So Jamie Grind, recently signed to Infrasonics alongside such names as Spatial, xxxy, Hot City, and Ike Release, recently recorded an absolutely head-spinning mix for one of my favorite blogs, Sonic Router. Its packed with all kinds of future music across a number of genres, but underneath it all is a tendency towards broken beats, odd syncopations, as well as big bass and chopped, pitched-up, wonked-out vocal cuts. It’s really challenging, provocative stuff that doesn’t sacrifice the GROOVE that so many people overlook in trying to support head-y, bizarre, art music. You should check out the interview over at Sonic Router, as well as Jamie Grind’s recent release on Infrasonics, Balloon, which is more of the same twisted, dis-orienting but ultimately GROOVY rhythm-driven club music that is incubating in and around the UK right now. Still, doesn’t anyone else get all nostalgic over a time when Dubstep was just Dubstep?? Just kidding. Infra12003 a2 jamie grind – balloon by Jamie Grind
Anyways, I love Sonic Router and I love this mix; the blog is consistently smart with their reviews, cutting-edge music taste, and it seems that since they’re so involved in the scene over there across the pond, they’ve got a direct line to the artists and the industry people that are making the changes that we get to report in the blogosphere.
By the way, if you check out the Infrasonics website, they’ve got a bunch of unreleased downloads from some of the label heads… Check it out here.
So everybody’s been talking about the death of Dubstep (not to mention the death of hip-hop, authenticity, and the author) and the ascendance of lighter, more party-oriented steppas’ delights; you know, the funky, 2-steppy, post-garage stuff that’s been ruling the dancefloors on both sides of the pond. I’d tend to agree that some of this half-time wobbly shit is getting a little old as musicians prioritize industrial synth patches and raved-out aural violence over the percussive subtlety, minimalism, and negative space that early Dubstep borrowed so well from Dub itself. I’m not saying the wobbly shit is no good, I’m just saying that to include banging wobble bass at the expense of the many elements that make a tune worth hearing is a sad mistake, and one that’s being made all over the place. I won’t name any names, but you know who you are.
Regardless, what I mean to say is that, despite all these (understandably) resentful listeners claiming the death of Dubstep left and right (shortest-lived genre ever?), the eyes-down, half-time skank is in fact alive and kicking, thanks to a few innovative artists doing their thing, both in Europe and the United States.
First up is Gemmy, part of the “purple” contingent- you know, Joker, Ginz, Gemmy, Guido, Rustie- that’s managed to tastefully incorporate elements of West Coast hip-hop, glitchy chiptune jams, and bashy Grime, among other things, into the Dubstep vocabulary to stretch the sound just that much further. He’s just released a new single on Earwax, one of my number one labels right now, having released some of my favorite work from Ginz, Liondub, and Jack Sparrow. This is some square-wave, half-step euphoria that builds and drops in all the right places; subtlety certainly isn’t the name of the game, more like satisfaction, precision, and bass-weight. “Last 3 Digits” is definitely the highlight of the single. Buy the vinyl at Boomkat, wait for the digital release, or head over to the Earwax website to enter for a chance to win a signed, limited-edition test pressing direct from the label.
Up next is Sepalcure’s debut EP on the indefatigable Hotflush record label; these two dudes, Travis Stewart (Machinedrum) and Praveen Sharma are a little bit more on that syncopated, ethereal end of the spectrum, with dense layers of unusual, yet coherent, percussion arrangements, crisp, swingin’ hi-hats, liquid atmospheric sounds, and soulful vocals that create the right mood without being overly referential or tacky. ‘Cuz we all know how tacky soul vocals can be. The four-track EP is undoubtedly feeding off of the energy coming out of this flourishing UK house scene, but manages to retain that marijuana-friendly lean-back lighters-in-the-air vibe that makes us love Dubstep so much. This four track EP is out on vinyl, and available digitally at Beatport.
And while we’re on the subject of that PURPLE ‘ISH – which I may get sick of at some point but definitely haven’t as of yet- I just stumbled upon this brand new Kavsrave EP out on Numbers, another infallible record label with an EXTREMELY AWESOME website.
Though I doubt this record needs any help getting sold, it’s worth talking about; it’s riding on the same contemporary wavelength with gorgeous, floating RnB vocals, fat, saturated synths that can satisfy you even through laptop speakers, and unmistakably hip-hop influenced drum-machine beats that will turn any hype dancefloor into a cavern of nasty stanky slow dance. Download it over at Boomkat and keep your eye on Numbers because I can assure you that label is the future!!
Nic Thayer has been busy, real busy putting the final touches to his debut album on Passenger Records. It features some fantastic collaborations from the likes of Black Noise, as well as this it features guest vocals from N’FA, SPORTY O, Sway and MIKE BEATZ & LEX-ONE. You may remember Lex-One from the rather infectious worldwide radio and club hit Riverside (Let’s Go).
Listen to Nick Thayer – Just Let it Go
Listen to Nick Thayer – Just Let it Go on Soundcloud
Just Let it Go Tracklisting
Bring On The Drums
Can’t Touch Me Now ft. Lex One & Mike Beats
Let It Go ft. NFA
The Pressure Point ft. Sporty-O
Reach For The Lazers
Give Me Some More ft. Sporty-O
Grey Sky Blue ft. NFA
Rockin It ft. Black Noise
Divide And Conquer
Mercedes Benz (Nick Thayer Club Dub) ft. Sway (Bonus Track)
Download Free Nick Thayer Tunes
To celebrate the fact that Just Let it Go is now out, he’s giving away two free 320kbps tracks for free!
Remix Nick Thayer’s Gonna Getcha
It doesn’t end there,Nick’s been very generious and also offered the parts of one of tunes on this album yourself. To get involved, simply download the parts and get involved. All he asks is that you label your creation as this: Nick Thayer – Gonna Getcha (YOURNAME’s Remix).
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“
Happy New Year to everyone. I am a little late, I admit.
I am back from my blogging hiatus with a really important message: if you haven’t heard it yet, you need to download the debut album by Fear of Tigers right now. It’s probably the best album of 2009 (besides, of course, “Walking On A Dream” by Empire Of The Sun)
And if you’re not satisfied with what you got for Christmas, this is the ultimate comforter.
It’s called “Cossus Snufsigalonica”.
Aleks from Discodust was so nice to upload the album to a whole bunch of online storage sites.
Whether driven by their influences or written from pure discovery (most likely a merger of the two) CASXIO sounds like a band that stepped out of the seventies and transported their sound into the present. The glowing neon keys and funky back beats on their Seventeen EP are simply seductive. Hearing this music makes you just want to shake your ass and throw up those ones (you know, that index finger gun you flash and wave when the funks got hold of you). It’s actually a tease, as we only get two newbies here; “Seventeen” and “Boiling Point”. The other three tracks are remixes of the title track.
“Seventeen” is a song that would fit beautifully into an uplifting scene from a disco documentary, or Pete Tong’s record bag during sunset at Café Del Mar in Ibiza. Floating vocals, a pounding 4/4 kick, the crash of cymbals and the short, driving guitar rifts make this track the perfect choice for soundtrack work. It’s vintage without sounding dated. “Boiling Point” kicks things off on a somber piano tip, making you think for a second that an electro ballad maybe coming. The mood is mellower here, but the chorus reels the funk back in. This is solid head-bobbin’ music, the kind that triggers your swagger a little bit.
The Glass drops serious funky, deep tech house knowledge with their mix. The wah wah of the acid bassline makes it bang nicely. It’s perfect for that 5am get-em-back-up-and-moving set on the decks. Golden vs. Public bump 80’s flash and synths with their interpretation. They even toss in the classic electronic triangle stab (think “Ring My Bell”) for good measure. Skrillex AKA Sonny Moore pitch the BPMs up a bit for their remix. Again we get a taste of classic 80’s club culture: Thumping pads and synths arranged for the big city dancefloor, claps, quick loops, catchy chorus and all. This is party music for the unpretentious.