Monday 31 March 2014

NEON BUNNY (야광토끼) – IT'S YOU (너여야) [VIDEO]

I have been spending most of today looking out of the window at the same view I pretty much always look at. It's greenish, pretty, flowery, but it's not inspiring me. And neither was anything I had heard up until now. Then I remembered that I had to check out this new Neon Bunny track. And I was cured! Cured of my malaise. Cured I say. Thanks to K-pop. Or K-indie.

Where are we now? Anyway, this is the THIRD Neon Bunny (real name Lim Yoojin) track I've heard and the third I've featured here. I discovered her at some point last year (with her song 'Oh My Prince') when I was actively exploring the Seoul music scene – and what a happy discovery! Since then, she's worked with fellow Korean producer Demicat on the song 'Singing Bird' from his Out Loud EP and, well, not much else that I know of. Until now! This song has seemingly appeared out of the blue as a purchasable single and it's called "너여야" (neoyeoya) or 'It's You'.

Like her past songs, this one follows in their footsteps with electro aplomb, fuzzy distorted saw-wave bass blasting in waves, losing its distortion outside of the catchy chorus, where Neon Bunny's gentle voice sings the hook, and where the beat bustles with doubled-up hi-hats in all its footwork flavour, snapping back and forth between cracking clap-snare combination and throttling kicks. Swept with waves of mystified chords and glistening delicate melodies, this is a song of contrasts: the sweet and softly sung vocals with their near-nostalgic pop sensibilities; the hard and driving beat drenched with harsh distorted synth. But it works wonderfully.

Hopefully, and I don't know if it's the case or not, this is taken from an upcoming album. It'd be nice to hear a full-length collection of songs from Neon Bunny. I mean, even an EP would do. But for now, the summery 'It's You' and its addictive, perfectly pop sound is just fine!

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Thursday 27 March 2014


How about something from Spain right now? Is that gonna float your boat? Well in some ways it doesn't really matter where anything is from, but in others it matters a great deal. Let's just split the bill and say that it depends – it depends entirely on the situation I suppose, and your interest. Me, for example, I'm interested in where stuff comes from. Sorry but I am.

Anyway, in this instance here is something not from "Spain" as it were but from Euskal Herria – Basque Country, and it arrives in the form of a track called 'Nature' by Bilbao-based beatmaker Pupilation – or PVPILΔTION. For the sake of ease, I'm going to say Pupilation from now on. Sorry about that.

True to its name, 'Nature' features sounds of birds singing, chirping noises that ease you into the glittering glitz of wide chiming melodies that float over the top of this track for its entire duration, like a silvery mist. Bass grooves with slow and simple funk pattern, filling the deep void beneath the the shuffling raw beat that shakes its way forward with harsh hi-hats and dull-thud organic kicks and resounding snare. The middle of the track marks a return to the sound of birds; other sounds join in, glassy shearing synth sound, stepping patterns of harpsichord-like twinkling.

Little things – like the introducing the beat with just bare hi-hats, like muting all sounds except the drums for less than a second just before the middle break, like the beat's staggering return to life for the final part, like the chunks of leftover bass chopped at the end – make this track what it is: very cool. It's these simple things, simple acts of not even decoration, but of minimal subtraction, dynamic placement, that keep things interesting in this track, which with its sounds and fresh beat is very, very pretty anyway.

This guy makes music under not only Pupilation, but also Ber SO and Zitrick – maybe this current moniker is the ultimate one, the name of choice. In any case, he seems to upload a tune here and there pretty regularly, so if you're into this just check his SoundCloud every now and again.

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I love Spazzkid. How can you not? I mean, even as a person (called Mark Redito) he's really nice, so the fact that he makes really lovely music is a bountiful bonus if ever there was one. If you don't know this guy then, um, get to know: the best way is to trawl his Bandcamp page where you'll find everything from Early Demos (2004–2006), to the wholly immersive experience that was his album release of last year, Desire (願う). His lovingly crafted sounds ring with electropop, with chillwave, with J-inspired melodies, with footwork flavours and above all, with touching positivity.

I managed to miss the uploading of his latest track 'At Fault', however, but thanks to Oliver (s/o The 405) I heard it today and I knew instantly that I had to write about it and share it. This track is unique in that it features the cooperation and collaboration of fellow SoCal resident, There Is A Fox. Real name Hiro Makino, I wrote about him and his dreamily endearing brand of indie-folk-pop last Autumn, and was therefore pleased to find his sound and style permeating this song alongside Spazzkid. Beginning life as something that sampled & re-arranged a There Is A Fox original, 'Bad Day', it grew until these two artists were working alongside each other on the track.

Tagged "folktronic" I think this just about sums it up. Folk-pop guitar appears out of the void in vibrantly choppy succession with xylophonic sounds raining down in the slow sway of the song; by the end everything is jumbling together in a colourful mash of sound, from right down low with the booming bass and muffled kicks to the high registers of rattling percussion and looping guitar riffs. Vocals sing out innocently with lashings of dream-laden reverb, "It's not my fault…", calm in the zinging euphoria of the track. It is expansive, opening up as it goes along, evolving all the way, filled with wonderfully living-and-breathing organic samples and sounds residing harmoniously next to wholly electronic fabrications. At every moment it is endearing; did you hear the little cough/clearing of the throat at the start? Just another magic touch.

So there it was. Hoo-hah! It's lovely. I can't help but love it. I'm a fan. I hope you're a fan too. Fyi this song was supposed to feature on Spazzkid's upcoming EP (which I'm v excited for), but it grew and grew and, as he describes, "ended up wanting a life of its own. It stands for itself, pure and beautiful." Well well well indeed it does.

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Wednesday 26 March 2014


I've seen a lot of this recently. A lot of what? A lot of SoundCloud pages that are hardly filled, or which have just the one track uploaded, and few followers, but which already shows such a definitive direction, such a polished sound. Maybe it's a kind of perfectionism, in that only a few songs will ever be "perfect" enough for the purposes of sharing with a general public; maybe it's that inspiration doesn't visit often enough; or perhaps it's all just an intricate PR strategy, and everything is ready already— I don't know! I have no idea! But what I do know is that I've seen a lot of them recently.

What does that mean? It could mean that more and more people are paddling their own canoes, making their own music and sharing it with the world – perhaps inspired by others who have done the same (i.e. getting internet famous) – and this is the meaning that I would like to believe, at least for now. People just wanna make music. And let them!

With this said, please allow me to introduce all the way from Melbourne, Australia, LANKS *tiny fanfare*. Who? Well, LANKS is the electronic project, the moniker, of Will Cuming, the creator of the only song currently uploaded to SC, 'Rises and Falls'. Having a little nose around on his Facebook page revealed that this is taken from an upcoming EP – and this, if this one song is anything to go by, is going to very good.

The track is a unique in that you don't often hear stuff in 6/8 timing which this at least appears to be. A slightly disorienting beat juggles toms and slapping kick, scratching hi-hat and dusty electronic snare, leading you effectively into a whirling dreamworld. This is the perfect foundation for the song itself, for the lyrics, which describe a tragic story (I won't ruin it, just listen) in balladesque form. A voiceless chorus underpins the spoken-word/singing's intimate style, guitar arpeggios join in halfway, synth chords gradually rise up out of the deep. The timing changes at around 1:50, with sub-bass kicks booming a 4/4 pattern, a heartbeat for the intense tragedy of this moment; accompanied by female vocals, LANKS and militaristic snares and cymbals builds the track to a crashing crescendo. Fin.

Really interesting stuff, indie-sound (essentially) with a touch of electropop and folk, reminiscent of Alt-J dare I say, but more substantial both in sound and wording. When is the EP out? Dunno.

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I had been wondering what Daisuke Tanabe had been up to recently. A few months ago he posted a 3 second voice track that simply said: "I'm making a new album at the moment… Thank you." Checking back on his SoundCloud today it seems that he's been pretty busy recently, having uploaded a couple of older tracks alongside a couple of new tracks – presumably made for the new album; the awesome and fast-paced 'Replaced', sounding like a jungle track made for minimalists, with infra-kicks that seem to blast air through your skull and ticking chopped snares and hi-hats beautifully delicate yet still exuding a ton of attitude; and then there's this track: 'Alice'.

Beginning with a wondrous clinking and clanking of bells, insectoid percussion, and the sound of a tiny cartoon helicopter coming in to land, it begins, stopping and starting, abstractly playing with percussive sounds like a wicker basket of toys being poured down a specially designed course. When the beat arrives properly, we're treated to understated syncopated kicks that keep time beneath bustling thickets of clicking clopping crowded metallic clacking so rich and dense that they sound as though they are liquids; water sloshing around in a bucket of water. Gentle bleeps provide the pattern for the melody, which distorts in glitchy fashion before the final act of the story.

This end part throws the spotlight on a set of organ-like sounds, almost wheezing in their clear yet modulative wavy nature, from the stepping bass to the near-spooky and certainly weird microscopic soaring melody. A very high-pitched blip plays every now and again, like the sound of trainers (or sneakers if you) staccato-squeaking on polished floor.

As always, Daisuke Tanabe's attention to detail grabs your attention in turn, bidding you to come and have a look and a listen to these strange sounds; building huge cities, worlds, cave networks in miniature, and shrinking you down to the size of an ant so you can find vast universes in what you previously thought was mere minutiae. At the same time, he keeps a beat in this instance, retaining some rudimentary sense of conventionality but ultimately discarding it in favour of experimenting with noises, finding the richest flavours, the prettiest presentation, and giving us the gourmet experience with his music.

I don't know when his album's out but when it is, I'll be there. Where? Wherever it is I should be in order to listen to it; shrunken and inside a sprawling architectural model left sitting on some rocks by the sea. Or something.

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Tuesday 25 March 2014


Ha ha! Well. This just flew into my inbox from far across the ocean – the Atlantic ocean btw. It instantly jumped into my ear and started doing cartwheels, carrying out a spot of light raving, and sending basically some really nice soothing sounds. Why did it do that? It did that because it IS really nice, and nice things tend to act upon you instantaneously – it's physiological yo.

I will hark back to a moment I was told about once; a friend told me about a random commenter who said that it was probably "a bad sign" that they liked a piece of music straight away. What sort of garbled tripe-shit nonsense is that? I instantly liked Ace of Base's 'All That She Wants' when I heard it as a child, and when I hear it now, I still like it. I didn't WORK to like it. Anyway. Don't believe the hype: like what you like however you please.

Sorry. What was I saying? YES these are the sounds of New York City resident, musicmaker and self-confessed "nocturnal creature", Nola Wren (real name Kara Francavillo). In her most recent track, 'Soul Sucker', she evinces a certain pop nostalgia in a cradle of comforting sounds, a mix of organic and electronic stuffed full of vocal hooks and a driving beat.

Founded on a clattering acoustic guitar (which minutely reminded me of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, in a good way ofc) with glistenings of electronic scatter-beeps decorating like glitter, the song shoots along with emotive intent, totally encased in pop trimmings, Nola Wren's supersweet voice crooning out the melody amidst light synth chords and harshening for the rapid-fire "Soul sucker, soul sucker, you'll n-n-n-n-n-n-never get my…" in each freshly reverbing chorus as distortion juts upward against the thumping beat.

All in all, it's a treat for the ears, an unabashed pop song that holds no pretence, injecting at the same time a particular marginal attitude – an essence, at least, of punk (perhaps) – into the music at the same time; no mean feat. Honestly I think this is a very good song, how can I stress that any further? And it's only a demo!! But it sounds great!

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JAASKA – CHINNA CHINNA (காதல் காதல்)

I really like this song. There is something so different about it. To be honest with you, I don't know of many "modern" tracks from new and up-and-coming artists and producers or whatever that have ever used a sample of Tamil singing. But hearing this now I just think well, why not? Why the hell not? People are grabbing at samples from other languages, heavily from Japanese with anime stuff being super popular amongst the children of the world, and I guess that means Tamil films and music are just not that popular. Oh well. Maybe they will be one day. Here's a fun fact about me though: I like to listen to a London radio station called IBC Tamil – it is digital and you can listen online so go check it out. It fills any house with instant beauty.

Yesterday the track didn't have the parenthesised "காதல் காதல்" – காதல் is "kāthal" and kāthal means love. So doubled it could mean... I dunno. Love love. Big love? I dunno. I literally don't know I'm just guessing. On the other hand "chinna chinna" is "சின்ன சின்ன" – just the singular chinna (or சின்ன) means "petty" but also "young; small; little" (check if u don't believe me), so I am confused. Con. Fused.

Anyway for goodness' sake I'd better just talk about this damn song. It's great. It's from a New York City-dwelling person called Jaaska and Jaaska makes music. From its beginnings as something mysterious and near-menacing, with the sound of a gun being cocked at the end of the intro, 'Chinna Chinna' features the serpentine elasticity of a fluttering vocal sample (in Tamil) that ornamentalises its heavily distorted pillars of bass that prop the song up with triumphal pop patterns.

A simple melody plays gently over the top of the waterfallish haze of the synth, below which is the neo-trap rhythm: thudding tumbling rocks of kick virtuosity and – in place of a snare – something that sounds like coconut halves clopped together or some other equally clopping slice of percussion. It's a really fun song that feels as though you're being swayed back and forth, dancing with somebody perhaps, and it is full of carefree colour and vivacity.

As for that sample: maybe it's from the A. R. Rahman song 'Chinna Chinna Aasai' or maybe it's from 'Chinna Chinna Vanna Kuil', a song in Mouna Ragam, a 1986 Tamil film – perhaps it's from this other song. Fact is, I don't know, and it's been driving me nuts trying to find it. I've just spent the last half an hour, maybe longer, maybe an hour, trying to find this sample. WHERE IS IT FROM TELL ME NOW.

  • If you liked this portion of surgingly fun music, it comes from an UPCOMING EP from Jaaska called Videshi, out soon on AMDISCS.

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Monday 24 March 2014


Oh goddd this like everything else has taken ages to actually get from my ears to my brain to my fingers to the keyboard. It was released over a month ago. What is "it"? God damn— it's Meishi Smile with his debut album Lust. Yes indeed it's "The 1st Album" – there can never be another one by Meishi Smile, no no nope. This is the 1st album and it always will be.

But what is it like? Lust is essentially a mix of rough and smooth, a mix of harsh self-berating distortion and endless reverb free-floating out into the gulf of digital voids, all beset with J-pop sensibilities; it's sugar-coated white noise, it's dance music for bedroom dwellers and indoors inclined individuals, it's idealised. Within its 8 tracks, there are many moments where it soars past the boundaries of euphoria with a post-Balearic furore, too happy to be real; a gentle, dream-induced kind of EDM, not the type you'd hear in a massive tent at a festival, but the type that takes you away to weird worlds in the middle of the lonely nights.

Opener 'AJS' perhaps embodies this EDM style most clearly, keeping all the tropes of the so-called genre – like multiple drops and trance-like melodies skirling away in hookish fashion; likewise, 'Honey' drops in with octave-skipping bassline and clean-cut fast-paced synth melodies. However, here is a quirk of the album: the vocoder. There is something retro about the vocoder, yet in its very nature it IS a modern device. It is at odds with itself. But this works perfectly for Meishi Smile. The vocoder appears as a mainstay of 'Pale', which alongside its icicle-esque synth glistenings gives the track an atmosphere of coldness, of chill in the nominal sense. It's also in the chilled atmosphere of the next track, 'Still' – looping vocoders battling high-register hollow synth and wide washes of dreamy chords.

These chilled vibes start the proceedings on 'Heart', a song that moves between swaying seabed ambience and bouncing electro-dance; thick synth bass grooves in a pop mood and the vocoder seems here to be "singing" more than anywhere else. It's a song of slow and fast. That slowness, however, is portrayed so much better on the almost-surprise track 'Ai' – this one sounds like a super-reverbed and super-distorted version of the kind of slo-house synthpop that the infamous Drive soundtrack popularised with artists like College and Kavinsky (in this instance, more by the former than the latter). It reeks of nocturnal stylings, a simple melody and a steady, driving beat fogged by reverb and underpinned by formative rows of saw-wave bass jounce.

That's in direct contrast to the happy-happy pop of previous track 'Summer Blue', a foray into something maybe you'd find on a videogame – squelchy bass, simple but very effective synth raining down in showers of 8-bit bleepery with an overriding melody played by synth lead and vocoder, syncopated toytronic chords in lieu of house piano for extra oomph. This is in direct contrast to the closer and most crazy of all tracks, 'Tears'. Meishi Smile mysteriously describes it on SoundCloud: "Dedicated to the one who was lost." And indeed, in title and in its near-happy hardcore extreme distortion, this aims to reflect not the moroseness, the lassitude, of being sad, but the fury and frustration of sadness, wholly up-tempo yet down-beat, tear-like droplets of synth raining down amidst the whirlwind haze of twisted grey noise synth.

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE. There are remixes. KOSMO KAT keeps 'Summer Blue' close to the original, adding touches here and there – percussion, a sunset-conjuring breakdown, droplet sample – for what is 'Summer Blue V2' basically. 'Heart' retains its washes of sound, yet is given a gentle touch of officious industry by Uio Loi, and la pumpkin turns it into an almost beatless slice of bassy experimentalism with added instruments, with the original melodies picked out and spotlighted. mus.hiba does likewise with 'Pale', extracting the song from its up-tempo frame and giving it a semi-trap makeover with added 80s synth melody and waves of trance synth. My favourite, I think, is gigandect's redoing of 'Honey' – now essentially a chiptune number, completely overrun with glorious bleeps, from its low-low buzzing bass all the way up to its fluid telephonic melody.

Phew. Well, this ain't conventional dance music; Meishi Smile ain't conventional. This is dance music hazed over with influences from videogame music to shoegaze and beyond, dreams converging like clouds to rain down startling reworkings of various recollections, feelings, and recollections of feelings. It's icy and robotic, but this cybernetic feel exudes nostalgia and emotion with subtle effortlessness; behind a mist of idealised sounds, just as anybody URL is veiled by idealised monikers and titles, Meishi Smile is there with boundless feeling.

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From an original song that rings with lilting plucked guitar and an epic-yet-cute feel as it mutates from a toy-like sound into one with force and drama, we have a remix. Yes, the original 'From Gold' by Novo Amor (real name Ali Lacey, from Cardiff, UK) is a folksy number, but this remix by newcomer Nokuit – a somewhat veiled producer from who-knows-where – is a much more electronic affair, turning an organic and earthy vibe into one of unearthly artificiality.

Utilising vocals from the original, the track moves along at a slow pace – it bristles with thickets of percussion, clattering and crashing, smacking and fizzing with an itchy determination, skiffling with glitch sensibility. This essentially broken beat pulses with syncopated kicks, nicely understated below the creeping flora of noises. Golden thread glistening of noise are just audible in the background; guitar sounds echoing seemingly within their own selves twang delectably as richer synth sound rumbles up from the deep.

Nothing is overstated here in this chilled soundscape. For me, the main feature is the beat. The beat the beat the beat, prickling your ears in a wholly satisfying way. But um this is basically a very good example of ambient music as much as it is a complete indulgence in the powers of glitch. It keeps to itself, glows with delicate energy, seeps slowly into your skin like sunlight, all the time swaying and slow, yet is harsh and busy and irregularly ticking. A great mix.

I am told by Nokuit that this remix (also a FREE DOWNLOAD!) – the only track uploaded so far – marks the start of their project, their foray into the music world, and I personally happen to think that this is a very good start indeed.

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Hi it's Monday and urgh it's Monday but at least the sun's shining, at least the sky is pure blue, at least we're alive – here we are again. Another week. The cycle is a terrible one if you observe weekends, but perhaps I should stop observing weekends and then I wouldn't feel like I've just re-entered the Earth's atmosphere every damn Monday morning. Then every day could just be a nnormal day. But on the other hand wtf am I talking about?

Look, I heard this yesterday. Cashmere Cat – some of u reading this might already be like "whoa late to the party there yes/no where u been under a rock or some shit???" whereas others might be like "who's that" so I'm gonna side with the latter and just say whatever to the former. He's a producer from Norway whose real name is Magnus August Høiberg and he's basically a pretty big deal. Aside from that, check this song, the kinda latest one of his, taken from his Wedding Bells EP, released mid-Feb.

This type of music has undeniable appeal, it's overridden with happiness and sunny vibes – and I love that Cashmere Cat is already so popular, it's like a sigh of relief, because other types of what is essentially dance music are so much more serious and in-your-face and despite sounding as if they are made for a time and place are consistently blasted into your ears at all hours of the day by braindead radio stations.

On the other hand, 'Rice Rain' exudes the atmosphere of innocence and the fun of happy occasions in fluid instrumental surroundings; a regular dripping sound lends its inane glory to the track as it zooms into multiple drops, filled always with a tumbling cloud of percussion from 80s-style toms, trappish snares and claps and some metallic clacking too. Vox works its melody alongside cutesy synth and pizzicato strings, an officious yet carefree flight-of-fancy sound against the cleanly juke-flavoured backdrop.

And that's 'Rice Rain' I guess, I dunno if Wedding Bells is a concept EP or something but rice rain, well, you throw rice (at the couple?) after the actual marriage in a church don't u? It's out now on supernice Glasgow-based label LuckyMe, anyway (go here to see all places u can get it clickety-click). Do yourself a favour and listen to Cashmere Cat today, a lot of it.

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Saturday 22 March 2014


Ohhh yeaa, here's a track for you. It's a nice one. God I gotta stop talking like this. This arrived in my inbox and I really like it. Please keep sending things, I love to hear things. Anyway, the track is called 'Wahula' and it's by a Brooklyn-based maker-of-music called Melting Moods.

There is indeed something extremely melty about Melting Moods. Real name Andrew Krzynowek, he manages to create some explicitly melty atmospheres in all of the three songs on his SoundCloud. 'Black Magic' is a skewed reality of a track, a semi-nightmarish carnivalistic psychedelic electro number, and there is a ton of melted-sun funk aesthetic appeal in 'Space Walker', but the one that stuck out most to me was the most recent, 'Wahula'. Like I said.

Anyway um the synth in this track is gloriously affected, twisted with pitchbends and wah-wah, writhing over the top of muffled pulsar squelch bass, soon joined by scathing waves of distorted saw-wave chords and a crackling melody of high-register hollow synth. But in the middle we're treated to delicious portion of sumptuous funk, guitar crying carefree and groovesome bass mixed in with weird vox. These come up again, eerily repeating the song's name in barely audible lows (I thought I was hearing things at first).

All in all 'Wahula' sways with its ultimate chillment rubbing shoulders quite comfortably with the bummed-out vibe inherent in its stylised sounds, like someone artfully shrugging on a backdrop of eternal summer afternoon. I really like it. It kind of waxes your mind as if you're standing absent-mindedly watching your car get washed in a gold glint of sun through water.

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Friday 21 March 2014


Something out of the blue and interesting for you, here's something I found just crawling through the tunnels of SoundCloud as you do. It's some rap, essentially. It's not only good, it's also a combination of things worth making some noise about. One of which is that the rapper herself is from North Carolina but lives in Riga, Latvia.

Yeah, anyway, this is the sound of Ashnikko, real name Ashton Casey, and she's really good. Her flow is elastic and plosive and sharp all at the same time, at least this is what I can glean from this particular 3-month-old track (vintage Ashnikko), 'Damsel'. As you might be able to tell from the title, it deals with the stereotype damsel-in-distress, stamping on it and throwing up a lightning barrage of middle fingers to, and laughs at, its endorsers and practitioners.

Her voice twangs clear and crisp, almost drawling her superconfident lines, of which there are so many clever ones, with slow, spelled-out icy delivery, steeped in carefully considered rhyme. Some that stick out: "Girl you so cute, why you talkin' so morbid? / I'm the female Cookie Monster but I'm snacking' on corpses" – "You're happy with that job and your subservient wife" – and "Your savage master cackling madly as he checks in with his drones." But really, it's totally brimming with this type of confrontational intellect and I love it.

This is all set to a low-key beat, booming out sub-bass foundation and ticking snare punctuation for Ashnikko's bars, courtesy of Latvian beatmaker Toms Slukins. Adding barely perceptible vox to the end of the track is about its only variation, but it totally works – Ashnikko is the star of the show here, but Toms' production goes with it like the sky to a cluster of clouds: pretty perfectly.

This comes from Karaļūdens 01, a compilation of rap and hip hop from Riga music collective Dirty Deal Audio released at the end of last year. You might not understand Latvian, but you are a human and you are free to like or dislike patterns of speech, and surely you can like a beat or two without knowing what's going on lyrically. (Sure helps though. *sigh bc i don't know all the languages*)

PS. You can download this for free
PPS. There's also a video for this

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Well well well here is a surprise outta nowhere. Straight out of the blue up the avenues of unknown fizzing in a bottle of Diet I-Dunno opened to the world and poured out in a sparkle of sudden realisation. Anyway it looks as though Metome, the prodigious musicmaker from Japan, has made some more music. At least, I haven't seen this song anywhere before. It's a new one! And it's a video straight off the bat! Boom! Whoosh! Zip!

So it's something new and already you can hear that it has a subtly different sound to the shining Metome gems of old. These, from the up-tempo and blissful 'Water Cycle' to the slow jazz sensuality of 'Take This Love', are pretty much all free-form improvisational numbers, polished with an organic aesthetic and a penchant for glitch multiplicity, all smothered in wholly cool lounge-like atmospheres.

'Rainmaker' sees Metome take a turn for the darker, for the more mystical, perhaps just in the style of the vocal sample – utterly drenched in a fog of reverb – which as usual he gleefully twists and turns with deft touches here and there; but then this "darker" sound is also in the cold, glacial nature of the washes of chords that summon a certain swirling bleakness, a cloud sea quaking with sub-bass where components of the beat – tight snares that roll rat-tat sometimes, unassuming collections of clicks – and shoals of bleeps float in graceful flotsam colonies.

Made by Videcam Production, the video suits this somewhat more serious sound down to the ground, documenting a Pan's Labyrinth-type affair, in which a girl finds herself magically beckoned by a demoniac skull-headed magician and whisked to another world. The washed out colours of the video suiting the freezing breeze of sound in the song, its slightly unnerving vocal sample singing a plaintive lament that, on its own, could plot the fateful journey of the girl to the magic door in the video.

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Thursday 20 March 2014


These are the sultry and let's say quite frankly nicely addictive sounds of nowhere-based musicmaker Random Hero. With their SoundCloud back catalogue full to the brim with bootleg remixes and regular remixes and bootlegs by themselves, this up-and-coming artist has just – well, I say just, but it was over two weeks ago – uploaded two original songs. Both are different, yet both contain lashings of samples, positively crowded with the sounds of yore in glossy modern surroundings.

Perhaps inspired by the success or the widespread nature of future funk or the phantom adherents of vaporwave, there are, like I said, a load of samples in both. The first, however 'More, More, More' is packed with ghost noises from three sonic relics: 'More, More, More' (you coulda guessed that kinda though) by Andre True Connection, 'Mr. Funky Samba' by Banda Black Rio, and 'I'm Your Boogie Man' by KC & The Sunshine Band.

Obviously, the overriding sample here, the refrain, the riff, is the iconic "More, more, more… set to a swaying disco beat – shuffling and shaking along with slow intensity – stuttering oooo's and looped trumpets shoot through like a mist of funk as huge bass booms with a muffled synth squelch underneath it all. It's sunny and carefree, looking back to mould a new vision for the future, melding the happy sounds of these three songs into one seamless entity.

It's in 'Cloud Nine' where things are a little bit different. Although it could still be called future funk, because by its nature, its sounds – the fluttering rhythm guitar chords, the keyless octave-skipping bassline, the jittering lead funk guitar – it is extremely funky. Funk funk funk. But there is something else in its up-tempo sounds, too fast for disco, but just about catching the tailcoat of early 00's pop – the type inspired by UK garage.

When dance music spoke of getting home to get ready, still innocent to the actual act of dancing and going out and getting completely drunk, with a sensibility for sugarcoating the whole affair; dancing in the mirror, traffic jams in the fading evening summer sun, speaking to friends on the chunky ancestors of cordless phones, gaudy clothes-ridden bedrooms.

All in all, what more can I say than what I've already said? These are instantly likeable songs, ones that take old sounds and frame them in glossy new surroundings. Random Hero has offered up these two very well produced morsels, like perfectly barbecued meat, for us and I can confirm that they smell damn good and they're tasty, too: simple, not overcomplicated, and done with style.

Listen to Random Hero on SoundCloud

Wednesday 19 March 2014


← #22: VULKANO #24: BO EN →

In any creative vocation there is usually a trade-off between quality and quantity. I say USUALLY because it's only the usual thing; sometimes you get both at the same time, but often you make a LOT of stuff of wildly varying quality or you make REALLY GOOD stuff, just not very much of it. Harrison seems to be one of the rare few who has to make absolutely no trade-off whatsoever. He makes a lot of music at a consistent level of (very good) quality. From edits, remixes ('Zelda Menu', anyone?) and future funk joints dripping with obscure samples, to more recent stuff that is almost wholly "original", Harrison's back catalogue already bulges with greatness.

Particularly interesting is his very recent 'Connect ✿' series, in which Harrison tries to portray the thoughts and feelings of his female friends based on conversations with them. Not only is the concept itself unique and rather sweet, but the nature and styles of sound that Harrison can explore here goes beyond the boundaries of his inaugural sounds: compare the already-classic 'Sunshine The Street Cat' with the most recent Connect, 'Charlotte', and you'll see what I mean. A summer-flavoured soulful funk mirage, and a pattering juke track with Rainbow Road flights of fancy. Totally different.

Happily! The clearly quite busy Harrison was happy to delve into a Lazy Interview exclusively for YES/NO. Actually, forget that, not exclusively, cause, well, I just asked him. That was all. EXCLUSIVE is in its meaning and its origins an ugly word. Read up.

Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
My name's Harrison based out of Toronto and I'm a producer or instrumentalist.

Why did you decide to start creating music?
I was super bored and was going through a "rough" time in my life. It really actually started out as a joke with a few friends and I didn't want to stop. Boar M'londe showed me how to use Reason and we actually started out as a group (HMPF). We didn't break up or anything we just didn't make music at the same time because one of us would be gaming while the other one was on his computer.

How would you describe your sound? What makes you and your style stand out?
I honestly can't answer that because I don't know. I haven't found it yet which is starting to piss me off.

Is there a perfect time and place for listening to your music?
Depends on the album. When it Rains was made for the Fall and Prom King was made for the spring. Anything in between I really just made so people would dance and stuff.

What inspires you most when writing a song?

What is your most memorable musical experience?
My first show. It was at a tea shop that my friend's brother owned. She started this event called "wholehearted" which essentially brought artists together in the least non-pretentious way. I just remember my hands shaking so heavily and shit. The girl I was into showed up with a guy and I drank too much and all this shit. After it happened, I don't shake anymore.

What are your favourite three songs at the moment?

  1. Forever by Chris Malinchak

  2. Loving Free by Spazzkid

  3. California Soul by Marlana Shaw

Who do you most admire in the music world?
Definitely people who aren't giving up on the old school. The people who don't need to express their music through words and the people who aren't afraid to make happy sounding music. Onra basically.

In your opinion, what is the future of music?
My opinion is really strong on that. I can't answer that without sounding like a dick so I won't.

What's the future of your music - what do you hope to do next?
I don't know. Going to release an EP and an edit tape hopefully. I hope my "following" is open minded though. I'd really like it to be my best one yet.

What, aside from music, is most important to you?

So it's clear that Harrison likes females. An inspiration, a great importance in his life, and literally the basis of some of his newest, most different tracks, it's nice to hear an honest love appearing – for whatever reason, Harrison and females just go, like peanut butter and jam (jelly whatever). It's clear to see in his 'Connect ✿' series, how he reflects the mind-numbing boredom of a girl daydreaming at school, thinking of better things to do, the lack of direction, the somehow sunny and vague sense of worry. Even without lyrics, Harrison makes his music deliciously human, connective and energetic and at all times hopeful.

Feeling as he is "pissed off" at not finding a definitive style, well, if I may speak for a wider group of listeners, it's fine. In fact, the variety is great. We dip in here, we dip in there, we are never bored with your sound. I mean, perhaps this reflects an overstimulated generation, of which I am also a part, one that is indecisive, unsure – but why can this not be a good thing? Why can this not be a thing in itself? It might be the case that Harrison's style is one of fluid mutability, underpinned by a continual search for a "defining sound" – no exhaustive goal but the variegated journey itself – and if it is so then let it be: people clearly love him for it.

← #22: VULKANO #24: BO EN →

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Tuesday 18 March 2014


Last week I fell in love with this song. Maybe I fell in lust with it. Maybe I just really liked it. Whichever it was, I wrote about it. It was called 'Destiny' and it was by a new artist called MELTY. Melty. I can imagine only cheese on toast, only croque monsieurs and madames, only dripping nacho gloop, only pizza-topping aching stretch.

Anyway… MELTY was kind enough to create a wonderful guest mix for me and, well, it's a celebration of bass and darkness and attitude and I think you'll like it.

A particular and nice surprise: Nestled between the overdistorted bass of Exhalted.'s 'VAPOURGRAVE 2001' and its creepy lo-fi vocal sample "There's no such thing as miracles…" ("…Or the supernatural, only cutting-edge technology" – sampling the speech of Revolver Ocelot from Metal Gear Solid 2), and the apocalyptic ghetto house track 'Bass rattle stars out the sky' (it's all in the name), is an exclusive from MELTY. Called 'Untitled' for the moment, it flutters with golden vocal samples against a bruised background of bass before pulsing with electrified waves of synth, lapping gloriously against your ears as the beat skitters addictively onward.

It ends with an explosive remix of 2PAC's 'Fuck Em All' by fellow Sydney-dweller, IMCHILD, which glides effortlessly into the shadowy creep of 'Get Yah Head Bust' by SpaceGhostPurrp. All in all, a mix that stuffs the trappish underground quakes of footwork, ghetto house (WHATEVER), into your ears like kilos of cheese into a bulging panino.

T R A C K L I S T :

  1. NGUZUNGUZU – Skycell
  2. Ryan Hemsworth – Slurring (Baauer Remix)
  3. Lil Ugly Mane – Cup Fulla Beetlejuice
  4. Exhalted. – VAPOURGRAVE 2001
  5. MELTY – Untitled (Unreleased)
  6. Death Grips – Bass rattle stars out the sky
  7. Lil Buddha – Return Of Jah
  8. 2PAC – Fuck Em All (IMCHILD Remix)
  9. SpaceGhostPurrp – Get Yah Head Bust

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Friday 14 March 2014


On Tuesday night I went to this really cool gig. It was like, 5 hours long and I loved pretty much every minute. But I wasn't hungover this morning, I'd spent no money and, in fact, I didn't even "go" in the physical sense. It was entirely URL. This was online venue SPF420's SXSW show, and the first that brought its founders and some of its longtime components together IRL, resulting in a joyous togetherness that reeked of chatroom frivolities and community spirit. Welcome to the New Generation of music.

I mentioned these guys before, introducing them in a piece I wrote for Dummy Magazine in which post-vaporwave heartthrob Saint Pepsi and SPF420 co-founder Liz lent their thoughts on the movement that they had pioneered; one that resembled a grassroots, local scene, but was totally global, wholly online. The SXSW show – a house party somewhere in Austin – marked a huge stride forward for them. Just being there, having a presence that included sponsorship from Sailor Jerry's and Crap Eyewear, seemed big but— that's not the point. The point, well, the point can be summed up in a pre-SXSW tweet earlier this month from SPF420 co-founder, Chaz Allen (who's also made music under the monikers Metallic Ghosts and DJ Sugar C):

The overriding feeling here was one of excitement, physically meeting each other for the first time, digital love translating into actual gestures: hugs, conversation, getting drunk together. Having fun and sharing music; doing the URL thing IRL. And there I sat, eating peanuts and drinking tea, soaking up this atmosphere via a YouTube stream. This was pulled shortly into the festivities thanks to, we supposed, corporate copyright butthurt (it was confirmed thx to screenshot below), so SPF420 broadcast from its steadfast Tinychat HQ. The chatroom, crucial to the whole thing from day one, was missing from the start but fate brought it into frenzied life.

The lineup was glorious: Tony Hawk Pro DJ, Bear//Face, Giraffage, Wave Racer, Beat Culture, Saint Pepsi, Ryan Hemsworth, Spazzkid, Anamanaguchi, Deebs, Different Sleep. The stream was wonderfully DIY-quality – audio and video – the set a makeshift desk and window curtained with the American flag. It was peppered with the increasingly inebriated hosts and guests at the event; Chaz and Liz shared the announcer responsibilities, screaming later on their thanks to the sponsors, their love to all watching, enjoining everyone to chant '420!' – those there shouted; we typed. A tribute to weed, music and friendship.

The chat buzzed with banterous furore the whole time, sometimes nonsensical, often hilarious, but always loving what it was hearing. Any sense of celebrity ebbed away, the chat graced at points by some of the lineup, Saint Pepsi saying hi, Ryan Hemsworth (who'd tweeted prior to the event that he was cleaning dog shit off the kitchen floor in the house at which the party was being held) popping in, Liz garbling intoxicated love to everybody. Others tuned in, too: producer and Zoom/Lens founder Meishi Smile dropped by, as well as George Clanton of Mirror Kisses, blog 1833, Claudio Gallo – the man behind Bad Panda Records, Tom Doyle (musicmaker, sometime SPF420 poster-designer, and moderator of the chat), and many others I'm sure, who either didn't talk or whom I missed in the general mad scrolling of the whole thing. Everybody was equal.

Awesomely evident was the staggering variety on offer here – trap transitioned into house into happy hardcore into J-pop into juke into 90s-pop into chiptune into drum n bass. All the while, track IDs were demanded, Spazzkid's beat improvisation techniques admired and discussed, Ryan Hemsworth dropping a remix of the Super Mario 64 menu screen music made everyone go crazy; we guessed the animé OSTs being sampled, fell for Anamanaguchi's relentless bleepery, and dismissed or soap-boxed the apparent similarities of Wave Racer and Rustie; Bear//Face's t-shirt got a mention, Tony Hawk Pro DJ [below] did the 900 (skate helmet on because safety first), Saint Pepsi rapped with Chaz. The evening, afternoon, night, early morning – whatever – rang with entertainment and internet fun for a global audience. The future.

Some might think disparagingly, "Is this not like Boiler Room?" Well, it is. Of course it is. However, as Liz explained to me a while ago in an interview on Kuala Lumpur-based GUMBALL magazine, "there are people before/during and after SPF420 that will be doing live internet performance art. Basically what I'm saying is, SPF420 should be one of the many 'channels' we turn to for internet entertainment." The most connected nation on earth, South Korea, watches most of its TV on one of four million internet channels; when the digital divide begins to close in other nations, this is where we'll be.

It's not the existence of SPF420 in itself that pushes things forward, but the existence of SPF420 in the context of today that helps us to realise the opportunities present in furthering the world of music and live performances. Tuesday's albeit deep web, punk-spirited stream didn't mark a superficial step forward for one particular entity, but the fledging of how music will eventually come to be experienced, an inspiration for others to follow suit.

For some I dunno background fun or whatever check out Japanese site HiHiWhoopee's list of SPF420 affiliate's favourite music of 2013. Just cause.

Credit to

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Thursday 13 March 2014


Premiering on Mixmag blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah here is Parisian producer Bobmo with new track 'It Is Happening Again'. With a Twin Peaks-inspired name – "It is happening again" is what The Giant says to Detective Cooper in a nightmarish premonition – and actually sampling those very words from the cult show, it's taken from Bobmo's upcoming two-track EP, When I Look, released on Marble, a label which he calls home (also home to other French acts including Myd, Canblaster, Para One, etc.).

So what can you expect from this dancefloor-destined number? It's dark and brooding, matching the subject material of its namesake, exploding with the brutal thump of techno, each kick snare-hit bringing up distorted dust – rattling floorboards and thundering skies float in its atmosphere. Distorted squelch bass bounces along in stuttering madness as high pitched overdriven whistle saw-wave synth rises and falls in and out of earshot, sometimes chirping pulsar blips, sometimes screaming sawmill grinding. Listen for nightmares and dance-desire.

There's this wondrous mechanical fuzz to it, a cautionless evaporation of clear-cut sounds for something deathly organic, frying in dry dust darkness – a pressure cooker of noise and danceable beats. Noisy and explosive, it's techno with acidic lilt, and you can't help but let yourself become infected with its virulent pulse. So yeah, if you liked this, there's another one where this came from on the When I Look EP, out 31st March. Eat it up if you feel like it.

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Wednesday 12 March 2014


With a name that literally draws attention, here is US producer LOOK. (Lucas Todd; so maybe it's just LUKE = LOOK) with something huge. It's huge alright and it's just for you. Here, take a seat. I have some news for you. Um, no really, sit down. You'll want to be sitting. Cause you're gonna be bowled right over by this, smashed into writhing smithereens of yourself. Sorry. But it's just not a good look if you're standing up y'know, it gets everywhere, difficult to clean. Sit down and open y'ears.

This is 'Beatific'. It's a two-minute track that reeks of dark trap at its core essence, but which buzzes in the air with dusty creaking haunted-house King Boo's entrance theme legdrop swagger. And yeah it's dark as hell. Sludgy brass bits sound like super grime, a towering beat builds itself then wobbles and crashes down again and again in a series of splintering bodyslams; hi-hats are replaced marbles clacking down a set of steps that haven't been walked on for 1000 years, and massive totemic slams of piano give it this weirdly artful appeal, clonking down on bass end with murderous intent. Sub-bass sinkholes pockmark the plosive kicks.

Where'd this come from? It's just mental. I love it. It's the kinda track that eats you, not even for dinner, but just as a snack, cause it eats bigger things than you just for breakfast. It's subversively triumphal, giving a dried-out yet bleeding organic heart to the usual buzzing mechanical bull that is the clean-cut sound of "regular" trap. It's big, it's confident, takes long phantom strides over your soul, and it's recorded at such a volume that you can turn it all the way up – ALWAYS satisfying in a paradoxical gimme-more kinda way.

LOOK. iz also one half of DRVG$, the other half being Cestladore – both affiliated with internet-dwelling entity, STYLSS.

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Tuesday 11 March 2014


The other day I wrote about DJ/producer/blogger Lady Citizen's (aka Jun Fukunaga) re-released track, 'Gone Love Song' – a fresh, sample-juddering jar of skate-hop. I promised a surprise, and, well, here it is – a Guest Mix! The tenth! Double-figures! Let's somersault into the unknown! ****!

This is an enjoyable one to say the least, I wanna spin on my back like a turtle in a shell, wiggle my toes so fast that I rocket into the future. All that stuff. Beginning with a Magical Mistakes remix of the awesome Metome, now a choppy 2/4 affair of blazing synth; through the bass-heavy Bok Bok-produced Drive-glistening 'Guns & Synth' by Kelela – and Slow Magic's incredible sampling of Justin Bieber in the boom trap-rattling 'Your Heart Beats'; to the saxophonic jazzstep of Tokyo-based Ohm's footwork-inflected 'Return Trip' and soulful synth chill in 'Step By Step' from Yusaku Harada; ending with one of Lady Citizen's own, tumbling euphoric house track 'Unforgettable Rainy Day'.

But like I shouldn't be talking so much about it. You should be listening to this half-an-hour-on-the-dot collection of footwork, house, and dubstep-friendly tunes, overarched with stylised synth and a penchant for the chilled side of life. Yeah that summed it up. Now— Enjoy!

T R A C K L I S T :

  1. Metome – Paper Moon (Magical Mistakes Remix)
  2. Starkey – Stars feat. Anneka
  3. Lady Citizen – Flower Bunch
  4. Kelela – Guns & Synths
  5. Milo Mills – Ocean Gang
  6. iO Sounds & Lakosa – Mindgames feat. Riya (Bobby Tank Remix)
  7. Slow Magic – Your Heart Beats
  8. Obey City – Cyber Stream
  9. Doshy – Prosthetic Removal (Conrank Remix)
  10. Ohm – Return Trip
  11. Yusaku Harada – Step By Step
  12. N.O.R.K. – The Fall
  13. Lady Citizen – Unforgettable Rainy Day

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Monday 10 March 2014


Bass bass and more bass. Bass so big it transfuses all your body's vital fluids with rollicking sound waves, rumbles you off your seat, trips you over, gets you dancing on the floor like The Simpsons during an episode of Battling Seizure Robots, twirling like a Beyblade 'neath the Boogieman's sun-obscuring discoball. Gloriously greasy bass drip-dripping in chunky droplets— hey! That's enough; stop!

Bassically, I speak this way because I've been debauched by the bass in Melty's fresh-fresh track 'Destiny'. From ??? (SYDNEY), Australia, its this guy's only upload on SoundCloud, a tantalising morsel that gets your ears salivating and literally starving for more. So yeah there's bass as well but but but there's more as well. There's atmosphere and energy and a footwork-flavoured beat that scream to be listened to, jostle to possess you, to guide you into the magic circle of the dancefloor and, well you know speaking in tongues? That's what it wants to do, but to your legs 'n' arms.

It's four minutes of fun. Adopting the ever more widely heard and widely practiced yet cultish and shamelessly addictive rhythm of juke/ghetto house/footwork (what's the frikkin difference, what the hell let's call it jukework house) rhythm, it drops into gloopsome tar pits of sub-bass pitted with a sparse hail of snare, flocks of vocal sample swimming through the air in skittish mayhem. Yet despite this seeming craziness it's minimalist, dropping into real melody only in its central break in bass, where high ringing distorted synth glistens in raindrop sequence – contrast this with the end, where the song explodes in crashing syncopated beats for a brutal finale. Not to mention the haunting low-vox sample of "Destinyyy..." (from the John Talabot/Pional song also called 'Destiny'?) breathing out like a mix at both ends of this immense track.

Give us more Melty, give us more! I love the name too. Melty. It is innocuous, hiding behind the cutesy moniker a swirling swathe of phantoms, bass-hungry demons and a void of nothing that only attracts the largest of sounds. Let's hope there's something soon before we all go insane.

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Sunday 9 March 2014


My exposure to Yandere began with the awesomely hypnotic guest mix crafted lovingly for YES/NO by Irish producer and gentleman, Harmful Logic. That's what's good about guest mixes, or any type of mix: introducing your listeners to the music that you yourself love, diluting tastes down into a mix that gets drunk up good by those who hear it, the dissemination of artists to others likely to like them too. And it's also like that thing in GTA when finally you jack a rare car you've been looking for, and suddenly every other car your drive past is the same one you're driving. There's a name for that. GTA-effect? I dunno. But there's a name for it. I think.

So so so, back to Yandere – formerly known as "euaxwhen". His remix of memory cards' track 'phoenix downs' really struck me, thanks to Harmful Logic's inclusion of it in his mix. I thought I'd check out his other stuff one day. And then yesterday, boom— a new track appeared! Called '4get' it surfaced on PRTLS – "a music community dedicated to giving independent artists and curators a place to share their unique voices" – and before I say anything else, let's listen.

It rises up with liquid freshness, expansive with filmic heart-throb strings and rich with plunge-pool waves of bass, all set to a trappish beat that clicks with woodblocks and rattles with snare and hi-hat. Beams of synth shoot across, joining the soundscape in bright bubblesomeness, sharp gumball vapour trails zig-zagging, with a break in the middle that rumbles with muffled beat and harpisichordesque glistening synth – all the while, vocal samples pepper the track with emotive shivers.

It's a cold track shot with open blue skies, grounded in the frozen earth, emotional and stand-offish – the soundtrack to longing without end. Perfect really, especially given its name, and also for the fact that it is taken from the upcoming compilation Finding Love In A Parallel Universe, curated by Tape Transport and Harmful Logic (alongside others). I believe it's closing for entries on April 1st, already including stuff from artists like Ulzzang Pistol and Low Tee and there's still a few places left, so if you think you got a suitable track (listen HERE for a preview) send it on over to

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Saturday 8 March 2014


I like it when a song lives up to its name. Fine, so sometimes a song's title has nothing to do with the song itself – in such instances we find the meaning ourselves, charting out the connection in our own terms. If you see a song with title like 'Free Floating', though, you can probably expect that the song itself is gonna be one that matches the expansive freedom in drifting through the clouds. Like with this song called 'Free Floating' – it matches up perfectly.

It's by Tom Doyle, musicmaker and graphic designer (notably making lovely minimalistic posters for URL venue, SPF420) based in Los Angeles. Despite being 3 months old, the song has passed under my nose without detection; I'm now listening to it for the I-don't-know-th time, watching the weird lilac clouds of dusk and the white-orange of muffled sunset reflected in windows, and it's a fitting soundtrack I gotta say. Yes, swathed all around in richly textured synth chords, whirling in a slow-motion cradle of soft tangible stratosphere, it mirrors well the beauty of the world.

Birdsong chirrups as syncopated rapid scales of bloops play in liquid digitalism, analogue beeps run in sunny arpeggios the whole way as an aching string-like vibrato synth sings out an airborne melody. The slow sway of the beat claps on, rolling trap hi-hats rat-tatting all the way, till a bridge with heavenly "ooooo" sounds leads into an ever-quickening frenzy of high-register synth, boiling in the pure pan of the beat, that same vibrato bubbling towards the fade-out of the track. It's a lovely sound, stretching from the smooth electronica of chillwave to the sharp beats of trap and clean melodies of J-pop, and one that I hope this guy will continue to pursue, explore, experiment with.

Anyway, you can download this for free – and why wouldn't you? – right over here.

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