We’re all aware of the cold, wintery conditions across the country today, and this is exactly the sort of audio track you’re going to want to fill your room with as we all hide away from those seemingly threatening frozen flakes of water. An instrumental of great quality, the production is made up of atmospheric synths that progress and move dynamically throughout the track and a lead melody of keys that anchors the entire song well, with subtle changes to it throughout: the opening laces together two different piano melodies, before stripping away the backing notes in favour of allowing the foreground more room to breathe. It results in the melody becoming repetitive, but that’s not a bad thing here; it’ll zone you out long before the end, and this is a great listen to get you wound down from the week. Look out for his You Are Brutal EP on 28th January.
I’ve got mixed emotions about this, but not for musical reasons. It’s a collection of unreleased material from the gifted producer, recorded between 1997 and 2001, and compiled lovingly for his fans to enjoy. However, it’s bundled together into one big megamix, meaning we don’t get to properly appreciate each individual piece, and rather have to listen to the entire 38 minute experience. Now, I appreciate many do enjoy doing that, and it definitely gives the project a ‘top-to-bottom album’ feel, but there’s no doubt his massive fanbase would have also preferred to own the seperate pieces.
Enough complaining though, as I’m far from ungrateful for this (honestly)-nearly 40 minutes of production from Four Tet for free is never a bad thing, regardless of format. Check the collection out below.
I’ve taken a real interest in, and liking to, Toro’s music in recent months and it’s with great anticipation that we get this official album preview, a week before its due for release.
The singles released to date have been excellent, whilst his past works are the measuring stick for the chillwave movement, and hopefully that’s all going to culminate in a fantastic 13-track LP on this third go-around for Toro. Thanks to Pitchfork for putting this stream together; you can check out the entire project for yourself below, pre-order the album here, or buy the thing on iTunes next week.
Toro and Dog Bite are set to embark on a tour together, and to commemorate that they’ve put together a shared vinyl single, set for release on 29th January. Toro’s let his section of that release go, and it’s another good listen from the gifted producer, whose own Anything In Return album is released next Tuesday.
It’s a lively soundscape from Toro, with four distinct parts (as the title may suggest), each rather unexpectedly following after the other. The first throws juicy synths and crisp percussion in with repeated electronic melodies for a slightly throwback style, before a soulful hip-hop style percussion takes control via a great vocal sample and thoroughly punchy percussion. That gives way to a beat combining jazzy horns with a broken drum line for a slightly offbeat style that’ll be a hit with Dilla fans, and he closes with an experimental style that thrusts forward a shrill vocal sample over a barely-there production of equally-piercing synths that threatens to destroy your ears. Not a fan of the closer, but the previous 3 parts are very enjoyable, and this is a unique and likeable release ahead of that album and tour.
I was surprised to find Kavinsky is gearing up to release his debut LP next year. Why is it a surprise? The first tracks I had of his are now almost 7 years old, and given that I’d mostly forgotten about him, I assumed he’d have released an album years ago. Nonetheless, Outrun is on the way, and given that fellow electro act sebastiAn is also on production duty for the LP, there’s a lot of potential in that album.
He’s entered mainstream consciousness for his work on the Drive soundtrack, and now lets his lead single loose, the clip for which is heavily influenced by that film. The audio utilises Kavinsky’s electro sensibilities and mixes them in with a heavy dose of atmosphere, with the combination of sharp, 80′s-esque power synth with slow-paced yet sharp percussion giving the track a bright intensity, and the end result is a cinematic piece that fits the visuals well. The clip is car-heavy, as mentioned above with the Drive influence, featuring Kavinsky roaming around the dark roads being hunted by police, who he proceeds to (spoiler alert) maim at the end. Nothing massively complicated, but a visual full of urgency to accompany the audio, and it’s a good all-round audiovisual that sets his 2013 album up nicely.
A very interesting collaboration for a number of reasons. Angel Haze is definitely one of the brighter newcomers on the hip-hop scene, and given her relatively new status, this is a fantastic opportunity to showcase her abilities to a more mainstream audience. She’s known for her more lyrically detailed style, and hence her adjustment to rapping and singing in a manner that has a wider appeal is a great sign of her flexibility.
Given Rudimental’s usual intense, somewhat glitchy electro approach, this is surprisingly serene, with soft percussion layered with tethered synth pulses to give the track enough liveliness without overwhelming it in energy. As an entirety, it’s far closer to chillout electro than anything you’d expect to hear on the dancefloor. Angel’s flows in the verses are excellent, moving with the production work skilfully, and this is a good all-round effort that demonstrates the versatility of both acts.
Another excellent remix from the talented Star Slinger, as he takes arguably the most popular track from Kendrick’s GKMC album and adds a little liveliness to proceedings.
Given the holy status of this track has attained amongst Kendrick fans already, tweaking it will naturally be met with some apprehension, but fear not as it ends up being more a sampling of the track than a rework and makes for good listening. The slower percussion is thrown out for something sharper and quicker, which combines with the distinctive guitars of the original (or more accurately, of the Boom Clap Bachelors sample) and a couple of new synth additions for a beat that may help this become a club favourite. The only vocal used is the memorable hook, which works well with the new beat in its new context here, and this is a good remix that might just help the track spread to otherwise-uninterested fans of other genres. Thanks to Ed for the find.
Toro’s worked with the OFWGKTA clan a couple of times in the past (most recently here), and here he enlists one of the group’s most prolific and improved MC’s of the last 12 months to come through with a remix.
Toro’s production work is first class here, and it’s clear why this is a single before Hodgy’s even touched it. There are atmospheric notes, sharp and lively elements and a set of uplifting synths that combine for a positive beat with excellent depth and superb layering. The likeable vocal work has a strong pop influence and that injects itself into the production slightly, giving the track a much wider appeal than Toro’s usual experimental works, and also adds a sense of structure and direction, one which allows for a smooth segue into the excellent Hodgy verse. His delivery varies between high-speed and slower annunciation, and he’s clearly very comfortable in both styles, capping off what is an enjoyable all-rounder that could make an impact in mainstream circles.
Their upcoming (III) album is shaping up to be one of the best electro releases of the year, and here goes one final preview before it finally lands on 5th November.
A recurrent theme, somewhat paradoxically, has been the diversity of every release from the album. That trend continues into this effort, which is considerably more positive and upbeat than almost everything we’ve heard from the LP, courtesy of melodic and soft vocal work from Alice Glass and light yet sharp supporting synths. The pulsating nature of the latter creates a vibe of controlled freneticism (I’m a paradox machine today), whilst the ever-changing percussion moves the track across a few different styles, at points threating to break into a high-paced mainstream affair, and slowing down at others to focus on the vocals. A good track with plenty of dynamism, and be sure to grab that album on Monday.
I’m sure you get hundreds of these a week, so here’s another one to add to the pile (sorry!) I’ll keep it short and sweet. I’m a 21 year old producer from London. Just so you know, I’m not shit.
We get thousands of submissions monthly. Some are good, some are bad but most are from PR companies reusing the same old email title and the same old email template. Boring and samey. So, if you take the time to write the above in your email about your free EP (download or stream), you’ve got my attention. If your material then walks the walk, you’re about to get everybody’s attention.
For artists who put out instrumental work, there’s nothing to hide behind. No flashy hook or witty punchlines. You’re judged entirely on what’s presented, not what’s percieved, and hence it can be incredibly difficult to ‘get it right’. As most producers don’t accomplish that, others who do get slept on, and understandably so. Wake up. → Continue Reading Catching Flies-The Stars EP
If you’ve got any sense, you’ll have checked out the one previous release from this EP back in August, the Jesse Boykins III-featured Come. Now, The Weeknd’s former producer lets loose of the entire 5-track project and it’s one that chillout and alternative R&B fans will undoubtedly enjoy.
Fusing together soul sensibilities, moody R&B influences and doses of chillout electro, the productions are diverse and distinctive, and the atmospheric soundscapes couldn’t be a better answer introduction to Rose as a standalone producer. From the lively stylings of Girlgirlgirl, to the eerie Loss Config., the summer vibe of So Soon We Change and 138, which seems to be somewhere between the three, there’s a lot of variety here and enough to suggest Rose has a great future ahead of him. Hopefully, there’s more to come soon, but for now stream the EP over at Bleep below.
Following on from their bizarre video for Plague, the duo let loose another single from their upcoming (III) album, and it’s another piece of gripping electronic music that will get listeners really going for that LP.
The production’s overall vibe is one of muted intensity. The synth work throughout is urgent and driving, yet the percussion remains subdued for the verses, before livening up for a hook with plenty of bounce but once again brings that ‘held down’ quality back via vocals from Alice Glass that are very much pushed into the background. It’s an interesting combination of styles that should give this a huge appeal; despite the unique production structure, the actual song structure is classic electro, with slow verses that build to a pulsating hook. Good work from the duo, and one that’s going to warrant many replays. Could do without the screechy ending though.
I’m a big fan of several Star Slinger remixes, but never actually knew he put out original material too. You learn something everyday etc.
This one’s somewhere between electro and pop, and generally speaking that’s a combination built for mainstream success. This should be no different. Slow-paced percussion combines with synth pulses that sound straight out of the 90s/early 00s, whilst a plethora of other additions such as keys and vocal samples combine to give the track plenty of layers without stifling them individually. The vocal work is a little basic at times and doesn’t always feel necessary, but it’s not particularly to the detriment of the beat and instead just sort of meanders along with it. A good listen that could be a club favourite this winter.
And yet, oddly engaging. I found myself pausing it at 20 second intervals to have a break, but I’d still go back to watch more. The video essentially has its character undergoing some kind of possession or mental episode in a subway, throwing herself around viciously and generally being rather unusual. The interjection of a brief scene of what appears to be a flashback to her teaching ballet heightens this, as one of her students completely snaps mentally, something that’s never easy to watch. There’s are no unecessary layers of storyline. This is meant to be very uncomfortable viewing and that’s exactly what it is.
The audio is, by contrast, much more layered and makes for a good listen. Opening slowly and somewhat ominously, the track moves into a pulsating hook that seems to be firing synths out at a relentless rate, when in fact it isn’t: the sheer intensity of them is overwhelming, particularly when coupled with the ferocious visuals and sharp, distinctive vocals of Alice Glass. An audiovisual with a ton of uniqueness.
A spectacular cover from Hawaiian duo ALT/AIR, and one that will endear them to pretty much anyone who likes the original version on Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange.
The track opens minimally, supporting the delicate vocals with little more than clicks and an atmospheric yet light synth, and it’s a great start to establish the vocal and production talents of the duo. What follows is an explosion of sound, with a screaming electro-infused melody, taking centre stage alongside strong percussion work and several additional elements for a richly-layered and intense blast of sound. From there it’s all alternations with the stripped-back styling of the opening, swapping enough times to end with a real bang and keep the song firmly engrained on your mind. An excellent example of dynamic beatmaking and endearing vocals, and a nice complement to the outstanding original. Stream below, or download here.
Just in time for London’s annual Notting Hill Carnival festivities, BBC Radio 1 DJ and Ninja Tune producer Toddla T gives a nod to the classic jungle vibes of Carnival past on ‘Code To Crack’. Joining him on the track are two of West London’s hottest residents, Island Records’ Cleo Sol, fresh from the release of her debut single ‘Never The Right Time’ and grimes MC of the moment, Scrufizzer.
True to Toddla T’s sound, ‘Code To Crack’ is a bass heavy banger, laced with Cleo’s fierce soulful vocals and Scrufizzer’smad signature tongue twisting flow. Cleo’s next single ‘Are You Ready’ will follow in October.
True Tiger set Maida Vale alight when they dropped in to see Mistajam last week to perform four tracks from the new EP, Eye of the Tiger Volume 2, alongside a live band. The EP will be released via the collectives Facebook page, through their new label, Stripes Records, on September 3rd 2012. Trust us, it’s full of absolute bangers with a track for everybody and features the likes of Maiday, Newham Generals, Maxsta, P Money & Drifter, Scrufizzer, Dot Rotten and Mic Righteous.
You can check out the True Tiger Maida Vale session by clicking right here.
Maida Vale session tracklist: Top of the Chain ft Newham Generals | Big Love – ft Maiday | Put Your Bets On – ft Scrufizzer | Salute – ft Dot Rotten
A welcome change of pace with what can probably be considered chillout electro, taken from Simian Mobile Disco’s upcoming A Form of Change EP.
Despite being nearly 7 minutes long, it’s one of those tracks that’s so superbly relaxing that you hardly notice. The first couple of minutes are spacey and reserved, building towards a middle section that includes some minimal percussion and melodies that add a slightly more psychedelic vibe, before stripping those melodies away for a bassy synth that viciously swings in and out. The final quarter combines both the trippy melodies and the hypnotising synth, and whilst it on paper (or screen) it seems like it’ll be an intense cacophony of sounds, it really isn’t that at all, maintaining a mellow vibe that makes this incredibly listenable. Good progressive stuff, and if the rest of the EP is like this, it’ll be a project worth grabbing.
Not hugely (remotely) familiar with the original, but as a big fan of Mike G’s raps and The Internet’s general existence, there’s plenty of attraction to the track, and it actually stands up fairly well.
The video is trippy, deliberately rough looking and mostly random-everything you’d expect from an Odd Future involvement. There’s little more to say besides it’s hypnotising and works strangely well with the audio. It’s completely bizarre and yet I just can’t stop watching it.
Matt Martians (who I’m assuming helmed most of the production work as part of The Internet) does a great job with the beat, keeping it funky and bouncy throughout but throwing in those spacey, atmospheric, Jet Age of Tomorrow-esque synths where he can, making for a good overall beat that’s prevented from becoming annoying by simply being quite short. The highlight for me is undoubtedly Mike G’s verse, with his relaxed yet ever-slick flow being a great contrast to the psychedelic production, whilst his lyricism works within the confines of the track well without stunting his naturally clever style. The YouTube description suggests this is out on 19th August, so keep an eye out for it to hit iTunes then.
RAC’s done an interesting job with the production here. Almost entirely stripping out the guitars and swapping the percussion for a softer track, it’s taken much of the sharp, jagged qualities out of the track and replaced it with an accessible sheen that makes for pretty solid listening. The synths and funky melodies that substitute for the guitars on the verse and hook are enough to make this a potential dance favourite, though the excellence here is in the vocal sampling: Kele’s vocals got a little drowned in the crashing instrumentation of the original, and here their catchiness is given much more exposure, with the snippets used blending well with the production’s movements. Good remix that will find some fans in the mainstream audience.
Having been released way back in December, in today’s short-term music climate it feels like this song has been out forever. Nonetheless, Azealia included it on her recent 1991 EP and it’s set to be her next single, with a pretty strong reception to the track from mainstream heads thus far, and hence it’s a good selection for the visual treatment.
Whilst it lacks the instant ‘cool’ of 212, this is a good video style to try and crack that mainstream crowd. It’s bright, colourful, fun and stylish, as Azealia’s allowed to express a little more freedom in terms of showing off her interest in fashion, and on the flipside has a few elements that are somewhat more conventional for a music video, particularly the forest scenes (though I can’t tell if they’re meant to be a parody or not?) and the general structure of the video.
Most importantly, it’s an energetic video that matches her razor-sharp flows and the lively electro production well, making this an audiovisual package that could make a real assault on the mainstream consciousness over the summer. Expect to hear this in a club near you very soon, and you can grab the EP over here.
Four Tet is one of those guys that just keeps unintentionally slipping off my radar, despite the fact I generally enjoy his material. Hence, stumbling on this was a welcome find, not least because it’s a nice little slice of chillout electronic music.
The instrumentation’s got a lot of diversity, opening with a bassy, minimal style before throwing in the harps to really brighten the soundscape considerably, before switching back once more. A clever addition is the removal of ‘transitions’ for the first half of the track, and instead of a smooth switch into another segment, he brings the track to a complete stop. The little things make all the difference, and this is a memorable effort that’s worth a few listens.
Summer’s coming (all 2 days of it, hopefully) and it’s about the time to grab some brand new dance/electro/whatever to crank the volume up on in your car.
It’s a lively, energetic number that’s anchored around an earworm of a melody, that being the shrill electronic melody that bounces its way through the track. The rest of the production is pretty standard stuff and that’s not a bad thing, piecing together a percussion that moves the track along nicely with a catchy vocal sample, multiple tempo switches and a few other additions that add some welcome detail. A light and bright electro effort that’s generally quite inoffensive and ticks all the right boxes for a summer playlist.
With a slew of hip-hop vocal samples in tow, the very talented A. Chal comes through with his latest alternative electronic effort. I’ve had much of his back catalogue on repeat since the emergence of the excellent Come Back, and it’s great to get some fresh new material from him.
As with his previous material, there’s an addictive cool in and amongst the diversity he displays from start to finish. The first half of the track is smoothed out, atmospheric and relaxing without losing a lively edge, before alternating in short bursts with a quicker, more house-esque style to bring that variety to the fore and inject further energy into the track. Whilst the two alternating styles are different, there’s a general calm and solidity in the synths that underpins the whole track and ensures consistency, making this an enjoyable listen the whole way through. Looking forward to more from A. Chal.
Christian Rich’s return rolls on with an electro/dub-influenced number that once again displays their ever-surprising versatility.
The dubstep heads will have a real field day with this one, as the trademark thick bass and stuttered synths of the genre swarm this track from start to finish, though they’re ‘diluted’ enough to make the production very accessible to everyone else. What helps is the basic structure of the track being solid, versus the slower, more build-heavy stylings of many other efforts, whilst the soft vocal work that drops in and out of the track is also a highlight addition to the track. Decent effort, and one that’ll work on anybody’s night out playlist.
Every so often, I’ll take a chance on a track from an artist I’ve never heard of, or seen mentioned in any great detail in any media outlet, just to try and stumble upon something special. Often, it doesn’t come off but this is quite possibly one of the times it has.
The track opens with a surprisingly easygoing introduction, as a soft yet punchy electronic production saunters its way through your speakers, blending light and airy melodies with a hip-hop inspired percussion for a fresh and engaging instrumental. The fun doesn’t end there, as some solid vocals are thrown in on top, switching between an innocent softness to a more heightened emotional delivery, with both deliveries complimenting different elements of the production. A superb piece of electronic/alternative music that makes for a very easy listen.
After thoroughly enjoying Come Back, I did some digging through Chal’s back catalogue and came across this superb remix. The mellowed-out original was one of the few highlights on Take Care, and yet A. Chal flips up that style and still trumps the original with a relatively lively effort that will appeal to many.
The track has a real fire about it, with pacey percussion flying in and out, a range of synths from high and sharp to low and bassy and other electro samples combining for a frenetic style, whilst the Drake and Jon B samples counter that with their laidback nature, offering a smooth contrast to the A. Chal production. Definitely worth a listen for a welcome refresh of the Drake original.
One from a growing line of faceless artists, Alejandro Chal took to Soundcloud to drop off his latest effort a couple of days back, and it’s an excellent instrumental that will capture the interest of many music fans.
Chal puts together a textbook representation of an atmospheric production, without going overboard with the outdated ‘build and wait for the drop’ routine of electronic music. Things get moving with a spaced out introduction, and progress into a brighter, more positive style via some piercing synths, soft vocal samples, and a little funk in the percussion, all whilst retaining a trippy, atmospheric bubble around the whole package. It’s a great piece of production throughout, and I’d highly recommend it. The download below is a 57MB WAV file-remember to convert it to a less space-consuming format (iTunes can handle that for you)!
Diplo tweeted a track earlier, amusingly claiming it was with a ‘promising young artist’, for it to be revealed as a new effort from none other than Usher. You probably figured that last part out from the title of this post.
The collaboration is a successful one too. Diplo’s served up a progressive production that has a quiet intensity in the verses, building slowly to what actually ends up being a gentle climax in the hook (calm down). It’s an effective twist that throws you off, and increasing awareness of the second layer of progression in the track, as it builds towards the final third, and once again, it switches to the slower style. Clever. Just as much credit goes to the evergreen Usher, whose vocal versatility draws you in time and time again on this one, with his work on the hook being a particularly good performance. One that threatens to be a club banger at times, but in each instance surpasses that ‘easy’ option for increased listenability.