While inconsistent at times, New York-based party collective/label Astro Nautico’s annual 4/20 Atlantics compilation is easily one of our most anticipated releases every year and always includes a few up-and-comers that are sure to make big moves in the coming eight months. Last years’s volume included tracks from current heavy hitters like Morri$ (Night Slugs), Baauer (LuckyMe) and Djemba Djemba (Mad Decent) as well as a bevy of under appreciated producers along the lines of Pixelord, Time Wharp and Abel. Volume 3 features some Astral Plane favorites including Big Voyage, Druid Cloak and up-and-coming live act Archie Pelago. At 32 tracks, there are some duds of course, but the majority of the tape is truly quality and features some real gems (Seafloor’s “Your Symphony”). Furthermore, it’s free. That’s right, 32 free tracks from your favorite producers. For free. Enjoy.
In two weeks (April 22), Rhode Island-based producer The Range will release his second EP, Seneca, on Donkey Pitch, a tape that’s been on our calendars since it was announced. While we love The Range’s glittery take on footwork, the remix package is what really caught our eye. Howse and Supreme Cuts have reworked Seneca cuts and yesterday, we were lucky enough to get Astro Nautico don and recent LuckyMe signee Obey City’s take on The Range’s “PS 3″. The original is fine and all, but it’s a little too benign for my taste and it just needed that extra oomph to take it to the next level. The percussion is just that much more visceral on the Brooklyn-resident’s take, allowing The Range’s original strings and vocal cuts to occupy the open space in between drum hits. Stream below and head to XLR8R for a free download.
Back in 2008, a video popped up on youtube featuring a then unknown Lunice popping, locking and dropping (it) to a then relatively unknown Lazer Sword‘s “Gucci Sweatshirt”. The video became moderately popular at the time, making its way around various social circles and then fading into black like every other video from 2008 (except for this one). The song offered a sort of glitchy pre-amble to Lazer Sword’s later work, but is almost indistinguishable from Memory, the duo’s latest album. “Gucci Sweatshirt” was officially released in October of 2009 as the first release on Stones Throw employee Nate Nelson’s new imprint Innovative Leisure. Influenced by his time at Stones Throw and hardcore labels like SST and Dischord, Nelson set off to institute Innovative Leisure as a driving force in North American electronic music.
“Gucci Sweatshirt”‘s idiosyncratic mash of hip hop and off-kilter electro was a fitting start, launching Lazer Sword as a force to reckoned with. By the end of 2010, Innovative Leisure was firmly entrenched and had hosted releases from Mexicans With Guns, Hanni El Khatib, Nguzunguzu, Machinedrum and, strangely enough, Freddie Gibbs. In November of the same year, Lazer Sword released their debut self-titled LP through Innovative Leisure, pushing Low Limit and Lando Kal into international stardom. The release also solidified Innovative Leisure as a bastion of the most dynamic forms of North American electronic music.
2011 was a relatively quiet year for Nelson’s label, but saw it expanding into new territories and laying out an impressively variegated roster. That was the year Innovative Leisure trotted out bluesy as fuck whiteboy Nick Waterhouse‘s “I Can Only Give You Everything”, arguably the label’s biggest release to date. The Huntington Beach-native brought a brand new dimension to Innovative Leisure, one grounded in Motown and Van Morrison, far from the club-oriented music the label had peddled to that point. Not that club-oriented music is bad of course, but Waterhouse’s signing distanced Innovative Leisure from the hundreds of internet labels out there and gave it a distinct home in Southern California.
Without getting it too much, the first 11 months of 2012 have been absolutely massive for Innovative Leisure, seeing the label break the ultra-hyped Rhye and release Nosaj Thing’s first originals since 2009’s Drift. In just three years, Nelson’s label has gone from relatively unknown club outlet to one of the West Coast’s most divergent, groundbreaking labels. As a sort of celebration (culmination?), the label enlisted Low Limit to compile tracks from Innovative Leisure artists and associates. The result is Ouroboros, a 10-track opus that is as good of an indicator of North American electronic music as any release you’ll hear all year.
If names like Clicks & Whistles, Braille, Anenon and Obey City get you wet (not to mention the aforementioned Low Limit and Machinedrum) then this compilation is for you. If you have no idea who any of the involved artists are or what they sound like, but want delve deeper into North American electronic music, this compilation is for you. If you’re at a party and don’t know what to play, but want people to think that you’re hip to the newest trends (because, you know, that’s all that matters), this compilation is for you. So yeah, give it a spin below and grab that hard wax from the Innovative Leisure website.
This gem showed up on top of my Soundcloud dashboard and boy did I get excited. New Obey City? New Baauer? Fuck yeah. A quick listen affirmed my excitement and more. The vibe is lighter and breezier than some of Baauer’s other work, a welcome respite from the hammering, dark tracks that have been all the rage lately. Stream the acceptable quality radio rip below and keep an eye out for the official release on Obey City’s MY RVMP EP, out July 10th on B. YRSLF division.
Last night, a short, pale man wandered into a radio station in London and proceeded to lay down one of the best mixes of the year. His name happens to be Rustie and the radio station happens to be BBC Radio One. The radio show, Pete Tong’s Essential Mix, happens to be one of the most influential mix series’ in the world. The track selection? Nothing too special. A little unreleased Obey City. A little unreleased Jackson and his Computer Band. A little unreleased Hudson Mohawke. A lot of unreleased Rustie, including a VIP of “City Star” and the demo version of “All Nite.” Maybe that TNGHT joint that Rustie previewed at the Boiler Room a couple months back. Like I said, nothing too special. Download the mix here and keep holding your breath until that TNGHT shit drops. Full track list after the jump.
Back when I first discovered Obey City back in early March through his remix of Schoolboy Q’s “Blessed,” I remember reading that he helped run a label called Astro Nautico based in Brooklyn. In a spell of negligence, I ignored that piece of news, opting to make the minimal effort of “liking” the Brooklyn artist on facebook and downloading his subsequent releases. This morning, that “like” paid off as I caught Obey City touting the newest Astro Nautico release, the Girls EP, from 18 year old San Franciscan Abel. Before getting into Girls, lemme give a brief introduction of Astro Nautico.
Astro Nautico was founded in 2009 by Obey City, Kuhn and Paul Jones. It is a “digi-label/blog/party,” and while it has mainly served as a platform for the the three founders to release their tunes, Astro Nautico has also hosted releases from howse (Providence, RI), RAJA (New York), The Range (Providence), Time Wharp (Atlanta) and now Abel. The label has made a genuine effort to release music from young, untested artists and while Obey City has probably gained the most notoriety (at least in blog world), the label has worked to promote all of its other artists equally.
Girls is the first of a trilogy of release from West Coast artists and features a bevy of impressive remixes. The original features taught snares and bouncy light-hearted synths that remind me a little of Dark Sky’s “Totem.” That’s just the beginning though. As soon as you get used to the fluttering synths, the track explodes into a cavalcade of 808′s and gunshots, making the chopped “girl” vocals seem far more ominous. This is followed by speedy cymbal shuffles and the same synths from the opening. The auto-tuned vocals are the only consistent here as the track transitions from breezy summer track to trap banger on a dime.
Remixes come from fellow Brooklyn-ite Baauer (!), New Jersey club purveyor DJ Siiike, Kansas City’s Huero S., and French/Flemish artist Kon. I (predictably) favor the Baauer version, although DJ Siiike probably gives the song a nice club attitude that doesn’t overwhelm the casual observer like so many remixes from the Atlantic region do. The EP proves to be a great introduction to the still very green Abel’s work and I hope to hear more from him in the future. Looking forward to the rest of Astro Nautico’s West Coast trilogy. Stream and download Girls for free.99 below.
Last week we featured Obey City’s juke-inspired remix of Schoolboy Q’s “Blessed.” This week, the Brooklyn resident is back with a remix of Astro Nautico label-mate Paul Jones’s cut “Bad Haircut.” Obey City flattens out the original without losing its funky flavor. The well-placed synth pads and a repetitive rhythm dominate the track, but it’s the breakdowns are what really draw you in. Download the remix below.
Photo by Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez
Since the release of Schoolboy Q’s Habits and Contradictions , the album has been in steady rotation in my tapedeck, turntable, ipod, computer and more. I cannot say enough about the album. You can read what I managed to spit out in my review of the album. Anyways, with the albums multitude of trip-hop samples and just overall exceptional beats, remixes were bound to start coming out of the woodwork. I’ve heard several so far, but none comparing to Brooklyn-ite Obey City‘s version of “Blessed.” In the case of this remix, less is definitely more. By tweaking the pitch a little here and there, adding a little extra kick in the drums and mixing in a little juke, Obey City manages to not only improve the original, but also to (hopefully) bring it to a whole new audience. This track could easily have a similar impact that Jim-E Stack’s remix of “Purple Swag” did last year. Stack’s remix may have been my favorite track of 2011 and was easily my most played. It’s becoming increasingly fashionable to take the newest independent hip hop jawns and give em a little UK feel and I love it. Like everything else, these remixes are hit and miss, but when they hit, they’re unbeatable. Stream and download the track below.