Micachu | Filthy Friends Mixtape

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21-year-old Mica Levi aka Micachu has already done her work for the year. She’s already delivered an album (Rough Trade, March 9th), ‘Jewellery’ produced by Matthew Herbert, that sounds undeniably authentic and original, which – in this day and age of spiraling, referential hype – is nothing to be sniffed at. And whilst it’s just as undeniable that a press and blog deluge is sure to follow, Micachu’s skewed take on genuine post-punk sensibilities, delivered with a part-pop, part-acoustic verve, all dressed in Patrick Wolf’s clothing, is uncharacteristically worthy of the attendant clamour.

Classically trained, Micachu’s ‘Filthy Friends’ mixtape is a fine example of her stance on music, ricocheting between genres (hip hop, grime, experimental electronica, spoken word, jazz, dubstep) and featuring Toddla T, Golden Silvers, Capitol K, Kwes, Man Like Me and poet Jack Penate. Also below, Hyperdub’s LV delivers a mix that’s so intrinsically fucked-up and literally off-beat that it sounds like a complete mistake. Thankfully, after the third listen, it all finally makes beautiful sense.

Micachu – Filthy Friends Mixtape | mp3

Bonus: Michachu – Lips (LV Remix) | download page

img | split-ends

Lemonade | Sunchips (Bookworms Remix)

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Let’s talk about the name first: Lemonade sounds as if they are a pre-teen, happy-clappy, singalong, soda-popping bunch of adrenalised muppets. It is not the wisest choice of names for what is actually a rather interesting band – it’s the sort of name that actually encourages people to look away, to say to themselves “I’m not the sort of person who listens to bands called Lemonade”. This would be a great shame, for there is actually much to enjoy from this San Francisco trio.

Coming on like a ramshackle, juiced-up younger cousin to Hot Chip, Lemonade map out a path that leads the 1s and 0s into a drunken tussle with a cupboard full of percussive paraphenalia. Dare I say it might be something akin to El Guincho fronting 90s one hit wonders EMF? Unbelievable, yes.

If all that terrifies you, blow into a paper bag for this download. This (somewhat far removed) echo drenched remix comes from fellow SF producer, Bookworms, who also recently threw his talents over a remix of Mi Ami‘s ‘African Rhythms’. The boy’s certainly keeping good company.

Lemonade – Sunchips (Bookworms Remix) | download page

info | Lemonade MySpace

img | Pink Neko

Underlapper | Meanderthal (Cleptocleptics Remix)

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When Underlapper first emerged, a collection of their own homespun CD-Rs went into circulation, track titles scrawled in green biro on TDK branded inlays. This demarkation clearly suggested that Underlapper were still in their embryonic phase, that they hadn’t quite decided that the world was ready for them. Yet the music itself, and their accompanying gigs, clearly showed a band who were more than ready to face the future. What they lacked in confidence, they more than made up for in their approach to experimentation and a willingness to imbibe influences from all corners, including those that might potentially discourage a swelling fan base.

Although experimental and post-rock influences were writ large, when Underlapper’s album ‘What Came Forth From The Sea’ finally dropped in 2004, they had taken an odd detour into Anticon country and had infused their sound with raw, Australian hip-hop vocals. Though unexpected, it did herald the fact that Underlapper were determined to diversify their sound and to eschew the notion to ‘play ball’ with expectations. To their eternal credit, there remains to this day no other example of Australian post-rock hip-hop. For this fact alone, even if that was end of their tale, Underlapper would have found themselves in 6pt black type in a tiny corner of the Australian Music history books.

Spool forward two years, and Underlapper drop kicked the hip-hop for their 2007 release ‘Red Spring’ – a release that should have come from a band twice their age, playing together for twice as long. Indeed, it could have come have come straight off the shipping container from Scandanavia, with sounds reminiscent of some of Iceland’s finest, minus the attendant histrionics. ‘Red Spring’ was a quiet melee of electronics and acoustics – pianos, flutes and bass all skirting around arpeggios and droplets of digitalism – somewhat disguising the inherent truth that Underlapper can write some simple and beautiful songs.

And so to ‘Red Spring Remixes’, released this month on Sydney’s Feral Media. Thirteen tracks recontextualise the original collection with a cast list that reads like a Who’s Who of Australia’s next wave of experimental artists – Broken Chip, Part Timer, Faux Pas, Karoshi, Aheadphonehome and, on the track below, Tom Smith aka Cleptoclectics, bursting out of his Prefuse-like skin to share a spiraling piece of sun-kissed beat science.

Underlapper – Meanderthal (Cleptocleptics Remix) | mp3

Join Feral Media’s mailing list for full details of the album release date and supporting stores.

img | matteo sasselli

Three Trapped Tigers | 1

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One of the best things about the recent All Tomorrows Parties was getting my brain scrubbed with dirty wire wool by Fuck Buttons. A blissful assault from start to finish, it was one of the most sensational live aural experiences I’ve had since witnessing The Boredoms live back in 2002 (who were incidentally supporting John Cale at the time, oddest master & servant relationship of all time).

But imagine if Fuck Buttons did actually believe in taking a breath, in pausing for a second to take stock, and not only that, decided to indulge in a little bit of Four Tet / Pivot style angular frippery and Lightning Bolt tubthumping, before counting to three and diving back in again. London improv trio Three Trapped Tigers are trapped in that moment. It’s hard to keep up, but like a late night meeting with a tub of Ambrosia Custard, you just want to keep going – even after it’s long gone.

The debut EP is out now on Blood & Paper. Do it via Paypal at myspace.com/threetrappedtigers.

Three Tapped Tigers – 1 | mp3

Three Tapped Tigers – 3 | mp3

img | hasensaft

Discontent – Mixtape One

This mixtape features a selection of tracks posted on my Discontent music blog since its launch in November last year. All the tracks have been published freely online by artists or labels, so feel free to post the link or distribute the mixtape.

Downoad: Discontent – Mixtape One

  • 1 Fever Ray – If I Had A Heart (Instrumental Edit) [Sweden]
  • 2 Harmonic 313 – Dirtbox [Australia]
  • 3 Lone – Beach Bump [England]
  • 4 The Long Lost – Woebegone (Flying Lotus’ Luckiest Charm) [U.S.]
  • 5 Fantastikoi Hxoi – Kyriarxoi Tou Sympantos [Greece]
  • 6 Ghoul – Fuck Math [Australia]
  • 7 Mi Ami – African Rhythms [U.S.]
  • 8 Hudson Mohawke – Polkadot Blues [Scotland]
  • 9 Pacheko – Green Bull (B Bull Mix) [Venezuela]
  • 10 Filastine – B’talla (feat. Rabah) [U.S.]
  • 11 AGF aka Antye Greie – Disturbia [Germany]
  • 12 The Sight Below – With Her Kiss (I’d Pass The Sky) [U.S.]
  • 13 Sleeps In Oysters – Moths’ Wings For John [England]
  • 14 Salem – Brustreet [U.S.]

Mountains | Choral

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A few weeks back, I hit All Tommorrow’s Parties in Sydney and caught Harmonia, featuring some of the legendary players in 1970s krautrock and electronica – Neu’s Michael Rother, Dieter Mobius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius. They appeared on a sun-drenched harbourside stage in the middle of the afternoon, which – depending on your point of view – was either the best or the worst place to see them. Nonetheless, it ticked off another in the ongoing list “Artists That I Must See Before They Or I Die”.

This brings us circuitously to Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp, trading as Mountains – an act which feed directly from Harmonia’s spacial continuum. Harmonia is actually a perfect departure point, particularly the influence of Michael Rother’s guitar work, as we check our passports at the start of Mountain’s latest album release ‘Choral’. But such a direct reference doesn’t detract from the precise, sculpted expertise that Mountains exhibit, as they layer exquisite electronic excursions with reverb guitar fuzz, sun-kissed strings and a cherry-pick of acoustic instrumentation. The net result is an expansive savanna that stretches out in front of us, peppered with references to specific trajectories, yet stacked with seemingly infinite possibilities. Six tracks build together to form the album, which is available from February 17th via Thrill Jockey.

Mountains have curated their own label, Apestaartje, over the last ten years – featuring many examples of similar experimentation, including earlier Mountains releases. Despite experiencing some neglect in recent times, their web site contains a full release catalog and accompanying audio streams.

Mountains – Choral | mp3

img | josef stuefer

Various Production & Gerry Mitchell | Clerks

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For their next full-length, Various Production indulge in the type of Scottish miserablism not seen since the early days of Arab Strap. As evidenced on this upfront promo, Scottish poet Gerry Mitchell‘s intense, suffocating readings could be well served by Various’ incessant need to hop genres with each release. Let us hope that the album, ‘The Invisible Lodger’ fuses more than just their regular dramatic dubstep productions, and additionally opts for the rural English folk songs and peculiar sea shanties that pepper their back catalogue.

‘The Invisible Lodger’ is available from Fire Records on 23rd February. The Various release slate also includes forthcoming rmxs from Actress & Rustie, and a new EP release, ‘Ramp’ in March.

Various Production & Gerry Mitchell – Clerks | mp3

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Gyratory System | Utility Music

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Described by one of their labels, Angular Recording Corporation, as a “utilitarian instrumental marching band”, UK collective Gyratory Systems are born from the cremains of London’s One More Grain – themselves an avant employer of the brass section, albeit in a post-punk vein.

Certainly the description has some merit – picking out individual instruments on this track, ‘Utility Music’, proves almost entirely fruitless. A melee of percussion, wind instruments, 4-4 bass and dissonant keyboard stabs – all of which offers little in the way of solace. It’s a futurist krautrock tribute, giving their all at an avant-jazz picnic on an interstate freeway, while the boys at the back systematically destroy the entire DFA record back catalogue with a pair of knitting needles.

Whatever particular touchstones Gyratory System stumble across, they’re certainly of generous spirit. They are currently in the midst of a reformist release cycle, promising that their music “will appear in fragments, in various formats, at different times”. This month, four of these fragments come bundled in a Mini CD release (in handmade origami sleeve) titled “Utility Music I” – and if the thought a plugging a 3″ CD into your laptop fills you with fear, the band are also releasing the EP for the princely sum of zero dollars at their web site, gyratorysystem.com.

Gyratory System – Utility Music | mp3

img | catbagan

Frikstailers | Baile Frik

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When I first blogged about Frikstailers back in 2007, it was clear that something frisky was being dunked in the water in Argentina. Laid out in front of us, we had a seemingly endless outpouring of twitchy, fidget electro from the very same territory that was simultaneously bombarding us with chopped and screwed re-cuts of old school cumbia. Ralf & Sandro Lee’s latest EP is once again a prime example of South American genre-bending, brandishing a clear lack of concern when it comes to demolishing borders.

‘Baile Frik’ takes funk carioca as its starting point, however the familiar tamborzao rhythm is soon locked in a tussle with Frikstailer’s ruthless scalpel, and partway into the journey, the drum machine pads return to their roots – acknowledging a four-decade old debt by introducing some decidedly Kraftwerkian interplay. Elsewhere on the EP, rising boy-wonder Fulgeance adds a remix under his Peter Digital Orchestra guise, and there’s two Frikstailers rerubs of cuts from Panamanian MC Zulu.

Shell out the hard stuff at the new Revolt Into Style label site, who are also preparing to drop tunes from Douster, Marcelo Fabian and Zort.

Frikstailers – Baile Frik | mp3

img | girrrrrl

T++ | Therefore Version 5

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Although his releases under the T++ alias have gained a small yet hardcore tribe of clipped electro & dubstep devotees, Torsten Proefrock has long been an influential figure in the ever-evolving rabbit hole of interconnections that is Berlin electronica.

Of late, Proefrock has surfaced with exceptional remixes for the late Skull Disco label – versions of Shackleton’s epic ‘Death Is Not Final’ and Appleblim’s ‘Vansan’. However, his role as Senior Player dates back to the late 1990s, with the establishment of his DIN label – with Pole, Arovane and Monolake all receiving the DIN release treatment, as well as Proefrock’s Dynamo and ‘Various Artists‘ projects. He also played a major role in introducing Berliners and mail order junkies to one of the most unstoppable forces in intelligent music retail, Mark (Basic Channel) Ernestus’ HardWax, fulfilling the job of Store Manager for many years.

It is to Monolake however that we turn for Proefrock’s most prolific work, as producer, regular collaborator and, with the withdrawl of original collaborator and Abelton founder Gerhard Behles, now essentially the ‘other half’ of Robert Henke’s long-standing project. This new, unreleased track is distributed via Henke’s Monolake site, forshadowing his plans for the pair to stage a number of live shows together throughout 2009.

T++ – Therefore Version 5 | download page

Bonus: Robert Henke with Torsten Proefrock – Atlantic Waves IV (Live at The Tate) | mp3 | more info

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Dizz1 | RBMA Mix

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More local product from out of Australia:

Dizz1 has been a player in the Australian music scene for a long while, as turntablist, promoter, producer, drummer and teacher. He’s been part of known Australian hip hop / beats projects such as db Chills, Wicked Beat Sound System, Nubreed, The Shook Daily Crew, Budspells and The Lordz of the Fly, and more recently has stacked up an impressive list of new creative partnerships: Mark Pritchard, Steve Spacek, Bobby Singh and Om’Mas Keith (SA-RA Creative Partners), all of which will be dropping releases in the coming twelve months. And lest we forget the not-so-insignifcant matter of Dizz1’s signing to Stereotyp‘s Crunchtime Records as ‘Mugsy’.

More immediately is a world tour with DJ Dexter (formerly of The Avalanches) under the name “Curse The Machines” – citing artists such as Flying Lotus, Caspa, Hudson Mohawke and Harmonic 313 as kindred spirits, the Curse project “blends world music with Bass music” and hits Europe and the U.S. in the coming months. Sydneysiders get a chance to catch them supporting Dorian Concept at Hermans (Space Is The Place) on Valentine’s Day.

On this mix for the Red Bull radio series (following his participation at the Barcelona RB Academy in 2008), Dizz1 flexes his fingers to showcase the skills that have kept him at the heart of the South Pacific beats and bass scene for so very long, featuring cuts from a variety of his collaborators and conspirators.

Dizz1 – RBMA Mix | sendspace

Tracklisting:
Don’t Fight The Vibe- Stereotyp feat Sizzla
Clocks remash – Dizz1
Walkon- Dizz1
Wanna Take Ova- Steve Spacek
Dirtbox- Harmonic 313
Goatit- Black Milk feat Phat Kat & Elzhi
Final Stage- The Widdler
More Than Money – Basstech Remix
Hangman- Sasquatch
Spaceman VIP- DJ Kutz
Ojahoe- Siqnature
Calling dub Remix- Stereotyp
Siknature- Siqnature
26 Basslines- Benga
Eastern Jam- Chase & Status

more: myspace.com/dizzleone

img | k’s glimpses

Salem | Whenusleep

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I’ve finally just taken delivery of Salem‘s ‘Water’ 7″ on Merok, a tiny moment of tactile pleasure that prompted a post.

Salem (Michigan trio John, Heather and Jack) do a good job of keeping themselves buried. Their music thus far has been vinyl-only, no digital sales available. Interviews and facts are scant, photographs more so. The music itself actually feels buried; melodies trapped beneath multiple layers of dark, audio sediment.

If this were a hype-style machine, this lack of accessibility would be precisely their allure. However, the music (draped around a small inner sanctum of blogs for those without turntables) – obscured though it is – stands on its own. I’ve enjoyed reading the vast range of references that have been cited when discussing Salem: Bauhaus, The Knife, Cocteau Twins, Brian Eno, Nine Inch Nails, grime, 2-step. The list goes on. Certainly most of these are close – us Gen X-ers might also lob Coil or Throbbing Gristle onto the pile, just to see what sticks. What’s clear though is a fascination with the chopped & screwed aesthetic – and whilst The Knife may have liberally applied the screwed vocal to ‘Silent Shout’, Salem drag almost their entire instrumentation into the fray.

Certainly there’s no welcome mat here – Salem force you to act as something of a voyuer: to creep round to the back of the house, climb up the drainpipe to an upstairs window, and try to make sense of the groaning animal noises coming from the dark cupboard in the corner of the room. Rest assured, these boys and girls are not coming out to play.

‘Whenusleep’ is culled from the ‘Water EP’ available from Merok. The second track below, ‘Brustreet’, is something of a tribute to Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philidelphia’ and, yes, the Boss never sounded so good.

Salem – Whenusleep | mp3 [via The Fader]

Salem – Brustreet | mp3

more: s4lem.com, myspace.com/jjhhmm

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Lone | Naomixxx

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‘Superficiality is everything’ – that’s a mantra I hear a great many times these days. In a world of blipverts, unlimited free availabiity of music and micro gen-Y attention spans, the days of long, languid periods of pre-coital courting with musicians appear to be gone. First impressions count, and a bad first impression counts double. So here it is – my superficial confession: Lone‘s album cover reminds me of bad, Euro-Minstry-of-Sunshine-electro-house music marketing, misogynistic blokes thinking that lipgloss, titties and babes will help sell their opportunistic, piss-poor music.

Exhibit A:

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Case for the prosecution over, here’s the case for the defence: underneath that misdirecting cover is a gorgeous album, where Boards Of Canada fall into a passionate, groping roll in the hay with Flying Lotus and the ever-mutating Wonky genre. Full-length cuts meld with brief snapshots and textures, combining to produce an album dripping with warmth and promise – so much so, that it might well be time to reappraise that album cover after all.

This new mix from Lone pulls an almost unrivaled list of players into the light: Plaid, Kode 9, The Tuss, Rustie, Clark and more.

Lone – Naomixxx | zshare

1 – kona triangle – pinchbeck intro
2 – lone – indigo breath
3 – plaid – anything
4 – kode9 vs LD – 2 bad
5 – the tuss – fredugolon6
6 – rustie – response
7 – drexciya – triangular hydrogen strain
8 – macabre unit – lift off
9 – clark – for wolves crew
10 – MRK1 – get out clause
11 – jakes and joker – 3k lane
12 – mr. curtamos – glow in the dark step

Bonus: Lone – Beach Bump | mediafire

img | ants4pets

Amon Tobin | The Foley Room Recorded Live In Brussels

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Brazilian Amon Tobin has been targetted with a lightning bolt of generosity and is giving away a full-length live album on his site at amontobin.com. ‘The Foley Room Recorded Live In Brussels’ documents last year’s tour in support of the recent Ninja Tune album, in which Tobin dropped his usual reliance on vinyl sample sources and set about creating his own sound library, recording fx or ‘foley’ from unique sources such as roaring tigers, wasps and “falling chickpeas” (?). Although in danger of tumbling into the Matthew Herbert trap of chin-strokingly lovable ‘musique concrete’ – tracks that raise a smile on the first listen, yet become unlistenable after the third spin – ‘The Foley Room’ album was something of a triumph: thrilling, innovative and destined to become one of his career highlights.

In the live space, as is evidenced on this album, Tobin is not content to replicate and represent the finished product, quite the opposite. His love for drum’n’bass (and hardcore d’n’b at that) remains high on his shopping list, the nuances and subtleties give way to a more visceral and energetic experience. And it’s not all Tobin originals either – he blends Kelis, Spank Rock, Boxcutter and Autechre into the mix, along with cuts from his new Two Fingers project.

In the accompanying booklet, Tobin addresses the lack of visuals on the 2007 tour, explaining that “every last penny” was sunk into the sound system. “This show had nothing to do with stage antics after all,” he says. “It’s all about the sound and the shared experience of being immersed in waves of bass, while dissonant collections of rhythm and melody move, confuse, annoy you a bit, and then move again.”

amontobin.com was relaunched last year, and now features unreleased original material that Tobin is selling direct to fans – some of which comes via a ‘track of the month’ series. There’s also more free downloads, mixes, wallpapers and archive cuts: all in all, a great site (if a somewhat heavy load time) that speaks volumes about Tobin’s relationship with his audience.

Amon Tobin – The Foley Room Recorded Live In Brussels | zip

In 2007, I interviewed Amon about ‘The Foley Room’ album – download the podcast here.

img | Ronn aka “Blue” D’Aldaman

AGF | Disturbia

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Even back when she was flogging her ‘Pon De Replay’ schtick, I always suspected that Rhianna was hardcore – that at any moment, she would squint her eyes, furrow her brow and come on over and kick the living shit out of you. I think my assessment still stands, or at least it did until I heard AGF‘s cover of Rhianna’s ‘Distubia’.

AGF, aka East German poet, artist, musician and vocalist Antye Greie has an illustrious ten-year career behind her, with a phenomenal quantity of output, including work with her partner Vladislav Delay, Ellen Allien and Monika’s Gudrun Gut. Her work revolves around deconstruction / reconstruction, blending ‘real world’ (via poetry, spoken word and installative art) and the digital world together, until such times as the component parts are often virtually unrecognisable. Her poemproducer.com site represents a growing archive of work, including a generous volume of audio downloads.

AGF has always been a fascinating and uncompromising electronic provocateur, yet here she takes Rhianna’s original and crushes it relentlessly into fine shards of glass – and when that feels about done, she picks up her mallet and grinds that down further still, until we’re left with nothing but sand. Thrashing Rhianna’s lyrics through a psychotic blender, then submerged under a layer of digital distortion, AGF tweaks: ‘Am I scaring you tonight?’. Fuck yeah.

AGF – Distubria | mp3

img | mass distraction

Fever Ray (Sweden) – ‘If I Had A Heart (Fuck Buttons Remix)’

The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson in her solo Fever Ray guise releases her new album digitally today from Klicktrack and iTunes (physical formats follow, oddly, in over two months on March 21st). [See previous post for info on this project]. The cover art brings to mind comic artist Charles Burns – indeed, it may well be Burns, given that The Knife’s ‘Silent Shout’ video was apparently deeply inspired by his work.

A 7″ single also drops shortly (Jan 27th) with remixes of the ‘If I Had A Heart’ single, including this version from my latest obsession, Fuck Buttons (playing in Sydney this week, including an appearance at the Nick Cave curated All Tomorrows Parties on Cockatoo Island).

mp3: Fever Ray – If I Had A Heart (Fuck Buttons Remix)

img | origamadon

The Sight Below | With Her Kiss (I’d Pass The Sky)

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There are some musicians that come at you like a sonic ninja, smacking you hard in the face and then plunging your bloody head into a bucket of ice cold water until you scream for air. Yesterday’s Mi Ami being a good case in point. Today, we take the opposite, somewhat more restrained approach, with music that lightly tickles your brain with a duck feather and whispers nocturnal lullabies in your ear.

Seattle’s The Sight Below mines a tradition of ambience, drone, shoegaze and fuzztronica so skillfully developed by the likes of Eno, Kevin Shields and 4AD, and more latterly manicured by Wolfgang Voigt (with GAS), Ulrich Schnauss, Mexico’s Murcof and, adding a belated kick to proceedings, Chile’s Ricardo Tobar.

The key here is in the preparation – The Sight Below (who is apparently reluctant to divulge his real name) begins with a clutch of guitars and old-school effects units and delays. Playing with bows or light picks, the output is looped, captured, layered upon layer, and receives a minimal nip and a tuck before the track is closed off. Certainly, there is a sense of minimal post-production editing or re-arrangement – the work is imbued with the kind of tactile, still consideration that is only possible when the instrument is literally in your hands.

This first track below ‘With Her Kiss (I’d Pass The Sky)’ is culled from a free 3-track EP on Ghostly titled ‘No Place For Us’ – a precursor to his full-length album, Glider, released last November and featuring the second mp3, ‘Life’s Fading Light’.

The Sight Below – With Her Kiss (I’d Pass The Sky) | mp3

The Sight Below – Life’s Fading Light | mp3

img | gadgetgirl

Mi Ami | African Rhythms

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Mi Ami‘s ‘African Rhythms’ cropped up defiantly in the recent Fat Planet end-of-year show – defiant against the fact that the other 40+ records were all from outside the Anglo American axis, whereas the Mi Ami trio root themselves firmly in San Francisco. ‘African Rhythms’ was, however, the record I’d been waiting to hear for a very long time: with a considered nod to its source material, the track launches almost immediately into a tight tom percussive riff accompanied by cacophonous, unapologetic wailing. Just when you think you have it all figured out, Mi Ami drop a sprawling, frenetic deposit of guitar-driven noise over the top; spreading a secondary layer of disorientating substances over something that’s already alarmingly potent.

Daniel Martin-McCormick and Jacob Long come to Mi Ami from Washington punk band Black Eyes, joined by drummer Damon Palermo. Certainly, the punk aesthetic is alive and kicking herein, but spun into less familiar, less over-wrought territory. Official propaganda even goes so far as to cite dance, dub and disco as touch-stones. Shortly after hearing ‘African Rhythms’, and thrashing the hell out of it whenever I had the chance, I sent off for a Mi Ami remix CD-R that, since then, sadly seems to have disappeared from web view. It’s a sensational collection of lopsided, off-kilter versions and one that does indeed factor the dance-floor into its world view.

Two official releases drop in the next short while from the trio on Quarterstick / Touch & Go Records: a single ‘Echonoecho’ (Jan 27th) and the debut album ‘Watersports’ (Feb 17th). They’ve also just remixed Telepathe for their latest ‘Devil’s Trident’ release on Merok. That said, live on stage feels like the best place to witness Mi Ami in their purest form. With a full dance card of American dates and a planned Euro-tour in the offing, participation is wholeheartedly encouraged.

Mi Ami – African Rhythms | mp3 (via Dusted)

See also the Mi Ami mixtape, ‘Ones & Twos’ (via Meatskull).

img | thekidsmakeout

Spoek Mathambo | H.I.V.I.P. Dezemba Liazonz Mix

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There’s a grand debate that rages around the blogverse: that it takes Euro-focussed filthy electro hip hop or a verse from M.I.A. or, in the case of Vampire Weekend or El Guincho, afro-beat & other ‘tropical’ sounds refracted through the lens of skinny white kids, for most Westerners to engage with African music. This is not a new debate: traditional ‘world music’ has often faced similar charge – that ‘vehicles’ such as Peter Gabriel or Sting, or generally hapless branding exercises, are required in order for anyone north-west of the contintent to start to engage and take notice.

Whilst my experience of running Fat Planet tends to suggest otherwise (or was at least an exception that proves the rule), it’s certainly a given that only the truly hipster fringes of new African music receive the most media space, and there’s a great deal that’s left unsaid (start with CIAfrica, Nomadic Wax, 9ice, Damo Do Bling amongst others).

That’s not to say that those initial examples are not without merit, far from it in many cases. If we were to dismiss the blogverse’s contribution to the promotion of African music as being too hipster-inclined, we may well have missed Esau Mwamwaya or the growth of Kuduro. The accusation rather, which does stand up to interrogation, is that blog engagement is generally shallow and transient. That’s the sad side of the story, that whilst we celebrate the volume of blog posts of new African sounds, we despair about the lack of depth or ongoing commitment. When I blogged about this at the cessation of Fat Planet, some commentators suggested that ‘light posts are better than no posts’, but it feels that an intermediate position is the most realistic – a position I’ve been attempting to undertake on Discontent.

And so to Spoek Mathambo. As one half of Sweat X, Soweto’s Spoek (aka Nthato Mokgata) has been a constant blog presence over the last 12-18 months, turning blog heads onto electro and hip hop South African sounds. Whether it’s his work with Playdoe (with Sibot), Bulgarian or DJ Edjotronic (with a new 12″ on Boyz Noize dropping soon), Spoek’s name repeatedly resurfaces – of late, in the form of his own ongoing mix series. This latest mix practically opens and closes with work from England’s seminal Cabaret Voltaire, however sandwiched in between are what Spoek defines as “South Afrikan tech, kwaito and UK funky”.

Spoek Mathambo – H.I.V.I.P. Dezemba Liazonz Mix | zshare

Tracklisting:
CABARET VOLTAIRE – DECAY
SIDELELE – BIG NUZ (SPOEK MATHAMBO ‘BELL HOP’ REFIX )
IZINJA – BIG NUZ
GEENEUS – INTO THE FUTURE
DURBAN FUNK – BUBZIN
KHOLOI – BUJO MUJO
ANGICENGI –
SEDUCER – CNDO FEAT. BIG NUZ
GEENEUS – NIGHT REMIX
DJ SKHOKHO – 04
DJ BONGS – BANGA
GEENEUS – YELLOWTAIL (SPOEK MATHAMBO ‘MONATE FELA’ REFIX)
?? – NO STRINGS ATTACHED
CNDO – TERMINATOR
CABARET VOLTAIRE – VIBRATIONS
RISQUE RYTHUM TEAM – THE JACKING ZONE
DJ SKHOKHO – 08 (SPOEK MATHAMBO ‘AIDS IN THE HOSTEL’ REFIX)

Pacheko | Green Bull

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DJ C‘s Mashit label has been going hard and not even considering going home throughout 2008 with releases from the label boss himself, alongside DJ Flack, Zulu, Bong Ra and Murderbot. Coming on like a bottom end Santa Claus, DJ C dropped some yultide cheer at the tail end of the year with a split release that went some way towards representing the new sound of Caracas – four tracks from the prolific producer Cardopusher (who recently dropped his Hyperdub debut), and three from new kid on the Venezuelan block, Pacheko. It’s not a particular surprise to find this pairing back to back – both seem entwined in each other’s back catalogue, with various remixes and mixtapes ricocheting between them. Pacheko also counts Starkey amongst his cohorts – with another recent split single (on Lo Dubs) and a remix from the Philadelphia producer.

The original version of the track below, ‘Green Bull’, features on the Mashit single, ‘This Troy’, however this sprightly bleep’n’bass version is released as a non-EP teaser. It’s a fair reflection of Pacheko’s output thus far – a producer with a cheeky spring in his dubstep, unafraid to rub electro melodies and pop-skank rhythms with his heavy bass treatments. Buy the release at mashit.com.

Pacheko – Green Bull (B Bull Mix) | mp3

Guido | 29 Minute Mix

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As promo shots goes, this is one of my favourites for a long time – Guido‘s obviously going for that so-hot-right-now ‘serial killer in the bedroom’ chic. Hailing from Bristol, a city well-renowned for dubstep innovators such as Pinch, Peverelist, Atki2 and Joker, Guido opts for the path-less-obvious in this tight mix. Largely comprised of his own productions, Guido drops slices of funky, wonky R&B and garage in amongst the low-end excursions and rolling avalanches of cluttered beats. Tidy work.

Guido – 29 Minute Mix | sendspace

tantalized – guido
beautiful complication – guido, aarya & ruthless
chakra – guido
you do it right – guido
orchestral lab- guido
johnny 5 – gemmy
mad sax – guido
do it! – joker
tango – guido
digidesign – joker