Sleeps In Oysters | Moths Wings For John / Sea Flowers Blossom

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It’s a grey, wet early morning in the city of Sydney, and this seems like the most idyllic soundtrack for this moment. ‘Sleeps In Oysters’ deliver under-stated, lowercase folk from their home in Berkshire (England). They’ve played recently with Efterklang, Leafcutter John and A Hawk And A Hacksaw – three distinctly different avenues of sound, although as a combination, the aggregated flavour does indeed give you a fair impression of the territory that Sleeps In Oysters are seeking to stake.

After a good 60 seconds of concrete insect chatter, ‘Moths Wings For John’ flows into a mourning one-note journey around the scale, with scattered wasp samples flicking around the ether and Lisa Busby’s vocal draped elegantly on top. ‘Sea Flowers Blossom’ (from the Luv Sound compilation ‘Summer Gate’) follows a similar pace with John Harries on solo accordian, dripping water & miniature bleeps locked together in tiny combat, and Busby’s vocals layered on top of one another to create a quiet, understated pean to the ocean.

Their debut release (via Seed Records), the succinctly titled “‘We Kept The Memories Locked Away Like The Beetles Of Our Childhood -Or- How To Appreciate Someone That Is Always Around” is available on limited CD with ” 5 bespoke postcards parcelled in paper, tied with string and sealed with wax, housed in handmade fabric sleeves, lovingly embroidered and individually numbered.” Quite. A less prosaic version of the release is available via bleep.com from November 24.

Sleeps In Oysters – Moths Wings For John | mp3

Sleeps In Oysters – Sea Flowers Blossom | mp3

Various Production | Warchild

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With characteristic nonchalance, Various Production distributed another free track through their mailing list last week. As has been the story from the outset, no information, no context, no details are forthcoming. Whilst much of this info-lockdown technique is compelling (we are forced to focus entirely on the strength or the weakness of the music for gratification), it’s also often frustrating. Various Production swim between many different genres – from grime and dubstep, to rural folk and sea shanty, all without blinking.

With its looped, shuffling electro warble and chopped sampled chanting, ‘Warchild’ is less dramatic than most of their output, and thus less obviously a ‘Various’ track. It also features a precise, politically-inspired vocal from an MC that – as with all their contributing artists – remains nameless.

Next up: more remixes (from Rustie and Actress), a full album with Gerry Mitchell and their follow up to ‘The World Is Gone’. News and previews at official-various.blogspot.com.

Various Production -Warchild | mp3

Dusk & Blackdown | Keysound Radio ’08

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This podcast mix for XLR8R from London production duo Dusk & Blackdown dropped many months ago, but it’s ripe for re-appraisal. I say this primarily as the album which it promotes – ‘Margins Music’ – is a unique document that pinpoints all that is compelling about music in 2008. Yet, it still remains largely (although not exclusively) uncommented by the blogeratti.

Blackdown (aka Martin Clark) knows his dubstep – he is, after all, Pitchfork’s resident advisor on the subject. His 2008 review, now up at Pitchfork, presents us with a distinctly grey picture. In reference to his closing remarks at the end of 2007 (“Anthem bashing was endemic, with sections of the scene competing in harder-than-thou production contests”), he says this for the last 11 months:

“If anything dubstep was worse, as a percentage whole, in this department in 2008. Anthem bashing, cloned derivative productions, reduced experimentation, constrained diversity, and distorted wobble tracks became more endemic. In truth, if this path continues to be the major part of the scene in the future, the genre will burn itself out or turn itself musically and culturally irrelevant in less time than it took to incubate in the dark Croydon shadows. The leaders, fans and advocates of this style will have the blood on their hands of a once vital and unique genre that had been and had the potential to continue to be truly different and original. They will have to live with that shame.”

He’s been blogging about the scene from both a promotional and philosophical standpoint for a number of years, and thus has unique understanding of what the scene requires to push it forward. When his track ‘Lata’ dropped back in 2006 (coupled with a Burial remix of ‘Crackle Blues’), it fast become worn out on my turntable – a beautiful slice of downtempo, percussive dub with a vocal from legendary Hindi singer Lata Mangeshkar delicately woven over the top. It was a spectacular exercise in ‘beauty through minimalism’ and a shock to the dubstep system.

Thankfully, lessons were obviously learned from the production, as ‘Margins Music’ is awash with sounds and vocals that represent the true cultural diversity of its birthplace, London Town. It is, in truth, a concept album, a documentary of the capital in 2008, with contributions from Pakistani singer Farrah and Punjabi vocalist Teji, rolling Bhangra dhols, tabla and sitar all competing with innovative electronic production and grime verses spat by Trim and Durty Goodz. In short, it’s a breathtaking ride.

If you remain unconvinced, use this mix – full of unreleased cuts – as a precursor to your main fix (Buy @ Boomkat):

Dusk + Blackdown – Keysound Radio ’08 | mp3

1. Blackdown “Con/Fusion feat. Farrah” (Keysound Recordings)
2. Sully “Jackmans Recs” (unreleased)
3. Grievous Angel “What We Had” (unreleased)
4. Skream “Angry World” (unreleased)
5. Al-Haca “Kryptonite (TRG remix)” (unreleased)
6. 2nd II None “Waterfalls (Peverelist remix)” (Heavy Artilery)
7. JME “Go On My Own” (BBK)
8. Joker “Digidesign” (unreleased)
9. Dot Rotten “I’m a Professional” (GPP)
10. Starkey “Gutter Music” (unreleased)
11. Ghetto and Rudekid “Sing For Me” (unreleased)
12. Gemmy “Supligen” (unreleased)
13. Geeneus feat. Wiley, Riko, and Breeze “Knife & Gun” (unreleased)
14. Zomby “Aqafre5h” (unreleased)
15. Blackdown “Concrete Streets feat. Durrty Goodz (Keysound Recordings)
16. Wiley “If You’re Going Out I’m Going Out Too” (Grime Wave)
17. D1 “Oingy Boingy” (unreleased)
18. Dusk “Focus” (Keysound Recordings)
19. Dusk + Blackdown “Kuri Pataka feat. Teji and Farrah” (Keysound Recordings)
20. Pangaea “Router” (Hessle Audio)
21. Zomby “Duality” (unreleased)
22. Guido “Orchestral Lab” (unreleased)

Buraka Som Sistema | Mixtape

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For those with Paypal accounts, or a UK credit card for that matter, Buraka Som Sistema’s new album ‘Black Diamond’ is now avalable for download over at 7Digital. The debut full-length features contributions from M.I.A., Kano, Petty, baile funk’s First Lady Deise Tigrona and Angolan kuduro artists DJ Znobia, Saborosa and Puto Prata. Pitchfork have posted a mixtape featuring a couple of tracks and a new remix of ‘Sound Of Kuduro’ from bass cadets, Drop The Lime.

Buraka Som Sistema – Mixtape | mp3

1. Buraka Som Sistema: “Intro”
2. DJ Malvado: “Puto Mekie”
3. Radioclit: “Secousse (Crookers remix)”
4. Buraka Som Sistema: “Skank & Move” [ft. Kano]
5. DJ Znobia: “Patchy Luanda”
6. Debonair Samir: “Samir’s Theme”
7. Buraka Som Sistema: “Kalemba (Wegue Wegue)”
8. DJ Furioso: “Activate”
9. Buraka Som Sistema: “Sound of Kuduro (Drop the Lime remix)”
10. Reso: “If U Can’t Beat Them

Mark Barrage | Hindsight

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Mark Barrage has been all but absent from the recorded music scene over the last three years or so – ‘Hero Or Dirt’ dropped on Feral Media back in 2005. In the intervening continuum, he’s been playing many live shows (including support for Telepathe, YACHT and Dan Deacon) and steadily crafting the follow-up ‘Delays’, which is released this month via Mistletone Records, Australian home of El Guincho, Lucky Dragons and Panda Bear. ‘Hindsight’ blends Mark’s characteristic dark, singer-songwriter pop with an analogue electro pean to early-era Kraftwerk or Cabaret Voltaire. A mini-Australian tour kicks off in Melbourne at the end of the month – hit the Mistletone site for info.

Mark Barrage – Hindsight | mp3

Mark Barrage – Poisoned | YouTube

Tremor | Viajante (Remix)

We’ve seen Japanese baile funk and Portuguese kuduro – here’s another genre displaced from its homeland: Australian Cumbia. The Cumbia Cosmonauts may be based in Melbourne, but they have deep links back to Mexico via a long-standing creative relationship with the Nortec Collective and other artists in Tijuana (see myspace.com/melbournetijuana for details). The Australian collective have launched a series of ‘sessions’ titled “This Is Tijuana!” in Melbourne, starting recently with a local premiere screening of the documentary ‘Tijuana Remix’. The latin connection continues with this remix of Argentinean producer, Leonardo Martinell, aka Tremor, whose new album of the same name is released this month via Los Años Luz and who recently toured North America as part of the 2008 Zizek tour. The Cumbia Cosmonauts bring a stripped back, at times dubbed-out re-version to the fore, hinting that a twist on the Cumbian-norm might be Australia’s next top export.

Tremor – Viajante (De La Tierra Remix by The Cumbia Cosmonauts) | mp3

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Mesak | The International

With a URL such as skweee.com, SKWEEELICIOUS! is putting itself out there as a defacto official home of the growing Scandanavian electronic movement.  Blending bleep-tronica, twitch hip hop and 8-bit funk, Skweee is created by a large, loose collective of almost exclusively Finnish and Swedish producers and will be appreciated by lovers of Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, Quarta 330 and their ilk.  Skweeelicious has posted an interview with Mesak – producer and founder of one of the two main Skweee labels, Harmonia.

“The skweee is about to shatter in dozens of subgenres by all the artists performing their own music so strong that it slowly blends into being just top music and great artists. As there is more worldwide attention more people get into it and start producing or organizing parties. I think no one really knows what is going to happen. It’s also bit worrying if it gets popular.”

Mesak – The International | mp3

Architecture In Helsinki | That Beep

AIH never fail to amuse and confuse at the same time.  ‘That Beep’ sounds like a parallel universe offcut from Annie’s ‘Anniemal’ (with ‘chewing gum’ swapped for ‘bubblegum’).  Radioclit break things up with an offstep rhythm and a bonus verse from ex-Bonde Do Role vocalist Marina.  Single out 22nd Nov – info at thatbeep.com.

Architecture In Helsinki – That Beep (Radioclit French Mix feat. Marina) | mp3

2562 | Electronic Explorations Mix

Recent mix from Dutch techno / dubstep artist 2652, aka ‘A Made Up Sound’, featuring Bristolian dubstep producer Pinch, the excellent Headhunter and Romania’s TRG.  Out now: 2562 remixes Martyn’s ‘Vancouver’ on a new 12 with a Flying Lotus mix on the rear.  Buy @ Boomkat.

2562 – Electronic Explorations mix | mp3

01 – Pinch – Emo [Dub]
02 – 2562 – Moog Dub [Tectonic]
03 – 2562 – resistance dub [Dub]
04 – Martin Buttrich – Well Done (Headhunter Mix) [Four Twenty]
05 – Headhunter – Grounded [Dub]
06 – SMD – I Believe (Pinch Remix) [White]
07 – Peverelist – On & On [Dub]
08 – 2562 – Enforcers [Tectonic]
09 – s.u.a.d. – Epileptic (Martyn Remix) [Dub]
10 – 2562 – Techno Dread [Tectonic]
11 – TRG – 2084 [Dub]
12 – Shed – Masque (A Made Up Sound refix) [Soloaction]

Ikonika | Minimix

 

New wonky dubstep mix from UK’s Ikonika, whose latest 12 ‘Millie / Direct’ released on Kode 9’s Hyperdub label.  Ikonika is one of the few female producers (can we name some others?) that can be loosely branded ‘dubstep’, although the sound here – much like most of the recent releases on Hyperdub – is entering trajectories outside of the standard template.  In pairing lush sweeps with a perverted, wonky bassline, ‘Millie’ in particular is representative of the type of production (along with artists such as Martyn and Shackleton) that is ensuring the longevity of the scene.

IKONIKA Minimix | mp3

1 Ikonika – Please *Tease*
2 Ikonika – Millie
3 Ikonika – Girls
4 Ikonika – Smuck
5 Ikonika – Loser
6 Ikonika – Red Marker Pens
7 Ikonika – Direct
8 Ikonika & Optimum – Space Rock

Mix via Mad Decent | Buy at Boomkat

Buraka Som Sistema | XLR8R TV

Buraka Som Sistema drop a rare video interview on XLR8R TV, articulating their own take on the origins of the Kuduro genre and the false start for the sound in Portugal as far back as 1996.  BSS make note that they are ‘representing the Lisbon scene’ rather than Kuduro’s original Angolan roots, although production on their new ‘Black Diamond’ album took them back to the source.

XLR8R – From Lisbon with Love: Buraka Som Sistema| link | mp4 download

Buraka Som Sistema at 2009 Sydney Festival | link

Kuduro on ‘Fat Planet’ (October 2006) | link

Mumdance | Big Shot Mix

“I’m kinda over the whole MILF thing now; I’m having to skip back a generation and go for the GILFs.”

MUMDANCE Big Shot Mix | mp3

1. Wheres My Mumdance Double Drop Intro:
(Dillinger / “Where’s My Money” (Caspa remix) vs Claw / “Jersey Shore Guidos”)
2. High Rankin / “No Money For Guns”
3. AC Slater / “Jack Got Jacked” (Jack Beats Remix)
4. Boabinga / “The State Of Ghetto Jackin’”
5. Vybes Kartel / “Tigerstyle” (Sinden Remix)
6. Artwork / “Red”
7. Sticky feat. Miss Dynamite / “Boo”
8. Roll Deep Crew / “Heat Up”
9. Chase & Status / “Eastern Jam”
10. Maths Class / “Branches” (Mumdance Remix)

Licence To Ill at Sound Summit – Interview in The Brag

This week I’ll be on a panel at Sound Summit in Newcastle titled ‘LICENCE TO ILL: LEGALITIES, LICENSING, IMPLICATIONS AND IMPLEMENTATIONS!’ described as “Key representatives from APRA, the PPCA and Creative Commons join artists and industry to discuss the latest on artist copyright, licensing, downloading and legislation. In particular, addressing the impact & implications for local music communities.”

Ahead of the panel I was interviewed in The Brag, click on the thumbnail to view:

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Big Sound Panel – The Gatekeepers

Next week I’ll be at the annual Big Sound Conference in Brisbane, chairing a panel titled ‘The Gatekeepers’ featuring author & journalist Everett True, U.S. Radio Plugger Paul Brown, Richard Kingsmill, Music Director of Triple J; Mike Walsh from Xfm Network and Paul Cashmere from Undercover Media.

Here’s the blurb: As we progress from a world of radio and music magazines telling us what’s cool and what to listen to, has a sea change arrived where everyone’s a tastemaker online? Is there such thing as a music “expert” anymore and what are media doing to prove their credentials as sources audiences can trust to show the way.

More info at the Big Sound web site.

UPDATE: You can now watch a video of the panel at qmusic.com.au