There's something really wonderful about two brothers working together to make music. San Francisco's Roche (a.k.a. Ben Winans) is an artist we've featured multiple times on XLR8R, but his big brother Bret (a.k.a. CB Radio) makes quality beats of his own out in Brooklyn. Why it took this long for the Winans boys (pictured above, sometime in the '90s) to properly collaborate remains a mystery, but "Rayne," created under the moniker Samuel Max, is a wonderful start. A house tune of the most relaxed variety, the song skates along mellow, clap-punctuated percussion while cooly rolling out breezy synth melodies and a plucky bassline. Yes, it's a little Balearic and more than a little retro, but it's all tastefully done and thoroughly enjoyable. Mama Winans should be proud.
There is an abundance of paths that can lead two people to collaborate creatively—sometimes it's by a chance meeting, sometimes it stems from a gradual sharing of ideas, and, in some cases, it can even be part of a calculated plan. With Karenn, the collective endeavor of Londoners Pariah (a.k.a. Arthur Cayzer, pictured left) and Blawan (a.k.a. Jamie Roberts, pictured right), the drive to collaborate is equal parts a genuine admiration for each other's work and a joint desire to reach into much deeper sonic territory. Read more »
With his latest album, Chinoiseries Pt 2, all set for release next month on All City, French hip-hop and boogie maestro Onra (a.k.a. Arnaud Bernard), has been kind enough to provide us with a free sample from the new record. "A New Dynasty" is a deceptively dense piece of instrumental hip-hop, one that begins with scratchy vinyl ambiance and a woman speaking Chinese before dropping into some classic, synth-laden boom-bap, complete with funk drums and interwoven flourishes of Asian melody.
Justice is not afraid of kitsch; in fact, the duo practically depends on it. Ed Banger-reared French electro-house darlings Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay are renowned for the re-appropriation of '80s hair metal and Jackson 5-style pop that littered their debut LP, †. That mix of bombastic aggression and ebullient dance music proved to be a widely enjoyed cocktail back in 2007, and, truth be told, could probably be updated a touch to bode fairly well in 2011. But Justice has not taken the easy route on its sophomore effort, Audio, Video, Disco, instead setting its gaze on the indulgent realm of early-'70s prog rock. Apparently, the choice was a poor one, as the album is a watered-down pastiche of that dubious genre at best, and just flat-out laughable at worst. Read more »
Seattle-based electronic explorer Parsod (a.k.a. Dale Parsons) recently dropped a new, five-song EP, Manifold (pictured above), which he's offering at a "pay-what-you-want" price via Bandcamp. Although that undoubtedly means that most of the cheapskates out there will grab it for free, tunes like "Hive" are certainly worthy of a hard-earned dollar or two. Constructed with a loose skeleton of unobtrusive 808 drum sounds, it's a midtempo number with a vaguely '90s and pleasantly psychedelic feel. The real strength of the track lies in its chime-like synth notes and the bubbling acid sounds that percolate over its four-plus minutes.
Bubblin' Up UK producer Eliphino is getting ready to drop his second EP, More Than Me, on October 31 via Somethinksounds, but precedes that release with a freebie download of the digital exclusive "No More." A different version of the EP's title track, the shuffling tune remains patently somber throughout, but the young producer effectively pumps up the energy with a bit of vocal-sample juggling and bouncing dance beats.
As a city, Amsterdam is an almost overwhelming convergence of the old and the new, the familiar and the foreign. Pristine modern architecture and rustic brick buildings occupy virtually the same space amongst Amsterdam's cobblestone streets, where a flurry of international pedestrians, scooters, bikers, and motorists somehow manage to shuffle their way through the city day in and day out. In this spirit, the 2011 Amsterdam Dance Event (also known simply as ADE) lineup is completely appropriate, even with its jaw-dropping numbers—boasting over 700 DJs and producers from around the world performing at over 200 events in well above 50 different venues. Truthfully, ADE is not a 100% XLR8R-friendly event, but even a smaller percentage of the aforementioned "700 DJs and producers" proved to be plenty to take in. Read more »
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