Kuedo, pt.2

•October 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

By the way, after just discussing Kuedo’s Videowave EP I realize I failed to mention that Kuedo’s first full-length just came out on 10/17 in the US on Planet Mu. Its called Severant, and its dope, and very different. Now, you may or may not know this, but Kuedo is one half of Vex’d (the Jamie Teasdale half). This is a very different approach on his behalf, with even less “bangers” than you found on previous Kuedo EP’s. What you do find is a very introspective and curious look at where dubstep, IDM, and bass music is going. He plays with a lot of interesting sounds and composition schemes with some very interesting and exciting results. “Whisper Fate” and “Truth Flood” are two tracks in particular that I want to call out, as they are just beautiful pieces of creative work. “Flight Path” reminds me of a track by Vangelis on his incomparable “Blade Runner” soundtrack…I think there’s some homage work going on there. Its also nice to get the original “Shutter Light Girl”; the remix being on the aforementioned Videowave EP. I’ve been excited by Kuedo’s direction and love where he’s continuing to go with the sound.


Kuedo, Holy Other – Listen!

•October 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Ah, a broken record I sound like…its been a while. I’ve found myself with a little more free time now, so I’d like to get back to sharing some good beats with you. I hope to bring more to the table soon. Eat hearty.

Almost a year ago I told you about Holy Other and their killer single “Yr Love”. Well the full-length EP has finally come out on Tri Angle and you need to pick this up asap. The vinyl may be tough to track down, but online retailers will for sure have it. It is both bleak and upbeat, filling the hole in your chest with foreboding and interest. Its a difficult record to explain in words, but it is truly worth a thorough listen. Their usage of vocals is exceptionally interesting, with creative use of snippets and pitch. Better to take a sample of something off the new release. I give you “Touch”:

Another release I want to highlight is Kuedo’s “Videowave” EP. Dope. Period. Thick beats with interesting syncopation and crafty use of the synth. The first track on the A side “Take Off Remix” will smack you upside the head. If you do not bob your head and crash your fists together from this, then there is something wrong. The rest of the EP is amazing and diverse, giving a nice berth to the new direction of this IDM/dubstep hybrid that’s been coming around, especially out of Planet Mu. Heterotic’s remix of Shutter Light Girl is amazing. Here’s “Take Off Remix”:

Don’t sleep, Solar Bears

•July 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

My updating history is spotty.  With the show I was motivated, but otherwise I don’t know what to say.  I get inspired from time to time, and I’d like to share that with anyone who still pops by. I am working out a monthly residency at a little spot in Brooklyn for anyone who may be interested, but we’re still working out the details.

So, I picked up “She Was Colored In” by Solar Bears quite a few months ago, and really I should have shared this beautiful record with you sooner.  Its an amazing piece of ambient, stoner, rock-ish, psychedelia.  I don’t know how else to explain it.  Some tracks are more beat-heavy, while others are more rock-centric.  All maintain this beautiful calm and posture throughout that helps take you along on their vision.

I’m posting two tracks here from their youtube collection so you can hear the differences in their sounds, yet the cohesiveness that pervades.

More electronic:

A little more stoner:

Tron Legacy

•January 12, 2011 • 2 Comments

So yeah, this is not a movie review.  But, oh, the soundtrack.  I haven’t seen a movie in so long where the soundtrack actually moved the movie.  The soundtrack that Daft Punk (and orchestrator Joseph Trapanese) has put together is fantastic.  Its minimal, its maximal, it has moments of sweeping orchestral beauty, and pure moments of techno-glitchy percolations.  I liked the movie more than most, but what I found most endearing were the superficial things actually…the design, the look.  It was just wonderful for a technophile.  Add to the look and design the soundtrack and I was happily enjoying the ride.

I’ve listened to the soundtrack about five times now and I only saw the movie this past weekend.  Certain parts of the soundtrack evoke memories of the film with the “solar sailor” cruising through the electric sky, or young Flynn riding his motorcycle through the dark streets.  This is what a good soundtrack should be.  I’m sure many fans bemoan the fact that this is not “Daft Punk’s Next Album.”  Nor should it be in my opinion.  Its the soundtrack.  Their next album will eventually hit, but this should not have been some dance-heavy manifesto on their stylings…instead, they crafted something that fit the ambiance of the film while still expressing their identity as musicians.

Whether or not you see the film in a theater matters not but at least make sure wherever you see it has a good soundsystem.  Seeing the film helps interpret the soundtrack, so I could see people not being impressed with it as much without seeing the film, but the soundtrack does stand by itself as a compelling listen.

Check out a track here:  (The original track posted was the promo video Daft Punk was in, but its a Vevo video and lord have mercy if you actually use that for promotional purposes…)

Being a N.E.R.D.

•December 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Truth be told, I was never a huge N.E.R.D. fan, but this new collaboration they’re working on with Daft Punk is bringing a new-found appreciation to my ears.  The new track that has particularly piqued my interest is “Hypnotize U”.  I like the bright bass booms that bubble under the track the whole time, and Pharrell’s vocals are quite nice too.   The official video is kinda shit but ladies in tight white tank tops can never do wrong.  Reminds me of my stint at THE mansion.  Anyway, I can’t post that, so here’s at least a way to peep the song.

Also, there is quite a dope remix of the track by Nero.  Its a glitzy, dub-stepped version… rather bombastic with a load of additional synth work.  Anyway, I recommend that version as well.  See below:

Rise from the grave

•November 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been absent like that herpes infection you wanted to stop worrying about, but have decided to resurface.  Although in this case I hope you’re happy to see me.

As is often the case with any kind of blog work, life gets in the way sometimes and distracts you from the bloggy side of life.  I am not a natural blogger and the process has always felt a bit forced…meaning I have to actively make myself write about things.  I don’t naturally go to this form of communication.  However, with music it was always a bit different, so I found it enjoyable.

With the changing of jobs and some other personal issues, I had to press the pause button on my radio show and that directly affected how often I was posting here.  So while the show is on hiatus for a bit longer, I do realize I miss sharing some good tunes with my readers.  I am going to try to continue bringing my loves to you.  How frequently I post is an unknown, so let’s just see where things go.

So, currently I’ve been banging the shit out of this completely non-banging track.  Its dark, electronic-y, and very interesting.  It would find rotation on my show for sure.  I just really love the slow thumping bassline and creative vocal pulses.  Its a song that evokes some mystery in its beautifully paced unwinding.  I therefore declare this a must to check out:  Holy Other‘s “Yr Love” on Transparent Recordings.  Peep the interesting video and track below:

Hard NYC – 7/24/10

•July 25, 2010 • 2 Comments

So, one of the bigger electronic music events to hit NYC in a while landed last night (Saturday) at Governor’s Island.  The event featured two stages in a dry field populated by food vendors, dub step soldiers, dance fanatics, a smattering of MIA fans (who didn’t know what dub-step was) and ravers (too young to even know what a real rave was).  It was an interesting mix to say the least, but that’s why the show was so fun…there was a lot to listen to and a lot of people being exposed to some dope tunes.

The main draw for me was not, in fact, M.I.A., but rather the Skream and Benga pairing.  I was very curious to see M.I.A., don’t get me wrong, but the grimey dub-step was more my calling.  So, promptly at 8pm Skream and Benga took the stage with MC Alpha.  What proceeded was perhaps one of the best tag-team dj sets I’ve seen in a LONG time.  In short, they murdered it.  Starting off with some original tracks from both and veering off into the dancier sides of dub-step, Skream and Benga threw down an amazing, club-centric set.  They even threw in two killer drum ‘n bass tracks which completely lit me up.  D n’ b is one of my original electronic passions.  Most of the crowd was caught off guard by the d n’ b tunes and didn’t know how to dance it up much, but I like to think they at least learned something about the patriarch of dub-step.  The crowd was heavy into the dirty, grimey, warbly dub-step tracks and perked up every time Benga or Skream dropped one.  But what I truly appreciated about their set was that they did not play only those types of dub-step tracks; they sprinkled in lots of different varieties, some even leaning to the ravier and danceclub-style stuff.  The sound was amazing and well-balanced, at least for me as I was in the front-ish middle…basically right where the speakers were all pointing.  This was the best dj set of the night.

Once Benga and Skream wrapped up I mosied over the Borgore’s set on the second, “hardest”, stage.  I missed a bit of his set due to my need to rehydrate and such but from what I heard I gotta say this guy threw down some nasty, grimey shit.  His MC was nice and energetic and kept the crowd hyped.  Near the end of the set, Borgore started throwing out some metal-infused dub-step, and then some straight up metal.  It was an interesting approach and I liked the diversity.  A mosh pit did open up with the typical meat-head throwing down for those tracks, so yeah, I coulda done without that.  Decent set overall.

Immediately following Borgore was 12th Planet who easily threw down the next best set besides Skream and Benga.  That man’s set was so consistent and tight that from a pure dj perspective I was enraptured.  Dope skills for sure, and the guy is quite personable too so he did great on the mic by himself.  He played more heavier dub-step tracks than some of the other guys, but I found the diversity great nonetheless as he filled in with some banging vocal tracks.  Skream made some guest appearances too, though mainly just to rewind 12’s tracks and fuck with him.  It was amusing and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  Its clear that a lot of these guys are tight outside of the spotlight and appreciate what they all bring to this scene.

As 12th Planet was wrapping up, my friends and I moved on to get a better position for the upcoming M.I.A. performance on the main stage.  We heard the last three tracks of Die Antwoord.  My immediate thoughts are: style over substance.  I liked the music to one of the tracks, but the vocals are just God-awful.  And let’s not front, hip hop without good vocals and flow ain’t worth shit.  I’ve since tried to listen to a few of their tracks online and I just can’t do it.  It simply isn’t my thing.

So, with much controversy surrounding this artist, let’s talk about the headliner, Ms. M.I.A.  I was psyched to see her as I really appreciate her vocals and vocal gymnastics, plus her music is always interesting and layered with, well, crazy shit.  Sadly, I think this sort of music is very hard to translate to a massive outdoor stage….especially when your sound crew completely drops the ball.  The opening track started off dramatically with some funky robe-wearing, drill-gun carrying, glow-in-the-dark peoples coming out, but the track was all low-end.  Someone messed up the mix and the mids and highs were all dropped out.  The vocals were also quite tough to hear.  After this track and another, someone got around to fixing the sound a bit, but over-compensated and the blew and highs waaaaay out of proportion.  This made the vocals and aforementioned “crazy shit” almost unbearable to the ear.  It was literally painful.

M.I.A. live at Hard NYC. Photo courtesy Metromix.

At this point we moved out of the central focus of the speakers and off to the side and watched a bit more of the show from there.  By this point she had lost a fair portion of the crowd and there was a trail of people leaving.  I chalk this up not to just her sound issues, but to the fact that most of these people might not know her music all that well from her more easy tunes made popular on tv and film.  Some of her stuff is straight up tough and the average person isn’t gonna feel it.  This isn’t to sound elitist.  I just think a lot of people don’t want to put in the time for difficult music.  Sadly, as the show wore on, even the biggest fans were fed up with the sound and erratic mic issues and there was a mass exodus from the event.  I can’t imagine how this must have looked from the stage, watching all your fans leave like that.  I feel bad.  I love her music and think she has some good energy for a live show, but dammit, I need to see her in a much smaller venue…if that will ever happen again.  The set was varied and interesting, with some new twists to existing tracks and some sharing of tracks off her new record.  The dj even sampled in pieces from other tracks, making a nice tapestry of sound.  Ugh, I wanted to like this set more, but I just couldn’t…so, mid-way in, we called it quits with a lot of other people and headed back to the ferry for Manhattan.  Just as we were boarding the ferry on the pier, a squall broke out and proceeded to drench the island and kick out some high winds.  From my understanding the promoters wrapped MIA’s set early once this happened, so we didn’t really miss much besides a good soaking.

All in all, I had a great time, but am really disappointed by the sound issues for MIA’s show.  I have heard from others that her live show isn’t great, but frankly, this was more about the sound issues than her performance.  The visuals were engaging and she did a lot to keep things lively, including inviting tons of fans on stage to dance.  But sadly, without good sound, you can’t save a concert with even the best visuals in the world.