Playlist 03/31/11

This is the list of artists, albums, and songs
Artist Album Track
The Glass At Swim Two Birds Pheromone
Radiokijada Para Armar Manoteo en Menor (Tremor remix)
Cut Copy Zonoscope Take Me Over
Paper Diamond Levitate Steady Swinging
Sims Bad Time Zoo The Veldt
Shem Generation Bass: Transnational Only Human
Salva Complex Housing Weeeird Science
MC Zulu Crowd Control Life of Priveledge
Amad Jamal Barely Hangin’ On Regardless (feat. Defari)
Los Chicharrons Roots of Life Ma Do Nar (remix)
Return to Mono Framebreaker XRUST
Stateless Matilda Ariel
Ancient Astornauts Into Bass and Time Impossible
Mic Crenshaw Under the Sun That Glue
Rainbow Arabia Boys and Diamonds Hai
Robert Miles Th1rt33n Remixes Miniature World
Del One Out Of A Million One Out Of A Million
Antonionian Antonionian The Ride
Atmosphere The Family Sign She’s Enough
Bibio Mind Bokeh Artists’ Valley
George Acosta Visions Behind Expressions Never Fear
Jib Kidder Library Catalog Music Suspension 1
Chase & Status Time (Numan remix)
Rocky Business A Rebel’s Roar Rocky’s Theme
Zion I & The Grouch Heroes In the Healing Of A Nation Drop It On the 1
Dirty Vegas Changes 2 Changes (Shiny Objects Dub)
Gold Panda Companion Fifth Ave
Groundislava Groundislava Final Impasse
Innerpartysystem Never Be Content EP Out of Touch
Mexicans With Guns Highway to Hell Highway to Hell (feat. Freddie Gibbs)
We Are Enfant Terrible Explicit Pictures Filthy Love
Edison 900 Bats All Is Full of Static
Blockhead 900 Bats Stop Cryin, Yo!
Federico Aubele Berlin 13 Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue
The Electric Life Is Moving So Now You Know
La Roux La Roux Bulletproof
La Roux La Roux In For the Kill (Skream’s Lets Get Ravey remix)

New Music – 03/31/11

Del – Golden Era

I wish I could say that I’ve been a Del fan since (insert early guest cameo here), but, truth be told, he’s always rubbed me the wrong way. The problem with Del is that he’s an MC who needs a DJ and a producer who can blend, yes BLEND Del into the music instead of putting him front and center. On the Gorillaz track, Clint Eastwood, Del fits into the track instead of standing on a soapbox, churning the same lyrics he has for (insert number of years from Wikipedia).

One Out of A Million is a great track because he fits in. Not sure what “diesel” has to do with anything, but recycling the phrase on other tracks dilutes the phrase. Vocal effects are also neat, but choral and wide effects layered over a very noisy, cacophonous track like Pearly Gates make me cringe. The rest of the album doesn’t change my opinion. Nearly every track is confrontational, talking about “the game”, “haters”, etc…stop talking so much about the art and participate.

And I wish I could even like the beats, but alas, no.

Well, at least I have one track I can spin…

Gold Panda – Companion

Lucky Shiner was the first I’d heard from Gold Panda, and I really liked what I heard. Companion follows in its footsteps with the mysterious, little encapsulated worlds Gold Panda creates each track. Fifth Ave could be held inside your hand, it feels so tightly woven. Like Totally makes me think of looking out on a Winter courtyard. Back Home is a fast-forward video blog of traveling through airports and taxis and hotels and sitting down to a drink on your couch, all done through a fisheye lens. Lonely Owl kinda, well, sounds like the track name and is very contemplative till about halfway in, where the Owl in question most certainly leaves its perch.

The attention to detail is what I hear here, though the Sennheisers, and it makes me think of many other artists in this veing, including Daedelus, Shigeto, and Four Tet, among others. I’ll return to the comment I’ve made about giving equal tools to artists and getting wildly varying results. These are the results I want.

He’s also not content to let you sit still, gazing unfocused, because tracks like Mayuri are certainly made for a loud, bass-filled dancehall with several hundred people.

A few tracks are a bit more experimental, Long Vacation included, where the artist falls into the entertaining “noisy” track vibe, where every nutty nugget of sound gets tossed in. Triangle Cloud also succumbs to some of the wandering synth piano/808 fiddling/panning synth bloop treatment. Win-San Western follows with an unexpected DnB journey, with plenty of Amen Break beats also. Police sounds like, perhaps, what a fly, on acid, with a taste for Progressive Trance, would trip if he were stuck to the grille of a cop car…maybe.

This album oozes character, and these are the types of albums I always come back to. They’re the tracks that, when your music is shuffling, you smile at. I certainly don’t like all of the tracks, but there are plenty here to love.

Noan23 – Fry Cook On Venus

First I’ve heard of this guy. Shame the album isn’t clean and that the promotional company clearly didn’t pay much attention to the FCC-clean tracks. The two tracks on the album I like, Fry Cook On Venus, and Old Dog, are certainly not airplay-able. It’s a shame, because while much of the album is plagued by whatever the “indie hip-hop” sound is supposed to be, those two really do work well for me.

Noah has an interesting presence on the mic, and when those beats are on, it’s on. Kinda reminds me of Sims, to be honest. He’s got a knack for storytelling, and the rhymes back him up.

Noah23 certainly has a place in Hip-Hop that needs to have strong acts like his. I think.

We Are Enfant Terrible – Explicit Pictures

Strange sound here that I’ve heard before, cringed at before, and deleted entire albums in minutes because of. WAET blend some kind of indie rock with 8-bit “chiptune” music, and don’t do it nearly as irritating as many other acts I’ve been unfortunate enough to hear. I don’t like, and have a hard time appreciating, dissonance. Tune is important to me.

Filthy Love, the second cut, made me hesitate and listen closer to the rest of the album. Shame it’s the strongest track, because it’s really good. I beat and bass guitar-heavy tunes with interesting vocals, but they’re so rarely done right. This one is.

The rest of the album generally goes by this formula: 8-bit intro then blend with guitars and drums with a synth. Cue vocals. Next track 3 minutes later. It’s a decent formula, really.

This is an interesting album, but pretty forgettable. I feel that it might grow on me with subsequent listens, but, if I’m honest, I don’t think I have the time to spend on it. I’m just glad that there’s at least one track worthy of play.

Groundislava – Groundislava

Well, yeah, the ground was lava at least once. No matter where you stand, you can be guaranteed that those atoms were once inside the molten Earth. It’s harder to know where I stand on this album. It’s got some interesting textures, and kinda sounds like a relaxed Exkmo at times. Panorama (feat. Weary) is an interesting track, though I prefer the Clive Tanaka remix to the album version.

I wish these guys would have chilled just a little. This album would be more enjoyable and listenable if the entire character of a track didn’t change 40 seconds in, then again another forty later. Young Lava or not, it’s annoying.

Final Impasse, Animal (feat. Weary), and the Clive Tanaka remix of Panorama are my favorite tracks and those I will be playing on air. They’ve got the elements that I love from this kind of music, without the schizophrenic changes or harshness many of the other tracks employ.

Mexicans With Guns – Highway to Hell

It’s got Freddie Gibbs. It’s got organs. It’s got lots of heavy basslines. I’m game.

Innerpartysystem – Never Be Content EP

These guys remind me of Daft Punk for some reason. Maybe it’s the synth voice. Maybe it’s the heavy use of sawtooth synth patterns. It’s almost danceable. I don’t like Daft Punk, or, generally speaking, tracks like American Trash.

I do like solid cuts like Out of Touch and Squid. It’s the solid beats, the prog house vocals and lyrics. I could speed these up about 30 BPM and they’d really be danceable. I like that. I want to hear more, and I am going to like a few of these tracks for a long time.

Wiz Khalifa – Rolling Papers

Eh. The first few cuts of this album have some interesting properties. When I’m Gone, On My Leve, Black and Yellow, and Wake Up are pretty solid, if only because the beats are good. Wiz hold up his end, I guess. These are the club tracks, so I’m being unusually kind because they’re actually done well.

The lyrics, through and through, are rubbish. I could give a damn how many bottles of (insert trendy liquor here) you buy at your table in the club, how you buy expensive clothes for your hoes, the stacks of money, and how you were misunderstood “back in the day”. It’s tripe. I could care less.

These are the kinds of cuts that I would play in a club, loud, because the bass is strong and the chorus is catchy. That’s pretty much it. Wiz is kinda worthless. Hell, even Del is more interesting than this cat. Don’t take my word for it, Ghostface Killah rates him #4 on his list of the ten “softest” rappers in the game. I see it.

Maybe I’ll get a club gig and bump some of these. Maybe.

The Show – Zion I & The Grouch

So I was able to arrange to chat with AmpLive from Zion I before the show last night at the Star Bar in Park City. We got to talk for maybe 20 minutes, but, would you know it, the app I was using on my iPad didn’t like that I switched to my notes. Phone interview later, but…

The show was very good. Opening before the first artist was a couple of the local guys whose names I can’t recall. A couple CDJs, a MacBook, and a great MC were a huge improvement over the house’s music.

The Shotgun Wedding Quintet, out of Oakland, was up next, and they really surprised me. A five-member group, their MC, Dublin, on the MPC and the mic while the guys in the band jam away. Very good MC with much more skill than I expected, and a great stage presence. The guys in the band are probably as good as I’ve seen live. They’ve played with many MCs and, during a medley in the later part of the set, showed their Hip-Hop chops over and over. Very entertaining and I’m going to grab some of their material for sure.

Blu seemed uncomfortable, for whatever reason. He and his DJ, Exile, got a bit of a cool reception and didn’t get much farther than that, if I’m reading the crowd right. Blu was a bit hard to understand and he paled in comparison to the SWQ.

Zion I and The Grouch took the stage and really set it off, doing Victorious People, Drop It On the 1, and Rockit Man in the first five tracks. Zumbi and The Grouch really were into getting the crowd moving and that sure did happen. AmpLive was in the back, mixing the beats on some gear I wish I knew more about. Given the crates and crates of vinyl I saw in the back, I’m thinking that he was using a lot of vinyl and at least one MPC because he sure wasn’t using a laptop.

The highlight of the show for me, however, is when he took out what I can only imagine might be called and MPC-tar and jammed to the crowd. It’s an instrument that I can only describe as the neck of a guitar attached to an AKAI MPC. It was sensational and he was dropping serious beats and UK Bass on us. The crowd went NUTS.

Then, to almost top it off, Zumbi and Dublin, from SWQ, literally freestyling to AmpLive’s beats while The Grouch chilled to the side, content to watch the show with the rest of us. It was intense, and the addition of the other SWQ members remained for the rest of the show. The combination of all these elements made for a really thick feel; just what I was hoping for.

Zumbi, to his credit, even broke up some beef going on, telling them to take it out into the cold night and not to mess with their vibe. It was just another one of the pieces of what was really a positive show. We had to leave before it finished because of the time and that Park City is at least an hour’s drive from home, but I know the show could have gone on for another hour, there was that much energy in the room.

Great show, great vibes, and great message. It really did make me feel good. Job well done, guys.

I got to talk briefly with the representative from the local non-profit organization that this show sponsored, Art Kids, and they were very surprised and impressed at being selected for the cause and that the tour was focusing on this positive message.

Hey, I even got my AmpLive tee, with the MPC-tar on the back, and a Juicy Juice 12″ single!

I’ll be in touch with AmpLive soon and will be looking forward to updating this post with some more information about the interview.

This is… Dark Sky and their Rinse FM mix

@thisisJiKay on Twitter gave me the heads up on this:

Dark Sky are Tom Edwards, Matt Benyayer and Carlo Anderson whom together make up the London based production and DJ unit behind some of the most exciting sounds coming out of the bass music scene at the moment. I first heard Dark Sky via their Fact Mix (It’s Fact Mix number 217 – Go check it!) which lead me on to checking their production. Dark Sky manage to totally rip apart and transform tracks they remix into their own sound completely recontextualising elements from the original with a clear sense of musicality. Their tracks progress naturally from start to finish often incorporating well placed vocals and brilliantly worked drum patterns. Put simply, they’re rate good!

Listen in HERE