Populous “Fall (Feat. Cuushe) [Blue Hawaii Remix]”

06 Nov 2014 — Andi Wilson

Populous means to draw people together, sometimes creating an overcrowded effect in a particular space. Territories of so-named Italian producer and moniker of Andrea Mangia borders on creating an opposite result. The imagined essence of such aura described parallels running through a tangled jungle and once reaching the end of breath, meets an open plain field hovered by starry skies. "Fall" initiates by highlighting breathy vocals of Kyoto native, Cuushe which amplify the track into a masterpiece comparable to a flower blooming in forward-motion. Blue Hawaii's addition to this dream-cast is like an edgy cherry on top with immediate recognizition of haunting glitches and roomy abstract beats, conveying grimy tension to a sentimental pop statement.

Populous' latest full-length, Night Safari, is available now via Berlin-based label Bad Panda Records. Furthermore, don't miss Blue Hawaii's recent one-off single "Get Happy" along with an edit of the song, "Get Happier"

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Empty Taxi “IRIZAJN EP”

06 Nov 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

Get ready for combative, moody electronic pop, likely influenced much by The Knife, My Brightest Diamond, and, yes, perhaps a little by the Lords of Acid. Brussels-based artist Zoë Mc Pherson, aka Empty Taxi, has recently released the IRIZAJN EP, which is delicious, driven, and emotionally wholesome. It has an eye on the bigger picture of the planet, and this comes across through both the lyrics and diverse musicality.

From the opening of the EP, we're confronted with exciteable, seductive percussion along with robotic R'n'B frequencies. These come together to meet world music motifs, like the flute solo towards the conclusion of "Eskimo." Contextually, the lyrics of said song bolster the observation that world music tropes are present, as it is explained how Inuit peoples make sounds to defy language in order to have their spirits better understood. "Éfe Forest" displays a sample that seems like an indigenous song, accompanied by quick and encouraging, ceremonial beats.

Mc Pherson's voice is deep and captivatingly wrapped around her song structures, bearing political and world-aware messages, especially in "Brainsculpt." Meanwhile, "Bending" is a nasty, more Knife-like, techno piece. The EP's closing track is a beautiful, expansive vibe, hosted by a poetic title and zero lyrics: "Bars in Ljubljana Castle."

Stream Empty Taxi's IRIZAJN EP below, or purchase the cassette here.

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Rollercoasterwater “Bog” (exclusive)

05 Nov 2014 — Henry Schiller

Rollercoasterwater’s “Bog” is hides avant-garde music, just barely, behind the driven rhythm of ready-to-dance electropop. The Los Angeles duo (Chuckie Behring and Robin Levy) claim Donkey King and salvia as influences, but instead of a Saturday afternoon in a freshmen dorm, the end result of this combo is a beautiful swirl of digitalized ambient and rhythm-smart pop. “Bog” is a delightfully prickly mess of grinding guitar and electronics; vocals that – like distant smoke signals – act as obscure hints towards language  as opposed to actual speech. This molten experimental structure is garnished with a quick-tempo handclapping rhythm – a noticeable departure from the unspoken rule that tone and melody rest on top of the beat, not the other way around.

Divorced from its athletic beat, “Bog” might be a somber piece of contemporary ambient music in the vein of work like Grouper or Julianna Barwick. But the cheerleader style rhythm work gives the track a more extroverted feel, almost to the point of "Bog" sounding like it could be a remix of itself. The track’s tonal and melodic structures are like a dense bog (I mean fog) that its beat must navigate, all while being clawed at and clasped after by wispy tentacles of vocals and grinding electronics. The influence of Gameboy music is palpable: the beat on "Bog" is sharp enough to be heard clearly over small speakers, and it is prickly enough for tiny ears to grab ahold of and stick to like it's warm, chewed up gum.

Listen to more from Rollercoasterwater here, and check out the exclusive premiere of “Bog” below:


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Gabriel Garzón-Montano “Naeja (Gut Nose Remix)” (exclusive)

04 Nov 2014 — Henning Lahmann

On "Naeja", Brooklyn's Gabriel Garzón-Montano presented himself at his most soulful and jazzy. Taken from his debut EP Bishouné: Alma del Huila, released in February via Styles Upon Styles, the standout track's smooth and rolling grooves showcase the songwriter's knack for meticulous arrangements. Operating under his Gut Nose moniker, fellow New Yorker Andrew Vagabundo has no intention to change the original's romantic outline – he just happens to embody a way more pragmatic approach to his hometown's realities. Thoroughly roughing up "Naeja", complete with his signatures of distorted 4/4 kicks and vinyl crackle, everything sounds way more New York: there might be love somewhere around, but it takes a certain kind of apathetic cool to actually find it. Whatever you do, just don't show that you actually care.

The Gut Nose remix of "Naeja" is taken from the CD edition of Bishouné: Alma del Huila, out soon on Styles Upon Styles. Gut Nose's own, highly recommended Filthy City is out on the same label and may be streamed in full over here.

Gabriel Garzón-Montano is performing in Berlin tomorrow, November 5, supporting Lenny Kravitz at O2 World.

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The Grip “Saladin (Hello Skinny Remix)”

04 Nov 2014 — Richard Greenan

The Grip are are a London jazz group featuring progressive flautist Finn Peters, Oren Marshall on tuba and Tom Skinner on drums. Peters made a name for himself composing music using mind reading technology, while Marshall has been doing ungodly things to brass for years. Here the group cannibalises itself, as Skinner, under his solo guise Hello Skinny, transforms the meandering, eastern-tinged 'Saladin' into the shimmering mirage of a house track. This is a remix in the purest sense, as raw loops are fed into an MPC and caustically spat out, expertly pitch-shifted and chopped into something barely recognisable.

The Grip's new album Celebrate is out now on Slowfoot Records. You can listen back to Tom and Finn discussing the record and playing some inspirational tracks on NTS Radio.

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FIJI “Fave Hours (Ft. Hood Joplin)” + Manicure Records Feature (exclusive)

31 Oct 2014 — Andi Wilson

Today we speak to label boss Tom Mike (aka Ghibli) regarding the background, aesthetics, and future on one of the most forward-thinking & online-based pop labels we know, Manicure Records. Along with the interview, NFOP exclusively premieres a mega-catchy single by their newest signee FIJI, titled “Fave Hours (Ft. Hood Joplin)”.

Take us back to when Ghibli started (which was a pretty house-y project at that time). Did you ever expect it to somewhat grow into running your own label?

I started Ghibli around 2010 and was just figuring out how to use samples and trying to combine my love of beat music and choral compositions. I rediscovered my love of disco along the way and spent the next few years trying to figure out how to blend these disparate pools of influence into one big ocean. After eventually getting tired of sending out submissions to people and not getting any traction with other labels, I started my own little corner of the internet for me and my friends. I absolutely did not expect the amount of support and recognition that we’ve received in the past ten months.

The sounds of Manicure vary from electronic hyper-pop, trance, club, to most recently twisting heavily-commercial pop hits. For example reworking Ariana Grande's "One Last Time" and tagging tracks as '#manicured'. Not to mention creating your own blends of singles by producers that I only assume heavily influence Manicure, like Sophie's "Bipp". Now we're seeing very young, emerging producers come into the fold such as Guy Akimoto, lilangelboi, and ponibbi. Did most of the relationships that consist of Manicure's roster evolve from the web or is everyone from the same (somewhat underground) community in Edmonton, Canada? Who is currently involved?

Below is who’s currently involved based on chronologically going through the Manicure Souncloud:

Jasmine, who’s based in the UK, was someone that I had been emailing back and forth for a few years before Manicure became a vehicle for us/her. We bonded over Jam City mixes and she’s been really important in expanding the aesthetic of the label.

My good friend Kara sent over some lilangelboi tracks last summer and I became obsessed with nightcore. After starting Manicure we got him up to do shows in Edmonton (he was originally based in Calgary). Eventually he moved here where he’s been thriving since.

DJ Cashinout (formerly DJ Debussey Turnpike) is from the states and we linked up through submissions that he sent to me after I started the label. He is really young and has a lot of potential. I’m excited to see what he has in store.

ponibbi came up to me at a party last winter and stole a joint out of my hand while I was talking to someone else and walked away with it. We’ve been close friends ever since and he’s become an indispensable part and a rising star of the label.

I heard of KLSLWSK through Tielsie’s Soundcloud likes and became obsessed with his production style. We signed him just before the JACK댄스 world tour and he played his first live show at the Vancouver stop with us.

I met Guy Akimoto when Simon Whybray (founder of JACK) brought him on the Canadian edition of the JACK tour. He was both incredibly kind and talented, a really rare combination. We all became super down after seeing him live and we signed him a short while afterwards.

As for FIJI, Beaux Maris is the single strongest/smartest/nicest woman I know in the world, and Hood Joplin is the turn up queen and adds a lot of depth and character to the crew.
I’m incredibly lucky to know both of them.

Beaux/ponibbi/HJ are all from Edmonton. Every other relationship has been built online.

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Magic Fades “Eye 2 Eye” (exclusive)

31 Oct 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Last time we heard from Portland's Magic Fades was when the duo dropped their massive (and criminally overlooked) collaboration with fellow Oregonian post-internet hippie Soul Ipsum, Zirconia Reign, earlier this year. Only a few months later Mike Grabarek and Jeremy Scott return on their own again with follow-up full-length Push Thru, a release that's every bit as timely as Zirconia Reign. Relying on their signature tropes of glossy hyper-R'n'B, the music sometimes gets eerily close to what's actually hot on top-40 stations in the United States. The stellar "Eye 2 Eye" is a case in point: channelled through painfully crisp autotune, no one would probably notice if someone dropped this after any other generic pop tune. Which has to be intentional. Too sleek to be completely taken seriously yet too aware and crafty to be brushed aside, Magic Fades again fuck with our expectations regaring "underground" pop in the second decade of the 21st century: too post to analyse.

Push Thru is out November 25 via 1080p.

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Jire “SSTNSLNC” (exclusive)

30 Oct 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Again proving their immaculate knack for unearthing the finest talents of tomorrow's popular music canon, the folks over at No Pain In Pop present their latest gem Jire aka merely 18-year old London-based producer Nathan Geyer. More than just another gifted beatsmith, Geyer's upcoming four-track debut Kiowa Polytope is a supremely elaborate piece of music, built from intricate, deconstructed rhythm patterns, noise and found sounds, as well as interspersed tonal structures. Despite showing off a dizzying level of playful sophistication and hardly ever resorting to comforting payoffs, the tracks unfold an astonishing emotional warmth that fits right into NPIP's catalogue (think Ukkonen or Karen Gwyer, but above all Forest Swords). EP centrepiece "SSTNSLNC" revolves around a bunch of samples that Geyer recorded with an old dictaphone at the Sistine Chapel in Rome (hence the title: "Sistine Silence"), where the artist found himself alienated by "the noise and lack of general respect in the chapel" that had led to the loss of "any sense of spirituality or emotion" the chapel once might have had, having turned into a purely commercial commodity. Take a listen to the stunning piece below.

The Kiowa Polytope EP is out November 11. Order now over here.

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