Over the past few years, 90 – 100 BPM, DJ Mustard-style rap music has rivaled Atlanta’s supremacy over the part rap-scape and with it, Caribbean riddims at similar speeds have also slowly begun to creep back into the popular sonic lexicon. From Bobby Shmurda’s dancehall-tinged “Hot Nigga” to the success of New York label Mixpak and their key artist Popcaan, it appears that American audiences have slowly begun to accept everything from contemporary dancehall and soca, as well as native Miami bass and New Orleans bounce sounds. Of course, those sounds have always found a home in UK carnival culture and beyond, but the confluence of American rap and Caribbean sounds has begun to spread across all oceans.
Manchester crew Swing Ting, made up of Samrai, Platt, Joey B, Murlo and MC Fox, has been championing those sounds at their club night of the same name since 2008, pushing West Coast rap alongside grime and the solicitous sounds of Jamaica, Trinidad and beyond. And with everyone from Jam City to Drake embracing mid-tempo riddims, the Swing Ting crew looks to be playing the current role of both influencer and educator. Samrai, who has been a key contributor to Keysound’s compilation efforts for years, has proven to be one of the UK’s most invigorating producers, harnessing Swing Ting’s adventurous spirit in his ebullient production work. And alongside producers like Famous Eno (who contributed a remix to the first official Swing Ting release), Jubilee and crew mate Murlo, Samrai is one of only a handful that seems to truly appreciate and engage with bashment.
While we’ve never been lucky enough to make it across the ocean and up to Manchester for Swing Ting, Samrai’s Astral Plane mix is about as sure of a party starter as you’ll find in the series. From E-40’s absurd “Choices (Yup)” to a who’s who and what’s what of recent dancehall numbers, the mix is a rapid fire assemblage of cross-generational and cross-oceanographic heat. Also, be sure to catch SWINGTING002, a collaborative effort between Samrai and Platt featuring London MC Trigganom.
Yesterday afternoon, the Astral Plane DJ Team headed to KCHUNG’s Chinatown studio to record the first of a now monthly show. After a few technical issues and a lot of fuzz, the show got going in earnest and we were able to run through a ton of material, including new Jam City, a few Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf dubs and plenty of tracks from our Heterotopia comps. Moving forward, the show will likely feature a more experimental, less dancefloor-oriented direction, offering up a space for our more abstract tendencies. Considering that “For Club Use Only” is pretty much a condensed outlet for our club music tastes, KCHUNG will take a seat at the opposite end of the spectrum. We’ll still likely pepper in some Astral Plane Radios on our own here and there when we’re bored. A month in between shows in a long while after all. Enjoy.
Alongside Rabit, Mike G, Celestial Trax and handful of others, Korma has lead the charge to put the US on the map as far grime production goes, drawing both ire from his UK counterparts and praise from grime fans the world over. And despite the Atlantic-sized divide, it’s clear that Korma is a student of the culture, remixing everyone from Changing Faces to Riko Dan and churning out a high energy reformulation of the eski template with regularity. Affiliated with the Hush Hush Records clan and several other cool happenings in Seattle, Korma is staking out new territory on the West Coast, far from a grime (or club music for that matter) hotbed, and has released several must-haves in “Skyline” (out now on Car Crash Set’s Ice Rink series) and the collection of R&B refixes released on Hush Hush in 2014. “Silencer Riddim”, a remake of sorts of Africa Hitech’s track of the same name, falls into the classic eski riddim territory, reutilizing the sound palette made ever-so-popular by “That’s Not Me” and translating it into an addicting neck snapper. “Silencer Riddim” is available for free download below.
Since its inception in January (with Rushmore’s effort), London-based Trax Couture’s World Series has set the pace for club music releases. hosting an international array of talent, including Dreams, Imaabs, Akito and more. Earlier this month, the series was made even more official with a compilation-like 12″ featuring highlights from each respective effort. But that doesn’t mean that the series is ending and World Series Vol. 6 just happens to be coming from Melbourne’s finest, Air Max ’97. Alongside a ripping Divoli S’vere feature and two other structurally proficient club tracks, “Spoken” is exactly the sort of metallic heat we’ve come to expect from AM97, a non-linear piece of sound system music that manages both a jarring affect and a startlingly danceable groove. World Series Vol. 6 is out March 25.
There are plenty of places to start when attempting to decipher web savy duo BWWWOYS, the ostensibly Russian act peddling in PC art and strong arm grime. There’s the Flickr account, a collage of Tumblr art, concert imagery and hair metal cum-Nike motifs. There’s the VK account, the Russian equivalent account where the Future Brown album was leaked months before its release and countless less-than-upstanding wormholes exist. They’re also on Twitter and have their own website, but the confines of Soundcloud are probably where the BWWWOYS aesthetic is best realized and best kept. The constrained image template, never-ending flow of recommended tracks and desperate social apparatus all seem essential to BWWWOYS and their loud, busy take on southern rap, grime and R&B only begins to illuminate where the project begins and, assumedly at least, ends. With only one official release to their name, last year’s #LONGLIVEINTERNET EP, BWWWOYS also don’t have a lot of set-in-stone material to go off of, but via haunting reworks of Thomas White and Vjuan Allure and collaborations with Pixelord and Endgame, their talent has begun to proceed them.
And if the project initially seems like groundless internet posturing, one only has to delve into their Astral Plane mix, a grunting, high strung amalgamating of grime in its most contemporary form, coming off like a submerged version of the aesthetic NAAFI pioneers Lao and OMAAR have achieved. And with a whose who of grime and up-and-comers splayed across its 54 minutes, BWWWOYS entree proves them at worst well researched. On request, no track list for this mix so be sure to pay close attention.
Copenhagen-based producer Kid Antoine has been garnering accolades from across the board as of late, producers and fans alike fawning over his dubs, KA edits and the Truancy Volume that debuted earlier this month. Antoine also contributed a key track to our Heterotopia compilation, which was later remixed by fellow Her member Fraxinus. Yesterday marked the release of Antoine’s debut Proximity EP through Her Records and the tape’s militant take on the club form is a tantalizing reminder that the hyper is very real. Made of four originals and a Miss Modular rework, Proximity touches on Jersey club and kuduro mainly, the two percussive templates drenched in the producer’s now-trademark searching melodies. Alongside Murlo, Antoine has done remarkable work at conjoining an almost twee focus on melody with the harsh, bang-the-box ethos that has become the Her calling card since Miss Modular’s “Reflector Pack” single. Proximity is out now and can be bought in digital form here.
Starting next Monday (3/23), Astral Plane Radio will be evolving beyond the friendly confines of this space and taking over a monthly spot at Los Angeles AM station KCHUNG. Broadcasting on 1630 AM, KCHUNG is a bastion of DIY spirit and it’s a pleasure to take over a regular spot with the station. So Angelenos, tune in at 4 PM this upcoming Monday for an hour of dubs, future and former Astral Plane releases and maybe a guest mix or two from friends and family. As a result, Astral Plane Radio 011 will be our last self-produced volume and while KCHUNG allows for 100% autonomy in their programming, it is a little sad to give up our own series. Track list for Astral Plane Radio 011 is above and we hope to be with you next week on KCHUNG.
It’s only been a few days since we dropped Heterotopia Remixes Vol. 2, but it’s hard not to look on to the next and final volume in the series. That being said, it almost seems like we’re getting a rhythm down with these releases and it’s a pleasure to see a good deal of our readers coming back for each of our first three releases. You can check out the full release down below, as well as the tracks that hadn’t been premiered previously after the jump, or just head straight to our Bandcamp for the free download. Thanks to everyone involved, including our own team of Sam and Will. Can’t wait to announce Vol. 3!
Having hosted several balls with MikeQ, including one this past weekend, and worked extensively with Divoli S’vere, it’s fair to assume that Sydney-based duo Victoria Kim are one of the most far flung nodes in the ever-diffracting world of ballroom. That being said, Vic Kim aren’t just another non-East Coast act throwing “ha crashes” on their productions. Instead, Justin and Victoria are functioning in a similar way to Fade 2 Mind’s increasingly disparate collection of artists, conjoining the New York sound with grime, R&B, southern rap and K-pop in a sort of global drum track continuum. And along with fellow Australians Air Max ’97, Strict Face and Dro Carey, Victoria Kim have formulated their identity in direct opportunity to the country’s obsession with house and techno, rejecting local club culture pro forma and looking to London, New York and the Internet for prime inspiration.
With their “Kowloon Edit” of Rushmore’s “Moment X” on this week’s release of Heterotopia Remixes Vol. 2, it was fitting to bring in Victoria Kim for an Astral Plane mix and their brisk, edit-filled take is an absolute joy. Throughout the mix, Vic Kim make an effort to draw together their favored aesthetics, not just by mashing and blending them together, but by by drawing tangible, stylistic lines between Kevin Jz Prodigy, K9, Rich Gang and K-pop acts like BIGBANG and WINNER. It’s a world where the vocal eccentricities of Young Thug feel at home next to BIGBANG’s G-Dragon and the gruffness of grime MC K9 seems to feed off of Kevin Jz Prodigy’s manic spitting. It’s a thrilling run through these connections, but one only has to look to Victoria Kim’s own productions to find more, from the recent Divoli S’vere-featured Kiko Kicks EP (out now on Car Crash Set) to the pack of K-pop edits that have been popping up in mixes since early 2014. And while last year’s edits are still getting play from a global array of DJs, Justin and Victoria are on to the next thing, ripping through peace edits, cross-generational club tracks and whatever is bubbling up on Soundcloud with ruthless efficiency.
With less than 24 hours until release, we’ve got a roundup of a few more tracks from Heterotopia Remixes Vol. 2. The first is Air Max ’97’s bootleg version of Jacque Gaspard Biberkopf’s “Public Love”, premiered by the good folks at Liminal Sounds this morning. Because of a hard drive crash, the Melbourne-based producer was forced to go off of the MP3 version of Biberkopf’s original, but that just made his kinetic flip even more inventive. Second is Gobstopper signee Iglew’s take on Celestial Trax’s “Illuminate”, the most grime-leaning attempt from Vol. 2 and a peak time banger if I’ve ever heard one. Vol. 2 can be found here tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Enjoy.