Another addition to Los Angeles' near-capacity beat scene, Asura sent over this track from his recently released self-titled debut LP, which is also the first album from LA label Non Projects. "Manzanita" takes its time to introduce any kind of rhythm; the whole first minute and a half is void of drum sounds, and is filled instead with thick atmospheric noise, delayed guitars, and a distant, muffled booming. As far as beat music goes, the classically trained Asura seems to be one of the most interested in melody, mood, and, surprisingly, singing along with his bedroom productions.
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We Are Standard (pictured) may be stuck in a time when Franz Ferdinand ruled the hearts of indie kids, but John Talabot performs a breathtaking and new turn on this remix of "Don't Give Up." The track is slowed and given a nice proto-house kick along with pulsing synths that recall KZA, or even the early lushness of Luciano. The original's vocals are almost nowhere to be found except in a pitched-up recurring snippet, and shimmering harmonies cascade towards the piece's end. Quite impressive work from one of Spain's best new exports! (via Pitchfork)
Here, rising star CFCF lends his slow-motion disco vibe to Finnish producer Jori Hulkkonen's dark synth-pop track. While bringing out the melancholy synth undertones of the original and adding a deep space-disco kick to the mix, CFCF allows the plaintive vocals of Jerry Valuri to come through in a manner recalling Alphaville, or perhaps a more mature New Order. Though his version of "I Am Dead" is definitely not for the dancefloor, CFCF's remix is certain to be pumping out of countless earbuds in the months to come.
UK dancehall MC Lady Chann lent her strong vocal presence to Sticky's instrumental production to create "Sticky Situation," the first 12" to come from Toddla T's new Girls Music imprint. To help send his label's debut release out in style, Toddla T hooked up his own version of the party tune, which warps Sticky's original riddim into a buzzing, hyperactive, electro-tinged dancehall track. Lady Chann's MCing is hardly touched through the next-level rave-up, save for the small number of times he chops and screws the delivery to fit the rest of his glitchy elements.
Veteran bass music producer Matt Shadetek has a solo instrumental album on the way for Dutty Artz. Entitled Flowers, it finds the Brooklyn artist indulging his ongoing love affair with thick low-end while exploring new influences from the world of UK garage and funky. While this first taste from the record is somewhat reminiscent of Shadetek's work with DJ /rupture on the XLR8R-championed Solar Life Raft mix album, in that it relies heavily on melody, the song ultimately distances itself immensely from that notable collaboration by ditching the thick atmospheres for a more stripped-down, upbeat, and dancefloor-minded production style. In doing so, "iHop" excels as a futuristic dubstep number with its focus on strong shuffling rhythms, thick bass melodies, and soulful, pitch-shifted vocal sampling on par with UK funky's finest.
Musical multi-tasker Hanuman (who doubles as half of Monkey Steak and runs Steak House Records) is set to drop his latest track, "Bola," on Chicago's Sleazetone label. Included along with the even-keeled, dub-heavy original version are remixes from Kanji Kinetic, Thunderous Olympian, Sleazetone label head Chrissy Murderbot, and, here, XLR8R alum and Trouble & Bass spinstress Star Eyes (pictured above). On her remix, she decided to run with the underlying UK funky sound, and treat "Bola" to an extra helping of thick, juicy low end before introducing her own string-based melody to the propulsive house beat.
Funny story: I'm out in Stockholm one night with skweee guys Rigas Den Andre and Limonious. They're like, "Hey, we're gonna go see our friend Jenny Wilson play. Do you know her?" And I'm like, "Yeah, of course I know her!" So we get to the Strand theater, and Wilson comes on with her band of gospel singers... and it hits me: I don't know Jenny Wilson at all. (Cuz I was thinking Jenny Lewis the whole time.) But Wilson's rich R&B vocals and gorgeous piano and horn arrangements instantly have the crowd rapt, and everyone—including me—is happy. Maybe not the usual XLR8R fare, but we still wholeheartedly approve. Hardships! is out August 24.
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