I revived an old music blog at the end of 2021?

Maybe it’s been a foolish endeavor, and maybe I’m the only one who misses the blog ol’ days, but I’ve been giving it a shot. I’ve been working on restoring some of the old content, though much of it was lost. I’ve slowly been rebuilding the old remix sunday archives, and even posting the occasional new edition. And I’ve been writing again.

You can find all the label’s releases here, on bandcamp, or most anywhere you listen to music these days. I’ve still got copies of some of the old vinyl releases, and I recently 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 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 you want to get in touch, just give me a holler.

– Haldan/Boody

  • Neil Cowley – Sleep Year

    Neil Cowley is best known as a pianist, and an accomplished one at that, having been treated as a prodigy in his youth, and seeing commercial success in the aughts and 2010s with his Neil Cowley Trio. Even if you aren’t familiar, you’ve probably heard his playing as a session musician for people like Adele and Emeli Sandé.

    In 2018, the Cowley Trio went on hiatus, and Cowley announced he’d be focusing less on piano in his music, in favor of electronic instruments. In 2019, he put out a maxi-single that I loved called DFAM (presumably named after the endlessly inspiring Moog percussive synth). Respect to anyone for branching out sonically, but for as gifted a pianist as he, I’m glad it wasn’t long before the piano reemerged as the central voice in his music. In 2020, he released the first in what became a six-part series called Building Blocks that aimed to chronicle his reconnection with the piano and place it in the context of his broader influences, including electronica and ambient music.

    At the end of February, Cowley released the sixth and final volume of the Building Blocks series. He describes the music on this record as an attempt to bridge the gap between the euphoria of the electronic music he might dance to all night and the personally fulfilling quality of the music he’d listen to on the couch to recover from one of those nights. For many, I think this will strike more as home listening unsuitable for a night out, but nonetheless it’s still a noble attempt to meet in the middle. More importantly, it’s one that has yielded music with an exciting level of detail without becoming academic or particularly noodly. This is music that has a beautifully recuperative quality—it’s intelligent, but gentle—which is exactly what I need lately. The fifth song on the record is titled “Sleep Year.” I just need to say that sleep year is what I want so desperately right now. This past year with a toddler has been awake year.

    Building Blocks pt. 6 is out now on bandcamp, or for streaming.

    Neil Cowley – “Deep Affliction” (bc)

    Neil Cowley – “Herald” (bc)

    Neil Cowley – “Sleep Year” (bc)

  • How To Dress Well – New Confusion

    Hell is where no one has anything in common with anyone else

    I’ve been confused and oversensitive all day. One of those days when the even the smallest slight feels like a personal injury. I’m never sure how best to handle those moments except to try to bridge the gap dividing me from the others in my life, whether my wife or my mechanic or the guy at the bodega. I’m happiest when I feel connected to other people, even those I only encounter once. My wife teases me for making friends with every cab driver, but what kind of life would it be to not find out what you have in common with the people with whom you cross paths? Sometimes it doesn’t work—people don’t always want to be found—but usually it does, and I walk away from the interaction feeling like my shoes fit better than they did beforehand.

    When I was making music full-time in the 2010s, I crossed paths with Tom Krell a few times. I was briefly signed to the label on which he released one of his first records, and If I remember correctly, he liked some of the music I had been making at the time with Kalifa (fka Le1f); we found ourselves in the same room a handful of times. His music has always had an earnestness, even in spite of some of its more academic qualities. I appreciate both sides, and I’ve always gotten the sense that Krell was actually the person he put into his music, for better or worse. My sense now is that’s what he’s looking to [re]capture on his upcoming album I Am Toward You. After releasing a string of relatively high profile records on Domino, he’s been quiet for the past six years (save for a couple of remix albums). Following 2018’s The Anteroom, he apparently burned out in the wake of a debilitating tour schedule and disillusionment with the cynicism of the business of music. Fair.

    The first two songs from this new record have a clear-eyed immediacy to them. I haven’t heard the rest of the album, but both sides of the lead single seem distinctly less cool than the songs on The Anteroom or the preceding releases on Domino—both in substance and in style—and I truly say that as a good thing. Neither seem contrived, nor do they feel overly stylized. Krell’s production is always pretty immaculate, and that’s still true here, but the songs have a bit more room to float to the surface, and they’re better for it. As an artist with such natural vocal and songwriting talent, sometimes his fondness for intricate flavor-of-the-day production has worked against his favor in the past. That no longer seems to be the case, despite working with folks like CFCF and Joel Ford on the new album. Sometimes when we’re trying to connect with other people, we just need to get out there without trying to gussy ourselves up. Saying what we have to say is usually more important than making sure we look cool saying it.

    How To Dress Well‘s I Am Toward You is out May 10th on Sargent House. You can get access to two songs when you preorder the record on bandcamp. You can also stream it.

    How To Dress Well – “New Confusion” (bc)

  • From the Mailbox 8

    Dreamy 168bpm love-song-jungle meets elegant wordplay on this superbly produced track from UK emcee and producer Felts, who I know virtually nothing about. At the risk of embarrassing myself, I’ll take a guess as to what part of the country he’s from based on accent alone, and say Sussex(?). Felts’ previous work is mostly drill, and it’s all strong, but this track is a big upgrade and fits his pseudonym much better. No bandcamp here, but grab the mp3 below, and playlist this on all the streamers.

    Felts – “Bunches” (mp3)

    More vocals over jazzy breakbeats north of 160bpm, this time from Gothenberg-based art pop band SYND (Swedish for “sin”). It was just another dream that didn’t come true / but I don’t really mind, I’ve gotten used to it goes the song’s refrain. I get that—and not just from a place of feeling sorry for oneself; it’s just part of getting older to recognize that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Strong stuff here, definitely worth checking the rest of the band’s catalog. (And some of their old videos are really fun). No bandcamp for this, but the band has offered up the mp3 below — streamers, go stream it wherever you stream.

    SYND – “Stella” (mp3)

    Rounding out the dream theme today is a nice slice of melodic breakbeat house from Stuttgart-based collaborators Dejago and Dentso. All the usual ingredients of big room sad are here, but they’re all neatly assembled to be greater than the sum of the parts. The artists have generously provided the mp3 below, but you can also grab the EP on bandcamp, and it’s of course available on all the typical streaming outlets.

    Dejago & Densto – “Dream of You” (mp3)

  • MELO-X – Wake n Bake Vol. 1

    You probably know Sean Rhoden, professionally known as MELO-X, from his work on Beyoncé’s Lemonade–having produced and co-written “Hold Up” and “Sorry.” More recently, he co-wrote “Move” on Bey’s 2022 album Renaissance, and provided background vocals. He also put out a phenomenal collaborative album with frequent collaborator Jesse Boykins III back in 2012, and a string of singles a few years ago as half of Electric Punanny—a duo with Jasmine Solano. His latest release, Wake n Bake Vol. 1, is his first substantial solo effort since 2015’s Curate EP, following two bootleg remix EPs he released for free during the pandemic (one of all Adele songs, the other more Beyoncé).

    Wake n Bake is not a reference to weed, at least not overtly. It’s meant as a directive to listeners to meet the dawn with intention and purpose—whether through mediation, cooking, or other forms of creation. The music itself speaks to that purpose. All nine songs on the record are instrumental, and purely contemplative in spirit. It reads more like a thoughtful, near-ambient beat tape than an album or mixtape, with each song—most under 2 minutes—functioning like a vignette to soundtrack a piece of a healthy morning routine. “Rise n Shine” (Sunrise Demo) is the moment when your eyes open and you hear the dulcet tones of birds and beach; “Green BABA Riddim” is rolling over to see your loved one; “Papi Cooks the Best Breakfast” is for just that; “Happy Smiles Take 1” is meditative digestion.

    Wake n Bake‘s aesthetic is all potions, satin sheets, cinnamon leaf tea, and bammy cake; its message is all about nurturing self-love. For someone like me who’s scraping through a two-year-old’s sleep regression, the record feels deeply aspirational, if perhaps totally out of reach. I can only pine for enough sleep to have the occasional peaceful morning; and self-care for me right now is finding an hour every night to pay bills. But notwithstanding the dissonance between my own life and the tone of this record, these songs have a beautifully healing quality that manages to reverberate even over here in the land of a toddler’s fire and brimstone. I recommend this record for anyone who needs a reprieve from that kind of chaos, and to those who simply need a reminder of how valuable a peaceful morning can be.

    To listen to the record, I recommend purchasing it directly from Melo’s website, but you can also grab it on bandcamp, or stream it on the usual outlets.

    MELO-X – “Rise n Shine” (Sunrise demo) (bc)

    MELO-X – “Green BABA Riddim” (bc)

    MELO-X – “Papi Cooks the Best Breakfast” (bc)

    MELO-X – “Happy Smiles Take 1” (bc)

  • Mailbox: Big in Borneo – Sertraline

    But when this volcano starts inside of you, can’t you stop it?
    If it starts, there’s no stopping it, really.

    Big in Borneo is Michael Pybus, an artist from London making serene and sincere electronica and dance music. The record he sent over is named from the drug Sertraline, an antidepressant branded in the United States as Zoloft. Pybus credits the drug with helping him overcome debilitating anxiety and allowing him to regain a creative foothold. I have very close loved ones who have benefitted enormously from the same drug, so I appreciate Pybus’s willingness to name it and make himself vulnerable by putting his experience with it on display. None of this should be taboo, so hats off to anyone willing to share their own experiences navigating mental illness and seeking to improve their health.

    The music Pybus made inspired by Sertraline is graceful and sublime stuff, as if it was made in the midst of a long exhale, which in a way it may have been. My pick is “How it Feels” — a gentle, shimmering slice of 2-step that’s anchored by samples of kids in Belfast in the 1960s being interviewed about their feelings; asked to describe those overwhelming feelings like love. It’s such a sweet scene that gets set by those kids, and such a simple and essential demonstration of why it’s so vital to have a verbal outlet for your feelings. My nearly-two-year-old daughter is starting to be able to string more complicated sentences together now, and the satisfaction she feels when she can manage to express a big feeling is so palpable. She’s so proud (as am I), but she’s also so relieved. Those feelings gotta go somewhere, and almost never a better place but out.

    In addition to two of the three tracks from Sertraline, I’m also posting another excellent track from Pybus’s previous EP, which is also well worth checking for. No bandcamp for any of these, unfortunately, but Pybus was kind enough to let me post the mp3s — for all the iPod warriors and those who might want to include them in a mix or set. They’re also available at the typical streaming outlets.

    Big in Borneo – “How it Feels” (mp3)

    Big in Borneo – “Sertraline” (mp3)

    Big in Borneo – “Control” (mp3)

  • Macro/micro – Clicks

    I’ve written about Los Angeles native Tommy Simpson a couple of times before. Most recently, I wrote about the excellent scores he did for the short film R.A.E.R BETA 0027 and the VoE collection for Lever Couture, respectively. And in 2022, I covered his brilliant album Things Will Never Be The Same Again, which was on heavy rotation for me last year.

    His latest is Clicks, an EP that is without doubt my favorite work from him thus far. As song titles like “Follow” and “Like and Subscribe” allude to, it’s a refreshingly direct tongue-in-cheek comment on what Simpson describes as the “hellscape of our social media dystopia.” Initially written as a single 9 min+ composition, Simpson chose to then break the song into four smaller movements—a reasonable choice given the subject matter, where short-form is king. He’s also included a compressed edit of the whole record, which he names the TLDR edit (though it might have been more fitting to say TLDL).

    On each of the movements of Clicks, Simpson repeats a set of incantations, voiced through a guttural vocoder:

    Just click on the screen, it’s so easy to be, someone else’s dream / just click on the screen, it’s so easy, no need for agency / just click on the screen, you can’t disagree, there is no resisting

    I’m someone who really wants to avoid social media, but nonetheless gets pulled into its dopamine loop. I’m also someone who prides myself on my willpower, having managed to set down most of my vices in mid-adulthood, but I find it agonizingly hard to keep myself off socials. It’s so easy as a creative person to justify succumbing to its continued pull in the name of self-promotion, but actually promoting myself and my work is the easiest part to avoid. It’s the consumption that’s so seductive. Anything from sex, to GAS, to DIY, to inspiration/tragedy porn and Mr. Beast-style charity porn, even to enjoying legitimately wonderful individual expressions of art that deserve a place in our collective consciousness—it all gets reduced and distilled, presented as if it’s all of equal value.

    None of my hip-fire thoughts here are novel or particularly original, but Simpson’s take on this subject is resonant. He seems to be framing the tragedy of web 2.0 less as a 1984-type dystopia where our data is harvested, and we lose our sense of (or actual) privacy in service of some behemothic Brother. Instead, the aesthetic tone of the record—which sounds like it was written inside a sewer tunnel by manipulating the natural resonances of cast iron pipes and rat footsteps—seems more of a comment on the diminution of our sense of self (or at least the extent to which our sense of self is actually self-generated). There’s no real enemy pointed to here, what’s important is illustrating the comic/tragedy of our individually sad, separate, and ultimately lonely experiences under the dull light of our devices.

    Support Simpson’s work by purchasing the record on bandcamp (after all, we must still monetize our “product” for maximum profit, we have little choice). You can also stream it on spotify or whatever, and help him earn a few fractions of a penny.

    Macro/micro – “Like and Subscribe” (sc)

    Macro/micro – “Clicks” (all four movements) (bc)

  • Visual Velcro 30

    Tyler, The Creator – “WHAT A DAY” (prod. Madlib) (sc)

    Luke RV – “Great Advice”

    Mattr – “Eno” (sc)

  • From the Mailbox 7

    Epic exuberance from Oslo’s Future Daughter, a trio that has previously released on old Palms Out fav, Ben Aqua’s #FEELINGS label. This one is out on wonderfully named Oslo label Kropp uten Grenser (“Body without Borders”). I don’t mean to reduce a country and its music to its most clichéd characteristics, but listening to this, I can absolutely imagine myself standing at the edge of a cliff overlooking Aurlandsfjord ready to embrace life with both arms. Grab this on bandcamp now, and stay tuned for the upcoming LP Mythic Rues, out later this year.

    Future Daughter – “Tronada” (sc)

    Perfectly harmonious and blissful ambient explorations from Austin’s Six Missing (real name TJ Dumser), in collaboration with avant-garde clarinetist Ruby Lulham, aka Clariloops. Where the last song had me imagining myself in the most epic of settings, this song is where you go after descending the summit, cozy under a blanket in front of a fire with your people. Grab this on bandcamp, or stream it all over — and check Dumser’s bandcamp for another beautiful collaboration with Lulham.

    Six Missing & Clariloops – “Balloons” (sc)

    Another gorgeous piece of delicate electronica from Birmingham-born Matthew Clugston, aka Mattr. I’ve covered Clugston a couple of times before, and his work becomes more refined with each release, this one sharpened nearly to a needle point. In addition to a knack for musical precision, he’s been doing some great animation work using SDXL and AnimatedDiff, most of which you can find on his instagram. This is out now on bandcamp and for streaming, but he’s also been generous to let me share with you all the mp3.

    Mattr – “Llam” (mp3)

  • Mailbox: autom8 – Bad Selecta

    autom8 is an artist from Portland, OR, writing uncompromising hi-NRG jungle. Authentic jungle vibes from the Pacific Northwest—hard to imagine writing that phrase so casually in 1994. I don’t know a whole lot else about automat8, but they’re clearly a dyed-in-the-wool fan of the genre; so much so that they even chose for themselves the kind of pseudonym you might have seen scribbled on a dub plate cut at Music House 30 years ago.

    A few years ago, during the first lock-down, I stumbled across the 1994 BBC documentary Jungle Fever. The film has its high points and low, but in addition to serving as a nice piece of an important historical record, it features some interviews with novelist Koushik Banerjea (then a lecturer at Goldsmiths). At one point in the film, in response to a question about criticism of jungle as glamorizing violence, he explains the following:

    If it’s a reflection on the reality which an individual seeks to portray through his or her music, then I cannot see how it can be a negative thing. [Jungle artists] feed a mainstream, predominantly white fantasy about the lifestyles and the primary definers of Blackness in Britain; the way in which young black men are seen to be running wild. And if, by feeding into this fantasy, artists embracing the so-called gangster genre can make money, then that is deeply subversive.

    Later in the film, Banerjea continues:

    It goes back to my argument about the redefinition of Britishness. The sense of Britishness, the British nation, and British culture. For the first time, you’re probably seeing all of those things being redefined on Black terms. That in itself is a radical departure from what you’ve witnessed before.

    I imagine it would be jarring for the originators in that film like Shy FX, Gunsmoke, MC Lenny, and UK Apachi, had they been given a window into the future to be able to witness the nature and breadth of jungle’s current popular resurgence. I corresponded a little with him after I saw the film, and while we didn’t discuss this directly, I suspect the Banerjea of 1994 might not have found it totally surprising had he been told that jungle would become fully international (or globalized) music with virtually none of the associations of “gangster music” remaining; that it would be sound-tracking American Grammy Award winners, and its building blocks used by some in a manner transcending even the pastiche. After all, this isn’t jungle’s first spell in the mainstream.

    For as much as jungle was synonymous with Britishness, having indeed redefined those notions on Black terms much in the way that hip hop had a decade earlier for the US, it was itself already a product of a global imperial diaspora. As Simon Reynolds has noted, jungle may be best described stylistically as the convergence of UK rave and Jamaican dub, with its “spatialised production, bass quake pressure and battery of extreme sonic effects.” Perhaps as a genre born of globalization, it was nearly inevitable that it would be adopted and readopted by one generation after another, with little regard to geography, or eventually even to race and culture. It’s not unique in that way, obviously (see nearly any other genre of dance music, all owing their very existence to the hyper creativity of Black youth sharing sensibilities with their immediate neighbors in one city or another), but maybe it again serves as a reminder that nothing can be contained in the post-internet age, and maybe embracing that futility is the only way to ensure the originators of a genre at least get some flowers.

    autom8 has generously provided a free download of one of their tracks, “Bad Selecta”. The song’s name may be a gentle acknowledgement that they are borrowing from a culture in which they weren’t around to participate, but of which they mean to be a diligent student.

    Find all of autom8’s admiring tributes on bandcamp or on streaming platforms.

    autom8 – “Bad Selecta” (mp3)

    autom8 – “Show U” (bc)

    autom8 – “B4DB0Y S0UND” (bc)

  • Mailbox: Casha Mour – Never Want Someone

    Foggy, legless, halftime electronica from London’s Casha Mour. This song feels to me like the last song you hear in your head after a long night of jovial drunkenness and playful flirtation, right before your head hits the pillow and you drift off with a smile. To me, it’s mostly an articulation of the inherent optimism of nights like that, and the way those loosest of friendly human interactions can stoke the heart embers. But there’s a touch of sorrow there too, as there often is in a night like that—for all the warmth of those nights, the platonic or superficial nature of those encounters and relationships is also often a reflection of the absence of intimacy.

    Fittingly, this is from an EP named Dreamware, Casha Mour’s latest, out now on bandcamp, or for streaming. I’ve also included a gloomier, witchier tune of his from last year, the lead melody of which has been stuck in my head for days. No bandcamp for that one, unfortunately.

    Casha Mour – “Never Want Someone” (sc)

    Casha Mour – “First Life” (sc)

  • Wealstarcks – NA PRAIA Vol​.​1

    Parisian producer Wealstarcks (formerly known as Wealstarr) has that kind of talent that is almost counterproductive. You can trace back his career a decade or two, and it becomes evident he’s basically capable of effortlessly executing any style he wants to. That sort of talent is impressive, sure, but it also means that it can be that much harder to distill one’s tastes into output that really conveys the content of one’s soul. He’s produced for the likes of Booba and Tory Lanez, but with his latest few releases, including this most recent record, an EP called NA PRAIA Vol. 1 (Portuguese for “on the beach”), it feels as if he’s really touched the nerve.

    Although he’s from France, he’s an unabashed Brazilophile. NA PRAIA is a confluence of a half dozen Brazilian genres, old and new, all delivered with the sort of modern production precision and clarity that’s made Kaytranada a household name. I don’t mean to say there’s something derivative here—this does feel like properly authentic music—but I can’t help but think some of these songs sound like what might result if Kaytra fell deeply in love with Samba, Chorro, Carioca and Bossa. Top notch stuff.

    Grab NA PRAIA Vol. 1 on bandcamp, or stream wherever streams are streamed.

    Wealstarcks – “Na Praia” (bc)

    Wealstarcks – “Gostoso” (bc)

    Wealstarcks – “Divine” (bc)

  • From the Mailbox 6

    Refined hybrid club music from SlowRolla and NovTheKID that hits somewhere between jersey club, juke, and breakbeat, all filtered through the sieve of a buttery RnB croon. This is from the Hybrid Pulse compilation, the inaugural release on Sonora Destroy Records, a new label based in Bogotá. The whole record is really solid, and covers a ton of ground — truly a global effort. Grab it on bandcamp, or stream it all over.

    SlowRolla & NovTheKid – “DNR” (mp3)

    Puerto Rico’s Katan Roman blends NY rap, reggaeton, Sandungueo, and Funk Carioca on this absolute brutal bop. This deserves to be playing at deafening volumes from every Slingshot parked in front of a Borinqueño or Dominicano bodega in the Bronx. Asicalao. No bandcamp for this, unfortunately, but stream it all over, or grab it below.

    Katan Roman – “Crazy” (mp3)

    Remix of Hatis Noit, the Japanese experimental voice artist on Erased Tapes whose wild video I featured a couple of months ago. Following excellent reworks by the likes of Matthew Herbert and William Basinski, this version is delivered by DJ Preservation, who’s produced for the likes of Yasiin Bey, Roc Marciano, DOOM, and RZA, GZA, and Raekwon. I also know him from Afu Ra’s “Dynamite” which might not be that well known to many, but was on heavy rotation at a formative moment in my life. For the remix, Preservation brought on billy woods and ELUCID, collectively known as Armand Hammer, one of the acts that’s been valiantly buttressing underground NY rap from constantly threatening tides. Grab this on bandcamp or stream it all over.

    Hatis Noit – “Jomon” (Preservation Rework ft. Armand Hammer) (bc)

  • LOOR – In The Dark

    Melancholy-in-the-club from Bristol’s LOOR, the dance project from former alt-J member Gwil Sainsbury. This song is from LOOR’s latest record, Sings In Japanese: We’re Sad Because We’re Alive, which explores the potential for cultural resonance and emotional self-exploration in the use of royalty-free samples, particularly from the Splice platform. It’s an interesting tact to take, and Sainsbury makes a good point in describing how emotionally productive it has been for him to shed his cynicism about where a sound is sourced:

    [W]hat I’ve found is that by using these samples—quite shamelessly—I have been able to enhance the emotional resonance of my own electronic productions beyond my original intentions- it’s opened doors that I didn’t realise existed. These emotional spaces have in turn allowed me to explore my own emotional life in ways I couldn’t have done before.

    This makes a lot of sense. The emotional value of a piece of music is in the ear of the beholder, so to speak—why should it matter if the building blocks of that music are available to everyone? Is it really that different from other forms of sampling? Or from using a I-vi-IV-V chord progression? Probably not, except for the fact that Splice is a VC-backed startup built on Goldman Sachs dollars and with an estimated worth of over half a billion dollars. To what extent do the investments flowing to companies like Splice actually benefit creators? Sainsbury recognizes this inherent conflict too:

    In a way, I’m not entirely comfortable with this. I think that the commodification of music is a serious problem and, in a way, a for-profit company like Splice is part of a general wealth extraction from musicians. […] Despite the rotten core of capitalism at the heart of the EP—there is a small, beautiful mushroom growing out of it that is simultaneously joyful and yet deeply sad in its own existence.

    He seems to be saying that out of something ugly, we may as well try to grow something beautiful, if for no other reason than we are essentially powerless to avoid the greed upon which the creative industries are reliant. This is a sentiment I can get behind, even reluctantly; perhaps our power is in the lasting value of what we build on the backs of the powerful. Without Velasquez having dutifully painted his portraits of Philip IV and members of that court, history wouldn’t have recorded his emotionally rich examinations of the working class and disabled.

    Sings In Japanese: We’re Sad Because We’re Alive is available now on bandcamp, or wherever streams are offered. There’s also a lovely remix from 1-800 GIRLS on the record that you ought not to miss.

    LOOR – “In The Dark” (bc)

  • Mailbox: IDDO & OKADOSH – Erokanji

    Desert esoterica from IDDO and OKADOSH. Hard to pin down these songs, but they feel to me like what Cristobal Tapia de Veer might create if he was a Burner and he accidentally took a hit from the wrong person in a chill out tent (gosh, maybe he actually is a Burner?). All the songs on the pair’s collaborative EP Erokanji, have that same sort of warbling dissonant sweetness that de Veer’s music captures, but here they feel like they’re behind some sort of veil—as if the DMT’s haze is making it impossible to quite zero in on a central motif. The whole record is quite lovely in its distinctiveness, so don’t take my tongue-in-cheek descriptions as anything but a somewhat reductive attempt to describe something for which I lack quite the right words. Just have a listen. My favorite is definitely the EP’s closer, “Momentum.”

    Erokanji is available now on bandcamp, or for streaming, wherever you do that sort of thing. The image I’ve featured above isn’t actually the record’s cover art, but I would be remiss if I hadn’t featured some of IDDO’s portraiture, more of which you can find on his instagram.

  • Visual Velcro 29

    Shygirl & Cosha – “thicc” (sc)

    Oneohtrix Point Never – “On an Axis” (sc)

    Lord Spikeheart – “REM FODDER” ft. James Ginzburg & Koenraad Ecker (sc)

  • From the Mailbox 5

    Tongue-in-cheek outsider house from German Guetta Thunberg, who clearly doesn’t take themselves all too seriously. They describe themselves as “making the world a better place,” which I’m not sure is a reference to Greta or David, or both. But for all the irreverence of their name and presentation, the music’s definitely good. No bandcamp for this, so grab the mp3 below, or find it for streaming wherever.

    Guetta Thunberg – “The Music’s Good” (mp3)

    Sharp and effective lofi house/UKG hybrid from So Only. I’m not sure where in the UK So Only is based, but perhaps Lancashire, as he’s been getting robust support from BBC North West, despite having only released a handful of songs so far (all of them quite good). Strong showing here though, a promising sign of what’s to come. No bandcamp, so grab the mp3, or stream it all over.

    So Only – “Belle” (mp3)

    Simple but solid emotive breakbeat done the LA way, from newcomer Soki. This is definitely in the vein of what Shawn Reynaldo has been calling big room sad, which feels like a slightly derisive descriptor, but honestly it works. Mainstream melodramatic tears in the club for zoomers, what can you do? I like it. No bandcamp for this, but it’s available for streaming wherever you may prefer to do that.

    Soki – “Without You” (sc)

  • Wil Bolton – Null Point

    Wil Bolton is an East London-based artist who’s been releasing textural ambient music for the past fifteen years. His latest album is Null Point, out on The Slow Music Movement. It continues Bolton’s focus on found sound, granularity, and deliberate melodic gradation; however, where much of his previous work has been less concerned with rhythmic elements, this record makes liberal use of organic percussive elements, apparently some of which were sampled from an old 7″ of sounds of the human heart. While these thuds, rumbles, and clanks are present throughout the album’s six songs, it would be inaccurate to describe this as a rhythmically focused record; it’s not. The foci in each song are without doubt the meandering and intersecting melodic lines, and the carefully carved sounds delivering those patterns.

    When the label sent me the record, it referenced Boards of Canada in its press release. That’s always a surefire way to get me to pay attention (I’m one of those who wakes up at least a couple times a month wondering if BoC will ever release again), but when I listened to Null Point, I didn’t hear the reference at first. But I was drawn in nonetheless, and after a few listens, I think I hear the connection. I found myself thinking about Null Point as what it might sound like if the brothers Sandison/Eoin got really into Norwegian Slow TV, or perhaps my personal favorite youtube channel, Kand Hayati (sometimes the only thing that can get my toddler to calm down). I suppose this is a particularly fitting reference, given the name of the label releasing Null Point, but I swear it’s really true. Some of Bolton’s synth patches feel like a shimmering suspended BoC line was taken and timestretched, then chopped, resampled, and reshaped into a pluck or a stab, and then sequenced into a delicate dulcet melody. But where there is often the presence of anxiety in the Edinburgh duo’s music, Bolton seems to have shed that while maintaining all of their penchant for nostalgia. Like if gazing out the window on a rainy autumn morning was simply replaced by a summer afternoon nap in the backyard under a cherry tree.

    You can find the album for streaming all over, or for purchase on bandcamp (support the artist, do the latter).

  • Mailbox: Haven – I Write Music For Those Who’ve Never Been In Love

    Haven is a singer-songwriter from New York, and she’s current with I Write Music For Those Who’ve Never Been In Love, her second EP, following 2023’s Panacea and a string of singles before that. The record is unabashedly pop, but sits comfortably among the new class of pop and R&B artists choosing uptempo double time UK production styles over the weathered half-time quasi-trap stuff that’s been unavoidable for over a decade.

    The lead single on I Write… is “Better Run”—a pearly two-step romper that evokes early Shygirl records. Vocally, Haven seems to be embracing her youth and femininity, with a lilting cadence that often sits near-falsetto. Lyrically, it seems at first as if Haven is treading familiar woman scorned territory, with a simple chorus in which she repeats simply “you got me missing you” and describes a lover who never really appreciated her (“you never liked me / never thought highly of my face”). But the second verse takes a darker turn, with Haven’s character revealed to be more vengeful than the song’s pink champagne mood would first have indicated. “Don’t run from what you’ve done / I hope your life turns into dust, pass me the knife, this is getting fun” Haven croons, with what one can only suspect is a twinkle in her eye.

    At first blush, Haven comes off as an artist exploring largely straightforward pop, but with a little interrogation, it becomes clear she’s seeking to imbue her music with more than just the conventional female pop narratives, and trying to imagine herself in the shoes of characters with richer emotional lives. That creative modesty is worth attention. I look forward to hearing what she does next.

    I Write Music For Those Who’ve Never Been In Love isn’t available on bandcamp, unfortunately, but you can stream it at all the usual outlets, which you can access here.

    Haven – “Better Run” (sc)


    This review was written in support of the artist’s promotional campaign.

  • From the Mailbox 4

    Strong early showing from Leeds-based producer Fine. A cyclical piano motif and the distant sounds of a theme park undergird Molly Rymer’s lulling vocal on this first single from Fine’s debut record, Then, Now, Until due out in May. Pre-order the album on bandcamp, and grab the song below, or find it for streaming all over.

    Fine – “Empty Space” (ft. Molly Rymer and Jonah Evans) (mp3)

    This is the closing track on the latest record from Melbourne’s re:abel. I wrote about the previous single from this record a couple of months ago. Where that one was all deep red crushed velvet 2-step, “Otherside” is more cerulean fogged glass electronica. But no less evocative. No bandcamp for this unfortunately, but grab the mp3 below, and stream the EP at all the usual outlets.

    re:abel – “Otherside” (mp3)

    Dublin’s XXXX In Stereo sent over this smoldering jungle roller, made in honor of Northern Ireland and Man U legendary winger George Best, who some call the best dribbler of all time (debatable obviously, but damn, he was no slouch). This is a free download, but support the artist on bandcamp, or stream this anywhere you do that sort of thing.

    XXXX In Stereo – “Ode to Best” (mp3)

  • Remix Sunday 165

    You look at any poetic creature: muslin, ether, demigoddess, millions of delights; then you look into the soul and find the most ordinary crocodile!
    Anton Chekhov

    Remix Sunday 165 Zipped Up. (119mb zip)

    Manuel Göttsching – “E2-E4” (Om Unit Edit)

    Caroline Polachek – “Pretty In Possible” (Tom VR Edit)

    Tom Dell – “Burn” (Tom Dell Hyperspace Instrumental Edit)

    Jill Scott – “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)” (Wilhelmina Bootleg)

    Shenseea x Trini – “Pon Mi Brazil” (Sinjin Hawke Edit)

    Bola de Fogo & As Foguentas – “Atoladinha” (Beltran 7am Dub)

    Sho Madjozi – “Sena Ala” (Morwell Remix)

    Ariana Grande – “Positions” (Jukaa Bootleg)

    Kid Sister – “Lipgloss” (Lo5ive Remix)

    Guido YZ – “Real Lo” (4am Kru Remix)

    Peggy Gou – “Nanana” (Eloquin Bootleg)

    Basement Jaxx – “Wheres Your Head At” (Joku Bootleg)

    image/ Diana Markosian

  • Mailbox: Aatocaster – Pendant / Exp

    Aatocaster is LA-based Alex Lubeck. His latest release is this pair of bright rays of delicate electronica. According to the artist, both songs are about gratitude. “Pendant” tells of a talisman—either object, person, place, or being—that can be relied upon to save you in your moments of greatest need. However amorphous, it’s so important to have emotional and psychological backup, a support system of some sort, even if not in the form of friends and family. I shudder to think what would have happened to me in the past were it not for the support of my personal outlets, my favorite places, my people. “Exp” is meant to illustrate the result of that support — what one can then contribute to the world as a result of having survived it.

    These songs are out now on bandcamp or for streaming, and will apparently be part of a larger release coming later this year.

    Aatocaster – “Pendant” (sc)

    Aatocaster – “Exp” (sc)

  • From the Mailbox 3

    Fluttery drum-n-pop from Malaysian artist Lunadira. The most obvious reference here is PinkPantheress, but this song also really brings to mind that Sassy 009 song I wrote about a couple of years ago, “Blue Racecar” — that’s a good reference coming from me; I constantly have that song stuck in my head. No bandcamp for this, but catch it on streaming.

    Lunadira – “crying over nothing (wah wah)” (sc)

    Tightly-knit drum patterns, staccato synth shimmers, and indecipherable vocal sample dust on this sharp percussion workout from Madrid’s frankydrama. I can see this going off on the right floor. Grab it on bandcamp or for streaming.

    frankydrama – “Y.E.I.S.” (sc)

    Icy North Sea-inspired breakbeat angst from Drive to Tears, about whom I don’t know much except that this is the third song he’s made public. But he’s open about the fact that he’s using his music as a direct outlet for his depression, which is more than respectable. Strong early showing. No bandcamp, so find it on streaming.

    Drive to Tears – “Running” (sc)

  • Visual Velcro 28

    Kim Gordon – “BYE BYE” (bc)

    Beth Gibbons – “Floating On A Moment” (sc)

    YUVI – “Жидає” (bc)

  • Flex Ariani & Lacy – Tension / Neck

    Flex Ariani and Lacy are both artists from Greensboro, NC. They’re current with this white label maxi, the first release on Less Than Family, a DIY imprint meant to act as a vehicle for the output of a collective of musicians (most based on the East Coast) of which both artists are a part.

    A-side “Tension” lives up to its name perfectly. It’s a patient half-time roller centered around larger-than-life sub and a disembodied voice telling us what’s what. It’s a great example of how a minimalist quasi-drop can be so much more rewind-worthy than a drop that goes big. “Neck” is on the flip, and it’s likely the more versatile tool of the two: a shuffling bit of mongrel UKG with choppy reptilian vocals and appropriately clattering percussion.

    Both tracks (but particularly the A-side) are perfect examples of understated modern dubstep that’s low-end-focused and mid-range avoidant, out at a time when many of the genre’s originators are returning to their old styles in force. It’s really refreshing to see a new generation of artists embracing the elements of dubstep that made it so exciting when it first emerged, before it was co-opted by the EDM machine and maximal-ized for its midrange–and often middling—big room potential. All that midrange wobble worked fine to shred the fuck out of the open air in a stadium, but what was lost was all that wonderful greasy viscous sub, and the power it had to fully engulf a human-sized audience in a well filled basement. That’s not to say there isn’t a role for the shreddy midrange wobble, or that the Skreams of the world shouldn’t strive to fill giant venues with dubstep heads old and new, “real” and “bros” alike. It’s just even more encouraging to me that those events are coinciding with a new wave of producers warming up to the sultrier side of what was once the most ambrosial club genre around. If this single is any indication, Flex Ariani and Lacy—and the Less Than Family crew in general—deserve our continued attention going forward.

    Tension / Neck is available on bandcamp, so go support the artists there. Or for those of you more inclined towards streaming, both songs can be found at all the usual outlets.

    Flex Ariani & Lacy – “Tension” (sc)

    Flex Ariani & Lacy – “Neck” (sc)

  • Mailbox: Morwell – Loving You (Remix)

    Celestial-scale breakbeats from British-Croatian Morwell, off of his newly released remix EP on which he reinterprets the tracks from his previous record from early last year, Resonance. In the case of “Loving You,” the dissonant rave stabs of the original are swapped out for cosmic piano chords, and vocals read from HP Lovecraft’s Beyond the Wall of Sleep, and the clobber of the break is dialed back (but just a smidgen). While these two versions exist in the same general orbit, the other remixes on the new record tend to be more severe departures from the originals upon which they’re based, often dipping dramatically in tempo or shifting genre altogether.

    You can grab both the Resonance remixes or the originals on Morwell’s bandcamp, and while you’re there, check out his whole catalog. He’s impressively prolific; there’s tons of good stuff to get lost in. You can also find all of his stuff from streaming, if that’s more your speed.

    Morwell – “Loving You” (Remix) (sc)

    Morwell – “Loving You” (sc)

  • Mailbox: Havening – gorpt up

    Infectiously odd experimentation from New Zealand’s Havening. I’m telling you, they do it weird in NZ. I wrote about some of Havening’s compatriots last month—about how well those artists from NZ captured a sense of everyday dread and gloom, and that maybe that was part of the Kiwi condition, so to speak. But this track, and Havening’s other work, leads me to believe it may be more accurate to describe a willingness to embrace esoterica, and let the everyday weird in. This song is just as strange as those I posted from flip for garth and Qwazdyn, but most of the gloom is replaced by a sense of calm curiosity. There’s still an underlying current of mild dread in that arpeggiating synth line, but don’t we all wake up some mornings with a combination of resignation and optimism? I may dread one part of my upcoming day, and look forward to another.

    I’m not sure if there’s more direct meaning intended here. ‘Gorp’ is a funny word, and that may be the extent of it, or maybe Havening is referencing the act of eating greedily, or an affinity for trail mix. Either way, I like this song.

    You can find this for streaming anywhere you do that sort of thing, or support the artist by grabbing a copy on bandcamp.

    Havening – “gorpt up” (sc)

  • From the Mailbox 2

    First up is Syglit, an artist from Russia about whom I know just about nothing else, but both tracks on their new record are sublime exercises in mood and glitch. Find them streaming all over, or grab them on bandcamp.

    Syglit – “you_re late” (sc)

    Syglit – “source .env” (sc)

    Next is the new single from Iranian artist Pari Eskandari. I posted the video for Eskandari’s previous single a couple of months ago, which was a vivid exploration of the struggle of women in Iran, made in-part as a tribute to Mahsa Amini. This new song is equally compelling, and was produced by Eskandari, together with Tricky and Peter Kirn, and released on Tricky’s False Idols imprint. Find it for streaming, or on bandcamp.

    Pari Eskandari – “Drehmoment” (sc)

    The last one is from another artist I know little about: London’s Omar Moon. This is from a charming beat tape that you can find on all the streamers, but unfortunately not on bandcamp. Thankfully, Moon okayed me sharing with you all the mp3, which you can download below. Lovely stuff, this.

    Omar Moon – “i love us” (mp3)

  • Olof Dreijer – Coral

    I was so overcome by excitement for Olof Dreijer‘s Rosa Rugosa 12″ last year on Hessle Audio that I totally overlooked sharing it here. Suffice it to say, the record was exactly what I’d been missing since falling in love with the old Knife records — songs that elegantly teeter between emotionality and humor. Dreijer hasn’t lost any of his Swedish knack for pop sensibility, and he’s still combining that with a healthy dose of side eye, a curled smile, and an aesthetic all his own: one I will clumsily describe as evocative of impish toucans flying around in a botanical garden formed of plasticine.

    Now he’s got another record on the way, this time for the ever-exciting AD93. It’s out March 6th, but you can listen to the A1 below, and pre-order the 12″ on bandcamp. You can also still grab a copy of Rosa Rugosa on bandcamp too, but I’m sure they’ll sell out soon. I can’t pick a favorite song from that record, so I’m just sharing all three here.

    Olof Dreijer – “Coral” (sc)

    Olof Dreijer – “Rosa Rugosa” (sc)

    Olof Dreijer – “Camelia” (sc)

    Olof Dreijer – “Cassia” (sc)

  • Hidetoshi Koizumi – Number Face

    Number Face is the new album from Tokyo and Paris-based composer Hidetoshi Koizumi. Koizumi is better known as Hybrid Leisureland, the pseudonym under which he released music between the years of 2007 and 2021, at which point he shifted to using his real name. The new album—his second under his real name—follows closely his previous work, and is primarily concerned with the intersection of serene texture and minimalist, hyper-intricate programming. Over the course of the album’s seventy-five minutes, on songs like “Finale” and “Illusion in Illusion,” Koizumi coasts gently across the tranquil waters of carefully laid pad washes, disturbed only by the delicate insect-wing flutters of serial clicks and blips. He moves from the near-neo-classical territory of “Clowns” and “Second Delight” to songs like “Phantom” and “Misalignment” that almost feel like highly restrained takes on dub techno.

    Koizumi describes Number Face as an exercise in “express[ing] a sympathy with the various movements of the human heart; the thoughts, feelings, and concerns of our daily lives.” This sentiment feels realized here. After a few listens, I found myself hearing the record as the soundtrack of everyday people completing their activities of daily living, if perhaps at times at both lethargic and manic paces. On “Second Delight” I can picture the overworked parent frantically vacuuming their house as soon as they’ve arrived home from work, before rushing to get dinner prepared; “Snow Tiger” could be the soundtrack of someone soaking in the tub until they prune; “Judge” could be the song you hear when you catch someone’s eye for a couple of seconds too long on the street; album closer “So Was Red” could be just for someone eating a meal alone with their thoughts.

    These daily mundanities are easily overlooked, but they carry with them most of our feelings and thoughts, whether fleeting or concrete. As is the case with much of his previous work, Koizumi seems willing to treasure these moments, in lieu of focusing on the more melodramatic or visceral. The result is a record that at first blush is placid, but upon more thoughtful reflection is full of insight into everyday living, the kind of record that can keep you company while keeping you even-keeled — one that doesn’t feed on your agita or lull you to sleep.

    Number Face is available now on all streaming services, and for purchase on bandcamp.

    Hidetoshi Koizumi – “Phantom” (bc)

    Hidetoshi Koizumi – “Illusion in Illusion” (bc)

    Hidetoshi Koizumi – “Judge” (bc)

  • Visual Velcro 27

    Joshua Crumbly – “again, on the road” (bc)

    Brian Wenner – “Age of Execution” (bc)

    Paultra Violet – “I Will Find Your Heart” (bc)