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; [...]
LDN Monos, real name Curtis Neil, is a producer from London who’s recently released his debut long player, August in Winter. It’s a nice amalgam of styles — not stuck in any particular genre, but still totally accessible and friendly on the ears. Mostly mild and easy to digest, but still evocative, and wholly unpretentious. I posted the video for the excellent first single from the album earlier this year. In general, the video treatments for the single have all been outstanding.
No bandcamp for this unfortunately, but stream the album on spotify or wherever, or if you don’t have that kind of thing, it’s also available for free streaming on soundcloud.
Lightfooted cut of midtempo electronica from Birmingham-born, London-based Mattr, real name Matthew Clugston. The track he sent over, “Lex”, is a really lovely song, but perhaps most striking is what consistent and plentiful output Clugston has had over the past couple of years. This may be projecting, but he seems to be one of those producers who really took advantage of the 2 years indoors and decided to finish a few dozen of the tracks he had sitting in his draft folders. (And look, as a producer who didn’t do that, to each their own, pandemic was/is pandemic. But power to those who made the most of it creatively.)
In addition to the new one he sent over, I’ve picked out a couple of others from various releases he had this year. Grab them all on his bandcamp, or stream your dreams away.
I’ve written about Taut (real name Jacob Bergson) before. The song I wrote about last time, “Prime”, became a favorite of mine this past year. At the time Bergson initially sent it over, it was just a single with a B-side. But since then, it was included on a six-song EP, Polarity. Also on the record is this beautiful new song, “Eternity Behind the Veil”, which I suspect will get just as much airtime in my home as did that last one.
Bergson’s nom de plume is really appropriate — he has a knack for writing songs with tight and tense structures, and he shapes drums and synths that have the quality of an outstretched rubber band.
I’d be surprised if Kraftwerk didn’t play some formative role in Bergson’s musical upbringing. “Eternity Behind the Veil” is romantic and robotic simultaneously, a machine love song that I think the grandfather robots would approve of.
Grab Polarity now on bandcamp, or wade into the stream for it.
For months now, I’ve meant to post about Pittsburgh-based Davis Galvin. Their output over the past few years has been nearly faultless, and just as regular. They recently put out a new record, Meratana, a tight set of “(fun)ctional” tracks that are strange, but still well-woven for the floor. But while I really enjoyed that new one, I’m still playing catch up on Galvin’s bountiful discography. The release I’ve been stuck on lately is Otsinni, which came out in May ’21 (Galvin has no fewer than 8 releases since, if you’re in doubt about their prolificacy). It comprises a trio of skittering breakbeat moods that I can’t really choose between — they really work best in tandem. Galvin is an enormous talent, and with such a fast-growing collection, do yourself the favor and get started on absorbing their work.
Galvin seems to avoid streaming services, so go support them on bandcamp instead.
The dreamiest sky blue synth pop from LA-based Piper Durabo, aka Maraschino. I posted the video for her last single recently, but just the other day she followed it up with this gem. Extra-dimensional nostalgia for just about any generation.
Also, Durabo’s monthly show on NTS ‘Kiss Cafe’ is just fabulous and you should absolutely tune in.
Grab the single on bandcamp, or stream away anywhere you do that kinda thing.
Not many words necessary for this one. I’ve been obsessed with this song since it came out in 2018. It’s perfectly balanced.
The 12″s of this are long gone, but for whatever reason, this is on a record that appears to only be available for streaming, not for download anywhere. But give Zodiac Childs a follow on soundcloud anyway, or grab something else from their bandcamp.
Old friend of the blog, Colin Bailey–most commonly known as Austin Ato, but previously best known to Palms Out partygoers as Drums of Death–recently did a great revamp of a seminal Latin broken beat tune by zero dB that came out on Ninjatune in 2006, arguably the tail end of that label’s golden era. Bailey keeps intact the spirit of the original, including the left-handed piano line that leads its rhythm, but he beefs up the bottom end and sharpens its edges, bringing the tune into more modern and accessible dancefloor territory.
Out now for streaming all over the place on Tru Thoughts — or grab it on bandcamp.
zero dB – “A Pompa Girou (Austin Ato Remix)” (bc)
Also, for good measure, here’s a phenomenal cut from Bailey’s Sensitive Techno for Today’s Shut-ins, a record that Colin put out about six months into lockdown that flew a bit under the radar–undeservedly–and I keep meaning to post about it. Check that one on bandcamp on LA-based label Fantastic Voyage.
More fwd-thinking jungle from Ottawa-based So Durand. “Lies II” is a reimagining of one of the tracks from his stellar This Unruly Kingdom release, which I covered earlier in the year. This new version takes what was previously a sludgy codeine trip of an instrumental hiphop track full of warm yellow bulbs, and keys it way way up, substituting all the dope with uppers and throwing it into a strobe filled warehouse night. Roughhouse yet refined jungle for peak time.
It’s out now on Irish label Choki Biki. Grab it on their bandcamp or stream it to your heart’s content.
So Durand – “Lies II” (bc)
Also, while I was on paternity leave, So Durand put out a maxi with a couple of hi-NRG jungle crossovers, and I’d be remiss not to share this one. Grab it on his bandcamp.
A pair of beauties here from DC-born, London-based, Iraqi-Puerto Rican-originated Waleed. He’s only released these two tracks thus far, but they’ve received immense support from the likes of Four Tet, Dan Snaith, Floating Points, and Ben UFO, attention that ultimately also quickly secured him a deal with the venerable German label City Slang (European/sometimes home for the likes of Caribou, José Gonzalez, Yo La Tengo, Gold Panda, Calexico, etc).
Not much more information about Waleed has yet surfaced to provide much context for his music, but it shares plenty with the work of its high profile supporters, none of whom are slouches, to say the least. Both songs have a nice heft to their shuffle, and plenty of intricate detail. A comparison to Burial is unfortunately inescapable here given the post-garage swing in those drums, but where the godfather tends towards the icy, rainy, and cold, Waleed manages to imbue his music with a good deal more optimism, humidity, and sweat. Both of these songs still have enough emotional weight to tug the heartstrings, but Waleed does a great job of steering clear of the sap, which is hard to say for many others in the genre.
Despite the ever-crowded field, and the relative simplicity of these songs, it’s really no wonder he’s gotten a different level of attention compared to others exploring this sound. It’s natural, easygoing, and loose music that still sounds perfectly intentional and professional.
There are still copies of the 12″ available, and I can kind of imagine the first pressing might become a bit of a collectors item, so grab a copy on bandcamp. (Or stream away, as you do). And definitely check the video for the b-side, “Sueños”, animated by Matt Portner.
Growing up is scary. When you’re a kid, you probably have one of two generally misguided perspectives on getting older. (a) It’ll get easier to just be alive, and I’ll finally be self-determined, so I’ll be more able to do what I want. (b) I’ll be bored, and boring, stuck in a normie life forever, so I better let my light burn bright (or out) while I have the chance.
Neither is particularly accurate. For most, the just being alive part does get a little easier, but self-determination doesn’t usually truly mean the time or power to do what one wants, especially when time speeds up on an exponent. If you have a family, you probably won’t often be bored — though sadly you might seem boring — but at least for many, you’ll fucking treasure the moments when you get the chance to have a few normal boring hours. And sure, go ahead and let your light shine bright as a kid — I’m glad I did — but also leave yourself a little fuel for middle adulthood, because it can be legitimately exhausting to have babies and jobs and purpose, even as thrilling as all that can be.
London-via-Leeds hailing Wittyboy burned bright early — do you remember those niche/bassline Craig David remixes he did back in 2007ish? I think he’s still doing that banger sound for the most part — and power to him for it — but like many of our age group (he’s about a year younger than me, according to wikipedia), he’s at the least supplementing his speed wubs with some more “grownup” (or maybe just mild) sounds, and offering listeners a touch of introspection. “My Fear” is a sweet and simple song that exists in a space somewhere between that post-garage sound that I hate describing but like listening to, and something a bit more akin to straightforward dancefloor pop. It’s really listenable stuff, and hats off to a wubgawd for showing his softer side. We all gotta take a breather sometimes as we approach our 40s.
Previous-era Palms Out stalwarts Big Dope P and Feadz from Paris team up to remix this classic NYC house track by Uncanny Alliance, the duo composed of Brinsley Evans and E.V. Mystique. The original was a hit in the clubs of early-90s New York, but probably is better remembered for its bootleg by Louie Vega and Kenny Dope. This new 2022 version strays pretty far from the original and the early boots, with a shimmery touch of the French and a bunch of jukey fake-outs, but it definitely maintains some of that OG sass.
It’s out now as part of Moveltraxx’s excellent comp Street Bangers Factory 20. Grab it on bandcamp, or stream it wherever.
Uncanny Alliance – “I Got My Education” (Big Dope P & Feadz Remix) (sc)
True to its title, this one’s all a flurry of hoovers, breaks, and rave pianos from London’s 4am Kru, who I’ve covered in the past. “Pianos Raining Down” is also designed as a useful tool, starting at a moderately fast 165bpm, but slowing down during the first breakdown to 134bpm while still keeping the NRG high. By the by, that stab melody is sampled from a track by Yorkshire duo McDonald & Janetta, who are credited as collaborators. All fun here.
Hard-as-nails electro meets g-tech from Osutin, real name Austin Crumpley. Osutin may hail from Phoenix, but this is the stuff that would make nearly any Michigander grimace and start moving their butt.
Osutin’s Bass Go EP is out now on LA label, Teethy. Grab it on bandcamp, or stream it all over.
Sharp, clenched, grand electronica from LA-based Tommy Simpson, aka Macro/micro. Simpson recently stopped work as an engineer for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, where he assisted on the last two NIN albums and their recent film work, including that excellent score for Watchmen.
Simpson’s own work as Macro/micro definitely exists in a similar space as does that of Reznor and Ross, particularly in his use of tightly controlled distortion (see e.g., “Awe” and “He’ll Be With You Shortly”). But there’s definitely a generational divide; as a much younger artist, Simpson seems more willing to open the blinds more often and let in some light. Despite its general darkness, this is not dour music, there’s plenty of optimism to be found here too (see e.g., the closer, “Gratitude” which is probably my choice from the record).
Definitely check out the whole album, which has been getting a lot of play over here since its release this past July. It’s out now on bandcamp, and streaming everywhere else.
Macro/micro – Things Will Never Be The Same Again (bc)
I’m slowly returning from paternity leave, and this kind of ditty from LA-based apob speaks well to my current mood. Having a little baby who smiles constantly and squeals in delight 100x/day makes it hard to have anything but fun, even though my wife and I are both wildly exhausted.
The sound of “having more fun v1” is true to its name, for sure, but it’s still got an artery of subtle seriousness running through it — maybe it’s that Twin Peaks-y secondary bass line. This song is the first solo release from apob, real name Aaron O’Brien, but he’s produced and written for some interesting names these past couple of years, including Dora Jar, Aiden Bissett, and JELEEL!. One to watch, this one.
Not on bandcamp, but streaming all over, including on spotify.
Cando is a Bristol-based production duo composed of Chad Leotaud and Owen Roberts. Roberts comes from the world of commercial pop and dance, working as a songwriter for the likes of BTS; Leotaud was raised in part in Trinidad, with a background in dancehall and early 2000s DMZ-era dubstep. The track these two sent over recently, “Sting in the Tail”, is the b-side from their most recent two-tracker, and crosses percussive dancehall stylings with touches of both that first-wave dubstep sound and some mainstream sheen. I’ve also included an older track, “Bleak Dub”, from 2019, which sits more firmly in Deep Medi territory, and burns nice and slow. Ones to watch.
in response to the healthcare system feeling so criminal, my mom joked that we should just start stealing things. we went to cvs later that day, and I may or may not have stolen a pack of peanut m&ms for her.
“Sorry CVS” was written by Lyrah and her brother, shortly after his diagnosis with stage 4 cancer. It’s a song about a criminal and unjust healthcare system devoid of humanity, replaced instead with insensate cynicism. If a system like this bills itself as compassionate, but happily denies care to those unable to pay, what form of twisted ethics should ever protect that system from theft? Besides, CVS is the kind of place that’s just begging to be stolen from. Sending love to everyone out there unable to get adequate or appropriate care, and all of those forced to navigate a labyrinthine Medicaid system.
More blissed out breakbeat house from Monolithic and Queens-based label Mechanical, both of whom I covered a little while back. Monolithic describes the song as the sound of those times when you’re forced to act calm in the face of a situation that’s getting out of control. No doubt this is cool, calm, and collected stuff — just as fit for a late 90s roll as it would be for today at the beach.
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the divisions of the autonomic nervous system, particularly the parasympathetic and enteric, and the ways in which the branches of the trigeminal nerve may be affected by changes in the rate and consistency of peristalsis. Could it be that the chronic migraines I’ve experienced since I was a teenager might be affected by finding a way to change the pace of peristalsis and/or attaining better conscious control over general parasympathetic function? No easy answers to questions like these.
Digital Artifact is an artist who clearly spends time trying to feel out the answers to difficult questions. Not only because he’s a computer engineering student, an experience which I can only imagine bears with it a fair share of challenges, but also through his music, which is distinctly explorative. Most of his music is iterative–as in, it’s made by applying the same set of rules a number of different times, and recording the outcome. That’s a heady endeavor, no doubt, but all of it manages to maintain touch with an emotional nerve. These are explorations worth following along with.
I’ve selected a couple of songs for you here, but he’s got a wealth of material available to stream on his soundcloud and spotify profiles, so I really recommend going there, hitting shuffle, and letting the material take you where it may.
Digital Artifact – “A Quantum Entanglement of the Mind” (Iteration One)
Digital Artifact – “A Hollow Blue Cube In The Sand” (Iteration Two)
Digital Artifact – “An Involuntary Hallucination” (Iteration One)
I rinsed Moderat‘s 2009 self titled album to death. I was traveling constantly at the time, and it just fit perfectly in my head and headphones. The songwriting on that record always felt a bit dominated by Modeselektor, but just with the sort of careful percussive refinement of an Apparat track. I wasn’t mad at that at the time, but it never felt quite like the act had it’s own distinct sound.
The trio’s recently released new record, MORE D4TA, on the other hand feels like something else entirely. It’s not a Modeselektor record, it’s not an Apparat record. Sure, plenty of of the typical technique of all three producers remain (thankfully), but the songwriting is a departure, and the influences feel broader. Case in point, the sound palette of the song I’ve included below seems less 2010s Berlin, and more 1980s Manchester.
Two perfectly forward cuts of leftfield bass from Brooklyn-based Tano, from his recently released five tracker on his own In Armatura imprint.
Did you know that a clock works in much the same way that a synthesizer does? It depends on an energy source controlling an oscillator that marks intervals. In the case of a synth, those intervals become the relationship between notes on a scale; in a clock, the intervals are equal temporal units–seconds. I recently learned this, and it feels appropriate to share in the context of this record, since “Clockworx” is my pick of the bunch. Pure and distinct grime references in that lead line, carefully refined breakbeats, it feels like a timeless and timely record (I’m full of bad puns, get at me). Also check “Step Into Vesuvio” — a tight bit of percussive broken beat techno. But really, the whole EP is extremely strong, and should not be slept on.
In Armatura 003 is out now for streaming or on bandcamp.
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
Music–especially electronic music–is usually a feeling exercise. It’s for dancing, for crying, for running.
Most artists just want their art to make you feel something. I’ve always subscribed to the idea that the worst reaction art can evoke is indifference. As much as I hope my own music gives people good feelings, I’d ultimately much rather a song I write elicit a strong negative reaction like disgust rather than boredom or indifference. But some of my favorite music is also thinking music. Music can have tremendous activating effect on the occipital lobe and frontal cortex — it can conjure not just emotion, but also give us visions, trigger complex thought and academic inspiration.
Thodén (real name Kris Rehfeld) is a Danish artist whose music has that desired substantial emotional effect, but is also full of visual stimulus. This may be by design– Rehfeld’s debut album, This Codified Drift was written during the first lockdown, at at time when we all had more time for thinking, and maybe a little less room or willingness to feel.
The album doesn’t hit you over the head with meaning. It’s bursting with imagery, but it’s all cloaked — it’s left to the listener to decide what this music means. Listening to a song like “Hyperreal”, I find myself fantasizing about the patterns of wasps nests and the organization of anthills. “Gush” feels like the frustration of new lust; when you’re feeling intense magnetism, but trying to play it cool. “Signal on Baikal” is a swamp boat right after you turn off the airdrive fan and let it coast towards the mouth of a cave. All eight songs on the album are full of these kinds of feelings and imagery. But they all mean what you make of them, so go make them mean something.
This Codified Drift is out now for streaming or on bandcamp, via French label Electroménager.
Concrete and plasticine murmuring post-dubstep sounds from Mexico’s AAOM, real name Alfonso Otero. This is the kind of music that plays through drywall and out from the storm drains. Warm, but still full of shivers.
Twinkly brooding bass music from LA-based RamonPang. Consistent with the main lyric, the tension in this feels like being held underwater for a few seconds too long — just long enough for fight or flight to start setting in — until finally that tuned sub bass comes in with a great sigh of relief.