It was only a few months ago that we last caught Machinedrum in Los Angeles, but the Berlin-residing producer is back on tour and has brought prodigious techno madman Object, who just released his debut album Flatland via PAN, along for the ride. Taking place at The Roxy this upcoming Sunday (March 1), the FYF/Goldenvoice presented show will (hopefully) offer a more experimental bent to each respective producer’s repertoire, considering that it is both taking place in a traditional rock venue and is a fairly early Sunday show. Regardless, both artists are well proven performers and will compliment each other’s styles beautifully. And while Ninja Tune’s Machinedrum has come through LA fairly recently, Objekt, who has also released seminal tunes on Hessle Audio, Leisure System and his own eponymous imprint, doesn’t come through our fair city often. Enter your favorite song Objekt’s Flatland in the form below for a chance at a pair of tickets to Sunday’s show. We hope to see you there.
It’s not just that Finn and his mates throw house parties and bootleg each other’s tracks, it’s that a palpable cohesion exists within the Local Action family. With one vinyl-only single on the label, Yorkshire-born Finn is already an integral member of the collective, bringing the party north to his mate’s place in Hull and adding an incisive, youthful energy to the label side of things. “Keep Calling” wasn’t only a Boxed hit, it was a song, along with DJ Milktray’s “Hotel”, that resulted in a bout of nostalgia for the days of Blackjack and Iron Soul, bridging the gap between grime’s younger, Internet-supported producers and the slightly older cohort. Finn’s deejay sets have also begun to garner acclaim for their omnivorous nature and high energy, an energy that carries over in his past recorded mixes for the likes of Mixpak and LOGOS. And his Astral Plane mix is no different, a raw-as-hell mixture of ghetto house vinyl rips and dubs from Samename, Strict Face and a choice cut from Finn himself, drawing lines between crossover hits from Katie Pearl and ruff Chicago cuts from DJ Clent, Jammin Gerald, DJ Deeon and more. The two aesthetics do share a common BPM after all and while most DJs fall flat when trying to blend the two, Finn’s selections tend to excel. If you’re UK-based Finn will be playing out at the Boxed x Chow Down night in Manchester on March 6 and the Boxed 2nd Birthday in London on March 20.
We were in an excitable mood while recording this week’s Astral Plane Radio and decided to whip into some high speed techno // ghetto house // Bmore pretty quickly. Shouts to Riley Lake, Hulo, Ase Manual, Chants and Plata for providing key cuts and to the gods Drexciya as always. It’s our insular opinion that this series has gotten better and better over time and we hope you’ve enjoyed the process as much as we have. Astral Plane Radio archives can be found here.
As footwork has proliferated across the globe in the past decade, its borders have shifted and mutated, merging with jungle, acid and other dance forms. Unlike other localized sub-cultures that are rapidly engulfed in the global market, footwork’s mutations have been driven first and foremost by the Chicago’s Teklife collective and not American and/or European producers with no tangible connection to the Windy City’s musical lineage or dance culture. So after an initial explosion and some unfortunate attempts by outsiders to replicate the sound, it appears that the replication process has slowed and global producers have begun to work upon and expand on the ideas set forth by DJ Rashad, Spinn, Earl and more. Residing in Hamburg and Berlin respectively, B-Ju and Ticklish are prime examples of that cycle, artists well outside of the Chicago orbit who have, nonetheless, become adept at soothing the uneasiness of the footwork sound into their own production aesthetics. On Tuesday, February 24, B-Ju and Ticklish will release a joint effort, the Dualities EP on Druid Cloak’s Apothecary Compositions, melding their prowess in footwork, jungle and other hybrid forms across two collaborations and several remixes. Today, we’ve got the title track from the EP, highlighting the duo’s ability to flip dusty breaks into a soulful melange that dazzles as much as it soothes. Pre-order Dualities on cassette here and get a download of the full EP immediately.
Over the past several months, we’ve brought you a good deal of coverage on Trax Couture‘s globe trotting World Series, a string of EPs that has seen the London label enlist Dreams, Sylvere and Imaabs into the fold. World Series Vol. 5 sees TC bringing the series back around to London with Akito providing four indomitable club tracks to the table. Headed up by two excellent mixes of “Dalston Dips”, Akito’s latest is another percussive monster with loads of Jersey club, techno, grime and dancehall folded into tidy 130 packages. “Sordid Forfeit” grabbed our attention right off the bat, a confluence of grime’s square wave obsession and the monolithic kick pattern favored in Jersey. It’s a track that could be abetted with a Riko Dan, Flowdan or Stormzy vocal, but also exists on its own in a space cleared out by Mumdance, Logos and Slack. World Series Vol. 5 is out on Wednesday, February 25 and can be pre-ordered here.
As one of the first Jersey-bred artists to garner national (now international) acclaim, it would be easy to assume that DJ Sliink has reached a palatable mid-career arc, but the Newark-based producer is still only 23 and still has plenty left in the tank. This Friday (2/20), Sliink will be taking over Club IHC at The Lash Pop-Up, bringing his populist style of club music to Los Angeles. And while Sliink’s big room inclinations might not be our flavor, his success has brought Jersey club to listeners the world over and he can still bang out lascivious remixes with ease. Joining him on the bill is Joaquin Bartra, one of the best hip hop DJs ANYWHERE and one of the folks behind Body High, outlet for Sliink’s debut Vibrate EP back in 2012. As always, we have a little giveaway for Friday’s happenings, but this time around we have two pairs of tickets to give away. That’s right, four tickets in total. Enter your favorite Brick Bandits classic and Tweet/share this contest for a chance at the tickets. The odds are twice as good this time around and you won’t want to miss this performance from a Newark don.
From an outsider perspective, Texas might appear to be a relative backwater in the dance music world, or, at best, a node for its worse proclivities, but that appearance is misguiding and the state has produced some of the most exciting artists, labels and nascent aesthetics in recent years. And that’s ignoring the state’s multitudinous contributions to hip hop dance, from Houston/Port Arthur’s long running dominance to Dorrough, Lil Twist and DJ Chose out of Dallas. Labels like #FEELINGS and Freshmore have championed self-referential hybrid forms while Austin has grown into a hub for young producers looking to find a sound, a way and a community. Among all of the youthful energy coming out of Austin and Houston, it would be easy to imagine the Texan avant-garde springing up out of the dust in the past several years, but that would overlook the influence of some of the scene’s elder statesmen. It can’t be stressed more that for every Rabit, Lotic or Mike G hailing from or reping Texas, there was an influencer, either direct or subliminal, who was there to breach grime, ballroom, etc., or even to match those styles with dembow or reggaeton.
And as far as Houston goes, it’s hard to look beyond the influence of Sines and his Freshmore imprint, a veritable institution that has been pushing diasporic bass sounds for the better part of the last four years. Recently, Sines joined up with fellow producer Panchitron, the Los Angeles-born producer who now resides in Houston, to form Santa Muerte. Focused on the intersectionality of contemporary dance music sub-culture, the duo has turned their focus on everything from instrumental grime abstractions to the wonderfully tinny direction that reggaeton has taken in the past decade. The name puts a focus on death, more specifically an understanding of how death is understood by the living, and the Santa Muerte sound is undeniably dark, a sweltering trip through choral VSTs, ballroom abrasions and the memorable crunch of the dembow loop. That being said, Santa Muerte is a project firmly focused on the dancefloor and while the attitude might be focused more on sonic muck, their originals, edits and mixes do tend to be wildly effective in the hip shaking department.
As a study of American dance sub-culture, Santa Muerte has been wildly successful, avoiding the pitfalls of mindless appropriation, historical revision and general dishonesty. The avant-garde fringes of the dance music world can often position themselves in too serious of a light, or worse, too seriously ironic, but Santa Muerte appears to be a project focused on honestly and earnestly working through, matching up and blending the United States’ (and beyond) veritable treasure trove of regional genres, styles, sub-cultures and aesthetics.
With releases from Air Max ’97, She’s Drunk and Arctic to its name, London’s Liminal Sounds outlet has quickly become one of the go to labels for the sort of percussive club material and grime constructions we know and love. With one of the best mix series in the game and a deep stable of insightful interviews and release coverage, Liminal also still functions as one of the best blogs in dance music, a balancing act easier said than done. Last month, Air Max ’97’s all-enveloping Fruit Crush EP arrived on Liminal, his second release on the imprint and the label’s best release to date. With AM97 as a sort of flagship artist, Liminal’s aesthetic has begun to narrow and on March 9, the label will release Liminality 01, the first in a series of EPs “that will provide a space for tracks that sit outside of the confines of our usual release schedule, offering a platform to producers that are new to the label and laying the foundations for future records.” On a similar wavelength to some of the singles clubs popping up here and there, Liminality 01 features Copout, Bushido, Shining Force, JGYB and Archer, each respective producer flexing their own unique take garage, grime and more. Copout’s “Fluttering” was the immediate standout to us, although the five tracker is a fully engaging listen through and through, a slinky club track lead by on beat brass and a haunting melodic strut. Brooklyn’s Copout, who has previously released EPs with Drippin and LOLGurlz, is a welcome addition to the Liminal team, a move that naturally expands its reach to the United States. Liminality 01 is out on March 9.
This Valentines Day brings another stacked night of dance music in Los Angeles and while you might be torn on where your night will end up, Club IHC has done about as much as they possibly could to bring you and your buds our to The Lash Pop Up this Saturday (1/14). A rare appearance from London’s Girl Unit, fresh off a new release from his Hysterics side project, tops off the night, which is also augmented by fellow Night Slugs/Fade 2 Mind badmen MikeQ and Helix. LA’s own Patrick Brian, who we last caught on our very own Heterotopia Remixes tape, rounds out a fantastic bill that should bring out some of the finest in grime, ballroom and ghetto house. Once again, IHC has gifted our readers a pair of tickets, winnable in exchange for your favorite Qween Beat (or Qween Beat related) energizer. As the sonic side of ballroom has expanded with reckless abandon, we all need to recognize and show respect to both the innovators and the young guns currently flexing their muscle. MikeQ is a figurehead of sorts and we’re lucky to have him out. Enter below and we’ll see you at the dance.
From afar, it’s often difficult to tell who’s really gaining traction in the UK. That is, not just blog hype, but real support from a wide variety of producers, MCs and radio hosts. We’re lucky to be able to utilize the Internet to “engage” with the history of garage, dubstep, grime, etc., but gauging the present is another story. When a producer, DJ, etc. is really bubbling though, it’s not something we’re going to miss and that’s exactly what we’ve seen with Oxford’s Trends, a producer whose club tracks have been supported by Spooky, Slimzee, Slackk and everyone in between, as well as MCs like Flirta D, Riko Dan and Manga.
Having produced grime and drum and bass for the better part of a decade, Trends has the pedigree to work with the aforementioned list of stars and his unremitting style is perfect for the rave. Firmly in the tradition of Youngstar and early Plastician (Plasticman at the time), Trends has boiled grime down to its most important constituent elements, allowing for visceral reactions from both MC and crowd. His aesthetic is undeniably rough and the “banger” tag isn’t unwelcome, making tracks like “Catchphrase” and his remix of TC4’s “La La La” difficult to imagine outside of the rave/pirate radio context. That’s not to say that Trends’ work is one dimensional though, just that he’s dug out and excelled in a niche. And if you’ve ever seen Trends play out or tuned in to one of his radio sets, his Astral Plane mix will come as no surprise, a head first leap into bars from Novelist, Manga and more, Trends’ direct-as-ever production techniques flashing all over its 30 minute run time. It could be argued that this mix isn’t for the faint of heart, but that’s a silly, hardboiled platitude and this mix is a perfect shot in the arm for anyone remotely curious about grime, soundsystem culture, the ardkore ‘nuum or, well, bars in general.