Tag: hip-hop

Fine Folktronica Foray

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Welcome to our round up of new music discoveries from the month of September. What?! It’s not September! Not anymore … but when your internet service provider removes all contact with the outside world for four days, lateness happens. Here at Voxel, we may be late to the party, but we’re last to leave – and this includes calendar months.

More than the usual amount of folktronica releases cropped up on our horizon recently …. but wtf folktronica? Well, it’s not about the jaded stereotype of fiddles, scrumpy and roving maidens – it’s more about those acoustic singer/songwriters exploiting electronic production techniques, e.g. The Ed Sheeran or The KT Tunstall with their new-fangled loop stations. Have a listen to this clutch from the underground …

Black Sheep is definitely accessible to many, and although NYC’s singer/songwriter Alex Martin has been around for a while, his Soundcloud presence is surprisingly slim. The authentic hip hop thump and tactical stabs of acoustic guitar carry a groove complemented by the intonation of the urban vocal. The production gels really well, with subtle trills of FX and even the cheesy whiff of brass towards the outro – this a great example of urban acoustic hip hop.

Blood on the Floor is the brand new demo on Nosila‘s stream, and it bears all the hallmarks of an experienced songwriter. The somewhat dark subject matter is presented through delicate yet agile vocals, and cleanly filtered strikes and plucks are woven into the fabric of a mix that swells slowly from beneath with subtle drums and percussion. This is the only song that represents Nosila’s new direction, but the production, arrangement and performance make us want to hear more.

Greta Isaac‘s intricate electronic manipulations of acoustic guitar result in a dynamic and energetic ensemble, especially when injected with her immaculate vocal performance. Comfortable is a recent (but not the latest), example of Greta’s exuberant and infectious style. The production techniques are an exciting extension to essentially simple instrumentation, which is even more impressive if it can be carried off live. This songwriter is gaining followers quickly, so get out in London to catch one of her shows.

 


Electronic Swing

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Hi there and welcome to our round-up of tracks discovered in the underground this August. This month we have stumbled upon some producers that create sounds from electronic building blocks, but also have the knack of injecting a human feel to the music.

Ocean by Alwin Brauns opens with wiry modulated synths that holler a mellow riff echoed only by faint beeps. The drums are lazy and lolloping, and all together the arrangement is reminiscent of early down-tempo Royksopp. This young German producer is churning out tracks rapidly, so catch up on his stream here.

Digital Pop by Jixu starts with a gritty synth bass cut up only by a swinging gate, which gives the whole track its head-nodding hip hop shuffle. The track continues to bend whistling timbres and trills until it descends into granular synths and dynamic side-chains. This is an experimental crossover of glitch instrumentation with the swing of hip hop, which is a combination that works brilliantly, even if this particular example ends a wee bit abruptly.

Finally, we found a gold mine of tracks by Shugmonkey. It’s hard to single out a preferred track from this prolific stream, but That Girl is a good enough place to start. This wonderland of infectious free-form hip hop staggers between heavy beats and sampled grooves which exude unique and mellow jazz. There are shades of Avalanches and DJ Food here; but under the moniker of Agents of Rush, Shugmonkey also produces synthwave electro all the way through to faithful drum and bass. Get over to Bandcamp now to download anything by Shugmonkey or Agents of Rush!


Stitching Glitch

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The influence of glitch production has worked its way throughout the underground music community over the last decade or so, being used for a subtle tonal and rhythmical garnish and full-on abstract music concrete. This month we have selected a few tracks that demonstrate just how well it can be merged with other musical styles.

First on the playlist we have shared IT Breaks ME by Alecek. Bulgarian producer Alexander Ivanov kicks off with a dark and moody hip-hop shuffle, which anchors abrasive rhythms and tones that pepper the track with Gatling fire. A fluid bass persists the groove beneath, making this track a great example of contemporary glitch hop. Alecek has many more abstract and extreme examples of glitch production available on his stream – so we recommend that you don your Kevlar ear protectors and dive right in.

Glitch Hop (work in progress) is a track by the (presumably) Japanese producer Film, a.k.a Wataranai. Uplifting synth-wave riffs conjure Megadrive memories of Sonic the Hedgehog at a Power Puff disco, and the generally sugary complexion of the track is reinforced with skinny drums and playful pianos. There ain’t a lot of glitch or hop in this track, but it places itself beautifully right in the middle of chip-tune and synth-wave. Definitely one for a feel-good road-trip atmosphere.

Finally, we have Funky Feeling by Skank Spinatra. This is creation by UK-based producer Edward Clarke starts off with the as a simple combo of pure funk licks from guitar, drums and bass but then takes us on a journey through hip-hop and jazz before building into a crazy glitch breakdown. The blend of all these styles demonstrates a finesse worked expertly into a warm club vibe, making the track a welcome addition to your summer party playlist.

 


Quirky Grooves

Welcome to our run down of quirky grooves we discovered in the last month.

First on the playlist is Plastic Dreams by Kid Glow. The track opens with the grating dissonant tones of chip-tune synth, setting expectations for 8-bit retro chimes and trills. But instead, the tune rolls in an immense side-chained bass and shuffle, kicking a masterful groove on the off beat to form a weighty hip hop. Subtle space noises circulate as synth melodies become more sophisticated, but this is essentially a track that counters the simplicity of its riffs with the bold roundness of its timbres. Love that groove.

Kick the Wolf by Low Level Enemy is introduced by a child-like finger-prodded riff played on a prominent synth bass. As the rhythm section waddles along, dreamy reverberating synth arpeggios intertwine in the mix beneath. It is these airy melodies at stark odds with the weighty staccato of the drums and bass that form a perfect contradiction and make the track stand out.

Drone by The Shade Structure is introduced and underpinned by a slow, intricate acoustic drum performance; but it is the subtle myriad of individual electronic timbres that swarm underneath the warm and gentle vocal that give depth to this song. The lyrics eventually give way to many tracks of improvisation and electro wonderment to form this individual and experimental composition. Check out more of The Shade Structure’s stream for more bold experiments.

Finally, Burn Down The Disco is a track from the current EP Living Space Head Space by the Space Kiddettes, which is available now on Bandcamp and demonstrates the duo’s super-compressed hi-skool synth pop brand. A gawky synth riff drives a song peppered with simple percussion and a monotone pseudo-rap, and the result is truly appealing – like the sweet yet bitter sensation of lemon drops. Bis Ting Ting.

 


Fresh New Sounds

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Welcome to our round up of new tracks discovered in the internet this month. Wrestling with the search engines in the online music community has proved challenging, but we have still managed to pull together a small clutch of tunes by underground producers that stand out from the crowd.

Meanwhile, resident producer Maze Car has been researching another genre of electronic music to accompany our next Electronic Music Adventure, following on from our deconstruction of techno back in December. Which style of music will we choose …? Watch this blog over the next few weeks to find out!

First up on the playlist this month is Chemistry by tv room, which presents us with some really fresh production techniques. Eli Ganem produces 8-bit bedroom hip-hop that carries melodic emotion and quirkiness together in perfect harmony. Game fx pitch and echo around a soft, restrained vocal; and voluminous stabs of well sculpted synths add an extra dynamic. The small collection of short songs on the tv room stream make for similarly intriguing listening, and this original writing is sure to find favour with followers of other experimentalists like Moloko and Broadcast.

Next, we found James Pond by Japanese theremin master Kuritez. This short piece is introduced by synthesised droplets that set the mood of water falling on water. Subtle percussion opens up the production as it continues to swell with analog bass, subtle bells and acoustic piano stabs. The drums mature into weighty band-limited bass and snare as the brighter layers of delayed, staccato synth arps continue to play off each other before the music submerges once more. Innovative sounds.

Finally, Jet Jazimov introduced us to Women Of Mars,  which, somewhat ironically, represents synthwave coming of age. Much music of this genre places its tongue firmly in its cheek and only aims to mimic the sound of the 1980s arcades and garish graphics. This track, however, harnesses romantic timbres and chord sequences above soft jangling guitar to produce a sensitive and genuine song. The wavering guitar progression and complementary synth interplay polish the track off sweetly. True.


The Darker Side of Indietronica

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This month, we have found ourselves drawn to the darker side of indie electronica, as Autumn closes in and Halloween lurks on our doorstep. We have found another formidable clutch of tracks which we recommend you check out, ranging from electro thrash to sci-fi disco.

Out first discovery in Soundcloud this month was 192tentacles by Japanese experimental electronic rock bad Paris death Hilton. The mangled chip-tune synthesizers cast a spine-tingling shadow over what may otherwise be cutesy timbres, and these complement the incredible live drum performance. There are hints of heavy metal in the arrangement, but the musicianship and vibe result in a new take on electro rock, landing somewhere in the vicinity of angry Atari Teenage Riot and shouty Melt Banana. Fresh thrash – best served NOW.

The creepy imagery of Knots by electronic post-punks Ribcrow is well-timed for a Halloween drop, and this represents one of the groovier tracks from their current EP Defective Plexus. The hip-hop drum loop leads into a detached and dreamy mood, with light and airy vocals that belie a darker lyrical theme. With this EP, Ribcrow definitely create a mould of their own, and it is available to download on Bandcamp. Turn it up, and let it envelop you.

Our first trip over to Orfium this month revealed Gott ist Tot by Electrodaimon. Synth sounds sparkle in the mellow shadows of this pure and simple electro groove, where analog bells chime above the thin, shredded synths as they phase together over rhythmic ripples anchored to a sumptuously distorted bass drum. Releases from Electrodaimon are few and far between, but what exists is beautifully polished and sculpted.

Carousel is a free download from Hamburgers Gatwick that tempts us into further listening. The simple side-chained synth moods and minimal percussion underpin a seductive vocal, echoing the melancholia of Beth Gibbons and the soulfulness of Shingai Shoniwa. This track is just a foot in the door for even more, so we recommend you go have a listen to their current 7-track EP Boundless to sample their wares.

Bandcamp brought us to In The Shadows by Sunrom, which features on a current release by French label Place For Us along with various artists. The intro whistles like wind into a slow, dark groove peppered with clicks of glitchy percussion, as deep undertones sway in and out, playing off each other before merging into a muffled, mysterious hip-hop that fills your head with cotton-wool melodies. A beautiful creation.

Your Monster Is Me is the first track on It Came From Beyond Eternal September by mad scientists Ugress. An infectious off-beat side-chained groove, growling synth and cinematic suspense meld into a style that looks to create a great live show. This is strongly recommended for anyone who, like us, loves sci-fi disco laced with a feint touch of Royksopp.

 

 

 


Digging Deeper for Underground Music In September 2016

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Hello once again from the team at Voxel Records! This month we have dug a bit further underground in search of more new and interesting tunes.

The recent changes at Soundcloud have changed how we curate our selections, so we are currently developing different ways to search out original artists. Hopefully the minor changes in format will be good for you too!

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Wild by hip-hop/dubstep producer Exira is a choice cut from a meaty collection of work over the past year. This particular track is dominated by the bend, bubble and buzz of the synth line, but extra lift is provided by the underlying scratches and breaks that you might not expect from your typical dub-step ditty. These subtle differences give extra breadth to this solid, head-stompin joy.

Diskoloser by Rattenjunge (featuring TY GRRR) demonstrates the youthful and sharp style honed by this German outfit. This production combines electro, glitch, punk and rap ethics into one tasty bundle, with poetic delivery cutting through above throbbing synth tubes. Every track is different on this stream, but there is plenty to turn your head upside down and inside out. Glitch-hop heaven.

 

bandcamp It can be a bit of a minefield over at Bandcamp, but the best approach is to dive in, and forget about musical ability and production finesse. Purity is the seed of what may one day grow into something amazing. As with the other platforms, there are millions of tracks to play with, but after a bit of digging we managed to find these beauties.

Threads by Canadian songwriter Loon stirs up a lot of memories. A minimal backing of pads and bells with unobtrusive trills from the percussion support the quivering and almost maniacal vocals of Tessa Dawn K. The obvious comparisons with Kate Bush in the writing and performance combine with the spectre of late-80s arrangement into something beautifully listenable. What’s in a name?

Lyrically, Grind by MuteR carries the work-to-live theme that we have probably all identified with at some point. A soft staccato of melody is scattered sweetly over dark and stumbling traps; but it is the voice of Adrian Shegstad that stands out in this production, and indeed his other tracks. The performance is immaculate, and echoes a blend of classic pop vocalists like Matt Goss and Nik Kershaw. Great work.

orfiumOrfium is filling up nicely with new artists as the platform slowly games maturity. We had a quick pan through the flow of new tracks here, in the hope of finding another golden nugget …

The Great Magnet is one of a small clutch available on the Ercall Knox feed. A short, grainy guitar loop is soon bombarded with bold, dirty drum chops reminiscent of his highness the DJ Shadow; and this similarity continues with the retro-movie sample monologue. The underlying samples are backed up with a raw off-beat synth, and the whole track drops us down on the ambient side of big-beat. Definitely one for lovers of Shadow or maybe The Orb.

Blaquarium by the Niebelungen Blues Band will assault you with mid-range presence and loudness, but the style quickly becomes familiar. The squeaky synth arpeggios and underlying drum groove clearly nod their headlights towards older Orbital, so this is a feed to follow for anyone with a soft spot for break-beat IDM. There is little else recent to be found from these Swedish producers, but we hope there is more to come soon.

 

 

 


Trip Hop Talent From June 2016

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Welcome to our round-up of our favourite music discovered this June. As the UK makes its somewhat shambolic and unconvincing way towards exit from Europe, we hope we can still be friends! There is a down-tempo trip- and hip-hop feel to the playlist this month – so check out the reviews below! Maze Car has been fiddling with a remix of Those Shallow Gamesyou can also have a listen to it here.

The Way by Jenny Jumble opens with a dark, modulating synth intro and subtle whistling tones. JJ mixes some soft monotone poetry on top, which builds the track into a trip-hop work tinged lightly with industrial undertones. This is just one example of this songwriter’s often quirky and diverse output – so check out her stream for more intriguing and original sounds, and the FB for some dance vids.

Next up is Assembly Line by Ry-Man (ft. Cristina). Cristina’s sultry vocals introduce what is otherwise a dark trip-hop/rap piece from New York producer Ryan Edwards. The glitchy underlying riffs underpin Ry-Man’s clear and rhythmical diction before a late breakdown re-introduces some layering vocal interplay. This is an uncomplicated and well versed track that showcases Ry-Man’s current capabilities – have a listen to the Bandcamp page for his full discography.

Finally, Hazel by Electronican is a production that is true to the well established trip-hop genre. The retro-movie samples introduce a shuffling drum trill that rides a smooth and smoky wave that undulates throughout the track, and an off-beat mallet drop brightens the groove. The hi-hats pick up the groove before a mellow breakdown and a faint reverberating piano and string sequence mix in for melodic variation in what is otherwise a pretty continuous head-nodding groove.