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.
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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.
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.
Here, London's Geeneus and Katy B attack a cover of the 1988 Kevin Saunderson-produced house masterpiece, Inner City's "Good Life." Obviously, there's no beating the original—many agree that it is one of the best house tracks ever made—but the funky spin that Katy B and Geeneus give the piece is quite special. The chunky house bass of the original is replaced with subsonic tones, and a more frenetic percussion pattern is substituted for the original's monstrous kicks. Of course, the melodic line is kept intact, and Katy B's vocals are attuned to nuances of Paris Grey's without imitating them exactly. All in all, this cover of "Good Life" is one of the better versions of the track available, because it stays true to the brilliance of original while injecting some new personality into the piece.
San Francisco's J. Rogers has been the driving force behind the Blipswitch Digital label for the past two years, and the label's latest release is his full-length debut. "Meditation Point" begins slowly, with delayed female vocal samples, bell-like sounds and watery, syncopated tinklings riding above monstrous kicks. But by the track's mid-point, "Meditation Point" has morphed into a jackin' slice replete with bouncing bass, wet claps, and a druggy atmospheric presence that somehow recalls Damian Schwartz, or perhaps a more maximal Luke Hess. While it would be nice to see these tracks on vinyl, one can certainly imagine laptop DJs pounding the club with this lovely piece of tech-house.
XLR8R favorites Teengirl Fantasy met native Estonian Bakey Ustl while studying in Amsterdam, and have been slowly spreading word of Ustl's astounding productions ever since. "First Class" is a track with sonics existing somewhere between contemporary UK funky sounds and the deep, jazzy house found on Stuttgart's Philpot label. With delirious, lush synths and intense polyrhythms running throughout, the high-frequency flourishes, squelchy bits, and rumbling bass play off of an exemplary sonic core. Though he doesn't have a record deal yet, be assured that a label will snatch up Ustl sometime very, very soon, especially given his eclectic palette and range of influences.
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