I’m reviving an old music blog at the end of 2021?
Maybe it’s foolish, and maybe I’m the only one who misses the blog ol’ days, but I’m gonna give it a shot. I’ll be working on restoring some of the old content, though much of it was lost. If there’s interest, I’ll try to figure out how to safely share some more of the old remix sunday archives.
For now though, you can find all the label’s releases here, on bandcamp, or anywhere you listen to music these days. I’ve also still got copies of some of the old vinyl releases, and I’ve just released the first in a set of charitable cassette compilations to raise awareness about the continued [mis]use of broken windows policing methods.
Plus I’ve put together a playlists section with a handful of spotify lists that hopefully start to capture a [slightly] updated version of the moods we used to peddle. Give those a listen and a ❤ if you would be so kind. If people want me to put together soundcloud playlists, or something else, give me a holler.
Remix Sunday 161
Remix Sunday 161
If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.
– (attributed to) Florynce Kennedy
It was then, floating in the passivity of induced consumption, in which it became clear that this functional mechanism of time was but a codified drift. With our particular indifference to an imposed rationality, all semblance of alterity had been lost [...]
I remember in the Napster and Limewire days how often I’d find tracks that were mislabeled in order to mislead people into thinking they’d stumbled across the long lost Boards of Canada or Aphex Twin song, or whatever, and how hard my young ears would have to work to discern if these were in fact […]
Donna Missal, who recently put out the best work of her career – an excellent EP produced by Sega Bodega – was dropped by Harvest/UMG shortly after the EP’s release. Subsequently, she posted to twitter a good encapsulation of how preexisting economic privilege is often the most potent ingredient for music industry success: Nepotism and […]
Past Palms is an artist from Richmond, VA. Each song from Ambient Music for Watering Plants focuses on one typical tropical houseplant, in hopes of capturing the simple serenity of watering that life “while living in a gray, nature-less city”, as the artist describes their project. An ode to Eno’s Music For Airports, the substitute […]
Venus absorbs and tempers the masculine essence, uniting the masculine and feminine in mutual affection. She is assimilative and benign, born of sea foam, a charm, a magic philtre. You’ve no doubt heard this Loleatta Holloway-sampling 1990 classic by the polyonymous Dutch trio composed of Eddy de Clercq, Gert van Veen, and Erik van Putten. […]
On a day like today, it’s hard to feel like the world isn’t repeatedly sending us the same gruesome message. That justice isn’t real; murderers will go free while innocent people will languish. [...]
On a day like today, it’s hard to feel like the world isn’t repeatedly sending us the same gruesome message. That justice isn’t real; murderers will go free while innocent people will languish. And we’re supposed to be thankful that at least the state didn’t sanction the murder of one innocent black person today, it will only keep him in prison forever; [...]
West Coast wonky featuring an AI-generated version of the late East Coast king. Don’t know what to make of this exactly, but hearing Big say words he never said is a trip, especially in unison with a powerpuff girl. An-Ten-Nae has been hustling for a decade and has crossed my radar several times; this one tickled me though. Only on the artist’s soundcloud, I guess for obvious reasons?
An-Ten-Nae – “Raindrops On Roses” (The Biggie Edition) (sc)
Here I go again posting more melancholy breakcore. Who knew this vibe would recapture my attention after all these years?
This one is from Russian producer bezdarnosti, who sent me this track a few weeks ago. A simple but effective two and a half minute breakbeat workout at 165bpm with some chopped lofi chords and an indecipherable vocal sample low in the mix for good measure. No bass to speak of, but it doesn’t need it, it just works.
Out now for streaming, or pay-what-you-wish on bezdarnosti’s bandcamp.
Chicago-based artist K-ORA sent this over a few weeks ago — brooding melancholy ambient for rainy days like the one I’m experiencing right now. Brief enough to be to-the-point, a quality I generally find positive for ambient and drone — “Do You Remember” has plenty of textural detail to grip hold of, making it more than background listening. Not overly concerned with pleasance, but also without any painful dissonance, the song strikes a balance between mood-setting and active listening.
“Do You Remember” is out now as part of K-ORA’s Sphere 2020, a five-song EP that goes beyond the ambience of this song. Only on bandcamp. Definitely worth checking out the whole release if you like this one.
Another one from PAPA Sound, the Swedish duo composed of Teddybears’ Patrik Arve and songwriter Paulo Albo, who I wrote about last month. This edit is some nice minimalist dancehall-tech featuring vocalist-turned-chef Jamkid.
The original cut of “Mannen” and the edit featured here are both available for streaming, and should hopefully be available for purchase on the duo’s bandcamp soon.
PAPA Sound & Jamkid – “Mannan” (Skull Edit) (sc)
image/ Månen (the moon) as seen in Stockholm in 1900.
Milk, a Toronto-based newcomer, recently sent over this song she did with the ever-engaging Jimmy Edgar. Admittedly melodramatic, Milk croons sweetly over this Edgar beat in fabulous fashion. Apparently written to memorialize “a budding relationship, commitment issues, and a lil dash of mental illness”, Milk asks repeatedly on the hook: “Is this my demise? Is this how I die?” — if this is how death sounds, then I’m kinda comforted.
Robot:86 describes himself as “an inhabitant of a desolate planet where war has been raging since the beginning of time.” London isn’t exactly totally desolate, but there’s no doubt that Albion certainly was the site of near-constant war until the end of the second World War, so allegorically Robot:86 isn’t far off.
Hyper Rewind is Robot:86’s latest maxi-single — and spans from the excellent blown-out filter jungle of “Battle With Hypermind” to the icy minimalist electro of “Rewind the DJ”. Quite deft textural genre exploration on these two, worthy of notice.
Hyper Rewind is now streaming, and is available to purchase on bandcamp. There’s also a Diggers Factory campaign to press vinyl, so get in your pre-order now to make that a reality.
I got this in the mail recently from BLCKEBY (real name Marco Diamubeni), a producer hailing from Italy by way of RDC. “Columbo” relies heavily on a line sampled from “Hold Up” by famed French rap group 113, who you might remember from their pioneering track “Tonton Du Bled”. BLCKEBY takes a healthy slice of the acapella from “Hold Up” and flips it nice and dark, with some skittering percussion and what sounds like the occasional sneaker screech. Nice and simple take, but very effective.
“Columbo” is available for streaming on Spotify and the like, but hasn’t made it to bandcamp quite yet.
Two more absolute destroyers from Chicago-based KEEFE, who I covered a few weeks ago. While festival season begins untempered and the latest COVID upswing continues, I can’t help but feel like these two tracks still manage to give a new–and less hopeless–meaning to the notion of ‘plague rave’. I like to imagine myself dancing to stuff like this post-apocalypse, complete with new masking styles à la 18th century plague doctors. If that’s humanity’s inevitable future, at least we’ll have music like this to meet the mood.
Both tracks out now for streaming, or as part of Execution Pt. 1on bandcamp.
KEEFE – “This Cross” (sc)
KEEFE – “Execution” (sc)
(And if you’re looking for more stuff like this, we’ve got another playlist for you.)
Another slice of shuffling club from Malmö’s Slackin Beats, hot on the heels of his stellar previous single, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. This one features Stockholm-based Klara Zangerl, whose voice adds enough glitter to make this shimmer in that way only perfect Swedish pop does. It’s called “24/7 Dread”, but it’s leaving me far more elated than glum.
You can stream the track now everywhere, or grab it on bandcamp.
Slackin Beats – “24/7 Dread” ft. Klara Zangerl (sc)
Nice effective house music from Dutch producer Papi Gaba, who calls this “post-lofi house”. I’m not so sure I subscribe to the idea of adding ‘post’ to anything anymore, especially not a term that’s already got a qualifier. But whatever you want to call this, it’s really silky lovely stuff.
The song is now available to stream, or purchase on bandcamp. And if you’d like to hear more stuff like this, we’ve got a nice spotify playlist for just this sort of thing (whether you call it lofi or not).
I kind of never thought I’d be writing about breakcore again, to be perfectly honest. But it’s hard not to win me over with well organized breakbeat chops and some satisfying pads. That’s just what New Zealand-based toadmilk delivers on this one. Plus, I give myself some license here, since notwithstanding the intricate-to-the-point-of-chaos arrangement of the amen throughout, this is probably closer to jungle than traditional brain-melting breakcore. Not that these things really matter — it’s just a cool song.
Unfortunately, this isn’t available for streaming on any of the major services, nor has toadmilk uploaded it to their bandcamp. So the only place to listen is right here (or on toadmilk’s soundcloud).
Following a theme today, more sludgy forward-thinking R&B for you on this cold Monday. Coquinati is a producer from Vicenza who’s spent several of the past years in Korea. He describes his music as inspired by the innovation and development rapidly swallowing poorer portions of large Asian cities like Seoul, and by the tension between the K-pop of Gangham and the underground movements of Itaewon. “Landing” features fellow Italian Noone, whose vocals are pleasantly obscured under a wash of distortion, and set atop a sea of pads and glitch.
Matthew Santos, aka MA/SA, sent over these two songs from his latest 4-song release, MMXXII. Santos is LA-based, and a two-time grammy nominee for his songwriting work in the late aughts for Lupe Fiasco. Bleary-eyed, trudging hybrid-pop that sits in a similar lineage of dark R&B as does Shlohmo–particularly his work with How To Dress Well. Lovely stuff here; great for a sleepy Monday morning.
You can grab MMXXII on bandcamp, though unfortunately, the second song below seems to only be available for streaming (which you can do on Spotify, or wherever else you listen).
Bratislava-based Blame Your Genes sent over this bit of infectious 2-step house the other day. As far as I know, not explicitly titled in reference to the war ongoing on Slovakia’s doorstep, its title ought still remind us of the ruin that continues to be left by Russian fire.
It’s hard to find light these days, but I am a firm believer that this kind of horror calls not just for reflection on the atrocities being committed, but also for allowing ourselves moments of joy. Neither should be ignored. While I reflect on the continued suffering of the Ukrainian people, this song brings me some joy today.
Perfectly simple breakbeat-infused pop from London-based Lothian producer Barry Can’t Swim, who you might remember from his excellent Amor Fati last year on Shall Not Fade, or his prolific string of no fewer than eight singles in the past three years. Not bad for a guy who never learned to swim.
“God Is The Space Between Us” is the first single from More Content, out June 24th on Ninjatune sublabel Technicolour, which has had a really strong run since its inception, with releases from the likes of Octo Octa, UMFANG, Elkka, and DJ BORING, among others. The single features Taite Imogen, a lovely singer who I hadn’t heard of until now, but will happily keep an eye out for in the future, as I will continue to do for Barry Can’t Swim.
Pre-order More Contenton bandcamp and get “God Is The Space Between Us” while you wait, or stream it anywhere and everywhere.
Barry Can’t Swim – “God Is The Space Between Us” (ft. Taite Imogen) (sc)
I’m destined to live the dream for all my peeps who never made it.
“Keep It Real” is a solid AZ-sampling breakbeat workout from Chicago-based KEEFE. This is some of the hardest stuff I’ve posted since I restarted the blog, and I’m not mad at it. I’ve also included another one from his latest–grab the whole 4-song EP on bandcamp for $1 — it’s full of this kind of grit. And all the proceeds from the EP go to Chicago Hopes for Kids, so it’s kind of a no brainer.
Clean shimmering steppiness from Tel-Aviv based Dawncall and Dresden-based Azaleh. Unfortunately, where I am, winter’s sticking round a while longer, but this kind of vibe makes the cold a touch easier to handle. Grab the song on bandcamp; plus there’s tons more A+ material from both of these producers on their respective soundclouds (I included an older one from Dawncall below).
More of that sugary Swedish pop meets bouncy UKG that I can’t resist. This time from Russo-Swedes snackbox and EEVA. Hard not to swish around to these. No bandcamp, but find both of these tracks on spotify or wherever else you stream.
Samaki is a New Jersey-born, Atlanta-based producer and vocalist who’s been making deep and romantic hip hop for only the past three years, but you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s a veteran. I don’t know much about him, and he doesn’t have a big online presence yet, but he tells me he’s just trying to make music he would listen to. No soundcloud or bandcamp for him, so he’s given me permission to share two of his songs as mp3s, but you can also stream his stuff on spotify.
JKP is a producer from London, and like many of his countrymen, he’s got a knack for a certain kind of melodic organic house-inspired electronica that’s hard not to enjoy. I don’t know much about JKP, except that you might have heard some of his music in an advert for Shiseido beauty starring Euphoria star Hunter Schafer. Lovely stuff for fans of Four Tet or the like. I don’t think these are on bandcamp, but you can stream them on spotify and elsewhere.
I got this cryptic submission from St. Louis-based ∆EYEZ the other day. Strikes me as somewhere between chopped & screwed (without the lean) and early aughts Prefuse 73 or Machinedrum. Hard to place, and frustratingly brief, but really compelling stuff nonetheless. I’ve included the song he sent me, as well as another two from a couple of years ago.
I don’t know much about AEYEZ, but if his soundcloud is any indication, he’s pretty prolific; there’s a lot of really good stuff there. He hasn’t released much on streaming services, and there’s no bandcamp, so your best bet is to follow him on soundcloud.
Los Angeles & Miami-based producer Troy Kurtz (who used to blog with our old compatriots at Gotta Dance Dirty, and now runs the Pulp Trax label) just released this steppy little number on Amtrac’s OPENERS label.
True to its title, it explores the acidic side of breakbeat 2-step, albeit seemingly with the lack of an actual 303, in favor of an oscillator with other characteristics (but still with enough squelch in the filter to be aceeeed). The bassline’s bite is balanced nicely with the constant spectre of evolving phantom chords and devolving glitchy ambience, and a recurring hollow snare for good measure–all of which pushes the track nicely into roots dub territory without making it feel overtly nostalgic. Solid stuff here.
The song doesn’t appear to be available for purchase on bandcamp yet, but it’s streamable on spotify and elsewhere.
The above short film documents the writing and recording of MUGOGO!, the recently released 22-song album from Kenyan rapper Ziller Bas and Swiss producer FlexFab, over the course of two weeks the two spent together in Kilifi, Kenya in early 2020. Continentally connected to South African gqom, the album has a distinctly hybrid sound of its own — cosmopolitan in its production style, with supremely refined and energetic vocal performances by Bas in a dialect he describes as Sweng Flow, a combination of Swahili, English, and Giriama. I really encourage you to watch the film; it’s beautifully put together, and provides a lot of personal context for the album, all of which makes the record that much more exciting.
I selected a couple of my favorites from the album, but it’s really solid throughout. It’s streaming now, or it can be purchased in a gorgeous deluxe vinyl package on bandcamp.
FlexFab & Ziller Bas – “Haha! Haha!” ft. Jimmy Pé (sc)
FlexFab & Ziller Bas – “Fullu!” (sc)
FlexFab & Ziller Bas – “Oya Baba!” ft. Gafacci (sc)
Slackin Beats is from Malmö, Sweden, and has evidently ingested whatever it is that’s added to the water in Sweden that seems to give an inordinate percentage of its music-makers an unexplainable grasp for perfect pop sensibility. Raghd, who lends vocals to Slackin’s production here, is also from Sweden, and clearly also has the Swedish gift. “With Me” borrows elements of 2-step, breakbeat, house, 2000s electro, and whatever else works — woven together effortlessly to create a perfect piece of hybrid dance pop.
A song like this reminds me just how much good music still flies under the radar without ever garnering the attention it deserves. In another configuration of the world, songs like this would get sustained promo, proper radio push, placement, etc., but instead, it’s up to outlets like mine to contribute a tiny bit towards spreading the word. It’s out now on streaming platforms, and on bandcamp.
PAPA Sound, the Swedish duo composed of Teddybears’ Patrik Arve and songwriter Paulo Albo, have been steadily releasing dancehall collaborations with the likes Wayne J, Prince Icomstan, Royal Payne, among others. For “Money” the duo teams up with the legendary Macka Diamond (aka Lady Charm/Mackerel, of “Tek Con” fame), to great effect. Nice to see Macka on a collaboration like this–and I hope the lyrics have the intended manifesting effect–Macka has always deserved plenty more shine, especially internationally.
“Money” is available to stream now anywhere you do that sort of thing.
Belief is a collaborative project from Boom Bip and Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa. Hearing this brought me back to the early 2000s, when I was a teenage intern at El-P’s Def Jux label — Boom Bip’s first two records would frequently play in the office there. While his solo sound has since evolved considerably, Bip’s knack for melody remains intact, and the addition of Mozgawa’s drumming feels like a subtle and welcome throwback to that era’s liberal use of drum breaks.
“Ulu is the Hawaiian word for growth, to rise or sprout” says Bip; the song was improvised and recorded mostly live, as part of a series of sessions for Belief’s upcoming album on Lex Records. I’ve also included a remix of the track by Palms Out favorite, FaltyDL. You can stream both now, or purchase them on bandcamp.
Belief – “Ulu” (sc)
Belief – “Ulu” (FaltyDL Remix) (sc)
You can also watch the video for their previous single after the jump.
A sweet slice of pop from former Smooth Ends frontman, Franco-Argentinian and London-based Kevin Erlicher, aka Loverground. Consistent with his background in cognitive neuroscience, “How U Feel” asks us to think about what we really have to worry about when we’re preoccupied with a new object of affection. It’s a great song to distract you from the kind of circular thinking that obsessive desire can create. It reminds us we have more than we could ask for–that sometimes we just need to take a moment to chill and let ourselves feel our feelings.
Sometimes the simplest expressions of love are the most enduring. When my wife scratches my back without my asking, the way my dog looks at me inquisitively when he’s wondering if I’m ready to play, the texts I get from my oldest friend fearful of the latest impending world catastrophe, when my father-in-law makes sure we have the right coffee in the house when my mother-in-law is coming to visit.
Lyrah‘s “Hold Me” feels like it’s about two people waiting for the point when they can trust in those seemingly minor expressions of trust in one another. That point in a relationship when there’s already a real familiarity, and each is gently testing the other to feel them out a little more carefully than they bothered to initially. In and of itself, the song gets close to encapsulating the tenderness of a moment like that.