Battle Cats: From the rise of house in the '80s to today's juke and footwork scenes, Chicago's circle keeps expanding
"It's so fucking hot in here!" is the cry heard from almost everybody in the building. That includes the DJs, the spectators recording video with their iPods, the girlfriends sitting on stray chairs and buckets, and the kids with red plastic cups full of liquor—but rarely from the individuals doing the actual moving. That is, until one of them passes out from exhaustion. It's Sunday night in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago's south side, and I'm fighting through a circle of spectators to get a good view of the action at an event called Da War Zone. Read more »
Earlier this year, both Seattle's curator of sublime ambiance, Rafael Anton Irisarri (a.k.a. The Sight Below, pictured above), and Berlin's heir to the minimal techno throne, Hendrik Weber (a.k.a. Pantha du Prince), released albums loved by those of us at XLR8R HQ. Read more »
This fresh new tune from LA beat scene icon Daedelus not only turns the Men Without Hats classic "Safety Dance" into a quasi-anagram for its title, but also seems to sample a few other bits of the '80s hit. Along with the female voice spelling out nothing in particular, producer Alfred Darlington tosses in a snippet of the original's bassline and some huge vintage-sounding claps with his own staccato synth melody and herky-jerky percussion. Catch this track on vinyl, with five others by Daedelus and four from fellow LA beatsmith Teebs, when Dublin's All City label drops its sixth installment of the ongoing LA 10" series later this month.
Next week, Barcelona pop wizard El Guincho (a.k.a. Pablo Díaz-Reixa) will be unveiling his sophomore full-length, Pop Negro, on the Young Turks label. While his 2008 debut, Alegranza!, found Díaz-Reixa liberally sampling vintage tropicalia and Latin music, this time around he's crafting his own sounds, but his penchant for pop songwriting hasn't suffered in the least. Look for an in-depth conversation with El Guincho to appear on XLR8R in the weeks ahead, but in the meantime, Pop Negro will be streaming right here for the next two weeks. Read more »
It was a long journey for producer Lamin Fofana from his West African birthplace of Guinea to Sierra Leone to his current residence in Harlem, New York—an experience which no doubt left an indelible mark on him personally, and subsequently, on his music. And yet, listening to "Dance In Yr Blood"—the first song from Matt Shadetek's XLR8R podcast and the last track on Fofana's forthcoming debut EP, What Elijah Said—is far more reminiscent of traversing the techno and bass music hotbeds of Europe than traveling across the African continent before winding up overseas in America. The slamming kick drum, the pulse of the bass tone, the wafting vocal samples, and the various warped sound effects all push a strangely subdued and late-night club vibe on "Blood," and make for a rather disconcerting finale to Fofana's debut. It all starts to make sense after reading this quote offered by the producer (and borrowed from the New York Times' 1975 obituary for Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad) to describe his music: "Yet, he would refer to the Mother Plane, a mysterious space ship with superior beings, giant black gods or something like that, that patrolled the universe, keeping an eye on the devil and ready to rescue Black Muslims from Armageddon." What Elijah Said will be released on September 21 via Dutty Artz.
Looks like The Orb's co-founder, Alex Paterson (pictured above, front and center), has been quite busy lately. A while back, the classic mixtape he made alongside Thomas Fehlmann for Coldcut's radio show back in 1991 was reintroduced to the world, and more recently, Paterson joined forces with Martin Glover (a.k.a. Youth) and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour on the forthcoming Metallic Spheres album. Read more »
This internet exclusive comes to us courtesy of Brooklyn's Brenmar and a snippet of what sounds like fellow New Yorker Beyonce. The diva's sampled voice provides the track with a repetitive—but not tiresome—hook that proclaims the song title over a buoyant house rhythm and bulbous bassline. The meat of "Back Beating" is eventually joined with an elastic lead synth and some melodic stabs, making for a tune that is quite solid in its altogether straightforwardness and not-so-flashy aesthetic. Take this one to the club with you while you wait for Brenmar's upcoming four-song EP—which includes remixes from Ikonika & Optimum and DJ Rashad—to be released in late October on Discobelle.
The latest addition to ZZK's growing stable of cumbia futurists is Argentina's Frikstailers (pronounced "freak stylers"). The duo has already put together a mixtape for its new label, and just today, released the four-song Bicho de Luz EP. Frikstailers will soon be heading to North America to kick off a quick tour of the States with label mate El G. Read more »
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