Tag Archives: future grooves

Future Grooves: Julio Bashmore

I first wrote about Julio Bashmore last year, but in the months since, I haven’t spilled nearly enough digital ink on the UK underground sensation. Please let me attempt to right that wrong.

Julio Bashmore is Matthew Walker, a producer from the epicenter of the dubstep scene, Bristol. Contrary to his city’s dominant sound, however, Bashmore makes house music: deep, mellow, funky house. He first gained attention with a 12-inch on Claude vonStroke’s Dirtybird imprint; “Um Bongo’s Revenge” is tribal, vital, and signaled the arrival of a new producer to watch.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/umbongosrevenge.mp3″ text=”Julio Bashmore – Um Bongo’s Revenge” dl=0]

Since then, Bashmore has been highly prolific, releasing a handful of EPs, single, and remixes. All have featured non-stop grooves, elastic basslines, and warm synths. Vocal samples are impeccably selected, and looped into dreamy, hypnotic refrains. He checks all of these boxes on last year’s “Footsteppin”

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/footsteppin.mp3″ text=”Julio Bashmore – Footsteppin” dl=0]

Recent releases have gotten sharper, emerging from shadow and fog into the clarity of disco ball light. The Everyone Needs a Theme Tune EP has a throwback feel, with funkadelic synths and 808s aplenty. On “Battle for Middle You,” Bashmore turns a 10-year-old sample (from Mateo & Matos’ “Stomp Your Feet“) into a tech house anthem.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/battleformiddleyou.mp3″ text=”Julio Bashmore – Battle for Middle You” dl=0]

Over a year old, Bashmore’s exclusive mix for Vice is a constant play. From his remix of Deadboy‘s “Heartbreaker” to plenty of Night Slugs selections, it’s no wonder why.

[wpaudio url=”http://www.viceland.com/music/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/julio-bashmore-vice-mix.mp3″ text=”Julio Bashmore – Vice Mixtape” dl=0]

Download: Julio Bashmore – Vice Mixtape

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]

Future Grooves: Nguzunguzu

Nguzunguzu is a DJ/production duo comprised of LA locals Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda. While nguzu nguzus were traditional totems in the South Pacific, this Nguzunguzu is more concerned with dance floor ecstasy than spiritual protection.

Their self-titled (and free) EP is a hyperactive blend of house, club, juke and tropical influences. The only respite from the unrelenting chaos is the eerily moody “Moments in Sex.” There’s nothing ambient about the hyperactive tribal guarachero of “El Bebe Ambiente,” and “Got U” is a claustrophobic banger based on a sample from Drake’s “A Night Off.” On a recent remix, Canblaster and Berou focus the song into big room house.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/got_u_canblaster_berou.mp3″ text=”Nguzunguzu – Got U (Canblaster and Berou remix)” dl=0]

The duo’s Mirage EP is a more cohesive set of sounds, and although it was released by Silverback Recordings, it would fit in the Night Slugs catalog nicely. The entire EP teams with poly-rhythms – bits and pieces of overlapping percussion that fight for attention. “Rec Loose” features a bass melody right out of classic dubplates and breaks down into a warm mix of yawning synths. “Unfold” is a spooky drumline rave; Munchi’s remix is best described by its title: “Munchi likes excessive amounts of bass mambo juke remix.”

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/rec_loose.mp3″ text=”Nguzunguzu – Rec Loose” dl=0]

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/unfold_munchi.mp3″ text=”Nguzunguzu – Unfold (Munchi remix)” dl=0]

As Nguzunguzu shipped off to Europe for a series of dates, they dropped a brief promo mix that ranges from tropical house to rhythm and bass. This is global dance music at its finest – and weirdest.

Download: Nguzunguzu – Europe Mini Promo Mix
Download: Nguzunguzu EP

Future Grooves: Jacques Greene

When I wrote about the burgeoning rhythm and bass sound two weeks ago, I somehow neglected a major proponent of it. Maybe it was because I was focused on the UK and dubstep, instead of Canada and house, but whatever the cause: mea culpa.

Photo: © 2010 Andrew Gordon Macpherson

Jacques Greene (not his real name) in an enigmatic producer from Toronto who seemingly came out of nowhere late last year, releasing a pair of R&B infused house jams on compilation records. One of the offerings, the jangly “(Baby I Don’t Know) What You Want,” sampled Ashanti’s “Foolish.” Of all the samples in all the world, it’s a particularly evocative one: “Foolish” references Biggie’s “One More Chance (Remix),” which in turn samples DeBarge’s “Stay With Me.” Intentional or not, Greene reveals his roots in one loop.

It’s a pattern that repeats itself over his brief but rich oeuvre: wistful, nostalgic – but never obvious – R&B samples weaved into a warm blanket of Chicago house. Listening to his records is a giddy experience that will have music fans digging deep in their crates (or brains) for the originals that drive his tracks.

Greene’s New Year’s Resolution must have been to release new material early and often: he’s released two EPs for Glaswegian powerhouse LuckyMe in just the first quarter of 2011. The title track of The Look bounces along with a bit of Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down.” The rest of the record is similar soulful house, along the lines of contemporaries Azari and III.

While The Look is non-stop, pounding house beats, Greene’s latest release is sparser, with more room to breathe. Mix Ciara’s “Deueces” with a Burial-ish dubstep beat and open into big, sinewy synths and you have “Another Girl.” Clearly, Greene is obsessed by the same muses as his peers, having remixed “Must Be Love” for Local Action’s love letter to Cassie, Skydiver. Greene gives the same lofty, romantic edge of “Another Girl” to “Broken Record” by muse-of-the-moment Katy B.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Katy B – Broken Record (Jacques Greene Remix).mp3″ text=”Katy B – Broken Record (Jacques Greene Remix)” dl=0]

We might not know much about Jacques Greene, but it’s clear that he’s a producer to watch. Check out the sinister tech-house of “Sorted,” grab the mix he did for URB, and pray for him to play the States again soon; would a Red Friday at U Hall be too much to ask?

Download: Jacques Greene – Sorted
Download: URB Presents Jacques Greene

Future Grooves: French edition

Last week, French record label Institubes closed shop, citing various death-of-the-industry platitudes. The difficultly of keeping a truly independent label afloat notwithstanding, Institubes demise may have more to do with the music associated with it.

Electro house, especially the type pioneered by Institubes and its countrymen at Ed Banger and Kitsune, is heading for the exits. Sure, the sound of the aughts can still pack a room at Hard Fest or the local warehouse party, but innovation in the genre has stilted as producers have moved on to new things.

So while a distinctly French sound is dying, the future for French electronic music has never been brighter. A trio of preternaturally gifted producers is ready to takeover electronic music in the name of France (again).

Mikix The Cat (Mike Gnacadja) is the Parisian representative of Trouble and Bass. True to the rest of the label, he produces seamy house music with loads of bass and synths that bubble and burst. Mikix has an ear for vocal samples that give his tracks a sensuality energy. Neither the sample or (NSFW) video for his Nightshifters single “At Night” leaves much to the imagination – an enviable, no-bullshit approach.

Last fall’s Girls Keep on Wondering finds the 21-year-old as focused as ever. A percussive energy permeates through the throwback-house flavored tracks. His electric energy doesn’t stop when he’s in the club, either: the former b-boy is unafraid to join the fray and pull off a headspin or two.

The boyish Canblaster delivered a jaw-dropping, if too short, set at the last Trouble & Bass DC night. Between a residency at Club Cheval and two EPs, Canblaster (aka Cédric Steffens) is quickly making a name for himself. His fast-paced tracks have a totally different energy than those of Mikix, but they are no less massive. His Jetpack EP kicks off with the ravey title track, a bit of harmless fun when compared to “Thunderdome got Crunk,” with its breakbeats and screwed rap samples, and “Dawgs in da House,” with it’s high-on-speed 305 bass.

His time-obsessed Master of Complication EP finds him introducing elements from tropical bass and footwork to his already impressive repertoire. “Triple Ring” will keep audiences moving while trying to sing-along with its “what does she have that I don’t?” lyric; the half-time breakdown is serene.

The producer known only as French Fries was a resident at La Favela Chic at the tender age of 14. His inventive, up-beat approach to tropical bass puts his tempos more in-line with his French peers than, say, a moombahton producer. But make no mistake: like moombahton, his tracks move booties. His “Senta” was a hit at last year’s Winter Music Conference; it’s as simple as it is infectious.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/senta.mp3″ text=”French Fries – Senta” dl=0]

As Ultra week kicks off, “Laquisha” is poised to take the place of “Senta” in DJ sets all over Miami. The track adds dancehall toasting to the mix, making this track feel at home in a Major Lazer set. And if you don’t catch him in Miami, French Fries plays No Rule in Baltimore next Monday.

Yes, electro house is dead (though like Sixth Sense, it might take some time for that to sink in). The message from Institubes, however, should have been: “après nous, le déluge.” For electronic music, the French deluge has just begun.

Future Grooves: xxxy

I changed the name of this column from Dubstep Dossier to Future Grooves when the old moniker simply didn’t do justice to the evolving underground electronic music scene. Similar name changes and re-branding lets artists establish new identities and foray into new sounds.

xxxy is Rupert Taylor, who previously released straight-forward dubstep as Forensix(mcr). Early buzz for singles “Reflections” and “Science Fiction” earned him a spot on last year’s essential Elevator Music. The compilation, by quintessential club/label Fabric, curates the strand of mutated dubstep (future garage?) that xxxy and his peers excel at. His contribution to the mix, “Sing With Us,” is deep and funky, with blasts of jazzy live drums.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/xxxy_sing.mp3″ text=”XXXY – Sing With Us” dl=0]

The title of his Every Step Forward EP was instructive; with every step into this developing sound, xxxy becomes stronger, with his productions more staggering and immersive. Each additional layer is a new adventure, without weighing down the groove. “This Much” and “Just For Me” tweak vocal samples into percussion, a tactic he has perfected on his new single, the sweltering “You Always Start It.”

The flipside to “You Always Start It” is “Ordinary Things,” a rhythm and bass tune powered by a four-on-the-floor house beat and arpeggiated synth chords. It’s no surprise that Pitchfork tagged the relentless track as Best New Music.

As dubstep gives way to future garage, we’ll need new ways to name and describe it. Along the way, we’re sure to encounter new names for old faces. xxxy is definitely one to look for.

Download: Exclusive mix for Urb.com

Future Grooves: Cedaa

The emergence of footwork and juke is giving a new generation of producers a different sonic palette to play with, much like Baltimore club has for the past decade. Chicago can no longer contain the hypnotic, staccato sounds of juke, and it’s infiltrating dance music worldwide.

Cedaa, a twenty-year-old producer from Washington state, fuses juke to the seductive hybrid of funky-house-bass made by the Night Slugs crew (think Girl Unit). His tunes mix the frenetic, unpredictable energy of juke with the syrupy melody of the London scene.

Cedaa’s Old Growth EP is straight-forward juke, with it’s paranoia-inducing loops and samples; “Escalade” is a standout. His first single, “Tiffany,” features Miami bass shout-outs, while the B-side “Simba” cascades melody over a two-step beat.

Like other emerging producers his age (ahem, James Blake), Cedaa’s fondness for turn-of-the-century R&B shows. He flipped Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” into a white label called “Justine,” which makes an appearance in Girl Unit’s XL8R mix. Similarly, his remix of “Are You That Somebody” updates the Aaliyah-Timbaland classic into a pulsing, grooving dance track.

Cedaa is prepping an EP for French label B.YRSLF division, along with working on a collaboration with Brenmar called Amber. Grab a free track from his collaboration with Barrius, and keep an eye on this young producer.

Future Grooves: Untold

It’s been a few years since the reclusive Burial altered the course of dubstep with his ambient, sinister tunes. While many producers cite Burial among their influences, Untold just may be the one that carries the torch.

Untold is Jack Dunning, yet another Londoner experimenting at the outer edges of dubstep, garage, and house music. He has released music on venerable electronic labels Hessle Audio, R&S, and Soul Jazz, along with his own label, Hemlock. 2008’s Kingdom EP set the marker for his sound, with gurgling bass, off-kilter rhythms and tones that suggest mystery and an enticing uneasiness.

The title of his follow-up to Kingdom, Gonna Work Out Fine, doesn’t lie. Building on his dubstep bona fides, Untold introduced elements from UK funky and Chicago house, crafting songs for the dancefloor (as long as that dancefloor was in some dark, secluded warehouse). “No One Likes a Smart-Arse” and “Don’t Know. Don’t Care” have the synth stabs and crystal-clear piano melodies of a 90s rave, but the unforgiving bass of the aughts.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/untold-dont-know.mp3″ text=”Untold – Don’t Know. Don’t Care” dl=0]

Untold’s sound is a constant work in progress, and he’s unafraid to stray from the dubstep orthodoxies of his early work. He released the exotic “Myth” with funky-king Roska, and he even ventured into tribal guarachero with last year’s “Anaconda.” And in a surprising turn, he remixed Ke$ha’s unavoidable hit “Tik Tok” into something surging and dark.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/untold-anaconda.mp3″ text=”Untold – Anaconda” dl=0]
[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/untold-tik-tok-remix.mp3″ text=”Ke$ha – Tik Tok (Untold Remix)” dl=0]

While Girl Unit’s “Wut” may be the biggest tune of 2010, Untold’s “Stereo Freeze” is a strong runner-up. The colliding bits of juke, club and dubstep are an unrelenting, otherworldly experience – exactly what we can expect from Untold now and in the future.

Future Grooves: Flinch

The dubstep genre is always evolving. On one end of the spectrum is the emotional, mellow sounds identified by Flufftronix and Dirty South Joe on their Luvstep mixes. On the other end is the preponderance of heavy, aggressive sounds known dismissively as “brostep.”

Brostep is a derisive nod to the bro-heavy audience that yearns for non-stop, facemelting, power-tool beats. Rusko, whose popularity and dalliance with harder sounds contributed to its development, has even apologized for brostep. To put it crudely, the pissing contest of producers and DJs crafting the most brutal beats possible cannot hold.

But what of the wobble? Who can carry the torch of hard-edged dubstep without falling into the silliness of brostep? Enter Flinch.

Adam “Flinch” Glassco is an electronic music veteran, crafting bass heavy music for over a decade. Like many of his peers, he started in the drum-and-bass world before slowing things down with dubstep.

The Trouble and Bass associate (who headlines U Hall’s monthly T&B party tomorrow night) is a master of dubstep that is as melodic as it is aggressive. The label’s eleventh edition of its Heavy Bass Champions of the World series featured one of the hottest bass bangers in recent memory, “Hiero.” I once described the track as “throwback jungle breaks [and] a bass blast that hits like an 18-wheeler;” I stand by that.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Hiero.mp3″ text=”Flinch – Hiero” dl=”0″]

Flinch and frequent collaborator 12th Planet have found remarkable success on remixes like Jinder’s “Youth Blood” and Dave Nada’s “Apocalypse Theme,” tracks that sit at opposite ends of the dubstep spectrum. The latter is especially notable for finding a way to make the Apocalypse even more foreboding than Nada did on the original.

There is a fight for the soul of dubstep. Luckily, there is a way for bass to survive without being reduced to the demands of the lowest common denominator. For fans of the occasional fist-pumping wobble, Flinch ably answers the call of “Hiero” to “take me higher and higher.”

Bonus: stream Flinch’s Smashcast mix for Trouble and Bass.

Future Grooves: Girl Unit

Once in a blue moon, a track will come along and capture the zeitgeist perfectly. For electronic music, the most recent example is “Wut” by London’s Girl Unit, which dropped last October on Night Slugs. The futuristic laser beam synths, tweaked out siren song sample, and massive 808 club rhythm of “Wut” are fast becoming the high watermark for dubstep-garage-funky hybrids.

The man behind “Wut,” Girl Unit, is 25-year old Phil Gamble. Like many of his peers, he started making beats as a teenager armed with Fruity Loops. He went by the name Girl U No It’s True, a tongue-in-cheek Milli Vanilli reference that he eventually shortened to his current moniker.

Starting with last April’s IRL EP, Girl Unit’s star has been steadily rising. “IRL” is a nasty little banger, combining the no-frills dubstep of Benga with the UK funky sound of his Night Slugs contemporaries. “Shade On” and “Temple Keys” were further dalliances with this hybrid sound; the jazzy keys on the latter a unique touch.

Following up IRL with the Wut EP, Girl Unit amped up the hip-hop and R&B influences considerably. “Every Time,” like “Wut,” relies on an unrecognizable diva loop, while “Showstoppa” has the big bass sweeps of a Rick Ross tune. The mid-tempo songs rock with a sexy swagger that is unrelenting and unforgiving. Throughout the EP, rat-a-tat drums evoke gangsterish drive-bys more than dancing in clubs.

In addition to his EPs, Girl Unit has remixed a few tunes with the same twisted approach he uses on his own material. His vinyl-only remix of Katy B’s “Lights On” is the best take on the track yet. His remix of C.R.S.T.’s “The Bells” strips away the funky house beat and feeds it syrup until it no longer resembles the original.

The usual suspects are onto Girl Unit, and you can’t blame them. His mixes for XLR8R, Fader, and Numbers show just how tight his control over his sound is.