A few weeks ago, we gave a brief introduction to the Austin beat scene and the two incredible events, Applied Pressure and Exploded Drawing, it centers around, promising a more comprehensive feature in the future. In the weeks since, the scene took South By Southwest by storm, bringing in Jonti (Stones Throw), Jonwayne (Stones Throw), Jeremiah Jae (Brainfeeder), Robert Koch (Mooncircle) and more. A group of University of Texas students also finally attained funding via Kickstarter for their film (Beat)En Senseless: Austin Beat Culture, a comprehensive look into Applied Pressure, Exploded Drawing and the artists involved. The cherry on top was last week’s announcement that Applied Pressure will host Com Truise in April. The scene is on the up and up and this guide should serve as a nice overview of the people involved. I spoke with Applied Pressure founder and resident DJ/Producer Hobo D for some background (you can find the full interview after the jump) and got some excellent first hand insights into the scene.
Download: Exploded Drawing SXSW Compilation
Before delving in further, I’ll give an overview of Applied Pressure and Exploded Drawing. Applied Pressure is a monthly event held at Barcelona in the heart of Austin’s live music district. Hobo D (DJ/Producer), 4th Wall (Visuals/Producer), Kid Slyce (DJ) and BoomBaptist (Producer) are the residents, although the club night regularly brings in guests from across the world, ranging from Samiyam to Dam Funk to Lazer Sword. Beyond the monthly event, Applied Pressure is a collective/crew/family aiming to further the cause of electronic/experimental music in Austin. Applied Pressure was started a little over a year ago as an obscure collective, but has grown into a venerable purveyor of all things beat, not just in Austin, but across the entire state of Texas (and soon the United States). Kid Slyce is the resident mixing maestro, possessing transcendent skills behind the decks. Hobo D is the crate digger, searching out anything and everything from global psych music to old school IDM. BoomBaptist is the studio genius, and in my opinion, most likely to break out. 4th Wall handles all of the visuals and is one of the most talented VJ’s (?) in the game. It’s hard not to draw out the comparisons to Low End Theory, and while the Los Angeles (and now San Francisco and Japan scene has gained worldwide notoriety, it also began as a distinctly regional phenomenon.
Stream/Download: Hobo D Chinsplitters Vol. 1
Exploded Drawing is similar in style to Applied Pressure, but takes on a significantly different form. Semi-monthly, six” electronic composers, sound collectors and beat makers” take to the stage for 20 minutes apiece to perform all original works. Unlike Applied Pressure, no DJ sets are allowed and originality is paramount to the event’s success. Explode Drawing is hosted by Butcher Bear (who also runs (iN)Sect Records, more on that later) and soundfounder with visuals provided by Nait Ntropy. The name Exploded Drawing is derived from the similar, and now extinct, Sketchbook night in LA hosted by Kutmah. While both Applied Pressure and Exploded Drawing are unique live experiences in the “live music capital of the world,” Hobo D feels that the scene operates pretty exclusively from the rest of the city, instead focusing on 100% originality.
I mention (iN)Sect Records above and for good reason. The record label, started by Butcher Bear, is home to all three Exploded Drawing residents (as well as their respective side projects), BoomBaptist and numerous other Austin stalwarts. The label has also hosted releases from national icons Guilty Simpson, Dudley Perkins and Georgia Anne Muldrow. The label partakes in self-described “Earth Shattering Soul” and releases music both digitally and via limited vinyl runs. Lo Phi, Ntropy and Kinder are just a few of the immense talents who make their home at (iN)Sect.
It’s hard to get a good grasp on such a green scene, but Hobo D should help out a little bit in that arena. Here is a brief list of artists/tracks/mixes/EP’s/albums that should serve as a brief overview of the scene and its diverse range of talents:
Ntropy – Dither (Insect Records)
This is not meant to be a comprehensive list defining the mix. Instead, it should function as a brief and accessible look into some of the most talented artists coming out of Austin and mere jumpstart into your appreciation of the scene. In the coming weeks, we should have an exclusive mix from Hobo D that will shine some more light into the roots of the Austin scene. Hit the jump to read the entire interview as he can tell the story far better than I can. Also, be on the lookout for the release of (Beat)En Senseless, what is sure to be one of the better music documentaries of the year.