This Thursday (1/22), the Phuture Perfect crew is bringing out Bristol’s finest, the Livity Sound repping, Jeremih bootlegging Kowton. Set to take over at The Lash’s Downtown location, Kowton will be joined by Private Selection’s Dreams and Arkitect, who are about as lethal as a team Los Angeles has to offer these days, and will be joined by Phuture Perfect’s residents Aura T-09, Zoraya and Charlie Sputnik. Known for his percussive hybrid take on techno, dubstep and grime, Kowton’s constructions are intimately connected to the UK club culture, pushing the sonic spectrum in increasingly more vivid, angular directions on his solo productions, as well as collaborations with Peverelist and Julio Bashmore. Answer below with your favorite Bristol classic for a chance at a pair of tickets and we’ll see you at The Lash this Thursday!
Already three releases into their globally leaning World Series in as many months, London imprint Trax Couture is taking the show to Los Angeles by-way-of Private Selection co-boss Dreams. The first three volumes in the series have come from Trax Couture principal Rushmore, Chile’s Imaabs and France’s Sylvere respectively, the result a trio of drum track-minded EPs that press on several key touchstones in the last two and a half decades of elemental dance music. Vol. 4 sees the series’ first American contributor in Dreams and the Angeleno’s acumen for trawling everything from classic jackin’ house to South African gqom and new age into his productions makes the EP as a whole a thrilling listen. Like most of the series, Dreams’ contribution doesn’t hit on one genre, but his sound palette is immediately recognizable, a series of raw, percussive notes that can be recognized from classic drum machines and samplers, as well as core elements of grime, ghetto house and Brit-style techno. That runs true until EP closer “Reactor (Devil Mix)”, an ode to Wiley’s mixes of the same name and step out of the World Series’ unremitting flow. Whereas “Esoteric” pummels with cyclical kicks and 808 cow bells, and “Dead Zone” falls into a half-step swing replete with pulse-like hits and crashing glass, “Reactor (Devil Mix)” is more in line with Mr. Mitch’s Parallel Memories or Strict Face’s Marble Isles. Its cerebral face hides a churning underbelly of melancholy and solitary loss, a necessary flip to the unremitting aggression of the rest of the EP. World Series Vol. 4 will be released on January 21 and clips of each respective track can be streamed after the jump.
Around six months ago, I graduated from college, move to Los Angeles and began working at an independent record label. I had previously been attending uni at a school in the suburbs and the move has allowed me to attend shows, parties and other music-oriented events on a near-constant basis. The fact that nearly every touring act hits Los Angeles exacerbates the glut of quality shows. More so, the city has a glut of sprawling warehouse districts, neighborhoods ride for seedy, all night parties featuring globe trotting deejays and warm PBR in equal measure. Unfortunately, LAPD’s vice squad has taken a special interest in the city’s warehouse circuit, cracking down with a brute force that has sent promoters scurrying to find legitimate venues in the peripheries of downtown. Los Angeles’ late night dance scene seems to be in a mode of major flux, but that doesn’t mean that you often have the pick of the litter party-wise, often a choice between several visiting house and/or techno dons. The city lacks somewhat in ‘nuum culture and club music, but that almost seems like an unfair criticism considering the opportunities created and taken away by the aforementioned circumstances. I decided to lay out my favorite moments in the club this year, the club being a broad space filled by dancers, dancing and dance music. The following three nights stuck out to me for entirely different reasons, but each will play a huge roll in shaping how I look back on this time in my life at large and how I devoured dance music in particular. Find the rest of our 2014 coverage here.
1.) Jack J @ loft space several blocks from my home
Hailing from the inimitable Mood Hut crew, Jack J’s Looking For You/Take It To The Edge rocked the house music world to its core, essentializing the sound to its most affecting core elements. When the address for his recent Los Angeles date was fired into my inbox, I realized that the party would be taking place at an odd block of lofts snuggled into several bare distribution centers. With assistance from Los Angeles’ own Suzanne Kraft and Parker, the party was a sure hit and the fact that it was walking distance from my LA River-bordering house was an extra bonus that resulted in cranking our home system a little too and imbibing a bit too much tequila. With the booth set up on the several floor overlooking the dancefloor, free snacks and some lovely foliage, a number of twenty-somethings, LA house cognoscenti and incomers from outside of the city limits began to amass, throwing themselves into Kraft’s turbid house and disco numbers while devouring a table of free snacks. The room was certainly not intended for dancefloor efficacy, but with a bar snuggled under the stairs, several adventurous early night (midnight) dancers and widespread anticipation for Jack J’s set, the space contained an overarching air of barely concealed excitement. By the time the one and only Jack Jutson stepped on stage, the room was already beginning to resemble a single swollen mass, swayed side to side by a massive fan in one corner and Jutson’s wavy concoctions from above. The set was full of Mood Hut material from the past year and each and every Hashman Deejay, Pender Stree Stepper’s and Aquarian Foundation tune was met by a gleeful response from the now packed room. Predictably, “Looking For You” sent the dancefloor into rapture, giving the night a sense of genuine remembrance and elevating beyond the glut of late night excursions this particular club denizen has taken in the past 365 odd days.
2.) Private Selection Party feat. Bodymasters, Arkitect, Dreams & Aerial @ sweltering storefront in Echo Park
With an odd Echo Park-based address in hand and the prospect of witnessing brand new live act Bodymasters take over a small space on an calm Friday night, Private Selection’s (Dreams, Arkitect, Aerial) September party was something of an unknown quantity, but in hindsight has been elevated in my mind into one of the most memorable club experiences of the year. Upon entry, the space seemed to take the quality of a sweltering, leafy bodega, replete with half clad dancers and claustrophobic smoking area. It seems silly to riff on it at this point, but this party was HOT. Like, nearly unbearable, especially considering the force with which Bodymasters were pushing sharp, angular techno out of their analogue rig. Acid basslines and the sharp kick of the 909 ruled this night and while the crowd might not have looked the part of an all-night rave crew, they certainly moved like one, slurping down Coors Light or merely re-appropriating the frozen beer as a coolant. After one or two close calls with the police, Dreams and Arkitect closed out the night with fervor drawing together British-style techno, East Coast club music and West and South African rhythms into an intensely pleasurable melange. The Private Selection fellows are closing out 2014 with another party featuring the aforementioned residents as well as LA Club Resource representative Delivery on New Years. One not to miss, especially considering the general lack of quality across that particular date.
3.) NAAFI and J-Cush @ outdoor art space near the river
Another party easily walkable from my humble abode (unfortunately, quite rare) on an odd Wednesday night, the NAAFI crew (Lao, Paul Marmota and Mexican Jihad in this case) took over art gallery 356 Mission’s outdoor space and brought Lit City Trax head honcho J-Cush along with them. Essentially a large, fenced in parking lot, the space didn’t seem to bother any of the performers and the crowd, aided and abetted by free Modelo, was as ready to leave their respective shells as an LA crowd ever will be on a Wednesday night. More than the previous two parties listed here, NAAFI’s LA appearance hit my wheel spot with force, bringing out the dembow, kuduro, dancehall, ghetto house and grime I so rarely am allowed to obsess over in a club setting. The fact that the venue was very much un-club-like didn’t diminish my excitement at all, especially considering the Future Brown member’s midnight set. As the night got chillier, J-Cush brought up the tempo, clashing DJ Deeon with Youngstar and moving my more house and techno-oriented friends to ask, with a bewildered look on their face, if this is how club music is intended to be mixed. After all, it might seem natural to a deejay who spins across a number of tempos and feels comfortable mixing Bmore, grime and kuduro across a 10 minute span, but that frenetic pace is often is shocking to many punters, especially those used to the aseptic world of four-on-the-floor beats. Despite the odd placement on a Wednesday night, Lao, Marmota, Mexican Jihad and J-Cush turned the bizarre space into a fantastical open air club-cum-how to relate to the body.
Over the weekend, Private Selection co-heads Dreams, Arkitect and Aerial threw a party in Los Angeles at a venue that could be considered part warehouse, part sweat lodge and part greenhouse. The party featured a rampant b2b set from Dreams and Arkitect and a debut live performance from CalArts students and hardware virtuosos Bodymasters, a combination that set the sizable crowd off despite the necessity for near-constant breaks to escape the overbearing humidity. And despite Los Angeles’ predilection for the smoother end of the house spectrum, the Private Selection sound has appeared to find a home among a certain, warehouse-party attending, longsleeve black tee and basketball short wearing crowd. Dreams’ latest cut, titled “Face Off” comes soon after the manic joy of his DJ Mujava edit and features an altered derangement born out of exactly the sort of party that occurred over the weekend. Claustrophobic, hi-pitched synth notes establish a sense of paranoia, but not quite enough to stop the ever-propulsive kick pattern so while the heat and enclosure might be infringing on base mental health, the feet won’t stop.
Once known for his kaleidoscopic approach to hip hop, garage and house on labels like Astro Nautico and Friends of Friends, it appears that Los Angeles-based producer Dreams (and his fledgling Private Selection imprint) has discarded much of his former excess and stripped his sound down into something more akin to the sounds of Bristol. Last week, we heard the clanging “Reality Check” in Neana’s Astral Plane Mix and today we bring you “Workout (Sanctuary Mix)”, a massive grime/techno crossover concealed as a standard house cut. It’s rare that you find American artists indebted to soundsystem culture, but Dreams has clearly put the necessary studio time and can at least willfully emulate his UK bredren. The bassline on “Workout (Sanctuary Mix)” is both hypnotizing and jarring, simultaneously harassing and massaging your mental stasis. The laser-like synth stabs and breathy, piercing vocals almost seem like overkill at the track’s onset, but find their place as rhythmic components as it progresses. With so much innovation occurring across the pond, it’s a pleasure to see Dreams push the envelope for the LA scene in both his solo productions and his curatorial role at Private Selections.
Never ones to dwell on the past for too long, Los Angeles based imprint Friends of Friends have kicked off 2012 in proper form with the seven track Show Me The Future compilation. We’ve already posted the Ryan Hemsworth and DJAO (both former Astral Plane interviewees!) contributions, but the remaining five joints are brimming with quality and shed quite a bit of light onto what FoF will be bringing to the table in the coming year. In the coming months, Lazy Brow and crew will hit the world with new material from new and old members of the crew including a new Shlohmo EP (!!!) and Evenings’ debut for the imprint. For now, enjoy the sublime nocturnal vibes of Smpl, the Final Fantasy-sampling Hemsworth and Dreams’ sweaty/sexy garage riddim. The tape sounds like nothing FoF has released to this point, which is exactly its purpose and whether or not you believe these to be the sounds of the future, they’re certainly thought provoking in the best possible way. Stream and download Show Me The Future below.
If you have preternatural memory abilities, you’ll remember that Kong kicked off Volume Three of our Mixes From The Astral Plane series with “OooO” by Brookyln (by way of LA) based Jesse Pimenta aka Dreams. Besides appearing in Kong’s mix, “OooO” was featured on Astro Nautico’s Atlantics Vol. 2 compilation. Now Astro Nautico is set to release Pimenta’s debut LP, Lost Kingdom, tomorrow (October 5). Dreams released an EP on Absent Fever last October, a collection tracks with a pleasant, breathable disposition. It appears that Pimenta is taking his sound in a different direction on his debut, opting for a spacier quality with some Lex Luger thrown in for good measure. You can stream “Over” below and head over to XLR8R to download the title track.