md-james-5-year-lapse-final (1)-2

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

IMG_6911.JPG

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.

IMG_1903 copy 2

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.

Read More

IMG_5389

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

Precision 12 Inch Jacket Template

SHALT – Seraphim LP
APR115 | Out Now
1) Conceived on Ash
2) Preserved in Amber
3) Seraph
4) Fleeting
5) Ardour
6) Charred, Cleansed

LP/Digi Available Here

Watch Visual Album Here

With four APR releases under his belt, SHALT turns in his longest statement to date in Seraphim, a mini-epic that unfolds over six intricately arranged, brilliantly colored acts. Once again focusing in on the intersection between the technological and the natural, the London-based producer builds a narrative around an angelic being, a visage displayed by accompanying video work by Los Angeles’ Nick Zhu. More concretely, the album delves into the contradictions inherent in technological development, ruminating over the capitalist myth of scarcity, coming (and present) ecological disaster, and the contemporary path of medical research.

Sonically, Seraphim features a fusion of the sensibilities featured on Acheron, Inertia and ʃælt, noisy effects and a barrage of rugged percussion juxtaposed with passages of melodic bliss. It’s music preoccupied with technology, but with a naturalistic ethos at its core, emphasizing our confusion over humanity’s influence on the world (even when uncynically trying to perform good deeds). That ethos is embodied in the baroque ambience of “Seraph”, as well as the impactful, multi-layered crack of “Fleeting”. It’s deeply visual music and like the best sci-fi, deals with lasting contemporary issues under the guise of futurity. As described by the Bureau of Linguistical Reality, we are living in shadowtime and Seraphim is a nod to the distinct intellectual, moral and temporal crisis of our time.

Seraphim features album art work and vinyl design by Isaac Chabon and accompanying video work by Nick Zhu and Tea Stražičić. It will be released digitally and in a limited LP press.

IMG_1991

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.

Pete Swanson‘s Discogs page is a treasure trove for the uninitiated. Project and project unveils itself, providing a glimpse into the Oregon native’s work at any particular time. We first came across Swanson via his seminal Man With Potential LP in 2011, likely the entry point for many who were either too young or missed his dramatic, brilliantly textured early work in the duo Yellow Swans. The half dozen or so other projects that litter Swanson’s discography paint a picture of a restless artist with a indefatigable pursuit of musical knowledge. Like us, many will work their way through that discography in a non-linear fashion, taking in his early, surprisingly serene, improvisational work as Sarin Smoke (with Tom Carter), more recent soaring black metal/noise hybrids as Violent Magic Orchestra, and the multitude of releases under his own name including personal favorite I Don’t Rock At All, three insular, blistered guitar landscapes recorded in an Oregon cabin at the end of 2010.

It’s a joy to piece through Swanson’s extended work, but more recently, the Los Angeles-based artist has turned his attention and talents more towards shining light on other people’s work. Freedom to Spend is the re-issue label Swanson co-runs with Little Axe Records’ Jed Bindeman and RVNG Intl.’s Matt Werth, hosting essential ephemera and lost gems from the likes of Richard Horowitz, Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Burns, and Rimarimba. The label is a peak into Swanson’s curatorial prowess and the depth of his record collection, the latter of which was unveiled in a brilliant Playing Favorites feature in Resident Advisor last year. For a glimpse into where Swanson’s focus in the moment is though, the best route is to listen to Pete Goes To Town, his monthly show on NTS Los Angeles. The hour long show shows only a glimpse of Swanson’s massive collection, but that glimpse is always a pleasure, sure to defy even the most jaded listener’s expectation. Truly experimental radio hours can often come off as self-indulgent, but Pete Goes To Town is as fun as it is deep, recently mining bizarro, ASRM-y vocal tracks, dub-y club music and biotic synth experiments.

It was after religiously listening in to Pete Goes To Town month after month that we asked Swanson to contribute to our Los Angeles-focused mix series. The result is a death defying combination of hardcore punk and hardcore rave with fits of organic synthesis and Jlin’s brilliant “Kyanite” slotted into the mix. Neither Swanson’s approach nor collection can be synthesized into an hour of music, but like Pete Goes To Town, his Astral Plane Mix plays the role of prism into the many dimensions that his approach offers. No track list available for this, but download your copy of the mix here.

Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 1.37.22 PM

Oakland’s DÆMON was kind enough to join us on our latest NTS show, turning in a blistering 30 minute guest mix. Building on the raw energy of their own club/vocal experiments, the mix runs through contemporary artists (DJ NJ Drone, N1L, False Witness), as well as some of the most distinct voices in dancefloor-minding rap (Rico Nasty, Thast, Lil Reek). The first hour and a half is handled by the AP DJ Team and includes new tracks from SHALT’s forthcoming Seraphim LP, a secret for now Chants number and special new ones from Sharp Veins, Cremation Lily, Hitmakerchinx, Calvo, Rizzla and more. Hit the jump for a full track list and download here.

Astral Plane DJ Team
SHALT – Conceived on Ash
Sharp Veins – forever night rip
R. Girardin – Splashed On
Why Be x oldest unknown – HURRIAN HA (Yantan Ministry Edit)
SHALT – Seraph
Cremation Lily – In England Now, Underwater
Yves De Mey – 17 Graves
M.D. James – ???
Muqata’a – Haswet Phalasipha حصوة الفلاسفة
Eartheater – MTTM (ft. Odwalla1221)
M.D. James – ???
Bliss Signal – Bliss Signal
Lilly Kane – Administer Truth
Aisha Devi – Intentional Dreams
SHALT – Preserved in Amber
Hitmakerchinx – Arabian King
Primitive Art – Security (M.E.S.H. Remix)
Sim Hutchins – Bath Salts In The Saccharin (LOFT’s Artifically Sweetened Luv Mix)
Chants – ???
Sharp Veins – return 2 tha club [demo]
dj lostboi – D MAJOR XO LIFE (blastah Edit)
Rizzla – Inquisition
Jonathan da Nova x Ansome – Nova Geração Hitch (Clemency Blend)
HahaDavis & CalvoMuxic – Blow Up Doll
DJ Flex & BillzTaDon – Bad Ting
Lechuga Zafiro – Ita
Nunu x Kyrstyn Pyxton – NEVER ALONE (Yantan Ministry Edit)
Djurum – Waters Rising
Sim Hutchins- Dumped by Pirate Radio (Object Blue Remix)
DJ Plead – DVE (DJ Dylan Edit)

DÆMON Guest Mix
H-Ricky – endlessHail
DJ NJ Drone – Go Flame
MindPersuasion – Accelerated Thinker
N1L – Crawlspaces
Presta – Perro Sucio
Crimson – Daemon
Rizoma – ≠
False Witness – In the Dark
Thast – Play My Shit
King DouDou – Espiritos
Rico Nasty – Countin Up
Dj Darshkeeper – Patient Returning (PIN# Edit)
Rizoma – Tool
XD – Sirenxe
El PlayBoy – Ritual
Lil Reek – Rock Out
Pineal Sounds – Curtain Call

Precision 12 Inch Jacket TemplateIf you caught SHALT’s FACT Mix in May or any number of our recent NTS shows, you’ve likely caught glimpses of the Seraphim LP. SHALT’s debut album has been bubbling up for over a year now and we’re extremely proud and relieved to announce it to the world. Available on September 14 on LP and digital, the former featuring full color jacket work by the amazing Isaac Chabon, Seraphim is our most involved release date, a mini-epic with a dense conceptual core and a brilliantly abstract narrative. The album is accompanied by a series of brilliant video works by Nick Zhu and Tea Stražičić, a dream collaboration that can first be seen via the video for “Fleeting”. We’ll be unveiling more details on Seraphim over the coming weeks, but you can have a go at “Fleeting” here and pre-order your copy of the limited 200 run below. Bandcamp will likely be the most affordable option for those of you in the US, while the other Euro/UK-based retailers are likely cheaper for the rest of you. Give us a shout if prices seem unreasonable and we’ll see if there’s a local shop that better fits your needs. Thanks as always for the love and suport.

SHALT – Seraphim [LP/Digital]
APR115 | Out September 14
“Fleeting” video
Pre-order LP/12″: Bandcamp | Boomkat | Juno | Red Eye

1.) Conceived on Ash
2.) Preserved in Amber
3.) Seraph
4.) Fleeting
5.) Ardour
6.) Charred, Cleansed

IMG_1459.JPG

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.

We saw the first M.D. James live performance at Los Angeles’ Rec Centre in December 2017. Situated early on in the night, the set was short and erratic, a raw, unencumbered burst of speed and guttural sound. Several of Matt’s previous projects had manifested in live shows, but this performance as M.D. James felt new, a departure from his DJing and the beginning of genuinely singular artistic expression. The set also felt like an ideal extension of the CAMEO nights that Matt has been throwing since February of last year, nights that featured live acts like Aisha Devi, Malibu and Organ Tapes.

Initially taking place at small bars in Chinatown and later at several DIY spaces, CAMEO has consistently brought artists to Los Angeles that might not have a broad American audience (yet), but are clearly on the cusp of their respective approaches. Backed by residents and co-live performers Baojiaxiang, Bapari and SWISHA, CAMEO has become an essential part of Los Angeles’ DIY fabric, proving that vibrant hybrid nights can co-exist alongside the myriad club nights the city has to offer.

As for the progression of Matt’s solo work, we’re excited to be working towards the debut M.D. James release on Astral Plane Recordings this Fall. We’re keeping details close at hand at this point, but “Swan” appeared on our NEW YR NEW US 2 compilation and Matt also joined us on our NTS show in January for a startling recitation of his live set. His Astral Plane Mix should also shed some light on the direction of the M.D. James project, a blend of emotionally bare weightless material, dense hardcore and a range of gorgeous, if often anxiety-inducing, vocal experiments. Like in his solo work, you’ll be hard pressed to find any easily recognizable aesthetic threads in the mix, but the general approach — an earnest take on noise aesthetics and club dynamics — is an exciting forebear of what’s to come later this year. Hit the jump for a track list, download the mix here and be sure to check out the next CAMEO (with MHYSA) if you’re in Los Angeles.

Read More

IMG_0445

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.

DIY spaces offer very particular dynamics to live performers, forcing instrumentalists and vocalists alike to contort their abilities to the room, audience and mood. More often than not, Los Angeles’ art spaces and warehouses tend to feature a barrage of dissimilar acts, often resulting in a blissful mash of cross-genre madness. It’s in these spaces where the city’s various autonomous zones — footwork, hip hop, noise, punk, techno —  tend to intersect, blend and mutate. Callie Ryan, a musician, vocalist and radio host, typifies the alchemy that goes on in Los Angeles’ myriad informal venues, drawing disparate source material into her own deeply personal, tender works.

In March, Callie released her debut album, titled HEALTH, on Outside Insight (John Carroll Kirby, Lonely Boys, SADAF), offering a recorded analog to her intimate live shows. Utilizing a range of tempos, rhythmic structures and vocal manipulation techniques, HEALTH exudes warmth without ever descending into cliche, instead pursuing a sublime uncanny valley patchwork. Her own voice is played off of samples and field recordings with club tropes — jungle breaks, rolling hi hats, dub echo) — facilitating the proceedings. The album draws on reference points that will be familiar to listeners of Callie’s weekly Dublab show, a 2 hour show covering the gamut of American club and experimental musics and featuring a range of guests including CCL, Juke Bounce Werk, KAILI, M.D. James, Maral, SWISHA, VIOLENCE and more.

It’s with both HEALTH and Callie’s Dublab show in mind that we’re excited to have her on for Astral Plane Mix 166, self-titled “I NEVER CRY”. Contemporaries like Coucou Chloe, Eartheater, Klein and Mhysa, all artists pushing vocal performance into exciting new territory, appear in the mix, as does MC G15’s absolutely stunning, DJ Kevin o Chris-produced “Lembra Daquela Mina Bandida”. Callie’s own “Marie”, a standout from HEALTH, also makes an appearance towards the end, tying the selection together before launching into the Ngcobo Sisters seraphic gospel. The mix can be downloaded here and a full track list can be found after the jump. You can also catch Callie debut her new live show on August 25 at Muse ‘Til Midnight @ LACMA and on the East Coast in October.

Read More