Debut EP from professional production duo- Dispak

DISPAK is the synthesis of electronic music composers/producers Chris Child and Kasson Crooker.

Over the past 20 years, Chris through his moniker Kodomo, and Kasson through Symbion Project, have released a wide breadth of electronic music drawing from ambient, techno, IDM, downtempo, and cinematic soundscapes.

Chris is an Emmy award winning composer and has scored countless films, TV shows and commercials. His music has been featured on shows such as the CBS series ‘CSI’ and National Public Radio’s first news program ‘All things considered’ as well as hit video games such as Rock Band and Amplitude. His Kodomo alias, founded in the year 2000 and originally intended primarily for remix-work, has since evolved into a platform for his original productions of which he has released 3 full length albums alongside a slew of singles and EPs.

Kasson Crooker graduated from Berkley College of music with a degree in music production and engineering. Soon after he found himself entering the video game industry, almost by accident, after being fed up with his current job and seeing an ad for a sound designer position creating sounds for Nascar racing games. But he got his real break upon joining the newly formed Harmonix games (the company that eventually made the smash hit ‘Guitar Hero’’) and began to compose music for their debut title ‘Frequency.’ Symbion Project is the solo electronica alias of Crooker, spanning ambient to techno and downtempo to idm, his sound has been a constant evolution over the past 9 full length albums.

But combining the powers of these two musical mavericks has proven slightly more difficult than expected. After years of struggling to collaborate on opposite sides of the country, it was best to get into the same studio. An intense week of live experimentation using an array of early modulars, pedals, and drum machines resulted in this 3-song EP.

Featuring tracks up in the 6 to 8 minute range, the EP builds on a kind of hypnotic feeling that draws you in as a listener. The track Ozornin builds slowly with a chugging kick drum gradually giving way to classic techno high hats and skittering, delicate percussion. After we pass the midway point and slide into a reverb drenched interlude, the real business gets started as a chunky electro bassline leads the charge. Utilizing some classic hardware pieces, such as the Juno-106 and TB-303, the raw ingredients for the track are just so good that a simple and minimal arrangement really allow these dynamic elements to shine.

Support the release over on Bandcamp

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17 year old Iowa Producer Shiy is more than meets the eye.

First look at Shiy and you can tell straight away there isn’t a lot of information about him knocking about. His bio on Spotify reads one line “ 17 year old instrumental hip-hop and jazz producer from Iowa”, that’s it, as far as he is concerned that’s all you need to know. And you know what maybe it is. It’s refreshing these days to have a air of mystery around an artist and to solely let the music do the talking. 

Now, you might think maybe there is not much written about Shiy on his bio because like a lot of new pop-up producers he is brand spanking new to the game. But the truth is he has been around a little while. He already has a few albums to his name and for someone so young you can see a lot of promise in his capabilities. Rather than talk about his latest track “Nothatbad” which for the most part is pretty self explanatory, it’s not that bad! It’s a solid Jay Dilla sounding instrumental. It’s infectious, its fun, bright and hopeful. While listening you can imagine yourself pottering about whistling along. It is a nice, nostalgic little number and would be a good addition to any Spotify playlist. 

But what I was most impressed by was Shiy’s discography as a whole. His past releases sound quite different than his most recent album- ‘Autumnal’, and this variety really shows the full scope of the young producer. Each release has something to offer, and show a kind of creative maturity and skill of the craft. It’s the sort of atmosphere you’d expect to hear on a beloved old dusty Jazz LP. If you are a fan of beats that can give you real moments of musicality and melancholy within the realm of Jazz, Motown and Blues then be sure to check out Shiy.

Support his recent release ‘Autumnal’ over on Bandcamp

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Belgian producer Stereoclip goes back to basics with new track 'Day One''

With the plethora of sounds and production options at the fingertips of today’s digital musicians it’s no wonder that tracks can often get overcrowded and over-compressed. With TV and advertisements competing for our attention we are often bombarded with purposefully loud audio to grab our focus. While it is true that acoustically our ears often perceive ‘louder as better sounding’ there is often little room left for dynamics and fine details. Acclaimed American mastering engineer Bob Katz has even gone as far as saying “loudness is a drug.”

Nowhere is this more apparent than with the past couple decades of electronic music, where club-ready music often prioritized punch and loudness over dynamics and detail. Luckily for us the ‘loudness wars’ seem to be coming to an end, and as the dust settles we are finding more and more dynamic, uncluttered, and lush productions to sooth our battered ears.

Belgian producer ‘Stereoclip’ and his recent release ‘Day One’ certainly fit this description well, with the track maintaining a skillful balance between punch and dynamics. With just the right amount of high-quality raw ingredients, the track never feels cluttered or over-produced and instead floats with a kind of effortless groove. Delicate percussion dances in the stereo spectrum while thick analog synths twist and turn in the foreground. With more and more contemporary electronic music making use of a high dynamic range and a ‘less is more’ attitude we look forward to more producers taking this ‘back to the basics’ sonically-rich approach.

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Smooth jazzy beats from Bristol's Natty Reeves

Music can be so many things for different people. A way to escape, heal, refresh, reflect and even forget. British producer/songwriter- Natty Reeves deals with many of these themes throughout his discography, in a no-nonsense approach that focuses on quality and authenticity above all else.

A talented multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Reeves often relies on his quiver of guitars and live vocal takes to form much of the foundation for his tracks.

However his recent release ‘Bill’s Launderette’ moves in a slightly different direction, forgoing the vocals for a smooth, soulful collaboration alongside beat producer and keyboardist- Marnix.
The track is 2 and a half minutes of chilled out guitar, floating keys and a rolling, head-nodding beat. The two musicians take touches of soul, hip-hop and jazz and set it on the spin cycle for a memorable collaboration.

Support the release over on Bandcamp

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Texas-native Frythm drops Ambient, Folktronica gem

Matthew Pena aka Frythm is a song writer, producer and DJ from Texas who is starting to build momentum from a series of releases on Soundcloud.  One look at his output over the last few months and you can tell he has been busy. While the majority of his releases have been more club focused, recently we seem to take a departure from his infectious high energy offerings to something more serene. 

Mariposa is a track that seems to be built on reflection. It reminds me of waking up on a peaceful Sunday morning. It gives the listener almost the sensation of that first morning stretch of the limbs while being highly nostalgic and contemplative. It exudes heart break and loss. It plays like a love letter to a lost lover. The track starts off wistful, airy and its ambient free- floating back ground noise and loose percussion make you drift away into your thoughts but the lush haunting vocal textures later draw you back down to earth with poignant affect. While Mariposa has a short run time of 2:40 it doesn’t take much time to draw you in and leave you with a lasting impression. 

Frythm shows us that he is not a one trick pony and is very much a producer with a firm grip on his craft and range. An up and comer to watch for sure, I am excited to see what comes next.

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Genre blending future sounds from French producer- Sc Ar

As Kurt Cobain said “punk is musical freedom. It’s saying, doing and playing whatever you want”. From punk to hip-hop, youth culture worldwide has continually strived to differentiate itself from the previous generation. Whether seeking identity or new forms of expression, this cyclical pursuit can be seen time and time again throughout recent history.

And modern day electronic music is no different, listening to some of the new sounds coming out from the next generation of producers it’s clear that unique ideas, genres and styles are constantly bubbling just below the surface. Whether it be the blending of genres, new and interesting production techniques, or disregard for any sort of structure or musical conventions of the past, there’s no denying that some of the new sounds coming out almost daily now are some of the most dynamic and sonically diverse we’ve yet to hear.

Take upcoming French producer- Sc Ar for example. His new single ‘Flirt’ teases with touches of house, vapourwave, idm, and electronica in a sound that can only be described as forward-thinking and future. Pitched vocal samples ascend white marble staircases of billowing, nostalgic pads while organic, woody percussion rains down from the rafters. As the young producer states “Flirt is my very first single. Others will come.”

Stay tuned…
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Rising star Catching Flies set to explode

Multi instrumentalist, producer and DJ, Catching Flies, aka George King, has achieved a great deal in his musical career already. His tunes have received millions of hits and listens, he's got support from the UK's top DJs and taste makers and he's toured the world over supporting some of the biggest DJs and artists.

The one thing that has evaded him thus far is that illusive first full length album. However as 2018 inches to a close, Catching Flies is set to remedy that. With his album release on the horizon, Flies drops a tantalizing teaser in our above track, 'New Gods', featuring a pair of similarly rising stars, collaborating with singer Oscar Jerome and rapper Jay Prince.

Catching Flies, who usually operates alone, blending through the genres of jazz, soul, hip-hop, house, electronica and more delivers a tightly produced track in 'New Gods'. The trio each have ample time to shine as Jay Prince raps about life eternal, Oscar Jerome provides a soulful backdrop, all the while Flies sounds linger, guiding the listener from laid back electronica beats building to a crescendo of jazzy guitar/bass expressions.

The whole thing evolves over a mere 3 minutes time and leaves you longing for more. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a bit longer before his album drops, fortunately though, for those new to Catching Flies, like myself, our man George has more than an ample supply of music available online to satisfy that longing. Catching Flies has previously released an EP, another mini EP and loads of highly acclaimed DJ sets (such as the ‘On Deck’ Thump Mix) and mixes (such as his Solid Steel Radio Mix on Ninja Tune). He even has a monthly radio show on London based Radio station Radar Radio.

If you need any more help tracking Catching Flies as his star rises higher and higher, click onto platforms below:

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London based hip-hop producer Big-O drops new album 'Instability'

We’re all looking for our own little slice of peace in this world aren’t we? American-born, London- based, hip-hop producer- Orlando Turner certainly thinks so. The first single ‘My place in this world’ from his recently dropped full length album ‘Instability’ explores his own definition of peace and the album as a whole touches on the larger concepts of belonging, uncertainty, and sense of purpose.

Turner has been making beats since the age of 13, and in a way the album explores his own personal journey having moved from Alabama to Florida and Miami to LA, before finally finding his niche in London.

The album features 16 tracks spanning a variety of sounds and production techniques. From the sample-heavy beats of ‘Imperfect Voyage’ to the built from scratch style of ‘Cryin’ Clouds’ the album covers everything from soulful hip-hop to jazzy beats and electronica to break heavy funk.

It’s a journey definitely worth documenting, and reminds us that despite life’s ups and downs and moments of instability, finding that sense of peace through music makes it all right in the end.

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Keyboard virtuoso Rob Araujo with his new beat-oriented side project- Shopan

Being a marvel on the keys just isn’t enough for accomplished pianist Rob Araujo who’s continually pushing his creative boundaries with new sounds, styles and collaborations. Growing up studying classical piano from the age of 5, to playing competitively throughout middle and high school, it wasn’t until Rob reached University that his tastes shifted to include Jazz and hip-hop, eventually layering his productions with an effortless groove on top of his already strong technical foundation.

With the creation of his new side project ‘Shopan’, these beat-oriented productions will now have a dedicated output. Launching this laid back, lofi alias is the track ‘Greens’ alongside rising Portland producer ‘Quickly, Quickly’.

The track sees the beatscene sensibilities of Quickly seamlessly combined with the undeniable musicality of Araujo’s signature keys. Relaxed drums and percussion provide the framework for moments of jazzed-out sundown bliss.

Concluding with a kind of care-free weightlessness, chirping birds and a whistling stroll leaves us with a sense of new-found optimism to carry us through the week.

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Tape-tinged techno from audio/visual creative- Daniel Brandt

London / Berlin based filmmaker, composer, and musician- Daniel Brandt, is set to release his second full length solo album ‘Channels’ on October 12th via London imprint- Erased Tapes. As co-founder of the infamous ‘Brandt Brauer Frick’ trio which has been dubbed by the BBC as “concert hall compositions for the clubbing generation”, Brandt is no stranger to intricate and impeccably executed studio productions and live music performances. As both a filmmaker and musician, this multi-disciplinary creative approach ensures an inventive and original artistic output where boundaries are blurred and inspiration spontaneous.

Take the most immersive, club-ready track ‘Sailboats III’ from the album for example. As Brandt explains:

“The song is named after a painting by Roy Lichtenstein which is not one of his typical ones but rather a kind of abstract cubist painting of sailboats on the sea. I wanted to make a song that feels like an electrified sailing voyage and tried to imitate the feeling of this imagined trip.”

This type of cross-disciplinary creative communication is a common thread throughout the album, with many of the tracks referencing rich visual palettes. The blossoming cosmos of ‘Cherry Dream’ is informed by Tangerine Dream’s iconic soundtrack to the film Risky Business, a compelling reinterpretation of Love On A Real Train replete with darker, electronic elements and live orchestration. ‘Daze’, co-written with guitarist Pascal Bideau, chimes with an acoustic melody and is carried by a rhythmic percussive pulse, whilst the understated ‘Ltd’ was stylistically inspired by Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint.

As we can see the album draws from a variety of sources and creative ideas, but still manages to remain original and organic, with an almost effortless spontaneity to it. Perhaps Lichtenstein said it best when he stated “Art doesn't transform. It just plain forms”.

Pre-order ‘Channels’ over on the Erased Tapes Bandcamp

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