150 Gram Double Vinyl includes download card of jazz version of album, titled Age of Transparency Vol. II Age of Transparency marks the second step in a trilogy exploring the difficulty of making personal connections in an impersonal time. “The title comes from marketing jargon,” Ashin explains.“It’s a term for the place we’re in now, where truth and transparency are just ways to sell things and honesty is its own kind of performance.” Coming from an artist who pushes his voice and body to their breaking points, it might seem like a strange admission. But for Ashin, close is as close as you can get.“Transparency is an impossibility,” he says. “It’s more about trying to be transparent and falling on your face in the process.” In an effort to explore the idea, Ashin started sessions for the album with a jazz combo at midtown Manhattan’s Avatar Studios. “I’ve been listening to jazz since I was a kid and wanted to experiment with it,” he says. “For me, it taps into this comforting and antiquated image of the truth.” He later took the recordings to his home studio and tore them apart. “I kept flipping them and messing with them,” he says—a process you can hear on Transparency’s title track, which recalls the loose, incantatory vibe of late-60s Pharoah Sanders records before settling into Ashin’s tweaked take on R&B. “The players are there to give you an impression of transparency,” he says, “but they’re constantly being disrupted.” Elsewhere, as on “World War Pt. 2” and “Panic Room,” Ashin pushes the vocabulary of soul to its horizons, incorporating choral music, electronic composition and the kinds of disfiguring production techniques that made Anxiety one of the most unusual albums of 2013. Age of Transparency was self-produced in a small room overlooking a quiet street in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and mixed by Tony Maserati, who has also worked with Beyoncé, Notorious B.I.G. and Lady Gaga.
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Built on Glass is the highly anticipated follow up to Australian musician Chet Faker’s gold-selling debut 2012 EP Thinking in Textures. Built on Glass was recorded and produced by Chet himself over a two-year period and melds his effortless R&B vocals and pop melodies with a youth spent making house, disco and intricate beats. “I recorded the album at my home studio. I rent a small converted cooling room in the heritage listed North Melbourne meat market. Honesty is a big part of the record. I recorded with easily affordable equipment, the budget was tiny. It’s the first time I’ve ever worked on a full length and I felt like hi-fidelity wasn’t something to strive for working in a room on my own. Lyrically, I wanted to explore how my life directly affected my music – that’s the glass, I guess." Chet has had a dream run since the release of Thinking in Textures in 2012: sell-out shows across Australia, the US, UK and Europe; festival slots including the Laneway Festival, Splendour, Falls and Field Day; media support the world over (including Radio 1’s Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens, Pitchfork, Prefix Mag and Filter); deals with influential labels Downtown Records (US), PIAS and Chess Club (UK); and a series of heralded collaborations with Say Lou Lou, Kilo Kish and Flume. Back home, Chet Faker was nominated for five 2012 Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) Awards, winning for Best Independent Single/EP and Breakthrough Independent Artist. He was also nominated for two Rolling Stone Awards for Best New Talent and Best Independent Release, winning Best Independent Release. His Flume collaboration, single "Drop the Game" and Lockjaw EP, was certified gold within weeks of its release and polled at #5 in the 2014 triple j Hottest 100.
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An artist of considerable range, Chet Faker — the name taken by Melbourne-raised, Brooklyn-based Nick Murphy — writes, performs and records all of his own music, giving it a warm, intimate feel with a solid groove structure. Hailing from Melbourne’s tight-knit disco and house music scene and taking elements from his acoustic past, Chet Faker has carved out a unique style that fuses personal stories of love and loss with an electronica soul that reaches far beyond his homeland. Chet Fakers' 2012 EP Thinking In Textures served as his first release for Downtown Records and is home to the gorgeously penned single "Terms and Conditions" and his popular cover of the Blackstreet classic "No Diggity."
Over the past few years, a musical admiration between Chet Faker and Marcus Marr has grown, which culminated in a four-day sojourn in Marr’s South London studio last year. Over the four-day recording session, four songs were written, as the two discovered that Marr’s powerful, punchy dance production perfectly balanced Faker’s soulful vocals. South London-based DJ Marcus Marr has been releasing acclaimed records via DFA Records over the last few years, including “Brown Sauce,” named in Pitchfork’s Tracks earlier this year, and “The Music,” named one of the “Best Dance Tracks of 2013” by SPIN. A regular at Berlin’s notorious nightclub Berghain/Panorama Bar, the lifelong music obsessive’s first encounters with dance music were acid house records that augmented his vinyl collection of rock and soul, and attending all night parties under Brixton’s St Matthews Church. Traveling to the south of England to watch DJ Harvey play a lengthy set, he saw the kind of power a DJ can wield over a willing crowd.
Having, until now, remaining completely anonymous - with their only visual representation being the mysterious "jackalope" silhouette - Miike Snow are a band that produce infectious and intelligent pop, and consist of Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg & Andrew Wyatt. Under the name BLOODSHY & AVANT, Karlsson & Winnberg have written and produced hits for the likes of BRITNEY SPEARS (which culminated in a Grammy for "Toxic"), MADONNA, KYLIE MINOGUE (three tracks on 'X'), JENNIFER LOPEZ, MS. DYNAMITE, KELIS & JORDIN SPARKS.
A DIY project with worldwide scope, Slow Magic is universal and inclusive. It’s cosmic electronic music culled from the ether, yet crafted with human hands. It’s joyous, escapist, multi-disciplinary art that mixes transcendent performance with the nostalgic intimacy of two teenagers staying up too late on the phone. After the release of 2012’s beloved and critically-acclaimed Triangle, Slow Magic became an international movement after touring with artists like Gold Panda and XXYYXX. Crowds found a masked man in their midst, bathed in fantastic light, with electronic triggers and a drum. The future-primitive combination infused the project’s electronic compositions with new life. How To Run Away, Slow Magic’s debut with Downtown Records, reflects this growth, oozing both otherworldly beauty and a mastery of production. Lead single “Girls” is deconstructionist house with an organic pulse and collaged, handcrafted samples. “Hold Still” sculpts elastic organs and jazz piano into an emotionally-pummeling finale, while the melancholy “Let U Go” merges watery dub with spectral piano and “Closer” plays like a ‘90s R&B fever dream.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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