Like a reincarnation of Suicide without excessive drug use or a bizzarro Devo without any sense of humor, Oakland's Brotman & Short plumbs the depths of no-wave minimalism and proto-industrial nihilism to feed its dark, synth-heavy jams. Even on "Eastlands," one of the relatively lighter numbers from the duo's forthcoming nine-song LP for start-up label Cold Dick Records (side note: the label is helmed by occasional XLR8R scribe Thomas Rees), entitled Heights, the Bay Area outfit channels memories of Ian Curtis' disarming, baritone yawps and some of the more cohesive and driving numbers in Cabaret Voltaire's discography. Whether Brotman & Short are attempting to simply relive these ominous moments in musical history or actually take them to new heights remains to be seen, but with material like this, we wouldn't mind sticking around to find out. Heights will be released as a limited pressing of 500 LPs on February 8.
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French producer and Ed Banger acolyte DJ Medhi delivers this tastefully club-ready remix of "Love Thing Pt. 2" by NYC artist Eli Escobar. Boasting a vocal hook that reminds us of Kylie Minogue's infectious "Can't Get You Out of My Head," this track kicks off immediately with its sights set on the climax of playlists for your next hands-in-the-air dance party. And yet DJ Medhi's version has a mature and reserved vibe to its revelry—even when the tune is rocking three synth melodies, a string section, a funky bassline, a straight house beat with plenty of percussion, a slick vocal hook, and all kinds of aural filler, it all twists and shouts just beneath the red so we can fully enjoy every sound working together to make us groove. And if "Love Thing Pt. 2 (DJ Medhi Club Mix)" strikes your fancy, make sure to check out the rest of Love Thing Remix EP over here.
Brooklyn-based MC Beans has a flow that is instantly recognizable from his time in the seminal abstract-rap crew Anti-Pop Consortium. Not content to simply rap in conventional patterns, Beans instead takes an angular approach to rhythm in his verses using the beat as a mere marker for him to blast through his sophisticated, rapid-fire lyrics. "Mellow You Out" finds Beans delivering an onslaught of forceful words over In Flagranti's simultaneously mechanical and tribal production, complete with guest chants from Tunde Adebimpe (of art-rock group TV On the Radio). But it is Beans who takes the end chorus, singing his final abstractions in a slow, solemn voice. The forthcoming LP (where you'll find this track), End It All, is a bit of a deviation from the his usual solo records in that it features guest-production on every track from an impressive list of beatsmiths, including Anticon's own Son Lux and Tobacco as well as Four Tet, Clark, DJ Nobody, and others. End It All will be available February 15.
California's Wedidit Collective is a sort of rag-tag team of beat-scene kids, including the likes of Shlohmo, Jonwayne, and the producer behind this MP3 download, Ground Is Lava. The southern California-based producer has a new LP coming in April from the Friends of Friends imprint and has released a free EP, Book of Tech (artwok above), to whet our appetites in the meantime. "Creeper Shit," the second track from said EP, is a laid-back stroll in an 8-bit world full of ascending and descending arpeggios, fuzzy bass, and floating Nintendo chords. Although the video game tones may not seem like the most emotive of sonic choices, the track still has a serious vibe with its triumphant chord progression and marching drum pattern, making it sound like the soundtrack to some lost prequel for PaRappa the Rapper, where he's broke and struggling but still in it for the love of the music. To get the full Book of Tech EP for free head over to the the Wedidit site.
Chillwave has become, with good reason, a term that makes some of us cringe, but this remix of Ohio-based Brothertiger (pictured above) from Grecian duo Keep Shelly In Athens shows that there are definitely redeeming qualities to the array of blissful, bedroomy sounds often associated with the genre. Not that this remix is straight-up chillwave—sure, its got a lo-fi arpeggio intro, completely reverb-washed vocals, and layers of distant pads, but about halfway through the track, something sinister takes over. A dark, distorted bassline begins to peek through the layers of reverb and delay, pulsing along at a slow chug until, just beyond the three-minute mark, the noisy bassline and steady beat completely take over. A small army of evil, fast-moving synths eventually join this sludgy procession, capping off this remix in a much different place than where it began.
Originally slated for a planned EP/single/what-have-you from Mad Decent's premiere 'clubstep' patron Rusko that was ultimately scrapped, this version of "Feel So Real" by Austin, TX-based DJ/producer Dubbel Dutch (pictured above) certainly inspires a couple of questions upon first listen. Namely, is this really a Rusko remix? Sure, snippets of the canned vocal performance by Ben Westbeech weave in, out, and around the spacious bass composition crafted by the Texan tunesmith, but, thankfully, it seems like not a single other sound is related to the original track. Dubbel Dutch treats the acappella of Rusko's song like he would any other found vocal sample, chopping and tweaking it to perfectly fit the shuffling dance beats and deep soundscapes he's so keen to create. So, maybe since this solid, UK-leaning club tune didn't quite make it on an official remix release, we'll just thank Mr. Westbeech for the voice work, slap Dubbel Dutch's name in the "Artist" field, and be on our merry way.
UK-based producer and head of the newly-founded Bergerac imprint, Danny Berman (a.k.a. Red Rack'em/Hot Coins), has continued to build on his reputation since the release of his debut LP, The Early Years, last October. "Housey," taken from said LP, is a clear example of Berman's style which finds him searching the common ground amongst a variety of influences, including deep house, electro-boogie, space disco, and Detroit techno. The track comes together as if all the different elements had gone for a pleasant afternoon stroll, the funky bassline and boogie drums strutting confidently along before meeting up with the percolating synths and twinkling pianos along the way. It all happens so effortlessly that it's a surprise when the song actually comes to an end, so if you wish to remain in the warm, easy flow that "Housey" creates, make sure to put this one on repeat before diving in. It appears Berman's already having a busy 2011, as a single for the track "Feel My Tears" is slated for release on his label in February and he'll be launching a new vinyl-only label, Nettles, in March.
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