Our favorite radio station, Seattle’s KEXP, caught Vancouver BC dream-pop songstress Grimes for a short in-studio performance back in February, shortly after her album Visions was released. Crouched on the studio floor surrounded by tangled chords and knobs, Grimes delivers three ethereal songs through a mixture of layered instrumentals and drum tracks, keyboard melodies and super-delayed, innocent-sounding live vocals. Beginning with her song “Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U),” and continuing almost immediately into “Genesis,” she then stops for a short interview with host Cheryl Waters before finishing out her set with “Be A Body.” Check out the full video below.


A few weeks ago, we gave a brief introduction to the Austin beat scene and the two incredible events, Applied Pressure and Exploded Drawing, it centers around, promising a more comprehensive feature in the future. In the weeks since, the scene took South By Southwest by storm, bringing in Jonti (Stones Throw), Jonwayne (Stones Throw), Jeremiah Jae (Brainfeeder), Robert Koch (Mooncircle) and more. A group of University of Texas students also finally attained funding via Kickstarter for their film (Beat)En Senseless: Austin Beat Culture, a comprehensive look into Applied Pressure, Exploded Drawing and the artists involved. The cherry on top was last week’s announcement that Applied Pressure will host Com Truise in April. The scene is on the up and up and this guide should serve as a nice overview of the people involved. I spoke with Applied Pressure founder and resident DJ/Producer Hobo D for some background (you can find the full interview after the jump) and got some excellent first hand insights into the scene.

Download: Exploded Drawing SXSW Compilation

Hobo D

Before delving in further, I’ll give an overview of Applied Pressure and Exploded Drawing. Applied Pressure is a monthly event held at Barcelona in the heart of Austin’s live music district. Hobo D (DJ/Producer), 4th Wall (Visuals/Producer), Kid Slyce (DJ) and BoomBaptist (Producer) are the residents, although the club night regularly brings in guests from across the world, ranging from Samiyam to Dam Funk to Lazer Sword. Beyond the monthly event, Applied Pressure is a collective/crew/family aiming to further the cause of electronic/experimental music in Austin. Applied Pressure was started a little over a year ago as an obscure collective, but has grown into a venerable purveyor of all things beat, not just in Austin, but across the entire state of Texas (and soon the United States). Kid Slyce is the resident mixing maestro, possessing transcendent skills behind the decks. Hobo D is the crate digger, searching out anything and everything from global psych music to old school IDM. BoomBaptist is the studio genius, and in my opinion, most likely to break out. 4th Wall handles all of the visuals and is one of the most talented VJ’s (?) in the game. It’s hard not to draw out the comparisons to Low End Theory, and while the Los Angeles (and now San Francisco and Japan scene has gained worldwide notoriety, it also began as a distinctly regional phenomenon.

Stream/Download: Hobo D Chinsplitters Vol. 1

Exploded Drawing is similar in style to Applied Pressure, but takes on a significantly different form. Semi-monthly, six” electronic composers, sound collectors and beat makers” take to the stage for 20 minutes apiece to perform all original works. Unlike Applied Pressure, no DJ sets are allowed and originality is paramount to the event’s success. Explode Drawing is hosted by Butcher Bear (who also runs (iN)Sect Records, more on that later) and soundfounder with visuals provided by Nait Ntropy. The name Exploded Drawing is derived from the similar, and now extinct, Sketchbook night in LA hosted by Kutmah. While both Applied Pressure and Exploded Drawing are unique live experiences in the “live music capital of the world,” Hobo D feels that the scene operates pretty exclusively from the rest of the city, instead focusing on 100% originality.

I mention (iN)Sect Records above and for good reason. The record label, started by Butcher Bear, is home to all three Exploded Drawing residents (as well as their respective side projects), BoomBaptist and numerous other Austin stalwarts. The label has also hosted releases from national icons Guilty Simpson, Dudley Perkins and Georgia Anne Muldrow. The label partakes in self-described “Earth Shattering Soul” and releases music both digitally and via limited vinyl runs. Lo Phi, Ntropy and Kinder are just a few of the immense talents who make their home at (iN)Sect.

It’s hard to get a good grasp on such a green scene, but Hobo D should help out a little bit in that arena. Here is a brief list of artists/tracks/mixes/EP’s/albums that should serve as a brief overview of the scene and its diverse range of talents:

Corduroi – Future Adventures (Mush Records)

Lo Phi – Slamma Jamma (Insect Records)

Outlaw Producer – Ninjas EP (Elevator Action)

Soundfounder – Complete Dream Home (Insect Records)

Guilty Simpson – Close Curtains Boom Baptist Remix (Insect Records)

Ntropy – Dither (Insect Records)

Anna Love

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list defining the mix. Instead, it should function as a brief and accessible look into some of the most talented artists coming out of Austin and mere jumpstart into your appreciation of the scene. In the coming weeks, we should have an exclusive mix from Hobo D that will shine some more light into the roots of the Austin scene. Hit the jump to read the entire interview as he can tell the story far better than I can. Also, be on the lookout for the release of (Beat)En Senseless, what is sure to be one of the better music documentaries of the year.

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Modeselektor had an absolutely massive 2011. The duo released their fourth studio album, Monkeytown, as well as numerous releases on their own Monkeytown Records from Siriusmo, Lazer Sword, eLan and Mouse on Marse. Monkeytown was one 2011’s best overall albums, mixing their signature German techno style with glitch, hip hop and other dance music credentials. One of the more exciting tracks on the album, “Berlin” featuring Miss Platinum, could almost be considered a radio ready hit. Today, we received a friendly accompanying video to “Berlin” and it’s nice to see that such a talented duo still manage to refrain from taking themselves too seriously. The animated/claymation video (animation reminds me of Daedelus’s “Fair Weather Friends” video) depicts a king kong-esque Modeselektor monkey traipsing through Berlin, indulging in its food, clubs and girls. From the Monketown facebook page:

“… shows all the things we love about Berlin: great parties & clubs, great girls & boys, great Doener Kebabs, great Graffiti and the great city itself …”

It’s been a little while since we’ve heard new Modeselektor material, but this video is a nice stopgap that should allow us to look back on the excellence that was Monkeytown. There aren’t many, if any, artists I am more excited to see at Coachella this year than them. Plus, Apparat at Sasquatch? It’s a German invasion (the positive type).

We’ve been fairly absent from the blog this week, because of various nature excursions and other computer time limitations. Luckily, we’re back now and ready to continue bringing you the phonk. Amid a hectic SXSW filled week, a large amount of new music was actually released, much of it from the hip hop world. As a result, we bring you this special edition Sounds From The Astral Plane as a summary of the week’s happenings.

Stream: Nas – “The Don” (Prod. Salaam Remi, Da Internz and Heavy D)

Nas never ceases to amaze me with his tenacity on the mix. Dude has been in the game for over 20 years, and while there will never be another Illmatic, Nasir will go down as one of, if not the greatest, rappers of all time. Following last year’s “Nasty,” a sickening tear over minimalist percussion, Nas brings us “The Don,” produced by Salaam Remi with a helping hand from Da Internz and the late Heavy D. I can imagine Nas turning on the radio, hearing “Work Out” for the millionth time, calling up Salaam and hitting the studio. This shit is gully.

Stream/Download: Sene – “Backboards” feat. Blu

Sene is one of those MC’s who everyone has heard of, but no one really thinks twice about. He’s worked extensively with Blu, but none if it has made waves like the latter’s collaborations with Exile, Fashawn and Mainframe. It might be time to give Sene a little respect. “Backboards,” conveniently featuring Blu, is downright beautiful, eliciting comparisons to The Visionaries. Also, Blu on a mastered track? Pretty unheard of over the past couple years. “Backboards” is off of Sene’s upcoming Brooklyknight album, dropping April 24 on Plug Research.

Download: Danny Brown – “Baseline”

There isn’t much to say about Danny Brown that hasn’t been said. Read this Passion of the Weiss post for details. “Baseline” is as minimalist as Brown gets, allowing the MC to get ugly with the rhymes. If glorified drug usage, misogyny, and one of the most unique flows in contemporary hip hop interests you, then download “Baseline” above.

Stream/Download: Tokimonsta – “Fame Boozer’s Lullaby” feat. Rucyl

Squeaky production from Toki and majestic vocals from Rucyl = chilled out bliss. Hopefully this is a sign that the wait for a followup to 2010’s Midnight Menu will soon be over.

Stream: Kirko Bangz – “Drank In My Cup” (Brenmar Remix)

Chicago DJ/producer Brenmar has publicly stated that one of his main goals is to get “people to hook up at the club.” This track will certainly do that. Brenmar ramps up the sex appeal for his take on Texas crooner Kirko Bangz’s “Drank In My Cup,” turning the syruppy original into a dance floor anthem. This is club music at its best.

Stream/Download: Pale – “Worst Job Of Good Luck”

“Worst Job Of Good luck” is off of London label Bullet Train Records’ Bullet Train Allstars compilation. It’s the  best track off the comp and features incredibly clean production from Pale mixed with some pitched down vocals. Nice minimalist cut right hurr.

Stream/Download: Dam-Funk – “Serious”

There is never a shortage of new material on Dam Funk’s Soundcloud page. It fells like every week or two, he throws a superb new cut on their as a free download. Dam plays all the instruments on “Serious,” a jazzy track with that trademark Dam Funk sound. It’s no surprise that Dam can meld his sound into a jazz aesthetic, but it is still damn impressive.

Stream: Nocando – “Miyamoto Musashi” (Produced by DNAEBeats)

Low End Theory is in Japan right now. Nocando released a song about legendart samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Sounds about right.

Download: Action Bronson – Blue Chips (Mixtape)

Action Bronson supplies the raps. Party Supplies supplies the beats. It’s fantastic. Oddly enough, the first track, “Pouches of Tuna” uses the same beat as the Sene’s track above. Not sure if Party Supplies made it, or what, but I have to say that the Sene version is better. Beyond that confusion, “Thug Love Story 2012” sounds like classic Ghostface-ish. That comparison is getting a little old at this point, but it’s just too hard to ignore on tracks like this. Download Blue Chips from DJ Booth above.

Watch: Nacho Picasso and Blue Sky Black Death – “Rammin”

More visuals from Lord of the Fly, this time for the grimy “Rammin.” If you can get over the overdone effects, this is a pretty enjoyable vid. This is what The Weeknd sees when he hits the club. Some real XO shit.

An intriguingly creative new take on the concept of a music video… now you can make the characters do whatever you want. Brooklyn synth-pop trio-turned-duo Chairlift has released a new video (directed by Jordan Fish and produced by m ss ng p eces) for their song “Met Before,” where the viewer can use the arrow keys to make decisions about what happens next in the video plot. After a few times through the entire video, it seems like the combinations are endless, and the video hasn’t ended the same way twice, so it’s an excellent tool if you’re trying to procrastinate away your Friday afternoon. Check out the video over at the Guardian.

We know you’ve been waiting in eager anticipation for new material from OFWGKTA. Take that with as heavy a dose of sarcasm as you’d like, but the last 24 hours have brought several new items of interest from Odd Future including the tracklist (see below) to the collective’s upcoming album, OF Tape Vol. 2due out March 20th on Odd Future Records. Additionally, it now seems that the album will be released with four different album covers, as seen above. The image of the four album covers flashes at the tail end of the collective’s most recent music video, which was unveiled yesterday. The video is for Hodgy, Domo and Tyler’s track called “Rella,” produced by Left Brain, and it follows in the perplexing but comical footsteps of most of Odd Future’s recent music videos. Check it out right here, and keep in mind that Odd Future’s only harm comes when they are taken too seriously.

After you’ve recovered from that experience, here’s the tracklist for the upcoming album. As of now, there are no allusions to guest appearances from outside the collective, and Earl Sweatshirt seems to be absent as well, but Syd and Matt Martians’ new duo The Internet will make an appearance.

OF Tape Vol. 2:

01 Hi.
02 Bitches [ft. Domo Genesis and Hodgy Beats]
03 NY (Ned Flander) [ft. Hodgy Beats, and Tyler, the Creator]
04 Ya Know [ft. the Internet]
05 Forest Green [ft. Mike G]
06 Lean [ft. Hodgy Beats and Domo Genesis]
07 Analog 2 [ft. Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean, and Syd tha Kyd]
08 50 [ft. MellowHype]
09 Snow White [ft. Hodgy Beats and Frank Ocean]
10 Rella [ft. Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis, and Tyler, the Creator]
11 Real Bitch [ft. MellowHype and Taco]
12 P [ft. Hodgy Beats and Tyler, the Creator]
13 White [ft. Frank Ocean]
14 Hcapd [ft. Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats, and Tyler, the Creator]
15 Sam (Is Dead) [ft. Domo Genesis and Tyler, the Creator]
16 Doms [ft. Domo Genesis]
17 We Got Bitches [ft. Tyler, the Creator, Taco, and Jasper Dolphin]
18 Oldie [ft. Odd Future]



In anticipation of the upcoming Low End Theory Japan tour, resident spitter Nocando threw down a quick bilingual acapella in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. I can’t imagine many MC’s that have the dexterity on the mic to pull this type of verse off. The LET Japan tour hits Sapporo, Himeji, Osaka and Tokyo. Along with all of the residents, Nosaj Thing and Samiyam will be in tow for the entirety of the tour. Find out more info about the tour here, and download Nocando’s freEP here.

If you haven’t noticed yet, Machinedrum is a favorite over here at The Astral Plane. When I heard that he was remixing Bonobo’s “Eyesdown”, another Astral Plane favorite, I could barely contain my excitement. The final product though left something to be desired. Something about the breakbeat drums and scattered vocals just didn’t match up. Until the video dropped. I have a thing for animated music videos. Something about music put to well done animation just gets to me. The “Eysdown” video, animated by Anthony Schepperd (who also did Blockhead’s “The Music Scene) truly breathes air into an otherwise empty feeling song. Most videos serve as a compliment, or in some cases a detriment, to a song, but Schepperd manages to take Machinedrum’s mediocre original to another level.