Tuesday 24 June 2014


Ahh… so we meet again, SHAM AN! Last time we heard from this Montpellier-dwelling producer, he was vibing out an unofficial Burial remix, which I said was basically "fluidity chopped and punctuated with a slo-house beat comprising of cricket-like percussion snapping snares and erratic-heartbeat kicks." You can imagine it, right? Dark and ambient. Previous to this, if you're interested in looking into Mr SHAM AN's backstory, he remixed a song, 'Voices Of War' on fellow Frenchman Tealeaf's Yugen EP.

But now! But now: we have NOT a remix from Pierre-Emmanuel Récio (the real name of this musicmaker), but an entirely original song, 'Ghosts'.

As neutrally spooky and expansively ethereal as you'd expect a true ghost to be, the track is firstly flooded with subtle waves of ambient, fog-like synth; the first spotting of a ghost, when your blood chills and your spine seems to want to jump from your trembling body. But soon wisps of synth melody make their way in softly, combined with heartwarming strings that send an all-clear signal – the phantom is not as terrifying as you thought it was; in fact, it's speaking pleasantly to you. At 1:40, all sense of fear dissipates with an almost comically wilting pitch shift.

The rest of the song rolls trappishly with the bright percussion that'd been the order of the day from the beginning, rollicking hi-hats and shining cymbals, which in the first half combined with kicks to provide dynamic pulses of energy behind the song's grey, misty exterior. There's one particular word that I'd describe this song as, and that's "pure". Pure. It sounds pure. Refreshing. Well-balanced. Not too dark and spooky but not utterly euphoric either; it harbours a relaxed spirit of clarity.

This was premiered exclusively on a site that doesn't even exist yet, Mayne – a France-based (and perhaps France-centric, too, but who knows) "MUSIC SHARING PLATFORM / BLOG / INDEPENDENT LABEL". Despite not having an actual www site, there is a SoundCloud, Twitter & Facebook account with which you may get acquainted if you feel like it.

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Monday 23 June 2014


Last time we heard from this Bratislava-based musicmaker he had just finished making his Notch EP, a little journey through some grittily futuristic flavoured music (released on Slovakian label, Gergaz Records). I wasn't expecting to hear anything more from him (him being Pišta Kráľovič aka FVLCRVM) for a while, so it was a lovely surprise to get an email from him yesterday, letting me know about his latest creations.

The first of these is a remix for Norwegian singer Samsaya's latest (and from what I can work out, only) song 'Stereotype'; FVLCRVM goes in hard with a booming jungle-esque treatment, working with the classic jungle clatter and combining it with itchingly fresh electronic sounds, totally transforming the catchy and dirty pop of the original. I liked this. You can listen to it here (CLICK). Allegedly it was part of a remix competition, and FVLCRVM was one of the winners! (It's a free download, too).

But the real treat came with his latest release: a remix of Prague-based band Videos' track 'Run' – tagged amicably with "praguetislava".

Well! Hmm! What do you think? Isn't this just dreamy? Well actually, I'd say that the original 'Run' is more dreamy, being a combination of floaty dreampop and 80s-style electropop, with grinding synths, fat, fuzzy drums, and bleak Ian Curtis-style vocals. What FVLCRVM does is out-of-this-world, blanketing the track with a mist of heavenly chords, allowing the vocals to surface occasionally like bubbles from the sea; soon this all changes.

Claps and tiny snare sounds and jingling hi-hats, along with human breath noises for percussion, herald the true beginning of the song, with hefty mouthfuls of synth chord blasting out with a cosmic progression, backed up by rumbly bass; a small distorted melody pops up every now and again with the intensity of phantom signals from space. Vocal samples of the original pockmark the track, which is also decorated with a few beautiful drum edits (one particularly at 3:07 grabs your ears nicely), throughout its journey from calm – through the energetic middle – and back to primordial calm once more.

FVLCRVM's future-forward style stops at nothing in order to leap feet-first into the forefront of your imagination. Let's hope that his next offering is just as interesting and palatable as this!

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ALSO: check out Videos on SoundCloud

Sunday 22 June 2014


So I'm behind on what I'm supposed to be writing about. So what? u wanna fite irl about it? No? Didn't think so. In that case, we'll just forget all about any of this: my tardiness, my bellicosity, my etc. And we'll get straight on to it.

Rollergirl (or Rollergirl!, either way, but for the sake of ease I'm gonna drop that exclamation mark, sorry) is from the USA and makes wonderful music. My first taste of this fun-filled breed of music was the Rollergirl remix of Summer Twins' year-old track 'Forget Me', treating the original with a healthy drop of fuzzy funk stylings. Well, now there's a whole EP to enjoy.

The cutely titled I Love You, Rollergirl! EP inhabits that addictive zone of music called future funk; if you know what it is, then whatever, good for you, but if you don't, well… it's not so much futuristic as remodelled cuts of classic funk, soul and disco, blent into gorgeous cocktails of sound with all the accoutrements of modern day production to benefit the style. This is where Rollergirl seems to thrive.

But as this EP shows, it's not just straight up slow-down samples and muffled edits; each track is instead a variation on that overarching theme. Take the particularly punchy 'Do You Wanna Dance?', for instance – it is a huge track, featuring all the gigantic energy of carnival tracks, with syncopated percussion dropping in and out with the aggressive call of samba whistles like the cry of some dance-obsessed creature. Then you have something quite different in the slow sway of 'Eve' (featuring the talent of Chicagoan musicmaker, Harris Cole), where in the second half 80s synths filter through a foundational membrane of stuttering slap-bass – a mystical, nocturnal kind of sound.

For the most part, however, Rollergirl's EP booms with disco intensity. 'I Love You' is an especially good example of this; beginning with a sample taken from dialogue in the classic film Dirty Dancing ("I'm scared of everything..."), its sharp hi-hats swish above a frenzy-inducing two note bassline, intense loops leading to more and different intense loops towards the end, funk guitar hatching its undeniable groove all the way. In much the same vein, second track 'Vanilla Coke' rattles along with the raucous sound of racing hi-hats, a clattering example of disco, injected with dynamism by creating bassless voids with old-car-radio-esque tinniness, then flooding these with French-Touch-style bass, working the muscles in your ears to a surprisingly satisfying degree.

Pop hooks show themselves throughout, like in EP-closer 'Last Night', whose shivering chops of guitar jump in aching, catchy melody, providing a mesmerising mist that hangs over lightly overdriven bulges of bass; in the last quarter or so of this track it jumps into a slower rhythm, somehow becoming even more addictive. And of course, in opener 'Boogie Down' – which begins with a snippet of dialogue from 1979 film Roller Boogie – this catchiness extends from the disco-ball sheen of the chords and its supporting bassline, to the vocals supplied by Rollergirl himself, singing "Live it up, live it up!" … and personally I think this has in it snippets of Toro y Moi-style chillwave. But the style of chillwave in general included nods to many genres of music, including funk; perhaps future funk is merely a natural offshoot of this particular sound. Maybe not. You discuss it yourselves.

God, um, well that's it really. Can be chilled to, can be danced to; can be engaged with, can be background sound. I Love You, Rollergirl! is nostalgic deep pan pizza of sound; totally doughy and heavy with delicious beats, but still featuring the tomato-and-pepperoni zing of exciting chops and near-virtuosic versatility. And it's yet another sterling release from undeniably cool label/collective, KEATS//COLLECTIVE.

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Friday 20 June 2014


Ahhhhhhhh… The strange romantic aesthetics of opium dens: the acceptable crackhouses of yesteryear. Divans and drapes and pipes, ingratiating attendants, sordid opulence, the classic hazy sparkle of fin de siècle decadence; the Victorian duality of public obligation and private subversion, light and dark, foreign exotica furnishing domestic shores.

Why the shit am I talking about all of this? Cause of this guy's name, Shanghai Den, and also because of their profile pic, both on SC and FB – just sparked the imagination y'know and I had to just vent those mental images. But far from these antique pollutants, in the here-and-now of present day, Shanghai Den has made some music that has juuust been released: 'The Sun' – it's unusual, unnerving, mean, cold; funny for a track named after something that's pretty much none of those things. Just as the bright side of dance music has its appeal, so too does the dark.

Let's have a listen to this mucky little number shall we?

In the midst of a swirling, narcotic haze, this track introduces itself with sharp, cutting percussion – serrated knife-edge hi-hats that seem to slash at your ears (in a good way, if possible to imagine). Different layers appear, peeling off as you descend deeper into the darkness; unknown alien synths wah-wah through the inky dirt of the track's dominant and obsessive two-note rhythm, a frantic cycle that threatens to develop into more at all times, making it one hell of a tease. A continuous detonation of fog-like bass rumbles like aphotic murk, further intensifying the principal vibe of unsettlement. Indeed, commenting on their own music, Shanghai Den themselves say it's "the fear inside of all of us mixed with a constant stream of chemical self medication." Sounds about right.

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Wednesday 4 June 2014


Welcome. If you've never been here before, well done to you; if you have been here before, well done to you, too. Basically, we're here today to talk about a remix of a song, or perhaps more specifically a remix of a track. I actually heard the original track, 'PASTEL 女の子' (where '女の子' – onnanoko – means 'girl' in Japanese), a few weeks ago and thought "hmm ooo yea I'ma write bout dat" but it seems it never happened. However, now that I'm here, and you're here, it's the perfect time to give it a sprinkling of spotlight.

So yes, the original, by Filipino musicmaker Ulzzang Pistol – who also heads up the Philippines-centric Youngliquidgang collective – is a Latin-flavoured slice of synth-lounge, complete with groovesome bassline, 80s-drum-machine tom fills and glimmmerings of glockenspiel. A kind of laid-back, easy-listening, city-by-night feel, flourishing in its own sense of romance.

Made for and taken from the net-station/label datafruits.fm compilation, Funky Freaky Freestyley, Ulzzang Pistol put it up with downloadable stems, allowing anybody to remix it. And that's exactly what et aliae (which means 'and the others/rest' in Latin, but it's feminine plural so could be translated as 'the other girls' or sth like dat) has done.

Mixing the dizzy potential of R&B-inflected beats and neon-tinged tremolo synth chords with softly reverbing marimba and gentle glassy cascadings, the London-based et aliae produces a stunning remix that simpers high above the original; a persistent ghost of swirling cloud-sounds that summon silver-outlined dreams.

Say, if the original was the actual soundtrack to a person wandering around the heart of a city replete with bustling streets and entertainment at every turn: then this remix is that person's out-of-body experience, their true consciousness floating as their body is jostled by crowds, beset on all sides by relentless sights and sounds and smells, seeking without end something indescribable.

Or at least, that's what I get from it... so uh...

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Tuesday 3 June 2014


I'm so bad bad bad, bad like a bad car not a bad man; inefficient, belated, whateverative. But don't worry I've come to share a nice-nice sound with you this fine whatever-time-of-day-it-is-for-you. I'm sorry everybody, I'm sorry. TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY. And with this guilt-ridden waffle, I'd like to introduce, yeah, this nice-nice sound I mentioned.

It's called 'Find, Lose, And Love' and it's been created by Filipino artist The After-School Special. The man behind this romantic moniker – so chosen "because he would often find himself crafting beats after coming home from class" – is Anton Salvador, who began making his own music in 2006, when it was more of an outlet for his creativity outside of the various bands we was in; it was only in 2012 that he began working on The After-School Special in earnest. Anyway... let's have a lil listen shall we?

Taking as its showpiece a quote from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo – in particular, the part where the protagonist, Scottie, is attempting to rid himself of his acrophobia/vertigo by going up and down a small step stool repeating the mantra "I look up, I look down…" – the track is a progressive piece of electronic dreaminess

The decorative metronomic hi-hats become gradually faster and more frequent, the Vertigo dialogue tunes in and out as if being watched inside a pastel green cloud of whirling synth, with lower rumbles providing foundations with the constant, grounded thump of the kicks. Add to this successions of deliciously raspy claps and the simple bwinging notes of synth melody, not to mention the well-tuned dynamics of the track, and there you have it: something wonderful. Describing the track, Anton wrote, "This is a manifestation. This is a release of energy. This is me trying to find balance."

He is part of BuwanBuwan, " a Pinoy beatmakers and electronic musicians collective" alongside many others – including Similar_Objects (aka Jorge Juan Wieneke V, a director of the collective) and Spazzkid. I can't really put it any better than the arbiters of BuwanBuwan, who describe it as "a framework for their perpetual creative exchanges, a take-off point for defining their identity as Filipino artists, and above all, a common ground where they can all play." A treasure trove rich in new sounds to be explored, new artists to discover!

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