Henry Saiz (pictured above) is a Spanish producer on the rise. Having a long line of EPs to his name, the seasoned artist dropped his debut full-length this month, a kaleidoscope of warm electronic hybrids brought together under the mouthful of an album title Reality Is for Those Who Are Not Strong Enough to Confront Their Dreams. To help spread the word, German producer Essáy was brought in to remix album cut "Fill Me Up," transforming the tune into a patient slice of heavenly half-time music where glowing synths are gradually let loose atop hypnotic rythyms. For those curious to make the comparison, Saiz's pop-flecked original track can be streamed after the jump. Read more »
Appropriately enough, Cologne-based producers HADE + DWFL and the duo's collaborative tune "The Healthiest Man in Chicago" would not be out of place at a Westside Chicago house party. The pair frankly stitch juke's influence on their sleeves, with their latest track owing more than just a passing glance to the recent work of Planet Mu's RP Boo, as it boasts rotating Chicago house and hip-hop samples battling it out for bass supremacy. Read more »
Last week, XLR8R—along with just about everyone else in the electronic music sphere—made a trip to Barcelona to check out the 2013 edition of Sónar, which happened to be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Heading into the festival, Sónar faced a lot of potential question marks, including a venue change, a line-up seemingly lacking in star power, and, yes, the inclusion of EDM on the bill. Yet despite all the public grumbling and hand wringing during the lead-up to the festival, in the end it certainly didn't seem like fewer people were taking part in this year's Sónar. Barcelona's nightlife calendar was absolutely stuffed throughout the week, and the festival itself, which effectively took place over three days and two very long nights, was very busy. With a dizzying number of acts to see and precious little time to sleep, Sónar was, as always, a bit overwhelming, and checking out everything proved impossible. That said, the weekend was certainly marked by a number of highlights and lowlights, so we've once again crudely designated the various "winners" and "losers" and of Sónar. Read more »
With the release of his next EP just a few weeks away, Plexus label head Scarper is giving away the opening track from his forthcoming record. "Surfing the Cosmic Belt" sees the British producer balancing warm textures and thick pads in a style initially similar to vintage Boards of Canada. However, after that style becomes established, Scarper changes gears and makes a playful run for the dancefloor in the vein of 808 State's lush productions (not to mention another contemporary student of that sound, Lone). The lighthearted groove and plethora of crafty effects throughout "Surfing the Cosmic Belt" makes for an excellent introduction to Scarper's Unfurl EP, which can be previewed after the jump before it drops on June 24 via Plexus. Read more »
The Inheritors is not the kind of Border Community release one might expect. At first, there's hardly a nostalgic melody, much less a steady beat on label boss James Holden's psychedelic sophomore LP, which punctuates the long silence that followed his 2006 debut, The Idiots Are Winning. Compared to the first album, it's tough to get oriented in The Inheritors' swirling, mid-fi stew. It takes him until "Renata"'s fuzzy synth riff to evoke the idealized prettiness most associated with the label—and even the beauty here is of a wilder, murkier kind. But it's worth being patient while listening to the LP. There were hints of something weirder and freer lurking beneath Idiots tracks like "Lumpette" and "Quiet Drumming"—but The Inheritors mostly sounds vast, like the kind of album it would take seven years to make. Read more »
Not to toot our own horn or anything, but XLR8R was one of the first outlets singing the praises of the QuNeo—the 3D multi-touch MIDI control surface created by Keith McMillen Instruments—back in October of last year, when we interviewed its creator and took an in-depth look at the device. And now that it has seen a nationwide release, you can imagine how pleased we are to have a chance to offer a couple QuNeos to XLR8R's dedicated readers. Read more »
The humble start of Black Noi$e's latest offering is misleading. Opening delicately with a gently distorted guitar and a distant vocal sample, the Detroit native builds anticipation by shifting practically the entire mix into the background, before kicking "Hold On" into full gear around the 30-second mark. After that, there's no looking back, as the beatmaker born Rob Mansel leaves his innocent intro in the wake of a hybrid of a groove that draws inspiration from footwork, hip-hop, and beyond. It might not be proper to describe Mansel's sound as nostalgic, but after just a few listens, "Hold On" feels like a solid summer tune that recalls a handful of the tunes we grew up with. Black Noi$e's latest tune will be paired with a b-side track later this month, courtesy of Potholes Music.
While there are plenty of producers who sing and singers who produce music, Natasha Kmeto is rare in that she owns both credits equally. From 2009's 9 onwards, the Portland-based musician has put both her voice and beats on equal footing, presenting herself as a singular package of studio talent and vocal prowess. Crisis, Kmeto's latest full-length, is the most clearly distilled presentation of her talents yet, serving as a slick vehicle for her varied songwriting. Over the LP's ten tracks, Kmeto moves from skittering beats to soul-saturated R&B while managing to maintain a relatively cohesive vision. The result is an album that's both structurally diverse and strangely unified in its aesthetic.
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