It has been a long while since the last edition of Sounds From The Astral Plane, but with tunes piling up in the inbox, it feels like the right time to bring it back. Although we only started this whole blog deal in January, I feel it’s safe to say that 2012 has been one of the most exciting music years in recent memory. We attempt to cover all of the music we love, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. We’re human after all. Every week (or so), you’ll find the originals, remixes and DJ mixes that we missed. This will also be a space to see how y’all respond to new artists so don’t hesitate to send over your/your friend’s latest and greatest. At this point, the scope of Sounds From The Astral Plane is wide open so you’ll find anything and everything in this space. This week, we have everything from Formes’ incandescent take on psych rock to Dubbel Dutch’s dancehall stylings. As always, any and all feedback would be much appreciated! Hit the jump for the full list…
For the longest time, I ignored the vast realm of electronic music (or I thought I di) as a whole. My high school years were filled with Def Jux and Duck Down and I rarely strayed to far from the world of hip hop. I did listen to trip-hop though. DJ Shadow was a constant and Portishead was my go to when I was in a shitty mood. I never delved all that deep into the fleeting sub-genre, but the aforementioned artists had a long lasting effect on my music tastes and occasionally my psyche. More than any other act though, it was Massive Attack that had the longest lasting effect. Blue Lines is one of maybe a dozen albums that I have to listen to once a month or so. It’s a little bit of an obsession. The Bristolians have soundtracked too many sad, strange and occasionally happy moments in my life to count. As the duo progressed over the past two decades, I lost some interest, but Blue Lines never left the rotation. Even though I truly believed, with every bone in body that electronic music was a fucking waste of time, one of my favorite albums also doubled as one of the greatest electronic albums of all time. Anyways, on to the song.
When I woke up, I expected to find the usual slog of trap and four on the floor house and techno on my social media feeds/inbox. I might have let out a little yelp when I saw this track though. 3D and Daddy G reworking the best track Nas has released in a minute? Yes please. Once I saw that it was only 3D, with the help of collaborator Tim Goldsworthy, my excitement slightly dipped, but only slightly. The track is classic Massive Attack, displacing Salaam Remi, Da Internz & Heavy D’s original banger from the club to whatever dimension trip hop inhabits. The sampled vocals take on a hypnotic quality, while Nas doesn’t lose any of the vim or vigor of the original. It’s classic Massive Attack and I couldn’t be happier to hear it in 2012. You can stream below and if there is a god (I should probably stop using that one) it will be out sooner rather than later.
We’ve been fairly absent from the blog this week, because of various nature excursions and other computer time limitations. Luckily, we’re back now and ready to continue bringing you the phonk. Amid a hectic SXSW filled week, a large amount of new music was actually released, much of it from the hip hop world. As a result, we bring you this special edition Sounds From The Astral Plane as a summary of the week’s happenings.
Stream: Nas – “The Don” (Prod. Salaam Remi, Da Internz and Heavy D)
Nas never ceases to amaze me with his tenacity on the mix. Dude has been in the game for over 20 years, and while there will never be another Illmatic, Nasir will go down as one of, if not the greatest, rappers of all time. Following last year’s “Nasty,” a sickening tear over minimalist percussion, Nas brings us “The Don,” produced by Salaam Remi with a helping hand from Da Internz and the late Heavy D. I can imagine Nas turning on the radio, hearing “Work Out” for the millionth time, calling up Salaam and hitting the studio. This shit is gully.
Stream/Download: Sene – “Backboards” feat. Blu
Sene is one of those MC’s who everyone has heard of, but no one really thinks twice about. He’s worked extensively with Blu, but none if it has made waves like the latter’s collaborations with Exile, Fashawn and Mainframe. It might be time to give Sene a little respect. “Backboards,” conveniently featuring Blu, is downright beautiful, eliciting comparisons to The Visionaries. Also, Blu on a mastered track? Pretty unheard of over the past couple years. “Backboards” is off of Sene’s upcoming Brooklyknight album, dropping April 24 on Plug Research.
Download: Danny Brown – “Baseline”
There isn’t much to say about Danny Brown that hasn’t been said. Read this Passion of the Weiss post for details. “Baseline” is as minimalist as Brown gets, allowing the MC to get ugly with the rhymes. If glorified drug usage, misogyny, and one of the most unique flows in contemporary hip hop interests you, then download “Baseline” above.
Stream/Download: Tokimonsta – “Fame Boozer’s Lullaby” feat. Rucyl
Squeaky production from Toki and majestic vocals from Rucyl = chilled out bliss. Hopefully this is a sign that the wait for a followup to 2010’s Midnight Menu will soon be over.
Chicago DJ/producer Brenmar has publicly stated that one of his main goals is to get “people to hook up at the club.” This track will certainly do that. Brenmar ramps up the sex appeal for his take on Texas crooner Kirko Bangz’s “Drank In My Cup,” turning the syruppy original into a dance floor anthem. This is club music at its best.
Stream/Download: Pale – “Worst Job Of Good Luck”
“Worst Job Of Good luck” is off of London label Bullet Train Records’ Bullet Train Allstars compilation. It’s the best track off the comp and features incredibly clean production from Pale mixed with some pitched down vocals. Nice minimalist cut right hurr.
Stream/Download: Dam-Funk – “Serious”
There is never a shortage of new material on Dam Funk’s Soundcloud page. It fells like every week or two, he throws a superb new cut on their as a free download. Dam plays all the instruments on “Serious,” a jazzy track with that trademark Dam Funk sound. It’s no surprise that Dam can meld his sound into a jazz aesthetic, but it is still damn impressive.
Stream: Nocando – “Miyamoto Musashi” (Produced by DNAEBeats)
Low End Theory is in Japan right now. Nocando released a song about legendart samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Sounds about right.
Download: Action Bronson – Blue Chips (Mixtape)
Action Bronson supplies the raps. Party Supplies supplies the beats. It’s fantastic. Oddly enough, the first track, “Pouches of Tuna” uses the same beat as the Sene’s track above. Not sure if Party Supplies made it, or what, but I have to say that the Sene version is better. Beyond that confusion, “Thug Love Story 2012” sounds like classic Ghostface-ish. That comparison is getting a little old at this point, but it’s just too hard to ignore on tracks like this. Download Blue Chips from DJ Booth above.
Watch: Nacho Picasso and Blue Sky Black Death – “Rammin”
More visuals from Lord of the Fly, this time for the grimy “Rammin.” If you can get over the overdone effects, this is a pretty enjoyable vid. This is what The Weeknd sees when he hits the club. Some real XO shit.