Here we go again: 3x3 tracks, albums/EPs and mixes that the three of us have been feeling in the last three weeks. From the sleepy Japanese ambient of Toshifumi Hinata, to the melancholy litness of FKA twigs and Future, all the way up to the gnarly speedcore and gabber of DJ FUCK, we hope there's something here that matches whatever energy level you're on right now. Go get it!
Originally created to soundtrack an exhibition by Hebden's friend, Anna Liber Lewis, the Anna Painting EP evokes skilfully the sense of space and life befitting of the colourful impressionism it was presented alongside. The titular track features some of the most joyous and resonant melodic work from Four Tet in some time, as synthesizers loop, jittering, over a resounding beat. This straddles the gallery and the club with a verve now signature to Hebden's productions, fusing soaring emotion with tight grooves. Irresistible.
'Jesus Forgive Me, I Am A Thot'
The first cut off of JPEGMAFIA’s new album All My Heroes are Cornballs is a somewhat turbulent ride – for the most part, it feels like a well-crafted piece of R&B, but what it makes it stand out are these occasional jolts of intensity and anger. It revs from ‘praise the motherfucking Lord’ all the way up to ‘Fuck you want from me? I'll put you under me’ which is layered over this grungy, distorted bass.
FKA twigs feat. Future
In both her music and her choreography, FKA twigs has always struck a powerful balance between the alluring and the visceral. Magdalene, twigs' forthcoming album, looks set to be filled with more of these images, and is described in a press release as "the sound of twigs reconfiguring, emotionally and physically” following a breakup and laparoscopic surgery. With lines like “Do you still think I’m beautiful / When you light me in flames?”, along with glassy pads sitting above a face-melting trap beat, ‘holy terrain’ is both physically arresting and jaggedly tender. Indeed, Coupled with Future’s distant and longing intonations, twigs’ ethereal whispers portray the delicate beauty that emerges from emotional and physical fracture.
Music From Memory
Drawn from a series of 4 CD-only albums by seminal ambient artist Toshifumi Hinata, this compilation is an exercise in calming space. Given the breadth of source material, there's a refreshing depth to the subgenres explored here, from beatless drone to beautiful piano work derived from the composer's classical education at Berklee. In resurrecting lost works so particular to this era of Japanese music, such a compilation ran the risk of feeling dated in the vein of many a reissue album. Instead it serves only to underscore the serene beauty and pioneering attitudes present at the time, picking out the best moments in their clarity and alacrity.
Slikback & Hyph11e
In Pursuit of the Sun 逐日
RUI HO’s latest EP on Objects Limited paints an exhilarating narrative inspired by Chinese folklore in which “a giant named Kua Fu chases the sun from East to West”. Her portrayal is vividly colourful but never too garish – her drums have just the right level of energy and crunch to complement her celestial trance melodies without offsetting their tenderness. In Pursuit of the Sun逐日 reaches new heights, pushing the euphoric intensity of hard rave to its upper limit in order to offer glimpses of mystical, shimmering worlds.
This newest release from the Shanghai-based collective showcases an impressive melding of two different but complementary approaches to percussive and industrial music: Slikback and Hyph11e hail from East Africa and East Asia respectively. The EP has an almost demonic energy to it, with the drums at full throttle in tracks like 'SHIMIAN' and the coarse vocal grunts peppered throughout. The guttural snarls on Slikback’s remix of 'Black Pepper' wouldn’t be out of place as COD Zombies sound effects and the overwrought screams that writhe and thrash in my favourite track, 'USINGIZI' (ironically, the Swahili word for slumber), appear to have been plucked out of a metal song and warped almost beyond recognition.
RA Live - 30.08.19 - Dimensions Festival, Croatia
This mix is an absolute fucking riot start to finish. Even on multiple listens it retains a vital energy bubbling up from Skee Mask's witches' brew of genres. From 'Bring in the Katz' to grime instrumentals, thwomping tekno and flittering trap, it's all there in just the right quantities, and the end resulting is a thoroughly potent concoction. Food metaphors be damned, there's something liberating about experiencing a DJ follow intuition and ride roughshod over genre lines, moving swiftly track-to-track, beat-to-beat. I don't even know if the recorder clipped out or if the massive distortion present at some points was deliberate, such was my joyously bewildered state of mind on first listen. Play this loud.
MINE GALA 2019 MIX
I feel like I should preface any explanation of this by referring to this mix as a guilty pleasure or something to listen to while wearing a protective layer of irony, but I won’t because I have so much genuine love for it. DJ FUCK is clearly having a ton of fun with this potluck of hardcore, speedcore, gabber and other experimental kookiness, including some nu metal samples from the early 2000s that had been buried deep in memory. All of this is presented following a short prologue about the heroic DJ FUCK who attempts to save a group of skater kids before the skit turns existential - ‘DJ FUCK, will you be my homie before I lose consciousness?’ one of them asks.
Fake Rolex 045
This mix from the Motion Ward boss JS, much like the output from his label, is drenched in thick but refreshing ambient goodness. At various points across the 43 minutes, JS dives deep into sleepy ocean-floor murk, only to resurface glistening and renewed by ethereal pads and shimmering natural sounds.