XLR8R - logo


Five Minutes at Sónar with Nguzunguzu

The 2012 edition of Sónar certainly kept us busy—check our review for proof—but we did find time to sit down and chat with a couple of our favorite artists during the festival. LA duo Nguzunguzu has had a full plate in 2012, so we quizzed Daniel Pineda and Asma Maroof about their recent tour, upcoming releases for Hippos in Tanks and Fade to Mind, and the differences between Europe and the US. Read more » 

Download: Deft "Supa Dupa"

First Listen

It feels as if our inboxes here at XLR8R are overflowing with tunes from Croydon youngster Deft these days . The bass producer just released his Clotting EP earlier this month, has multiple songs coming out soon on Raised By Records' Terrain compilation, and is now announcing yet another EP, Masquerade (artwork above), which will be availabe through Rwina at the end of July. To top all of that off, we just received exclusive tune "Supa Dupa" from the producer. The quantity of his output doesn't appear to be affecting its quality, however, as "Supa Dupa" displays solid production techniques and songwriting skills. The track doesn't hit as hard as most of Deft's dubstep-influenced jams, instead taking a more atmospheric slant that features a sparkling wash of synthesizers and twinkling hi-hats. But if it's heavy low-end with a touch of wobble that really gets your rocks off, we encourage you to take a listen to the streaming preview of Deft's Masquerade EP, after the jump.  Read more » 

Average: 7.9 (70 votes)

Gear: Review: Moog Minitaur

MSRP: $679, Moog

In the past few years, the synth builders at Moog have made valiant attempts to make their legendary synths much more affordable and accessible to a larger group of users without losing their excellent, continually sought after sound quality. Rather than using cheaper materials, however, the company has achieved its goal by manufacturing truncated versions of their products, dropping features and shaving off a number of bells and whistles to accomplish a new price point. The Minitaur is such a unit, designed after the sound-generation components which make up the Tauras 3 bass synth, a piece that was recentely discontinued. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 06/20/2012

Bubblin' Up: Kevin McPhee

Kevin McPhee considers himself an electronic newbie. The 22-year-old Toronto native got his ID in order to start going to clubs a scant three years ago. A couple of years before that, friends at university introduced him to drum & bass and dubstep. Otherwise, the closest he ever got was Radiohead, Björk, and the instrumental, hip-hop-esque beats he'd been making in his bedroom since he was 12. While none of this equates to outsider status, it does give him a viewpoint that's not tethered to a particular movement within electronic music. Read more » 

Download: Sd Laika "36"

First Listen

London producer Visionist (a.k.a. Louis Carnell) has really come a long way. Back in February, we featured him in our Bubblin' Up series as he rode the wave of popularity gained from an EP and single for Diskotopia and 92 Points, respectively. Now, he's back again, and this time with his own digital label called Lost Codes, which he's introducing to the world by offering this exclusive cut by American beatmaker Sd Laika. "36" is an unabashedly bass-heavy banger that sounds inspired in equal parts by grime and similarly minded Americans, like Starkey or Eprom, and features dirty synths that constantly change octaves, as well as a fair amount of gun cocking littered through the beat. Sd Laika has also been slated to produce the first release for Lost Codes, a six-track EP called Unknown Vectors (artwork above), which is set to drop in July. 

Average: 7 (67 votes)

Review: Groundislava TV Dream EP

Young Jasper Patterson has been doing his thing as Groundislava for some time now—roughly four years, actually. Most of that timespan has seen the producer toying with blippy 8-bit video game sounds and punchy instrumental hip-hop, attempting over and over to find the perfect balance between that kind of niche pop-culture nostalgia and the most nod-worthy of beats. Truthfully, it's relatively familiar territory, especially for an LA-based artist making tracks with a computer. His self-titled LP for SoCal imprint Friends of Friends, which is over a year old now, exhibited 12 examples of that same pairing over the course of about an hour, and yielded a fair amount of surprises, despite the fact that Groundislava was working with well-worn ideas. But it appears that the LP was more than enough to get this stylistic impulse out of his system, as Patterson's latest record, the TV Dream EP, eschews shoehorning more hip-hop tropes into his emotive synth melodies in favor of a focus on refashioning elements of '80s synth-pop. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 06/20/2012

ManMakeMusic to Release Leon Vynehall 12"

London's George Fitzgerald opened this week's XLR8R podcast with two slices of soulful, bass-heavy house from his label ManMakeMusic. One of them, "Don't Know Why" by Brighton-based producer Leon Vynehall, will be included on the imprint's next release, which also happens to be Vynehall's second record. Read more » 

  • Filed under: news
  • 06/20/2012

Download: The Range "Nothing Left"

The ticking beat, rising tides of low end and ghastly vocal samples that The Range (a.k.a. James Hinton) uses in "Nothing Left" arouse a heavy-hearted energy in the Rhode Islander's production. Although the vocals are hard to place at first, the lyrics ("Til the lights go out, til the smoke clears out") make the sample easier to identify; they're lines form Nate Dogg's contribution to Eminem's "Till I Collapse," pitched up and diced to the point that the words are nearly unrecognizable. "Nothing Left" will be officially released in late July, when The Range unleashes his five-track Disk EP via Donky Pitch

Average: 7.7 (81 votes)

Review: Solomun Watergate 11

Label: Watergate

The best mix series are institutions. Like academies acknowledging talent within their field of focus, the top series in the DJ world—Fabric, DJ-KiCKs, and the like—serve as litmus tests for electronic-music talent you should take note of. Berlin's Watergate, like Fabric, has proven that it can translate its club appeal to a packaged product and that it knows how to cherry pick the right DJs to help with the job. Across its 11 releases, it has snagged some top-tier names in techy house, including Ellen Allien, Tiefshwarz, and, now, Diynamic label owner Solomun. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 06/20/2012

Download: Astronomar & Swick "Cameron"

First Listen
Label: Enchufada

About a month ago, one of the "friends" on Diplo's new BBC 1Xtra program Diplo & Friends, Buraka Som Sistema's J-Wow, kicked off his mix with "Cameron," a siren-heavy, collaborative tune from Seattle's Astronomar and Melbourne-bred Swick. The two producers have been working together from across the world on their upcoming Horse Code EP for Enchufada, which drops on June 25. The record features three cuts of high-energy, juke-influenced rhythms and sliced-up vocal samples like those heard on "Cameron," which boasts pugnacious kick drums surrounded by vacuums of white noise and hectic air raid horns. 

Average: 6.6 (50 votes)

Follow us on...

Get the lowdown weekly newsletter

XLR8R Downloads Player