Coming off the release of the breathtaking Gold & Featherwork EP on Local Action, Shriekin is back with Red Beach, this time on Bristol outlet Blacklink Sound. Meanwhile, Slackk has been lighting the world on fire, releasing the Backwards Light EP on R&S earlier this year and continuing to do work as a key member of the Boxed collective, all while maintaining a presence as something of a grime historian and keeping younger producers in check. On August 3, Blacklink Sound will release Red Beach and, fortunately, Slackk stepped in to remix Shriekin’s “Too Right”, a masterful piece of organized chaos that matches the Irish producer’s love for widescreen orchestral flair and a mean streak of bass bin rattling pulses and rearing square waves. Slackk pares the track down to a slightly more consumable size, adding a blocky, clanging kick pattern and an overlay of mesmerizing synth work. Blacklink Sound has done an excellent job of pushing younger producers to date and it’s a pleasure to see a more established, genre redefining name like Slackk attached to this project. Be sure to pre-order Red Beach here and get a free poster by ordering directly through Blacklink.
The practice of cutting dubs is often viewed as a rather arcane, outdated practice to many people in my age bracket (early 20s), enmeshed in a culture of exclusivity and privilege. More often than not, owning a selection of dubs is presented less as a means of playing out on-the-cusp tracks than a fundamental status symbol, awarding the owner a step up over the plebes without Loefah b-sides. Of course, digital dub culture isn’t any less insidious and the more the forums, groups and download sites infringe on the cool kids table, the more unfortunate conflict arises among young kids and scene veterans, DJs and producers, the United States and the UK. South London’s Riz La Teef seems to be one of the few good natured proponents of dub culture and he has filtered that responsibility into a few dozen, exclusive-laden, mixes over the past 24 months. Rinsing everything from roots reggae to jump up bassline, Riz’s adherence to vinyl and access to dubs from the likes of JT The Goon, Rabit and Novelist make him one of the most in demand and well respected deejays in both his native London and among the hordes of dispersed garage fans across the internet. We asked Riz about his favorite dubs from the past year and he was kind of enough to list them out and take some lovely photos of his hand-marked classics to be. Not all of these tracks will be revealed in the next months, but they will certainly live on in infamy, thanks to Riz’s spacious repertoire, innate deck skills and engaging demeanor. Peep his choices and a slideshow of each and every dub listed.
Gundam – Pulse Wedding VIP (RIZLA SPESH)
Def one of my favourite dubs I’ve cut this year. Played it a day after I cut it in a dance and it got reloaded 4/5 times.
Brackles & Fox – Skank + Famous Eno Remix
Not really a dubplate, but both tunes have a top vibe.
E.M.M.A – Pyramids, Peridot & Light Years
Pyramids is the coldest beat made this year imo and not alot of Emma’s stuff hasn’t been pressed to wax so I had to cut the other two beats!
Fallow – Strings Hoe Refix (RIZLA SPECIAL)
Fallow is a guy to watch out for next year for sure both his refixes and original tunes are quality. Big up to him for doing me special of strings ho refix.
Grandmixxer – Windrush VIP
Melody is so good, has been in my head for weeks.
Boycott – Kowloon Bae (RIZ VIP)
The original is such a sick tune and the guys blessed me with a VIP. Proper colourful vibes.
Iglew – Sleep Lighter VIP
Again Iglew is another guy to watch out for in 2015. Everything he’s done this year has been pretty special – Urban Myth, Cascade etc
JT The Goon – Twin Warriors VIP & Polar
JT is one of the best snm. Polar is a rude beat.
Apple – De-Siegalizer (Logos Refix)
Great cheeky refix and the mastering by Jason on the dub is so good.
Loom & Tarquin – Pompelmo Riddim
Fruity, eski dancehall from another two guys who I expect to do big things next year.
Mssingno – XE2 VIP BIELDUB REMIX PART 1
Actually cut this last year, but battered that dub so much had to cut it again!
Rabit – Black Dragons
Again not a dubplate anymore but was so gassed when Glacial sent me this month or so before its release. GULLY
Shriekin’ – Red Beach VIP
Maybe my favourite tune of the year??
Silk Road Assassins – Deadcell
The waviest beat made this year.
Wen – Backdraft/Walton – Bulldoze
Novelist – Yakuta
So excited to be able to cut this, Novelist is huge rn and gonna be even bigger next year. Excels in both MCin’ & production.
Murlo – Into Mist/Roman Baths
Was lucky enough to cut these before they came out. Into Mist has been in my bag as soon as I got it.
Inspirational mixes from the past week that deserve to reverberate beyond our “office”.
Over the weekend, the Astral Plane team ventured into warehouse land to attend the Fade to Mind/Night Slugs rave, featuring Bok Bok, L-Vis 1990, Nguzunguzu, Total Freedom and Prince William. The Fade to Mind cadre is known for throwing some of the wildest parties Los Angeles has to offer, but the Night Slugs component brought a larger-than-large system and a distinct London aesthetic into the fray. Us Angelenos are spoiled, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t look to New York here and there with a sly eye and a bit of jealousy. In this case, the envy is squarely focused on MOMA PS1’s summer Warm Up series, an expertly curated series of outdoor events featuring the likes of Robert Hood, Tessela, Mumdance, DJ Marfox, Evian Christ and many more. This past weekend’s event featured the inimitable DJ EZ alongside an all star cast of Todd Edwards, Maxmillion Dunbar, Ramona Lisa and Lit City Trax bossman J-Cush. To hype the event, PS1 asked J-Cush to contribute a “Warm Up Mix” and the result has enough fire power to resentment out of the most resolute characters. Lit City exclusives are placed alongside belters from Georgia Girls, Massacooramaan and Inkke and mixed in J-Cush’s signature spin back heavy style. I’ve pondered spontaneous cross country flights many a time this summer and J-Cush’s Warm Up mix might just do the same for you.
As part of the promo run for his upcoming LP on Innovative Leisure, Jim-E Stack stopped by Nina Las Vegas‘ Triple J show to lay down an hour of jazzy, psychotropic house, thumping call-and-response techno and disorienting club deconstructions. Tell Me I Belong hits on July 28 through the Los Angeles-based label and will feature ten originals from the genre-trotting Stack. In his Triple J mix, M.E.S.H. and Shlohmo are surprising bedmates with Shed‘s Head High alias and techno connoisseurs Kassem Mosse and Marcel Dettman. Throwing genre to the wind, Stack focuses primely on beatific, supernal melodic work, preferring carefully constructed, supremely patient constructions to anything that even hints at immediate gratification. That predisposition towards restraint shines in Stack’s existing productions and is exactly why the premise of a full-length from the mans is so tantalizing.
Moleskin, fresh off the release of his debut self-titled EP on Goon Club Allstars, brings tracks from “Chicago, Baltimore, London, Durban, New York, the internet” to the table for Clash. Rhythmic exploration is the name of the game here and Moleskin jumps effortlessly from Neana‘s metallurgy to the polyrhythms of DJ Firmeza and DJ Lag. Cop the Moleskin 12″ and you won’t be sorry.
And to top everything off, don’t sleep on Sharp Veins‘ (William Skeng) recent frozen entry into the Liminal Sounds archives, Australian curators of everything grimy and rough-hewn Ktrax ode to ghetto house and rave, or Shriekin‘s all-original contribution to the ever-growing Boxed family’s mix series.
Dance music is best produced and consumed in a kaleidoscopic manner. When history, genre and setting (both physical and mental) are swished together and coagulated into a singular, protean entity is when the form really flourishes. The digital age of music production has made the above painfully obvious and while it has resulted in a relative amount of democratization, the ensuing dilution in quality is also readily apparent. Especially when it comes to reigniting dance music classics. The internet and popular radio shows has opened up young listeners to a myriad of classic sounds and genres, from the relatively recent like dubstep and grime to the early 1990s sounds of ‘ardkore and gabber. Producers have attempted ad nauseam to replicate the sounds of yore and have largely failed in those attempts. The explosion of breakbeat sounds over the past few years has been a welcome percussive blast, but the amount of derivative imitators greatly outnumbers the true-to-form believers.
Irish producer Jack Sheehan aka Shriekin’ (formerly Shriekin’ Specialist) walks the line between pastiche and authenticity with meticulous passion, clearly pointing to grime’s past while refuting its more staid practices. Sheehan’s sound is cleaner and more clairvoyant than what one might expect from an instrumental grime producer, but that’s exactly the quality that sets him apart from his forebears. It’s a bright, exuberant sound that matches the film noir bombast of Ruff Sqwad with the tightly coiled, trance-sampling hip hop production of American production duo the Block Beattaz and the Dipset Trance Party mixtape series. Ironclad snares form the backbone of most productions and are matched against a distinct R&B aesthetic and the ever-distinctive eski sound palette.
For his Astral Plane mix, Shriekin’ turned time on its head and drew a squiggling line from the freshest sounds of 2014 down through contemporary iterations of grime’s classics. Forthcoming Matt Wizard (on Gobstopper), Samename (on Pelican Fly) and a hotly tipped Shriekin’ joint (on Local Action), start the mix off with a wish wash of industiral Jersey and skittering R&B. Before long, recognizable strains of Flukes, XTC, Dizzee Rascal and the somewhat more recent Joy Orbison (Gage’s bootleg is not one to miss) enter the picture and the mix takes on a reverent, cerebral air. It’s the type of mix that makes a listener both wildly nostalgic and ravenously excited for what the future has in store. And while there might be a mass of misguided revivalists, as long as we have artists like Shriekin’ in our mist, we’re in a good place.