Malory has been doing the live hardware rounds in New York’s thriving mechanical scene for a minute now. Her first official release comes from GOD MODE, a label that’s growing more captivating with each album they put out. There is something that just clicks with this release, it feels so natural. The track names are the first signifier, with amazing titles like “Boohbah” and “Swarf” setting the tone for the whole EP. Each tune fits so perfectly in a well-defined sound palette that never shows wear throughout. Drums are all punchy and bright, but it’s the simple chord arrangements like the ones found on “Oomph, pt 3” that really get you zoning. This would fit seamlessly in any set in a dark hazy space, you can almost picture the shadows bouncing around the smoke, flashes and lasers piercing every which way. A classically trained dancer at heart, Malory strings together five fun and bouncy tunes – “cathartic booty jams” as she’s defined them, with her signature crusher box driving her simple live set up. The release is strong and focused and doesn’t suffer from all-too-familiar hazy hardware lo-fi noodling. Everything is perfectly arranged, hits hard, and is ready to be thrown in the mix.
“What the fuck was I put here for? What the fuck is my purpose? Brain is lurkin’ / My momma mad I ain’t workin’, I feel worthless, but when I’m on stage and workin’ I am perfect / I mess up in perfect stride, it’s alright, just as long as you feel the vibe, feel the vibe.” Of all the calls to arms in D.R.A.M.’s “$”, these are the words that resonate most with me personally. The 21st century grind often comes hand-in-hand with existential doubts about modern living, even if deep down we know we’re asking ourselves the wrong questions. Longing to be able to really give back to generations that sacrificed so much to raise us, there can be apprehensions towards spending time doing things like writing about music. D.R.A.M. says that when we’re in the zone, acting out what we feel our calling is, we’ll be fine. Come what may, just roll with the punches. Hailing from Virginia, D.R.A.M. is most known for his Super Mario-inspired, “Hotline Bling”-inspiring “Cha Cha”. On “$”, his flow bounces between the punchy mantra of the hook to irresistible crooning verses, indelible and weightless. So much so that it can become freeing to listen to over its dramatic, thematic instrumental, now with added Donnie Trumpet fanfare. Focused around the struggle to thrive as an artist, D.R.A.M.’s self-inspiration instils valor in others by sheer proximity too. The softest yet most potent espresso shot, best served in the morning.
A recent signing to Slime Recordings, A.Fruit is building hype in the same way her tracks build atmosphere. Straight out of Russia, A.Fruit’s latest release Expectations is proof that juke and footwork resonates worldwide, and her complex compositions are definitely something to watch out for. The EP itself (found through the female-only Facebook group Sister – shout out Sister) starts with “Keep & Go”, which is possibly the stand out track; the staccato juke percussion dropped halfway through the track over a half-time rhythm is illuminating – a perfect example of beautiful sampling. Second track “Distancia” sees A.Fruit flex her beat production while “The Drummer” hits home with a tough juke workout. A+++ for this one.
The artwork for Лапти‘s В Тираж (Lapti‘s V Tiraj) is amusingly unassuming. Just a guy on a motorcycle, calling his mum (I’m guessing – it could just as easily be his partner/boss/dealer). The music, however, really gets under your skin. Opening with the 1980s documentary synth opus “Права Гуманоида” (“Humanoid Rights”), the tone is one of corroded glamour. The next track, “Ушу” (“Wushu”), pulls that rug away, more LA beat music than retro pastiche (appropriately, it previously appeared on Matthewdavid’s Leaving). The glistening “Металлопена” (“Metalfoam”) continues in this vein, while “Сирены” (“Sirenas”), with Иосош (Nocow), feels like gauzy balearic ambience, all soaring vocals and whistling theremin. “Вход” (“Enter”) returns to that Boards of Canada mood, and after another few beat segues, closer “Первое Свидание” (“First Date”) rounds things out in jovial fashion, its playful bleeps dancing handsomely around more wordless arias. The dusty, crackling feel throughout is as warming as a Lemsip and a new scarf, the perfect accompaniment for dark, winter evenings.
BNJMN has maintained his hectic release schedule throughout 2015. The Bournermouth-born, Berlin-based producer paired up with Best Available Technology to deliver a well-realised album of ethereal ambient techno earlier this year, also putting out a super limited cassette to inaugurate his own Brack imprint. All this has come alongside three EPs, the latest of which finds itself on Crème Organization’s new sub-label Jericho One. Stylistically, it’s a far cry from the some of the dreamier soundscapes that BNJMN first shot to prominence with, but as a producer, versatility has always been one of his strong suits. The four-track Skur EP sees BNJMN’s experimentations with murkier techno sounds continue. Opener and titular track “Skur” is a gritty pared back number and perhaps the most floor-focused of the EP’s cuts. While not quite packing the same dancefloor heft, “Herz” retains the preceding track’s unnerving feel, building gradually through eerie synths that slowly creep into prominence over chugging mechanical percussion. “Herz” comes closest to convention. Built around a 4/4 rhythm, its whirring vocal sample soon casts you under its spell before the twisted bleeps of “Hydrofoil” round off the EP. All in all it’s a release that’s certainly worth seeking out and, with a return to Delsin scheduled before the end of the year, BNJMN’s trajectory is definitely going to be interesting to follow.
Words by Joe Linden, Tayyab Amin, Jess Melia, Aidan Hanratty and Matt Gibney.
Previous editions of Sunday’s Best here.
Photo: Malory by Cole Giordana for Brooklyn Magazine