Before you fully resign yourself to the drudgery of autumn, allow us to present to you a fragment of all the brilliant music we've heard this month. This edition of 3x3 features Djrum's tapestry of sound design in 'Tournesol' alongside emotionally strung trap in S-Type's 'Pebbles'. Carla del Forno's meditative refrains fold into the bright selections of the No Bad Days crew and mind-melting rave from object blue. Loraine James and Dinamarca continue to push electornic music in fascinatingly fresh directions too: The year's about to get darker, but we hope you find some light within. To this end we've added a buy music club link at the end of the piece - bandcamp is the most equitable way of purchasing music online so please support all of these wonderful artists if possible! Til' next time,
Much love x
Trappin' ain't dead: TNGHT have put out a new single, and fellow inhabitant of the LuckyMe orbit S-Type has recently come through with a collection of nostalgic room-shakers in the form of the Beat EP. Top of the pile sits 'Pebbles', awash with overdriven synths and an emotive throughput to rival Makoto Shinkai. The track is yearning, stumbling, and remarkably graceful as the leads shimmer across chopped pianos and vocals. It's short, but the brevity of it all only serves to accentuate that emotional punch: all good things end too soon. Stick this one on repeat and float away on a tide of reminiscence.
Tournesol is real journey of a track – coming in at almost 11 minutes long, it starts slow and gradually builds the anticipation before breaking out into this lovely organic house section with mostly just the twinkles of a marimba and a four on the floor drum beat underpinning the whole. Breakbeats begin to filter in and the track is unexpectedly taken to a darker place with a strong jungle influence coming to the fore; this, again, only stays for another couple of minutes before the track is overtaken by fast-paced electro wobbles. The true magic of this piece is in its meticulous crafting, the seamless blending of multiple competing and some may suggest non-compatible styles and novel reworking of decades old break samples.
Call Super & Parris
It’s about time these two guys collaborated on a track. Call Super and Parris both have an ear for interesting textures created through skittery percussive sounds and deeply atmospheric pads, and both artists are on their A-game on ‘Chiseler’s Rush’. About 2.5 minutes in, the rolling beat gives way to a fluttering, emerald melody and gentle, gliding pulses that envelope the listener in a duvet of sound. It’s the kind of track that would work well at the start of the night, its breakdowns perfect for marking a shift in mood and energy, but also as an end of the night ‘oh no I’m crying in the club again’ closer.
For You and I
This new album, and Hyperdub debut, is one of the most inventive of the year. Building on a sublime series of EPs and a 2017 album, For You and I represents a crystallising of James' multifaceted production, which melds jazz, grime, drill, and electronica. Rippling with energy, James chops and dices, splicing a myriad of sounds and emotions together to form a trembling narrative exploring intimate personal experiences of love amidst a cityscape. The album is at times brutal and others tender, as glitching, shattered samples intertwine with the warm embrace of melody. It's a finely strung balancing act delivered with grace and clarity; For You and I delivers both the pain of the thorns and the beauty of the blossoming flower.
In Pursuit of the Sun 逐日
Sole De Mi Vida
Sol de mi vida was originally released last year but without the impressive cohort of vocalists that dinamarca now boasts on this 2019 revised version, including the likes of Coucou Chloe, Ms Nina and Eartheater. It could be described as a compilation album, given the range of singers and genres that appear on the tracklist – with vocals heard in Spanish, French, Congolese and English. The beats on this EP mostly seem to lie on a spectrum between dancehall and pop, ranging from the more energetic cuts by Ms Nina and Coucou Chloe to the slower, more ethereal tracks with vocals from La Favi and Eartheater. Each of the instrumentals feels affectionately chosen according to the vocalists existing repertoire which gives them all a chance to shine on this record.
Carla dal Forno
Look Up Sharp
Carla dal Forno’s second full-length album, Look Up Sharp, is sombre but gracefully romantic and tender. The Australian artist’s serene alto voice delivers lyrics in a way that is both elegant and commanding – “You were a disaster / I’m glad I cause you pain” she sings on ‘So Much Better’, the distance and echo of her words intensifying their calm resentment. Idyllic and ghostly synths drift in the background like smoke making brilliant shapes as it is carried away by the wind.
Hollick & Gabriel Szatan
No Bad Days - September 2019
This recent session on Balamii radio really demonstrates why broadcast is still such a vital and necessary medium. Boiler Room alumnus and donk afficionado Gabriel Szatan is joined by fellow label capitan Hollick for two hours of thoroughly diverse music, woven together with the singular aim of No Bad Days. The tunes are as smooth, bright, and endearing as the accompanying graphic design and are presented with a playful sense of humour ("You up on Christian New Age?") throughout. It's refreshing to lean back from the computer screen occasionally and realise just how much great music exists, waiting to be discovered. Sometimes silly, sometimes somber, this one left a smile on my face and a warm sense of determination in my gullet.
RA Live - 30.08.19 -
Dimensions Festival, Croatia
object blue has been making waves over the last year, carving a path for her impressive selection of leftfield techno and otherwise experimental mixes. This set from 2019’s Dimensions Festival, the last in Fort Punta Christo, demonstrates an incredible range music in her 90 minute slot – so many of the tracks here make me wish I could have experienced this live in the Croatian sun, but even in a dingy bedroom they still get me dangerously pumped. The standout track for me here was ‘Don’t Get Strange’ by Hornsey Hardcore: a track presumably sent to earth by extra-terrestrials to melt brains.
It sounds cliche to say that some mixes ‘tell a story’, but Truly Madly’s RA podcast really does give the sense of a well-considered narrative. The respected digger fluidly drifts between deep, thumping groovers, atmospheric electro and slick UKG with a composed and deliberate approach. Every transition across the 1 hour 45 mins seems to ‘make sense’, the energy and tone of each track perfectly complemented by those of the next. Lock in and let the man of mystery that is Truly Madly take you away.