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Famous Eno‘s career arc doesn’t match the usual boom-bust curve that defines so many young artist’s tenure in the electronic music space. Exploring the various tendrils of Afro-Caribbean derived UK dance music and US regional club music, Eno has been a staple on the Mixpak and Swing Ting rosters since the release of his All Good FM single in 2012, constantly expanding his purview without ever losing site of the dancefloor. The Eno sound draws on afro beat, dancehall, grime and UK funky and, depending on who he’s collaborating with, traverses those with almost unmatched dexterity. Frequent collaborators like Murlo, Swing Ting and the Fractal Fantasy crew often interject their own styles, but Eno’s forceful, rhythmic backbone is always there, collecting the pieces into a whole optimized for the dance.

Most recognizably, Eno’s work has been marked by the voices of a huge range of MCs. Released in October, Music For Clubs is his longest release in years and functions as a vibrant encapsulation of the many sounds he’s experimented in. Jamaica’s Bay-C, Ghana’s Bryte and Gafacci, London’s Killa P and Trigganom, and New Jersey’s UNIIQU3 contribute their distinctive approaches, all tied together by Eno’s restrained yet anthemic production. In lesser hands, the release would come off as a hodgepodge of disparate styles, but under Eno’s tutelage it comes together nicely, pinging from one idea to the next and giving plenty of time and space for each MC to shine. It’s a sound introduced on singles like “Gangsters” and Samrai’s 2014 remix of Eno and Rubi Dan’s “Terminator”, but it truly flourishes on Music For Clubs.

It was Eno’s bootleg and remix work that initially drew us to the producer half a decade ago though and takes on Paleman’s “Beelzedub” and Sia’s “Little Man”, not to mention the unbridled mania of his and Murlo’s remix of Akito’s “Metamessage”, are still classics in our book. They’re also a good indicator of his full throttle approach to DJing, clearly rested in soundsystem culture, but not giving over too much to tradition. His Astral Plane Mix functions as both a compendium of recent work and a roadmap for those uninitiated to his approach. It begins with Music For Clubs staple “Life” and ends with a brand new remix of King Louie and Mikey Dollaz’s Zora Jones and Drippin produced “WW4” and touches on bmore, ghetto house, gqom and more in the middle. It’s a big, party-oriented sound that will be familiar to listeners of his work on Fractal Fantasy Mixpak, and Swing Ting, exploding into new territory with every transition. Download a copy of Astral Plane Mix 175 here and hit the jump for a full track list.

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Photo by Senay Kenfe

In a landscape where artists often garner acclaim online well before they actually get behind a set of CDJs, dedicated, preternaturally talented DJs are a welcome reprieve from the trainwrecking masses. Born in Philadelphia and raised between Los Angeles and Philly, SWISHA fits that bill to a T, a tireless producer and DJ who has become a go to for a range of American club styles. Now based in the Bronx, we became acquainted with SWISHA (fka Swisha Sweet) at nights in LA where he would invariably blow away every other DJ on the bill, sometimes without even wearing headphones. A member of the Juke Bounce Werk crew and a resident at CAMEO, SWISHA would regularly take over Rocksteady’s Tuesday night haunt and impress across LA’s range of warehouse bacchanals. Nowadays, we can regularly catch him on New York’s Half Moon Radio with Kush Jones and its easy to imagine him tearing it up in New York.

To summarize SWISHA’s sound would be to reduce it to something less than the whole, but in short, everything from Bmore, Jersey and Philly Club, Footwork, Juke, House and Techno are involved. His Digital Space EP, released in May of this year, is the most effective demonstration of the sound that comes across in a SWISHA DJ set, fluctuating between a dedication to American regional club sounds and an awareness of gritty rave dynamics. The EP is an extension of past work exploring similar themes, but coalesces around a singular approach more effectively than any previous SWISHA release.

That’s not to say that SWISHA isn’t offering up some of the most incisive club tracks around on other releases though and in September, he released the third edition of Assorted Flavors, a mixtape series featuring collaborations with the likes of AceMo, BASSBEAR!!, DJ J Heat and DJ Manny. The tracks are accompanied by bright, candy-themed artwork and often recklessly dive into outsized peak time sounds (see “Dat 1 Song Wit Tha Hornz”). Outside of his own platforms, SWISHA tracks and collaborations can consistently be found on JBW releases, as well as Trax Couture and DOMEOFDOOM, where he released his debut full length on cassette in 2016. He’s also recently started collaborating with the Bronx’s Papi Squad, a crew helmed by AMEN, Bassbear!!, Bojaq, El Blanco Nino, and Rainey, experimenting with a range of New York-specific mutations on club music. On the whole, he’s part of a range of contemporary movements offering up a fun loving, distinctly dancefloor-focused approach to regional club sounds that respects the source material, but also effortlessly drives forward.

SWISHA’s production catalog speaks for itself, but you kind of have to see him DJ live to get a sense of the skill and precision involved. His Astral Plane Mix, a breakneck run through the SWISHA sound that comes in at a tight 40 minutes, is a great representation of what he has to offer and will have to do for now though. Legends like DJ Deeon, DJ Slugo and DJ Stringray pepper the track and feel right at home with artists like ABE, K-Shiz and LSDXOXO, while SWISHA originals (and a few unreleased remixes of tracks from Digital Space), provide energy peaks. Blends tend to enter the frame quickly, but stick around as SWISHA bobbles between tracks and draws lines between material that might seem disparate without proper contextualization. More than anything else though, it’s fun as hell and offers insight into an artist who hasn’t let dance music’s drudgeries and hyper self-seriousness get in the way of making bops. Download the mix here and hit the jump for a track list.

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After handing over last month’s show to M.D. James, the AP DJ Team took over this month’s NTS session and ran through a bunch of recent favorites. The show starts and ends with brand new Nunu (look out for an announce on that one this week) and runs through recent E.M.M.A., M.D. James and SHALT. Snippets of forthcoming material from Alis, CÉCI and Dane Law are also chopped up inside. Beyond label/inner circle material, we’ve got some brilliant inclusions from Bonaventure, Itsï, Julz Da DeeJay, Maria W Horn, Nazar, x/o and more. Hit the jump for a full track list and grab a download of the show here.

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Photo by Black Plastica

Oakland has always been a hotbed of radical musics and movements and the city’s changing landscape has only made its current set of artists, producers and performers all the more vital. 8ULENTINA and FOOZOOL’s Club Chai is the entry point for many into Oakland’s varied scenes and 2017’s Club Chai Vol. 1 compilation offers an expansive roadmap to what the East Bay has to offer. Jasmine Infiniti contributed the powerful “Hapocalypse” to that compilation and has stood out from the jump, approaching both real and digital spaces with a frantic, often unmatched, energy.

After years spent in the Bay Area, the self-dubbed Queen of Hell now lives in New York (she grew up in the Bronx) and has been turning out original music and mixes at a remarkable rate. September saw the release of the sound defining SiS EP on Club Chai and Infiniti’s Soundcloud offers a deep dive into her works in progress, home recorded mixes and insanely creative edit work. Infiniti also puts a ton of effort into reposting inspiring work from other artists, an often misused tool, but a valuable one in the right hands. Beyond her original work, Infiniti is a also a member of the New World Dysorder collective and House of Infiniti, playing an important role in Oakland’s trans community and the ballroom community at large.

Infiniti’s sound is exploratory and often hard to define, but the six tracks on SiS are a good place to start. Elementally concise, the EP has a spiritual air to it with sparse drum arrangements accompanied by expansive, dissociative sound design. It’s at times forceful, but more often the mood is meditative, distinct without proffering easily graspable melodic or emotional motifs. If you followed Infiniti closely in the months before its release, you’ll have heard different versions of tracks like “Inside Me”, giving off the impression that, although SiS is an incredibly thorough, final body of work, future mutations are potentially in the works.

For many, Infiniti is a DJ first and foremost and official mixes for the likes of Boiler Room, Discwoman and FADER have put her on the map as an incisive, boundary pushing mixer. Once again though, it’s Infiniti’s Soundcloud where some of her most exciting material finds its home. Live recordings of sets from across the U.S. and beyond are a constant in the feed while mixes like “Stream of Consciousness” (a personal favorite), “Industrial Cunt” and “Voltage Drop” show a passion for the form and some of the slickest mixing around. We were lucky to grab Infiniti for a 30 minute session and the result doesn’t disappoint. Situating her own tunes in a collage of cavernous techno, cerebral house and bubbly club tracks, the mix is both extension of the SiS EP and a fitting example of Infiniti’s prowess behind the decks. It’s only one part of a larger map of material in that sense, but those new to Infiniti are in for a treat and longtime followers certainly already know what’s up. Grab a download of Astral Plane Mix 173 here and get SiS straight from Club Chai here.

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The American underground is full of DJs, producers and promoters (often the same person) pushing distinct regional styles outside of the spotlight of the dance music media. These artists are often located outside of Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, situating them even further from the ever-churning hype cycle, although it’s not outlandish to say that America’s regional scenes are the driving force behind dance music’s upsurge in this country. Savannah, Georgia’s Chris Powers aka C Powers has existed on both sides of the conversation, a seasoned practitioner of kinetic American rave sounds who has also spent time in London as No Pain In Pop‘s in-house DJ, contributed to the Houndstooth-signed 18+ project and thrown parties with a range of international talent. Powers’ personal output is as American as it gets though, melding boogie, breaks, electro and house into a singular, timeless medley.

That output has come across a series of EPs for labels like CGI Records, Niche-N-Bump and Proper Trax and are all firmly aimed at the danceloor. Powers’ sound is at times track-y, but never lacking in funk, always pulling at several thematic elements without losing sight of the core groove. It’s timeless music that takes on a particular brightness in Powers’ own mixes, lanky, freeform affairs that contextualize his influences with the flair of a natural. It’s clear that he takes the art of DJing seriously and that project has extended to Mom Radio, the label and mix series he co-runs with CH-Rom. Entries from the likes of Bearcat, Fit of Body and Space Jam litter the Mom archives, as does a standout selection from C Powers himself.

Powers’ latest release, the Love Austerity EP, comes via New York’s Sweat Equity, a logical fit for both artist and label and one that follows a standout effort from Drumloop, as well as a split DJ Delish/Macy Rodman single. Across five tracks, Powers induces propulsion and euphoria in equal measures, relying on a number of break manipulation techniques and brilliantly funky basslines to keep the party going. The arrangements are sparse, but always feel full bodied, full of disarming vocals and pleasing pads. It’s aimed squarely at the utopian dancefloor without ever giving up concerns of the body. It’s also a sound continued in his Astral Plane Mix, which lays bare the C Powers sound over an hour and eleven minutes of frenetic, joyous mixing. Periods of nuts-and-bolts trax interface with hands-in-the-air moments of rave exuberance as several decades of American dance music are collapsed into one, continuous thread. Be sure to check out Love Austerity, Mom Radio and to grab a download of C Powers’ Astral Plane Mix.

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Photo Credit: Daniel Sannwald

The past few years have been filled with musical projects attempting to bridge, evade or make irrelevant the digital/physical divide. No project has been more successful in that than Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones’ Fractal Fantasy, a platform that has grown to encompass exclusive digital zones, interactive art installations and a genuinely immersive live act that has been on the road for several years now. Considering the complexity (in sound design as much as the scope of the project) and specificity of their work, it’s difficult to imagine another artist fitting seamlessly into the FF aesthetic, but that notion was bucked with the introduction of Xzavier Stone. The Zurich-based artist was introduced in full earlier this year via the THIRST LP, a fluid, eternally bouncy collection that followed several collaborations with fellow FF members and a bootleg compilation that helped assert the musical space that Stone was drawing from.

Phrased as “a contemporary take on 2000s Rap and R&B through the lens of a European mixed race adolescent,” THIRST‘s palette will be familiar to fans of 2000s production mavens like Timbaland, Scott Storch and Swizz Beatz, a sound that both ushered in the contemporary rap and R&B production mode and was more linked to the traditional musicality of past major label studio music. And whereas Hawke and Jones often dive into the magnificent excesses of contemporary club music with reckless abandon, Stone is often more reserved, finding space for something akin to pop songwriting on tracks like “CCW” and “XLYT”. The album is strewn with overt references to regional rap musics like bounce and snap as well, introduced as loving tribute before being thrown into the blender and later manifesting in an entirely new context.

Stone’s Astral Plane Mix offers further context, drawing lines between contemporaries outside of the FF universe (Lunice, Sega Bodega, SOPHIE) and originals from Lil Uzi Vert, Mariah Carey and PNB Rock. Bits of Bangladesh production, a subdued Alkaline rendition and hyper-modern sound design interject, connecting individual nodes across time and space and drawing everyone from CYPHR and Ssaliva to Rich Boy and Trae Tha Truth into the same melange. You can download Stone’s mix here and hit the jump for a full track list.

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We’ve been teasing out M.D. James’ debut project for most of this year and Friday saw the release of his 5 Year Lapse mixtape, the first free form mixtape release on APR since Exit Sense’s Amor 107.5 in 2016. The mixtape is out now on cassette and digital and is comprised of seven movements comprised of organic and electronic composition. Nick Zhu, who has released on Knives and Quantum Natives this year as bod [包家巷], as well as contributing a series of visuals to SHALT’s Seraphim LP, features on “Summer’s End”, and Kevin Silva, Nick Flessa and Zack Crumrine appear throughout the rest of the release. Cassette design is by Caleb Ali Miller, photography by Isabelle Harada and mastering by Will Mitchell. M.D.’s Astral Plane Mix from a few weeks back is also an excellent extension/analog to this release.

M.D. James – 5 Year Lapse
APR116 | Out Now
1) Pariah
2) Dogblood
3) Summer’s End
4) Remembrance
5) Broadside
6) Carceral Season
7.) Untitled I

Cassette/Digi Availabe Here

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We decided to put a spotlight on our favorite artists from our home city of Los Angeles this Summer. Over the coming 10 weeks, we’ll feature a cross section of what the city has to offer. Far from a selection of the biggest touring entities, we hope to shine light on the individuals who brighten the airwaves and nights out on a regular basis.

To this point, AMAZONDOTCOM has existed in the interstices of a number of seemingly divergent spaces. Those spaces are geographic, sonic and conceptual and have allowed the producer and live performer to maintain an aesthetic that is distinctly her own. Geographically speaking, AMAZONDOTCOM has largely spent time between Los Angeles and Mexico City, performing at nights like Rail Up and NTS’ residency at the Ace Hotel in the former and taking her live set to a memorable Boiler Room set up in the latter that featured a slew of off-the-wall artists riffing on footwork. Those performances are hard to pin down, but display a confident grasp of club dynamics, allowing for a start-stop approach that defies traditional genre arrangements and easy emotional outputs without losing its clear dancefloor efficacy.

Releases to date have been sparse for AMAZONDOTCOM, but the material available is definitive. A joint release with Siete Catorce, the Teardropz EP for Nostro Hood System, sees the two artists complementing each other to the fullest, resulting in some of the most disarming club music to come out this year. The release is focused and arranged around a core idea, that being constantly mutating rhythms matched with minimal, spectral sound design, but it results in a complex of brilliant moments that are bound to wow and throw off listeners and dancers alike for years. Other standout moments have come in the form of single track contributions to labels like Juárez’s LOWERS and Mexico City’s Piratón“youknowhowwedu” also appeared on our own NEW YR NEW US 2 giveaway compilation at the end of 2017, a preview of a more longform release to come on Astral Plane Recordings.

The smattering of AMAZONDOTCOM releases mentioned above paint a picture of an artist who fluidly moves between a number of sounds, touching on dembow, footwork, hip hop and a more amorphous beat aesthetic without falling into the trap of emulating calcified forms. It’s a sound that is already distinctly hers and a sonic space that will rapidly expand as more material is released. Her Astral Plane Mix is a good measure of that, comprised of over an hour of unreleased AMAZONDOTCOM material that gracefully bounds across tempo and rhythmic structure without losing an ounce of focus. Distended low end, cleverly snatched vocal samples and metallic drums have all become AMAZONDOTCOM hallmarks, but this volume also introduces sections of distorted breaks and a range of pleasing textural elements, ensuring complete immersion. No track list for this one, although you can pick out DMVU’s “Flew” towards the beginning of the mix. The rest is all AMAZONDOTCOM. Download here and be on the look out for more in the near future.

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Photo: Taylor Rainbolt / NTS Radio

We decided to put a spotlight on our favorite artists from our home city of Los Angeles this Summer. Over the coming 10 weeks, we’ll feature a cross section of what the city has to offer. Far from a selection of the biggest touring entities, we hope to shine light on the individuals who brighten the airwaves and nights out on a regular basis.

NTS Radio‘s programming is littered with huge names, but it’s the station’s odd ball thematic shows that make it such a joy to listen to on a day-to-day basis. When NTS opened up their Los Angeles station, they were especially astute in bringing on Sasha Ali’s Miss Modular Radio for a monthly show. Formerly airing on Boyle Heights’ Radio Sombra, an operation housed in Espacio 1839 that is currently in a transition into a “more concrete and revolutionary media entity,” Ali’s show is focused on “womxn-powered musical selections” and has been a staple since we first came across it sometime in 2016.

The format ranges from show to show, but each hour is generally composed of interviews, loose selections from the hip hop, experimental and electronic music worlds, as well as blistering guest sessions from a range of talented club DJs. Sessions are often freeform in terms of style, genre and composition, but womxn are always centered and the resulting milieu is vibrant and varied, linked more by an earnest affect and desire to push forward than any particular aesthetic.

Contemporary DJs like Bearcat, Erika Kayne and Helikonia have all  been featured on the show, but Ali has also found space for a wider purview, inviting accomplished solo artists like Low Leaf and Kilo Kish on, as well as archivist and punk provocateur Alice Bag. Ali’s own selection are similarly varied and polychromatic, running from blissfully emancipatory jazz and soul on to the best hip hop that LA has to offer and on to a range of Latin American club musics, both classic and contemporary.

Her Astral Plane Mix takes a similarly heterogeneous approach, drawing on experimental music from womxn of SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) heritage. The selection was born out of an opening set Ali delivered for a show called “A Night of Arabic Hip-Hop and Poetry” at the Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles. 8ULENTINA, Deena Abdelwahed, DJ Haram, Fatima Al Qadiri, Ikonika and Thoom all contribute key passages to Ali’s mix, as do multi-talented Egyptian vocalist Nadah El Shazly and French-Algerian R&B impresario Ta-Ra. True to its original intention, the mix has a distinctly live feel, frantically leaping along an electrical wire with a core energy that supersedes groove.  Dive into Miss Modular’s essential archive here, hit the jump for a track list, and download the mix here.

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We released M.D. James’ “Swan” as part of our 2017 year-end free download release. Its inclusion came after we saw a live M.D. performance at one of his CAMEO parties. It was raw and unadulterated and felt no need to trade intimacy for corporeal affect. It achieved both in droves and our mind immediately wandered to our it would translate to a recorded format. 5 Year Lapse is the result of that process, a mixtape exploring the unexpected paradoxes that arise during times of self-care and healing. It’s comprised of seven chapters and will be out on Friday, October 5. AQNB was kind enough to announce the release and premiere “Carceral Season”. 5 Year Lapse is available as a digital release, as well as a limited run cassette manufactured by Cryptic Carousel in Los Angeles.

Listen to “Carceral Season”
Pre-order Cassette/Digital