It wasn't that long ago that Lapalux (a.k.a. Stuart Howard) was just another young UK producer perking up people's ears with a hard-to-define mix of low-end-heavy, but undeniably experimental, sounds. Even when we tabbed him as a Bubblin' Up artist last summer, largely on the strength on his then-fresh Many Faces Out of Focus EP, the full extent of his potential was only beginning to reveal itself. Then came this year's When You're Gone EP, released on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder imprint, which displayed a whole new level of sophistication and a real penchant for sonic whimsy. With this kind of skill at his disposal, we were curious to see exactly what Lapalux could do if tasked with putting together an exclusive mix for the XLR8R podcast series. Read more »
Maybe you've noticed, maybe you haven't, but Ad Hoc, a new online source for underground/DIY music from the editors of the now-defunct Altered Zones, is finally up and running—an occasion which will soon be celebrated with the release of a compilation featuring unreleased gems from the likes of How to Dress Well, Grimes, Anenon, Laurel Halo, Blondes, Solar Bears, and Matthewdavid, among tons of others. Here, we have Pictureplane's exclusive contribution, "White Lightz." Producer Travis Egedy's bass-driven and trancey tune bursts with blown-out dance beats, cacophonous synths, and the artist's hushed vocal work throughout its five-minute span. Keep on the lookout for the rest of Ad Hoc's massive compilation (nearly 50 tracks!) to appear later this month over on its Bandcamp.
Let's get one thing out of the way, first and foremost: Light Asylum, the debut LP from Brooklyn duo Light Asylum, is unceasingly, unflinchingly, unapologetically born of the '80s. The record's sound is so entrenched in the aural aesthetics of classic drum machines, analog synthesizers, and vintage genres (industrial/EBM, darkwave, and early synth-pop, mostly) that the music could be rightfully thought of as regressive. It's almost as though singer Shannon Funchess and producer Bruno Coviello previously agreed on a set of rules and constraints—gated reverb on every snare hit, no obvious software plugins, hands off all machine presets, no "live" instruments, etc.—which they'd never stray from while working on their album's 10 songs. Surprisingly or not, Light Asylum actually makes excellent use of the limited toolbox on its self-titled full-length, exhibiting a powerful range of moods and styles despite a more or less obsessive love for antiquated niche pop. Read more »
Two institutions of the current West Coast house scene, Portland's Miracles Club (pictured above) and San Francsico's Honey Soundsystem crew, have announced they will join forces for a three-day tour up and down the West Coast. Read more »
San Francisco outfit Exray's is just about two months from the release of its second full-length, Trust a Robot, and has enlisted West Coast beatmaker Devonwho for a pleasantly disjointed remix of one of its cuts. The Bay Area-via-Portland producer stripped the original song of pretty much everything but its rounded bass and synth tones, which he expertly applies to a stuttering rhythm and some sporadic vocal samples on this herky-jerky version of Exray's "Ancient Thing."
The last few years have witnessed UK DJ/producer Jamie Jones rise to the top of the house and techno scene using a signature formula. Jones' tunes are characterized by funky basslines in an exceptionally low register, hypnotic and often dissonant synths, and a dark, minimalist aesthetic. While this method has netted Jones quite a collection of high-caliber dancefloor successes, the pieces don't quite come together on "Our Time in Liberty," which ends up feeling entirely too dissonant and lacks his typical groove. Read more »
Sounding a bit like something we might've heard from the Tri Angle imprint last year, this remix of Lianne La Havas' "Lost and Found" from British house DJ/producer Maya Jane Coles (pictured above) is a slow-grooving and soulful piece with just the right touches of club-ready rhythms and poignant vocal hooks. Sparse synth blips and piano chords occasionally adorn La Havas' soft performance, while the garage-y percussion carries the whole thing to its understated conclusion—making for a nice companion to the percolating version of her "Forget" tune that Shlohmo delivered at the beginning of the year.
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