So Tectonic, run by DJ Pinch, has been one of my favorite record labels for a long time, especially since the release of Tectonic Plates, Vol. 2, one-half compilation, one-half epic DJ mix, that showcases dark, contemplative, future bass-permutations across 2 CDs. They’ve just released one of the biggest singles of 2010 with Darqwan, aka 2-step legend Oris Jay on the AA side alongside Jakes, boss of Bristol-based Hench Records, which specializes in the heavier, more industrial side of the dubstep ‘ting. Darqwan’s track is broken beats, quiet vocal cuts that float in and out of the mix, and unrelenting, saturated eyes-down bass jabs. Jakes’ track has a swung, smooth gallop and crazy low bassweight, in addition to horrifying samples about the end of the world and the Mayan calendar.
Second, I don’t know how it took me this long to hear about it (big ups to Rub-a-Dub for making me aware of this and for hosting it on their server) but Skream recently released a four-track EP of originals and remixes that are totally free. There’s little consistency in the EP itself, with bangin’ bwah bwah trashers alongside a subtle 2-step bootleg remix of, yes, Show Me Love, but I’ve always been a fan of Skream so I figured I’d provide this for you freegans out there. You can download that all here.
Lastly, I went over the Hench website and saw that they’ve been posting free promo tracks from their mixtapes.
Their most recent give-away is some serious industrial darkness, accompanied by completely inane autotuned ethnic samples which I’m willing to overlook because the bass is so bangin’. This one’s from label artist Amirah. Thanks guys!
Artwork arranged by Sara Sheridan, developed by me.
I’ll never forget seeing Paris Is Burning for the first time this Winter and struggling to contain the thought-flow that emerged. What I grabbed on to most about the film and vogueing culture was how much the concept of Realness (I use caps for reasons) in Harlem’s black homosexual community applies to the fluidity of identity and expression in today’s digital music culture. Realness is obviously bigger than remix and dance music culture and is timeless, though it’s important to remember the timeliness of technology’s opportunity for a grand variety of expression, sharing, and interpretation. Below is a short clip of the film for those unfamiliar.
Dressed in so many styles and sounds, House music continues its tradition as a malleable sound to this today. From South Africa to Monterrey to London, House is hardly recognizable as House, its ashes are everywhere. Nightslugs label-head Bok Bok said in a recent XLR8R interview, “‘House [and] bass is a simple way to explain exactly what’s going on without getting too specific or reductive…’” So rather than play the genre game, lets just call it House and you decide for yourself.
1. NGUZUNGUZU – El Bebe Ambiente (Self-Released)
2. DJ Du Marcel – 2º Round (Self-Released)
3. Orion – Sueltala (Orion Edit) (Self-Released)
4. María y José – Duro Duro (Self-Released)
5. Fourt Tet – Sing (Mosca Remix) (Domino)
6. KG – 808 (Self-Released)
7. R1 Ryders – Rubberband VIP (Self-Released)
8. Thunderbird & Mivo – Super Bubski (This My Shit) (Self-Released)
9. De Schuurman – Nu Ga Je Danse (Self-Released)
10. Ralvero – Party People (Self-Released)
11. DJ Posh-E – Dada Supercat (Self-Released)
12. Marcus price – Var E Naaken (Girl Unit Remix) (Palms Out)
13. DJ Mike Q – The Ha Dub 2009 (Self-Released)
14. Dyna feat. Rix Richardson – Drum Along 2008 (Self-Released)
15. Magic Sysem – Zouglou Dance (Self-Released)
16. Debruit – Nigeria What? (Civil Music)
17. Chief Boima – Baobab Connect (Dutty Artz)
18. DJ Sdunkero – NDI (Self-Released)
19. Egyptrixx – Everybody Bleeding (Kingdom Remix feat. Shyvonne) (Nightslugs)
20. Anti – G – Full Up (Self-Released)
21. Brenmar – Kicked Beneath Too (Self-Released)
22. Samo Sound Boy – Taking It All (Palms Out)
23. DJ Miki – Desire On (Total Freedom Editorial) (Self-Released)
24. R. Kelly – Be My #2 (Dubbel Dutch RnB Edit) (Self-Released)
25. Deadboy – Way That I Luv U (Well Rounded)
So my favorite kinds of mixtapes are the ones that incorporate lots of exclusive vinyl rarities, and the ones that purport to showcasing an obscure or regional sound. This Mastermind Megamix, a blend of Boston raggamuffin hip-hop from the 90s, is loaded with records that I can guarantee you won’t find elsewhere, and in that sense is also just a straight-up historical artifact that provides an eye into a little-known but extremely innovative local hip-hop scene.
“Pace,” the DJ and the man behind Library of Vinyl, the blog that launched this mix a few weeks ago, set out to “prove that the Bean was rocking the ragga sound as hard as anyplace in the mid 1990s.” Honestly, I love how this complicates the dominant narrative of dancehall music, place, and location- people are always talking about the Jamaica, New York, Panama axis, and so many sites of exchange get left off the map; was Boston just feeding off of all of this great energy coming out of New York, or did these seemingly isolated Easterners manage to enter the feedback loop and change the game up with their unique contributions? Some of this stuff is new to me; I wasn’t aware that underground hip-hop and ragga deejay styles had been so close at one point and it seems like this was a really exciting time for music.
Alright, so the dude Rustie, pretty much king of the sloppy hip-hop sizzurp-step (I’m claiming royalties on that phrase) mixed up this crazy promo mix to get the hype up for this coming Friday’s FWD>> vs. Rinse rave in London. I’m loving the mixing techniques… it’s rare to hear battle scratching in mixtapes these days (at least in this scene), and with everyone focused on getting that perfect blend between tracks, Rustie just comes in holding a 40 oz. and pees on the whole DJ orthodoxy with his unique approach to the turntables. Or at least that’s how I see it. Expect synth-heavy, off-kilter shuffled hip-hop and future beats; lots of arpeggios, slippery triplets, over-compressed squishy-ness and vortex sounds coming out of nowhere. SO COOL!
So when you hear the word “minimal,” your mind probably jumps straight to thoughts of carefully refined clickity-clacks, tasteful sub-bass, and white people with glasses who want you to know that this isn’t just party music, but thoughtful and sophisticated sound art. (no offense) Enter Roska: the man who came out of nowhere snares and bongos blazing to pioneer a whole new brand of minimalism that’s taken the emphasis off of boops and bleeps in favor of raw, organic percussion and almost mathematically calculated syncopated rhythms.
Wotchu call it UK funky?
We caught up with the man himself this past week to get the run-down on his first North American tour this April and his new full-length album, put out by Rinse.FM’s record label. For those who don’t know, Rinse.FM is the UK pirate radio institution that’s been providing the world with the newest innovations in beat-craft since about 2004 (oh yeah, they also those crazy raves everyone’s been talking about), and this upcoming release is bound to be absolutely bananas, at least judging by the snippets that have been floating around the internet for a few weeks now. Roska’s signature minimalism even comes across in his interview!
Trash Menagerie: So I assume you’re pumped for your first United States tour. What are your stops along the way and who’s hosting you?
Roska: It’s turned in to a US & North America Tour now. I am hitting up along my journey: LA, ATL, Philly, SF, NYC, Boston, Portland, Toronto & Montreal. I don’t have a host. I think I can hold up the crowd with the selection pretty well. LOL.
TM: I’ve noticed that so much of your music has a raw, upfront percussive presence, and more and more we’re beginning to hear these crazy snares and bongoes trickle down into musical scenes that, before now, never asked for more than your average “kick-clap-kick-clap.” Look at that Major Lazer single, “Pon de Floor,” that shit has snares and bongos and shakers all over the place, and is obviously taking some cues from the new funky house movements. What do you think of that? Do you think that party much is accumulating more and more drums? Is this a trend you’re seeing?
R: Drums and percussive tracks work well in clubs and that’s what those sort of tracks are intended for. Pretty much most of my tracks are made for my love of percussion and hard hitting beats!
TM: People talk about this percussive insanity as related to the influence of Carribean and African party music, like Soca or South African house. Do you see that yourself?
R: Yes I do- most tracks that have this flavor have definitely been influenced by Afro-Caribbean music.
TM: I see that the artwork for some of the tunes you’ve released as your alter-ego, Uncle Bakongo, has featured stylized renditions of African masks. Where does Africa and the African influence figure in through all of this?
R: The Bakongo alias is strictly my love for minimal conga and bongo based tracks. I use the tribes from Africa to label each track.
TM: What are you really into right now? What’s on your playlist?
R: I just bought a Dâm-Funk CD, which I heard a track from recently, which prompted me to go out and get it. (support your favorite artists!)Also I went and bought back my copy of Dr. Dre 2001 – a classic album (Still waiting for Detox). Also I copped the Gorrilaz new album which is the main CD in the car at the moment.
R: People talk. To be honest, whenever there’s hype on a certain genre of music you will see all types of behavior. Funky is an in-between for all of those genres you mentioned, so we will see and be able to catch the ears of a wider audience.
TM: Who’s coming out to these parties? University kids? Rich clubs kids? Is it a relatively diverse dance scene?
R: All of those you mentioned come to those parties, but it depends on what area you play.
TM: What other kinds of party music do you fuck with when you’re at a gig? Do you every play grime or dancehall reggae or anything like that?
R: I usually drop some Dubstep alongside the funky if it fits in, but i like my sets to travel smooth like a nice car ride with a lot of energy.
TM: Lastly, I hear you’ve been releasing tunes on your own record label, Kicks and Snares. From what I understand, Kicks and Snares has only featured your own music. Is that ever gonna change?
R: May 17th – DJ Naughty – Firepower EP coming out on my label.
Thanks Roska! Come check him out if he’s stopping in your area, and cop the album when it comes out this Monday, April 5th.
Here’s a high-quality stream from DJ Naughty- this one’s a really hype funky remix of Sean Kingston’s innocuous “Fire Burning,” which you may or may not have blocked out of your memories from last summer. You can find it on Amazon + iTunes and all the other providers, except not in the United States because of silly proprietary issues.
And then there’s this awesome music video for one of the singles off of Roska’s debut full-length, Squark; this beat is weird and totally awesome, lots of squishy sounds and crazy syncopations that make me twist my body all crazy like a human pretzel. Roska said it best himself on twitter this morning:
“i played squark @ fwd last night and it messed up the dance differently #justsayin“
So I’ve been signed up for regular updates from Boomkat (the awesome Manchester-based record distributor that specializes in electronica, reggae, and various other breeds of contemporary art/party music) for about a year now, and every week they come through with a genre-centric 14-tracks package, a compilation of the best and brightest representing one genre, sub-genre, musical discipline, or even one significant musician. The series has included packages from individual geniuses like Vladislav Delay, Rustie, and Roska, as well as comprehensive anthologies of long-buried rave genres like early 90s hardcore jungle. (Sorry junglists!)
This week, they’ve decided to showcase the sounds of urban Scandinavia’s best-kept secret, an intriguing sub-genre known simply as Skweee! It’s kind of like IDM, except it doesn’t suck. It’s got the complicated, cerebral rhythms and sparkling lead synthesizers of IDM, but with glitch-hop coherence and consistent attention to the low-end presence. Alot of the stuff in this package brings an interesting throwback lo-fi approach, sounding like it was dubbed to tape and re-recorded through giant guitar amps. Perfect for bedroom listeners and ketamine-fiend warehouse ravers.
Here in Boston, the sound has started to pick up alongside wonky styles, glitch-hop, dubstep, and other variations of quirky bass music and now we’ve even got an on-topic monthly party night, aptly titled Lost in Bass, with residents Dsub, Professor Pious, and Stickem. You can check out the associate blog at the link above, which sports event listings, live mixes from the residents (and their favorite artists), along with other goodies.
No tracklist right now, being that it’s recorded live, we were all hella drunk, and I don’t think anybody bothered to write down what got played and when. But you can expect a carefully assembled selection of glitch-hop, skwee, dubstep, and half-step fidget jams for your aural pleasure. Enjoy.