Tag Archives: Mixpak


Famous Eno‘s career arc doesn’t match the usual boom-bust curve that defines so many young artist’s tenure in the electronic music space. Exploring the various tendrils of Afro-Caribbean derived UK dance music and US regional club music, Eno has been a staple on the Mixpak and Swing Ting rosters since the release of his All Good FM single in 2012, constantly expanding his purview without ever losing site of the dancefloor. The Eno sound draws on afro beat, dancehall, grime and UK funky and, depending on who he’s collaborating with, traverses those with almost unmatched dexterity. Frequent collaborators like Murlo, Swing Ting and the Fractal Fantasy crew often interject their own styles, but Eno’s forceful, rhythmic backbone is always there, collecting the pieces into a whole optimized for the dance.

Most recognizably, Eno’s work has been marked by the voices of a huge range of MCs. Released in October, Music For Clubs is his longest release in years and functions as a vibrant encapsulation of the many sounds he’s experimented in. Jamaica’s Bay-C, Ghana’s Bryte and Gafacci, London’s Killa P and Trigganom, and New Jersey’s UNIIQU3 contribute their distinctive approaches, all tied together by Eno’s restrained yet anthemic production. In lesser hands, the release would come off as a hodgepodge of disparate styles, but under Eno’s tutelage it comes together nicely, pinging from one idea to the next and giving plenty of time and space for each MC to shine. It’s a sound introduced on singles like “Gangsters” and Samrai’s 2014 remix of Eno and Rubi Dan’s “Terminator”, but it truly flourishes on Music For Clubs.

It was Eno’s bootleg and remix work that initially drew us to the producer half a decade ago though and takes on Paleman’s “Beelzedub” and Sia’s “Little Man”, not to mention the unbridled mania of his and Murlo’s remix of Akito’s “Metamessage”, are still classics in our book. They’re also a good indicator of his full throttle approach to DJing, clearly rested in soundsystem culture, but not giving over too much to tradition. His Astral Plane Mix functions as both a compendium of recent work and a roadmap for those uninitiated to his approach. It begins with Music For Clubs staple “Life” and ends with a brand new remix of King Louie and Mikey Dollaz’s Zora Jones and Drippin produced “WW4” and touches on bmore, ghetto house, gqom and more in the middle. It’s a big, party-oriented sound that will be familiar to listeners of his work on Fractal Fantasy Mixpak, and Swing Ting, exploding into new territory with every transition. Download a copy of Astral Plane Mix 175 here and hit the jump for a full track list.

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The Large July 2014 - credit Ian TillotsonAs a popular culture force, dancehall looms over the group of genres we cover here at The Astral Plane, having splurged from its homely confines in Jamaica to the rest of the Caribbean, and later the world, several decades ago. Despite having a global fan-base, true global icons and the backing of multiple major labels, there’s a general sense that bashment is constantly under attack, whether from white prime ministers in the United Kingdom, or, well, white journalists in the United States. It’s all too easy to flip an endemic culture of homophobia and violence, with its all too easily forgotten roots in colonial Britain, into cheap political points and, unfortunately, the practice has swept dancehall under an ill-begotten fuzz of mistrust, neo-colonial criticism and public-private walls prohibiting travel, performance and proselytization on the part of the bashment massive.

That being said, commenters are equally likely to paint the dancehall world in broad strokes of social activism, urban heroism and class conflict. Of course, the real picture is much more difficult to ascertain let alone paint and we here at The Astral Plane don’t profess to have the knowledge, experience or wherewithal to wield the brush. The Large aka Suze Webb, on the other hand, is doing more than just about anyone else on this side of the Atlantic to promote, curate and present dancehall to the masses, especially the discerning, dance music listening masses. Suze is the founder of London (where she used to reside) club night/website/t-shirt boutique Shimmy Shimmy and, more recently, label manager at the Dre Skull-helmed Mixpak Records, flexing her curatorial skill on both sides of the ocean. When behind the decks, Suze goes by The Large and peddles a wide variety of Caribbean, British and American riddims, specializing in the soundsystem continuum.

Which makes Suze the perfect representative of the sonic (and classical) miscegenation constantly occurring at Mixpak and Shimmy Shimmy, a process that sees dancehall embraced, altered and invested in by residents of New York, London, Bristol, Sydney and beyond. It also makes her work as The Large one of the most tantalizing deejay projects around, an unabashed journey through riddim culture that dates back to 2012. Suze’s “Gas Pedal” and “2 On” mixes, her two recent and two most accomplished efforts, are a veritable crossing and re-crossing of West African, Caribbean and American influences, drawing lines from Aidonia to Youngstar and back to Tinashe. Tempo is the obvious shared signifier in the mixes, but Suze’s deft touch at threading the schizogenetic needle through the geographical hinterland is the real accomplishment.

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Back in 2012, Benjy Keating, aka Palmistry, released a collaborative full-length with Cantonese-language MC Vinh Ngan as Triad God. The album, titled NXB (“New Cross Boys”), was released on Hippos in Tanks and featured swimming, cinematic production that brought to mind both aquamarine ocean tones and molasses-drenched house production. These days, Keating is functioning as a solo entity and has taken the blueprint established on NXB and melded it with a melodramatic dancehall archetype. Keating brings a sensual touch to dancehall that goes against the form’s standard braggadocio, but involves a beyond complete audial/visual composition that belies his relatively recent entry into the solo singer/producer world. “Protector SE5”, presumably referencing the London post code, is Palmistry’s latest single for Mixpak and a brilliant follow-up to the still-in-rotation “Catch”. Pre-order “Protector SE5” here and watch the Keating and Daniel Swain directed “Catch” video here.

jubilee - pull ova

With 2012’s Pop It! EP, Jubilee made her purpose of fusing Miami bass with contemporary American dance music styles very clear. The EP was met with mixed reviews, but in the months since its release, the Brooklyn-resident and Mixpak reppin’ DJ/producer has proven the ability (again and again and again) to infuse the stripped down, booty-focused nature of Miami, Uncle Luke and strip clubs into a relatively contemporary formation. On January 28, we can all celebrate the Eastern seaboard and its respective dance sub-cultures via the Pull Ova EP, which also be released on Mixpak. The EP features a tone-changing remix from Salva, plenty of Miami signifiers and two wildly entertaining originals in “I-95” and “Pull Ova”. There are also plenty of nods to Chicago and Detroit, specifically with regards to jit and Dance Mania, references that are always appreciated. Stream the EP below and if you’re in the Brooklyn area next weekend, hit up the release party, which will also feature Dubbel Dutch, Dre Skull and others.


The holidays are the one time of year when I appreciate the fact that my Facebook and Twitter feeds are flooded with promotional posts. That’s because the holidays are the time for giving, specifically the time when producers dump all of their bootlegs/edits/unfinished tracks on the unsuspecting masses. The quality is generally a mixed bag, but we’ve received a deluge of heat in the past few days that deserves its fair due. On the raps front, Lil B, King Louie, Fredo SantanaLil Silk and Fabolous have let loose new tapes over the past week or so. All deserve your attention, although save Lil B’s 05 Fuck Em and maybe spend a little more time with Silk and Louie.

The good folks at Mixpak were also kind enough to hand out a bundle of free tracks from their roster and beyond. The Holiday Bundle evokes the grime, dancehall and soca-based riddim culture that Dre Skull has so carefully curated over the past few years. Sudanim, Murlo and Koyote all bring their best to the table.

You’ve likely seen these already as well, but big hitters Flying Lotus, Zed Bias, Ryan Hemsworth Clams Casino all gave bundles of tracks away in the past few days. Casino’s third Instrumental Mixtape is probably the most cohesive attempt of the bunch, but FlyLo’s assorted beats, remixes and bootlegs offer some intriguing insight into the producer and his cohort’s recording processes. The Hemsworth collection is largely edits he’s designed for live play and the “Post-Rock Tears” version of Future’s “Honest” is a real beauty. Two step legend Zed Bias handed over 200 MB of live recording, remixes and production work under both his ZB sobriquet and his Maddslinky nom de plume.

Hit the jump for a jambalaya of free tracks…

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Remember rap in 2003? Sinjin Hawke certainly does. Specifically, Just Blaze production circa 2003. Sinjin has been strutting his production acumen across a dizzying array of styles this year, whether they be bombastic takes on ghetto house classics, wildly textured club machinations or space-age grime/Memphis amalgamations. For his latest feat, the Barcelona-based producer has been enlisted by Mixpak Records to remix label boss Dre Skull’s “First Time”, the advantageous dancehall slumper released earlier this calendar year. In the finest form of his career, Sinjin took original and put it through the grinder, transforming the sunny original into the best Just Blaze approximation we’ve heard in years. Considering his prodigious use of brass, it should come as no surprise that Sinjin can pull this off, but it still managed to catch this listener off guard. The remix is up for free download (along with a Curses remix) so stream below and grab the package here.

dubbel dutch

If ridiculously catchy Caribbean melodies, expansive, always changing rhythmic structures and female patois vocals are your thing, then Dubbel Dutch is your man. Having imprinted his name on the American club scene years ago, Dubbel Dutch’s third EP on Dre Skull’s Mixpak imprint, titled Cloud Club, sees the Brooklyn-based producer fully realizing the sound he laid out on the Self Help Riddim and Hymn EPs. There’s a little something for everyone here, whether it’s a challenging take on soca, dancehall or a Caribbean bend on Jersey club. The vocal mix of “Deepa” is arguably the EP’s standout, matching lung compressing sub bass with entrancing patois vocals and a reverb heavy melody that will be stuck in your head for days. Like all Dubbel Dutch songs, “Deepa” is wonderfully paced and subtle,  yet replete with relatable pop tropes. The Cloud Club EP is out now on Mixpak. Hit the jump to stream it in its entirety.

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dubbel dutch

Dubbel Dutch’s upcoming Cloud Cub EP (out November 12 on Mixpak) has either been completely mistimed (unless you live in the Southern hemisphere), or the man born Marc Glasser is just supremely confident in his music’s uplifting abilities. Belying the trend towards icier, cold, minimalist music come wintertime, Glasser has turned out his most effervescent track to date, the Ce’Cile covering “Inevitable”. Soca, dancehall, Jersey club and UK funky are all invoked on this riddim, but it’s the trampoline drums and nearly over-the-top, tinkling synth melodies that make the track a Dubbel Dutch riddim. It’s fair to say that there are few producers I would trust to turn out something so overtly poppy, but Glasser has turned in an incredible tune that might just light the dark months. Stream below and pre-order the Cloud Club EP here.

dre skull

Last Summer, Mixpak boss and Calvin Broadus collaborator Dre Skull released the infectious dancehall-crossover tune “Loudspeaker Riddim”, but the track didn’t ever really catch on. Just under a year later, Mixpak’s profile has risen exponentially and the man born Andrew Hirshey has been penned in for a number of hiiipower collaborations, including bringing in Megan James (of Purity Ring) and Jamaican vocalist Popcaan for an redo of “Loudspeaker Riddim” that is sure to reach the furthest extremities of the blog body. James’ vocals have always lacked a certain emotive quality for us, but she excels on the surface of Dre Skull’s production, rising above the shimmering synths and booming kicks. “First Time” is out now on Mixpak.

I’m usually pretty against paraphrasing press releases (they usually suck) and view stenography as the lowest form of journalism. But when a press write-up defies convention and actually contributes an appropriate lens to view a release though. The accompanying write-up to Dubbel Dutch‘s new single, “Self Help Riddim” does just that: “Unmoved by the impersonal, drop-oriented focus of contemporary dance music, he challenges the listener to consider the sensual and the uplifting in an apocalypse obsessed era.” Recently signed to the riddim heavy Mixpak Records, the dancehall influences are clear in his music, but they haven’t always been. Dubbel Dutch has been churning out club tunes for a few years now, but “Self Help Riddim” has a more physical and human nature about it than any of his past releases. It also happens to be his best. Built around a simple, warm melody, the track is as infectious as they come and is a welcome departure from more machine-oriented club music. It’s interesting to listen to the Delivery song I posted earlier and “Self Help Riddim”, both club tracks in a sense, back to back. Both squarely aimed at the dancefloor, but eliciting nearly opposite emotional effects. They’ll both get your hips moving, but your mind will be in two entirely different places. Look out for “Self Help Riddim” tomorrow (October 23) and stream below.