Magnificent releases keep coming at a faster pace than we can blog. Last time I tried to post everything immediately and summarise in the Essentials compilation but now I already have to give up, even though I’m still trying. Every single one of this list would have deserved a separate place on the blog. Pay attention to them as if these were all indivual posts!
1. Rizzla – Iron Cages EP
We know Rizzla from Brooklyn as a member of the collective around the KUNQ microgenre. Nowadays he is one of the leading figures in the avant-garde club scene in the US and has now released his new EP with the influential tastemaking label Fade to Mind, the first single of which, ‘Twitch Queen’, appeared in August this year. In an interview with The Fader, the director of the Twitch Queen video, described the EP as a contemporary cyberpunk story about “an unidentified protagonist who seeks to escape from earth due to the ongoing collapse of society.”
“Playing off of the undulating rhythms of the titular track, the video ebbs and flows with a feeling of relaxed calamity and the perhaps foolish hope for utopia elsewhere. While drifting, the protagonist encounters a vaguely ominous orb of light just in the distance as the second track bellows ‘I want to corrupt you tonight.’ The audience is then immediately transported into scenes of violence, police brutality and abandonment. The charged momentum of the beat fuels the disaster and abjection that’s taking place on screen, showing the need for this ‘Iron Cage.’ The footage serves as one of the artifacts that has survived.”
Iron Cages EP is another very powerful example of the avant-garde club sound, where diverse familiar club sounds including reggaeton, kuduro and RnB are transformed into a surreal, virtual and dystopian experience.
2. Track Meet – Track Meet Compilation 03
The Dallas-based avant-garde label Track Meet is quickly joining the ranking of the major tastemakers. This is already the third compilation they released since their starst in 2011. Even though, in line of labels such as NAAFI and Staycore, they have been working with urban-latin elements for a long time, scene-wise global/tropical bass and ‘club trax’ have remained (and often still are) worlds apart. The exciting thing is that this compilation now does includes a two of artists coming from the scene known as global/tropical bass: the Generation Bass affiliated alrounder Banginclude and tribal evolution innovator DJ Giovanni Rios, next to names from the ‘club trax’ scene such as Classical Trax member Vaphoree from Spain and ‘post-arabic’ producer HABIBIBOI!
3. Pobvio – Syndombe Club EP
This 6 track EP, with remixes from the NAAFI afiliated Chilean producers Imaabs and Lechuga Zafiro, has been out for a while on the Lechuga Zafiro‘s fresh own SALVIATEK label and is a shame it hasn’t featured on Generation Bass so far. Especially because it is the exact and perfect fusion between the kind of initiatives (reworking traditional folkloric music in an electronic settting) that our blog has been enthusiastic about since the very start, and the world of avant garde club music that, as we can say with confidence now, has fully replaced ‘bass’ as the new centre of gravity.
‘Syndombe Club’, brainchild of the Uruguayan producer Pobvio takes the Afro-Uruguayan candombe drumming as its inspiration. But no dub, heavy bass growls or Dutch lasters here, but melodic, tubular synths and ethereal scapes that breath the mechanical ambiance of avant garde club. ‘Ta Maluca’ even breathes an Andean folkloric atmosphere melody-wise, that reminds of yet stays very different from the electrofolklore that has been from the Andean countries for a long time now. With Syndombe Club EP, several worlds of music are bridged once and for all. If there had to be any basis from where top build a global-club sound for the future, this would be a perfect place to start.
4. MM – MM EP [correction: ‘5 Rivers’ is a track from the EP but not, as my main image suggests, the title of the EP]
MM is the new moniker of the London based artist formally known as Miss Modular and this 5-track self titled EP is the first release of the artist’s rebirth under this new name & identity, on the artist’s self-run label Her Records. Style wise, it follows in the same unique fusion of styles as Syndombe club EP, with much heavier focus polyrhytmic percussion than usually found in avant garde club. The comparison goes further than just a similarity in sound, as Lechuga Zafiro makes an appearance on this EP as well. The skeletal rhythms on the EP can be traced back to UK funky, Portuguese batucada, soca and 3ball are blended in with delicate mechanical sounds that here, even more than in Syndombe Club, create a dark, cyberpunk flavoured ambiance. In the track titles, cryptic allusions are made to a deeper layer meaning which I cannot get behind well enough to start interpreting.
5. #weirdkids – #weirdkids 002
#weirdkids is a new netlabel run by endlosKosmos, tru luv and DJ FLP, who have managed to draw many exciting producers towards their label from different forward-looking backgrounds, including the remnants of the post-internet underground, the avant garde club / ‘trax’ scene and the netlabel world such as represented by URL Future. This is the second official #weirdkids compilation with 16 diverse tracks from upcoming names such as future beats producer Pixelord (Hyperboloid Records), club prodigy Monotronique (Classical Trax) and indie-bass alrounder Squirrely Bass (Lush Selects).
Style wise too, all these backgrounds flow together in a spectrum varying from future beats and bubblegum bass to ethereal vapor trap and club, sometimes even combined in one single track. #weirdkids is a label to watch, a step ahead of the rest by bringing the several movements together that are all still making their way into the mainstream sound of today.
6. Gingee – Tambol EP
The one release that we have in fact supported separately on the blog could of course not be left out from this compilation of essentials. About this gem from LA-based Filipino-American producer, vocalist and percussionist Gingee, I wrote last month:
‘Tambol’ means ‘drum’ in Tagalog, the Filipino language. The 5 track EP is built around dembow as the central vibe, diversifying into different tempos and grooves and involving synth as well drum elements from genres as diverse as house, dancehall, hiphop, meditative ambient and even feature some oldskool turntable-scratching. Gingee shows once again her independent creativity which will definitely set an example for everyone in the global bass movement!
7. Julito Balacera meets Andrés Digital – Rakataka
With every release from Regional label from Chile I realise how much music owes to them, including me personally. For this project, the German cumbia producer and Tropicalbass blogger Andrés Digital did a project in Panama where he teamed up with the Panamanian MC Julito Balacera for a project fusing the flavours of global/tropical bass from the last 5 years with oldschool reggaeton, starting with two cumbiaton riddims from Andrés himself, later extended with remixes from El $abor, Erick Jaimez, Fake Moustache and Tribilín Sound. The EP appeared last month as an official collab between Regional and Tropicalbass.com.
Now something different but nevertheless important. Witchhouse is making a comeback, resurrected as a mature genre instead of a gimmick (more gothic, less hipster, which is a very good thing) and since we’ve been planning a regular dark feature on the blog, here already a taste of what you can expect.
OKKVLT KɅTT is a witchhouse band who are very much part of this comeback movement. Just a week ago, they started performing live shows again with their newest band member, singer Emily Acid. I didn’t want this EP, a collab with the Russian vocalist Masha Petrova, to escape the radar unnoticedly, especially not because of the involvement of one of our all-time favourite experimentalists, Shinji a.k.a. bedtime stories!
Check out an impression from their live performance here, hosted by the Cardiff based formation †RIɅLS!
9. EndlosKosmos – 444,100 hRz
Yet another #weirdkids release here, from label co-owner endlosKosmos who describes her radically experimental sound as ‘dreamwave’ and ‘cosmic’ but usually avoids genre descriptions altogether. Unique is the way in which she builds patterns out of the edited snippets of samples put together in a way that remains indeterminate but creates a rhythm-like groove at the same time. The result is a hypnotising sound-caleidoscope which brings to mind many, more and less familiar atmospheres, without ever literally resembling anything. EndlosKosmos is a promising producer whose music may not be the most immediately accessible but whose creativity to imagine and create something unique has only just started to manifest.
10. ALUPHOBIA – AFRIKA
The Hungarian alrounder Aluphobia is a new name on Generation Bass. Out of the Hungarian electronic underground he has been lifted into the Global Bass scene by Stas‘ label BABYLON Records, where he appeared earlier with a contribution to a remix EP.
Unlike Monotronique’s similar titled EP from a while back, ‘Afrika’ takes a rather maximalist approach to its theme. Each track is polished with many different elements and influences, varying from ambient soundscapes and energetic lead synths to distorted central African mbira melodies and vocals. Overally, accessible techno grooves are a constant connecting factor, which makes this EP actually one of the few prominent introductions of techno into the global bass scene.