Monday 28 April 2014


First heard a couple of days ago on BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Charlie Sloth's 'Fire In The Booth' slot, in which he enlists rappers to basically come and do their thing live, I think I just had to write about this guy. You know that feeling. You hear it, you like it. What more can I say?

So this is Youngs Teflon, a London rapper who "began writing bars in the playground", showing clear signs of creativity from a young age. I love his name – it's Teflon, I'm making an educated guess, bc nothing sticks to him. Rolls off like dewdrop spheres of oil after a fry-up. Water off a duck's back as they say. But whatever. Idiomatic references aside, his sense of humour, soft side and penchant for weed shine through in 'When Thugs Cry'.

Obviously a tongue-in-cheek nod to Prince's 'When Doves Cry', Tef (as he's also known) sets his bars against a backdrop of slow-jam style beats, delicious clicks reverbing in its low-key sway, dripping with a waterfall of muffled samples that glisten with sparkles of longing piano melody. It's a gleaming of emotion that burns hot and measured, perfectly reflecting the pining for lost romance in his lyrics. Which, by the way, are full of imagery: "After hours I fall back and I break buds / Thinking about you in French plaits without makeup" – "Cold days when I'm grafting / Flashbacks of you laughing" and with part of the refrain "I've been drinking / With the music low but Mary Jane singing," all amassing to paint pictures of a guy, Tef himself, "reminiscing" about a relationship.

It's pretty, it's personal, it's not grime as you know it but it's forward-thinking grime that takes the inherent beauty of songs about lost love and injects London attitude; an achievement for sure and something that deserves airtime and more listeners.

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Sunday 27 April 2014


I haven't written about anything by a band like this for a while and I'm not sure why. I think it's because, not that it isn't good, but it just seems to fit much better with sunny days and this long approach to summer we call spring. So it's with happiness and hope for the warm weather days to come that I introduce Canadian band Diamond Mind. I was originally going to write about this Edmonton-based band's song 'Better Alone', which is a pretty slice of indie doo-wop flavours with hints of baroque orchestration in its strings and jaunty melodies… but then I heard 'Dragon Egg' and everything changed.

This track isn't very sunny, isn't very spring-themed, but it is instead a galloper of a track – a true sprint through zingy, energetic feelin and expansive guitar sounds that, sure, ok, may summon a little bit of sunshine, but if it were a film it would be more adventure-romance than rom-com – does that make sense? The sunshine is less a static thing and much more a thing that's almost followed, a hanging beacon in a sky above endless roads and exciting potential.

Well, a dragon egg is quite an exciting thing I suppose. And if this song is supposed to be an illustration of that fact, well, then it's done its job pretty much perfectly. It was the undeniably experimental intro that first grabbed me: frenetic drums and dramatic twists between full-noise and no-noise and chipmunked vocals thrown into the equation – it's full of wonder as to what's gonna come next. A dynamic shift, and we count into the lo-fi flutter of gleaming guitars – an ethereal riff. Smooth silky vocals, with a distinctive lilt, seem calm yet urgent as guitar chords stab and the drums judder excitedly, bass providing slices of groove beneath it all. A really super cool song that I can't get enough of right now. Wahoo!

And, getting outside of this song's clarion brilliance, it shows the brilliance of the band, able to doo-wop in coastal-pop fashion like anybody's business one minute – singing this indie rollicker about a dragon egg the next. I'm genuinely curious to see where they go next – is there an album or something or an EP? I don't know.

  • And it's a free download, do you want anything else with that? Biscuits? Complimentary hot towel? Fries?

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Saturday 26 April 2014


As juke continues to take over the world like the pungent smell of a freshly opened can of peach halves (gotta love em) or anything else fresh 'n' packaged that has literally just been opened, we are being taken along with it like a carpet ride in aromatic clouds. I mean you can call it ghetto house or footwork or whatever, but it is what it is and what it is is a fresh sound.

I once heard DJ legend Annie Nightingale talking about how pop music is always inflected with a particular overriding rhythm of the time – what you could call a kind of zeitgeistical beat I guess, like house, hip hop, drum & bass, garage/2-step, dubstep: all have had, are still or currently having, their allotted influence on the sphere of widely known pop music and now it is certainly set to happen with juke. It's still an underground sound, but these things end up surfacing some time or another and well, it could well be happening soon. I wish I could find the direct Annie Nightingale quote, but... alas and alack it ain't nowhere.

So it is with this that I introduce the heady bassosity and rhythmic delirium of Tokyo's very own Carpainter and his track 'Frozen Sky'. Ironically, this quite hard dance song comes from a place where a no dancing law is strictly enforced – establishments must have licenses to allow this very simple act.

Ridiculous and weird, yet it hasn't stopped dance music producers making music to dance to. The Yokohama-based Carpainter, taking his name I guess from Mr. Carpainter, the leader of "the Happy Happyist" cult in the game EarthBound, mixes a ghetto house rhythm with the syncopated intricacy of garage, percussion urgent and insectoid, introducing frenetic bleeping melodies that play their craziness over whirling stabs of synth chords heavy on the phaser – at other times, the chords play continuously, icy and textured, before dropping into these footwork-flavoured moments where the snare seems to be battling the very air for space.

This clearly-made-for-dancing track comes from a recent compilation, Trekkie Trax Japan Vol. 1 – curated by TREKKIE TRAX, a Tokyo netlabel run by Futatsuki, Andrew/Eiji Ando, DJ Bank, Saba (aka MSTNG), and brothers Seimei & Taimei Kawai (Carpainter himself) – released & promoted via Top Billin – the guys who "discovered and introduced" Club Cheval to the rest of the world. Label boss Semiei had these words to say in the description of the compilation: "In all honesty, club scene in Japan is getting worse, we think, cause of the strict enforcement of the 'no dance law'. So the circumstances ironically motivate us to try to improve Japanese scene with our music." And by spreading it across the world, countries where no laws impede any footwork of any kind will open up to Japanese musicmakers, feel their awesomeness, and help bridge the (to many) daunting gap between West and East in the music world.

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Friday 25 April 2014


This is the brand new video from Vancouver-dwelling Canadian duo, Evy Jane, comprising of Evelyn Jane, whose voice you will hear ghostly smooth throughout the track, and Jeremiah Klein, who provides the thicket of sounds through which you follow the vocals like faint lights in a pulsing gloomy forest. It's an awesome pairing, one which has seen a self-titled release on lovely Canadian label King Deluxe, and now one that has led them to London's Ninja Tune with an upcoming EP, Closer, from which this track is clearly taken.

I was hooked from the start: that rat-tat-tat on the snare & the instantaneous dive into this plunge pool of never-static sounds – it's always fluid, always in motion as if itching for action, as if in anticipation. The synths groan and intonate in languorous pitch bends as slow arpeggios fade in and out like patches of dappled sunlight through gnarled tree boughs; all the while the beat sways in slow-jam consideration, the languid metronome for this distorted subversion of R&B, where Evelyn herself is not a diva but a phantom of diva-essence, drawing you into the glowing mist of her voice.

A soaring yet sludgy post-R&B number, the video comes courtesy of Kyle Bowman, aka Strawberry Jacuzzis, whose vision for the track was one "seen through a kaleidoscopic lens of fuzzy hallucinogens". It fits the narcotic warpings and distortions at work in the music, lo-fi, garbled with static and uncontrollable glitching layers of itself. Beautiful, in tandem with the sounds.

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Thursday 24 April 2014


You can always trust London's Jamie xx to plate up a solid serving of bass in each of his musical mealtimes, but here it's not only a feast, a banquet of bass, but also a crucial element to the video. What? Well, the people dancing, members of the Manchester Deaf Centre in the video are deaf – the only way they can get the rhythm is to feel it, literally feel it through the bulldozing bass that would make your hair stand on end and through the rhythm of shared movement. This was the dream of its creator, artist Sofia Mattioli, to explore not hearing rhythm, but also feeling and sharing rhythm.

It's an inspiring video that shows the danceable power in Jamie xx's music, his signature. 'Sleep Sound' is a rumbling giant of sound, blood-curdling bass juddering the whole way, draped with rhythmic, indecipherable vocal samples that play in patterns alongside the drums, which clatter in virtuosic garage style with muffled snares and pinching hi-hats to a house-flavoured pattern. The whole thing swings forward in luscious lilts of rhythm, something that strikes you almost instantly as soon as the beat kicks in, additional percussive loops and fills as well as increased waves of sampled vocals providing a heady lift as the track crescendos towards the end.

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Wednesday 23 April 2014


BOM… CRRK… BOM–BOM–CRRK… It's embarrassing enough just imagining myself beatboxing out-loud and in front of people, but now I'm worried that I haven't typed it right – is it onomatopoeically correct? Yeah just so you know it's supposed to be like, this huge sparse beat. Sigh, anyway, that's how I feel after listening to this song.

What song? Well it is a song by a person called Failr, also named Warwick (the real name of this Sydney-based person), and the song is called 'Gave Up'. It gets its name from the cyclical sample used throughout the track, smooth silky vocals contrasting against the hard thudding beats (could you not tell from my literal beatboxing?) which are the very effective bedrock to this track, each kick a veritable blockbuster right hook, each snare a scathing slap. These play around with sombre lounge-esque piano chords, soft and warm, giving a lethargic attitude to the track that fits its defeatist title.

What I like about this is not only its thumping drums – punctuated by skittering hi-hats, and later on mobilising themselves double-time into an uptempo house rhythm – its hard style, but its simplicity: at its heart this is drums, piano, sample – a triumvirate of noise. Of course, there is a little more going on than just this, the fizzing white noise flapping ominously throughout the second half, the just-discernable bassline. With that in mind, you'll also notice that nothing is really repeated or looped so much – repetition falls by the wayside here for more of an experiment with different parts to the song, keeps things interesting.

This comes from Failr's first collection of sounds, the 5-track Lark EP – here he plays with sampling as well as with this style of satisfyingly punchy beats; personally I thought 'Gave Up' was the best example. The name of the EP is quite fitting, as larks (the bird) in literature symbolise daybreak which metaphorically ties in with the "dawn" of this project; on the other hand, it is an old-fashioned thing in Chinese culture for larks to be taught to mimic the sounds of other birds, thus tying in with the sampling side of things; still further, "a lark" is synonymous with "a laugh" or "some fun", so that could work too. Anyway! That's that.

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Tuesday 22 April 2014


I dunno about you but when I first heard this song it tickled my ears so much that I needed to itch em. No jokes. I don't know if that's meaningful or anything but I've written it now so let's just leave it at that. Anyway, point being: it sounds real good. What sounds real good? This track 'Felt_It' by Filipino producer Similarobjects – real name Jorge Juan Wieneke V, from Makati (one of the cities that makes up Metro Manila), there are but two songs on his SoundCloud, one of them being a repost, which is this particular track.

There's something real nice about this track – a narcotic haze that seems to veil everything, a drugged atmosphere that leans towards the cooler streams and tidal pools of chillwave's breezy style; even the beats seem to be shadowed, blanketed, by these rich fog of synth sounds, out of which appear vocal samples which seem to ripple in the vast fluid expanses of synth, moving in huge, slow waves of sound.

But then there's this break in the middle, where the vocal samples seem to be turned down a notch, taking on a low-register, nearly menacing tone – the beat changes too, becoming a double-time jaunt of hip-hop to the trickling sway of trappish design at either sides of this little break. After this, the vocals become higher, become more frequent, jumping out of the richly textured mass of cloudlike sound like glossy dolphins breaching the surface of a silvery sea in slow-motion, the sun turning splashes into golden glints that explode with each samples breathy entrance to our ears.

It's quite beautiful – ambiently so. And then at the end it morphs into something different still, a slice of chillout where indecipherable yet soulful voices fade into a resounding void – if the title is anything go by, well, yes: I felt it! There is feeling here! Wondrous feeling. Wondrous yet lonely – the busy feeling of being encased in a bubble of unconnectedness in the midst of a bustling city full of people. And I hope you liked it. I am looking forward to more from this guy.

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Monday 21 April 2014


You can pretty much always trust or at least count on Lindsay Lowend to create very good songs. That's basically a given. Yep, this is the Washington DC-based producer dropping in again with more sumptuous VGM-(videogame music if u please)-inspired music, and what's more he's made this casually whilst he's on tour in Europe. Just dropping genius joints offhand and nonchalant – it's loveable.

Using SNES soundfonts, which are basically just instruments used in SNES games, for chords played in whimsical story-telling patterns, LL offers up a new and particularly wonderful rendition of Ciara's 'Body Party'. I've been burned before for posting on Twitter about a Ciara remix that was available for free download, so there's this underlying feeling of dread as I write this. In any case, aside from the crystal clear samples of the original, this may as well be a totally new song, which it kind of is.

Crunchy 16-bit bass carves out curving tunnels beneath the totally winsome chords, nostalgically fresh, as a metronomic beat keeps time in a simple bop from kick to snare. Later on it's as if KK Slider from Animal Crossing has joined in, the bwee-bwee-bwayy-bwoo noises later on basically summoning KK from his digital plane to this earthly world, sharing the stage with Ciara, and with Lindsay on keys. An ideal fantasy line-up in the world of fantasy line-ups.

The three tags that accompany this song on SoundCloud basically sum it up: #CIARA, #SNES, #SILLY_SHIT. And even if it IS silly shit, it's some of the best silly shit I've heard – perhaps it's better just being called "a fun song." And with that, he's also being rather pioneering in the pairing of seemingly disparate styles: SNES-era sounds &... Ciara. Usually a joke song is also kiiiind of rubbish (most things by Flight of the Conchords exempt), but Lindsay Lowend is clearly a musician through and through – even though it's silly, he can't help but make it oh— so— good.

  • Yeah, this is a free download (clicketh).
  • PS. WHERE does that funny little "Oh…" noise in the song come from? I recognise it but I've been going crazy trying to think where it comes from. If you know please tell me. Thank you.

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Sunday 20 April 2014


It was many moons ago, many many moons ago, that I first encountered this particular musicmaker. In fact, I think the last time I wrote about him was back in July 2013. Since then, well – everything has been a whirlwind of uncontrollable speed. It's impossible to keep up with everything all the time. But who cares? Whatever right? RIGHT? So, anyway, this is Starlit Everglades and a long time ago I found his music, wrote about it – in particular his tune 'Mylotic' – enjoyed it. He made a kind of soaring lo-fi dreamscape, a majestic unearthly sound that seemed to gallop through your mind with all the relaxing intensity of a phantom horse.

But now, now now now – now is a different story. Fast forward for um however many months it's been and we arrive here, where Starlit Everglades is releasing a new EP that sounds gloriously different to his earlier stuff. It's quite incredible, the development that's gone on here. Hip hop influences abound, perhaps more trip hop, and the quality is higher than ever – he's clearly improved as a producer and it's really great to hear it. The EP is called Pretty Arcade and it sounds a bit like this (although I think this is just a preview).

It works as a series of three connected tracks. In title, it moves from a 'Pretty Arcade', to asking somebody 'Twirl For Me', and finally the command 'Undress' – as if on a date, the mood becomes one that is hungry for romance, if not outright lustful. In sound, too, it feels as if this is a journey from the realistic, grounded beats of 'Pretty Arcade', with its bubblesome electronics, coin-grabbing samples and recordings of real-life public places (maybe an arcade, and perhaps even a pretty one); through 'Twirl For Me' whose playful romance and dreamy sensuality – in the super-reverbing breathy vocal samples, glistening glockenspiels, tick-tocking almost urgent beat and filmic strings – echo that post-date feeling, if everything has gone well, of walking together, wandering, meandering the streets with no particular inclination or even care as to where you're heading.

And then there's the end: 'Undress'. It's a blanket of hyper nostalgia with an intro of crackles that make it seem as if the hairs on the back of your neck are sticking up, a pre-sexual out-of-body experience, a sense of wonder at what you're beholding – waves of thick synth like rose-tinted visions pulse in time with the heart-thudding catch-your-breath kicks, with breathless vocal samples whispering pleasure into the starry void of the track.

In another sense, these 3 illustrations hide as if under a haze of nostalgic memory, a set of sounds that seem to have encased heady remembrances forever behind their dreamlike mists, as if perhaps they look better – more idealised – through this fog of time and creativity, or as if memories themselves promote this hazy sound thanks to their intoxicating nature. So basically, this is Starlit Everglades, these are his sounds: a surprise EP that will whisk you away to somewhere beautiful, either imagined or real, on a cloud of hushed, lo-fi synth powered by gently intricate yet firm beats.

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Saturday 19 April 2014


I don't often write about drum & bass or jungle stuff because, well, a lot of it seems quite... what's the word? – uninspired. Yes. It just feels, despite ramping up the bpm past the point of caring, unenergetic, lethargic almost. Just goes to show that you don't necessarily need to make FAST music to provoke a FAST (i.e. excited, energised) reaction. So when stuff like this does come along and sounds different to the rest of it, well, it's instantly recognisable. And in some cases it's really good.

Like with 'Battle Race' by Czech producer Andels, real name Lukáš Puška, from Ostrava, Czech Republic. This track feels less like a drum & bass or whatever track, and much more like a theme to some kind of high-speed racing à la F-Zero that just happens to have these d&b beats in the background. Beginning with these fluttering synth chords that pan left and right, we're soon dropped into a bass-bubbling beat littered with many instances of synth all over the place. Bleeping arpeggios, string synths rising and soaring into ecstatic heights, and a vocal sample singing its triumphant wordless stuff. A break in the song plays with the beat, trilling the snares and putting in these amazing little fills that are impossible to ignore.

After this break, things get even better in the second section: saw-wave bass judders to the end, synth leads summon a nostalgic mood, strings hang like a mist. And that nostalgic mood is something that is pretty much inherent in the whole track – even the beat, sampled no doubt from somewhere, is something you'd find in a 90s jungle track for sure. And the synths appear joyfully reminiscent, as if lifted directly from an old-school racing game. It's full of undeniably delicious sounds.

Looking back to the past is something that a lot of people seem to be doing to find their feet in the music world. Whether that's because their favourite music is from when they were growing up, or if they feel an affinity with sounds and styles which, though before their time, still excite their mind with an artificial but simultaneously strong sense of nostalgia – who knows. What it does seem to do, however, is be the basis, the foundation, for a lot of very good tracks in all sorts of genres from all over the world. 'Battle Race' is a prime example: a power-synth-jungle medley from the Czech Republic.

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Friday 18 April 2014


Last time I wrote about Kidkanevil, it was to do with this madly bristling tree-laden remix of Polish producer UKU's track 'Forest 5 am' – further detailing the UK-based Kidkanevil as a master of glitchtronic atmospheres, of delicacy and dynamism. Not that his part in Kidsuke, the collaboration with Japanese glitch king Daisuke Tanabe didn't show off his talents well enough – it's just nice to hear new stuff with his mark on it.

Speaking of which, did you know that Kidkanevil has a new album approaching? Well if you didn't, you know now. And because of that, there are a couple of songs floating about in the digital sphere – new songs that are very good. One of these is the gloriously addictive 'Inakunaru', in which Gerard Roberts – Kidkanevil's name irl – shares production & creation duty with Yokohama-based Phasma. This is the subject of this post.

Now I've been having a bit of trouble translating 'inakunaru' – literally it means something like "be not here" or "not being here" or "being absent" and I guess in a way "disappeared"; on the other hand I google translated it and it gave me "poof" as a translation (as in "poof— it was gone") but I'm not sure about that. Either way, it's with that sense of un-here-ness, of transitional unreality, that we descend into the track, feeling its intricate organic percussion, its various mechanical clunks and clicks, drawing into its gallery of gently ping-ponging bloops and marimba and long flute-like bleeps. Cutesy yet ghostly vocals deliver sweetness above this cerebral beat, above the solid bass washed over by the harsh waves of noise (Phasma's touch perhaps?); the end of the track is a mash of sharp hi-hats and beeps 'n' boops bouncing like blops of neon.

The business in the track gives it colour, yet there's a sombre tone to it, perhaps in the simply fluctuating flute-like melody – an atmosphere that fits the name of Kidkanevil's aforementioned album: My Little Ghost – a name that instantly conjures a kind of endearing friendliness, yet within the frame of things passed, of phantomic proportions. And if it's all toeing this delicate balance of sombre fun, of cute lament – as well as featuring Japanese talent including the likes of Cuushe and Cokiyu – then it's gonna be a lovely album.

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Thursday 17 April 2014


Just to clear things up to begin with, a parsec is "A parsec is an astronomical unit of distance derived by the theoretical annual parallax of one arc second, and is found as the inverse of that measured parallax" (thanks Wikipedia), wherein 1 parsec is equal to 3.08567758 × 10^16 metres – of course. Duh. What else is new?

It's a pretty big distance. Big distance for a big place: SPACE. I wonder if it's longer than a light year… (just looked it up, IT IS). So it's like... just a different measurement. Even in space there's a metric/imperial-style confusion and conflict at work. We never learn.

So anyway, now that that's outta the way we can have a listen to 'Parsec' by VOYAGER, or stylised V O Y A G E R (but it's too much effort to write every time) on his actual SoundCloud, the moniker of musicmaker Paco Santos from Manila. 'Parsec' is a basically a groovesome piece of music that finds its feet in funk as much as it does in the slow sensuality of R&B.

Beginning with a glorious palm-muted guitar intro, suggesting that we will be delving into a wholly funky number, we soon find out that we're in something else entirely, something a bit more intergalactic or spacey, suiting the track's name. This is a soaring morsel, deliciously rich with ever-reverbing piano chords that provide a beautiful blanket of noise on top of which everything else sits quite nicely – below this, the bassline ascends and descends, supporting the slow, R&B-style beat. There's something ultimately chilled about this, laid-back, barely sung vocals echoing amidst the smart synth arpeggios and lead guitar-esque melodies.

It's basically like a cross between a pop song and a vision of what indie music might actually be in the future – without going as far as saying it's outright funk, R&B (not least with the "future-" prefix), chillwave, whatever. Really genuinely beautiful & catchy stuff here.

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Wednesday 16 April 2014


What is N.O.R.K? Well, they're a R&B-inspired duo from Tokyo who seem to be set on success – or least that's the idea that you get from the preview of their upcoming album ADSR; stunning harmonies from the pair, Nariaki Obukuro and Ray Kunimoto, sing out over huge soundscapey instrumentals. Only formed in 2013, their sound is already massively polished and I'm sure set for big things.

There's also a few of remixes on the album (more a mini-album cause there are only 4 originals), including one from Licaxxx (aka Rika Hirota, whom you may have seen in the video for Spazzkid's '40 Winks') and one from DJ & producer Lady Citizen – as you can tell from the title of this little post right here, he's remixed 'Yell Out' and it sounds a little something like the embedded thingy below. In addition to this, I believe that it, perhaps because of simplicity, improves upon the original.

What you'll notice straight away here is the huge attention paid to the bass here, pulsating like the mechanical heartbeat of some huge machine, becoming the sludgy yet smooth foundational beat to the track. Airy, intergalactic drones provide wall-of-sound appeal as glittering synths make their appearance above, in golden echoes of sunlight sweeping across the crests of gently lapping waves. The beat is joined by gentle percussion towards the end, popping tom sounds and tambourine rattlings that move in tandem with the great bulges of sub-bass.

The vocals become unearthly here, soaked with reverb – as is the rest of the track – for spacey appeal, a lonely sound that puts voice into a void. The futuristic simplicity of this track's reliance on bass, and not much more (and what there is used only for ornamental purposes), is kind of fascinating, hypnotising in a way – an all-encompassing take on dance music.

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It really sounds like it's the start of something on first listen – and rightly so. The track is the beginning of a conceptual project, at least seemingly – if THIS NOTE on the Daytrip tumblr is anything to go by, and also the fact it says "The story begins…" in the song's description on SoundCloud – that aims… well, who knows. I don't know what the aim is. But from this inaugural track, 'Flight 43 (NYC)' we can at least glean that it's got something to do with taking a trip. A daytrip perhaps— that was lame, sorry. All it could be referencing is, well, just the start of the music project that is Daytrip.

Before we go any further, who's Daytrip? Good Q. So Daytrip is a duo from New York City made up of DenZ and David Hugh Cosby and the music they make is very exciting. Beginning with a female voice, a flight attendant's or something, announcing the flight from New York to Kingston, Jamaica, it carries with it all the rumbling potential of a track that could easily GO OFF as they say. As if poised for take off, bubbling arpeggios glitter into view, and then the beat – a frantic feat of footwork syncopation – begins to rattle before we drop into the triumphal electrolysed chords, sharp and bright, illustrating the weird majesty of flight.

Glockenspiel sounds add a cute innocence, the wide-eyed wonder as you look out the window at the ever-disappearing ground below, breaking through the clouds into a silent sky – sub-bass kicks deafening and energising – a vocal sample gabbers incoherently – it's a beautifully delicious sound that takes us through the emotions of exploring the unknown, the wordless anticipation of travelling to new places. The cherry on top here is some mean guitar shredding in the form of an untouchable guitar solo, played by Ed Graves (from London), a scrambling collection of distorted wails and screams that bring to mind the soundtrack for F-Zero X: the perfect sound for zooming along at breakneck speed, which is basically exactly what you do in a plane.

In any case, it's a huge sound full of attitude and a towering atmosphere – something that definitely fits the image of soaring above NYC's collection of skyscrapers.

What would be really cool is if this really is a conceptual project… so like, this first track explores the sounds involved in getting a plane from NYC to Kingston; then a new location is announced, and the song is formed based around whatever Daytrip imagine would fit best. Or maybe I just don't know anything. Either way, this particular song is V NICE, and unique: when was the last time you heard a guitar literally shredding it UP in a song that sounds like it's more influenced by ghetto house than anything else? Exactly. Probably never. Unique, thoughtful, bombastic – it's great. And I am looking forward to the next leg of the journey.

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Tuesday 15 April 2014


Here's Avec Avec with some totally brrrrand new shiz. In fact it's so brand new that it doesn't even sound like Avec Avec, or at least the music by Avec Avec that I know. Last time I crossed paths with his sound it was... ah yes, it was last summer. Last Summer. Days without end. So long, beautiful skies. But the sound of Avec Avec was one of super-ultra-pop, city pop, "pops" as it is known occasionally – urban and urbane pop stylings, immaculately clean-cut and sharp as a shard, yet soft and podgy, gooey on the inside like a golden egg that oozes mercurial contents.

Sorry wait, what, you don't— well that's fine. Who's Avec Avec is what you're basically saying? Hmmmyup that's fine. His real name, if it helps, is Takuma Hosokawa, he's from Osaka, he's like 26 or something, and he's also in a band/group gleaming with pop, Sugars Campaign. He's a Maltine Records affiliate, has appeared on the Lost Decade remix album for the legendary tofubeats, and has worked with producer and VGM-maker bo en. He's been around, and no doubt he will continue to be around and get around as time passes.

"Y shud I care lol" – because he makes good music. And this is no city pop, ultrapop nope: 'Moon Prism' is a monster.

This is ultrahouse. Pophouse. Packed with a kind of surly yet cutesy attitude, the song bounces along with pulsar bass dragging you along for the ride, harsh piano chords playing in house syncopation, becoming soft synth versions of themselves in places, descending patterns giving it this toppling effect all the time with a hint of something about to explode. Altered vox samples blabber as a beautifully demented ornamentation alongside stellar clusters of driplike bwips, the occasional gun-cocking, a bedspring squeak or two and a "HEY" for good measure, taking those cheesy tropes and inserting them into a hectic house framework that oozes with all the quirky energy that first brought Avec Avec to my attention. 100% big sounds here.

It's as if stuffed toys ran the clubs, or a situation in which pastel colours suddenly rule the world – all the normal stuff is there, a bubbling beat, chords that make you go crazy, fun samples, but it's Avec Avec's style that truly brings this to glorious life.

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Monday 14 April 2014


Waking up waking up is difficult especially on a Monday morning soooo why not go on a disco odyssey for 8 minutes 11 seconds? And this ain't no sweaty throwback New York dopamine-enhanced disco club disco, this is like the slow jam of disco, slo-disco, and as such it's perfect for a brain that doesn't want anything faster right now. Perfect for a brain that like, wants to wake up, but not suddenly, and definitely not anytime soon; this kind of quasi-sleep in the early morning is quite nice its own horrible little way.

And what track pray tell am I chatting about? Well, it's come aaall the way from LA and it's by a guy named Woolfy (real name Simon James) and the track is called '17' which is one of those Great Ages – others being 18, 19, 21, 23, 27 or something (this is what happens when you write early in the morning, you make shit up) – that everyone loves so much. Anyway, like I said earlier this is like slo-disco, slo-house, chilled kinda sound, and it reminded me of the sort of sounds I heard once on one of German (Munich) label Permanent Vacation's If This Is House I Want My Money Back compilations – there've only been two so far so it's one of those – which is funny cause this other track at least ostensibly has something to do with Perm Vac. After some reading, I've found that he first released music under his alter-alias Woolfy vs Projections (his The Astral Projections of Starlight album) on Permanent Vacation, so there you go.

Anyway, it comes from his newly released (14th April) City Lights EP which features two original tracks and two remixes. Here you go it's right below uh so you can listen to it.

At the beginning and at the heart of '17' the main riff is provided quite unusually by a ukelele or mandolin or something, a little toy-esque riff that gives the track a cutesy earthiness, grounding it something entirely different from what the funkily popping slightly slap-bassline and rich piano chords will have you believe. Combine this with misty swooshing tides of synth, scattered tumblings of lead blips and ever-so-often saw-wave chord stutterings, you have quite the soundscape – a mix of Del Mar flavours, coastal indie pop and late-night lounge music. Glassy organ solos enhance the atmosphere, draping it in classy inebriation; and that's not to mention the singing, which talks of some kind of romance and being 17 years old ("And when you grow up grow up to be the woman that you are / you're gonna appreciate the fact that I / kept myself away / cause you were seventeen"). Ghostly, synth-punk vocals reverbing into space with the slacker refrain that mentions sex, cigarettes, Ford Cortinas (¿¿¿ or am I deaf ???): "Couldn't care less."

It comes as the late-late-night sequel song to the first track of the EP, the eponymous 'City Lights'. It's a nicely bouncy track, a slapdash acoustic guitar riff being the foundation of the track, packed with organic percussion like shakers and gently muffled kicks and this one fluid sound that sounds like a cross between a delayed sample of water simultaneously dripping into and draining out of a sink, and tasty woodblock cloppings. This roots-indie flavour is strengthened by two additional things: a xylophone that gives the track a airily cute appeal, and of course the vocals which appear endearingly unpolished and campfiery. In fact, campfire is very much the vibe here. A beach campfire. WHICH is strange considering the song's title and its lyrics: it's about city lights. Being in the city. So in some ways, instead of making "the city" out to be this archetypal hazy, scary, hard-edged, blocky place, the magnitude of its impact is brought down a peg or two thanks to Woolfy's treatment of it – it becomes pretty and quaint, essentially having been observed from a different angle. The finishing refrain, "We live to love you…" – a perfect sing-along – tops it off as a lovesong, the so-often-done love-letter to a city, but with a refreshingly down-to-earth difference.

But wait there's more! Two remixes of '17' grace this EP, too. One by fellow LA-ppl Split Secs is a slow-builder into a synth odyssey, sawtooth boops bouncing along with retro intent in place of the more organic bassline of the original. The vocals, reverbing and dreamy before, are now much trippier, blasting off into the void with heavy delay and reverb like a weird cloud passing above. Synth lead roars into life and explodes with the same trajectory as a cosmic boiling kettle amidst the warm chords and popping clusters of melody. Francis Inferno Orchestra, from Melbourne, makes it a more intense ride, however, with clearer synths playing cosmically over the hard pulse of kicks, waves of phased-out sound blanketing it all. The second half of the track is pockmarked with laser-like synths and a mash of sounds from crashing disco hi-hats and cymbals to booming toms and thickening chords. Both remixes do different things, one is low-key and the other is imbued with much more of a sense of head-spinnery than the other, but both are excellent treatments of the original.

Soooo yeah that was Woolfy. And it will maybe (maybe) surprise you to learn that this has graced your ears today courtesy of Australian label Future Classic, who've been putting out great stuff for ages, wonderfully diverse all the way from the surgical synth of Charles Murdoch to the Drive-inspired sounds of Touch Sensitive, and this most recent release with Woolfy (his debut with the label) continues a much-loved series of sounds with dance/electronic-leanings that ooze originality as much as they do quality and loveable quirks.

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Friday 11 April 2014


Imagine an Earth dangling on the precipice of the 30th Century. Just imagine that for a second. Ok? Done? Well this is the concept behind ultracool Canadian label Kind Deluxe's ongoing thang, The 2999 Project. "What do you envision for our future? Specifically, in the year 2999?" is the question they ask; it is answered by electronic musicians, who provide a track with an accompanying piece of text (most recently, and this time around, composed by Amit Dutta) as a description of their vision. Alongside this, illustrators create cover art for each track inspired by the music – the resulting combinations are different every time and the output is nothing short of TOP QUALITY. & It's a great way to find new artists to listen to :)

This time around, Netherlands producer Terugklap (real name Sander Haakman) has created a nightmarish vision in 'Siliconversion'. It represents a post-human earth, described thusly Amit Dutta: "Waves of carbonic acid lap up against the glittering green and silver beaches formed by the the dissolution of organic marine life and the discarded circuitry detritus of a millennium of electronics evolution. Beaches rise up through to agate rock steppes formed by layers upon layers of concentric banded geometry… Further inland the landscape gives way to geysers of molten silicon bubbling at 1400 degrees and thrown into the air where it immediately solidifies into rock… dirty yellow volcanic snow-ash drifts down in thick sheets and is blown and hardened into tortured sculptures by the lowered jet stream as a planet slowly converts from Carbon based to Silicon based life."

Hence the title 'Siliconversion'.

This is one darkly heavy-duty track if ever there was one. Nominally "experimental", beginning with alien snorts and sniffs accompanied by noxious breezes like those on an unrecognisable Earth, the track burns with an angry molten fluid intensity, bristling and crackling all the way, as if replicating the now acidic waves of the ocean. And from the tortured planet's heartbeat we have this brutally booming rich infra-bass thud – a disorienting plosive sound that, along with the high-pitched tinnitusesque squeak that fades in and out, gives a feeling of deafness, sense deprivation, fear and complete unknowingness. It is the semblance of a beat, which is a massive understatement, later joined by a snare that seems lost in the midst of these vicious sounds.

  • It's yet another showcase in King Deluxe's illustrious line of offerings, all of which YOU CAN SEE HERE and the earliest of which you can download from their respective places.

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Thursday 10 April 2014


I was supposed to or rather I meant to write about this guy, UK-based Morgan Hislop, a looong time ago but, like many things in life, it slipped me by or I was having a panic attack and my mind went blank for months or I just simply forgot about it. One or more of those things. In any case, we tweeted briefly today about the benefits of Ping Pong (dim sum resto, not table tennis) and I wondered what he'd been up to musically and I saw this track – one I was gonna write about ages ago. And I thought hmm well let's just do it now.

Sorry for waffling but idc really: I will waffle. The track is 'Small Rooms & Nocturnal Thoughts', a title that suits the quasi-claustrophobia of small rooms and the often bizarre lonely sentiments of nighttime, especially nighttimes in small rooms. Clunky percussion coupled with hard kicks, swaddled with a gloomy gloss of sub-bass, and harpsichordish synth melodies form the main rhythmic pattern for the song, but it has this added phantom-cosmic quality with strange vocal samples, pulled apart like plasticine in places and in others spilled out in endless reverb like exploded mists of dry dust.

A bit that I particularly like arrives just after the halfway point, the music drowned out by a gritty splash of abrasive white noise and wiped out in a voidful moment, where it's only the clunking beat and vocal samples chime in like messages from ancient spacemen garbled by unknown phenomena; this bit is brilliantly lonely, like a mind in turmoil behind unthinking everyday actions. An exciting, indescribable journey through a nicely crafted soundscape, mindscape, whose sounds are almost edible they are so delicious. Download this song from M. Hislop's SoundCloud (link belowww) if you want :)

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Monday 7 April 2014


Taking the highly textured and lonely euphoria of the stunningly waterfallish Burial original 'Hiders' as his basic foundation, French maker of music SHAM AN (shaman) offers up an equally stunning remix. Who is SHAM AN? He is from Montpellier, his real name is Pierre–Emmanuel Récio, he makes good sounds. Done. Next.

But seriously like, this is a great song. It might as well be an original song. In fact, I bet many artists or people or whoever would get pretty angsty about unofficial remixes so maybe SHAM AN should've just called it something else for a title and said "YO HERE'S AN ORIGINAL" because, aside from some sampling, a similar vibe and rhythm, it's different. But this is semantics or maybe even just a pale rambling excuse for semantics, not music, and I'm sorry about that. Just listen up to some MUSIC.

It's a gradual climb from the dark ambience of the beginning of this track, but soon we are into the flesh of it, the rich portions of sound that thicken into a kind of heavy water; fluidity is the name of the game here, fluidity chopped and punctuated with a slo-house beat comprising of cricket-like percussion snapping snares and erratic-heartbeat kicks. It's a stream of sounds, a stream of noises, artificial and natural, beautifully half-preserving the samples from Burial's original in muffled ancient farflung capsules opening up and effusing their ghostly lo-fi sounds in the tide of warm synth. There is a heartrendingly empty feeling in the track, evoking the reclusives that (maybe) inspired the name and sound of the original 'Hiders', perpetually lonesome yet in that isolation is a fragile beauty kept alive by the joy of experience and life without too much involvement, and a swirling sweeping sadness due to that lack of interactivity, that lack of touch, that seekerless will-less attitude, ever-hiding. Or something.

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This is a remix. But it's a remix with a difference cause it's officially titled the 'Basement Re-Work' and, when you listen to it, you can really get where the basement part comes from. Cause this is all basement. This is all dusty and half-uncovered and dimly lit and unseen for years and subterranean. And it should be so, because the guy who made this – the Brighton-based Eone – usually makes undegroundy darkly cold/cool tracks but this one is my favourite so far.

With samples from the Gladys Knight version creeping in scratchy and distorted as if they've travelled all the way from 1967 to infiltrate your ears, it's a song that basically expounds a quintessential UK sound and that's an eerie, hard and almost dub-flavoured minimalism. Laden with a dusky soundscape of floating soft synths, it is a song of two halves with this wah-wah synth aching with chorused wobble as its liquid riff: a slo-house rhythm with dub clacks for snares that goes uptempo, double-time, for its ending.

It's thick with this almost stifling darkness, a deep quality that feels as if the sounds are viscously orbiting you, cushioning you, all along. The uptempo part feels fresh, there's a groovesome vibe to it, and with the sample chiming in amidst the boom of the beat there's a reliclike air to it, an authenticity, a stamp of the past on something that – with its style – could only be new. Tbh I don't think I've ever heard a Motown sample framed in a sound like this one, and for that, well, this is pioneering. Or it might be the case that my experience or knowledge doesn't extend as far as yours or the next person's, but whateverrr.

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Saturday 5 April 2014


It's only been a few weeks since we heard from prodigious Japanese producer Takahiro Uchibori, aka Metome – in the form of the moody 'Rainmaker' and its ominous video – but already there's something new for us all to savour. Yep, he's as prolific as he is good. And this time around it's something a bit different to the norm; usually Metome is all sumptuous post-lounge with free-flowing jazz instrumentals and rapid-fire sampling— usually.

But the oddly yet somehow brilliantly named 'Sample Chair' is a sketch of something different, a foray into a different set of sounds, an experiment with wide synths that seem to have been given off by some distant space ship somewhere, a far-flung space-disco orbiting a planet where we'll arrive hundreds if not thousands of years from now. Perhaps that's the case. The other possibility is that Takahiro's mind is as elastic and frenetic as his sounds, and hence the seeming strangeness of 'Sample Chair'.

That of course is not say that it isn't good. It's great! Irregular bouts of keyless almost atonal synths pop up unexpectedly, bouncing around as if being thrown and somersaulted in low gravity; here the virtuosity isn't in the notes themselves, but how the notes are manipulated, how they are placed with regard to rhythm, or maybe more accurately with no regard to rhythm. Organic kicks and claps and clicks occasionally pop up; the melody whirlwinds at times in a frenzied storm; high-register vocal samples chirp in the expansive galaxy of the blissful chords.

There is almost no reverb at work here at all, invoking a heavier sense of silence or rather the space between sounds than previous Metome tracks, which often were hazed or lightly breezed with soft and pretty reverberating sounds. It's experimental, taking the essence of glitch (look at the track image for instance) – which is to create glitchy sounds – and using it to instead twist and manipulate his sounds in natural, real-life, less digitised ways, as if his synths are putty that he simply plays with.

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Friday 4 April 2014


Is this a photograph of the young George Clanton, aka (or at least the brains behind) Mirror Kisses? I think it might be. Now, with that kinda cleared up we can move forward. Who is this George Clanton? He is a musicmaker from Richmond, Virginia (USA innit) who creates hazy nostalgic vaporwavey tracks under the alias ESPRIT 空想 but with Mirror Kisses – a more real, less dreamy, less idealistic project – there's something quite different going on. Maybe there's a similar sense of nostalgia, but that's where comparisons end: this is truly heartfelt: a live, wriggling entity with 80s aesthetics, punk energy and a romantic sensibility, seemingly miles away from the bedroom lassitude of ESPRIT 空想.

The perfect opportunity to show this off arrives now, in the form of the brand-spanking-new video for 'Genius' – taken from Mirror Kisses' album of last year, Heartbeat, it's a brilliant example of the sights and sounds that go with this exciting project. In the video we see shots of the man himself singing live at a show in Washington DC, alternating with two guys painting a wall black and then erasing what they've done with white paint. "I didn't even know he [Robb Payne] was making it," said George himself. "It was shot at a show in Washington DC and a couple of the guys who were there made a painting for the song." Luckily, or maybe it was something that was just meant to be – either way it worked, and it suited the song: "I think it's really cool how they make it and then erase it," he said, explaining, "I thought it was very fitting to the spirit of the whole song about second-guessing yourself but still doing what you love in the end."

So without further ado…

It's George's favourite song from the album and you can see why. It's a corker of a song, a cracker even, one that bulges with as much drunk shuffle-dance-inducing sway as it does heartfelt emotion. Thin flanging chords keep their sombre time above the slow 80s-style lo-fi drums with syncopated hi-hats, whilst ear-pinching icicles of high-register synth strings pierce the air above the heavy muffle of the jouncing distorted bass squelch. But what makes this so real, not that the music isn't dead nice on its own, is the vocals, the voice of George, an aching rich baritone that simmers with just enough reverb, crooning lines like "I know… I'm no genius / But when you say those things / It makes me feel so dumb" that seem summoned from a deep well of emotion, gently echoing into the atmosphere.

NB. If you ask me, it sounds kinda like a slowed-down version of 'Last Christmas' by Wham (minus any Christmas-theme ofc) which ain't a bad thing at all. It shows that the 80s synthpop influences are there, well and truly, and they're blissfully endearing.

  • In honour of this fancy new video, the Heartbeat LP is now available for FREE.
  • A little birdie told me there will be new Mirror Kisses stuff soon, so GET ACQUAINTED with pre-existing stuff (see first bullet point).

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Thursday 3 April 2014


I heard this a while ago, it got sent to me, I dug/dig'd it, I still dig it, but I never got around to writing about it. Why? I dunno. Literals don't know. Just one of those things that just escapes the mind. Sievelike stuff, I know. But the important thing is that I'm here rn writing this. To tell you the truth, I've actually been getting this song, or at least parts of it, stuck in my head in a kind of occasional earworm that lasts for as long as it lasts for (it would be really difficult to measure how long a song is stuck in your head for – somebody needs to do some more research on this). Anyway, that's a good sign isn't it? So, getting it in my head just a few minutes ago, I finally relented and just thought to damn well sit down and do some damn writing about it.

So what is this and who is it by? It's by Cool Trips who is from Portland and who is actually called Matthew (maybe Matt) Scott and he's uploaded just one song to SoundCloud called 'Give Me The Light' but it's a very good song. Like I said, it's been in and out of my head since I first heard it a couple of weeks ago. Let's listen.

It's a total mix: funky with wah-wah guitar twiddlings, yet there's a dub reggae feel thanks to its slow offbeat rhythm and the syncopated piano chords, and an overriding feel of what is basically post-chillwave with a smooth fluidity that is wholly conducive to a laid-back vibe. Cutesy blips appear as ornamentations throughout as the vocals do their thing, their very catchy thing (yeah that's where all the hooks are at), singing soulfully in a faraway manner, almost lamenting at times – especially when the near-shiver-inducing chorus kicks in with the elastically pleading "I don't want it to be over / Is there nothing I can do?", and the fatalistic "It's not me… It's not you" simultaneously full of feeling and style.

So that was that. How do you feel about it? I really like it. He's doing something new with pop, with indie, putting hooks in amongst thickets of styles and sounds and letting you go in yourself and have a look for them without being obvious at all – exciting! And for a first song (ever?) it is even more impressive. Hopefully there will be more to come from Cool Trips – keep yer ears open!!

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Wednesday 2 April 2014


Ah Jacob 2-2. I fell in love with him, well not actually him – his MUSIC – last year when I was introduced to his song 'Milo De Venus', a beautifully nostalgic track, via cool Canadian label King Deluxe. This was taken from his album Herbivore, which was like taking a journey through the idealised childhood of a young reluctant hero from an 80s movie where real life is slowly taken over by fantasy – it sounded like shiny red bicycles, oversized baseball jackets, and empty suburban stretches of road in the summer holidays. You'd probably like it. Naturally, I thought his tastes would be cool for a mix; I asked, he was happy to do one, and he even made some super nice artwork for the mix. He's titled it 'Abiogenesis', which is (thanks Wikipedia) "the natural process by which life arose from non-living matter such as simple organic compounds" – a fascinating though now discredited concept, and one that fits his mix perfectly, as it features a lot of older music (the music world's "organic compounds" perhaps) that gave life to what we have today.

From jazz to hip hop to electro to prog rock to jazz to disco, it's a fabulously varied mix and one comprised equally of new, shiny, modern and old, endearing, reliclike. There's the crazy frenetic groove in Ras G's noisy and bleepsome 'One 4 Kutmah', Jacob 2-2's own junkyard clattering remix of Navigateur's 'Breathe' as well as Joob's brand of chiptune hip hop in 'Sacred Science'. But then there's surprise Hammond organ virtuoso in British prog rock band Egg's take on Bach's 'Fugue In D Minor' (featuring, if you'd care to notice, a beat that any hip hop fan'd tell you was decent, and certainly not bad for 1970); French disco champion Cerrone's 1978 oddly hypnotic 'Rocket In The Pocket'; Organized Konfusion's fiery underground hip hop in 'Releasing Hypnotical Gases' taken from their debut self-titled album (1991). Then there's the finale, 'White Eagle' by German electronic outfit Tangerine Dream, still going strong since 1967 having recently provided some original music for the Grand Theft Auto V OST.

But enough of this! Go soak up the sounds and download it for free too. THANKS J22!

T R A C K L I S T :

  1. Joel Vandroogenbroeck – Japanese Technology
  2. 10th letter – Primordial Soup
  3. Navigateur – Breathe (Jacob 2-2 RMX)
  4. Organized Konfusion – Releasing Hypnotical Gases
  5. Roy Ayers – Fikisha (To Help Someone To Arrive)
  6. Joob – Sacred Science
  7. Doc ILL – It Starts (ft. Ally B)
  8. Ras G – One 4 Kutmah
  9. Egg – Fugue in D Minor
  10. Cerrone – Rocket In The Pocket
  11. Ceephax – Natural Spectrum
  12. Tangerine Dream – White Eagle

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