Lounging in lush lo-fi landscapes with Luvwn

Upon doing my research into Luvwn a.k.a. Christopher Kaasik a self described “ introverted art school dropout” hailing from Estonia, I found myself floating off into day dreams as his Spotify track list effortlessly transitioned from track to track. I found it hard to tare myself away as I was enjoying the space that Luvwn had created. According to Christopher “The whole idea behind luvwn is to share a new, unique world through music and art. I feel like sharing a whole world is more interesting than just expressing a story”. In this I feel like Kaasik has achieved his goal. The brand of hip-hop instrumentals he has created are highly ethereal, ponderous, reflective and soothing at times. Not only does Kaasik create a space where you feel ok to be still and contemplative he creates a world where you feel excited to explore with a gentle joy. 

The mainstay in a lot of Luvwn’s works are sampled jazz drums and keys. The samples are chosen with love and care and the combination of the loose percussion and placid piano create magical moments that for me are reminiscent of DJ Shadow’s groundbreaking ‘Endtroducing’, this is especially apparent on Luvwn’s ’to sleep’ and ‘planta lofi’. I feel however Christopher comes more into his own in ‘waking spell’ and combines more complex melodies harmonizing with a lush vocal that has the same effect as his earlier releases while simultaneously revealing the evolution of his sound. If you are a fan of instrumental lo-fi hip-hop then I can’t recommend Luvwn enough as he takes some of the best elements of the genre and makes them his own in the most exuberant fashion. 

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Oneven explores the deeper side of minimal techno in 'Smelt'

Andrew Visser a.k.a. Oneven is a Dutch/British producer who’s output over the last couple of years has primarily been dominated by his ambient works which have ranged from the deeply diaphanous to a stereo spectrum of sci-fi splendour. Some of his explorations have been extremely cinematic and wouldn’t be out of place on a Kubrick soundtrack. This time however Visser goes in a different direction and ventures into the 4/4 universe with ‘Smelt’. 

Starting off with a compressed thumping kick which sets the tone of for an infectious groove that starts to pull us in. Gradually we are introduced to deeper more introspective sounds that submerge us into a deep minimal track that sustains it’s groove throughout. Smelt offers a reliable take on deeper minimal and is perfect for building atmosphere in any warm up set.

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Strolling in street snapshots with KiLLOWEN'S 'Solar'.

There’s no denying that 19 year old London producer and vocalist KiLLOWEN has a certain amount of gravitas to him. Starting a track with a raw vocal with just some reverb is a powerful way to introduce you to his world, it stops you in your tracks and forces you to pay attention. Keeping our attention in music isn’t always easy, but for KiLLOWEN it just comes naturally.  

KiLLOWEN has been producing tracks since he was 13 and started his journey with music long before that, as early as 8 or 9 years of age. So it’s then easy to understand why on first impression I thought I was listening to someone more mature, because I was. KiLLOWEN is a very talented young artist who because of his early start in music has developed his production skills to the level of any established producer.

Solar is a polished, street, R&B gem. You can hear influences from similar artists that have come before him such as The Streets, Maverick Sabre and Real Lies to mention a few. KiLLOWEN does what all of these artists do extremely well and that is to allow you into their private lives in a way that is extremely poetic and uplifting even when dealing with the harshest of realities. Solar is a song dedicated to the passing of a close friend, the song was written the day of passing. This kind of poignancy is prevalent throughout and it grounds you in the artists experience, walking in his shoes, sharing for a moment a snap shot of his life.

Although this is heavy lifting for someone so young, you never get the sense of that because the track is sustained in such soulful praise that we are stately elevated throughout. I am very excited to stroll along the streets of this young man’s imagination once again in the future. 

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Less is more with Sweden's lesspoint

With the seemingly limitless possibilities of today’s DAW’s it’s easy to understand how the modern producer can become bogged down by options. Endless samples, routing options and sound design possibilities can be both liberating and overwhelming at the same time. Despite all the technology in music production today, it really all just comes back to what matters most which is the music.

Enter 20 year old Swedish beat producer- lesspoint. The Computer Science major explains that when he’s not studying, “in my free time I make beats.” Originally learning from online tutorials and making house music, lesspoint describes his recent shift in tastes: “My love for chill/downtempo/hip-hop beats has been growing a lot over the last few years, some of my biggest influencers right now are Freddie Joachim, DJ Grumble, Ian Ewing and Quickly, Quickly.”

Despite his humble attitude, lesspoint’s productions are uncluttered and well-crafted dream pieces that sit perfectly on a chillout playlist or as background study music. His recent track ‘thepoint’ fits this description perfectly featuring crunchy drums, floaty pads, and chopped up samples, and is just the thing to toss on when in need of some decompression. lesspoint describes his production mindset - “When I made this beat I tried to make a beat that you can listen to whenever, something that can be played without interrupting your thoughts, maybe I am unconsciously making my own study music.”

With beats like this who needs study breaks?

Hit the books with lesspoint
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DIY HIFI brings the funk with 'Feels'

Vancouver musician and producer Ian Bevis, formerly of the band ‘Bear Mountain"‘, starts our 2019 off on the good foot with the laid back, funky swinger that is ‘Feels’. No stranger to big stage indie sounds, Bevis and Bear Mountain have toured as direct support to Bloc Party, Cut Copy, and Hot Chip playing festivals such as Lollapalooza, Osheaga and Austin City Limits.

Compared to the more indie pop sensibilities of ‘Bear Mountain’ DIY HIFI feels a bit more like a disco house party. A groovy bassline leads the track through a number of cleverly assembled verses and choruses. With rich bubbling synths accenting the groove, and even a very recognizable bit of sampling on the breakdown, ‘Feels’ is an infectious tune that makes it very hard to stand still. The track exquisitely captures the ‘Do It Yourself’ spirit while never sacrificing pitch-perfect musicality or high quality production.

Grab the track on Bandcamp

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Roll The Dice by Shy FX Holds all the Odds for Creating an Instant Club Classic.

When it comes to drum and bass and jungle Andre Williams a.k.a. Shy FX needs little introduction. Being a pioneering force in the genre while breaching the charts on many occasion with his infectious club bangers, sound system roots and sharp instincts on artists he chooses to collaborate with, Shy has been able to navigate that fine line between holding your underground credibility while also gaining mainstream appeal. This is the exact kind of savvy that is in full effect in his latest release ‘Roll The Dice’ feat. Stamina MC and London’s own pop darling Lily Allen. 

With a line up like that its kind of hard to miss and to be fair they set it up and knock it out of the park. What our earbuds are treated to is a modern take on the nostalgia of 90’s bass culture. You are transported to the time when clubbing was fresh out of the gate brimming with excitable energy, striding almost on the side of danger, knowing for one special night anything could happen. The track and accompanying video by Louis Browne encapsulates that energy perfectly, there is enough bass to make your bones shake and the combination of Stamina MC’s on the mic delivery harmonizing with Allen’s vocal creates fever pitch party frequencies that resonate throughout. This is a straight up sound system stomper that is perfect for for any rude-boy / rude-girl’s night out. 

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Charlotte Adigéry takes her Caribbean sensibilities somewhere deep with 'Paténipat'

The Belgian-Caribbean artist Charlotte Adigéry has a new single out called ‘Paténipat’, an infectious, stripped-back, 4-on-the-floor roller that is undeniably fun and will surely occupy your faculties for days to come. The Caribbean influences poke through, calling to mind a deep dub aesthetic, but the rhythms and vocal treatment build to an energetic frenzy that will fit right in on the dancefloor. Is it any wonder, then, that the forthcoming EP, titled ‘Zandoli’, is being released by DEEWEE, the label by Soulwax founders David and Stephen Dewaele? The brothers have built a name on their genre-defying combination of entrancing rhythms and bombastic musicality, and Paténipat fits that bill to a T.

The EP is a collaboration with producer Boris Pupul. The story goes that the pair originally met on Tinder and had the kind of heart-to-heart that only kindred spirits can; the friendship growing and solidifying into the forthcoming release. If the lead single is anything to go by, Zandoli’s release date of February 8, 2019 can’t come soon enough.

Check out the video for Paténipat above, and pre-order the vinyl or digital release over at the DEEWEE shop.

- review by autonomy

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Beyond The Hill's 'Granular Life' will turn your life into film

The debut EP from Japan’s 丘を越えて (Beyond The Hill), out now on 16:9 Recordings, is the perfect first release for a label ostensibly focusing on cinematic styles of music. 16:9 is of course the standard aspect ratio for High Definition digital video, and the EP’s title of ‘Granular Life’ is certainly evocative of one of the most distinct qualities of film, namely grain. But the title also goes beyond visual qualities, and can be taken more literally: these tracks were produced using granular synthesis techniques.

The opening track, Flicker Wind, (listen above) is a timeless ambient opener that would do well to accompany any number of tasks in daily life. It is at once precise in tone, and also flexible to interpretation. Think Boards of Canada in their more cinematic mode. The rest of the tracks on this EP only strengthen this comparison, expanding the Granular Life cinematic world in all directions. It’s a shame that such a carefully constructed world clocks in at under 15 minutes, just when you start to feel at home in its warm embrace. Nevertheless, it’s a strong first release from 16:9, and we’ll have to keep an eye on the label to see what they conjure up next.

Stream “Flicker Wind” above, and find the whole EP on 16:9 Recordings’ Bandcamp.

- review by autonomy

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Smooth Sailing with Kurt Stewart's 'Cobblestone Bump'.

Everything about Kurt Stewart is unassuming. From his Spotify bio which simply reads “I love you” to the way he makes his beats. Especially ‘Cobblestone Bump’. We have reviewed Stewart’s releases in the past, most recently his soothing track ‘Laundry’. You can imagine Kurt up late nights crouched over his laptop with only the glow of the screen piercing the darkness as he drops into a state of flow becoming entranced by the latest sample that has grabbed his attention. 

Like in ‘Laundry’ you can see he is a producer that enjoys stretching out the possibilities of a one looped sample. Lovingly and playfully, dropping drums in and out and adding affects where he feels like it. The result is, as always, a well crafted instrumental that gives you a warm sense of nostalgia and chill. Stewart knows the value of his samples and he has a way of transcribing his passion for them that always leaves us wanting more.   

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Computer Data finds real human emotion with 'Healing'

Will computers ever feel things the way we do? Philosophers have been trying to answer this question since the dawn of computers themselves, but it doesn’t take a philosopher to know that Computer Data’s newest EP, Emotional Shift, will leave you feeling in ways you might not have expected on the dancefloor. The recipe of warmly saturated drums, gentle analog pads, and pitched vocals is certainly not new territory, but house music has always been about what you feel, not what you think. With the track ‘Healing,’ CD nails that feeling of sombre despair, of not know what to do but knowing you gotta do something. Might as well dance.

Hit play on ‘Healing’ above, and when you’re done reflecting go find the whole EP on bandcamp.

- review by autonomy

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