Tag Archives: electronic

Serious Saturdays: Y'all Ain't Yeti for Nadastrom (via Mishka)

This should go without saying: don’t sleep on the Keep Watch Mix Series. Need proof? Crank up the fourth edition (from way back in 2008), which featured LA by way of DC-duo Nadastrom.

Nadastrom is comprised of DJ/producers-extraordinaire Dave Nada (né Villegas) and Matt Nordstrom. Established in 2007, Nadastrom have toured the world, unleashed their trademark brand of club-infused tech house on crowds everywhere, and found a home on Switch’s forward-thinking label Dubsided. It’s been a busy few years.

Nadastrom is an example of the whole being greater than the parts. Both Nada and Nordstrom were established talents when they came together: Nada as a resident of quintessential Baltimore party Taxlo and Nordstrom as a studio engineer for house music legends Deep Dish. But it was only together, when they combined the energy of Baltimore club and the pulsing vibe of deep house (along with precise studio programming), that they could reach superstar status in the global underground dance scene.

From the first bass blast of their debut Pussy EP, its been clear that Nadastrom is masterful at crafting soulful, big room bangers. The Soul II Soul-sampling title track and Blaqstarr-driven electroclub of “Tween Me + U” are still vital nearly three years after their release: guaranteed dance floor destroyers that should come pre-loaded on Serato boxes. The same can be said about “Save Us” on 2009’s The Saved EP: the shimmering breakdowns are but momentary respites from the hard-charging, soul-clapping spiritual.

Ever since they flipped Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” into a screwed-down grindfest, Nadastrom has proven to be expert remixers as well, taking on everyone from DC homeboy Tittsworth to Laidback Luke and Diplo. Keying in on the most essential element of a song, Nadastrom practically renders the originals obsolete. Last year, Nadastrom tweaked bass bangers from Udachi (“P-Funk Skank”) and AC Slater (“Take You”), slicing out most of the wobble but keeping all the intensity. Their most surprising remix, however, was a dubstep take on “Crush” by UK hip-pop act Fugative.

While their club and house credentials are impeccable, you can’t mention Nadastrom these days without bringing up moombahton. Nada may have (unintentionally) created it at his cousin’s skip party, but they’ve fostered the growth of the heatseeking genre together. Nadastrom is responsible for some — if not most — of the finest moombahton edits in existence; their Rum & Coke EP is required listening.

Since releasing the first official moombahton remix (of Steve Starks’ “Lydia”) they’ve brought songs by Florence and the Machine, Temper Trap, Win Win, and The Weeknd to the magical land of 108 BPM. Pairing up with UK singer-songwriter Alex Clare has resulted in two instant classics: “Too Close” and the as of yet unreleased “Up All Night.”

Moombahton may be getting them attention, but Nadastrom haven’t forgotten what got them where they are now. The duo dropped several singles earlier this year that hark back to tracks like “Pussy.” Ominous rumblers “Theo” and “M.U.H.” play on the dark side of house, yet the highlight of their new material is “All Night.” The track is built on a vocal riff from one of the most sampled songs ever, the James Brown-produced, Lyn Collins jam “Think (About It)” (for non-crate diggers, that’s where that classic “woo! yeah!” break comes from).

Nadastrom’s mascot / logo / spirit animal is the Yeti, specifically the one from the hilariously over-the-top SkyMall catalog. What started as an inside joke has actually come to describe the duo: this dark, mysterious beast who haunts our collective consciousness. If you’ve ever heard a Nadastrom track in a DJ set (you probably have) or have been lucky enough to see them live, you understand the Yeti. From the most powerful tech house to the smoothest moombahton, Nadastrom is out there.

If you’re in DC, just turn up the bass: the Nadastrom residency returns tomorrow July 10th to U Street Music Hall with guests Munchi and Jillionaire.

Originally posted on the Mishka Bloglin.

EP Roundup: Nguzunguzu / Little Dragon / How to Dress Well

Remixed, remade, or rearranged, we are long past the point where songs exist separately from their other versions. Three groundbreaking artists demonstrate this fact on recent releases.


Ascendant masters of future bass Nguzunguzu have the honor of releasing the first EP on Kingdom‘s Night Slugs-affiliate Fade to Mind. There’s much more than namedropping here, though. The tracks bubble, surge, and sway with waves of bass, video game (not chiptune) synths, and big ass timpanis; the title of “Water Bass Power” is instructive.

Two remixes round out the disc. In true rhythm and bass style, Kingdom screws a Nicole Wray sample into the title track; contemporaries Total Freedom give “Wake Sleep” a violent, creepy edge.

[wpaudio url=”https://postcultural.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/water_bass_power.mp3″ text=”Nguzunguzu – Water Bass Power” dl=0]

Little DragonRitual Union

Little Dragon doesn’t stray from their sound on “Ritual Union,” the title track on their forthcoming album. The song bounces along with a slinky bassline, electronic chirps, ricocheting drums, and of course, Yukimi Nagaon’s silky smooth vocals.

Remixes from producers Maya Jane Coles and Tensnake accentuate different elements – the guitar melody and the percussion section, respectively – but the focus is on Yukimi (as is usually the case). Also included is a remix of “Nightlight” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who turn the song into a psychedelic tableau of Eastern-flavored rock.

[wpaudio url=”https://postcultural.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ritual_union.mp3″ text=”Little Dragon – Ritual Union” dl=0]

How to Dress WellJust Once

The limited pressing Just Once gives R&B deconstructionalist How to Dress Well (aka Brooklyn artist Tom Krell) a chance to step out of the bedroom and into the orchestra pit. A tribute to a friend who committed suicide, the EP includes orchestral versions of formerly gauzy, ethereal songs from his debut, Love Remains.

Sinewy strings imbue Krell’s falsetto with an even greater sense of loss, heartbreak and sorrow. However, the beauty of these arrangements turns somber proceedings into something hopeful (or at least not as depressing as it could be). “Suicide Dreams 3″ will appear on the next HTDW album.

[wpaudio url=”https://postcultural.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/suicide_dream_3.mp3″ text=”HTDW – Suicide Dream 3” dl=0]

Future Grooves: SBTRKT

While new bands are finding the benefits of anonymity, DJs and producers have obscured their identities for years. Whether using aliases to better match their identity to their music (Burial and Zomby) or wearing masks while performing (countless electro gimmicks), electronic music listeners are used to a little mystery in the mix.

SBTRKT uses an alias and a mask, and while that isn’t new and exciting, his music is. This week sees the release of his eponymous debut on the trend-setting Young Turks label, but the SBTRKT story goes back further than the new album, or even the string of EPs, singles, and remixes released over the last year or so. SBTRKT is the artist formerly known as Aaron Jerome, who toiled in nu jazz during the aughts.

As that scene died down, he assumed his new identity, releasing dubstep remixes of Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place” (“Right Place”) and Goldie’s “Inner City Life” (“Timeless”) in late 2009. Subsequent releases include the four-song 2020 EP, an instrumental set of broken beats and swirling basslines. Collaborations with soul singers Sampha and Jessie Ware revealed a soulful, UK funky influence that permeates last year’s Step In Shadows.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/nervous.mp3″ text=”SBTRKT feat. Jessie Ware – Nervous” dl=0]

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/colonise.mp3″ text=”SBTRKT – Colonise” dl=0]

That influence is on full display on SBTRKT, which weaves through the landscape of future garage, post-dubstep, and bass music, presenting the strongest attempt at electronic-pop crossover since Magnetic Man‘s album. In that same vein, SBTRKT again teams up with Sampha and Jessie Ware (along with Roses Gabor), using vocalists to humanize his beats. Lead single “Wildfire,” a collaboration with Little Dragon, finds Yukimi’s voice perfectly suited for the rubbery wobble.

From the sub-bass groove of “Right Thing to Do” to the funky edge of “Pharoahs,” SBTRKT presents a full picture of electronic dance music in 2011. SBTRKT, masked or not, won’t be anonymous for long.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/rightthing.mp3″ text=”SBTRKT feat. Jessie Ware and Sampha – Right Thing to Do” dl=0]

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/pharoahs.mp3″ text=”SBTRKT feat. Roses Gabor – Pharoahs” dl=0]

Future Grooves: Brenmar

Since posting the video for Brenmar’s “Taking It Down,” I’ve been playing the track on repeat. Digging deeper into his body of work, I’ve found a unique strand of rhythm and bass. His songs surge on UK funky beats and sultry R&B samples, chopped with more finesse than those of his juke and footwork cousins. As Brenmar describes it, “this is club music for the present.”

Brenmar (government name Bill Salas) was born in Chicago and hones his craft in NYC. Over the last year or so, he’s made a name for himself with his club remixes of tracks by mainstream artists like Rihanna and Jamie Foxx. His flip of Ashanti’s “Only You” into the swaying “Boy U Got Me,” chops “boy you got me doing things that I would never do” across a bass-heavy jam (the song appeared on Top Billing’s excellent Truancy Compilation). Compared to “Boy U Got Me,” his remix of Aaliyah’s seminal “R U That Somebody” is a hypercharged workout, with nods to the juke of his hometown.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Brenmar-Boy_U_Got_Me.mp3″ text=”Brenmar – Boy U Got Me” dl=1]

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Aaliyah-R_U_That_Somebody_(Brenmar_Windy_City_Mix).mp3″ text=”Aaliyah – R U That Somebody (Brenmar’s Windy City Mix)” dl=1]

Brenmar’s tracks are all about the perfect sample, always clipping just the right phrase or lyric to build a song around. On his debut EP, At It Again, it was Ne-Yo (“Make Me Say”) and Marques Houston (the aforementioned “Taking It Down”). He continues that practice on his latest, Let Me Know (Tasting), which was released Tuesday. The title tracks features one of Mya’s more suggestive lines (“If you’re likin’ what you’re tastin’ / Baby let me know“) and single “Want Me” continues the theme with some Brownstone.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/brenmar-wantme.mp3″ text=”Brenmar – Want Me” dl=0]

As a remixer, Brenmar has ventured out of the pop-R&B sweet spot, with interesting results. On remixes for Blondes and Teengirl Fantasy, he reverse engineers the chilled-out songs into more traditional dance tracks. It’s clearly a form he’s most comfortable with; what he calls club music for the present is more like club music from the future.

Check out his Gold Bricks mix for The Fader (below), and catch him at Baltimore’s Red Maple on June 30.

EP Roundup: Munchi / Bok Bok / Skream

Three major names in underground electronic music released EPs, and each deserves a close listen. Don’t sleep on any of these future grooves.

MunchiRotterdam Juke

Ever since his remix of Nguzunguzu’s “Unfold,” bassheads have eagerly awaited more juke from Munchi. With the release of the Rotterdam Juke EP, Munchi delivers: over six tracks, Munchi presents a unique view of Chicago from a Dominican living in Rotterdam.

After a few months of hardship, Munchi announces his triumphant return with “Mi Ta Bek,” which features the iconic “guess I got my swagga back” sample (Jay Z by way of Datsik and Excision). The track, along with “Mamajuana,” have the same type of colliding beats of “Murda Sound,” off the EP of the same name.

As always, Munchi’s melting pot style is on full display. The sweet sorrow of Dominican bachata compliments the rapid-fire toms of juke on “Andando,” and only Munchi has the audacity to sample Rage Against the Machine’s “Bull On Parade” – and the ability to pull it off – like he does on “Paperchase.” “Straat Taaki” (“Street Talk”) has less overt juke influence, but the raw, uneven traphouse beat is straight gangsta. The stand out track is “Yazzer Tin Air Max,” which is pure, uncut footwork.

Bok BokSouthside EP

Night Slugs co-founder Bok Bok takes a break from running the world’s hottest electronic label to release his first ever solo EP. With an 808 in one hand and a 303 in the other, Bok Bok is at his finest, crafting dark, sexy soundscapes that push the boundaries of post-dubstep/post-UK funky dance music.

On “Charisma Theme,” airy synths permeate a sensual beat that has that Night Slugs je ne sais quoi. “Hyperpass” is unrelenting tech house, and “Reminder” has exotic synth lines that give it an Eastern feel. Southside closes with the sinister grime of “Silo Pass” and “Look Dub;” the former is a more dense composition, but the latter imbues the empty space with eeriness.

SkreamSkream EP

While Bok Bok takes a break from his, Skream disengages from Magnetic Man for a major release on his own label. The self-titled EP on Disfigured Dubz brings together four tracks that Skream has been annihilating audiences with. “Heavy Hitter” and “Rigging” have the midrange wobble of “classic” dubstep; while done to death by other producers, the technique still feels vital in Skream’s hands. “Sea Sick” does the same, with descending synths that perfectly capture the feeling of the song’s title. The best track is “Hats Off,” where he returns to the well, combining a Loleatta Holloway vocal and the “amen” break into something more ravey than his breakthough hit “Burning Up.”

Album Review: Planningtorock – W

Planningtorock is the alter ego of Janine Rostron, a British-born musician and visual artist who has lived in Berlin for ten years. Her new album, W (on DFA Records), is reminiscent of the avant-but-accessible work of TV on the Radio. The album reveals layers of influence as the chameleonic Planningtorock recreates herself on every song.

Album opener “Doorway” steadily builds, pumping with a kick drum heartbeat and distorted vocals (practically turning Rostron’s voice male). Each pass is an opportunity to add a new sound to the mix, whether horns, synth stabs, or spaghetti western guitar licks, a pattern repeated elsewhere on W. The video for “Doorway” finds Rostron physically altered, just like her voice.

“Going Wrong” is haunted by mischievous strings right out of a Clint Mansell soundtrack, with layers of weeping sirens, animalistic mewing, and foreboding pleadings of “Am I holding on / to someone going wrong?.” The last notes of “Going Wrong” barely fade before the steady rumbling and Baba O’Reilly arpeggios of “Im Yr Man” kick in. “Im Yr Man’s” insistent lyrics are both self-affirming and a statement of devotion: “I don’t need a microphone / to me what I’m real feeling for you / that deep down feeling you know / I left things out so I could pull them back in.”

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/im_yr_man.mp3″ text=”Planningtorock – Im Yr Man” dl=0]

Rostron’s vocals are manipulated like another instrument on W. On “The One,” her baroque vocals complement orchestral strings, matching the song’s melancholia. “The Breaks” surges with the measured precision of darkwave, full of evocative lyrics like “don’t be surprised / if I’m ripping out my eyes / I’m on fire.” “Jam” has the same feel, with more exotic percussion, drawing out lyrics into almost childlike taunts. Repeating the lyrical themes of “The Breaks” on the synth pop “Living It Out” (“My head’s on fire“), Rostron’s vocals contort to fit the mood, from the almost spoken word chorus to the breathy verses.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/living_it_out.mp3″ text=”Planningtorock – Living It Out” dl=0]

Logging 12 songs and just under an hour, W is not without flaws. PTR gets meditative – and indulgent – on the wandering “Black Thumber.” Her cover of Arthur Russell’s “Janine” features a hypnotic bass riff and her most Antony-like vocals, but fails to develop. W finishes strong, however, on “#9,” which like “I’m Yr Man,” has a melody out of a different era, filtered through PTR’s collage of influences. With W, Planningtorock makes an intriguing addition to the DFA roster.

Future Grooves: Kingdom

Kingdom is a producer that epitomizes my recent obsession, a trend I’ve coined rhythm and bass. The Brooklyn-based producer draws on all types of electronic music – dubstep, UK funky, juke, and kuduro, to name a few – along with the sultry vocals and melodic bent of R&B. With releases on leading labels Night Slugs and Fools Gold, along with a pick on the Trouble & Bass-curated Sounds of NYC EP, Kingdom finds himself at the forefront of a music revolution.

His debut single, the wobbly raver “Mind Reader,” received remixes from Night Slugs label heads Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990, who both altered the song’s tempo to reveal different aspects of its character. Bok Bok’s take is slower, putting Shyvonne’s vocals in the forefront; the remix by L-Vis amps up the song’s already high energy.

Kingdom returned the favor by releasing That Mystic on their label; the EP is one of the highlights of their young catalog. Under the scattershot percussion and foreboding synths are deep grooves that dare the listener not to dance. There are even surprising moments that lift the veil, like the breakdown of the otherwise unrelenting “Bust Broke” that pretty clearly samples Faith Evans’ “Soon As I Get Home.”

[wpaudio url=”https://postcultural.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/bustbroke.mp3″ text=”Kingdom – Bust Broke” dl=0]

As alluded to earlier, Kingdom’s love affair with R&B doesn’t stop at a lone Faith Evans sample. He dabbles with baby making music on his remix of Usher’s “Appetite,” and his mix for XLR8R ends with a brilliant mash-up of Girl Unit’s “Every Time” and Ciara’s “Ride.” The latter was just released as a Night Slugs white label, “Ride It Every Time.”

While he can get smooth with rhythm and bass, Kingdom also has a sharper edge. Songs like “Uptown Buck” (on the aforementioned Sounds of NYC compilation) and “Hottest in America” revel in programmed drums, electronic chirps, and vocal slices. With the company he keeps, it’s no surprise that Kingdom makes dance music for all occasions.

Download: Kingdom – Hottest in America
Download: Kingdom – XLR8R Podcast

The Verge: Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross

Photo courtesy Jim Newberry

Despite the laborious name, Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross is the work of just one man: 24-year-old Chicago producer Dexter Tortoriello. Last year, Tortoriello garnered praise for his work as half of Houses (with partner Megan Messina). Houses’ quickly assembled All Night is ambient electronic music (chillwave, if you must): a very de rigueur mix of programmed drums, atmospheric synths and dreamy vocals.

As Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross, Tortoriello cuts through the gauzy haze of Houses with a scalpel. The instrumentation has the same starting point, but with dramatically different results. Rather than nostalgia, the tone here is paranoia; the music is more immediate, if a little uneasy.

Dawn Golden’s Blow EP opens with “On the Floor.” What starts as melodic and light turns unnerving (a shift captured by the creepy video), with pounding drums and white noise that is somewhere between static and screaming. Before the listener can decipher it, the song powers down – a 90 second introduction of things to come.

The standout track is “Blacks.” The song is driven by pneumatic, industrial percussion, which is juxtaposed by Tortoriello’s airy vocals and accents of precise strings.

Throughout the EP, programmed drums appear as skittering attacks, as on “Blacks.” On “Blow,” they make the song more ‘nightmare’ than ‘dream.’ On “White Sun,” the drums progressively consume more and more of the song’s oxygen, which has a piano melody on reminiscent of that on “Something I Can Never Have” (blame it on heavy doses of Nine Inch Nails in my diet, but it has the same melancholy feel).

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/White-Sun.mp3″ text=”Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross – White Sun” dl=0]

The instrumental “Lamont” sounds like a Houses song, but with the optimism of a Postal Service offering. The EP closes with “Black Sun,” a collage of piano, live drums, and natural ambiance that gives way to horns. Blow is only 19 minutes, but the songs have an addictive quality that demand repeat listenings. Houses introduced Dexter Tortoriello to the music world, but Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross better realizes his potential.

Future Grooves: LOL Boys

Markus G. from Montreal and Jerome P. from Los Angeles are LOL Boys. Like contemporaries Munchi and Nguzunguzu, their approach to creating electronic music is ADD-addled and hyperactive: a mishmash of styles and sounds that is addictive and entrancing. As their name suggests, this is music for and by the Internet Generation.

LOL Boys burst onto the scene with last year’s “123,” a single on Palms Out Sound. The track opens with a bit of tribal guarachero before the heavy triplet feel gives way to a half-speed tropical jam. The Latin influences and schizophrenic genre mixing are keys to the LOL Boys sound.

Their self-titled EP (released last month on Discobelle) opens with a synth right out of the intro to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” – which the LOL Boys promptly do. “Blockz” is percussive but not abrasive: warms tones mingle with otherworldly arpeggios. True to their tongue-in-cheek style, the video is a psychedelic seizure of animal graphics: it’s basically an animated Magic Eye.

LOL Boys’ four tracks present entirely different experiences: “Aisle Seat” is some mellow moombahton, “Intuition” combines a juke beat with explosive rave ambiance, and “Runaways” is the big beat equivalent of an 80s action movie soundtrack.

Over the last year, LOL Boys have been busy, remixing a diverse group of artists that includes Crystal Fighters, Midnight Juggernauts, Gold Panda, Para One, and Camo UFOs (the latter of which remixed “123” into a junglist banger). They also collaborated with Teki Latex on “Modern” for the phenomenal Truancy Compilation One, which resulted in a deep house cut with hints of “Vogue.” Grab the track – and the rest of the compilation – below.

Download: Truancy Compilation One

Future Grooves: Christoph Andersson

The term “wunderkind” gets thrown around a lot, especially with young musicians needing nothing more than an Internet connection to distribute their work. But what else would you call a producer who released four singles in less than a year, runs his own record label (Hurst Recordings), and is just barely 19 years old?

Christoph Andersson makes refreshingly vibrant electro-pop from his New Orleans home. Think mellow Kitsuné jams with the pop sensibilities (and without the ego) of Calvin Harris. While attending the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Andersson made his own music every day in the electronic music vacuum that is New Orleans. The result is shimmering dance music that is equal parts house, electro, and disco with a distinct melodic edge.

In a unique turn, Andersson’s singles have featured dual versions of each song (in addition to remixes by artists like Brenmar and Cedaa). The surging “Metropol” is chilled into the downtempo “Metropolis,” “Capital” keeps its anthemic chorus but becomes the mellow “Cache,” and so on.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/metropol.mp3″ text=”Christoph Andersson – Metropol” dl=0]

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/metropolis.mp3″ text=”Christoph Andersson – Metropolis” dl=0]

The recently released Getaway single follows the same pattern. The title track adds elements of UK funky into the mix, while “Gestalt” is driven by exotic percussion and the electronic chirps of a Night Slugs track. Andersson’s catchy vocal melody is brought up in the mix, as well.

He might not be able to drink there, but Andersson plays U Hall this Saturday at Will Eastman’s Bliss Dance Party. Take a sneak peak at what he has in store for this weekend’s revelers with this mix, crafted for Big Shot Magazine.

[wpaudio url=”http://newsflash.bigshotmag.com/audio/BIGSHOTmix.mp3″ text=”Big Shot Guest Mix: Christoph Andersson” dl=1]