Glasgow producer Rustie has chosen to stream his new album “Green Language” in a nowadays not-so-new, but still fun way – as a browser-game. You run through a nineties-style pixelated landscape and activate separate tracks off the album by reaching certain pylons. “Up Down” is playing while you have to jump from platform to platform, you fly to the track “Raptor” and have to find your way through a maze to “Let’s Spiral”. Every time you touch a new pylon, the last song stops and the next starts, and what seems like an annoyance first, is basically what the album itself is like. Fade-ins and changes, emerging sounds and rhythms, tries, errors and successes.
Just like with any soundtrack, it is hard to shake the images and the experience of the mini game from the sounds afterwards – which is extra value, of course, but it makes reviewing the sounds on their own that much harder. Anyway, if you know Rustie’s debut “Glass Swords” from 2011 or his BBC Essential Mix, you basically know what you are getting with “Green Language”, too: Everything. Sweet synth melodies, bass thumps, guest singers and rappers (including Danny Brown, below), experimental drafts, ambient sounds, 8bit bleeps and trap hooks. His first album didn’t invent anything new, and this does neither, but once again, he get’s the mix right. In a very charming way, “Green Language” doesn’t want to be more than it is, doesn’t overstay its welcome, and thereby is thoroughly enjoyable. It is the underdog among Warp‘s fall releases by Aphex Twin, Hudson Mohawke and Flying Lotus. But so far, I am rooting for the underdog.
This one brings back memories. Travis Steward aka Machinedrum, one of today’s most talented electronic musicians remixed the nineties classic tune “Six Days” off DJ Shadow’s
debut album “Endtroducing…” sophomore album “The Private Press” (Thanks for the correction, Daniel), and he brings some alarm to the track. He underlined the soft percussion and harp melodies with a harder and faster breakbeat pattern, claps and a grimey vocal sample, and does so without destroying the original vibe. A perfect example of how a remix should be done. The song is the third and last track on an EP released on DJ Shadow’s new imprint Liquid Amber and streamable in full on his website.
Arcade Fire’s “Afterlife”, one of the best tracks on last year’s “Reflektor” album, gets a treatment by Aussie shooting star Flume. On paper, it looks like quite a combination: Indie superstars meet electronic music big room banger. In reality, it ended up being quite a departure for Flume, as instead of the sweet, short and tightly wound tracks he usually delivers, this remix ended up being a ten minute meditation on vocal repetition, choral ambience and skittering breakbeats. The problem is, Flume dug a bass hole for himself in the past years, pulled all of the ADHD kids in with him, and now it is difficult to climb out of it. Musically, the result is not especially interesting, but seeing the supporters and haters trying to come to grasp with this Flume remix – and leaving their marks in the Soundcloud comments, below – might bring an evil grin on your face.
Here’s another great summer mix, this time by Young Adults – the LA label, not the Massachusetts indie band, mind you. Their name instantly rang a bell, and yes, they played a Boiler Room set with LOL Boys, Groundislava, Shlohmo etc. two years ago. I lost sight of them in the meantime, but with this mix of mostly unknown, laid back house tunes, they are definitely back on my radar. Just after the 30 min mark comes the real good stuff, and they keep it up until the very end. It was “recorded with love while my daughter hazel slept in the other room. all vinyl, one take, slightly sloppy.” That’s the way it ought to be.
In case you missed Philippine newcomer Eyedress so far, let me tell you that the 23-year-old Manila resident – real name Idris Vicuña – released one of the most interesting albums/mixtapes of 2014 this spring. The debut “Hearing Colours” contained 30 minutes full of Chromatics-like italo-disco and lo-fi synth crooning, and now there are 16 more minutes on Soundcloud, as he uploaded his new EP “Egyptian Night Club” today. And just like the album, he has announced that he is going to give it away for free. For now, listen on his Soundcloud, below.
Ever since his Blowing Up The Workshop mix from last year, people pay attention when Brooklyn deep house producer Galcher Lustwerk presents a new mix. Today, he uploaded one hour of “Sad Summer” tunes on his Soundcloud. It isn’t as dark and trippy as the Workshop mix – it mostly not even contains house tracks, but laid back R&B, hip hop and even dream pop songs. It works though if you just want to relax for a bit and let your mind float. He announced on his tumblr that he “will probably take this down in a few days”, so hurry and give it a listen while you still can.
Outside, a hard and warm summer shower had just ended. Inside, the medium-sized club Gretchen in Berlin was perhaps at half capacity with an audience of two hundred, and here, the rain started again. It was unusual dark in the club, even before the show started with the ten minute loop of a rain sample, and after Dean Blunt entered the stage amidst the loud, wet soundscape, he gave what can only be described as a top notch performance of anxiety and overcompensating confidence. Strolling around on the stage, doing nothing but stare calmly, yet nervously for the next few minutes, he set the tone for what was to come.
The show was not for the faint of heart, or for the narrow minded. It was half of an art show and half of an sensory rollercoaster, with a hint of a pop concert thrown in the mix. There was a muscular guy, for example, standing in the back of the stage, sometimes leaning against the wall, sometimes standing around freely, but never doing anything of purpose for the concert. At times, Blunt took his place and let the music play – which was from tape for the whole show, except for a saxophonist and Joanne Robertson with a guitar. Sometimes he sang through the heavy fog from the machine, or rather spoke – or whatever: it was his typical sprechgesang.
If one had to interpret, had to name a topic or two for the show – and the art aspect invited such an approach – it would be “wastefulness” and the above mentioned overcompensation. As on his albums and mixtapes, the songs often ended abruptly or noise samples interrupted the sweet melodies, and after another rain interlude in the complete dark and foggy club, a heavy strobe light set in, changing pace to the pitch of the noise and lasting well over ten minutes into the next two (and last) songs. It was complete sensory overload where you couldn’t decide whether to cover your ears and eyes or let it wash over you, swallow you whole. The show ended abruptly after a little more than an hour, but it felt like a whole night out. Or a life out.