Sabtu, 22 Maret 2014

NameBrandSound "Spell On Me Stream"

Two of the biggest producers from the London Broken beat movement have joined forces to form NameBrandSound, their first EP "Nowadays Pressure" is released on April 7th 2014 via cult electronic label Ninja Tune.

This project sees IG Culture (New Sector Movements/Son Of Scientist/Quango) and Alex Phountzi (Al Da Bubble/Bugz In The Attic) uniting in a mission to invigorate dancefloors worldwide with their own take on modern electronic fusion.

This EP is packed with the same wild experimentation that made early releases on labels Main Squeeze (ran by IG) and Archive (home to the classic "Off The Record" by Alex) so desirable and interesting from 1999 onwards. Dancehall clashes with juke, jungle and eighties soul in a blend that would have been perfect for a Sunday night in a crowded Plastic People.

Its great to see these artists on form, creating interesting music and upping the BPM.

Hopefully the recent resurgence among the Broken Beat pionneers will help to expose the innovative work they achieved fifteen years ago and new listeners can begin to indulge in the back catalogues of these ground breaking artists that never really went away.

Links: Soundcloud / Nowadays Pressure / Ninja Tune

Rabu, 12 Maret 2014

Christian Prommer "Aturo And Interview"

We caught up with the well respected electronic music producer Christian Prommer to discuss his first solo album and the inspiration behind its creation.

Click below to purchase the album from iTunes:

Links: Compost / Soundcloud / Facebook / Twitter

Hello Christian, first of all thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us today! You have been composing and producing music for the last two decades, how did you start and what drives you to keep writing?

I started playing the drums at the age of 12 and also started to listen/collect records at that same time. This led to making my own music in bands and, when the computers and drum machines made it possible, on my own. There is so much that inspires me every day to write music. It's like breathing or eating. I just need to do it. There is so much I have not tried yet, thats the strongest drive for me; curiosity. I am very interested in the "decontextualisation" of things in music. Taking ideas from one place to a different one. My main method of doing that is through sampling or recording in different locations.

During this time you have worked with a wide range of diverse artists from Carl Craig to Incognito, when you collaborate how does the writing process work?

One of the first things you need to find is the voice of the project. The best way to find that is to jam and play with no rules. Listen to the other person. I really love to work this way. I try to keep it fresh and interesting by jamming and playing around with unusual ideas as much as I can.

Is there anyone you would like to work with and why?

There are some great musicians out there that inspire me and that would be great to work with from old masters to newcomers. Really hard to pick one. My next project is with Alex Barck from Jazzanova and a new one with singer Thomas Hien who features on the new album on a track called Wonders Of The World.

What I love about your music is the fusion of styles. I guess the main example of this would be the Drum Lesson LP where you combined Jazz and Techno, how did this come about and what was the reaction from Josh Wink and Derrick May?

I felt that the energy I get from jazz and Detroit techno are very similar. I played around with the piano chords from Strings Of Life for some time until I had the first version. With the help of great musicians like Roberto Di Gioia and Wolfgang Haffner we recorded the first track. I played it for a while in my DJ Sets and when it got released it really worked well. Derrick May called me up and thanked me... that was a great moment of course. Same with Patrick Pulsinger and Masters At Work. Josh Wink liked it, but was not so crazy about the idea of a jazz version at the beginning.

Will there be more Drum Lessons?

Yes. I am starting on the third one this summer. I am pretty excited about this already. 
Tell us a bit about your new album Ubermood.

This album is the result of the last year making music and traveling. All my music projects so far have been collaborations so I took some ÜberMood and the result is my first solo album. I still collaborated with a variety of musicians and singers but I went to a lot of different places for inspiration. Classical, Jazz, Folk, Soul and Club sounds. The record came together very spontaneously at the beginning without a big masterplan. Michael Reinboth of Compost Records got involved early on, that was a great push. We have been working on music projects together for almost 20 years.

When I first played the LP the first thing that struck me was how rich and crisp it sounded, dynamically and sonically it is amazing, how did you record it?

I recorded it in many different locations including some really great studios in London, Berlin and Munich but also in kitchens, beaches and train stations. I only used my laptop, Logic, Ableton Live and a good microphone. Ableton Live is the best composition tool for me. I never stop playing and improvising with it. I mixed it all inside the box as we call it, when you do it in the computer. For a long time in my career I have used big studios and a lot of gear but for this record I wanted to limit myself to my laptop.

Our stand out track from the album is undoubtably Aturo. When it came on I was instantly captivated by how you fused techno with jazz, classical and Phillip Glass style minimalism.

What's the story behind that track?

Happy that you mention this tune. This was my blueprint or benchmark track for the album. Its based on a chord sequence from a Claude Debussy composition. I replayed the piano and Kelvin Sholar played some great piano overdubs on it that gave the track this great live feel. We even recreated the hiss from that old recording and used it as a musical part. The tune stayed with me for a whole year. Always changing and, hopefully, improving. I played this live with my Drumlesson band as well as in my DJ sets and whenever you hear it in a fresh location, you hear something new in the track or feel a different direction.

What's next on the horizon for you?

I will play a lot of concerts and DJ shows starting in Milano next week and then going to Thailand, China, South Korea and back to Germany. I am also working on remixes for club releases and a few one off tracks for different labels. As always, collecting music and ideas.

Where can people find out more about you?

Best in a club or concert venue when I play live. Thats the direct way. See you there...

View upcoming shows on Christians website:

Senin, 03 Maret 2014

Teotima Ensemble "Gloves Off And Interview"

We caught up with Greg Sanders to discuss what was for us undoubtedly one of the albums of the year in 2013. Counting The Ways was the ensembles first LP and was critically acclaimed by the likes of Gilles Peterson as well as a host of jazz and world music connoisseurs.

Stream our favourite track "Gloves Off" and find out more about the band and this excellent project below.

Click below to purchase the album from iTunes.

Links: Bandcamp / Facebook / First Word Records

Tell us a bit about the Teotima Ensemble and how you got this 14 man unit together...

The musicians are all people that I've known for quite a few years through doing music in London - either through playing in the same bands - bands such as Ruby and The Vines, Wara and FUR or just through meeting each other repeatedly at different gigs - mutual friends, seeing each other's bands such as United Vibrations etc. Some of the musicians are people I've been playing with in one form or another since we were 12 / 13 years old! 
In terms of getting the project together, it was done step-by-step. The first step was writing one tune (Counting The Ways), and getting together first with Fabio one of the percussionists to check how it came across to him, then with Ellie the singer to do the same thing, then with a group of drums, percussion, bass, keys, vocals & guitar to see how it felt to actually play it all the way through as a song, and then finally with a full ensemble including horns & strings, just at a rehearsal. The idea was to play that one song all the way through with all the instruments at a rehearsal, and then if it felt good to everyone - I would keep writing, and if it didn't, I'd go back to the drawing board! 
It felt good and everyone seemed enthusiastic so I finished off a second arrangement (Gloves Off), and the next step was to record them both and use them to try and find a label who might be up for releasing a whole album, if one were to be made!

Quite often projects of this size just don't make it to fruition, what helped drive this? The logistics must of been a nightmare!

Yes - it was complicated logistically. There isn't really a special way of doing things like this, I think making something this size happen boils down to planning everything very far in advance and remembering to keep reminding people to reply to your emails and texts! I think it really is as simple as that. And maybe having spreadsheets where you keep a note of who's replied, who hasn't, what they've said etc! Just admin like in any office or organisation really! That first full-band rehearsal where we played through the song Counting The Ways was on 28th Jan 2012, and I was emailing people to organise it right at the beginning of December 2011...

To me the album is 42 minutes of perfection. I love the way that each track could be a single yet it also works flawlessly as an album. How did you go about the writing process?

The writing process was gradual - the first song was started in August 2011, the last one was finished in March 2013, so the writing was happening whilst I was working with other bands and teaching. When I started thinking about this band, I had clear ideas of the different things I wanted from music at that time, and I wasn't hearing any music that seemed to combine these different things. That meant I wasn't really listening to any music for quite a while, or when I did I didn't find it very satisfying. A friend suggested that if I had clear ideas of what I wanted to hear, and nothing else was providing them - I was in a good position to write the thing I wanted to hear! 
These were such things as: 
  • The amazing elegant and deceptively complex grooves of west-african, cuban and Brazilian music. 
  • Powerful and unusual arranging in the style of arrangers such as Gil Evans - whose arrangements have so much identity and character. 
  • Improvisation, but within the forms of strong arrangements - rather than really long solos over a relatively small bit of source material such as in much jazz (although I also love jazz and play that kind of stuff as well!). 
A kind of relaxed or soothing / healing character to the music, for want of a better word. Not that I wanted it to sound like 'post-club classical chill-out', or whale song, but to have some aspect that would be calming and maybe stress-relieving. So this might have come out through the generally medium-to-slow tempos and danceable grooves. 
A kind of juxtaposition of melancholy and sadness, joy and something slightly unsettling. A lot of West-African music, particularly from Guinea, I find has that mix, and I find it really beautiful and amazing.  
I also wanted each piece to have it's own distinct identity but for them all to work well as a whole. I started quite a few different things, and then once I had a bit of music that I thought could be developed into a whole tune, I did that! I also enlisted the help of a couple of other people in the group - Nick Sigsworth one of the violin players wrote the string parts for Darbari (which are amazing). Ellie Rose Rusbridge and I wrote the song Orange Lamps together through a kind of back and forth process - she wrote the song using some chord progressions I put together, and then I wrote the arrangement around her song, checking it with her bit by bit.

The LP is very emotionally charged, full of character and vivid imagery. Was its creation painstaking or did it come naturally?

I'm not sure if I can remember very accurately - I think the answer is both! The source material for each tune - the bit of music I had to start off with, was usually something that had come naturally or had come out of just playing around, not always necessarily trying to write. The painstaking part was writing the arrangements and actually finishing the tunes - it's one thing to have a cool idea, but another thing to turn the cool idea into something with strucure, a good beginning, a good ending, etc! And when you know you're going to have 14/15 musicians playing what you've written, I think you take a lot of care to try and make sure that every single note you've written for every single musician is the best possible thing you could give them to play at that moment, considering all the things that are happening in the tune! 
Obviously with something like that there's never any single definitive best arrangement, I suppose there's an infinite number of best solutions, but also an infinite number of rubbish ones, so you want to make sure you've arrived at one of the best ones!

The stand out track for me is Gloves Off, what was the inspiration behind this one?

The source material, or first bit of music, for this one was the main bass line, the line that starts at 00:57 and comes back in various forms at different points in the song. That bass line came in to my head when I was singing 'Crazy In Love' by Beyonce to myself, whilst cycling home from a friend's house late at night. At first I used the bass line to write a kind of simple jazz-groove tune to play at function gigs etc - something that people could dance to but that we the musicians could also use as a starting point for improvising. At this point the tune basically just consisted of that bass line, and the melody that comes in at 1:19. 
When I started thinking of this band, I thought that that bass line and melody were strong material, and might be a good thing to use to try and write a longer, fuller piece. Then when thinking about structure, I thought about trying to write something using quite a standard structure in classical music which is basically - first theme, variations on first theme, second theme, variations on second theme, first and second theme together. 
This is more or less the structure of the tune, although with some extra bits and bobs along the way.

This project was helped financially via Kickstarter, more and more productions seem to be funded that way, do you see this as an important tool to getting projects like this off the ground? 

Definitely for me! I'm not sure this would have happened without Kickstarter. There are still quite a few arts grants available in the UK for various things, but at the stage I was at (two songs recorded, no live performances, nothing released) it can be quite difficult to successfully apply for funding of the amounts needed to do something like this - for example to spend a week in a studio recording 15 musicians live to tape!

You wouldn't have been able to use Kickstarter five or ten years ago, is this a sign that the traditional record label is dead?

I'm not sure - to me it doesn't seem like the traditional record label is dead - but that might depend on my definition of a traditional record label. To me a traditional record label is a company that makes a huge profit margin on a tiny percentage of it's products, (it just so happens that the product is audio recordings) and loses money on everything else! I think that's still what happens with the major labels - perhaps what's changed is the willingness of record companies to take risks when investing in new artists. As far as I can tell that almost doesn't happen any more - by this I mean any new artist that has significant financial backing from a record label, the kind of amounts necessary to push them into a level of popularity where they can actually make a living solely from that one musical project, is usually one that sounds very similar to most other things that are being released and making that kind of money! Labels feel less and less certain that they might make money on things that sounds noticeably different to anything else! With a few rare exceptions...

One of your incentives in the Kickstarter project was to cook the pledger a feast of foods from around the world, does the fusion that runs through your music also run through your kitchen?

Haha, I think the answer is yes! I live with 6 other people at the moment and we all love food from all over the world. I think we've covered most areas of the globe in our own cooking at one point or another. We also live in an area of London where it's easy to find ingredients from all over the world, which makes things a bit easier!

Your album was clearly a musical highlight for us last year, what were a couple of yours?

The two Flying Ibex albums - Travel in Dangerous Places and Habits, seeing Wayne Shorter and the BBC Concert Orchestra at the 2013 London Jazz Festival was totally beautiful as well as mind-blowing, Shabaka Hutchings and the Sons Of Kemet at the Vortex in early 2013, 'Wires' by the Floating Points Ensemble, seeing a short-lived but amazing band called Wolperdinger play at Word Is Born, probably lots of others I can't remember! Kit Downes 'Light From Old Stars' album launch at the Cockpit was stunning as well.

What is next for the Teotima Ensemble?

Not sure yet! Hopefully loads of gigs in beautiful sunny corners of the world with delicious local produce!
More music will probably come, slowly but surely. I'm having a bit of a rest right now from some of the intense admin and organisational side of things, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I'm back on the treadmill.

As and when there's enough good new music to record, hopefully we'll do that! I did an arrangement of a Joni Mitchell song called 'Rainy Night House' that we played at the Teotima launch gig at Wilton's Music Hall in December 2013, I'd quite like to record that!

Minggu, 23 Februari 2014

Karizma "Beat Tape And Interview"

We caught up with Karizma AKA Kaytronik AKA K2 AKA Kris Klayton for a quick chat about experimental digital distribution, the importance of vinyl, hip hop production and studio equipment.

Karizma is known world wide for his distinctive style of tech infused house music but is just as gifted producing hip hop and future soul. He put this Beat Tape together back in 2005, some of the ideas appeared on Volumes 1 and 2 of "Mind Of It's Own" but many remain unreleased. Watch out for the way he flips "Slowly Surely" by Jill Scott and "Find A Way" by A Tribe Called Quest.

More recently he has released an EP titled “Hear And Now” featuring Osunlade on R2 Records. It is available on limited edition clear vinyl and in a bold move digitally for one month only from 17th February 2014. The EP contains all the elements that make Karizma and Osunlade two of the most soulful producers in house music today, expressive percussion, heartfelt vocals and inspirational chords all wrapped up in the perfect arrangement.

Buy vinyl here: Juno / Piccadilly
Download here: Traxsource / Beatport

Links: Soundcloud / Twitter / Facebook

You have decided to make your latest single available digitally for only one month, why such a short shelf life?

For me its an experiment, we are all so used to getting things quick and fast and as soon as we have it we play it and then forget it, I wanted to see if I made this song available would it even matter because as soon as it becomes available online you can get it for free in a matter of minutes... so like I said just an experiment.

Do you think this will increase people sharing vinyl rips or downloaded copies when it's no longer available to purchase digitally?

We will see, I just like to try new things when releasing music.

It was reported last year that vinyl sales increased whilst digital sales declined for the first time since iTunes was launched, do you see the importance of vinyl returning?

For me the physical is always important, it gives you something to hold, feel and relate to... something to look at!

As well as being a producer you are also a renowned DJ, where do you stand on the vinyl/digital debate?

I don't really stand on it cos at the end of the day if the consumer doesn't realize by now what the situation is with artists and their digital rights, they either don't care or like to stay naive.

What tracks are currently down well in your sets?

Karizma - Hear and Now Featuring Osunlade
Atjazz - Soldiers
Osunlade Featuring Lady Alma - It's House Music (Kaytronik Raw Dub)
Mike Steva - Ova Oro
Karizma - Nuffin Else

You blew up with your track "Twyst This" back in 2006/7. What's the story behind how that got discovered?

"Twyst This" was created in 2006 when I did an edit of the Donnie song Cloud 9 and I looped the Twisted part, this edit caught on and a lot of people started looping that part so I decided to make a full on track of it and that's how it came to be.

How would you describe your style as a producer?

Its the "Whatever" process, I just do what I feel, lay it down and move on to the next thing, I never like to linger on one project too long.

You recently aired on an unreleased beat tape of hip hop ideas, is this something we will hear more of?

Yes all the time cos I'm constantly doing them and other stuff in-between the albums and remixes.

For the tech heads what equipment/software do you use?

Ensoniq ASR-10
Abelton Live 9 Suite
Maschine Studio and Maschine 2 (on the road)
MPC-2500 and 3000

What can we expect from you this year?

Hopefully the "Kollabs" album, Exist Album (with Atjazz) and some remixes of Lady Alma, Detroit Swindle and Pete Moss.

Selasa, 11 Februari 2014

Source Direct "Concealed Identity" Unofficial Video

Another drum and bass post but something that I stumbled on today and totally blew me away. This combines two of my biggest interests and creates a perfect partnership of audio and visual. The sound is taken from the classic album "Exorcise The Demons" by Source Direct whilst the visuals were edited together from the "Lone Wolf And Cub" series.

The nine minute video was made unofficially as a personal project for editor Michael Dring and was posted online in 2013. "Exorcise The Demons" was released via Virgin Records back in March 1998 and captured Jim Baker and Phil Aslett's approach to drum and bass perfectly. Words like "dark" and "deep" are normally used to describe their sound but "cinematic" and "intense" are just as relevant.

This short movie captures what a samurai film would look and sound like if it was scored by two of the scenes heaviest producers.

Links: Source Direct / Michael Dring / Lone Wolf And Cub

Sabtu, 08 Februari 2014

Nasty Habits "Shadow Boxing" (Om Unit Remix)

OK, OK so it wasn't that long ago I announced I would no longer be posting drum and bass on this blog but, out the blue, Doc Scott has kindly added me to the promo list for 31 Records.

First thing I received was a copy of the Shadow Boxing reissue featuring a remix from Om Unit. The EP is released worldwide February 17th 2014 on both vinyl and digital.

I can't think of a time recently where there has been so much negativity towards a drum and bass release but it seems people are quite happy to express their dislike to this latest interpretation of the Doc Scott classic. Om Unit, who runs the Cosmic Bridge label, even got caught up in the reaction to his remix over on the Drum And Bass Arena forum.

As far as my reactions towards the remix I am glad I held back until hearing the mastered WAV. Quite simply any radio rip or YouTube clip you may have heard does not do it justice. Om Unit has produced a very clever remix, he EQ's the distinctive bassline that was once wonderfully overbearing into a hypnotic drone that by the end of the track becomes almost uplifting. The two step drums of the original are replaced with half time beats for the first section until a fresh layer of chopped breaks are added to create a more uptempo finish to the track. Kung Fu samples are used throughout to add to the brooding atmosphere that was popular on tracks by Source Direct and Photek, most notably on The Crane and Ni Ten Ichi Ryu respectively.

Purists may not like it but sonically it is rich with layers, edits and depth.

There were a couple of unofficial Shadow Boxing bootlegs floating around the internet a while ago that where popular among the dub step fraternity but its not until now that someone has done the original justice. Now I have to be honest and say that I was never a massive fan of the original as I was more into the breakbeat side of things and less into the hardstep/two step sound pushed by Grooverider, Ed Rush etc but credit where credit is due the original is still an anthem and has never sounded as good as the remastered version supplied here.

In my opinion Doc Scott is one of the godfathers of Drum And Bass and by putting this mix out he is doing what I believe everyone should be doing, ignoring the negativity, pushing a sound they believe in and supporting the emerging artists of today. It stands proudly alongside recent output from labels like Metalheadz and Exit Records.


Links: Om Unit / Doc Scott / 31 Records Store

Senin, 03 Februari 2014

Neil Sherwood "Mixtape And Interview"

This mix is by a true champion of the finest deep electronic music, Neil Sherwood. We asked Neil a few questions about what got him on the wheels of steel and what has inspired him to stay there.

Links: Timeline Music / Twitter

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started collecting music.

I’ve been collecting music ever since I can remember!  It all started at school saving up pocket money for Hip Hop albums and house 12s.  By the time I got to university I had quite the collection, so when a mate bought some decks I was invited round to have a spin and was well and truly hooked in.

How would you describe the style of music you play?

My style is centred around deep, soulful house music.  Though I don’t limit it to just that I drift into techno, broken beat, bass music, whatever fits really!

What drives you as a DJ?

I love the search for new and exciting music.  Discovering a new producer or a even a new style or sub genre is just brilliant and often leads to a treasure trove of undiscovered gems.  Doing the radio show on Timeline is also a big motivation, I get loads of positive feedback from people who listen, I think they really appreciate the eclectic nature of the shows.

Who inspires you and why?

I’m a massive radio fan, so my main inspirations have to be people like Benji B, Alexander Nut, Gilles Peterson, the NTS crew.  People who find thrilling and interesting music to share on their shows week after week.

What's your favourite digging spot?

A couple of years ago I made the decision to go digital as my flat was bursting at the seams with vinyl and cds.  Because of this I do most of my digging on the internet these days.  Bandcamp, Boomkat, Bleep, Traxsource and a bit of Juno are all greatly used.  If I’m left to my own devices I can lose whole days searching the sites for new music!  I still treat myself to the odd piece of vinyl when I come across stuff that isn’t available in digital format.  I visit the likes of Phonica & Sounds of the Universe for these little treats.  I have to admit I still love popping into a shop for a browse.

Why should people check this mix?

I think the mix really reflects me and what I’m into.  It’s an interesting hour taking in soul, jazz, tech flavours along the way.  It’s got plenty of great new tunes that have been really working for me recently and a few forgotten oldies thrown in that never fail.

Where can people find out more about you?

I host a weekly show, the In Transit show on Monday nights 8-10pm We’re about to take a little hiatus while I go away for a few weeks, but the show returns in full swing from the 17th of Feb.  People can also follow me on twitter for excitable ramblings about my latest findings and other such nonsense

Minggu, 02 Februari 2014

Magic Number "Interview"

We were recently lucky enough to speak to soulful house producers Magic Number about Atjazz, Broken Beat, their new single and advice on setting up a label.

Click below to purchase their latest release "Come Back To Me Part 2 (Atjazz Remixes)".

Links: Soundcloud / Facebook / Bandcamp

First things first, would you like to introduce yourselves and explain where you have been the last eight years!

Wow, yep it really has been 8 years, well, where do we start? Magic Number is Ross Hillard and Tom Wardle. I (Ross) am a bass player and song-writer and Tom is a drummer and writer. In terms of where we have been, Tom got married and I set up a couple of companies, one being a studio, which I still run and an audio installation company (building and fitting studios, selling audio equipment and training). We both trained as music teachers. I was until recently Head of music at a school, which is funny for anyone that knows me outside of teaching, especially anyone that knows me as “Atjazz’s” bass player, because Martin and I always try to be as inappropriate as is humanly possible (sorry Kev Beadle) lol.

Basically Tom and I have both been busy doing things that have accidentatly taken us away from music so we both recently found our self saying, ‘hang on this isn’t what we signed up for’, it was then we decided to get back into writing. The problem is, as anyone knows who runs their own company or works full time, jobs just eat into your entire life and down time or time to be creative just doesn’t exist. However I have been working hard to get back into music and I am currently in a great position as I have relocated the studio to a site that I own, cutting the overheads to a minimum and allowing us to invest money generated from the studio into things we want, like record promotion, old synthesizers and compressors instead of rent. At the studio we have a really cool old mixing desk that came from Procol Harum and an extension desk that came from Olympic studios, which has consequently had Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling stones record on it. Cutting the overheads means we are able to do really interesting and creative projects with realistic and affordable costs for artists and labels.

We recently had Atjazz at the studio to mix Karizma’s new EP for his Arco label, which was great because Kris is a really nice guy to have around and obviously his music is next level, also with Martin (Atjazz) in the studio it means as well as having a great producer around, its always a laugh and you eat well because he loves to cook. I (Ross) have also been mixing for N’dinga Gaba and his label plus the music he does for DJ Spens Quantize label. The Label ‘NUMB’ is also based at the studio. Obviously having a professional residential studio is the perfect partner for the record label as reducing recording costs allows us to develop artists at a cheaper cost. 

How would you describe your music for those who haven't heard a Magic Number release?

I think it wants to be house but I (Ross) write songs, so the songs come before the style. I like the Magic Number stuff because I tend to write serious lyrics, but phrase it so it sounds upbeat and it hopefully comes across as happy. I’m not trying to be clever I just write down beat songs, I’m not really sure why? Tom's music brings it in a little deeper which works really well. We are currently developing a sub project that’s real deep sounding.

The first album ‘That Day’ had lots of Latin influenced house rhythms and a real summery feel, but the actual lyrics reference the day, ‘That Day’ my mother passed away and the fall out of what happened during that period of my life. Something I wouldn’t have got through had it not been for Tom and Martin (Atjazz or Atdad as I knew him then).

You work closely with Atjazz how did this relationship come about?

Martin ‘Atjazz’ signed a single after I took him a track to remix. He basically adopted Tom and myself and we have been bumming off him ever since. Lol. In truth he essentially did adopt me (Ross) and I lived with him for about six months while we wrote, mixed and produced the first Magic Number album ‘That Day’. We have been friends ever since. I generally play bass on the ‘Love Soul’ remixes and Martins album stuff. I play bass live for him a lot, which is brilliant. It’s all about having fun and the experience. We try and get as many people as possible to join in along the way. Martin is truly one of our dearest friends and one of the nicest people on the planet. Both Tom and I are doing live stuff with Martin and Karizma for their ‘Exist’ project this year, which will be awesome.

Tell us a bit about the "Coming Back To Me" single and remixes.

‘Coming Back To Me’ is the first single from our new album. It’s again a homage to my late mother (I may need to get over that at some point!) it’s with a new vocalist, Angela Armstrong. Angela features a lot on the new album and is now Magic Numbers main stay vocalist. We really want each project to have an overall feel and theme running through it, and for me having Angela on most of the songs enables us to experiment with different styles whilst retaining the ‘Magic Number’ sound.

‘Coming Back To Me’ is quite a minimal piece of music with a quirky feel. I love the space and quirkiness of it. I also like that the bass doesn’t come in until the end and it’s a synth bass. It’s nice for me not to play bass on everything. There are some great remixes from Si Tew, Christo and obviously the killer Atjazz mixes that have just been released. We also have a very special version coming from one of our favorite house producers ……………… we aren’t going to tell you just yet, but it’s a really nice story (maybe next time).

There seems to be a mini broken beat revival at the minute with new releases from Dego and Kaidi and mentions of six new Bugz related singles this year, the Atjazz Astro dub on your new single is a classic example of the traditional bruk sound returning. How do you feel about this?

It’s cool, we were really into the broken beat thing. I think between Tom and myself we bought every broken beat 12” released at the time and we’ve still got them. It’s not something that we are looking to get back into, maybe the odd track, but having been away from music or at least having music at a distance for a while, it feels like only yesterday to us. So a revival feels a bit too soon.

The current fusion of electronic music seems much more in vogue now than it did back in 1999/2000. Do you think the broken beat sound would stand more of a chance in 2014?

Possibly? I think people take ‘scenes’ far too seriously and this is not necessarily the artist’s. It can be a consequence of the consumer or both. Jazz is a classic example. We love jazz but I think new people (listeners) can be put off by the people involved in the ‘scene’ it’s just all too serious and often comes across as elitist. Who cares what pressing it is or even who played on it or why Miles played something a certain way? (and as I geek and collector, I generally do haha) but people on the outside wanting in don’t know, and why should they? The question should be, is it good? if someone likes the music then lets help them to get into it.

People should just enjoy music for what it is. To us we write songs within dance music. We don’t think about genres or the micro managing of genres, it makes things smaller than they need to be. There’s a place for it all in ‘dance music’. The ‘broken beat’ thing doesn’t need to come back as a scene it should just ‘Exist’ (see what I did their?) within ‘Dance Music’. When Martin sent the ’Astro dub’ we were like, "Yeah that’s cool" and a lot of people have said they like it, which is awesome because it is, but its just great, refreshing dance music.

As you may have noticed from our website we are not taking music too seriously. It’s fun. We are not in it for anything other than to write good music in whatever style/genre it turns out to be.

You run a label called Numb Records, how have you found setting it up in these modern times of digital downloads, reducing profits, streaming sites and online piracy?

It’s me (Ross) that runs Numb and I love it. It’s realistically a little too early to tell how well it is doing. Generally the only thing that gets me down is that no one seems to value music anymore. As a collector I love the physical product, but I also love digital and the infinite possibilities it holds., however, no matter what the format, there is so much value to an album. If you buy an album for £10 it will sit in your car for months getting played over and over. It’s such great value, but people don’t seem to see this anymore because music is available everywhere on the Internet for free. It’s annoying but I can’t see it changing. I am however amazed that the government have watched one of the biggest forms of taxable revenues slip through their fingers, especially in the current economic climate. I understand the ethics and rights issues associated with stopping downloading, but when has any government bothered about ethics and morals? What we have to do as artists and labels is just get on with it. We (the artist) want to write music, if people steal it, then that’s on them.

Ultimately though, as an artist and label I don’t think the consumer is to blame. If Sainsbury’s offered free food, you wouldn’t say no, and then go buy your shopping at Tesco. People that buy music buy it because they understand that artists cannot write music without the revenue form sales and gigs. The problem is that too few people recognize this. On the flip, there are so many positives to the internet, especially the transparency and communication between artist and fan.

For Tom and myself it’s all about writing music, recording, playing live and spending time with people doing what we love.

In terms of the label and setup, it’s been a really enjoyable experience. I have worked for Martin (Atjazz) at Arco so I knew a little and unfortunately for Martin I bug him a lot of the time but it brightens up the day and gives me my daily dose of weirdness. Yesterday I called Martin on Skype about the promotion for ‘Coming Back To Me’ Pt2. He had set up a lamp and talked to me the whole time via shadow puppets he had made with his hands projected on the wall. Each character had their own personality and Martin created a voice for each of them. They each had their own opinions on the promotion of the new single. Out of all the hand shadow characters Martin made my favorite was the dinosaur.

What's next for Magic Number?

We’ve been doing some remixes that are sounding cool. We just remixed ‘Listen To This Drum’ for Diephuis and Ursula Rucker, which will be released on Foliage Records for Pete Henry who we like a lot. We just did a Remix with our friend N’dinga Gaba for Dave Storm called ‘Rain’ which sounds really good, that's on Dave’s new label and is out now. I really like the bass line I did on this and N’dingas keys are great.

We have a new Magic Number single from the album ready to rock. Amazingly as I said before we have an abundance of remixes for ‘Coming Back To Me’ amazing mixes from Christo and a super down tempo mix from Si Tew. These will come out later in the year.

We are also doing an album with N’dinga Gaba who I (Ross) meet in SA last year whilst on tour with Atjazz. The first single will be out in April It’s a real nice soulful House record with a live band feel. We have started rehearsing the live band, as we are doing some live stuff with other house producers including Atjazz, as well as looking to get some live shows for Magic Number later in the year.

Finally, any tips or advice for anyone considering starting up a label or an artist trying to get noticed?

To us it’s all about people. We work with people because we like them. Obviously it’s all about music but good music starts with good people. If I could go back 10 years, I’d take it less seriously and try and be a bit cooler. By ‘less seriously’ I mean worrying about what and how you are perceived, ‘do they like me and my sound?’, ‘am I cool enough’ and so on. Just be yourself it's way more fun.

In terms of starting a label or being an artist it’s simple. You just have to work really hard. The thing that has always amazed me about a lot of people that want to be involved in the music industry is that they seem to think they don’t need to work as hard as people that have ‘normal’ jobs. This is sooooooo wrong. You need to work at least twice as hard, and be eight to ten times more skilled. It’s no longer just about writing a good record then mixing and mastering it. It’s about the graphics/ branding, promotion, social networking. gigging, networking and on and on. We have to wear many hats, and personally we think its great. We are really enjoying it. You have so much control over everything it’s amazing and luckily for us we are surrounded by amazingly talented, hard working individuals like Martin ‘Atjazz’, N’dinga Gaba, Si Tew, Christo and Charles Webster who help us at every turn, make us laugh, cook us food and make us tea. Perfect.

Senin, 27 Januari 2014

Fraykers Revenge Presents "A Wry Commentary On Modern Living"

Fraykers Revenge hails from The Bronx, New York City, he put these tracks and mixtape together in 2010. He is a well respected music collector, blogger and producer.

The Trunk Wadd Underscores are the first insight into what is to come from this talented and exciting producer. These tracks form a homage to the 1970's "ABC TV Mystery Movies Background Production Scores" and were put together in 2010 using the old school method of Technic turntables and a sampler.

Trunk Wadd (Underscore No 1)

The main ingredients of these songs were taken from rare sound transfers found at the old Cinesound on Melrose Avenue, Hollywood. The owner, Irv Nafshun played Frayker's Revenge a selection of tracks from the discs in his music library that he then used to create the Trunk Wadd Underscores.

A third installment is currently in production.

Anyone with a passing interest in either seventies soundtracks, nineties hip hop, DJ Shadow, Mo Wax or B Boy culture should keep an eye on his Soundcloud page for more of his eclectic creations. Tracks currently featured take inspiration from Brazilian, New York Garage, Funk, Soul and rare Library Records.

Trunk Wadd (Underscore No 2)

We caught up with him recently to gain an insight into Fraykers world.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started collecting music.

Who am I? I’m the devil’s footman, maybe I don’t even exist? Word on the street is that I’m the creation of some millionaire producer living in Bermuda who is getting sick of writing safe formula mainstream shit so decided to create me to fulfill his or her inner screwball artistic mind? A sort of Record Digging Frankenstein if you like. Or it could be I’m just a kid from The Bronx in NYC who one day decided he wanted to be a Record Collector and my compilations are a result of such an out of kilter audacity. 
How I started collecting music is mainly the result of my dysfunction and failure to show the characteristics or fulfil the purposes accepted as normal or beneficial.

How would you describe the style of music you play?

The style of music is synonymous with the multidimensional scaling of a Serial Killer, The Disorganized / Organized Dichotomy is evident and indicative.

What drives you as a DJ?

I have never had any drive or struggle to achieve anything in music.

Who inspires you and why?

The Flatworm. Why? 
In flatworms all that exists are a simple network of nerve fibres. There are a few thickenings in some of them, but these can hardly be described as brains. Yet, the flatworms have surprising powers. For example, individuals have been trained to find their way through a simple maze, selecting white painted passages and avoiding dark painted ones by being given slight electric shocks when they made a wrong decision. Even more surprisingly, that memory has been shown to reside in a substance, for if a worm that has learned the maze is killed and its flesh fed to another worm, the new one will run the maze correctly without training.

What's your favourite digging spot?

Any old Television or Radio studio.

Why should people check this mix?

The set is an eclectic mix of sounds juxtaposed together side by side in a tribute to all those lost musicians and broken dreams…….

Link: Soundcloud

Selasa, 21 Januari 2014

Mattic "Puppets Love Tune And Interview"

First in a series of interviews and exclusive streams from our favourite artists, first up . . . Mattic.

You can stream a track from the new album "The Adventures Of Dr Outer" below alongside an unreleased demo and one of his famous Audio Adventure Mixtapes.

Prepare to enter the world of Mattic and The Ghosts In The Machine . . .

Links: Soundcloud / Facebook / Phonosauras

Before we get into the new album "The Adventures Of Dr Outer" tell everyone a bit about yourself.

I just do music the way I feel.......that's all. My thoughts over beats....very low key.

You are currently based in France, the album was produced by The Mighty DR from North Carolina and the label are based in Canada. How did you go about putting this album together?

I have known and worked with The Mighty DR from past groups in Charlotte NC. I have an archive of his beats from different periods and during our time of knowing each other. Living in France, I have a habit of exploring beats I have from various producers in separate sections to create various projects so they don't always sound the same. I always knew I'd try something over his sound, was only right.

I got with Stab (of Berry Weight and Phonosaurus Records) and explained to him what I envisioned. Stab lives in Switzerland and we are very close friends. He helped me assemble my 1st official release The Abstract Convention. He has enhanced my work  for audio' delays, samples, cuts and mixing over many things I rework and create that no one hears.

So he knows me and we work very good together.....all by

I set up the tracks by recording vocals to them, and connecting other beats to songs recorded and then layered different audios and samples over the beats to make an on going adventure. I would then send them to Stab to have the things I added enhanced. He added his talents to them and mixed it down as we went along. We call ourselves "The Ghost In the Machine". It took 3 to 4 months for the process, many days and nights being in our own studios and skyping whilst him and I were together at all times in different countries. Of course we would have loved to been in the same studio together, but our schedules couldn't make that possible....still it was like we were right beside each other. After finishing the album, Nico who is the founder with Stab of the label Phonosaurus and who lives out of Montreal Canada heard it and wanted to put it out..........voila!

It's rare to see a label brave enough to put out folk, hip hop, jazz and electronica all through the same brand. How did you hook up with Phonosaurus?

Well Nico and Stab are my good friends 1st....brothers. I met them in Switzerland at a show. Their group is called Berry Weight.. I also met my label mate and sister Astrid Engberg that night to. Since that magical night we remained friends. So when they decided to make a label, I knew it from the beginning and it was just written to work together. Those guys gave me a door to be myself and and release what I do. That's very hard to find from my understanding in these music days. Guy's you can trust from friendship and still be a part of a business together. Their selection of artist choice is wonderful to me. Different variations of minds and sound. So I roll with them in peace and that makes it easy to ride together through all motions of the machine they are building to give music to people. It's my main home.

Apart from meeting all these people that have moved on to be close friends what has been your biggest musical moment that went on to impact your life?

The time I have had with "Wax Tailor" and his Project was big on every tour.......I've seen enough of the world in this project and it has brought many paths to me...more then I thought. Meeting my brother Julien Grenier (Juke) has been a big impact for me personally with our band that he created called "The Empire Of Sound". This is like a dream come true. I always have felt that a Good MC can do no wrong with a powerful talented was like wishing upon a star.....and it came true. We will see what happens with this great project we've assembled.

The Adventures Of Doctor Outer is an epic concoction of cosmic jazz, humorous skits, dusty samples, fat nineties production and complex lyrical content. What do you want people to feel when listening to it?

My mind over sounds that fit the mood of the expression that was crafted. It's a story......Doctor Outer is this brother I met after a show and had a talk with. What I learned from him and his European encounters was so story telling like that I wanted to make a story about it for....a challenge to my creativity. Just feel the adventure and the sound...... Welcome to my mind.

As you know we are massive fans of your mixes. You use copious amounts of samples and skits in your tracks and mixtapes to help blend beats and add to the storytelling. Where do you source all these and more importantly how do you store them? You most have hard drives full of breaks!

Yep. I came up with a lot of record diggers. I'm still a little behind compared to them, but my attention and usage of digging is more on any kind of audio that I can find......Yes I have tons of audio files. Many hard drives of stuff. Everyday I sit and listen to various amounts of audio. Mainly for my own listening pleasure, but at the same time there are ideas being thought of how to incorporate what catches my eye to a track I make. Sure I MC.....but I like to dress the beats to just....take it somewhere else......

Regarding all these hard drives of breaks etc does watching (and recording) vintage films, TV and interviews take up a big part of your week?'s a job that isn't a job.....get it? I watch and listen for me, but at the same time I am learning, being inspired, and collecting things that I incorporate either in to my writing, or over the sound.

There are some days that I can begin with headphones on listening or watching and then I'll look up and 7 hours have passed. I don't do it everyday, but then again, everything I do and see from living in another country influences me.

Technically how do you put these mixes together? Ableton?

Ableton is my weapon.......a lot of people use Logic or any other program....but I just love Ableton. I just feel comfortable with it and learn more about it the deeper I dive in to it. The rest is just.....what I feel or hear in my mind. Like anybody else. It's just your thoughts over sound. Be it the rhyme...the beat.....the audio add in....the echoes and delays.....voice alters...change ups....whatever you hear is a thought in the mixes. My thoughts that make a journey in's fun to me that's why i'm never bored.....never.

What do you do to relax away from the samples, beats and rhymes to remain vibrant?

I get out of my flat and in to my city......the sea plays a big part in relaxing. It's 10 minutes by foot. I talk to my child as much as I can and it's very uplifting for my soul. Spend time with my wife....always a plus. We have a habit of just leaving for a weekend to England (Brighton mostly)'s like 4 hours away by ferry. I Love's so me.

You have told me before about making albums and mixes purely for you and your friends, your own private collection of music. This reminds me of Madlib's approach to production. All about having fun and getting busy in the studio. Who else inspires you?

Hummmm.......Just life. All that I see and all that it has to offer. Everything that is absorbed on my own daily activities. Be it music or just waking up and looking outside my window. I take it in. There are too many artist to name that inspire me and at the same time I work with a family of artists that inspire me with their own it's everywhere for me.

Apart from Madlib what do you think of the current hip hop scene?

Oh man there are there are so many more I learn from and not just in Hip Hop........but as far as current....I don't know.....I just kind of stay in my own world and if I come across it...I listen....that's about it. i have no wish to express how I see the current scene because I don't think about's just there. Too much in my world to judge it....

Taking into consideration your travels around the world what are your favourite digging spots? Where have you had your most successful shopping sprees?

I am not a digger like that.....never have been.....but I do have a love for vinyl. I have a nice stash in our basement, but I don't consider myself a crate digger. I dig in a different way as I explained. As far as "spots" I would have to say my favorite moment was in Dubai. I was alone and ran in to a American who quickly noticed I was in to music. We had a cool talk and he wanted to show me a record store no one knew about there. It was very hidden and as he said...his secret place. He took me there and I was amazed at what I saw.......I stayed a few hours and found a nice couple of stacks. I had the owner mail them to my flat. When I got back to the hotel, no one believed me......but I didn't was cool, but it wasn't that big of a deal to me.

Does moving to London still appeal to you in being the next step of your journey?

Oh god yes.....or Brighton. Also Montreal. But England seems to have the upper hand at this moment. I figure once I am done with music travels and on to the next chapter of life...We will want to settle in England. But I have some things to finish here in France music wise.

What does the future hold for Mattic?

Good Health......that's only way I can experience the unknown and decide. We will see.

Anything else you want to mention?

I think that's enough about me.......maybe I said too much....

Rabu, 01 Januari 2014

Yankowsky Presents "An End Of An Era"

We have entitled this mix the "End Of An Era" as it is going to be the last drum and bass themed post until further notice. We are still big advocates of the genre but when the blog started it was all about different kinds of electronic music, hip hop as well as art and to be honest it has kind of lost its way.

We have deleted all previous posts and are starting fresh for 2014. Our Soundcloud account had well in excess of 115,000 plays and we owe all you a great of deal of thanks for helping the blog get to where it is today.

We have been fortunate to feature exclusive tracks by the likes of Gremlinz, Scape and X Nation but this year will see that draw to an end as we turn our attentions to exclusive streams by a variety of labels and musical styles from around the world.

There seems to be no better way to do this other than this mix put together for us by Yankowsky (Monochrome Recordings) from Poland.

He originally got in touch with us to say that he had been supporting our free downloads and conversation quickly turned into us asking for a guest mix. As far as selection he has hit our tastes straight on the head and turned out an amazing selection of cosmic amens and sci-fi beats taking us nicely into 2014.

Thanks for all the support and hopefully see you on the other side.

Links: Soundcloud | Label