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kode9-union

While he normally rolls through Los Angeles with a crew of affiliates, whether they be Ikonika and/or Scratcha DVA or a posse of Teklife greats, Hyperdub bossman Kode9 holds more than enough weight to carry a night by himself and this Sunday he’s headlining Union with a local lineup heavy on 160 business. If you’ve caught Kode9 in recent years you’ll surely have received a good deal of footwork and with 6Blocc, The Professionals and the Juke Bounce Werk team providing support for the night the crowd better be ready for a barrage of hyper-speed alien rhythms. 2015’s Nothing LP, Kode9’s first solo effort and a paean to the late great Spaceape, was also somewhat slept on so it’s time for the London legend to take his proper crown on this tour. We’ve got two pair of tickets to give away for Sunday’s show so if you want to experience a seminal UK artist tear down Union’s Funktion One system then write in your favorite Hyperdub album below and we’ll contact you day of show if you win. Otherwise, grab tickets and RSVP for the night here and we hope to see you out on the floor come Sunday.

Outlook - boat by sunset - credit Marc Sethi

With Outlook Festival 2015 under two months away, anticipation is nearing a fever pitch and planning has begun in earnest, much of it focused over the past few weeks on the festival’s infamous boat party circuit. And while several of the daytime parties have sold out, there are still tickets available for a number of absolutely out-of-control soirees. If you already have tickets to the Butterz, Bandulu, Deep Medi or Swamp81 (the list goes on) parties, then the rest of us can only look on in jealousy, but we still do have an opportunity to catch DJs like Kode9, Mumdance, Paleman and many many more. The following three parties are our personal selections (you’ll find us there) and hopefully offer up a good cross-section of what the day time programming has to offer. This is all purely hypothetical as 2015 is our first jaunt over to Pula so bare with us.

1. Resident Advisor Sunset Boat Party w/ Kode9 & Mumdance – Friday
The Hyperdub boss and grime provocateur take over this sunset boat party from start to finish and are sure to bring out a huge range of sounds. Considering that each has covered a remarkable amount of ground in their own productions, it’s almost inconceivable where this party will go. We do know that it will be a carefully curated experience covering the finest in on-the-cusp grime, dubstep and maybe a little mahraganat and footwork if we’re lucky. We’ve been lucky enough to catch Kode9 come through the United States a few times, but had the chance to see Mumdance so this will be an exciting occasion for our traveling team.

2. Wavey Garms w/ Artful Dodger, Hatcha (old skool garage set), Spooky – Saturday

It’s not often that we in the US get an opportunity to catch garage legends and when they do come, they’re often shoehorned into overproduced house clubs or tacked onto the end or beginning of populist dubstep parties. It’s unfortunate, but there isn’t much of an American garage massive and even though the occasional DJ EZ jaunt across the country brings out droves, the groundswell of support needed to sustain a culture is rarely found. Which makes the Wavey Garms (“the kind of Facebook garment groups”) party that much more exciting for us, that once in a lifetime chance to catch legends like Artful Dodger and Hatcha bringing their livest records to a boat in the Aegean Sea. Spooky rounds out the lineup to complete the circle, offering different eras and perspectives on the classic 2 step sound and while others parties might offer more in terms of contemporary talent, Wavey Garms might just be the highlight of the whole trip for us.

3. Just Jam w/ Paleman, Big Narstie, Barely Legal, DJ Milktray b2b Tim & Barry – Sunday
While not the most stacked bill compared to some of the label parties bringing out their entire rosters, the Just Jam boat affair is sure to bring out a good collection of heads for buzzing Swamp81 repper Paleman, commentator/MC Big Narstie, Just Jam regular Barely Legal, and Glasgow’s DJ Milktray going back to back with Tim & Barry, the duo behind the whole operation. Not only will the boat party have a spectrum crossing array of sonics, the Just Jam folks know how to throw a good party as they’ve been doing in London for the last 15 years. One for the heads.

Check out the full Outlook Boat Party schedule after the jump…

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decibel-festival

Decibel Festival, like many other contemporary festivals that straddle the dwindling line between underground and overground forms of dance music, was heavy (to say the least) on four-on-the-floor house and techno. In fact, the festival’s adherence to technical linearity was so strong that one could posit that the steady pulse of a kick drum defined Decibel 2014. From the late night Ostgut Ton showcase at Q Nightclub to Phuture’s TB-303 jams, house and techno from the world over could be found at Decibel, but the respective genres’ British and German constructions took center stage. This created something of a dilemma for a team looking for more rhythmic variance and, shall we say, a global purview than your standard techno bro fest. Fortunately, the Decibel lineup provided pockets of brilliance in the form of jungle, footwork, grime and kuduro, allowing us to indulge in gaudy, kick drum-heavy performances from T. Williams, Wolf+Lamb, Nadastrom and more.

On Wednesday night, Arca and Total Freedom, with music video art auteur Jesse Kanda providing visual accompaniment on a huge LED screen, took to EMP’s Sky Church with a vengeance, weaving syncopated kuduro and dembow rhythmic patterns into a number of contemporary pop hits. The Sky Church, a massive room in a corporate music mausoleum, is an odd venue to hold a genre and gender bending performance from three prodigiously talented artists, but a small, dedicated crowd, equal measures repulsed by and smitten with Kanda’s Vine compilation-meets-high concept body art, was up for the challenge proffered by the CDJ wielding deejays. A percentage of the crowd was even made up of holdovers from Max Cooper’s technically proficient, but disappointingly linear performance (the following night’s dancer-assisted showcase featuring Cooper was supposedly far superior) that preceded Arca’s takeover, a less surprising development than one might expect considering the breadth of interests and knowledge among the Decibel crowd.

Hit the jump for the totality of our Decibel coverage…

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kode9 xingfu lu kan

Only three days after debuting the a-side of his first official single in two years, Kode9 has uploaded the b-side for public consumption. Opening with Nintendo charms, “Kan” quickly devolves into a barebones audial assault that will test even the largest sound systems. Most Kode9 tracks aren’t “bangers” in the traditional (knock you off your feet) sense, because there’s something almost uncanny about the way he mangles dubstep, garage, grime, etc. into his ultra-specific blueprint. “Xingfu Lu”/”Kan” is out next Monday (4/29) on Hyperdub.

kode9

Hyperdub don Kode9’s first official track in over two years comes in the form of “Xingfu Lu”, named after the street it was conceived on in Shanghai. “Xingfu” translates to “happy” in Chinese, but this track is anything but joyful. It’s a paranoiac journey through Kode9’s past, drawing on his brutalist take on garage as well as his more extreme percussion workouts. At times it sounds like a demented Joker while at others, it falls into the realm of a soul-less Pearson Sound. The single will be released on April 29 via Hyperdub and will hopefully be followed by something more substantial.

Photo from facebook

A few days ago, I heard about a release called Gloss Drops 1 made up of two remixes of tracks off of experimental rock group Battles‘ latest album. The two remixes, by Gui Borrato and The Field, were solid, but uninspiring. At the time, I had no idea there would be a Gloss Drops 2. That was why I was so excited to wake up this morning to the news that Gloss Drops 2 will feature remixes from some of my favorite artists around, and that each of those artists come from completely different worlds. The first remix is from avant-rap virtuosos Shabazz Palaces. I’m not too familiar with Battles, beyond witnessing their incredibly strange live show, so I didn’t know the original of “White Electric,” but Shabazz’s remix is outstanding. The track features Ish’s trademark droned out raps over a plodding, guitar driven beat and would be a real treat to see the track performed live. The second and third remixes from Gloss Drops 2 have yet to surfaced, but they should be equally exciting. The first is by The Alchemist. Yes, that Alchemist. East Coast boom bap legend. Last seen collaborating with Oh No on Vodka & Ayuhuasca. The third is by Kode9, Hyperdub representative and London dubstep legend. Not just any dubstep legend, but the type that makes the turtlenecked crowd bitching about Skrillex wet their pants. I never thought the day would come that I would see artists from such distinctly different parts of the popular music world collide like this, but here it is. Gloss Drops 2 will be released on February 21st by Warp Records. Stream Shabazz’s remix below.