Part of a small, but strong, contingent of producers coming out of Chile who prefer to flout their home nation’s house and techno hegemony, Tomás Urquieta has been an Astral Plane favorite for years now, initially entering our radar via a series of Jam City remixes (in collaboration with Imaabs) and continuing on through releases for Diamante and, most recently, Infinite Machine. With reference points in populist noise acts like Sunn O))) and Wolf Eyes, Urquieta’s work is often brutal in its use of metallic sounds, but rarely aimed completely away from the dancefloor. First on the Ignea EP and, in 2015, on the Manuscript EP, Urquieta infused breakbeats, detuned square waves and rough hewn, field recorded percussion. Ignea in particular was inspired by Urquieta’s industrial surroundings in Santiago (where he was living at the time), but it’s actually quite a fun record, trending less towards face-less noise and more towards visceral, banging peak time numbers that sound right at home more dancefloor-centric work from artists in the NAAFI, Janus, Príncipe Discos, etc. world.
With tracks that have been featured in Astral Plane mixes for years it only made sense to bring on Urquieta for one of his own and the result doesn’t disappoint in the least, a canon-driven effort that drives through a few of the major hits of 2015 (“Paleta”, “9th Ritual”, etc.) before settling in a groove around several Manuscript highlights. Rarely sitting in one groove for too long, the mix is full of brooding, kinetic energy found through Urquieta’s past work and with a few detours into ecstatic vocal work. Its cohesion shows a deep aesthetic kinship between Urquieta and the artists he chooses to work and be associated with, meaning an ear for rhythm and an unwillingness to conform to melodic or structural sonic norms. Check out Urquieta’s Astral Plane mix below and grab Manuscript here.
Enlisting aliases is also a tricky game for artists, a virtual DNA split that can have unforeseen effects on popularity, but can also elicit irrational hatred on the part of fan bases and the media. Granted, most aliases, whether kept secret or not, eventually go by the wayside and while its a pleasure to look at Girl Unit’s Hysterics or Shed’s numerous projects as successes, the truth of the matter is that these side-projects fail far more often than they work out. Russian producer Nikita Frolov aka Fisky makes the sort of post-Night Slugs, post-Hyperdub, post-Planet Mu club music that ignores genre boundaries, not as a statement, but as a basis of their understanding of the music itself. With tracks out on Helsinki-based Top Billin and Moscow-based Hyperboloid, Frolov has begun to build up his catalogue, churning out fast, mechanical efforts that draw upon Jersey club, ballroom and late era Dance Mania for inspiration. Frolov’s latest effort is out now on Infinite Machine as Roller Truck and, if anything, represents a parring down of his influences into a concise, percussive bundle.
The Roller Truck Sounds Vol. 1 EP comes in an six originals and, with a few exceptions, is almost entirely made up of drum sounds, eliciting the work of Steve Poindexter, Robert Armani and, more recently, Helix. Its unrelenting in nature and while the tracks are mostly four-on-the-floor, they borrow from myriad influences past and present. Considering that Frolov’s work as both Fisky and Roller Truck is heavily percussive, borrows from numerous eras and can widely be described as club music, it might be difficult for a non-discerning onlooker to tell the difference between the two projects, but that’s exactly what makes them so fan. Lacking a grand statement or stylistic derivation, Roller Truck is allowed to exist on its own merits and the EP is a startlingly immediate effort. Frolov’s Roller Truck mix for us draws on numerous percussive foundations, from the gqom stylings of DJ Lag to classic Detroit techno and electro from Rhythim is Rhythim. 90s style New York house, Ghanean kora music, UK funky and early Latin house also play into the mix, an enormously fun journey through era and geography that belies the stringent, utilitarian nature of Roller Truck Sounds. And while the mix could probably function just as well under the Fisky pseudonym, its fun to imagine its constituent elements making up the fabric of the Roller Truck sound.
As Montreal-based label Infinite Machine has expanded its roster over the past few years, its scope has also expanded, each new release offering a unique perspective, all under the umbrella of a singular operation. Their latest release comes from Moscow-based producer Roller Truck and is one of the most bare bones, club-focused EPs the label has released to date, as much in the vein of their partner label Tessier-Ashpool as it is past IM releases. Strictly percussive techno, frozen electro and Club Constructions-esque machinations are the common parlance on Roller Truck Sounds Vol. 1 and like the EP title, the tracks come almost unadorned of bells and whistles. With only a single remix across seven tracks, Vol. 1 gives Roller Truck plenty of room to shine, although Galtier‘s ‘Drum Effort’ is a certain highlight. Stripping down “WIDI” into its kick, snare, hi hat essentials, the Australian producer flexes out a paranoia-filled night over six minutes that are sure to exhaust every limb. Check out previews of the whole EP here.
Montreal-based label Infinite Machine has made a name for itself by working harder than the rest of the field and implementing an omnivorous approach that ignores both traditional genre barriers and geography. Next up on the docket for the label is an EP from Seattle grime provocateur Korma, titled ZGMF-X19A (a sly Gundam reference) and set for a May 11 release date. The EP, including remixes from Liar and Tomas Urquieta, can be previewed here and is thoroughly excellent, another step forward for a producer whose talents have never been in question. We’ve got an outtake from the EP, a remix from Vancouver-resident Spurz, on premiere today and having run through this rework a dozen or so times, it’s baffling it didn’t make the cut. Wobbly in terms of both production aesthetic and intended result, Spurz’s take on “Dismantle” is another cross-denominational work that doesn’t skimp on the bass weight. Whereas most “grime-meets-ballroom-meets-whatever” tracks are far more interesting in theory than they are in practice, Spurz has the wherewithal and restraint to allow the sped-up “Ha Dance” sample lay dormant until the end where it hits hardest. Grab Spurz’s “Dismantle” rework below and be sure to buy ZGMF-X19A on May 19.
With two EPs already in the bag this year, Brooklyn-resident Seafloor is gearing up for his most high profile release yet, the year closing Drift EP on Montreal-based imprint Infinite Machine. Utilizing skills as a producer, vocalist and drummer, Seafloor has crafted a group of jungle-inflected 160 tunes that bounce and swim through a haze of recognizable samples, and sawtooth synth riffs. And like some of the best jungle/footwork crossover material, Drift maintains a certain elegance, balancing the extremist sentiments of the junglists and the jello aesthetic of footwork with aplomb. While certain tracks reach a level of linearity where they would not be out of place on a festival stage, Seafloor’s sonic approach doesn’t allow the EP to fall into a monochromatic trap. Drift is set for a December 1 release, but for now you can stream snippets from the effort below and download “It Continues”, an EP outtake that has been gifted to us by the good folks at Infinite Machine.
There’s a lot to love about the explosion of half-step dance musc that has emerged in the past five or so years. That is quote-on-quote dubstep that appeals not just to the heads and candy ravers, but to electronic music fans of all shades and stripes. Ohioan Druid Cloak is among the best and brightest when it comes to crafting this type of music and is/will be making quite a splash for the remainder of 2013 with forthcoming work on Infinite Machine and Hot ‘N’ Heavy. Lately though, the cloaked crusader has been getting his toes wet in the remix game, most recently taking a stab at the likeminded 123Mrk’s “Invisible Colors”, which will be released on May 6 via Infinite Machine. If you don’t know, now you know.