P Morris – “Debut”

P Morris, formerly known as MΔRRI$, and known to his mother as Philesciono Canty is a bass sculptor of the first order. His slick trap-informed style of of production, which he’s oddly dubbed Goombawave, has found its way on to compilations curated by the  boundary pushing Night Slugs imprint, and the mixtapes of genre benders like Kelela and Le1f (as well as our DecibelCast series).

For his first “mixtape,” simply called Debut, he’s really upped his game, coloring in trap’s minimal framework of skittery 808 drums, handclaps and booming low-end, with sweeping cinematic atmosphere and lavish amounts of organic instrumentation.

Although clocking in at just under 30 minutes, Debut is laid out almost like a film score, the tracks flowing continuously together into one seemless whole, weaving icy ambient interludes into orchestral arrangements of strings and piano, and rising intermittently to crescendos of pitched R&B vocals and chest-rattling subsonic frequencies.

It’s a sprawling record such as this, with this many moving parts is pretty much de facto headphone music, but, make no mistake when the beat does drop it would murder the sound system of any club. And honestly, you’ve got to give up to anyone who can flip a Justin Beiber track into something as supremely badass as  The Weeknd-esque “Hold Tight.”

You can grab the whole thing as a name-your-price download over at Bandcamp.

And for those who want more of this sound, there is also the EP split with Sweater Beats, Young Love Heartbreak, available as a free soundcloud download.

And some further listening:

Kelela – “Go All Night” (prod by MΔRRI$)

Le1f – “Go In” (prod by MΔRRI$)

Katy B – “Crying for no” Reason (MΔRRI$ remix)

*edit: I forgot to add his recent mix for FACT, a perfect encapsulation of what P. Morris is about, featuring a slew of exclusives and remixes.

Trackilist:
Justin Timberlake – Set The Mood Prelude (P. Morris edit)
P. Morris – Ladyboy [Bear Club Music Group]
Jon B – They Don’t Know
Justin Bieber – Recovery
Craig David – Fill Me in
Axel Boman – Barcelona
P. Morris – Rashida Jones [forthcoming Bear Club Music Group]
Drake – Come Thru
Tom Richman – Dro Montana (Sweater Beats Remix) [Bear Club Music Group]
R. Kelly – Remind Me of Something
Jeremih – Rosa Acosta
Tom Richman – Your Body [forthcoming Bear Club Music Group]
Dat Oven – Icy Lake (L- Vis 1990 Refix)
P. Morris – Wunderlust [forthcoming Bear Club Music Group]
Katy Perry – Walking On Air (Hundreds & Thousands edit) [forthcoming Bear Club Music Group]
Zedd – Stay the Night (Schwarz Remix)
P. Morris – White Hood (Neana Chop)
Omarion – Ice Box
Foxy – ICE RINK WHERE MY HEART USED TO RIP GIRRL XX [Tom Crew]
Mssingno – PART 2 XE2 VIP BIELDUB REMIX PART 2 (Goon Club Allstars)
Drake – We Made It (featuring Soulja Boy)
P. Morris – Crying for No Reason VIP
Cam’ron – Oh Boy
Katy B – Crying for No Reason (P. Morris Remix)
Young Thug – Stoner
Missy Elliott – Take Away (ft Ginuwine) (P. Morris Edit)
P. Morris – Hold Tight (VIP) [Bear Club Music Group]
Beyonce – Drunk In Love
Squarepusher – Red Hot Car
Rai – The Game of Rat and Dragon (Vivisect) [forthcoming Bear Club Music Group]
Roni Size – Heroes [Kruder & Dorfmeister Remix]
Dane Chadwick – Vowels [Astronautico]
112 – Anywhere
Jubilee & Burt Fox – Keys Wallet Phone
Wale – Bad [Mike Gip Remix]
2 Chainz – Where You Been
Moleskin – Turnt On
Alexander O’ Neal – What’s Missing
*NSync – Gone (P. Morris Exit edit)

Flume

21-year-old Harley Streten, who produces under the psuedonym Flume, aparently got his start making beats at the age of 13 when he obtained a production CD from a box of breakfast cereal. Since then, the native Australian has blossomed into a formidable producer and remixer.

His self-titled debut, which saw a North-American release via Mom + Pop Music back in February can be viewed as a snapshot of the contemporary musical landscape, deftly blending electronic pop music, trap-style percussion, and glitch-y dubstepish sounds–basically it’s electro synths and big gnarly bass lines with a bunch of cut up R&B and rap a capellas.

It’s a pretty straight forward concept, but he executes it magnificently, and the proof is in the pudding so to speak–the kiddies are eating this shit up. I caught Flume at the FYF Festival in downtown Los Angeles a few weeks back, and he killed it was easily one of the rowdiest performances of the weekend.

 

His soundcloud page is full of exclusive content and more than a few free downloads, so definitely go check him out.

 

 

It looks as though the vinyl for Flume is all sold out, but you can grab a digital copy over at Beatport.

And now it looks as though Fellow Aussies Jaymee Franchina & Jeremy Smit have gone and given Flume the mashup treatment, pairing the beats with some of Biggie Smalls‘ greatest verses, to create B.I.G. Flume.

Airhead – “For Years”

Until recently London-based, multi-instrumentalist Rob McAndrews was perhaps known more in connection with James Blake than as a musician in his own right—he toured with Blake as his guitarist and the two collaborated on a couple of 12″ releases before Blake became a household name a few years back.

Hopefully this, his full-length debut, released earlier this summer via electronic stalwart R&S Records, will change that.

Perfect headphone listening, especially on the walk home through the foggy night, For Years is a proper album, not just a collection of tracks (a feat that is maybe more difficult than most people realize).

In and interview with Resident Advisor, McAndrews claimed to have been heavily influenced by Anticon beatmaker Odd Nosdam, although it’s difficult to hear the connection, as his production is practically pristine compared to the murk of Nosdom et al.

The sound, instead, fits loosely into that particular strain of post-post-dubstep— championed by the aforementioned Blake and Mount Kimbie—that some have coined micro-bass.

Like his more illustrious peers, Airhead‘s music is characterized by obsessively tight production standards, cavernous low end frequencies, warped melodies (both synthesized and vocalized), skeletal rhythms made from things that aren’t really drums, and all kinds of little bits of sound, processed beyond recognition and re-purposed into something new and different.

Airhead puts his own spin on the sound, through guest vocalists and deployment of his guitar which add some much needed warmth—at times the songs stray into folk and shoegaze territory at times.

Earlier collaboration with James Blake

Airhead put together a surprisingly weighty DJ mix for 1-800 Dinnosaur back in January, which you can stream or download.

Lil Jabba – “Scales”

jabba

For those who may not be familiar with Chicago juke music or its more esoteric and explosive permutation footwork, XLR8R ran this nice little feature a few years back. I’ll just sum it up by saying the music is something like the sound of jacking Chicago house crossed with gangsta rap and a whole lot of methamphetamine—basically 808 drum machines going off the rails as they reach to tempos in excess of 160 beats-per-minute, and jarringly repetitive samples of rap lyrics employed in such a way that the words lose all meaning becoming just another element of the track. It’s raw shit to be sure, made straight up for the battling dance crews on the rough streets of South Side Chicago.

Then sometime around 2010 (with the help of a few key players in the UK, like Mike Paradinas and Mark Pritchard), this simple template went viral, re-igniting the creative fires of bass music producers the world over, who had been struggling under the dead weight of dubstep’s mainstream success. And suddenly footwork‘s influence was seemingly everywhere; you could hardly turn around without hearing the stuttering 808 drums and vocal chopping that are the genre’s hallmark.

All this to establish that at the current moment, there is footwork, i.e. the pure stuff from folks like RP Boo, DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn et al, which is mainly still an insular Chicago thing, and then the footwork-fusion stuff which is everywhere else.

Lil Jabba (real name Alexander Shaw) then is somewhat of an outlier. With ties to Chicago’s TekLife crew (essentially the footwork mafia) his street cred is unquestionable, yet he’s white, Australian, makes his home in Brooklyn and his  music sounds very little like anything coming from Chicago.

It’s true, these tracks are characterized by the same lo-fi production and isosceles rhythms that typify the genre, and the 808 drum kit is definitely prominent on the scene. But Jabba’s sonic palette spreads well beyond that of his fellow Tek-Lifers.

His sinewy drum tracks (which employ lots of tom rolls) are laden with an assortment of aural intrigues: angular synthetic melodies, snippets from arcane film, various glitchey and gurgling sonic artifacts of unknown origin, and a general haze of cough syrup ambiance, that is both placid and paranoid. It’s exceedingly dense for the famously minimal genre. Connecting dots from Miami bass to Detroit techno to London jungle, recalling the freewheeling anything-goes aesthetic of early ’90s hardcore rave music in its best sense.

You can purchase here.

Check out more Lil Jabba sounds over at his souncloud page

Mala In Cuba

Mark Lawrence, aka Mala, is that rare musical entity whose influence stretches way beyond his name recognition.  In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a more central figure in the development and proliferation of dubstep.

As one half of the seminal Bristol (England) outfit Digital Mystiks, it could rightly be said that he put the dub in the genre’s namesake (this is of course long before America got hold of things and dubstep became a misnomer).

Lawrence’s early forays into bass music with production partner Coki – self-released on their DMZ imprint – were cavernous low-frequency monsters that evoked in equal measures the smoke-filled dance halls of Jamaica and the moodiness of urban London.

His famed club night DMZ, along with the equally legendary Forward>>, was the showcase for the sound of underground London in the early aughts.

Although it took more than a decade for the dubstep don to venture out solo into the full-length realm, the result is worth the wait.

Under the guidance of celebrated auteur Gilles Peterson, Lawrence traveled to Cuba and hooked up with some of the illest musicians on the island.  There, he presided over what were essentially jam sessions played at approximately 140 bpm – his preferred tempo for writing music.  With a hard drive full of sound he returned to home to cut and splice the recordings into some serious club bangers.

Among the worst things to befall dubstep in the opinion of this humble writer, was the systematic stripping away of anything remotely Black/African sounding. What had once been characterized by little more than syncopated rhythms, reggae chatter and sub-bass was replaced by lumbering monotonous dirges of atonal mid-rangey synths.

With this collection of beats, Mala reminds us why that original formula was so effective.  The addition of Cuban percussive elements creates a very live and dynamic feel, providing a perfect counterpoint to what are essentially massive bass lines and dub delay.

Excellent listening for anyone interested in real dubstep.

(do not listen to these clips on computer speakers, as you will not be able to appreciate the core element: bass)

Evian Christ – “Kings and Them”

I downloaded this back in February when it first hit the internetz, but wasn’t super impressed after the first listen, so I forgot about it.

Having listened to it again on headphones with proper low end, I can say I’m really feeling it right now.  It’s summertime here in SF, and that means cold foggy nights, for which this shit is perfect. Seriously.  While the primary elements are quite simple—scatter-shot 808 drums, creepy ethereal pads, trap rap vocals screwed way down low, and smooth buttery sub bass—their deployment is excellent making for a sum-greater-than-the-means product, which of course is the hallmark of all good minimalism.  The rhythmic content is also deceptively intricate smoothly alternating between the slap of hip-hop and and highly syncopated almost house arrangements

According to this interview, 22-year-old Joshua Leary made his name the new way i.e. he uploaded some tracks to youtube and the shit went semi-viral.  He was swiftly signed to Triangle Records, on the strength of tracks like these.

 “MYD”

“Thrown Like Jacks”

You can download the whole thing for free here.

*7/20 edit  Mr. Christ just released this track via twitter:

Evian Christ – “FYTS”

LHF – “Keepers of the Light”

This sprawling, opus of distended, sub-sonic frequencies, is probably the best example of real  London “dubstep” you’re likely to find these days;  it’s a near perfect encapsulation of the myriad disparate influences and free-wheeling artistic spirit that characterized the genre’s halcyon days circa 2003. In a parallel dimension this kind of thing could have been synonymous with “dubstep,” but of course in world we inhabit, the word has been thoroughly hijacked by angsty suburban American teenagers.

LHF first caught my ear back in early 2010 when Blackdown Soundboy’s Martin Clark posted a short profile accompanied by this mix.

LHF – “Pipe Down Mix”
(It was so fresh I didn’t even know what to make of it at the time.)

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Gang Colours

Say what you will about Dubstep, it has undeniably galvanized the music landscape for good or for ill.

On the one hand, it’s inflicted upon the world the angsty, mid-rangey, migraine-inducing, garbage peddled by folks like Skrillex and Deadmau5. And equally significant, but nowhere near as visible, it has acted as catalyst for an entire generation of artists who’ve pushed the sound in myriad directions over the past 5 years, morphing its Spartan framework into fantastic new shapes. Any genre that can claim to have fostered artists as diverse as Burial, ZombyJames Blake, Mount Kimbie Shackleton, Rustie and Floating Points, deserves to be recognized in the grand scheme of things.

23-year-old Will Ozanne is in the latter category of this continuum; his music falling on the artsier, melodic side of the spectrum. His work, which was quickly snapped up by Gilles Peterson‘s estimable Brownswood imprint, is a beautiful amalgam of organic and synthetic.

Elements of jazz and classical intersect with contemporary urban bass music – voice and piano being as integral as synthesizer and drum machine.

His debut full length The Key Chain Collection  manages to be cinematic in scope, while clocking in at just over 30 minutes.  It’s 10 tracks are characterized by impeccable production values, with an obsessive ear for sonic minutiae. It’s deep atmospheric headphone music that’s still weighty enough to hold its own on a big sound system. The best way I could describe it is somewhere between Floating Points, Fourtet and Baths.

A few tracks from The Keychain Collection:

“Botley in Bloom”

“On Compton Bay”

“Fancy Restaurant”

 

And if you’re feeling this sound like I am, you’ll want to grab this DJ mix he put together for Sonic Router.

Kuedo

Kuedo is the latest alias of English-born, and currently Berlin-based producer Jamie Teasdale. As one half of Vex’d, Teasdale helped pioneer the harder more technical side of dubstep back in the early ’00s, long before it became the musical abortion it is today.

For this new project he’s basically thrown the old script out, and produced one hell of a debut album called  Severant, which dropped earlier this month via the venerable Planet Mu. I like to think of this record as achieving what Witch House set out to do — that is marry the raw intensity and attitude of urban music with darker textural moodiness of synth glam — while managing to sound like nothing else out there.

So what does it sound like? Put simply, Severant is an ode to the synthesizer.  Its fifteen cuts are characterized by bilious clouds of melancholic ambiance that swirl (ominously at times) around clockwork rhythms.  In lieu of dubstep’s rigid 70 beats per minute structure, Teasdale opts for the bounce of crunk hip-hop and the spastic twitch of Chicago footwork — these tracks are all about 808 kicks, snares and hats.  It’s an alarmingly original juxtaposition of styles belied only by the fact that it jells so seamlessly .

Here are a few samples from the new album:

“Visioning Shared Tomorrows”

“Scissors”

“Truth Flood”

Teasdale also put this mix together for FACT Magazine, which nicely sums up the disparate range of influences that led to his unique sound. (It also happens to be perfect late fall listenin’)

Tracklist is as follows:
Carly Simon – ‘Why’ loop
Aaliyah – ’4 Page Letter’ CFCF remix
Boi 1da & Matthew Burnet – ‘Up All Night’ Instrumental + Drake Hook
Lex Luger – ‘Bugatti Boyz’ Instrumental
Danny Brown – ‘Cyclops’ (prod. Doe Pesci)
Sully – ‘I Know’
Dj Spinn – ‘Don’t Shoot’
Giggs – ‘Bus Commercial’
Krampfhaft – ‘Spit Thunder’
Kuedo – ‘Onset / Escapism’
Hecker – ‘bsf°tyk 5′
Tangerine Dream – ‘Alley Walk’
Vangelis – ‘I Dream Of Music’
Araabmuzik – ‘At2′
CFCF – ‘Draped Up Remix’
Kuedo – ‘Truth Flood’
Tangerine Dream – ‘White Eagle’
Aphrodite’s Child – ‘Aegian Sea’
Robert Hood – ‘The Plague (Cleansing Maneuvers)’
Tony Yayo – ‘King Of The Pyrex’
Kuedo – ‘As We Lie Promising’
Beaver & Krause – ‘And There Was Morning’
Drake & The Dream – ‘Shut It Down’
Autechre – ‘Parallel Suns’
Kuedo – ‘Ant City’

http://kuedo.tumblr.com/

Rustie – “Glass Swords”

After a series of excellent EPs and remixes over the past few years, Rustie finally gave us his first proper long player Oct. 11 via Warp Records. It’s an ostentatiously badass debut by someone who has a well-earned reputation for crafting “over the top” music

For those not familiar with the Glasgow Scotland native, Rustie‘s production style is the aural equivalent of all caps — his hybrid sound manages to fuse the gansta bravado of mainstream hip-hop with the excess of hardcore rave music and the arena-sized, self-indulgence of ‘70s progressive rock, and somehow not come off like a train wreck. It’s the kind sonic amalgam that could only be possible in the hyper-connectivity of the digital age.

With Glass Swords, he’s taken this penchant for maximalism to its logical conclusion; these new tracks are stuntin’ like Slick Rick in a fucking Gucci hovercraft.

Jammed with glistening, angular synthesizers — polished to smooth, yet deadly sharp edges — ascending rave chords; video game melodies; warped r&b diva vocals; Auto-Tune; and some of the most epic guitar parts this side of Queen, Glass Swords weaves deliriously through massive buildups and even more epic breakdowns. The songs exude a kind of neon-hued mania and are only kept from blasting off into orbit by a bedrock of sub-sonic frequencies and the crunked-out swagger of the drums. Timbaland tried unsuccessfully to merge rave music with mainstream hip-hop, and unfortunately spawned one of the most God-awful trends in the history of pop. Rustie succeeds handsomely where Timbo failed; the track called “Ultra Thizz” says it all really.

Here’s a couple of samples from the album I found on the man’s soundcloud:

All Night”

“Ultra Thizz”

And here’s one of my personal favs.


And here’s an unofficial video for Hyperthrust” from his 2010 Sunburst EP — I couldn’t help posting it. I love John Candy: