July 23, 2010

Gatekeeper - Optimus Maximus

Every once in a while, I get in a mood where anything 80s, synthy, lo-fi, mid-fi, sci-fi, whatever-fi just sounds really, REALLY cool. Gatekeeper sounds like JUSTICE mixed with a good dose of KAVINSKY and some MR. FANTASTIC. Subtle moments of MR. OIZO also shine through. But while I was listening to this epic "Optimus Maximus," I was thinking, this also sounds a lot like something SALEM would do, provided they were more into that other-worldly stadium-rockesque sound... In any case, just listen, it's really something else.

July 22, 2010


Are you familiar with future RnB? Jai Paul, Hudson Mohawke, those artists? Well, forget about them. Yes, they're doing amazing stuff with music right now but let's have a looksies at Quadron for a moment. Quadrom sounds like that good ol' doo wop stuff your parents might have listened to when you were younger or if not, your older sister. In any case, this is some more "future" stuff! It's hard to explain but not hard to listen.

Peep this track, Slippin' and show them some love!

July 21, 2010

Evenings - North Dorm EP

North Dorm Ep Cover Art

So I discovered Evenings through some music blog a couple of weeks ago. I actually watched the very same video situated below this post, which happens to be the video for "Baths" (my favorite track) and I was blown away by how simple, yet grandiose it was!

To describe Evenings is hard. When I first heard NORTH DORM EP, I immediately thought: this is what Nosaj Thing would sound like if he ever collaborated with the xx. I mean, it's already enough that he's done a remix for one of their tracks but Evenings sounds just like that! And this is not a bad thing, it is an absolute compliment.

Listen and watch to understand!

Download the free EP: http://evenings.bandcamp.com/

July 20, 2010

Nosaj Thing - Drift

Officially twelve tracks long with the inclusion of the aptly titled `Harrison Ford,' Nosaj Thing is on his way to becoming a legend! You've probably already listened to some of his stuff, and without even knowing it: off of Kid Cudi's mixtape, the track `Man on the Moon;' the phenomenal track 'Camel' from Flying Lotus, there's a remix from Nosaj Thing out there; and the Daedelus `Madness' remix. He's all over the place yet (at the time this review was written,) he still has no Wikipedia page. His real name is Jason Chung and there really are no words to describe his unique sound. He's the epitome of what it means to be a musical nomad. While many have drawn comparisons to Flying Lotus, others have said he sounds a little like Aphex. There may be some validity to all these claims but let's not be so limiting. Nosaj Thing's album length debut Drift most closely resembles the soundtrack to a dream.

It opens with `Quest,' an avant-garde track teeming with dreamy landscapes and resonant claps backed by the sound of multiple toy pianos. Add to that some elements of glitch and an eerie choir midway through the song and you've got the overall feel of this phenomenal opener. A starter that stays in the back of your mind throughout the entire album and works perfectly with the rest of the tracks because of its odd attractiveness and ability to form images just with sounds. This is part of Chung's genius: he can lure you into his world of soundscapes just with the opening track and yet, you never feel imprisoned. As `Quest' drifts off to the back of your mind, `Fog' comes off as the first "real" track wrought with a steady beat that picks up midway through the intro and then transforms into an infectious beat. Arguably one of his best tracks, Chung manages to combine pensive synths with the chopped up sample of someone breathing out. `Coat of Arms' is the closest thing to a FlyLo track, imagine a beat that opens with the sound of something that can only be described as a massively reverbed "ah," teamed with the subtle groan of a blue whale. Layered claps, a thumping kick, and a croaky lead synth? Check, it's all there. He even throws in a choir overflowing with echo. The thing that makes this track sound like a FlyLo production is the way the beat manages to cut out every single time the kick drum reverberates, giving this track a sort of hypnotic feel.

`IOIO,' a personal favorite of Chung's, features sputtery drums and a steady wave of resounding synths coupled with some spliced mono synths. `IOIO' plays out as a track that doesn't draw too much attention to itself though it's one of the more complex ones on the album, in addition to `1685/Bach,' another technically proficient track that seems to wander all over the place with its beat. Though many of the tracks are riddled with symptoms of ADD, this tracks feels like the most nomadic of the bunch. With each instrument never fully reaching its apex, this one makes you think you want to hear more without realizing that you are in fact hearing all that there is to hear... `Caves' naturally has that "sounds like it was recorded in an underground cave" feel and showcases waspy drones and the ever-present steady drum pattern layered with claps.

`Light#1 & #2' are two separate tracks I feel should be combined not only because of the names but because of their sound. The first one opens with a sampled bell that is brilliantly chopped up to accompany the entire song and then quickly dissipates into a boomy track fashioned with out-of-tune video game sounds. Awesome and incredibly hard to describe, this one is another album staple, but not without `Light#2.' The intro sounding like a clash between something from the late-seventies to mid-eighties, it gradually transforms into a real mindbender, the first track to spotlight a shaker! `2222,' is the dreamiest track of the entire record. Drones, ambient-whistling, and staggering sub-harmonic frequencies galore, no drumming to be found on this track.

`Us,' `Voices,' and `Lords,' are three tracks I think work together to create a sort of trilogy of sounds. Overly simplistic, `Us,' enthralls us with cricket-sounding drums and an interestingly repetitive sound which seems to find its continuation in `Voices' which interestingly enough begins with muffled drums and then persists with the addition of rear percussion but ends on the same note it started, quiet and muffled. The closing track, `Lords' reintroduces the concept of a sampled choir and this time actually takes center stage. Reminiscent of apocalyptic mantras and epic orchestral pieces, this one's larger-than-life; it's like you're waking up from a dream. This essentially, is the perfect closer to an amazing album. What with the creepy double-layering of extremely spliced samples played to emulate human voices; no human choir could ever sound like the one featured in `Lords.'

July 19, 2010

Shlohmo - Camping EP

CAMPING EP feels like an homage to both J Dilla and Jacques Villeglé.

Dilla because Shlohmo decides to revisit his Tomato Squeeze-esque track "Tomato Smash" with some even dirtier-sounding bass, electronic bleeps that would make Flying Lotus and Mr. Dibia$e blush, waspy hats and 90s-inspired r'n'b vocals. If you listen closely, as the track begins to pick up with some serious Low End Theory-worthy bassage, you can hear Dilla sirens sprinkled throughout the entire track. It's brilliant but it may also feel like a cheap gimmick for some of the listeners.

Regardless, Shlohmo manages to do something many electronic beat artists are only beginning to experiment with: live vocals. Rather than sampling, stabbing and splicing, Shlohmo joins the ranks of Flying Lotus and Hudson Mohawke by beautifully integrating the human voice. "Sippy Cup," one of the tracks to feature vocals, begins with some heavily-processed humming, followed by glitched-out toy piano sounds and tribal percussions. Very effective.

Someone else Shlohmo may have been emulating is Jacques Villeglé and not with his sound, but with his cover art. CAMPING EP's visual side offers what initially appears to be a sail boat floating in the middle of the water, littered with remnants of a palm tree repeated throughout the piece. This is what you might see at first glance but upon further inspection, you realize that it might actually be a deer standing by a pine tree in the middle of a clearing probably in some forest. It's the colors that throw you off. This is an effect Villeglé was known to use in many of his collage pieces. And the rip.

For what it's worth, cue up the ambient (feels-like-you're-in-a-cave) bass, 360-spinning reverb and lo-fi analog tape machine and you've got another well-formed Shlohmo release with equally impressive-sounding remix tracks. You're just better off listening to most of these tracks at home with some good headphones/speakers rather than at a party... where people are talking... and trying to dance.

July 15, 2010

CULP is for/from CANADA


Sometimes, there's an artist I find who definitely deserves at least two posts to justify the awesome that they bring. Other times, well, most of the time, an artist only deserves one post, which is still plenty! After much deliberation, I've decided that two posts is a little much so instead, CULP gets two separate sound byte preview track things! Listen to them both, CULP is awesome. He knows what he's doing. S'like a healthy mix between SAMIYAM, the actual Dilla, Shlohmo and some juj for good measure. I wouldn't be surprised if he hung out with some counterfeit copy-versions of those fools... all the way out there in canada.

And yeah, he made me post after more than four months of absence. That must mean something! Right?!

Download some of his awesomeness here: http://www.mediafire.com/?qjjtjqazz4g

March 27, 2010

Rusko - California Dreamin'

Who the hell is Rusko? Well, it's the name of a place in Finland and also the alias of Christopher Mercer, dubstep artist from the UK. With tons of singles to boot and only one official album, he's got one coming out May 13 and another in 2013. If you aren't already familiar with dubstep, I forgive you, not everyone can appreciate a genre that can make you dance for 24 straight hours (true story, and no drugs either!!!)

You can't listen to this track and not tell me it's not good. If you like him, look him up, he's really good.