Welcome to our third edition of 3x3: 3 tracks, albums/EPs and mixes from the 3 of us. As always we're bringing our recommendations for music you may have missed over the recent months, with sounds from all over the genre and world map: we've got Bollywood beats, kuduro cuts and Bristolian bass to name a few.
The world's best boyband returns with yet another album sure to captivate, driven by lead single NO HALO. It leans hard on the group's typically emotive vein with a looping, yearning guitar sample and quivering refrains, but the vocal depth provided by the group keeps it from wearing thin. NO HALO feels like late summer slipping through your fingers, cathartically melancholy but coldly hopeful.
'I'm Your Huckleberry'
In the midst of an already impressive year of highly anticipated and face-contortingly good shows as well as a critically applauded full-length album, Micay keeps the hot streak going with a single to tease the release of Butterfly Arcane: another upcoming project. In a style reminiscent of Floating Points' pulsing and slow-growing synths, I'm Your Huckleberry bobs and weaves with his now-charateristically melodic sound palette. Peppered throughout are the occassional whispered affirmation from a friendly stranger that 'you're doing great' which was truly heart-warming surprise on first listen. With the gentle encouragement of that sample and the general quality of the track as a whole, this song is essentially a form of self-care in its own right!
‘Intenso’s opening – a swirling of police sirens and chatter as the beat is filtered out before it even properly begins – gives a sense that Principe’s chaotic energy is back. Once the beat returns, however, we see that the label’s rugged Kuduro sound is tighter than ever – even DJ Firmeza himself can’t resist freestyling over the track’s lithe groove. It’s a track that’s built for the heat of the dance, serving as a reminder of why Principe’s unparalleled capacity for raw but deliberate twists and turns is the gift that keeps on giving.
I'm not really sure how to approach this one. Feeling burnt out by a continuous schedule of smooth RnB and jazz-inspired releases and summer bangers I dove into a few recent Quietus reviews, choosing an album whose art reminded me of the wizard-sick DJ David Goblin release from last year. This album is psych-rock-jazz-fusion boiled in some sort of primordial soup til protean life has emerged, and whilst it's a bit long, it is captivating in all of it's visceral energy. Just try it - sometimes you need to take musical leaps of faith.
Manara International Presents: The Ultimate Spice Mix
Johanna Knutsson & Karen Gwyer
Oscillate Tracks 003
Oscillate Tracks’ latest EP is split between two versatile hardware masters who can drive the dancefloor and shape tender textures in the same breath. The first half sees Johanna Knutsson crafting dubbed-out, wistful pulses; ‘Lysmossa’ evokes those moments in the club where you pause to take stock, suspended in reflection yet still caught up in the motion of the dance. Before you know it, Karen Gwyer’s skipping pads take flight, gracefully darting through dreamy clouds above intricate drum patterns. The paces of each pair of tracks complement each other, expertly capturing the undulating moods and energies of the club: the oscillation between being lost in the music and being lost in your own thoughts.
The fusion here of impassioned Hindi/Punjabi vocals and traditionally Desi instrumentation with the sounds of Western club music is testament to a shifting climate where more of us can at home on the dance floor. The warmth that floods your body, the smile that creeps up when you recognise a sample that you've grown up with, that feels so deeply connected with your family or your culture, is a uniquely authentic joy in a setting often fuelled by more artificial mood boosters. To really hammer the point home, this collective of British-Pakistani DJs including Asmara, Ikonika and General Courts don't simply combine these sounds with plain ol' house and techno, there are genres abound with servings of dancehall, UK funky, bass and more.
Edwin no. 80 - Bruce (Bruce's Starless Night Mix)
A regular purveyor of dark Bristolian bass wizardry, Bruce sat down a couple of months ago to begin construcing this mix as part of a personal healing process. It's predominantly ambient, warm in sentiment even when it ranges into deeply experimental and esoteric territory, and feels particularly human coming from an artist usually associated with the most intense of dancefloor slammers. In his own words, it serves as "a warming reminder that time heals all wounds".
Tristan Da Cunha
UKG is a genre that achieves a perfect balance of simultaneously looking backward and ahead. While listeners may lap up reissues of rare tracks on labels like Dr Banana, a dynamic wave of ‘nu-step’ labels like Entity:London, Orbital London and Phone Traxxx ensures the genre’s appetite on the past is matched with a hunger for a continuously evolving sound. Tristan Da Cunha’s mix for Slapfunk Records focuses on this latter end of the spectrum, comprised of “99% new music” and “showcasing the next genretion’s deeper, darker expression of the genre”. Listening to this mix convinces you that the scene is in good health, its lean and minimal steppas swinging just as hard as in the early days of UKG.
c- Skimboarder's Delight
This most recent mix from Cromie has a distinctly end of the Summer feel to it, with its blend of easygoing house hip-hop and downtempo rarities with some percussive heavy hitters that require more than a head bob and make you wish that those late sunsets weren't on their way out.