A nu-Baltimore track is always going to be ripe for remixes from all sonic perspectives, and Diamond K and Al Ripken Jr.'s "Hands in the Air" is no exception. Here, XLR8R favorite Bok Bok turns some funky, tribal tricks, keeping the original's vocal stems while adding East Indian percussive elements, high-frequency whooshes, synth swells, and rimshots galore. Without a doubt, the London-based DJ/producer and Night Slugs label boss has created an ocean-jumping banger with this remix, proving again that he is one of the most forward-thinking minds in electronic music right now.
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Releasing this collaboration between Sam Willis (of Allez-Allez) and Allessio Natalizia (a.k.a. Banjo or Freakout) is an interesting move for Kompakt, as Walls' music straddles the fine line between slow-motion Balearic vibes and something more akin to Boards of Canada or cLOUDDEAD. However, while Walls' sound might not fit into any preconceived notions of Kompakt's sonic roster, there is something strangely suitable about the pairing—after all, this remix takes a sunny, beardo-disco track akin to Meanderthals and transforms it into something more like early White Rainbow, replete with beats, seemingly infinite loops, and soaring vocals. Kompakt has delivered a pleasant surprise here, and one can only hope that it continues along this pathway. Walls' self-titled debut will be released on May 10.
John Somers, operating under the Do While moniker, has created a gorgeous soundtrack to a summer reverie, if these takes of "Balloon Clouds/Balloons" are any indication. These two tracks flow seamlessly into each other, moving from the soothing vocals and dense, brightly crackling haze of "Balloon Clouds" to the more loop-based "Balloons," which sounds like Stars of the Lid on anti-depressants. With his eponymous debut out soon on Baltimore's Wigflip label, Somers officially joins the ranks of elite producers making ambient music with subtlety and substance, two qualities that are often missing from more academic ambient works.
Cleveland native turned Berlin resident Dan Curtin shared this alternate mix of his soulful tech-house number "Other," the original of which can be found on his recently released Lifeblood album. The song wastes no time in establishing its bouncing backbone of a four-on-the-floor beat surrounded by delayed vocal samples and filtered percussive synths. Within the first minute we're shown what sounds like "Other"'s full deck, but throughout the remaining five minutes, it becomes apparent that Curtin still has plenty of cards up his sleeve.
A wealth of percussive sounds and samples are minced into a finely prepared dish of beat music on Shigeto's "Baker Blunt Basics." The track, taken from the Michigan producer's latest solo EP, Semi Circle, moves along an even-keeled trajectory, and only stops momentarily through its journey to allow brief harp and string samples to take the spotlight. By the time "Baker Blunt Basics" is over, Shigeto's crunchy beat has come full circle through a land of familiar synths and samples all the way back to the wobbly melody that started the whole thing off.
The pairing of Southern California beat maker Teebs with the UK's Jackhigh has yielded some decidedly mellow sounds, as heard on this track from their collaborative seven-song EP, The Tropics. As Teebs & Jackhigh, the duo crafted "Clutch," a song which seems to borrow more from Teebs' penchant for ambiance than Jackhigh's sample-heavy beats. The song's atmosphere is laid thick as a London fog—allowing only particularly shimmering elements and low register rumbles to break through the swirling haze. It's perplexing to think how that sound came about given the duo's creative process; each song on The Tropics EP was crafted by manipulating a single sound file, instead of the usual arrangement of stems tweaked within computer software. Such unique approaches, sound experiments, and hand-painted art work by Teebs (shown above) make for one of the more interesting beat records to come out as of late.
Buenos Aires-based three-piece Tremor have been blurring the lines between traditional and digital musics for quite a bit now, and so it's no surprise that one of the kings of digital cumbia, El Remolon, has done a fantastic job in remixing the late 2009 piece. Though he strays from the saya rhythm of the original, El Remolón keeps the cross-cultural sonic textures of "Viajante" relatively intact, allowing both native South American music as well as Balkan melodies to weave in and out of each other in a seamless fashion. Ideal for an international dance party—or just any party. Taken from the just-released Caracol EP, which also features remixes from Clorofila of Mexico's Nortec Collective and fellow ZZK artists King Coya and Chancha Vía Circuito.
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