Only recently emerging on to the scene, London’s PC Music label has released some of the funnest, catchiest, pop songs to be stuck in my head in the last year (<<maybe ever>>). Label head AG Cook, with a seemingly tireless work ethic, takes his collage-of-top-40-charts-drowned-in-every-pop-up-ad-you-have-ever-exited-out-of sounding production and creates digital personas for singers that he then works with. The result of these collaborations are beyond commercial pieces of work that are simultaneously simple minded and reminiscent of schizophrenia. To sum it up, AG Cook could DJ the best bar mitzvah ever. Take ten minutes out your day, stare at your computer or mobile device, and listen to six new songs from GFOTY. Stream and download the mix below.
For the last 12 months, Slackk, Mr. Mitch and Oil Gang’s Boxed club night has set the bar for what a grime night should look like, drawing in just about every instrumental grime producer of note. To celebrate their one year anniversary, which is occurring this Friday at Birthdays in Dalston, the crew has put together a wildly colorful 18 track compilation featuring some of the most exciting producers in the game. Astral Plane mix contributors Strict Face and Logos appear, as do a host of other transcendent talents including Rabit, Mumdance, DJ Milktray and Inkke. In another year, we might be looking back at Boxed Vol. 1 in a similar fashion as we do Grime 2.0 these days. There’s really no excuse not to grab this masterstroke immediately.
In a sense, Bones & Money‘s production acumen mirrors their beginnings as a DJ duo, an amalgam of innumerable dance music styles rolled up into a tightly wound ball. Hailing from Aberdeen, Scotland, otherwise known as the Granite City, DM Bones (Shaun) and O.T.O.H. (Calum) began producing as Bones & Money at the beginning of 2012, releasing a free single on Tuff Wax Records, the label they co-run with Lockah. Unlike many of their contemporaries, the duo take a less is more approach into their productions and curatorial work (Tuff Wax was founded “as a boutique label aiming to revive interest in high quality vinyl”), preferring to synthesize grime, footwork, R&B and garage into an angular, club-focused weapon that can be deployed with ease in a wide variety of sets.
From an aesthetic perspective, Bones & Money’s output recalls the more abrasive output of a Paul Johnson or Parris Mitchell in its less-is-more focus and ruthless efficiency. B&M certainly don’t make ghetto-house, but their roughneck ethos and compositional understanding certainly allow for similarities. For their Astral Plane mix, the Granite City dwellers funneled contemporary grime and classic Baltimore into 35 minutes of rapid-fire break beats and swelling sub-bass. The pacing is excellent and the mix demands several listens to pick up all of the expertly composed gems. Find the full track list after the jump.
If names like Mixpak, LuckyMe and Big Dada hold on weight with you, then it’s likely that you’re a fan, or have at least come across Inkke over the past twelve months. The Glasgow-based producer has been making the tastemaker rounds, contributing individual tracks and mixes to a number of influential sects. As part of the interminably creative Astral Black squad, Inkke has come to be known, alongside DJ Milktray, as something of a youthful innovator in the grime field; equally likely to let loose a fearless 8 bar rendition as he is to approach the genre from a 100% left-field position. Earlier this month, Inkke posted a .Zip of edits around social media, garnering widespread curiosity and acclaim for reworks of 50 Cent, Nelly, Helix and others. Today, Astral Black is releasing Inkke’s debut EP, the Memphis-inspired Faded With Da Kittens. Drawing from much the same sound palette as Spaceghostpurrp and Tommy Kruise, Inkke has devised a beat tape that flips the Memphis script on its head as much as it offers a referential view of 90s horror-core and the 808. “Drum Hunt” offers the best example of this, a slow, chugging factory-made affair with winding, sycophantic female vocals offering the only melodic content. It’s a far stretch as a rap beat, but still retains the violent, skewed essence of the Memphis canon. Faded With Da Kittens is out now in digital and cassette form now, both of which can be found at Astral Black’s Bandcamp.
The anonymous Berlin-based producer Marquis Hawkes is primarily known for his releases on Glasgow’s Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, relatively straightforward affairs that tend to reference the sounds of classic Chicago house while also incorporating well-chosen vocal samples. He’s now arrived on DVS1’s nascent Mistress Recordings with his new Juxta Position project, presenting us with a trio of of compelling tracks that feel darker and more polished than his previous work.
The two initial standouts are “Mercy” and “The Darkness”, showcasing Hawkes’ song-crafting abilities by doing a lot with very little. “Mercy” opens up the record at a languid 118 BPM, transforming a simple and efficient drum pattern into something much greater with the addition of a captivating vocal and a duet of synthesizers. “The Darkness” employs a similar strategy – the sounds in the lower frequencies of the track march steadily along, showcasing a mesmerizing clap and hi-hat. With a smooth electro-esque drum line and acidic synths that wobble across the track, “Mazury” sounds like it would have been right at home on one of Hawkes’ previous releases. It’s an intriguing addition to the record, but ultimately feels a bit chaotic and unfocused when placed alongside the other two tracks.
Truants‘ Functions of the Now mix series has been one of the most pertinent touchstones for anyone curious in contemporary grime and its variegated mutations. Past editions — from Inkke, Murlo, Strict Face and Sudanim & Miss Modular — feature some of strongest young producers, many of whom reside outside of London, dipping their toes into the protean grime pool, adding their own personal skill to the sounds of London. Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf lives in Berlin and makes metallurgic tracks that function on the periphery of club music. Truants also spoke with Biberkopf about the construction of the club environment, Berlin and the human voice in a wonderfully illuminating environment. If you’re at all interested in how we relate to the body, then Biberkopf’s Functions of the Now contribution is a must have.
In July of last year, we noted that Samo Sound Boy’s production acumen had improved greatly since his first EP on Body High and the “Your Love” single solidified that fact. On March 18, Samo’s Open/Divine will be released on Body High (now helmed by the reputable Joaquin Bartra), an event that will mark the Los Angeles label’s first vinyl release. Until then, we have a taste of “Open”, a clanging, late night club track that exhibits Samo’s melodic prowess and overall compositional ability. If you’ve attended any Body High events recently, you’ll surely recognize the mood and atmosphere Samo is attempting to attain on “Open”.
For most, piri piri is a chili sauce with origins in Lusophone Africa, elevated into worldwide fame by the mouthwatering Nando’s franchise. For devotees of London’s club scene, Piri Piri has taken on a whole new meaning, primarily the nom de plume of a rising multi-national duo. Hailing respectively from Manchester and Spain, Piri Piri released their debut EP, Manifesto, on Sounds of Sumo back in 2012 and have steadily been gaining experience, production acumen and a fair amount of hype in the interim. Today marks the release of the Patterns EP on Silverback Recordings (Nguzunguzu, Grown Folk, Damu), the duo’s most high profile and most complete release to date. With remixes from Visionist, Neana, Jean Nipon and Matthias Zimmerman, Patterns touches on an innumerable amount of contemporary club criteria, infusing an adventurous experimental spirit into the standard club music platform.
Piri Piri’s ‘Patterns’ EP is out now on Silverback Recordings.
With a remix package this heavy, it’s always a possibility that an act’s original work can get bogged down by surrounding expectations. Not only do Piri Piri escape this fate, their original work is easily the highlight of the tape, allowing the remixers more room to flex their individual interpretations. “Peak” represents this in the fullest, a six minute four on the floor journey that manages, raises and alleviates tension with ease. It’s the sweaty, metallic form of dance music that’s a pre-requisite for warehouse parties replete with dank fog, squadrons of faceless patrons and a bevy of illicit substances. Set off by a rusty kick drum and a muffled male voice, “Peak” is an exercise in heartbeat accelerating music that combines ‘nuum history with a contemporary sound palette. While “Peak” hits all of the high notes as far as rawkus energy is concerned, “Quest” is near-comedown music, a beatific array of melodic synth tones fits for a Flying Lotus song. It’s only “near”-comedown music, because by the two minute mark, it explodes into a rattling, squeaking burner of a track. Meanwhile, “Ice Cream” sounds like the sui generis combination of Wu-Tang Clan and Model 500, an effortlessly aggressive track with a distinctly vintage flavor. It’s a drum machine workout hidden behind a call-and-response facade. It’s also near impossible to listen to without sub-consciously moving.
As noted above, the remix package is a massive entity in its own right and features some of our very favorite producers in its own right. That being said, Patterns is the Piri Piri show. It’s rare that such fully composed club music is produced by a relatively fresh act. It’s even rarer that said club music functions on a level above dance floor functionality. Patterns is the rare release that both mirrors a night out in its flow and performance and offers a transcendentally enjoyable experience beyond the dancefloor.
To celebrate the release of Patterns, Piri Piri graced us with an exclusive stream of the following promo mix. Full of jarring hip hop tunes from likes of Denzel Curry and Lil Ugly Mane, the mix helps explain some of the aesthetic decisions behind Patterns, but most of all, it’s just an outrageously fun listen. Pop it into your cassette player onto the way to the rave or play it for the friends you want to impress at the function. While Piri Piri’s first EP was titled Manifesto, Patterns and the following mix might just eclipse it as far as definitive statements go.
Coming on to the scene as one of many new ~ mystery ~ artists, Alauda gave us reasons to pay attention to her with earlier efforts “Cyan Water” and “Fallen Star”, but it is “Honey Priest” that sets the table for her. This song is so good and so fun. It takes the unintelligible lullabies of Candy Claws and then focuses them in with some India Shawn-like range. Alauda might just be my favorite new pop-y dream-y singer out there. Watch the crystal ball filtered/abduction feeling video for “Honey Priest” below.
Jordan Cohen, better known to the world as Chants, has been making everything from lullabies (“Way Awake“) to topshelf makeout (“I Feel Like I Feel It”) music out of sleepy Madison, WI for the last five years. After getting a few EPs and remixes under his belt, Jordan offered last November’s I Feel Like I Feel It through Seattle’s Hush Hush Records. The album defined his sound as warm and lovely and catchy and somehow perfect in any weather. Favoring drums and doing everything himself, Jordan didn’t leave anyone much choice, but to look at him and the music that he is creating. We were lucky enough to get Jordan to send us over a mix and answer a few questions about who he is/what he does/how he does what he does. Stream Chants’ Mix For The Astral Plane below and get to know the sweet man/find a tracklist after the jump.