Developed around a hypothetical not-so-distant future world, Symbols boss Kastle‘s forthcoming Polytopia EP is his conceptually engaging and sonically extravagant release to date, eschewing the form-based bonds that tend to define and constrict most dance music. Across six songs, the Los Angeles-residing producer works through tempo and genre with ease, expanding on the pitched down vocal work of his past releases and strutting a sound that prides its kinks and distortions instead of half-assedly burying them. We’ve got “Jasmine” for you today, one of the only tracks on Polytopia that functions sans vocals and a relatively party-amicable track in a record full of dense, emotionally-wrenching work. Sitting a comfortable 140, “Jasmine” pulses and reacts to its symphonic major melody, contorting blown out kicks below rubbery noises and what comes across as some sort of alien hydraulic system. Polytopia is out September 18 through Symbols and can be pre-ordered here.
It has been a good while since we’ve brought you a giveaway for IHEARTCOMIX’s Club IHC series, but this Thursday’s throw down is just too good to pass by. Plastician and Swindle, coming in from London, headline the traveling talent while Los Angeles’ own Kastle, Patrick Brian and Swelta round up the drop dead bill. Expect plenty of classic East and South London sounds, as well as a heap of new band-oriented material from Swindle (although he’s only bringing out the DJ set for this date). Plastician has been running game on his Rinse FM slot and pushing eclectic big room sounds via his Terrorhythm outlet, all while working with some of the biggest MCs around and facilitating a reeducation among young fans in the roots of grime and dubstep. Kastle has an excellent new EP coming next month on his own Symbols label and has taken his own productions and his label is increasingly abstract, boundary pushing places as of late. And if you’re not familiar with LA’s own Patrick Brian and Swelta, then you have to hop on the train soon because these too should be heading up bills in the not so distant future. Enter your favorite Swindle classic below for a chance at a pair of tickets to Thursday’s show. Tickets can be found here and more info can be attained here.
Originally part of a small crop of American artists inspired by dubstep, garage, jungle and other ‘nuum sounds, Kastle has transitioned through multiple aesthetic iterations since he burst into the popular consciousness 6+ years ago, surviving the brostop bubble and bust and fostering a thriving touring career in the years since. Across releases for Silverback, Seclusiasis and his own Symbols label, the Los Angeles-resident has filtered hip hop and R&B through the aforementioned UK sounds, developing a sound rife with pop consciousness and a keen sense of melody, all while retaining a strong devotion to under-the-radar sounds. And while his past releases may be deemed too populist by some, it’s clear that he’s a student of dance music culture, an unfortunate rarity among larger acts in the United States.
With releases from Astral Plane favorites Druid Cloak and Kid Smpl, plus a recent turn towards more abstract, experimental sounds, Symbols is once again ascendent and the label’s next release will come from Kastle himself. Most of Kastle’s Hyperreality EP, out April 21, was actually recorded years ago, a collection garage and jungle inspired tracks dusted off an old hard drive and revitalized with a contemporary production aesthetic. The fact that isn’t outright new material doesn’t stop it from being one of Kastle’s most immediate releases to date and after months touring under the Hyperreality banner, it’s clear that the transplant Angeleno is ready to settle in for a Summer of studio work and a newfound dedication to the Symbols hustle.
The Astral Plane team wasn’t able to attend SXSW this year unfortunately, but by all accounts, the Symbols showcase at Barcelona, featuring Spurz, Kid Smpl, Kastle and more, was an unabated success, highlighting a vital injection of energy into the operation. If you attended, you heard myriad club forms, from Jersey and Bmore to disintegrating dubstep. We’ve been lucky enough to grab a mix from Kastle, in anticipation of Hyperreality, and it presciently puts forth where the label has been, but more importantly where it’s going. UK newcomers like Grovestreet, JGYB, Utah? and Tarquin all prominently feature, as do a who’s who of club music mavens, from Her Records‘ Kid Antoine to KUNQ representatives Joey Labeija & False Witness. Throughout, Kastle’s sounsystem sensibility is readily apparent, as is a fine tuned mixing sensibility developed over years playing clubs across American and abroad. Delve into the mix, but don’t be surprised by Kastle’s “new direction” because he’s been at this game for years.
It was only a matter of time before West Coast bass stalwarts Kastle and Jason Burns worked their respective magic in the studio together. The Don’t Believe EP was previewed a few weeks ago, but yesterday we got our first full taste of “Somebody”. an Anthony Hamilton sampling, West Coast take on Garage. California has always been home to the best of the best when it comes to American bass music, but artists like Kastle, Burns, 5kinandbone5 and the Body High crew are ramping up the production value and bringing even more attention to the Golden State. Stream “Somebody” below and look out for the EP, out on Kastle’s own Symbols Recordings on September 11.