Seattle's Decibel festival is set to get underway this week, marking the ninth edition of the annual West Coast gathering for forward-thinking electronic music acts and devotees. Since its humble beginnings in 2004, Decibel has steadily grown in size and reach each year, and now stands as one of the US' most comprehensive electronic-music festivals dedicated to showcasing underground and emerging talent. Still, Decibel's rise to prominence is a somewhat unlikely story, built from a truly grassroots organization and run by music lovers and volunteers under the guidance and curatorial prowess of Seattle DJ/promoter Sean Horton, the festival's founder and director. Throughout the week, XLR8R will be posting a series of Decibel-related content, and we figured that there would be no better way to begin than to chat with Horton himself, who provided some insight into what drives the festival and how it has managed to consistently evolve throughout the years. Read more »
Lando Kal (a.k.a. Antaeus Roy) has made a lot of pit stops over the course of his career, but only seems to be getting better with each new city he calls home. After first gaining notoriety in his hometown of San Francisco as one half of Lazer Sword, Lando relocated to New York for a spell, and followed that up with a move to Berlin. He's found a home in the German capital, making music inside a space-age studio cabin that's the envy of just about every producer who sees it. Interested in taking a look at this contraption ourselves, we paid Lando a visit and got him talking about his favorite gear, the evolution of his production methods over the years, and his forthcoming solo LP. Read more »
In the hands of London trio Vondelpark, soaring indie-rock tracks like "So Calm" by UK band Cave Painting become almost unrecognizable in the best way. There are hints of the original—noodling guitar solos are embedded into the thick medley of flickering synth notes and layered ambience, the anthemic singing is scaled back to a near whisper, and the drum beat leans toward a garage-influenced shuffle—but Vondelpark was able to infuse itself into the remix, too. The production outfit's taste for smoky, reverberating noise rises to the forefront of the mix, making for a densely textured sonic fog.
With scarcely a trace of Balam Acab's waterlogged textures or Holy Other's warm, blanketed tones, Order of Noise still seems entirely at home on Tri Angle. In truth, the imprint has already displayed a knack for picking out producers capable of making complete statements with their first full-lengths, and Vessel's debut LP only further solidifies that fact. But more so than just its status as a solid debut album, Order of Noise suits the label because it finds a distinctive voice within the world of underground electronic music, a realm where artists are often identified simply by repeating stylistic cues, tempo ranges, and rhythmic choices as opposed to a palpable sense of personality. Vessel bucks that trend, choosing not to stay in any one pocket for too long and loosely stringing together an album that can be unpredictable, but is also fascinating by the same stroke. Read more »
Dublin producer and Hsuan label head Arianna is giving away one of his latest productions, "At Night," a pulsing-yet-airy footwork tune that floats from half-time to double-time while also utilizing shuffling garage hi-hats to help propel the beat. It also features sporadic bursts of tough, pitched-down vocals, which the tunesmith offsets with some lighter female singing reminiscent of the divas from early-'90s house cuts.
It's often taxing when an artist so chained to his medium decides to move into new territory. For years, Daniel Lopatin's Oneohtrix Point Never was marked by the sound of his beloved Juno-60, nicknamed "Judy." With Judy's apparent breakdown, and an increasing computer-music influence creeping in from his sometime home Editions Mego, Lopatin's 2011 LP, Replica, was suffused with samples, which he ably manipulated to fit his dystopian palette. Jeff Witscher's Rene Hell is similarly exploratory, moving from cosmic drone to flirtations with dance music. And, like Lopatin, he made a profound, album-length statement last year in the form of The Terminal Symphony, which effectively fused his spiraling synthetics with modern classical leanings. Noting these likenesses, Vermont's NNA Tapes has paired the two for a split LP. Neither side is a grand departure from their recent work. Read more »
Throughout the week, a whole lot of material gets posted here on XLR8R. And while we know—and love—that some hardcore readers will eagerly pour over every single news story, interview, podcast, video, and MP3 download that appears on the site, we also realize that for most people, it's impossible to see everything, which means that some quality XLR8R content is likely to get missed in the hustle and bustle of everyone's daily lives. In the interest of making it easier for everyone to catch up, every Friday we present The Lowdown, a weekly wrap-up of the top 10 tidbits from our site. Read more »
Before kicking off her North American tour with Ital tonight in her hometown, Brooklyn-based artist Laurel Halo has just shared her remix of one of Lianne La Havas' all-too-familiar singles, "Forget." We've already featured a variety of Lianne La Havas remixes this year—including versions from Soul Clap, Ganggaddy, Maya Jane Coles, and Shlomo. Despite the array of talent among the remixers, Laurel Halo's take on "Forget" still manages to bring something different to the table. The track begins with an atmospheric pad that is coupled with the drone of cricket chirps, all of which slowly builds with the help of fluttering 16th-note percussion. An arpeggiated synth, rolling percussion, and a smooth sub-kick combo help solidify the beat before La Havas' soulful vocal melodies join the mix.
UK house patron T. Williams has been pretty damn busy, as of late, announcing his forthcoming mix album for Rinse and prepping the release of his Pain & Love EP for PMR. Today, we get to hear some of the fruits of his labor, as the latter of those two offerings is now available to stream in full. Read more »
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