Originally coming to our attention through the 2014 Extasis Summer Compilation (which also featured Smurphy, Blaze Kidd, Wasted Fates and a host of others), Spaceseeds has remained an intriguing producer over the past few years, popping up here and there to release a pack of bootlegs or an original track. One of an increasing number of artists in the NAAFI orbit (Extasis is Lao’s label), Spaceseeds hails from Tepic and engages in exactly the sort of freewheeling approach that the Mexico City-based label adores, an anti-traditionalist style that takes pop, Caribbean musics and Central and South American rhythms and flips them into a prickly, but outrageously fun jigsaw puzzle of influence and innovation. It’s the sound found throughout each of NAAFI’s Pirata compilations and Spaceseeds placed three of his own efforts on the 2015 edition, mashing up Rabit, Que, DJ Marfox, Banda 52 and more on three gut punch bootlegs that are easily among the mixtape’s best.
Without only one official solo release to his name so far, also on Extasis, Spaceseeds’ catalogue is relatively small at this point, but if his mix work and occasional Soundcloud uploads are any indication the Mexican artist has a wealth of material in the bank. And with tracks like “Ela Parou”, “Lizard”, “Renuncia” and the host of unnamed material in his Astral Plane mix popping up more and more often it’s clear that original work is not just in the works, but very much on the horizon. Those tracks are deliciously broken, filtering baile funk, ballroom and noisy abstraction into singular works of dancefloor efficacy that seem to easily reference everything from Total Freedom-style CDJ manipulation to cerebral trance. In his Astral Plane mix, that approach takes on the characteristics of maximalism as colors, rhythms and textures seem to fly in and out of the mix with reckless abandon, not necessarily all at once, but in such an easy flowing fashion that it’s difficult to track of where one 90s R&B classic ends and the gqom rhythm you’re hearing began. The track list (after the jump) will be a helpful guide, but Spaceseeds is entirely on his own spatial plane when it comes to this mix and his original work in general.
With an in-house/DIY focused model, Milwaukee’s Close Up of the Serene outfit have jetted out of the gates in 2016 with key releases from Athletic Supply, Liquid City Motors, Pharo and Mercury Drums. Unlike more traditional electronic labels with clear divisions of labor, Close Up is more of a collaborative effort and virtually every release has featured work from each member of the crew, whether it comes in the form of mixing and mastering work, cover photography or, in the case of Athletic Supply, full on instrumentation and live assistance. Considering our past adoration for Liquid City Motors’ output and assistance with our own label operations (he has mastered each of our releases to date) and the quality found in each Close Up release so far, it was an easy choice to bring them on for this month’s Radar Radio show, which aired last night. The first hour of the show, helmed by the Astarl Plane DJ Team, segues from dancehall, reggaeton and rap into noisy manipulations from Rabit, Ceramic TL, M.E.S.H. LXV and more before heading into the Close Up guest mix, recorded by label head Max Holiday, which effortlessly weaves techno, acid and post punk, largely from the label itself, into a doggedly gorgeous hour of direct rhythms, anguished choruses and squelching basslines. All three tracks from Liquid City Motors’ excellent Untitled 2 EP, out now on Close Up, appear in the mix as well, sounding impressively in line with the rest of the label’s output and productions from legends like Joey Beltram, Robert Hood and Plastikman. Hit the jump for a track list for the full show, download the show here and look out for our next Radar show on August 22.
Industrial templates have come in and out of favor in club music for decades now, influencing the more hardcore elements of techno, finding a comfortable home with a certain dubstep contingent and providing a well of material for your neighborhood crate digger. More recently, acts like Coil, Nitzer Ebb and Suicide, who’s frontman Alan Vega sadly passed away over the weekend, have seen a resurgence in popularity among a certain internet-dwelling crowd, influenced by labels like Tri Angle, Mute and RVNG and bored by the paint-by-numbers house and techno that has come to dominate Room Ones the world over. With a background in punk and a defiantly unconventional approach to club forms, Berlin’s Ziúr is one of several artists leading the charge into a darker, rougher abyss, pushing an industrial-informed sound that fights back against the music’s (and Germany’s) fascist undertones while tearing down the notion that it’s a form for and by white cis men.
Released on July 1, Ziúr’s official debut came in the form of Taiga, four blazing tracks for Infinite Machine accompanied by remixes from likeminded producers Born In Flamez and Air Max ’97. Full of twisted melodies, distended vocal fragments and a barrage of samples and foley effects, Taiga is an immersive and at times battering release, stretching club sensibilities and challenging dancers to meet its fluctuating attitude head on. Previous remixes for Evool and Peaches showed the Berlin resident’s willingness to fuck up shadowy pop forms as the avalanche of metallic percussion and high-strung atmosphere feels right at home with each vocal. And considering that she often tests out her tracks while sound checking at a venue job, it’s no surprise that her production style feels just at home with Peaches as it does mixed with Kablam, Brood Ma and Kamixlo. As seen on Taiga, Ziúr’s music effuses a punk attitude and while an ever-larger group of producers look to the industrial end of the spectrum it’s easier than ever to pick out the real ones.
Tomorrow night (August 22), Ziúr will be performing alongside Kablam, Air Max ’97, Uli K, NI-KÜ and resident Iydes and Seb at London’s Tropical Waste night at The Waiting Room. Tickets are available here.
Miami’s Exit Sense has recorded some of the best mixtapes/collages of the past few years and we couldn’t have chosen a more optimal artist to jumpstart our mixfile series. Amor 107.5 sits at a jarring meeting point between major pop moments and classical motifs, gabber kicks, video game samples and hyper-stimulating hardcore moments. It’s available now as a continuous mixfile or as individual tracks for free download. Starting off with Rihanna and finishing with Future, Amor 107.5 is a fitting follow-up to Nunu’s Mind Body Dialogue and the next step in the APR universe.
Imagy by Bryan Young
Previous to this April, you were more likely to catch Bushido tracks in Rinse and NTS playlists than you were to actually have a chance to get your hands on them. One offs for Liminal Sounds and LuckyMe were the rare entries into the physical book while original tracks and bootlegs were peppered into radio and DJ sets by a number of influential DJs from Glasgow, Bushido’s current home, and beyond. That was until this April when Astral Black dropped Grandmaster Cash, Bushido’s official debut and a statement release that will surely go down as one of the year’s most played out. Having flirted with everything from cut up 8 bar to languorous dembow productions in the past, Grandmaster Cash brings what were previously abstracted reference points into a cohesive whole, full of bouncy bashment energy, meditated bass weight and driving club percussion. With the rap-minded Astral Black outfit behind the release, Bushido’s crossover potential is fervently harnessed on the debut and slick digital dancehall, sino-grime and elastic Jersey club all feel comfortable in the release’s glassy confines.
While it might have taken a few years for the first release to become reality, it’s hard not to eagerly anticipate more material from the Glaswegian, especially after hearing new material peppered into his Astral Plane mix. Often falling into the between space of several established sounds, Bushido’s tracks feel comfortably at home when paired with the likes of Copout, Ahadadream and Murlo, a dancehall-informed bounce that often comes out twisted into unforeseen shapes. And while it’s probably unfair to hassle Bushido for another release already, it’s hard not to feel the electricity of new material when running through a mix like this.
London’s Tobago Tracks outfit always seems to be bringing new faces into the mix, whether through their regular club nights at venues like HUB16 and the Alibi Room, their regular shift on Radar Radio, or an always-impressive mix series. Nonetheless, the label is still selective with who it chooses to bring on for official releases and despite hosting mixes from Brood Ma, Asmara (fka MA Nguzu), The Dance Pit and beyond, TT is just passing the 10 release mark after launching in mid-2014. This Friday (July 15), Londoner AF85 will join the TT roster with plazamayor, a three track effort featuring two long form nu age ambient sessions and a collaboration with Organ Tapes. Comprised of six stanzas, “plazamayor (Side A)” is laid out over eight and a half minutes, full of wispy choral vox, gorgeous layered pads and plinking strings that rise seductively out of the depths of the mix. plazamayor is orchestral in composition and disarmingly pristine, briefly interrupted by a monologue delivered by a daughter who has lost her mother to gun violence. That moment is underlaid by morose pads and followed by a small, gunshot-recalling pop, the piece’s clear nadir and the sort of emotionally direct moment so rare in electronic music’s cryptic annals. Having only released short pieces to this point, the longer format of plazamayor befits AF85’s extensive affective range and with Organ Tapes playing the role of bridge on “Air It Out”, the tape fits comfortable in the avant-pop-dance world of Tobago Tracks.
Leicester’s shapeshifting Grade 10 collective only launched last May, but have already inserted themselves into a number of conversations, insisting on a quality-over-everything model that prides a somewhat understated collective voice over individual bombastics. Through their generally excellent Radar Radio show and a slick, but hard to pin down collection of releases, G10 is certainly on an upward trajectory and on July 15, Coyote Records affiliate Forever will release his debut Coarse single on the label, a vinyl-only two tracker with a remix from house legend Mr. G. Like a more subdued take on the Keysound 130 rollage sound, “Coarse” engages amicably with jungle, garage, dubstep and grime, utilizing all manner of floating synths and a focus on groove more reminiscent of house than any ‘nuum styles. With only a few remixes and mixes to draw from previous to Coarse, this release isn’t the ostentatious original debut we’ve come to expect from many young artists, but Forever and G10 are all the better for that approach and if this Midlands-based producer can continue to churn out work as innately gorgeous as “Coarse” then he’s primed for plenty of future success. Check out Mr. G’s remix of “Coarse” here and more from Grade 10 here.
Renick Bell often performs his compositions at what are called algoraves, a collision of live coding and rave music in physical space, and has also performed at a Linux Audiio conference and a host of technology, cognition and art events. To date, the music he has released has largely been comprised of the Fractal Beats series, a series of beats composed algorithmically that often resemble footwork, hardcore and the prickliest of Detroit techno. Despite the somewhat didactic underpinnings of Renick’s work, the Tokyo-based producer/coder’s sonic output does have an immediately gratifying edge to it, hence the rave component of the algorave setting. In his mix compositions, both for live settings and art-technology hubs like aqnb and JG Biberkopf’s Unthinkable series on NTS and the O FLUXO mix series, tracks from artists like Toxe, DJ Nervoso, Sentinel and x/o, along with a host of artists from the Quantum Natives camp, repeatedly show up in track lists and instead of being awkwardly shoehorned in with Bell’s own idiosyncratic creations, they are actually situated comfortable among his own coded works.
While the credentials set out above might make one think that Renick’s Fractal Beats might be more fit for coding conferences than any sort of more linear dance/electronic music event, his forthcoming releases might make one think differently. Along with an album for Quantum Natives, Bell will be releasing on Lee Gamble’s UIQ, Rabit’s Halcyon Veil and London’s Beatgatherers set in the near future, a departure from the more than slightly indecipherable (from our position at least) world of live coding, algoraves and academic papers on live coding and pragmatic aesthetic theory. In the context of those release, the inclusion of the aforementioned artists becomes clearer and with tracks from T-EA, Ling, City and Zuli in his Astral Plane mix, it’s clear that his output, while not for everyone, can and should be contextualized in a wider field of electronic and club music artists. And from the position of a technology/coding layman, Bell’s music has an immediacy that extends beyond its compositional inception, a basis in rave culture that, despite how broken the Fractal Beats series may come off, manifests itself in subtly undeniable grooves that are weaved throughout his tracks and mix work.
With our long running mix series functioning as a platform for relatively established artists and various one-off mixes often featuring a glut of forthcoming Astral Plane Recordings material, we’ve attempted to use our monthly show on Radar Radio to highlight exciting new talent, both in the part of the mix that the Astral Plane DJ Team handles and in the guest mix slots. This month’s show features two guest slots from two of our favorite East Coast up-and-comers, Washington DC’s Swan Meat and New York’s Kala, each simultaneously building up and tearing down a huge assortment influences. Somehow, two Evanescence blends were rinsed, which is probably a first, and the overall vibe of the show is fairly intense so prepare yourselves. In the first hour, we teased out some forthcoming label material from Exit Sense and LOFT, as well as a track from Nunu’s Mind Body Dialogue, which is out this Friday! Anyways, hit the jump for track lists from each portion of the show and look out for our next show on July 25.
Photo by Elliot Lauren
Following up the barefaced intensity of his HPE EP, Melbourne’s Air Max ’97 has contributed a key remix to Ziúr’s Taiga EP, out July 1 on Infinite Machine. Following up an expansive US tour and with an EU and Asia tour on the way, AM97 seems to quite literally be all over the place these days, but that hasn’t seemed to effect his indomitable work rate and along with the aforementioned release on his own Decisions label, he’s also found time to remix Swimful and Habits to great effect. With Taiga out a week from today, we’ve got AM97’s take on “Lilith”, made up of a solipsistic kick pattern, the battered refrains of vocalist RIN and icy choir-synths that increase in their ferocity and begin to stab through the mix at the midway point of the track. On the whole, Ziúr’s has worked magic with an industrial sound palette and willingness to always ratchet up the severity of her productions a little bit further and AM97’s twisted contribution is situated perfectly at the end of the release. Look out for AM97 in Europe/Asia over the coming months and grab Taiga on July 1.