Thursday, 18 April 2019

🐣 FELDERMELDER — SHANGHAI (SHAO REMIX) [初演 • PREMIERE]

⌾ LISTEN TO FELDERMELDER, SHANGHAI (SHAO REMIX) ⌾

By the trundling false-starts, erratic thuds and empty scrawls of shining synth and vocal sample etchings, it certainly does seem that in 'Shanghai' Swiss producer Feldermelder achieved the goal of reflecting a late night walk through a deserted area of the Chinese megacity. Based on a visual recording of that experience ("an attempt to capture nightly nothingness," wrote Feldermelder), 'Shanghai' glitches, squawks and buzzes throughout the track, a noisy, gleaming morsel with a mood ripe for remixing.

On that remix is long-time friend, Beijing-based producer and sound designer Shao. "It was last summer, on a rainy morning, I was drinking on the rooftop beside my studio," Shao remembers. "I got the message from Manuel [Oberholz, aka Feldermelder], asking me to remix a track that he did in China."

⌾ THE ORIGINAL 'SHANGHAI' BY FELDERMELDER ⌾

Creating the remix was as simple as stripping the original track bare and then processing them with "some effects pedals, some delays" whilst adding a drum beat that matched the atmosphere.

"I just followed the feeling and the atmosphere and made a relaxing track," Shao, formerly known as Dead J, explains simply. Though focused recently on techno-flavoured production (see Shao's Doppler Shift Pt. 1), he decided to change things up for this remix.

The result is unrelaxing. A doomful doppelganger of the original, a doped dirge of surging drama like an undersea cave, a mirror to the mire of irony of lonely deserted streets in a huge city, crushing isolation told in drawn out growls of distortion and warped glitter.

And the beat, a sparse march of organic thuds, gives it a feeling of techno deconstructed, four-to-the-floor-minus-two, simultaneously creating – along with the teasing rise and fall of the synth waves – a sense of something about to teeter over the edge.


  • 🔔 This Shao remix of 'Shanghai' arrives ahead of Feldermelder's The Sound Of Remixes, out tomorrow 19th April on Zurich label -OUS. This release sees three tracks from the Swiss artist's 2018 The Sound Of EP. You can pre-order the remix EP here.

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Thursday, 11 April 2019

🐣 KAZU — SALTY

⌾ LISTEN TO KAZU, SALTY ⌾


With its delicious blooping bumps of bass drum and pastoral soft sounds rising in thumb-daubed pastel arpeggios, 'Salty' is a mist of sea air, a coastal breeze, an idyll of freshness swirling around gnarled trees; it is also urgent, a bubbling of thoughts, gradually turning into something that feels almost panicked.

"hurry up" KAZU sings towards the end, whilst sounds become like short breaths, spots of light in your vision, being unsure where to look anymore. Cells vibrating like molecules.

That KAZU is Kazu Makino, co-founder of rock Blonde Redhead, and 'Salty' - so named for its cryptic and statemently loveable hook, "i bet you're salty" - is the first track to be taken from her upcoming debut solo album, Adult Baby.

With credits on the single a starter-pack rollerdex of names ranging from Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco to composing legend Ryuichi Sakamoto, the instrumental for 'Salty' is unquestionable. Plumes of lightness, trinkets of percussion, analogue loops and dives that breathe extra vitality into the track. Though KAZU, with her expressionist lyrics and distinctive, rounded tones, emotes enough for multiple lifetimes throughout.


  • 🔔 'Salty' is taken from the upcoming debut from KAZU, Adult Baby, which is set for release on Kazu Makino's brand new imprint of the same name later this year. It will be distributed by !K7, by the way.
  • 🔔 The video for 'Salty', a concept of Makino herself, was directed, filmed and edited by Paride Ambrogi and Jonas Ranner in Elba, Italy.


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🐣 POLES — MOTION FT. SOFT JAW

⌾ LISTEN TO POLES, MOTION FEAT JAW ⌾

The elastic instruments of 'Motion' is something that gives it the dynamic energy that absorbs you and then bounces you away, the rubber sway of the stumbling-down-a-corridor synths, an intoxicated sound that feels like a twirling mind. Not just the flapping synth, but the zooming acceleration and then dead stops of the bass give it this kineticism. It's a minimalist, leftfield approach to R&B, as producer Poles explains over email.

"I knew I wanted my music to continue in that direction as opposed to the more poppy, future bass music I was writing," he writes. "'Motion' draws from my history in hip-hop, but incorporates my love of odd, bass-hitting electronic music. The fusion gave us something really unique."

Not just the plasma synths, nor the taffy heft of the bass, or the punchball training thuds of bass drum that pummel throughout, but the twisted musicbox clinks, the phantomatic chords that squeak across the glossy surface of 'Motion' like a disjointed dancer, add to that definitively unconventional approach to musicmaking.

A slice of normality comes at the end, the piano, damaged and dusty, like the sun rising after club sojourns, the haze of alcohol exorcising itself from the spirit; Poles' hazy full stop to vocalist Soft Jaw's pitch shifted croons that gave this track its sultry, nocturnal character.


  • 🔔 Download and stream the Poles and Soft Jaw collaboration 'Motion' via your fav platform.


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Friday, 5 April 2019

🛰 GUEST MIX 030 :: TSUKI

If you're in the northern hemisphere, and you're not too close to the equator, spring is probably happening. To celebrate the once more springness of the world, we've enlisted the musicmaking entity that is TSUKI to create our 30th guest mix. Specifically, it's the producer half, Levi Chappell, who has composed this mix.

"My interest in music probably began when I started playing piano at around 9 or 10 years old, after discovering an old Casio keyboard out in the garage," Chappell tells me via email. He then met Chanlar Rose (the other half of TSUKI) in school. "We played music together for a while before ultimately deciding to form TSUKI."

Referencing Shlohmo and Baths music and the way they used "field recordings, distorted samples, or strained falsettos recorded in bathrooms," Chappell admits a considerable impact on the writing and recording process for the duo.

Boasting a Baths track as its finale, this half-an-hour journey of sounds features all the delicacy you'd expect of spring. It conjures time lapses of blossom opening and shoots erupting through the surface of dirt not long rid of frost, with samples of birds singing, water flowing, spring rains and children playing all featuring heavily throughout.

"The mix is an amalgamation of songs that have been near and dear to me over the past few years," Chappell tells us about the mix. "I tried to include the tracks that I've found myself returning repeatedly, stuff that I've found innovative or inspiring.

"I'm hoping it helps these songs find some fresh ears so others can enjoy them as much as I have."

☆TRACKLIST☆
00:00 Falls – Short Field 2
02:43 Ikotu – Swirl
07:29 Fla.mingo – How to Deal With Homesickness
09.26 Tekvision – Lament
11:46 Ojmacoj x Brother Mynor – Drew Barrymore Watches Saturday Morning Cartoons
14:06 Weird Inside – ba2 (unreleased)
15:26 OUSKA – Gonzo
18:11 ?????
21:24 Lumes – Take Me Back
22:49 B.Visible – Disney (Persian Empire Remix) [Demo Version]
24:07 Nongoma – Desire (Persian Empire Remix)
27:07 Baths – Indoorsy



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Tuesday, 2 April 2019

🐣 CLAWS AI — EURISKO

⌾ LISTEN TO CLAWS AI, EURISKO

Fuzzy, outright violent, decayed and broken in instrumental terms, 'Eurisko' by CLAWS AI is a self-destruction of sound. In a good way. The drums tumble angular and warped in the background as the chorus spins a howling refrain, "I know you're sleeping around..."

But rather than this uncontrollable reaction to infidelity, the true intent behind 'Eurisko' matches the scorching jagged nightmare of its distorted storm of guitars, the harshness and noise of it all, the full-bodied thump of bass guitar.

"Eurisko draws upon this lingering, maybe personal feeling of instability and chaos in the air," the musicmaker explains to us via email. "Both in my own life and in the world."

Mentioning war explicitly in his response, CLAWS AI helps make sense of the "bullets flying around" line in the chorus. This concept also very much gives grounding to the wild gravel and grit of the track — its noise in a word. Though 'Eurisko' isn't all noise. Liquid chorus FX add grunge warp to the pre-chorus, whilst the whole coda of the track feels like a psychedelic sway into death: a wounded soldier lamenting their involvement.

It's a reflection that, "maybe through catharsis" he tells me, "each of us can win the spiritual war within ourselves and avoid an actual war." An anti-war anthem told with the personal tint of expressionist lyrics and post-punk trauma.


  • 🔔 Stream the song and examine the lyrics of 'Eurisko' by CLAWS AI over on SoundCloud.

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🐣 TOLEDO — BATH

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For a song that has a glistening, sunny feel to it, all the deliciously recorded acoustic guitar organic string feeling – so close it's in your ear, played right next to you – the drums gently rapping out a woodshed craft workshop rhythm in trebling splendour and woody leaves-after-rain clarity; for all its harmony, there is disharmony in TOLEDO's 'Bath'. It's much more than typical lo-fi indie pop — for one thing, it's not lo-fi.

The lyrics, sung warm and layered, joyous, tell a different story. The first line raises the curtain: "So / lose my mind and lose my hold / nowhere to run to." There's the refraining imagery of "red in my eyes." And then there is the effectiveness of contrast between the chorus' last line and the second verse's first:

... Such fun to be young and alive

I / saw the doctor when I was nine
For all the anger

The words in speak of losing control, instability – and not just a moment of it, but a history, a tendency – whilst the music itself, with its rose-tinted gleaming guitar, exists as a simultaneous remedy, the feel of a diary entry when something is out of your system maybe: a way to exorcise emotion painting it with this comforting, nostalgic sound. Or else it is the haze of help and healthy thinking in light of looking back on darker days.

And ushering us into and out of the Brooklyn duo's reminiscence is a drum machine; rather than organic, real drums we have this cutesy, childlike detachment, the tumbling of miniature building blocks into painful recollections.


  • 🔔 You may purchase 'Bath' by TOLEDO's for as little as $1 on Bandcamp. You can also stream it there as many times as you like.


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🐣 QUARTETTO MINIMO — ATLANTICO

⌾ LISTEN TO QUARTETTO MINIMO, ATLANTICO⌾
RPG meets jazz in 'Atlantico', a sandswept soundscape from Madrid-founded, Paris-based band Quartetto Minimo. With a guitar melody – composed one summer in southern France – that summons a kind of intrepid videogame castle exploration and sparkling harp that harks back to faraway dark-wood-panelled rooms fable baroque (let's talk E.M.M.A's 'Mindmaze') a time and place, nowhere concrete, gets a bold, impressionistic illustration.

"It's funny that you said it sounds like baroque," guitar player Nicolas Arzimanoglou Mas tells us over email, "because for the past 2 years the bass player and I have actually been playing baroque music, with different instruments and bands of course."

Combine it with organic rough textured bass that feels noir and fantasy, and drums that give it pace and intrigue, and there is excitement, the urgency of jazz merging this into the battle music, penultimate level themes; in terms of real videogame comparisons, it sounds much like the 'Gerudo Valley' theme from Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

The medieval-summoning chamber aesthetics with kinetic energy of improvisation and quick tempo gives it that VGM dynamism. A new jazz release that crosses boundaries and conjures a world away from the traditional; it's chamber jazz.


  • 🔔 This track is taken from the album of the same name, Atlantico by Quartetto Minimo. Feel free to stream and/or download it on Bandcamp.


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