I rarely share my DJ schedule with you (it’s not top secret, or very heavy) but I’m super honored and excited to be opening for Buenos Aires’ duo the Frikstailers (pronounced “Freak Stylers”) this Wednesday, September 29th at the Nectar Lounge here in Seattle. I’ll be playing alongside Seattle badman DJ Darwin of Mad Rad fame, and it’s only $7 if you snag tickets right now!
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the work of Buenos Aires label and club night ZZK (pronounced Zizek), then I’d do yourself a favor and backtrack to their excellent “Cumbia Digital” compilations that have come out over the past 2 years. Through various conduits of musical excellence and taste, namely DJ/Rupture and Geko Jones of Dutty Artz or Disco Shawn and Oro 11 of San Francisco-based label Bersa Discos, Latin America’s decades-old Cumbia style has been elevated to international intrigue and recognition.
Self-described as “Cumbia Digital,” or Digital Cumbia for the non-Spanish grammar folk, ZZK has defined itself as a truly pioneering force behind the re-invention of a sound the was born in the folk traditions of Columbia to a sound that is inspired by everything from Dancehall and Hip-Hop to Dubstep and House. ZZK’s roster of artists is perhaps overwhelming at first glance, but few artists rise to distinction like the Frikstailers.
Released earlier this month, the Frikstailers’ latest EP “Bicho de Luz” is an infectious whirlwind of sounds and styles, samples and shuffles, and is a great snapshot of what to expect from them on their North American tour. Few sounds seem to be uniting genres and styles like Cumbia, and with American producers like New York’s Uproot Andy or Austin, TX’s DJ Orion traveling the world with their own Cumbia styles, few genres seem to be maintaining the freshness that Cumbia has been maintaining over the last year.
Available for download are a couple goodies from the Frikstailers duo. The first is a free high-quality download of the track “Dancehallete” from their “Bicho de Luz” EP. Also, available today via XLR8R magazine is a Frikstailers remix of international-renowned Colombian band Bomba Estereo.
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!
I don’t know whether you share this dream with me: I’ve been dreaming of a festival, on the beach; with great music, disco and pop, mostly electronic; nice weather of course; good food and lovely wine.
Apparently some creative people have been not only been dreaming of this but they organize a festival on the isle of Corsica, France, which seems to be too good to be true. Calvi On The Rocks takes place from July 2 – 6 in the town of Calvi.
The line-up is blowing my mind:
LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, Carl Craig, Joakim, Mayer Hawthorne, DJ Koze, Chloe, Midnight Juggernauts, Holy Ghost, Munk, Breakbot, The Twelves, Jupiter, Chateau Marmont, Jamaica, Yuksek, and many more.
But it get’s even better: during the day, there are DJ-sets at the beach; the concerts later at night take place at an outdoor venue in town and even later there are, of course, the after parties…
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“
Fresh out the SXSW loony-bin, I’m filled to the brim with potential posts and inspiration. Never before has there been such a fusion of forces in one place, and I’m humbled to have been witness to all of it. A major conjoining force this week was San Francisco’s Cumbia party Tormenta Tropical, hosted by Disco Shawn and Oro11. They’re record label Bersa Discos has been recent home to digital interpretations of Cumbia, its artists reaching from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires. Linking sounds and artists must be their specialty, as an absolutely legendary line-up of artists ranging from Toy Selectah to Kingdom came through their showcase here at SXSW.
After the success of Tormenta Tropical and SXSW, it’s clear that the sounds of Cumbia are becoming embraced by other parts of the underground dance music world, and beginning last January Disco Shawn and a few other cohorts including SF-based Wireblock/Numbers artist Ghosts On Tape, Rollie Fingers, and Lazer Sword’s Low Limit have begun a monthly UK Funky/House party entitled Icee Hot. Already playing host to Martin Kemp, this month they have Shortstuff visiting, each of them producers just beginning to make strong impressions on the scene. Promoting his appearance is a mix of white hot tunes that are about as of the moment as you can get with these sounds. If you’re in SF this weekend be sure to make it out to this, it is Shortstuff’s first time the states, and a truly unprecedented visit for these artists.