I just came back from Hawaii. Man, that’s a pretty place. And strikingly diverse. And there’s a lot of stories I could tell about my time there, but I’ll keep it brief. We played at Source Maui. It’s Maui’s regional burn (that is, a burning man type event that sometimes, though not always, serves as a fund-raiser / prep time for larger camps). It happened here:
Pretty amazing, right? And it was STILL an awesome time.
My Oubys record came in the mail today. This is the guy I wrote about for my last Create Digital Music post. I think it’s the first piece of vinyl I’ve received in several years. The Substance mix is incredible.
Jason Forrest’s Network Awesome has relaunched! Dope curated TV from experts in the weird and wonderful. Check it out!
Finally, been going back and collecting old Monolake stuff. His website is actually a trove of great wonderful releases and points you to his entire discography. Currently listening to the Layering Buddha Live mix from 2008 – was lucky enough to see a performance of this at Mutek07, still stays with me. Download for free from his website.
Readers know that I have a thing for both Echodub and Cut, Alex DFRNT’s two impeccably designed and curated labels. That’s not to say that I think every single release is flawless or exactly up my ally, but the overall quality is VERY high and in terms of showing the world how to run two slightly different but similar labels, I think Alex is truly on point.
His free label, Cut, reached its 10th release today, the first release on the label by Alex himself, the Actaeon EP. It explores his take on the Autonomic sound I’ve been writing about, although Alex’s approach is decidedly maximal as opposed to minimal. But you still have great tricky rhythms going on. And, like always, it’s free! Supremely good stuff.
And, on a flipped note, a venerable DnB producer, Makoto, who has spent years making liquid DnB, the precursor to some of the Autonomic sound (or at least the flourishes) has done a release for the very strong french minimal tech-y dubstep label 7even Recordings, run by the awesome F. Check out the inverse below.
Been chilling this week with Kuhn of Astro Nautico. Totally awesome guy who’s been catching me up on what it’s like to be in the NYC music scene in 2012, what Williamsburg is like now, and his ideas on beats, politics, running a label, and doing an awesome job of conveying that he doesn’t give a f*** while very strongly giving a f*** about everything that matters. If you haven’t heard his Slime Beach single, check it! (below is a bunch of his tunes that he edited together)
Astro Nautico is a pretty awesome headtrip of a non-label – “We don’t do ANYTHING a label should do” Kuhn told me. Except that they make dope music available for free! There are two other label boses. One is Paul Jones (who’s responsible for this incredibly awesome piece of trippyness http://fatdudes.tumblr.com/ – “That dude has way more friends online than he does in real life” – Kuhn) including:
Seriously, this guy is my blogging hero, I WISH I was that cool. Obey City is the third member of the core crew, and I know less about his music, but check this awesome remix he did of the Teegan and Bunny forgotten 80s classic Cars That Go Boom.
All of their stuff can be found on their bandcamp page, definitely check both them and the artists they’ve featured (like RAJA) out. They’re all playing in LA tonight this week, so check that out if you’re there.
This is from 18 year old Quam who hit me up with some really good stuff. Seems like he’s one of a number of producers that are floating around the world of Kuhn these days. And apparently he is in Berlin hanging out with Robert Henke, which makes me jealous. Kuhn, by the way, is in San Francisco and looking for gigs, if by some small chance someone reads this who can give him one.
This is one of, oh, I don’t know, like 100+ things that another new york artist Raja sent me. The kid is amazing. He put out 4 albums last year, 3 for free, and one under his old name infinitirock for Asthmatic Kitty (still one of the better label names out there). And he runs a little imprint called Guns of Kingston as well. Very much also part of the Kuhn circle as well in aesthetic. He hit me to say he’s got a new EP coming in the end of April, called He Won’t Pay Me. I think he’s looking for a home for it. And, oh, he’s a sophomore in college. And his name is Chester. So, what are YOU doing with your time?
My buddies LV just did the most recent podcast for XLR8R. Click on the picture above – it’s super dope. I don’t know why Will looks so glum though. Perhaps because I’m beating him at scrabble at the moment!
Project Mooncircle is turning 10! And they’re putting out a ginormous box set with all the flare and character and good art and awesome music that you’d expect. Check the sampler above.
Local hommie Benito, who is extremely cued in to all things awesome and has turned me on to many good things has his own EP coming out on Brap Dem recordings. Super awesome wobbly clean 150bpm bass stuff. This is what everyone who’s listening to sluggish glittery dubstep SHOULD be listening to.
I was also going to announce that Percussion Lab had finally gotten their act together and upgraded their servers, which was a very long time coming – but right now they’re having a server error (although it did tell me that very fast). Sigh – but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and you should check back soon to hear all the stuff I’ve posted there over the last year, as well as everyone elses’s stuff.
Been listening to a lot of Beastie Respond‘s stuff lately. If you haven’t heard Syncope, above, definitely give it a listen! I’ve heard rumblings that new things are coming from him soon!
Finally, just as a last little teaser, my pal David Gunn has gotten one of the more interesting projects I’ve heard of in the last little while of the ground by self-releasing this collaboration with Cambiodian electronic and traditional musicians. Gonna hold off on writing more because it deserves a bigger story, but click on the beautiful CD above to see the announcement.
Been a lazy Sunday. Tinker is working on an updated sticker. I’m waiting for first drafts of a logo to come in from Luis of Conspira, who’s lettering I really like.
One project I’ve been working on a little has been to put together a mix, along with Tinker, of the Autonomic/dBridge inspired sound… I was really touched by the Exit records comp that came out last year, Mosaic, and I’m surprised I left it off my year end lists – I must have just missed it in the sweeps. But it’s the thing that really got me thinking about DnB again after so many years – it shows just how creative you can be in stretching a genre while still remaining within it.
There’s a lot to explore here and I think if packaged right you could play a whole set of it to west-coast-ies and have them love it from a bouncy hip-hop emotive dance type of way, and then if you asked them what it was afterwards they wouldn’t even think it’s DnB. So I’m going to attempt to make that mix! As a little teaser for the some of the newest sounds, check out Synkro and Indigo’s Progression (sorry, I can only find a video with an MC over it). Out in a few days.
The mighty 2nd label showcase volume of the west coast’s hardest working hip-hop and abstract electronic music collective, Dropping Gems, is out! Gem Drops 2 is great stuff and well deserves everyone’s support – plus, they’re literally GIVING this stuff away! Click the art below to be taken to their Bandcamp page.
Also out yesterday is the latest from Donky Pitch, from Brighton, who’s been picking up key releases by some exciting new artists. This one though is from established heads Ghost Mutt and it’s true form digi weirdness from the man who brought you the dance floor smashing Thoroughbred. Sweat Mode pretty much rocks. Again, click below for the bandcamp page.
And finally, my top 10 list of albums, EPs and singles from 2011 is up now on Create Digital Music, although with the announcement that I’ll be contributing to that website occasionally. Check it out here!
San Francisco now has Bungalows, apparently. Tonight! Should be fun, I’m on at 11. Got a good set of some classics (lots of Baltimore Club) and some new stuff. This is the promoter’s first party, happy to support and be a part of it!
Other stuff that’s been on my mind (lots of charts and graphics) include this fascinating chart of “Influencers” on Soundcloud – Would be super interested to know how they came up with their formula.
Little study put together by Root Music. Note that only 3% of bands on facebook consider themselves electronic! And this isn’t a case of misclassification, people categorize themselves! My world is very very very small.
Finally, I’ve been meaning to do a post about PROTECT-IP / SOPA and fortunately it’s been pushed off till January but this is still an issue near and dear to my heart. Awesome letter here from the 100 or so people that basically built the internet/web/networks of today about what a bad idea it is. Check it out, brought to you by the EFF, of course.
Best of list coming tomorrow, and possible also the final mix of the year if I can get it together!
The latest release on DFRNT’s label Echodub is out. Super stellar release from a relatively new French producer named Isotroph. Lots of variation, with one track in the skippy nu-garage vein, two it the slightly more house/drummy mode, and one totally excellent joint (Fission) in that weird netherworld between hip-hop and dnb – the syncopated Autonomic sound of people like Indigo and Synkro.
Beyond just being a good solid, full release, it’s definitely a credit to Alex/DFRNT for what he does with both Echodub and his “other” label Cut for being able to do that thing of making and putting out sweeping, big, synth-heavy tunes that tweak emotions but don’t come across as cheesy or over the top, or calling on tropes and signals that miss the mark. It’s VERY hard to do that, and most people fail at it – and Echodub isn’t flawless, there are some things that aren’t for me on there. But on the whole it’s super impressive undertaking. Plus it’s just well run and well presented as a label/experience – and DFRNT even does all the art. Who knows how he has the time!
This is the portfolio and blog of Matt Earp. Matt is a music journalist, copywriter, and information designer with a master's degree from UC Berkeley's School of Information. His clients have included XLR8R, Create Digital Music, Miselu, Ninja Tune, Dolby and others. His focus is the intersection of music, information technology, design and social groups. See examples of his writing work here. Matt also DJs music and produces events as Kid Kameleon. He is currently available for short and long term projects - please get in touch by the email below.
mattearp [at] gmail [dot] com
Mixes and Mix Archive
The Infinite Library lives here. An ongoing catalog of all my mixes. Check 'em out.