Sometimes it feels as though there are two different sides to Washington, DC/Berlin-based production duo Benoit & Sergio. Sure, at a basic level there are literally two of them, but moving beyond the physical, there appears to be a concerted attempt to meld two musical halves into a cohesive whole. Nowhere has this been more obvious than with "Let Me Count the Ways," the duo's new single on Spectral Sound, which once again finds Benoit & Sergio blending clinical tech-house with a slick, European synth-pop aesthetic. Read more »
For this dark-yet-bouncy tune, Canadian artist Cameron Reed (a.k.a. Babe Rainbow) adds a bit of house influence (he even says so on Twitter) to his usual chopped-and-screwed production approach. And it's not just because he sampled The Weeknd's underground mega-hit "High for This" that his track works; the cracking percussive sounds, hypnotic bassline, and dense thump of Reed's experiment are what really make "You'll Wanna Be" interesting. It's certainly a nice change of pace from Babe Rainbow's usual output of sludgy electronics, but you can hear more of those kinds of sounds when his Endless Path EP drops on June 20 via Warp. (via Dummy)
Next week, the duo of Joel Ford and Daniel Lopatin (once named Games, but now simply called Ford & Lopatin) will release its first proper full-length album—a flurry of '80s-influenced, leftfield pop tunes and refried radio noise called Channel Pressure (pictured above)—via the pair's newly minted Mexican Summer sub-label, Software. Read more »
Much like the recently reformed group of NY producers/MCs known as Anti-Pop Consortium, Seattle's Shabazz Palaces (a.k.a. Palaceer Lazaro of Digable Planets) has a serious penchant for being obtuse. Between the unwieldy song titles ("Swerve... The reeping of all that is worthwhile (Noir not withstanding)" isn't exactly what you'd expect attached to a hip-hop tune), the fractured nature of the productions (some tracks might as well be two separate songs), and the existential subject matter ("I'm free to be a slave to all these things I can't escape," for instance), it's safe to say Lazaro's music isn't what we'd call typical. That being said, this track—which closes out the artist's forthcoming full-length for Sub Pop, Black Up (pictured above)—is a relatively cohesive and catchy jam. The slow-grooving beat that opens up "Swerve" is quickly paired with an elastic synth tone and an infectious hook, sounding almost like Shabazz Palaces wants to squeeze in one radio-friendly track before his 10-track LP stops spinning. And he does—that is, until it eventually transforms into something altogether different. (via Pitchfork)
The man behind San Francisco party-starting house/techno hub Dirtybird, Claude VonStroke, just announced he'll soon be releasing a compilation album of remix work from his discography, along with some unreleased tunes. Read more »
When the XLR8R podcast began nearly five years ago, the initial premise was simple—get DJs, producers, and labels to put together exclusive mixes, and we would make them available for download. Over the first 199 chapters of the podcast, XLR8R has featured artists and genres from across the musical spectrum and across the globe, mixes put together by veteran hands and promising newcomers alike. Thankfully, XLR8R readers have responded, coming back in droves each week to devour the latest edition. Read more »
The second half of our two-part 200th podcast comes courtesy of another musical heavyweight, dubstep kingpin Mala (a.k.a. Mark Lawrence). Whether operating solo or as one half of legendary outfit Digital Mystikz, the man helped put dubstep on the musical map in the mid-'00s, not only as a producer and DJ, but also as the co-founder of the genre-defining DMZ label and club night with Coki and Loefah. Read more »
Many producers at work in the Ableton-centric realm of electronic music tend to favor 'soundcraft' over 'songcraft', which is all well and good, but a balance of the two certainly works in everyone's favor. Parisian tunesmith Powell certainly leans heavily towards the art of sound design, but thankfully has a toe or two dipped into the pond of catchy hooks. His brand of funky, electro-tinged bass music is rife with rubbery synth tones, swarms of neon space noise, and gut-punching beats, and, as heard on "Atomic Tricks," Powell will every so often wrangle those sounds from their disparate locations in the mix to work out an invigorating dance groove. Those moments are few and far between, not to mention short-lived, but damn if they're not worth the wait. You can nab the whole lot of them on Powell's seven-track Densui EP, here.
Although the All City imprint first caught our attention with its impressive series of 10" releases highlighting the varied talents of the Los Angeles music scene, the Irish label has proven itself to be a reputable home for all kinds of high-quality bass music. Past releases have included offerings for Martyn, Mike Slott, Hudson Mohwake, Onra, Krystal Klear, and others, and now UK producer Tessela is set to join the fray. Taken from a forthcoming three-song 12" (artwork pictured above) scheduled to drop in June, "Push" is propulsive cut punctuated by snapping snares, subby synths, some carefully placed vocal snippets, and a thunderous bassline. This West Country beatmaker might be a relative newcomer, but his work already appears to be on par with that of his All City cohorts.
It's hard to dispute that Night Slugs was the breakout UK label of 2010. Beginning with Mosca's landscape-altering Square One EP and continuing with an impeccable series of releases from Egyptrixx, Kingdom, Girl Unit, Jam City, Lil Silva, and others, the imprint and crew headed up by L-Vis 1990 and Bok Bok quickly solidified its position at the head of the current class of bass-centric, post-everything producers and DJs. Oddly enough, all of this happened without an official release from Bok Bok (a.k.a. Alex Sushon), making his ascent all the more impressive in an era where most DJs' stature is defined foremost by the tunes they've produced. Read more »
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