Mix: Left and Right

leftright

So many total face-melters here. Both tracks with Riko make the case that he might be the U.K.’s most ruffneck MC. Repping the local scene with Shi Wisdom, who really ought to have been on the Polaris long list (apparently the album was like two minutes too short). Stray, who I didn’t know previously, was a nice surprise – Exit Records holding it down. And the footwork flip of “Luck of Luchini” was urgent and necessary. RIP DJ Rashad, gone too soon.

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Deemo – Left and Right by Deemo on Mixcloud

  1. Loops Haunt  – IIVA – Exits (Black Acre)
  2. Bok Bok – Howard  – Your Charizmatic Self EP (Night Slugs)
  3. Kowton – Jam01 (Beneath Remix) – Livity (Ghost-202 Remix) / Jam01 (Beneath Remix) (Livity Sound)
  4. Jacques Greene – No Excuse (Yung Gud Remix) – Phantom Vibrate Remixes (LuckyMe)
  5. Martyn – Forgiveness Step 3 – Forgiveness EP (Ninja Tune)
  6. Wen – Play Your Corner (feat. Riko) – Signals (Keysound)
  7. Durban – Chimes  – Chimes (Lit City Trax)
  8. Footsie – Tekky – King Original Vol 3 (Braindead Ent)
  9. Shi Wisdom – Fly Too – Stranger Things Have Happened (bandcamp)
  10. Heterotic – Boxes – Weird Drift (Planet Mu)
  11. VesperTown – Tuff Luv – Kaleidoscope (Donky Pitch)
  12. Jailo x Ganz – Casino Royale – Turquoise (Terrorhythm)
  13. Visionist – First Love – I’m Fine (Part II) (Lit City Trax)
  14. Stray – Fragile – Chatterbox EP (Exit)
  15. Nomine – Zen Circle – Enma (Tempa)
  16. Terror Danjah feat. Riko – Dark Crawler – Hyperdub 10.1 (Hyperdub)
  17. Ital Tek – Control – Control (Planet Mu)
  18. Traxman – Your Just Movin – Da Mind Of Traxman Vol 2 (Planet Mu)
  19. DJ Rashad x DJ Spinn x Taso – Luchini VIP – Teklife Till Tha Next Life Vol. 1 (Teklife)
  20. Dibia$e – Hold It Down – Schematiks (10thirty Records)
  21. DAMH – Black Night (DJ Koze Remix) – Black Night (Kompakt)
  22. J Dilla – Here We Go Again – Lost Tapes Reels + More (Mahogani)

Mixed June 7 2014 for a-void.ca by Deemo a.k.a. Dave Morris

What I listened to on my summer vacation

martyn

Martyn
The Air Between Words
Ninja Tune

A quick scan over my mixes will confirm what you already suspected, that if I thought I could get away with it I would only ever mix Martyn tunes always. (Ok, maybe with a bit of Night Slugs and R&S’ roster in there as well.) He’s one of maybe three left-field/bass music producers whose embrace of four-four kick drums didnt feel like a concession, and The Air Between Words just cements his mastery. There’s a dusty, from-the-catacombs air to choons like “Like That,” whose erotic moans and swishy house piano mixed with a gloomy baseline sounds like Lil Louis’ “French Kiss” remade for a rainy day in Wales. And the languid Fender Rhodes-isms of “Drones” are perfectly offset by the insistent groove, which never lets the track sink into melancholia or pander to baser instincts. That’s really the genius of Martyn in a nutshell: capturing a feeling of unease or tension while keeping the music itself animated and alive.  Or maybe its just my overpowering urge to drop something dark and stormy like “Forgiveness Step 2” at peak time, turn the lights down – except for maybe a strobe – and see what happens.

prinsthomas

Prins Thomas
III
Full Pupp

Apparently Prins Thomas loathes the phrase “cosmic disco,” which makes me think it means something different from what he thinks it means. I read it as Kosmiche disco, a descendant of Can and other outfits bent on bringing experimental sensibilities to whatever cool shit was happening, including but not only dance music. If the definition of the subgenre doesn’t include a cut like the echo-laden, circular synth riff-driven, rolling drum hypnosis that is “Trans,” I don’t know what the hell you’d call it. In some ways this is the most stripped down of the three solo discs; it’s the most cerebral, but “cerebral” in the sense that, while the language it speaks isn’t really of the dance floor, it is viscerally intense. Not to mention sexy – I was struggling for a metaphor for bass lines that didn’t involve asses in skin-tight leather, and then I gave up, and here we are. Still. People forget that the brain is biggest erogenous zone, you know.

minerva

Maria Minerva
Histrionic
Not Not Fun

Dubby bass, hazy layers of sample smog, a singer who sounds like  she’s talking in her sleep, how can you go wrong? Even now I’m not sure. Maria Minerva seized my attention with the DIY tape underground diva vibe of Cabaret Cixous – Toronto, there are three vinyl copies in Rotate This’ deep discount bin, which tells you how many people shared my affection – and a little more polish shouldn’t have gone astray. But Histrionic always seems to be beguilingly on the verge of getting good, and after a few listens, the fact that it never does gets damnably annoying. Not even a cheeky flip of a Pet Shop Boys lyric could dispel the air half-assed art schoolism. Go away and take your sub-Lana Del Rey schtick with you.

Albums: Lee Bannon remembers when drum ‘n’ bass was good

lee bannon

Lee Bannon
Alternate/Endings
(Ninja Tune)
Jan 13, 2014

Bumbaclot! I just felt like typing that after listening to Lee Bannon’s Ninja Tune debut, mostly because all the skittering breaks and moody samples make me think of ragga jungle. Really Alternate/Endings is more like A Guy Called Gerald’s Juicebox singles in their Gothic atmosphere and convoluted but not comically overblown breakbeat science. Harder than latter-day Amen-tweakers like LTJ Bukem, more serious than cut-ups like Squarepusher — but still not so dour that he would resist the urge to call a track “Phoebe Cates,” Bannon is a throwback in the best way.

 

rasg280114

Ras G
Raw Fruit Vol. 2
(Leaving)
Jan 13, 2014

You don’t need me to remind you how much I love Ras G, and Raw Fruit Vol. 2 is such a breath of fresh, er, herb that I don’t even mind that it was released on cassette. Because, you know, formats that needed to come back. Who the fuck was sitting around reminiscing about having to rewind things? Anyways, RF2 features lots of heavy smokers-delight breaks and movie samples (Denis Leary in Judgment Night is a major highlight — You’re in MY world now, Emilio Estevez!) along with some dynamite jazzy bits. My favourite aspect remains how samples from other songs he’s released show up again here, part of Ras’ personal cosmology of sampledelia that conjures up feelings of continuity, or at least, the sense that he may be too blunted on a regular basis to remember which samples he’s already used. It makes me smile either way. Don’t sleep.

warpaint

Warpaint
Warpaint
(Rough Trade)
Jan 18, 2014

It’s sad when a group succumbs to an obvious and entirely preventable illness, like heroin addiction, ska-punk or the affliction I’ve dubbed “We don’t need your fascist 4/4 time.” Warpaint’s self-titled album has a handful of songs that are as strong as the bulk of their debut, and it’s no coincidence that they’re the ones that are tightly focused (the unspeakably hypnotic “Biggy,” the PiL-meets-ESG throb of “Disco Very”) as opposed to the ones where melodies spill lazily over barlines (“Keep It Healthy”) and shifts into weird, unrelated keys come out of nowhere (“Love Is To Die”). It seems to be the byproduct of listening to too much weedy British folk music, or more likely, Amnesiac-era Radiohead. But where they can get away with bizarro time signatures and high drama, Warpaint’s songs mostly don’t have the extremely compelling melodic/lyrical guts of a “Paranoid Android” or a “Pyramid Song”, so their wanky arrangements and tortured crooning come off as, well, just that. I certainly wouldn’t write off a group with an instant-classic dirge like “Go In” in them, but I hope they can shake whatever bug afflicts a few too many of this album’s tracks. Always practice safe influence-intercourse, kids.

actress

Actress
Ghettoville
(Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune)
Jan 27, 2014

The trends in urban music production over the last year summed up in one phrase: ‘Anita Baker Screwed & Chopped’. Everything sounds like it’s a tenth generation dub of a tape that had been retrieved from inside a club urinal. As a listening experience, Actress’ follow-up to R.I.P., and last under the name, is about as washed-out and grey as the album cover, but consuming Ghettoville in chunks makes it a lot more digestible. I don’t know why anyone would dirty up a track like “Rims” when the source material isn’t that sonically engaging in the first place – a bright lead voice ramps up and down in pitch with industrial-grade soul-crushing repetition while a cymbal clangs incessantly in the background.

I thought the dreary one-two punch of “Rims” and “Contagious” might drive me off in search of a civil defense bunker to hide in. But “Gaze” has a bit more texture and colour, with a wispy synth smeared across the track and a Chicago house-style beat that summons the atmosphere of a warehouse party where the speakers are half blown but everyone’s too out of their gourd to notice. “Skyline” and “Frontline” are similarly driving, and even the pummeling hi-hats of “Birdcage” are offset by some chilly electro synth vibes that balance things out nicely. Recommended for when you’re stuck somewhere with a boom box whose speakers will not reproduce treble frequencies of any kind. Could potentially sound great on a supermarket PA. Anyone want to test that theory?