Top Five: Remixes of 2012

Playing with other people’s stuff is often more rewarding than making all of it by oneself. It is a form of communication of styles, and if you know the original track, you can listen in to the conversation led by means of sound. Although, come to think of it – it is more like a comment really, with the remixer saying something about the source material and in this process revealing what was already hidden in the original. And as with every kind of communication, there is also a social aspect involved, a statement about the relationship between the speakers. Given all that, remixes are a fascinating medium and so we decided to give them a Top Five post of their own. Here they are.

Summary

Henje

Shlohmo – Rained the Whole Time (Nicolas Jaar Remix)
Korallreven – Sa Sa Samoa (Elite Gymnastics Remix)
Chromatics – Birds Of Paradise (Amtrac Remix)
LOL Boys – Changes (CFCF Remix)
Lianne La Havas – Forget (Shlohmo Remix)

Dave

Tame Impala – Elephant (Todd Rundgren Remix)
Wild Belle – It’s Too Late (Snakehips Remix)
Matthew Dear – Her Fantasy (Poolside Remix)
ultraísta – Smalltalk (Four Tet Remix)
Kimbra – Two Way Street (Aeroplane Remix)

Jeffrey

Tame Impala – Elephant (Todd Rundgren Remix)
Papa – I Am The Lion King (St. Lucia Remix)
Little Boots – Headphones (Dimitri From Paris Remix)
Shlomo – Rained The Whole Time (Nicolas Jaar Remix)
Summer Camp – Losing My Mind (St. Etienne Remix)

Henje’s Top 5

My most beloved remixers this year are a bit incestuous. They keep remixing each others’ tracks, which is awesome, as most of them are exceptional stand-alone musicians. They have to be, of course, as a good track is what makes a great remix possible in the first place. Being on the same music label helps of course, but it is a tight scene where the sum is bigger than the parts. Someday someone has to make a remix map displaying all the crossroads. But till that time, let me remind you of the most awesome roads built this year.

Shlohmo – Rained the Whole Time (Nicolas Jaar Remix)

A good remix is nearly unrecognizable from the original, and this one is great in that respect. While both are very chill, Jaar did a number on Shlohmo’s track by letting it evolve all throughout its five minute playtime. It rarely stands in one place for long and takes you on a journey through – spaces. Jaar is superb at giving his sounds a texture, playing with dry, direct sounds and just the right amount of reverb to make you feel as it you are attending a small private chamber performance.

Korallreven – Sa Sa Samoa (Elite Gymnastics Remix)

My favorite remix of this year. The way this track brought rave back into my life was a revelation, and although the break is a bit harsh, it just adds to the flavour of it. There is some Whitney Houston on acid thrown into the mix too, pushing it into full retro mode. Korallreven’s original is so very different from it’s array of remixes out there, each of them pulling it into a completely different direction, but this takes the cake.

Chromatics – Birds Of Paradise (Amtrac Remix)

With his remix, Amtrac turned Chromatics’ slow crooner into a full blown daytime house track. Many have remixed Chromatics, but none have so masterfully and smoothly transformed one of their songs. Chopping up the beautiful vocals takes guts, and making it work takes skill, and Amtrac obviously has both. This track is special to me because it is the sound of IBB and typical of my taste in music this year, as Jeffrey stated once.

LOL Boys – Changes (CFCF Remix)

LOL Boys are no more. They broke up this year, but posthumously released a remix EP of their Changes EP on Friends of Friends. There are some fantastic takes on the song on the EP, but CFCF’s smooth mashup with Bruce Horsby’s classic “The Way It Is” stands out. His remix work is very careful and gentle, just like his original tracks. And while his remix of Elite Gymnastics “Here, In Heaven” was epic, this one is way more fun.

Lianne La Havas – Forget (Shlohmo Remix)

Shlohmo remixed everything this year. From Tomas Barfod via LOL Boys to Ryan Hemsworth, he implemeted his drowned out sound and pitched vocals to a lot of the best artists out there at the moment. His style got a bit predictable over time, but he manages to constently find something of his own to add to the different musical styles he takes on. His Jeremih remix was the most popular, but I liked his chill dance version of upstart soul singer Lianne La Havas’ “Forget” the most.

Dave’s Top 5

To be perfectly honest, I was never the biggest fan of remixes prior to this year.  I would steer clear of them all together because I was simply never satisfied with what the remix artist would incorporate to the original track that I had come to adore as a listener.  I was not as active in seeking the out either.  That being said, this blog has exposed me to so much music and so many artists that I was able to discover some really fantastic tracks and these 5 were on heavy rotation for me.

Tame Impala – Elephant (Todd Rundgren Remix)

I’m not sure what else can be said about Tame Impala’s album Lonerism.  It’s a great album and pretty high on my list for 2012 but…wow…this track has changed my opinion about remixes forever.  Producer Todd Rundgren, does everything perfectly with Elephant.   And why not?  The man is an all star musician and sound engineer having produced for 70’s greats from Grand Funk Railroad to Meat Loaf.   The subtle tweaks and fantastic builds make this track epic.

Wild Belle – It’s Too Late (Snakehips Remix)

The information I have on Snakehips (AKA Ollie Dickinson) is pretty limited but I really love this remix.  The original track, from Chicago duo Wilde Belle, was already a great funky groove but Dickinson adds a hip hop beat and plays with Natalie Bergman’s vocals that’s going to make you bounce.  Be sure to check out the soundcloud page for Snakehips for some other great tracks and funky remix of Willie Hale’s Groove On.

Matthew Dear – Her Fantasy (Poolside Remix)

This is a great example of being surprised by what a remix artist can accomplished with a superb original track.  I didn’t have much experience with Poolside when this track was first released.  I had only just started to fall in love with Pacific Standard Time and I was a big fan of Dear’s 2010 LP Black City.  The old me would have looked at this combination and thought this looks like a recipe for disaster but knowing what I know now this match makes perfect sense.  I really enjoy how Poolside focuses in on Dear’s vocals and apply a much more chilled beat that gives it a more upbeat feel.

ultraísta – Smalltalk (Four Tet Remix)

I know I’ve already blogged about this track but Four Tet’s trademark for creating repetitive rhythms by utilizing key elements from the original track was a real eye opener for me this year. I love how he is able to manipulate and twist Laura Bettinson’s vocals in into becoming a part of the beat.  I also discovered that I’m a sucker for a good build which this on has and while it is subtle it will definitely make you want to groove.

Kimbra – Two Way Street (Aeroplane Remix)

Take Kimbra’s masterful skills at creating terrific pop music and apply Aeroplane’s, AKA Vito De Luca, Italo/Nu-Disco magic and the end result is just marvelous.  Some great synths and beautiful beats create a solid foundation while the Belgian DJ does some fantastic work with the vocals turning this track into a wicked dance floor burner.

Jeffrey’s Top 5

Remixes are a tricky thing.  The challenge of building on a pre-existing piece of art is to make changes that improve the total package rather than making it merely different, or worse, simply more muddled than before. Phasing vocal samples, adding percussion that doesn’t juxtapose too harshly with existing elements, all while keeping and improving upon the best parts of the original artist’s work – none of these are easy. The simple fact of the matter is that there are a million bad remixes posted to Soundcloud every year – and only a few that really are an improvement on the original track.  Here are five that, in my opinion, took a track to the next level.

Tame Impala – Elephant (Todd Rundgren Remix)

Tame Impala sit firmly atop many year-end album lists, so improving upon the original material is a difficult task for any musician.  Todd Rundgren has been in the music business for a long time, however, and recognized a lot of potential in those grungy bass riffs and power chord changes of the original.  Rundgren didn’t tinker much – instead, he amped the energy up to 11 and stretched out the build of the guitars out of a spacy haze in order to reach one of the most energizing – and mesmerizing – climaxes of any track all year.


Papa – I Am The Lion King (St. Lucia Remix)

One of the things I love about St. Lucia is that they throw the whole kitchen sink into their remixes.  Bongos, churning synths, sparkly jabs of piano, saxophones – all are welcome if it takes the track to new heights.  On this funnily named ambling indie pop track, St. Lucia build a wall of synth layers that build and fade with the lyrical highs and lows of the song.  A great guitar hook that appears only at the end of the original becomes the central hook of the remix, supplemented and then replaced by new piano and synth lines.  And that’s how a relatively docile indie track becomes a dance floor titan.


Little Boots – Headphones (Dimitri From Paris Remix)

Dimitri From Paris thrive on retro nostalgia, and on this remix of Little Boots’ earwormy “Headphones”, they’ve outdone themselves.  The intro cavalcade of drums could be torn from a mid-eighties New Order record, and whatever that synth sound is that introduces the chorus probably hasn’t been used since Italo went out of style.  The result is immensely more fun than the original track and will have you breaking a move in your florescent baggy pants.  It’s enough to make you want to break out a 12″ of Shep Pettibone remixes to follow.

Shlomo – Rained The Whole Time (Nicolas Jaar Remix)

I can’t help but feel many of the same things about Nicolas Jaar as I do about Brian Eno, not that they paint from the same aesthetic brush.  But both artists utilize understated depth to evoke emotion and envelope a listener.  And Jaar’s work on this Shlomo track is sublimely paced, casing the entire track into the atmospheric patter of rain on leave, substituting the glitchiness of the original with a smooth guitar line, and creating a beautifully balanced percussion track to underlay the whole thing.  It’s a wonderful remix that takes the listener on an entirely different journey than the original.


Summer Camp – Losing My Mind (St. Etienne Remix)

St. Etienne utilize many of the same elements of the original track, a jangly pop song with dark whistles and a back and forth between male and female vocalists reminiscent of The xx.  However, they envelope the song more fully in darkness, using only a low echo of piano and a steady bassline to propel the song toward the chorus, by which time St. Etienne has taken control of the whole track, mangling and distorting vocal samples to heighten the uncomfortable, almost eerie atmosphere.  By the time the vocalist intones “It feels like I’m losing my mind”, St. Etienne throws the track back into darkness, slowly bringing back haunted distorted vocal snippets and a stabbing piano hook as the track churns to its end.  A wonderfully moody remix.

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Top Five: Albums of 2012

Time for the supreme top list category: Our best albums of the year. We decided not to compromise and to make a common list, but instead the three of us will each present their most beloved albums of the year, collected in this one post. That way, we won’t have the mediocrity of some of the list we have seen floating around, plus you get to read about more than just five picks. As with the genre list we published earlier, the albums are not ranked, but in random order. More lists are to follow!

Summary

Henje

John Talabot – ƒIN
Elite Gymnastics – Ruin 4 EP
Ryan Hemsworth – Last Words
Chromatics – Kill for Love
The Gaslamp Killer – Breakthrough

Dave

Poolside – Pacific Standard Time
Chromatics – Kill for Love
Blackbird Blackbird – Boracay Planet EP
Tomas Barfod – Salton Sea
Hundred Waters – Hundred Waters

Jeffrey

How to Dress Well – Total Loss
St. Lucia – St. Lucia EP
Blackbird Blackbird – Boracay Planet EP
Grimes – Visions
John Talabot – ƒIN

Henje’s Top 5

For me, this year was all about branching out – there wasn’t one specific subgenre or style I liked the most or one direction in which my musical interests were developing, but instead there were many different ones I delved in. My choice of the best albums of 2012 reflects this, spanning from house via hip hop electronics to retro-rave and dream pop. Thanks to the work on this blog, I listened to more music than ever before, and an album had to be really great for me to have the leisure and patience to come back to it over and over again – but those here did it.

John Talabot – ƒIN

There was a wave of indignation by many users when GvB didn’t put John Talabot’s fabulous debut album on their Top 50 list a few das ago. And rightly so, because while he didn’t invent a new subgenre or new fat production techniques, he made the most sophisticated house album of the year. Skillfully layering multiple instances upon each other and ever so smoothly progressing, he created dense, rich, elegant rhythm structures and made his distinct percussion style one of the constant companions during the course of this year.

Elite Gymnastics – Ruin 4 EP

These EPs that were on my heavy rotation the most this year. They are a four part series, with the first two parts (containing the originals) released in 2011 and the last two (mostly full of remixes) out this year. They are best consumed as a double feature, as the remixes by some of the greatest artist I discovered for myself this year – like LOL Boys, Recycle Culture and CFCF – are the most fun when you seamlessly experience the way the themes and patterns of Elite Gymnastics source material are picked up and altered in so many different and interesting ways. It is a haunting trip that built a more personal connection to me than any other music in 2012.

Ryan Hemsworth – Last Words

Hemsworth was one of the most prolific and distinctive producers and remixers this year. His “clipping style” – cranking the bass up to eleven and using the distortion as an audio effect in its own right – made me love his debut album from the first moment I heard it. I called him this years Clams Casino, and I stand by it. His style will still have to prove its longevity and versatility, but it shaped my musical landscape for sure.

Chromatics – Kill for Love

Chromatics is the only act that will appear in my Top 5 albums, single tracks and remix lists this year. I guess that makes them my band of the year, but they didn’t overwhelm, and instead slowly snuck up on me. Johnny Jewel’s italo disco was like the slowdance version of the last years “Drive” soundtrack – retro-chic, shimmering and ever so cool. But it managed to erase this connection over time and to stand on its own, as the most interesting pop album of 2012.

The Gaslamp Killer – Breakthrough

The best album off the Brainfeeder imprint this year, The Gaslamp Killer took me by surprise. He seemed so out of the loop of what was going on in the music world right now – reminding more of 1998 than of 1991, and those seven years made a lot of difference – that I underestimated his album off the start. Who still listens to DJ Shadow these days anyhow? But Breakthrough’s flow, rhythmic stance and challenging mixture of sounds made it stick around and become one of my favorite go-to-listens over time.

Dave’s Top 5

Wow, such a fantastic year for music! First, I want to say that none of this would have been possible had it not been for my introduction to turntable.fm. The time I spent online helped expose me not only to new music but some really great people as well. I pushed myself hard to scour the internet for new and delightful music for my queue, especially for those Tuesday sessions that our IBB room was open. Like Henje, my 2012 top 5 album picks are the ones that had repeat value but they also reflect those personal experiences on tt.fm when I felt like I had struck gold. Enjoy!

Poolside – Pacific Standard Time

This may be a bit of a cheat since some of these tracks were released last year but the timing of this album for me was spectacular. The IBB room and blog had just started, the summer was at a full tilt and L.A. duo Filip Nikolic and Jeffery Paradise seemed to have relief from the blistering heat. The funky new disco textures definitely had me daydreaming that I was right there at the pool, chilling out and bobbing my head to the smooth beat.

Chromatics – Kill for Love

It’s not so much the sound that makes this album a part of my list. Don’t get me wrong, with Ruth Radelet’s gorgeous vocals and Johnny Jewel’s helming it’s going to be awesome. However, my favorite part about Kill for Love is its progression with each track. To start with a haunting cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” and then immediately segue into the synth-pop heavy title track is nothing short of amazing. It really is an album that I can play from start to finish and enjoy the juxtaposition of synth-pop gems with the epic abstract tracks.

Blackbird Blackbird – Boracay Planet EP

I’ll admit it. I wasn’t impressed with the first few releases that Blackbird Blackbird produced in the past but I love this new direction that Mikey Maramag has taken with Boracay Planet. It swiftly grabs your attention from the start with a striking guitar sound in “It’s a War” but it maintains that level of interest throughout the rest of the EP and ends nicely with a great acoustic guitar loop on “Happy With You.”

Tomas Barfod – Salton Sea

Another fun record that all you need to do is push play. The beats on Salton Sea provide a great foundation and allow Barfod to play around with a lot of different styles. I’m particularly fond of the track “Broken Glass” that features mixed vocals from fellow WhoMadeWho band mate Jeppe Kjellberg and sounds reminiscent of GLaDOS, the main antagonist from the video game franchise Portal.

Hundred Waters – Hundred Waters

It wasn’t until I started creating my list and going through album after album that I remembered the digital folky Hundred Waters. Originally from Gainesville Florida, the band recently made a jump from a small label to Skrillex’s OWSLA after they completed the Full Flex Express tour that featured Grimes, Diplo, and Skrillex himself. Hundred Waters showcases beautiful vocals and piano by frontwoman Nicole Miglis but is mixed with some dazzling bloops and bleeps. The whole album might be a stretch for some IBB readers but if you’re feeling adventurous take a look at the band’s website and you can stream the whole album. For me it’s the seamless transition from tracks “…___…” to “Boreal” that made got me hooked.

Jeffrey’s Top 5

It was exceedingly difficult this year to choose five top releases in large part because it’s been such an excellent year for new artists. Any of more than a dozen 2012 releases merit praise for pushing the envelope, introducing new production styles to familiar genres in innovative ways, or simply producing pleasing earworms. For this reason, my list skews more toward pop this year, an expansive genre that saw some interesting innovations in the world of bloops and bleeps beyond those included in the four-to-the-floor electropop of top 40 or over-the-top production of dubstep.

How to Dress Well – Total Loss

One of the most exciting innovations of the past two years is the fusion of R&B hooks with ethereal electronica and garage beats. Last year The Weeknd brought this fusion to the mainstream (formally released this year on his Trilogy), and this year saw a variety of stellar releases pursue the same dynamic: Jessie Ware, Frank Ocean, and perhaps most beautifully, How to Dress Well, the pseudonym of Tom Krell, a graduate student in philosophy with a haunting voice and incredibly sharp sense of emotion. Total Loss may be the saddest R&B record I’ve ever heard, but it is so intensely beautiful that every listen is wonderful emotional therapy.

St. Lucia – St. Lucia EP

Of all the stellar debuts by indie dance bands this year (Poolside, Tanlines, etc.), St. Lucia’s six-song EP stands out as the most vibrant, versatile, and ultimately, the most enjoyable pop release of the year. Within 30 seconds of pressing play, the toe is tapping unconsciously, and the irresistable hooks don’t stop until the end of track 6. Layering beautiful background synths with quick stabs of sparkles and team vocals, the band possesses an undeniably retro vibe and the percussion flourishes hint at world influences – a fact confirmed by frontman Jean-Philip Grobler’s international bio (Brooklyn by way of England by way of South Africa). The interplay between quiet and loud moments emphasizes the height of the hooks and makes the whole EP pretty irresistible.

Blackbird Blackbird – Boracay Planet EP

San Francisco’s Mikey Maramag (aka Blackbird Blackbird) keeps up an impressive pace of new releases, offering several new singles and this stunning EP in 2012. Previous albums under the Blackbird Blackbird moniker featured short, catchy electronic instrumentals, almost as if Maramag had so many ideas for melody stems that he had to just push them all out there unfinished. And Maramag also maintains an active Bandcamp page, releasing one-off singles every month or so. All of which is to say that Boracay comes as a surprise – not because it is good (and it is more than good) – but because there are complete (and long!) songs here, filled out with guitar and vocals to augment the catchy synth hooks. “It’s a War”, “All”, and “Happy With You” are brilliant tracks, all worthy of consideration for end of year lists.

Grimes – Visions

When I reviewed the Grimes album back in March, I wrote that Visions maintains pop sensibilities and airiness while incorporating the sound textures common in the UK Garage genre. In interviews, Claire Boucher (aka Grimes) is open about culling influences from all over, a fact evident in the miming of various genre song structures and sounds (garage, synth-pop, euro-dance, IDM, R&B, etc.). As if to put emphasis on the album’s eclecticism, Boucher even includes a subtle sample of a classical piece by Mozart on “Nightmusic”, washing it in distortion and static. The traditional pop structure is in place, but the elements of sound in each track are completely turned inside out, leaving only Boucher’s sweet sing-song voice and cheerleader-esque callbacks intact. The melody and percussion of Visions sounds as if it has been zeroed-out in post-production and brought back to life through the application of some ethereal reanimation technique. Visions exists somewhere in the netherworld between the disjointed sound-smithing of Aphex Twin and the bubblegum of Katy Perry. Who would have thought it would work so well?

John Talabot – ƒIN

Released on Valentine’s Day in February, when much of the northern hemisphere was beginning to emerge from winter slumber into the spring thaw, ƒIN begins in the jungle and takes a listener on an intimate journey equally at home wandering empty city streets as packing a crowded nightclub. When I reviewed ƒIN back in February, I wrote that Talabot’s productions may be rooted in the balaeric house of his native Spain, but his work on ƒIN occupies a logical space between the dance scene and the more intellectual compositions of shimmery indie pop electronicists like Gold Panda, Apparat, and Caribou. Where Talabot finds particular success is his incorporation of mid-tempo house and nu-disco structure to unique ambient textures and sampling – from tribal drum patterns to the use of jungle frog and bird noises to introduce the sinister opener “Depak Ine.” The result is raw and organic, and many of the tracks on ƒIN rise up from ambient noise and completely envelope the listener. A lasting work that is worthy of being 2012’s best.

Best Remix: Feadz & Kito "Wettex" (Cashmere Cat Remix)

Ed Banger’s Feadz  & Kito released their “Electric Empire EP” this year, and in the best Ed Banger tradition it contained the bass thumper Wettex. The track now got a treatment by everybody’s darling and upshot producer Cashmere Cat, Norway’s Magnus August Høiberg. It was a job for a three track remix EP, out last week, and he cleaned the track up real nice. He then sparkled some gripping synths, claps and snaps on top and turned the thing into a stellar piece of trap pop. His own debut album “Mirror Maru” is out on Pelican Fly now.

Top Five: Genres of 2012

It is December, the time for mulled wine, family and christmas frenzy. And the time to look back on the year and make some lists. As quality trumps quantity, we decided not to give you the top 50 everything – where you fly over the list and end up only feeding your ego by looking for stuff you regonize, saying: “Hey, you got taste, and I got taste! Aren’t we a cool bunch?” – but to limit ourselves to the best five things in different categories, without ranking them. This way, you can give those some thorough listens and real consideration.

First off are my favorite genres of 2012, and of course they are all dead, or dying. There are two ways “indie” genres die, and that is by lack of interest, or an overabundance of it. Either it does not get popular and won’t gather enough input and dies of inbreeding, or it gets too popular, bastardized and killed by its mutant offsprings. Well, those are some views on it, at least. Let’s try to take a calmer approach, and to not get rushed by the average one year internet lifecycles and overeager hipster discrimitations.

Synthpop

The indie-kids finally learned to play the keyboards again, or at least learned how to use Ableton Live. As with most trends, this one has been going on for some time, but it peaked and maybe already went downhill this year, the most prominent example being Passion Pit’s “Gossamer”. Others that come to mind are Grimes, Alt-J, Chairlift and ::M∆DE::IN::HEIGHTS::. All no favorites of mine, but 2012 wouldn’t have been the same without them.

Retro-Rave

The nienties were back with force this year, and one of the most interesting developments was the resurgence of rave and drum’n’bass sounds. It is still going hot and has room to flourish, if you ask me, with acts like Physical Therapy, Recycle Culture and Elite Gymnatics hopefully on the brink of a bigger breakthrough.

Seapunk

Closely related to this new rave delopment is what has been called #seapunk. It is more of a visual style though, using early nineties internet videos, manga images and aquatic themes overall. While mostly a closed internet community, it was coined for the public by last year’s #Seapunk Vol.1 by Coral Records Internazionale and gained a boost in attention by Rihanna using the retro-imagery in her SNL appearance this year. Musically, seapunk is related to rave, R&B and trap music.

Trap Music

Speaking of trap, here is where the party was this year. Originating from southern hip hop scenes, what is now called “trap” is dismissed by purists are being on its way to becoming the new “brostep”, i.e. something that the EDM kids ruined for everyone else. Featuring dry snares, bass builds and drops as well as high pitched vocals, trap is made for the dancefloor. It wasn’t helping its reputation that Skrillex recently turned his style this way, but there was some serious thrust behind this genre in 2012, with Diplo, Hudson Mohawke, Flosstradamus and RL Grime at the helm.

Vaporwave

And finally, developing out of hypnagogic pop, vaporwave is an underground phenomena just like seapunk. Traced back to Daniel Lopatin’s “Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1” from 2010 it gained some traction by finding a home in L.A. label Beer On The Rug lately, although most artists are still self-releasing. Running by the motto “The Future That Never Was”, vaporwave is nostalgic in its core, and anti-capitalist in the old Marxist sense that you have to accelerate capitalism to the end of its own destruction. It mainly consists of late eighties and early nineties sound relics, alienated by recontextualizing, changing tempo or pitch, or simply chopping everything up. Artists are INTERNET CLUB, MediaFired™, VΞRACOM or Macintosh Plus. One of my favorites is ROMCOM.

Talented: Mensa Group International/luxury elite / Red Army / Eaves

This months talented music submissions are all in a nostalgic lo-fi jazz mood, just in time to curl up in bed while the cold is held outside. And the good thing is, the tracks presented below are from albums that are free, pay what you want or do cost only one buck, plus you can tell your friend that you knew them first. The records are all out for some weeks now, be reason being that I like to give all submissions multiple listens over time to see what really sticks.

Mensa Group International and luxury elite are two vaporwave acts that released a split EP last month, and as far as vaporwave records go, the two parts of this EP are pretty consistent and thematically framed. The Mensa Group International part is creating something called an “Atlas of Fictional Islands”, where each track is a different part of an imaginary archipelago. luxury elite’s second part “Customer Service” is even more streamlined with not only the titles being “thank you for holding” or “your call is very important to us”, but even sounding like being on hold in the late eighties or early nineties, distorted in the vaporwave fashion.

Red Army is a bedroom production project by Brooklyn’s Dan Kessler, with his third self-released record Church featuring eleven chill electronic jazz tracks of various lenghts. Being lo-fi, experimental and instrumental, they all evaporate that certain nostalgic odour that you can either get lost in or find yourself concentrating on throughout the whole play time. Reminding a bit of the playful rigour of early Tortoise records the later, shorter tracks can get a bit repetitive, but I find myself coming back to this record again and again.

Eaves finally is a seventeen year old newcomer from L.A. trying to follow in the big footsteps of Gold Panda, as it seems. His second EP You is out on PH2 Records now and he does such a good job juggling changing beats and warm piano patterns that I can’t help but draw a line to the master himself. Maybe he stays a little too close to GP sometimes, but he is courageous enough to shift gears, to incorporate some hip hop at one point and to glitchingly bleep your ears into oblivion in the end.

Best Video: Nosaj Thing "Eclipse/Blue" (Feat. Kazu Makino)

In preparation for his sophomore album release, LA producer Nosaj Thing, AKA Jason Chung, teamed up with artist Daito Manabe to create a music video for the single Eclipse/Blue featuring vocals by Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino. The result is a mind-blowing phantasmagoria that had me saying ‘Wow, how did they do that?’ Credit belongs to tt.fm friend Mad Johnny for sending me the original link. I’ve also included a short interview with Manabe and Chung about the project conducted by support group The Creators Project. Enjoy!

http://thecreatorsproject.com/blog/witness-daito-manabes-surreal-dance-experience-for-nosaj-things-eclipseblue-exclusive-video-premiere

Upcoming Release Alert: Memory Tapes "Grace/Confusion"

It won’t be long now until Dayve Hawk (alias Memory Tapes) will release his third album “Grace/Confusion”, and he is turning up the heat. After sharing a second track from the album recently (“Neighborhood Watch”, below), he now put another rarites, B-sides and remix collage on his Soundcloud. The “Displaced Mix” is more lively than the mix he shared last month, and further leads the way the two singles showed before, and that is, that the upcoming album could get louder than his previous albums.

For those not familiar with Memory Tapes, let me recap that Hawk’s previous longplayers Seek Magic (2009) and Player Piano (2011) were full of sometimes laid back, sometimes playful electronic intimacy, albeit with a little too much naivity from time to time. His music seems to have matured though, and his palette of sounds has gotten richer. This mix is another testimonial of that, so listen to it below and don’t miss the great Tame Impala remix he hid at 10.53 mins. (EDIT: The “Displaced” Mix had to be taken down. It was replaced by, well, “Replaced”.) “Grace/Confusion” will be out on Carpark on December 4th and my expectations are pretty high now.