imaabs

Over the course of the past twelve months, the trans-continental South/Central American dance scene seemed to grow in both confidence in recognition as producers from Chile to Mexico flexed their various reinterpretations of folks musics and dance forms. Moreso, artists like Lao and Paul Marmota, Tomas Urquieta and Imaabs transgressed the traditional world of house and techno, drafting up wildly creative takes on dance music that subverted the hegemonic, often racially inferred physical and technological spaces in their respective cities of Santiago and Mexico City. We snagged Imaabs to lay out his favorite releases of the year, drawing source material from Chilean, Mexican, American and British producers. Enjoy and excuse the language barrier!


A selection is always a constellation, each track has to be able to open dimensions, generating movement, shouts, expressions, the body into a future, that does not subtract and multiply , but rather becomes intense; several of these tracks are instrumental, very percussive, others have voices that produce some recognition, voice, usually on a track is a face in which we identify.

This selection of the 10 most important tracks for me in 2014 focuses on links that open. For example, Rushmore’s “Bitch Please” has been apex at parties I played in Chile and Mexico; Marmota with “Malianteo” reopens a recognition territory between Chile, the apocalyptic vibes and Latin America ; the masterpiece called “Black Jesus” of Vaskular & Valesushi, two Chilean friends, thrill mixed with a Latin-Dembow dimension with Deep House vibes. Meanwhile, Kid Antoine is very European, but an expert in a post-apocalyptic latin dimension and that reminds me of Marmota´s Nueva EP (out now on NAAFI), resonating in such extreme places as Mexico and Denmark.

With transformations in mind, a song from the last quarter is “How About” of Dinamarca x Zutzut, Kassandra’s soft voice resonates much to the work of Kelela, but achieves a density and quite distinct flavor. Tomás Urquieta, my fellow battles, built one of the most consistent Eps I’ve managed to hear in this last year, beyond thinking about the Club, this EP is out of it, or at its limit; Somebody called it a kind of Post-club. Future Brown, opens a window and a way of doing pop, thinking of the club, and this track, Wanna Party, is but a manifesto of those osmosis. Another track that impressed me was the 2014, is the remix by Cyphr to “Moments XTC” of Zutzut and Lao (Extasis/Her), and the original track had struck me, but when he left the remix… I Said: amazing.

Inevitably you can not do a review of 2014 without mentioning Neana; means most of the old continent as USA, considered him as someone to must be listened to; the consistency is not enough, and successes are needed hits to the expected visibility and consolidation; the remix he makes to SPF666 is required in any dj set. Finally another great Latin American producer going to have to talk this 2015, what impresses me greatly is the expertise that takes into percussions, I think unusual and very unlike anything that has been done regarding club music.

riz la teef

The practice of cutting dubs is often viewed as a rather arcane, outdated practice to many people in my age bracket (early 20s), enmeshed in a culture of exclusivity and privilege. More often than not, owning a selection of dubs is presented less as a means of playing out on-the-cusp tracks than a fundamental status symbol, awarding the owner a step up over the plebes without Loefah b-sides. Of course, digital dub culture isn’t any less insidious and the more the forums, groups and download sites infringe on the cool kids table, the more unfortunate conflict arises among young kids and scene veterans, DJs and producers, the United States and the UK. South London’s Riz La Teef seems to be one of the few good natured proponents of dub culture and he has filtered that responsibility into a few dozen, exclusive-laden, mixes over the past 24 months. Rinsing everything from roots reggae to jump up bassline, Riz’s adherence to vinyl and access to dubs from the likes of JT The Goon, Rabit and Novelist make him one of the most in demand and well respected deejays in both his native London and among the hordes of dispersed garage fans across the internet. We asked Riz about his favorite dubs from the past year and he was kind of enough to list them out and take some lovely photos of his hand-marked classics to be. Not all of these tracks will be revealed in the next months, but they will certainly live on in infamy, thanks to Riz’s spacious repertoire, innate deck skills and engaging demeanor. Peep his choices and a slideshow of each and every dub listed.


Gundam – Pulse Wedding VIP (RIZLA SPESH)

Def one of my favourite dubs I’ve cut this year. Played it a day after I cut it in a dance and it got reloaded 4/5 times.

Brackles & Fox – Skank + Famous Eno Remix

Not really a dubplate, but both tunes have a top vibe.

E.M.M.A – Pyramids, Peridot & Light Years

Pyramids is the coldest beat made this year imo and not alot of Emma’s stuff hasn’t been pressed to wax so I had to cut the other two beats!

Fallow – Strings Hoe Refix (RIZLA SPECIAL)

Fallow is a guy to watch out for next year for sure both his refixes and original tunes are quality. Big up to him for doing me special of strings ho refix.

Grandmixxer – Windrush VIP

Melody is so good, has been in my head for weeks.

Boycott – Kowloon Bae (RIZ VIP)

The original is such a sick tune and the guys blessed me with a VIP. Proper colourful vibes.

Iglew – Sleep Lighter VIP

Again Iglew is another guy to watch out for in 2015. Everything he’s done this year has been pretty special – Urban Myth, Cascade etc

JT The Goon – Twin Warriors VIP & Polar

JT is one of the best snm. Polar is a rude beat.

Apple – De-Siegalizer (Logos Refix)

Great cheeky refix and the mastering by Jason on the dub is so good.

Loom & Tarquin – Pompelmo Riddim

Fruity, eski dancehall from another two guys who I expect to do big things next year.

Mssingno – XE2 VIP BIELDUB REMIX PART 1

Actually cut this last year, but battered that dub so much had to cut it again!

Rabit – Black Dragons

Again not a dubplate anymore but was so gassed when Glacial sent me this month or so before its release. GULLY

Shriekin’ – Red Beach VIP

Maybe my favourite tune of the year??

Silk Road Assassins – Deadcell

The waviest beat made this year.

Wen – Backdraft/Walton – Bulldoze

BANGERS

Novelist – Yakuta

So excited to be able to cut this, Novelist is huge rn and gonna be even bigger next year. Excels in both MCin’ & production.

Murlo – Into Mist/Roman Baths

Was lucky enough to cut these before they came out. Into Mist has been in my bag as soon as I got it.

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With Resident Advisor throwing the spotlight on South African house music and British artists like Piri Piri and Moleskin pushing specific, regional sounds, kwaito, gqom and other forms have been brought to the forefront as of late. That being said, no external purveyor could elucidate the polyrhythmic complexities of the aforementioned sounds without the power of the internet, specifically Kasimp3 and Datafilehost. These sites act as both host and archive, as well as the face, of gqom, kwaito and other South African dance forms, allowing artists like DJ Lag, DJ Sdunkero and Altra to flex out their tunes in a public forum. The notorious lack in sonic quality of many tunes on both respective sites has only added to the legend, a fervor wildly inventive 96kbps clips, tracks and songs, some taking the form of instrumental sketches and some coming out as fully formed pop entities. We asked Matt Lutz, DJ and curator of online club music conversation hub and community Classical Trax, to compile his favorite Kasimp3 finds and he came through with the following classics and rare finds. These are some of the best tracks on the site, but its only a quick dip into the depth of quality that Durban, Johannesburg and other South African cities have to offer. Find the rest of our 2014 coverage, including contributions from Riley Lake and Tomas Fraser (of Coyote Records) here.


I recently discovered this incredible genre of South African house music, mainly based in Durban known purely as IGQOM  or Gqom. The music is raw, banging and sounds pure and rugged. I wanted to put together five of my most played tracks that I have discovered from this past year. Finding these tracks can be a hassle, but using sites like Kasimp3 and Datafilehost along with numerous searches on Facebook and Soundcloud can bring some much needed treasures for your sets.I hope everyone will find their own favorite tracks and please support the artists!

(No Particular Order)

1. Altra – True Colors

I discovered the young producer Altra through the amazing label Goon Club All-Stars and Moleskin as he has done a few powerful mixes and will be releasing some tunes in the near future from some of these artists. True Colors is unlike any track I have heard before and will make you earn for more. Download “True Colors” here.

2. Local Boiz and Ma-Leven – 1st Gathering

This track has a incredible broken glass intro effect and then just goes off into another dimension perfect for dancing and club atmospheres.

3. C&C Music Factory – Keep It Coming (DJ Lusiman Remix)

The track was made 3 years ago but taking the durban house sound and mixing it with a 90’s house track just seems to be a good fit! Download Lusiman’s “Keep It Coming” remix here.

4. DJ Lag – Ice Drop

Lag has so many rhythmic blast songs and off kilter noises that its hard to pick a favorite but Ice Drop is one of his tracks that i enjoy the most and is perfect to mix in with some modern day club! Download “Ice Drop” here.

5. Ice Boiz – Places

I don’t know much about the Ice Boiz…but Places is a incredible track which uses a lot of raw sounds and a typical sounds. Download “Places” here.

astralplaneradio004

It’s been quite a year from house music, both commercially and artistically, and despite the fact that the genre’s smoother, more genteel sensibilities are a bit out of our wheelhouse, we certainly dabble in the likes of Mood Hut, Lobster Theremin, Public Possession, Wild Oats and Huntleys+Palmers. From young guns in Detroit to revivalists in Amsterdam to Vancouver’s ever-growing cadre of vibe specialists, it’s been a fun year to watch the genre grow, especially outside of the confusing world of commercial EDM. The final edition of our home-compiled Astral Plane Radio series comes in at a smoother and slower pace than most of our mixes and while it;s a bit outside of our comfort zone, the Astral Plane DJ team did a more than solid job of freaking the sounds of Auntie Flo, Max Graef, Round, Pender Street Steppers and more into a glorious mid-afternoon extravaganza. Looking back on the five previous Astral Plane Radio’s, this edition might just have been the most fun to record and we hope you enjoy it equally.

coyote-records

Continuing our year end coverage, we asked Tomas Fraser, head of breathtaking grime outlet Coyote Records, which 2014 songs he wished he could have signed. It’s a bit of a silly hypothetical, but while signing a “Take Time” is almost always a heartbeat decision, the amount of factors that go into a label signing are often overwhelming. Tomas does an excellent job with Coyote and while he couldn’t snag the following, Mumdance x Novelist, Murlo, CYPHR, Visionist or Gantz x El Mahdy Jr. tracks this year, his label has turned out quality releases from Chemist and Spare, as well as their annual compilation, Coyote Kings 2. Check out Tomas’ selection below and hit the jump to stream Rejig’s contribution to the aforementioned compilation. Also, be sure to peep Riley Lake’s Fave Discontinued Hardware from yesterday!


Mumdance ft. Novelist – ‘Take Time’ (Rinse)

Would loved to have released a record on this based primarily on the fact that it single-handedly gave power back to the MCs – it proved that MCs could do the intricate, new world of contemporary instrumental grime production justice and vice versa. Don’t think we’ll fully appreciate it for a few years yet either.

Murlo – Cold Stroke (Oil Gang)

Spent the last 10 months or so fast-forwarding mixes just to reload ‘Cold Stroke’ – it’s just one of those tracks that I’ll always love. Was chuffed to see it get a proper release because I still think it stands as one of his best pieces of production to date.

CYPHR – Sun (Her Records)

Went under the radar a bit this one but it blew me away listening to it for the first time. The way the track builds and all the components intertwine is genuinely beautiful – even my boss bought the EP after I played it in the office. Says it all really.

Visionist – More Pain (Lit City Trax)

Visionist has my favourite production aesthetic in the game and ‘More Pain’ is probably the best example of how he goes about his work. It reminds me of a prayer of sorts in the sense that it’s gothic and moody and haunting and almost spiritual, all at the same time – it’s this sense of emotional urgency that makes him stand out from the rest for me.

Gantz ft. El Mahdy Jr – Rising (Deep Medi)

Not my usual bag but I know Gantz is a great producer and alongside El Mahdy Jr, something clicked for me. There’s a real tangible sense of spirituality about ‘Rising’ – perpetuated by Mahdy Jr’s enchanting vocal – and the way Gantz joins the dots between the classic Medi template & the sounds of his own heritage and culture is first class.

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Because you’ve been reading our words all year long, and, let’s be real, we can get a little monotonous, our year end coverage will consist of commentary from a number of friends and associates. The commentary will sometimes be delineated in a numerical, vertical manner and sometimes it will consist of blocks of text, audio files and moving images. Today we have our good friend and sometimes contributor Riley lake with us, bringing some cheap hardware finds that you Ableton-dowloading folk should get to know. We can’t all afford a LinnDrum after all… To top it off, Riley included a cheeky pack of hardware loops and clips from each piece of hardware listed below for your listening pleasure and even potential functional usage. Expect a debut solo release and big things throughout Mr. Lake throughout 2015. Download Riley’s loops and clips package here.


During 2014 I found out that I possess a burning desire for hardware music production but will also always spend all my disposable income on weed. As this realization has settled in, I’ve stopped tragically searching for the typical apples of the analog fetishist’s eye and started figuring out how to make shitty, cheap tools work together to make weird and wonderful noises. In an age where producers focus on cleanliness to the point of sterility, for me 2014 was all about grit and noisy signals and sounds that don’t fit neatly into boxes, and my In honor of the journalistic instinct to make lists of commodities at the end of a temporal cycle here is my list of 5 pieces of underrated discontinued hardware that I discovered in 2014.

5. Alesis Midiverb iii

I copped this one off a nice guy on Craigslist for 30 bones and I couldn’t be more satisfied. This rack mount unit does everything from lovely, weightless half minute chamber reverbs to short metallic clangs, with some wacky, unpredictable gated and reversed settings for some bonus flavor. Furthermore it’s got full midi control over all parameters as well as a simple intuitive interface on the front of the unit. Versatile, timeless vibes.

4. Casio rz-1/boss dr-660

K so these two digital drum machines which make up a big chunk of the percussive palates of ghetto house classics, and have received their fair share of accolades. L-vis made that one kinda boring track for mr. Edgar’s label that was presumably an rz-1 jam (he didn’t even use the sampler like c’mon) and gear lord legowelt has given a strong cosign to the dr660 (which looks like an oversized scientific calculator). Nonetheless they make the list because I really like the idea of these machines (along with something like the 707) as the antithesis of the grotesquely overpriced tr808/909. Rock solid, iconic drum sounds and sequencing that can be sent sent around to your chosen arsenal of signal processing tools. The rz1 has the added bonus of useful performance tools and 2 low bitrate sampling slots that will drench anything in character.

3. Guitar stompboxes

Reverend Richard D James said in an interview earlier this year that no digital system could quite match analog distortion and it’s true, ain’t shit a bunch of 1s and 0s can do against the sound of a circuit being pushed to saturation or starved of current. A good friend let me borrow his stomp boxes and I’ve been obsessed since the moment I put them on an effects send. A little tweaking can make the blandest keyboard spring to life and make any hi hat slice through a mix. Plus turning knobs is fun!

2. Digitech vhm5

Literally the sickest thing ever. The first or second affordable pitch correction/harmonizer ever to be rolled out and 20+ years later it still goes hard as fuck. 127 modes of infinitely tweakable vocoding/harmonizing/pitch correction will make yo ass sound like James Blake guaranteed. It can be played in a tactile way via keys on the front of the unit or controlled remotely via midi. Most preset patches give a lush stereo spread to the harmonized doubles. $70 shipped off eBay and I’ve used it on no lie every recording since I got it. I almost feel like I shouldn’t be spilling the beans on this one it’s so good. Big shot out man like ross oldenburg for putting me on to this 1.

1. 5 pin midi cables

If u don’t have a midi cable from your computer/sequencer to every piece of gear in your studio with a 5 pin midi in port, u fuckin up. A fully midi connected studio basically makes all of your gear as “smart” as the midi master, so for most of us that means we have the potential to let a supercomputer control things instead of doing such mundane tasks as playing keyboards. Even something as simple as getting all of your gear on the same clock unlocks all sorts of compositional and performance strategies by making those built in sequencers that you may have disregarded before actually useful. Midi cables are how you take advantage of the tactile goodness of hardware without sacrificing the limitless possibilities of making music with control of a computer.

~~~Honorable mention~~~

Soldering iron:

Here’s the fun thing about analog synths. They aren’t even that hard to build! U just need some patience and a temp controlled soldering iron.  Google “moog low pass ladder filter schematic”; it ain’t even that complicated. Most components are dirt cheap, and the synth diy community is skrong af and will provide u with endless designs and support. They all hang out on a forum called muffwiggler. Instead of buying a 303 for way too much money, just cop the xox-heart (303 voice+filter for like 60 bucks) and port a sequencer to a microprocessor that’s hooked up to the analog shit. Build midi in and a little box for all of it and voila u have a near perfect 303 clone for the extra low. Shots out to my man Jason Nanna for showing me that this is a thing.

vZqfG2vE

As much as we like to pump up the experimental fringe of grime these days, it’s nearly impossible to disconnect from the essence of the ends. As Americans and late comers to the world of grime, the genre’s early years and mixtape era are still a treasure trove of inspiration and rare grooves, nestled away in Mediafire files the internet over. And while the abstraction of a square wave is a tantalizing intellectual prospect, a good old fashioned beat down is often necessary, whether at the hands of a cavalcade of Street Fighter samples or the voice of a particularly formidable MC. Dutch producer JLSXND7RS epitomizes the aforementioned attitude, balancing rank aggression with a slinky enthusiasm, ignoring convention by bringing the past decade of garage (and its various manifestations) into a single, blast of energy.

With production on Flirta D hit “The Undertaker”, a collaboration with the equally on point Trends, and radio work with the likes of Skepta, Riko Dan, Jammer and Novelist, Sanders doesn’t stray away from MC-led tunes like some of his contemporaries. This point can’t be understated, especially considering his location in the Netherlands, a location with a history of garage enthusiasm, but not one generally associated with grime history and/or culture. Without a wide collection of contemporaries in his neighborhood, it’s a feat that Sanders has not only built a career working with the aforementioned MCs, but has also garnered attention from London’s effortlessly progressive Boxed collective, gaining placement on Boxed Vol. 2. Returning to “The Undertaker”, Sanders’ best and most popular track to date, its a marvel how the producer matches so many touchstones in the same track, balancing monolithic kicks with the manic swing of El-B’s late era 2 step and the jump up freneticism of Coki’s dubstep. It doesn’t need Flirta D to function, but the beat fits like a glove, another step forward, achieved by encapsulated several moments in history, in grime’s forward motion.

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jacques-grene-los-globos

Our second ticket giveaway of the week comes in the form of Jacque Greene‘s triumphant return to the City of Angels, brining with him a bevy of talented friends including Groundislava, Low Limit, Mike Penthouse and Patrick Brian. Taking over Los Globos this Saturday (12/13/14), Greene will be flexing out a new live set that will hopefully elevate his R&B-driven ballads into rarified territory. The Montreal-based producer has spent the better part of the past five years releasing on a who’s who of labels, including Night Slugs, UNO, LuckyMe and 3024, and he’s starting to take on the roll of scene figurehead, driving the Francophone city’s scene in new and exciting directions, as well as exporting some of its finest homebred talent.

Enter your favorite R&B ballad or maybe a tip top track from Jacques himself into the box below for a chance at a pair of tickets to tomorrow’s happenings. And if you don’t end up winning, come through anyways. Tickets are here and it’s going to be a special night.

prettybwoy

As grime has expanded both sonically and geographically, its boundaries have shifted and mutated (really, like they always have) to deal with the influx of production aesthetics, the wave of vocal-free tracks and the, at least for now, diminishing role of the MC. As an American, its difficult to gauge how the genre’s gatekeepers feel about the influx of young producers, international producers and the trend away from MC-driven culture, but it has been an interesting phenomenon to watch from afar and study. In that vein and without any further pretension, its a pleasure to feature Japanese producer Prettybwoy on the site, Tokyo’s closest thing to a grime insider. With a placement on Big Dada’s still breathtaking 2014 compilation Grime 2.0, Prettybwoy has been slowly diving into the ever expanding pool of artists reinterpreting grime’s classic sounds. The Thank You EP is  his latest outing into club material and eskibeat respectively, two tracks that hammer away at old archetypes until they fit anew. While “Plum” is available for criticism considering its overt eski characteristics, “Breaking Down” falls into the mutant, pounding club category populated by Sudanim, Krizzli, Rizzla and other like-minded producers. Thank You is a small taste of what Prettybwoy and the rest of his Tokyo cohort has to offer, but it’s a telling sign that producers as far flung as Japan are experimenting with both classic and cusp sounds.

doline

As a purveyor of fine mixtapes, it’s a pleasure to see Paris’ Sound Pellegrino team take such a liking to the format, releasing a string of drum track and collaboration-focused tapes featuring the likes of Rabit, Helix, L-Vis 1990 and Sinjin Hawke in their kaleidoscopic collections. Melodic Mechanisms is the imprint’s latest excursion into the land of compilations it might be there most inspired yet, a collection of spatially focused tracks from Moleskin, Sudanim, CYPHR and Chilly Gonzales, as well as Sound Pellegrino regulars Koyote, Mathias Zimmerman and Orgasmic. Doline, a fairly unknown name until now, leads off the comp and features as the first single. Inspired by label head Teki Latex’s excellently constructed recent “Deconstructed Trance Reconstructed” mix, Doline sent over some similarly minded tracks (see also: Lorenzo Senni) and immediately got signed. “Karidja” is the public’s first taste of what’s to come, a fluttering composition that would not feel out of place in either Teki or Senni’s respective discography. Melodic Mechanisms is out in all forms on January 19.

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