It seems the world is on a dubstep kick after Skrillex hit the scene. Curiously, digging into the genre you find that he’s basically the only one who sounds like that – or maybe it’s that I don’t know where the Secret Awesome is. I admit it. I am old and the art degree only goes so far.
To my surprise, I found this release by Airborne Drumz. I really wouldn’t call it true dubstep, though. That’s not a bad thing, and from the great pile of stuff in that genre, it’s probably a good thing. What is it then? I think it’s something that sits somewhere in the middle of a triangle between Skrillex, Deadmau5 and perhaps rougher Kid 606. Essentially, you have the sounds of dubstep (without the over-done ‘wubwubwub’), the driving beat of good house and the edge of Hardcore. This is perhaps best executed in track two, Andromeda.
Moving to Dertoit Wastelands, perhaps you get a feeling that Airborne Drumz are well-influenced by Daft Punk. It’s a very nice track that also recalls the first Justice album, as if it were a bonus track or it could really be that connecting sound between Skrillex and Justice. The next few tracks give you the same sort of feeling and it’s good stuff. The nice thing these tracks do (besides sound good) is take you down from Andromeda so you can get amped up again towards the end.
At the end is Back to Saturn. Starting off slow, it builds to some really gritty distorted samples. It’s tough to get that right balance of song construction and the manic, deconstruction that we all wish dubstep to be. A big plus is that the release still uses a driving, easily found beat no matter if it’s on some of the calmer tracks or the big hitting ones. Airborne Drumz has also found what seems to be almost the perfect tempo to build these tracks, unlike most who run at what I figure is about 10-15bpm too slow for utility.
If you’re a fan of such things, and I can’t see who wouldn’t. You need to have this album. Especially when you’ve listened to the above mentioned artists and you need a new fix.
Airborne Drumz on MySpace
Download the release here
I think every time you listen to This EP by Autemu, it sounds like something completely different, which is a good thing. I am not sure how she accomplished that, but it’s a win for the rest of the world.
To kind of put a finer point on the work, you could easily put it in your library between Amon Tobin and Squarepusher and feel pretty good about that. I think that location tells a lot about what you’re getting with this release. It’s definitely headphone and not dancing electronic music. Autemu puts down some very cerebral and just-this-side-of-rhythmic beats that make the difference between really well done modern Drum & Bass and cacophony – a balance many try to tackle but rarely achieve.
Track L-R has a nice sort of Jazz- downtempo sort of feeling over considered and Foley Room -esque beats, striking a pretty nice sort of balance. Harpoliciious, on the other hand is perhaps the most melodic of the tracks and reminds me of Photek’s Boy Girl Song – with teeth. You can’t miss the first track, either!
The sad part is that it’s really too short. I wish it were full-length. A nice hour’s worth of work so that I can stay in Autemu’s world for a bit longer, so here’s to hoping that there’ll be another release.
Download the 320k EP here…well it’s not here, Crazy Language has a Flash site so I cannot or am too lazy to peel out the link, so you’ll just have to follow the link below and look for release cl-039 for the download. I left this in here because I like consistency. 🙂
Autemu is on the Crazy Language Netlabel
So this is kind of a new sonic area for the blog to be sure. This release, Pichis Brew by Trío Antimanierista is more of an avant guard jazz release. Don’t be afraid, it’s good stuff! There is a lot of new jazz out there that can be a bit harder to get your head around. I am well aware of this as I spend a time here and there trolling through it. This release is not like that at all, no choking and dying saxes or percussion that sounds like a drunk in a cookware store. It’s pretty easy-going and kind of minimal, but just enough there to get the thought across. As I have said before, to do minimal right takes a lot of talent.
The release does dissolve to a bit of noise here and there, but there is an underlying sort of plan that one can discern, perhaps a second listen might be necessary. It has a bit of a story telling quality that feels kind of at home in what you’d figure is a late 60s movie score. Nothing you can’t handle, especially if you’re coming from the Drum & Bass or Hardcore world – in that case, this is relaxing!
Do download a copy, it’s certainly worth it. Listen to it. Feel like you’re all cultured and stuff without damaging your ears or sanity! I have a copy and will be subjecting my brother to it this weekend!
Download the release
Clinical Archives Netlabel
With this release you can kind of see the influences that has effected lax-o-matic in their progression. The first track has undercurrents of vintage Art of Noise, while the rest of the release settles down into something that resembles the work of Dust Brothers, but not the dancier stuff of the catalog. Be aware that the fist track isn’t really indicative of the remainder of the release. Things definitely start to pick up after that track, hitting something like an electro-like Drum & Bass sort of groove.
The stand out track is Hurting. It is fabulous and certainly worth the download all by itself. It features a breathy guest vocal track and a deliberate groove that makes you think of Fight Club sort of Dust Bros. with a helping of Propellerheads. It’s at this track that AMP really hits its stride. The tracks sit down into some nice, meaningful beats.
Download it here!
Moods Plateau Netlabel
I was looking around for some new music, the kind I that can do some work to, not really where I have to stay up until 3am in a frenzy to finish, but more even stuff. The 5th Realm from Zengineers fits the bill quite nicely.
The album is classified by the label as Drum and Bass, while they are right, the album could also fall into Downtempo as well. There are 12 tracks on the release and all are of equal quality and carry the same feel, but what’s more impressive is that the tracks are pretty long, for the most part. Both qualities are pretty important to me. (To tell a little secret, I tend to shy away from something with less than 5 tracks or 30min-a personality flaw? possibly…)
The 5th Realm is constructed with all of the nuances of D&B, yet it turns out to be more relaxed. Zengineers do a very good job of putting in just enough D&B flavor while letting the tracks breathe. There is a really nice balance between letting a groove go versus the need for inflection – it takes a steady hand. Also, sprinkled throughout the album are some really nicely done vocal tracks that do a really nice job of punctuating the release.
Maybe it doesn’t need punctuation as the Zengineers have done a great job of crafting songs with just the right amounts, – something that apparently is difficult to do in the genre.
Download the release here!
Available through the iD.EOLOGY label
I am pretty giddy about finding this release. This is in fact rock music, a rarity for my netlabel reviews – and a rarity for netlabels in general, which is kinda sad really, but where do you find a drummer, anyhow?
Marquee Strats a great collection of songs with a sound directly in the vein of math rock, sounding not unlike Dianoga or a bit of Don Caballero. I have no idea if Rico is doing the modal/time change stuff (I could tell you if I saw the music, but for some reason, by ear, I am horrible at it) that are the hallmarks of the genre, even so it has the same flavor.
Back to Marquee Strat: what makes it so good is that it has all of the hallmarks of the genre, and all are done quite well. The melodies are heavy on the arpeggiation and the harmony portions do a good job of varying and returning to support the melodic bits. Each track is different but they all have cohesiveness that really works well together where they sort of glide from one to the other. It’s definitely a release that makes it easy to just let it play through!
Get it here!
Test Tube Netlabel
Zoundz Ov Ze Apocalypze by Bad Ratio is constantly just about to cross from drum and bass into hardcore. It teases you with that line all the way through. needless to say, the tracks are on the heavy side of the D&B spectrum as well as at a distance from the dance-y variants.
Slippin’ into Darkness is really an excellently crafted song – perhaps the best on the release – making the whole download worth it. It reminds me of the older Prodigy stuff, which might actually make sense as the release is from 2008. Moongod takes this notion a lot further by deliciously adding still more distortion and bass depth to make a truly crushing D&B track. This is the track that embodies that teetering into the hardcore abyss feeling that I was talking about earlier. All it needs is a little push and we’re all in Kid 606 land. Nobody pushes and we all walk away relieved and satisfied that we’ve all pushed the envelope once again.
Get Zoundz Ov Ze Apocalypze – Bad Ratio
Memory Format Netlabel
I was looking for some Breakcore and I came home with this release instead. Breaking Dawn by Sound of Illusion is an interesting amalgamation of songs. If you take the tracks separately, they would seem pretty disjointed but together, they kind of work.
There are about three really stand-out songs on the album – and this is where you get to see the seeming dissonance of offerings – two of which have a distinct, yet well executed, Massive Attack quality to them. The vocals of these tracks are well done and have a bit of a perfectly haunting quality that works well with the rest of the tracks’ sonic qualities. The third (Drill Core Neighbor) is a drum and bass track that kind of sinters like a Spring Heel Jack tune. Yeah, they’re all on the same release! Putting the rest of the tracks together and you get a sort of Ninjatune sound that I guess is called downtempo or IDM or something like that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting these other tracks at all! They are really good stuff and work actively as the glue that holds the entire thing together as a great release. For instance, Belgrade Scum has a sound that really needs to have it’s own album.
It’s not stuff that you can easily paste a tag onto but it goes well for the steel grey, chilled winters we have here in the Midwest right now.
Sociopath Recordings Netlabel
Download Sound of Illusion – Breaking Dawn release
If Fatboy Slim woke up one day and decided to make a slightly hardcore drum and bass album, this would be it. These guys do a really good job of laying down the D&B beats, but the real magic is the melodic and sampling aspects of the tracks. Don’t Worry Be Amen has a really distinct Norman Cook feel to it – which is good! Whereas la jungla has the feel of your conventional D&B track sound, but well done. Now that I think of it, the album reminds me of Cut Chemist’s album, The Audience is Listening, too…kind of an adventure.
The release also has a feel that puts it in a different area than most D&B releases are – something other than the feeling of 2:00 in the morning in an ominous deserted city. The feel is more like a Saturday late afternoon when you know you’re going big for the evening and you have those butterflies. I think this aspect is where the Fatboy Slim comes in. It all comes together to have this jesting quality to it, where it kind of dares you to think it’s drum and bass. All over cool stuff, in fact there doesn’t seem to be a less than interesting track on the release, which is kind of rare as all good albums and groups have to put out a clunker (Remember Hot Dog, Led Zeppelin??).
What are you waiting for? Go get the release!
Terminal Station Netlabel
Download it here
I’ve met a lot of people my age who have already put a stake in the ground about what sort of music they like. I know a few people who basically are stuck in 1993 and I even know someone solidly affixed to 1986, which is not to say that they wouldn’t listen to a new band – just as long as it sounds like it came from 1986. So far, I’ve been able to shrug off this settling. Case in point: I am digging the hell out of Electro. Now, I know you’re saying that really Electro has already made it into it’s twilight. Fair enough, I’ll credit that. I counter that with the thought that Electro was basically under-described and a lot of stuff that plainly was not Electro was called that, causing an over-inflation of offerings.
So what is Electro to me? I think you can look at Justice and their predicessor, Daft Punk for definity. So, if you like those guys, you’ll LOVE this release. The bulk of the tracks subsribe to the Justice ethic, although there are a few tracks that I’d say falls into those tracks a house DJ puts in somewhere in the middle of their set when you’re thinking about going to the bathroom, but all compilations have that.
I’d call this a compilation instead of a mix, even though it is billed as a mix, because the tracks are separated out. This is a nice bonus as you can tell much more easily which artist is which, for much more easier digging.
Beware, though: this compilation isn’t for reading the paper to, it’s for more serious endeavors, like vital listening material for in between clubs on Saturday night, when you need to keep it maxxed out.