Dutch producer Martyn brings stripped-down, rolling four-on-the-floor dance grooves, on mostly 5-6 minute tracks that are supported by repeated melodic phrases, whose timbre changes over the duration of the track. Each tune is strong sonically & melodically, and Martyn’s ear for subtle transitions, layering & detailed sound design shines through. The only drawback is that a lot of these beats may seem drawn out & repetitive to some radio listeners.
Favorite Tracks: Drones (4), Two Leads And A Computer (6), Forgiveness Step 2 (7)
Xeno & Oaklander are a Brooklyn-based duo who combine pulsating retro/electro analog synth beats in the vein of Kraftwerk with floaty, reverby female vocals to create a very effective false sense of nostalgia. Their whole aesthetic seems to be a kind of throwback to German & French pop music of the 80s (read: 99 Luftballons), with added influence from more modern minimal techno & house music.
from his bandcamp: "On Ultraviolet, Sadistik closes his eyes tight and reaches out towards the peripheries of perception through introspection and psychedelic escapism, transcribing the vivid images crawling on the dark purple walls of his Seattle studio."
The strong imagery and creativity of Sadistik’s lyrics, peppered with horror & sci-fi references, come together with deep, melodic & lushly layered beats for a cinematic, often epic feel.
Favorite Tracks: Cult Leader (1), Cubic Zirconia (5), Death Warrant ft. Sticky Fingaz & Tech N9ne (11)
Philadelphia-based producer King Britt, under the alias Fhloston Paradigm (a The 5th Element reference), delivers sprawling, imaginative, pulsating & futuristic compositions, taking inspiration from classic sci-fi soundtracks like Blade Runner for his sonic palette. With epic chords, floaty vocal features, and pulsing beats & bass, the best tracks on here are immersive & expansive while remaining danceable.
Somewhere in the limbo between the death of UK Garage raves in the late 90s and the emergence of bass-heavy, speaker-crushing dubstep in the mid aughts, dance music producers like Wookie were making sounds that removed much of the poppy cheesiness of what garage had become & repurposing the sexy, shuffling rhythms of the music with harder beats, more complex grooves, and darker basslines. One of the pioneers of what came to be known as 2-step, Wookie’s beats are intricate, groovy and oh-so-wonky, and his melodic elements (violin stabs, squelchy synths, even vocals) tend to have a highly percussive nature, further boosting the rhythm. The datedness of some of the vocals is an admittedly minor drawback although it does add to the ‘time-capsule’ ness of the LP.
This EP is full of hard hitting, head-nodding hip hop beats. Tracks 1, 2 & 4 are more bouncy & synth-heavy, while 3, 5 & 6 are more classically-sampled boom bap bangers. Minimal compositions, heavy kick drums on every track. Very similar in style to ATX’s own BoomBaptist. Killer grooves on this one.
From the press kit: Hyperdub 10.1 is more an ammunition belt than an album. With this compilation, label boss kode9 proves the ability of dance music to be intelligent and unpredictable, and stay banging as hell. Featuring a wide swath of artists from the 10 years of Hyperdub’s existence, kode9 presents a cross-section of the best in cutting edge bass music in the US & UK, from the footwork of Chicago’s Teklife crew, the dark, gritty grime of Flowdan & Terror Danjah, as well as a few rare cuts from the earlier, birth-of-dubstep days like Spaceape and Mala and lots more. At 2 discs there is definitely a lot of material to dig through in this album, but there are so many gems (especially on disc 2) that it’s very well worth it.
By playing all of the instruments on his productions, while also relying heavily on sampling and chopping up his live takes, Taylor McFerrin has found a sound that seamlessly bridges myriad musical worlds and draws the listener into a constantly shifting audio soundscape. Early Riser is an amalgamation of live elements, synths, jazz chord progressions, ethereal vocals and electronic edits combined to truly sublime effect. Each tune steadily progresses into new territory as McFerrin weaves a vast multitude of sounds and melodies in and out, making for an exquisitely detailed & nuanced journey for the listener. The collaborative tracks are definitely the highlights, especially with the nerdgasm-inducing combination of Robert Glasper, Thundercat & Marcus Gilmore on Already There (trk7), or Invisible/Visible(trk11), featuring vocals of Taylor’s proud poppy Bobby McFerrin of ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ notoriety.