Over the past year or so, few artists have popped up more frequently on XLR8R than Distal (a.k.a. Michael Rathbun). Part of that has to do with the 28-year-old beatmaker's inherently prolific nature, as he's quickly amassed a hearty discography that includes releases on labels such as Tectonic, Grizzly, Seclusiasis, and Fortified Audio, not to mention his own imprint, Embassy Recordings, which he runs in tandem with fellow Atlantan Mite. Yet Distal's rise can be attributed to more than just the volume of his output, as his music is definitely of a high quality. Read more »
Somewhere between the divergent worlds of Lone and Dâm-Funk is the music of Bristol-reared, Sweden-based producer Crackazat. The man's forthcoming debut EP, Explanation (artwork above), will be released later this month, but we've been passed one of that record's sleekest tracks ahead of time. Crackazat's "Implication" somehow incorporates touches of new-age synths with backyard bbq-style G-funk, which altogether makes for the kind of feel-good beat that begs for you to bounce along with it.
Today, San Francisco's Benito is issuing a new EP of bass-minded boom-bap, I'm Busy (artwork above), and has wrangled recent Bay Area transplant Devonwho to inject some funkiness into one of the effort's tracks, "Shakes." Starting things off in the darker regions of skittering, futuristic beats, Devonwho eventually transforms this rework into a funky production, thanks—for the most part—to a handful of warm chords and a percolating synth bassline that runs on a playful grid as the drum programming starts to resemble a 2-step-style break. After giving the remix a listen, you'll find a preview of the I'm Busy EP, along with the complete tracklist, after the jump. Read more »
Chillwave's notoriety didn't last too long, but many of its signifiers have become an almost ubiquitous part of the independent music world. Heavy usage of reverb, sunny atmospherics, upbeat tempos, '80s-pop inclinations—the way these elements are applied to a song can often make the difference between a vapid stinker and a contemporary treasure. The Cascine label is no stranger to the pieces left over by chillwave, having built a reputation on signing artists who can skillfully mesh those sounds with well-crafted pop. So, it's little surprise that Cascine's first release of 2012, the six-track Futures EP by newcomer RxGibbs, uncovers some of the best examples of how you can apply that aesthetic to ambient techno. Read more »
San Francisco duo Psychic Sidekicks recently tried its hand at remixing Trey Songz' "Top of the World" (artwork for that above), and although the version featuring the R&B crooner wasn't exactly up our alley, this instrumental version makes for quite an impressive effort. "Top of the World" is a heavy endeavor, with foot stomp-inducing drum patterns pushed by massive low end while a sinister arp drives the highs. Sure, the pair isn't forging new territory here, but Psychic Sidekicks has put together a fine piece of futuristic beat work, one that seems to have a direct relation between its increased volume and listeners' increased enjoyment.
This track of blissful heaviness and accompanying showcase of hazy images comes to us from director Brendan Canty and the video production house Feel Good Lost, whose latest culmination of over-exposed imagery and spinning patterns is set to the music of Brighton's Ambassadeurs. Read more »
For the second release on his new Bad Animal imprint, Berlin-based DJ/producer Alland Byallo has tapped San Francisco deep-house duo Safeword (pictured above) for a four-song 12". "Smoke," a slow-burning house groover, sits on the the b-side of the vinyl, along with an acidy remix of the tune by Smash TV. The a-side contains the record's eponymous "West Portal," and another original, "Let Go." West Portal will be available on vinyl in early March, with a digital release to follow soon thereafter.
New York has long maintained a healthy tendency towards house revivalism. You might say that the Big Apple has, since the early '00s, assumed the mantle of a Stateside center for a style of dance music that blends a retro-minded sensibility with new-school sonic aesthetics. Though the city houses many DJs and labels, only a few regular parties specialize in this sound, one of which is Let's Play House, the roving event put on by edit maestro Jacques Renault and journalist Nik Mercer. Last year, the party capitalized on its successes and evolved into a label with the release of Runaway's "Indoor Pool," an ode to Le Bain's infamous jacuzzi. Now, the party-cum-label has spread itself further with the release of The M.E.B.'s "Il Principal" Read more »
Icelandic artists Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rassmussen (of electronic outfit Bloodgroup) have reinstated their techno partnership as Kiasmos, an outfit which hasn't released any material since 2009's "65" b/w "Milo." "Thrown" is the first preview of the pair's forthcoming album for Erased Tapes, and it proves to be a rich production of deep, subdued techno. The sequenced groove which begins the selection stays around for the track's entire eight-minute run, its filtered movements serving as the bed for layers of detailed percussion, swelling pads, and touches of reverb-washed strings. But the real treat here is the simple melody, which consists of little more than a few notes on a bell-like instrument placed atop the lush tune, but are nevertheless sure to stick in your head long after the track is through. No exact date has been set yet for the eventual Kiasmos LP, but those especially interested in moody, melodically-inclined techno are encouraged to keep an eye out.
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