DecibelCast 27 – “Weightless”

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A specially curated trip through the continuum of ambient sound, ideal for headphones during the gray days and long nights of late winter. Over the course of approximately two hours you the listener can expect to drift through an array of soundscapes—from classic ambient, krautrock, and new age to techno, ’90s IDM, modern avant guarde composition and disembodied chamber music—toward some faintly outlined shape at some distant point beyond the horizon.

[DOWNLOAD]

Tracklist:

Huerco S. – “Sea of Love”

Grouper – “Made of Air”

Laraaji – “Being Here”

Gas – “Pop”

Tim Hecker – “(They Call Me) Jimmy”

Botany – Ory (Joyous Toil)

Iasos – “Bubble Massage”

Aphex Twin – “Radiator”

Dedekind Cut feat. DJ Shadow – “Conversations With Angels”

Vangelis – “Creation du Monde”

Edgar  Froese – “Epsilon in Malaysian Pale”

Julianna Barwick – “Offing”

William Basinski – “Desintegration Loops”

Tangerine Dream – “Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares”

The Caretaker – “An Empty Bliss Beyond this World

 

DecibelCast 24 “Dat ’96 Sh*t”

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1996 was when we reached peak hip-hop—the year when the genre’s creative vitality was finally eclipsed by its significance in the mainstream culture of America, the year when it came crashing down.  In 1996 hip-hop was pop music and vice versa. The West Coast sound, which had basically dominated the decade was finally being legitimately challenged by what had begun as a small insurgency with Wu-Tang‘s debut and gained steam with insta-classic debuts from Nas and Notorious B.I.G.

1996 saw the first and only Fugees record, the debut solo outings of Ghostface,  Busta Rhymes and Eminem. There were classic records released by Nas, Lost Boyz, Mobb DeepTribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Roots, Redman and Too $hort.  And there was 2Pac. More than any other rapper, 1996 belonged to Tupac Shakur.  Pac managed to release three(!!!) albums worth of material (counting the double album All Eyez on Me and the posthumous Don Killuminati) and sell more records than any other rapper probably ever will, before the inevitable end to his tragic whirlwind of a life arrived in September of that year. 96 was the very height of the East Coast/West Coast war. It was beginning of the end for Death Row Records (and  Biggie Smalls who was murdered in early ’97). And it was the  beginning of the South’s ascension, as heralded by Outkast‘s objectively game-changing ATLiens.

DJ Shadow, who correctly interpreted the glitzy cul de sac that mainstream rap was entering even while releasing an album that has yet to be equalled said hip-hop sucked in ’96, but from here it sounds pretty damn good. Fuck! 20 years, I can’t believe it’s been that long. It was a trip listening to all this stuff again. I sincerely hope you enjoy listening to this mix as much as we enjoyed making it.

SIDE A  [DOWNLOAD]

DJ Shadow “Why Hip-Hop Sucks in ’96”
Busta Rhymes feat. Biggie Smalls “Modern Day Gangsta Shit”
The Fugees – “Ready or Not”
2Pac – I Got My Mind Made Up”
Lost Boyz “Music Makes Me High (Album Version)
De La Soul  “Itzsoweezee (Hot)”
Do or Die “Po Pimp”
Dru Down “Breezy”
Nas  “Affirmative Action”
MC Eiht “You Can’t See Me (Compton’s Most Wanted)” Instrumental
Heltah Skeltah “Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka”
Mobb Deep “Hell on Earth”
The East Flatbush Project “Tried by 12” feat Des
Redman feat Method Man  “Do What Ya Feel”
Nonchalant  5 O’Clock (Album Version)
Cypress Hill “Illusions Instrumental (Jay Dee Remix)”

SIDE B  [DOWNLOAD]

A Tribe Called Quest “1nce Again”
Westside Connection “Bow down”
Camp Lo “Luchini (AKA This is It)”
Delinquent Habits “Tres Delinquetes”
The Roots “What They Do”
O.G.C. “Hurricane Starang”
Makaveli (2Pac) “To Live and Die in LA”
Da Bush Babees “The Love Song” feat Mos Def
UGK “Diamonds and Wood”
Outkast “Mainstream”
Jay-Z “Dead Presidents”
Eminem “INFINITE”
Biz Markie “Studda Step”
Jeru the Damaja “Whatever”
Too $hort “Gettin’ It”
Ghostface Killah “All That I Got is You” feat Mary J Blige
DJ Shadow “Midnight in a Perfect World”

DecibelCast Vol. 23 – “L.A.-ted”

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It’s been a minute we realize since we last posted a DecibelCast mix (or anything else for that matter). We’ve all been pretty busy doing adult stuff in our respective lives and, unfortunately, this blog has suffered for it. We have of course continued to discover and enjoy lots of different music, we just haven’t made the time to write about it. But, I digress…

This here is a mix I made specifically for a recent trip to Los Angeles (hence the title)—it starts with a bunch of West Coast G funk-inspired stuff and then works its way into some slick summery electronic pop. All tracks are new (with one obvious exception) and all are ideal for the warm weather. It’s a damn fine collection of songs, and I’ve been rinsing it steadily for the past few weeks. And so I figured “Why not share it with all of you?”

Hope you’re enjoying the summer
Jay Autom@tticus

Download: “L.A.-ted”.zip 

Tracklist:
STS & RJD2  – “Doing it Right”
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Can’t Keep Checking my Phone”
Thundercat – “Them Changes” (feat. Flying Lotus & Kamasi Washington)
NxWorries – “Suede”
Kendrick Lamar – “Momma”
Knxwledge – “Komestostai.Aintreallynootherwaytoputitro”
213 – “So Fly”
The Hood Internet – “Try Out” (Spoon x Dej Loaf Mashup)
The Internet – “Just Sayin/I tried”
A$AP Rocky – “Everyday” feat. Rod Stewart & Miguel
Hudson Mohawke – “Very First Breathe” (feat. Irfane)
Shamir – “Demon”
Jamie xx – “Good Times” feat. Popcaan & Young Thug
Hudson Mohawke – “Ryderz”
Dam-Funk – “Free”
Tuxedo – “Do It”
Hot Chip – “Love is the Future”
LA Priest – “Party Zute / Learning to Love”
Chromatics – “I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around
Tame Impala – “Let It Happen”
Young Fathers – “Sirens”

DecibelCast Vol.21 – “The Riddum Method”

Sometimes we forget about the rest of the world; we live in our own little universe of crazy American drama that we think is so important when, in reality, it’s mostly just ridiculous.  Then every few years, when huge sporting events like the World Cup or the Olympics happen, we realize we must take note of other countries.  In a great way we take in and take on other cultures and remember that we are not the only thing out there.  It’s quite the amazing, humbling and enlightening experience (even if it is for the sake of sports) and it’s a great reminder to keep our eyes open to the rest of the world.

DecibelCast 21 keeps this worldly theme throughout although it is mostly focused on African music. Africa is the world’s second largest and second most populous continent, and African music has influenced about every kind of music we have today, so it’s really deserving of homage. This mix takes a journey through this rich influence by blending traditional songs from artists like Fela Kuti, with popular modern-day mutations of African and world music by the likes of tUnE yArDs and ?uestlove and Major Lazer.  It was originally inspired by thinking of drum- and rhythm-heavy music (the name came before the mix), but then it morphed into this summertime dance party that goes really great with hot weather and, as it turns out, international soccer.

Get the album and tracklist below:

Download: dB-21 “The Riddum Method”

Fela Kuti & The Africa 70 – Let’s Start

Mos Dub – Summertime Running

Tani Diakite & The Afrofunkstars – Nungulunba

Jay-Z feat. Fela Kuti – American Dreamin (Nigerian Gangster Remix)

BK-One – Tema Do Canibal

Hot Chip – Atomic Bomb (William Onyeabor Cover)

Yvonne Chaka Chaka – Kwendini

Major Lazer – Sound Bang (feat. Machel Montano)

Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens – Kazet

The Very Best – Kondaine (feat Seye)

Noumoucounda Cissoko – Noumou Koradioulou

Paul Simon – I Know What I Know

tUnE-yArDs, ?uestlove, Angelique Kidjo & Akua Naru – Lady

K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas – Gyae Mensu

Amadou & Mariam – Dougou Badia (feat. Santigold)

Oumou Sangare – Iyo Djeli

Dilon Djindji – Sofala

 

 

DecibelCast Vol. 20 “The Nineteen Ninety-Four Tape”

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The idea with this one is pretty straight forward: It’s our 20th DecibelCast, and it’s been 20 years since 1994, so here’s a 20th anniversary celebration of hip-hop in 1994.

1994 was a massive year for hip-hop; many believe it to be the genre’s creative zenith (although I think you could make a case for 1993, 1995 and probably 1996 as well). The West Coast G-funk sound was still largely dominant, but the tides were turning and New York was again asserting itself— setting the stage for the East-West battle of the mid-’90s

Biggie and Nas both released their debut LPs–both were insta-classics. Gang Starr, Jeru the Damaja, Organized Konfusion, The Beatnuts, Digable Planets and The Beastie Boys all put out great records.  The Roots signed to a major label, Slick Rick dropped an album from prison, and the Wu Tang takeover was gaining momentum. In the south UGK and the Ghetto Boys were continuing to do their own thing, and an unknown duo from Atlanta called OutKast quietly offered the world a glimpse of the future of hip-hop. On the other side of the Atlantic Mo’ Wax was inventing trip-hop with singles from DJ Shadow and DJ Krush at the same time a French tastemaker called DJ Cam was perfecting his mad blunted jazz  sound.

This mix largely focuses on the resurgent New York style of ’94. It’s an ode to East Coast boom-bap, which has aged much better than the West Coast G-funk.

dB20 “The Nineteen Ninety Four Tape”

Side A

Digale Planets – “Dog it”

Brand Nubian – “Word is Bond”

The Roots – “Mellow My Man”

Artifacts – “C’Mon With Da Git Down”

UGK – “Front Back & Side to Side”

The Beatnuts – “Superbad”

Big L – “Put it On”

DJ Cam – “Gangsta Sh*t”

Notorious B.I.G. – “The What” feat. Method Man

Scientifik – “As Long as You Know”

Gravediggaz – “1-800 Suicide”

Beastie Boys feat. Q Tip – “Get it Together”

MF Grimm feat. KMD – “What a Nigga Know” (Remix)

Peanut Butter Wolf – “Currents”

 

Side B

Del – “Undisputed Champs” feat. Pep Love and Q-Tip

Jeru the Damaja – “Come Clean”

Society – “F.U.N.K.”

Outkast – “Git Up, Git Out”

Nas – “One Time for Your Mind”

Thug Life – “Pour Out a Little Liquor”

Heavy D feat. 2pac, Notorious B.I.G. and Grand Puba – “Let’s Get it On”

DJ Krush – “Am 300 Tag”

Gang Starr – “Mostly the Voice”

Common Sense – “I Used to Love H.E.R.”

Sway & King Tech – “Wake Up Show Anthem (1994)” feat. Nas, Lauren Hill, Pharoahe Monch, Prince Po, Rass Kass, Dred Scott, Saafir & Shyhe

Raekwon – “Heaven or Hell” feat. Ghostface Killah

DJ Shadow – “What Does Your Soul Look Like (12” Single Mix)

Iman Omari

It’s sort of remarkable how broad R&B has again become. Not all that long ago it was as stifled and formulaic as light jazz or contemporary pop country—just a bunch of nameless R. Kelly and Destiny’s Child clones clogging up urban radio.

But the so-called “alt-R&B” movement, which has been gathering steam since at least 2011, changed all of that. Freed from the shackles of A&R men, and spurred on by the breakthroughs of James Blake, The Weeknd, How to Dress Well and others , the once stale niche has been steadily expanding and mutating (Check our DecibelCast Vol. 19 for the bass-ier side of that spectrum).

Among those at the forefront of this expansion, is 23-year-old Iman Omari, a gifted and super prolific (releasing EPs via his Bandcamp page almost monthly these days) composer, producer/remixer and vocalist. The Los Angeleno, who has ties to Kendrick Lamar and Knxledge, actually got his start writing beats with MTV Music Generator on the original Sony Playstaion.

Omari’s take on the genre is essentially hip-hop based, but he also draws on decades of West Coast music– from cool jazz of Brubek to the shamanic acid imagery of The Doors to the squelchy sythesized funk of Parliment, all the way up to the post-millennial boom-bap of the Low End Theory collective. (The way in which he crafts his beats in particular, recalls the off-kilter wonk of Flying Lotus and the Brainfeeder camp.)

Omari’s sound is heavily atmospheric, with multi-layered ambiance created from chopping and looping vocals, synths and samples. In a manner parallel to the mainstream obsession with extensive vocal processing, Omari frequently treats both his own vocals and other instruments, with a heavy amount of effects.

But rather than autotuning, the kind of effects processing he prefers is this distinct warbling kind of thing, that creates woozy, psychedelic melodies that feel bent or wavy, kind of like the way sunlight passes through water.

From the latest “tape,” Vibe Tape +++3:

“Bars w/ Cav”

“Buildin'”

 

And some older stuff:

“Addicted [flip]”  from  Vibe Tape +++(2)

Iman Omari – “Too Late ft. MoRuf”  from (VIBE)rations LP

“Take Away feat. Good Joon”  from Energy EP

“No Stress”  from (VIBE)rations LP

“First Time”  from Energy EP

Omari recently dropped a guest spot for the radio show Soulection, playing a mix of original stuff (starting at about the 1:30:00 mark) and then stick around for an interview.

DecibelCast Vol. 18 “All Your Bass Are Belong to Us”

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DecibelCast 18 was originally slated to be a compilation of bits from the nascent “alt./future” R&B scene (a particularly fertile area in 2013), but somewhere along the line, that idea was dropped. The revised version still has its share of divas and more than a few love ballads to boot, but there’s also lots of different odds and ends, mashups, remixes, bootlegs and the like. As the name (which is an obvious play on an old internet meme) might suggest the new unifying theme is the bass line. So be certain you listen to this one with a sub.

Download: All Your Bass Are Belong to Us.zip

Notorious B.I.G. x Flume – “Ezra’s Limit” (Jaymee Franchina & Jeremy Smith’s “BIG Flume” mashup)

Dam-Funk & Snoop Dogg – “Faden Away”

Kelela – “Guns & Synths”

Jessy Lanza – “5785021”

Sango feat. Atu – “Hold You”

Kelela & MΔRRI$ – “Go All Night”

SZA – “Pray”

Clams Casino x Kendrick Lamar – “Unknown bootleg”

Kilo Kash – “Ghost” (feat. Childish Gambino)

Girl Unit – “Double Team” (Hood Internet Mashup feat. Chance the Rapper)

Riff Raff – “How to Be the Man”

Cassie – “All My Love” (Kingdom Edit)

Kingdom – “Bank Head” (Extended Mix)

Tycho x Three 6 Mafia – “Who Run It” (Hudson Mohawke Edit)

Machinedrum – “Heavy Weight”

MC Tree – “Probably Nu It”

Ghost Town DJs – “My Boo” (Balam Acab Remix)

Tinashe – “Secret Weapon”

James Blake – “Life Round Here” (Chance the Rapper Version)

Jai Paul – “Untitled” (Leak)

JODY – “Echoes”

FKA Twigs – “Ultraviolet”

Iman Omari – “Energy”

Janet Jackson – “Love Scene” (Headlock’s Love Obscene Mix)

DecibelCast Vol. 17 “We All Fall Down” Mixtape

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This latest dBCast, which completes our triage of melancholic mixes (we promise the next one will be happy), is an ode to the final days of Autumn—that time of year when the air is crisp, the nights are long and we’re all recovering from /gearing up for being around our families.

The back story on this one is that I came across these great compilations of weird, psychedelic and vaguely sad folk music from the early 1970s called Acid Folk, which, totally inform the mix—even if only a few of the songs made it to the final tracklist. As far as what else made the cut, there’s a bunch of stuff from 2013, much of which you will probably recognize if you read this blog. I’ve been really digging the oddball library music-inspired sounds of British imprint Ghost Box of late, so I included some tracks from The Advisory Circle, Pye Corner Audio and The Learning Center.  And then there are the songs with Autumn-sounding names and also, some random odds and ends from the past: the lo-fi jangle pop of Cleaners from Venus, and this amazing Chilean rock supergroup from the late ’70s, Boddega, that I stumbled upon—shit, there’s even a Donavon song in there.

Hope you enjoy.

. . .

Download We All Fall Down.zip

Tracklist

Yo La Tengo – “Autumn Sweater”

My Bloody Valentine – “New You”

Salvia Plath – “House of Leaves”

Kelley Stoltz – “Your Face”

Maston – “Looks”

The Advancement – “Stone Folk”

Ghostface & Adrian Younge – “An Unexpected Call (Instrumental)”

King Krule – “Ocean Floor”

Cleaners From Venus – “Only a Shadow”

Boddega – “Dame Tu Amor (Give Me Your Love)”

Vashti Bunyan – “Rose Hip November”

The Advisory Circle – “Innocence Elsewhere”

Forest Swords – “An Hour”

The Low Frequency in Stereo – “Secondhand Nation”

Forest Fire – “Alone With the Wires”

Sparklehorse – “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away”

Donovan – “Get Thy Bearings”

Listening Center with Pye Corner Audio – “Titoli”

Young Fathers – “I Heard”

The Pastels – “Kicking Leaves”

Bry Webb – “Rivers of Gold”

Robert Gebelein – “In Search of Something”

Mark Fry – “Song for the Wild”

DecibelCast Vol. 16 – “GRL PRBLMS”

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We’ve all been there at some point in our lives; a relationship gets hard and problems start to occur:  fights, disagreements, arguments—maybe even time apart or breaking up.  Most of the time these issues can be fixed or overcame with time, but this requires some thinking, some love and the right music to make it through.

For me, hip-hop has always served well.  I don’t know why it works, maybe it’s the heavy beats, the nonchalant dismissal of feelings, or just the overall understanding that these types of things are universal, that everyone goes through them.  To that end, this mix is dedicated to the struggles we all go through in relationships and to the problems each and every man has with his woman, as explained by some of the best tracks out there right now.

“Hip-hop isn’t nearly as complex as a woman is.”
– Talib Kweli

Download GRL PRBLMS.zip

 

TRACKLIST

“GRLS” – salute

“Untitled feat. Chance The Rapper” – Mr. MFN eXquire

“Sunday feat. Frank Ocean” – Earl Sweatshirt

“Count On Me” – Lucki Eck$

“When It Rains” – Dag Savage feat. Aloe Blacc

“Serve This Royalty” – Big K.R.I.T.

“Can We Chill” – Riff Raff

“Keyz feat. Gucci Mane, Deniro Farrar, Nacho Picasso” – Blue Sky Black Death

“Constant Conversations” (Remix feat Juicy J) – Passion Pit

“You Song” – Lil Wayne feat. Chance The Rapper

“Float On feat. Charli XCX” – Danny Brown

“Vortex feat. Kid Cudi & Pusha T” – King Chip

“Dreamin’ (Prod. by Ryan Hemsworth)” – Shady Blaze

“Your Drums, Your Love” – AlunaGeorge

“Stay Close feat. Boldy James, Alexander Spit & Aaron Cohen” – Flume

“We Were In Love” – Ta-ku

“If Your Girl Only Knew (WoodysProduce Remix)” – Aaliyah

“All The Time feat. Lil Wayne & Natasha Mosley” – Jeremih

“Take A Fall For Me feat. Rza” – James Blake

“Cocaine Woman” – Lucki Eck$

“She (Shlohmo Remix)” – Laura Mvula

 

DecibelCast Vol. 14 “Wandering”

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This latest DecibelCast is a mix of somewhat new material that has assisted me on my summer travelings across the country. From Vermont to Seattle and up to Stanwood, WA for a 6-week job at a glass school on a 15,000-acre tree farm; over to Montana for a wedding and a 3 day excursion into Glacier National Park; back to the east coast to North Carolina; and then on down to St. Pete, FL.

Another few weeks in NC and I’ll be on my way back to the North East Kingdom and a private glass studio in Greensboro, VT.

I’ve been fairly non-existent in the blogosphere for most of my trip and this mix may reflect that. It’s been in the works since I left Vermont almost 3 months ago. Whether you’re on the road or hunkered down allow this mix to help you wander through mental or physical space. Enjoy and safe travels.

• • •

[dB-14] “Wandering”

Download the ZIP

 

Tracklist

Evenings – “Babe”

Wise Blood – “Alarm”

Astro – “Ciervos”

Baths – “Miasma Sky”

Jai Paul – “track 3”

TV Girl – “She Smokes in Bed”

DEMON QUEEN – “Rude Boy (feat. N8NOFACE)

CocoRosie – “Gravedigress”

The Blank Tapes – “Pearl”

André – “Mend”

King Khan and The Shrines – “Born To Die”

Alex Bleeker and The Freaks – “Step Right Up (Pour Yourself Some Wine)”

Hospital Ships – “All Yr Gold”

Coma Cinema – “Satan Made A Mansion”

Paul Cary – “Ghost of a Man”

Jacuzzi Boys – “Double Vision”

La Luz – “Call Me in the Day”

GRMLN – “Coral”

The Aquadolls – “Our Love Will Always Remain”

Demon’s Claws – “Weird Ways”

Deerhunter – “Punk (La vie antérieure)”

Jonathan Rado – “Faces”

Speedy Ortiz – “No Below”

Pure Bathing Culture – “Pendulum”

Smith Westerns – “3AM Spiritual”

Wilsen – Oblivion (Grimes Cover)

Bibio – “Dye the Water Green”

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – “We No Who U R”

Hot Palms – “Benny and the Jets”

LAKE R▲DIO – “Bleeding Thumb”