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$jayy

We’ve written extensively over the past few years on the growth of Jersey Club from beloved regional dance genre to global phenomenon and have been lucky enough to feature a few of our favorite producers from Jersey. Kayy Drizz and DJ J Heat have turned in two of our absolute favorite Astral Plane mixes to date and today, we’re lucky to have $JAYY in the mix. For the unfamiliar, $JAYY has gained notoriety through consistency and work rate, pushing out edits and originals through his Soundcloud with startling efficiency. To boot, he’s experimented with everything from slouched, stoned out hip hop to frantic footwork for labels like TAR and Like That and, most recently, self-released an album of edits and original work called Acid Club. Those familiar with artists like UNIIQU3, TRICK$, SWISHA and Ase Manual, all of whom $JAYY has collaborated with, will find comfort in his full force drum arrangements and uncanny touch with samples, which, as far as we’re concerned, has set the pace for Club music at large.

His mix contribution, recorded in the midst of a busy finals week, encapsulates everything we love about Jersey Club, running the gamut from hyped up, stripped back floor burners to more restrained, melodic ideas. Familiar dance moves and call-and-response can be found throughout, as can the requisite edits of a huge chunk of the past year’s rap hits. Several collaborations with Gutta and DJ Tray punctuate the mix nicely, as does an unreleased Mike Gip track and material from DJ Sliink, Ase Manual and DJ Jayhood. At 34 tracks in just 40 minutes, it’s a kinetic mix, but it’s hard to imagine Jersey Club mixed any other way and the frenetic pacing is met by quality at every turn. Grab a download of the mix here and check out more $JAYY here.

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In the age of Soulseek and Traktor, the concept of hybrid DJing isn’t exactly new, but few DJs embody the schismatic spirit and energy that the Internet and contemporary mixing technology enables. Just because someone has access to the right material and software/equipment doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to use it properly, both in terms of laying out a narrative and technical ability, and more often than not the result will be clunky and unappealing from the get go. New York’s (by way of Austin, Texas) Brandy-Alexander aka Miss Kenzo, a relatively new name with an immediately recognizable voice, does not fit within that trend of. Offering a fresh take on what is a distinctly New York sound, Miss Kenzo’s sound is built on Ballroom and Club music, the two forms forming dual backbones for her to insinuate threads of the hardcore dance spectrum. Fans of crews like KUNQ and Club Chai will find solace in the storytelling quality of Miss Kenzo’s past mixes and her entry for Mask Mag, titled “Belladonna of Madness”, is a great place to start.

Beyond DJing, Brandy-Alexander is a model who has entered the fashion world with the express goal of shedding light on issues affecting black, queer and trans people in her community. The connections between the fashion world and hybrid DJing styles are well established (see here, here and here) and the Miss Kenzo project feels like a natural extension of ground set out over the past decade, allowing her to explore the the tensions between euphoria and violence inherent in queer club scenes and music, often through brilliantly laid out non-linear narratives. On top of that, her mixes bang, supremely functional arrangements and surefire function starters. Her Astral Plane mix doesn’t pull any punches, leaping into breakneck hardcore before settling into a breakbeat and crash-laden groove, punctuated by trance loops and constant stylistic curveballs. It’s 45 minutes of pure energy that bares repeat listens, if for no other reason than to decipher MK’s intricate arrangements. Download the mix here and check out more Miss Kenzo here.

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The world of experimental electronic music is both rife with artists seeking to present their work in an immersive light and completely lacking in the funding and professionalization needed to make large scale audio-visual projects possible. DIY scenes exist on the margins without access to suitable venues and spaces while both public and private funding often constrain creative aspirations, or in the case of the United States, are largely limited to more traditional artistic expressions. French producer and composer Eric Raynaud aka Fraction feels like an exception to the aforementioned rules, an artist whose work is immersive in both its live and recorded incarnations and who has a deep understanding of the intersections of audio, visual and physical space.

With only two official releases in the past decade, Fraction’s work doesn’t fit into the traditional music business model, but one only has to read about and watch video from performances like ENTROPIA and DROMOS to understand the level of conceptualization (not to mention time and effort) that goes into each of Raynaud’s respective projects. ENTROPIA, initially performed at the IX Symposium in Montreal, features a geodesic sphere outfitted with audio-reacted LEDs, all situated within a room complete with projection walls. The video alone demonstrates the all-encompassing nature of the project, while Fraction’s music, spacious and glitched out, is transportative in and of itself.

For his Astral Plane mix, Raynaud gathered a range of music from China, drawing on everything from abstracted sound design to fractalized beats and more overt peak time club moments. It’s a vivid selection that feels like a natural extension of his own recorded work, both tactile and always in motion. Familiar rhythms weave in and out of the mix, interspersed with granular noise and a smattering of organic instrumentation. Fraction is an alumni of the SHAPE Platform. More info of his involvement can be found in an interview on their website.

Lycox

Lycox at Unsound Festival in Krakow

After an almost five month hiatus, the Astral Plane Mix Series is back up and running and we’ve recruited one of our favorite artists from Lisbon’s Principe crew. DJ Lycox has been  a longtime favorite, appearing constantly in our For Club Use Only feature for FACT and becoming a quick staple in Astral Plane DJ Team sets. Born in Portugal and based in the Paris suburbs, Lycox is a prolific producer, initially emerging as part of the Tia Maria Produções trio before setting out on his own. Working mainly within a kuduro framework, Lycox’s productions are intensely melodic, introducing an element of euphoria and pop song writing to the genre’s intricate percussion arrangements and forceful energy. On November 17, Lycox’s debut solo album will be released by Principe, a coming out party of sorts for an artist who has become an underground favorite and a release that will surely establish the Portuguese producer as one of the most respected kuduro artists alongside the likes of Marfox, Nidia, Nigga Fox and Firmeza.

Lycox’s Astral Plane mix exemplifies what Lycox is all about, a 30 minute ride that blows by before you know it and functions as the perfect soundtrack to the melancholic last tendrils of Summer. Heavy on original productions, Lycox links irresistible hook after irresistible hook, bridged by the loping gait of his expertly arranged kuduro rhythms. It’s a breezy selection that performs an idyllic counterpoint to much of kuduro’s sweaty pomp, leaving trace elements of each respective hook as it drives onwards. Pre-order the Sonhos & Pesadelos LP here and dive into Lycox’s Soundcoud for a heap of divine original productions. No track list for this one so you’ll have to look out for the album.

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We hit the NTS studio for the second time in September last Friday and brought along Julien, a DJ and producer spending the summer in Los Angeles. With releases out/forthcoming on Tobago Tracks and Apothecary Compositions, the Denver resident brought a deluge of hardcore techno to the table for his 45 minute session, ratcheting up the tempo and bringing out a brutalist energy. His mix begins at the 45 minute mark and runs until 1:30. Our session features new Bell Curve, VIOLENCE, Torus, Dane Law, Fatima Al Qadiri, Alex Compton and more. Download available here and track list after the jump.

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No guests and no worries on this month’s edition of our NTS Los Angeles show. This was recorded after driving out of (near) a forest fire so the mood is slightly uneasy/ominous for the first 45 minutes. Excuse the abruptness of the start. It was hot in the studio. We also played out the entirety of SHALT’s new ʃælt single, out now on Astral Plane Recordings. You can get that one here. We’ll be back on NTS on September 30. Full track list after the jump.

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Coming at the end of an almost year long hiatus, SHALT returns to the fold with ʃælt, the first in a series of singles focused on sound mechanics and loop-based dance forms. A sonic extension of the sheer physicality and cataclysmic sound design introduced on his two previous Astral Plane Recordings releases (Acheron and Inertia), ʃælt sees the recent London transplant exhume those forms from the narrative realm in order to experiment with functionality, crafting a series of absolutely cracking club tracks in the process.

BPMs are kept low across ʃælt‘s three tracks and fans of SHALT’s mix work, for the likes of Solid Steel and Truants, will recognize the microwave warm lilt of “Warm Chaos” and the crunching dramatic sway of “First Pulse”. Like all of SHALT releases, rhythms tend to emerge from a dense field of electricity, but the drums are more immediately accessible on ʃælt, lending a sense of distinct movement to the corporeal intensity his previous work has introduced. The “outsider” label is rather contrived at this point, but if this isn’t an outsider record for peak time then we don’t know what is.

More details on ʃælt via RA

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LOFT arrived in 2016 like a shot out of a cannon, presenting a clearly defined aesthetic on the Turbulent Dynamics EP (APR105) that combined a level of dancefloor-focused cohesion and rippling abstraction that artists twice his age rarely meet. Named by Resident Advisor as the number eight song of 2016, “Heffalump” led the release and introduced many to LOFT’s distinct push-pull approach, throwing listeners into a world of disarmingly charming melodic elements and a rhythmic quotient that brilliantly unfolds over the track’s seven minute run time.

Released on July 28, “Heffalump” is on vinyl for the first time, playing the a-side role on Astral Plane Recordings’ first ever white label 12”. The hand stamped, hand numbered 12” is backed by the equally jarring “I Am Bouyant”, a hairbrained proto-jungle track that will be familiar to fans of LOFT’s all-originals mix work and his lauded live sets around the Manchester area. Turbulent Dynamics is a forcefully original release that treads well across the dancefloor into more adventurous spheres, but grabbing “Heffalump” and the brand new “I Am Bouyant” for APRWH001 feels right for the Los Angeles label’s debut on wax.

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E.M.M.A. PROMO SHOT

LA Mermaid is E.M.M.A.’s second official release for Astral Plane Recordings and arrives on July 14. Comprised of five drama-filled, hallucinatory compositions, LA Mermaid is a microcosm of the glistening, magical aesthetic Emma has worked tirelessly to fine tune. The result is music that is larger-than-life, while simultaneously insular and immediately graspable. E.M.M.A.’s music has always existed in these brilliant margins between, and LA Mermaid is a definitive statement of ownership over that space.

Coming on the heels of March’s Glacé single, also released through APR, LA Mermaid is a triumphant statement of intent for E.M.M.A., a release that draws threads from 2013’s Blue Gardens LP and pitches them into ever more vivid shapes. Jump started by the dramatically arranged, long-awaited “Magna Kanye”, LA Mermaid’s bombast is tempered by sequences of quiet brilliance, juxtapositions that are tied together by E.M.M.A.’s signature arpeggiated synths.

“This EP covers a lot of different moods and atmospheres. Themes which have inspired me are dreamy things I can’t quite grasp like the allure of Hollywood, mermaids, the illuminati, the open sea, the composition of the earth, and diamonds” said E.M.M.A.

“Magna Kanye was made after I saw some inspirational footage of Kanye in the studio, like it was a life or death situation, which is how I want to be when I’m in the studio” she added.

With the continued excellence of her Angel Food show on NTS and the huge industry support for her Producer Girls workshops, Astral Plane is delighted to shed some light on the cosmic creations of an artist who has made a conscious decision to not to be prolific in the face of disposable internet culture. As well as previously unheard material, some of these tracks have been eagerly anticipated for some time. The body of work should remind many why this London dweller has long been lauded as one of the era’s most unique talents.

E.M.M.A. – LA Mermaid
APR110 | Out Now
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If you’ve tuned into our previous NTS shows you’ve almost certainly got bits and pieces from Dane Law’s various projects, whether it be a hectic trance experiment or glitched out hardcore released through the Quantum Natives platform. We were lucky to grab a guest session from the British producer for our latest show and his ‘Digital Paganism’ mix has not disappointed, joining elegiac ambient forms with Wicker Man samples and a perfect blend of mania and serenity. The guest mix starts around 35 minutes in and runs for 35 minutes. As usual, the Astral Plane DJ Team handles the rest of the show, which features a few tracks from SHALT’s upcoming return to APR and LOFT’s debut 12″, also out via our in house label.

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