Part 2 of Essential EP’s #12
12. Vol.1 (Onda Trax)
The Onda Group is a New York based collective which includes Track Meet’s Ynfynyt Scroll and Escape From Nature’s Orlando Volcano focused on embracing the holocene. Onda Trax Vol. 1 is the first mini-compilation, which might mark the beginning of Onda Trax as an album, containing tracks by Ynfynyt Scroll, Orlando Volcano and nar that all take a melancholic, melodic approach to dominican dembow, dancehall, baile funk and 3ball. Looking forward to more releases from them in the future.
I saw the Moroccan born, Brussels based producer Gan Gah recently in Rotterdam, at Pantropical’s event organised together with the Arabic film festival in Rotterdam, playing next to Rocky B the Tropikal Camel, Deena Abdelwahed and Rebel Up!‘s Dutch member Duckfood. Amidst the current wave of Middle Eastern & North African club music with semi-mainstream acts like Acid Arab on the one side, avant-garde political acts like 8ULENTINA and Dj Haram on the other side of the spectrum and the Arabic side of ‘global bass’ in the middle, Gan Gah is the perfect bridge. Following last year’s Souktronics EP, which had a lot of club, kuduro and trap influences, Chaâbitronics stays even closer to the characteristic chaâbi sound and bouncy triplet rhythm found in traditional and pop music all over North Africa and the Middle East.
Jason Hou is a Bejing based producer and member of the dohits label & collective which has been on our radar since last year summer. Their output is impressive and it’s hard to select which releases to include as essential. I chose for Jason Hou’s more experimental and dark-percussive EP, which connects in many ways to the recently introduced gorge genre.
Like gorge, 原 (Origin) is a return to nature and the most elemental aspects of existence – in this case, human existence. Homo sapiens’ propensity for ritual, creation, community, narrative, violence and reproduction is expressed with a blend of relentless club & techno drums, bright polyrhythmic percussion, traditional chants and deep subs.
The Berlin based producer Ziúr is one of my personal favourites this year. Both her ideas about the politics of citizenship and her intense, industrial club sound resonate intensely with how I’ve been reflecting on existence since a long time now. Developing her personal style since a while now, connecting to, yet subtly distinctive from the Berlin avant-garde sound represented by players such as JANUS or _WDIS, ‘Taiga EP’ is the first crystallisation of it in the form of an EP released on the Canadian-Mexican Infinite Machine label. The EP contains 4 original productions, one featuring RIN, and two remixes provided by the posthuman futurist Born in Flamez and the Australian visceral club deconstructionist Air Max ’97.
Also check out and >> BUY << Ziúr’s newest release, only accessible via Bandcamp >>
16. wave 002 (wavemob)
If you want to know about the wave genre, which we didn’t introduce on the blog I halfheartedly gladly forward you to this pretty insightful High Snobiety article. Needless to say, if something is on High Snobiety before it is on generation bass, it is either not interesting enough, or we haven’t done our job right. Or both. In this case it’s somewhat in the middle. But in short, wave is an intense, melancholic blend of trap, sadboy rap, witch house, cybernetic grime and vaporwave, which has been around in online undergrounds since as far back as 2013 but was lifted into the spotlights last year by futurebeats heavyweight Plastician and his terrorythm label. In retrospect I think we slept on it mainly because of my own tunnel-obsession with avant-garde club and because of its quick affiliation with the futurebeats-scene, which we also skipped almost altogether. But despite all this, I’m really feeling the heavy, emotionally touching vibe of wave and am fascinated also by the strong IRL-URL community vibe going around in the scene.
wavemob is one of the central, if not the single most defining label & collective of the movement, that released their first official compilation. wave 002 is the follow up, with 13 new, original productions from the wavemob members.
Internet culture has always had its obsessions with bygone sounds and subcultures. This year it’s trance, gabber and metal which are being devoured by the grinding mill. CREAMCAKE is a Berlin based avant-garde label, specialised in precisely capturing these shifts and trends in digital culture through music. ‘Powerpoint EP’ is the debut of the Finnish post-internet producer Keiska, who tunes into the melancholic echoes of 90s and 00s rave culture, bending the escapist angelicism of trance and eurodance into eerily alienating melancholic ambient music, contrasted with intense, deconstructed beats and dystopian samples.
18. DRIFT KINGS [GT Edition] (DRIFT KINGS 漂流 公達)
Next to the grinding mill spit-outs of trance, metal and hardcore, there is also an obsession with racing cars and motorbikes in the aesthetic underground of tumblr, in the wake of health goth fashion and broader cyber tech aesthetics. The new producer collective Drift Kings takes this aesthetic trend to a more serious level. Like their first kickoff compilation, this follow-up release is again entirely dedicated to the conceptual vibe of car racing and its videogame simulation, with tracks, named after cars, filled with racing samples and immersive trance synths.
We’ve also entirely slept on the wave of hyperpop/bubblegum-bass that gathered the attention of the music magazines for a couple of years now, especially the stuff from the PC Music label. The hype has almost entirely faded out now, but an underground scene of producers that are fabricating a distinct, cotton-candy-like sound from sources like contemporary pop, nightcore, rave, k pop, RnB and bass music, is continuing and evolving further. The Canadian producer crapface is one of the defining names from this movement and his most recent album ‘:) 🙂 :)’ is at the same time an insightful display of where the post-PCmusic underground is moving as well as lots of fun to listen to.
The Mexico City based producer Cepillo Cuevas has always been an eccentric frontrunner in the world of moombahton and global bass, not following popular templates but developing his own ever evolving and diversifying, yet consistent style. Now global bass as a movement of mutually supporting producers, DJs and bloggers, has largely diffused into different directions, Cepillo Cuevas is more relevant than ever now. ‘Que Se Sienta’ is the kind of moombahton EP I have always dreamt of, staying true to the tresillo groove, while drawing in sounds from new-age ambient, cinematic-epic music and dark rave-techno, giving a whole new twist to the entire genre with each track.