Scrolling through Ghost Kwini’s Youtube channel is an intense experience, his new work divided among a series of untitled tracks accompanied by digitally manipulated visuals of flowers, born again Baptisms, microscopic organisms and more, marking a path through paranoiac 8 bit grime, bizarro dembow and the sort of abstracted beat work championed by the likes of TCF, Arca and Gatekeeper. Since releasing the Dark Address EP in June 2014 on Sonic Router, the channel has been the best way to keep up with Ghost Kwini’s output and in the process has marked the way his sound has developed and mutated. Whereas Dark Address tracks like “Black Google” and “Netscape Navigator” wouldn’t have come across as out of place on a Boxed compilation, invoking many of the weightless grime tropes so popular today, the new work is far more difficult to pin down, throwing trance, glitchy noise, dancehall and more into a polyglotic mass.
Hailing from a small coastal town in the Netherlands and currently residing in Berlin, Ghost Kwini’s music resides firmly in the web space and despite wishing he could occasionally hear his music on club systems, its sonic makeup and visual accompaniments seem to fit far more comfortably inside of a Youtube stream. And like a users ability to leap from one section of the internet to another, Ghost Kwini doesn’t appear to be held down by any genre or rhythm constraints, freely jumping from one sound to another in a fashion that is as engrossing as it is hard to follow. Likewise, his Astral Plane mix hardly follows a set template, jumping from gabber, hardcore and grime to a series of infectious bubbling tunes, all tied together by an abiding digital aesthetic, an aesthetic that seems to drive forward with reckless impunity as it simultaneously crumbles. Ghost Kwini doesn’t have an official release planned as of yet, but keep an eye on his Youtube channel and follow his words on Twitter. Hit the jump for a short interview with Ghost Kwini as we discuss his relationship to grime, club music and the internet.
Raised in Suriname and currently residing in Amsterdam, J(ay).A.D’s musical footprint reaches far and wide, touching on everything from weightless grime to footwork, the producer garnering attention from the likes of Bjork via an effortless approach to hybrid club forms. His latest effort comes via Kastle’s Symbols label, the Asema EP coming in at six divergent tracks showcasing both a fine touch with delicate melodies and the wherewithal to know when to ramp up the club tempos. We’ve got EP opener “Thinking About You” for you today, a beatific square wave-based anthem that recalls the synth workouts of Dark0, Strict Face and Loom before jumping into a blurred section of snares, off-kilter kicks and breathy vocal samples. Asema is out December 4 on Symbols and can be pre-ordered here.
It’s a stacked post-Thanksgiving weekend here in Los Angeles and it closes out on Sunday with Response, a new night at The LASH that’s bringing out Seattle’s Kid Smpl and New York’s Eaves for the first gig. We’ve been huge fans of Smpl for a while and the Hush Hush/Symbols rep contributed our latest Astral Plane mix, a visceral journey through noise-y club tropes, Future and plenty of originals from his latest Response/Ascend EP (out now on Symbols). The bill is filled out by Princee and DJ Vrizon Wirlss and is going down at The LASH, home of our monthly Clubfriends night. It’s $10, but we’ve got a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky winner. All you have to do is enter your favorite track from Response/Ascend and you’re entered. RSVP for Response here and hope to see you all out there.
Often overlooked in the conversation surrounding UK dance culture, a series of recent parties in Manchester have put the northern city in focus, the likes of Chow Down, Swing Ting and High Bank all contributing to a culture that embraces grime, UK funky, dancehall, reggaeton, kuduro, rap, R&B and beyond. Fallow is a regular at Chow Down and has long been embraced as one of the most talented members of the greater Boxed family, contributing to Boxed Vol. 2 and even providing a memorable/unfortunate moment when he fell off the stage at a Boxed event last year and chipped his tooth. Embracing both the weightless, square wave-focused side of grime and full frontal speed garage and UK funky, Fallow has shone with an MC at his side, contributing production work (with Finn) to Jammz’s song of the year candidate “Final Warning” and working extensively with vocal tunes in his mixes. His Astral Plane mix is chock full of choice vocals, from Beatking’s guttural boasts to Asher’s crooning over AdotR’s bassline jam “Look So Good”, each respective piece showing off Fallow’s ability accelerate and decelerate the mood with a deft touch. Check him out, along with Mssingno, Grizzle and Craig A.D., at the next Chow Down if you’re in Manchester and be on the lookout for a prime new solo release in the not so distant future. Also hit the jump to find out the best late night eats in Manchester, Fallow’s favorite set starters and more.
Photo by Jasmine Safaeian
As a member of the M|O|D crew, then located in Boston, Colby Zinser, better known as C.Z., saw a pretty remarkable rise into the popular consciousness a few years ago, going from an unknown music student making hip hop beats with friends to an early instigator of the sound we now call “trap”. While Zinser, as well as fellow M|O|D members Arnold, Lil Texas, Rewrote and Yung Satan, were initially swallowed by the burgeoning EDM behemoth, the C.Z. sound has always been more than that, both in terms of its contemporary references and the manner in which fans interact with it. Despite taking a break from M|O|D collaborative work, C.Z.’s star has only risen in the past year, having collaborated on production work for Elijah Blake’s “I Just Wanna”, toured China and Japan and continued to fine-tune his Iceboi project, a series of edits and originals aimed at the colder, more cutting end of the club music spectrum.
His latest project, the I Don’t Feel So Good EP, is the inaugural release on Paul Devro’s Murky Rips label and sees a merging of the C.Z. and Iceboi aesthetics, finger waving anthems that reside in a frozen alien landscape, recalling the work of Kid Antoine and Drippin. And like the aforementioned producers, the references on I Don’t Feel So Good are endless, from grime and trance on “Ready” to UK-derived mechanical drum beats on “Playtime Is Over”. Like much of the music C.Z. and M|O|D champion, the EP involves a lot of sensory overload and Zinser’s Astral Plane mix is no different, comprised mostly of C.Z. originals and edits including a collaboration with the aforementioned Drippin. In the mix, clouded rap from Glo Gang member Lil Flash butts up against an ecstatic synth workout from Murlo before C.Z. delves into more traditional speed garage. Grab I Don’t Feel So Good here and check out the full C.Z. interview below.
Next Thursday, Los Globos will be hosting This Is Not A Test!, an all female club night featuring Awful representer Tommy Genesis, Jersey club queen UNIIQU3 and KJ$ (aka Kreayshawn)! We’re lucky enough to have a pair of tickets to giveaway to those of you in LA and all you have to do is enter your favorite track from Genesis’ standout World Vision LP from earlier this year. You can find more info about the night here and grab tickets here.
Back in June, The Large tweeted
“if u don’t like cheesy dancehall u don’t really like dancehall feelme,” a sentiment that could just as easily be applied to Bmore, footwork or any number of other contemporary dance forms. Case in point, London DJ/producer Smutlee first grabbed our attention via a blend of Dre Skull’s “Loudspeaker Riddim” and Breach’s “Jack”, a cheesy combination if we’ve ever come across one that still goes off every time we hear it out in the dance. Subsequent combinations of Jack U with Meridian Dan and Aidonio with O.T. Genasis cemented his place as one of the most creative blenders around and, more recently, Smutlee’s begun to refine his production abilities, combining his creative sampling with an ear for sharp rhythms.
The SAS EP, a collaboration with Serocee, was the breakout moment for Smutlee, a series of rethought productions based on grime classics (and Paleman’s “Beelzedub”) with the London MC riding roughshod over the top. It’s one of the best releases of the year and a clear-eyed merging of grime and dancehall, slowing down the former to a crawl and adding a rhythmic intensity to the latter. Smutlee’s Astral Plane mix jumps off with a series of remixes (“Take Time”, “Good Times”, “Jump Off”) and some quick dancehall jams before heading into some proto jungle and drum and bass, a range that Smutlee has always seemed to feel comfortable at, especially with tracks like Think Tonk’s “Opposite” and Gully Bop and Stylo G’s “Who She Want?” flowing out of numbers from Alix Perez and Sam Binga. Smutlee has made a name for his party rocking style and mixing virtually anything and everything, but it’s still fair to say that he’s at his best when rinsing his favorite bashment, grime and drum and bass, simultaneously offering the listener a condensation of each genre’s recent hits and collapsing the boundaries of those same genres.
It has been a while since we’ve come to you with a release, but after many months of conceptualizing, working with 12 new artists and working to compile a final product, we bring you Psychotropia! The compilation is available for free download via Bandcamp and is live on all reputable streaming services. Out to Mechatok, Basile, Doline Karmelloz, Abraxas Wandering, Malibu, Fresh Paul, Soda Plains, C Plus Plus, SHALT, GROVESTREET and Organ Tapes for contributing their immeasurable skills to the project, Ellie Tremayne for offering up her brilliant painting skills and Riley Lake for always coming correct on the mastering/behind-the-scenes work. Enjoy!
“I’ve been here for two weeks and I haven’t been able to focus.” We’re driving through the upscale Larchmont Village neighborhood talking about the pull of cities like Los Angeles, New York, London and Berlin and how it never seems like anyone is working in these metropolises. Hailing from the cultural backwater of Adelaide in South Australia, Dexter Duckett is visiting Los Angeles to visit his girlfriend before heading off for a European tour. Next year, Duckett heads to Sydney to begin university, but he’s already incredibly well-read, referring to The Pedagogy Of The Oppressed throughout our conversation and espousing the virtues of spoken word artist Sunni Patteron. Duckett’s productions, edits and DJ sets are largely sample-based affairs, built on bits of ambient, shoegaze and noise, seemingly at odds with the bashment vocals and rhythms that form the back bone of much of his recent output. The conversation turns to to Tesla and Silicon Valley culture, Duckett lambasting the idea of “innovative solutions” and referring to satire page Edgy White Liberal. He wants to sing more in the future and looks up to Future and Young Thug as much as he does Kate Bush and Elliot Smith. Our conversation started an hour or so before in an upscale cafe in Larchmont and finishes at a champurrado stand in Koreatown, sprawling across topics of accelerationism, activist music and the lack of honesty in most popular music. Check out Duckett’s recent Astral Plane mix and be sure to catch him on his European tour if you’re around.
Did you grow up in Adelaide?
Yeah I grew up there.
When did you start making music as Dexter Duckett?
Did you have any projects before that?
No, not really. As most white, middle class middle teenagers are I was involved in the noise scene and the experimental scene. I was involved in that since I was maybe 14 and around 17 I got Ableton. That was a time when a lot of noise boys were changing skin and getting involved in other stuff.
Was there a moment when you decided to pick up software and start producing? Or an original intent maybe? Was there a piece of music that you heard that you were trying to emulate?
I only really started when I was 15. I never picked up music before then, it was just static until I was 14 or 15. I’ve had this complex since where I’ve just needed to develop like it’s a disease. I keep going and going and when I was about 17 I found out about this whole scene happening on Soundcloud. I was getting bored with Fade to Mind at the time. I mean, I was listening to it but I was getting mad bored with it. Because Fade to Mind is more or less just neoliberalism and imposing accelerationism. Trying to emulate capitalism so much that it doesn’t seem like capitalism anymore. But it’s just proto fascism. So I kind of became more interested in all this other music being made by people who were more interested in displaying emotion. Or displaying some sort of heart.
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