Locked Club - Svoboda [Private Persons]
As the electronic music market becomes increasingly saturated, due to its ever-growing popularity, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find something that stands out. Enter Locked Club and their new EP ‘Svoboda’. The follow up to a successful debut outing in 2017, and another EP in May, the duo are back with a five-track release straight out of the Russian underground. ‘Svoboda’ loosely translates as freedom and Locked Club are doing their own thing, whilst also contending with the difficult climate they’re operating in as the Russian electronic music scene is subject to late night raids, club and festival closures. Full of low slung, hard hitting electro, with broken beats and warped vocals, the EP stands out as being darker, harder hitting and more intense than lots of other club music out there. And crucially, over the course of five tracks, the release doesn’t let up. Still in stock, out on Private Persons, get it while it’s hot.
Biig Piig, Mac Wetha, Sukha - Raze : Plan B
‘Plan B’ is the latest track from the young, London based artist Biig Piig (Jess Smythe). Her debut EP, ‘Big Fan of the Sesh Vol. 1’ came out earlier this year and earned well-deserved attention in the London Hip hop scene. She has an unusually soulful voice that is rich and mature and lends itself beautifully to both singing and rapping. This track shows her voice off against a cloudy, highly distorted melodic beat. The short song listens like a poem, with an atypical structure which starts and ends with the refrain ‘flying away’ half whispered coyly in Jess’s velvety and textured voice. The track is saved from the clichés of its subject matter- feeling trapped in a breaking down relationship- through Jess’s novel lyrics, which are direct and conversational whilst also containing whimsical and insightful truths. A verse from rapper Benny Mails, whose voice is warm and clean, bounces off the woozy melody, bringing some well-placed tension into the song. Produced by NiNE8 Collective’s Mac Wetha, ‘Raze : Plan B’ moves slowly with a foggy beat that seems to reflect the inertia of the emotions expressed. This is reinforced by the cyclical structure that feels like a circular, irreconcilable thought process. A slow, funk-like baseline adds an element of groove- the drums are slow and tripping and invite you to sink down into them, close your eyes and nod your head. A beautiful and original track, ‘Raze : Plan B’ is an exciting forecast of what’s to come from Biig Piig in the months ahead.
Waajeed - From The Dirt [Dirt Tech Reck]
In order to understand Waajeed’s artistic profile, it helps to look at the musical history which informs it. As a child of Detroit who grew up just as encapsulated by hip-hop and soul as he was techno and electro, he is driven by a commitment to finding the sweet spot between these paradigms. In a city full of dualities, his productions are underpinned by an inherent awareness of both sides of the coin. From co-founding seminal hip-hop act Slum Village alongside the late J Dilla and running two of his own labels - Bling47 and DIRT TECH RECK. - to producing leftfield soul as the frontman of Platinum Pied Pipers, performing at Panorama Bar in Berlin and releasing collaborative records with Theo Parrish on Sound Signature, his career as an artist has been varied to say the least.
This manifests itself gloriously on From The Dirt, in which funk, soul, house, and techno play equal parts across ten dancefloor constructions. Gritty basslines are offset with glistening melodies and heartfelt lyrics, whilst shuffling percussion drives steadily forward.
“Growing up in the D, I spent Monday thru Thursday in the studio with Dilla and Slum Village. Friday and Saturday nights, we partied all night to Theo Parrish and early Sunday morning I went to church with my pastor. This is what I sound like. This is the sound of Detroit. This is From the Dirt” – Waajeed.
Prins Emanuel - Diagonal Musik [Music For Dreams]
The young virtuoso producer Prins Emanuel follows up his acclaimed debut album on Music For Dreams with something quite different than what we're used to hearing from him. While Arbete & Fritid was an epic odyssey into the furthest corners of disco with an array of studio wizardry and complex rhythms, Diagonal Musik is a sparse and delicate exploration of the acoustic guitar.
Steering away from his comfort zone, Prins follows his intuition for experimentation and lands somewhere in a field of genre- defiant folk-jazz meditations; a development that fits like hand in glove for the eccentric nature of Music For Dreams. The album reads like a soundtrack to the country house Emanuel shares with his family and friends, a place on the map called Oran. From atop a hillside overlooking a lake, Oran is lodged deep in the heart of the Skåne landscape, the southern part of Sweden that once belonged to Denmark. This place encompasses the whole of the album, as the track titles all pinpoint crucial locations on the courtyard and its surroundings. 'Orön' which opens the album is named after the small half-island that sits in the centre of the lake. There's the hand-built sauna ('Bastun') at the edge of the yard, and behind that in a slope the old root cellar ('Jordkällaren').
Various Artists - Sounds of SUB:STANCE [Hotflush Recordings]
Five years after Scuba took the careful decision to end his seminal SUB:STANCE party at Berghain, Hotflush present, a vast compilation of unreleased or previously vinyl-only material from some of the most lauded figures in electronic music, as well as key tracks that represent the era, presented in one digital package.
SUB:STANCE opened a portal for many involved with the UK-centric dubstep movement in the 00s, immersing them directly at the core of Berlin’s inimitable techno scene. During its five-year run from 2008-2013, the quarterly event run by Paul Rose (aka Scuba) and Paul Fowler (aka Paul Spymania) brought an impressive list of artists to Berghain for the first time, opening up the Berlin institution to a new set of aesthetics and commanding a dialogue between two crucial scenes. SUB:STANCE quickly spread further afield, with a residency in New York and showcases held around the world, before coming to a considered end with a final party at Berghain and Panorama Bar in July 2013, exactly five years after the first edition.
Sounds of SUB:STANCE provides a detailed portrait of this era. Previously unheard material alludes to a time of inspiration for a number of luminaries. Unheard music from artists including Shackleton, Vex’d, Untold, TRG (aka Cosmin TRG) and Scuba, as well as previously vinyl-only classics from Mala, Skream, Peverelist, Instra:mental and Matty G document a crucial chapter in the development of underground music.
‘We want to remind people who were there at the time, and who came to the parties. But more importantly for me is getting to people who missed the whole thing, either because they were too young or there were just into other stuff around then. It's a really interesting musical period and quite singular in that it wasn't around for long and was very concentrated. But there was so much cool stuff to come out of it, and I hope people will dig deeper after checking out these releases.’ - Scuba.