Last Friday, the Astral Plane DJ Team hopped on NTS for a two hour solo show before running over to the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive to play a pre-recorded piece called ‘Canopy’. We also intended to play the piece in the last bit of this session, but forgot to load it up on the USB. Instead we ran through a load of new LOFT dubs + forthcoming E.M.M.A. (very soon), Chants (very soon) and SHALT (soon). Hit the jump for a full track list and download the show here.
Nine months after the release of his label debut The Zookeeper EP, (APR102) Chants is on the verge of return. With a renewed focus on realizing impact through a series of technological self-limitations, the Wisconins-based artist will open up the year for Astral Plane Recordings next month with an enigmatic, oversized sophomore EP. Before we get to that though, we have The Zookeeper: Remixed, a project we’ve been stewing on for quite some time and finally feels ready to drop. Featuring remixes from SHALT, Liquid City Motors and Sim Hutchins, as well as a hypnotic VIP of “Crushed Lollipop”, the project puts original Chants tracks in a new context, ranging from hazy, euphoric blasts of noise to a riptide breaks workout and on to a chopped up, eski-styled piano ballad. Check out SHALT’s take on “Crushed Lollipop” below and look out for a free download of the full project on our Bandcamp this Friday. Hit the jump to check out our latest NTS show, which features a guest session from Chants and healing music from the Astral Plane DJ Team.
It was around this time last year that we were putting into motion SHALT’s Acheron EP, the debut release on Astral Plane Recordings and a stunning record that set the tone for the rest of the year. Physical music that doesn’t fit into existing structures has become our calling card and we’re extremely proud of each of the six releases we’ve worked on this year. It’s been a pleasure to work with SHALT, Chants, Nunu, Exit Sense and LOFT and each respective project corresponds to emotions felt throughout what was an intense year for many. It’s become second nature to follow the happenings, minor and major, of the music world, but we fully understand that the process is time consuming and arcane to many so we decided to gather up details on all of our activity this year and collate them in one place.
The following mixes, videos and other audio-visual detritus from the past 12 months follows something of a linear timeline. They paint an overview of what we and our artists have been up to and it turns out we were busy for pretty much the entire year. It’s not easy to run a small, independent label, but it’s made far easier when the people around you are constantly hustling their asses off both in public and behind the scenes. Nunu has been particularly busy this year – both in an active and removed sense – with his Mind Body Dialogue twisted up by the likes of Why Be, Elysia Crampton, Kablam and more. Meanwhile, LOFT came through with a self-directed, reality-distorting for “Zissou”, a highlight from the British artist’s Turbulent Dynamics EP. SHALT remained busy on the remix/edit front as well with takes on Rizzla and Kid Smpl that have become favorites on our various mix and radio appearances.
APR artists also stayed busy on the mix front, although you’ll have noticed that none take part in any traditional scene per se and none of them are what could be called a straightforward DJ. SHALT started off the year with a huge entry for Solid Steel and was serendipitously matched up with Autechre. Chants turned in a release-themed mix for NTS in April while our resident DJ team put forth their first studio mix for the Symbols label. Throughout the year, Nunu turned in angelic volumes for Endgame’s Precious Metals show, Disc Magazine, Jerome and our own series while LOFT stayed quiet with the exception of a manic, no fucks given session for our debut NTS Radio LA show (all Astral Plane radio can be found here). We’ll be following up tomorrow with round-ups of our official releases and we hope this little review proves helpful in sussing out what exactly we’ve been up to this year. Thanks for tuning in.
With a catalogue that spans four years and 70+ releases, Seattle’s Hush Hush Recordings has become a staple in the electronic underground, releasing everything from grime bootlegs to formative night bus releases and a host of dreamy pop manipulations. Admittedly, much of what the label has released over the past few years has been outside of our scope, but it’s always been a pleasure to delve back into the prolific outfit’s catalogue to see who else has been brought into the fold. One of those acts, Greek duo Ocean Hope, debuted on HH in November 2015 with Chamber Dreams EP, a collection of bucolic, reverb-drenched pop numbers. On August 19, HH will release Chamber Dreams: Remixes Vol. 1, comprised of 10 remixes by label artists and friends. Madison’s Chants, who has released on both HH and Astral Plane Recordings, is among the remixes and his take, recorded just before The Zookeeper sessions, blends the percussive, impact-heavy style he’s been known for with the airy vocals and emotive, tape hiss drenched instrumentation of the Grecians. Stream Kid Smpl, Keep Shelly In Athens and Kimekai’s takes on Ocean Hope here and pre-order Chamber Dreams: Remixes, Vol. 1 here. Another volume of Ocean Hope remixes from HH family and friends will follow in September.
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.
Chants has been a longtime favorite of our operation, appearing among the Heterotopia bonus tracks and contributing a remix for Mike G’s “Limestone” on Heterotopia Remixes Vol. 1. Over the years, the Wisconsin-based artist has become one of our most covered artists and when he sent us a nearly-finished bundle of manic, outsized tracks, we knew that it was important to bring him on for an official release. The Zookeeper is out on April 29, but Dummy has the jump on “Silencer Magpie”, a track that has had us in fits since first listening. If you’ve been following our shows on Radar, you’ll surely recognize this one and we’d be surprised if it didn’t infiltrate the more adventurous end of the DJ spectrum over the coming weeks and months. Head to Dummy to catch an insightful interview with Chants about the genesis of The Zookeeper, stepping away from producing for rappers and the influence of David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten.
Madison, Wisconsin-based producer Chants first came to our attention through a series of pleasant, R&B-tinged pieces of beat work on Seattle-based Hush Hush Records, showing off a distinct skill for vocal manipulation and melody. More recently, his club workouts, including one each from the Heterotopia bonus tracks and remixes, have become some of our favorite tracks to play out and, while markedly different from his earlier material on Hush Hush, don’t seem totally out of place with songs like “Porch Song 1 AM”. On October 30, Chants will release the We Are All Underwater LP on Hush Hush, a full length statement featuring guest vocalists like Mereki and Boom Forest, but also a tape that sees the producer’s more dancefloor-focused inclinations meet the sort of soothing, bedroom-oriented work previously mentioned. It’s often difficult to reconcile music that is both made in a bedroom and made to sound like it’s made in a bedroom for music overtly made for the club, but Chants does an excellent job of, if not melding the two, making them easily beside each other. As the album goes, the Riley Lake-featuring “Halogen” falls into the former category, a delicate, reverb-soaked bit that sets a melancholic tone for the first half of the record. Of course, Chants’ affect can’t be reduced to melancholy as the album hits a hopeful tone by the second half, tracks like “Gossamer” and “Oxygen Loops” proving to be some of the LP’s best. Pre-order We Are All Under Water here.
The past few years have seen Madison, Wisconsin-based producer Chants grow out of the cozy, beat scene-indebted shell he entered the popular consciousness wearing and into more jagged, barbarous garb if you will. Still a master at twisting, melodic functions, Chants’ recent output has been firmly aimed at the club, specifically metallic, thudding rhythm tracks. His latest two efforts comes as remixes for Hush Hush Records label mates MICHAELBRAILEY and Hudson Alexander, the former out today and the latter our July 10. Chants’ remix of BRAILEY’s “2 Lovers” is out on the British producer’s Perdicardial: Remixed tape, which also features w. baer, yyy and others, and features the sort of noisy, disjointed club patterns favored by the Janus and NON collectives. His take on Alexander’s “So Many Things” is slightly more sonorous than the clattering take on “2 Lovers”, retaining a warped kinetic energy embodied in pseudo-footwork percussion (those toms!) and a swimming sensation carried through the original’s string section. With his debut LP due in the fall, its a pleasure to see more and more Chants material pop up, especially as he diversifies his sound palette and continues to churn out hard hitting club productions. If the album sounds anything like a confluence of “U Had Rhythm” and “Porch Song 1 AM”, I think we’ll all be happy. Get BRAILEY’s Perdicardial: Remixed here and be on the lookout for more tracks from Alexander’s Needs/So Many Things single.
After teasing out remixes for the past two weeks, it’s our pleasure to announce that Heterotopia Remixes Vol. 1 is now available for free download (or pay what you want) at The Astral Plane Bandcamp. Remixes from Druid Cloak, Iglooghost, Sharp Veins, Patrick Brian, Fraxinus, She’s Drunk and Chants feature and we couldn’t be happier with the imaginative way each respective artist flipped a track from the original Heterotopia. Check out Druid Cloak and Patrick Brian’s reworks, the only two that have not been revealed to date, after the jump.
Luckily, this is only the first volume of remixes we have for you and Vol. 2, slated for an early March release, will feature a tantalizing array of our favorite producers! A lot of words have been spilt by us on these remixes so far and now that release date has come we can’t wait to let the sounds percolate through to all of you.
Originally slated as an addendum to the original release of Heterotopia, Chants‘ “U Had Rhythm” grew into one of our favorite tracks from the release, transcending its placement in the bonus tracks. The Wisconsin-based producer has largely garnered a following via his warm instrumental hip hop productions, but his forceful drum tracks are what originally piqued our interest and all signs point to the two distinct styles eventually joining in blissful confluence. And after our infatuation with “U Had Rhythm”, bringing on Chants for the Heterotopia Remixes was one of the easiest decisions during the planning stage. His rework of Mike G‘s “Limestone”, the rushing 140 heat rock from original compilation, is another brilliant step forward, reaffixing the original’s shuttering crashes and vaulted square waves onto a syncopated club kick pattern. It’s harmonically forward thinking and subtly transfixing, a workout subducted under a heap of beatific chords. Chants not have made a name for himself in the world of club trax quite yet, but every brilliant addition to his record takes him a step closer. Fraxinus’ remix of Kid Antoine’s Nightvsion was premiered on Mixmag last week and FACT Mag got the jump on Sharp Veins’ Iglooghost remix on Wednesday. Heterotopia Remixes Vol. 1 is out February 3.