Posted by: Thomas on Mar 6, 2012
Ital is starting to get a lot of attention for his Hive Mind record which is out early next month in the US (out now everywhere else). For instance, he'll be on the cover of NYC's Village Voice on 7th March with an interesting interview therein.
Elsewhere, Dummy Recorded his set in New York last week. You can hear the whole thing HERE
Many thanks to Pitchfork who gave the record 8.0 / 10 (if you know how Pitchfork normally review electronic albums you will realise this is quite a big achievement). You can buy the record now from the Planet Mu store by clicking on the cover to the left or you can pick it up in all good record shops.
If you’ve heard Daniel Martin-McCormick's name recently, it would probably have been either in association with his disco/punk/echo band 'Mi Ami', or as 'Sex Worker' on the Not Not Fun label, or finally as 'Ital' on NNF’s sister label 100% Silk, recording quite different sounding house music to this album. Raised in Washington DC, Daniel has a history in the city's hardcore scene, he was in the Dischord records signed 'Black Eyes', but was also making dance inspired tracks at the same period, but coming from a very different angle from your average guy with a copy of Logic and a working knowledge of dance music’s history.
Daniel's music is a stranger thing. Working best at high volume, it uses house’s easy going 4/4 structure as a kind of camouflage for more out-there sonic explorations; subverting expectations, seeking out the links between the space and the sound-bending of dub & industrial’s unsettling sonics with the grooves of classic house and the effects and black holes of minimal at it’s weirdest. The album has a sculptured feel; sounds twist in space, feeling almost three dimensional and melodies pitch-shift in an unsettling way; voices dissolve in and out of these frameworks and the whole album has a unique, haunted feel; nothing is ever allowed to settle totally comfortably, everything vibrates. Hive Mind's titles also hint at such themes as how culture insinuates itself on you and the meaning of pleasure, it’s ironies and forms, drawing in creeping fears of the internet age.
Opener 'Doesn't Matter (If You Love Him)' sounds a bit like Tackhead if they had made house music, using a flickering and confidently repeated phrase over a lumbering drum and bassline, introducing swirling and bombing synths into the mix – once the secret comes out. 'Floridian Void's' strange marrying of treated voices and swelling, pitch-bent chords and effects draws the listener into its strange atmosphere; it’s an ambient house track of sorts, but the ambience here is a swirling, confusing, watery vortex rather than being fuzzy and new age. 'Privacy Settings' builds creepy wolf howls over a slow bassline and cold faraway banging drums, estranged from their usual disco setting. Next, 'Israel' picks things up again, with weird, pitch-shifting edited bells over dubby toms, all the while cold chords rushing in and out over this unsettling backing track. The closer 'Final Wave' restores the album back to something resembling normality, with a disco-like swing that recalls Moodymann’s beat down productions but slid through brutal dub-like FXs that bring out a shade of strangeness in an otherwise happy groove.
We have been busy working behind the scenes preparing some amazing music for the rest of the year. Here is what is announced so far.
On the 5th of March Venetian Snares returns for next instalment on his Timesig label with Fool The Detector
This is what he had to say about the record:
One of these tracks is about my 2 friends. I really love them, they are good people and really great friends. After I recorded the track, I had a vision that they became the same entity, like some kind of human spider hybrid, which I really didn't like as I don't think of them like that at all. The tune is not about that whatsoever but I kept thinking about that for a good 2 or 3 days. It was chilling. See if you can guess which song it is! Another, I wrote using only tweeters so it was hard to make out anything other than hi-hats. Still, it sounds much better than most music that has been recorded. See if you can guess which one it is! There is a track that mainly uses analog devices to control digital devices. It seems laughable that most people want to control their analog synths with midi, imposing their ridiculous choice of notes on the music. They are pretty much rapists. I have enabled these devices to communicate in a mutually respectful, consensual embrace. See if you can guess which track is 100% free of blatant narcissism! The final tune is a ramp, an inclined plane, or a crescendo of sorts in music, stretched out over a number of minutes. It's like a pyramid wall made from every thought you've ever thought of becoming immeasurably more discernible, yet built upon a river of everything you've tried to forget. The river is grey and all thoughts you've ever had are all other colors but mainly maroon and silver. See if you recognize your thoughts in this one!
On the 20th of March we have the debut album from Barry Boxcutter's new alter ego 'The Host'.
On his debut album The Host works in a spacey interzone, using vintage gear to create dramatic panoramas for the headphoned mind. He creates a unique suite of modern impressionistic sonics that tumble and waft in and out of the mix, earthed with strong melodies that take inspiration from net-age genres while never recalling them directly.
Throughout, he masters all the potentials of vintage synths, drum machines and reverbs, along with guitar and bass to explore a sound that sets him apart from producers working on computers, creating something much more band-like but rich with lively micro-detail.
Opening track 'Neo-Geocities' is full of drifting synths and distorted drum machine toms reminicent of a jerry-rigged footwork style, 'Angel Fire' melts muted guitar and gentle keys into haywire 808 rhythms, while 'Internet Archaelogy' dubs hazy melodies, tape edits and bass guitar into murky but upliftingly melodic shapes. 'Hidden Ontology' riffs majestically over arpeggiated synths, while '3am Surfing' and 'Summer Solstice at Cape Canaveral' sound like savoured quiet moments after a good night out. 'Rainy Sequences/Phosphene Patterns' is a dense and ecstatic blur of sound, coalescing into a pretty guitar melody weaving through the lush noise while 'Aeontology's pastoral drift is probably best appreciated horizontal, and the delicate and exquisitely detailed spring mood of 'Birthday Bluebells' is a gentle closer. A focused and unique artist with a strong debut.
What do you get when you cross Om Unit with Machinedrum? Answer: Dream Continuum.
This three tracker from the aptly named 'Dream Continuum' is a collaboration between Travis Stewart a.k.a. Machinedrum and Jim Coles a.k.a. Om Unit, who was behind the Phillip D Kick 'footwork jungle' tracks in 2011.
The meeting came about when Travis and Jim realised they were working in parallel on the same concept of finding the sweet spot between mid-90’s euphoric jungle and footwork, so naturally they set about working out how to find it together.
The 'Rewokz E.P' moves backwards and forwards in time with ‘Be Free’ treating Jungle’s diva samples with footwork pitch bending and repetition while adding huge uplifting chords that capture the euphoria of rave perfectly. It’s then laid over tough, rolling 808 kicks and snares at 160bpm with a carpet of pumping, rhythmic sub-bass resulting in a new hybrid that is both fresh and energetic.
‘Give a Lil Luv’ is, if anything, even more euphoric, like rolling thunder with an intense, melodic use of samples and chord stabs with metallic breaks building into a spiky mesh of rhythms.
On side B ‘Set it’ draws classic dancehall, soul and reggae samples across a perfect mix of fast juke cymbals and jungle amens, each part casually camouflaging the other, tempering footwork’s sometimes intimidating sparseness and filling it with rich, warm and sincere rave energy.
There is some more news about Machinedrum coming soon but apparently I am not allowed to tell you yet!
Cornelius Ferguson a.k.a. Traxman is from the west side of Chicago and one of the longest serving producers working in footwork with releases stretching back to the glory days of ghetto house on Dance Mania records in the nineties. He’s also one of the co-founders of Chicago's two-decades-old Geto DJz clique and a member of DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn's Ghetto Teknitianz and was one of the creators of the legendary mixtapes on coloured cassettes which were the prototype for footwork's evolution. His unique brand of footwork is very strongly rooted in Chicago's history of soul, funk, house and ghetto trax; he’s a veteran and renowned crate digger who has provided the sample sources for many of footwork's classic tracks over the years. His deep knowledge of music (check the mixes he occasionally throws up on the net) makes him one of the city’s most versatile and skilled DJs and producers.
Traxman's own productions are an incredibly well rounded suture between hip hop’s natural funk and resourceful sample flipping, the hyper-kinetic innovation of footwork’s stop-start, half-time to double-speed drum programming and a deep respect and understanding of Chicago’s house music past, that few producers can match; ' Da mind of Traxman' is a testament to this man's skills.
'Footworking On Air’ starts the album in a relaxed and almost improvised mood with Kalimba melody, 303 acid line and martial drums. Then ‘Itz Crack’ puts strangely edited samples against echoey vocals and off kilter kicks to give the track a really unusual slip and slide feeling. Later, ‘Let There Be Rockkkkk’ takes an unusual sample source to build a track with a totally raucous rock vibe, whilst ‘Rock You’ simultaneously references house music’s roots and a beautiful soul sample. ‘1988’ is a tough 303 acid track with footwork drum patterns; 'Sound Filed' again tampers with house music's early rhythm tracks, bringing them up to date and speed with footwork's syncopations; while 'Work Me 2011' manages to fuse the soulfulness of deep house with the breathtaking energy of ghetto house and rave. Meanwhile, 'Lady Dro' makes good with some Mizell Brothers samples and loose congas, wrapping and looping them into a hypnotic vortex, while ‘Setbacks’ works a vocal and piano sample into tinkling abstraction. Traxman's skills are unmessable, you can tell from the minute the album starts that music is like breathing for him, and that the album also makes an incredible and skillful case for 'footwork' as Chicago's very own sideways evolution through hip hop via house with a rich history of soul.
Mike recently did an interview for Polish T.V you can watch it here:
We have a HUGE Planet Mu party coming up at XOYO on the 13th of May. Ridiculous lineup below. Make sure you get yourself a long as its going to be a pretty special evening. Click HERE and grab a super cheap early bird ticket.
- Sep 8, 2015: MU-20 20th Anniversary Deluxe Boxset
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