Like many other artists and crews coming of age, leaving university or entering the work force in the early 2010s, Brooklyn’s Swim Team first had to leave the beat scene behind. It’s easy to forget just how big the beat scene was in America circa 2011 (and still is in a certain sense), or just how many artists were drafting behind Flying Lotus and the legacy of J Dilla, but for most kids in their teens or early 20s at the time it was their initial entryway into the greater world of non-EDM dance music. Of course, AceMo, Color Plus, DJ LILMATT, Kanyon, Lord SMS, Rambow and Izy, collectively Swim Team, were lucky enough to have friends, older brothers or other mechanisms with access to dance music’s rougher forms, particularly footwork, ghetto house, jungle, garage, ballroom, etc. Household, which was inaugurated in January 2015, is the crew’s monthly night where its members flex out new material and improve their DJ chops, also bringing out similar minded folks like Juliana Huxtable, DJ New Jersey Drone and Helix. And while Brooklyn certainly has no dearth of club music producers at the moment, there’s a certain inescapably earnest, open quality to Swim Team’s approach that differentiates them from the hyper-serious masses.
Which isn’t to say that the crew’s individual members don’t take their craft seriously or don’t have mountains of heat on the way and in the works. For our 75th mix, we are lucky enough to have Swim Team’s AceMo and Color Plus on for a collaborative mix, featuring a ton of exclusive and and unreleased music from almost every artist in the team. With a release on Swim Team allies Bootleg Tapes, AceMo might be the artist with the most beat credentials out of the crew, formulating a sultry, soul-based aesthetic before delving into percussive, vocal-laden club music on tracks like “Gat In My Lap” and “Don’t Front/Run It Down”. Color Plus has, to this point, the most high profile Swim Team release, the Mangata Sequence EP on Plastician’s Terrorhythm Records, a four tracker that matches the rugged bang of Jersey club with beatific, vocal-led melodies and heaving, garage-inspired bass lines. Considering that the movement is still relatively nascent, it’s no surprise that their are so few official Swim Team releases, but that hasn’t stopped them from reaching out, collaborating and extending their reach into the US, UK and beyond.
AceMo and Color Plus’ mix is as concise of a document as we’ve received from the collective to date, a lightning quick 33 minute trip through unreleased and forthcoming Swim Team material, much of it coming out on the follow up to 2014’s Swim Trax Vol. 1 compilation. There’s all sorts of heat inside the mix, much of situated around 130 BPM and a lot of it taking cues from the likes of Pearson Sound, Jam City and French Fries, artists combining numerous localized strains of dance music into their own idiosyncratic blend. At this point, its hard to say if a Swim Team sound exists, but the groundwork is their and, through Household and their other ventures, it appears that their number one priority these days is to make you dance.