The world of underground hip-hop has been undergoing a serious reconstruction as of late, with many familiar faces receding to the fringe, or worse, complete absence. One such case is the inimitable New York-based label Definitive Jux, run by producer/rapper extraordinaire El-P. Definitive Jux is currently on indefinite hiatus, putting a halt to what has been a consistent and essential output of brutally honest, beat-contorted hip-hop. Though thankfully, El-P hasn't kept quiet, dropping the epicly titled Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3 on Gold Dust earlier this year. An album made up of instrumentals, it tended towards a lighter, funk-based side of El-P. That said, don't go in expecting softness with this new, previously unreleased track titled "Lab Rat Bravely Escapes on Hovercraft Only to Crash Directly Outside of Gates." As much a mouthful as it is an earful, this El-P beat apparently didn't make the cut due to technical difficulties, and after listening, it's understandable why. Your lowly laptop speakers are no match for the decibels on this one, and good luck finding headphones that will do the trick either.
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Montreal's Matthew Hiscock (a.k.a. Hissy Fit) is quickly becoming a producer of note on the post-dubstep side of things; first he released an EP for Scottish blog-turned-label Phuturelabs, and now he's about to drop a 12" from new Canadian label Swing & Skip. Here we have a dub of the a-side, "Berry," in which Hissy Fit pares down the hyper feel of the original track, leaving intact the slow, growling bass and steady beat. As the track lazily rolls along, the melodic elements fade in; some vocoder chirps here, some fuzzy chords there, climaxing around the three-minute mark before beginning to break the pieces back down to where they began. "Berry Dubby Dub" can not be found on the forthcoming 12", but the original and a remix from Submerse can be when it's released on December 13.
If we knew anything more about CSLSX than that it is a collective based in Philadelphia and has a handful of great tracks to its name, we'd be happy to tell you. But we don't, so the track will just have to speak for itself. The title seems rather appropriate, as a number of elements from the song could have originated in 1987; the initial drum loop and giant tom fills have '80s drum machine written all over them and the chopped, incomprehensible vocals could easily be a sample from an '80s freestyle group. It even could have been an instrumental for a Paula Abdul song, that is, if she had been really into psychedelics and was a little more concerned with boarding the mothership than dancing with giant cartoon cats. Decades-old pop-culture references aside, the track is an excellent mix of the cheesy and the majestic, pairing the '80s elements with swirling pads, sparkling percussion, bouncing arps, and globs of reverb and delay. Our curiosity has certainly been sparked for the mysterious group, whose identity appears to be safe now, but for how long? (via Altered Zones)
Zed Bias, star of a recent XLR8R podcast, is a man who operates under many monikers, including Maddslinky and Funk Bias. The latter is actually a collaboration with production partner Funk Butcher, a Rinse FM host and purveyor of house and broken beat sounds. It's been confirmed that the two have a release forthcoming on Loefah's Swamp 81, and Zed got us hip to some of their tracks on his podcast. But Funk Butcher also has his own story to tell, most currently with this re-interpretation of late-'80s Chicago disco/house singer Loleatta Holloway's "Love Sensation." Riding Butcher's own "Sinister Boogie," Holloway sounds both classic and of-the-moment over Butcher's warm, chopped, garage-style organs and plush high-hats. There's still no word on the date of Swamp 81's Funk Bias release, but we do know their track "Last Forever" has made the cut. Listen back to the Zed Bias podcast for a preview of that, and download Funk Butcher's "Sinister Boogie/Love Sensation" right here. (via FACT)
Philadelphia's foremost purveyor of all things future bass, Starkey, has a new EP coming next week featuring five new tracks and a handful of remixes from the likes of Egyptrixx, Arp 101, Ital Tek, and other bass-minded producers. Egyptrixx's remix of the EP's opening track, "Robot Hands," strips down the layered production of the original and instead focuses on an intensely repetitive 2-step groove that builds upon itself with siren-esque synths and intricate percussion. After a few minutes of methodical building, the elements culminate into a massive track with a heavy kick drum and a low, growling bass that take the remix to its full, future-sci-fi potential, especially if your system can handle a healthy dose of low end. The Space Traitor Vol. 1 EP is set to be released December 6, check the full tracklist after the jump. Read more »
The explosion of ambient cassette music continues to be a place for new artists and ideas to take shape and 80(sun), the solo project of Canadian Jonathan Scherk, is another worthwhile contributor to the burgeoning scene. "Spinning Bottle" is a six-minute excerpt from 80(sun)'s new cassette EP, Noam, comprised of two long sides of continuous music (side A clocks in at 26:47, side B at 17:15). The track has considerably less hiss than you would expect from an ambient cassette jam (possibly because it was originally recorded on a reel-to-reel deck); instead it is an expansively serene piece in which small, tumbling percussion gives way to distant vocals which then give way to gigantic chords, leaving you enveloped in a constantly expanding world of ambient magic. You can download the entire Noam EP for free over at 80(sun)'s Bandcamp or head over to the Red Cat Records online shop to pick up one of the 100 limited run cassettes. Either way, we suggest taking a deep breath before embarking into 80(sun)'s ambient landscapes or you might get caught unprepared for what he has to offer.
Adam Bozzetto may be Australian, but this track is completely drenched in funky, French house flavor. After the customary dance intro, Bozzetto playfully glitches and filters a disco sample (complete with female vocals) for a few bars, then the bass drops and we're off. For the next five minutes he skillfully takes us through the sample, cutting and rearranging it into a few different catchy loops while keeping the dance floor in mind at all times. Bozzetto manages to make the tune pop and groove without using the aggressive compression and over-the-topness often employed by the banger-minded producers of modern French house, creating a vibe that's more light and fun rather than in-your-face and shamelessly clubby. You can find "I Want To Be With You" nestled in with three other similarly funky disco-house gems on his recently released Distro Nox EP.
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