Unknown - Sicko Cell/Knock Knock (2011)

Unknown - Sicko Cell/Knock Knock (2011)

Advertisded as Unknown, this actually is all the work of Joy Orbison, who recently switched to the more simplified monicker, Joy O. A-side "Sicko Cell" is as addictive as the drug it references (see above cover.) "I'm the information. Cocaine powder," that's the addictive stuff. And then, "too much, too much, too much," serves as a sort of reminder, repeated about x32. The B-side is robbed of the praise it deserves though. "Knock Knock" is a warm track that has plenty to offer, with receding synth-lines, big percussive elements and cleverly-cut vocal snippets. Minimal house at its absolute best. Stuff like this is the reason I don't ever feel bad dropping £7.99 for a two-track vinyl.

V/A - R&B Hipshakers Vol 2: Scratch That Itch (2011)


The second volume from Vampisoul's “R&B Hipshakers” series, featuring early (and hard to find) soul from the King/Federal/DeLuxe catalogue.

Handpicked as the best of the vaults, these are all upbeat and danceable tracks from some knowns - like Otis Redding - and some others you're likely unfamiliar with. Really great collection.

Sneak preview:


Shake your hips

Dene Road - Whin Sill (2010)

Dene Road - Whin Sill (2010)

Dene Road is from Newcastle, England and is currently signed to Wigflip Records. This is interesting: both the artist name and album title function as geographic locations (though the former is absolutely made-up.) It is important to note though, that Whin Sill (or the Great Whin Sill) has something to do with geology. What it is is this giant slab of rock located somewhere in the northeastern portion of England. There is a Little Whin Sill, but that's somewhere in the south.

All this of course, has nothing to do with the music. The tracks themselves are quite mellow and "subdued"-sounding. Dene Road takes his time with this release, and in a good way too. The tracks follow this sort of bell-curve shape, as the mid-points usually reach some sort of apex... and this almost always offers a nice "woah" moment. Tip!

Bonus download: 1 Offs and MPD Jams

The Coathangers - Larceny & Old Lace (2011)


i'm not very good at predicting which bands are going to blow up, but this all female quartet from ATL absolutely stole the show from Dam-Funk, Nocando, and Salva last night so i'd say they've got a shot. these ladies can PLAY - if your punk outfit can turn heads in a hiphop/dubstep/funk lineup then you're probably on to something. if you like any combination of ESG, Mika Miko, No Age, and Siouxsie, or you are especially fond of angular guitar lines over a rhythm section in beast mode, then this release is right up your alley. and if you live in the bay area you can check them out this weekend, their live show gets my full endorsement.

Sicker

Marco Stroppa - Traiettoria; Spirali (2009)


an appropriate introduction to an excellent composer. coming from IRCAM (like Saariaho), Stroppa uses multitracking/software/ electronics in these pieces to generate and refract resonances not available on the instruments (piano; string quartet) to create "aural paradoxes," stacks and swarms of harmonics that, in concert, become an almost palpable 3-dimensional wall of sound. basically, he's using his own frequency models to physically shape both the actual sounds being created by the performers as well as the potential sounds residing within the instruments themselves, which kind of blows my mind. even in moments of silence, you can hear the ghost notes bouncing off the body of the piano or strings and resonating throughout the performance space, like conjuring music from thin air.

check it

V/A - Beneath the Surface (1998), Omid - Afterwords (1999)



for a west coast first ballot hall of fame beatmaker, Omid (aka OD) has managed to stay firmly under the radar. he galvanized and set the musical tone for the pre-Blowed underground with his swirling, dark, murky, sample heavy beats on the landmark Beneath the Surface compilation, showcasing a roster of emcees and turntablists that would effectively run the LA scene and filtering their style to the Bay and areas beyond. despite the wide range of rappers present, there's a feeling of cohesion throughout the album that comes from OD doing all the work behind the boards, sort of what Mumbles did with Book of Human Language.

luckily after 18 tracks he still had some beats left, so OD put together the first of what would turn out to be a sick run of instrumental albums that continues to this day. despite the indelibility of Beneath the Surface, Afterwords feels like a completely different record - without emcees cluttering up the songs, the beats have a bit more room to breathe, samples are more fully developed, etc. certainly a classic in its own right.

Beneath the Surface
Afterwords

Jackson and His Computer Band - Smash (2005)

Jackson and His Computer Band - Smash (2005)

Jackson & His Computer Band is Jackson Fourgeaud. He is from Paris. Right now, he is 32-years old and signed to Warp Records. Smash is a collection of tracks that are made up of dozens and dozens of individually-chopped samples, essentially warped and fudged-with beyond recognition. For this style, think Ed Banger or more specifically, Mr. Oizo and Justice-inspired music (sort of like that "uh" vocal sample in the Justice track "Waters of Nazereth") except every single track sorta sounds like that. What makes it really special though is that each track begins in a rather simple manner. As if Jackson is showing us the main bits of the track before getting to work and get-to-work he does! Jackson has also been featured on those Adult Swim bump things that air late at night on Cartoon Network. 30-seconds of fame FTW!

SBTRKT - SBTRKT (2011)


SBTRKT is big on collaboration. He totally sees himself as a producer and as far as we're concerned here at WFLM, why shouldn't he? Don't believe us? Listen to the handful of EPs he's managed to release in the last two years and pay special attention to the vocals on the tracks. Think Timbaland/Massive Attack/Moby... Sort of like that except, more poppy/dubstep-py. If you take a gander and listen to some older SBTRKT, you'll hear/see that he certainly has the underground appeal of other current UK beat/dubstep producers (complete with jungle beats and steel drum samples a-la 2step wonk) but with this here SBTRKT LP, SBTRKT takes the more popular (and unexpected) route of mainstream producer by releasing an extremely approachable and radio-friendly record. This is one of those releases you either adore or absolutely detest. No in-betweening here. Sorry.

Zomby - Mu5h/Spliff Dub (2008)

Zomby - Mu5h/Spliff Dub (2008)

A two-track split featuring Rustie on the B-Side. "Mu5h" is an epic bleep bloop blorp symphony of sorts, complete with slow/steady build-up and constant dramatics, like, think 8bit stepper paired with sci-fi/future-ghetto/23rd century-sounding Bach. On the B-side, the Rustie remix of "Spliff Dub" takes a sort of 270 degree turn with heavy usage of vocal samples while still maintaining a sort of nintendo/Atari-influenced sound. Cue the epic synth strings for this one!

Betty Davis - Betty Davis (1973)


A ridiculously sexual, over-the-top funk album.

Her debut effort, this suggestive record caused a lot of shit when it came out. With titles like "If I'm In Luck, I Might Get Picked Up" it's not hard to see why. She puts everything into this recording, and has a little help from guests like the Pointer Sisters and Larry Graham. Her growling and groaning in "Anti Love Song" is unreal.

Ooh yeah

The Exciters - "Tell Him": The Ultimate Collection (1995)


Some of the greatest from a fantastic soul group.

Given the best-of nature of this collection, there isn't a bad track on here. There are a few standouts, nevertheless - I remember reading somewhere that Dusty Springfield was en route to embark on her country career, but upon hearing "Tell Him" she felt compelled to follow a soulful direction instead. "Run Mascara" is a great heartbreak tune, topped only by "Blowin' Up My Mind", which is one of the heaviest, grooviest soul tunes ever.


Get excited.

James Blake - Air and Lack Thereof (2009)

James Blake - Air and Lack Thereof (2009)

Tweedy vocal samples and bright synthesizer patches make this James Blake debut a straight heater. It was clear (even back in 2009) when James Blake first began releasing music that he was already on to something. This was post/dubstep unlike anything else out there, at the time. His motto/trick/savoir-faire: you really gotta leave room for the tracks to breathe. Now that's something they don't teach you, even at the most technically-oriented of conservatoires. Think forward, always.

Bullion - You Drive Me to Plastic (2011)

Bullion - You Drive Me to Plastic (2011)
Bullion - You Drive Me To Plastic image

20 minutes of heat. No fast-forwarding or skipping this time, (this one's a direct vinyl-rip.) Masterfully mixed with composition that dupes expectation. Play this in the background while you are working and it'll be over before you realize nine tracks just played. Ranging from 70s disco sounds to modern bass and retro funk psychedelia, Bullion rivals (and surpasses?) Madlib in production value. As certain tracks sound like montage-type music (think Karate Kid and Lethal Weapon III,) Bullion has succeeded in producing a truly cinematic (in the sense that this could have been a 20-minute cut from any buddy/action/comedy film from the 90s) record, assuming that was his ultimate goal/plan/mission/task.*

Joker - Tron (2010)

Joker - Tron (2010)

Play this one by ear. Don't mind the gimmicky font or the hokey title. It's 80s-inspired synth-horror/grime/UK-based dubstep. In case you didn't know, Joker isn't new to the game. If anything, he is an upcoming grime/dubstep sensation, over there in the UK. Two-tracks long. Watch for the ominous intro draped in synthy goodness, the hard drums, catchy melody and the inimitable Joker bass drop. The VIP mix offers a stripped-down version of the title track and sounds like something straight out of a John Carpenter film.

Siriusmo - The Plasterer of Love (2010)

Siriusmo - The Plasterer of Love (2010)

Look at the artwork. Tell me it's not interesting. Siriusmo is Berlin-based DJ and producer Moritz Friedrich. He's been around (for a while) and has already released a handful of albums and several well-received remixes. Plasterer of Love is loose, fun and overall, a great dance album. Contagious stuff really. Nearly flawless.

Greenwood Sharps - Things Familiar (2011)

Greenwood Sharps - Things Familiar (2011)

Greenwood Sharps is an upcoming beat-maker from somewhere in London. This is his first official release. On Things Familiar, you'll find a healthy collection of organic beats and what he describes as "stumblecrunk." All in all, it is quite simply a beautiful assemblage of skittering tracks and possibly some of the most melodic post-dubstep you'll hear this side of 2011. For fans of James Blake and Mount Kimbie-type stuff. /--/ | \--\.