Gone in a (green) flash with Phoenix's Phortran

It could be the hot desert climate of the state of Arizona, or the nearly 300 days of sun Phoenix experiences per year, but beat producer ‘phortran’ seems to have some hazy heat running through his veins. Originally taking his musical inspiration from experimental electronic music and idm, it wasn’t until he heard Hip Hop artists such as Aesop Rock and MF Doom in the 90s that his musical tastes started to shift. Artists like Madlib, Dilla and Nujabes further fuelled the budding beatmaker’s creative blueprint, and laid the foundation for which his modern productions rest on.

Taking a look at phortran’s Soundcloud it’s quickly apparent that this style and finesse didn’t happen overnight. With more than 70 tracks posted over the last 6 years it’s clear that he’s done his homework and steadily honed his sound. He has recently become involved with a local Phoenix-based collective called Brunch Collect and put out a split EP called "States Away" with fellow beat maker- jives. He is currently working on his next split release with Korey Wade and playing shows around Phoenix.

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Ambient dream-time from Germany's BLCKCSTLS

As Brian Eno once said “Ambient Music must be able to accomodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.“

We’d definitely like to think of the ambient music of German producer Georg-Christoph Stadler, aka BLCKCSTLS, as falling in the latter category, being dynamic and intriguing sonic creations deserving the listener’s undivided attention. And while this is certainly true, there is an effortless unobtrusiveness flowing through his productions which also makes them the perfect companion for an evening of studying, relaxing or getting work done.

And this is the real beauty of a good ambient album, appealing to the various layers of a listeners attention without imposing any sort of will upon the observer. Leaving it upto us to decide how closely to listen or how deeply to dive. Allowing the listener to complete other tasks or close their eyes and let the sounds envelope them. This is indeed a unique freedom, rarely afforded by other genres of modern music.

This kind of passive beauty can be witnessed in Stadler’s recent EP entitled ‘Secorder’. The album description reads “A quick and unmastered EP made on a cold Autumn evening to shorten the wait for Notes from the Dust.” Although only running about 15 minutes in length, the uncluttered and spontaneous EP gives us a good taste of things to come from the rising ambient composer.

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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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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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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.

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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.”

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Hazy Lofi house from New York's - Monolithic

Jun Torii, aka Monolithic, creates dreamy, lofi house sprinkled with touches of nostalgia and urban imagery. Born in Japan, raised in Germany, US and the UK, and now based in New York, Jun has certainly seen his fair share of international cityscapes and neon-lit skylines.

Since graduating from the Institute of Audio Research in New York with a certificate in audio recording and production, Jun has gone on to work as an audio engineer and dialog editor for television, film and video games. Always keeping side projects and electronic music on the go, Jun has also managed to carve out a unique niche for himself in the lofi house music community. 

Jun describes the Monolith sound as "booming 909 kicks, compressed claps, saturated bass plucks, and dreamy synthwork." A distinct throwback to the sounds of yesterday with a keen ear to the clean, cutting modern production methods of today. Monolith 'Time' serves as a friendly reminder that lofi house can be hazy, nostalgic, crisp and well mixed all at the same time. Serving as the 30th release from Melbourne-based label clipp.art, 'Time' finds a comfortable home within the labels eclectic, feel good discography. 

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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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Experimental electronica from Toronto's Fried Dough

Fried Dough is an electronic psych band that blends dark trip hop grooves and spacey ambient textures with elements of experimental music and IDM. While working on commercial music projects at an ad agency in Toronto, Canada, Andrew Cariboni and Aaron Gaistman became friends over a shared love for independent electronic producers and psych-tinged jam bands. The two formed 'Fried dough' as a vehicle for their creative output and friend Nolan Bouvier later joined the band in 2016. 

With a strong history of eclectic indie music, including Broken Social Scene, Caribou, Metric, and Death from Above 1979, Toronto is no stranger to bands that blur the lines between genres and styles. Fried Dough not only sees the groups various members playing a wide range of instruments, but also producing a full spectrum of tracks from pink floyd esque flowing psychedelia to texture-rich cutting edge electronic music. 

The latter best describes the groups most recent track 'Brume' which is a brief yet powerful two and a half minutes of brain twisting idm and swelling analog synths. Despite the apocalyptic overtones the track ultimately concludes with a sense of resolve and optimism. 

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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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