Emancipator & 9 Theory stick together like buds on 'Cheeba Gold'

What happens when two of the most reliable stalwarts of the west coast indie beat scene come together for a collab? You find gold. Cheeba Gold, that is, the result of a 4-day studio session between Portland’s Emancipator and LA’s 9 Theory. The collab makes a lot of sense musically; these two have been pushing lush, organic, laid back beats for so long now that it’s become one of the signature sounds of electronic music in the PNW, gracing festival stages and outdoor events for over a decade.

On the EP Cheeba Gold, no doubt a product of the title’s slang allusion, the two musicians find effortless rhythms with rich percussive elements, and lush timbric harmonies that showcase both their sense of musicality and deft instrumental skills. These guys know exactly the kind of sound they want to make, and it’s clear on Cheeba Gold that they are operating in top form.

RIYL: Bonobo, Tycho, Thievery Corporation

Cheeba Gold is out now on digital platforms, and if you really like it, a 12” vinyl is available from Loci Records.

— review by autonomy

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'Humanity at a crossroads' with Deru's new album- Torn in Two

One part cutting edge digital art project and one part snapshot of a dystopian future, Emmy award winning film composer and music producer - Benjamin Wynn, aka Deru, puts forth some his most poignant work to date with his new album ‘Torn in Two'.’

With a rich musical background, Wynn has taken his years of technical and musical experience and boiled them down into this 9 track concept album, bringing some of humanity’s most pressing challenges to the forefront and dissecting them with laser sharp sound design and texture rich productions.

There are delicate moments, tumultuous times, and walls of sound powerful enough to disassemble your physical self. Ultimately this is a concept album on the human condition, our vulnerability, strength and uncertain future. What would Earth be like without humans at all?

Attempting to tackle such large, philosophical questions in a coherent form of presentable art is a monumental task to say the least, luckily Wynn had some help in bringing these concepts to life. Take our video above for example, ‘Refuge’ is the 2nd track off the album and in many ways the counterweight to the bone-crushing opening track ‘Torn in Two’. With billowing acoustic elements and slow, cinematic builds of white noise, the audio syncs perfectly with the monochrome and desolate visual landscape.

The film is directed and edited by Wynn himself, in collaboration with Bryan Konietzko, the animator and director best known for Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, who provided the concept, art direction and digital sculpting. Longtime collaborator EFFIXX provided visual effects, 3D rendering, and artwork design. Tim Navis supplied the tintype photographic plates used as backdrops and cover art, and Xander Smith served as 3D Sculpting Assistance.

’Torn in Two’ is available via LA imprint Friends of Friends.
Grab it on limited edition translucent splatter double vinyl with gatefold or digitally over on Bandcamp


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West Coast Swag from LA's Sol Beats

“Crush is meant to make you feel.”

A simple one line quote from 20 year old California beatmaker ‘Sol Beats’ about his latest chilled out offering entitled ‘Crush.’ Just like his description, the track is a simple and straight to the point, a vibe drenched synth-laced gem clocking in at just under 3 minutes.

But to think that Sol’s sounds are some kind of beginners luck you’d be kidding yourself. Despite his young age, the Californian has already been grinding at it for 6 years taking influence from Esta, Kaytranada, Taku, Mr. Carmack and more. It’s really just been within the past year that the budding beatmaker has started posting his work online, finally getting to the point where he is happy with how things are sounding.

And just how do Sol Beat’s productions sound? Well taking a browse through his soundcloud reveals beat heavy influences alongside touches of Rnb, hip-hop, trap and soul. Take a listen for yourself and I think you’ll quickly realize why we feelin’ it.

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Chilled out Naptime from California's Young Citrus

Creative inspiration can come from just about anywhere. Other musicians, childhood memories, nature or just a particular sample you can’t get out of your head.

For west coast beat producer ‘Young Citrus’ it’s often a certain sound or sample that he just knows he wants to work with or chop up. As Citrus explains about his recent release ‘sleep’ -
”I was really inspired by the piano sample - it's so chilled out and relaxing. Oftentimes, I turn to music when I need a break from the stresses of day to day living. It's honestly therapeutic.”

Young Citrus grew up listening to ‘The Album Leaf’ and ‘Nujabes’; their chilled out, peaceful sounds can be heard as a definite influence on his own productions today. Also working with sample based techniques, Citrus creates beat-heavy sound collages, layering chopped up clips with original riffs and basslines. For his latest track ‘sleep’, Citrus started with a sample and ran with it. “Once I heard the sample, I knew I wanted to chop it up and build around it. I added some drums, a bassline, and a wavy guitar with a bunch of reverb on it to give it a surf-rock inspired chill vibe.”

Grab this lofi siesta as a free download over on his Soundcloud

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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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Ambient IDM from Dutch duo- Tangent

Dutch production duo Ralph van Reijendam and Robbert Kok craft sonic journeys combining cutting-edge electronics with more traditional musical instruments. Always striving for the pinnacle of sound quality, Ralph and Robbert are constantly pushing their creative boundaries by exploring new and exciting ways of working with sound. 

Ralph van Reijendam graduated from HKU University of the Arts Utrecht with a Bachelor of Arts and Technology in 2007, specializing in post-production audio for film, animation and video games. Since graduating Ralph has worked as a sound designer, creating custom fx and atmospheres, and an audio/visual installation artist, creating live interactive environments utilizing custom built Max/MSP programs he designed himself. 

Robbert Kok, growing up playing in a number of metal bands throughout high school, eventually became the vocalist for the well known Dutch death metal band Disavowed. Active now for nearly two decades, Disavowed and Robbert's various live music experience has undoubtably lent itself well to his electronic projects as well.

Tangent is the hybridization of both Ralph and Robert's creative sensibilities and decades worth of technical musical experience. Lucky for us, the duo have a fresh new album entitled 'Approaching Complexity' slated for release Oct.5 on Oakland, California label N5MD. The opening track 'Confinement' is an 8 minute epic piece full of layered distortion, rich textures, and emotive pads. If this track is any sign of what the full album has in store we are certainly in for a treat!  

Pre-order 'Approaching Complexity' on vinyl, CD, or digital on the N5MD Bandcamp      

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LA producer Deru's blistering new track 'Torn in Two'

Benjamin Wynn, aka Deru, is an Emmy Award winning American composer, sound designer and music producer. Born and raised in Chicago, it was Wynn's early experiences with urban music and hip-hop that sparked his initial passion for production and sound design. It was the raw, rough sound of 90s hip hop that formed some of his earliest musical sensibilities, Ben stating "I loved the sonic quality of hip-hop, I loved how gritty it was, I loved the sound of hiss and record noise." Even to this day, many of these rough, organic elements that influenced him so many years ago can still be heard in his productions.

In the pursuit of further honing his sonic sensibilities, Wynn took to the west coast where he studied electronic music at the California Institute of the Arts. He focused on synthesis, signal processing, acoustics, music theory and composition, and earned a Bachelor's degree in music technology. Adding a well-rounded technical skillset to his ever growing passion for music and sound design was a key step in the young producer's music career. 

Over the next decade Wynn put these technical and creative skills to good use, releasing 4 albums under his electronic music 'Deru' alias as well as countless television, film and even ballet scores. Incorporating a unique mix of electronic and acoustic elements Ben states "I love the control over sound that electronic music provides, and I also love the sound of acoustic instruments and human players."

His forthcoming release 'Torn in Two' serves as a perfect example of this unique marriage of electronic and acoustic elements.  The album is a collection of microtonal pieces where the pitches were derived from acoustic instruments, and processed woodwind and brass recordings. Both represented new directions for Wynn, and the results are pieces that are more dynamic and full-spectrum than his previous body of work. 

The track 'Torn in Two' serves as the powerful album opener to the upcoming release. A dizzying array of slithering distortion set within a dissonant dystopia. Bone-crushing builds give way to moments of supreme sensitivity and delicateness. 

'Torn in Two' releases Oct .19th on LA label 'Friends of Friends' 
Pre-order the vinyl over here.

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