While you and I were sleeping, a lot of brilliant stuff has been released again. Making a selection is always painful. Excellent new stuff is appearing so fast that this series can hardly keep up with it. Even as I’m writing this post, I’ve got at least another five EPs in store for the next edition. But these 12 made it through this time, all of them exciting examples of where the underground of music is heading in 2015.
1. DJ Dotorado – African Scream EP
Within a year since it first appeared, DJ Dotorado Pro‘s track African Scream is becoming somewhat of a genre classic of the new kuduro and afrobeats movement, being remixed into different genres and widely used for dance vids in different European and African countries. Last month, Enchufada re-released the original track, together with a kizomba remix and a free rework.. An absolute must-play on the dancefloor this summer!
2. Nidia Minaj – Ta Sair um Vento Aqui
The name of Nidia Minaj is rising and rising, providing recent mixtapes for the influential London based Radio channel Rinse FM and for Daniel Haaksman’s Luso FM. Last month, she released a fresh 2-track EP with 2 variations on a theme. Unique grooves, sometimes reminiscent of DJ Nigga Fox’ style but always with her own, original touch to it. If there is anybody who will certainly shape the future of music, it’s her!
3. Endgame – Endgame EP
Endgame is a London based DJ-producer who has barely been on our radar yet. Shame on us, because he is one of the most innovative folks on soundcloud today, part of the London avant-garde together with names you must follow like Blaze Kidd, Kamixlo, Uli-K and Lexxxi. Their radically forward-looking style that draws from reggaeton, dancehall, future-grime, post-internet vapor-trap and Tumblr-aesthetics is being discovered now by the biggest fish like Mixmag and Mixpak FM.
Two weeks ago, he released a spectacular EP on the Portuguese netlabel Golden Mist Records, featuring contributions of Blaze Kidd, Uli-K and Dinamarca. What makes this EP even more exciting is that the combination of the London Underground with the NAAFI-affiliated producer Dinamarca, releasing on a Lisbon based label, perfectly connects three of the most important hotbeds of cultural innovation in the entire world today: London, Lisbon and Mexico City!
4. Imaabs – Distancia
Imaabs is an exciting avant-garde name from yet another innovation hotbed, Chile, who is also on the radar of NAAFI, Golden Mist Records and the London based avant garde label Trax Couture. Three weeks ago, he released a fresh EP with psychedelic, futuristic sounds drawing from styles like dembow, cumbia, juke, trap cinematic ambient, and futurebeats, including a great remix from the Mexican futurist lao!
Not only the London-Lisbon or Mexico City-London-Lisbon connection is in the air, also the Netherlands-Portugal connection is growing, not only in tarraxo and afrobeats but also in dark-future-trap. The Netherlands has been a musical innovation motor for generations now and is still leading in many ways, especially the cities of Rotterdam and Tilburg.
We’ve been following BLVCK and Gameface‘s dark trap for a while now and since we first blogged it has grown into the new generation of trap that will hopefully completely wash away festival-EDM trap soon. For this new EP that came out last week, BLVCK teamed up with the Portuguese dark trapper Bruno Alison. The powerful combination of gripping cinematic choir chants, hard melodic synths and turnup flavoured 808 beats has been brought to perfection, with even some subtle hints to avant garde future-grime and kuduro.
6. Quixosis – Aguas EP
Something more friendly now but equally exciting. Quixosis, an ambient-chill producer from Quito, Ecuador released a fresh EP some weeks ago with the latin-folk-tronic collective QTZLCTL, featuring a remix by the Spanish organic-tronica producer Gorka Molero. Aguas EP is a meditative, purifying journey, guided by sparkling, dreamy melodies and soft, downtempo percussion, inspired by the sounds and landscapes of the Andes. While most tracks are deep and gentle, ‘Cuchara de Palo’ explores energetic, distorted vibes, with mindblowingly mysterious vocal samples that sound like they’re coming from a witch house track.
7. Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia – 1989
While writing this post, I discovered that this is in fact a re-release of an EP that originally came out in 1989 on the now no longer existing Dutch platform Katharos Foundation. Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia is a mysterious early techno collective from Tilburg, the Netherlands who have been releasing the most forward looking electronic music between the late 80s and early 2000s. Their dark, experimental style contains elements of genres like oldskool industrial, detroit techno and tribal techno and predates the current day industrial techno, avant-garde bass and the aesthetics of witch house by more than three decades. Especially pay attention to the first track ‘Acid Dervish’, which combines industrial techno with percussive flavours of samba! I’m definitely not a nostalgic romanticist who thinks the past is always superior to the present, but I hope with all my heart that the fusion of global rhythms with dark music will bring these vibes back to the dancefloors!
This EP is the ultimate collectors item, recorded on tapes of which there are just a couple for sale in the the entire world. If you want to have it, you can buy it here for 150 Euros or 150 Canadian dollars. The music is so mindblowingly good that it’s probably worth the price!
8. Zenwan – Ayahuasca Icaro EP
Generation Bass’ focus on Latin America, African and Europe is extending towards the Middle East and Asia lately, but China is a country we’ve barely touched upon. I got interested in the city of Guangzhou, very recently when talking to DJ Zhao. The city, situated North of Hong Kong, a little upstream of the river, is a vibrant place where not only migrants from many other regions of China can be found but also the country’s largest community of African labour migrants.
I found out that the city is home to a passionate collective of DJs-producers and promoters of the best wuality, forward-looking music, called Guangzhou Underground. They’ve been very active lately, releasing great stuff multiple times per month. This EP, from the eclectic deep producer Zenwan, was what blew my mind most of all their recent releases. I couldn’t figure out where the producer is from, I originally thought him to be Chinese but I’m not so sure judged by his facebook. Anyway, Ayahuasca Icaro EP is a magnificent collection of forward-looking sounds. It’s not entirely juke, not entirely future-garage and not entirely future deephouse, but something in between. Not even umbrella term ‘future bass’ could cover it entirely. It’s truly a melting pot of complex, UK garage inspired rhythms both a deep and a dark, grimey avant-garde touch at the same time.
The EP will be officially reased the 25th of May, we will keep you updated!
9. Santa Muerte – Bootlegs & Edits Vol.2
Another quickly rising name in the music avant-garde is the Houston based duo Santa Muerte. Their unique style is a lot like the London underground, fusing the urban flavours of reggaeton and street-hiphop with future grime and a dark witch house flavoured twist. Their philosphy, where the rapidly spreading Mexican Saint Death religion becomes the embodiment of the transformation taking place of today’s underground expression, is a powerful insight in the future of music and culture. Can’t wait to see them working together with London producers like Endgame and Kamixlo and the NAAFI crew.
10. Pobvio – Syndombe EP
Pobvio is an experimental ambient producer from Montevideo, Uruguay, who draws extensively from polyrhythmic, tribal percussive vibes. Syndombe EP is his newest creation which came out last month. Fresh compared to his older work are the oldskool flavoured melodic synths that sometimes come close to retro-synthwave, another genre that’s on our radar now and which we love to see fused with transnational beats. I also like the way he integrated a baile funk beatbox into the track ‘Soldombe’.
We saw the Polish experimental techno duo TRNAH x CRPT shortly ago with their exciting Dark Is Better LP. Now they are back with a new release which isn’t technically an EP but a compilation of the most important tracks released separately by the either halves of this hyper productive duo. Like last time, their style is so radically open minded that there is no description that captures all tracks at once. Expect a lot of cinematic dark ambient soundscapes, polyrhythmic mid- and downtempo beats and electrifying bass sounds. Expect great things from them in 2015!
13. 食品まつり a.k.a. Foodman – Midi Footwork
This EP from the Japannese producer 食品まつり a.k.a. Foodman is so radically experimental that few DJ’s will dare to spin this on a saturday night out. But in the midst of all dark, powerful futuristic stuff that is becoming the sound of the generation, I really had to include something which is both unique and interesting enough to keep a serious eye on and at the same time the perfect to blow off some steam and finish this post lolling my lungs out. Done with EDM hipsters who tag their stuff as ‘fuckgenres’.. “Bruhh, do you even midi footwork!”