider observations of an Ivy Leaguer's life—all wrapped up in a playful, upbeat slice of sound.

These observations come mainly in the form of crushing, eponymous problems: "Truffles on pizza / but delivery is just not on time / pills in Ibiza / but the traffic is a bit of a crime." And these little vignettes are contrasted with Drona's own experience, namely the pre-chorus line, "I guess I can't remember / when I had / so much to have," highlighting the differences between a first world problem and, well, a real world problem; the trauma of just having too much stuff to begin with.


  • πŸ”” 'First World Problems' is taken from Drona's upcoming EP, The Third World Season. "It talks about the whole arc of being in India to coming to America and then finding "First World Problems" after I came here," he explained to us. Feel free to download 'First World Season' here via your fav service.


πŸ“ 
Drona Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 5 July 2018

🐣 MARQUIS HAWKES — DON'T U FEAT. URSULA RUCKER

Uplifting, yes, but not to the point of euphoria—uplifting from a low-level mood, bringing you out of the darkness, the feeling of looking up at the blinding sun after you've fallen over and grazed your knees or just woken up from a nap and remembered all the things that are making you anxious but then you rationalise. Far from the dancefloor, Marquis Hawkes' track feels more as though it both reflects and alleviates suburban misery. It is a track of small, important victories: dancing won't heal you, but it's fine for now.

Part of that almost solemn feeling of 'Don't U' comes from those skyward synth chords - in the style of a chapel organ, the continuous chords with occasional single note changes feels very organ-like; it suggests something redemptive about this track. The tone of those chords has us pointing ourselves similarly skyward: they're slightly decayed and warm, not too bright but also not dull; the synth – like the track itself – is elegant in its simplicity.

Simple acid synth bass squelches in sparse groove to give this sense of dynamic movement alongside the constant house kicks. Ursula Rucker's star-of-the-show vocals softly pad alongside the incidental gladdening synth chords feeling like a motivational speaker or a pastor telling you what you want to hear—or else they sing in gentle butterfly snippets. Combine that with simple dynamic subtractions and additions, tumbling toms, a handful of simple percussion, teetering on the edge of lo-fi house to deliver an atmospheric, modern-day sermon of a track in the church of dance with an overflowing heart.




πŸ“ 
Ursula Rucker Internet Presence ☟
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🐣 Γ€BÁSE — SKEME GOES ALL CITY

Built around the frenzy of cyclical repetition, this track two-steps to a speedy tempo with a half-time trap-feeling beat—a slice of jazz that's more about the atmosphere created and solid rhythms rather than wheeling, flighty solos. Beginning with a lush, lounge-flavoured intro, it soon bursts into life with a series of dynamic riffs that feel more nightclub than jazz club.

It's by Budapest-based producer and keyboardist Szabolcs Bognar, now embarking on a new project called Γ€bΓ‘se. And it's this musicmaker's love of hip hop that has created the unique, beat-and-groove-led vehicle at the heart of this track: the track's title 'Skeme Goes All City' references Style Wars, a 1983 documentary about graffiti.

"I can clearly remember that I was listening to a lot of current Blue Note releases at the time. Music from Jaleel Shaw, Marcus Strickland, Ben Willams and such." Bognar tells us about the birth of the track. "The main melody is definitely inspired by that scene."

"Each member came up with their part on the spot. We were jamming through it a few times and the trap feel and groove just came out of us so it was all pretty natural. We did only a few takes of recording. I also wanted to put out something completely live first. No huge editing and production process, just the musicians playing and grooving together. It's kind of a tip of the hat to the blue note and classic jazz style of recording, as well."

The crossover of jazz instrumentation and trap-style beats with swaggering repetition is one that feels as relevant as ever—e.g. Kendrick's To Pimp A Butterfly, Kamasi Washington, the flavours of Brainfeeder's output. Riding this wave of band-created groove well away from the producer's studio, Γ€bΓ‘se reflect a newness of modern pick-and-mix culture diverting from the specificity of genre.


  • πŸ”” The members of Γ€bΓ‘se this time around are Fanni ZahΓ‘r (flute, vocals), Szabolcs BognΓ‘r (Rhodes), TamΓ‘s Heilig (bass) and TamΓ‘s CzirjΓ‘k (drums). The artwork, fresh green with concentric circles of cocktailing collage, reflects the combos at work in the track itself.
  • πŸ”” You may stream and/or download 'Skeme Goes All City' via your favourite service, if you like. There will be an EP, or maybe an LP, coming soon so, yeah, watch out for that if you liked this.


πŸ“ 
Γ€bΓ‘se Internet Presence ☟
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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

🐣 LYCORISCORIS — FLIGHT

Bustling and crackling with organic buzz and with a heartbeat thudding like the constancy of living and breathing against the melancholic backdrop of the ever-shifting seasons, the rising strings all emotive and tear-jerking, a never-ever feel to it, a will-I-ever feel to it (a la Jon Hopkins) this is Tokyo-based Lycoriscoris aka real life human Yunosuke Senoo. The motion of it suits the name 'Flight', but other than the clear image of something literally flying, what else do we have here?

Well, with its trickling percussion like icicles melting, and the frosty frosty touches of piano sparkling like sun on snow summons a stark landscape, wintry, but with the hope of spring and summer on the horizon, the rising nature of those strings are like the possibility of new life; a mix of depression and hope, it charts the cusp of the year where life teeters between holed-up against the snow and taking tentative steps below freshly unfurling leaves.




πŸ“ 
Lycoriscoris Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

🐣 SANTINO LE SAINT — MAGIC

Somewhere in a desolate wasteland between completely despairing of your situation and carnal pleasures, the trade-off between sex and happiness, feelings and sparing feelings, is the incredibly feel-tastic lamenting lovesong that is 'Magic'. Created by London model, producer, singer and musician Santino Le Saint, it's a tract of scalding synth sounds winding between just a few notes making it feel cyclical – the going-round-in-circles of a restless mind in love – set against a trap beat that rumbles like gurgling lava, sharp industrial snares and ticking hi-hats like a sense of stomach-churning immediacy.

Obviously there is this trap heaviness to it. And to add to the lamenting vibe of this literally magical track there's some serious shredding going on, a Latin-infused '80s-metal guitar solo cavorts in aching interludes in the midst of 'Magic', before becoming the coda of the track, crying out, rapid-fire and raucous. But vocally it feels like an R&B-flavoured slow-jam—Santino Le Saint's satin voice skillfully lilts from the sensually stark and beautifully confused first few lines:

"You should fuck me in the back of this Uber, baby
I know this isn't something you're used to baby
Life's changed and I'm still getting used to it lately
Nothings what it used to be baby..."

Yet it's coated in this metallic decay, as if those words are already ruined, already not worth communicating to whomever they're directed. It's continues thoughtful and reflective: "I was sitting in the passenger, flicking through the calender, thinking about the shit we've done""If we were in a different situation we'd be better off." And doubtful: "Now you're saying that I love you but you never know..." And at times it's like a storytelling Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque stream-of-consciousness, e.g. "but if we're gonna die young then / you'd better promise me if you can shoot then drive""...and if they try and pull us over put the metal to the floor."

"I actually wrote the first line of 'Magic' whilst I was drunk in the back of an Uber on my way home from a party," said Santino Le Saint, talking about the track. "I like to arrive on a track with impact and this was so direct and to the point... I sort of forgot about the lyrics, and a few months down the line the concept came back into my mind and the rest of the track fell into place. You know when you're drunk or high, feeling yourself and just fantasise about shit, that's 'Magic'."

In all, the track brings an everyday, an everynight, Uber ride to a startlingly evocative and cinematic height, from where it drips greatness and sharpness onto you like tears and static—and in a unique vessel that crosses the epic poetry of guitar solo with R&B's sensuality and emotion.


  • πŸ”” This lovely piece of music is taken from Santino Le Saint's recent XENO EP, three-track offering that acts as a composite of these guitar, vocals and beat in a modern-day slice of Prince-esque compounding. You can – and most definitely should – listen to it over on his SoundCloud.


πŸ“ 
Santino Le Saint Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

🐣 JOHNNY JEWEL — RED DOOR

Just about two minutes of blissful-abrasive noise, of arching plumes of synth that seem to wash across your mind like clouds careening across a curdled sky; thinner more modulated chords raising the tone, raising the mood just slightly, but with thinner tracts of sound spelling out some sort of indefinite threat, and scratchy nanobot insectoid chirrupings like malicious electronic signals. Yes, this is ominously titled 'Red Door' by Johnny Jewel, a maelstrom of seemingly innocuousness, like the beautiful azure tide of the sea receding as it laps a beach to reveal a carpet of shattered bones; a paradise lost, bountiful beauty at crippling cost.

Of course, Johnny Jewel has had a hand in the soundtracking of much anticipated Twin Peaks: The Return (albeit with Chromatics in one of its episode's musical endings) so it may explain the dual-minded mood of 'Red Curtain' - as well as its name - so much of the Twin Peaks atmosphere is an uncomfortably close juxtaposition of terror and humour, safety and danger, and thus this track soothes but it also scathes somewhat—it is a comfortable haunting.

"I was about a year deep into recording what would become Windswept when I heard that David [Lynch] was making Season 3 [of Twin Peaks]," he explained. "It's been a year since Chromatics performed at the Roadhouse. With disintegrated memory through the haze of television snow, I wanted to share a glimpse behind the red curtain." And here it is captured: the eternity and mortality in those anxious pre-show moments, the mystery of backstage ritual.


  • πŸ”” The haunting/comforting 'Red Curtain' is taken from new Johnny Jewel album, Themes for Television. Released back in late May, the project began "as a sonic exploration of the sounds I was hearing in my nightmares," said Jewel in a press release. "I wanted to find my way out of the maze by focusing on beauty over fear — like the way the fractured sunrise looks in a dream."

    You can grab it on vinyl

  • πŸ”” The atmospherically relevant video for 'Red Door' was directed by Radka Leitmeritz; with its slow-motion and lingering fades, its enigmatic steely-eyed star Czech model Eva Klimkova and the monochrome-except-for-red colour scheme, it's a spiritual cousin to the track itself.


πŸ“ 
Johnny Jewel Internet Presence ☟
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Monday, 21 May 2018

🐣 RIVAL CONSOLES — MEMORY ARC

You know that feeling when the sun is too bright, and it's too hot, and humid, and the brightness of the sun is so much that you can basically feel the UV toasting your skin, and you can smell the heat. That piercing abrasive sunlight feels like the sounds in 'Memory Arc', created by English musicmaker Rival Consoles; primarily this is a heavenly harp sound that is degraded and decayed, the scorch of retinas as humans look upon gods, the curse of theophany. Like a molten zither it plays—or like inverse steel pans for an inverted paradise.

Because there is that flipside to tropical beauty and to the beauty of nature in general, and that is in the danger of it, the undesirable and uncontrollable; survival at nature's mercy. The sweltering heat, dehydration, poison and venom, infection, insects. It feels as if the lower tones of Rival Console's monolithic track provide the looming menace, of something primeval and earth-shaking, whilst the scorching sweeps of melody above paint a picture of the parched sun.

And so there is this sense of wonder, but at no time does it feel triumphant, or chilled. The feelings here, in the drawn-out nature of it, the abrasiveness, the actual progression of the notes, the feelings are of anxiety at its root, the basest worries in the midst of a world a million times bigger than ourselves; a concept that is reminiscent of a similar one in The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard, where global warming has taken our minds back to a world of prehistory. With these sweeping threats and glittering terrors, 'Memory Arc' may represent our most primordial collective recollections.


  • πŸ”” The looming 'Memory Arc' is taken from Rival Consoles' new album Persona, released back in April on Erased Tapes.


πŸ“ 
Rival Consoles Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 17 May 2018

🐣 JON HASSELL — PASTORALE VASSANT

This collage of sound comes from musicmaking veteran Jon Hassell, a collection of almost random knockings and thudding perucussion, striking bright piano feeling chords and twinklings, insectoid and creeping and with satisfactory edits to almost be venturing into the zippy world of breakcore. Tumbling soft chimes and bassy bell synths roly-poly throughout, helping with that sense of speed and motion. Background noise comes and goes, fizzing and whooshing as new and sharper chimes set in, this time real, organic, and which (sort of) give the track its title: 'Pastorale Vassant' (meaning 'Hillside Pastoral' in Catalan)—How though?

"I was staying in Deya, on the island of Mallorca," explains Hassell in the track's description on SoundCloud, "where flocks of goats roamed in the hills at night, each one with a slightly different neck bell. One balmy Summer midnight I stayed awake to record this floating, constantly-changing "gamelan" that enters in the distant background halfway into the piece."

You can hear in the track that nocturnal sound, the feel of mild still-awake night terrors, the what's-out-there wonder of the dark, and then the homely but lonely sound of these goats' bells, by themselves yet together, no other human around. All the other flighty noises of the night, the harsh abrasions of the ambient sound of the air like the esoteric recordings of a cryptozoologist, but above all the constant flutter of a mind churning and churning... And then: that blissful chord at the end, disparate to everything else that has come before, chimes into earshot rich and radiant, a dream of digital dimensions as the organic gives way to the synthetic, and sounding beautifully similar to the PS2 startup sound by Takafumi Fujisawa—that same full emptiness, empty fullness.


  • πŸ””
  • πŸ”” 'Pastorale Vassant' is the second track to be taken from Jon Hassell's upcoming album Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One), following the urgent, relentless glitter of 'Dreaming'. You may pre-order it on Bandcamp ahead of its 8th June release on Ndeya Records, Hassell's own newly launched label.


πŸ“ 
Jon Hassell Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

🐣 LEESH — REMEMBER

With its variegated textures, from trickling percussion to wibbly synth like otherworldly spirit voices, and a sense of space that borders on threatening – like, you can almost imagine things lurking in the heavy electrically charged spaces between sounds of the track – this track is awash with mystery and delicacy, like some luxury item hidden in the depths of a forest, or like approaching a neglected shrine overgrown with creepers and leaves. LEESH, a musicmaker from Arizona, has succeeded in creating a vital soundscape, one that pulses at all times with power as much as intrigue, a mystical natural landscape conjured using a big imagination combined with a pristine collection of synthetic sounds.

"This track was definitely a huge experiment for me," LEESH told us via email. "I wanted the track to feel familiar, but disorienting and kind of uncomfortable at the same time. Mostly the inspiration came from trying to do something that nobody has heard before."

Between soft subby kicks, like the faraway footsteps of a giant beast, and woodblock hits like trees being tapped, skittering percussion – hi-hats, like unknown flitting creatures and a spooky arpeggio make this track feel alive; the feeling of being lost in strange woods. And by the end, the cyclical nature of the track stops, the unexpected journey is almost over as warm chords play abrasively: the sight of the bright sun again as you stumble into familiar territory, leaving the bristling trees and the forest spirits to their business.




πŸ“ 
LEESH Internet Presence ☟
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🐣 INNING — EXPENSIVE FLIGHTS

The name of the game here is hazy. It's also cloudy, misty, nebulous—it's all of those things. That insubstantial foggy-headed feeling, sun glinting in your eyes, all created by gorgeous washes of sound that swish and sway with lo-fi abrasions like some sort of dust storm just so that they graze your mind ever so slightly, so that all that loveliness can pour in, you know. It's called 'Expensive Flights' and it toes the line somewhere in the heavenly kingdom between chillwave and dream pop, a delicious combo of live drums and bass and guitar and synth in a soothing symphony of sound created by the Charlottesville-based Inning.

Like dream pop, it feels alive yet somewhere else, voices soaring in the sky, and the drums thump and rattle with a doofing pulse and scritch-scratch metallics – yet in a pattern that summons something more electronic-based, a slow house sorta pace; but though a 'real' instrument, the bass guitar coarse and grinding in low-slung indie-band fashion, it is founded on this sub-bass frequency that has that quality of being able to erase everything going on around you. And at a heavenly crescendo the guitar arpeggiates like glitter, like light, soft synth chords ever-present, everything slots into place as the vocals refrain enigmatic: "Are the things that I like me for the reasons I like you, or are things that I like you for the reasons I like me?" Self-doubt broiling beneath a calm exterior; a vocal that with its reverb and light decay feels faraway, like a vague worry.

This is a late afternoon sound, a montage of the day's move into night, with that beatless and wordless outro, cool and blissful, hitting just as the sun fades and dusk sets in, inky and purple, a watercolour in sound of the feeling that comes at the end of a good day with its effusion of doubt and its memories, when the passing of time is most visible and poignant in a dramatic colour-changing sky. And besides, Inning sang it at the start of the track:""Yeah I like you, but right now things aren't right." A breeze picks up, and your summer clothes feel suddenly inadequate.


  • πŸ”” 'Expensive Flights' is taken from Inning's recently released D.C. Party Machine EP, a 5-track exposition of thick body-wobbling low-end frequencies and hazy-headed washes of sound in patterns that evoke vague emotions amidst of chillment. You can listen to/download it on Bandcamp if that sounds like your thing.


πŸ“ 
Inning Internet Presence ☟
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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

🐣 EUGENE CAM — GRAIN

It's musicmaker extraordinaire Eugene Cam with gis uncompromising, unapologetic fusion of beats and videogame aesthetics. This time around we're at the starting gate, stumbling in a pre-World 1-1 soundscape, a tottering, unstable feel thanks mainly to the producer's ability to put minutely arrhythmic patterns together in an easy-to-catch swaying flow. The kicks thud-thump richly deep, sub-bass bouncing warmly beneath it all, snares crack and hi-hats and other zippy janglings tap-crackle circuitboardly. The beat scuttles along, skittering and pounding, weighted but giving this impression, between each percussive pop, of weightlessness and wall-jumps.

Stars of the show are those synth chords: partially lost to the void and colourful yet abrasive, they provide the perfect scratchy high-end antidote to the lower frequencies in 'Grain'—as does the marimba: gleaming clonking sounds that play mystic melodies, the untitled mystery of what may or may not lie ahead. These arrive whilst the track is calm, there are even people talking in the background; and as the difficulty curve begins to show itself, as the challenge presents itself, the beat grows intense, overdriven, synth wheels over sirenlike.

And the brash boom of the track dies down to its previous intensity, night noises help portray the passing of time, or rather these insectoid whirrings signify just one of a few different areas to a 'hub world' (which is what this track is tagged as). You realise that there is no immediate danger, no actual peril going on here: it's setting the scene for something larger, each differing level of intensity in sound, beat alteration, addition or subtraction of an element, each one could be the basis for a whole tangential level theme. And in that way, 'Grain' sparks imagination, encourages you to fill in the blanks that it itself has created.


  • πŸ”” Like this? Well then you literally must check out Eugene Cam's BOOLIN EP from earlier this year. Released on SoundCloud-label Mekaplex it's a pure crossover of trappy beats and videogames with a scrappy spirit and a world-building aesthetic at heart. You gotta check it out. We particularly liked 'The Gate'.
  • πŸ”” Oh and in case you didn't know: Eugene Cam made this LIVE on Twitch. V impressive!


πŸ“ 
Eugene Cam Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

🐣 KERO KERO BONITO — TIME TODAY

Taking off into a world of ceaseless leisure, whimsical hope, the hefty air of summer and free time finding its way into our hearts, this is the wonderful 'Time Today' by the trio that is Kero Kero Bonito. Usually and perhaps more well known for their bilingual Anglo-Japanese playground-rhyme-raps and polished analogue collages of electronic sound, 'Time Today' is a bouncy bopper of a track, with all the airiness, kinetic journeymaking rhythm, and tomorrow-never-comes sweet stoicism that'd make for a good ending theme for a slice of life (or other genre of) anime. The outward appearing of the track says as much, but so do the lyrics, cradling ambition in simple lines like opener, "I got so much time today / I got hopes and dreams and plans all yet to be made" and "But I don't / Even know / Where I should be trying to go / So I guess I'll follow my nose." All honest, all relatable.

It bears a resemblance to Shibuya-kei, the Japanese genre defined by its mix of styles, and yep it's all here: the lounge atmosphere, the electronic keyboard sounds, the jazz chord progressions, the busy upbeat tempo. Those gently unexpected progressions – founded on lovely warm bass, which really complement the cosy, comfy texture of the organ-ish chords – make it colourful and full of feeling, whilst typically KKB musical asides like chiming little melodies, sun-glinting sparkles, whoopy instrumental warbles, and drum machine fills decorate it with engaging nuance and keep things fun.

It is also brief—not too brief, but the sort of brief that mirrors how the song feels and what it says: that time, especially when everything feels right, seems to stretch on and on ahead of you – that "I got so much time today" refrain right? – but before you know it you're thinking, where's it all gone? With its lyrical references to day and night, dawn and sunset, you can see that it's a hopeful start-of-the-day song for the end of the day, a late afternoon reflection for tomorrow's bright morning.


  • πŸ”” This lovely song is taken from the upcoming NEW Kero Kero Bonito album Time 'n' Place, which is coming soon. That's all we know.
  • πŸ”” KKB also took part in YES/NO's Lazy Interview series all the way back in 2014. Have a lil' read if you feel like it~


πŸ“ 
Kero Kero Bonito Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 3 May 2018

🐣 CHRONO TRIGGER OST — SECRET OF THE FOREST (LEON EDIT)

The slow and breezy original 'Secret of the Forest' is a track taken from SNES game Chrono Trigger, playing in Guardia Forest; it conjures the freshness of nature and its greenery, the dappled light and leaf shadows faintly swaying on the ground mirrored in the glistening arpeggio that chimes throughout, spreading at the same time with its ambivalent pattern of notes a veil of mystery; the piano midway is steady with jazz flavour, reflecting a sort of laid-back tranquillity that goes with chilled nature; there's wheeling high-pitched melody with lingering glissando that feels like birds swooping and singing. It's almost spiritual.

But there's this deep fragmented bass and a semblance of percussion that gives it this poised edge, like something's about to kick in—the dense forest as not only chilled hideaway for humans, but a place of vague looming danger, too. And that's where Leon comes in. Increasing the tempo of the track, this musicmaker introduces a robust boom-bap flavoured beat to the gleaming soundscape, picking out the distinct but sparse groove of the bassline and carving into something full-bodied with thudding kicks and abrasive snares; turntablist edits pockmark the new jogging-paced 'Secret of the Forest' for extra texture, the swing-beat breeziness matching the irresolute magic of the glittering florafauna conjured in the instrumental.


  • πŸ”” Little thing: the description for Leon's edit simply reads: items: strength capsule (2), shelter — Nice inventory~
  • πŸ”” The creator of the Chrono Trigger soundtrack, Yasunori Mitsuda, got the job after he told then-Square vice president Hironobu Sakaguchi that he would quit if he couldn't compose (he had worked on sound design for previous titles such as Final Fantasy V and Secret of Mana). Sakaguchi agreed, and Mitsuda ended up composing all 54 tracks for the Chrono Trigger OST, working so hard on it that he gave himself stomach ulcers.
  • πŸ”” For a masterpiece from Leon you should check out his album bird world, made especially for a game that had been imagined but never made; and it makes you think of that uncreated game and how it would be to play it. Listen to that splendidly fun soundtrack over on Leon's SoundCloud.


πŸ“ 
Leon Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 2 May 2018

🐣 PETTICOAT — POMPOUS

You know in Super Smash Bros. how Kirby's Down Special Move turns him into some heavy object, like a spiked ball, 100-ton weight, a stone, a Thwomp, or a block of trash? Well this track is sort of like that. (If we assume that Kirby in his regular form is soft, then it works). 'Pompous' by the LA-based newcomer Petticoat is squishy, taffy-esque, pastel-coloured and popping with pizzazz, but then there is this constant, stony pugilism in the beat and the rolling modulated synth blasts that gives it a hard but sugary coating.

Kicks thump with a balance between gloopy and thudding, cementing the rhythm of the track and sending it up like karst landforms for a dramatic soundscape that juts out and jostles with jungle greenery; dreamy gleaming chimes chase each other in spears of glistening metallic dust—another similarity to the sparkly world of Kirby. And now piano chords clonk and clank polyrhythmic in the gorgeous goo of 'Pompous', pitched vocals squall heavenly in triumph at the terraforming foundation of it all. Durable, colourful, serious, soft, fantastical: get lost for a moment in the lovely world that Petticoat's created with his music.


  • πŸ”” This is literally Petticoat's first original track so keep your ears peeled to his SoundCloud and follow him and stuff if you want to hear more.


πŸ“ 
Petticoat Internet Presence ☟
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Tuesday, 1 May 2018

🐣 CURXES — THE STARS, LIKE DUST

This is the tightrope walk between nostalgia and a sort of despairing doom, the warmth of uncovering objects entangled with happy feelings yet in the miasmic embrace of the baleful knowledge that it is but a fleeting glimpse into the past; this is 'The Stars, Like Dust' by UK musicmaker Curxes, where the synths skew and fizz with something memorial, the beat – dusty, sharp, abrasive – ticks and stutters with mechanical stamina, where the bass bulges in ominous waves.

Formerly a trio, the now solo Curxes (aka real human Roberta Fidora) herself spoke to us via email to explain the track, which she admitted she wanted to sound "somewhere between ocean and space organ waves." And there is that sense of organic vs. synthetic broiling in the almost living-and-breathing irregularity with how the synths dip and peak minutely but remain zingy and metallic.

The lyrics are desperately alive, calling from this pocket of bright, submerged flavours, this whirling and swirling of sound—the words feel like they've arrived via signals that are lightyears away, rebounding and crackly, crooning with nonchalant distress about "an age of infinite dread."

"The lyrics were written at a period when I felt that the entire country was going through a transitional phase and not for the better, fuelled by misplaced nostalgia," explains Fidora. "I think many of us have our own nostalgia to deal with, but generally it isn't anything that has the ability to distort or disrupt people's lives." And so 'The Stars, Like Dust' is a cocktail of that childhood yearning for the stars and that deathly, adult fear of what we might find there; the reluctant progression of vast swathes of humanity.


  • πŸ”” Curxes tells us a bit more about the creation of the eccentrically British visuals for 'The Stars, Like Dust' - complete with triangle sandwiches, a chihuahua, and reclusive behaviour.

    "I worked with portrait photographer and 50s sci-fi enthusiast Rob Luckins to make a video based on our collective love of space travel, which seems to be undergoing a resurgence, maybe because it gives people the hope that they can escape the things to which they don't belong."

  • πŸ”” This song is taken from the 2017 Curxes album Gilded Cage.

  • πŸ”” You may stream and purchase 'The Stars, Like Dust' via Bandcamp.


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Curxes Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 26 April 2018

🐣 MILAN RING — 2063

The slowest sway ever swings in the liquid bliss created in the effortless backdrop that ripples in this song’s glorious electrified crystalline flavours, piano chords that fuzz and envelop you warmly in their all-encompassing sound, and resounding chilled guitars lightly tread a line between staccato soul and flighty resolute arpeggios. This is ‘2063’ by Australian producer and singer Milan Ring, a song that is so futuristic nouveau soul that it’s based 45 years from now, referenced in the lyrics too, which speak of 5G (already a thing) and the iPhone 17.

The musicmaker herself calls the track “essentially a love song about focusing on the important things and not getting caught up in the negative chatter"—perhaps reflected in the resounding laissez-faire swirl of the instrumental. "But it also plays upon the telepathic connection I believe we can have with our loved ones," Milan Ring continues. "Like when you think of someone right before they call.”

And the lyrics that spin this story of farflung temporal love get delivered in aching soulful lines of vocal, merging with the sultry atmosphere of the trarck, or else they’re sent into the air of this world in rapid syllable clusters, laid-back and intoxicated-feeling and popping out thanks to the multiple layers here, and to the poised minimalism here, the bump of the beat dancing with negative space; it’s this dual aroma softly soulful vs. snappy and angular, that gives ‘2063’ its delicious stylistic blend that draws you into its otherworld of foresight and connected minds.


  • πŸ”” '2063' by Milan Ring can be streamed and purchased variously from the options at the other end of this hyperlink.


πŸ“ 
Milan Ring Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

🐣 PORTALS — WAKELAST

This song was pitched very briefly with the captivating subtitle ‘Elvis trying to use Windows 98.’ Clickbait, you may think. But upon listening, upon hear the guttural abrasive vocals of PORTALS curling round each pointed word like a cyberpunk savant fortune-teller and the gabbering liquid gooey instrumental, this description seems quite spot-on - at least superficially.

“Looking back,” Alejandro CaΓ±ellas, the human behind PORTALS, kindly explains, “it seems the track focuses on the law of correspondence. Every line is a reference to either looking at myself from within myself or from without.”

Accordingly the lyrics of ‘WAKELAST’ - taken from a recent double-single Voult//Wakelast (tagged ‘win98core’ on SoundCloud) - are cryptic and self-examining. The refraining nature of it gives a mantra quality to how it is delivered, making it feel like a frenzied, searching howl into the vaulting void: “eyes look into the next life / myself always outside / eyes look into the next life / I stand behind my eyes.” Not to mention how it is viscerally scrawled into the air by the vicious vocals, falling thunderboltish on the bed of garbled plasma noise - a sample taken from 'jacket funk' by pilotredsun track. ‘WAKELAST’ is like a brutal reflection, self-reflexive poetry in the form of a fist to one’s own face—aggressive existentialism.

“It's like a hall of mirrors,” CaΓ±ellas tells us. “I think people should spend more time in mirror halls cause no matter where they look they're forced to stare at themselves and at their own vampire elementals and smoke demons.”


  • πŸ”” Listen to the Voult//Wakelast double single over on PORTALS' SoundCloud.
  • πŸ”” There is also a suitably abrasive and glitched-out music video for the other track 'VOULT' to illustrate the garbled existentialist aggression of the track. This can be viewed on YouTube.


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🐣 KAMAL — FEEL IT

Minimalism lies at the ambivalent heart of this dancefloor-flavoured number, a track so heavy in directional atmosphere that even in its minimalism there is serious gravity. The vocal samples in this track don’t have to be full-frontal, catchy things that other dance tracks may rely upon. Here they hold so much charged energy that each echoing vocal is like a crack of electricity on the robust, uncompromising beat.

“The creation of this track started with a drum loop,” the track’s creator, the Chicago-based Kamal, told us. “I wanted something that reminded me of when I was at the Chicago dance parties back in the 90's. This track was created with that party feel in mind.”

And as such ‘Feel It’ bumps away, syncopated plasma synth soft and cyclical conducting proceedings with wanton retro-futurism, the splashy strobes and laser shows in a the dark of a club, diagonal shots of dancers mid-move, drinks and sweat, sleek lines. That’s what this song is: an entire groovesome universe, something you might dance to on a space colony one day, like a throwback gem that turns everything wild.


  • πŸ”” This track appears on Kamal's The Prerequisite EP, which you can listen to on SoundCloud.


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🐣 ALBERTA BALSAM — FEELS / I CAN'T SAVE YOU

It’s the enchantment of synthetic regularity and modern-day decay, and what that decay leaves roiling and gushing behind in its wake - absence, void - that fills the soundscapes of Rotterdam’s very own Alberta Balsam. Both ‘Feels’ and ‘I Can’t Save You’ are pristine currents curdled by a sense of warped disintegration, the synth burbling like overused magnetic tape, the tinge of distortion like fabric frayed at the edge and sun-bleached; ‘I Can’t Save You’ feels cold, a light phaser hypnotic and thin on its fuzzing columns of clouded sound, but a constructivist arpeggio (late-20th century documentary footage of money being printed; cameras panning up half-built skyscrapers) keeps spirits up, along with a soulful sirensong of a vocal oscillating in and out of earshot.

In both tracks too, the beat is this set of building blocks - in ‘I Can’t Save You’ patterns of polyrhythms layered on each other mix themselves into a cocktail of organic clacks and synthetic ticks, a snappy clatter of lightly cudgeling percussion almost nudging the track into the realm of broken beat. The decidedly darker ‘Feels’ uses percussive sound to punctuate the track with glistening mystery, golden exotic clockwork on electrified fields of thick synth with liquid ghostly vocals running through, and crunching columns of synth and a stuttering sling of skittering beats.

These two morsels illustrate a deeply embedded duality that is always recognisable - that idea of dark and light, night and day. Though icy, robotic and eaten-at, ‘I Can’t Save You’ is Alberta Balsam’s bright-side, no matter how lonely the minimalism makes it seem; ‘Feels’ is its antithesis. And yet how its creator is recognisable in both, like sonic siblings they complement and oppose each other, each a distorted reflection of the other.


  • πŸ”” You can stream and download 'Feels / I Can't Save You' from Bandcamp, if that is something you wish to do. This double single arrives after Alberta Balsam's debut track which dropped back in January, 'Ngelem'.
  • πŸ”” ‘I Can’t Save You’ comes with a music video too. Shot in Rotterdam, it “follows a lost spaceman on a journey through a desolated city filled with alienating architecture,” Alberta Balsam herself tells us. Directed by Rick van de Dood, and with Boris Chomette starring as the Spaceman, it illustrates the angularity and singular feeling of detachment with which the track is imbued. You may watch the visual treatment below at your convenience.

  • πŸ”” Unsure whether the moniker Alberta Balsam is based on the title of the Aphex Twin song, or whether it’s based on Alberto Balsam, the line of shampoos and other potions which is the song’s namesake. Maybe we’ll never know. On the other hand, her human name is Aniek de Rooij.


πŸ“ 
Alberta Balsam Internet Presence ☟
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🐣 MAX ANXD — WAITING

The textures here are gorgeous, soft snow flurries and twinkling icicles, the crackling fruit juice appeal of Fox’s Glacier Mints in hologram format, the pixelated glassy clink of Chaos Emeralds, the sparkling metallic impact of the gleaming Big Key falling from the sky when you defeat Bowser in Super Mario 64; the sound of treasured trinkets now airborne and floating in a speckled cloud of crystalline decay; memories held dear now swirling in the contemporary realities of life.

These are the synth sounds that take flight and conjure exotic nothingness in ‘Waiting’ by Cluj-Napoca-based Romanian musicmaker Max ANXD. Ascending melodies paint intrigue whilst its irregular patterns and seeming randomness summon up an elsewhere yet to be explored, unfolding in the mists before our eyes.

It moves in three parts: firstly the glistening synth of the beginning soon is joined by swathes of thick sound like hurricanes in slow motion or the slow unfolding of an alien landscape as your mind hovers above it; secondly there is a bold crunch of distortion which heralds this new minimalist urgency as the synth, equal parts soft and sharp, stutters in rapid-fire bursts; thirdly, we emerge into a cradle of sound where the hush of vox synth becomes the overriding voice, a finale of soothing synth chilliness, the atmosphere calming itself in choir, re-balancing after the anxious midsection. It is a sonic illustration of the impatience as much as the resolve of an active imagination, the expanse of externality as much as the depths of internality.




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Max ANXD Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

🐣 ANOMALIE — CANAL

From literally the first few seconds of 'Canal' we're dropped into an ultrachill atmosphere, one that begins smooth and viscous, hefty on the sub-bass and the lounge-flavoured piano that meanders throughout—and which turns cinematic, with flashes of freewheeling strings that zing on beds of wide warm synth; this morphs into a tract of hard-boiled electronica, with wibbly synths and brash columns of synth-bass buzzing beneath. Canadian musicmaker Anomalie sets us floating down this chilled flow, actual water noises and waves washing on sand interspersed throughout.

And besides the obvious chill of this track there's the dynamism of it all – very much helped by the rattle and thump of the prodigious drums ; the way it sways between different atmospheres and different textures, being neon bubbling contemporary synth jam one moment before reverting to peals of kinetic piano the next: the corollary being this contemporary nocturne, a highly polished, ornately sculptured piece of noir that remains light instead of weighed down by the world. The six seconds between 2:24 and 2:30, with the piano's motif at the end before those synth chords again, sums up the playful virtuoso and expansive subdued nature of 'Canal', sitting somewhere at the juncture between gorgeous inactivity and exciting hyperactivity.


  • πŸ”” This wonderful slice of classy piano is taken from Anomalie's upcoming second EP, MΓ©tropole Part II (out 13th April), the follow-up to last year's MΓ©tropole EP, which featured tracks like the well balanced jazz of 'New Space' and the elastic 'No Way'.
  • πŸ”” You can download and stream 'Canal' variously here.
  • πŸ”” The artwork was created by fellow Montreal resident Ali Hassanein.


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Anomalie Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

🐣 NAKURY — NECESARIO (BARZO REMIX)

Last time we heard for this Costa Rican MC it was from her incredibly breezy and bustling 'Aunque Quieras' (that's "whatever you want" in English), but this time around Nakury has offered up something quite different. Although the original 'Necesario' is a bass heavy brute of a track, ticking along with a nearly dubstep rhythm with minimal decoration save for the trilling rapid-fire flow of Nakury herself. However, this flip by fellow Costa Rican musicmaker Barzo adds a thick wall of metal guitars for an entirely different take on the track.

At first this reminded me of 'Dog', a crunchy SebastiAn song from Ed Rec Vol. III - the guitars are richly distorted, and the beat below thuds hard, with the snares grippingly abrasive and the hefty robust kicks entangled with just a touch of sidechain. Barzo's version sees the original vocal now skipping over the distorted riffs, the hook now anthemic with three pulsating chords giving the track a new smouldering rock atmosphere. A mix of not only hard beats and hard guitars, but also of Latin rap – ostensibly disparate styles (nu-metal, anyone?) – this is a sultry, genre-bridging track.




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Nakury Internet Presence ☟
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Barzo Internet Presence ☟
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🐣 JAPOR — OH HEART OF GOLD

This is an enigma of a track, a home recording with choppy ambient noise both warming this morsel of music and making it feel exposed, a simultaneous lonely feeling sinking behind the superficial fuzzy texture of it. With that in mind, 'Oh Heart Of Gold' by the equally enigmatic Japor seeps into your consciousness not like most lo-fi tracks with their hearts set on triggering your nostalgia, but more anti-nostalgia: a true representation of lo-fi. Live, very raw, and unedited.

It pulls no punches in this regard. Listening to 'Oh Heart Of Gold' is like listening to a slice of reality - a lingering twinkle of guitar plays throughout, unconcerned for tempo or a steady rhythm, becoming more agitated as the song continues until the rattling keyboard drum preset kicks in, when the guitar morphs into a sparse offhand groove, something that morphs into something more legible by around the 5-minute mark. Throughout there is a percussive thump - the unheeded sound of a hand or foot setting off the drumbeat.

Unimpeded by pretence, Japor has created their own unconventional type of music, and with its looping feel and the stream-of-consciousness guitar - sort of 'automatic' playing: a surrealist approach - it feels hypnotic as much as incidental.


  • πŸ”” Classification seems to play a big part in the music of Japor. For example, description for this track on YouTube is:

    "This is my instrumental live single "Oh Heart Of Gold (Guitar Drum Instrumental)". It has an early eighties modernised rock guitar melody. (It is best listened on headphones)."

    Similarly, the description for another track reads as follows:

    "This is my live single "It Is A Dark Time". It has a hard rock guitar based tone. It has a hard lyrics addition. It is a blended contrast. (It is best listened on headphones)."

    His Twitter, in likewise fashion, seems to follow a pattern of four or five tweets that vary in subject matter but are structurally identical. It's a mystery.



πŸ“ 
Japor Internet Presence ☟
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🐣 TSUKI — LAPSE

As if it wasn't enough to treat us to such a stunning display of textured beat - as if those gorgeous handclaps, delicious organic flesh-and-boiled-sweets sort of texture to it, the streaming liquid sounds on loop gently swaying from left to right, the treble of it rising and falling like that warm state on the cusp of sleep and waking life, the shuffling grit of the let's-dance shakers, the delicate clockwork toy hi-hats, the tambourine's sparkling shiver; as if all that weren't enough, TSUKI had to go and make 'Lapse' even more beautiful, a vessel of delicate decay. (In fact, there is a feel to it that's reminiscent of the percussion in the Gerudo Valley theme from Zelda: Ocarina of Time).

The synths in this track, soft like silky smoke, like tea diffusing in boiling water, croon out a gentle repeating melody, this worn-down moderately decayed texture combining with the unexpected high notes in the pattern to give it a sense of tired-eyed drama. A feeling of watching the world from a window. Slow chords join in, warm and fuzzy, as a new lead melody wiggles in, crooning its spectral heartache, a friendly ghost seeped through your door leaning on your wall sighing beyond belief trembling from the cold; there's love in the warbling melody here, lost love, found love, a feeling of seeing someone passed just once more. But fleeting: in the ceaseless handclaps of the beat there is a sense of motion, or continuation—time rolls on in spite of what your heart has lost.


  • πŸ”” This lovely morsel of music appears on this year's WINTER WINDS vol. 5, an annual compilation by collective SVNSET WAVES meant for the chilly weather of winter. It can be purchased and streamed over at their Bandcamp.


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🐣 GHASPER — LUVN U

Future bass is the sort of genre that tends to produce many copies; similar beat sounds are used by different artists, the same fizzy synths flutter in the drops, accompanied by the same pitch-shifted vox. It becomes a paint-by-numbers: the same overall outline, which might be pleasant and interesting, but is ultimately reused in varying colours. This track, 'Luvn U' by US musicmaker Ghaspr however, is something different. Though structurally it follows the build-and-drop foundation, its heart feels in a different place, its noises scream with intrigue, even in the drop which, whilst somewhat typical, uses it to present a gorgeous and delicate antithesis to the more glowering elements of the track.

Yes: the first thing to note here is by and large future bass is pastel-toned, bright, summery, positive. Ghaspr instead conjures a brooding, nocturnal atmosphere, one that's feels quite garage-flavoured - mainly in the rainy-night vocal sample, the shuffling two-step rhythm of the beat, the rumbling modulated bass bulging beneath. It's somewhat sinister, the beat rattling with bristling textures, little insectoid noises wheeling in the background, a spooky music box plink, too. So the drop, with its sudden plasma beam of synth and sense of space, feels like coming up for air; the javelins of sunlight piercing through tracts of overcast sky.




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Ghasper Internet Presence ☟
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