Essential EP’s #13

More than 2 full months into 2k17 now and there are still tons of essential releases that cannot be left unblogged on Generation Bass. The stuff that has come out in the last months of 2k16 belong to the year’s best releases and give most insight in where stuff will move towards from now. See this much belated post as a springboard into the music landscape that is taking shape right now.

1. Abyss X Nüshu (Infinite Machine)

Abyss X is my favourite artist at the moment and opening the Pantropical night in Rotterdam with her on the lineup has been the best experience of the year so far. Her intense, confrontational and consciously disorienting approach to music has resulted in two equally groundbreaking releases in 2016. The first, ‘Mouthed‘ was released by last year’s tone setter, Rabit‘s Halcyon Veil, followed about a month later by ‘Nüshu’, on the forward looking Mexican-Canadian label Infinite Machine. In a way only parallelled by Elysia Crampton and very few others, Abyss X evokes a very unique spectrum of emotions and experiences. By fusing elements from ambient, techno, traditional folk, industrial, noise, metal and opera as well as pop references and afro-Latin bass rhythms, she shows a peek into a future after the wave of cybernetic and deconstructed club music as we know it. In this respect, she is definitely one of the most important artists to watch this year.

>> BUY <<

***

2. Rui Ho Ru Meng Ling (Genome 6.66 Mbp)

Involved in the Dutch vogue scene as well as in Shanghai’s budding club underground around pioneer tastemaker Tavi Lee (who also made the design) and Berlin Community Radio’s Incubator programme, the Berlin based Chinese producer RUI HO is a known name in many cornerst of the music world. Ru Meng Ling is their first release on the Shanghai based Genome 6.66 Mbp label. ‘Ru Meng Ling’, based on a poem by the influential female Chinese poet Li Qingzhao, articulates non-binary identity in the context of the internet, virtual identity building and Chinese cultural heritage with an energetic blend of distorted polyrhythmic beats, bell percussion and a cyberpunk flavoured high octane drive. Tho complete the EP, Why Be delivers an even rougher remix that zooms in on all the individual elements of the original like a magnifying glass and twists them into a psychedelic, intensified experience.

>> FREE DL <<

***

3. TRENDY PACK 1 (TRENDY DECAY)

When this compilation first appeared on my Soundcloud feed, I’d never heard of TRENDY DECAY, a collective created by LUNARIOS, RULES & BOY. Unfortunately, because they’ve been active for a while now, bringing a unique blend of dark, emotional RnB melodies and vocals, deconstructed afro-Latin club rhythms and powerful black metal & gothic aesthetics. Closely involved with the Bala Club crew, where LUNARIOS released the mighty ‘ENTRA EP‘ (another essential release we slept on), this compilation brings together some of the most on point producers of this moment, including Merca Bae, Kamixlo, WWWINGS, Swan Meat, Coucou Chloe and Santa Muerte. Even though they are involved in the new wave club movement and are making deconstructed hybrids of some sort, the sound explored here 1 is notably distinct from the cybernetic club formula. TRENDY PACK 1 sounds like the first in a row of compilations, which I’m convinced will guide the way into the sound of 2k17.

>> SIGN UP FOR DL <<

***

4. Eaves Verloren (PTP)

One of the most intriguing developments that have occurred in the avant-garde of the new wave club movement is that not just the boundaries between individual genres have become fluid, or the boundaries between umbrella categories such as ‘electronic’, ‘club’ or ‘experimental’ music, but even the boundaries between the ultimate decried conservatory binary of ‘light music’ and ‘modern classical music’. This scene has been bringing together sounds from worldwide local club undergrounds or from bedroom rappers and producers, to be experienced in clubs or via cellphone speakers, with conceptual, experimental audio art, suitable for classical concert halls. This materialisation of Adam Harper’s vision outlined in his fundamental work ‘Infinite Music: Imagining the Next Milennium of Human Music Making‘ has confronted us as a blog with a number of fundamental questions. What are the criteria we use to select music? What is the meaning of terms such as ‘club’, ‘bass’, ‘dance’, ‘global’ etc.? Isn’t finding our way through our existence in the context of accelerating technology and the corresponding social, political and cultural circumstances not what binds music together across all the different areas where music is being pushed forward?

Strikingly, Eaves’ background reflection to his album, or in fact, full blown classical concert piece –  “if reality mimics our ominous, fictional projections of the future, it’s clear that our current systems aren’t resisting as much as they should be” – comes strikingly close to the description of my own mixtape, published almost two years ago now. Apparently, the line from underground dance music expressions from different corners of the world, cybernetic club deconstruction and conceptual sound compositions destined to shake up the modern-classical world is a very obvious one. This is strikingly visible in Eaves’ own work. While conceptual and experimental from the start, it leaned towards clubbier vibes on the EP ‘HUE‘, moving a more into more abstract territory on ‘GORILLA‘ while reaching full abstract epiphany with ‘Verloren’. ‘Verloren’ (German/Dutch for ‘Lost’) is an overwhelming, emotionally exhausting journey that moves through desolate, ruined worlds, painted with layers of wide ambient scapes, fragile melodies, menacing bass sounds, explosive abstract beats, haunting vocal samples and transcendental choir chants. Together with the work of musicians like Chino Amobi or Elysia Crampton, I am convinced that ‘Verloren’ will be looked back at as the most essential music created in our times.

>> BUY HERE <<

***

5. Swan Meat Bounty (PERMALINK)

Like Eaves, many more producers are on the same road of experimental club abstraction and cyber deconstruction towards conceptual sound art, each in their own way. Swan Meat is one of the most promising examples. It is remarkable how quickly, and seemingly out of the blue, new talents can appear into view. When I heard her set at c a r e #4 I was completely overwhelmed. Her relentless, complex blend of menacing atmospheres, warped pop references, poetic vocals straight out of the uncanny valley, abstract hardcore inspired beats, and the raging energy of metal, keeps intriguing, constantly switching between minimalism and maximalism, abstraction and rhythmical groove.

After a number of promising mixtapes and tracks on compilations for platforms including Classical Trax‘ side-label  JEROME, Shanghai’s Genome 6.66 Mbp and the activist initiative Co-Op, Bounty is her official debut, released via the Paris based avant-garde multimedia platform Permalink and premiered via Thump. She told Thump, about the background leading up to the EP. ‘Bounty’, which deals with issues of embodyment, is the condensation of the alternate forms of embodyment in poetry and sound that helped the producer climb out of her struggle with bulimia nervosa. Her characteristic sound, created with self-build plugins and game samples, is accompanied by a gripping design from the Hungarian forward looking art genius Gergö Kovacs.

>> BUY HERE <<

***

6. Superfície Hélices (SALVIATEK)

The Uruguayan SALVIATEK label, started by Lechuga Zafiro & Pobvio, keeps occupying a peculiar space on the map of interconnected music scenes. They are operating mostly in the corner of the new wave club avant-garde, yet their sound is refreshingly different than most of what’s going around in that scene. The rhythmical structures are percussive, less abstract polyrhythms and seem much more focused on reinterpreting indigenous and Afro-Uruguayan heritage than on deconstruction and abstraction. Yet, where the South American part of the old global bass movement, think about labels as ZZK or Frente Bolivarista, is commonly characterised by a romantic representation of nature and ancestrality, reflected in organically flavoured (pseudo)acoustic sounds, SALVIATEK is the exact opposite. Somewhat resembling the philosophies of Eco Futurism Corp or Xenopunk, SALVIATEK’s vision is about breaking down the binary between nature and technology. In their own words:

“What happens when an AI learns from nature and decides to imitate it in order to survive? In a probable future, the limit between nature and technology is no longer definable. CPU’s control the jungle, birds are cameras and roots are circuits. The world has been taken by the technologic jungle and this system dominate all other species, including humans. By night, when the Salviatek flows in the techno-organisms and metallic chlorophyl does the audio-synthesis, the survivors dance to this biorhythms from their underground hiding.”

‘Hélices’ is the debut of SALVIATEK’s freshest addition, the Brazilian avant-garde producer Superfície, whose minimalistic, percussive ambient style is created from abstracted rhythmical structures of genres like baile funk, vogue and dembow. With these elements, ‘Hélices’ paints conceptual, sci-fi ambiances that bring to mind images of complex, artificial lifeforms, digitised indigenous knowledge and the diffusion of high-tech beyond the asphalted road network. The EP is completed by two more energetic, club-ready remixes by foozool and umurmurum.

>> BUY <<

***

7. Bison & Squareffekt Distant Planets (Rimas e Batidas)

Last month, the ‘future tarraxo‘ microgenre tured 3 years of age. Evolving mainly out of Bison‘s mellow, melodic approach to the tarraxinha genre, it took off full force with ‘Odyssey of the Mind‘, in my view the best thing ever released on our own Generation Bass label, where Bison teamed up with Miguel Afonso a.k.a. Squareffekt. It would be the beginning of a successful formula, pushed by influential platforms like Enchufada, Thump and Boiler Room.

Coming out of a period of silence and reorientation, they are working on a substantial comeback this year, finding themselves in a thoroughly post-global bass world, where both sci-fi sounds and afrodiasporic rhythms reign supreme in both avant-garde and mainstream, but where most pre-2015-style microgenres have evaporated into the digital air. ‘Distant Planets’, casually referring to the frequent popular excitement about NASA’s discovery of new exoplanets, is their first release that is entirely uptempo. The 2-track mini-EP still carries the characteristic 80s space-age melancholy that made them unique, yet with a more energetic, even heavy undertone. ‘Cosmic Fellings’ is a destructive afrohouse track, keeping ambiguous whether ‘fellings’ refers to natural processes or to the ruination by humans or other intelligent civilisations. ‘Distant Planets’ is a Mexican-style 3ball tune that brings out the desolate dramatism and gripping coldness of outer space worlds. With astroid mining and a new space era gradually unfolding in the course of this century, I view the EP as a commentary on the issues of exploration and colonial destruction translated to the context of space travel. Political space music for the 21st century.

***

8. Club Chai Vol. 1 (CLUB CHAI)

Club Chai is an Oakland based initiative by foozool and 8ULENTINA, with a recurring party and a show on London’s influential Radar Radio, focused on diasporic narratives, women and trans artists, DJs and producers. Their blend of mainly RnB, dancehall, club sounds in the broadest sense and non-Western pop and traditional music, pushed on the club nights and in the shows has now resulted into the first, exciting compilation that brings together artists from many different corners of the music scene, including Generation Bass’ cumbia favourite Turbo Sonidero, SALVIATEK’s Lechuga Zafiro, Manchester’s DJ Florentino and Bala Club affiliate Organ Tapes, alongside many other artists worth checking out, never before blogged on Generation Bass such as The Creatrix. Musically too, the spectrum covered on this compilation goes way beyond what’s usually seen in the club avant-garde, extending into salsa, techno and acoustic guitar songs. This refreshing diversity combined with cultural and political substance makes Club Chai a very important frontrunner for 2017.

>> FREE DL <<

9. GIL Orchids & Wasps (Danse Noire)

I’ve been a fan of both GIL’s energetic dancehall, kizomba & dembow inflused club tracks and Aisha Devi‘s Danse Noire label, where I heard eye-opening dark flavoured experimental blends of abstract industrial, hardcore, grime & ambient for the first time. Coming from a sound that could come surprisingly close to global bass, GIL has notably moved towards darker experimental sound in his more recent productions. This exploration is now crowned with a release on Danse Noire. ‘Orchids and Wasps’ combines relentless distorted drums, noisy dystopian soundscapes and haunting vocal samples, with GIL’s passion for afro-latin club flavours and polyrhythms.

>> BUY HERE <<

***

10. ZRD XX (Bio Future Laboratory)

I’ve been following Eco Futurism Corp for quite a while already, and even thoughI never came so far to blog any of it here on Generation Bass, I’m really stoked about ever more artists emerging from this movement such as Tropical Interface, SHYQA, HERBARIUM and now ZRDZM (ZRD) who debuted via Eco Futurism Corp subsidiary Bio Future Laboratory. Especially with the rise of cosmic horror aesthetics, this EP is fundamental. ‘XX’ touches upon many crucial aspects of today’s exponential age, from immortality and artificial life to high-energy experimental physics as well as the Lovecraftian horroresque awe that surround these matters. ZRDZM’s style is best placed in the conceptual sci-fi ambient corner, with long stretched soundscapes, thoroughly abstracted, suggestive rhythmical elements and lots of cinematic samples that construct a lively, almost interactive videogame-like experience. And the worlds painted are as dark, alienating and overwhelming as the future we may have ahead.

>> FREE DL <<

***

11. OO-B ÁFRICA, ENCANTADA

Together with Abyss X, the Montpellier based producer OO-B is one of the most unique artists I’ve got to know lately. A producer and rapper with a background in grime, he stands out, both sound-wise and aesthetically, from most of what’s going on in the scenes working with forward-looking club and bass music. Where most of his older work is clearly grime, with ‘África, encantada’ (Spanish for: “Africa, nice to meet you” as well as “enchanted Africa”), he moves into experimental club & music, which seems to draw from genres including grime, vogue, afrohouse, kizomba, deep ambient, new wave club and hiphop, yet it doesn’t sound at all like the sounds going around in either the new wave club or the global bass related scenes. The sound is melodic, melancholic, percussive and somewhat mysterious, yet fascinatingly uncategorisable on any possible level. With this self-released EP, OO-B shows that it is still possible to make music independently of dominant movements, approaches and formulas.

>> FREE DL VIA SOUNDCLOUD <<

***

12. Katasonix (0)

From the depths of the internet, where meme charming chaos magicians and occult cyber clairvoyants are initiated in the secret principles behind the forces that govern our information based reality, hails the enigmatic soundcloud channel Katasonix, named after Kode9‘s first label name. The Kode9 reference goes further, especially his involvement with the with Nick Land’s mysterious Cybernetic Culture Research Unit, as the title names are all drawn from ccru’s Pandemonium.

The tracks themselves are complex patterns, constructed from analog synth recordings, that sound like a language. They leave the gut feeling that they carry a hidden message to decipher. I leave the interpretation to the listener. Yet I am convinced that this whole new way of treating patterns in sound, free from intuitively human ways of processing music, while intriguing enough to listen and enjoy, will open many new oportunities for music making in the near future.

***

Kicking Off 2017 With The New Dark Generation

2017 will see a rise of Lovecraftian, cosmic horroresque aesthetics

2016 slipped away without a spotlight for a development in music that has come into full force over the course of this year, completely out of view of most blogs and music magazines, even independently of the internet avant-garde’s metal fetish. It is one of the most successful stories of how a music movement can be assembled from different genres and musical backgrounds. Meet the new dark generation.

I’m calling it a generation rather than a movement or a scene because not all of the artists are necessarily connected or would recognise each other as part of the same thing. Rather there are smaller groups and scenes, probably more than there are on my radar right now, that are making forward looking, multi-genre music with a dark twist. With the facebook group Dark Electronic Music, I’ve tried to tie all of these small movements together and to some extent this was successful, but still far from where I’d hope it will move. But all of these movements and scenes have grown and diversified this year and that is something which can never deserve enough support.

Some household names and some new names to support. Also I lost a bit sight on the techno, hardcore and industrial side of things, so that’ll be saved for next time.

1. Hexx 9 records (label)

Of all the labels and collectives out there, few embody what I call the ‘new dark generation’ as on point as the New York based trailblazers of Hexx 9. Born out of the post-witchouse movement, they have released next generation gothic music on the interface of witch house, industrial, ritual ambient, drone, noise rave, dub, trap and more. Even Abu Ama‘s Arabic ambient dub tarraxo has found a warm home at the label.

***

2. 209 SINS

With separate projects known under different pseudonyms, 209 SINS is one of the most consistently active Soundclouders, combining repost selections with own productions and mixtapes: れモモ刀下∨ㄥ 匕卄丹れム乙 for vocal hiphop, ᴆ ᴀ ᵛ ᴵ ᴆ † ᴌᴬ ᴮ 0 ᵙ ℜ for hard-hitting industrial DnB rave crossovers, Philip K. Decker for cinematic ambient influenced instrumental tracks and yunΠg≠wellbutriΠ for mixtapes.

209 SINS recent selector’s choice of industrial bass rave mixtapes

***

3. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş

We’ve supported the Paris based prodigy ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş and his alter-project Shinji (now [lyn]) several times before on the blog, but 2016 was the year where he put himself on the map, both with his two artistic projects and with his avant-witchhouse Facebook channel U+06e9. An autodidact classical singer, electronic producer and improvisationalist, bedtime stories’ has developed an impressively unique style, individually, without following any trend. Although he calls it ‘classical witch’, the sound transcends the witch house genre in every possible aspect, while its relation to classical music is even more intriguing. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş is a neoromantic, early-classical punk, reclaiming the sound and aesthetics of thoroughly elite, institutionalised entities as a tool for improvisational self-expression.

I’m looking forward to what 2017 will bring. Yet for now, ‘Gaia’ (Hexx 9, September 2016) is ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş’ defining release.

>> BUY IT HERE <<

Ģăīă was a project created by an unknown entity, a creature able to bend the nature of things and able to change reality by interacting with dreaming people. Ģăīă was able to save lives, but playing with human psyche is not without consequences, and most of the dreamers died. Only a few stayed alive, connecting with nature to transfer the energy of the entity into the lands. Now, Ģăīă is all around us and influence our reality, but maybe this reality is just a lng dream orchestrated by Ģăīă itself.

One of the exiting aspects of ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş is that he knows how to deconstruct his own sound, combining elements of it such as the gothic opera singing, with vastly different vibes such as this industrial, rhythmic ambient track collab with Achromatic Residue.

***

4. Volkanos

Another very active producer and scene pusher involved in blending witch house elements with industrial ritual ambient music is Volkanos from Denver, U.S. Involved with the Hexx 9 label as well as the dark experimental techno label Tenebrous Music. Grown up in a family involved with Wicca and Shamanism, Volkanos always had a vision of fusing music with symbolism, mythology and ritual choreography. Expect a more in-depth interview soon on the blog!

https://soundcloud.com/v0lkanos/dethrite-valley-of-misery-volkanos-x-andrvj

Volkanos’ style: suggestive horroresque soundscapes, blended with organic percussion and witch house flavoured rave synths

https://soundcloud.com/v0lkanos/all-souls-mixtape

The All Souls mixtape which came out around halloween is one of my favourite mixes of 2k16, particularly because Volkanos, next to myself, is one of the only artists in the world fusing witch house, dark techno and 209 sins style industrial bass music with the dark flavoured side of ‘avant garde club’

***

5. Young Yogi

Supported several times before, Young Yogi, alter-project of GAMEFACE, is paving the way ahead of the dark trap microgenre which GAMEFACE has been building for about two years now, steering away from sounds of EDM trap as well as from post-internet cloud trap into a more unique and conceptual direction. Young Yogi’s sound combines the explosive tension and monstruous 808 bass of the new dark wave of cloud trap and with psychedelic uplifting melodies and cyber-utopian mystical thematics.

***

7. SADWRIST

Mad genius of the witch house scene, playing with thematics and imagery sometimes too gruesome for even me to share. When he disappeared from all his social media platforms at some point last year I, and probably more with me, was honestly worried he’d put an end to his life. But he came back and has been uploading so much fire lately, venturing from his already rough and eclectic twist on witch house further  into noise, breakcore, hardcore, dark trap and black metal.

***

8. RARE AKUMA

Especially Sadwrist’s more trap leaning work would probably fit the new #RAGECORE genre, created by the Antwerp based beatmaker Rare Akuma. Pushing a blend that is sitting somewhere in between drill, deathstep and metal, Rare Akuma bridges the worlds of hiphop, loud bass music and the rise of metal in the electronic avant-garde.

***

9. ATILLA THE HVN & NOIRE ANTIDOTE †

The witch house scene in the Netherlands is small and fragmented. The people that make it are not really connected into one scene. In fact, there isn’t really a scene at all. The genre is just getting a bit more known over here only recently (then I’m not talking about Crystal Castles) among the new generation of dark-alternative leaning fans who can nowadays listen to anything from vaporwave or sad rap to anime music or whatever edgy genre the internet has spit out over the last years. Producers are a different story. With Atilla The Hvn and Noire Antidote there are two great forward looking examples, one coming (as far as I can tell) from industrial techno, the other (alter-project of Benjamin’s Plague) coming from the cybergoth-industrial scene.

From Tilburg, home base of Generation Bass, Atilla the Hvn seemed to come out of the blue when I first discovered him last year, but apparently he has not only been experimenting with witch house for more than two years, has a solid following and is well connected in different forward looking corners of music. If I may bet on any producer from the Netherlands to rise to greater heights in 2017, Atilla The Hvn is the one.

Dark melancholic trance & hardcore beautifully blended and distorted into a powerful emotional rave flavoured soundscape.

I’ve known the guy behind Noire Antidote for a while (never met him in person tho) because of my occasional adventures in the industrial scene and how much I like dark electro, I was even happier to find out that within the remnants of the gothic scene at large, there is interest in witch house as a direction to go into. Not that I have anything particular against industrial hardcore or psytrance, but with self-proclaimed scene destroyer DJ Krat (industrial hardcore/rhythmic noise), the psy/goa scene or wallowing in German festival nostalgia as the only three options, witch house was never embraced by the gothic scene in the Netherlands so far. In 2017, things have changed. Whether it makes sense or not to still talk about a gothic scene is irrelevant. Noire Antidote is making great music and actively reaches out to crowds with livesets on industrial minded festivals, without the need for a witch house scene.

***

10. The Enigma TNG

Back in the days I’ve suppored The Enigma TNG, still one of my all-time favourite producers, as an example of what an eclectic, multi-genre cyberpunk flavoured dark music future could look like. Almost two years later, he is still going strong, consistent pushing and developing his unique style. And where back then, he was a solitary pioneer with a solid following mainly in the world of cybergoth-electro and alternative electrostep, today his sound, involving elements of metal and cinematic epic orchestral music, is being mentioned as an inspiration for the direction in which the club avant-garde will be moving in 2017.

His newest album, ‘Midnight’, came out in October last year.

>> BUY ON BANDCAMP <<

***

11. Toxic Embryo

Upcoming live electronic formation and enfant terrible of the dark-alternative scene in the Netherlands. Drawing inspiration from sources like Babymetal, BOTDF, anime music and nightcore, Toxic Embryo’s twist on dark electropop possesses the same post-ironic DIY edge as PC Music’s bubblegum rave or Elysia Crampton’s conscious use of cartoonish horror elements and recontextualised pop sentimentality. The nostalgic, trancy neo-rave melodies and anime-esque adventure lyrics combined with campy cyberpunk aesthetics will leave the traditional electropop fan in utter confusion whether this is a joke or truly garbage. Yet at the same time, this androgynous blend of hyperpop and angelwave, fused with metal, hardcore, trance, rap and live performance is exactly where the avant-garde of internet culture will be moving in 2017.

***

Renick Bell and the Promising Future of Algorave

renickbell

One of the tragic side effects of always being tuned onto the most innovative and culturally challenging music is that you’ll get bored ever more easily. Nights revolving around one specific genre, like techno or DnB, can annoy me to death. But also in the worlds that I’m active in, like global bass or ‘avant-garde club’, there isn’t much that can amaze me with the same power any more as when I was still new to all these things. Between my early Soundcloud days and now, the “‘this BLOWS my mind” feeling has gradually faded from multiple times a day to often months without. Simply because I’ve heard so much of the most fantastic stuff already. But last month I had a life transforming experience in a way I haven’t had since my early days of music digging, not while surfing Soundcloud in solitude for a change, but on the middle the dancefloor, walking into a liveset from Renick Bell.

Immediately when I heard the robotic abstract beats and alien ambient scapes while seeing the hypnotising coding lines glide and morph over the big screen, I knew that I would write a Generation Bass post as soon as I had the occasion. And doing a quick search I also realised that this is the first-ever Generation Bass post about algorave. Developed in the underground of tech enthusiasts, the technique of using software code commands to generate live music has been around for more well over a decade, yet hasn’t crossed paths too much, not with the ‘post-internet undergroud’ and let alone with global bass. It’s logical why.

What has fuelled the internet hypes over the last decade has mostly been driven by the products of the democratised accessibility of simple production and sharing techniques, which has enabled teenagers from around the world to develop new styles and subcultures that are often quite simple in the production process but creative in the way they bring together cultural elements available via the internet. The development of a whole new kind of instrument, especially one that requires very specialised knowledge only shared by minor section of the population, is a diffent world. In 2013, when the algorave first caught attention as an upcoming scene, Vice notoriously called it the “future of music, for nerds”. This esotheric character is one that algorave hasn’t managed to shed so far, at least in my perception, interesting mainly as a mere nice idea for people passionate about exploring the possibilities of coding as a human craft with vast latent cultural potential. All of this might well change soon, both because the coming generation will hopefully have much widespread knowledge of programming, but also because, as the craft matures, its fruits will improve and diversify. The previous generation has witnessed the shift of electronic music in general from an experimental niche genre pioneered by a small bunch of wire enthusiasts to the most widespread, popular way of making music. And with the potential of open-source software, in principle accessible to anyone anywhere with an internet connection, coding as a new form of musical expression may well be on its way to be embraced by marginalised people to articulate political realities that go beyond the privileged bubble of nerd culture. After all, the ongoing historical development of music is essentially cultural heritage x socio-political context x technology. And that is why, on the brink of 2k17 it is more urgent than ever to start talking about algorave on Generation Bass.

Enter Renick Bell, a Texas born, Tokyo based programmer, musician and teacher. His abstract, visceral sound, shared by artists like Partisan, Morten HD or Sentinel, has attracted the attention of avant-garde platforms such as J.G.Biberkopf’s Unthinkable series on NTS, Quantum Natives and Infinite Machine and has doubtlessly also been shaped back by these movements. More importantly, the amalgam of sounds combined in these music scenes has brought algorave in direct contact with the musical heritage from marginalised global club & bass undegrounds as well as with the socio-political contexts of the struggles of oppressed people for alternative futurisms. This happed very literally on Native Self, where Renick’s set was immediately followed by Terribilis playing baile funk and Lisbon batida.

During Native Self there were, as is common in the Algorave scene, no additional visuals apart from the real-time projection of the live coding process: a form of opennes to visitors with knowledge of the technology and an invitation to contribute.

His most recent official release Empty Lake EP, which came out in October this year, on the London based experimental label UIQ.

His most defining works: a series of tracks called “fractal beats”, drawing from genres like footwork, gabber, psytrance, techno and noise, but with the improvisational chaos of experimental jazz.

Moving into melodic territory, with poppy vocal samples, his sound becomes essentially identical to the sonic palette that I typically categorise as ‘avant-garde club’

Renick’s collab from half a year ago with the Japanese experimental club producer KΣITO

“Beats for traditional dancing”, a composition where live coding and otherworldly electronic sounds become antirely one with the spirit of Jazz

***

Follow Renick Bell:

OFFICIAL WEBPAGE
SOUNDCLOUD
YOUTUBE
TWITTER

Essential EP’s #12 [DOUBLE EDITION] – Side B

EEPs12

Part 2 of Essential EP’s #12

SIDE B

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.

>> DOWNLOAD <<

***

13. Gan Gah Chaâbitronics EP (Lowup Records)

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.

>> BUY ON BANDCAMP <<

***

14. Jason Hou原 (Origin) (dohits)

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.

>> BUY HERE <<

***

15. Ziúr Taiga EP (Infinite Machine)

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.

>> BUY HERE <<

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.

>> BUY <<

***

17. Keiska Powerpoint EP (CREAMCAKE)

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.

>> DOWNLOAD <<

***

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.

>> DOWNLOAD <<

***

19. crapface :):):) (Palettes)

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.

>> DOWNLOAD <<

***

20. Cepillo Cuevas Que se Sienta EP (Handiclap Records)

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.

>> DOWNLOAD <<

https://soundcloud.com/cepillo-cuevas/sets/cepillo-cuevas-que-se-sienta

***

Monsters on the Horizon

monstersonthehorizon

Halloween will kick off this year with an unlikely forward looking blend of electrifying EDM and deconstructed dancehall and club vibes, all with a dark twist rooting in the full spectrum of the rock genre.

Monsters On The Horizon, a NYC Collective of Musicians, Artists, and Producers, bringing back the dark vibes. Like reading an H.P. Lovecraft story while UNKLE’s Psyence Fiction plays in the background. These are Remixes of the songs from the FIRST COMING ALBUM by none less than Chooky (Australia), Hataah (Hungary), Ackeejuice Rockers (Italy) and Aluphobia (Hungary). The remixes will drop during the following days.

The monsters are coming…

For who can’t wait, grab The Haunting 95 BPM dembow VIP >> HERE << already !

***

Follow Monsters On The Horizon:

SOUNDCLOUD
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM

Generation Bass Introduces: GORGE

rockwallgorge

Imagine a genre supposedly born in in the mountains on the Indo-Nepal border, communicating the aesthetic and spiritual sublimeness of rock climbing, becoming the soundtrack to an international rock climber-clubber subculture in Canada and Argentina and eventually morphing into a passionate avant-garde movement in Japan: it exists and is called gorge.

Exactly a year since we officially introduced our last genre, Shamstep, it is high time to return to doing what Generation Bass was originally created for: introducing cutting edge dance flavours from around the world to URL music enthusiasts. But at the same time, 2015 was the year in going into the music history chronicles as the year in which genres as a whole were officially dead. Most probably killed by cyber-deconstructionism. What could have been bandwagons just some years before were now all destined to prematurely popping out of existence, like soap bubbles. That makes it extra shameful that we totally slept on gorge when it was hot, back in 2012, when we were too busy pushing moombahton and 3ball. But now the genre, once a completely separate, ungoogleable bastion of secrecy is now slowly creeping into wider attention with artists such as Kazuki Koga (Canada), whose Salathé Wall EP for the Apothecary compositions label, introduced the mysterious percussive sound into the avant-garde club movement. So if there is any right moment to introduce a genre so long after it’s beginnings, it is now.

***

Gorge, best described as an experimental electronic interpretation of Nepalese folk percussion, is vaguely defined by its own inside conventions and legends. The sound can range from very distorted and noisy, to organic and minimalistic, from straightforward rhythms to complex experimental patterns and from downtempo to uptempo. Still gorge has, if such thing exist at all, a strong signature that makes the genre recognisable. According to gorge originator Himalayan Giant DJ Nanga in an interview from 2013, if you make gorge, apply the Gorge Public Licence:

  • Use Toms
  • Whenever you feel that a track that you make might me gorge, it is already gorge
  • Never ever call it ‘art’

I’m fascinated by why ‘never calling it art’ is such an important part of gorge. I suppose it’s because ‘art’ implicates human mastery and control, whereas the whole idea of gorge is precisely to embody ‘the sublime’ which escapes and resists human control. Not culture but nature, the impersonal, relentless magnificence embodied by the rocks, refusing to be conquered and tamed by humans trying to climb them.

In the words of DJ Nanga, gorge is ‘rock music’ in the most litteral sense. It is the “sound of a rock, sound of water that beats the rock, sound of a mountain held by the rock.” And according to DJ Fhuck TheChipping, gorge “is not a human expression, Gorge only has the hardness of the rocks. Can you survive?” Accordingly, producers making gorge aren’t called ‘artists’ but ‘bootists’: they don’t craft their own sound, but climb them. And perhaps that is – in the wake of aesthetic trends like xenopunk that are reflecting on non-human sublimeness against an increasingly artificial world tailored for human comfort – why gorge is more relevant than ever in 2016!

***

The newest EP of Hanali (Tokio), one of the leading figures in the Japanese gorge movement

And the promotion video for Hanali‘s 『ROCK MUSIC』 EP from 2013

Hanali is not a DJ but a live electronic musician who performs gorge by on-the-spot improvisation

A gorge tune from the very early days (2008) from the further unknown DJ Kinabalu

Industrial space-synth gorge by Drastic Adhesive Force (Japan) from the 2012 ‘Gorge Out Tokio‘ compilation

And another selection of Japanese gorge from 2014, by the Kyoto based label Terminal Explosion

Gorge from US based bootists, ‘the United GORGE Bootists of America’, released in april this year, featuring less industrial noise and much more crossovers with electronic genres like techno, avant-garde club, ambient, kuduro and more

Kazuki Koga‘s grand EP for Apothecary Compositions, which we supported before, blending gorge with juke & footwork

Kazuki Koga performing his EP alleingehen live

In the Japanese electronic underground, juke & gorge appears to be a powerful combination to blend together on club nights.

The most important artist who brought gorge into the internet-underground last year is seapunk OG Ultrademon who was inspired by Kazuki Koga and announced to make a gorge EP last year as a tribute to his cousin who died ice climbing. This EP was materialised via a his side project Thiefist, released via the gorge.in label & platform.

Gorge & post-internet aesthetics influenced rap by rapper MC松島, produced by bootist Franz Snake

According to Japanese gorge specialists HiBiKi MaMeShiBa and Mr. Ishii these are two tracks, one from the British industrial band SLAB! (1987), the other (1969) from the German experimental krautrock band Organisation (Kraftwerk before they started Kraftwerk)

And here a fresh EP from this year’s most active and passionate gorge bootist, Indus Bonze, who asks the question whether gorge is dead or alive…

…but, to speak in the spirit of DJ Nanga: gorge is never dead nor alive. Gorge is the water crashing down from the rocks, with with no beginning and no end. Gorge is the rumble of the elements when the rocks were formed. Gorge was there long before us and will be there long after we are gone. Gorge is eternal.

***

Find more >>

FAQs >>

Essential EP’s #12 [DOUBLE EDITION] – Side A

EEPs12

Artwork via: x̸e͟no͝pu͏nk̶

After such a long silence, I’ve got to cover more than two months of an ever forward moving music landscape. Therefore a double edition with the most essential and guiding releases, 22 in total. I tried to balance between saving text and doing justice to the music.

SIDE A

1. Elysia Crampton presents: DEMON CITY (Break World Records)

If there is anyone I could call my all-time favourite artist, it would be the experimental sound collage artist and inspirational Latinx trans revolutionary Elysia Crampton. She describes her newest album as an epic poem. I had the opportunity seeing it live a couple of months ago at Progress Bar Amsterdam, where Elysia opened the night with a powerful performance, combining music with live recited poetry and engaging visuals of videogame dungeons, technofuturist sci-fi impressions and historical and present recordings of indigenous Bolivian people and their struggle for justice. The poetry, part of the theatre production ‘Dissolution of the Sovereign: A Time Slide into the Future’ paints a post-colonial sci-fi setting in which the citizens of NON have destroyed the oppressive structures of today’s world and have built their own high-technological future, linked back and forth with the queer-indigenous history of Bartolina Sisa, leader of an indigenous uprise in 18th century Bolivia which was brutally knocked down by the colonisers, and her body cut into pieces.

The performance was one of the few times where I had a truly transformative emotional experience on the dance floor (the other times being Kamixlo and Total Freedom). I have no other words for it than crying tears of fire, bringing to the surface resevoirs of emotions and aspects of existence that’d otherwise remain buried under solid rock layers of colonial oppression. The Demon City is the metaphor for the excavation of the voice of dispossessed and queer trans indigenous people and, as Crampton explained in her talks session before the club night, breaking the imposed binaries of identity, to which queer trans people of colour are condemned worldwide. The collaborative project is a defining elaboration of the conceptual ‘severo’ style: “an ongoing process of becoming-with, made possible by the family-networks and communities that have inspired and sustained our survival and collective search for transformative justice.” Contributions are by Why Be, Rabit, Chino Amobi and Lexxi and released on the Break World Records label, which also signed James Ferraro, Goth Money, Sagan Youth, Hot Sugar and Teengirl Fantasy.

>> BUY HERE <<

The melancholic-epic leading track ‘The Demon City’ with Rabit, most striking in the Severo style’s approach of transforming theatrical kitch into something hyper-meaningfull

The energetic Dummy Track, featuring a diablada-like percussion beat, served as a pre-released teaser for the album

Lexxi’s wavy, crystalline, emotional club tune Red Eyez is a bridge between The Demon City and his own EP 5TARBO1

***

2. Erelitha (STAYCORE 117)

The Stockholm based label and collective STAYCORE 117 is a unique initiative, supporting young, innovative minded producers with an intimate, family-like community that is gradually extending, online but especially IRL. ERELITHA is the follow-up of last year’s Summer Jams 2K15 compilation with which the label put itself on the map. As Dinamarca explained to The Fader, instead of the geographically excluding concept of ‘summer’, ERELITHA is thematically built around the concept of capturing lightest possible light. This reflects both in the music, which strongly draws from saccharine bright retro-rave sounds, and in the equally impressive artwork by Jonna Mayer, which transforms a sulfuric surface lake of Titan or Io into a mysterious cotton-candy wonderland.

The compilation involves contributions from Staycore’s core members like Dinamarca, Toxe, Mechatok and Mobilegirl, but also from close affiliates like Zutzut (NAAFI), MM (Her Records), Pininga, RESLA and Oklou (TGAF) – who’s crystalline futuristic dancehall/afrohouse track is my absolute favourite track of the whole compilation! – as well as the (relative) new names jackie and the promising talent Don Sinini.

>> DOWNLOAD <<

***

3. WWWINGS CHIMERA (Purple Tape Pedigree)

Over the last year, much has been written already in the major music mags about the mysterious formation made up of LIT INTERNET (Kamchatka, Russia), LIT DAW (Ukraine) and LIT EYNE (Siberia, Russia). They combine net-art flavoured 90s angelic tribal tattoo, stock photo and black metal aesthetics with intense cybernetic-ambient-club music, communicate via the encrypted messenger service Telegram and have never met in person. Very cyberpunk and very post-internet avant-garde. Musically, they occupy the middle ground between the abstract, industrial side of avant-garde club and the more dark melodicness found in the heirs of ambient-trap and witch house. After their debut EP ‘Angelysium’ last year and their follow-ups ‘3000‘ and ‘META‘ (Infinite Machine), they are back now with aNEP on the New York based avant-garde label Purple Tape Pedigree.

WWINGS have found their unique place on the music spectrum. They keep moving forward, but always make sure the combinations are balanced. Between rhythmical and abstract, percussive and melodic, ethereal and dark, experimental and danceable. Chimera is no exception. Perhaps, the word Chimera, which means hybrid, is even symbolic for this persistent, unique duality they incorporate. We’ll never know. They notoriously deny that their music has any rational or even abstractly sensible concept or narrative behind it apart from their inspirations drawn from life in different parts of the post-Soviet part of the world and from life on the internet. Also check out their even fresher release ‘PHOENIXXX‘ (Planet Mu).

>> BUY <<

***

4. OnlyNow Hollow EP

It is already a year ago since OnlyNow, an experimental side project of bass alrounder Kush Arora, debuted with one of last year’s most underrated works: a breathtakingly forward looking self-titled EP combining subtly dark, cinematic cyberpunk ambient with organic percussive rhythms derived from African and Afro-diasporic styles like kuduro, tarraxo and gqom. Now, a summer later, he pushes his sound even further with an again self-released EP including a special feature on the music magazine XL8R. On top of the elaborated ethereal and dramatic soundscapes, polyrhythmic percussion patterns and industrial noise, this EP adds a strong melodic element. This makes ‘Hollow’ not just a vivid conceptual submersion into an Octavia Butlerian technofuture that could resemble Elysia Crampton’s, but also incredibly engaging on the emotional level.

>> DOWNLOAD FLARE <<

***

5. Siete Catorce & Stas Fata Morgana EP (BABYLON)

There are collaborations that are a very logical result of how scenes and movements develop. Like-minded producers that release on the same labels or have a similar approach to sound. And then there are collaborations that seem to come more or less out of the blue. This joint EP by Mexican experimental and ruidosón OG Siete Catorce and the Hungarian tropicalist Stas is one of the latter category. Even though Siete Catorce seems to be extending his focus towards Europe with an EP via te Porgtuguese global bass imperium Enchufada and Stas has toured Mexico earlier this year together with the Kumbale crew, this collab was not at all obvious. And the not-so-obvious is precisely where the good things happen, because Fata Morgana EP – what’s in a name – is as unexpected as it can possibly get. ‘Fantasma’ is best described as psychedelic DnB, whereas ‘Espejismo’ navigates the middle ground between future bass, avant-garde club and dark trap. And then there is Stas with a recognisably percussive flip of ‘Fantasma’ and Siete Catorce with an even more mystical rework of ‘Espejismo’ that draws in elements of afrohouse, techno, club, cumbia and ambient.

On a side note, it is also interesting to watch the aesthetic development of the Babylon label, which started off pioneering with minimalist lino print style monochrome designs and is exploring a more post-internet leaning style since a year now but in a refreshingly unique way.

>> BUY HERE <<

***

6. 2y (This is Kuduro)

Exactly a year ago, the enigmatic but impressively active kuduro channel and label celebrated its first year of existence with a compilation that we also included in our 8th essential roundup. There are many reasons why This Is Kuduro is an incredibly exciting label and an example for what is lacking so often in music in this age of post-bandwagon cyber-deconstructionist grinding mill culture. ‘This is Kuduro’ is extraordinary in its commitment to supporting both continuity in a genre as a consistent genre and at the same time diversifying the sound within the genre instead of recycling one template as well as building a persistent community around a genre from all over the world, smoothly integrating global bass producers with people from the original kurudo scene. On this compilation you hear Nazar’s dark-industrial sound alongside housy grooves from 2Pekes (Portugal) and Neki (Serbia), festival-EDM bangerism from Round2 (USA) and the unmistakably Lisbon batida flavoured beats from Dj KappaJota (Portugal), Dj Mika (Portugal) and EdiCerelac (Portugal).

>> FREE DOWNLOAD VIA SOUNDCLOUD <<

***

7. KABLAM Furiosa (janus)

Where ‘This is Kuduro’ is a beacon of consistence continuity against the relentless grinding mills of internet, KABLAM’s music is cyber-deconstructionism in its most magnificent form. Categorisable, if possible at all, not as club music but rather as experimental electronica or even as avant-garde ‘classical’ music, her soundscapes draw in drums from genres like hardcore, club, baile funk and reggaeton blended with sampled pop and classical references and eery everyday sounds, which together create a throat-gripping cinematic ambient sound collage that is a powerful, confrontational mirror for our times. In this sense, the Swiss, Berlin based sound artist KABLAM can be called the Western counterpart of what WWWINGS do for the post-soviet world, yet employing an even broader range of elements combinations and vibes. And where Elysia Crampton’s collages are outspokenly explicit narratives about the struggle for justice and WWWINGS’ are outspokenly random, KABLAMs approach is somewhat in the middle. While feminist, anti-fascist and anti-capitalist anger about the world’s state of being is always a driving force, in her music it remains implicit and observing, making the listener feel along but on a deep, subconscious level. The title ‘Furiosa’ is illustrative for this: an allusion to the inspiring fearlessness and decisiveness of the protagonist and anti-patriarchy freedom fighter from the ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ film.

The album mix takes you on a Mad Max-like trip through our own world. Furiosa knows the direction and the mission, you as listener don’t, but you trust her and that takes the fear away.

>> BUY THE FULL ALBUM HERE <<

***

8. Pirata 3 (NAAFI)

Pirata 3 is the third in a series that intend to bridge the bleeding edge avant-garde with the known and familiar, in home country Mexico, in Latin America and also worldwide. This translates into the most unreal mashups of reggaeton, pop and baile funk with hard hitting industrial drums, weird sounds and futuristic synths. Next to established NAAFI members like Lao, Paul Marmota and ZutZut, Imaabs and HiedraH Club de Baile’s Tayhana, but also the forward looking duo Santa Muerte, Mexico City cumbiaton OG Dj Bekman, enigmatic avant-club project Traxmatik and the Brazilian trainblazer Pininga, all of whom have worked with  NAAFI before and now firmly embedded in Latin America’s most exciting, ever extending club music family.

>> FREE DOWNLOAD <<

9. Metaljackets Bulletproof EP (Selegna Records)

Metaljackets is the new duo project of urban-eclectic & bass producer INDISA, whom we’ve supported several times during the heydays of moombahton, together with EDM bangerista SVNCHZ. With this debut on Munchi’s Selegna Records label, a label which is selective with its releases, they have aqcuired a solid place in the spotlights. ‘Bulletproof’ marks an important turning point in the relationship between the Dutch urban-eclectic scene, American EDM and the passionate under-stream remnants of the early ’10s global bass scene. Where the loud festival sound pushed by Mad Decent used to be the almost irresistable magnet force for producers in the global bass family of genres, producers are now returning more towards to the sound of the undergrounds beneath the hypes of the bygone years. And the Dutch scene is doing this together with movements from other parts of the world, more integrated than ever before.

In a time where what Metaljackets describe as “pop-bow”, varying from Justin Bieber to Major Lazer to Drake, reigns supreme, and cyber-deconstructions reign the avant-garde, a growing number of producers is gradually moving back to the original genres that have fed into today’s sonic landscape. Don’t mistake this movement for nostalgia or a lack of innovation. On the contrary, by broadening the sound scope while doing justice to the coherence of genres and avoiding homogenisation, much of this sounds refreshingly new. Much of it is still sitting quite close to festival EDM, with the combined explosiveness of DnB and hardstyle accompanying the persistent punching Dutch-kick tresillos, but it is the notable realness breathing through every vibration on this album that makes all difference.

>> BUY HERE <<

***

10. Loyalty XIX CELICA (Total Trax)

Loyalty XIX, whom I believe is also the owner of the Total Trax label, is a relatively new name and certainly one of the most recognisable pioneers of the avant-garde club movement in Spain. In my experience, one of the characteristic features of the avant-garde club movement, especially when compared to a movement like future-bass/futurebeats, was the tendency towards crude productions, using old vsts that create a subtle retro cyberfuture feeling and DIY/bedroompunk flavoured minimalistic mastering and demo-esque track structures. I must add that this does not at all apply to every artist affiliated to this broad and diverse movement, but on the whole it was characteristic enough to wonder what the industrialistic, cyborgian sound would sound like when combined with the crispy, widely reverbed epicness found in much of the more mainstream corners electronic music. Loyalty XIX’ debut on the Spanish avant-garde label Total Trax is a hint direction. It takes the essence of the cybernetic club formula that has been gradually developing over a long time, but in a way that seems to polish and crystallise it into a blockbusterised version of itself. ‘CELICA’, a reference to the 2006 Toyota sports car as a car to choose in a racing game, is an incredibly powerful experience that, no matter how danceable still, feels like a immersive, haptic gaming experience from beginning to end.

>> BUY THE EP HERE <<

*** *** ***

Ambient trap producer GreyscaleSound drops two horizon broadening future reggaeton beats

GreyscalesoundLogo

GreyscaleSound, a Los Angeles based ambient trap producer and member of the VD$KD collective paves the way for more forward-looking urban-Latin sounds with two futuristic experimental reggaeton beats.

Before finding out about avant-garde club producers like Endgame or Dinamarca, I envisioned a fusion between the futuristic, ethereal soundscapes emotional/cloud/vapor-trap and the rhythmical flavours of dembow, baile funk, tarraxo and the like. On the global bass side of things, this happened only in dribs and drabs, yet the post-internet trap side has been sticking almost exclusively to half-tempo 808 beats all along. Until now.

‘L a t i n T o u c h’ and ‘Un $aludo’ are delicate, crystalline beats that unintendely come very close to the use of dembow in avant-garde club. Now the global bass scene is becoming ever more interested in these futuristic ambient sounds, getting the post-internet underground on board is now hopefully closing the circle!

***

If you dig these futuristic ambient sounds blended with dembow in the broadest sense, check out the new mixtape from the CU)LO collective from Valencia!

***

GreyscalesoundFace

Follow GreyscaleSound:

SOUNDCLOUD
FACEBOOK
TWITTER

Generation Bass Presents: GBMIX#10! Neutrom X

NeutromX

Following the relaunch last month, we continue full force with a highly energetic mix from Generation Bass crew member Neutrom X, based in the western region of Spain. When he joined the team a year ago, he already built a massive following base with his tastemaking Soundcloud repost channel. Neutrom X is involved in the Spanish juke & footwork scene, hosts radio shows on the independent underground broadcasters LIE RADIO and BELOW and is also a member of the Classical Trax community. His signature style is contagious: raw, uptempo beats drawn from different undergrounds like club, global bass, future bass, post-internet and vogue, blended effortlessly with the more breakbeat and techno vibes.

Tracklist:

Brenmar feat. UNiiQU3Hula Hoop (JayTheBiggest Remix)
– False WitnessDip Don (Dubbel Dutch Remix)
ARMEPop It Like A Frog
Dj HookJay Desean Vogue Theme
Break FastDesigner
Draft DodgerStank
Disco DYou Need Another Drink (Elisa Bee Rework)
ARMEBa
BIOSPlenty
Barow XL & TrimmerDangeross
V. Geels feat. MapalmaThunder Track
Traxx RomayCandy Darling (Byrell The Great Remix)
Banginclude & ComradeTo The Floor
FollowbackBurnout
Bok BokFoxtrot (Neana Bootleg)
MorceePinball (Scottie B Unruly Mix)
AHBS1989 (JX Cannon Remix)
ImaabsWhite Noise (Dembow Rework) (Foba Edit)
Black VanillaThrow It Down (Mike Q & Dj Fade Remix)
MC Bin LadenBololo Haha (Banginclude remix)
Clap FrecklesDanza De La Lluvia (Paul Marmota Edit)
NobelTabaatusasula
Minds Alike CollectiveDo It To The Katz (Normaling VIP Edit)
Stroon & FallgrappX-Type
Bored LordBlow Your Mind
ScheeleVacuous
Street TerrorStreets Of Terror
StoltenhoffRajasthan (Original Mix)
OuanounouAgo Ago
Divoli S´VereChild´s Play (Boys Like Princesses)
T_A_MWatty (Tarquin´s Don´t Get Lemon Edit)
FarsightHymn Of Safe Passage (Luru Remix)
Aranha & ParticleSublo (Aranha VIP)
Capo LeeLiff (Cardinal Sound ReLiff)
IDID

***

Follow Neutrom X

SOUNDCLOUD
FACEBOOK
TWITTER

MUSIC, TECHNOLOGY & THE FUTURE PART 3 : Adam Harper, The Interview

AdamHarperEdited

In my own reflections of the direction of innovation in music in the last two years, no one has been a stronger inspiration guidance than the extraordinary Oxford musicologist and music critic Adam Harper. The insightful analyses of groundbreaking developments as well as his personal engagement with the artists that create them recalls the way in which musicologist Wayne Marshall, Harvard lecturer and a close friend of Munchi’s, used to be at the same time a social hub and the academic foundation under the early global bass scene. Wayne was among the first to discern and articulate the common spirit in local interpretations of Jamaican soundsystem cuture, hiphop or dance music and their corresponding youth cultures from marginalised urban neighbourhoods across the world (“global ghetto tech”). In a similar way, Harper early on recognised in the myriad of variations of “post-internet” music and corresponding aesthetics a profound common reaction to indie culture’s obsession with authenticity and organic romanticism – just while the latter was becoming the new mainstream.

Our intellectual focuses have occasionally intersected, such as in the System Focus writeups on the Lisbon based IRL-URL underground or the one on Durban’s gqom. Last month, I had a chat with Harper at the Rewire festival in The Hague, where he interviewed experimental footwork producer Jlin about machines, the human soul and the fascination with cybernetic sounds in today’s wave of club music. I was most curious how he, as an academic and as a person, got involved in this intriguing area where music, technology and society intersect.

AH: My background is in musicology, with some contemporary music mixed in. Like a lot of people my age (29) I came up through a mix of modernist classical music and 90s / 00s electronica. I became interested in music, technology and society because of the need to move musicology into the field of recordings rather than scores etc. I discovered that the aesthetics of recorded music can be very complex, all bound up with different kinds of ideas about the negative effect of technology on ‘art’ and music. This is parter of a larger and really important discussion about what it means to be human.

GB: Isn’t it isolated working such a tradition-minded environment as Oxford? I can imagine it creates a separation between you as an academic observer and the communities and scenes you write about?

AH: Much of the more specialist music-making and -listening here (the kind of underground electronic music I like) tends to get sucked into nearby London, leaving a lot of the more usual UK mixture of folk, indie etc, which has a strong basis in Oxford’s considerable bohemian demographic. The students aren’t really a permanent presence here – they spend half their year away from the University – so even though many of them are getting interested in stranger, more modern things like PC Music it doesn’t really take root in a live scene.

There is a degree of the separation you mention, but it is closing. The major difference between academia and criticism for me is the degree of drinking the discourse on music’s kool aid. I think a good academic has a sense of the bigger, more relative picture, maintains a good degree of critical and theoretical qualification on what they write about – they shouldn’t just be fans that can use jargon. The researcher should have a foot in both camps at least as a starting principle, and then see what forms of knowledge from which camp are most useful. But you can’t avoid becoming part of what you study.

GB: How does that work for you personally?

AH: I try and keep the worlds rather separate. As a critic, I can (and I should) be more wild about my opinions and my language; as an academic, I should be rigorous. I’ve occasionally gotten into odd situations where as an academic I’d feel the need to quote myself as a critic, with that distance given towards the latter. But it would be rather absurd, and it draws attention to the problems of dividing my brain like that…

And in many ways though it’s about professional pragmatics. There are many universities that would hire a slightly boffiny music critic like me as an academic, but they’re far from the majority. For all the enthusiasm there appears to be for blurring these boundaries and bringing in fresh ideas from non-academic discourse, the fact that an academic’s work increasingly needs to be peer-reviewed and subsequently submitted to (in the UK) the Research Excellence Framework in order to be taken seriously remains a major factor and hurdle. No matter how hip you are as an academic, no matter how many gigs you go to or microgenres you’re up on, a blogpost is not going to fly in the REF, and so, ultimately, it’s not going to fly on the job application.

GB: Talking about blogposts, they used to be a principal mediator between artist and listener. If you compare blogs today to other types of media such as the webmagazine, Youtube channels, a forum like Reddit and especially the increasing importance of social media, what do these changes mean for the mediating role of the music writer?

AH: The music writer has become (or should have become) much less of a reviewer and much more of a curator and critic. They needn’t simply evaluate or describe the music on offer, in fact that would be a bit of a waste of time in a world of streaming. Now they can hunt for interesting music that isn’t relatively known yet, and put it in some sort of context for listeners, reflect on aesthetics and provide a commentary.

A lot of people say that opinions don’t matter so much now that anyone can voice them online. That’s a simplistic view of the Internet I think. Eventually, in certain ways, certain voices rise above the online chatter, whatever type of platform they’re on, perhaps.

GB: What are your predictions for the future?

AH: Difficult to say. While their importance might have been reduced, I don’t think the various kinds of musical experts are going to die out any time soon. The future is likely to be busy, and even if they’re able and welcome to, I don’t think many music fans will be able or inclined to spend huge amounts of time finding and thinking about music themselves.

Eventually, in certain ways, certain voices rise above the online chatter

GB: One of your main topics is the contemporary URL punk-like movements. Yet at the same time we seem to be right in the transition phase of the rapid ‘canonisation’ of the post-internet underground in art and music, where Tumblr and Soundcloud artists are lifted into the museums for contemporary art & modern experimental music.

How do you see the relation between culture that is ‘high profile’ and culture that is marginalised? Do you think the ‘punk’ element is disappearing or undergoing a fundamental change lately?

The current generation of innovators, like the artists connected to NON WORLDWIDE, seem to consciously situate their music in the grey area between the electronic underground on the one hand and high art/‘avant-garde classical’ music on the other.

AH: Even in the supposedly ‘flattened’ world of the Internet, there is still something of height difference (even if it’s only an imaginary construction) between ‘mainstream’ culture and ‘alternative / indie / underground’ culture, a gap that is emphasised in aesthetics, practice, ideology and social role. Quite how coherent the non-mainstream communities are in this respect is an open question. But one of the paradoxes of the non-mainstream communities is that they’re often somehow both marginalised and an elite high art thing (which, though heavy on cultural and sometimes actual capital, is still pretty much at the margins, socially). Part of the value of this art / music is that it is (supposed to be) frowned upon by a majority, or an industry, or a technocracy. And in time, this marginalised, frowned upon art / music comes to be canonised. The people who mediate that shift are normally people from slightly bohemian majorities who it would not be wrong to call ‘gentrifiers.’ Look at 70s British punk – in its time a scandal, now a good old British institution. Is it any wonder that its contemporary equivalents sound nothing like it?

GB: Sampling and recontextualisation of sounds and aesthetics are key elements of the punk attitude you describe. Yet, this attitude is also fiercely criticised (frequently by artists themselves) when it is the privileged side that grabs elements from the marginalised side in terms of race, class or sexual identity. Think for example about vaporwave’s orientalism or PC Music’s use of ‘femininity’ as a gimmick.

What are your thoughts about the significance of identity and power in the cybernetic present and future, with its initial expectations of free information and fluid identity?

AH: Yeah – neither a non-mainstream political stance (implicit or explicit) nor an embrace of technological modernity (often in a vaguely anarchistic atmosphere) guarantees a clean bill of ethics. Sampling and recontextualisation are punk in one way, inasmuch as it’s accessible and easy to make and release music with them. But large numbers of people are still unaware of the problems with using someone else’s ethnicity or gender as part of the exoticism and Othering that underground music is so often entranced by. In the examples you describe, the implication is that East Asians are a weirdly hi-tech and/or corporatised people, a frightening mirror into which Westerners can look, or that women and their bodies are somehow more the victims of a superficial modern technoculture.

What matters is not where something is from, but the stories about where it’s from

GB: Simultaneously with the ‘post-internet underground’ and its fluid aesthetics, there was the ‘global bass blogosphere’ that brought sounds of locally based underground youth cultures from many different parts of the world into online circulation. Today, post-internet inspired club music ubiquitously incorporates sounds like baile funk, tresillo or gqom, whereas new youth movements anywhere in the world rarely develop the kind of distinct, geographically based profile any more such as you saw in the past.

How do you see the future role of geographical or physical environments for the development of music, especially now the breakthrough Virtual Reality has the potential to erase physicality even more thoroughly than the web did?

AH: The digitised world (crudely put, the internet, and maybe virtual reality too) can ‘erase’ geography and physicality to some extent, sure, making it easier for distant parts of the world to communicate and influence one another. This, of course, is not new to the internet. Records did the same a century ago. The internet is just faster and broader. But URL doesn’t erase relative novelty and ethnicity (aspects which geography used to contribute, which used to seem virtually synonymous with geography) as being of great aesthetic importance – far from it. Sounds are now more easily unmoored from their actual physical locations and cultural contexts, but authenticity was always ultimately a lie anyway (again, URL just makes it more obvious). What matters is not where something is from, but the stories about where it’s from and how that becomes aesthetics.

GB: If you were a DJ and wanted to make a mixtape to take your listeners on an journey through the essential developments that you have described in your articles, which are the tracks that would most definitely end up in there?

AH: I kind of already have one: though it was very early in relation to my turn to writing about hi-tech and/or online music, I made a mix called ‘The Blue Liquid Mix,’ weaving together lots of stuff that was both hi-tech and from the online underground. It starts with a track called ‘Dreamb0y’ by I AM WATER, which had a huge impact on me. It finally made me convinced that online underground music could not only be technically proficient AND really inventive, but that it could beat the more traditional underground too. Lots of the artists on that mix I would still recommend today. I’d also chuck in some stuff from NON, Her Records, Yen Tech, White Colours, Contact Lens, Activia Benz, Graham Kartna, and more.

***

Follow Adam Harper:

OFFICIAL WEBPAGE
SOUNDCLOUD
TWITTER
TUMBLR