Los Angeles MC/producer Blu has been steadily bubbling up from the underground with a string of releases including collaborations with fellow LA-based producers Exile, Ta'Raach, and Mainframe. Blu's been bubbling so much, in fact, that he's currently working hard on his major label debut (that's right, Warner Brothers), so in the meantime the freshly founded New World Color imprint is set to release an EP based on Blu's standout track from his 2009 Her Favorite Colo(u)r mixtape, "Amnesia." Read more »
As part of the ongoing Frite Nite Trax single series, San Francisco-based electronic imprint Frite Nite just unleashed this collaboration between label boss/producer Salva and MC Vortex. "Pumpz" is a straight club jam to be sure, but not one without a handful of twists and pleasant surprises. What starts out as a basic, upbeat house-leaning tune quickly turns into a wobbly "post-juke," dubstep-y bit of bubbling bass tones, choppy synth stabs, and disjointed rhythmic sounds. Salva's production switches back and forth between the two club-friendly motifs while Vortex delivers snippets of verbiage about a "young female club-goer"—maintaining its deep vibes and slick swagger all the while.
One of the eerier numbers by the recently tragedy-stricken Broadcast band (pictured above), "Until Then," is covered here by ambient artists Benoit Pioulard and Rafael Anton Irisarri in remembrance of singer Trish Keenan, who died last week. The haunting song is given a whole new meaning in reflection of the recent events: lyrics like "There's a place I have never explored/Another world we have yet to conquer" feel even heavier delivered by Pioulard's low-register voice. And while the simple piano and guitar notes are struck, a thick wave of white noise and bass rumbles builds slowly from beneath the music until it overtakes the gorgeously sullen composition. Irisarri's and Pioulard's song is an ideal tribute to the memory of Keenan and to the legacy of beautiful, innovative music she left behind.
Artistically speaking, LA-based producer and Brainfeeder acolyte Tokimonsta couldn't have less in common with sultry crooner Andreya Triana—the former makes obtusely experimental hip-hop-leaning tunes and the latter seems to have a serious penchant for the second coming of jazz music. Nonetheless, the two work well together on this remix of Triana's "Far Closer" tune, which drops with on a single featuring other versions of the song on February 15 via Ninja Tune (artwork above). While Tokimonsta works out a bulbous, alien-G-funk bassline, a slick boom-boom-crunch rhythm, and some spacey atmospheres, the singer delivers syrupy line after sweet, syrupy line of classic jazz inflections. The complete odd couple quite easily became a winning pair.
The hotly tipped NYC duo Blondes has been continually impressing us with its brand of loose, analog techno since its debut EP, Touched, was released last year. Now it comes as no suprise that the group has been selected for a new 12" series on fellow NYC label RVNG. Read more »
The dark, infectious whatchamacallit-wave tunes of NYC-via-Philly band Cold Cave will soon be another album strong. On April 5, the outfit will release its second studio LP, called Cherish the Light Years, via Matador. Read more »
Under a handful of various monikers DJ/producer/label head/activist Terre Thaemlitz has released a number excellent albums, EPs, and singles, some better known and more available than others. Enter Skylax Records, a "company focused on releasing original and obscure dance classics," and now we have news of the forthcoming re-release of Thaemlitz's 2006 album recorded under the K-S.H.E. moniker, Routes Not Roots. Read more »
Cubic Zirconia is a motley assemblage of music makers, a group that dabbles in house, disco, electro, R&B, and hip-hop, but can always be relied upon to deliver plenty of sleek, slinky synths (courtesy of Nick Hook and Daud Sturdivant) and sultry funk (courtesy of stylish frontwoman and former XLR8R covergirl Tiombe Lockhart). Read more »
This vintage piece of sprawling electronic music comes from a forthcoming new version of German musician/composer/producer Harald Grosskopf's classic debut album, Synthesist. Originally released in 1980, the record is now being treated to a reissue from the RVNG label, complete with new artwork (pictured above) and remastered music—this title track is our first taste of that offering. Grosskopf's Italo-tinged song is warm with the glow of analog gear and tape, and is so melodically dense that sometimes it's hard to catch exactly how many synths are working at any given moment. Through the nearly eight-minute cosmic journey of "Synthesist," it's made readily apparent that a re-release of Synthesist wouldn't just be advantageous for the parties involved but also a much-needed reminder for music lovers who may have missed the record its first time around. Grosskopf's beautiful compositions are timeless in every sense of the word; the LP's centerpiece its most breathtaking example.
While not putting in time as the guitarist for an array of well-respected bands (Trans Am, Jonas Reinhardt, and The Fucking Champs, to name a few) Phil Manley keeps busy with his own solo work, which includes a new album that will be released in the near future via Thrill Jockey. That record is called Life Coach, and this song, its title track, closes out the LP. The seemingly home-recorded sounds all bring to mind Manley's work with his other bands—the motorik pulse of Trans Am's sex jams, the lilting atmosphere of Jonas Reinhardt's cosmic neo-Krautrock sounds, and the cyclical guitar riffs of The Fucking Champs. The tune clocks in at nearly three minutes, but seems to float by much quicker, leaving us wondering what the rest of Manley's instrumental compositions might deliver before these fleeting and final moments.
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