In the spring of 2012 munno released his debut EP “Early Idle” through his Bandcamp. The EP received little fanfare initially but gained prowess as his name circulated among some of the breakout acts of last year, specifically Evenings and Ryan Hemsworth. With his “Based Remixes“ – an impressive reimagining of some of the Based God’s more memorable tracks – and a strong mix released by The Villa, Montreal’s munno is ready to build off last year’s releases and has us excited for what 2013 holds. We wanted to gather a profile on the mystery behind the music so we talked to munno about his influences, Montreal, and what to expect ahead as he preps his Truancy Volume.
Hey, munno. What’re you up to, how’ve you been? “Not much, working on this ‘Color & Movement‘ remix right now. Been doing that this last couple of hours, kickin’ it.” That’s an awesome track; I really like that one off Last Words. “Yeah man, I think it’s probably my favorite off that EP.” It’s a great EP. What’s that remix gonna come out on? You gonna throw it up on your Soundcloud or what? “I think I’m gonna throw it in the Truancy Volume mix and see what it sounds like, then put it up on Soundcloud afterwards… see what Ryan (Hemsworth) thinks about it.” Awesome, we’ll look forward to that.
So where are you right now? It’s kind of hard to find any info on you online, you’ve remained pretty mysterious over the past year. “I’m in Montreal. I’ve been here for about a year, moved here last May. I’m from Maryland, right outside of Washington D.C., about 20 minutes from Baltimore.” I’m not all that familiar with Maryland but whenever I think of that area hip-hop comes to mind; Fat Trel and Wale in particular. “For sure, that’s the shit that I’m proud is coming out of Maryland…Fat Trel, Yung Gleesh…that shit. All that lingo and scene I’m familiar with so I’m really happy to hear that. Wale actually went to the high school down the street from me; they were the rival high school in terms of sports and what not.”
How did you end up in Montreal from Maryland? “I’m going to school here in the fall, just got accepted. The way I moved out here was kind of strange, I didn’t know anyone and I just wanted to get out of Maryland since I’d been there my whole life so I was like ‘OK, I need to make a jump’ and packed up my car and drove up here. I’ve been making music here since and meeting a ton of people involved in the scene out here.” Congrats on getting accepted to school, what are you going to be studying in the fall? “Electro acoustics.” Cool. So I’m assuming you like Montreal a whole lot more than Maryland? “For sure, it’s more relevant to what I want to do.” They got a lot going on out there in Montreal, it seems like there’s a variety of artists connected to it. “It is like a blend of people here that are either from other parts of Canada or the US and they’re all trying to make art.”
Have you met anyone out there that you’ve been collaborating with? “The person that brought me out to Montreal was Tommy Kruise. When I was looking for places to live I was initially going to NYC but I really didn’t want to pay around $800 for a shitty apartment or a room about the size of a closet. Tommy made a Facebook post for a cheap room and I thought Montreal sounded dope so I came out here and he helped me out initially, introduced me to a ton of people. I met Ryan Hemsworth the first week I was out here at a show and we ended up at some random apartment. Xavier Leon’s a good friend now; I’m stoked on that remix, he hooked it up. It’s a lot of random groups of people making beats here.”
Stream: Munno – The Kind (Xavier León Remix) (Off Top Tapes)
Xavier Leon did a remix for “The Kind” off your “Early Idle” EP that’s really great. “The Kind” was the shortest song on that EP but it was my favorite one, I always wished it was a tad longer. “Glad you liked that track because a lot of people like ‘Mine’ which is a cool track, but I really like ‘The Kind’ too.” Was there a specific concept behind that song? “I wanted to make a track that wasn’t focused on the main sample; the sample in that song is an a capella vocal and besides that there’s no samples, it was all stuff I played on keys and that was what I was aiming for.” With regards to other samples on that EP, specifically CocoRosie on “Hard to Tell” and Made in Heights on “Mine”, how do you pick and choose which samples you use? “I kind of find stuff randomly and if I really dig it I’ll flip it. Like with the Made in Heights track, they sampled Sufjan Stevens and then I sampled them so I’m kind of like the 3rd generation down of sampling. But usually I really like vocal samples so when I choose stuff I lean in that direction.”
How did you start making your music? “I’ve been making beats for a while but it wasn’t always like this, I used to make really boom bap stuff when I first started and was kind of a purist about it… I’d only sample records and shit when I was younger but when my tastes evolved I started making other sounds. I’ve been doing music and beat-based music for a while. With the ‘Early Idle’ EP I was just having fun and wanted to put the tracks out. So it’s always been like that.” Where did the name “munno” come from? “I don’t even know, I’m always terrible with making names for projects and I just needed to pick one and came up with that and went with it. There’s nothing behind it, it sounded alright and it was simple so I stuck with it.” How long have you made music under the munno moniker? “Only for a year but I’ve always had other stuff when I was making boom bap, I called myself Grape Ape and then Thaddeus Meek, just really random names for Bandcamps and having fun with it. But munno’s the one I’ve stuck with.” What’s your process when you’re making music? “A lot of the time I’ll sit down and I’ll start making something and 2 hours later I’ll think it’s total shit and will ditch it. There’ll be moments of inspiration, periods of time, where I’ll make a bunch of stuff and be happy with it. Other times I’ll sit down and make something because I feel like I need to and it just won’t work. When certain events transpire in my life, or I feel a certain way, that’s when I sit down and really make stuff.”
I hear a strong hip-hop influence in your work, from the Based Remixes to the Danny Brown remix to your mix for The Villa that opens with Gucci Mane. Would you say you’re a big hip-hop head? “Definitely, it’s a huge influence. With the munno project it’s kind of weird because it’s ambient and dreamy but I’m also really into hip-hop and its harder stuff. Those Based Remixes and the Danny Brown remix were a lot of fun to do and I wanted to try and do something different. People who loved Early Idle might not like the Danny Brown remix, you know? But I’m just having fun.” Who are some of your favorite rappers out right now? “Oh man, right now? Yung Gleesh, I’m looking forward to his next project. Lil Jug. Always tuned in to Lil B’s mixtapes; White Flame is a big one I like. Young Scooter, Main Attrakionz, Mondre Man’s latest release is dope. I like the R&B that’s dropping now too with Jeremih and Miguel, I definitely dig that.” Continue Reading →
Words by Kyle Brayton, 28 May 2013. Leave a comment
“Alien music is a synthetic recombinator, an applied art technology for amplifying the rates of becoming alien. Optimize the ratios of eccentricity. Synthesize yourself.” – Kodwo Eshun, More Brilliant Than The Sun
The UFO has landed. A majestic chrome craft sits before you after gently touching down on earth. The ship’s flap opens, a thick green fog billows from the cracks and consumes you. All you can hear is “Havoc Devastation” pounding from a throbbing, pure-white Funktion One stack. A dreadlocked man ghosts his way out of the fog and offers his hand with a sly smile. “Welcome to Area 72,” he says. You take his hand, never to be seen again. ”Legacy“ will take you to another planet.
RP Boo, aka the suitably cosmic Kavain Space, is regularly cited as the father of footwork, holding a mythical status in the scene as the creator of the sound. Of his very few widely available tracks, 97′s “Baby Come On” and 99′s “Godzilla Track” are incredibly important to footwork’s formative period, often referenced as the blueprint for the genre’s wonky rhythmic psychedelia. This is a collection of tracks that have a sense of magic about them, a vibrant aura that distinguishes them from anything that came before. This is the new alien sound. “Legacy” is a Galapagos island of mutant ingenuity and insanity, of humble beauty and spectacular wonder. To put it simply, we love this album. Way, way more than we already knew we would. “Legacy” fits into a tradition of space inspired alien music that is ubiquitous in what Erik Davis calls the black electronic. From the afro-futurism of Sun Ra, Lee Scratch Perry, George Clinton and Afrika Bambaataa to the Kraftwerk informed revolutions of the Belleville Three, who birthed dance music as we know it, this extra-terrestrial vibe is marbled throughout the black electronic, throughout the futurhythmachine, to borrow an excellent term from Kodwo. “Legacy” embodies this alien sound, which is omnipresent in the culture that itself gave rise to footwork – it is the legacy of the black electronic. Yet, despite Space’s loyalty to Chicago’s rich history, few releases in the footwork back catalogue hit as hard, and none, despite some of these tracks being a decade old, sound so arrestingly new. But to call this album a gamechanger would be silly – Space’s effects on music have been felt and fittingly appropriated for more than 15 years. Nonetheless, with this RP Boo’s first widely available release, hearing him in unified, high quality form for the first time is nothing short of amazing.
“Legacy” must also be seen in the context of a series of releases on Planet Mu that seem to be consciously canonising the movement. Mike Paradinas, the Planet Mu label head, has likened the emergence of footwork to jungle: “footwork reminded me of when hardcore started mutating into jungle, those more ‘what the fuck?’ moments in sample usage“. Planet Mu seems to be cultivating a perception of footwork that recalls the perceived new beginning jungle once promised, of genuine deep running roots and futuristic aspirations. It could be said that Planet Mu’s conception of footwork is, like jungle, a freeform recombination of roots that has seemingly endless possibilities. “Da Mind of Traxman” certainly seemed to imply, through Traxman‘s quixotic crate-searching miscellany, an infinite sonic space for footwork, an infinite territory yet unexplored. The following LP by Young Smoke also honed in on footwork’s inclination toward the infinite or, at least, recalled the Kraftwerkian desire for a new musical beginning. Also pertinent is the comparison of “Legacy” to another footwork insta-classic of 2k13, DJ Rashad’s ‘Rollin’ on Hyperdub. Where Rashad succeeded in rollin’ the genres’s worldwide outposts into one beautiful whole, Boo brings it back to basics, albeit in a completely idiosyncratic way. Though, as evidenced in interview, aware of what’s happening in footwork worldwide, Boo is here completely uncompromising in developing his own vibe, in pushing the Chi sound to its outer limits. In this light “Legacy” is the most otherworldly, the most “what the fuck,” the most alien sounding of any of Planet Mu’s footwork releases.
“Steamidity“ tears the album open, it’s menacing string sample accompanied by Boo’s trademark deus-ex-machina spoken word commands. The track sets the tone for the rest of the album, exemplifying Boo’s unique and multiplex approach to sampling. Ransacking everything from religious sermons to hard-bop to film scores, it’s rare to hear such jarring and tense yet magically congruous concoctions. “Battle in the Jungle“ is a fine example in its pure battleground coldness, it vine-swings from sparsity to dense, melodic climaxes. Flute flourishes, a Tarzan sample, preaching smack-talk and Boo simultaneously vie for attention yet manage to amalgamate into a single synthesised cacophany. The complexity of the tracks is also unusual, their intricacy and detail straying from footwork’s minimal formula of bangs, drums and sample. Take “187 Homicide“ - an RnB Frankenstein built from decomposing fragments of Timbaland and Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River“, it’s Boo at his densest, reminiscent of that confusing moment of realising you’ve got five different tracks playing at once in different windows, but it works. We hear at least 12 samples, half of them vocal, in energetic flux throughout the track – stuttering on a syllable, detained in loop then released, protruding at points, hiding away at others. The Timbo deconstruction doesn’t stop there with “The Opponent“ ripping apart “Try Again“, the lush beat mutated into a squelchy, acidic undertone, Aaliyah shackled in her breathy first line, only a throbbing sub undertow holding together a track that otherwise feels completely fractured.
While Boo’s erratic sampling, complexity and layering are suitably other-wordly, perhaps the most salient aspect of the producer’s alien style is his emphatic emphasis on, and fascination with, sound. “Legacy” insights intense excitement about sound for sound’s sake, elucidating the philosophies of Russolo’s Art of Noise, Stockhausen, musique concrète and 4’33”. Sounds are taken for what they are, glued together as schizophrenic, Dadaist collages. Boo takes this explosiveness to dizzying heights on “Havoc Devastation“, a track that truly lives up to its namesake. What sounds like Dizzy Gillespie’s shrieking trumpet is pitted against a spine-tingling religious sermon, a transcendental gospel harmony and, of course, Boo’s battle-ruling vocals. Everything overlaps and interplays in erratic surrealist reciprocity, climaxing in something completely overwhelming and just straight next level. The moments of incongruous brilliance we were speaking about before are again beautifully exemplified when that screaming trumpet blazes through the track, setting off brutal sonic clusterbombs and lifting the track from minimal squalor to beatific rapture. But the most explicit illustration of Boo’s preoccupation with sound is another highlight, “Speakers R-4 (Sounds)“. If most of the album sees Boo at his most complex, ‘Sounds’ is far more spartan and functionalist. It’s a skeletal bang and vocal workout, only offset by tumbling drum explosions, which creates space in which we can truly revel, with firm direction from Boo himself, in what is firing into our ears. “Sounds,” he announces prophetically, not music, not songs or melodies, are “what the speakers are for.” Simple as that.
You play Bach to a plant, it leans towards the speaker, blossoms, grows stronger. You play Hendrix to a plant, it leans away, shrivels and dies. We imagine that if you play RP Boo to a plant, it would mutate into a triplet-throbbing orb of galactic mucus. As we mentioned before, there are aspects of this album that are simply unexplainable. We have done our best here, but in the end the real beauty of this record, independent of historical, structural or philosophical concerns, lies in its ability to take you up into that UFO, even for just that hour, to take you outside of yourself, outside of humanity, blissed out, zoned in and alien-ated. Yeah, you know what? Fuck everything we just said, roll up dat loud and we’ll meet you in Area 72. Continue Reading →
Words by Truants, 27 May 2013. 1 comment
Chicago rapper Chancellor Bennett, better known as Chance the Rapper, wears his heart and his influences on his sleeve on his second mixtape “Acid Rap”. His strange, theatrical delivery style recalls recent artists like Danny Brown and Kendrick Lamar, with a fair helping of classic weirdos like Fatlip, Baatin, even a little Pimp C for good measure. Often his raps aren’t even raps at all; his vocal style borrows liberally from dancehall, gospel and soul. “Acid Rap” is about a lot of things – drugs, gang violence and grilled cheese – but mostly it’s a self-portrait in the form of an album, wherein Chance mines his surroundings, his relationships, his behavior and his inner thoughts for some insight into who he is, a potent example of how youthful self-narrativization can make for powerful, even political art.
For example, the album’s second track, “Pusha Man” sounds like art-nerd version of a mid-90s UGK song; Chance raps like a classically trained actor playing a rapper in a movie, which is actually pretty great. His energy is matched by a lush instrumental built out of warm 1970s style organs, airy female vocals and a screwed-down hook. Its cheerful tune and noble-hustler archetype build a false-sense of revelry which is abruptly cut short by thirty seconds of silence. It’s a ballsy move to try the old CD-era hidden track trick so early on the tape, but it commands full attention from casual listeners who may have lost themselves in the fun melodies of the first song.
Stream: Chance The Rapper - Pusha Man (ft. Nate Fox & Lili K.)
On the hidden song, “Paranoia,” Chance explores his feelings of malaise and fear over a woozy beat from Nosaj Thing. As the track progresses, he becomes increasingly direct. “They murder kids here / why you think they don’t talk about it? / They deserted us here,” begins his second verse. Chicago is a deeply segregated city with a steady flow of illegal guns. Murder saturates a few South and West communities, even as it pops up consistently across the map. And after the long, harsh winter ends, a boggy, midwestern summer takes its place. Most people don’t have air conditioning here and the summers keep getting hotter. On the news, you hear about old folks dying of heat stroke. On the hottest days, the public beaches that stretch along the lakeshore are packed with people. These are also the worst days for violence and killing. “Acid Rap” is a spring album, and it is with dread for the immediate future that Chance reveals, “I hope it storm in the morning, I hope that it’s pouring out / I hate crowded beaches, I hate the sound of fireworks.” “I know you’re scared, he says, to middle-class Northside Chicagoans who refuse to ride south of Roosevelt, to the national news media eager to brand Chicago a scary war-zone, to a government willing to use this city as a political talking point despite never addressing its actual problems, “you should ask us if we scared too.” It’s an indictment of everyone who wants to treat the South Side as a terrifying bogeyman in neighborhood form while ignoring the lives of the actual human beings who live there.
Stream: Chance The Rapper - Smoke Again (ft. Ab-Soul)
Remarkably, Chance maintains this high level of lush production and innovative rapping throughout the mixtape, showing an incredible emotional range, from despondent numbness (“Lost”) to ecstatic love for his fellow human (“That’s Love”). Collaborations with Childish Gambino, Action Bronson, and Ab-Soul later in the album break up the overwhelming wackiness of Chance’s rap style, which could become tiring were it not paired with such catchy, melodic production. “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” which features legendary Chicago speed-rapper Twista on a particularly geeky verse, finds Chance lamenting how his smoking habits have alienated his mother and friends. On “Everybody’s Something,” which has breezy chorus from local R&B singer BJ the Chicago Kid, Chance is at his most posi. He delivers corny lines like “if [God's] son had a twitter I wonder would I follow him” with his tongue squarely in his cheek, and trippy aphorisms like “everybody’s somebody’s everything.” His melodic flow is pushed to odd extremes on “Smoke Again,” featuring Black Hippy member Ab-Soul, where Chance sings, shouts, and dips into a heart-wrenching Future-esque vocal fry that demonstrates Chance’s abilities as performer.
Stream: Chance The Rapper - Acid Rain
“Acid Rap” is a deeply personal, intimate album that rarely veers outside of Chance’s world of friends, family, girls, and his neighborhood; at the same time, Chance discusses these topics with great nuance, relishing in rather than fleeing from his own ambivalence. His persona is huge, complex, even contradictory. One minute he’s singing #based truisms about love, the next he’s wishing herpes on a girl. Chance’s occasional dips into cruelty or aggression do not negate the dizzying peaks of his more positive songs because they feel equally honest. “If you touch my brother,” he raps on “Acid Rain,” “all that anti-violence shit goes out the window along with you and the rest of your team.” The song is something of a thesis statement for an album bursting at the seams with artistic and thematic detours; Chance raps, or rather says, with resignation, “sometimes the truth don’t rhyme.” The mixtape portrays a complex young man who wants to be good and fill the world with the love and peace, but his environment and the expectations placed upon him stand in his way. Ultimately his empathy and optimism overshadow his incidental nastiness. Chance doesn’t seem to know who he is, or who he wants to be, which is a perfectly reasonable place for a 20-year-old poet with a sensitive streak and penchant for psychedelic drugs.
“Even people who think we’re too commercial, which I don’t think we are at all, I say to them: what would you rather hear on the radio, “White Noise” or David Guetta? They can’t say anything back to that.” – Guy Lawrence, Disclosure
It was unsettling to many when Disclosure first appeared on the scene. Two years ago, in the Summer of 2011, the young brothers from Surrey released a free EP that introduced them to a bigger audience. In the title track and most popular song off the record, “Carnival”, the two brothers efficiently borrowed from the sounds the rest of the world referred to as the ‘UK sound’, as well as another slew of puzzling genre names (future garage, post-dubstep, bass music, etcetera). The EP was exemplary of the wave of bedroom producers who were listening to “Hyph Mngo” on single repeat for months at the time; the release sounded a little too familiar and rehashed. Fast forward two years later and the brothers Lawrence have taken the international charts by storm. Disclosure’s output has evolved from a bedroom cliche into the catchiest of dance floor orientated pop music. Their music is embraced by many listeners worldwide but there is still a big group of music pundits who not only think Disclosure’s music is still unsettling (to each their own) but also think that the brothers have no place in the charts. And this is where they’re wrong.
To go back to Guy Lawrence’s aforementioned quote, the difference in having a choice between David Guetta and Disclosure should not be a separation of good and bad. The subjective matter of taste is always going to be a never-ending debate. The real question here is, would you rather have generic music topping the charts that has been endlessly processed and ghost-written by oodles of musicians hired by major labels with profit as the only end goal? Or would you rather listen to the music of two regular guys who write their own tracks which happen to be highly accessible in the process? If we were to make a choice we’d pick the latter, and by no means would this be a forced option because if music is accessible and catchy, it doesn’t have to linearly compensate on quality. This is something that people often forget in such debates within house music, but make exceptions for in other genres. Where Disclosure singles are accused of being mind-numbing and saccharine, people are quicker to forgive musicians like Justin Timberlake, AlunaGeorge, Skream and Rick Ross for doing the same thing. There’s no harm in admitting all of them are good at what they’re intending to do.
The idea that Disclosure are a threat to music, whether we are talking about house or pop, is false. We can’t help but think of the whole brostep fiasco that occurred over the last two years. Skrillex came, saw and conquered the world while the misanthropist steppers were curled up in fetal position waiting for their beloved DMZ records to self destruct. This never happened. In fact, a lot of dubstep producers are still making good music and promoting great nights, whether they stuck with their original sounds or moved on to something else. If anything killed the old dubstep sounds that people were protective about, it was time: people gained great memories but were ready for something different. As it turns out, niche music fans have an irrational fear that their favourite music will be ruined by exposing it to a broader audience and the commotion that surrounds Disclosure is another example of this.
Many naysayers are quick to dismiss Disclosure as watered down house that’s been cleaned up with the sole purpose of catering to a larger audience. Ironically, most of such backlash originates from industry members that do exactly the same thing. The only difference is that usually the source of inspiration stems from genres that lie further away from what is generally familiar to us. In any case, what exactly is wrong with this so-called watering down of a sound? In reality, this watering down boils down to drawing from certain inspirations to create a new sound that is more accessible to a new audience. This is simply a natural progression of music. If Disclosure are wrong for paying homage to their house heroes, then the killjoys should be consistent and dismiss house innovators for reimagining the likes of Sugarhill Gang or The Supremes and dubstep producers for sampling the likes of Johnny Osbourne or even Alicia Keys. At this point, most genres originate as reinterpretations of another sound, and purists who constantly root for the safekeeping of genres are rooting against evolution of music. Throughout all of this we should remember that there’s no rules against being a proponent of both a genre and its evolved form. No one will kick up a fuss if you like both Ralph Tresvant and R. Kelly or Just Blaze and Hudson Mohawke, unless you count the pretense police.
If you want to judge Disclosure’s music in an honest way, separate their personalities from their records. Popular Disclosure denunciations are that they are not as scholarly about the history of music as producers that emerged from their scene are expected to be, and that they are ‘too young to be good producers’. Very often these two lines of reasoning exist in unison, but they are both groundless arguments. If you, for example, dislike Disclosure for supporting old school Detroit hip-hop or selecting Marcellus Pittman in their mixes because the Lawrence brothers are ‘too naive to understand that kind of music’, then that says more about your own attitude towards music than theirs. It is a frankly ridiculous belief that being present during the uprising of a certain genre is essential to understanding its music. In this case, Disclosure are simply spreading the word on music they love, and such background information is usually targeted at fans of their output. Unfortunately, it’s mostly those who oppose their music that harp on their quotes and interviews to point out once again what they’re doing wrong.
At this point, it seems as though Disclosure brings out a special breed of bitterness and hate in their opponents, where it borders hate for the sake of hating itself rather than solid and constructive criticisms of the duo. Where others are given a free pass, Disclosure are never cut the same amount of slack. In February of last year, Skrillex won three Grammys for his work and paid respects to the origins of dubstep by shouting out Croydon in his acceptance speech. Even opponents of his music couldn’t deny this humble and respectable move and gave the American musician his credit where it was due at the time. When Disclosure cite influences such as Kerri Chandler and Todd Edwards as defining artists to their sound, the guys saluting their roots gets nothing but backlash. It’s still unknown what warrants such undeviating opposition to Disclosure’s every move, but the fact that it is often hypocritical and erratic is certain.
If you think Disclosure have no distinctive musical identity, then you’re not paying enough attention. Their music might not be for you, but the argument that their discography is a ‘house music rip-off’ is past its prime. Because an artist isn’t an integral part of the origins of a scene itself doesn’t mean that they cannot draw inspiration from it, or make music that falls within that particular genre. During the period that the Lawrences have actively been putting out music, they defined a clear-cut sound that has their name written all over it. They might not be the first to use those polished stab chords, distinct vocal editing, and garage bass lines in their tracks, but they are definitely the only ones who successfully refine these different elements into a well-produced poppy sound that is theirs and finished to boot. Even though there have been other artists who tried to tackle the same atmosphere, Disclosure’s precision in handling it has been unprecedented. If you hand over a playlist consisting of fifty house tracks with two Disclosure tracks hidden in there to a person with the slightest bit of knowledge about dance music, they’ll be able to pick out the Disclosure tracks in there upon first listen.
It is a little discomforting that people still get upset over Disclosure topping charts and reaching the status of one of the most successful electronic music duos of the year. We live in an unprecedented musical era where artist and genre growth is exponential. Almost anything has become accessible. The borders between genres are blurring and it only makes sense that there is no particular defining sound of this era. This, ironically, defines our time and place. To lay the blame of such confusions on these two young artists in particular is excessive. It might be unsettling that we live in such a fragile time where things are constantly changing, which contrasts our past well-defined eras that we are used to in music. But rather than sitting in an immobile, paralyzed state of complaint, why don’t we embrace the openness of this and stop criticising every genre-crossing dynamic? We, for one, are more than ready for Disclosure’s debut album, and if it lives up to our expectations we hope it hits the Billboard album charts. One Nile Rodgers and one Jamie Woon can’t be wrong.
Stream: Disclosure – When A Fire Starts To Burn (PMR Records)
Written by: Soraya Brouwer & Sindhuja Shyam.
Words by Truants, 23 May 2013. 13 comments
Hailing from the sleepy little town of Pensacola, Florida, Kodak to Graph first cropped up on our radar a few years ago with “I keep Holding On“, a tune sampling Jackson 5’s ‘I’ll be there’, and pulling on all those post-dubstep / Burial vibes and ghostly vocals that we love so much. Having kept an eye on him ever since, it’s been really lovely to see an artist really grow and hone their sound with every new release like Michael Maleki, the man behind Kodak to Graph, has. Producing a plethora of ambient electronic music over the past year Michael has managed to craft a sound that is so dream-like and shimmeringly sweet, that it’s not surprising he’s gained a good amount of loyal listeners; for it seems that once hooked, you’re easily reeled in. “Rakshasa“ is the next monthly instalment Michael releases through the label Bad Panda Records, a label believing that ”we can carry a free culture into the twenty-first century, without artists losing and without the potential of digital technology being destroyed”. Seems idealistic, but we’re not here debating Creative Commons or their manifesto, we’re here to showcase some of the brilliant new music they’re backing and thank them for making it freely downloadable on both Bad Panda Records’ and Kodak to Graph’s Soundcloud pages.
Stream: Kodak to Graph – Rakshasa (feat. Monsoonsiren) (Bad Panda Records)
After releasing “Departure“ on Bad Panda Records last month, a track that was so ambient-ly relaxed in its style with only the faintest hint of trap, and that featured the ethereal and distorted sound of Imogen Heap’s ‘Just For Now’, it could be said that his movement and growth in the creating of “Rakshasa“ is a perfect progression. Like in past productions, Kodak to Graph stays true to his style and pays special attention to detailed layering and luscious melodies, and even tips to an Middle Eastern influence, which seems actually pretty fitting considering the title “Rakshasa” is apparently said to mean a “mythological humanoid being or unrighteous spirit” in Hinduism. It seems almost wrong then that the beginning of the track is the opposite of “unrighteous”, it’s peaceful, and holy-like in its crescendo. It’s not until the last minute where the title of the track becomes apparent, sampling Harvey Stripes “Dolly On That Molly“ ft Juicy J, does it arrive at a somewhat gritty counterpart of its beginning. It would seem this new direction could have been helped along by Nathan Menon, a young producer from Bengaluru, India going by the name of Monsoonsiren, who features alongside Kodak to Graph on this new release. We’re eagerly anticipating the next release from Kodak to Graph, so whilst we wait, here’s his latest Mirror Lock EP to wrap your ears around, and if that isnt enough, head over to Soundcloud and check out Isle, Michael Maleki’s less sample-based sound working with a full band and input from multiple individuals. Why would you not?
Words by Jess Melia, 23 May 2013. Leave a comment