Back for another instalment of sub frequency oscillations, our man on the front line In:Vision brings us all in line on what to watch out for... Booyah!
Back again already for the third edition of Low End Movements, ass and all. As the days get shorter and shorter in the South London boroughs there's a distinctly moody feel to my selections this month, but as we all know there's no better mindset for listening to deep music than the introverted one that comes as a result of waking up to dark skies and sleeping to the sound of rain.
Felix K- Res Extensa and Res Cogitans EPs (Out now on Hidden Hawaii LTD)
Ever enigmatic Berlin producer Felix K breaks a little silence on the releases front with not one but two excellent self-released 10"s this month. Minimal drum & bass seamlessly infused with dub techno is the easiest way to describe these four tunes, and it's a sound that nobody does better Felix K, a man who wears the musical influences of his home city on his sleeve. Production wise, there's discernible warmth and hiss that gives everything a nostalgic touch- indeed, this seems to be a trademark of Hidden Hawaii's releases in general and makes their music feel very much at home sat atop a turntable rather than merely existing invisibly and lifelessly as an mp3. I can't help but suspect therefore that the decision to avoid a digital release with the Res EPs was a natural one.
Sam KDC- Symbol #8 (Out now on Auxiliary Music)
Perhaps the strongest of the excellent Symbol series to date and definitely the most emotional overall- perfect music to soundtrack the darker months setting in. At the same time, the distorted vocal elements and lush expansive pads capture a bitter sweet vibe on which to reflect upon the Summer that was.
Even by Auxiliary's exemplary standards this is an ambitious release- Symbols #8.1 and #8.3 weigh in at over 8 minutes a piece but such is Sam KDC's mastery of subtle build up of atmospherics that not a second of either feels unnecessary or filler. Having followed Sam KDC since his very first releases it's wonderful to see his sound and understanding of his craft develop to the level that he is able to make a 3 track EP work as a coherent and moreover satisfying start-to-finish listen rather than simply a loose collection of tracks
Fis- The Commons Mini LP (Out now on Exit Records)
Another Low End Movements, another excellent release from one of New Zealand's finest. The six tracks of the Commons mini LP builds upon the themes of the Duckdive EP from earlier this month to further establish and develop Fis' genre-defying sound and cement his position as one of the most innovative artists around anywhere. "Patupaiarehe" for example sounds tribal, but not like the products of producers like Genotype and J. Robinson who carefully blend world music elements with those more traditionally associated with drum & bass but rather authentically tribal. But at the same time, its dark ambient atmospherics don't sound like the music of any human tribe… Perhaps it's the music of some ghost's ritual heard through dense forest, or maybe that of a demonic cult's initiation ceremony?
These paradoxically beautiful images of dread that Fis' music seem to inspire in the listener are its most endearing feature. He paints a sonic picture, and to sit alone and listen deeply to it with eyes closed is to peer deeper and deeper into this nightmare realm of warped nature and alien tones, but it's a realm which has cleansed the mind and soul by the time you eventually re-emerge.
Daughter- Love (Synkro Edit) (Self-released/free giveaway)
The type of tune that makes you stop whatever you're doing with your day and just take a moment to reflect. Synkro is well known to deliver a good remix with fantastic edits of Critical anthem "Oblique", Tokyo Prose's "Echoes" and the xx's "Night Time" all under his belt but this subtle rework of avant-garde folk act Daughter represents the producer's most deft and emotionally raw work to date. Rather than just slap a 2 step beat over the top, instead the actual remix elements of this track seem to consist of as little as a couple of hi hats and a sub bass, allowing the spirit of the original to shine through and ample breathing room for Daughter's heartfelt lyrics- "I can't forget it, though I've tried/I know you regret it love, you told me so many times/But I still wonder why, you left with her".
When a piece of music considered to be an entirely separate genre from anything to do with EDM is so elegantly and subtly transposed into such a template it really highlights how little difference there often is between good music of all genres, something which I've always been a huge believer in. Perhaps my favourite thing about these types of bootlegs though is the extra opportunity they present to discover artists that I otherwise would possibly never have discovered- Daughter's "Wild Youth" EP on which Love was originally released is a gorgeous collection of avant-garde folk that's well worth the time of anyone with even a fleeting interest in the genre, and it's great to see Synkro's treatment doing it justice.
Joakim/JoJoe- Tears/4th Floor (Out October 1st on Alignment Records)
The first of two slightly more club-friendly releases this month comes courtesy of Alignment Records, a newish label who are quietly building a tidy catalogue of DJ-ready rollers, the latest courtesy of a couple of names new to me, Joakim and his collaborative moniker JoJoe. It's instantly commendable in itself that Alignment have boldly stepped up to press a relative newcomers straight to vinyl when other labels might be content to keep things closed-shop relying on their proven stable of artists instead, and I'm grateful that they have done because it's obvious that Joakim is no slouch when it comes to minimalist bass line driven drum & bass, with just the right hint of soul and vocality to separate itself from the pack. No doubt a release that will see plenty of club rotation and find favour with the scene's biggest taste makers.
Fathom Audio- Promises/Ridges (Out now on Diffrent Music)
Two surprising tunes from Fathom Audio, a production collective probably best known for their techy workouts such as "Clear The Mist" and "Inject The Formula" which were firmly centred around the lyrics of mic men Code:breaker and Sense. Their debut release with the always interesting London label Diffrent is a far more experimental affair than anything else I've heard from them so far however, and It's the b-side "Ridges" which really grabs me, its huge cascading synths interspersed with rapid arpeggios create a cataclysmically unnerving atmosphere that somewhat reminds me of glitch hop luminaries like the Gaslamp Killer and Flying Lotus. A really unusual and (ahem) different piece of music for sure, exactly what I love to have in the bag.