Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Clams Casino // Rainforest EP

Blame it on Capgras Syndrome, but I'm pretty sure I went to High School with a Mike Volpe, and that Clams Casino (also Mike Volpe) may either be that very Volpe, or possibly a simulacrum of aforementioned Volpe. Upon further investigation, I realized that both Mike and Volpe are common names in my former neck of the woods. Nevertheless, this Mike Volpe has incontestable talent, and can surely paint a soundscape.

His latest oeuvre, the Rainforest EP, out yesterday on Tri-Angle Records, shies away from neatly categorized forms of hip-hop while retaining some of his signature style: an in-and-out-of-consciousness, washed-up-on-shore, near-death reverie, with the familiar serenades of washed-out voices on a lonely forgotten island. 

Via Bookmat: "Clams Casino might just be the hottest producer on the planet right now. For some time his electrifying beats have been lighting up mixtapes for Lil B, Soulja Boy and other unique personalities in the new rap underground, but recently he's stepped out of the shadows to become acclaimed in his own right, releasing his own instant-classic Instrumentals mixtape, and now proffering a timely EP on Tri Angle, his debut release proper . . .Rainforest is an isolationist hip-hop epic that accords perfectly with the Tri Angle aesthetic while also affirming and deepening Clams' singular production style; it's a new benchmark in the bedroom hip-hop revolution, the real sh*t, and totally essential."

Jay Z's online mag Life + Times also featured the EP earlier today; check it out here.
While you're at it, go over to MTV Hive for a Q&A.

Clams Casino // Rainforest EP by GammaRay

Also, download his recent mix for FACT here; it'll only disappoint if you hate fun.

Here's some more fresh (?) material uploaded to his SoundCloud yesterday. We personally recommend turning up "I'm God" as loud as your speakers allow:

I'm God by clammyclams

Motivation by clammyclams

Wassup ft. ASAP Rocky by clammyclams

Pick it up today at Tri-Angle Records.
Follow him on Twitter (and the label as well).
Add Clams Casino and Tri-Angle Records on SoundCloud.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

New Weeknd: "Rolling Stone" + 6 Other Unreleased Tracks

Three days ago, the lusty, desperate voice of Abel Tesfaye--better known as The Weeknd--was revived in all our heads through the bare, sparse beauty of his new track, "Rolling Stone." Per usual, an intense focus on sex, drugs, and possession anchor the song. One moment Tesfaye sings, "I'm going to keep on smoking till I can't hit another note," and the next he begs, "Baby, love me before they all love me, until you won't love me, because I won't love me". The tiniest jangling sound, almost like jacks in a child's hand, provides a haunted, anxious heartbeat for Tesfaye's echo-heavy vocals: like the sleigh bells on Liz Phair's classic "Fuck and Run," it's this disembodied, but somehow very human, sound that blesses the song.

The Weeknd - Rolling Stone

Beyond "Rolling Stone," there have also been a slew (6, to be exact) of unreleased tracks, all as gorgeous as, frankly, we now expect them to be, if Tesfaye is putting them out. Check those out below as well:

Unreleased The Weeknd

Check The Weeknd out on SoundCloud, follow on Twitter, and keep watch on his homepage.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just A Number 05272011 // "He Didn't Want A Love Song (Lisa Alma Remix)"

The grand online mystery that is Just A Number 05272011 gets a melancholic revamp with Lisa Alma's remix of "He Didn't Want A Love Song," as well as a simple, black-and-white accompanying video. We covered and followed-up on Just A Number sometime back, and wondered aloud, with every other lucid blog writer, what will happen on May 27, 2011? We're five days away now, post-Rapture and still kicking, and what we do know is that, if nothing else, May 27 is the date of Just A Number's first live show at the Spot festival in Denmark. 

If you can't make it to Denmark, quench your Just A Number cravings below: 

He Didn't Want A Love Song (Lisa Alma Remix)

He Didn't Want A Love Song (Lisa Alma remix)

Watch his SoundCloud, follow him on Twitter, keep in the game.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nguzunguzu // "Stranger (Remix of Jhene Aiko)"

L.A. crowd pleasers Nguzunguzu (a.k.a. DJ duo Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda) killed it on their self-released 2011 EP Perfect Lullaby, showcasing everything from silkily familiar R&B samples to floor-shaking UK bass, juke, reggaeton, and more--and you can grab it for a fat, glorious cost of nothing over here.

Given Nguzunguzu's place in our hearts--and me being an L.A. native--we were practically salivating over their remix of Jhene Aiko's "Stranger". As XLR8R points out: 
The ubiquitous use of reverb and delay on Aiko's sultry acapella quickly reminds us of a few of the deeply emotive tracks by folks like The Weeknd or How to Dress Well, though the frenetic drum programming and thick bass tones are purely the DJ/production outfit's own. 
The Weeknd comparison is perhaps particularly apt, as Nguzunguzu seem simultaneously invested in a danceable but yearning aesthetic that produces, at once, spontaneous memories of dim-lit slow dancing, and--maybe less like The Weeknd--danceyourfaceoff nights of miraculous drinking and fun. Take a listen below:

Stranger (Nguzunguzu Remix) by GammaRay

Follow them on Twitter, and check out their blog, Shade Business.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Feature // Young Montana?

Take the sampling ease of J-Dilla, the sharp articulations of Flying Lotus' bass and percussion, and the nostalgic glaze of authentic hip-hop with quirks à la Nosaj Thing, and you might have some small inkling of what to expect from Limerence, Young Montana?'s recent full-length off Alpha Pup. In our recent interview, Solar Bears tipped us off to Coventry producer Jon Pritchard's excellent, delirious experiment in sample-laced street bass, but maybe it would be better to hear it from the horse's mouth. In a 2010 interview with FADER, Young Montana? promised:
I think I’m probably more electronic but I still wouldn’t like to box myself in like that. I guess I probably do take an almost hip-hop-esque approach to sampling. There aren’t a lot of people really doing that shit anymore. But I ain’t just gonna sit there and churn out something from the ’90s all over again. My album’s gonna be a sonic adventure really, but I guess the most recurring part of the dream is an underlying hip-hop beat, in some smacked out form. The further removed from hip-hop it all becomes the better, I think the album will emphasis this more than I can articulate. 

The promise, we can assure you, has been amply fulfilled. For a taste, listen to the album sampler posted on SoundCloud: 

Young Montana? - 'Limerence' Album Sampler <<< OUT NOW by Young Montana?

As far as personal favorites go, it's tough. Like most of the work we write up, Limerence is best listened to in its complete form--it's built on a kind of seamlessness between tracks that really impressed us. But, if we had to pick our top two, Ray's vote goes with "Mynnd" and "Legwrap," where Alex throws down for "Sacre Cool" and "Hot Heathrr," which you can sample for yourself below:

Young Montana? // Mynnd by GammaRay

Young Montana? // Legwrap by GammaRay

Young Montana: Sacre Cool by ALPHA PUP

Young Montana? // Hot Heathrr by GammaRay

And, of course, don't miss Young Montana?'s remix of Solar Bears' "Dream Valley":

Solar Bears - Dream Valley (Young Montana? Rework) by Young Montana?

Keep up-to-date on his SoundCloud; follow him on Twitter.

-Ray & Alex

Friday, May 13, 2011

Interview: Solar Bears

Irish pioneers John Kowalski and Rian Trench have a revolutionist agenda in their Solar Bears project: Take the complexities of human emotion and drama, and translate them into a subtler medium; change the purpose and meaning of electronic music into something that isn't removed from the human experience; and draw us closer to a concept of electronic music that focuses on artistic value rather than just beats. Their debut album She Was Coloured In is the result of this agenda, and it reflects an intellectual competency the likes of which we  unfortunately are not regularly exposed to within the wider genre. 

We took the liberty of asking a few questions to delve deeper into the collective mind of the duo:

IMT: You guys have spoken about the director Tarkovsky in other interviews, and we were wondering about the relationship of your music to film. What is it about Tarkovsky that you like? Do you think the visual influences the sonic for your music, and do you mean for your production to seem cinematic?

SB: He was a visionary. Metaphysics is something that fascinates me greatly. His imagery is still unparalleled to this day. All his films are timeless. They are transformative in that they shape your opinions, viewpoints and dreams.

IMT: You’re cited having Aphex Twin as a relevant figure for you guys personally. Has James’ music influenced your music in any way? Is there any tradition you’d like to be seen as coming out of?

SB: I am against tradition for the most part, same goes for convention. We try to go against type as much as possible. Drukqs by Aphex is one of our favourite records. It has a freeform approach that is really appealing to us because of its scope.

IMT: You’ve mentioned you’re interested in philosophy—who are you thinking of, what philosophers do you love? You guys seem to have an almost Hegelian interest in dialectics, creating the synthesis through the album itself, which is always juxtaposing one musical palate against an entirely different one…

SB: Deepak Chopra, Alan Watts, Descartes, Nietzsche, Sartre and Socrates. Contrast is very important from digital and analogue to synthesis and acoustics. We listen to music from all decades and ages. 

IMT: Is cross-genre music important to you—some of the songs (especially those with guitar) seem to have been composed on a Desmoiselles D’Avignon logic, all styles all together at once?

SB: How we compose is dependent on mood and spontaniety. Allowing things to happen and not ruling anything out lends itself to a sprawling record. Some of my favourite albums have the same current/spirit like Screamadelica and Contino Sessions. 

IMT: It seems, artistically, that the focus on spontaneity in your work is really similar, in some ways, to Dada and Surrealist principals—how does the dictates of the unconscious influence your work?

SB: An artist is a channel. Bob Moog described it well when he explained he is simply open to inspiration, it is in the ether/atmosphere. Having no style is just as effective as having a defined sound.

IMT: What artist deserves buzz? Who you think we should feature?

SB: Right now I am really impressed with two producers in particular. Young Montana? is one and Moths is another. They are both quite young but they are creating waves already.

IMT: Is there anything about Ireland, or the music scene in Ireland, that you feel contributes significantly to the UK music scene at-large? What are your feelings about the traditions that are being started here in the States within the scope of electronic music?

SB: The music scene in Ireland is stronger than ever. There are many up and coming acts that are getting attention abroard. Sites and publications are paying more attention to what is happening here more and more. I was speaking to Rian about this yesterday. We felt that the American electronic scene has almost overtaken the European one.  

IMT: Lone produced a fantastic remix of your ‘Twin Stars,’ one of our personal favorites of the remixes of your tracks, as well as Keep Shelly in Athen’s remix of ‘Cubs”. Will we see any future collaborations with either of these artists? Do you have any upcoming remixes we should know about?

SB: There should be a new remix online soon but I am not at liberty to say who is behind it at the moment. Stay tuned.

Below is the aforementioned remix, followed by Lone's remix of "Twin Stars," off Solar Bears' Inner Sunshine EP:

Dream Valley (Young Montana? Rework) by Solar Bears

Solar Bears - Twin Stars (Lone Remix) by subraw

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dauwd // Could it Be

New track by Welsh producer Dauwd put up yesterday on SCloud, out 5/16 on Pictures Music. This one remains in the house-infused tradition his earlier tracks; it radiates a lush and expansive feel, like what you could hear in some Floating Points numbers.

Dauwd - "Could It Be" by Pictures Music
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