New Zero Canada: Rakam “Stranger Things Before”

15 Feb 2013 — Silent Shout

Perhaps the most enjoyable thing about Rakam's Stranger Things Before is how easy it is to imagine it never leaving the bedroom it was clearly created in. It could fairly be described as an attempt at pop music, but it exists in a space carved out entirely by its own gleefully freewheeling invention, and seems motivated exclusively by the giddy realization that there need not be a limit to what form that invention takes. The New Wave DIY disco strut of the album's only French language song, "Le Jazz dans la Rue", is buoyed brilliantly by Marc-André Roy's exaggerated cool-guy croon, reaching peaks of impassioned warbling that recall a Francophone Patrick D. Martin only to be interrupted by a surprisingly delicate Casiotone harpsichord arrangement. Another standout, "Long Island Beaches", is about as close as Rakam gets to a plausible love song and veers into slightly more typical synth pop territory, albeit with some spastic drum machine programming and another run at a 'baby's first Bach' harpsichord interlude. The album's instrumentals are consistently excellent, especially the wonderfully developed "Ocean Liner", which owes equal debts to Brian Eno and 8-bit video game soundtracks, and shades its own complexity with its charmingly understated lo-fi sound and more than occasional missed notes. That juxtaposition is probably the greatest strength of Stranger Things Before, as it allows Rakam to maintain a level of intimacy while simultaneously being as wildly expansive and imaginative as they care to be.

Stranger Things Before is available on RAKAM's bandcamp.

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Never Knows Best #1: Dual Form

29 Jan 2013 — Trey Reis

NeverKnowsBest1

In the first ediiton of his new column named Never Knows Best, NFOP staff writer Trey Reis goes in-depth on Dual Form, a co-release between Stones Throw and Leaving Records, the process of exploration in new music journalism, and the future of tape labels reaching a larger audience.

I would say that 95 per cent of the records and tapes I buy online are purchased after 3 AM. I don’t know why this is, exactly. It’s possible I’m capable of worrying about money more during reasonable hours of the day, whereas sleep deprivation puts me more in line with the role of the American consumer. Also, a good majority of the blog spelunking I do is during that time of the night between deciding to go to sleep and actually falling asleep; a time, I’ve discovered, when my head has slowed down enough to listen to an entire Soundcloud embed and actually read what people have to say about a track or an album or a label.
That’s an important part of music journalism, I think; the willingness to read about the same track from five or ten different sources in order to gain a better understanding of connections and trends forming both in the music and in the way we all write about it. Although it may indirectly form our opinions, deciding what not to mention in my own write-ups and reviews is a beneficial process in keeping music journalism fresh and interesting.

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Dual Form
I discovered Dual Form during one of those late night webspace digs. I was sold on it after seeing new tracks from Dem Hunger, Trance Farmers, and Run DMT on the tracklist. But browsing around online revealed hype about one specific track on the compilation: an Arthur Russell tribute of his song "You and Me Both" by Julia Holter. It’s a great track and a wonderfully opposite-direction kind of cover wherein Holter strips away nearly everything that would have been a draw about the song upon its release, opting to use the moody lyrics to reestablish a new setting (through a wall of audience chatter) for the song more akin to the slow-moving pop haze of her 2012 list-topping album, Ekstasis.

The popularity of Ekstasis and its place on many end-of-the-year lists is likely a large part of the reason her contribution to Dual Form is receiving the attention that it is. Run DMT’s masterwork, Dreams, received waves of acclaim in 2011, but the band was mostly silent last year save a short split cassette with Tracey Trance on CGI Friday. Louis Johnstone, the many-faced man behind Dem Hunger, has been focusing primarily on his Wanda Group project over the last two years, which has yet to receive the kind of attention it probably deserves in that blurred-line genre of drone and beat music.

Not to say that the attention "You and Me Both" is receiving lessens any other song on the Dual Form compilation. It’s an angle in which to discuss the release, and it certainly hooked me. But if the media is to be a constant check and balance for itself as well as the things it covers, then I feel it’s important as a journalist, but also a fan, to see the trends in coverage and diversify the literature being written, especially in the case of compilations with multiple artists.

Different aspects of a release of any size will appeal to different people. It’s like those people at record stores in the listening booths checking out records with the bass turned all the way up. Their priority is probably DJing, and a track without a decent level of bass isn’t much use to them regardless of details such as the way the art looks, how good the lyrics are, or what label released it.

In this case, the labels involved with Dual Form are a detail worth mentioning. Stones Throw, known primarily for its hip hop releases, teamed up with another LA label, Leaving Records, to highlight many of the Leaving artists, which, typically, exist on a level of fame below Stones Throw artists like J Dilla, Madlib, and label founder, Peanut Butter Wolf. It’s like a Stones Throw nod to the prevailing DIY scene in LA that garnered the creation of Stones Throw in 1996 and is still prospering today. And, depending on the attention span of this cassette tape resurgence, who’s to say that Leaving Records won’t be as big as Stones Throw is in another eight to ten years?

The compilation title Dual Form seems to be, in part, a reference to the physical releases of the album itself—on vinyl from Stones Throw, or on cassette tape from Leaving Records. For many of the artists, accustomed to tape releases and handmade CD-R’s, it is their vinyl debut. And it’s leading to a string of future releases, including The Cyclist’s debut album on Stones Throw.

The Cyclist’s contribution to Dual Form was, for many (myself included), the first we’d ever heard of him. In an interview with Dazed Digital, Matthewdavid, Leaving Records' founder, mentioned receiving an email from the 18-year-old kid behind The Cyclist, having never heard of him before, introducing himself and his music and commenting on aspects of Leaving Records he admired. The Cyclist brings that organic feel to electronic music, not unlike some of the earlier Teengirl Fantasy material but with a strong bass sense, reminding me of Actress’s 2012 dark dance stunner, R.I.P. It’s a refreshing alternative to that trend of chopped-and-screwed sample method (I’ve seen the term 404 tossed around to describe this, which is in reference to the overwhelming reliance on Roland’s SP-404 sampler to produce this kind of music) prevalent in cassette tape culture throughout all of last year and carrying over into 2013.

The Dem Hunger track on the compilation really surprised me. Leaving much of the tape hiss manipulation behind him, it’s the cleanest Dem Hunger song I’ve heard yet, while still managing to keep the beatfuck aspect of previous albums like Caveman Snack and Heavy Spinach intact. It seems Louis Johnstone’s last couple years of drone exploration as Wanda Group has had an effect on the attention to detail in his other projects. While I like all of the Wanda Group material that shows up mysteriously on his tumblr page, I did always prefer the old Dem Hunger material, and I’m hoping its appearance on this compilation, which was comprised completely of new, unreleased material, is a sign of future happenings from this face of the guy’s musical multiple personalities.

The Run DMT contribution has the same bedroom pop feeling to it as songs from Dreams, such as “Romantic” or “Richard”, and leaves much of the kaleidoscope visions from that album behind. It doesn’t leave much to assumption about any future material from Run DMT, but a potential 2013 album is still high on my list for the most anticipated releases for this year.

TRANCE FARMERS was one of those Bandcamp gems I stumbled upon one night. With only a short 2011 EP to their name, self-described as “Elvis and Busta Rhymes on the beach”, I was pretty excited to find this new song, “Purple Hay”, featured on Dual Form, and it has become my favorite song on the compilation by far. More Elvis and less Busta Rhymes this time around, it uses that strong Ducktails-esque drum machine and jangly guitar relaxation form channeled through a really simple 60s pop structure. I will definitely be hoping for a full-length debut from this band sometime in 2013.

According to Stones Throw, this is the first co-release between the two labels of a new distribution deal wherein some Leaving Records artists will be released to wider audiences through the Stones Throw name. It’s not only good news for the rest of us, but perhaps even a move we could begin seeing more of from these smaller tape labels responsible for putting out some of the past few year’s best music, like a loophole for talent unable to afford or uninterested in the clean sound of the traditional studio experience. With some of the more well-known tape labels selling out of their releases before many of us knew they existed, this could be a good sign of things to come.

Get your copy of Dual Form over here.

New Zero Canada: Homeshake “The Homeshake Tape”

25 Jan 2013 — Silent Shout

Homeshake

One of the more endearing elements of Mac DeMarco's often endearing rise to prominence has been the proliferation of side projects involving the members of his live band. Walter TV, the spastic psych-pop group fronted by DeMarco's bass player Pierce McGarry, put out a couple of excellent releases last year, and guitarist Peter Sagar is following suit with his project, Homeshake. Homeshake's first release, The Homeshake Tape, is very clearly the work of the same group of people, and to some extent splits the difference between Mac DeMarco and Walter TV, embracing the downbeat, jangly-guitared languor of some of DeMarco's work, while nodding to Walter TV's more experimental flourishes. "Northern Man" is perhaps the best marrying of these two aesthetics, with Sagar's shamblingly intricate guitar playing combining with a likeably lazy vocal into something redolent of the best Elephant 6 recordings. "Moon Woman", by contrast, is pure DeMarco. All smooth sleaze without the rough edges sanded down, the general creep providing cover for a tightly composed, totally guileless little love song. As with seemingly everything associated with Mac DeMarco, its always listenable, frequently interesting, and when all else fails it gets by on charm and personality. 

The Homeshake Tape will be out on Fixture Records on January 29.

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New Zero Canada: Marie Davidson “Marie Davidson”

20 Dec 2012 — Alt Altman

Davidson

Marie Davidson is a ubiquitous figure in the Montréal scene, playing with Essaie Pas (who released an incredible EP in August), Les Momies de Palerme , and Hotel Monochrome. Marie Davidson, a six-song EP that she recorded herself, is her first solo work, and it does not disappoint.

The first track, "Ma vie sans toi", is the poppiest song on the record, but it's a bleak and sparse piece. Recalling Nico, Marie sings a detached melody with a harmonium vaguely following along. The highlight of the EP, however, might be the menacing drone of "L'Unique". Overall the minimal electronics and tense Lynchian atmospheres make for a compelling listen - it's an exceptional debut for an already prolific artist, and hopefully this is only the beginning of her solo career.

Stream the whole EP below and get it for pay-what-you-want over at her bandcamp.

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Stream: Femminielli “Double Invitation”

27 Nov 2012 — Alt Altman

Toronto native Alt Altman, better known to most as the man behind the next gen synth pop project Digits, has been an enthusiastic observer of the Canadian underground pop scene for quite a while now with his site Silent Shout. As we all know, there's a lot going on between Vancouver and St. John's these days, and though we here at NFOP have always been avid followers, from now on, Alt will help us out regarding all things Canadiana. (ed.)

Montréal producer Bernardino Femminielli had already left a significant mark on the Canadian music scene before releasing his third album Double Invitation, having toured as a live member of Dirty Beaches and producing some tracks for Montreal pop-star-in-waiting Jef Barbara. But on Double Invititation, Femminielli has made it clear that he is possibly the best current Italo songwriter/producer in the world. Drawing equally from the camps of Moroder and Gainsbourg, Double Invitation is divided between creepy synthpop singles like "Chauffeur" and "A Que Quieres Jugar" and epic long-form dark disco. Carefully constructed down to the last detail, it sounds so authentic it's difficult to believe it isn't from the late 1970s.

Double Invitation is out on Desire Records. Order your copy over here.

On December 8, Femminielli and Jef Barbara will play in Berlin as part of another NFOP x Noisekölln night of delightful madness. More info on that soon and over here.

 

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Green & Gold vol 5.

10 Jun 2012 — Holly Friedlander Liddicoat
I’m not quite sure why exactly, but recently I’ve been listening to a lot of experimental tech/UK garage/house-infused vibes and almost everything else in between. I’m not generally a massive fan of these heavier amalgamations, although I do love a good dose of minimal tech on a cold day, as I trek through the city from place to place. There is something quite inherently soothing about a slight shift in intonation and the rejuvenating repetition that accompanies the basis of any good minimal tech. This month I’ve found I’ve taken things in a bit of a different direction to open up the doors to these genres I know very little about. Perhaps we can discover something to share together. One of my absolute favourite producers at the moment, Wabz, has been releasing a steady array of solid and transcendental-genre pieces as of late. “Sister Moon” combines the soulful and subtle elements of UK garage with distorted vocals to unleash a celestial sense of harmony. Download all of his stuff for free at his Soundcloud, and treat yourself to what I expect heaven to sound like. Wabz – Sister Moon A bunch of great collectives/labels have been popping up and planting their feet solidly in the Australian scene recently. One which has been getting me all excited is Dub Temple Records, having released a beautiful selection of quality product such as this fantastic EP from Brisbane boy Speaker Wrath. An eerie pan-flute cuts through the heavy rumblings of bass in “Ghost in the Trees”, a remanent of otherworldly physiques chasing couples through the depths of the night. Speaker Wrath – Ghost in the Trees Ex-Bon Chat, Bon Rat member Alex Murray has been taking his sound in all new directions under his brand new solo-project Gardland. Currently in Berlin (the home of inspiration), making intensely driven and forthwith beats like “Jaws” here, I am very much excited for his return and a showcase of his wares! “Jaws” was featured on the West in Dust compilation I touched on briefly for Green & Gold 4, but it’s something that I’ve kept going back to the past couple of weeks for a revitalising and invigorating splash in the face. Gardland – Jaws As the wind turns my cheeks to red with it’s lavish bite, 9 times out of 10 I will put Big Sad’s Ghost Club on and let it completely engulf me. Genuine nuances and a soft and reassuring beat emanates a sense of warmth and safety, oozing molten gold as it travels down your spine and soaks into every single muscle from front to back. April saw the release of the very fine two-track EP Missed, but it is Ghost Club that keeps calling me back in all its haunted/warming glory. Big Sad – True Worrier Kepz is a Sydney-based producer, his track “Imaginary Life” having undergone an once-over from New Yorker Enjoyyourshoes. Taking the original hard-driving techno piece, Enjoyyourshoes adds an organic element to the track, intensifying cascading synths and relying on the nature of internal reverberation. This one hits home. Kepz – Imaginary Life (Enjoyyourshoes Edit) I couldn’t just leave you with five tidbits this month, so if you download Green & Gold 5 below, you’ll also receive aural gratification from the likes of Seagram MuralsThe Blank,bærfrensbkinsman and Planète. Download the Green & Gold vol 5.
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I’m not quite sure why exactly, but recently I’ve been listening to a lot of experimental tech/UK garage/house-infused vibes and almost everything else in between. I’m not generally a massive fan of these heavier amalgamations, although I do love a good dose of minimal tech on a cold day, as I trek through the city from place to place. There is something quite inherently soothing about a slight shift in intonation and the rejuvenating repetition that accompanies the basis of any good minimal tech. This month I’ve found I’ve taken things in a bit of a different direction to open up the doors to these genres I know very little about. Perhaps we can discover something to share together. One of my absolute favourite producers at the moment, Wabz, has been releasing a steady array of solid and transcendental-genre pieces as of late. “Sister Moon” combines the soulful and subtle elements of UK garage with distorted vocals to unleash a celestial sense of harmony. Download all of his stuff for free at his Soundcloud, and treat yourself to what I expect heaven to sound like. Wabz – Sister Moon A bunch of great collectives/labels have been popping up and planting their feet solidly in the Australian scene recently. One which has been getting me all excited is Dub Temple Records, having released a beautiful selection of quality product such as this fantastic EP from Brisbane boy Speaker Wrath. An eerie pan-flute cuts through the heavy rumblings of bass in “Ghost in the Trees”, a remanent of otherworldly physiques chasing couples through the depths of the night. Speaker Wrath – Ghost in the Trees Ex-Bon Chat, Bon Rat member Alex Murray has been taking his sound in all new directions under his brand new solo-project Gardland. Currently in Berlin (the home of inspiration), making intensely driven and forthwith beats like “Jaws” here, I am very much excited for his return and a showcase of his wares! “Jaws” was featured on the West in Dust compilation I touched on briefly for Green & Gold 4, but it’s something that I’ve kept going back to the past couple of weeks for a revitalising and invigorating splash in the face. Gardland – Jaws As the wind turns my cheeks to red with it’s lavish bite, 9 times out of 10 I will put Big Sad’s Ghost Club on and let it completely engulf me. Genuine nuances and a soft and reassuring beat emanates a sense of warmth and safety, oozing molten gold as it travels down your spine and soaks into every single muscle from front to back. April saw the release of the very fine two-track EP Missed, but it is Ghost Club that keeps calling me back in all its haunted/warming glory. Big Sad – True Worrier Kepz is a Sydney-based producer, his track “Imaginary Life” having undergone an once-over from New Yorker Enjoyyourshoes. Taking the original hard-driving techno piece, Enjoyyourshoes adds an organic element to the track, intensifying cascading synths and relying on the nature of internal reverberation. This one hits home. Kepz – Imaginary Life (Enjoyyourshoes Edit) I couldn’t just leave you with five tidbits this month, so if you download Green & Gold 5 below, you’ll also receive aural gratification from the likes of Seagram MuralsThe Blank,bærfrensbkinsman and Planète. Download the Green & Gold vol 5.

Green & Gold vol 4.

04 May 2012 — Holly Friedlander Liddicoat

It’s been a bit unpleasantly dreary this month. Since the torrential rains have subsided and the spatter of floodings more or less evaporated, a steady and biting chill has started to settle in. Keeping inside amidst teetering towers of Uni work, avoiding all trouble with the opposite sex and watching friends succumb to extended periods of stress, is indeed, no fun at all. So, in lieu of a complete and utter mental breakdown, I’ve decided to craft a little “cheer up” mini-mix - something to plug in and turn up on those days when all your hair has fallen out, you’re lying in bed watching The Biggest Loser, devouring a block of supersized chocolate and you just don’t give a shit anymore. Rain Rider, is the immensely fitting track title for the start of this month’s Green & Gold. Local Sydneysider Osiris Glade is known for his aptly crafted, organically nurtured soundscapes, often dabbling in the sadder, softer side of things. With Rain Rider however, Osiris Glade melds his lo-fi qualities with a more up-beat tempo, still harnessing his atmospheric musings and acoustics. Osiris Glade – Rain Rider Named one of the finalists in last years Bleep Filtered competition, alongside other Melbournian Super Magic Hats, Hugo Frederick’s latest track Limber was featured on a rad little mix put out by West in Dust. Heavy bass and intricate sampling, Hugo’s work will without a doubt get you nodding your head and out of your office desk chair. You can also download his crazily energetic r’n’b remixes here. Hugo Frederick - Limber Brisbane-residing Charles Murdoch knows how to encapsulate an overwhelming sense of warmth and optimism in his sonars, a low and all encompassing fuzz mingling with underwater sounds in his newest tune Worth. A beautiful delicacy moderates this track, leaving a sweet aftertaste and a sense of peaceful longevity. Charles Murdoch – Worth A new favourite producer came onto my radar this month, that of Melbourne-based Deez, who dabbles in fun Donkey Kong samples and ridiculously cool beat-tapesWhats is a highlight from this young’n, a powerful and nurturing experience from start to finish. While this song is not instantaneously reflective of the “cheer-up” vibes I’m going for, I think the soul-shaking bass and harrowing vocals evoke all the sad memories, bringing them to the forefront, encouraging you to smile through the tears at all the good that once was and all the good that will be again. Whats - Deez Kyson is an Aussie-expat now residing in Berlin, living the dream, and producing phenomenal music when he is able. With his EP to be released soon via Moodgadget, and a brand new label Herbede Records in the works, 2012 is set to be the year for Kyson. The latest instalment in his series of bootlegs, Indian Summer soars over rhythmic sensations, a beautiful crescendo of reverberating Jónsi vocals, bridging the gap between real and ethereal. Jónsi and Alex – Indian Summer (Kyson Bootleg) Perhaps your summer is just around the corner, perhaps for others it’s just that little bit longer. Hopefully you’re dressed weather appropriately, you’re keeping well, avoiding ailments and tuning into the right musical frequencies that keep your ears happy and your head warm. Download the mixtape here.

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It’s been a bit unpleasantly dreary this month. Since the torrential rains have subsided and the spatter of floodings more or less evaporated, a steady and biting chill has started to settle in. Keeping inside amidst teetering towers of Uni work, avoiding all trouble with the opposite sex and watching friends succumb to extended periods of stress, is indeed, no fun at all. So, in lieu of a complete and utter mental breakdown, I’ve decided to craft a little “cheer up” mini-mix - something to plug in and turn up on those days when all your hair has fallen out, you’re lying in bed watching The Biggest Loser, devouring a block of supersized chocolate and you just don’t give a shit anymore. Rain Rider, is the immensely fitting track title for the start of this month’s Green & Gold. Local Sydneysider Osiris Glade is known for his aptly crafted, organically nurtured soundscapes, often dabbling in the sadder, softer side of things. With Rain Rider however, Osiris Glade melds his lo-fi qualities with a more up-beat tempo, still harnessing his atmospheric musings and acoustics. Osiris Glade – Rain Rider Named one of the finalists in last years Bleep Filtered competition, alongside other Melbournian Super Magic Hats, Hugo Frederick’s latest track Limber was featured on a rad little mix put out by West in Dust. Heavy bass and intricate sampling, Hugo’s work will without a doubt get you nodding your head and out of your office desk chair. You can also download his crazily energetic r’n’b remixes here. Hugo Frederick - Limber Brisbane-residing Charles Murdoch knows how to encapsulate an overwhelming sense of warmth and optimism in his sonars, a low and all encompassing fuzz mingling with underwater sounds in his newest tune Worth. A beautiful delicacy moderates this track, leaving a sweet aftertaste and a sense of peaceful longevity. Charles Murdoch – Worth A new favourite producer came onto my radar this month, that of Melbourne-based Deez, who dabbles in fun Donkey Kong samples and ridiculously cool beat-tapesWhats is a highlight from this young’n, a powerful and nurturing experience from start to finish. While this song is not instantaneously reflective of the “cheer-up” vibes I’m going for, I think the soul-shaking bass and harrowing vocals evoke all the sad memories, bringing them to the forefront, encouraging you to smile through the tears at all the good that once was and all the good that will be again. Whats - Deez Kyson is an Aussie-expat now residing in Berlin, living the dream, and producing phenomenal music when he is able. With his EP to be released soon via Moodgadget, and a brand new label Herbede Records in the works, 2012 is set to be the year for Kyson. The latest instalment in his series of bootlegs, Indian Summer soars over rhythmic sensations, a beautiful crescendo of reverberating Jónsi vocals, bridging the gap between real and ethereal. Jónsi and Alex – Indian Summer (Kyson Bootleg) Perhaps your summer is just around the corner, perhaps for others it’s just that little bit longer. Hopefully you’re dressed weather appropriately, you’re keeping well, avoiding ailments and tuning into the right musical frequencies that keep your ears happy and your head warm. Download the mixtape here.

Green & Gold vol. 3

02 Apr 2012 — Holly Friedlander Liddicoat

Fourteen tracks. That’s how many I had narrowed down for the month of March. Fourteen wonderful tracks of chilled out house vibes and hip-hop beats. There were instrumentals and sample heavy tunes and tracks that just simply made you want to take all your clothes off and get downright sexy. Alas, trying to choose just five was an uphill (and clothed) battle. March saw the release of the latest instalment of Free The Beats and thus me being as spoilt for choice as an Elizabethan king at a royal banquet. A tri-monthly release of future sounds and talented Aussie youngsters, FTB 7 absolutely, undoubtedly, delivered this month. I’ve already written about Oisima’s track over at Portals and new kid Mic Mac down at East to West and was left deciding between the many, many remaining delicacies. Mic Mac’s other track One Day at a Time was a solid contender, as was Forcefields’ Driftwood, but the ambient ricochets of Dance, Candles won me over at last. Ethereal and otherworldly are the spine-tingling sounds in “Mae”, a 4.5 minute dark and ambient wonder. Dance, Candles – Mae A couple of silent weeks passed, and I thought this column would turn out to be a summation of the Free The Beat kings, but after some high and low searching (and more generally, some damn good luck) I came across this next gem. Dabbling in future garage sounds, Paradise Lost transforms this potentially dark track into a soaring wonder with the vox he incorporates. Since learning of this local Sydneysider, I’ve discovered his beautiful ability to manage the dichotomy between light and dark, combining late-night beats with heavenly vocals. If you like what you hear below, make sure to acquaint yourself well with another magnificent tune of his, “Ethereal”. Paradise Lost – So You Want to Know How I Feel My current favourite producer is another local Sydney boy, known as Network. Every track he’s put up on his Soundcloud is so lusciously produced, you could comb through them all with a fine comb and find no faults. Again, spoilt for choice, but the dissonant ringing of Lucky, combined with a London-esq. beat and a combination of vocal samples makes it the standout. Network – Lucky A Saturday night spent in paid off this weekend, as I stumbled onto Dub Temple Records and an absolutely fabulous producer on their roster that goes by the delicious (sorry, I had to) moniker of Sauce. His self-titled debut is up for free download, and in all honesty, best listened to in full. It’s one of those works that bends itself in exciting directions, but keeps a cohesive sound throughout the production, each track being needed to compliment the next. Drawing on elements of deep house and dub, Sauce also plays with his food, I mean, hip-hop elements. Mmm, tasty. Sauce – Carpaccio Coming to an end of another fine month, sitting on the breath of the first hour of morning and typing these very words, I receive a track from Australia’s prodigy child, Perth residing The Blank. Whilst anticipating a release on currently thriving label Darker Than Wax, this track “Leona” helps sedate our ever-watering mouths. Another talented producer who harnesses the female vox, Henry Ascroft’s heavier sounds take a backseat this time, as he incorporates a feminine delicacy reflected by the title of the song. Think of walking home through the rain after breaking hearts/having your heart broken. The Blank – Leona Autumn’s well and truly settling in here. The days are getting colder and the nights are arriving sooner - a few more hours of darkness to add to the ever-shortening days. Perhaps on those colder nights you need some friends to hug. Perhaps early in the morning, when you throw that scarf around your neck, you need some late night beats and heavenly vocals to get you through the day. Until next month kids. Download the mixtape here.

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Fourteen tracks. That’s how many I had narrowed down for the month of March. Fourteen wonderful tracks of chilled out house vibes and hip-hop beats. There were instrumentals and sample heavy tunes and tracks that just simply made you want to take all your clothes off and get downright sexy. Alas, trying to choose just five was an uphill (and clothed) battle. March saw the release of the latest instalment of Free The Beats and thus me being as spoilt for choice as an Elizabethan king at a royal banquet. A tri-monthly release of future sounds and talented Aussie youngsters, FTB 7 absolutely, undoubtedly, delivered this month. I’ve already written about Oisima’s track over at Portals and new kid Mic Mac down at East to West and was left deciding between the many, many remaining delicacies. Mic Mac’s other track One Day at a Time was a solid contender, as was Forcefields’ Driftwood, but the ambient ricochets of Dance, Candles won me over at last. Ethereal and otherworldly are the spine-tingling sounds in “Mae”, a 4.5 minute dark and ambient wonder. Dance, Candles – Mae A couple of silent weeks passed, and I thought this column would turn out to be a summation of the Free The Beat kings, but after some high and low searching (and more generally, some damn good luck) I came across this next gem. Dabbling in future garage sounds, Paradise Lost transforms this potentially dark track into a soaring wonder with the vox he incorporates. Since learning of this local Sydneysider, I’ve discovered his beautiful ability to manage the dichotomy between light and dark, combining late-night beats with heavenly vocals. If you like what you hear below, make sure to acquaint yourself well with another magnificent tune of his, “Ethereal”. Paradise Lost – So You Want to Know How I Feel My current favourite producer is another local Sydney boy, known as Network. Every track he’s put up on his Soundcloud is so lusciously produced, you could comb through them all with a fine comb and find no faults. Again, spoilt for choice, but the dissonant ringing of Lucky, combined with a London-esq. beat and a combination of vocal samples makes it the standout. Network – Lucky A Saturday night spent in paid off this weekend, as I stumbled onto Dub Temple Records and an absolutely fabulous producer on their roster that goes by the delicious (sorry, I had to) moniker of Sauce. His self-titled debut is up for free download, and in all honesty, best listened to in full. It’s one of those works that bends itself in exciting directions, but keeps a cohesive sound throughout the production, each track being needed to compliment the next. Drawing on elements of deep house and dub, Sauce also plays with his food, I mean, hip-hop elements. Mmm, tasty. Sauce – Carpaccio Coming to an end of another fine month, sitting on the breath of the first hour of morning and typing these very words, I receive a track from Australia’s prodigy child, Perth residing The Blank. Whilst anticipating a release on currently thriving label Darker Than Wax, this track “Leona” helps sedate our ever-watering mouths. Another talented producer who harnesses the female vox, Henry Ascroft’s heavier sounds take a backseat this time, as he incorporates a feminine delicacy reflected by the title of the song. Think of walking home through the rain after breaking hearts/having your heart broken. The Blank – Leona Autumn’s well and truly settling in here. The days are getting colder and the nights are arriving sooner - a few more hours of darkness to add to the ever-shortening days. Perhaps on those colder nights you need some friends to hug. Perhaps early in the morning, when you throw that scarf around your neck, you need some late night beats and heavenly vocals to get you through the day. Until next month kids. Download the mixtape here.