Gossamer is Evan Reiner, a relatively new artist who wears his heart on his sleeve through chill electronic chopscapes. Having only released a couple of EPs so far, his first full length has emerged from Innovative Leisure, a label that are storming the musical earth with releases from BadBadNotGood, Nosaj Thing and Allah-Las. Inspired by sci-fi gaming and Steve Reich, Automaton is a gently swaying record showcasing some imaginative sampling/recording and some very personal themes. It sounds like Reiner has sorted his life out according to the press release. Good on ya. Restrained kick drums play out hypnotic, slow grooves, joined by all sorts of shakers, hand drums, clicks and delicious plucked things and synths. It’s a palette similar to Gold Panda, but arranged closer to Four Tet, Kutmah or Contact Field Orchestra. In fact, second track ‘Print’ bears a strong rhythmical resemblance to ‘Parallel Jalebi’ by the ‘Tet. Breathy syllabic vocals join on tracks 1 and 6, backed by some brooding synths on the latter. I’ve just realised that this is actually a fantastic debut.
Toro Y Moi (aka Columbia, South Carolina’s Chaz Bundick) is the sound the world has been waiting for. This multi-cultural juggernaut gathers up the best musical elements from around the globe - R&B, indie rock, electronic dance and psychedelica - and creates something completely his own! Over the course of his first groundbreaking full length Causers Of This, Toro Y Moi turns the aforementioned musical genres upside-down with his breathtakingly innovative approach. The incendiary power of Toro Y Moi’s funky synth and guitar play, pumping digital rhythms and gorgeously bright vocal harmonies makes for a formidable combination. A soon to be masterpiece of a currently unnamed genre! LP also features digital download card.
The intellectual Brooklyn emcee's sprawling 1996 release, Wrath of the Math was the follow-up to his classic debut, The Sun Rises In The East and it features even more genius production from the great DJ Premier. The album's lyrical content was largely centered around Jeru's commentary on the decline of hip hop during the mid-'90s and the need for a new rap consciousness. Even though the tracks "Whatever," "One Day" and the hit single "Ya Playin' Yaself" represent some of the finest work the pair ever produced, unfortunately Wrath of the Math would be the last collaboration between the hip-hop legends.
Five years on from the release of Demon Days, Murdoc Niccals and co. return with Plastic Beach. The band have taken up residence, recording on a secret floating island deep in the South Pacific, a Plastic Beach HQ, made up of detritus, debris and washed up remnants of humanity. This Plastic Beach is the furthest point from any landmass on Earth; the most deserted spot on the planet.
AlunaGeorge are a London-based two piece comprised of members Aluna Francis (vocals) and George Reid (producer). The AlunaGeorge sound falls somewhere in between TLC, CocoRosie and Hudson Mohawke. Essentially they specialise in slightly wonky sounding, eccentric pop music with a strong UK vibe. The 12” features two brand new songs, as well as ‘You Know You Like It’ which has been called a future classic by a number of publications. The band have just wrapped up a UK tour with Friends and a brilliantly reviewed appearance at The Great Escape.
Since his emergence at the tail end of 2011 Evian Christ, AKA Joshua Leary, has had a whirlwind two years. Off the back of his breakthrough mixtape ‘Kings And Them’ which came out on Tri Angle Records in February 2012, the 24 year old Ellesmere Port, UK, native has produced music on Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’, collaborated with acclaimed conceptual artist Matthew Barney, released the notably abstract soundpiece ‘Duga-3’, performed around the world alongside the likes of Purity Ring, Actress and Four Tet, and garnered positive reviews and features in global tastemaker titles including Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Pitchfork and VIBE, amongst many others. On ‘Kings And Them’ Evian Christ conjured up a sound that was influenced by hip hop as it much as it was by more ambient forms of music. With ‘Waterfall’ Evian Christ has taken his unique sound into a far noisier and more aggressive territory, exhibiting a creative restlessness that continues to make it harder to pigeonhole this young, evolving artist.
The tail end of 2011 saw the emergence of material from a producer known only as Evian Christ, with oblique YouTube videos accompanying music which seemed to occupy its own particular twilit corner of the musical landscape, poised somewhere at the crossroads between freaked, haunted ambience and sparse, twisted R&B. Signing shortly after to Tri Angle, Evian Christ (aka 22 year old Merseyside resident Joshua Leary) released a free mixtape, ‘Kings And Them’, collating his eight tracks to date, and heralding the arrival of a truly exciting new talent in the process. This special edition 12” collects together four tracks from ‘Kings And Them’ in new and remastered form, and sees the first proper physical release from Evian Christ.a
In the twenty-first century, a time when catfish and trolls are abundant, honesty and authenticity have become revolutionary acts. With Frozen Throne, Jasper Patterson, better known by his nom de plume Groundislava, has created an honest, and truly beautiful piece of work. Patterson takes his diverse sound a step further in Frozen Throne, connecting all 10 tracks with the overarching theme of searching for real love in a futuristic cyber-based reality. Featuring heavy collaboration with Rare Times, the upcoming LA future pop duo of Anthony Calonico and Alex Talan, Frozen Throne takes listeners to a grim fantasy world where escape seems impossible. The smooth R&B vocals from Rare Times mixed with Groundislava's slow-burning beats and melodies wind their way through Patterson's handcrafted narrative. Filled with soul-bearing honesty, Frozen Throne is a cinematic soundscape for evolving into greater consciousness through the technological reawakening.
N.C.M. is the independent production company/label Napoleon Cherry has been working under since the late ‘80s with releases as Cool Waters and Station To Station. “When You Had The Chance” is from an unreleased slojam session from a few years back.
On his second full-length album, the East Coast hip-hop luminary RJD2 does for vintage rock what he did for vintage funk on his auspicious debut, DEAD RINGER. He cuts it up, filters it through a DJ sensibility, and rearranges it into something that's undeniably greater than the sum of its parts.Where DEADRINGER's samples were mostly R&B-based, here "Someone's Second Kiss" mixes breathy vocal samples with ethereal guitar against a rock backdrop, while "Exotic Talk" sounds like a neighborhood garage band rehearsing in their parents' basement with a laptop and an improbably cool flute player. RJD2 hasn't abandoned R&B, though--"Clean Living" nimbly conceals what sounds like a guitar part from Sly & the Family Stone's "Family Affair" among the funk fragments, while "1976" is intriguing quasi-European disco. But just when you think you've got this hip-hop chameleon's number, he hits you with "Through the Walls," its spaced-out vocal placed, karaoke-like, in a power-pop setting. With SINCE WE LAST SPOKE, RJD2 continues to redefine the role of DJ as solo performer.
Bobby Womack is set to release a brand new album on June 12th, 2012. Co-produced by Damon Albarn and Richard Russell, The Bravest Man In The Universe was recorded at Albarn's 'Studio 13' in west London and New York's Manhattan Center between October and December 2011. It's Bobby Womack's first album of original material since 1994's Resurrection. Includes CD copy of the album.
F5 Records 7″ Series presents more true school material! This time, we feature two tracks from Sadat X’s classic Wild Cowboys LP, originally released in 1996. The 7″ includes “The Lump Lump” produced by Buckwild b/w “Escape from New York” produced by Pete Rock. Never before on 7″ with bonus beats for each track! Limited pressing of 400 in stickered jacket.
It's a tricky thing, re-working a completely unique and peerless piece of music. It is made even trickier when the personality behind the original music is so vivid and otherworldly that it is almost sure to continue to cast its long shadow over whatever new form is chosen for it. It didn't hurt that Gonja had made fans out of quite a few incredibly talented artists. So, The Caliph's Tea Party was slowly summoned to life. Like the Caliphs of the Ummahs of the 7th century, orchestrating affairs from their palaces, Gonjasufi has assembled a collection of artists in his musical world and invited them to exchange ideas. In this spirit, the symbolic and musical centerpiece of the album, as well as its namesake, is the result of the mutual admiration formed between Gonjasufi and Broadcast and The Focus Group. A bewitching, drastic re-working of ''DedNd'' it takes the form of a suite of layered compositions and radiophonic transmissions. Elsewhere, reinterpretations from new talents shine while established artists continue to surprise. Mark Pritchard (Harmonic313, Africa Hitech) channels Ennio Morricone with epic orchestral dystopia on his remix of ''Ancestors'' while retaining the inherent gravity of Flying Lotus' original production. Young guns Shlohmo and Jeremiah Jae eschew their labeling as ''beatmakers'' and tap into a fractured emotional core within ''Change'' and ''Holidays'', respectively, giving them new leases on life as subtly mechanized melancholia. Bibio smooths out the rough edges of ''Candylane'' for a remix indebted to the 1980's R&B leftfield, while Brooklyn's Bear In Heaven and Oneohtrix Point Never deal in heavy motorik meditations and ethereal musique concrete.
'In Return' is the new sophomore album from Seattle electronic duo Odesza. The incredible second album more than delivers on the promise of the duo's previous work: a record with a precocious maturity and coherence, it's a start-to-finish stunner of pop-infused, electronic wonder, littered with infectious hooks and potent atmosphere. Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight began recording while they were students at West Washington University. They are now Seattle based. Their signature sound of glitched-out vocals, soaring, visceral melodies and ear-gripping drums quickly amassed a huge fan base.
The follow up to Mount Kimbie’s 2010 release ‘Crooks and Lovers’ saw them expand both their artistic vision and the label they called home in a move from Scuba’s Hotflush Recordings to Warp. Their debut album was widely praised for its unique mix of lush field recordings, chopped-up R&B vocals, and jazz-infected hooks and was often mimicked but rarely matched in the period that followed its release. ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’ deliberately distances itself from the crisp character of its predecessor with a focus on a more analogue sound which owes much to the duo’s regular live presence, and includes several guest vocals from Londoner King Krule. Lead single ‘Made To Stray’ is club music with a commandingly strange structure and trademark luxurious chord washes, while ‘Blood and Form’ is a mucky, thumping cut which shows how far the duo have evolved. There’s a boldness to cuts like ‘So Many Times, So Many Ways’, where jazz influences which might previously have been submerged are allowed breathing space amongst cinematic analogue synths, and the bruising hip-hop of ‘You Took Your Time’ which evidence a production unit refusing to rest on tried and tested methods and nonetheless creating as approachable and unique an album as they have before.
As the popularity of Footwork has continued to soar, the range of sounds within the genre has expanded. From the angular, minimal beats of RP Boo to the widely admired sound of sadly departed DJ Rashad, the genre has lovingly seeped into hearts and feet worldwide whilst continuing to innovate. Until now most of the focus has been on the male DJ/Producers, but that is about to change. Gary based producer Jlin, who some of you might remember for her track “Erotic Heat” (Bangs and Works Vol.2 – Planet Mu 2011), or from her moment in the mainstream light providing music for fashion designer Rick Owens’ F/W 14 Paris runway show, is stepping further into the light with a stunning eleven track debut album “Dark Energy” showcasing her unique and bold new sound. Gary, Indiana, a neighbouring City to Chicago, is one of those towns people overlook or perhaps expect the worst of. It's famous for the Jackson 5 and its Steel Mills, one of which Jlin works long shifts at. She says her sound and “the themes behind my tracks are all based off what my creativity absorbs, whether it be bad or good”, and the music certainly shows that intent. It's forceful, yet ripples with colour; it’s an intense, monolithic sound with rugged rhythms that stop and breathe and roll out in unusual staccato patterns. It’s a sound unlike any other out there, one that’s fiercely unique. Her track titles are as evocative as the music is intense and hint at deeper themes – “Black Diamond”, “Guantanamo”, “Abnormal Restriction”. She notes “The titles I chose are based off failing and learning.” Album track ”Expand” also features a vocal from another important female artist - respected experimental West Coast producer Holly Herndon whom Jlin has been quietly collaborating with. Her album “Dark Energy” is so called because of where it came from and how it came to be; the dark monolith on the cover also perfectly encapsulates it – “This album took my entire life to make. Every moment in my life lead up to this album. My musical sense of expression comes from sadness, and anger. I can't create from a happy place. It seems pointless in my opinion. I don't make the tracks as much as I feel them. Creating for me is about feeling and impact.” Jlin has been supported by all the key players in the Footwork scene and says she is “thankful to many.” 2015 feels like the year people are ready for a new voice in Footwork and Jlin is a true original with a hard, yet infectious style and an album that showcases it brilliantly.
Limited white 2LP vinyl, includes full DJ Kicks mix on CD. DJ Koze – with his friendly and sometimes slightly melancholic take on the world – is one of the greatest auteurs of club music today, and one of the few internationally active DJs who dares to make music that has relevance beyond the dance floor. During the 70-minute journey on his DJ Kicks – the 50th edition – Kosi Kos manages to establish a uniform color even though genres alternate in a way that is rarely heard on a mix CD: the stripped down hip hop of Madlib, brutalist Berghain techno, timeless songwriting, floating indie-pop and outlier numbers that oscillate between absurdity and melancholy. Koze's disregard for the stylistic yoke presents him with an immense challenge. Hence, almost all the tracks are more or less edited, and one is fully rhymed (Session Victim: Hyuwee). Koze rambles on here himself: "I didn't want to kick around sophisticated knowledge, but rather try and weave together some good gems that would make sense to anyone, even people who aren't necessarily music nerds". But this is blabbing that you can count on, also because he approaches the term "mix" from a different angle and doesn't even try to make something fit that doesn't fit: "During the day, I don't need to hear anything that's mixed on the beat. I put the focus on making sure that it works harmoniously – the idea is more to create the impression of a radio show, like people such as John Peel did so uniquely. There is a giant cosmos of music and it runs through my filter".
Vinyl LP pressing of the 2007 sophomore release from the UK's mysterious and much-acclaimed Burial. Of all the artists past and present who claim to let their music do their talking for them, Untrue, is a record of weird Soul music, which lovingly processes spectral female voices into vaporized R&B and smudged two-step garage. Vocal lines are blurred, smeared, pitched up pitched down and pitch bent until their content is cast adrift from their original context and they whisper their saccharin sweet nothings into the void. Forget central heating -- the radioactivity of this album is all that you'll need to keep you warm this winter.
Debut full-length from acclaimed German funk band, the Polyversal Souls, produced by Max Weissenfeldt (Now Again, the Heliocentrics, Karl Hector and the Malcouns, Poets of Rhythm) at Berlin's legendary Ru-Ting Clan Sound Lab studio. With their debut album Invisible Joy, the Polyversal Souls are ready to take off. Produced at the Berlin based Ru- Ting Clan Sound Lab by Max Weissenfeldt (Whitefield Brothers, Poets of Rhythm), the band invited artists from all around the world to join their musical journey: from N.Y.C., Africa Baby Bam (Jungle Brothers), from Ethopia, Hailu Mergia (Walias Band) and from West Africa's beautiful Ghana, the award-winning griot Guy One, Ebo Taylor's son Roy X and freedom poet Y-Bayani. The result is a unique piece of global raw soul.
Big Pun remains on the best rappers ever list to this day. Reasons for this weigh largely on his debut Capital Punishment. His commanding voice and rapid fire delivery make it clear there will never be another Big Pun. Pun was New York. His confidence on the mic made him stand out among his contemporaries. Similarly, the production -- by a cast of many – remains ever so New York loyal. The close cousins "I'm Not a Player" and "Still Not a Player,” may have been the hits off this album but it is packed with so many more that show Pun’s true abilities. “Beware” and “Dream Shatterer” are great examples of Big Pun at his best, dark cinematic production with just enough room to let him breathe fire. On “Twinz (Deep Cover)” Big Pun is trading bars with his mentor Fat Joe over a remake of Dr. Dre’s classic beat. Here Pun delivers one of his most quoted verses that contains among others “Dead in the middle of Little Italy little did we know that we riddled some middlemen who didn't do diddly”. There are numerous guest appearances, the best of which include afore mentioned Fat Joe (on several tracks), the Roots' Black Thought on the MC showcase "Super Lyrical," Prodigy and Inspectah Deck on "Tres Leches (Triboro Trilogy)," and an extra-insane Busta Rhymes on "Parental Discretion."
Seasoned professionals in the world of RAP MUSIC, the Brooklyn duo of rapper M.I. and producer DJ Cutt, prove themselves very much at the top of their game on ‘Avant Garde’. Their new album, is like a boomerang, ricocheting from twenty years ago, coming back to scoop up some more right-minded cats. Of course, there’s the boom-bap drum foundation sensibility - the main ingredient, but Constant Deviants constantly surprise on how they ice their production cake. Tracks such as the title one, “Standards” and “It’s like That” have intricately laced melodies that gives the tracks a multi-dimensional dynamic. They also make for compelling listening. Subjects such as their relationship to the media (‘Side B’) a day in the life of Constant Deviants (‘It’s like That’), a setting goals and aspirations (‘Standards’), are complemented by production that conjures up a multitude of vibes and moods. The sitting on the dock of the bay, blunts and booze anthem ‘Breathin’ ‘ recalls calm, closed eyes, running through a memory bank of memorable moments. ‘Whatever You Call It’ is a jazzy ode to the Constant Deviant way of living, way of approaching things. Lovely scratching of (BDP’s ‘My Philosophy’) ‘U Know What’ rasps over an uptempo beat. ‘I’m Still Up’ is an ode to ghetto death, a life cut far too short. It’s the album’s most reflective moment. It’s also the most simplified, but effective use of drums, with a discorded xylophone mournfully criss-crossing the record’s sad lament. Avant Garde is a street-crafted solid slab of GOLDEN ERA substance. Maintaining one foot in the past and one in the present/future, they keep their relevance because they understand their genre’s legacy, not to mention their own contribution to the art form.
English singer/songwriter/guitarist Lianne La Havas's 2012 debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? provided more highlights in its life-cycle than many artists experience in their entire career. The Los Angeles Times said, "Artists like Lianne La Havas remind us of the power of the artful lyric, the soulful (nonhistrionic) reading of said lyric, and the importance of smart, understated production. With Is Your Love Big Enough?, Miss La Havas vaults right to the big leagues. Repeated listenings only prove how strong and artful this collection is," and the New York Times praised her "voice that hints at Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu but is fully her own…It's rhythm as resilience and life force, an innate sense of confidence that makes even her bitter songs somehow reassuring." That album led to a journey that encompassed more than 120 shows across Europe, North America, and Japan—including two sold-out London shows at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire. Artists who Lianne had admired soon admired her, to the point where she can call the likes of Prince and Bon Iver friends. La Havas has recently made a succession of guest appearances. There's been another recording with Matt Hales on recent Aqualung track "Egg Shells"; guest vocal on Alt-J's "Warm Foothills" and Tourist's "Patterns"; and even an appearance as a female approximation of her friend in the video for "Where Is My Sex?" by The Kenneths. Most notable of all was La Havas's contribution to Prince's Art Official Age album, which were recorded over the course of a heady weekend at Paisley Park.Blood is an album that was inspired by Lianne’s family heritage, which is part Jamaican and part Greek. Once touring for her debut album came to a close, she headed to Jamaica with her mother for a holiday which evolved into an experience of self-discovery. Lianne enjoyed emotional reunions with long-lost relatives; embraced Kingston’s clubs; and even jammed in front of her family for the first time during a session with legendary dancehall/reggae producer Stephen McGregor.
From time to time a DJ or producer comes along who transcends a particular scene, bridges the gap between disparate movements and unites tribal music fans. Seven has that talismanic quality. His productions have a rawness…a loose-knit, lolloping grove that seduces even the most steadfastly stubborn of hips. Seven is a unifying force and the well of support for his endeavors runs deep, from Mos Def to Four Tet to Julio Bashmore and way beyond. As an intergalactic soul record Universes delivered on all front, admirably showcasing the breadth and depth of SDJR’s productions and the honesty and humour that makes his music so instantly recognizable. Catch him in this cosmos before he jets off to another time and space.
Lone’s classic debut album ‘Lemurian’ gets the deluxe re-issue treatment courtesy of Magic Wire and R&S. Originally released in 2008. It returns in 2015 re-mastered by Matt Colton, with new artwork from Konx-om-Pax and on vinyl for the very first time.