Kara: Colors (Leaving Records, 2020)

September 8, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Kara: Colors

Kara: Colors

Devin Daniels has been playing saxophone for over a decade, and is currently studying jazz at a university in Switzerland, but he also ventures into beatmaking as Kara. His first tape for Leaving Records is a brisk set of 20 tracks which constantly stays upbeat and even celebratory, arranging inventive beat patterns and coloring them with lush sounds like harps and saxophones. The spiraling tones and skipping beats of “Kale” are carefree and light-headed without being lazy. None of these tracks sound like a bunch of samples simply thrown together, but it can be easy to overlook how complex they are, as there’s such an untroubled aura to them. Jenna Noelle lends her dreamy vocals to “Over U”, which features an incredibly detailed beat pattern and sweet, rapidly bubbling melodies, making a lot happen out of so little. The brief, slapping “scramble” sounds like a funky Speak-N-Spell beat, except it doesn’t actually use the vintage electronic toy. “Bunch a Snow” drops sweeping strings into its bumping, feel-good beat, elevating the mood further. Spinning unexpected samples into obtuse, loopy patterns, Kara expresses joy in unconventional ways on this uplifting tape.

Show #546 – 9/6/20

September 6, 2020 at 10:57 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

The Microphones ~ The Microphones In 2020
Jayda G ~ Are U Down
Brain Rays & Quiet ~ Draco Mills
Linda Guilala ~ Mucho Mejor
Addison Groove ~ Out of Nowhere

devonwho: Offworld (Leaving Records, 2020)

September 6, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

devonwho: Offworld

devonwho: Offworld

devonwho’s first release in years was created during a period in which he relocated back to Oregon from California. While it starts out sounding like the wonky, laid-back hip-hop we might expect from him, it quickly spins off into other directions, in an exciting way. “soar” is halfway between footwork and synth-funk, then “blas” is a radioactive pinwheel of jittery percussion and soothing synths. “queue” is another track that creates a blissful vibe, then ups the complexity on the beats, making it seem extra excited. “tricorder” doubles down on that astral bounce, while “cars” has a slow, heavy thunk for a beat but still manages to float high in the clouds. Then “wave” is another one that fuses prickly IDM and juke, but keeps things on the uplifting, non-aggressive side. Very illuminating, inventive stuff here, looking forward to hearing where he takes his sound next.

v/a: enter​:​protopost 12″ EP (art-aud, 2020)

September 4, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: enter​:​protopost 12" EP

v/a: enter​:​protopost 12″ EP

Throwing the arbitrary idea of genres out the window, Italian label art-aud presents a half-dozen tracks that share little in common other than creativity and a need to be heard. The opener by Kreggo + Train To Eitanin is a slow, dubsteppy crawl filled with rapid flickers and quizzical, pitch-shifted voices. Maxwell Simons’ “Test160” is footwork nearly on the verge of a nervous breakdown, creaking and covered in flop sweat. Mi Croevkhas’ “A25” is all out of proportion, with the blaring synths and tinny breakbeat nearly drowning out the thudding kick drum underneath, but this just serves to keep the track interesting and original. Loraine James’ “Anyways” seems to approach Jersey club but riddles it with glitches and soft, fizzy melodies, upsetting the club while letting it pause to reflect. The Horn’s “Phoneme” is slower and kind of awkward, finding its stride with some added percussion sounds halfway through, but then ending at 3 minutes. Cyclonix’s “Majic Soup” swerves in with a more commanding beat and trippy fx, gliding through and keeping the energy flowing. None of these tracks are obvious club anthems, but they all offer different perspectives on how to approach dance rhythms, and they’re all worth hearing.

[.que]: And Inside (sound in silence, 2020)

September 3, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

[.que]: And Inside

[.que]: And Inside

Nao Kakimoto’s newest album is a mixture of glitchy sound design, sparkling post-rock, and ambient techno, all sounding crisp, warm, and emotionally gripping. “Haze” is open-hearted glitch techno with an abundance of vibraphone-like melodies and strings. “Sepia” is the sound of a one-man digital post-rock band gazing out at the sun slowly descending over a gulf. “Divagate” is a set of wistful snapshots attempting to preserve an era that’s quickly fading and will be almost forgotten before anyone realizes it. “Film” is simply a lovely, heartfelt guitar reflection. “Inside” gets more beat-heavy, and it’s like if Tycho wasn’t so background-y. Drifting away from rhythm is the intimate, crouched drones and piano twinklings of “Thaw”, and the piano sail-away “To”. Brilliantly moody material here.

Eternell: Imagined Distances (sound in silence, 2020)

September 2, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Eternell: Imagined Distances

Eternell: Imagined Distances

Sweden’s Ludvig Cimbrelius has released over a dozen albums as Eternell, with many more projects appearing on his label of the same name, and others such as A Strangely Isolated Place and Silent Season. While some of his other work, particularly as Purl, is closer to dub techno, Imagined Distances is vast, spacious ambient music which matches any number of breathtaking nature scenes, such as the nearly submerged sunset on the album cover. Two of the tracks run over 20 minutes; “Singularity” is a constant flow of shimmering, crystalline waves, while “Imagined Distances” is a bit lower-tide. Other tracks incorporate lilting, incandescent guitar licks, and even subtle, textural vocals. All of this, needless to say, is extraordinarily relaxing, yet carefully crafted, supremely relaxed but not lazy.

Bay B Kane: Bay B Kane Presents – Jungle Livity Releases (Ruff Guidance, 2020)

September 1, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Bay B Kane: Bay B Kane Presents - Jungle Livity Releases

Bay B Kane: Bay B Kane Presents – Jungle Livity Releases

This Bandcamp exclusive gathers Bay B Kane productions and remixes originally issued through Jungle Livity Records between 2011 and 2015. The first two tracks carry an Eastern motif, from the martial arts-themed “Lethal Technique” to the more meditative, midtempo “China” (an XBass co-production), which incorporates gorgeous samples of traditional instrumentation. “Get Madd VIP” samples that monologue from Network, and even though you’ve heard it countless times before, hey, guess what, listen to it again because it’s still relevant. Two songs match tough, rolling breaks with breezy, expressive vocals from Ruth Sharples, “Kool Breezin” and “Seven Kingdoms”, and other tracks like “Forsaken” offer similar vibes. “Concrete Clouds” traps a familiar sax lick (the one used in “Rump Shaker”) in a darkside thunderstorm. “Chills” is a similar tidal wave of swirling effects and slamming breaks. Tunes like the somewhat film noir-esque “iTurn” and more early Bukem-esque “Eternity” are set at ’92-like tempos, delivering heavy breakbeat pressure without the chaotic speed of jungle. Plenty of quality material to choose from here.

D. Strange: EP 12″ (Vanity Press Records, 2019)

August 31, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

D. Strange: EP 12"

D. Strange: EP 12″

Late last year, Indianapolis’ D. Strange followed several Bandcamp releases with a four-song EP on Vanity Press. Hard to place in any one category, this is simply kinetic, exploratory club music at its finest. “Loaded” is a bleepy, breaky puzzle with lots of heavy bass plunges and ricocheting vocal samples, and a sort of anticipatory, floating-in-space breakdown. “Dat N. Gone” is like particles of spacey electro and ghettotech mingling together to form a new energy source. “Shift” is more electro to cruise down the aquabahn to, and “IRO” is a downtempo, not-quite-trap curiosity with indistinct vocals (a lower mumbly loop and a slow, ping-ponging echo) and a few swerving-downward riffs.

Show #545 – 8/30/20

August 30, 2020 at 10:57 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

The Answer Is In The Beat In Exile 8/30/20
Windy & Carl ~ Alone
Vini Reilly ~ Suicide in E Major
Noveller ~ Zeaxanthin
Nubya Garcia ft. Ms Maurice, Cassie Kinoshi, Richie Seivwright ~ Source
Yaeji ~ In the Mirror
Lapalux ~ 51 Endless Pulses
Arca ~ Mequetrefe
Foul Play ~ Survival
XBass ~ Night Worker
Stazma ~ Compu1
Robin Saville ~ Bojagi

JOBS: endless birthdays (Ramp Local, 2020)

August 30, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

JOBS: endless birthdays

JOBS: endless birthdays

The third album from JOBS is an obtuse, oblique set of audio puzzles which occasionally resemble proper songs. The vocals themselves question conventional lyricism, with some tracks entirely spoken word (like opener “A Toast”) and others existing in between speech and some sort of chanting (“Brian”, which contains linguistic criticisms such as “plain speech is so-so”). “Opulent Fields” is the most accessible, hummable song, even if the lyrics end up being about gun violence. Other tracks are far more deconstructed, such as “Planned Humans”, with its skittering beats, glitchy vocals, and fluttering solos. “3 Being 2” has punchy Motorik beats and airy droning, with a feverish, rapidfire guitar solo taking charge three minutes in, and not letting go until the energy is exhausted. The contrast between technological precision and lack of restraint provides the album’s most gripping moments.

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