Last month, Dummy Mag’s Adam Harper wrote an extensive piece outlining what he calls the “neon” sound of the UK, demonstrated by labels like LuckyMe, Keysound and Numbers and characterized by bright synth work, loads of syncopation and a generally progressive spirit. Harper also touches on Bristol-based label Donky Pitch, which plays house for a globally focused cadre of talented producers, ranging from London’s ARP 101 to Seattle’s based kingpin Keyboard Kid. This month, the label reached the rather momentous 10 release landmark and are celebrating with a free compilation cleverly titled We Didn’t Think We’d Make It This Far Vol. 1. If you’re a Donky Pitch fanboy (like ourselves), you’ll recognize a good deal of already released material (10 tracks in all) that has come to epitomize the DP sound. There are also eight unreleased songs available including Ghost Mutt’s hyper rework of that one Kendrick Lamar song with the awful video filmed in a field “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”. If Donky Pitch is a new entity for your ear holes, We Didn’t Think We’d Make It This Far Vol. 1 is a perfect introduction and if you’re already in the know’s know, well, show some damn support anyways.
Aberdeen-native Lockah’s music has always had a frantic, throwback element to it, reminiscent of late-rave era (when the drugs were waring off) material in its mood if not the actual sonic elements of his hip hop/electronic productions. It makes all too much sense then that Lockah’s latest rework is a straight ode to frenzied, 160 BPM rave madness. Taking on Ukrainian producer Koloah’s “Titan”, Lockah utilizes a classic vocal snippet, synth stabs and some absolutely oppressive (in the best way possible) sub-bass on “Titan” with drug-induced paranoiac results. Stream below and grab Koloah’s Next Mutations EP here.
Over the past week or so, everyone and their mother have begun posting year end lists in one form or another. While perusing these song/album/mixtape/EP/single/live show/remixes/album art/video/DMX moment lists, you’ll probably come to the realization that you disagree with 90% of them and feel the urge to leave a vindictive comment on one article or another noting the surfeit of fecal matter spewing out of writer A or blogger B’s mouth cavity. First of all, resist the urge. Year end lists are silly and pointless, but they are someone else’s opinion. Anyways, we will not be writing any year end lists, because of the aforementioned clusterfuck that has already ensued. We will post a (brief) roundup of general shit we’ve enjoyed this year and maybe link to some other lists that are prescient or that mirror what we enjoy to a certain extent, but probably not. We have a bunch of amazing sounds for you this week, including Benjha’s brilliant “Flight Simulator, so maybe you should just hit the jump and enjoy some positive music. Maybe fanute around your room to it. You know we will. Just don’t think about lists.
Lockah is not the first producer to match rave and Southern hip hop. AraabMuzik and Bird Peterson have been exhibiting the odd pairing for a few years now, but the results are largely cringe inducing (half of Electronic Dream being the exception). When done wrong, the results are surely flamboyant, but without any of the subtlety that Lockah has instilled on his latest Please Lockah, Don’t Hurt ‘Em EP. That’s not to say that the EP lacks flamboyance though. The progressive piano on the title track is undeniably corny, but the Aberdeen-native achieves a Rustie-like levels of absurdist cohesion, meshing the broad piano strokes with chipmunk vocals and rapid-fire drum hits. By the 2:45 mark, the song has morphed into an all-out slugfest, substituting the piano for huge, crispy synths akin to fellow Scot S-Type’s Billboard EP. The track teeters on the verge of disaster, but Lockah’s measured sense of chaos (if that makes any sense) prevails and the result is one of the most variegated party tracks oft the year.
“Sly Winking Usury” substitues rave for Nintendo, spattering 8-bit sounds and, you guessed it, more 808s. The track lacks the progression of the title track, but makes up for it with plenty of pulsating bombast. The third and final original on the EP, “This Is True Muscle Suicide”, is also the most restrained, slowing the tempo down and putting the emphasis on curiously clipping percussion. That is until the chorus when more emphatic synths and pitched vocals enter the picture, removing any doubts over what Lockah’s intentions are.
Please Lockah, Don’t Hurt ‘Em is aimed squarely at peak-time, ecstasy inducing pandemonium and attains that goal at every level. Unlike past explorations into rave on the part of hip hop producers, Lockah dispels the paranoiac nature of the come down, focusing his efforts on the youthful, drug-induced side of the come up. The EP is one-dimensional, but that one dimension is multi-textured, subtle and exciting. Furthermore, it seems pretty clear that Lockah is self-conscious of the one-dimensional nature of the EP and has embraced it. Rave is a beautiful thing when done right.
In which our favorite Aberdonian gets all Balearic. Extending his maximal sound to a Rustie-esque extreme, Lockah brings out the big room piano, gunshots and strutting synths. The title track of his next EP, out next week via bro-wear Mishka’s music arm sees Lockah juggling innumerable elements with aplomb in a way that only Scots seemingly can manage. So Lockah, please, go ahead and hurt ’em. Stream below and grab the EP on November 7.
Everyone has a posse these days, but few are as vile as Danny Brown’s Bruiser Brigade. Hopefully as a precursor to a full-length, Brown, Dopehead and in-house producer SKYWLKR let loose this EP via Scion A/V. For some reason I can’t even begin to comprehend, the EP’s four tracks are all edited, with that obnoxious warped sound throughout. Fuq dat. Anyways, with Brown at his lugubrious best and Dopehead playing the littler brother role more than capably, the EP is a nice primer to the crew, although hearing from Chip$ would have been preferable. Remixes from Ryan Hemsworth and Lockah prove that one of Brown’s most overlooked assets is his esoteric beat selection and willing to experiment. Those Gucci samples on “Errthing”? Yeaaahhhh. Wouldn’t mind a full project from those two. Head over to Scion A/V to grab the full EP.
Remember the tuba mpet stabs on Hudson Mohawke’s massive “Thunder Bay”? Well another Scott might have just one upped HudMo in the brass department. Today, Abderdeen-based producer Lockah’s When U Stop Feeling Like a Weirdo & Become a Threat EP dropped on Mad Decent’s Jeffree’s. Taking cues from everyone from HudMo to Lone to Samiyam, Lockah is one of the brightest up and comers in the bass/hip hop game. Far less club oriented than the past few Jeffree’s releases (Branko, Baauer, etc.), Lockah opts for intricately composed and overtly triumphant anthems. The southern hip hop influence is palpable, but not in the sense of massive 808’s and/or the “shove as much bass as possible wherever we can” mentality. The four track EP is far more of the head nodder quality than booty grinder.
We’ve been anticipating this release for quite some time now and it doesn’t disappoint one bit. Each of the three originals are distinctly unique and represent different facets of Lockah’s beat making abilities. “The Sour Drink From The Ocean”, is a pensive and measured take on late 90’s Southern hip hop. The track manages to take cues from the trance of yore without falling into any sort of cliche. “Now U Wanna” sees Lockah giving HudMo a run for his money. Big room hip hop at its finest, transitioning between maximal and minimal elements with ease. And that fucking trombone. No one has made a trombone sound this cool since Henry Mancini. “Goons N Roses” feels like an announcement that someone important is arriving.. in the future. Again, I can’t get over the brass, this time triumphant sounding trumpets. Lockah has arrived in high style and should be joining the big boys in no time. Like all Jeffree’s releases, When U Stop Feeling Like a Weirdo & Become a Threat is available for free download.
If you put your thumb on the heartbeat of electronic music, you’d be forced to believe that bigger is better. More is more is more. Maximalism is the new and only book. This is true to a certain extent. Rustie’s Glass Swords might have been the pinnacle of the all or nothing disposition, but an innumerable amount of styles have bloomed over the last calendar year. Take Lone’s Galaxy Garden for example. The album is maximalist in every sense of the word, synthesizer heavy, borrowing from dozens of sources, etc., but has a distinctly clean and organized demeanor compared to the day-glo frenzy of Rustie. Abderdeen native and founder of Tuff Wax Lockah occupies a unique place in the contemporary maximalist landscape. Initially, I thought he fit into the Rustie/Hudson Mohawke camp and he does in some manners. The effusive crescendos, sweeping keys and nods to Southern hip hop all recall the LuckyMe members.
But then I started to see more Lone. Lockah takes the amphetamine driven energy of Rustie and simmers it down to a cool state. It isn’t as much make party music as it is music for the drive home. It’s optimistic in an excitingly overt manner. Take “The Sour Drink From The Ocean” for example. It’s not an easy task to make Southern rap percussion sound pensive and measured, but that’s exactly what Lockah does. The track soars with each synth wash, borrowing heavily from the trance of yore, without falling into cliche as the vocals repeat the same epithet over and over again. This is some dramatic, roll credits shit. Luckily for all of us, Lockah’s new EP, When U Stop Feeling Like A Weirdo & Become A Threat, will be released on Mad Decent’s Jeffree’s imprint (who have been absolutely untouchable lately ) on June 14 for free. In the meantime, stream “The Sour Drink From The Ocean” below and head over to XLR8R for a free download.