Monday, December 30, 2013

Favorite Tracks of 2013 – the uptempo/dancefloor/experimental/aggy-as-f**k/ear-buds not recommended edition





  • Theo Parrish & Tony Allen – Day Like This (feat Eska & Andrew Ashong)
  • DJ Rashad – Let It Go
  • Kode9 – Uh
  • The Bug – Freakshow (feat Danny Brown & Kiki Hitomi) / Dirty (feat Flowdan)
  • Boddika & Joy Orbison – Mercy (Boddika VIP)
  • Demdike Stare – Collision
  • Tessela – Hackney Parrot (Special Request VIP)
  • Four Tet – Kool FM
  • Pedestrian & Jasperdrum – Kalkuta vs Zombie (PEDit)
  • Culoe De Song – No Contest
  • Jeremy Deller – Voodoo Ray (Optimo remix)
  • Doc Daneeka – Trife Pt. II
  • Deadboy – On My Mind
  • Mala – Como Como (Theo Parrish remix)


Theo Parrish & Tony Allen – Day Like This (feat Eska & Andrew Ashong)
Two absolute legends link-up to launch Parrish's new label and the results are as brilliant as one could imagined. A master class in subtlety and dynamic rhythm. This was the perfect soundtrack to both the sweaty sun-bleached afternoons and cool summer nights of 2013.

DJ Rashad – Let It Go
Rashad's Hyperdub output demonstrated that Juke/Footwork is as much a technique as it is a musical style. Like a Cubist painter applying a series of techniques to reinterpret the world around her, Rashad applies the footwork's methods to a seemingly endless pool of musical raw material to produce unique takes on the sound. In this case he recontextualizes classic 'ardcore euphoria into a fresh and dynamic experience.

Kode9 – Uh
2013 saw the first Kode9 releases in some time. This track, released alongside his excellent Rinse mix CD, is a bit more straight forward than the excellent Xing Fu on Hyperdub, and more effective for it. Where some of Rashad's tracks saw him re-coding London bass music history through the lens of Chicago footwork, Kode9's recent work sees him taking the dynamic rhythms and quantized samples of footwork and running them through the filter of UK bass culture, the results are a new mutation of the UK bass virus that can still trace its DNA back to Sign of the Dub.

The Bug – Freakshow (feat Danny Brown & Kiki Hitomi) / Dirty (feat Flowdan)
I refuse to choose between these brutal sonic weapons. Both are slightly tweaked versions of the same Bug riddim. Freakshow finds Danny Brown's frantic flow juxtapozed with Kiki Hitomi's haunting hook to brilliant effect. Dirty on the other hand is the most recent weaponized strain of the always on point collaboration between Kevin Martin and Flowdan, possibly their best since the mighty Skeng.

 Boddika & Joy Orbison – Mercy (Boddika VIP)
The mighty Mercy VIP finally sees release to the masses and it just seems to increase the longevity of what in better world would be a lock for Christmas No. 1. To hear this on the massive Output soundsystem is to witness the sound of steel girders that support reality itself being rend and twisted into unrecognizable new structures.

Demdike Stare – Collision
An estranged kin of the Modern Love's Hate series, Demdike Stare's Test Pressing releases see them mining the sounds of classic jungle and remodeling them for their own oblique purposes. This, the first of the series , sees Demdike Stare sounding much like classic Panacea built with strategies and technology the producer could only have dreamed of in '97.

Tessela – Hackney Parrot (Special Request VIP)
"Right listen - I've just been told anyone who's got a fiesta parked inside the Market, you best move it or you're walking home. Right? Come with the Music..."

Four Tet – Kool FM
The initial calling card, or warning shot ahead of Four Tet's masterful love letter to pirate radio. If this is not ruff e nuff for you check the huge Champion remix.

Pedestrian & Jasperdrum – Kalkuta vs Zombie (PEDit)
The original Kalkuta is a big tune in its own right, but this PEDit by the man himself, with it's afrobeat inspiration on full display, is even better. (also check for Auntie Flows redit for more Fela for the dancefloor love)

Culoe De Song – No Contest
In truth, my favorite track is De Song's mix of Bright Forest (remix) / No Contest / Birds of the Feather on his Red & Blue podcast, which I rewound so many times I'm surprised I haven't worn the bits away in the mp3. The brilliant rhythm of No Contest is the anchor and drive of that mix and certainly stands strong on its own.

Jeremy Deller – Voodoo Ray (Optimo remix)
What could be more quintessentially 2013 than a steel drum heavy cover of a rave classic created by an multi-media artist for the Venice Biennial and then returned to its dancefloor roots with a remix by Glaswegian House hedonists. All of that meta-narrative wouldn't mean jack if the track wasn't brilliant, but thankfully it is stone cold killer.

Doc Daneeka – Trife Pt. II
Walk On In has the dancefloor heft but something about this dark and deep, stripped-back slow burner hit's me in all the right places.  That massive rolling bassline makes it absolutely addicting.

Deadboy – On My Mind
Deadboy's ability to craft haunting sub-heavy house tracks for dark cavernous rooms continues to grow in strength with each release.

Mala – Como Como (Theo Parrish remix)
Theo Parrish bookends the list with this absolutely beautiful remix. The master flushes out those elements that made Mala's original so appealing and then elevates them to another level. Quite possibly perfect.

BONUS: Four Tet – The Track I've Been Playing That People Keep Asking About and That Joy Used in His RA Mix



Four Tet handily beats Joy O for most over the top, and literal, track title ever.  Despite being given away for free to the masses, and as far I know being nearly unmixable, this chaotic ruckus of  a tune ignited more dancefloor riots than any other in 2013.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Favorite Tracks of 2013 - the downtempo/hip-hop/r&b/folks-singing-about-sh*t edition



It was a weird year for music. Much like last year, there was a wealth of really good music but very little in terms of absolutely amazing music, but that could just be me not digging deep enough through all the noise of a post-internet mediascape. These are some of my favorite home listening tracks of the last year (dancefloor, etc. list to follow at some point)
  • Typesun – The PL
  • Tinashe – Boss (Ryan Hemsworth remix)
  • Tre Mission – Brunch
  • Paul White – Street Lights (feat. Danny Brown)
  • Kelela – Enemy (prod. by Nguzunguzu)
  • Future Brown – Wanna Party (feat. Tink)
  • Le1f – Pocahontas (feat. Kitty Pryde – Prod. By Drippin)
  • Djrum – Honey
  • James Blake – Retrograde
  • Just Friends – Avalanche (Shlohmo remix)
  • Emika – Sleep With My Enemies
  • Various Production – Opus
  • The Knife – Without You My Life Would Be Boring
  • King Midas Sound – Aroo
Typesun – The PL
I'm a sucker for a stripped back, backbeat driven R&B croon and this is as good as they come.

Tinashe – Boss (Ryan Hemsworth remix)
It was a big year for the One Man Boy Band with his well received EP and debut LP not to mention the killer Cat Power X Angel Haze remix. But, I just kept coming back to this one, the mix of sweet and tuff is just perfect. Even if it was leaked last year I listened to non-stop in 2013 so it sneaks in on a technicality.

Tre Mission – Brunch
If this kid ever decides to rhyme about something other than girls and his rep the Kendrick's and ASAPs of the game will be in serious trouble. Extra points to whoever managed to bite Clams Casino on the beat.

Paul White – Street Lights (feat. Danny Brown)
To my ears, the best (so far?) of the fruitful collaborations between Mr. White and Mr. Brown. Beats just weird and chaotic enough to match that wild flow but still with enough forward momentum to keep the tack upright.

Kelela – Enemy (prod. by Nguzunguzu)
In the spring Kelela appeared as if from nowhere. I first saw her singing live on a Kingdom set at Output, then w/ L-Vis 1990 at PS1, then came the jaw dropping grime mix by Bok Bok. By the time Cut 4 Me dropped the word was out and underground was buzzing. Kelela is at her best on dark, ruffed up grime beats that would chew up other vocalists, and this one, by the increasingly on point Nguzunguzu, is her best so far.

Future Brown – Wanna to Party (feat Tink)
The avant-bass & beats super group comprised of Nguzunguzu, Fatima-al-Qadiri and J Cush teamed up with the equally about-to-blow-up Tink and somehow managed to roll out a club banger from a post-geographic future that transcends the sum of its impressive parts. When the LP drops in 2014 the game may very well be irreparably changed.

Le1f – Pocahontas
Le1f showed some breadth and subtlety in 2013 releasing two killer mixtapes, Fly Zone and Tree House. While the slower, deeper and more nuanced tracks were absolutely stunning, I'm still a sucker for what the man himself calls “banjee,masculine, aggressive, club tracks" that filled his debut, Dark York, and of which Pocahontas still fits the bill. Hell the beat is so cunty that even the normally dreadful Kitty Pryde sounds tight.

Djrum – Honey
My favorite track from Djrum's somewhat lackluster debut LP. This one still has some of the tension between widescreen soundscapes and thick as molasses hum and crackle that made the initial EPs so consuming. Also check his excellent remix of singer songwriter Jono McCleery.

James Blake – Retrograde
I could have picked Life Round Here or the massive dub version of Voyeur but the fact is after a hundred+ listens this one still gives my shivers down my spine. That makes it the best of the lot.

Just Friends – Avalanche (Schlohmo remix)
The original is a thing of great beauty for sure, but there is something about this sliced and submerged remix that is stands all on its own. Like Hemsworth, Schlohmo manages to rend genuine emotion out of aquatic synths and off-kilter beats like some sort of Abelton conjuring wizard.

Emika – Sleep With My Enemies
Twisted sub-bass eneveloped torch song? Yes please!

Various – Opus
After a moment of relative quite from the Various lab, the mysterious production team reemerged this year. This eyes down, abyss-staring epic is their best work in a years.

The Knife – Without You My Life Would Be Boring
The most straight forward track from the wonderfully uneven and infuriating Shaking the Habitual.

King Midas Sound – Aroo
“My Bloody Valentine in dub” - shortly after Roger Robinson uttered those bass-weighted words came proof of concept in the form of Aroo. If this is, as it appears to be, the warning shoot ahead of the groups next LP, then we are in for a aural onslaught like no other.

BONUS: Mikey J - Rock & The UK Female Allstars – Roc The Mic ( feat. Amplify Dot, Baby Blue, Lioness, RoxXxan, Mz Bratt and Lady Leshurr)


Mikey J & The UK Female Allstars - Rock The Mic [Music Video] from Trail Pictures on Vimeo.

This came out last year, but Kelly found it this year on some deep youtube digging binge and I listened it pretty much non-stop ever since. Pure verbal fire over a deadly serious war beat. The best pose cut in the last two years on either side of the Atlantic (and 2Chains isn't even in it)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Thirteen of '12 - Instrumental / Dancefloor edition




2012 was an example of the old theory that tough socio-economic times breed great underground clubbing. Props go out to all the promoters who have been grinding for the last few years. Their persistence looks to have paid off in one of the best dance party years in recent memory. Specifically Bunker, Turrbotax, Discovery, Verboten and Percussion Lab as well as newcomer to NYC from Chi-town Lit City.

Here are some of my favorite Instrumental / Dancefloor tracks of the last year. They appear in no particular order and this list is nowhere near complete.

  1. Fatima Al Qadiri – Hydra
  2. Girl Unit – Ensemble (club mix)
  3. Falty DL – Straight & Arrow
  4. Andrés - New For U
  5. Four Tet – Lion (Jamie xx remix)
  6. Breach & Midland – Somwhere
  7. DJ Ali - Electra (Subb-an & Adam Shelton remix)
  8. Julio Bashmore – Au Seve
  9. Balistiq Beats – Concrete Jungle (Beneath 350 remix)
  10. Rashad & Spinn – We Trippy Mane
  11. Flosstradamus – Rollup (Baauer remix)
  12. KW Griff – Bring in the Katz
  13. TNGHT – Higher Ground
Fatima Al Qadiri – Hydra
Absolutely gorgeous mix of underground beats and middle eastern sound pallet. Ikonika's remix of last year's D-medley is amazing as well.

Girl Unit – Ensemble (club mix)
This track just got bigger and bigger as the year progressed, until it was played by pretty much everyone at BEMF.

Falty DL – Straight & Arrow
Falty DL coming on like a swung out Floating Points. I can't wait for the LP. Part 2 of afrobeat lacedMeans Streets on Swamp81 is big as well.

Andrés - New For U
Deep, soulful Detroit house from the man who dropped one of my favorite DJ sets of the summer.

Four Tet – Lion (Jamie xx remix)
How can you go wring with a Four Tet and Jamie xx team-up. Something about the stripped down soundsystem vibe of this remix reminds of classic Smith & Mighty / More Rockers and in my world that is very high praise. Also check out Four Tet's ratherreserved remix of Angels for the reverse perspective.  


Breach & Midland – Somewhere
Sprawling, widescreen tech house that also manages to very taut and subtle.

DJ Ali - Electra (Subb-an & Adam Shelton remix)
Sultry and so very saxy

Julio Bashmore – Au Seve
Not quite reaching the level of Battle of Middle You but still an absolute dancefloor filler and undisuted anthem of the summer

Balistiq Beats – Concrete Jungle (Beneath 350 remix)
Beneath let his junglist roots show on the remix

Rashad & Spinn – We Trippy Mane
Not that this track isn't brilliant but it appars here as a sort of place holder of all the amazing tracks I heard at Lit City over the last year that will probably never even get released.

Flosstradamus – Rollup (Baauer remix)
Run the Trap!!! 2013 looks to be the year young Baauer blows up. 

KW Griff – Bring in the Katz
“...you already know” Absolutely nothing subtle here just absolutely battering B-more Club. On a proper soundsystem this is guaranteed to ignite a riot on the drop every time. 

TNGHT – Higher Ground
The undisputed dancefloor destroyer of 2012. Resistance is futile this track will steamroll over you.

Bonus: Joy O - Big Room Tech House DJ Tool Tip! (BRTHDTT!)
Another year, another secret, ridiculously titled, Joy Orbison anthem. This one is slow burner and much preferred to the staid adult contemporary house of Ellipsis. Of course it won't get a proper release until all the life has been sucked from its veins.   





Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thirteen of '12



A bakers' dozen of my favorite songs of 2012 – this is the home-listening / people singing and rhyming about shit version. If I can steal a few minutes before the year closes I will try to throw together an instrumental / dance-floor companion. The following are listed in no particular order and with no claims of completeness.  
  1. Chromatics – Lady
  2. Kendrick Lamar – Cartoons & Cereal
  3. Darq E Freaker & Danny Brown – Blueberry (Pills & Cocaine)
  4. Jessie Ware – 110%
  5. Mykki Blanco – Wavvy
  6. Jai Paul – Jasmine (demo)
  7. Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
  8. Frank Ocean – Pyramids
  9. Stubborn Heart – Two Times a Maybe
  10. Gonjasufi – Skin
  11. Hitomi – Thrown Like Jacks X Venus in Furs
  12. Zebra Katz feat Njena Reddd Foxxx– Ima Read
  13. Le1f – Wut
Chromatics – Lady
The best Chromatics songs exist in a liminal space where unformed possibility and nostalgic yearning co-exist. Lady is born of that gauzy, lens-flare time of the night when, by definition, it can't get any later and the cruise control has just locked course for well after dawn.

Kendrick Lamar (feat Gunplay) – Cartoons & Cereal
Elementary hood shit. Sure Swimming Pools was bigger, Kill My Vibe was catchier, and Good Kid had that Roy Ayers sample but for sheer wtf?? factor this was Lamar's calling card. The unsettling juxtaposition of guntalk w/ Saturday morning nostalgia; the slung yet restless production, saturated in hiss and old tv samples threatening to collapse in on itself; Lamar's helium Quasimoto playing against Gunplay's gruff pre-crack DMX; in the end its a heady, keenly unique experience.  

Darq E Freaker & Danny Brown – Blueberry (Pills & Cocaine)
Crazy, Psycho, Deranged. What it says on the tin. Madman London grime producer teams up with madman Detroit MC and a dark, unstable carnival ride of a track is born. Appropriately, the video is guaranteed to give you the spins dead-sober in the afternoon.  

Jessie Ware – 110%
There are probably better Jessie Ware songs but I am a sucker for a dreamy summer jam. Julio Bashmore turns his swashbuckling skills to a straight up pop song custom built for Saturday afternoons spent lying on sun kissed grass sipping cool wine from the bottle. OG version with Big Pun sample intact is a must.

Mykki Blanco – Wavvy
The ultimate, getting-ready-to-go, pre-game Friday soundtrack. It also led to more than few late morning impromptu dance parties. Not to mention all the surprise live appearances at 285 Kent, Cameo and seemingly wherever they would give Mykki a mic. Get in now because he and his militia are primed to take over. Also one of my favorite videos of the year.

Jai Paul – Jasmine (demo)
“demo” in the sense that it is raw as fuck. If this ever gets “proper” shine and gloss mixdown a la the Weeknd I will weep.

Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
My personal hurricane soundtrack. Somehow it was the perfect vibe for confusing bus rides and freezing walks over the 59th street bridge, turned down low and kept on constant repeat for two weeks straight.

Frank Ocean – Pyramids
Frank Ocean goes big, 10 minutes and Egyptian history big, and some how pulls it off. Grammy please!

Stubborn Heart – Two Times a Maybe
Shout out to Kelly Hogan by way of Giles Peterson (it's a winner!). The full LP is great but nothing else on it manages to match the listing narcotic enchantment of this early single. Forgetting a chick's name (twice!) has never carried such existential weight.

Gonjasufi – Skin
Heartbreaking, stripped to the bone, lament from the sufi. Apparitions with GLK is amazing as well.

Hitomi – Thrown Like Jacks X Venus in Furs
Velvet Underground cover? meh. Classic rock mashup? what is this 2003? This should be at best an amusing throw away tune. Instead it is hypnotic, haunting and transcendent. Hitomi's vocals and subtle re-edit make this something completely other, both from its component parts and anything else out there.

Zebra Katz (feat Njena Reddd Foxxx)– Ima Read
Give me a brutal stripped-back bass drum, a little ballroom attitude and a heavy dose of disturbing over-enunciated lyrics and watch all the hair on my neck stand up. Throw in Ms. Njena complete with all her extra ds and xs as well as one truly disturbing game of double dutch and you have the weirdo hit of the year.

Le1f – Wut
Everything on Dark York is stellar. This track is a great example of up and coming hip hop guys pulling inspiration and production from the best of the underground dance/beat scene (in this case 5kinAndBone5) and doing whatever they please with it.

Bonus - Lambo Furnace
The most devastating bootleg remix of the most inescapable jeep/block/club track of the long hot summer. Turn it up real loud one last time and then let's all move on and never speak of it again.


Honorable mentions: The Don; AlbyDaniels; Purple Kisses; Low MF Key; F**K You All The Time (Shlohmomix); and House of Ladosha's waaay to fierce for you Rollin'





Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Glimmer and The Gloss in Medulla Review


“This time, the fluid did not return to a restful state. Instead, the surface writhed and churned. Some great upheaval was being born out in the impossible space below the floorboards. Reptilian shapes breached the surface. A long slithering spine cut through the liquid only to disappear into the impossible depths.”

Ballroom dancing, Victorian etiquette and self replicating ultra-dimensional reptiles, these are the major components of my new short fiction, The Glimmer and The Gloss, in the current issue of the excellent Medulla Review.

The story took its initial inspiration from the work of visual artist Ray Caesar. I wanted to set a story inside one of Caesar’s surreal scenes, wanted to employ one of his unsettling precocious heroines as its protagonist, and then of course I wanted to fuck shit up. The end result is an irreverent piece that plays fast and loose with the boundaries between past and present, reality and dream-stuff. It inhabits a liminal space at the edges of classic lit, horror, and SF/F. A sense-bender of a story as the editors describe it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Too Late To...

Red lit and smoke machine tainted club sounds. This is a bass heavy mix of dark UK house, chunky percussion and filthy electro. The mix features tracks by producers on the verge (South London Ordnance, Jook 10, My Nu Leng), underground heavyweights (Roska, Girl Unit, Boddika), and even a few old-school heroes (The Stickmen ('94 stylee!), Andrea Parker, Aux 88). It also features more instances of the words "bitch" and "pussy" than I have personally uttered in the entirety of my existence, so maybe not for banging at the office.


1) Fatima Al Qadiri - Hip Hop Spa
2) South London Ordnance - Fjord
3) DVA - Flute Tune
4) Zebra Katz (feat. Njena Reddd Foxxx) - Ima Read
5) Roska - Bassface (Breach remix)
6) Addison Groove (feat. Spank Rock) - Bad Things
7) Girl Unit - Wut (Claude Vonstroke remix)
8) The Stickmen - The Drug
9) Boddika - Basement
10) Auntie Flo - Oh My Days (Pearson Sound remix)
11) The Pearl - Flesh Eaters (Distal remix)
12) Secret Frequency Crew - Miami Eyes (Andrea Parker remix)
13) Max Durante meets Aux 88 - Body Work (Max Durante lysergic remix)
14) West Norwood Cassette Library - Get Lifted
15) Spank Rock (feat. Big Feedia) - Nasty (Addison Groove remix)
16) Jook 10 - Peng
17) Headbirds - Dead Kingdom
18) My Nu Leng - Croatian
19) Fatima Al Qadiri - D-medley (Ikonika remix)

Download via Mixcrate

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Poetry Is Dead / Arte Factum
























(I meant to post this up here a few weeks ago but life had other ideas)

I have piece in the new issue of the mighty Poetry is Dead.  It is an honor to have my work appear in one of my absolute favorite publications.  This is their "resurrection" issue, just in time for the Spring thaw (though here in NYC nothing ever managed to freeze).  Personal favorites from the volume include bits by Amber Dawn, Sean Howard and Stephen Collis's To the Occupations.

My contribution is a Self Portrait, one in a series of experiments using found language to attempt to unlock the dynamic between the internal and the external.  This one pilfers from the I Ching and Bob Ross for a touch of hopeful melancholy. 

The folks at PiD are having a special poetry month sale, where can get a years subscription for a steal at 6 bucks.


Also, my chapbook Music for End Times is part of the gallery show Arte Factum, which is dedicated to the art of the chapbook.  It is up now at Project Space in Vancouver and curated by Poetry is Dead editor Daniel Zamparelli. It runs for a few more weeks, so if you find yourself in area stop in a check it out.