Over the past several years, London-resident Rob McAndrews has proven that he can make strikingly beautiful vocalist/beat hybrids that have more in common with a producer like Shlohmo than sometimes collaborator and fellow Londoner James Blake. While these lofty vocal tracks are what have generally caught the public’s eye, Airhead began producing low-end heavy club music for RAMP sub-label Brainmath years ago and stil trends in that direction every-so-often as can be seen on tracks like “Pyramid Lake”. On June 11, Airhead will release his debut LP, For Years, on R&S, an album that will encompass both new and old work. “Autumn” is our first new taste of the album and definitely falls in the former camp of lofty vocal driven tracks. Like “Wait” before it, the bread and butter of “Autumn is a simple, yet earworm-worthy guitar loop and some brilliant vocals from a yet unknown vocalist. Stream “Autumn” below and look out for the album in June.
1-800 Dinosaur is a London party that was founded by James Blake and friends a few years ago and often features the best of the Croydon and R&S Records. Blake often performs at the parties himself and is known to play out new material with regularity. Like so many other club nights, 1-800 Dinosaur recently established a mix series and brought in Airhead to ordain it with 53 minutes of deck mastery. The mix sees Airhead take a step back from his stuttering half-step originals to play out some classic house and some more techy contemporary stuff. We’ve written a lot recently about establishing a vibe in a DJ mix/set, and while it’s a quality that is nearly impossible to pen down in writing, Airhead surely has it. The mix chugs along effortlessly until the 42 minute mark when Airhead’s own “Pyramid Lake” begins to emerge from the mix and then all chaos ensues. A crazed Mala tunes comes next and then all Airhead originals to close out the mix. As nice as the house-oriented portion of the mix is, Airhead clearly comes into his own when fucking around with is own and his London cohort’s material. Stream below and download here.
We apologise in advance for mentioning James Blake in the first sentence of this introduction, but it’s by far the simplest means of framing the music of Rob McAndrews, AKA Airhead.
That’s the first sentence of Resident Advisor’s post accompanying this week’s Podcast series, featuring Airhead. Kind of a bailout, because I was probably going to write a similarly lame lead in. Anyways, let’s toss the comparison’s aside. They’re both from South London, have been friends from a young age and are inextricably connected. Ok, deep breath. Now that that’s been said, let’s move onto the mix. After several years of flying fairly under radar, McAndrews is making waves. He was featured on Shlohmo’s Vacation EP last month and signed to R&S Records, home of likeminded artists like Lone, Pariah and Space Dimension Controller. This RA mix is made up of Airhead’s favorite tracks, for the dancefloor and for those quieter moments. It features quite a few Airhead originals, as well as tracks from R&S artists. The Jamie XX/Fantastic Mr. Fox collaboration that’s been floating around for a few months shows up, as does an unreleased Airhead/James Blake joint called “Int. Pembroke Anthem.” The mixing isn’t anything incredible here, although it is adequate, but the song selection and flow is pretty great. McAndrews allows the musical tides to ebb and flow with ease here, and 53 minutes feel effortless. Download the mix below and catch the whole tracklist after the jump.
Download: RA.304 Airhead