Dualizm offers classic instrumental bliss in 'An Ounce Of Rain'

Dualizm is a german producer based in Berlin who over the last few years has been busy galvanizing beats for a number of artists in the underground hip-hop scene. Recently he decided it was high time he put out some of his own material and we have had the pleasure of reviewing his latest release ‘An Ounce of Rain’ from his Project R Vol. 2 EP which is out now on various platforms (available below).


Heavily built on nostalgia, intentional or not, ‘An Ounce of Rain’ feels like a nod to the golden age of late 90’s hip-hop. Even with it’s short running time of 2mins 45s the track still feels fully realized because of the steady progression. Starting off with some somber Rhodes that creates a pensive head space while also managing to be dream like. There are plenty of atmospheric soundscapes that float like air and drizzle like rain which keep you engaged in the tracks groove until your attention is drawn towards the uplifting, hopeful piano hook that elevates the mood. ‘An Ounce of Rain’ embodies all the classical elements of instrumental hip-hop, telling you a story through expression and nuance. I only wish the track ran a bit longer because I feel like there was potential for a lot more exploration but I guess its not always a bad thing to be left wanting more, which is the very much the case in Dualizm latest release. 

Find more from Dualizm here:
Spotify
Soundcloud
Apple Music
Tidal

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.

Hear more
Soundcloud
Insta
Twitter
Spotify
Bandcamp

Eat more
Bunch Collect Bandcamp
Brunch Collect Insta

Finding hope in a Dystopian future with the Nowhere EP

Russian producer Evgenii Popov paints a bleak, grayscale world of the not-too-distant future with his new release- Nowhere EP. An uncluttered sonic approach, utilizing mostly his modular synth to drive the album, creates a cohesive and convincing landscape of deserted dissonance, rich arpeggiations, and even some glimmers of hope.

The EP opens with the track ‘hiding from the storm’ which gradually introduces the listener to this kind of post- apocalyptic reality. With subdued pads and and filter sweeps gradually giving way to rich stabs of electricity, the track feels warm but with an underlying air of instability.

’White Sun’ builds on this false sense of security with an almost inviting first couple minutes of slowly morphing synths and deep reverberations. But this is not the world we once knew, and just as quickly a maelstrom of electronic modulations are unleashed upon the unsuspecting listener. All the while Popov maintains a solid balance of rich melodies amongst the arpeggiated chaos.

Lastly ‘bridges’ leads us through an epic 9 minute journey of peaks and troughs complete with otherworldly voicings and delayed serpentine synthesis. At moments it feels as though this is just a dead end, and humanity is destined for disaster. But the contemplative and melancholic last few minutes hint at a sense of resolve and even hope for the future. A future that perhaps we are heading aimlessly towards, but we are certainly heading somewhere.

More from Digital Moss…
Soundcloud
Spotify
Insta

Bixi, Breathing Room and a Boatload of Bongos

Swiss producer ‘Bixi’ dips his toes into some uncharted waters with his new 5 track release: the ‘Aquarius EP’. A free spirited and eclectic tropical river cruise, full of lush synths, woody percussion and a hot, humid sound. It might seem strange to find such a sound coming from Switzerland being released on a Canadian imprint, both countries certainly not known for their beaches and piña coladas. But newly minted Canadian label ‘Breathing Room records’ seems to be just the right fit for the release, with it’s fresh discography already showing promise in the early stages.

The release plays like a steam-powered riverboat, steadily chugging through the dense jungle. With each bend of the river a new scene of lush greenery unfolds before the listener. The EP opens with the 6 minute, deep house tinged journey entitled ‘Aquarius’. It’s a great track to acclimatize the listener to the steamy sounds to come. While the B side takes a more funk heavy approach, with an infectious bassline leading the way through the tribal flutes and cascading hand drums of ‘Cosmic Water.’ Next is the explorative and earthy sounds of the track ‘Ryu Santos.’ The mysterious soundscape of animal calls, shakers and a finely plucked kalimba make for an unforgettable rainforest excursion.

Overall, a very fine addition to the Breathing Room Records discography from the imaginative swiss producer. A must have in the DJ crate of any percussion pundit or just about anyone who wants to take a quick journey downstream through the lush and layered bongo biosphere.

Grab the vinyl on Juno

Hear more from Bixi
Soundcloud
Instagram

Breathing Room records
Soundcloud
Instagram
Bandcamp

Get to know yourself with Semena Mertvykh's debut EP

There is a sense of resigned solitude on Semena Mertvykh’s debut EP. It’s a feeling not uncommon in Russian art, where Mertvykh hails from, and it fits quite well with the thick, syrupy detuned chords that sludge their way through the EP. Those chords, echoing the same analog synth patch techniques of Boards of Canada, are sometimes harmonic, sometimes slightly dissonant, but always lonely. Perhaps it makes sense, then, for Mertvykh to not only self-release this EP, but self-title it as well. Even in the video for ‘Decay’, the airiest of the tracks that reminds me of Dedekind Cut’s more recent work, not a single soul is visible. Clearly, this is music made for the self — self-reflection, self-evaluation, self-control, self-actualization. Watch the video for Decay above, and you’ll see. Just make sure to do it by yourself.

You can check out the rest of the EP as well on Spotify, or pay what you want to download on Bandcamp.

— review by autonomy

Semena Mertvykh on the web:

YouTube

Instagram

Bandcamp

Sebastian Kamae explores the dynamics of lo-fi in 'Nomad'.

By taking one look at Sebastian Kamae’s instagram, you will get a pretty good idea of the Dutch-born producers day to day life. Snapshots of mixing consoles, art work and collaborators tell the tale of a producer who only does one thing and that is eat, sleep and breath music! And it seems like Kamae has been on this path since a young age when he first took up piano. From there, he went on to start producing beats in middle school and performing in various bands playing keys. Then in 2017, Sebastian decided to focus solely on engineering and producing after a move to Chicago where he began his internship at SoundScape Studios. Since then, Sebastian has entered a prolific creative period, steadily dropping quality music across a number of international channels and labels.

‘Nomad’ is a track that reflects that long and focused journey of musical knowledge and application. Kamae is a bonafide triple treat, he’s an engineer, live performer/musician and producer so our earbuds are treated to the accumulation of all this knowledge and skill. A lot of lo-fi producers have a traditional approach to making beats, gathering a selection of elect samples and often jamming them out with heavy compression to give that warm vibrant timbre that we all love. But having the kind of skillset that Sebastian has at his finger tips gives him the range to take lo-fi in a slightly different direction and allows him to explore and put his own mark on the sound. While the arrangement seems somewhat familiar, his production style is playful, creating a colourful calando which gives a richness to his work. His tracks seem that bit more polished because of his approach and careful attention to the most subtle of changes in dynamics. I can only imagine the samples of keys are his own as you can hear the emotion in how the keys are played and it gives the track some really uplifting moments. Kamae could saturate the track in a slick polished sound, but he doesn’t, there is still a stripped back, lo-fi feel with bursts of that dynamic range that offset each other beautifully. ‘Nomad’ is a solid release and a pleasure to listen to and I would urge you grab it on bandcamp and check out Sebastian’s other fine releases while you’re there!

More from Sebastian here:
Soundcloud
Spotify
Bandcamp
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Sophomore's 'Ghost Rider' will have you on the edge of your seat

While most online content creators struggle to find copyright-friendly music to add to videos, Sophomore, almost in defiance of DRM algorithms, takes the opposite approach: he searches far and wide for obscure video, from Canada’s National Film Board archives to police dashcam footage, to augment his analogue synth dreamscapes.

In ‘Ghost Rider’, we ride shotgun for a high-speed car chase in gloriously vintage fashion that can’t help but call to mind the sounds of College and Cliff Martinez in Nicolas Winding Refn’s film Drive, or The Reds in Michael Mann’s Manhunter. Sophomore’s relaxed drum machine rhythms, blissed out arpeggios, and booming, cinematic pads would fit right at home with Italians Do It Better’s faux film score releases, but he does one better by setting the narrative scene himself with a car chase that looks like it could have happened right on the highway nearest to your own home. Despite leveraging an aesthetic sound palette that is no doubt familiar by now to us all, the cumulative effect is as entrancing as it is unique.

If you liked Ghost Rider, check out Sophomore’s other original compositions set to video on his YouTube channel or follow him on Soundcloud.

— review by autonomy

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.

Catch more from Anthony Bailey:
Itunes
Spotify
Tidal
Instagram

Astred Collective:
Web
Facebook
Youtube

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


More from NOMVDSLVND on Soundcloud or Spotify.

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!
Soundcloud
Spotify
Insta
Twitter