Jakspin consults the heavens for new EP series 'Zodiax'

German producer Jakspin harnesses the power of the stars for the first of four EPs entitled ‘Zodiax’. The release series focuses on ancient knowledge presented through the 4 basic elements alongside traditional aspects of astrology. The first instalment of the series entitled ‘Zodiax I’ takes pisces, cancer, scorpio and their common element of water and boils them all down into easily digestible lofi landscapes.

Featuring not only a well-thought out cohesive concept but also some tightly-knit sonic terrain, ‘Zodiax I’ cruises through a series of 4 tracks, each with their own unique shimmer and shine. Water, being the unifying element, seems an appropriate opener to the album and serves as a firmly rooted beat amid layers of well-crafted distortion and melodies. ‘Pisces’ then continues the interstellar experience with a steady foundation of low frequencies set against a backdrop of bubbling aqua and gently placed textures. ‘Scorpio’ finally concludes the orbital journey with a thumping beat next to floaty xylophone notes tied together with an overall air of repose.

You don’t have to be an astrological expert to know that the future of this series brings nothing but solid listening and good vibes.

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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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Astred Collective's Anthony Bailey drops blissed out beats in 'Maelstrom Of Thoughts'.

Being a writer for ADSR means there is going to be a certain amount of bias in this review because Anthony Bailey is also a part of a creative collective. ‘Astred’, based out of Montreal, are on a mission to “promote universality, accessibility, empowerment & leadership in youth culture through music and art” and while doing my research for this review, I found that getting that message out there took centre stage rather than Bailey pushing his work through his own release. It’s inspiring to see this kind of integrity and dedication to a higher cause and of course myself and everyone else at ADSR hope to share the same values through what we do. It’s always nice to come across artists who are pushing community through music and art. Values, which in my opinion, could very well be translated to all aspects of life. 

Bias aside, ‘Want To Feel You’ is simply an excellent piece of lush lo-fi escapism. It’s a warm, infectious well crafted instrumental that creates the slickest of grooves from the play between the laid-back vocal, stripped back drums, dreamy Rhodes and seductive sax/guitar stabs. This is a quality release from Bailey and the good news is there are six more tracks of the same standard on the ‘Maelstrom Of Thoughts” Ep from which ‘Want To Feel You’ hails. This is a perfect blissed out beat for any favourable playlist, from a producer who has loads of talent to share and continues to hone his craft daily.

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NOMVDSLVND finds his place with 'Belong'

NOMVDSLVND (pronounced ‘nomads land’) may live in Toronto, but as many of us in large cities can attest to, having a home and knowing your place are two very different things. Despite a background in dance, NOMVDSLVND crafts music that, instead of compelling an energetic dancefloor, interrogates the uncertainty that comes with trying to find one’s community. Perhaps his transition from dance to music was the creative spark for this idea. Many of the tracks on Part 1 of the 2-part release ‘More Harm Than Good’ slip in and out of musical ideas at ease, like a wallflower timidly testing the waters of a gathering. NOMVDSLVND creates lush backdrops for these ideas, mixing field recordings, found sounds, and broken beats that make each track an entirely new space.

On ‘Belong’, which you can hear above, he uses Rhodes-like chords to invoke a melancholy mood, a sense of feeling unsettled, of knowing what you want but not knowing how to get there. Broken beats skitter underneath, dropping in and out of the track, underpinning that anxious feeling. Punctuating this idea, he uses heavily processed vocal snippets throughout that further capture the distance we can sometimes feel between where we are and where we want to be. It’s an intoxicating concoction.

‘More Harm Than Good Part 1: Here For Now’ is out March 8th on Toronto label- ‘Bedroomer’ and can be preordered now. If you liked ‘Belong’, check out lots more over on Bedroomer’s Soundcloud.

— review by autonomy


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Winter Chill with Kurt Stewart's 'brrr!'

Winter on the east coast of America and Canada brings with it a few guarantees: short days, cold temps and regular dustings of snow. But this sub-zero hibernation isn’t all bad as Vermont- based beatmaker ‘Kurt Stewart’ shows with recent track- brrr! Although the name incites a whole body chill experienced only when your older brother shoves a handful of snow down your snowsuit, the sound of the track itself is actually quite warm and toasty. With a vintage croon to open the beat, the track bumps along with warm sense of nostalgia as the thumping kick drum drives everything forward. Although just over a minute long, brrr! gives us that brief moment of respite before heading back out into the bitter elements.

Happy winter from Kurt Stewart!
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Blink and you'll miss Instupendo's stunning winter elegy, 'Persona'

Modern music, especially electronic-based music, has a tendency to try to pull you in as soon as possible. This is of course not surprising, or even a bad thing, considering the incredible explosion of new music over the last decade or so, combined with the nascent expectation of instant gratification in our daily lives. But it certainly puts music that ignores this tendency on shaky ground — will compositional patience pay off, or will it end up devoured by the deluge of new music that presents itself to us every single day? For ‘Persona’, Instupendo doesn’t seem to care about any of that.

Instead of trying to lure you in, Persona creates its own emotional space, perfectly content in its own world. If you blink you’ll miss it, but if you approach it with care and attention, suddenly it’s impossible to ignore its delicate, detuned chords calling out to you. Winter is a season to slow down, and hopefully reflect thoughtfully on our lives. Instupendo, inspired by the season for this track, shows us why it’s worth it to do exactly that.

— review by autonomy


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Lush Lofi from Kurt Stewart and Tomcbumpz

As contemporary music pioneer Brian Eno once said “Every collaboration helps you grow”. Whether it be the combination of different musical skillsets, production techniques or the sharing of unique ideas, theres no denying the fact that working with other artists or musicians can be incredibly beneficial for the creative process.

Technology and the internet have made these collaborative undertakings that much easier with creatives sharing ideas from across the globe.

Although this particular collab is a bit closer to home, the results are none the less impressive.

Kurt Stewart is a young up and coming producer from Burlington, Vermont and Tomcbumpz is an established name in the beatmaking community hailing from Long Island, New York. The two join forces for an ultra chill excursion entitled ‘Headrush.’

It might be the crispness of autumn, or the waveyness of the great lakes, but something is up in the Eastern United States! The track features a rough-edged beat accented by the falling keys of a dreamy Rhodes. It’s an infectious headnodder, that would be the perfect soundtrack for an afternoon spent strolling under the fall colours.

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Denmark's iamalex brings the summer vibes

For most of us outside of the southern hemisphere, this time of year brings shorter days, cooler weather and dark thoughts creeping in the psyche. Although I've never visited northern Europe in fall or winter to attest to such things, (although hailing from Canada, I think I can relate) I can imagine the Danish may need a few things to remind them that summer is a state of mind; that warm, relaxing, chilled out days are not really that far away.

Enter Soundplate Record's iamalex. Our featured track above, “Tell Me” is a lo-fi, summer sizzler from the get go. It's a sweet little instrumental hip hop tune that breezes by. “Tell Me” is also the first tune of four, from Alex's upcoming self-titled EP.

"Tell me" will leave you California Dreamin' on such a winter's day. While just over 2 minutes in length, this track has a definite old school feel; it’s comprised of semi-phat bass lines, a cool jazz breakdown, guitar tinges and RnB vocals. It’s the perfect tune to get you in the mood for a mellow evening or leisurely morning, free of stress and worry.

If you dig the vibes of our sample track, iamalex has just dropped a cassette release with his homie Bonus Points, that is similarly chilled out and tightly produced. With track names like “Coastal Breeze”, “Time Off” and “Ice Macchiato”, you can see the vibe Alex is going for. As the cool months linger on, the world needs warm coastal beats like the kind iamalex produces. Join me in eager anticipation for the full EP to drop in the next month or so and show your appreciation for iamalex on the following platforms:

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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.

Support the album over on Bandcamp

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