Looks like Nosaj Thing let the sunshine get to him a little bit. His new single "Snap" is actually relatively bright with its major chords, optimistic sonics, snappy percussion and blurred shapes. The bass will still crush you, though. Home, his upcoming album on Innovative Leisure, is set for January.
As a producer and rapper in sundry groups under the Anticon umbrella, Alias has never been known as anything other than unconventional, creating disjunctive beats and wordy, loopy rhymes. But as he's sidestepped away from rapping and further into beat creation, Brendan Whitney's music has become more palatable and harmonious. On "Wanna Let It Go," off of his forthcoming album Fever Dream, out August 30th, you can hear it in a jaunty, synthetic drum beat, rebounding two-note keyboard riff, woozy guitars, and yearning, rich vocal samples. An equally gorgeous and hard-hitting piece of instrumental music, "Wanna Let It Go" anticipates the multiple routes Alias could take with what sounds like a wide-ranging album of musical mayhem.
He's named after one of the best daytime cartoons of all time, he plays bass in Suicidal Tendencies, and his new album is produced by Flying Lotus. What is there not to like about Thundercat? The man otherwise known as Stephen Bruner made an appearance on last year's FlyLo album Cosmogramma, on standout glitch-soul track "Mmmhmm." Though "Daylight" shares that song's crystalline keyboards and a vibe that hearkens back to '70s jazz fusion, its odd time signatures and serpentine movements are coated in more polished, less compressed surfaces. But Thundercat's breathy, smooth vocals and webbed bass playing are still intact, so you can gain a clearer insight into what was going on beneath the murk. Nonetheless, this is by no means a predictable artist, and who knows what else we'll hear when The Golden Age Of Apocalypse, Thundercat's FlyLo-produced debut, drops August 30th on Brainfeeder.
San Francisco beat builder Ryan Gilbert, known here as Comma, has, like many artists emerging from the Bay Area scene, a fixation on the tactile and the spectral. On "Ken Griffey Jr." he doesn't have the leaping abilities and power hitting of the titular centerfielder. What he has is an ability to make his effects and samples sound very present, like the way a rippling bass smear rubs against your face, or in the thick percolation of an extraterrestrial keyboard loop. The casually chopped vocal loop running throughout serves more like the rhythmic anchor, while splashy drums and an eerie tone casually stroll behind it. More bass to your face arrives when Comma drops his Colortronics EP on May 24th on Frite Nite.
Bristol, UK psych-rockers Malachai follow up their otherworldly debut The Ugly Side Of Love with Return To The Ugly Side, which incorporates increasing hip-hop influences, right down to its title, which either intentionally or not references Ol' Dirty Bastard, Redman, and Mark Morrison (OK, probably not that last one). So whom does one alien psych-hop group tap for a remix? A: Spaceship-sounding LA beat artisan Nosaj Thing. For this remix of "Let 'Em Fall," Nosaj does his requisite knob fiddling and gear shifting, using all his toys and trinkets to create clean, muscular, robotic sound effects, patching them together and then stretching them slightly. Wisely, he keeps the original vocal intact, a sharp enough artist to know when not to mess with a good thing.
Hrishikesh Hirway has been releasing music under the moniker The One AM Radio for over a decade. In that time, he has moved from New England to Mumbai and now to Los Angeles, where his gentle solo folk origins have morphed into a four-piece band and a deeper immersion in L.A.'s ballooning beat scene. On this remix of "Sunlight," from the forthcoming album Heaven Is Attached By A Slender Thread, out April 12th on Dangerbird, Prefuse 73 keeps the original's melody; but instead of dicing it and reassembling it into a new form, as he usually does, he showers the song in confetti and slime and knickknacks, bringing the floating melody back down to the ground, making it crawl in puddles, mud pits, and wood chips. The song is no less ethereal than it was before, it just has a new, brambly layer to push through—it's the kind of conflict that is a hallmark of Prefuse's best remix work, respecting the quality of the original while shredding the bejesus out of it.
Moments of inspiration pass more frequent with boredom. Lonely souls contrive to conjure a lot of the best things out of thin air ringing with the sound of silence. In your ears. Sat waiting for his work-bound girlfriend in her Hackney flat, Alessio Natalizia decided that he may as well take some of that dead time and turn it into the most fragile, haunting but brilliantly busy music we’ve heard all year. Pop makes girlfriends proud, we reckon.
Born in Turin, Natalizia has lived in London for the last three years, shops at Sounds of the Universe and continues to release in streams that hark back to some of the most affecting sounds of the year. Shocking Pinks’s desolate monotone, the hushed menace of Deerhunter’s Cryptograms and No Age’s lo-fi psychedelic noise scream softly as they get channelled through the stark surface and constant grind of Arthur Russell. His timid voice rises in brave arcs like a Panda Bear cub.
That idea of not letting those moments pass by to become lost opportunities extends into his recording technique - working around the one premise that each track is recorded after its first take, it's up to Natalizia to tweak and prang things into shape thereafter. He plays his third gig at the Amersham Arms in New Cross on the 7th of January.
With this track, ‘Mr No’, seizured beats chime and chatter, eating into each other as they find a mutual rhythm, as beats carve abrupt tangent changes. There’s a delirium-induced vocal, haunted like a voice lost to the city, as muted brass, piano hooks and splintering chords rustle under a wall of distortion.
Loose-fingered fumbles, a mess seems to come together. The sound of a man marching to his own mild-mannered madness, skipping to his own disjointed beat.
- Samuel Strang and Kev Kharas