As editors, critics, and fans look at their stack of 2010 releases, there is no question that many of them have placed Matthew Dear's chilling and endearing Black City high in the overwhelming heap. Dear recently kicked off a lengthy set of tour dates (see here for dates), so he's unleashed this digital bonus track "Innh Dahh." The track serves as an appropriate afterword to the density of Black City with its short, intimate vocal loops providing comfort to Dear's submerged voice. While the song is squarely of the album's somber mood, it seems to drift and float away in beatless ambience, nostalgic for Black City's imagined spaces yet comfortable to be left at the fringes of the action.
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There is no question Brooklyn duo Sub Swara has been at the forefront of US dubstep for the past three years. Since 2007, Sub Swara founders Dhruva, Haj, and Sunder have played host to Mary Anne Hobbs, Poirer, and The Bug at their monthly club night, solidifying them first as tastemakers. Dhruva and newcomer Sharma now make up the production chapter of what is Sub Swara, having released their first album, Coup d'Yah, to critical acclaim in 2008. The Sub Swara sound is never easily pinned down—the duo has done a wide swath of unofficial and official remix work for everyone from Mos Def to Balkan Beat Box, but dubstep is certainly in the foreground. That said, Sub Swara's second full-length Triggers, out November 9 on Low Motion Records, will showcase the duo's increasing interest in live instrumentation and collaboration—album guests include Dead Prez, Lyrics Born, Kendra Foster of Parliament Funkadelic, and even session horns from the Antibalas Afrobeat crew. "Steam" is taken from the album, and it's a thundering piece of percussive energy that brings to mind UK funky's drum love and kuduro's relentlessness, all before the track does an unexpected, albeit brief about-face into dubstep's familiar shuffle.
We're still weeks from the release of Brooklyn beatmaker Shigeto's debut album for Ghostly, Full Circle, yet pieces relating to that LP continue to make their way into our ear holes. Following the download we recently offered of Circle track "Relentless Drag" comes this remix of the production by LuckyMe tunesmith and fellow NY resident Mike Slott (pictured above). The auspicious artist re-dubbed the song "Unrelentless Drag," and inserted his own lazy hip-hop rhythms and upright bass grooves into the plinking, ethereal soundscapes that encapsulate Shigeto's original. Slott's remix sounds like Shigeto's tune performed by a ramshackle jazz combo in some rainforest shanty on the astral plane. That is to say, it's really pretty, and we like it. (via FACT)
At this point in the game, you can pretty much do whatever you want. We mean at least two things by that. One: As long as you're far enough off most of the world's radar, any sample you nab is pretty much fair game, and no one will give you any guff about it. Two: You can treat those samples in any way you like, and there will most likely be some sub-group of music lovers that'll be into it. Case in point: this rework of '90s R&B duo K-Ci & Jo Jo's "Tell Me it's Real" by hard-to-pin-down bedroom producer Wise Blood. The tunesmith chops a couple hooks from the original song, pitch-shifts some parts, adds a sparse beat and a slow-moving synth melody, goes nuts on the sampler, and voila!—song. Don't get us wrong, we're totally digging "2 the Bitter End," which is taken from a free EP curated by the Heart Music Group. Wise Blood has definitely made something fresh and original out of his arsenal of soulful samples. It's just still a bit crazy that this is what comprises a lot of music these days. It makes us wonder what's next on the horizon. Download the rest of The Tribe EP, which also features songs from Baths, Coolrunnings, and more, here.
Blonde Redhead is one of those groups that has never received a lot of ink the the pages of XLR8R, but we've often enjoyed the band's quirky art-pop over the years. Last Friday, the trio set off on a lengthy tour with Pantha du Prince (pictured above), and to celebrate, the German techno wiz has delivered this lengthy remix of Blonde Redhead's "Here Sometimes," the original of which appears on the NYC outfit's most recent album, Penny Sparkle. As with many Pantha du Prince efforts, there's nothing over-the-top happening here, just a steady techno pulse, some ghostly melodic whispers, plenty of bells, and a slow build as a wondrous dancefloor cut blossoms over the course of 10-plus minutes. (via FADER)
New Hampshire-based producer and composer Peter James (a.k.a. White Mountains) has supplied us with this moody, blissful track from his upcoming LP, Wilderness. Slow-moving, angelic pads and arps create dense layers of sound which nonetheless allow the scattered percussion and tiny electro drums to peek through during the six-minute track. If James' name for the project and LP are any inclination, much of his inspiration is pulled from the natural world, perhaps not the sounds actually found in nature, but the feeling of satisfaction and calm one can get from the solitude of being alone in a forest or on top of a mountain. So regardless of where you're listening to the track, it might be worth trying to close your eyes and seeing if "Bells" can help you reach that feeling without having to, you know, go outside.
One of the world's many patrons of bass-heavy dance music, Parisian producer Mikix the Cat has a new EP coming soon thanks to his low-frequency-loving friends at NY's Trouble & Bass label. The Girls Keep on Wondering EP will drop on November 2, but we've got a bit of a preview before that, in the form of the tasteful banger "Keep on Wondering." Mikix's tune is the second of four selections on his as-yet-unreleased EP, and offers enough '90s synth stabs, heavy dancefloor rhythms, vibrating sub tones, sampled vocal hooks, and epic breakdowns/drops to stand alone as a quality single. We're not sure what else his Wondering EP will offer selectors and listeners of energetic dance music once it's out, but we're happy enough to have "Keep on Wondering" taking up a handful of minutes in our peak-hour DJ sets until then.
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