Those damn English have been sheltering Nedry from America for too long! After self-releasing this gorgeous debut album in 2009, Monotreme Records (65daysofstatic’s long-time home) picked up the rights and gave it a proper UK release back in February, with a Stateside release this past April 20th.

It’s about time. Nedry’s lush sound, courtesy of producers Matt Parker and Chris Amblin, pulls from just about everywhere in British electronica and unites it all under the banner of vocalist Ayu Okakita. Shooting for the moon and landing somewhere between Portishead’s Beth Gibbons and Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino, her dreamy, sensual musings tie every sub-bass wobble, acoustic guitar sample, and glitched rhythm together in a sumptuous package.

Condors covers an almost frightening amount of sonic ground over its spartan 8-track, 31 minute runtime. ‘A42’ opens amongst a flurry of glitches and distant pads, before Okakita’s croon and an ever-satisfying oscillating dubstep bass line hit at the same moment and take the steering wheel. ‘Apples & Pears’ follows a somewhat similar pattern, with an acoustic guitar sewing a thread amongst the melancholy vocal line until the song’s distinctly Burial-esque midsection drops in something like an evil turn in an otherwise pleasant dream.

After a quick and pretty ambient interlude, Condors makes its first left turn with the introduction of some menacing distortion and the first electric guitars on ‘Squid Cat Battle’. Okakita pulls off a surprisingly convincing La Roux impression and, while the song comes in danger of slipping a few times, mostly holds intact. The angry streak continues onto the instrumental track ‘Scattered’, a vicious burner much in the style of labelmates 65daysofstatic, but with a fervor and energy we haven’t seen from that band since the middle of the decade. The title track returns to the more trip-hop/dubstep influence of the first part of the album, but with a renewed urgency in the drum programming and a late electric guitar appearance.

Condors ends on a high note, with the aptly titled ‘Swan Ocean’s lilting, melodic grace calling to mind the earlier works of Four Tet or Dntel. As always, Ayu carries the track with a quiet confidence. Glitchy instrumental closer ‘Where The Dead Birds Go’ is a fitting bookend; a landing strip where you can check for all your belongings and marvel at the fact that you’ve only been soaring the skies for a mere half-hour.

Very rarely are debut albums this adventurous and confident. Don’t miss out on this one.

FOR FANS OF: Portishead, Burial, Massive Attack, 65daysofstatic

WATCH: ‘Swan Ocean’

LISTEN: ‘A42’

PURCHASE from Monotreme Records

Brian B.

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There are a couple things that separate Sara Abdel-Hamid, better known as Ikonika, from the dubstep masses. First and perhaps most obvious, she’s one of a scant few female producers gaining any sort of widespread notoriety. Second, she counts many decidedly non-electronic acts such as Glassjaw and Dillinger Escape Plan among influences. Lastly, her calculated chaos of 8-bit blips, deep bass, and sophisticated rhythms put her miles ahead of many in the dub game, and right at home on the prodigous Hyperdub label. She’s been putting out tracks since 2007, but many first took notice with her two highlight entries on Hyperdub’s 5 retrospective last year; the slippery, pitch-bent ‘Please’ and the plodding throwback synths of ‘Sahara Michael’ which appears again here on her debut full-length.

The video game theme that runs through the synth styles and song titles on Contact, Love, Want, Have might seem limiting at first, but Ikonika teases a great deal of mileage out of the template. Upbeat workouts like album standout ‘Idiot’ balance nicely with the slower dubs like ‘Sahara’, creating a sense of cohesiveness, pace and an album-oriented approach rarely found in the track-focused *step world. Don’t be surprised if you start hearing this girl’s name mentioned in the same breath as some big names very soon.

For Fans Of: Joker, Zomby, Floating Points

Myspace / Buy

– Brian B.

Producer/DJ/Percussion Lab founder Praveen has turned out these two mixes over the past few months showcasing some of the best in sophisticated bass-centric electronica making the rounds these days. While I don’t know if I’m entirely sold on the ‘lovestep’ moniker, I do agree on something to differentiate these darker, more thoughtful exercises from the blown-out wider world of dubstep. These mixes feature tracks and artists (including big names like Martyn, Joy Orbison, Floating Points and Untold) who utilize subsonic frequencies and dub/2step influenced rhythms to invoke specific images and emotions rather than just destroy your speakers. Of course, that’s not to say that you couldn’t find these songs at your local club; they just succesfully ride the line between head-nodding, ass-shaking, and admirable electronic musicianship.

Tracklistings and download links for both mixes are below

Lovestep Mix vol. 1 >> Download

Pangaea – Memories
Burial – You Hurt Me
TRG – Broken Heart (Martyn Remix)
Untold – Dante
DFRNT – Tripped (Synkro Mix)
Synkro – Inhale
Sines – Memories Are Here
DFRNT – Tripped (Ital Tek Remix)
FaltyDL – Party
Joy Orbison – J. Doe
Sepalcure – Deep City Insects
Floating Points – K&G Beat

Lovestep Mix vol. 2 >> Download

Synkro – My Own World
Pangaea – Because of You
2562 – Lost
Martyn – Friedrichstrasse
Joy Orbison – The Shrew Would Have Cushioned the Blow
South East Soul – Lust
Deadboy – U Cheated
Sepalcure – Love Pressure
Joy Orbison – So Derobe
Mala – Alicia
Roof Light – In Your Hands
Wax / Shed – Dub Shed / STP Remix
Sepalcure – Down
Raffertie – 7th Dimension
Cosmin TRG – Since Last Night
Peter Hadar – Full Time Lover / Machinedrum Remix
Floating Points – For You

– Brian B.

Floating Points

01.08.2010

I’ve been bumping all the tracks I can find from up and coming UK producer Floating Points for the past few weeks and I just realized he was post-less on here. No more! Information on this 22 year old is sparse, but his sound definitely isn’t. Combining the rubbery bass of dubstep, off-kilter 2-step rhythms, and the drawn out, meditative synths and samples of deep house, these tracks are built more for late night head-nodding than the club. It’s all very relaxing, yet listenable and catchy stuff. Here’s two releases to check out, with hopefully many more to come.

J&W Beat 12″ | Buy

Vacuum EP | Buy

edit: links taken down by request

After an experimental, guitar-centric detour with The Ex guitarist Andy Moor on Patches earlier this year, DJ /rupture teams up with Brooklyn dubstep producer Matt Shadetek on Solar Life Raft, the real follow up that fans have been waiting for since 2008’s breakthrough Uproot mix. Solar Life Raft pretty much picks up right where Uproot left off, with /rupture’s trademark three turntable set up adding an entirely new dimension to his dubstep-inflected mixes. This time around, /rupture and Shadetek choose to showcase many of their own hometown talents.¬† In addition to the usual dub/reggae/dubstep fare from Jahdan Blakkamoore, Timeblind, and other niche artists, DJ /rupture seems to be embracing his newfound acceptance in the indie community as a whole, mixing in tracks by Gang Gang Dance, Grizzly Bear collaborator Nico Muhly, and hype machines Telepathe. However, knowledge of the source material isn’t essential at all to enjoyment. /rupture, armed with only his trademark triple turntables, completely guts and rebuilds these tracks on the fly into something new, his signature more crisp, clear, and exciting than anyone spinning today.

Buy

Brian B.

Ever since Burial’s landmark Untrue transformed dubstep from merely an electronic approximation of Jamaican grooves with loud bass and little emotional depth to an entirely new template for brooding, left field music, listeners have been able to witness one of the most rapid evolutions of style and genre in recent memory. In what feels like mere months at times, we’ve witnessed the birth of styles like wonky, funky, post-dubstep, aquacrunk, and multitude other names to describe this low-frequency, urban, syncopated, and emotive electronic sound. Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, who comprise English duo Mount Kimbie, have clearly been taking notes throughout this boom and are ready to start dropping their own entries into the mix. Wide, wet synth pads reminiscent of Life Is Full Of Possibilities-era Dntel add a distinct warmth to the otherwise cold, bass heavy microrythms and processes vocal samples that show Will Bevan’s¬†influence clearly. Overall, a great little 15 minute window into the work of these up-and-comers.

Standout Tracks: “Vertical”, “Taps”

For Fans Of: Burial, early Dntel, Flying Lotus

Buy

Unrelated: Our personal favorite online repository of album links, Sordo, is back after a hiatus! From this point on, we’ll be archiving most if not all of our links there, so head over there and explore. There’ll always be a link in our blogroll.

– Brian B.


UK electronic label Hyperdub has compiled new and classic works from some of the best producers of left-field electronica today on this massive compilation. 5‘s first disc contains brand-new cuts from front runners such as Burial, Zomby, Flying Lotus and Samiyam, while the second disc compiles some new classics from the young and thriving dubstep, UK funky, and abstract hip-hop scenes that Hyperdub artists have been writing the rules for. The artists within are those defining electronic music in 2009, twisting the bass and synths of the club and the rhythms of hip-hop, reggae, and dub into decidedly more sinister, off-kilter, and futuristic compositions. Read the rest of this entry »