Now we’re fully alive and kicking in 2015 we’ve got another treat lined up for you for our second Truancy Volume of the year. If you’ve been lucky enough to catch Freerotation resident and UntilMyHeartStops label co-head Leif Knowles DJ before you’ll know all about his ability to craft an atmosphere with his sets. If you haven’t, not to worry, as there’s plenty of Leif to dig into. His label UntilMyHeartStops, which he runs with Joe Ellis, has had a stellar few years housing the likes of Joey Anderson, Freerotation co-founder Steevio and Truancy Volume 65 creator October. Leif’s guest slot alongside Joe Ellis on Ben UFO‘s Rinse FM show was named as one of the best mixes of the year by Resident Advisor and having him on board is a definite cause for excitement for us.
In terms of releases, Leif’s debut LP Dinas Oleu on Fear of Flying was one of the finest albums of 2013, coming a solid decade after he started releasing music. With it we were offered his vision of just how luscious and personal deep house can be. As his multitude of EPs and singles he’s released since 2003 prove, most recently his Nour & Light EP on Sudden Drop, Leif’s sound is as comfortable on headphones as it is on a system. It was a no-brainer for us, then, to bring him in to offer up the 109th edition in our mix series. We’re extremely excited to share this Truancy Volume as Leif has given us a delightfully varied and ascending mix as the perfect antidote to the chilly weather. This is one you’ll keep coming back to.
How did you record the mix? “The mix was recorded at home with Technics 1210s, A&H mixer, vinyl, some unreleased digital bits and a guitar reverb pedal (which in hindsight I probably went a bit overboard on).”
Is there any idea or theme behind the mix? “It’s quite varied, I guess. I had a few tricky mix transitions I wanted to play around with – some broken beat stuff, old trip-hop records on 45 instead of 33rpm / techno records slowed down to -8, etc. The first half is fairly chilled, the second half ramps it up a bit. There are some old favourites in there from artists like Terrence Dixon, Sensate Focus, Maxmillion Dunbar and Grimes Adhesif, mixed with a few forthcoming unreleased bits from myself, Duckett, Lubin and The Marx Trukker.”
Besides what’s in the mix, what else have you been feeling recently? “Awesome modular techno from Steevio, transcendental melodics from Oren Ambarchi, rhythmic meanderings from Burnt Friedman; there is so much good stuff out there at the moment.”
What’s next for you? “Production-wise, I’ve got a 12″ EP of some more broken-beat stuff coming soon on the Idle Hands label, a remix for Kimochi Sound and I’m working on another album for later this year. Aside from that, me and Joe are working on getting the next few releases ready for UntilMyHeartStops which we’re really excited about!”
Maximillion Dunbar – Polo
HOT10TOT10 – R1Z1 (DJ Nozaki’s Don’t Come A Chick Mix)
The Marx Trukker – Clear Water Fishing
Peshay – The Real Thing (90bpm version / at 45rpm)
Grimes Adhesif – The Last Three Minutes
Duckett – Let’s Have Sex
Leif – Life Through Analogies
Sensate Focus – Sensate Focus 5
Lubin – Mediation Garden
Grain – Untitled
Duckett – Flex
Terrence Dixon – Splendour
Lubin – Untitled
T-Polar – Southside Construction
Stéphane Laporte – Tears Plant
Words by Antoin Lindsay, 04 February 2015. 2 comments
Ryan Hemsworth, of Truancy Volume 46 fame among other things, started up his label Secret Songs just over 8 months ago as a selflessly pure way of sharing music, free of pressure and politics. In his own words, it’s a platform for “distinct sounds by unique artists who aren’t getting the shine they deserve”. In the time since Secret Songs been active, Ryan has delivered on this promise and the fortnightly output is always worthy of attention. As well as impressive regular singles from the likes of Sega Bodega, Toby Gale, even an 808 Mafia banger from TM88 and Rome Fortune, there has also been the release of two compilations.
Each of these compilations is labelled with a hex code that represents a colour and this is what provides the common theme between tracks. The first was called shh#ffb6c1 (a light shade of pink), putting a spotlight on spritely sounds and some incredible female producers, such as et aliae and Qrion. This time round we have shh#000000 which is, well, black. That’s interesting straight off the bat in that black is probably not the first colour that comes to mind if you had to assign one to Ryan’s musical output, although it undoubtedly has a tendency to touch on motifs such as loneliness and detachment.
The tone is set immediately here with Fifty Grand’s “when you go back alone”, both in name and sound. A dark ambient fog sits heavy with ghostly stretched vocals before fading out, only to whir back in at double the intensity, double the dread. There’s a sense of dread in a lot of the compilation and the next two tracks follow suit. “GULLY” by fknsyd builds upon the ambience set previously, livening it up with some imploding percussion and disorientating rewinding (straight from the Noah “40” Shebib school of production). Young Gutted’s work on “Facts” is loosely reminiscent of something from Lil Ugly Mane’s nasty rap beats playbook and Wiki from Ratking laces it with his well known, aggravated flow.
Dread isn’t the only feeling construed on the theme, however, and that keeps things fresh over a listen in full. Both Morly’s “Maelstrom” and Beat Culture’s “CLOSER” really stir the emotions and are notable for their use of voice. A thick, aching syllabic chant is the star of the former while it’s sparse percussive pads and stirring guitars cement the sense of yearning. The latter uses vocals in a slightly more conventional manner but just as effectively, with the repeated line “How can I resist you?” in particular sounding so unsettling and flat out resigned. Don’t sleep on that stunning, soak it all up whilst throwing your arms out in Jesus pose breakdown either.
This compilation even caters for those who the colour black invites a longing for their favourite dark and dusky club. Truants favourite Dro Carey delivers what might be a standout track in the form of “Rollcage” and its whiplash inducing broken beats. Fever Trails’ “Scrum” will have you bopping away (although slightly less furiously) with its drums that scatter from ear to ear and textured synth lines that would make Jon Hopkins proud. Even in the tracks not mentioned here, shh#000000 excels across the board. In the age of Soundcloud, of which Secret Sounds is somewhat a celebration, it’s all too easy to assemble several tracks and call it a compilation. This makes it especially notable that these tracks work together in a front-to-back listen as well as when taken in isolation. Despite the haunting tones, it’s clear that shh#000000 is the result of a lot of love and care, a theme that goes equally for Secret Songs in its entirety.
shh#000000 is available to download for free here.
Words by Matt Coombs, 02 February 2015. Leave a comment
Perhaps a limitless agenda is more of a detriment than a virtue in some respects. Online statistics, an objective gauge of popularity in music for most, in this instance intimate to us that a good chunk of label B. YRSLF DIVISION’s output goes relatively unnoticed, which is a pity for a label that has at some point cultivated a flavor for everyone. A discography made up of venerable artists such as Obey City, Myrryrs, Pedro 123 and Seapoint among others now spans four years; the French imprint has certainly surpassed a fledgling status. Still, you simply don’t see enough of Simon Bernheim’s alien-like signage cover art when an EP drops, whether that’s because their brand lacks a consistent sonic signature or not. A Truant—or anyone else susceptible to the unexpected—knows better, and the play button was clicked immediately when London newcomer Tsvi’s debut-at-large Malfunction hit the net, B. YRSLF’s fifth installment of a rather scattershot 2014 schedule.
While clearly positioning nearly half of Malfunction to fit within the club trax format, Tsvi remains pleasurably refreshing most of the time, though that’s not to say it sounds like he wrote the EP completely ignorant of the contemporary transatlantic electronic climate either. Track 1, “Cop LAPD” is the most well-natured track of the bunch—which is of course in comparison to the racy (if not pornographic) eroticism that imbues “Something” and “Gold Cave”—for which Tsvi borrows Obey City’s rhythmic elements: the mousse’d over bassline, sprightly chords, and 80s new beat-inspired drum programming. A flaccid, detuned melody suitably preludes the said elements, which all play loose, taking their own paths throughout the track, but still feasibly tight, arriving at the same rhythmic end. The producer sounds more than inspired by Jam City on the title track. “Integrating new DNA profile” voices a seemingly robot-assembling system, which successfully contextualizes the industrial mid-range sounds that give the track its jagged outline atop Jersey-influenced drums. To our pleasure, “I Married The Woman Of My Dreams” could be a cut off P. Morris’s Debut.
The video treatment for “Malfunction” plays out very well in conjunction with the EP. The otherworldly montage was created by visual artist Matteo Zamagni with various techniques involving 3D photo-scanning, 3D fractal software, microscopic videos and audio reactive particle systems. The end result looks as if its a relic documentation of space exploration. The sun soaked alien scapes with these morphing anomalous organisms mirror the way Tsvi uses synths on the EP, bringing some old classic sounds into a new modern and highly stylized framework. The vocal samples, which we are pretty sure comes from Metroid Prime and Crysis, fit perfectly with the video, as if you are in a robot suit flying through space and your helmet HUD is reminding you of all the possible problems. Through out the video Zamagni creates stunning rhythm and motions out of these figures with incredible angles and swift cuts. Two thirds through the video the “danger” and “missile malfunction” samples come in again paired with error messages jilting out in different colors. Much like Dr. David Bowman in 2001 with the black monolith, once the viewer of Zamagni’s piece makes contact they are thrusted through an abstract version of the space time continuum, hurtling off into deep space.
TSVI’s “Malfunction” EP is out now via B.YRSLF Division.
Words by Michael Scala and Joe Linden, 29 January 2015. Leave a comment
Happy new year! 2014 was a great year for us at Truants. We celebrated the 100th edition of our Truancy Volume series, interviewed some bonafide heroes of ours and started the Temporary Trax feature to help keep our site ad-free. If you missed out on this or any of the year’s other highlights then be sure to check out our 2014 roundup.
For now though, we’re working on making 2015 even better. To catapult us back into the swing of things, we’ve got Krystal Klear on hand to deliver our 108th Truancy Volume. Last year was equally busy for the Dublin-born, Manchester-based producer with three releases, the birth of his own label and the expansion of his Labour of Love parties. This year shows no signs of any slow-down, with a stellar single featuring Yasmin scheduled for a release on Rinse/Island Records soon. In addition to his production duties, Krystal Klear is also a supreme DJ, which is why we’re thrilled to present you with this Truancy Volume today. Not only does the mix perfectly encapsulate the man’s undeniable talents behind the decks but it’s also our longest mix to date, clocking in at over two hours. In lesser hands this could risk getting a bit dull, but here Krystal Klear expertly distils what his peak-time club sets are about, delivering a barnstorming two hours which hasn’t failed to get us moving. We also caught up with him for a chat where we discussed New Year’s resolutions, his new label and his progression as a producer and DJ.
Truants: Thanks for the mix! How have you been and what have you been up to lately? Krystal Klear: “I’ve been good! Truth be told it’s probably been the most productive start to a new year I’ve ever had to be honest. I’ve managed to get a lot of music done and sort out a few home truths that were bugging me, but for the most part I’ve been keeping a fairly tame January lifestyle with the intention on getting a fuck load of music done.”
This past year has been a busy one for you. What were your highlights and most memorable moments? “I’d be a gobshite if I didn’t acknowledge that working with Nile Rodgers and Michael McDonald in New York wasn’t the highlight of my life, never mind 2014! Otherwise a couple of memorable moments were playing Panorama Bar on NYE, Sonar with all the troops (those who were there will know why) and doing my first live visuals show in The Academy Dublin.”
Last year also saw you starting your own label. What triggered you to want to start your own label? What would you describe the idea is behind Cold Tonic? “More so than anything, frustration was the reason behind it. To be honest, starting a label was the LAST thing on my mind but I was laundering out a lot of beats that, due to one schedule reason or another, weren’t seeing the light of day. Without getting too methodical about it, I felt that my musical growth wasn’t moving in line with my profile’s growth which in turn adds confusion and a dishonest element to my audience.
I’m aware that could sound dead wanky so just to explain it briefly – while I was making perhaps tougher house stuff or weird indie cosmic disco stuff, the people following my music were finally hearing “Addiction”, which was two years old anyway. So I was sick of waiting to release stuff and figured it be better for me in the long run to try keep my release schedule as close as possible to my production one.
Cold Tonic isn’t really an idea or doesn’t have an ethos. The photography does, which is basically a drunken diary with some madness thrown in. The label is about good music and music we love with a touch more of a dance floor aesthetic – simple.”
Can we expect Cold Tonic to release other artists work or are you intending to keep it as an outlet for your own productions? If so, who? “10000% – I’ve already made a conscious decision to make the next couple of releases to be other peoples music which I’m much more excited about. I find it difficult to push my own music so with releasing other people’s stuff it will be much more refreshing. Moreover, it will add a new dynamic to the label.
We are working with two artists in particular at the moment (both under pseudonyms) and we’ll have something very special lined up for Record Store Day (potential kiss of death) which I can’t really talk about JUST yet.”
You were also able to bring the Labour of Love parties to Manchester last year. Can you tell us a bit about this experience? “Doing the Labour of Love parties have been amazing and something I have really enjoyed developing so far. It’s similar to running the label in the sense that I have control over everything. Not that I’m a control freak, but it really enhances things for me if I know that everything fits the conception in my brain, if that makes sense. The Love parties aren’t necessarily going to be every month nor every quarter, but simply when I know I can put someone on that I really respect in a space that can do it right. If people come, then it’s a basically a bonus.”
As someone who lives and runs a night in the city, what do you consider the best and worst parts of Manchester’s club/music scene? “I have very little to complain about when it comes to the Manchester music scene. It’s funny because despite the plethora of stuff on at any given point, there isn’t any major rivalry or snide-ness which can come in other club scenes. It’s cool because subconsciously everyone supports each other in some way or the other. It’s nice to know that you can always rely upon a core of people who will show up regardless just to hear or see something new. Manchester is an extremely open minded city with incredible knowledge spread vast amongst its patrons.
If I had to nitpick, it’d be the lack or medium sized spaces with quality systems. Considering all the urban space surrounding the city, I still find it hard to believe that nobody has set up a tasty 500-800 capacity spot with an incredible system and solid, not over-the-top lighting arrangement, but then again with The Warehouse Project and Sankeys it makes these things semi understandable as to why they aren’t there.”
I noticed you tweet that you’ve started working on a remix for Kelis. You’ve done a fair amount of remix work before – how do you usually approach remixes? What are the challenges that come with them and what is your favourite aspect about them? “The Kelis remix never happened which was a shame because I was really happy with it, but apparently it wasn’t her bag. I’ve done a lot of remixes of all sorts of acts, some of which I love and some of which I possibly should have thought twice about, but I generally tend to open the multi-track and start by muting bits and pieces to see how things sound without certain elements. Nine out of ten times I delete all melody and just work off the vocals and drums and build from there.” Are there any artists/singers you’d still really like to remix? “No one really to be honest, but this year I would like to remix a good house or techno 12″ as opposed to the more major label pop stuff for a change. Either that or do a multi-track edit of an old disco belter like they have done with SAM or Salsoul comps.”
Some of your recent music has a slightly tougher feel than what we’ve maybe been used to from you before. Was this a conscious change? “Entirely but naturally. See, the thing is is that I have always had a foundation for tougher music. As the years have developed I have made a broad horizon of music in the studio, from new jack R&B to acid, to harder stuff but never had the chance nor opportunity to release. Now, with Cold Tonic I do have this opportunity.” Is this change reflected in your DJ sets as well? “The DJ sets have been a real mixed bag because there’s still people there expecting to hear me play BB&Q Band which is fine. Sometimes I still do but now when I DJ I’m trying to delve more into my Hoya Hoya roots and cover a larger spectrum without being over self-indulgent. I never really want to be pidgeon-holed.”
Can you tell us a little bit about the mix you did for us? “I guess I wanted to make a statement really, as most mixes I’ve done try to cover the whole tempo scale via 8 different genres from funk to techno, but with this I wanted to treat it like it was 2am in the club and I was about to go on and play. I want to give people a true representation of where I’m at. I’ve been working on doing a mix for fucking ages, but my record selection was becoming fucking impossible to widdle down. After numerous Serato crates and record bags I just said ‘fuck it’, pressed record and went for it.” What’s the perfect setting for it to be enjoyed? “Best setting is with your pals about 8-9pm smashing beers before you go out. I don’t think this one for an 8am bus journey to work, but then again I could be wrong.”
What can we expect from you this year? Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? “Get an album done properly and not fuck around like I have done before.”
When was the last time you danced? “This morning at 10.30 am to Leon Ware – Inside Is Love (was more of an arse wiggle via cooking eggs).
Words by Matt Gibney, 27 January 2015. Leave a comment
Happy holidays from all of us here at Truants! We look back on another year of wonderful content made possible by the best crew on earth. Our sincerest thanks to everyone that has contributed to and supported Truants over the past year, especially to all of our writers and visual artists that have worked hard to transform our concepts into reality. A special shout out to Matt and the Her Records crew for initiating Temporary Trax to help keep our site running, we are so humbled by the feature and are excited to see what content it will bring us in the future.
We’re taking a short break for the holiday season and will be back in January. Until then, our Soundcloud will continue to host the countless hours of music that make up our Truancy Volumes, Functions of the Now and more. If you need a little inspiration, below are some of our #2014Faves that we’re proud to call our own. We can’t wait to share with all of you what we’ve got lined up for the new year.. See you in 2015! Continue Reading →
Words by Sindhuja Shyam, 24 December 2014. Leave a comment