Two summers ago we debuted Bartosz Kruczynski a.k.a. The Phantom‘s swirling, xylophone-tinged “Cambodia,” a track that eventually saw release on a Top Billin’ compilation of UK Funky that attempted to capitalize on the nascent genre. The compilation was OK, but Kruczynski’s participation was the highlight, and now after over a year of negotiating a proper debut EP, Senseless Records will finally do his music justice.
My favorite aspect to The Phantom’s productions is that he gives melody the utmost of attention. From “Cambodia” to his EP’s two tracks “Girl” and “Night Game,” whooshing piano and synth melodies carry his tracks into the heat of the night while he lets his percussion remain fresh but understated.
Titled simply, The Phantom EP, the record is out December 6 and features remixes from Trash-favorite and U.S. bass hopeful Brenmar, U.K. producer Hackman, and fellow Pole Zeppy Zep. Zep’s bombastic, epicly layered remix of “Night Game” is available for download below!
Fog’s back with a wickedly fresh remix of Renegade’s Threshold. This one’s a fair bit quicker than Renegade’s original, but sticks close to it’s original vibe – adding a cheeky vocal sample from one of Barack Obama’s speeches.
I apologize for not connecting with all of you more recently. My life has changed in the last couple weeks, including a move to San Francisco for a hot second before I make my exodus to New York City, and even a new job!
Straight from the man like Nate Mars (producer, PR, taste-maker) comes a project from Chico Mann aka Marcos Garcia, a Cuban-born musician based in New York who has toured with the likes of Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, plays a multitude of instruments, and makes music that draws on everything from Hip-Hop and Electro to 30′s years of Afro-Cuban musical intersection.
Out on October 23rd is Chico’s first full-length Analog Drift for the esteemed Wax Poetics label and here are two cuts from the record. The first, “Go to the Place” takes (real) electro’s bounce and uses it as a jump off for Afrobeat guitar strokes that get extra funky when a bubbling synth creeps in after the chorus. The second track, “Ya Yo Sé” continues with Chico’s love of soul, funk and Afrobeat, building on the warmth of the first song with a song about love and longing.
I highly recommend that you check out Chico live. He has just returned from Australia and is out on the road in the U.S. beginning next week. Tour dates and free tunes are below!!
10.20 The New Parish Oakland
10.21 The Elbo Room San Francisco
10.22 330 Ritch San Francisco
10.23 The Mint Los Angeles
10.24 Little Temple Los Angeles
10.27 Santos Party House NYC
10.28 The Vagabond Miami
10.29 The Mink Backroom Houston
10.30 The Scoot Inn Austin
I’ll be checking in with you all soon, hopefully with more notes from the underground.
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.
What do you think about when you think about Africa? What do you hear when you listen to Africa? And, what does one write about when they write about Africa? These questions are important questions. Single dimensions are rampant in many visions of Africa, particularly concerning the political and economic instability of many African nations. However, these common struggles don’t equate singular cultural expressions, an easy lens to pick up when few alternatives are offered.
African musics vary immensely, though what is often brought to the U.S. ear is a window of African music that shines with a Pop brightness most easily digestible by short attention spans and a low tolerance for abrasion. African music is Amadou & Mariam, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Fela Kuti, Ali Farka Toure, and all those groups Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel worked with, whatever their names are. These artists are legendary and important, however is that what Africa listens to? No. At least, not anymore. Since Hip-Hop’s rise to global prominence, most major urban centers in Africa: Nairobi, Abuja, Kampala, Abidjan, listen to Rap music. 2pac, Biggie, and Jay-Z.
Dutty Artz co-founder DJ Rupture (Matt Shadetek is the 2nd half) helms the mixing in this introduction to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivore’s Rap group CIAfrica, made up of producer Green Dog (Amadou Komara) and a host of rappers like Manusa, Barboza, and Prince Abraham. There could hardly be a better candidate to create a path through their music, as Rupture is best known for mixtapes like Gold Teeth Thief, where he fused the abrasivness of Breakcore and Noise with American Rap/R&B, Dancehall, and Middle Eastern Rai, offering a worldview that signified cultural/musical embrace while never claiming that it was as easy as it sounds.
CIAfrica are one of the few Hip-Hop projects to coalesce on the African continent that provide an evocative portrayal of political turmoil, cynicism, and outrage. Often filled with the chaos of compressed snares and drums, earth-shaking bass, and lyrical ferocity, CIAfrica is the raw underbelly of West African urbanity, where the marginalized musics of the colonized and the colonizer are channeled by political frustration and economic unrest.
Traditional West African music is no where to be seen here, and why does it have to be? The prideful, power-hungry energy of Rap, Jamaican Dancehall and UK Grime is as much a part of the globe’s musical narrative as they lead back to their respective places of origin. Manusa’s “J’Fuck” is available for download below, and will no doubt whet your appetite for the delightful grist and dirt that is CIAfrica. Also, check out CIAfrica’s video for “Dans Mons Pays” for visual representation of what is often consumed aurally.
Ahead of his next release on Air Recordings, Mr No Hands has been very busy dragging this bouncy track “Back to the Future” adding more wubs and boom than you can shake a stick at!
This is a full time happy breaks tune which has his distinctive handwriting all over it! How he’s managed to keep the happy bounce and at the same time had such dirty levels of grime I am unsure. All I can say is that I can’t recommend this tune enough… Visit his new podcast page to download it now.