The recent remix EP by Nguzunguzu does more than act as a marketing tool by introducing their name to the remixers’ audiences. It helps spread the ideas the duo have been developing with their DJ sets, studio mixes, and their own production. The EP’s cues come primarily from club hip hop and juke but move far beyond those starting points. Brenmar’s mix is a chopped R&B crossover riding on 808s, comfortably striding along at a halfstep gait. Mixed with some verses or another record by an adept DJ, it could evoke cheers from the floor coupled with some up close and personal bouncing. With this track in mind, it’s no surprise that he played a set consisting of nearly all hip hop at Trouble & Bass this weekend. Then there’s the Girl Unit contribution, which builds on his success blending dirty South beats and UK dance sounds. Here, he leans more towards old school hip hop and sets the pace at 135 BPM. The throwback drum machine and early ’90s sirens get mixed with some future house rhythms, adhering close to a 4/4 but burying that with flourishes, fills, and offbeats. Near the end he introduces some of those colorful synths that have been coming out of the bass music scene lately. The Canblaster and Berou remix also begins with rap foundations, but takes a ravier, house infected approach. Most of the rest of the EP is juke-inspired, such as the Subterranean-signed DJ Pierre and the mabmo/juke jump off that screams Munchi. - MS
Shabazz Palaces is one of the most enigmatic rap projects to emerge over the last 18 months. There’s a lot of hype about the group, which is lead by Palaceer Lazaro (otherwise known as Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler from early ’90s alt-hip hop/jazz futurist group, Digable Planets). After two impressive, well-received EPs in 2009, Shabazz inked a deal with legendary Seattle indie rock label, Sub Pop Records, and unleashed “An Echo from the Hosts That Profess Infinitum”, the first single from the group’s upcoming album Black Up, which drops June 28th. This track offers a glimpse of things to expect: densely textured poems, verses delivered with Butler/Palaceer’s signature measured cadence, swirling and chewed up synths and samples, ridiculously good beats, and more mbira solos, courtesy of Zimbabwean multi-instrumentalist Tendai! - LF
“Different Lekstrix” is permeated with a feel of elasticity. The main synths stabs, those effected stings, and even the strummed bass line – they all have a rubbery quality, a quick snap back and rippled return. Combined with the unpredictable but satisfying soul claps and drifting snares, 4/4 kicks, and the rolling cycle of additional percussion, it’s a track that’s hard not to dance to when mixed properly. It’s very loopy, but the loops are so dense it takes a while to figure out what’s going on, which keeps it interesting, and the hits are often placed in slightly different spots on the beat. The record came out on Numbers last year.
“Love Is The Drug” is a fairly simple composition, but gallops along like a ghost horseman mesmerizing anyone that gazes upon it and roping them in for the ride. Although “love” is in the title, the mood is pretty menacing and grey. In fact, the vocal threatens that “this love is gonna tighten round your neck,” with variations of that layered throughout. It stays energetic without aggression though. The quadruped kicks are matched with bass drums at the beginning of each measure and oscillating highs at the end. Droning synths fill the void beyond, occasionally rising slowly in scale to emphasize the propulsion. Very difficult to resist looking into the eyes of this creature, even though it might turn you to stone. - MS
Peverelist – “Dance til the Police Come”
Peverelist is without question of the most distinctive dubstep producers – he’s your favorite producer’s favorite producer. He’s notable not simply for his unrelenting adventurousness with rhythms and structure, but also for his remarkable restraint when it comes delivering and maintaining understated but highly effective and memorable synths and basslines. On this new 12″ single for Hessle Audio, Peverelist is in absolute top form, picking up where he left us with “The Hum”/”Rrrrr” with Hyetal, and “Better Ways Of Living”/”Fighting Without Fighting”, which were both released by his own label, Punch Drunk Records. It also furthers the sounds we heard on his debut LP Jarvik Mindstate. On the A-sdie, “Dance Til The Police Come” is an hypnotic, polyrhythmic techno exercise carried out with a certain amount of ease and elegance only few producers top. Peverelist himself describes it as, “Wholly or predominantly characterized by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats,” a type of music the UK government considers anti-social. B-side “Fundamental” delves even deeper with a more relaxed swing to rhythms, all reinforced with hazy, intoxicating synths, bass, and effects that dissolve by fading in and out. Fascinating stuff! - LF