In recent years, Paris has become home to some of the best parties in the general club music sphere, becoming an outpost for artists big and small to play out. The result is an ever-growing circle of producers and labels developing their own sound in the French capital, a sound that might be 100% unique to France yet, but that is certainly on its way to idiosyncrasy. Tommy Kid’s [Re]Sources label is a prime example of those developments, an operation that grew out of the party series of the same name and has featured artists like Chaams, Nunu, Dehousy and She’s Drunk on its compilations and solo releases. Lil Crack is the latest artist to join the [Re]Sources ranks, coming through the dancefloor-focused Inner Flight EP, four sleek, cutting original efforts joined by remixes from Endgame, Spooky and Pixelord (catch the first two at [Re]Sources tonight in Paris). “Tactical Violence” is the most stripped back, minimal of the release, three and a half minutes of ratcheting percussion and trap shouts that seem to reach into the deepest recesses of the body. Most dance music is programmed to elicit a certain emotional/corporeal response from the listener and Lil Crack’s arrangements on “Tactical Violence” are a perfect example, matching raw energy with a call to arms felt in both sonics and naming language. Pre-order Inner Flight here, out December 9 on [Re]Sources.
Photo by Dan Medhurst
A few years back, while on time off from a study abroad period in Morocco, I was able to attend MS Dockville, a smallish festival in Hamburg featuring the likes of Oneohtrix Point Never, Holy Other and Michachu and the Shapes. Having only attended American festivals to that point, my opinion of music festivals was bleak to say the least, literal fights for space and air in what could easily be described as gigantic cesspools of humanity. MS Dockville was a welcome reprieve from the glut and general decrepitude of the American festival, both in terms of programming and general respect on the part of attendees. There was no more space at the festival grounds in Hamburg than a midsize US soiree, but the way attendees interacted with the music and each other gave the whole event a neat, cozy overtone.
Since that weekend, I’ve been aching to return to a European festival and when a friend proffered the idea of making the trip to Pula, Croatia for Outlook Festival, the soundsystem culture-focused event happening across five days in an Austro-Hungarian fort on the Adriatic Sea, the opportunity was almost too good to pass up. The legend of Outlook and Fort Punta Christo runs deep and feasting on the lineup, especially names like Boy Better Know and Kromestar that us Americans can only dream of seeing on normal terms, became a regular activity in the months and weeks before the festival, the anticipation becoming almost overwhelming as we began our 30 hour jaunt across ocean and land to reach the small coastal city.
Looking back now, a week after Outlook’s world class soundsystems finally shut down, it’s hard to imagine we were on a beach watching Hatcha and DJ EZ play out classic-laden sets or at the festival’s unmatched Moat stage brucking out as Acre and Mumdance shook down the entire Fort at the Tectonic 10 party. And more than any individual set, the opportunity to attend a festival with near-total support for its modus operandi. In short, most of the people at this year’s festival were there because of their dedication to soundsystem culture and/or its various modern forms. With a few exceptions at the top of the bill, Outlook’s lineup was composed of labels, parties and artists outside of the general public eye, meaning the likes of Amy Becker, Parris and DJ Milktray having the opportunity to lay down high energy sets in front of huge, adoring crowds.
Hit the jump for a full run down of The Astral Plane team’s experience at Outlook Festival in Pula, Croatia…
With Outlook Festival 2015 under two months away, anticipation is nearing a fever pitch and planning has begun in earnest, much of it focused over the past few weeks on the festival’s infamous boat party circuit. And while several of the daytime parties have sold out, there are still tickets available for a number of absolutely out-of-control soirees. If you already have tickets to the Butterz, Bandulu, Deep Medi or Swamp81 (the list goes on) parties, then the rest of us can only look on in jealousy, but we still do have an opportunity to catch DJs like Kode9, Mumdance, Paleman and many many more. The following three parties are our personal selections (you’ll find us there) and hopefully offer up a good cross-section of what the day time programming has to offer. This is all purely hypothetical as 2015 is our first jaunt over to Pula so bare with us.
1. Resident Advisor Sunset Boat Party w/ Kode9 & Mumdance – Friday
The Hyperdub boss and grime provocateur take over this sunset boat party from start to finish and are sure to bring out a huge range of sounds. Considering that each has covered a remarkable amount of ground in their own productions, it’s almost inconceivable where this party will go. We do know that it will be a carefully curated experience covering the finest in on-the-cusp grime, dubstep and maybe a little mahraganat and footwork if we’re lucky. We’ve been lucky enough to catch Kode9 come through the United States a few times, but had the chance to see Mumdance so this will be an exciting occasion for our traveling team.
It’s not often that we in the US get an opportunity to catch garage legends and when they do come, they’re often shoehorned into overproduced house clubs or tacked onto the end or beginning of populist dubstep parties. It’s unfortunate, but there isn’t much of an American garage massive and even though the occasional DJ EZ jaunt across the country brings out droves, the groundswell of support needed to sustain a culture is rarely found. Which makes the Wavey Garms (“the kind of Facebook garment groups”) party that much more exciting for us, that once in a lifetime chance to catch legends like Artful Dodger and Hatcha bringing their livest records to a boat in the Aegean Sea. Spooky rounds out the lineup to complete the circle, offering different eras and perspectives on the classic 2 step sound and while others parties might offer more in terms of contemporary talent, Wavey Garms might just be the highlight of the whole trip for us.
3. Just Jam w/ Paleman, Big Narstie, Barely Legal, DJ Milktray b2b Tim & Barry – Sunday
While not the most stacked bill compared to some of the label parties bringing out their entire rosters, the Just Jam boat affair is sure to bring out a good collection of heads for buzzing Swamp81 repper Paleman, commentator/MC Big Narstie, Just Jam regular Barely Legal, and Glasgow’s DJ Milktray going back to back with Tim & Barry, the duo behind the whole operation. Not only will the boat party have a spectrum crossing array of sonics, the Just Jam folks know how to throw a good party as they’ve been doing in London for the last 15 years. One for the heads.
Check out the full Outlook Boat Party schedule after the jump…
Inspirational mixes from the past week that deserve to reverberate beyond our “office”.
Whenever DJ Slimzee or Slackk take to the NTS airwaves, the listener is sure to receive a number of cracking exclusives, dubs and deep cuts from the annals of grime past and present. Last week, the two joined forces for a special, guest heavy four hour special featuring Logos, Murlo, Trends, Oil Gang, Spooky and a brief appearance from man of the moment Mumdance who shows up just to play a Riko Dan-assisted version of “Take Time”. Astonishingly, 17 new JT The Goon tracks are rinsed and a bevy of other new ones from Dark0, Inkke and Shriekin that have left us scuttling around attempting to construct a track list.
With the release of Moleskin‘s eponymous EP on the very near horizon, the London-based Goon Club Allstars label has been on many a tongue. With Mssingno’s debut EP still making the rounds and Moleskin’s heavily anticipated tape being played out by the likes of Evian Christ and Bok Bok, the Goon Club team has done an excellent job of showing two very different sides of the grime-club spectrum. Even as they’ve inundated listeners with unique UK-centric productions though, the label has looked further south, focusing their attention on kuduro, dancehall and the multifaceted sounds of Lisbon. Back in May, the label gave away DJ Name’s “Name 4 U”, a palpitating blend of funky and interstitial continental madness, and the Goon Club DJs recently took to Sinden’s Kiss FM to show off a selection of heavily syncopated, densely rhythmic tracks from DJ Nigga Fox, President T and DJ Lag.
The Astral Black crew has always shown a predilection for early-aughts hip hop and R&B, specifically the chipmunk soul stylings of Kanye West and Just Blaze, and that influence has percolated to the surface of JonPhonics, Inkke and especially DJ Milktray‘s productions. To celebrate an upcoming European tour, Phonics and Milktray have joined together as Milkmakerz to bring you the sleaziest from Tweet, R. Kelly and Ginuwine as well as a heavy heaping of heat from Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan and Cam’Ron. It’s not so much an influence mix as it’s a mix of influences and if Phonics and Milktray’s joint output sounds anything like it, then we’re in for a treat.
Not that it’s anything new, but Bok Bok licked the most recent Night Slugs Rinse show with a dashing two hours of analogue techno, Neana and Neana-inspired drum tracks, and hyper-real synth machinations. If you haven’t rinsed BB’s Your Charizmatic Self EP to death, you’re missing out. The NS Rinse slot is about as essential as it gets.
As a House of Trax resident, Rushmore has worked tirelessly to bring ghetto house, ballroom and Bmore legends to East London and has expanded the HoT name into the label world under the Trax Couture nom de guerre. Alongside fellow HoT resident Fools, Rushmore has become one of the most recognizable names in the transitive world of percussive techno/house/ballroom and much of his best work comes out in his mixes. His Astral Plane volume is still a personal favorite and he recently contributed a volume for Mute, a Brighton club night that just happens to be putting on a massive July 4th happening featuring Kahn & Neek, Flava D, Last Japan, Dark0 and Sudanim. Rushmore’s mix is of a slightly different flavor, a full throttle mash of compatriots Akito, Grovestreet, Dreams alongside folk heroes DJ Clent and Slugo.
It was only two months ago when London’s Boxed club night, led by Slackk, Mr. Mitch, Oil Gang and Logos, released their eponymous, scene defining Vol. 1, but it appears that grime’s premier shapeshifters weren’t totally satisfied with their first offering. Boxed Vol. 2 picks up where the first edition left off, drawing from London’s rich musical fabric and subsequently tearing it apart, reconfiguring it and presenting it in a perfectly coherent melange of dancefloor and non-dancefloor oriented songs. The Boxed usuals all appear as do Dark0, Strict Face, Rabit, Chemist and Murlo, and the track list actually mirrors many of our most recent Astral Plane mixes. We’ve never had the pleasure of attending a Boxed night, but if Vol. 2 is anywhere near an approximation of Dalston’s finest instrumental grime happening then all of the hype is spot on.
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…
Next week, Big Dada will release Wiley’s “Born in the Cold” single, a track that certainly falls more on the pop/hip hop side of the Wiley spectrum. There’s nothing inherently bad about the original (it’s actually a quite functional track), but there’s something about the interloping piano melody and Andreena Mill’s vocals that comes off as a little bit heartless. Maybe to add a little heart (probably not), our favorite remix-tician Spooky threw an “Even Colder” rub on Wiley’s original, adding a few key eski signifiers and adding more space to the vocal performance. As he’s shown in the past, Spooky knows just how much pepper to throw on his edits/remixes, toeing the line between reinvention and reinterpretation and almost always falling on the correct side of the divide. The East London-based producer has no idea if the edit will ever see a release, but considering how most of his work sees the day of light sooner or later I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Riding on the back of a FACT mix and two (!) (one and two) “Party Packages” for Truants, East London grime don Spooky is on a real roll as of late. Always known as one of the very best grime DJs (often playing four or more sets a week on London’s long-running Deja Vu FM), Spooky has rightfully been getting more and more acclaim for the production side of his artistic acumen. On August 12, he will release “Baby”, a rollicking bassline jam, on Unknown To The Unknown. The release will feature a stacked remix lineup, ranging from Matrixxman’s buttery house to Flava D’s stringent garage manipulations. Spooky also carried out what we were all vaguely imagining, utilizing the four bar melody and bass hits of Kanye West’s “New Slaves” to create an unparalleled grime bootleg. Stream below and throw one up for the don.