Friday 16 October 2015


If you waltz away from this song without feeling even a tiny bit of emotion – ok, even if you can discern the emotion in this, that's ok – but if you can't feel or detect a single thing either after or during listening to this… well, I don't know what to say.

It's not that this is dripping with obvious emotion, that it epically drops with standard sonic epithets, that it explodes with feeling. It's that it just touches the heart somewhat, and that is enough. "It", "it it it" – it is called 'I'm so glad i found u' and it is by a musicmaker called kalko who says they're from Texas, so let's go with it: Texas it is.

Anyway… 'I'm so glad i found you' is simple enough: a set of melodies, a bit of a beat. Simplicity and complexity doesn't really come into it when we're speaking about emotions – you hear, see, taste, smell, touch something and feel stuff as a result. That's how it is.

And that's how it is with the plaintive melodies of thanksgiving and innocent pleasure that swirl at the heart of this little song, which, beginning soft and muted, gradually become sharper, glittering, come into focus previously blurred, a sense of true happiness, body-warming gratitude sweeping through your soul, the skin-tingling shimmering-sun-dappled-through-bright-green-leaves feeling of utter contentment (see the artwork above; sounds like that).

Skiffly shakers and zipping hi-hats and scratchy snares and fuzzy kicks, a lo-fi beat that develops and grows as the song progresses, the sense of positivity expanding outwards and encompassing you, as you listen there from your laptop, aglow with the same feeling as kalko's track, ebbing away after saying its piece, not taking up all of your time: just stopping by to express happiness, ending beautifully.

  • Don't miss a free download of this cutely shimmering ode to warming happiness.

kalko Social Media Presence ☟

Sunday 11 October 2015


A couple of months ago, I got an email from somebody promoting a music project of Steve Sandberg, the composer of Dora The Explorer and, by extension, Go, Diego, Go! Fast-forward to now, and I'm happy to present the following interview and guest mix from Sandberg, whose Just The Tip EP, under one of his monikers Elastic Plastic Generation recently arrived via Teknofonic.

Sandberg is a three-time Emmy-nominated composer, and besides scoring the music for Dora and Diego has also made music for educational apps by Literary Safari, toured with David Byrne and Bebel Gilberto as keyboardist, arranger and vocalist, as well as composed music for Broadway. His own music, as Elastic Plastic Generation, is self-admittedly "crazy and uninhibited," (he's placed a few of these tracks in the mix) whereas a new project under the moniker Alaya is more world-music-oriented, wherein he's crafted "music from a country I’ve never been to but always wanted to visit." He's placed

See below for an interview with Sandberg; underneath that you'll find the mix he has kindly contributed to YES/NO – it's filled with house, Motown flavours, and a sprinkling of samba, showing the musical influences at work on this musicmaker.

When did you first start making music? What inspired you?
My parents bought an upright piano for my older sister to learn on. I had a ritual - every time I passed it, I had to reach up as high as I could to touch and play a key. I must have been 2 years old then. Then I started taking classical piano lessons from a local piano teacher. I guess I just loved sound and was inspired by having an instrument that could make beautiful sounds that I could play.

How did you get to be a composer for Dora the Explorer?
Through a friend I met walking my dog in the park! She was doing some temporary sound editing for Dora before it started airing, and was in the room when the musical director quit. She called me - "Steve, this is your gig! Call this number in 5 minutes - she gave me the number of the executive producer - and tell him you're a composer." She thought I'd be right for the show because I had spent many years playing with NY salsa and Latin jazz bands, and also knew how to score to visuals.

What is it like making music for something like that?
It was a lot of fun because I had never written for a TV show before, and I actually thought I'd be really good at writing for animation. It was something I wanted to do. So I had a great time making up themes for the different characters, creating a musical palate for the show - which turned out to be a mixture of Gil Evans, classic cartoon scoring and salsa - and basically forming a whole style and vibe for the underscoring. I also worked on songs, which was more collaborative. Of course we were all very happy when the show became such a big hit and it went on for many years and spun two sequels. It becomes a bit different when you write season after season - you have to invent new things to keep yourself interested and keep it fresh.

Who are your favourite artists right now?
Me'shell Ndegeocello; Gil Scott Heron; Harry Partch; always Stevie Wonder from Music of my Mind to Fulfillingness' First Finale; Pedrito Martinez live are a few. It's hard to say because I tend to have favorite songs at this point, not favorite artists. And I love old school. Today I was really enjoying listening to Bobby Womack, If You Think You're Lonely Now.

What do you think has influenced the sound of your EP?
That EP came out of a lot of different musics that I love. To name a few:
Old School House Music
Samba Reggae
Sly Stone
Stevie Wonder's keyboards
That EP was a labor of love. I had a block of free time and just played around with my DAW and made music I thought I'd enjoy moving to. It's pretty crazy and uninhibited.

How would you describe your own music?
I actually write many different kinds of music. This project, Elastic Plastic Generation, is a kind of iconoclastic world house dance hiphop or something like that? But I also have a worldtronica project -Alaya - coming out in September on the same label, Teknofonic, that is very different - it features breath-controlled synths, my own vocals, and eclectic writing inspired by Eastern European, African, Latin, and other world musics with an electronic palate. Kinda jazzy too. You can hear excerpts on my website,

• T R A C K L I S T •

Steve Sandberg Social Media Presence ☟
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Friday 2 October 2015


Wooowww, well well well. This captured my imagination a great deal when I first heard it. A month or so later, it's still teetering on the borders of my memory like a candy wrapper glimmering in sunlight, or like something else that might draw your attention – crystals strewn across a beach, finding a prize (plastic funny-smelling figurine) in your cereal as you pour it into your bowl. That sort of thing.

It arrives from EVM128, real name Luke Meads: Bristol progeny who now dwells in London. It's called 'Treatment'. Heralded in descriptions and press releases as a revival of another Bristol product, broken beat, it's easy to discern the fragmented nature of the beat through your own ears: irregular patterns in the alternating kick and abrasive-fluid snare, jangling tambourine cut and placed between these, hi-hats skiffling in unusual order, additions of flighty cymbal bell-hits, assertive hyperactive snare rolls, other percussive syncopations, all offbeat in a style that fits rhythmically between house and hip-hop. People 'in the know' will say 'ah yes this broken beat rite here'. Sounds broken – simple.

Hmmmm, well, actually, thinking about it… it seems less simple the more you think about it. Despite knowing about the style beforehand, despite listening to 'Treatment' on repeat, the pattern of the beat feels fresh every time. Is it its seeming irregularity that makes it harder to pick up on? Are there genuinely predictable and unpredictable rhythms in music? I suppose you could become used to it after a long while… These are questions for a neurologist.

But it's not just the beat that makes EVM128's track so salted-caramel-delicious; add to the neurone-stimulating skiffle-thump a modulating wobble of airy ghostly synth – woo-oo-oo-oo, like that – the occasional singular soft chord simply asserting its existence in the midst of the beat thicket, the drippy-splash melodic synth painting chilled lounge melodies in miniature; add all this and you have a special sound, seemingly effortless and wonderfully basic.

And that's not forgetting Olmo Cassibba, the Sicilian-Scottish alto saxophonist and person-of-percussion, whose blissful work on the flute completes 'Treatment', making it a great clashing together of these fractured even garage-lilting beats, these trip-hopping future-facing electronics, and horizontal lounge exotica sunshine pouring in, jungle-beach-cosmopolitan-hangout jazz flavours, the phantom of cigarette smoke hanging like a thin veil in a basement club, nocturnal car-driving under illuminated palm trees.

EVM128 Social Media Presence ☟