Bubblin' Up Week 2014
After spending most of December looking at the year gone by, we here at XLR8R decided to kick off January by casting our gaze toward the future. That's what Bubblin' Up Week is all about, and this year's edition has already taken in-depth looks at several artists and scenes from around the globe. Still, before we could officially bring the series to a close, we knew that there were still plenty of up-and-coming beatmakers whose potential merited a bit of attention. Given that, we've selected 10 artists that we'll be keeping an eye on in 2014. … Read more »
Over the last few years, America's DIY noise underground has undergone a noticeable shift, one that finds an increasing number of artists gravitating toward the sounds of house and techno. In the midst of this is Providence-based producer and musician Ren Schofield, who has steadily built a profile with the unconventional analog techno he makes as Container. Although the producer is understandably reluctant to see himself as part of a larger movement of noise musicians turning to synths and drum machines, he admits that the trend is a noticeable one. "That's a huge thing," he says. "There's all these people who—maybe they weren't involved in noise necessarily, but they weren't involved in dance music and they are now. And that's interesting." He continues, "No one got together and was like, 'Hey, we should all start playing techno.' It was just something that was in the air and I think it just happened naturally that way. But where do I fit into it? I don't know." … Read more »
"People throw around the term 'collective' like its a fucking 99-cent fan at a vogue ball. But those that truly stick to the principles of making something successful together know you can't crap out after the first group meeting goes sour," says Jacob Sperber (a.k.a. P-Play) of Honey Soundsystem, calling from the San Francisco airport. "There is a tireless amount of energy we all put into making sure everyone is comfortable with where this rather insane project is going. But most of all, we put a lot of work into calming our individual styles and needs to make sure that Honey stays Honey." … Read more »
"I'm not really into much hip-hop right now," says Lee Bannon with a shrug. It's a surprising statement coming from a guy best known as the producer and touring DJ for rap wunderkind Joey Bada$$, but one listen to his upcoming Alternate/Endings LP for Ninja Tune makes it clear that he's telling the truth. Instead of jazzy, Dilla-flavored beats or blissed-out trap, Bannon's latest effort is full of sinister synth stabs, ambient found-sounds, and aggressive jungle breakbeats. Granted, for those who have been closely following Bannon's work outside of the rap world, Alternate/Endings just seems like the logical next step. Since beginning his musical career as a teenager, Bannon has slowly morphed into an experimental producer whose wide-ranging interests stretch further than those of the average beatmaker. Bannon's new record is both the culmination of that evolution and the first step in an ambitious, years-long plan to establish himself as a true artist on his own terms. … Read more »
After impressively debuting in late 2012 with his Cabrini Green EP for the Dixon Avenue Basement Jams imprint, mysterious producer Marquis Hawkes had an even better 2013. Operating anonymously from his home base in Berlin, he issued two more EPs, Higher Forces at Work and Sex, Drugs & House, and continued to deliver raw, ghetto-house-influenced sounds. Still, even after speaking with Hawkes at length for a Bubblin' Up profile last March, and subsequently naming him one of 2013's Best New Artists, we have to admit that we still don't know all that much about him. Anxious to remedy that situation—and also curious to hear the man at work behind the decks—we've asked the Bubblin' Up alum to come back for Bubblin' Up Week 2014 and deliver the first XLR8R podcast of the year. … Read more »
Bubblin' Up Week 2014: Beyond Talabot - Barcelona's Electronic Scene Works Its Way into the Spotlight
As cities go, Barcelona is more beloved than most. With its sunny seaside location, stunning architecture, and reputation for late-night revelry, there is no shortage of reasons to fall in love with the place. For music lovers, Barcelona can be an especially rewarding destination, most notably in the late spring and early summer when Primavera Sound and Sónar—two of Europe's largest and most well-respected festivals—each lure massive crowds from across the continent. During Sónar week, the city often feels like a legitimate hotspot for electronic music, as the festival draws more than 100,000 people and a myriad of unofficial "Off-Sónar" events fill Barcelona's clubs with stacked line-ups and enthusiastic crowds. However, once the festival season comes to a close, a lot of that energy seems to melt away. Those outside of Barcelona may love to sing the city's praises, but that passion often fails to extend to the music being turned out by the artists who actually live there. Acts like John Talabot, Delorean, and El Guincho have secured international acclaim in recent years, but there exists a much larger network of quality artists, DJs, and labels whose work generally flies beneath the radar. … Read more »
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