There’s nothing like a good producer/MC combo, and this new single by London DJ Last Japan and rapper AJ Tracey is the perfect example why. Hot off a string of successful mixtapes, Last Japan’s newest offering is a dark, intergalactic foray that sounds like it’s seeping from the underpass of some secret rave. Released on Coyote Records, which is typically known for leaning more on the instrumental side of grime, “Ascend” pairs Last Japan’s cinematic synths with AJ Tracey’s rapid fire lyrics. Despite its tad over-produced sound, “Ascend” is one of those tracks that, once you hear it, will stay in your rotation for a while.
If you liked this, make sure to check out their EP when it drops on Coyote Records in May.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Monday, April 4th, 2016||No Comments »|
There’s a lot of hyperbolic praise swirling around Beijing-based artist Nova Heart (aka Helen Fang), from being called “the Queen of Beijing Rock” to “the Blondie of China.” My knowledge of Chinese music is nonexistent, and while Jpop and Kpop have both had their turn in American pop culture (even though both were treated as fads), America is long overdue for a Chinese crossover. Maybe that’s where Nova Heart comes in.
Fang, a mini celebrity in her own country, has been fronting bands and touring across Europe for the past few years. Nova Heart, her much-anticipated solo project, has been swimming in critical accolades since her 2013 debut EP, Beautiful Boys. Since then, the imminent release of her first full-length album and a song of hers appearing in an episode of Hemlock Grove have both boosted her exposure here in the states.
Although I personally don’t get a “rock” persona from her, Fang is excellent at spinning dark, moody sounds that are as ominous and puzzling as her eye-catching videos. There’s a story to everything she does, and her commitment to strong visuals helps solidify her vision. And exactly what is Nova Heart’s vision? You’ll have to dive into her world and find out.
If you liked this, don’t forget to pre-order her self-titled debut album.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, August 4th, 2015||No Comments »|
Electronic duo Phantoms have two amazing singles under their belt for two reasons: 1) They both feature a collaboration with actor/musician Nicholas Braun, and 2) they both have amazing videos directed by Ace Norton. There’s something about this trifecta formula that works for them, and in that regard, they should definitely keep it up. “Voyeur” is already a catchy track on its own, but the Norton-directed video takes the song to another level. The stunning black-and-white video starts off like Black Swan before morphing into something more similar to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” And yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. If you like this, don’t forget to check out “Broken Halo.” And after that if you’re still not dancing, then there’s something wrong with you.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015||No Comments »|
Electronic DJ/producer Laurent Garnier has been spinning tracks for longer than I can remember. I’ve been listening to his HOME box recently, which is a collector’s edition of unreleased tracks, remixes, and other rarities combined into an assortment of LPs and CDs. But while HOME box is meant for hardcore fans, those too young to remember Garnier’s contribution to ’90s Detroit techno should check out this single from 2000. Clocking in at over eight minutes, “Man With the Red Face” is a classic track with a long, meandering beat that builds throughout. However, the song is most famously remembered for the strangled saxophone that plays on top of the track, which the title eludes to since the player would be red in the face by the song’s end. But the true holy grail of this old classic is its video directed by Siraj Jhaveri. The video shows the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, which, of course, wouldn’t be complete without hilarious clips of cheesy old Bollywood flicks. Oh, and ready to feel old? This video is almost 15 years old.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Thursday, May 28th, 2015||No Comments »|
It’s no secret where indie-electronic musician Romare‘s influences lie. His name was taken from American collage artist Romare Bearden, and his music echoes the cut-and-paste aspect of Bearden’s work. I’ve been enjoying his debut, Projections, which just dropped on Ninja Tune. But if you want a taste, “Work Song” is a good place to start. All of Romare’s tracks rely on repetition, with a heavy reliance on soul-fueled tracks that are heavy with strange-yet-familiar samples. “Work Song” starts off sounding like late ’90s Moby before branching off into a more modern breakdown. Sure his various homages to black American culture might seem ham-fisted (“Motherless Child”???), but overall his influences come together in a way that feels infectiously authentic.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015||No Comments »|
If you’re into the 8-bit/chiptune scene at all, you probably know about Maxo. If you don’t, it’s time you get acquainted. This incredibly prolific composer has been putting out amazing music at such a frequent and consistent pace that it’s almost overwhelming. But a good place to start is his Level Music project. Started in 2010, the composer/multi-instrumentalist has been releasing 5-track EPs soundtracking a video game that doesn’t exist. Each Level is labeled in order. He started with 1-9 and then moved onto the alphabet. With his alphabet series he has been releasing them two at a time, one starting from A and the other starting from the middle of the alphabet, N. He has just released his two latest levels, D and Q, and like always, they’re fantastic.
His music is produced “primarily with Super Nintendo sounds” and shows incredible competency in a wide array of genres and styles. True to the video game medium, each track fades out, implying that it can and should be looped. Despite its novel aspects, what draws me and so many others to the Level Music project is the music itself. It is highly detailed, instantly memorable but ever unfolding. Even if chiptune music isn’t your thing, it’s probably worth it to check it out! Especially since you can download all 17 levels for a name-your-own price.
|Recommended by Scott Interrante||Wednesday, August 7th, 2013||1 Comment »|
Guitarist/producer and member of the now disbanded noise/surf band Ponytail, Dustin Wong has been releasing experimental solo albums for the past few years. His third full-length release, Meditation of Ecstatic Energy, will be released via Thrill Jockey on September 16th. His latest song from the project, “The Big She,” is a hypnotic layering of fuzzy guitars and dissonance. As the track builds its layers and falls into a strange groove, the drums come in after three minutes and change where you think the beat lies. It’s a really powerful move that adds a strong momentum, but right when you get into the new groove, he changes it again, sending the track into an even more dizzying loop.
Grab the track as a free download to hold yourself over until the full album comes out next month!
Hat tip: (405)
|Recommended by Scott Interrante||Tuesday, August 6th, 2013||No Comments »|