Thursday 13 December 2018

🐣 CLAWS AI — 777


Fully formed like a pile of earth you'd pat down as a kid till it was no longer dirt but a solid construct, '777' is all about its earthy substrates. Musicmaker CLAWS AI ensures that it not only goes full throttle, but that the track has solid foundations. So naturally the bass drum thumps and the punchy, punky bass guitar shoots through it like an electric current, screeching distortion leaving scorch marks over everything. It's a cross between heavy industry and discovering you've got superpowers, but there's more to '777' than inspiring noise.

"I sat down to write a simple song about a girl," CLAWS AI tells us over email. But it became more than that. "I am convinced the past few weeks of my life were steered by divine intervention. You know the feeling when you meet someone you know could change your life? Maybe fate had me and her intertwined and I got what I always wanted. You have to consider that it might be no coincidence."

This – and the history of making "mindless rock songs," as he describes it – gives CLAWS AI the perfect grounding to create something that scores top marks in somersaulting its way into your psyche. A stun grenade of sound, it's not only the power of the production in this track that immobilises you: it's the questioning lyrics that inject the intrigue, and the humanity in the explosive desperate vocals, that truly gives this track the nitro it possesses.

CLAWS AI Internet Presence ☟

Thursday 8 November 2018



A stumbling drum machine drops you gently onto the foggy boardwalk between waking and dreaming that Soft Powder aka Andy Szetho creates in the meditative 'I Wonder If You Dream'. More than just an exercise in lo-fi, this is a fantasia of to-and-fro guitar melodies that fracture your heart with pinpricks of recollection and late-night diary entry vocals, all wrapped up in a blanket of comforting synth.

But as much as the thick layers of sound offer comfort, it's a soft entrapment, the warm glow of your bedroom lamp as time seems to lose meaning. Sharper sounds cut through the two-chord march, brightness lancing faintly through bleakness, a detached sadness looking inwards.

Counselled by the sincere refrain of "I wonder if you dream" other lines appear ghostly and welcoming: "sometimes it's just nice to pretend" and "start to feel so distant" summon a passive, modest, but searching melancholy. There's no turmoil here, no great tragedy in the deep pastel crush of Soft Powder's nocturne: but there is personal despair, which is the grandest and most soultrapping of all.

  • πŸ”” Incredibly 'I Wonder If You Dream' is Soft Powder's first ever release. It's taken from his debut Shangri-La EP and you can listen to the whole thing over here on his SoundCloud. The nostalgic, lonely cassette cover art, complete with perfect brooding palette, was created by designer John Szetho.

Internet Presence ☟

Wednesday 7 November 2018



The open road tumbling ahead, the scenery struggling to appear correctly because of just how quickly you're moving along it. This is the sense of wild freedom that explodes out of 'Joaquin' by Danish band The Entrepreneurs; thick bass and guitars with frazzled distortion play rumbling and loose with drums thumping out a frolicking heartbeat. It's a galloping horse, a rushing train, a dog with its head out the window as a car speeds on an open highway.

But you soon realise the song isn't a pure celebration of freedom—it's a yearning for it, tearing a space for yourself in the fabric of the world. The vocals suddenly yell out:

"Feels like / We should / Take a trip outside / See what’s all around / In this part of town / Where the lights are out / And the doors are unlocked at night / And time flies right on by..."

From that moment, 'Joaquin' is more than just a powering engine: it's a heartfelt casting off of a hometown, like shedding skin. It's painful, though it's something that feels necessary. It explodes poetically with the desire for moving onwards, with almost childlike imagery that evokes absurd visions: "Get away / I might just get away / This place is way too small / Standing 8 feet tall in an 18th century hall."

That childlike nature continues into the instrumental itself: the guitar and bass guitar turn playful, pedalling over each other in twists and turns of math rock style arpeggios as the song becomes quiet and introspective as singer Mathias Bertelsen asks, "What comes to the one who stays around?"

And as much as the dreary feeling of trapped in a small town courses through your veins, there's an unending nostalgia attached to it that chills your heart to think you ever wanted to leave in the first place. And this is the romantic soundscape The Entrepreneurs have created: the crushing joy of running free from the only thing you've ever known.

  • πŸ”” You can stream and/or purchase the lovely 'Joaquin' by new indie rock trio The Entrepreneurs over on their their Bandcamp. It's taken from their upcoming album Noise & Romance scheduled for release on 1st February 2019. Pre-order also on Bandcamp if you like what you hear.

The Entrepreneurs Internet Presence ☟

Sunday 4 November 2018



Conversational lyricism weaves through the sunny strumming jangle of Rally Club's 'Twelve Tattoos', the effect basically feels like climbing inside the head of its female protagonist. Her observations and thoughts sprinkle the lyrics, whilst she's also described her in third person from the point of view of the singer.

The chorus, with its hook-laden far-off broken radio vocals, mentions this explicitly: "I gotta feeling that I’m seeing what she’s looking through / cause she talks in her sleep, she talks about being with you."

The sparkle of its chords feel like starfish washed up on the beach, the breeze shunting clouds across a cool blue sky, the tinny bump of the drums skittering in coastal somersaults. There's this surf feel, with these effortless vocal harmonies that feel Beach Boys crossed with beat poet – or West Coast Weapon-era Brand New – as you can see from Rally Club's opening gambit:

"She looked pretty even keeled if you looked from afar. Her makeup barely covered up her blatant reactions to songs as she mumbled the words if she knew them at all.

She looked pretty damn full from all the meals in her car; the times she spent driving chasing constant attractions added up and the math in her head was getting harder to solve."

There is this delicious wordy detail in the strings of words that whirl around, rhythmically solid and pulsing with the bounce easy scansion. Even the ABCABC (bones, palate, remind her / known, mallet, behind her) rhyme scheme feels poetically sound.

Next to the detail, the words remain methodically cryptic; lines like "Twelve tattoos in the entire home, the perfect situation to display on the surface" and "A polished reputation, could it really be worthless? she thought as she filled in all the cracks in the living room wall" – as well as the sad "nobody found the letters she was leaving behind her" – mix everyday minutiae with mystery.

And then besides the airy detached jangle, there's this angular guitar riff that jumps in loaded with chorus; the sort of glitzy, towering thing you'd expect from some early metal band, but with a lovely lack of distortion. Besides the superficial everyday of the protagonist, the light strumming, there's the inner turmoil of what she's actually going through, displayed in the mild aggression of the thumping riff sections: clutching at reality and trying to make sense of it.

  • πŸ”” Feel free to stream or purchase this Rally Club track on their Bandcamp or the single release it appears on, Space / Twelve Tattoos'.
  • πŸ”” The fun hand-drawn video is by Nathan Henning.

Internet Presence ☟

Saturday 3 November 2018



This remix- with the soft bounce of its toy sized plasma chords, the virtuoso bass groove, the instant glitter of its glassy synths - oozes the blocky pastels of its late 20th century inspiration; it's a buffet of 1990s flavours served up by the Japan-based caretaker of nostalgia Initial Talk (whose credits also include a Dua Lipa 'New Rules' remix).

The original 'Rush' is minimal: all space and angular, squelchy synth. It feels contemporary for its sparseness and sub-bass, but equally retro-futuristic (sounding a little like Prince's 'Kiss' actually). So it makes sense that Initial Talk has transplanted the voice of Ruby Francis into decidedly retro surroundings. In fact, it feels as though this is the way it should have always been.

Like a safari through the aural landscape of twenty-something years ago, this remix of 'Rush' chimes, bounces and glistens with its purposefully timeworn elements. Ruby Francis' voice lilts soulfully in the verse, its echo weaving through the skipping rhythm—elsewhere it provides a sprinkle of jangling '90s ad-libs: "baby, why the rush?"

But the chorus is the centrepoint for this track's magic. The two distinct parts to the addictive vocal (the simple clarity of the first 4 bars and its playful vocal melody, and the rich, winding harmonies of the second 4), the step-up into it, the faroff sparkle of it, the warm, vibrant bass, the swaying beat. It's a cocktail of everything it should be: delicious escapism.

  • πŸ”” Stream and/or download Initial Talk's remix of 'Rush' by Ruby Francis via your fav service

Ruby Francis Internet Presence ☟

Initial Talk Internet Presence ☟

Tuesday 30 October 2018



The interior AI spirit of a vast nowhere machine ascending into the vaulted sky, an imperfect aurora twisting and writhing, flashing and fitting with error messages as circuitboards frazzle and crack back on the ground, 'Inkjets' is a masterpiece of malfunctions created by Canadian producer leon louder.

With modulated synth chords rising up and the gentle pulse of soft synth pingpong boops this dimension of glitch and detached sombre sadness spreads out like a blood stain, sounding very like the soundtrack Twilight Realm from Zelda: Twilight Princess in the process. Muffled crashes and electrical crackling, the far off explosions of processes and the evaporation of data: it is the death of a computer.

Despite the metallic tinkering and clicking, as if this machine is attempting to fix itself, the garbled synth doesn't form words; there's no reassurance. Instead the vox is virtuoso in rivers of hummingbird babbling. At 1:40 there's what sounds like the genuine voice of this digital organism itself, a plaintive imploring purr, before finally the chords thin out into nothingness.

  • πŸ”” The fittingly glitch laden video for leon louder's 'Inkjets' was created by artist Chris Dorland ("who makes paintings with malfunctioning printers," explained Leon).

leon louder Internet Presence ☟
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Monday 29 October 2018



A frantic wallsmash of an ode to riding bicycles, the theme of German band Drens' pogosticking 'Bicycle Rider' doesn't need to be guessed at. The drums are destroyed as the thud fuzz of the snare and splashing razor cymbals become a crashing cutlery drawer of mayhem, setting the rocky terrain where the rest of this track tumbles and divebombs.

We asked the band about the background to 'Bicycle Rider'.

"Our rehearsal room is in a rough area in Dortmund, so we park our bikes inside. [Drummer] JoΓ«l saw them and started to shout this "bicycle rider" thing," Drens co-founder Fabian LivrΓ©e (vocals, guitar) told us. "The special thing is that we didn't replace the lyrics, because we started to like it. It's our kind of humor and we really like riding bikes."

It's just over a minute of wiggling arpeggios, thrashing guitar and thick galloping bass – complete with stringbreaking guitar solo and vocals overflowing with breathless bite – for a punch-in-the-face parody of the surf sound: instead of hitting the waves, they're tearing up the streets by pedal power.

Drens Internet Presence ☟
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With a feeling like being invited into the worn pages of a diary tinged with VHS static, 'Somewhere, Somehow' beats with a soulful horizontal heart. Sweeps of warped guitar play somewhere between a dripping bleak-empty coastal town and late night psychedelic bedroom introspection as lyrics float by haunted by the shade of a person, all set to the buzz and thump of a disintegrated beat.

"Lo-fi sounds from old jazz standards to acoustic folk and blues has always been a huge inspiration," trackmaker Isak Thomas explains over email, "so I was aiming to bring that nostalgic, scratchy sound to a more accessible platform."

And after a crescendo of crushed guitar sounds and vocals interrupting themselves in mantra form – "I know you from somewhere somehow / I know you from somewhere somehow" – sun breaks through swirling clouds for the final third of the song, the groove changes tack and jagged chord progressions streak in.

Isak Thomas' well dusted time capsule of a track, an opened Pandora's box of desire and apprehension, presents a crowded mind carved into a love letter destined for another realm.

  • πŸ”” You may purchase 'Somewhere, Somehow' by Isak Thomas via iTunes should you wish to do so. Or if Bandcamp is more your thing then you can grab it from there, too.

Isak Thomas Internet Presence ☟

Sunday 21 October 2018


At first ‘Wellington’ is like a dream where you wake up floating in space: the cascading chimes, the reverberating plasma bass, modulated chords like the PS2 startup, the lances of synth soaring into an unseen distance. But there’s something super grounded about Lipticism’s track, owing to the earthbound first line and refrain: “That girl from Wellington, she says she never wants to see me again.”

The vocal, equally imploring and detached, spins a story with this stark statement: What girl? Why? What happened? Instant connection and intrigue.

And in its never-the-same-twice choruses, ‘Wellington’ is a swirl of glitter, sludgy sub kicks, hissing percussion, the voice of Lipticism herself rising in a nebulous stream; a shredded melodic line, lamenting coolly, overlaps into the next section - something this song does well, a constantly morphing dynamic.

More lyrics half heard in this jostling milky way of sound present the realness, the semisadness and frustration in simple terms: “That’s how it used to be…” and “I can’t read your mind” standing out beacon-like. And always it is cosmic, it is star-flung, sparklingly offbeat, visions of a void—the actual self, alone but catapulted above earthly troubles.

Lipticism Internet Presence ☟



When it comes to popular Japanese food, pizza doesn’t usually top the list. Japan is better known of course for, well, Japanese food. However there is something of a love affair in Japan with Italian food, often in the form of yoshoku: Japanese-style Western food, e.g. spaghetti with ketchup, chopped up hot dogs and onions (naporitan). Whilst yoshoku is a delight, it definitely isn’t actual Italian food, which is why it’s a treat to stumble across somewhere that serves up Italian food and wood-fired pizza.

Baloricco is more than out for the way. It's perched somewhat precariously at the bottom of the cliff inside a former marina warehouse in the small quiet fishing village of Ena, Wakayama Prefecture. It could strange that somewhere like this place exists in this sleepy town; most people in the village either make money from fishing or farming oranges, but the views out across the indigo blue of the Seto Inland Sea, punctuated with the curves of tree-coated islands, make this a scenic spot for a slice of pizza or ten. It’s surprising that more entrepreneurs haven’t set up shop here.

In its repurposed old building the restaurant feels likes a portal into a enclave of cool, a promise of what this town could be with a dose of fresh blood and creative ideas. The Japanese-run Baloricco is decked out with distressed sofas, incongruous armchairs, varnished plywood tables, industrial lighting, and driftwood, reflecting the industrious sea-worn surroundings.

We went for a margherita, for a taste of traditional Italian pizza toppings. There’s an open kitchen here so you can, like we did, eagerly ogle your food being created and then cooked in the huge pizza oven.

The pizza arrived: molten mozzarella with a golden crisp to it, a nicely charred crust and a scattering of fresh basil. Resisting the urge to eat the whole pizza in one mouthful, we sat and savoured the first delicious bite. The base was thin and the crust had a rich and chewy texture; everything came together, the savoury of the dough, the salty cheese, the tangy tomato. There was also homemade chili oil to drizzle and tabasco (a staple Japanese pizza accompaniment).

Chilled skater beats and up-tempo rock filled the space as we finished our beer. The understated Baloricco isn’t just a chance to eat out in Ena - it’s a haven, a hideaway for young couples and friends to enjoy food in a part of this countryside coastline that’s for them.

🏞 PLACE Seaside seclusion
πŸ›‹️ VIBE Slackers hangout
TASTE Tantalisingly melty
πŸ‘› PRICE Almost expensive

πŸ—Ί Where is Baloricco? Here it is. πŸ—Ί

Baloricco [バロγƒͺッコ] Internet Presence ☟

Saturday 20 October 2018


Like trying to tune into a feeling, the same way you'd find a station on an old radio, this track flits and skips between different textures from all directions; discovering and pinpointing disparate but harmonious sounds in a cocktail of audio collage. TOMC's collection of samples and noises spills out like a painter set free, all of it washed with thick, glittering warmth and backed by thumping house kicks.

Reassembling and restructuring audio samples taken from a Japanese bakery, amongst other things, the trackmaker spreads out a blanket of clinking metallics, mechanical squeaks, the sound of trays being set down, fractious bubbling, as well as stuttering synths, far-off soulful singing and slices of lounge guitar licks to quell the chaos; sharp hi-hats cut and shakers alternate to keep the beat shuffling.

Originally created for a company to the theme of "enjoy bread with the five senses", 'Bake The House' is TOMC's definitive intermingling of senses: the ripples of space and texture like the centre of a loaf, the clusters of clanking utensils the zing of flavours, the beat measuring out calorie intake.

And to take it, partly at least, from the inner workings of a bakery speaks of both its subtle delicacies and its machinelike industriousness—breathing like dough as much as it whirrs like a pocketsized factory.

  • πŸ”” TOMC's abstract festival for the senses 'Bake The House' was released via Tokyo label PURE GOOHN and can be purchased via this actual link. It comes packaged with a remix by "Tokyo house unit" Pee.J Anderson.

TOMC Internet Presence ☟

Monday 15 October 2018



The bass booms, the bang and bounce of nascent notions in mind, orbiting themselves in the swell and bulge of the sub rumble. But Cam Outlaw's track 'It's True' isn't just about looking inwards—it's all about these thoughts exactly projected onto external stimulus, namely the "you" sung in the slow sultry hook: "I've been thinking about what I'll do with you..."

Alongside the vocals, sumptuously drawn out and sometimes cut-up, skipping glitch-style like a nervous stutter, the beat zips and fidgets, rattling and cracking the air with razor hi-hats and slapping snares—the anxious, excited physiology that matches those cyclical thoughts.

The R&B feel of those vocals, spinning their lovesong amidst gossamer lo-fi melodies and in the depths of that blinkering bass, pays homage to Cassie's 'Me & U' halfway through, injecting the familiar, quoting lines like romantic poetry – "tell me if you like it" – to further position this as a pre-tryst croon, a kinetic vehicle of infatuation.

  • πŸ”” Stream Cam Outlaw's 'It's True' variously via your fav service.
  • πŸ”” We'd also like to take a moment to appreciate the Twin Peaks style artwork for this track; the otherworldly yet recognisable tone of the track very much suiting the half-soap opera, half-interdimensional timeless crypticism of the infamous series.

Cam Outlaw Internet Presence ☟
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Monday 1 October 2018



This track floats along on two separate plain. One is this floating nebulous feeling, a flowing tide like the watercolours of a dreamscape, the melting mind of somewhere unknown, the swells of the tide of the unsconscious, sweeping along and founding this track on wholly ambient terrain. Like floating through space, it's the infinity of slumber.

On the other hand, it feels close and intimate, though detached and lonely, like the charting and observation of a biomechanical organism. The way samples chant in regularity, lo-fi and wheezing like some artificial life process, ticking percussion keeping time and clacking and sounding the cogs of static motion, trickling along like a living engine.

And that makes sense. Swedish musicmaker Zap Holmes tells us his inspiration for the track was his dreaming girlfriend.

"My girlfirend like to sleep and sometimes for many hours. And I made this track during one of those times," he said. "Got some recordings on my iphone when we messed around at home so I put some samples of her in the song also."

So 'Flaked Out Dreaming' has this sense of being alive in suspended animation, a grand dream arcing over whilst all the time no time is moving at all; those hazy, crackling samples counting the seconds till consciousness. It's an epic of sleep, where it culminates in these sometime crashing waves of charged white noise distortion, twinkling lights like neurons firing on the cusp of waking.

  • πŸ”” This is taken from Zap Holmes' Bluescreens EP - all of which he made on a "crappy little laptop when my main computer was broke. Was stuck with almost no samples and an old version of Reason."
  • πŸ”” You may stream or download 'Flaked Out Dreaming' via your fav service on this link right here.

Zap Holmes Internet Presence ☟

Monday 24 September 2018



Fresh from the faded sunset beach guitar sounds of ‘bacardi with a soda’ – his latest track – SoundCloud musicmaker, vocalist and all-round wordist okay(K) crash lands back to earth in his interdimensional pod; the control panel has gone haywire and is playing out some wonky chords from a far-off radio station, colourful blips and bleeps crackling in the hook (notification system failing), the fizzing circuitry of the beat skipping and lurching with a galaxy of glitch.

It’s friendly though. In fact, 'seven, ti seven' sort of reminds me of the 'Battle Against a Weird Opponent' theme from Earthbound. The sound is warm, though jaunty and angular in structure. Like Mr Burns from that Simpsons episode, he brings you love. And here okay(K) is in the middle of it all, with a message from the future. Or was it the past?

“The concept is "seven ti seven ti seven ti seventy" meaning "seven you seven you seven you seventy",” he tells us via email.

“everyone is as much alike in a way as they are different. we’re all human with our own unique characteristics that make us distinct.”

Halfway between a lounge croon and a beat poet recital, okay(K)’s vocal in ‘seven, ti seven’ rolls around picking up references from everywhere, like a virtual snowball through Wikipedia, from foreign languages to the next US election. And all in a style that drips in stream-of-consciousness fever dream freedom; even the way the lyrics can be set out looks like a poem:

never, never, never been where i is
is i isn't
isn't i isn't
isn't i finished
i said now isnt thy wishlist not made in 79 minutes
79 minutes till he be sending my giftish
its like my 79th christmas
he said PitkΓ€stΓ€ aikaa
* i said now isn't i Finnish
i said now isn't i finished

The skipping but low-slung virtuosity of this first verse (above is a fragment) contrasts with the wobbly, positive spoken word-esque vocal of the second; there’s simple but inspiration thinking in there, with lines like “I think we can go far / If we hold on real tightly” delivered with rounded earnest. Politics comes into play, when okay(K) talks about waiting “patiently” for 2020: "If we are impeaching then it may be imperfection / Coulda happened sooner then there would be no objection now."

It’s an exercise in patient positivity, set to a scuttled hodge-podge glitch-flavoured beat that could seem chaotic, but feels as chill and accessible as those jazzed-out chords—a joyful juncture where rap, poetry and sheer artistic communication meet and mingle.

* This means 'long time no see' in Finnish.

okay(K) Internet Presence ☟

Thursday 16 August 2018


Firstly those synths, warped and wild, wrap the track in wreathes of rolling fog, a heavysoft sound that ushers you into this sunken world. Grainy and cutting, like a rain of razor wire, this is the cloud on which you sit throughout the song, the vantage point for witnessing yourself like an out-of-body experience. 'Pocky Boy' is all about this atmosphere, tender but cutting, harsh.

The voice of yeule adds to this sense of sea-mist, this mind miasma, the curdling of nebulous thoughts that end up as "voices in my... head." Her vocal reverbs into itself, a series of cyclical ruminations, sheaves of a diary ripped out scratching together dusty and fragmenting into a distant breeze, incoming.

Ultimately though there is this violent ambience, this scathing wall of grey noise punctuated by the pastel of those synths (struck by their stumbling rhythm, their picking-up-the-pieces irregularity, the head-in-hands voidsome chords of it), but it is given motion by the thump of a meaty house kick: the simple secret to continuing with life. The easter egg of a gun cocking.

And yeule's own voice, looped, echoes itself, a frenzy of movement—by the end, we return to those chords by themselves, ready to begin again; foreboding instead of finality.

  • πŸ”” So the 'Pocky Boy' video is above, of course, and features instant messaging, some urban exploration and a little bit of pocky play, too. Directed by friend-of-the-artist Rabbit Sashimi (actually a thing; though we cannot find a jot of a soul online), it is described by the Singapore-and-London-based yeule as follows:

    "At the dawn of the new age, civilization has been wiped out by an alien race that can shape-shift into the humans that used to walk the earth centuries before. The aliens attempt to grasp the differences of gender and form that humans beings had, even though they do not know the difference because of their nature as non-binary beings."

  • πŸ”” This track was actually released back in April via Zoom Lens, so you may straightaway download 'Pocky Boy' here, should you wish to do so.
  • πŸ”” Aaand... yeule will be playing her first LA show on 23rd August, 7:30pm - 11pm, as part of Zoom Lens-curated night Malform. The location of this show is TBA.

yeule Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday 15 August 2018


"I moved to America for university on a scholarship and that's when I encountered a stark change in culture," says Indian musicmaker, Drona. The Cornell student tells the story of those cultural differences in 'First World Problems', a track that bumps with bass and blooms of hazy, heralding synth, with clacking percussion keeping delicious, swaying time.

The song makes use of not busying up all the space with instrumental, allowing the vocals room to impact. And it is all about the vocals in Drona's outsider observations of an Ivy Leaguer's life—all wrapped up in a playful, upbeat slice of sound.

These observations come mainly in the form of crushing, eponymous problems: "Truffles on pizza / but delivery is just not on time / pills in Ibiza / but the traffic is a bit of a crime." And these little vignettes are contrasted with Drona's own experience, namely the pre-chorus line, "I guess I can't remember / when I had / so much to have," highlighting the differences between a first world problem and, well, a real world problem; the trauma of just having too much stuff to begin with.

  • πŸ”” 'First World Problems' is taken from Drona's upcoming EP, The Third World Season. "It talks about the whole arc of being in India to coming to America and then finding "First World Problems" after I came here," he explained to us. Feel free to download 'First World Season' here via your fav service.

Drona Internet Presence ☟

Thursday 5 July 2018


Uplifting, yes, but not to the point of euphoria—uplifting from a low-level mood, bringing you out of the darkness, the feeling of looking up at the blinding sun after you've fallen over and grazed your knees or just woken up from a nap and remembered all the things that are making you anxious but then you rationalise. Far from the dancefloor, Marquis Hawkes' track feels more as though it both reflects and alleviates suburban misery. It is a track of small, important victories: dancing won't heal you, but it's fine for now.

Part of that almost solemn feeling of 'Don't U' comes from those skyward synth chords - in the style of a chapel organ, the continuous chords with occasional single note changes feels very organ-like; it suggests something redemptive about this track. The tone of those chords has us pointing ourselves similarly skyward: they're slightly decayed and warm, not too bright but also not dull; the synth – like the track itself – is elegant in its simplicity.

Simple acid synth bass squelches in sparse groove to give this sense of dynamic movement alongside the constant house kicks. Ursula Rucker's star-of-the-show vocals softly pad alongside the incidental gladdening synth chords feeling like a motivational speaker or a pastor telling you what you want to hear—or else they sing in gentle butterfly snippets. Combine that with simple dynamic subtractions and additions, tumbling toms, a handful of simple percussion, teetering on the edge of lo-fi house to deliver an atmospheric, modern-day sermon of a track in the church of dance with an overflowing heart.

Ursula Rucker Internet Presence ☟

Marquis Hawkes Internet Presence ☟
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Built around the frenzy of cyclical repetition, this track two-steps to a speedy tempo with a half-time trap-feeling beat—a slice of jazz that's more about the atmosphere created and solid rhythms rather than wheeling, flighty solos. Beginning with a lush, lounge-flavoured intro, it soon bursts into life with a series of dynamic riffs that feel more nightclub than jazz club.

It's by Budapest-based producer and keyboardist Szabolcs Bognar, now embarking on a new project called Γ€bΓ‘se. And it's this musicmaker's love of hip hop that has created the unique, beat-and-groove-led vehicle at the heart of this track: the track's title 'Skeme Goes All City' references Style Wars, a 1983 documentary about graffiti.

"I can clearly remember that I was listening to a lot of current Blue Note releases at the time. Music from Jaleel Shaw, Marcus Strickland, Ben Willams and such." Bognar tells us about the birth of the track. "The main melody is definitely inspired by that scene."

"Each member came up with their part on the spot. We were jamming through it a few times and the trap feel and groove just came out of us so it was all pretty natural. We did only a few takes of recording. I also wanted to put out something completely live first. No huge editing and production process, just the musicians playing and grooving together. It's kind of a tip of the hat to the blue note and classic jazz style of recording, as well."

The crossover of jazz instrumentation and trap-style beats with swaggering repetition is one that feels as relevant as ever—e.g. Kendrick's To Pimp A Butterfly, Kamasi Washington, the flavours of Brainfeeder's output. Riding this wave of band-created groove well away from the producer's studio, Γ€bΓ‘se reflect a newness of modern pick-and-mix culture diverting from the specificity of genre.

  • πŸ”” The members of Γ€bΓ‘se this time around are Fanni ZahΓ‘r (flute, vocals), Szabolcs BognΓ‘r (Rhodes), TamΓ‘s Heilig (bass) and TamΓ‘s CzirjΓ‘k (drums). The artwork, fresh green with concentric circles of cocktailing collage, reflects the combos at work in the track itself.
  • πŸ”” You may stream and/or download 'Skeme Goes All City' via your favourite service, if you like. There will be an EP, or maybe an LP, coming soon so, yeah, watch out for that if you liked this.

Γ€bΓ‘se Internet Presence ☟

Tuesday 12 June 2018


Bustling and crackling with organic buzz and with a heartbeat thudding like the constancy of living and breathing against the melancholic backdrop of the ever-shifting seasons, the rising strings all emotive and tear-jerking, a never-ever feel to it, a will-I-ever feel to it (a la Jon Hopkins) this is Tokyo-based Lycoriscoris aka real life human Yunosuke Senoo. The motion of it suits the name 'Flight', but other than the clear image of something literally flying, what else do we have here?

Well, with its trickling percussion like icicles melting, and the frosty frosty touches of piano sparkling like sun on snow summons a stark landscape, wintry, but with the hope of spring and summer on the horizon, the rising nature of those strings are like the possibility of new life; a mix of depression and hope, it charts the cusp of the year where life teeters between holed-up against the snow and taking tentative steps below freshly unfurling leaves.

Lycoriscoris Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday 6 June 2018


Somewhere in a desolate wasteland between completely despairing of your situation and carnal pleasures, the trade-off between sex and happiness, feelings and sparing feelings, is the incredibly feel-tastic lamenting lovesong that is 'Magic'. Created by London model, producer, singer and musician Santino Le Saint, it's a tract of scalding synth sounds winding between just a few notes making it feel cyclical – the going-round-in-circles of a restless mind in love – set against a trap beat that rumbles like gurgling lava, sharp industrial snares and ticking hi-hats like a sense of stomach-churning immediacy.

Obviously there is this trap heaviness to it. And to add to the lamenting vibe of this literally magical track there's some serious shredding going on, a Latin-infused '80s-metal guitar solo cavorts in aching interludes in the midst of 'Magic', before becoming the coda of the track, crying out, rapid-fire and raucous. But vocally it feels like an R&B-flavoured slow-jam—Santino Le Saint's satin voice skillfully lilts from the sensually stark and beautifully confused first few lines:

"You should fuck me in the back of this Uber, baby
I know this isn't something you're used to baby
Life's changed and I'm still getting used to it lately
Nothings what it used to be baby..."

Yet it's coated in this metallic decay, as if those words are already ruined, already not worth communicating to whomever they're directed. It's continues thoughtful and reflective: "I was sitting in the passenger, flicking through the calender, thinking about the shit we've done""If we were in a different situation we'd be better off." And doubtful: "Now you're saying that I love you but you never know..." And at times it's like a storytelling Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque stream-of-consciousness, e.g. "but if we're gonna die young then / you'd better promise me if you can shoot then drive""...and if they try and pull us over put the metal to the floor."

"I actually wrote the first line of 'Magic' whilst I was drunk in the back of an Uber on my way home from a party," said Santino Le Saint, talking about the track. "I like to arrive on a track with impact and this was so direct and to the point... I sort of forgot about the lyrics, and a few months down the line the concept came back into my mind and the rest of the track fell into place. You know when you're drunk or high, feeling yourself and just fantasise about shit, that's 'Magic'."

In all, the track brings an everyday, an everynight, Uber ride to a startlingly evocative and cinematic height, from where it drips greatness and sharpness onto you like tears and static—and in a unique vessel that crosses the epic poetry of guitar solo with R&B's sensuality and emotion.

  • πŸ”” This lovely piece of music is taken from Santino Le Saint's recent XENO EP, three-track offering that acts as a composite of these guitar, vocals and beat in a modern-day slice of Prince-esque compounding. You can – and most definitely should – listen to it over on his SoundCloud.

Santino Le Saint Internet Presence ☟

Wednesday 30 May 2018


Just about two minutes of blissful-abrasive noise, of arching plumes of synth that seem to wash across your mind like clouds careening across a curdled sky; thinner more modulated chords raising the tone, raising the mood just slightly, but with thinner tracts of sound spelling out some sort of indefinite threat, and scratchy nanobot insectoid chirrupings like malicious electronic signals. Yes, this is ominously titled 'Red Door' by Johnny Jewel, a maelstrom of seemingly innocuousness, like the beautiful azure tide of the sea receding as it laps a beach to reveal a carpet of shattered bones; a paradise lost, bountiful beauty at crippling cost.

Of course, Johnny Jewel has had a hand in the soundtracking of much anticipated Twin Peaks: The Return (albeit with Chromatics in one of its episode's musical endings) so it may explain the dual-minded mood of 'Red Curtain' - as well as its name - so much of the Twin Peaks atmosphere is an uncomfortably close juxtaposition of terror and humour, safety and danger, and thus this track soothes but it also scathes somewhat—it is a comfortable haunting.

"I was about a year deep into recording what would become Windswept when I heard that David [Lynch] was making Season 3 [of Twin Peaks]," he explained. "It's been a year since Chromatics performed at the Roadhouse. With disintegrated memory through the haze of television snow, I wanted to share a glimpse behind the red curtain." And here it is captured: the eternity and mortality in those anxious pre-show moments, the mystery of backstage ritual.

  • πŸ”” The haunting/comforting 'Red Curtain' is taken from new Johnny Jewel album, Themes for Television. Released back in late May, the project began "as a sonic exploration of the sounds I was hearing in my nightmares," said Jewel in a press release. "I wanted to find my way out of the maze by focusing on beauty over fear — like the way the fractured sunrise looks in a dream."

    You can grab it on vinyl

  • πŸ”” The atmospherically relevant video for 'Red Door' was directed by Radka Leitmeritz; with its slow-motion and lingering fades, its enigmatic steely-eyed star Czech model Eva Klimkova and the monochrome-except-for-red colour scheme, it's a spiritual cousin to the track itself.

Johnny Jewel Internet Presence ☟

Monday 21 May 2018


You know that feeling when the sun is too bright, and it's too hot, and humid, and the brightness of the sun is so much that you can basically feel the UV toasting your skin, and you can smell the heat. That piercing abrasive sunlight feels like the sounds in 'Memory Arc', created by English musicmaker Rival Consoles; primarily this is a heavenly harp sound that is degraded and decayed, the scorch of retinas as humans look upon gods, the curse of theophany. Like a molten zither it plays—or like inverse steel pans for an inverted paradise.

Because there is that flipside to tropical beauty and to the beauty of nature in general, and that is in the danger of it, the undesirable and uncontrollable; survival at nature's mercy. The sweltering heat, dehydration, poison and venom, infection, insects. It feels as if the lower tones of Rival Console's monolithic track provide the looming menace, of something primeval and earth-shaking, whilst the scorching sweeps of melody above paint a picture of the parched sun.

And so there is this sense of wonder, but at no time does it feel triumphant, or chilled. The feelings here, in the drawn-out nature of it, the abrasiveness, the actual progression of the notes, the feelings are of anxiety at its root, the basest worries in the midst of a world a million times bigger than ourselves; a concept that is reminiscent of a similar one in The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard, where global warming has taken our minds back to a world of prehistory. With these sweeping threats and glittering terrors, 'Memory Arc' may represent our most primordial collective recollections.

  • πŸ”” The looming 'Memory Arc' is taken from Rival Consoles' new album Persona, released back in April on Erased Tapes.

Rival Consoles Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday 17 May 2018


This collage of sound comes from musicmaking veteran Jon Hassell, a collection of almost random knockings and thudding perucussion, striking bright piano feeling chords and twinklings, insectoid and creeping and with satisfactory edits to almost be venturing into the zippy world of breakcore. Tumbling soft chimes and bassy bell synths roly-poly throughout, helping with that sense of speed and motion. Background noise comes and goes, fizzing and whooshing as new and sharper chimes set in, this time real, organic, and which (sort of) give the track its title: 'Pastorale Vassant' (meaning 'Hillside Pastoral' in Catalan)—How though?

"I was staying in Deya, on the island of Mallorca," explains Hassell in the track's description on SoundCloud, "where flocks of goats roamed in the hills at night, each one with a slightly different neck bell. One balmy Summer midnight I stayed awake to record this floating, constantly-changing "gamelan" that enters in the distant background halfway into the piece."

You can hear in the track that nocturnal sound, the feel of mild still-awake night terrors, the what's-out-there wonder of the dark, and then the homely but lonely sound of these goats' bells, by themselves yet together, no other human around. All the other flighty noises of the night, the harsh abrasions of the ambient sound of the air like the esoteric recordings of a cryptozoologist, but above all the constant flutter of a mind churning and churning... And then: that blissful chord at the end, disparate to everything else that has come before, chimes into earshot rich and radiant, a dream of digital dimensions as the organic gives way to the synthetic, and sounding beautifully similar to the PS2 startup sound by Takafumi Fujisawa—that same full emptiness, empty fullness.

  • πŸ””
  • πŸ”” 'Pastorale Vassant' is the second track to be taken from Jon Hassell's upcoming album Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One), following the urgent, relentless glitter of 'Dreaming'. You may pre-order it on Bandcamp ahead of its 8th June release on Ndeya Records, Hassell's own newly launched label.

Jon Hassell Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday 16 May 2018


With its variegated textures, from trickling percussion to wibbly synth like otherworldly spirit voices, and a sense of space that borders on threatening – like, you can almost imagine things lurking in the heavy electrically charged spaces between sounds of the track – this track is awash with mystery and delicacy, like some luxury item hidden in the depths of a forest, or like approaching a neglected shrine overgrown with creepers and leaves. LEESH, a musicmaker from Arizona, has succeeded in creating a vital soundscape, one that pulses at all times with power as much as intrigue, a mystical natural landscape conjured using a big imagination combined with a pristine collection of synthetic sounds.

"This track was definitely a huge experiment for me," LEESH told us via email. "I wanted the track to feel familiar, but disorienting and kind of uncomfortable at the same time. Mostly the inspiration came from trying to do something that nobody has heard before."

Between soft subby kicks, like the faraway footsteps of a giant beast, and woodblock hits like trees being tapped, skittering percussion – hi-hats, like unknown flitting creatures and a spooky arpeggio make this track feel alive; the feeling of being lost in strange woods. And by the end, the cyclical nature of the track stops, the unexpected journey is almost over as warm chords play abrasively: the sight of the bright sun again as you stumble into familiar territory, leaving the bristling trees and the forest spirits to their business.

LEESH Internet Presence ☟
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