Anyone who attains the NAAFI seal of approval is pretty much good in our book and the inclusion of Uruguayan artist Lechuga Zafiro in the recent NAAFI Pirata 2 bootleg pack and the NAAFI NTS show is validation for a a producer and DJ who has quickly risen to the top of the echelon as far as South American artists approaching club forms goes. Not stopping with his alliance with the Mexico City-based label though, LZ is attempting to foster a community in Montevideo through his Salviatek label, bringing in fellow Uruguayan Pobvio for the label’s first full EP. The Syndombe Club EP is built around a reinterpretation of traditional candombe rhythms, bringing them into a mechanized and militarized age on tracks like “Momo Riddim” and “La Llamada” that are at once playful and full of glossy, kinetic energy. Syndombe Club is out September 11 and will feature remixes from Lechuga Zafiro and Imaabs.
Born out of a dearth of dance music outlets in Ottawa, the Hyperpron collective/label will release the Valves EP from crew member STRICK next week. And while Ottawa might not exactly be a thriving dance music metropolis, Hyperpron appears to be gaining a little momentum, STRICK & Phonome (of Los Angeles)’s burning “Nightlyfe” being a pretty good indication of progress. While firmly in the post-Classical Curves mold, the collaboration maintains a sprightly energy, full of sharp, four-on-the-floor snares and a well managed progression. Look out for Valves next week and be sure to keep tabs and/or subscribe to the Hyperpron Bandcamp plan.
As the 10th release in Rushmore‘s globetrotting World Series, Portland-based producer C Plus Plus‘ entry has a lot to be compared to, from the terraforming madness of Dreams‘ Vol. 4 to Akito‘s neck-snapping, snare-heavy Vol. 5. The company is thick in this series and it takes a strong four track effort to stand out in any way. And even though the series is chock full of functional, stripped down bangers, it’s still a pleasure to find the odd track that just embodies the spirit it intends to convey. “Bounce Trak” is a runway track with flair, from the playful glissandos, walk-bounce-walk-repeat flow and on to the bang the box percussion. Think breaks and luscious pad work fill out the work, but the splintering percussion and formal intention are the focus here and while traversing several other spheres including techno and electro, the rest of Vol. 10 achieves on a similar level. World Series Vol. 10 is out Monday, August 24 and can be previewed after the jump.
While Tim Zha has worked under the Organ Tapes nom de guerre for some time now, his vocal explorations and lo-fi take on digital pop only recently entered our ear space, the result being near-immediate obsession. Growing up listening to everything from ambient and noise to 50 Cent and Eminem, musical sources drawn from friends and television, Zha split his childhood between China and the UK and now lives in London, taking his place in the sprawling, yet intimately creative cultural metropolis. Recently, the Organ Tapes project has been lapped up by Pitcheno and his machine-minded Tobago Tracks label, Zha’s best track to date “K1. Bu Ming Bai” appearing on a TT single several months ago.
Working with and taking inspiration from the sounds of dancehall, afrobeat, bop and Future, Organ Tapes sings in a low slung, sultry manner, both swimming in the pool created by his influences and taking them beyond the cloud cover into another, moon-drenched environment. Like fellow newcomers Malibu and Blaze Kidd, Zha is re-instituting the role of voice in club-not-club music, utilizing motifs from a place-less club world in his beatific covers and originals. And with a special, vocal-focused mixtape on the way, it’s easy to see that Zha is becoming increasingly confident in his voice in song writing, not to mention his acumen with roughneck club tracks that are also on the way. Throw on Organ Tapes’ Astral Plane mix and scroll below for our Skype talk with the artist, touching on the topics above as well as his thoughts on the club, ascension and his roll as a live performer. This is one of our most non-dancefloor-oriented mixes in a while so get cozy and delve in.
What were your first experiences listening to hip hop and R&B?
Pretty much as far back as I can remember I’ve been excited about hip-hop music. I remember 50 Cent and Eminem videos on MTV Asia / Channel V really exciting me as a child, but it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I really got into rap & RnB. At the same time I was probably equally if not more into guitar music and ambient and noise music. I don’t think my environment growing up made any one musical form or set of aesthetic references feel naturally dominant or the norm. Or maybe I’ve just always been resistant to the idea that any one form or style can be function as dominant or the norm for me. There’s a lot of freedom in moving between and drawing upon a wide variety of forms and styles, but that also brings with it certain anxieties over whether I’m meaningfully or appropriately interacting with them…
How did you hook up with Pitcheno and Tobago Tracks? -What is your creative relationship with Pitcheno look like?
I met Robert (Pitcheno) and the rest of the TT squad through a friend who does the label’s graphic design work. I think not long after we met TT started gravitating away from being a more club-focused label and what I was doing kind of fit the bill for the sounds they were wanting to start expanding into. I’m super grateful for their support because before linking with TT no one really knew or gave a shit about any of the music I made – Organ Tapes is an old, old project.
As for our creative relationship, I think it’s developed quite organically. I think Robert knows that I can be quite private and controlling about the way I work but “K1. Bu Ming Bai” was made really smoothly and organically despite me being unused to much collaboration. It was definitely a different process to how I work on my own but I’m hyped on it.
There’s an interesting cohort of London artists pushing Caribbean sounds and reinterpreting R&B in interesting ways. Endgame, Kamixlo, Blaze Kidd, Malibu, etc. Do you guys get together to talk and share ideas or is it more spontaneous? -Are you excited by what’s going on around you?
Yeah, there are definitely a lot of people that are doing a lot of exciting things in London right now. I don’t really know a lot of people personally to be honest, but I’ve spoken to Endgame a bit and I have huge respect and love for everything him and the rest of the artists you just referenced are doing.
Although London is definitely a hub for this kind of cultural activity (London is a hub for cultural activity in general, tbh), it’s definitely not a geographical movement. So many people all over the place are making music that is reflective of and responsive to our present historical moment. A lot of this music is quite political (consciously, in addition to the inherently political aspect to all music) and I don’t think that’s a coincidence… Hand in hand with the establishment of a “post-club”, “post-generic” sound and redefinition of the club as a space that so many of the artists you just mentioned are engaged in is a broader will to redefining oppressive dominant narratives and reclaiming the idea of “neutrality” from them, attempting to replace it with something broader and more inclusive.
With that being said, although I think it’s interesting and exciting to see the Internet generating these quite Utopian artistic impulses, I’m also wary of overstating its potential for instigating real positive social or political change on any broad scale…
Hit the jump to read the rest of the Organ Tapes interview and check out the track list…
Co-founder of the trans-Atlantic NON Records, South African artist Angel-Ho‘s music and anti-imperial rhetoric has been making waves as of late, both for its shocking immediacy and the depth of its critique. Released on Rabit’s new Halcyon Veil label, the Cape Town-residing producer’s Ascension EP comes in the collage style favored by TCF, Elysia Crampton, Total Freedom, Why Be and the Janus collective, a shattering blend of urban noise, technological squelches and vocal remnants. It’s noisy, barb-heavy and comes across less as a club deconstruction and more as a high grade shell exploding in the middle of the dance floor. Mastered by scene heavyweight Arca, Ascension, despite the rawness of its makeup, builds a high resolution landscape across its short 19 minute run time, a landscape in material and spiritual flux built out of the failed construct of contemporary democracy. It’s a world where robotic commands boom out of the rainforest and ballroom tropes infiltrate the virtual boardroom, all tied together by Angel-Ho’s conjoining of the corporeal with the technological. This isn’t an EP full of randomly placed breaking glass and club tropes, it’s a revelatory takedown of all that we take for granted about our cities and the capitalist superstructure that guides them. Ascension can be streamed below and downloaded here.
One of the most consistent artists in the ballroom world, New York’s Byrell The Great recently took on the still-gaining-steam summer hit “Flicka Da Wrist”, the track set to appear on London blog/radio show Beats, Banter & Bob‘s upcoming Que Pasa compilation. While not totally clear (assuming it’s left intentionally vague), the theme of the tape is different interpretations on “bob”, whatever that may mean to the contributing artists. Combining a pastiche of ballroom and Jersey club tropes, Byrell’s “Hand Performance Remix” is eminently functional in a way that few producers outside of the ballroom scene can manage, all while the form into weirder and more sonically adventurous places. Evil Streets, Pitcheno, FKA Deji and more feature on Que Pasa, which also features art work from the latter. The comp will be released on August 14 and a release party is scheduled for September 9 and will see performances from Trap Door, the Insert crew, Pitcheno and more.
Coming off the release of the breathtaking Gold & Featherwork EP on Local Action, Shriekin is back with Red Beach, this time on Bristol outlet Blacklink Sound. Meanwhile, Slackk has been lighting the world on fire, releasing the Backwards Light EP on R&S earlier this year and continuing to do work as a key member of the Boxed collective, all while maintaining a presence as something of a grime historian and keeping younger producers in check. On August 3, Blacklink Sound will release Red Beach and, fortunately, Slackk stepped in to remix Shriekin’s “Too Right”, a masterful piece of organized chaos that matches the Irish producer’s love for widescreen orchestral flair and a mean streak of bass bin rattling pulses and rearing square waves. Slackk pares the track down to a slightly more consumable size, adding a blocky, clanging kick pattern and an overlay of mesmerizing synth work. Blacklink Sound has done an excellent job of pushing younger producers to date and it’s a pleasure to see a more established, genre redefining name like Slackk attached to this project. Be sure to pre-order Red Beach here and get a free poster by ordering directly through Blacklink.
After the resounding success of Druid Cloak‘s Lore: Book One and Lore: Book Two, the conceptual LP series, released through his own Apothecary Compositions label, is getting a “translated” remix version with a little help from an international group of friends. In line with the original’s theme, Strict Face, Spurz, Throwing Snow and a number of others have put in there hand to rework originals from Lore: Book One, offering up some fantastical takes on standout tracks “Quills”, “The Tusk and “Wraithborne Falls”. We’ve got Strict Face’s contribution on the premiere front today, the Australian producer lacing the original with a helping of sparkling keys and heaping low end. It fits in the Gobstopper/weightless vein (even though it involves percussion), moving at a slow gait without giving up bass weight or a sense of forward propulsion. Lore Translations: Book One is out August 7 on Apothecary and is available for pre-order here.
It has been a good while since we’ve brought you a giveaway for IHEARTCOMIX’s Club IHC series, but this Thursday’s throw down is just too good to pass by. Plastician and Swindle, coming in from London, headline the traveling talent while Los Angeles’ own Kastle, Patrick Brian and Swelta round up the drop dead bill. Expect plenty of classic East and South London sounds, as well as a heap of new band-oriented material from Swindle (although he’s only bringing out the DJ set for this date). Plastician has been running game on his Rinse FM slot and pushing eclectic big room sounds via his Terrorhythm outlet, all while working with some of the biggest MCs around and facilitating a reeducation among young fans in the roots of grime and dubstep. Kastle has an excellent new EP coming next month on his own Symbols label and has taken his own productions and his label is increasingly abstract, boundary pushing places as of late. And if you’re not familiar with LA’s own Patrick Brian and Swelta, then you have to hop on the train soon because these too should be heading up bills in the not so distant future. Enter your favorite Swindle classic below for a chance at a pair of tickets to Thursday’s show. Tickets can be found here and more info can be attained here.
Since he popped onto the scene some years ago, Chicago resident (and Philadelphia born) Krueger has been a fixture in the American club music world, pushing percussive sounds well before they became web cool. He’s also a member of the Silverback Recordings stable, the Belgium label that has become one of our favorite outlets anywhere over the past few years. Released this past Friday (7/24), Krueger’s Marbled EP is his second extender player on Silverback and his first release since taking a step back from the Krueger alias late last year, comprised of three original tracks and remixes from Victoria Kim and Taskforce. We’ve got “Jungle Walk” on deck for you today, an acid-driven track built around a twisted Bmore framework and a childlike invocation to “take you back to the deep, dark jungle.” It’s the weirdest song on the record and shows that Krueger is more than willing to merge traditional dance music tropes with more contemporary forms. Get the Marbled EP here and be sure to check out Krueger’s Tools Vol. 1 pack from earlier this year.