Posted on January 29, 2013
Lisbon based French producer DJ iZem has been quietly bubbling away over the past couple of years as a producer on the rise. The few tracks and remixes that he has released have demonstrated a talented artist with a unique style blending tropical rhythms with funk influences, smooth synths with live instrumentation and deep basses with smooth vocals, epitomised by 2011′s brilliant Quiver / Debaixo D’Agua EP. He returns with his 2nd EP… EP2, offering another slice of quality, warm, soulful, topically infused electronica. What’s more, it is available for free download (!)
Posted on November 8, 2012
I am back from the land of the incredibly busy and catching up on the mountains of great music that has been awaiting my ear for the past month. Near the top of the list was the debut album from Peru’s masked cumbia viajeros Dengue Dengue Dengue! The duo have been causing waves, not just in Peru, but internationally for their fresh take on digital cumbia and performances at Lima’s TOMA! fiestas. Their two mixtapes (Vol. 1 & Vol. 2) set a precedent for their fresh digital cumbia explorations, showcasing the producers’ talent for a good remix alongside their burgeoning production/dancefloor-science skills.
The culmination of these explorations is La Alianza Profana, one of only a few independent albums to emerge from the mass of tropical / digital /cumbia productions floating around Soundcloud these days. As much as I’d like to throw away the “digital cumbia” association, DDD’s album is threaded together with that rhythm in digital form making it hard to judge it as anything else. The album however shows why DDD stand out as two of the most interesting producers of their ilk, skilfully mixing influences from electronica, dubstep, dub, cumbia (of course) and god knows what else.
While El Remolón crafts multi-coloured ice cream nu-cumbia and Chancha via Circuito sounds like he’s drifting down a foggy rainforest tributary, DDD twist nu-cumbia into a much darker place. The basses are crunching, heavy and tight while the melodies are haunted and black. Simiolo and Chacalom (two peas in a pod) are stand out dancefloor killers while Chichon (personal favourite) is a hands in the air, heavy hitting slice of digital villera. Como Bailar la Cumbia manages to weave Funky House rhythms into cumbia, layering it with a floating melody that makes it sound truly fresh.
The album is clearly leans more towards the digital side than to rootsy cumbia but this is not to its detriment – it is DDD’s sound. It is clear that La Alianza Profunda is an album conceived, tested and made for the TOMA! dancefloor. It is also bluddy good ammunition for any budding digital cumbia DJ from Buenos Aires to Stockholm.
Posted on April 3, 2012
For our fifth Label Spotlight, we catch up with Sven Swift, co-founder of 21st century mind-melting beats label Error Broadcast. Formed in 2008, the label has since become one of the “go-to places” for fresh, exciting “beat music”, bringing together an international roster of artists stretching the boundaries of hip-hop and electronic music.
EB: We started the label just as people were advancing from the sound of traditional Dilla instrumentals and beginning to explore kinds of electronic manipulations. When Shlohmo released the original ‘Shlomoshun’ EP, everybody was totally blown away. Kids went into Ambient and Drone, wrapping textures around their beats like a tight dress. Which is sexy, haha! Since then, beat music has seen many permutations… Dubstep, Ghettotech, Juke, Boogie and always R&B. At EB we try to keep it fresh and experimental.
Error Broadcast is a fine example of just how global and accesible music production has become in the 21st century, showcasing talented young producers from the West coast of the US to Russia.
EB: Every 16 year-old can download software onto his shitty laptop and start making music. There are almost no boundaries when it comes to equipment so it’s no wonder we have artists from all around the world on EB. Hotspots at the moment are Westcoast US, the UK, and in our case, Moscow.
Indeed, their 2011 compilation Fly Russia (Free DL) uncovered Russia’s thriving beat scene and led to further collaborations between EB and artists who appeared on the album such as DZA, Pixelord and OL.
EB: The ‘Fly Russia’ compilation came out in 2010 and made many heads turn. Early in 2010, G5 Music (weblog) approached us to ask if we would potentially be interested in hosting a compilation of Russian beat makers. The tunes they offered us were all top quality, and it was not a big step toward the final ‘Fly Russia’. We are happy now to see that powerful labels have emerged such as G5 Music, Jumble, Hyperboloid Records and how2make, each supporting and strengthening the Russian beat scene.
Error Broadcast has its roots in the netlabel community and continues to champion the idea of free music, offering up a fair amount of fine music online for free download. However, the label has also evolved into a fully fledged imprint with digital, vinyl and even casette releases. Key to the physical copy is the quality of the product, artwork and graphic design:
EB: Selling music nowadays is about creating something collectable, something special. I hope people realise we do not only care about the sound but also the look of all EB releases!
EB: It demands a whole different level of professionalism to deliver good looking, good sounding vinyl records and it is a risky business. Though the market is unpredictable, I have a feeling people want to see you take a risk. And of course, the joy of touching a brand-new 12” disc, fresh from the plant, is a drug!
2012 has already got off to a busy start for the label with the release of B-Ju’s well-received Prozac People EP and the label’s momentum looks set to continue with releases from Monolithium; “super sexy synthesizer music”, OL “sweaty and sick, seriously dangerous” (see his latest mixtape) and their next release from Romanian producer Montgomery Clunk.
EB: Montgomery Clunk is a young cat who appeared on the map in 2010 with his acclaimed ‘Superbus EP’, which is still one of our bestsellers. Since then he has constantly renewed his musical identity (see the output he has been uploading onto Soundcloud recently). He returns on the 9th of April with ‘Mondegreen’, a five-track EP available digital and on 12” vinyl. His beats are just mad, basically like nothing you have heard before.
If you move quickly you can grab the “Superbus EP” for free download until the 16th of April via Error Broadcast’s bandcamp, download new track “Faerie Fire” here (via XLR8R) and watch out for the full release later this week!
Thanks to Sven Swift from Error Broadcast for taking the time to answer our questions and for searching out constantly fresh sounds!
Posted on February 27, 2012
El Tecolote Canta is the new El Buho EP via the purveyors of Latin American futurism Antartek Records. Six tracks of owlbass patching together ambient textures, Latin American vocals and rhythms, flutes, bass and shimmering and bleeping synths. And what’s more, it is all for free download!
Posted on October 12, 2011
A small bit of self-promotion here. The latest Antartek Records podcast has been put together by myself (El Buho) and mixes Latin American folk with electronica from across the spectrum. The mix combines one-off mash-ups, original material and re-edits/tempo alterations. Tracklist follows the music. Enjoy!
When Saints Go Machine – Kelly (Shlomo Edit)/Kike Pinto – Utushkuru
Posted on July 4, 2011
Ahead of Zomby’s new album Dedication, which drops via 4AD a week today, you can download a copy of one of the tracks, A Devil Lay Here, from the label themselves. Anticipation is high and this track only adds to the hype. Zomby’s music cannot be simply pigeon-holed as dubstep, garage, IDM, grime…but spans the whole electronic music spectrum, coupling deft melodies and finely tuned drum programming with a unique musical outlook. His tunes are a breath of fresh air, ignoring genre definitions and allowing the music to speak for itself. Early contender for album of 2011? Reserve judgement till next week, but all the signs point to it.
Posted on June 23, 2011
Chilean andean-techno-shamans Matanza arrive on European shores for the first time next month playing a handful of shows and festivals. To coincide with their arrival the group have released Apolinar, a six track EP available for free download here through fresh faced Amsterdam based label Antartek.
Matanza – Apolinar (Daniel Klauser Remix)
Despite being only the third release from Antartek (the first two releases came from fellow Chilean tropicalist Daniel Klaüser), the label states that its mission is to “find the hidden talents of southern countries and expose them to the north”. Once more graphic design is also an integral part of the label with an emphasis on the interaction between graphic artists, video artists and the music. Going on the music and the graphic aesthetics, Antartek seems like a welcome addition to the increasingly crowded “international-tropical bass” scene.
Posted on May 10, 2011
Matanza are a Chilean group bringing Andean folklore into into the twenty first century. They mix traditional Latin American instrumentation like Colombian gaitas and Andean bombo drums with electronic beats and effects, drawing instant parallels to ZZK Records’ Tremor, who follow a similar path in Argentina. However, their techno/house influences shine through much stronger than their Argentine companions with the band taking inspiration from DJs like Ricardo Villalobos and Matias Aguayo. Matanza have gained a deserved reputation for their impressive live shows which mix electronica and live instrumentation in a fresh and forward thinking way, simultaneously inventive and danceable.
For a great introduction check out a promo Mix they did for the Gotwood Festival in Wales where the band will be playing this summer.
Posted on April 28, 2011
Project:Mooncircle, the Berlin based label with a genre mixing global outlook, has teamed uo with Stroke Artfair, offering a sampler to promote the forthcoming thrid edition of the ‘the world’s first and only Urban Art Expo.’ The expo, which takes place in Munich at the end of May, celebrates urban artforms such as street art, tattooing, advertising and graphic design. This free release, available for download from the label’s Bandcamp, is really top quality and shows what the label is all about, including tracks from the likes of Robot Koch, Killing Skills and fLako. Comes highly recommended.
Project: Mooncircle, started in 2002, has become known for its mix of futuristic electronic music encompassing hip-hop, dubstep, electronica, lo-fi, triphop and blurring the lines between them all. The visual is also central to the label’s aesthetic and it has become home to a number of graphic designers from across the world:
Posted on March 25, 2011
DJ Raff is a Chilean DJ and producer now living in Barcelona. He produces in the Machine Drum/Glitch Mob/Lucky Me! vein of experimental hip-hop/electronica/dubstep/anything goes. There are a good handful of really great tunes available for free download from his blog Ritmonauta. One of my personal favourites is 2 Fast:
DJ Raff, alongside groups like Panteras Negras and La Pozze Latina, also played an important role in the burgeoning Chilean hip-hop scene in the 1990s. Chilean hip-hop is has one of the most respected legacies in Latin America. He since worked with some of the biggest Chilean groups such as Chancho en Piedra and Los Tetas. There is a really great interview with DJ Raff (en espanol) on Concept Radio. His forthcoming disc “Collage Binari/Latino & Proud” will be released over the next few months through Mutante Discos in Chile and Nacional Records everywhere else. Here is a rather tasty little taster of what to expect: