What do art installations, sound system culture and Marcy Playground have in common? Not much, except maybe this record by Marina Rosenfeld. Her latest release for Australian label Room 40 heavily blurs the lines between the gallery and the club. Often Rosenfeld is on the other side of the divide, bringing her dub inspired audio experiments to museums and performance spaces. A core theme of her work, be it translating György Liget’s Lontano for a children’s choir, or ricocheting custom “bass cannons” off of armory walls, is an exploration of acoustics. Her pieces are deeply intertwined with their environments and her vinyl output is no different. Frequently sound art recordings serve as a document, relatively unaltered from their original form, but for this release Rosenfeld melded components from several pieces into a standalone work. P.A. / Hard Love also enlists a couple of her previous live collaborators, avant garde cellist Okkyung Lee and the one and only vocalist Warrior Queen. Every track is also peppered with city noises, rain hitting pavement, cars whirring past, close whispers and distant shouts.
Stream: Marina Rosenfeld – Hard Love (Room 40)
“New York / It’s All About” combines eerie textures, both synthetic and recorded, with Warrior Queen’s unmistakable toasting to evoke visions of a haunting backstreet. On “Seeking Solace / Why Why?” the MC’s emotive words are fractured and twisted between layers of gurgling modular noise. “I Launch an Attack….” pulsates under an array of aggressive filter sweeps. It’s one of the most percussive tracks on the record even though it’s stabbing kicks pull away almost as soon as they’ve appeared. Okkyung Lee’s spine tingling cello is most prominent in “New York / Empire of State.” It’s appearances feel almost like a film cue, a hint that something terrifying is around the corner. Out of the gates “Hard Love” is the most open nod to Jamaican sounds. Like a dancehall track stripped to it’s core and reconstituted by Louis and Bebe Barron. It’s during “Liverpool / …’round Downtown by Myself / Tick Tock” where the aforementioned Marcy Playground nod occurs. Hushed swatches of a lyric from “Sex and Candy” are washed away in a collage of elements the seem disparate but all resolve to a final point. While each track stands on it’s own, P.A. / HARD LOVE is best experienced in one go. As a whole, it’s brimming with after hours paranoia. Like a night bus through a tunnel that won’t end.
P.A. / Hard Love is available now on Room 40.
Words by Stephanie Neptune, 27 January 2014. Leave a comment
At 19 years old, Karman released his debut EP 2005 Forever out of nowhere in late December of 2013. A young beatmaker from Beverly Hills, Karman makes melancholic dance music, or better yet, “devotional dance” as described on his bandcamp. 2005 Forever takes the misery of loneliness in the internet age and gives it rhythmic optimism.
Stream: Karman – Cry4Us
Many of Karman’s songs come with a sense of urgency–lots of layering and harmonies assault the ears tenderly between depressing sound-clips regarding suicide. No song is more saddening than the intro track, which features samples of a news broadcast covering a story about a teenager streaming his own suicide online over sorrowful strings and glitchy modulation. The good news is there’s only hope from here. 2005 Forever reverts back to its sad tendencies throughout the EP but the production is so upbeat and dance-worthy that the listener nearly ignores the gloom spread across the EP’s 8 songs. In terms of Karman’s peers, 2005 Forever sounds like a mix between the pop tendencies of Friendzone and the eeriness of Shlohmo (who are both coincidentally from California too).
Stream: Karman – Ur All I Want
While sharing similar aesthetics to Yung Lean’s sadboys movement in terms of visual cues, it also features a remix from sadboys crew member Yung Sherman; who’s responsible for some of the most intriguing & innovative production of 2013. Karman is “sadboys-does-dance”. Lead single “Cry 4 Us” weaves a sample of a timid woman as the beat drops saying, “I deal with kids who are, um, suicidal” with all its synths in full force, while “Ur All I Want” features a sample of Drake contemplatively responding to a question in an interview repeatedly saying, “ I feel like, uh…” as a house track kicks in with soaring synths. The range is wide here with Karman. The song “Embrace” even drops a couple of lines from Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” out of nowhere yet it fits in with the despair perfectly as Weezy’s voice is mutated into this deep, goblin-like growl. One of the EP’s highlights, “Long Distance”, is a song that starts with an uptempo pulsing beat that’s relentless til the very end. There’s techno build-ups over X-Files synths swirling around as the skittering vocals provide some lineage from start to finish. Similarly, “Gone” begins with a mellow chipmunk sample but evolves into a full-out dance track based around these notes. The song that truly summarizes the sound of Karman is “Ceremony”, which breeds the sound of a Facebook notification message throughout its development as it grows to be increasingly uplifting alongside an odd sample of Khia’s “My Neck, My Back”. (It is not recommended to listen to this song with Facebook open in one of your tabs). Out of the deep depths of the internet, Karman has constructed an aesthetic–both visually & sonically, that makes his music undeniably exciting and refreshing.
Stream: Karman – ‘Ceremony’
Words by Kyle Brayton, 25 January 2014. Leave a comment
There’s no doubt that you’ll have read a lot about how 2013 was the year in which many genres saw their emergence/re-emergence. In some cases this will be true, but a look back at Moveltraxx’s releases suggests that there may well be heaps you’ve simply been missing out on. Taking all of your favourite genres and prefixing them with “ghetto” since 2007, label head Big Dope P has picked up the pace since the turn of the decade and shown a dedication to putting out the best of hip-hop edged club music. Next up for Da Movelt Posse is the sixth in a series of compilation releases. Tackling straight up hip-hop, footwork, tropical bass, Jersey Club and pretty much anything else you might find yourself throwing down to, #DMP6 is 15 tracks worth of bass driven energetic bounce from artists such as DJ Earl and MikeQ, whilst also featuring a collaborative effort from Ed Banger all star Feadz and Big Dope P himself.
There was, however, one track that stood out to us from the very first listen and we’re delighted to be able to premiere it for you. What was it that made it stand out from the rest? Could it be the effortless, soulful nature of this take on footwork or, perhaps, the inspired choice of vocal sample that’s sure to burrow its way into your mind? We’re not entirely sure. In fact, we could wax lyrical about this track for days but who better to walk you through Kozee’s “Let’s Ride” than the genre conquering producer herself?
“First off, the name “Let’s Ride” is for all my California fam. It’s sort of in memory of us and those who will always ride with me no matter where we’re all at geographically. The sample? Well, I love me some Jaheim. I’m a huge R&B fan. I was lucky enough to grow up in a time where I have memories associated with all the tracks of this era so it’s great to be able to create something new with them. I had downloaded the acapella so I was basically just going to do an edit of the original but then when I started to write it I think I wanted to do something new, something that I hadn’t tried before. I’d been DJing footwork for a bit and incorporating it into my sets for about a year previous to writing it. I know my sound will never be exactly like that of a Chicago footwork producer and I don’t want it to. Still, I hope it has a good reach to people who like footwork/jungle/old school hardcore/R&B and people who are just getting into 160bpm music. I’ll often send Moveltraxx tunes that I’m working on or have finished and they REALLY loved this one! I think it’s great that they promote all the Midwest and East Coast club music and that they continue to push these artists and give them some spotlight. Their newest compilation is my favourite thus far and I am very honoured to have been included in it.”
Stream: Kozee – Let’s Ride (Moveltraxx)
#DMP6 is released digitally on the 28th January. Pre-order now from Juno.
Words by Matt Coombs, 24 January 2014. 1 comment
Hotline Recordings have steadily built their reputation as another Bristol-based bastion of quality music over the last 12 or so months, dropping a series of rock-solid club tracks across their first three releases from the likes of Kahn & Neek, Lurka, Rachael and DJ Sotofett. The clandestine outfit’s inventive approach to putting out music has also turned a few heads. Both piquing intrigue and keeping the promotional excess that can sometimes mire releases to a minimum, they catalyse their pre-release activity anonymously around a telephone number, ‘the Hotline’. Rather than a barrage of Soundcloud links, you bell the answerphone for snippets of forthcoming music played over the grainy audio of phone transmissions. Throwback sensibilities run throughout their activity, harking back to days gone by from the chatline-styled flyer inserts to the dedication to cutting dubplates and releasing their music physically.
On their unorthodox methods, they explained, “You know those old jungle whitelabels you used to get at your local record shop? The ones with nothing but a basic sticker stating slim details and mobile number for contact? Or them phonelines you used to call to find a rave in some locked off warehouse? Back in the days when not everything was instant or easy access…in some ways a more fulfilling time”. Even when hitting up a Hotline affiliate via email for comment, that concept of limited accessibility was apparent. No response was received back for days until, confusingly, a text message was received directly from the Hotline number advising, “You have reached the Hotline..any press related questions should be sent here…”. More than anything, they inject a bit of the thrill back into the hunt for new music with this kind of awkward, but charming, nostalgia.
Stream: Kahn & Neek – Backchat/ Dubchat
Obviously, all of the above is secondary to whether they cut it musically, but they haven’t disappointed with the selection of tracks they have brought in so far, glancing the dub, jungle, and dancehall touchstones of Bristol soundsystem culture. The release policy and where they see direction of the label is reassuringly uncomplicated and blunt; “If the trax sound hard on a system and get waists moving, we sign it. If it don’t, we send it back. Screw face riddims that can challenge the dancefloor”. Their inaugural release featured the notoriously rude sounds of Kahn & Neek, notable for a string of lethal classic grime-revivalist smashers and the enveloping bass pressure of their dub outings as Gorgon Sound. Hotline snared one of the pair’s most danceable records yet, ‘Backchat’, with the dancehall flecked grooves, billowing basslines and that “Badman nah tek backchat” vocal loop instilling raucous St Paul’s carnival vibes within.
Stream: Lurka – Full Clip/ BR Greaze
They also dropped one of last year’s genuinely unique releases, Lurka’s ‘Full Clip/ BR Greaze’; two tracks of very bewildering slow/fast, almost reggaeton leaning rhythms and raging reese synth aggression that was probably best described by themselves; “think Dillinja making dancehall and you’re on the right track”. It marked a drastic change of pace and style for Lurka, who up until then had been building heavyweight dubstep for labels like Black Box. The release projected the label’s quality further afield still, as it made its way into the record boxes of an eclectic sets of DJs, including the likes of Mark Pritchard, Om Unit and Loxy.
Stream: Rachael – Okada/ DJ Sotofett – SO-PHAT Riddimix Is Junglized
One of our favourite instances of last year’s rekindled love-affair with hardcore and jungle came from Sex Tags Mania’s chief, DJ Sotofett. Hotline’s most recent effort featured the Norwegian flipping ‘Okada’ on its head, building off Rachael’s basslines, threading together fizzing breakbeats and rolling them out at a saunter. The release’s original, built by the mysterious Rachael who debuted on Idle Hands in ’12, also wielded massive dancefloor damaging potential with its crunching analogue armaments and driven broken beats. As for plans this year, Hotline will operate relatively spontaneously, with the only plans to “cut plates, road test trax, wait for the next ting that bangs. Got the mastering house on speed dial for when it’s time.” Having proven themselves with such a heavy collection of beats so far, we’ll be listening out keenly for their next move.
Hotline Recordings 003 is out now and available to buy here
Words by Oli Grant, 23 January 2014. Leave a comment
It’s been said before, but 2013 was truly the year of the label. Every other week a DJ or producer announced his or her new imprint, for a multitude of reasons: for artistic autonomy, to step outside of restrictive schedules, or to bypass stylistic boundaries, self-imposed or otherwise. While Organic Analogue wasn’t one of those labels, having been launched as far back as mid-2012, it did put out its first record in the final month of last year. Describing itself as “a collective of musicians that incorporate elements of retro-futurism; appealing to people who fondly remember the glitches of VHS and the warped sounds of old tapes”, it’s appropriate that that first release be called The New Wave. Despite its title, this EP, from Dutch artist Jeremiah R, is a gorgeous collection of tracks that hark back to the wondrous, innocent days of early rave and electronica. The producer has just one other body of work to his or her name, The 5th Dimension, released on Wil Ru three years ago. Described as “10 fresh cuts of nebulous minimal ambient electro”, it’s the perfect precursor for OA001.
Opening with the crisp and bracing “Aquarian Dream”, all shimmering synth washes and alternating bass stabs and upper-register flourishes. What sets this apart from any other similar attempts at this style is its brevity, clocking in at just under three minutes. Setting the tone for the release, it’s worth noting that no track even hits the five-minute mark. Quality, not quantity. The title track is similar in its pace and urgency, offering unresolved chords, frenetic hi-hats and flanged drum-machine hits, as well as a thrilling main riff. “The Astral Journey” is just as extra-terrestrial as one would expect, evoking Rhythim Is Rhythim or As One, or even Model 500, while the iridescent synths of “Memory” lend the release an even further air of wondrous inscrutability. The package is rounded off by a remix from electro heavyweight Gerald Donald under his Heinrich Müller guise, whose take on “Memory – Read Only” closes the 12 with a sense of the sinister. His dart-like upper synths and sharp percussion recalls the wide-eyed yet menacing wonder of his work as Dopplereffekt and Arpanet, and breathy utterances of the track’s title float ominously. The label’s pairing of veteran and newcomer is one that will be repeated on future releases, as they prepare for a busier schedule of releases this year. One such newcomer will be the Georgian producer HVL. For now, though, bask in The New Wave.
Stream: Jeremiah R – The New Wave EP preview (Organic Analogue)
Jeremiah R – The New Wave EP is out now on Organic Analogue. Buy here.
Words by Aidan Hanratty, 22 January 2014. Leave a comment