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 Santana, Lil 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…
At first, Rustie might come off as an odd choice of artist to contribute to a compilation benefitting children in southeast India. That being said, the Danny Brown collaborating, rave-loving Glaswegian producer recently contributed a track (with the help of Light of Love Children’s Choir) to the Everything Is New Campaign and his involvement suddenly makes a lot more sense. Without the social context, most would probably assume that “Boatsss” is just another massive Rustie cut (one that will inevitably be played into the ground), what with its churning snare rolls and brighter than thou layers of synth work. After all, music is universal and Rustie’s music is especially uplifting/undeniably bright. Maybe he’s just the perfect benefit concert artist for 2013.
It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard an all new, serotonin splashing song from Glasgow/LuckyMe/Warp/Numbers pusher Rustie. Since the release of 2011’s Glass Swords, the man born Russell Whyte has released a set of remixes as well as some highly acclaimed, vocalist-assisted retakes of album cuts, but nothing as remotely groundbreaking as his debut LP. And then there was “Slasherr”. Centered around some absurdist trance synth work and even more absurdist (dog yelping?) vocal samples, Rustie splits the difference between Armin Van Buren and DJ Toomp with a little bit of everything else tossed in for good measure. Stream “Slasherr” below (and cop it here) and look out for the full single release on March 18.
After further investigation, the live FlyLo video I posted earlier is not the only set from Sónar São Paulo. In all my excitement, I overlooked sets from Rustie, Four Tet, James Pants, Cut Chemist, Skream, Chromeo and the ultimate supervillain… DOOM. Now, I haven’t gotten around to the DOOM video because I’m still bitter he sent an impostor to a show in Seattle a few years ago, but I’ll get over my hurt feelings eventually and press the play button. I highly recommend the Rustie video, but please just listen to the audio. The camera work is painfully abrasive. What I gathered from these videos? No one has more fun on stage than FlyLo. The dude just has an aura of unstoppable charisma surrounding him. He can’t be beat. Find all of the videos at the Sónar Youtube page and our favorites after the jump. If we’re lucky, we’ll get similar videos of James Blake, Hudson Mohawke, Justice and Modeselektor from Sónar.
Last night, a short, pale man wandered into a radio station in London and proceeded to lay down one of the best mixes of the year. His name happens to be Rustie and the radio station happens to be BBC Radio One. The radio show, Pete Tong’s Essential Mix, happens to be one of the most influential mix series’ in the world. The track selection? Nothing too special. A little unreleased Obey City. A little unreleased Jackson and his Computer Band. A little unreleased Hudson Mohawke. A lot of unreleased Rustie, including a VIP of “City Star” and the demo version of “All Nite.” Maybe that TNGHT joint that Rustie previewed at the Boiler Room a couple months back. Like I said, nothing too special. Download the mix here and keep holding your breath until that TNGHT shit drops. Full track list after the jump.
There is something about Rustie’s music that is so easily digestible. Amid all of the clatter of Glass Swords was a warm pop-sensibility and a downright addictive quality. “Surph” or “All Nite” will never show up on Top 40 radio of course, but they have turned into the pop music of the bass music world. To do that without compromising any of his artistic value is quite a feat. “Lose Yourself” is another poppy jam, taking Surkin’s electro-house original and turning it into a hip hop banger. The vocals are a little irritating and I wish he did a little more with them, but with those hi-hats who can really complain. The remix is off of Surkin’s USA remix album that will also feature L-Vis 1990 and Bok Bok.
Maximalism became all the rage in 2011. Watch The Throne ruefully took hip hop to exciting new highs and devastating lows. A$AP Rocky succesfully amalgamated previous disparate regional styles. Odd Future was so in your face and all over the map stylistically that no one really knew how to respond, resulting in a devolution into meaningless think pieces, highlighted by psychoanalytic bullshit. In mainstream electronic music, dubstep and progressive house reigned supreme stateside. Skrillex-style dubstep became prevalent as the low-end sounds that originated in London almost a decade ago began to depreciate. Gushing piano crescendo’s and over-the-top vocal performances dominated the house world, as the Swedish House Mafias, Aviciis and Calvin Harrises of the world became the new pop stars.
All of this brings us to two diminutive Glasgow-based producers who reside on the legendary Warp Records roster. Hudson Mohawke and Rustie of the LuckyMe collective encapsulated the overarching maximalist sentiment of our time and translated into two sensory overload releases. Mohawke’s Satin Panthers EP set the bar high early in the year while Rustie’s Glass Swords took home the grand prize, ending up on many, if not most, “Best Of” lists. Both producers have been on the map for several years, noted in their spots on the Warp roster, but both have also been fairly inconsistent and un-focused at this point in their careers. Satin Panthers and Glass Swords ended any complaints about the two.
This all brings us to today’s announcement regarding the first single release from Glass Swords. Album standout, “Surph,” has been given the single treatment and will be released on Warp on April 9. Furthermore, the track has been given the re-work treatment with new vocals from Slovenian singer Nightwave. While the track already featured Nightwave’s heavily distorted vocals, they have been re-recorded and are far more prominently featured than on the album-version. Whether you like the album version, or the single version more, it is undeniable that the track has an inherent pop value that is not as easy to recognize within the context of Glass Swords. Give the re-worked “Surph” a listen above and check out the album version here for comparison.