The holidays are the one time of year when I appreciate the fact that my Facebook and Twitter feeds are flooded with promotional posts. That’s because the holidays are the time for giving, specifically the time when producers dump all of their bootlegs/edits/unfinished tracks on the unsuspecting masses. The quality is generally a mixed bag, but we’ve received a deluge of heat in the past few days that deserves its fair due. On the raps front, Lil B, King Louie, Fredo Santana, Lil Silk and Fabolous have let loose new tapes over the past week or so. All deserve your attention, although save Lil B’s 05 Fuck Em and maybe spend a little more time with Silk and Louie.
The good folks at Mixpak were also kind enough to hand out a bundle of free tracks from their roster and beyond. The Holiday Bundle evokes the grime, dancehall and soca-based riddim culture that Dre Skull has so carefully curated over the past few years. Sudanim, Murlo and Koyote all bring their best to the table.
You’ve likely seen these already as well, but big hitters Flying Lotus, Zed Bias, Ryan Hemsworth Clams Casino all gave bundles of tracks away in the past few days. Casino’s third Instrumental Mixtape is probably the most cohesive attempt of the bunch, but FlyLo’s assorted beats, remixes and bootlegs offer some intriguing insight into the producer and his cohort’s recording processes. The Hemsworth collection is largely edits he’s designed for live play and the “Post-Rock Tears” version of Future’s “Honest” is a real beauty. Two step legend Zed Bias handed over 200 MB of live recording, remixes and production work under both his ZB sobriquet and his Maddslinky nom de plume.
Hit the jump for a jambalaya of free tracks…
I was not alive to witness the heyday of pirate radio. I actually live around 6,000 miles from the Anglo-urban locales where it has thrived over the previous two and a half decades. I have never been to an ‘ardkore rave or a jungle soundsystem event. I have never ridden a London nightbus and I have never been to FWD>>, nor have I been to Plastic People. Nevertheless, I feel a surprisingly close and romantic connection to the aforementioned events and, more importantly, sensations attached to said events. Through forums, books and articles; pirate radio archives, Youtube playlists and, more recently, Rinse.FM, I have managed to attain an odd sense of surrealist attachment to the breakbeat-based sounds of London and Bristol. I also know that I’m not alone in this. Countless Americans like myself have become (unsurprisingly) disgusted with out own fickle mainstream and have found solace in the populist nature of hardcore, or the rebellious anger inherent in jungle. And that’s why Four Tet’s “Kiss FM” hits so close to home. Obviously, it’s an incredibly immersive, forward thinking track, but it also gives a sense of, albeit falsified, intimacy to a scene that has had a lasting impact with regards to both fandom and lifestyle. It’s the same feeling I get while listening to Paul Woolford’s Special Request alias, or old Slimzee broadcasts. Next month, Digital Mystikz and Kahn will be performing in Los Angeles and I hope to attain that same feeling, regardless of its authenticity. Mr. Hebden’s next album, Beautiful Rewind, will be out “soon” on his own Text imprint
It’s no secret that Kieran Hebden is a master at mining the UK for prudent collaborations and his latest, with London-based brothers Ben and Tom Page aka RocketNumberNine, is yet another unabated success. “Roseland” is eight minutes of sweltering maximalism, all syncopated rhythmic elements and synthesized flute sounds that amass into an oppressively dense ball. The track is the a-side to a 12″ that will be released in the hopefully near future via Text. Stream below.
In which The xx beat machine/mastermind devolves Four Tet’s fellow Elliot School alumnus Four Tet’s most straight-forward track to date into a puddle of floating dub madness. Jamie Smith’s remix of “Lion” might as well be three songs as it jumps tempos drastically every two minutes or so. The one consistent factor is a writhing low end that never ceases even at the remix’s most docile moments. If Smith has proven anything in his solo work, it’s a mastery of emotion through bass. Some might call this simple, but Smith has always maintained an intended minimalism about his music. This remix actually reminds me of Pinch & Shackleton’s self-tltled 2011 album in its balance between heavy atmospherics and a steady beat. Stream below and pray to the Halloween gods that these two will collaborate in the near future.
Four Tet aka Kieren Hebden’s latest release, Pink, is more of a collection of singles than an actual album and while a solid work overall, is often quite abrasive. Hebden reclaimed his melodic roots though today, remixing Brooklyn beatsmith FaltyDL’s “Straight and Arrow”. The remix will appear on a single dropping November 13 alongside remixes from Gold Panda and Mike Q. Stream below.
When I look up The xx’s 2009 debut in my iTunes, I’m almost always taken aback by the sheer number of talent that lent their hand to both official and unofficial remixes. Pariah, Dark Sky, Mount Kimbie, Nosaj Thing, John Talabot, Four Tet, and of course Jamie xx himself, all put forth impressive reinterpretations, with “VCR”, “Basic Space” and “Islands” (by my count) being the most popular remix fodder. Even that Biggy mashup tape was quality and highlighted Jamie xx’s handle on hip hop percussion. Surprisingly, despite Coexist being released over two weeks ago, there has been a dearth of quality remixes. It’s not like the album isn’t remix-able either. With even more empty space and sparser production, the album is arguably more open to reinterpretation than xx. Enter Kieran Hebden. Four Tet’s sprawling remix of “VCR” was one of the two or three best from the debut and his take on “Angels” might be looked back on in a similar fashion in a few years. Unlike the nine minute shoegaze exodus that was “VCR”, Hebden’s take on “Angels” is charming and beatific, maintaining the restraint of the original. The remix could appear on an EP alongside a Jamie xx remix of a recent Four Tet jam. In the meantime, stream “Angels” below.
Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet just recently released his fantastic Pink LP and is now following it up with a remix of Ultraista’s “Smalltalk”. A little background on Ultraista: the band consists of Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker (produced for Beck, Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M, Elliot Smith and others) and London artist Laura Bettinson. Needless to say, with a cadre like that, the original is phenomenal. Bettinson’s subtle vocals are accentuated by delicate synths, which Four Tet then blows out into his most dancefloor oriented track in a while Breaking the song down to Bettinson’s eerie vocals, he then continues to add on intricate layers of his now recognizable percussion. Catch the original here and stream Four Tet’s remix below.
I’m off three double stacks and I’m looking for that action
As much as it pains my hating heart, Diplo has been doing his damn thing on Radio 1Extra. Hopefully I don’t have to explain how fucking incredible two hours of Hudson Mohawke, Lunice and Four Tet laying down the phreshest hip hop beats and rhymes is so just grab a double cup and pop a squat. Seriously, stop what you’re doing. Who knew that the pitch perfect melding of promethazine and ecstasy culture would come in the form of a pasty Glaswegian and a gregarious Montréalaise. Four Tet impresses, fitting grime, R&B and a righteous Theo Parrish edit into the hip hop spectrum. I don’t think I’ll never get sick of “I’m God”. Stream below.
Stream: TNGHT (Hudson Mohawke and Lunice) and Four Tet on Radio 1Xtra
After further investigation, the live FlyLo video I posted earlier is not the only set from Sónar São Paulo. In all my excitement, I overlooked sets from Rustie, Four Tet, James Pants, Cut Chemist, Skream, Chromeo and the ultimate supervillain… DOOM. Now, I haven’t gotten around to the DOOM video because I’m still bitter he sent an impostor to a show in Seattle a few years ago, but I’ll get over my hurt feelings eventually and press the play button. I highly recommend the Rustie video, but please just listen to the audio. The camera work is painfully abrasive. What I gathered from these videos? No one has more fun on stage than FlyLo. The dude just has an aura of unstoppable charisma surrounding him. He can’t be beat. Find all of the videos at the Sónar Youtube page and our favorites after the jump. If we’re lucky, we’ll get similar videos of James Blake, Hudson Mohawke, Justice and Modeselektor from Sónar.
Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, has released a new 43-minute DJ mix titled “Conference of the Birds.” It’s delightful; no surprise there. Within the mix, Four Tet says, lie several new tracks from his upcoming 12″. Stream and download the mix in its entirety right here.