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Having previously plied his trade as a drummer, beatsmith for rappers and emotional producer extraordinaire, Chants is something of a musical polymath and while his work extends into a number of cultural, geographic, social, etc. contexts it always seems to push boundaries and ask questions. The Zookeeper is the Madison-based artist’s latest work and we couldn’t be more excited to release this outsized, bludgeoning, heaving piece of club music. It’s certainly not a release for the faint of heart, but if you’re ready to have your organs and or blood-brain barrier reorganized then this is the release for you. The Zookeeper is out now on all digital streaming and download platforms and is probably already in the darkest rave near you. We’ve also just launched a revamped Astral Plane Recordings website, designed by Sam Meier and featuring an incredible, synapse overloading music video for “Crushed Lollipop” by Isaac Chabon. It’s our goal to offer up a complete a/v experience and the sheer physicality of Chants’ music was the perfect opportunity to institute that vision in full.

alex-compton

Alex Compton exists in a world where Lady Saw, Hard Creation and Slowdive meet, a deeply emotive tangle of floating squares, riddims, gabber kicks, rainstorm field recordings and video game soundtracks meet. Currently residing in New York, but hailing from the West Coast, Compton has creeped into our consciousness over the past few years on the back of a series of excelling edits, ranging from a weighty take on Nelly Furtado’s “Say It Right (championed by Endgame over the past few months) to a tearjerking take on a Lady Saw freestyle. On the original front, a sino-grime-inspired collaboration with Fallow has been making waves (and showed up in the Manchester producer’s Astral Plane mix) and a few ambient-leaning bits have been popping up in left-leaning sets here and there.

For the most part though, Compton is something of an unknown entity, avoiding the well worn imitator hat while delving out a sonic space for himself somewhere alongside the aforementioned touchstones. His Astral Plane mix sheds some light on possible contemporaries, from TCF and Rabit to Young Thug and Mica Levi, but the most common thread is an overriding notion of feeling and sentiment. Avoiding the sense of dread and paranoia that so often permeates experimental electronic forms,  Compton’s music seems to touch on loss, love and hope without any preamble and while it is largely instrumental music it retains a tenderness and humanity. We’re in the midst of talking with Compton about the mix and his music so look out for an extended interview in the next week or so. In the meantime, dive into the mix and check out the track list after the jump.

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yoshitaka-hikawa

We only came across Yoshitaka Hikawa‘s music this year, but in the matter of a few months he has become an Astral Plane favorite, showing off his clattering aesthetic across a series of edits, collaborations and mixes and establishing himself as one of the foremost voices in the edit/collage sector. Noisy, manic and often full of odd vocal bits, tranquil piano and enough paranoiac ambience to unsettle just about anyone, the Japanese artist’s work is truly special and it was a pleasure to have him come on our Radar Radio show earlier this week. Hikawa came through a special of only music from London’s Beatgatherers outfit, which makes sense because he’s released some of his best work on the label. Tracks from Hikawa himself, Pope, Graves and Barla highlight the mix which starts at about an hour and thirty three minutes in. The Astral Plane DJ Team starts of the first two thirds of the mix with a heap of Astral Plane Recordings material and new dubs and releases from Sully, Bruce, Leonce, Liquid City Motors, Mr. Mitch, Mechatok, B. YHZZ, Silk Road Assassins, x/o, Celestial Trax, Dis Fig, GAIKA, Famous Eno, Tsvi & Lorenzo_BITW, DJ Tray and DJ Haram. It’s all over the place as we like it so trap in and enjoy. Track list after the jump.

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double clapperz

Write-up and interview by Julien Breistroff.

Given Japan’s reputation for fostering niche cultures, and considering the nation’s decades-long relationship with reggae, it should come as little surprise that UK dance/bass music has found footing on the islands’ shores. Though Japan’s presence in dubstep may have come sooner – with Goth-Trad and his Back to Chill imprint and night – its grime scene has slowly grown to establish itself as the most cohesive representation of the genre in Asia. This status was recently cemented when Elijah & Skilliam tasked stalwart local MC Pakin with assembling an all star crew of Japanese grime MCs and DJs to record a showcase set for Butterz.

Among the artists featured on the resulting mix was Double Clapperz, a Production/DJ outfit consisting of Sinta and UKD. The duo have steadily made a name for themselves over the last few years, their tracks being played by a number of distinguished grime names. Spooky in particular has supported them since early, though Murlo, Boofy, and Impey have certainly helped to get Double Clapperz’ music played on radio and in mixtapes for Rinse, Radar, BBC Radio 1xtra, and Fabric. Coupling traditionally jagged grime drum patterns with a meticulously crafted low-end, their sound is as conscious a nod to grime as it is to soundsystem culture more broadly. The pair have worked extensively with local MCs and can count themselves among the most prominent contributors to Tokyo’s grime scene. With a white label dropping this June and the spotlight on Japanese grime growing ever brighter, Double Clapperz are poised to help bring their scene to the attention of grime fans globally.

Never straying far from the customary 140bpm, Double Clapperz’ Astral Plane mix progresses at a blistering pace, quickly and deftly blending their own brand of abrasive precision with hollow weightless cuts, dubstep, and hints of dancehall. Filled with unreleased beats, bootlegs, and exclusive vocal tracks, the mix is a thrilling glimpse into Japanese grime. Familiar ground is also provided as the duo pepper in released material from the likes of Commodo, Kahn & Neek, Ishan Sound, Murlo, Terror Danjah, and the Boxed crew – as well as an Astral Plane favourite, Last Japan’s forthcoming “Ascend” featuring AJ Tracey. We had the chance to ask the guys a few questions over the internet, and their responses (along with a tracklist) can be found after the jump/below the fold. In the meantime, turn your subs up and travel from Bow to Tokyo with this lesson in Far Eastern bass.

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karmelloz

Karmelloz is no stranger to self-releasing music, having released a host of singles, edits and one-offs through is own channels over the past few years, and while official releases for the likes of 1080p and Purr Tapes have bolstered his name among certain crowds, his DIY credentials are as strong as anyones. So when a label he was working with dawdled on getting his next release out, the Portland-based artist decided to take it into his own hands and the result is Returning / Series. Functioning as an a/b single with remixes from Los Angeles’ D/P/I and Vancouver’s Matt Tecson, Karmelloz shows off a more subdued side to his production oeuvre, full of analgesic melodies, dusty drum programming and a good deal of strange vocal ephemera.

As the song titles suggest, the a and b sides have a strong dichotomy as “Returning a Different Person” gives off a hopeful, sunny disposition while “Series of Seizures” is all anxiety, an acid-tinged paranoiac number with an inside the machine feel. D/P/I and Tecson’s remixes offer wildly different takes on the originals as well, the former a shapeshifting effort that transforms from a mysterious drone into an off-kilter IDM burnout and the latter a beefed-up four-to-the-floor number emphasizing the track’s retrofuturist synth work and adding adding a nice dash of polyrhythm to the mix. The two originals from Returing / Series can be streamed below and the release can be bought here or after the jump.

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fisky

Having already contributed an Astral Plane mix under his Roller Track alias in Summer ’15, our affections for Fisky are well documented and whether the Moscow-based artist is working as Roller Truck, Fisky or 297787, his stripped back club efforts almost always hit the right spot. On May 16, Frolov joins the Hyperboloid Records roster with the Traektoria EP (12″ / digital), a six tracker dealing in various contemporary and nostalgic club mutations. At this point, it’s not always easy to distinguish where the Fisky, Roller Truck and 297787 projects all begin and end and Traektoria could conceivably fit under all three, full of rave stabs, punchy drum programming and a generally ominous atmosphere borrowed from various strains of the hardcore continuum. Intended to “[create] a personal cyber club for everyone,” Traektoria will be accompanied by a VR 360 video and is apparently the result of an extended stay away from club spaces for Frolov. We’ve got “Diesel” on premiere today, a dense number built around a brassy, foghorn-esque sound that plays the sub bass roll while febrile claps, 808 bells and ha chants drive the top end of the productions. Like his work as Roller Truck, Frolov draws from a number of trans-Atlantic club forms on “Diesel” and whether it builds up a cyber club space for everyone it would go off IRL in most clubs. Check out “Diesel” below, pre-order Traektoria here listen to previews of the full release after the jump.

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orlando volcano

New York has long been a key cog in the world of Caribbean music and for the better part of the last decade, Mixpak has created a firm foundation for the more electronic-focused strains of dancehall, soca and beyond. With Mixpak and their accompanying studio playing a key roll, New York is now home to a range of aspiring artists, producers and parties pushing the more eclectic, digital side of the dancehall spectrum and drawing increasingly important lines between UK forms like garage, bassline and grime, as well Jersey club and other American dance forms. Orlando Volcano is a relative newcomer in this world, but through his own productions and efforts for Escape From Nature, the label he founded in 2015, the Brooklyn-based artist has already begun to make an impact, pushing a jagged take on dancehall, grime & R&B across his solo work and a collaborative single with fellow New Yorker Copout.

With the likes of Wildlife!, Smutlee, Samrai, Ynfynyt Scroll and Murlo forming a global net of connections and contemporaries, Volcano’s work feels right home in the extended dancehall-grime spectrum and while he’s covered an even wider swath of territory in the past, even collaborating with house maestro Octa Octa, the sounds of Kingston and London are where he seems to feel most at home. Recent partnerships as Shine & Criss (with The Large) and The Onda Group (with Ynfynyt Scroll, NAR, HD and The Large) have cemented Volcano’s relationship with Caribbean musics, the former a high promise DJ partnership and the latter a dancehall and reggaeton party and DJ collective. Having spent the past few years experimenting and expanding, it feels like Volcano has found his niche and his Astral Plane mix only solidifies that sentiment, a rolling collection of original compositions, bootlegs and tuff vocals from Riko Dan, Ding Dong, Vybz Kartel and beyond. With New York-based AceMo, Copout, Tygapaw and Ynfynyt Scroll showing up in the the track list, the mix functions as a nice paean to Volcano’s adopted city, simultaneously flexing the more roots-y side and digi-grimey side of his aesthetic. Check out the track list after the jump and be sure to follow Shine & Criss and The Onda Group for updates on those respective projects.

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IMG_1258

With rhetoric that refers to “[a]n oil and metal mine melting speakers, CDJ platters and smartphones,” nature-learning AI, and “survivors dancing to biorhythms,” Montevideo’s Salviatek outfit has led the way in exploring the synthesized extents of trans-Atlantic rhythms like the candombe and the results are rather stunning. At this point, Salviatek is only two releases deep at this point, but those two, by Pobvio and Lechuga Zafiro respectively, have set the tone for what’s to come, combining complex, hip-shaking drum programming with digital basslines and melodies. The effect recalls the more experimental side of the NAAFI camp and Argentinian producer Moro’s recent release for NON. And despite being a young label, ZF and Pobvio’s aesthetic is already well adapted and well considered, from the cephalopodic Aequs Nyama biobot to Pobvio’s stunning Syndombe Club EP.

That EP was what initially drew us into both Pobvio and Salviatek’s work, a release that comes off as equal parts joyous, mindful and dancefloor-forward, ignoring the loop-based nature of so much rhythmic dance music for a more freeform format and bringing Uruguayan candombe drumming to the fore. A functional follow-up to Pobvio’s also excellent, Syndombe EP (self-released), Syndombe Club proved a perfect introduction to an artist who has since wowed us with two spastic baile funk edits and is the latest artist to contribute an Astral Plane mix. Drawing from a collection of songs by Uruguayan, Brazilian, Argentinian, Chilean and Mexican artist’s work, Pobvio’s mix feels like mayhem failing to be confined to a sterile environment as wild polyrhythms spray about and vocal snippets from throughout the web-driven world of club music enter and leave the picture. No one is making the sort of hi-tech candombe that Pobvio and Salviatek have enchanted us with and it the former’s forthcoming work is as involving and heteromorphic as his Astral Plane mix is then we’re all in for something special.

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AE1

Coming off the back of a second Boiler Room appearance, this one facilitated by Teki Latex, London’s Nervous Horizon crew is riding high, seemingly popping up on hotly tipped label’s release schedules and remix packages everywhere while continuing to settle in on their own crew/label-specific sound that’s becoming increasingly unmissable with every new release. Meanwhile, the Infinite Machine outfit has continued its upward swing in 2016, releasing an exciting debut from the Tropical Waste representing Iydes and a startling, drop-heavy EP from WWWINGS. The Montreal/Mexico City-based label’s next release comes from Los Angeles-based Alfred English, a graphic designer and producer who has plied his trade in the slick web-centric art and the artificial strains of metallic club music over the past few years.

Taking on English’s “Piston” from the EP of the same name, Nervous Horizon members Tsvi & Luru, who are quickly becoming a formidable duo, have flipped the relatively straightforward original into a towering effort that alternates between breakneck four-on-the-floor sections and brass-y, larger-than-life interludes. With its laser and pulse sounds, pumping sheet metal percussion and Godzilla’s arriving horn work, the London-based producer’s take on the original borrows from a number of recognizable tropes from the past few years, but by virtue of compiling them in such a complex, enveloping manner the two succeed in making the track well more than the sum of its parts. Piston, which also features remixes from Patrick Brian, WWWINGS and ETEVLEH is out on April 29 via Infinite Machine.

basic-rhythm

There are many avenues to approach Anthoney Hart’s work, each offering different view of the same whole, which might be why his work appeals, and often frustrates, so many. Seemingly always busy, you may have come across Hart’s hazy, abstracted Imaginary Forces project, his brilliant collection of pirate radio recordings, or 2015’s dancefloor-focused Basic Rhythm album on Type, all remarkably distinct projects that somehow speak to a cohesive, or at least coherent, whole. Originally rooted in hardcore/jungle/drum & bass culture, Hart maintained a show on Rude FM in the late 1990s into the early 2000s before becoming bored with the rigidity of the format and striking out into more experimental territory. Mostly known as Imaginary Forces until last year, Hart joined up with John Twells’ Type label for Raw Trax, his first official project as Basic Rhythm and an album that has shown off his abilities as a musical polymath.

Influenced by a huge range of material, from Coil and Kate to Bush to D’Angelo and Kendrick Lamar to contemporary producers like Gage, Rabit and the Her Records crew, Raw Trax is a hypnotizing listen, full of sparse, forceful percussion arrangements and vocal samples that rarely sit high in the mix, but create a mesh of rich, organic textures throughout. Hart’s roots in pirate radio are readily apparent from raw, often manic, energy of tracks like “Raw Basics”, “Break It Down (4 Da Kru)” and “Prototype”, but Raw Trax is not a jungle record and the hardcore continuum is one of many influences to be found across its eight hypnagogic bombs.

With discussions over nostalgia in rave music coming to a fore via the Bloc founder’s acerbic letter a few weeks ago, commentators are quick to lump acts into the heap of revivalists, but Basic Rhythm neither glorifies the sounds of yore, whether they be hardcore, jungle, garage or something else, nor does he rest his music output in those sounds, instead grafting a whole spectrum of influences into his own unique project. Raw Trax is inherently referential by nature of its sample choices, but you won’t catch Hart looking forlornly to the past and if you want to hear straight up drum & bass you can check out his third alias. Hit the jump to check out our interview with Hart. We talked Basic Rhythm, Type, moving back to London and more. Track list coming soon.

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