Drumskull: Negative 7 (Seagrave, 2021)

April 18, 2021 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Drumskull: Negative 7

The standout from last year’s Interlocked returns as the head of a 4-song EP. The original itself is still a huge neo-hardcore banger, but Etch makes it more intense and euphoric, breaking the beats up further, adding more lazer-grime bass, and neon atmosphere. “Battle Stations (Benny ILL Remix)” rides along with heavy sliding bass and controlled drums that pack just enough of a punch. Coco Bryce’s take on the track “Interlocked” nods to early Prodigy-style hardcore but a bit more mellowed out, especially with the house pianos, until the breaks come raging in towards the end.

Etch: Anachronism EP (Sneaker Social Club, 2021)

April 17, 2021 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Etch: Anachronism EP

Far beyond mere club tracks, Etch’s work is more of a psychological investigation through meticulous drum programming and sparse but highly considered atmospherics. “Tyrant” has an ominous sample stating that “you’re just a puppet, you’re not in control…” over shifting breaks and tolling bells. “Loose in the Asylum” mostly hovers in midair, with a few moments where heavier breakbeats plunge down to the surface. “Shadows Passed By” is a little more conventional, with a repeated sample inquiring “what can I find?” and a heavier break release during the second half. “Amygdala”, co-produced with Luo, has calm, mellow pads and ethereal vocals which shiver and wail, and the jazzy breakbeats erupt in fits and starts.

Show #578 – 4/17/21

April 17, 2021 at 1:59 am | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Anz ~ Loos In Twos (NRG)
DJ Q ~ All That I Could (Lavonz Remix)
Logic1000 ~ I Won’t Forget
Risqué III ~ Risqué Madness
Detroit’s Filthiest ~ All White Buffs (Will Simpson Remix)
DJ Black Low & Kapzela feat. Licy Jay & MLG ~ Emonate Oe Bethela D Vosho
Disco Vumbi ~ Wilobo Man
HHY & the Macumbas ~ Horror Vector
Low End Activist feat. Sikka Rhymes ~ Invite Chaos (Loraine James Remix)
ZULI ~ Tany
Slikback ~ WA1023
NO EYES ~ m i i
Windmill ~ Divine Inspiration
81 ~ Intro

Eomac: Cracks (Planet Mu, 2021)

April 16, 2021 at 4:41 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Eomac: Cracks

Lakker’s Ian McDonnell records some of his most forward-thinking post-club material under his solo alias Eomac. His first release for Planet Mu has the sort of broken, stop-start thumping beats he’s known for, but with more of an emotional uneasiness informed by isolation and the general unrest and injustice of the world. “Mandate for Murder” kicks the album off with an overtly political looped sample, hammering the title phrases in your head with intricate industrial-IDM beats. “Portuguese Man O’War” has sliding, creaking synth tones that sound like groaning ghosts, and seem designed to make you feel uncomfortable. “What Does Your Heart Tell You” has bubbling, slightly prickly melodies on top of crunchy beats, gradually getting more blurry and scattered. “Falling Through the Cracks” is heavy and cathartic, ending up with layers upon layers of demonic screams. “Reasons to Live” might aurally seem as dark and foreboding as the rest of the album, but its lyrics are actually scraping out affirmations and encouragements. “Prophetess” is supremely icy and haunting, but stops short of pushing you into a well of fear. “All the Rabbits in the Tiergarten”, previously heard on the most recent Planet Mu compilation, has choppy, fluctuating, semi-ravey beats and a gentle flutey melody, while trancey strings rise and fill the track with a sense of courage needed to overcome something frightening, with necessary actions that could potentially have a major impact on one’s life.

Anodyne: Decayed EP (Acroplane Recordings, 2021)

April 16, 2021 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Anodyne: Decayed EP

Skam alumni follows 2020’s Decay LP with an EP bringing two of that album’s tracks to vinyl for the first time, as well as an enviable batch of remixes. Opener “We Are All We Have” is dark, cavernous midtempo IDM, which is nice, but the more ravey, breaky “Lockdown 3.2X” is much more fun, while still touched with a shade of post-industrial darkness. The original “We Are All We Have” had a strong early Autechre feel to it, so it’s interesting that Autechre’s own mix of the track is much more vaporous and ambient, de-emphasizing the futuristic beats and sort of hollowing it out into a ghostly reflection. Somatic Responses keep the party spirit of “Lockdown” intact, but simultaneously tighten it up a bit while letting it slip off the rails slightly. The digital version has additional remixes of album tracks. Primary Node’s mix of “We Are Not Okay” starts out broken and bumpy but ends up more free-cruising 4/4 techno. Lackluster’s “Illusion of Gods” is epic, prismatic IDM which allows you to catch your breath as it airs out during its final minute. “Follow Through Hell (S>>D Remix)” is perhaps the rawest and most subterranean track here, walking a tight, tense line without falling apart and losing it.

Elsyne: s/t (self-released, 2021)

April 15, 2021 at 10:25 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Elsyne: s/t

The first album from upstate New York’s Elsyne is a steady, solid effort filled with shifting breakbeats and wintry melodies. It starts off really strong with “first snow”, then seems to merge IDM and gamelan with the second track. Subsequent tracks have some swift, choppy breakbeat patterns and somewhat ominous melodies. Tonally, a lot of it sounds kind of in-the-box, but the beats creep into more unconventional patterns, and while the tracks aren’t always filled with unexpected twists and turns, they are well paced. Highlights include “reverse” and the bittersweet “雨”, also included in an instrumental version.

Casper Mcfadden: Stasis (log) + Original Soundtrack (Kitty On Fire, 2021)

April 15, 2021 at 9:40 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Casper Mcfadden: Stasis (log)

The current wave of artists carrying the torch for breakcore seem to be young producers obsessed with anime and video games, sharing the same post-millennial angst as the rest of Gen Z, but also fixated with channeling a bit of the euphoria of vintage rave and jungle from before they were born. Chicago’s Casper Mcfadden has been producing some standout work lately, with Stasis (log) from earlier this year being one of the highlights of his growing catalog, along with last year’s Audio Diary. Zipping by in half an hour, the album expertly strings together several two-minute bursts of airy, sugary keyboards and hypercharged breakbeats as well as some occasional silly samples, but not in a way that seems overtly jokey or meme-y like entire other subgenres of breakcore. It definitely seems like music that’s made in an attempt to drown out all the bullshit of modern life, but while it’s playing, it’s hard not to feel glee. Just really well produced, creative, energetic breakcore with wide-eyed melodies and traces of juke twitchiness.

Casper Mcfadden: Original Soundtrack

Original Soundtrack also came out recently, and it’s a collection of shorter tracks made since the release of the album. Half of them have the word “throwaway” in the title, and others have very demo/test-like titles, so it’s safe to say this is merely outtakes and not a proper album, particularly given how well the sequencing on Stasis (log) is. Even still, it’s worth a listen. Some nice breakbeat workouts, a few interesting switch-ups, and a whole lot of energy, just not quite as inspired as his main albums.

Show #577 – 4/10/21

April 10, 2021 at 1:57 am | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Godspeed You! Black Emperor ~ “GOVERNMENT CAME” (9980.0kHz 3617.1kHz 4521.0 kHz) / Cliffs Gaze / cliffs’ gaze at empty waters’ rise / ASHES TO SEA or NEARER TO THEE
Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & the London Symphony Orchestra ~ Promises Movement 6
Dopolarians ~ The Release
Acid Mothers Reynols ~ Outside the Inner Temple
Dntel ~ Back Home

Sharkula x Mukqs – Take Caution On The Beach (Hausu Mountain, 2021)

April 9, 2021 at 9:21 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Sharkula x Mukqs – Take Caution On The Beach

Chicago street legend Sharkula and Good Willsmith/HausMo’s Mukqs follow 2019’s Prune City with Take Caution On The Beach, another session of completely freestyled one-take rhymes over blown out future-shock beats. Sharkula’s word association games are kind of the opposite of battle rhymes — he always has a friendly, playful outlook and never seems like he’s trying to threaten anyone or put anyone down. His style is more like cartoonish improv comedy, with surreal turns of phrase (“go to Catholic Church’s Chicken”, “Darryl Strawberry Shortcake”) and preoccupations with fast food (vegan whenever possible) and booty jokes. He’s clearly bummed out about COVID-19 shutting down live music and limiting social interaction, but instead of dwelling on it for too long, he’s more interested in asking you a bunch of ridiculous questions like a nosy kid, inquiring about your restroom procedure directly before asking what candies and gums you like. The beats slap but also slump and zig-zag instead of being arranged in more upright boom-bap patterns, and there’s some heavier, more industrial moments, but even these lack the technological paranoia of most noise-rap acts. Nothing high concept, just supremely bugged out goofiness to get weird to.

Cameron Knowler & Eli Winter: Anticipation (American Dreams Records, 2021)

April 7, 2021 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Cameron Knowler & Eli Winter: Anticipation

The first collaboration these two young guitarists is a set of desert-inspired 6-string and 12-string acoustic duets. The music is very warm and open, and playfully laid back, definitely sounding like a musical conversation between good friends. There’s some rustic slide guitar folk (“And So I Did”) as well as mellower tracks like “Cumberland Application” which have more of a nocturnal glow. “Sippin’ Amaretto” is a bit more abstract and off the grid, maybe the most psych-folk piece here. The cover of “Caddo Lake” by Michael Chapman is more straightforward and rhythmic as well as melodic, and definitely one of the highlights. Final track “Southern Filibuster” is a live recording, and they just seem so comfortable on stage and have a remarkable amount of energy.

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