Like a lot of artists who were initially carving the sound that we've now come to call "bass music," Stephen Gomberg (a.k.a. Fantastic Mr Fox) began as a considerably young producer. Now, over two years after last hearing from the UK beatsmith, his music appears to have grown much in the same manner one would imagine someone coming upon their early 20s would undergo personal growth. Perhaps this is why his latest effort finds him replacing the chopped-up R&B samples that marked his superb Evelyn EP with real vocalists, and, at the same time, presenting an even sharper sense for engrossing chord structures and dense productions. Fortunately, these perceivable aesthetic adjustments result in an EP which goes on to prove that Fantastic Mr Fox is not only still in top form, but moving ever closer to the top of his class. Read more »
The Brooklyn-via-North Carolina duo of Andrew Hamlet and Mat Jones (a.k.a. Pressed And) offers up this bit of genre-defiant goodness—encompassing elements of glitch and hip-hop, among a number of other things—from their upcoming EP, Hyper Thistle. Bassy synth squelches and heavily altered vocal samples weave their way in and out of the beat, which marches forward with slamming snares, skittering hi-hats, pounding kicks, and a strange, organ-like sample. While all these different elements may seem a bit jerky at first, they all come together under the track's climax: the introduction of the steady hum of a synth pad that kicks in around the two-minute mark. The track is aptly named; much like a martial arts technique, all the different elements combine to form something that is simultaneously elaborate, graceful, and hard hitting. After checking out "Komusō Flutter Kick IV," keep your eyes peeled for the five-track EP's release on July 17.
"Graveyard Tan" should come with a warning on the label that says, "Only play between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m." The debut collaboration between Crosstown Rebels darlings Art Department and Konrad Black, a fellow Canadian purveyor of deep and techy sounds, this is a track that thrives in the dead of night. Read more »
Last week, we announced the details of Matthew Dear's forthcoming album, Beams, and shared a stream of its bubbly synth-pop single "Her Fantasy." Now, Matthew Dear's longtime label home, Ghostly, has shared specifics on the release of that single, and is offering up its retro-flavored b-side, "Crimewaves," for free download. Read more »
The term "BlissCrunk" in the title of Berlin-based Kid606's remix of Magic Panda's "Tokyo" seems like an odd and perhaps tongue-in-cheek descriptor of the track. The elements that could be taken for "bliss," like the slowly escalating pads and mattress-like effect of the ever-present layer of bass, end up reading more like the paranoid dystopia of the Blade Runner soundtrack, especially when a high-pitched whine enters the mix toward the end. As for "crunk," the slow-motion beat has more potential to inspire pensive hours of watching a sunrise, rather than full-body juking. The melodious nature of the rework is a left turn for the producer, but not the first turn he's taken in recent memory—"I Want Her Wings," which he released last month, channels a similarly fuzzy drowsiness. His remix of Magic Panda, who is busy preparing an LP for Kid606's label Tigerbeat6, sounds like it could be the darker b-side to that aforementioned track.
As always, this year's edition of MUTEK offered a potentially overwhelming number of shows, parties, workshops, panel discussions, and more. Amidst all the activity, XLR8R also wanted to take the time to sit down with a few of our favorite artists, both to get their impressions of the festival and to check in about what's happening with their music. Before making his North American debut at the festival, UK producer BNJMN spoke about his expectations for America, the difficulty of playing live and translating his music to the dancefloor, and how he manages to juggle his multiple artistic personalities. Read more »
The London-based record label Don't Be Afraid has announced its upcoming series of 10" dub releases, aptly titled Don't Be Afraid Dubs. The inaugural release comes from Claws For?, an alter ego of Modern Soul label boss Clause Four, and drops on June 25. Each release from the Don't Be Afraid series matches a house tune by a UK-based producer with a techno-influenced remix by an artist from the US. Claws For?'s original production, "Profumo," was paired with a remix by Miami's Gosub, who has released on labels like Citinite, Device, and Frustrated Funk in the past. Featured here, "Off and On" is a bonus cut of lounge-y house funk from Claws For?, which tailors politely quirky notes to a mellow, groovy bassline with a splash of reverb.
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