It was only a few months ago that we last caught Machinedrum in Los Angeles, but the Berlin-residing producer is back on tour and has brought prodigious techno madman Object, who just released his debut album Flatland via PAN, along for the ride. Taking place at The Roxy this upcoming Sunday (March 1), the FYF/Goldenvoice presented show will (hopefully) offer a more experimental bent to each respective producer’s repertoire, considering that it is both taking place in a traditional rock venue and is a fairly early Sunday show. Regardless, both artists are well proven performers and will compliment each other’s styles beautifully. And while Ninja Tune’s Machinedrum has come through LA fairly recently, Objekt, who has also released seminal tunes on Hessle Audio, Leisure System and his own eponymous imprint, doesn’t come through our fair city often. Enter your favorite song Objekt’s Flatland in the form below for a chance at a pair of tickets to Sunday’s show. We hope to see you there.
Today, we have another offer in tandem with the fine folks at IHC Presents to bring you tickets to this Friday’s (11/21) edition of the Team Supreme night, featuring Machinedrum, Doctor Jeep, Grenier & Petey Clicks’ collaborative project Nevermind and a host of Los Angeles residents. Over the past years, Team Supreme has mutated, expanded and splintered, the beat collaboration project taking on, losing and amassing new members with ease. The Team Supreme club night, on the other hand, has become something of a Los Angeles outpost for the bucket hat-clad masses, drawing kids from across the Los Angeles and San Fernando basins to Echo Park’s Echoplex. This week, the crew has brought out Ninja Tune’s own Machinedrum, fellow New York bassline roller Doctor Jeep and LA collaborative project Nevermind to the table.
While often delving a bit too deep into the droll neverscape of Southern California beatwork, Team Supreme have put together a lovely lineup this Friday and the folks at IHC have granted us with a pair of tickets. All you have to do is comment below with your favorite Machinedrum track and we’ll let the winner know their booty has been won Friday morning.
Coming into 2014 (even though the album came out late 2013), it is becoming increasingly apparent that good, solid techno is becoming archaic. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but the days of legends like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher are gone, and it seems that big room house is filling the void that they’ve left. On the forefront of the resistance lies Travis Stewart, who, under the moniker Machinedrum, is leading the charge with music as a weapon of art. Vapor City takes a look into the emotion that lies behind industry and machines, as symbolized by the black and white cover art depicting a rugged, industrial city. The footwork infused bass can be heard all throughout the album, with a clear schism between the first and second half of the LP. “Infinite Us” features wistful piano slurs matched up perfectly with the active bassline, one that gets increasingly more active as the song goes on, molding the theme of discovery. The vast emptiness of “Vizion” marks the second half of the album, the rhythmic white noise leading perfectly into “Rise N Fall”, personifying the album in one word: acceptance.
In his first LP since the exceptional Room(s), the sound of Machinedrum is beginning to sound fluent in itself, as the niche he is building for himself in the vast membrane of the techno landscape is becoming more defined with every release. The simplistic emotion behind the idyllic industrial city is brought into light, and with it, the brilliant ethos of Stewart is found.
Machinedrum’s ‘Vapor City’ is out now on Ninja Tune!
In 2002, Praveen Sharma aka Braille aka 1/2 of Sepalcure founded Percussion Lab, an organization that has assisted the proliferation of electronic music in the greater New York area through live events and a non-profit hosting service for mixes and live sets. Recognizing that most bedroom producers just need an outlet for their music, Sharma and Percussion Lab have put on dozens of artists over the past ten years. To celebrate a decade of existence, Sharma has put together Cambio, a protean compilation of songs from the likes of Daedelus, Lando Kal, Shigeto, Mux Mool and Machinedrum. The tape benefits Percussion Lab’s various operational costs, as well as Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, and is a measly $5. We don’t usually hawk releases in this manner, but you really should pull 500 cents out of your velour coin purse (we all have on of those, right?) and throw it Sharma’s way. Stream below.
Back in 2008, a video popped up on youtube featuring a then unknown Lunice popping, locking and dropping (it) to a then relatively unknown Lazer Sword‘s “Gucci Sweatshirt”. The video became moderately popular at the time, making its way around various social circles and then fading into black like every other video from 2008 (except for this one). The song offered a sort of glitchy pre-amble to Lazer Sword’s later work, but is almost indistinguishable from Memory, the duo’s latest album. “Gucci Sweatshirt” was officially released in October of 2009 as the first release on Stones Throw employee Nate Nelson’s new imprint Innovative Leisure. Influenced by his time at Stones Throw and hardcore labels like SST and Dischord, Nelson set off to institute Innovative Leisure as a driving force in North American electronic music.
“Gucci Sweatshirt”‘s idiosyncratic mash of hip hop and off-kilter electro was a fitting start, launching Lazer Sword as a force to reckoned with. By the end of 2010, Innovative Leisure was firmly entrenched and had hosted releases from Mexicans With Guns, Hanni El Khatib, Nguzunguzu, Machinedrum and, strangely enough, Freddie Gibbs. In November of the same year, Lazer Sword released their debut self-titled LP through Innovative Leisure, pushing Low Limit and Lando Kal into international stardom. The release also solidified Innovative Leisure as a bastion of the most dynamic forms of North American electronic music.
2011 was a relatively quiet year for Nelson’s label, but saw it expanding into new territories and laying out an impressively variegated roster. That was the year Innovative Leisure trotted out bluesy as fuck whiteboy Nick Waterhouse‘s “I Can Only Give You Everything”, arguably the label’s biggest release to date. The Huntington Beach-native brought a brand new dimension to Innovative Leisure, one grounded in Motown and Van Morrison, far from the club-oriented music the label had peddled to that point. Not that club-oriented music is bad of course, but Waterhouse’s signing distanced Innovative Leisure from the hundreds of internet labels out there and gave it a distinct home in Southern California.
Without getting it too much, the first 11 months of 2012 have been absolutely massive for Innovative Leisure, seeing the label break the ultra-hyped Rhye and release Nosaj Thing’s first originals since 2009’s Drift. In just three years, Nelson’s label has gone from relatively unknown club outlet to one of the West Coast’s most divergent, groundbreaking labels. As a sort of celebration (culmination?), the label enlisted Low Limit to compile tracks from Innovative Leisure artists and associates. The result is Ouroboros, a 10-track opus that is as good of an indicator of North American electronic music as any release you’ll hear all year.
If names like Clicks & Whistles, Braille, Anenon and Obey City get you wet (not to mention the aforementioned Low Limit and Machinedrum) then this compilation is for you. If you have no idea who any of the involved artists are or what they sound like, but want delve deeper into North American electronic music, this compilation is for you. If you’re at a party and don’t know what to play, but want people to think that you’re hip to the newest trends (because, you know, that’s all that matters), this compilation is for you. So yeah, give it a spin below and grab that hard wax from the Innovative Leisure website.
The partnership between Jimmy Edgar and Machinedrum makes too much sense. The two came up in similar fashions, crafting their own individual takes on electro and club music and now reside in Berlin. Despite the superpower implications of their JETS project, the buildup to their self-titled EP felt somewhat restrained, as if excitement was implied instead of exuded. The Jets EP is an impressive release in every sense of the word, borrowing dance from tropes from across the bass music sphere with the result being four tightly wound balls of energy. What the EP lacks though is a certain flair for the dramatic that is readily apparent in both Edgar and Stewart’s solo work. As technically proficient as the EP is, it lacks a certain rawness that can transform a release from just another EP into something that will be played out years down the road.
Regardless of the EP’s relative shortcomings, the partnership between Edgar and Stewart is sure to bear more succulent fruit, the first sign of which comes in the form of their contribution to FACT Mag’s mix series. Rife with exclusives, the mix is a 75+ minute marathon through a club wasteland, littered with the defiled carcasses of dozens of sub-genres. There is unreleased JETS material, as well as unreleased solo jawns from Edgar and Stewart. There is a break for old timey radio ads. There is a Machinedrum remix of Triple Six Mafia’s “Who Run It” (!!!) an Edgar remix of Body Language’s “Lose My Head”. If you’re looking for an introduction to the ambiguities of club and/or bass music, look no further than this mix. I just got excited about JETS all over again. Stream and download below.
It’s a LuckyMe party on the Jesse Boykins III & MeLo’s latest single. Last week, we caught Jacques Greene taking on “The Perfect Blues” and today, Ninja Tune uploaded the accompanying Machinedrum and Ango remixes. Below is Machinedrum’s take, a stuttering effort that sees the Berlin-resident at his most hectic. The remix starts innocently enough, matching Boykins’ vocals with syncopated percussion and bright, clinky synths. That is until Machinedrum’s sweeping synths and juke structure enter the picture and chaos breaks out. The fact that Machinedrum can balance hectic attempts like this with liqueur smooth tracks like “Whatnot” consistently amazes me. Stream below and grab the full single here.
Machinedrum’s latest effort, “Whatnot”, sees the Berlin-resident retreating to the territory he occupied with the Room(s) LP, a restrained, emotive sound that I believe is his most engulfing. It’s not as loud or dance-able as the club sounds found on SXLND or his Halloween anthem, “Diablo”, but “Whatnot” is a richly textured groover that has enough bass weight to carry a dancefloor. The track is a part of Low Limit’s (of Lazer Sword) Ouroboros compilation, which will also feature Obey City, Ghosts on Tape and Clicks & Whistles. The tape will be released on November 27 via Low Limit’s Innovative Leisure imprint. Stream and download below.
It’s difficult to imagine the mental state Travis Stewart (some know him as Machinedrum) and Praveen Sharma inhabit when they meld minds/conjoin/come together as Sepalcure. The duo have explored every corner of the bass-universe, tricking out a sound that hasn’t disappointed yet. 2011’s self-titled debut was one of the year’s best and the two have stayed busy in 2012, indulging in their respective solo careers. It’s been too long since Stewart and Sharma have joined forces, but today sees the drought end with a dub-y remix of Tomas Barfod’s “November Skies”. Stripping the large majority of the original’s vocal work, Sepalcure install complex percussion and heavy low-end effects including some tactful wobble bass. Stream below and grab the “November Skies” single via Friends of Friends on November 26.
You probably know Nick Hook even if you don’t think you do. As a member of Cubic Zirconia and Hudson Mohawke collaborator (and probably a lot more behind the scenes work), you’ve probably listened to Hook’s music in one form or another. So while Without You is Hook’s debut, it’s not a debut in the purest sense of the word. Presented by Scion A/V (whose A&R’s or whomever have been on point as of late), Without You is a scattershot collection of tracks with influences from across the music spectrum, ranging from plodding psych rock (“It’s A Sin”) to bombastic, apocalyptic hip hop (“Sirens”). Like Hook’s previous work, the collection is built on collaborations and The Gaslamp Killer, Computer Jay, El-P and Machinedrum all make appearances. Not taking anything away from Hook, but Without You is at its best when he’s assisted by another producer. Head over to the Scion A/V website to grab Without You and be sure to check out his hilarious Q&A column over at XLR8R.