Ambient maestro Loscil recasts Souns' raw energy into a truly beautiful form

Building on the success of his 2017 album, ‘Aquamarine’, fixture of the Vancouver scene Michael Red, under his ambient alias Souns, prepares a remix EP featuring hand-picked artists to re-work his track ‘Sun Inside The Sun’. Close followers of ADSR may remember Michael Red from his performance at an ADSR show in Vancouver a couple years back, but since then his ambient project Souns has really taken off. The original ‘Sun Inside The Sun’ is a beautifully chaotic track, with pulses echoing about, capturing the energy and entropic dynamics of a hidden world.

Today, we get a peek at the remix from another Vancouverite, and prolific ambient artist in his own right, Loscil. Loscil takes the original’s syncopated form and morphs it into a rhythmic force. If Souns’ original track were stone blocks, rough, weathered, jagged and beautiful in its own right, Loscil’s remix would be a cathedral, with calculated flying buttresses and meticulously carved pillars. It’s a gorgeous rework, with each element fully coordinated with the whole, slowly building to a harmonious crescendo.

Stream the Loscil remix above, and if you like it, hop over to the Souns Bandcamp to pre-order. The EP is set for release on 31 May 2019 on Subtempo.

— review by Autonomy

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Late Night Nostalgia with NVY's 'Knife Play'

Remember the golden days of rave? Before the internet, before stream counts and follower numbers defined an artist? When literally the only way to hear a new track was to find that event where one of those select DJs were playing one of the few promo copies in existence?
When going to a party brought with it an air of mystery, allure and even danger?

Well the times have changed and those days have come and gone, but fortunately for us the sound hasn’t. That same surreal and enigmatic quality can be heard in NVY’s recent release entitled ‘Knife Play.’

Born in Vancouver, NVY played guitar and wrote songs in bands throughout high school and found a love for music production after being introduced to Ableton by a friend. Since starting production at 14, his sound has undergone many changes and evolutions ranging from dance music to hip hop to pop. Taking inspiration from the likes of New Order and Metronomy, NVY’s sound features a depth well beyond his years yet remains lush, organic and sonically accessible.  

’Knife Play’ draws the listener into a mysterious world of lost loves and late night, dimly lit underground clubs. With a sound that feels full yet totally natural and uncluttered, ‘Knife Play’ steams forward with a floating sense of nostalgia amidst minimal percussion and a raw, euphoric bassline.

NVY describes his headspace when writing the track:
”I was feeling techy and minimal one morning so I decided to try and write, finish and release a track in a few hours. It was a fun experimentation session that resulted in a nice blend between ambience and rhythm. Also I wanted to release something spontaneously since I've been working on my album for the past year and felt a little bored with all the waiting involved with scheduling releases so some experimentation and jamming was long over due.”

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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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Neu Balance wears his heart on his sleeve for 'In my life I've loved them all'

Neu Balance, one of Vancouver’s great breakout artists from the heyday of 1080p recordings, is back with a second full-length album, this time for the Seattle label Budget Cuts Records & Tapes. Despite retaining the name Neu Balance, however, this album is anything but the same rubbery, lurching, hazed out sounds of the first album, “Rubber Sole.” After the departure of Sebastian Davidson for solo works, Sam Beatch seems to have taken the opportunity of full control at the helm to branch out and collaborate in all directions. This new album, titled “In my life, I’ve loved them all,” includes a whole host of features by fellow producers, session musicians, and vocalists. They all work in tandem to expand the NB sound palette considerably, and coalesce into a polished, coherent, and smooth listen right from the first play.

The sound is still unmistakably PNW, but where Rubber Sole felt idiosyncratic and rhythmically experimental, In my Life, I’ve loved them all finds a confident unification of ideas. Track arrangements feel much more natural, the production is precise, and the emotional resonance of the compositions shine bright through it all. This is intuitive music; it prioritizes feeling over thinking, and the result is entirely sumptuous to consume.

Get a taste up above by streaming “I left my body alone with you,” featuring vocalist Forever, and hop over to Budget Cuts’ Bandcamp to get a copy for yourself.

— review by autonomy

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Iain Howie goes beyond the blueprint for 'Living & Dying'

“Living & Dying,” the brand new single from local Vancouver resident Iain Howie, is unmistakably modern dance music. The production quality, four-on-the-floor beat structure, and sound processing all make sure of it. But to leave it at that would simply be a disservice to what is, underneath the arped-out synths and thumping kicks, a lyrical ballad bursting at the seams with melancholic despair.

Compositionally, ‘Living & Dying’ breaks far out of the loop-based patterns that are commonplace in the dance world, with instrumentation that comes closer to the feel of a session musician or live band — a testament to Howie’s musicality. His soft vocals counterpoint the airy pads that are omnipresent throughout the track, giving it a sombre tone. The lyrical quality of the track makes it perfect for home listening, and yet provides just enough structure that DJs won’t have any problem fitting it into a set for a bit of a changeup.

You can buy it now from UK label Needwant’s Bandcamp, or stream it on Spotify. And if you like this one, keep an eye out for a forthcoming remix by Bob Moses…

— review by autonomy

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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.

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New Soulful Hip-Hop from Big-O and P-Rawb

The American producer / MC duo of Orlando Turner, aka 'Big O', and Patrick Roberts, aka 'P-Rawb' come correct with their new single 'Good Company.' 

Forgoing the usual trappings of cash, women and expensive cars for a more soulful take on the genre, the two describe the new track as "a song about finding peace within yourself and surrounding yourself with the company of good people to help you move forward in life."

With P-Rawb lacing the A side with a skillful, feel-good flow, the collab comes together like a backyard BBQ on a chill summer day. The B side instrumental version of the track enters with profound strings and keys setting up for something special. With a rolling, percussion-rich beat, the track contains just the right amount of weight and finesse. With mixing and mastering coming from Portland based audio engineer, Kevin Carafa, not only is the beat infectious but the whole track sounds crisp, clear and well balanced. 

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New album from Chill electronic producer- Hotwax

Hotwax is 24 year old musician and producer Adam Keilbach. Adam is a self-taught musician and electronic music producer, and since 2011 has been crafting downtempo tunes with chilled out vibes, engaging hooks, atmospheric beats.

Based in Florida, Keilbach has released across a number of domestic and international labels including: Bad Pop (Mexico), Vacant Music (South Carolina), Intelligent Sound (Missouri), 2060 (Washington) and has contributed remixes to up and coming artists such as James Deen, Conclave, and fka Spazzkid. 

Last year Adam dropped his debut album- 'Communicator' on Olympia, Washington eclectic tape label, 2060. The album, consisting of 12 tracks packed with lush soundscapes and ethereal melodies, featured a number of special musical collaborations including live guitar from Nate Wagner and vocals from Navigateur and Steffalloo. 

Now, fresh off the press, we have the brand new Hotwax album entitled 'Nightwatch' to share with all you music heads today. Released just yesterday on Texas label 'Sleepless Collective', the album features 7 tracks of expertly articulated, synth-laden electronic experiences. From the upbeat, drum-driven rhythm of 'Nightwatch' to the minimal and melancholic 'Secret River' the album showcases Keilbach's skill in creating infectious, synth heavy atmospheres that are as cinematic as they are serene. 

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