This month in Subdetritus we take a snapshot of where things are at in the world of bass music right now. While we are all huddling around heaters, it’s the height of the northern hemisphere’s summer and much of the scene’s big hitters are out on the road peddling their sounds at festivals and clubs the world over.
James Blake took on the Park Stage at Glastonbury last month to rave reviews fuelling anticipation of his imminent Australian tour. The electronic music Mecca that is Sonar Festival descended on Barcelona the week before Glastonbury with a bass line-up only dreams are made of. From many friends of mine who were there, it seemed there was almost too much good music to absorb. While the more pop-leaning bass acts like dubstep supergroup Magnetic Man, Katy B and Zinc reportedly sounded pretty dull and uninspired, there were astounding sets turned in by the likes of Aphex Twin, Downliners Sekt, Raime, Teebs, oOoOO, Buraka Som Sistema, Shackleton and Illum Sphere.
Radio queen and bass champion Mary Anne Hobbs played a 2:30am set to an estimated crowd of 15,000 people at Sonar and backed it up by a sunrise set to 20,000 at Benicassim Festival last weekend. Hobbs has a lot to be happy about at the moment with her much lauded return to radio two weeks ago on Xfm. While her BBC Radio 1 Experimental show (a favourite of this column for years) was in a mid-week timeslot in the wee hours of the morning, her new show on Xfm is a primetime 7-10pm slot on Saturdays. “This is such a victory,” Hobbs said in a press release. “Not just for me, but for all the artists I believe in and all the live listeners who care so deeply. My aim… to create some truly mind-blowing, redefining radio on Xfm.” Her first show featured guest mixes from Deep Medi Musik’s Silkie and LuckyMe’s Machinedrum, while last week featured mixes from Ninja Tune’s Daedelus and Planet Mu’s Falty DL. Highly recommended if you’re hungry for fresh underground bass music.
Speaking of which there have been plenty of new releases to heat up those speakers this winter. Zomby has just dropped his second album Dedication for indie label 4AD which builds on the woozy, synth-heavy Nintendo-step of his highly regarded early releases for labels like Hyperdub, Ramp and Werk. Zomby is an artist who has always operated outside of the status quo and while this album is relatively short, it contains so many great moments and ideas. The latest transmission from Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder collective is the proper debut album from Samiyam. While the LA-centric “wonky” hip hop sound is starting to sound tired in the hands of many, Sam Baker’s Album possesses a funk and fidgetiness that sounds more exciting than most of the woozy, bass-heavy Dilla knock-offs making the rounds. Following two self-released CDRs, recent visitor Pursuit Grooves has also released her debut album Frantically Hopeful. Interestingly released on the Bristol-based label Tectonic run by Pinch, the record is an eclectic listen still firmly rooted in future soul with a definite Dam-Funk vibe that flirts a little with pop music in a good way. Other hotly anticipated bass music releases on the horizon include the new full-length from Ras G on Ramp and the new EP from Scotland’s Hudson Mohawke on Warp Records.
On the Brisbane tip, it would be remiss of me not to mention local duo Science Project who seem unstoppable at the moment with upcoming shows in Melbourne and a support slot for Los Angeles-based Nosaj Thing this week. Their deep love of dub and reggae has been the focus of a couple of beat tapes that are available on their Bandcamp page – one a tribute to Bob Marley and the other to Osbourne Ruddock (a.k.a. King Tubby). The beat tapes feature versions by the boys themselves and locals such as Erther, Syntax, Walrii and Puzahki.
In preparation for this Friday night, check out this interview Swob did with Lorn just after his debut LP “Nothing Else” was released. Lorn discusses his origins in music, the album and how the Flying Lotus/Brainfeeder connection came about through an Australian radio station.
The interview has been edited into a mini-mix including some unreleased Lorn music for your listening pleasure! Also some of the music is selected from his self-released beat-tape, “Self-Confidence“. Have a look-see for innumerable beats showcasing the broad yet distinct style that Lorn purveys.
Make sure you are at The Step Inn (Fortitude Valley) this Friday 18th February 9pm sharp for some deep, dark and honest electronics from Speakerwrath, the Dank Morass crew and of course a live set from Lorn himself… Don’t Sleep!
Click image to download the Lorn interview+mini-mix.
Even if Flying Lotus hadn’t put out a single tune this year, his contribution to the musical landscape in 2010 via his label Brainfeeder would have been enough to cement his reputation as the figure-head of an entire musical movement. Having already released the amazing Lorn album earlier this year and EPs from Daedelus and The Gaslamp Killer, Brainfeeder returns with an album two years in the making – Ardour, by visual artist and beatsmith Mtendere Mandowa (better known as Teebs).
Mandowa created his own gorgeous artwork for this record and at one stage shared an apartment block in Los Angeles with Flying Lotus and Samiyam. All the Brainfeeder elements are there – psychedelica, experimentation and eclecticism wrapped in a head-bobbing hip hop framework. But there is something about this album that’s all of its own. Ardour is defined as “great intensity and warmth” which goes someway in describing the beauty of this album. From the opening track ‘You’ve Changed’ there is a depth and lushness to the atmospheres on Ardour that are perhaps more subtle yet just as intense as some of its label-mates. Repeated listening reveals how much is truly going on these tracks.
The almost ambient vibe of ‘Burner’ contains layers of what sounds like bells and hammers being dragged on concrete. Even a seemingly straightforward beat like ‘Why Like This?’ contains intricate synth washes and samples of loose change. ‘Long Distance’ features bird-like sounds and a sticky beat built around the genuinely affecting vocals of Gaby Hernandez. One of the real highlights on the album is the simply titled ‘Moments’. The track oozes with textures falling almost like rain over a side-chained r’n’b beat that turns on a simple drum fill. Mandowa’s greatest trick is making such lush and beautiful music so intense and challenging by mean of traditional sampling and chopping. A truly unique album.
The second decade of the new millennium opens with a bass-heavy deep impact when three of the most acclaimed artists in modern electronic music play Brisbane’s historic theatre venue The Tivoli on Sunday January 2.
*** Click each artist’s photo for a downloadable mix ***
Flying Lotusreturns to Brisbane for the first time in two years, and for his first show here since the release of his explosively epic album Cosmogrammaon Warp Records. Bringing a frenetic live audiovisual performance, Steve Ellison will show why he has ascended to the upper echelons of the global electronica movement. With Cosmogramma receiving universal praise for its psychedelic jazz beat tapestries featuring Lotus’ admirer Thom Yorke and his cousin Ravi Coltrane among others), this artist embodies the best of experimental electronica packed into a tight, danceable package. Ellison brings the special visual element of his show to Australia for the first time.
Lotus’ right hand man in the LA-based Brainfeeder clique and one of the minds behind legendary LA weekly club night Low End Theory, William Bensussen, aka The Gaslamp Killer receives praise as one of the best DJs in the world, with his relentless recombinations of psychedelic rock, dusty breaks and heavy dubstep. A producer, as well as a DJ, he has released two EPs on Brainfeeder and produced haunting vocalist Gonjasufi’s debut LP A Sufi and A Killer(Warp Records). Having already laid waste to Brisbane’s Step Inn in March this year, The Gaslamp Killer returns to Brisbane to again prove his lofty credentials.
Young Glaswegian Ross Birchard, aka Hudson Mohawkeis a former child turntable prodigy who turned his talents to blindingly fluorescent synth-lines combined with organic drum programming and a million ideas a minute. A core member of the Glasgow-to-global collective LuckyMe, he is one of the new generation of artists signed to pioneering UK label Warp. With numerous EPs, beats and remixes already under his belt, his debut LP Butterwas a technicolour sonic flash bomb that The Guardian compared to “eavesdropping on the future”.
In support, Dank Morass DJs will serve up a heady brew of diverse music, including the debut of original beats from Walrii and live visual manipulation from Archi Lancasterand ATLASt.
Once again, the Brainfeeder crew delivered the goods to Brisbane with the one Samiyam stopping through for an intimate Sunday audience with a dedicated dancefloor of heads at x&y Bar. Extra special thanks go out to Milesago (AKA LenOne, right) who dealt a brilliant set of soul, hip hop, skwee and more, and Puzahki, who played an hour of original beats that covered all the bases of bass. Seriously, if you haven’t heard of this guy, you will soon. Check for his forthcoming releases on new label Ender. We’re a little embarassed its taken us so long to book him.
Shout out to ATLASt and Archi Lancaster for providing the visual backdrops, and to Tammy for taking the pics below. You can check her full set of shots from the gig at In The Mix. Shout out to Samuel Dunn for this video of proceedings, which showcases the visuals as well as Samiyam’s wild beat styles. Love to the crew from our regular venue the Step Inn for stepping on down, and everyone else who got their Sunday night shuffle on
It wasn’t all double rainbows though. An unfortunate misunderstanding meant we were deprived of the inestimable selecting skills of the Walrus for most of the night, which certainly put the proverbial dampener on proceedings. Still, we powered through and Sam delivered a blinder of a set.
Believe the Morass is excited to be in the mix for this one! Tickets are on sale now for this landmark night – three amazing artists at the very top of the game for only $10+bf! It doesn’t get any better value than this, so grab your tickets from the OzTix website or your nearest OzTix outlet now.
Continuing its mission to bring together the best cutting edge electronic musicians in the world, the Red Bull Music Academy is mounting a triple-header tour that will bring a bass heavy three-pronged assault from Martyn, Illum Sphere and TOKiMONSTA to Brisbane’s The Family nightclub on Saturday September 18.
Each year since 1998, the Red Bull Music Academy has invited a class of 60 carefully selected beat heads from around the world to attend an intensive term of workshops with the leading exponents of electronic music. And each year, attendees and lecturers from previous terms travel the world to spread the RBMA gospel and share the music created and fostered at the Academy. The 2010 RBMA On The Floor tour brings the absolute bleeding edge of modern bass music to Brisbane’s best sound system for the first time ever.
Martyn is the senior artist of the trio. Steeped in a dubstep sound informed by a complex amalgam of techno, house, hip hop and drum and bass, it’s no surprise that the Dutch DJ, producer and label boss was drafted to mix the landmark 50th entry in Fabric London’s esteemed mix series. Check this haunting video inspired by his Great Lengths album and featuring Martyn himself.
TOKiMONSTA is the first lady of Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder crew. With her standout performance at Barcelona’s Sonar 2010 festival, the fresh Midnight Menu LP on Art Union and a brand new intercontinental collaborative 10” with London maverick Blue Daisy, TOKiMONSTA has staked her claim as one of the most exciting producers of music today.
Young producer Illum Sphere exploded out of Manchester off the back of his EP “The Incoming” and his club night Hoya:Hoya. Championed by Thom Yorke, Mary-Anne Hobbs and the Brainfeeder crew, he is only the second English performer (after Mary-Anne) to be invited to play LA’s pivotal Low End Theory night.
Bringing the local heat to Family’s high pressure sound system are some of Brisbane’s brightest producers. Elroy 4.0 scored a position on the second Oscillations compilation released by Jus Like Music, alongside international heatmakers Slugabed, Alex B and 8Bitch.
As a DJ, Erther was a lynchpin of the long-running Brisbane junglist institution Rudebwoyz, but he also peddles a mean line in menacing production. He’s blessed more than one Morass party to devastating effect in the past, and we’re stoked to have him back.
Dubstep duo Science Project have incinerated dancefloors with their dubwise bangers, and the release of their debut EP Alchemystic has positioned them as one of Australia’s most promising bass groups.
Red Bull Music Academy On The Floor with Martyn, Illum Sphere & TokiMonsta
Date: 9pm to 5am, Saturday 18 September
Location: The Family [Top Floor], 8 McLachlan St, Fortitude Valley
Support acts: Elroy 4.0, Science Project, Erther, Dank Morass
Cost: $15 on the door, $10+bf through OzTix
In the wake of the recent sonic assault of Ras_G and following The Gaslamp Killer earlier this year, Dank Morass presents the next artist from Flying Lotus’ mighty Brainfeeder clique to reach Brisbane. From Los Angeles via Ann Arbor, Michigan, Samiyam is a lover of soul, beats, hip hop and donuts with sprinkles. He’ll be bringing his live, fuzzed, future funk to the chilled surrounds of the Valley’s x&y bar on Sunday September 12. (more…)
First off, i hope all is moving forward swimmingly in your respective worlds.
Secondly, for those who are late to class, time for a catch up on the one and only…
Below you will find several links to music and videos related to the mastermind that is RAS_G and the AFRIKAN SPACE PROGRAM.
I could write several pages about the ancient echos of Afro-Futurism and Jamaican Sound System Culture in Ras’s bass beats and their integral influence on the Los Angeles/Global Art/Beats community. However, if you are unfamiliar with this man and his works, have an explore, and see (hear) for yourself.
It’s getting close to crunch time and if you ain’t done your homework, look sharp! The exam is 9pm Friday 23rd July @ Step Inn. Exam notes…
Basically, at the start of the year Brainfeeder’s very own GASLAMP KILLER (who definitely deserves all caps upon his name) absolutely tore Brisbane apart at Dank Morass’s home ground, the Step Inn. For those of you who missed out on this next level DJ in all his glory, ATLASt has put together a few snippets from the night recorded in between mashing away at the strobe light and mixing visuals with Archi Lancaster. A taste of things to come when yet another Brainfeeder legend arrives to blow Brisbane minds in the not too distant future.
Now that we’ve mopped the sweat from our collective brow and pulled our soles off the sticky floor of the Step Inn, it’s time for a proper shout out to everyone who rolled through to the Brisbane Gaslamp Killer show on Saturday. All the support DJs held it down with aplomb, from Syntax’s ode to Detroit hip hop (not to mention his own concoctions) to Tigermoth’s effects-rich melange and Science Project’s banging live dubstep with MCs on the assist. Extra props to Elgusto of Hermitude, who played an immaculate selection for his first ever DJ set in Brisbane and stepped away with the whole audience hoping it won’t be his last. However, it was The Gaslamp Killer’s night, and he pulled up from a tour schedule that saw him switching time zones every two days to leave a capacity Step Inn in a sweat-drenched frenzy. The man is one of the great DJs of our time, to be sure.
There’s much more Morass in the next two weeks, but for now check out a great set of photos from Tammy via InTheMix. Here’s a small sample.