Between folks like Onra and Chromatics (or any of Johnny Jewel's projects, for that matter), we've had plenty of Drive-friendly tunes to listen to lately, but we've opted to make some extra room for San Francisco's Chautauqua and its self-titled debut EP (that's the amazing artwork above). Voltaire label head Randy Ellis and producer Loose Shus collaborated on the four-track release, marrying driving Italo basslines and Krauty synth atmospheres with spare dance beats and new-age vibes. The result is something like a 15-minute spirit quest, of which "Suspended Animation" is the more ominous second movement. You can check out the rest of that journey below. Read more »
Since her initially self-released debut, the King Felix EP, first garnered attention back in 2010, Laurel Halo has taken anything but a predictable path as a producer. At first, she appeared to solely be a talented bedroom crafter of leftfield electronic pop, but an adventurous run of EPs and remixes has redefined her output since, proving that the Brooklyn resident is happy to switch aims and explore new creative territory as she sees fit. Quarantine, her debut full-length, is yet another twist in the story, one which finds Halo's productions returning the focus to her voice more than any release since her initial outing two years ago. What takes shape is a solid, unflinching artistic statement, an effort at moments challenging and bizarre, and at others dreamy and utterly inviting. Read more »
At 50 releases, UK imprint RAMP is not short on diversity. That said, it has developed a reputation for cerebral sounds within bass music, both as an early champion of the synthy dubstep exploits of Zomby and as a home to Ras G, Tokimonsta, and other makers of instrumental beats in the lineage of J.Dilla. Knowing where its tastemaking prowess lies, the label remains relatively free and clear of house or techno, a few stray releases from Doc Daneeka notwithstanding. That's why seeing techy disco remixer, producer, and edit man Red Rack'em land release number 51 is, while not shocking, kind of surprising at least. Read more »
Although it's remained relatively under the radar, Matias Aguayo's Cómeme imprint has thrived over the past few years, all the while releasing some of the most subversive dance records in recent memory. The label has introduced us to Rebolledo, Ana Helder, and Daniel Maloso (among others), who all released brilliant house records last year that burst with leftfield identifiers like industrial minimalism, Latin eccentricities, and uncomfortably bluff vocals. Read more »
Budapest brethren Headshotboyz have released with Project:Mooncircle, Svetlana, and King Deluxe, but have recently put out the Heartbaked EP on their bandcamp for free download. "Fundevogel" is a fresh and woozy slab of sunshine-synthesizing boom-bap, with 16-bit Sega strobes dancing in melodic fashion to trip-inducing squeals and concrete-cracking kick drums. The LA-based Brainfeeder crew, as well as Friends of Friends' resident bit-crusher Groundislava, seem to be apt reference points for "Fundevogel," although there is a distinct thread of razor-sharp sound design running through the track that reminds of Berlin's penchant for sonic clarity. Moscow's growing preoccupation with skwee-leaning hip hop could also be what Headshotboyz are hinting at, but in the end, what we're left with is a swirling tapestry of color and bass bumps that sound right at home in the Hungarian capital. Check the full stream of the Heartbaked EP after the jump. Read more »
Detroit resident Monty Luke is no stranger to XLR8R's pages (he once wrote for them, and has since been written about on them), so we're especially pleased that he's been included in the lineup at the Movement festival this year. We're also happy that the DJ/producer has shared a solid new mix ahead of that auspicious performance. Read more »
Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, LA beatmaker Tokimonsta (pictured above) has flipped "Freek N' You," the classic slow jam first released by Jodeci back in 1995. While Tokimonsta's snappy percussion and punchy synth riffs might render her version a little too hyper for the average summertime BBQ, the rework isn't without its own sense of sultry funk, even after she tosses in a double-time drum pattern and amps the energy level nearly four minutes into the track.
Two of NY's finest dance-music operators are teaming up for a new release on Rush Hour, with Policy's "One Last Time" single being backed with a FaltyDL remix (as well as another reworking by Dutchman Tom Trago). FaltyDL takes the track's atmosphere and velcro edges into a shimmering, dew-heavy forest, planting percolating rays of color and synthesized charm that seem to grow, shuffle, and come alive just as frenetically as the percussion. Bright and bouncy, with plenty of sidewinding slices of snare and a shrill synth lick that sounds like a pixie chortling in the background, it's a track that works especially well towards the end of a night or in an extended home-listening session (particularly after the breakdown halfway through). The One Last Time EP will be available on May 28.
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