KOde9/gilles peterson/peanut butter wolf/mary anne hobbs/matt w. moore/dres13/ HIDDEN MOVeS/+++ $6.99 USD
BIGUP10(X) INFLUENCERS & TASTEMAKERS ISSUE
MATT wE. MOOR
MARY ANNE HOBBS
PEANUT BUTTER WOLF
72 N HIDDES MOVE
ISA CH LRD O ARKS P
BIGUPALLCREW Writer, photographer, and weekly resident DJ at Modern Math in Calgary, Sheena a.k.a. Donna Dada - the world-travelling Jack of all trades - manages to maintain the "cheeky" in everything she does.
11-11 Agency's founding beat hustler Sara Ajiri hasn't changed much. She hasn't rocked a bowl-cut since 1985 but still busts out a brown tracksuit from time to time.
Words, words, words. Jasmin loves words. She also loves music, astrophysics, wine, sticking her hands in dried beans, and going on superhero adventures with Miro of Surefire Agency.
DJ Dials has a new, awful website. Soon it will be better, but as he writes this, it's falling out of the ugly tree and hitting every branch. His first song is about to be released on Brownswood Electr*c Volume 2. It's called "Pillow Forts." Check it out at his ugly website: www.djdials.com.
Based out of San Francisco, Bryan Bacock takes the world one step closer to a vision of love through color, text, illustration, and food.
Aeneas Panayiotou's name has unusually too many vowels. He hates "Skillex" or whatever his name is and thinks that haters are going to hate. But he <3s FEBO croquettes.
Aaron Zimmermann writes string quartets and bass music under the name Misk. He has an unhealthy attraction to granular synthesis, max/msp, found sounds, and weird sound design. Aaron has a close relationship with nature, and his Monome. Check out his music at www.misksound.com
Defending his crass internet behavior for the better part of the last decade, Owen has remained deeply involved in the southeastern US' emerging bass music scene as a DJ, editor of www.icnt.mx, working with the Embassy Recordings label, and as a member of the Atlanta Dubstep collective. His deejaying can be heard alongside Distal on Sub.FM every first and third Sunday 23:00 GMT.
Art is the Multiversal language, and KAZILLA loves to talk.
Sean's now in So Cal, missing his adopted San Francisco home. And the beat goes on...
Shilo Nikelle Urban (her real name) is from Los Angeles by way of Seattle, New Zealand, Paris, Maine and Austin; she lives for the music, writes for artists and works for Alpha Pup Records, Lucent Dossier Experience and the Pure Filth sound system.
Josephine Tempongko (a.k.a. Pandai'a) is a really ambitious chef and a really lazy Twitter-er. She's like the bass music scene's herpes; she's been around for a long time but she's not always there – she comes and goes.
Puppy Kicker is family. It doesn't matter how long the line is, who is playing, or if the club is at capacity. He doesn't wait in line, and he doesn't pay for drinks.
JM a.k.a. Afro Monk is a Dallasbased DJ who writes about, supports and performs with and some of the most well-respected producers in the country. He is a contributor to TheUntz.com and also blogs through his own site, Afromonk. com, in addition to hosting a show on Glitch.fm.
Based in SF, CA Jason Suave is a producer/ DJ, and artist with current and forthcoming releases on Filthy Digital and Full Melt Recordings. His productions vary from the 'ardest grime to a range of dubstep vibes. He has collaborations with Vinja and Antiserum and looks to push forward the west coast grime wave. Follow on @jsuavedubz
A bass music professional based in San Franciso, Sam Supa deejays, produces, promotes for Surefire Sound, and runs his own record label Brap Dem! Recordings, all with the help of his faithful and respected dog Bandit.
Stephen a.k.a. SNF is a former SUB. FM and Dubstep.FM DJ and blogger out of San Francisco. He’s deeply into percussive music emphasizing the low end from dubstep to jungle to hip hop and everything in between. Outside of music he’s occupied by science graduate school, public education, and political action. Forward!
Mateo is a young, intrepid sort from Adelaide, South Australia. He is interested in finding out whether he's outgrown his home city, and tries to make sense of his world through the music he listens to. He's also interested in design, symmetry and colo(u)r.
Devon Chulick can usually be found running around in a tuxedo with a grappling hook. He is one of the owners of D-Structure San Francisco, an art gallery and clothing store in the Lower Haight. He is always down for an adventure or new project!
The advertising, features, and reviews appearing within this publication reflect the opinions of the respective contributors, and not necessarily those of the publisher or its affiliates. All rights to art, writing, photos, design, and/or likeness and copyrights are property of respective owners, and no assumption of ownership is made by this publication or the publishers. The publisher will be glad to correct any mistakes or omissions in our next issue. The content may not be reproduced in part or in whole without written permission from Big Up Magazine and the respective contributors. ©2011. Big Up Magazine.
Erin Duncan is a 2010 graduate from CSUEB earning her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communications. While in school Erin was an Arts and Entertainment intern for the school paper The Pioneer, writing several articles notably “Hip-Hop Obama: Is The US Looking Toward a Hip-Hop White House?” Erin spends her time going to concerts, finding new music and blogging.
Ivy's balanced diet consists of organizing chaos, creating chaos, writing, singing in the kitchen with a side of gravy, and turning in her Big Up reviews at the last minute.
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STORE FRONT Flight001 Spacepakcs With all the traveling you're hopefully planning for the festival season, you might be needing these Flight001 Spacepacks, which maximize case space while achieving maximum compression so you can always carry on and avoid the baggage claim. Using this system allows garments to undergo double compression and organization with one side for clean laundry and one side for dirty laundry. Price: $46 www.flight001.com
Jawbone Jambox Speakers Jambox is loud. With an output capacity of 85 decibels, it fills even the largest rooms. Unlike other portable speakers, Jambox is powered by a pair of proprietary, highly sophisticated acoustic drivers, unmatched in their ability to produce extreme high (tweeter) and low (woofer) frequencies from a single, ultra-small dome speaker. It is also wireless, so it's always ready to go with no cords, docks or hassles. Price: $200 www.jawbone.com
Grove iPad & iPhonecases Portland-based independent team of designers at Grove is a completely DIY kinda deal. They produce everything by themselves and sell directly to the customers. Sounds like any small mom and pop shop you say? Don't be quick to judge – check out the level of artistry, craftsmanship,
professionalism, and passion these folks have. Serious Big Ups to the Grove team and their kick ass products, which include cases for iPhones, iPads, and other wood art work. Price: $29 and up www.grovemade.com
iFrogz Timbre Noise Isolating Earbuds The use of wood in acoustics is nothing new, but integrating them into a set of in-ear headphones is. You get killer tone and actual bass response in these headphones, and did we mention that they come complete with a high-definition in-line microphone that will turn your iPod Touch into a Skype Phone.
Price: $50 www.ifrogz.com
Novation’s Dicer is an ultra-compact USB-powered controller for digital DJs that fits directly onto the turntable, CDJ, mixer or laptop. It has been designed with Serato to integrate into their Scratch Live Digital Vinyl System. However, it also works with Native Instruments’ Traktor Scratch Pro, and any other software using standard MIDI messages. Dicer has 5 ‘dice’ pads which can be used to set and trigger Serato’s ‘Hot Cues’, ‘Auto Loop’ and ‘Loop Roll’ functions, with multicolored LEDs behind each pad to show what mode you are in. There are also freely assignable layers of controls which allow you to control whatever you want, including triggering samples, effects or even navigating through track libraries and crates. When using other software, a pair of Dicers allow up to 60 MIDI controls between them! Price: $100 www.novationmusic.com 5
AndrĂŠ Greppi, a.k.a.DRES13, grew up reading way too many comics and drawing all the way through school. And it paid off. Today Dres13 creates some of the most intricate and striking graphic collages of traditional ink illustrations, foreign typography, and other "found elements" with a cut-and-paste aesthetic.
On the side, he also works as an art director at an advertising agency, designs t-shirts for japan relief, occasionally wheatpastes walls in his hood, and exhibits his work at major art events.
interview by Katya Guseva
Memories of Ghosts With Black Hair
How long have you been doing art? I've been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil. But only within the last five years have I been actively pursuing illustration and art as a way to make a living. I was the kid in school who would draw throughout class. You were probably into comics then? Absolutely. I was all about Marvel comics as a kid. Then at age 10 I found a copy of Charles Burns' Skin Deep and that changed everything for me. I began getting into whichever independent comics I could manage to find based on the art rather than the content. I also got into Cracked magazine at a young age. Again, not because I understood the jokes initially, but because of John Severin's art. So yeah, comics had a very huge impact on me.
It's amazing to see walls that have a history within those layers of work that's been painted, pasted, buffed, and gone over again. Aside from comics, graffiti and street art became a big influence on my work as I grew older. It's amazing to see walls that have a history within those layers of work that have been painted, pasted, buffed, and gone over again. I carry that over in my work almost the same way, but digitally. I horde all kinds of printed media especially vintage, worn out stuff. I especially love foreign print and typography. Walk me through your process. Do you kinda know what you want the piece to look like before you begin working on it? It's not often I have a complete idea in my head before I start. Even when I do have it all figured out, the work ends up evolving a bit as I go. It usually starts with an inked illustration or center figure, and then those collected, found elements are scanned in and layered, cut, painted over, and layered again until it feels right. For me the entire composition is usually about a cut-and-paste aesthetic. How long on average do you have to do all the cutting and pasting till it feels right? Depends. Many times I start to hate the work half way through and have to step away and do something else. When I come back to the work I keep pushing 8
forward, and then something happens and it all seems to click and make sense. There have been a few times where I've had to scrap the entire thing and start over though. I remember leaving the "Memories of Ghosts with Black Hair" piece alone for over a month and a half. I never thought that one would see the light of day. Now it gets posted on people's tumblr pages. I would've never imagined at the time...
Many times I start to hate the work half way through and have to step away and do something else. It's one of my favorites by you. Thank you. Yeah, that one was special to me. I guess that's why I never scrapped it completely. Who is this character? The ghost with black hair. Well... I guess I can say she's symbolic of missed opportunities. Things that stay with you, and sort of haunt you. Not necessarily in a spooky way, but more like lingering thoughts you can't get rid of.
to our demise. The world around us is burning, but we (culturally) are more into which celebrity had no drawers on and left/right political bickering. The media bombards us with all of these talking points to keep people distracted from what's really going on behind the scenes. It's all a diversion, meanwhile the Ăźber elite are making decisions that affect the world our kids will inherit. Deep. [Laughs] Stepping off my soapbox now. How did you get your name DRES13? Sounds like a gangster graf writer name. Ha! I wish the story was that cool. Get ready for a snoozer. Back when drawing was just something I did to pass the time, I was really into cars and the whole tuner thing. I was on a couple of forums and would post as Dre - S13 (the model of car I drove). That's around the time I began posting early graphic experiments on a photo blog and it just kind of stuck and became my artist handle. I guess it worked out okay. So I take it you don't do any graffiti? Actually I do get up on occasion.
I also really like Curupira pieces. Who's Curupira? That series was fun. I did those for a mythology-themed show at Bold Hype gallery. Being of Brazilian descent, I chose to study up on Curupira, who is a character that comes from Brazil's native folklore. He's depicted as being a short, elf-like being with hair like fire and feet that point backwards. In the stories you hear of him attacking poachers and using his backward feet to confuse trackers, and keeping them perpetually lost in the forests, and other stores tell of him being a child-like savior of nature.
The world around us is burning, but we (culturally) are more into which celebrity had no drawers on and left/right political bickering. Tell me about "American Apocalypse." Looks like some sort of social commentary in this one. I'm a firm believer that a brainwashed mass culture is what will eventually lead
Nice. What other medium would you like to try? I'd love to try sculpting or somehow realizing some of my characters in 3D. I'm dying to do a vinyl figure. I gotta shop the idea around and find someone willing to help me produce it. I should do some homework on that. What kind of music are you into? I'm into a broad spectrum of music. If I'm listening to anything while I work it's usually something that matches the mood of the piece. But generally I like a lot of independent hip hop, turntablist stuff, rock, all kinds of stuff, as long as the mood is right. Whom would you like to Big Up? Big Up the Orlando art scene and everyone that supports each other out here, my fam, my beautiful son DrĂŠzinho, and anyone else that's supported my work.
For more Dres13's art visit: www.dres13.com
photo by Steven Q. Vickers
photo by Kelly Koehler
He is the mind behind one of the most genredefying record labels â€” hyperdub, the home of Burial and DARKstar.
he teaches sonic culture at a London
University and wrote a book exploring how sound can be deployed as a weapon.
He is a tastemaker, who makes good soup. His name is kode9.
interview by Katya Guseva
I've gotten an impression that your approach to music is very academic, isn't it?
that with many artists â€“ only with producers I know and whose judgement I trust.
No, I'd probably make a distinction between academic and conceptual. I find a lot of academic work as boring as other non-academic people do. I like things with ideas in them, but that doesn't have to be academic.
I heard they had a couple of different variations of the album?
Ok, then does your conceptualizing ever interfere with your producing? No, it's not relevant to me making music at all. Having ideas is obviously relevant for all artists. But my research and my writing is over here, and when I make music I'm facing the other direction. So it doesn't interfere. It's harder to run a record label and write music. How so? Doing A&R for a record label makes you hear very critically, so you're always trying to improve things in your own music. I have to apply my producer's ear to other people's music, just 'cause I need to filter and see if it fits or doesn't fit with the concept of the label... whatever it is. What IS it? Well, that's the hard bit, cause I don't know what it is. You intuitively know, when you hear a piece of music, whether it's going to fit on the label or not. That's why the label hasn't been able to stay in one genre. At the moment it seems that the concept of the label is to try and provide a bridge between different strands of music coming out of the UK, be it dubstep, grime, funky, or other stuff. It's like a connector, a hub of these different subgenres.
Making an album is a headfuck. It's a brave thing to do. What would you say was the most unexpected release on Hyperdub? The most unexpected would probably be a Darkstar album. I mean, white male singer with a very different vibe... Darkstar really did their own thing on that album. It fits on the label, but for some people it might be confusing. "How come it's on Hyperdub?" I can see that. How did you make this decision? I didn't. I trust the Darkstar guys and their decisions enough to just go with what they wanted to do. They made a record that's really good at what it does... I wouldn't do 14
They made a version of the album the year before, but it wasn't quite gelling. It wasn't doing it even for them. I liked it, but it wasn't them in top gear, if you know what I mean. They were trying something, but it wasn't quite working. So they decided to ditch it and start from scratch... Making an album is a headfuck. It's a brave thing to do. What about your own album? You and Spaceape also started a while ago... It was a stop and start kinda thing. I was deejaying, running a label, writing a book, and Spaceape was busy. It didn't come together till the middle of last year when I started to say fuck off to everything else I was doing. "Leave me alone, I'm just gonna hide in the studio," which is what I love to do. So it started to crystallize from August onwards. The tracks were there for a while, but I kept ditching drums, and basslines, changing things around...
I think it's the first time that I wrote a track with a wobble in it. I thought I should do at least one. So I guess the story behind the album is this radioactive event that transformed the planet... How did you come up with that? We only started to do that after we finished the album. It was like, "Ok, we've made the music. What have we just made? What is it going to look like?" We had to make up the story and try and visualize it. So we created this little virtual world out of some of the content of the lyrics and some of the sounds, and vibes coming out of the music. Then we gave it to the artist/musician Badawi, who was working on the comic for the cover. It works really well. If you listen to the album carefully, you kinda realize there's a different sound before the "Black Sun" and after. Seems like "Black Sun" is the radioactive event itself. I think that's true. And I think that was the case when "Black Sun" came out a couple of years ago. That was the radioactive event for me musically, and you can probably hear the tracks made before that and after. It's not quite in
that order on the album, but it kind of is, because the ones after "Black Sun" have these very intense and colorful synths in them, and that's one of the aftereffects of the radioactive event. Things are glowing a bit more, visually and sonically. For me, it has to do with analog synths. There's this certain glow to them, this kind of fizz... zzzzzz... this kind of fire or a bonfire sound that runs through all the tracks. From my point of view, it gets stronger as you go into the album. It starts to enter this radioactive zone more and more. The first three tracks are older:
photo by Kelly Koehler
photo by Latifu Laoye
As far as music is concerned, do it because you love it, do it because you feel it, not because your forced to, for deadlines, OR money.
"Black Smoke," "Promises," and "Am I." "Love Is the Drug" is the newer one, that came after "Black Sun." "Neon Red Sign" could have fit on our first album, actually. It's got this early dubstep feel to it, even though the beats are not half-step beats. I think it's the first time that I wrote a track with a wobble in it. I thought I should do at least one. And "The Cure" is the new track. What about "Green Sun"? "Green Sun" is like the little sister of "Black Sun."
So it's a she? It's not a he or a she. It's funny you should say that cause I've always thought it was a sister track, not a brother track. It's like some goddess... In this fiction world, the radioactive event fucked up the atmosphere and the sun comes through this smokey cloud and it comes through in green colors. It's not a dark world, it's more psychedelic, glowing... more like in wrong colors... Have you had psychedelic experiences?
I have these experiences without taking any drugs. All the time, just listening to music. I don't want this state to be an exception, but more like normality. That's why I write... The hard thing about writing is trying to put these visions into words. Which is why the book is so hard, because it's essentially about different vibrational levels of reality. What a lot of people get through using psychedelic drugs, I get through philosophy and ideas. Philosophy, in theory, could be as much of a drug as psychedelics. Both can make you lose your mind.
Tell me about the last track with Flying Lotus. Who named it? We both did. In the second half of that track there's a synth riff, which is what we made together. We tried it with beats and lots of different versions; we loved that synth so much that it needed to be special. Only towards the end of last year I did a version which didn't have any beats or bassline really.
I'm not that kind of deejay that plays and jumps up and down trying to get a response. I hate that, to be honest. I can't remember how we named it... I think we wanted to give it a name of a planet. So FlyLo searched for Kryon online. It's actually some kind of new age Christian cult, based on going through different vibrational levels towards the enlightenment. And it just stuck. But the role of Kryon in our story, it is the enemy. In the story, because of the radioactive event, people start to undergo mutations. And half of the population reacts to these mutations defensively, so they get into this religious cult of Kryon to seek salvation... I suppose the people in the story we are more interested in are the people who didn't try to cling on to their humanity and let the mutations happen. In order to survive in this fucked up atmosphere, they take this substance "The Cure" which allows them to "remain to bathe under the Black Sun." So all the track titles are in the story. Tell me a bit about the album cover. It kinda has a Japanese woodblock vibe to it. First we were thinking to have an image of the weird colored sky, but we didn't like how it came out. It looked a bit like cheesy psychedelia. It's too easy to go that way. So we decided to keep the cover looking old school in a way, 'cause it looks like a traditional Japanese print, and add some strange elements. Like the green bit of the sun, and some other strange, out of place objects that you can't see right away. Like the buildings that look like pyramids. We didn't want the imagery to be dark and dystopian, firstly, because I don't think it's that dark and dystopian of an album. But we were also aware of the fact that after our first album people will automatically think, "Oh here we go again; dark, claustrophobic, paranoid, oppressive..." all the things that people automatically think our music is.
Last night at your show I didn't see you look at the crowd even once. Do you care about the audience at all? I didn't notice that, but you're right, I tend not to look at the crowd. I'm shy, so I don't like making eye contact. I listen though. I can hear their response, but ultimately I'm playing what I want to hear. But I'm not just playing arrogantly, more like if I want to hear it then I feel like it's going to work. Hopefully... I'm not that kind of deejay that plays and jumps up and down trying to get a response. I hate that to be honest. So I just play the music and hopefully it connects with people. If I'm excited about the music that I've got to play, I don't give a shit about whether it's three people there or five hundred. I just want to mix the music and have that feeling... It used to be much worse. Now I don't have that problem of people not wanting to dance so much, but when I played to straight up dubstep crowds a few years ago, I was getting frustrated, 'cause I could tell people wanted to hear something else. I think now people come to my shows with a more open mind and kinda expect me to go a bit off track. Why do you think that is? People are more used to it. And I think people generally have gotten a bit frustrated with certain types of dubstep. It's not that new anymore, it's not fresh. It's ten years old, as far as I'm concerned. I think there are new styles that have emerged recently that are important for me to represent, instead of just fixating on the most crowd-pleasing sounds. Plus I need to do different stuff to keep myself interested. Would your sets be different if you were to, let's say, play at 4 am after Tiesto, or at midnight after Damian Marley? [Laughs] That doesn't happen. Only in your warped imagination. But yes, I've been in situations that weren't optimal for me. I played between Rusko and Ed Rush & Optical. And I did respond to that. I just played jungle. I didn't enjoy it, and I usually love playing jungle. But it was bad programming as far as I'm concerned. If you had a brain you would not put me in between Ed Rush & Optical and Rusko. That doesn't make sense at all! I was really fucking angry, also because the needles kept skipping. So not only was I frustrated
by being put into this position on the lineup but I got through four decks in the first 15 minutes, and they kept switching the decks! It's a labor of love, playing records... I used to play dubplates, but now things are moving too fast. And I'm not in just one genre where I get tracks from friends. I'm interested in three or four genres and I get tracks from everywhere. There's lots of interesting stuff, and I want to keep surfing on top of these flows of new material. And CDs are the easier way. I would be so happy to see you play an alljungle set. I keep coming back to it every time! You can't get away from it. It's just the best music that has been invented ever anywhere! I have the same conversation with people every time I play just a couple of jungle tracks. It's just the best! It's a very special period â€“ '93 to '96. It doesn't sound old either! 'Cause it's so out there, and you can't fuck with it! Was it your favorite time to be involved with music? As a raver, as a dancer, yes. Definitely. But when you compare where jungle and drum and bass ended up in the late '90s to some of this old stuff... it's a different genre, isn't it? I see the same thing happening with dubstep. In a different way â€“ I think people have learned some lessons â€“ but it's almost like a different genre where it starts and where it ends up. It's cool, things have to change. But I know which one I prefer. I feel you. That's why I keep wondering why people say they want to hear new stuff, but they keep rewinding the tracks they recognize from the past. Because you always remember that feeling of hearing that amazing thing for the first time. That's the fix everyone is hunting for. But what you learn is actually just 'cause something is new doesn't mean it's any good. A lot of people want to play all this new stuff, all on dubplates, but when you hear it, it sounds like the last 50 tracks they've just played.
Things have gotten a bit lost in 50 million producers and 50 million different substyles. It's good to just go back to the core, to what was amazing about it to start with, and build on that.
photo by BJ Pascual
photo by Kelly Koehler
You think you're working in music and you've escaped the rat race of working in the office, but actually music is as much of a rat race. With dubstep at least I find myself going back, it's almost like pressing the reset button. Things have gotten a bit lost in this 50 million producers and 50 millions different substyles. It's good to just go back to the core, to what was amazing about it to start with, and build on that. Don't get distracted by the word "new." It's just branding, marketing: "I got all this new stuff, you should book me." New is the new black. It's the rat race. You think you're working in music and you've escaped the rat race of working in the office, but actually music is as much of a rat race. Have you thought of incorporating visual elements into your DJ sets?
Well, I noticed lots of producers enjoy cooking. And they compare it to making music. Yes, it's very similar to producing. Especially when you're in the studio zone, it's a nice break – just go and make some soup, and it makes everything smell nice in the house. It's a really homely kind of thing. I love being in the studio, and when you're in that hibernating mode of not going out, cooking is a really similar process to producing, but it uses different parts of your body. You can rest your ears, and use your nose and taste buds. It's very complementary to making music. They go hand in hand. Some people play computer games on their studio break; fuck that, I make soup.
Well, not with my DJ sets, but with our live sets. We were gonna wait till we created imagery for the album, like a visual for this radioactive world. Maybe an animation of the comic graphic novel that's on the cover. We'd love to do that!
Haha! Would love to get a recipe for your signature soup.
So no more love for the dark room?
Can we at least take a picture of it?
I still love dark rooms, but we want to take it to the next level, and still keep the vibe, and put us into this world we've created. Dark rooms are more for deejaying. With the live set, it's nice if the performer is immersed in this visual world – it's not just projected on a screen over there, but it's projected onto us, and it looks like we're a part of it. This story we've created for the album is like a concept for the film, and the comic strip is like a story-board for a film. So the album is like an invisible film that we haven't made yet. But we just don't have the time...
I don't know... It's a shy soup. You'd have to lower the exposure on your camera.
Do you feel like you're stretched too thin? Yes. If you were to just pick one medium, what would you do? The nice thing about film is that it allows you to draw all these strands together – writing a script, soundtrack, story boarding... So maybe that's the next step... I just have no brain space to think about it.
Some people play computer games on their studio break; fuck that, I make soup. How do you unwind? I have two kittens. Well... they have me... I find it increasingly harder to read, 'cause I get too distracted by all the things I have to do. I swim, which is good for emptying my brain. But I can't breathe when I swim. Someone forgot to teach me how to integrate breathing into swimming rhythm. So I hold my breath, then I swim as far as I can, then stop, take another breath and start again. This could be a metaphor for something... Do you cook at all? I do. I've been adding to my repertoire recently. I've been cooking Thai soups, fish soups with coconut milk. I make a lot 18
of soups. That's what I've been specializing in for the last year. I've been trying to eat healthier, and soups are good for that. Why do you ask?
All my recipes are very secret. You can taste it, but I can't give you a recipe.
I bet! What about your dreams. Do you see any? Do you remember them? I've always had flying dreams from a very young age. I think it's a perfect thing for a musician to have. I can't remember a lot of dreams, but I remember my flying dreams. It's amazing, in the beginning of the dream you're walking along, and then you jump and you're flying, and you can navigate... In my dreams I feel partially blind, I mean, I have eyes and they work, but I can't open them. So everything is shadowed in a strange way. But I'd be flying and I could go anywhere I want! I used to go to bed deliberately so I could go fly wherever I want.
it is the most amazing feeling to deejay in complete darkness – nobody can see you and all you can see is the lights on the mixer. But I also have a recurring disturbing dream about deejaying. There are different variations of it. But there's this one, when I show up to deejay at a club and it's so dark that I can't see my records. So I'm pulling out my records one by one, but I can't see what they are. Or I open my bag and there are no records in it. So it's always this partially blind, "I can't see" thing. That's why I carry my torch around all the time, 'cause I've been in the situations when I've asked for the lights to be off at the club, and I came with this little torch, and I've lost it after the first track! Very scary! But it is the most amazing feeling to deejay in complete darkness – nobody can see you and all you can see is the lights on the mixer. What haven't I asked you that you always ask yourself. [Long pause] Why am I not asleep?
MATT W. MOORE
last new year's eve we received a beautiful calendar designed by Matt w. moore, which we proudly hung on the most visible wall and received compliments on daily.
A few months later, we gathered all our courage and wrote to Matt that we would love to have him design our cover. his short email BACK pretty much SUMMS Up matt's character: "Let's rock it."
He's been rocking the Streets of FRANCE and AUSTRALIA, major walls of New York and S達o PAuLO, Snowboards, sneakers, cars, bikes, bags... and now he totally rocked the BIG UP world with the new cover artwork.
We spoke with matt to confirm that tetris was indeed his favorite game and to find out about his every-day hustle and dreams.
interview by Katya Guseva 20
XYZ Mural downtown Cincinnati
Obvious question. Were you into geometry when you were a kid? Absolutely. Geometry is in my DNA. Tetris is my all-time favorite game. I’ve always been fascinated with constellations, space, ancient Egypt, and visual representations of mathematical proofs and formulas. Inspiration is infinite in the realms of math and science. Nature too. I draw a massive amount of inspiration from pondering nature.
For real though, every single day I wake up with a bonfire of passion and ideas, and I am truly grateful for this. Are any of your illustrations inspired by psychedelic experiences? I try my hardest to make work that can bring the viewer to another place on their own. That said, I am definitely a huge fan of op-art, double entendres, vibrant color, and all of the artists who are experimenting with these ideas in their work, be it music, film, fine art, design, architecture, and fashion. Was it a natural process for you to become an artist? Do you remember a specific moment in life that sparked your passion for art? For sure. I’ve known all along that I wanted to be an artist and designer. I have moments everyday that charge me up creatively and inspire me to think about things from different angles. A few clutch milestones in my career evolution thus far were the day I decided to leave my job at a kayak factory to go to art college, the day I left my ad agency art director job to go work for Burton Snowboards, and the best one, the day I left that job to hustle MWM Graphics 24/7. For real though, every single day I wake up with a bonfire of passion and ideas, and I am truly grateful for this.
Listening to music is absolutely crucial in both my design studio and my painting studio. NYC rap from Hova to DefJux cats, Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan, reggae and hip hop, electronic music and beats, the list goes on and on. If it’s fly, positive, and forward-thinking, chances are I will dig it.
I don’t work “for” people. I work “with” people. You've done quite a bit of collaborations. Which do you prefer: working with other artists or on your own? I enjoy both for different reasons. Working solo on personal projects is really satisfying and it’s nice to go at my own pace. Collaboration is a magical thing. Some projects are not possible without a group effort. Having a dream team of creative people join forces on a project is the perfect recipe for greatness. I view all of my client work as collaborations. I don’t work “for” people. I work “with” people.
I feel like I am still standing at the edge of the shore, ankles deep. Real talk. What medium that you haven't used before would you like to try to work with? Wow. There are so many things I can’t wait to try. In the coming years I will be focusing more energy towards three-dimensional sculptures and functional design. I want to design tile mosaics, and stained glass, and new board games, and much more. I feel like I am still standing at the edge of the shore, ankles deep. Will art save the world? Yes. Art saves the world every day. Just imagine a world without it. We need art like we need water and air. Whom would you like to big up?
Would you say working for yourself was your best decision in life then? Everyday has been an adventure since I went solo. “Leap and the net will appear.” Real talk. What kind of music are you into, and what role does it play for your art, if any? I have a versatile music palette that swings like a pendulum as the years go by.
Big up to my core crew of artists, designers, and graffiti cats. Jurne, Lerk, Turdl, Rich, Ratio, Mago, Sub, WUT crew, Depthcore, David and ROJO Global, Kiji, Upso, Poesia, Curve, Spaceknuckle. Big up to Kris, my partner on Glyph Cue. Big up to my family, friends, and fans. This is just the beginning! For more about Matt W. Moore visit: www.mwmgraphics.com
photo by Shaun Bloodworth
Tastemakers are oracles of the underground, often acting as medians between our world and the mysterious realm of the musician. As a weekly broadcaster for 14 years at BBC Radio, Mary Anne Hobbs’ sonic divination has launched the careers of countless groundbreaking artists, making gods of unknown bedroom producers, idols for her audience to worship. She’d often spend upwards of 10 hours listening to incoming submissions, scouring profiles on MySpace and Soundcloud, and chasing personal leads to find and break the next new artist and sound, a feat she’s taken on again for her new radio show beginning July on Xfm. This is the role of the tastemaker, sovereign diplomats of the underground, invited to break bread with these mysterious figures, to speak their language, gain their trust, and decode their message. It comes with a dedication to research, a commitment to deliver and great faith - in her audience’s reception, in the artists whom she nurtures, and in her own intuition. These virtues have guided Mary Anne through numerous breakthroughs: artists such as Slipknot, Burial, comedian Ricky Gervais, the global breaking of the dubstep sound, and most recently, her work with Darren Aronofsky as guest curator for The Black Swan soundtrack. These achievements are just a few markers in an incredible lifelong career as an ex-roadie-turned-music journalist, broadcaster, DJ, festival curator, television host, and beloved matriarch of the underground. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to interview my best friend Mary Anne Hobbs, the woman who changed my life through her show long before we met, then showed me great faith just two years ago when she asked if I would start my career as an agent with her as my first artist… some tastemakers transcend the musical paradigm. Let’s have a look into the influences that shaped her life, and their parallels within her own career.
interview by Sara Ajiri
Hello Mary Anne Hobbs. Hello to America's finest agent. That’s great, I love opening interviews with outrageous claims. Real talk. Are you going to behave? Never. Perfect. Congratulations on being selected as one of Big Up’s spotlighted tastemakers. Let’s talk a little about John, shall we? John Peel... my dream dad? Yes, that John. Dream Dad… that’s the fluorescent sign you got him the last time you saw him right? Yes, I struggled for a long time to try to find a gift for John's 65th birthday, and I finally hit on the idea of a pink neon sign that said "Dream Dad," as he was mine without a doubt. I ran it by his wife Sheila, and she loved the idea. I found a neon sign-maker in Birmingham in the UK to make it. He was 72 years old and about to retire, but he said he'd make that one last sign since it was for John. When it was finished, the sign-maker drove 200 miles from Birmingham to my house in London to deliver it personally, and it was so much bigger and so much more magical than I had ever anticipated.
I used to scroll across the dial of that radio in the dead of night, hiding deep under my blanket, looking for Peel. I had made plans with Sheila to deliver it to John's house after their holiday in Peru, but when I saw it... I just got a really powerful urge to take it straight to Radio1 that same night and give it to him then and there. I set it up in a pitch black room with just the sign shining bright, waiting for him to open the door. It was a beautiful moment, and after I gave it to him we went out and he told me all his favorites stories. John died shortly after, while on vacation in Peru, so he'd never had
seen it if I hadn't followed my instincts. It was the last night I spent with him alive, and I'm so glad I had a chance to express how I felt about him in great big pink neon letters one last time. I didn't show that photo to anybody for a long time... but as the months rolled past, I realized that it's such a great metaphor for the way so many people felt about him, not just me.
I think within 10 minutes of stepping across the threshold of a club like FWD>> or DMZ you're either devoted for life or running screaming outta there. You grew up listening to John at night. Yes, my dad had banned all music from our house when I was growing up. He would routinely smash up all my records, but he never found the tiny transistor radio that I had. I used to scroll across the dial of that radio in the dead of night, hiding deep under my blanket, looking for Peel. He stood at the gateway to an alternate universe... a place I dreamed of reaching. I lived in a tiny, isolated village, decades before the advent of the internet, and Peel was the only evidence I had that this alternate place existed at all. Years before you and I met, I was passed your Dubstep Warz mix by my friend Colm, and I knew the first moment I heard the opening tune that whatever sound was coming out of the speakers was going to change my life. What do you remember hearing that was particularly arresting? What did he play that changed your life? Punk. It's funny, John would frequently play 25-minute-long Jimmy Page jams and deeply conceptual extended pieces of music… and then suddenly The Pistols exploded onto the scene in London, and the shape of his show changed overnight. His reaction was incredibly fast, he knew just how significant this sound was and he backed it to the hilt. Was punk welcomed on the radio airwaves?
The BBC banned punk, but John still played it. How did he get away with it? He'd drop a Pistols tune, but announce it as The Pink Faeries. Defiant… if I remember correctly, there were similar parallels in your career during the time after you broke dubstep into the scene. My own response to dubstep was very similar to John's response to punk. Yes, it changed the entire fabric of my show overnight.
There was a period when I was writing my show's running order in code, so that my producer wasn't aware of just how much dubstep I was representing on the show. And how was dubstep received? By my audience, as a revelation. But how was it received by the BBC? By the Execs of that era… with caution and confusion. It’s such a primal sound... I think within 10 minutes of stepping across the threshold of a club like FWD>> or DMZ you're either devoted for life or running screaming outta there. You had devoted a large portion of your show to the sound at that point. Were you instructed not to play dubstep? There was a feeling that I was playing to six people in Croydon… Haha! That’s hilarious. Exactly. But I had this unshakable belief that the sound could change people's lives all around the world, just like it did yours and mine. How would you go about sneaking dubstep into your sets? There was a period when I was writing my show's running order in code,
so that my producer wasn't aware of just how much dubstep I was representing on the show. I'd abbreviate the artist names using my own crazy shorthand, for example when I’d turn in the program I’d scribble "JV" instead of Jamie Vex’d, then go back and correct it after the show was aired.
You’ll be carrying that torch on the airways primetime this summer.
separation anxiety with mine lately… Is this normal?
I'm bursting with excitement about returning to radio. I feel truly blessed that Xfm have shown such belief in me and given me a primetime platform – Saturday evenings beginning July 9th. It's an incredible validation.
Yes. But don’t worry, in years to come we'll all be born with one pre-installed in a body part of our parent's choice.
Were you risking your career? Yes, but I never thought about the consequences for my career. I only really cared about doing the right thing, which was spreading this primal sound. It’s John Peel’s legacy. I thought about his ethos, his technique, his bravery.
I hope I can help in a very small way to inspire and empower people to do the right thing for the right reasons: never sell out the family, the artists, the music you believe in, stand your ground, and back something that's truly valuable, for the greater good of creative evolution.
How will this format be different than your Experimental or Breezebock programs? I’ll be bringing future sound and guest mixes from the most forward-thinking artists on earth. Dubstep, UK funky, minimal techno, deep house, hip hop, electronica, neo-folk and art house rock... no holds barred. But to have a primetime platform on Saturdays... it’s such a victory for all the fans of my show who've had to pin their eyelids open with matchsticks to wait up until 2am for so many years to hear the program live.
I really hope so. Anything to add? I'm so excited about my US Road Warrior tour in April. I feel so very blessed that I have found an American audience so ambitious, and for the chance to share so many stages and adventures with some of my true contemporary heroes: Gonja Sufi, Take, Lorn, Strangeloop, GLK, Kode9, Roska... it’s just a dream come true, and I owe it all to my agent. Thank you. That’s perfect. The best bit is that I get to share the entire wild ride with you... my best friend and brilliant agent provocateur… Seriously, I’m gonna cut all this out.
For me it was during my pre-Low End Theory bath hour. I had a great routine going there for a couple years.
…Sara Ajiri, whose great vision, bravery [omitted by author]
West Coast don't move anywhere without their Macs do they?
Stop tastemaker-ing me. You’re killing me.
What’s your legacy?
Hell no, do you?!
…Thelma & Louise of the underground.
I hope I can help in a very small way to inspire and empower people to do the right thing for the right reasons: never sell out the family, the artists, the music you believe in, stand your ground, and back something that's truly valuable, for the greater good of creative evolution. It's John's torch. I carry it, as do many others. I hope to pass it on, and on, and on…
Not since last year, when I flew out to play Coachella without my Mac and got stuck because of the volcano!
I still haven’t seen that yet! We’ll have to watch it on one of our two nights off. Ok, are you done?
Right! We had to go out and buy you a new Mac so you could broadcast remotely from LA! I don’t know how you even left the country without it, I’ve been experiencing the craziest
Haha! Ok ok… great interview, thank you. Thank YOU Mary Anne. You already know… I’ll see you on the road homie.
photo by Shaun Bloodworth
photo by Youri Lenquette
An Obvious choice for our
With weekly radio shows ever since
tastemakers issue, gilles peterson
he was 16, whether on his own pirate
has been on a mission in search of
radio station, or his current BBC
the perfect beat for almost three
radio 1 show, or the Worldwide
decades. surfing the waters of jazz,
International show, syndicated to
hip hop, funk, african dance music,
major radio stations in europe and
ambient, techno, dubstep, broken
japan, with his brownswood imprint,
beat, and anything else with soul in
worldwide festival and worldwide
it, Gilles stays consistent in one thing
awards, Gilles Peterson's reach is
â€” bringing only the finest beats and
truly all-encompassing, just like the
their makers to light.
sounds he represents.
interview by Katya Guseva
Hi Gilles, thank you so much for taking the timeto speak with us. This feature will be a part of our "Influencers & Tastemakers" issue. Thank you, I'm honored! Honored to be talking to someone with such a long and fruitful history in music. What's your secret to always staying relevant? Well, I've been in this game for close to 30 years now, and I've been lucky enough to be around during a great deal of change: in the way music is made, marketed, and also in the way the media's taking an interest in it, and how the media works within music, and how the Internet has changed everything. And of course I've also been around during the times when DJ culture's exploded and become a permanent fixture in all of this...
I've been through phases of being fashionable, phases when I've become probably quite unfashionable. And you just don't really take notice of that, because at the end of the day you just get on with what you love, and fortunately for me I'm still very hooked on this. So it's been quite a good time to be around and to see what will happen on the way from the analog to the digital age. You begin to become aware of your role as you mature and have more history. But you know, I've done radio shows every week since I was 16 years old. There hasn't been a week when I haven't done a radio show. And I've been deejaying in clubs all that time. So I've never been somebody who would sort of work out a plot or someone to think, "Ok, in six month's time I want to be positioning myself in this place or that place." I've always gone with my instincts really. 30 years is a long time to be doing anything. What drives you? I first heard great old music in clubs when I was young. I'd hear jazz, soul, and funk records, and I remember thinking they sounded incredible! I never heard anything like it! So ever since then I've always been on a mission to make people aware of where it's all coming from. But I'm also modernist and as I said I've been a part of this reshaping of music over the years, so I love to see someone like James Blake doing really well. Or the new Raphael Saadiq album being great or the new Art Department techno record. So that's what drives me really, but equally I'm also very driven by where that all comes from. So to make the joints between, say, Arthur Russell and the Art Department or James Blake and some Krautrock is my thing. I basically just do that. I've been through phases of being fashionable, phases when I've become probably quite unfashionable. And you just don't really take notice of that, because at the end of the day you just get on with what you love, and fortunately for me I'm still very hooked on this. That's my story. Brilliant! Well, I really admire the fact that you're not just setting trends, playing what's hip and cool, but you're actually shaping musical tastes of people, by playing quality music... See, what happens with music is you have your moment and then people think that's all that you do. So for a long time people thought I just played jazz records, some thought I only played acid jazz records, some thought I played rare grooves. So in a weird sort of way, even if 36
I'm not reinventing myself, I'm still developing and continuing on my musical journey. Sometimes you have to make sure that you don't just play to the same generation of people who discovered you in that era. 'Cause you have to remember that people's sort of "shelf life," particularly in the clubbing side of things, is generally about four to eight years. People will generally go clubbing between the ages of 19 and 24-25, maybe a bit more depending on what country. So I got to play to at least four or five generation of clubbers. I've got people who are in their 40s, who used to come
photo by Youri Lenquette
and listen to me when they were 17-18. Equally, I've got a new generation of young people, who have discovered me because I'm the guy who might play the kind of electronic stuff that they might not hear other DJs or audio presenters play. So this year's Worldwide Awards (which is a yearly event, a celebration of what I do on the radio) was very interesting for me, because it really felt like the audience has changed again. The older guys are still there, very fascinated by the movement, but we also had Flying Lotus, Mount Kimbie, Four Tet and Rocket Number Nine and others. The
audience was amazing! It was like "Brainfeeder-meets-dubstepmeets-jazz-step" audience. Those are the kind of things that encourage me a lot. What was your earliest encounter with dubstep as a genre? I was playing Benga and Skream about six years ago. I remember I used to mix "Midnight Request Line" with "Alba Ella," an old free jazz track. I did a podcast with them too about four or five years ago. 37
They're really great! They are treasures. Because they were so-so young and they were so naive. And now they've become superstars. It's really incredible! Then going to DMZ and meeting up with Mala, that was really important for me. Mala really makes the connection between sound system culture, reggae culture and dubstep. And he's regarded very much as the eldest statesman of that scene. He knows where I'm coming from, and we understand where we all fit into the picture. That's really great.
Music has changed a lot, and you can do whatever you want these days. But the most important thing is encouragement. It's very important in this world of competition. And of course in the last two or three years people like Appleblim and Pinch coming out of Bristol, and most recently labels like Hyperdub. What Kode9 does is phenomenal. I've set up labels like Acid Jazz, Talking Loud, and in the early days of Mo' Wax I was working with James [Lavelle]. So that whole era of boutique alternative dance music labels was something I was very close to, being a part of it for a long time. And labels like Hyperdub in particular are quite similar to what I was doing at Talking Loud, or what Mo' Wax is about. Steve [Kode9] is really great, he's got a theory, he's got philosophy, and he's so connectable. People like him are very very important. Definitely. Do you share the current frustration with dubstep as a genre? What do you think of its development? When drum and bass came along in the very early days, it was kinda like a happy hardcore. And I wasn't playing that stuff, I was playing more soul, generally I've always been on the more musical side of stuff. I like the bassline and I like the rawness of all these forms of music. But I kinda jump in when it becomes more melodic. I mean Skream's and Benga's tracks, they were on the raw side of things. But I could feel their bassline, I could feel the importance of bassline music. And of course in the last few years all these young producers have grown. See, they start off with their computer and they just want to make beats. But as they mature, they become more musically sophisticated and they start making more sophisticated music. So you're gonna find grooves from people like Burial, or Mount Kimbie, or James Blake, or Ramadanman as the next generation of dubstep. And that music is becoming more interesting for me. But it's coming from dubstep. Dubstep is at the base.
There's no time for hating. My whole thing is if you're not into it, then just ignore it, but don't diss it. It's a bit like drum and bass. On one hand you had Ed Rush and Optical and all that kind of heavy stuff, and on the other side you had Roni Size Reprazent with their sound, and you had the intelligent drum and bass or whatever you wanted to call it. And I think in regards to dubstep, it's the same thing. It's not dubstep anymore, it's a combination of techno, electronic, Brainfeeder stuff... all kinds of great music! I can't believe how much music I get; I can't repeat tracks, 'cause there's so much stuff every week to play! You must have some people who help you sort all that music!
Oh, of course, I get a lot of help, because it's enormous! I've got a really good team of people. I listen to certain shows as well, I'm aware of some people who I find are really good. I've got a record label, I've got a producer of my radio show, and I've got other DJs who are really great â€“ Simbad, Lefto from Belgium. I've got Alex Patchwork, who works at Brownswood with me. Then you've got people like Benji B, Ross Allen, Mary Anne, Alexander Nut at Eglo, all the lot in Germany, they've got a different twist on it all, then the French lot... Then there's always all these really good things coming out from the straight-up house scene. I've got history with the New York house scene, and the slow disco scene, Ricardo Villalobos, Josh Wink, Laurent Garnier... Then all the jazz people I'm still very close with... I'm in heaven, I tell you! Haha, indeed! Wow, it sounds like you've got lots of stories to tell. Can you share some words of wisdom? [Long pause] Music has changed a lot, and you can do whatever you want these days. But the most important thing is encouragement. It's very important in this world of competition. My lesson in all of this is to encourage. People just need encouragement, and that's my words of wisdom. There's no time for hating. My whole thing is if you're not into it, then just ignore it, but don't diss it. Ah, I wanted to ask you how you feel when you hear bad music, but we can skip it. Nah, it's fine. The good thing is I do hear a lot of music. And when I hear something I really like, then I know I'm in tune with myself. It's when you can't decide, what's good and what's bad, that's when it's all gone wrong.
Sometimes the bad quality stuff has got little elements of light which you've never heard before. Sometimes it's really worth going to that fourth track on that demo, even if the first three suck. Sometimes you've got to give it just a little bit time and something will come out of it. Right, but I bet along with all the great tunes there must be lots of bad quality stuff coming your way... Yeah, but sometimes the bad quality stuff has got little elements of light which you've never heard before. Sometimes it's really worth going to that fourth track on that demo, even if the first three suck. Sometimes you've got to give it just a little bit of time and something will come out of it. When I first heard Burial, I wasn't convinced. It was a bit like I've heard it before in a strange way. But then suddenly you hear it in a different context and it reflects a mood that becomes legendary, like when Massive Attack released their first record, or when you heard Portishead for the first time. Sometimes it hits you immediately, other times you need a little bit more time on it. So always give it a little bit more time, don't necessarily knock it back immediately either. Just be open about music. Right, don't believe the hype and be open to any sound... You know, I love the idea of playing something by somebody who is kind of "uncool," because it sort of throws everything off. The hype is so quick with the Internet these days: you can create something in a
photo by Youri Lenquette
very short space of time, and if it's the right timing for that thing, and you get the right people hyping you up, you can really explode without having to actually prove anything. I personally like to use my position, where I have a certain amount of influence, by playing sometimes unfashionable music. Because why not? Why should I be influenced by the blogs, and the media, and hearsay? True. Well, your Brownswood label is releasing some very cool material! Like Ghostpoet for example... I'm a huge fan. I've got a girl who works for me, called Peggy. She actually brought Ghostpoet in. She's on it! She's just got great ear! And I think it's really important in what I do and what you do, to have people around you to introduce you to all this mad crazy music. They're nuts, they'll go all lengths to find that thing. And the longer I work with these people, the more they know how hungry I am for this music. And they know how to make me happy. It's not like producers on the radio station. I don't care about 99% of what their official job is. As long as they bring me good music, that's all that counts. I don't really care about jingles,
promotion, marketing, or any of that shit. I just need my people around me to bring me good music. So that's how Ghostpoet came in.
I don't really care about jingles, promotion, marketing, or any of that shit. I just need my people around me to bring me good music. Now I'm working on this album by Owiny Sigoma. It's a very different thing, it's a cross between African music and disco. That was just a friend of mine, from Elmore Judd band, who was on the radio with me about three years ago, said he was in Africa with Damon Albarn and gave me the demo. I looked at it, played it on the radio... Next thing you know we're doing an album together! Things just happen as they do... Do you ever feel like there's nothing exciting going on musically? Sometimes it's a struggle, sometimes you're a little bit uninspired for periods of time or it
doesn't come or whatever, but I never really panic. The other thing that's really important in anything to do with art, music or anything creative: try and get out of your comfort zone every now and again. Don't just do what's easy, because then you become bland. You need to constantly push yourself into places that are gonna change you. I've been lucky enough to travel a lot. Sometimes people will say to me you can do a gig in Paris for this amount of money or you can go to Kazakhstan for half as much. And I'll say I'll go to Kazakhstan, because I've never been there before. That's the kind of approach you have to have if you want to keep yourself inspired. I started going to Cuba loads in the past three years, and it's not as easy as going to Brazil for example. But it's been amazing for me, I've met so many great people! So yeah, that's how I'm dealing with it. Thank you Gilles. Pleasure talking to you. Thank you, speak to you soon, I'm coming to San Francisco later this year hopefully. Until then take care. 39
Sunru is wearing: Custom made jewelery by Sunru Carter
photo report by KAZILLA
Nadya is wearing: shorts by H&M shoes by NineWest
photo report by Donna Dada
photo by Natasha Alipour Faridani
We've been talking with many
This time we're speaking with one
producers and DJs about the ways
of the widely acclaimed and highly
modern media works within music,
respected music journalists â€” a
and none could deny a certain
rarity these days â€” who has also
level of influence and strong
been an avid underground music
interdependence between the two.
enthusiast and supporter for years, and therefore actually knows what he is talking about.
late-night pizza dinner to chat about his favorite skrillex track, burial-clone tunes, post-dubstep (well of course), and techno raving bears.
interview by Katya Guseva
WE interrupted Joe Muggs'
While you're biting into your pizza, please recollect the very first piece of writing about music you've done and gotten published.
too. And as of the last year or so I'm doing more and more industry stuff – compilations, A&R etc...
Well, I actually wrote a couple of reviews of imaginary bands as school assignments when I was about 12 I think, but that doesn't count, right? Then at university I self-published one or two tiny fanzines to go with really silly club nights I was involved with. But the first thing published that could be considered any way professional I think was for a free listings paper in Brighton, called Hype, and would have been an interview with either Carl Cox or David Holmes – I can't remember which came first. That would've been 1995 or '96, just after I finished university.
Is it still around? No I'm pretty sure it's not... There were a few of these listings papers. Brighton is so geared around the entertainment industry, and I worked for most of them at one time or another. I'm sure there's a whole different batch now.
I thought I was being really clever and insightful by asking, "What's your favorite animal?" as the final question. That's a good start – an interview with Carl Cox. Or David Holmes for that matter. Was it any good? The interview? No, I'm sure they were pretty lame. They were just phone interviews with me frantically scrabbling garbled notes in longhand. I thought I was being really clever and insightful by asking, "What's your favorite animal?" as the final question. Haha, They did get published nevertheless. Well yes, didn't pay though. It was all barter economy for me then – basically writing for guestlist places and free drinks, which, as I was out every night in those days, was no small matter. Is it much different now? Are you able to actually make a living by just doing musical writing – i.e. are you one of the few lucky ones? I get by, but I take on whatever other bits of copywriting or similar work are going
Yeah, the recent stuff has been very exciting. It's really a case of putting my money where my mouth is. It's so easy to just have opinions as a writer, and not know whether it's actually having any effect beyond some tiny circle of blog commenters. But when people's royalties are riding on decisions I make, even on a small scale, it certainly adds a bit of frisson to making those judgments. And I've always deejayed on and off. Not necessarily the hip electronic stuff either, but playing Fleetwood Mac and Guns'n'Roses down at the local pub, because it paid and fit in with doing a day job. So I guess you were into music since at least 12. What was your first encounter with the "hip electronic stuff?" And how did you get turned on to bass music, dubstep particularly? My first encounter with hip electronic stuff, though I didn't know it, was probably way before I was actually into music in my own right. I mean, I used to listen to my dad's Beatles LPs, and wonder at the production. But then I discovered his stash of tapes of the radio series of The Hitchhikers' Guide To The Galaxy, which I would listen to on his enormous hi-fi headphones, and just be completely drawn into this brilliantly absurd but sort of plausible science fiction universe, not least by the incredible sound effects... I wish there was a photograph of that... I can almost picture your little head with a huge pair of headphones on. And you're wearing some plaid shorts. Haha, probably some velour sweatshirt too. I will have to ask my mum... But yes, with that and Dr. Who, without knowing it, I'd become obsessed with electronic sound. And in fact, no joke, the first album I ever bought: was BBC Sound Effects No. 26 – Sci-Fi Sound Effects, which if you listen to it now, is incredibly dub – all these laser zaps and stuff.
I was too poverty-struck to go to all the bling bling champagne garage raves, but I had the tunes.
It was totally a nerd thing. There was nothing cool about me. I went through the usual adolescent boy things of pop rock - metal - goth - indie. But I was 16 in 1990, which was the time of those early WARP releases – LFO, Sweet Exorcist, Nightmares On Wax – and stuff like The Orb and KLF... That was "my punk," the stuff that changed my idea of what music was and who could do it. So when dubstep came along it was a completely natural thing to love it for its huge subs and dub influence, like those early WARP tunes.
photo by Natasha Alipour Faridani
And you were already writing for some magazines at that point, right? Yeah. It was weird, I sort of missed the early-early part of dubstep. I was aware of it, I'd been really into the key garage stuff – not so much as a raver. I was too poverty-struck to go to all the bling bling champagne garage raves, but I had the tunes. I bought and loved a lot of El-B, Steve Gurley, Menta, Zed Bias, even super early Geeneus and Terror Danjah. And I knew of the dubstep scene via those Rephlex Grime compilations. I'd even been to their nights at The End,
where the Croydon dubsteppers were playing alongside The Bug, whom I loved. But I never went to FWD>> and I never really "got" Skream, Digital Mystikz etc as artists. I just thought it was all part of grime, and just picked up a few things by Plastician (Plasticman as he was then) alongside Wiley and Jammer instrumentals, that I heard on the radio for a while... Like so many people it wasn't until 2005 – Vex'd, the early Tectonic stuff etc – that I realized that this was a separate thing from grime or garage.
Did you write about it then? Well this was the stroke of luck: between 2000 and about then, I'd been struggling to make it as a journalist – I'd only recently turned professional and was doing a lot of stuff for a lot of mainstream publications, so it was hard to write about the stuff that was my real passion. Can't complain, mind, I had amazing experiences – and still do – writing about mainstream stuff. BUT in 2006, Mixmag – which had been in a real creative trough for years, stuck in the world of trance and glowsticks – got taken over. 49
A friend was made the editor, and they decided to look for more innovative and exciting things to cover. And this, of course, coincided with DMZ going big, Mary Anne Hobbs's Dubstep Warz and so on. So the big story and the opportunity to cover it came at the same time.
it just a description? But if you do coin a phrase that others use, obviously there's a bit of pride to that.
I've written a lot about genre definition, about "post" this and "future" that, and it's absolutely fascinating to see the range of longevity and "stickiness" that genres can have.
Of course it was affected as a genre, it couldn't not be. There were suddenly that many more records and pairs of ears hearing them. The sum total of which is the genre really.... But I think it was ready for it, far more than most genres. Because it had had these years in isolation, it had got its roots down in a way that, say, jungle or garage never managed.
All of which means that I'll never be an insider in the scene in the way of writers like Blackdown, who were there from the very inception and knew all the players when they were still at school. And you know, that can cause the odd pang of jealousy from time to time, but it's horses for courses â€“ everyone involved communicates the sound's appeal in different ways. I hear you. In a way though, it gives you a little bit more credibility. It's almost more exciting for artists to appear in Mixmag or URB, rather than a fanzine that was around since the beginning and is a part of the underground. Which kinda brings me to the topic of the underground going mainstream. It might be a boring topic for you, but could we talk about the role of media and journalists in a given genre's development? I don't think it is boring really. I've written a lot about genre definition, about "post" this and "future" that, and it's absolutely fascinating to see the range of longevity and "stickiness" that genres can have. I think that's been the case all the way through my experiences of underground music anyway, having seen house, techno, and jungle explode into a million different sub-forms for better or worse. We used to laugh so much in the mid 90s at hard-househandbag-house-deep-house-happy-housesoulful-house-bungalow-house etc... And the thing is you never know with any given name for a sound, however silly it sounds, whether it's going to be the one which fizzles out in a month's time, or the one that is a world-spanning genre in 10 years' time. And there's a very blurred boundary between what's a description and what's a name. If I hear a record and say in a review that it's got a "jagged 2-step beat," am I accidentally defining "jagged 2-step," or is 50
Do you see dubstep being affected as a genre when there was all of a sudden a splurge of attention thrown onto it?
So do you think the outcome is going to be different from jungle or garage? It's already different. The most obvious thing is that major labels here were signing jungle acts in 1995. Now at that time jungle had only existed for three years, if that. Whereas it's only in 2010 that the majors really touched dubstep, and I think that there's more to come on that. By 2010 dubstep had existed for seven years as a named genre, and probably 10 as a scene. So already it's more solid, and more able to deal with and adapt to the industry.
I actually like Skrillex tunes, and Dr P and Flux Pavilion from over here, but my old ears can't take a whole hour of it! I don't see any reason why dubstep's parallel shouldn't be with techno, rather than with jungle. In fact, the similarities with Detroit's techno scene are striking: a very few school friends began it and remain at its core... Techno had sprung up in many other places in the world, with very distinct flavors, but overall it's continued evolving and to some degree or another keeping contact with those Detroit roots. Maybe dubstep is closer to jungle, because of the energy they carry... I'm talking about the majority of Stateside dubstep, which is quite a different sound. Sure, but think of the Euro techno of the early 90s, the crazy stuff in Belgium or Holland, that bore the same relationship to Detroit techno as the hard US dubstep does to Croydon. Makes sense. Are there any subgenres of dubstep that you do not care for?
I can't listen to that shrieking stuff for a great length of time. I actually like Skrillex tunes, and Dr P and Flux Pavilion from over here, but my old ears can't take a whole hour of it! Tell me your favorite Skrillex tune. (Sigh...) Oh man... I just know stuff from DJ sets or YouTube vids. Did he do one that goes "FUCKING DIE"? I don't know, I'll look it up. But I'm pretty sure it should be him. See that stuff appeals to the part of me that was a metaller as a young kid and loved Anthrax. I mean there are tunes like that with no invention, thousands of them, but I'd rather pick the ones that look like they're going to evolve into something interesting than spend hours digging through the crap ones. I'll tell you one tune I hated recently! John B did some dubstep and it's hideous. I mean he's done great drum and bass stuff in the past but this was just... It made the breakdown in that Britney single sound like Mala. Do you have the urge to write about it, since it gets this strong response in you? I did slate that one in Mixmag. The ones that tend to get low marks from me are Burial clone tunes or ones that sound like generic Berlin dub-techno with the kickdrum shifted a little. Wafty shit. So when you write a negative review, what is it that you're achieving? Do you think that will kind of explain to the kids why this is not quality? In your opinion anyway. Wow, I don't know... In a way it's just to provide some light and shade, to add weight to the good reviews. Like "remember, the stuff I've been enthusiastic about is the good stuff, there's loads of generic shit out there too." So if anything, the negative reviews are there as an example of the more undifferentiated music, rather than saying "I hate this record."
The ones that tend to get low marks from me are Burial clone tunes or ones that sound like generic Berlin dub-techno with the kickdrum shifted a little. Wafty shit.
I guess I tend to be saying "oh and by the way, don't bother with the stuff that sounds like this, it's boring or all sounds the same, look for the artists who stand out." I just think with so many hundreds of tunes out every month, my job is to help sift out the good ones if possible. Of course DJs are doing that as well, but maybe a reviewer can help to remind people of ones that have been slept on, or draw attention to ones that will have really lasting value or even lead to innovations. Lots of people in the music industry speak highly of you as one of the very few journalists that people actually respect and listen to. Why do you think that is? What do you do differently? God I'm flattered, but I don't know. Maybe it's because I don't have much of a filter on what I say. I don't really praise things for reasons other than that I like them. I'm a simple soul, I guess, not very good at complicated agendas!
I don't really praise things for reasons other than that I like them. I'm a simple soul, I guess, not very good at complicated agendas! Because I am a massive egotist "in real life" and have ended up in all kinds of scrapes because of it, when I have the luxury of reflection as one does in writing, I'm hyper-vigilant about ego creeping into what I'm doing. Thus I really try to let the music and artists I'm writing about lead, and relegate theorizing and patternspotting to being much less important than just saying what I see. The best way to be, I feel like. Maybe... I would love to write great sweeping aesthetic manifestos like David Toop or Kodwo Eshun, or even Kode9. And maybe one day I will do more ambitious theorizing of it all. But I think at heart I just enjoy describing things as I see them. Speaking of Kode9, I was asking him about the reasons why he stopped his Hyperdub web magazine, and he said he interviewed everyone he was interested in back then and kind of got bored. Do you ever feel that way? No, not really. There have been good and bad days, but no, I never felt like it was
drying up. But then I'm not anything like as immersed in club and soundsystem music in the way he must be, with the number of shows he does and the demands of the label. If I want to take a day where I only listen to Slayer or Stockhausen, or Aaliyah, or Simon & Garfunkel, or whatever else, then I can. And I get to interview all kinds of artists and writers, not just club DJs and producers. That's one reason why the theartsdesk.com site has been amazing. They don't pigeonhole me as "the dubstep guy," so if I want to review a Cuban jazz gig, or Killing Joke, or the Kanye album, I can. I really want to emphasize how important theartsdesk.com site has been for my writing this last couple of years. Because it's journalist-led and we essentially commission ourselves, it's allowed me to prove that underground, club, electronic music can stand alongside opera, theatre, gallery art and mainstream new music. And, without apologies or excuses, to bring our music to a general arts audience who would previously think of it as "other." That's great! You know how when print is going out of business, the online media, including blogs and online magazines turned into a rat race, where it's important to post a blog first, to talk about a certain release first. Some offices even move to the East Coast as it gives them time zone advantage! Can you make a parallel to how music has become almost disposable because of this kind of media environment?
the Face magazine in its final months, and the Telegraph newspaper which was the last bastion of old school overstaffing and London journalists' drinking culture before its owner Conrad Black was revealed as a massive crook. So it's a shame to think the glory years are over, but at the same time hard to shed many tears. And what I think is that new attractors are emerging in the chaos: new poles, around which ideas can accumulate and maybe gain some economic stability. After all, dubstep itself has already shown that a viable subculture can still emerge in the digital age. It's too easy to just go, "everything's worthless, nothing lasts, oh woe!" The continual creation of amazing artistic entities shows that this is nonsense. Look at DMZ, as a label, a club, and a community – the totality of its existence is a truly great thing! Hopefully it's going to ensure that Mala, Coki, Loefah and Pokes earn a living from music and related things for as long as they want, and it continues to be creatively vital after X number of years. Could say the same for something like Sónar. I don't know – nobody knows – what the future holds for writing, publishing, and criticism, but this means that there are an awful lot of possibilities still. It's good to hear some excitement for a change. So hey, what's your favorite animal? Bears. I dig bears. Polar bears? Brown bears?
Yeah. Everything is available, there's too much of everything, it'll never again be like the 1970s and '80s when a vinyl album was something you saved up your money for, and ordered from the store, and treasured, and turned over and over in your hand. But I don't think it necessarily leads to total dissipation of culture as so many miserablists would have you believe.
It's too easy to just go "everything's worthless, nothing lasts, oh woe!" The continual creation of amazing artistic entities shows that this is nonsense.
Pretty much all bears. Brown, black, grizzly, Chinese moon bears. I just like bears. So Big Up the bears of all shapes and sizes? Yeah! Not to forget all the gay bears out techno raving in Berlin! But I should obviously big up everyone who has helped me along, Mary Anne, Mala, Pinch, Artwork, all at Mixmag, Wire etc... The list would be endless. Oh and don't forget: Adventures in Dubstep & Beyond Vol.2 is out on June 6th. Is that curated by you? Yep. Will make sure to check it out! Thanks Joe.
The amount of excess in music and publishing was undeniable. It was glorious, but it was fucking decadent. I caught maybe the very tail end of it working for
Read our review of Adventures in Dubstep & Beyond Vol.2 in music reviews section. 51
With over eight years in the field of graphic design and Illustration, and After working for four years as a creative director, Chris parks made the leap to go solo and open his own studio â€” pale horse, which bleeds the art celebrating vivid hues with an almost underworld perspective of cultural iconic images.
Taking a moment to chat with Big Up, Chris tells about his challenges, influences, and inspirations.
interview by Bryan Bacock
The Book Of 5 Rings
What are you working on right now that feels challenging? Definitely deadlines. Currently I’ve got 17 illustrations in the queue and I don’t think I’ll get a night or weekend to relax any time soon. But I just signed with an amazing illustration agency in New York City and am super excited to be in their lineup of incredible artists. What was your dream job as a child? My list, in order, was baseball player, surfer, rock star, artist. Have you done any other type of work before you started working in graphic design? Would you say that it influences any part of your work? Because I was obsessed with Photoshop in high school, my first real job was working pre-press at a print shop, where I set up files and ran films for punk bands and record labels. It was a killer first step into getting where I am today.
I was raised on a steady diet of punk, metal and hardcore, and I don’t think I could survive very long without it. Your work seems to have a heavy amount of cultural influence. Do you travel much? Yes. I love to travel. As you may have already noticed, Asia and Mexico have been incredibly influential in my work. So far, my favorite place on the planet has been Tokyo, Japan. We love music over here. Do you use it when working? What's good? Music has always been a huge part of my life. I was raised on a steady diet of punk, metal and hardcore, and I don’t think I could survive very long without it. I also blast through a ton of audio books while working late nights here at the studio. I think it helps to keep my brain from turning to complete mush. Is there any type of media that you look to branch out into? Anything in the works?
...I generally prefer a lonely night in the studio drawing away and listening to audio books. I’ve always wanted to get into painting wall murals, but have never had the time to experiment with it. Recently, I was asked to collaborate on a project with a good friend and talented mural artist to design artwork for a giant wall of a historic, local music venue where I’ve seen countless bands perform over the years. The venue also happens to be on the same block as my studio, so I can’t wait to get that going soon and get my feet wet with the medium. When you get writer's block, where do you go to muse? I like to go to the bookstore, but they are quickly becoming a thing of the past here in the US. I also have a huge book collection that I can reference and can usually find something there to get my mind going again. Travel is no doubt the best medicine for me though... When it’s possible. What do you like to do when you are not working or creating art? Eat, sleep, watch bands, watch mma and hang out with my girlfriend and our pit bull. When taking on large projects do you prefer working alone or collaborating? Working with other artists is a killer way to broaden my horizons, so it’s definitely a great thing to do, but I generally prefer a lonely night in the studio drawing away and listening to audio books.
Over time an artist can see change in their own style, have you seen a change in yours? How so? Yes. Definitely. My goal has always been to outdo myself on every new project. I make certain that the work I create this week is better than the work I created last week, and the work I create next week will be better than the work I created this week.... My style is becoming more and more detailed and dimensional, but I still strive to keep the bold, graphic aesthetic that makes it mine.
For me, culture, religion, history, mythology, and folklore are inexhaustible wells of inspiration, and if you mix these elements with your own imagination the possibilities are endless. The title of this issue of Big Up is tastemakers and influencers. What has had the most lasting influence in your art? Any heroes? Deep inspiration? For me, culture, religion, history, mythology, and folklore are inexhaustible wells of inspiration and if you mix these elements with your own imagination the possibilities are endless. Whom would you like to Big Up? I’d like to big up visual artist Tristan Eaton. That dude is so influential in this low brow art scene and he always has a ton of killer projects in the works at all times. For more on Chris Parks and Pale Horse: www.palehorsedesign.com 57
photo by Jeremy Deputat
person I was surprised by his grace with stardom. As I was trying to talk to him, three different groups of star-struck fans came up to shake his hand, get a picture, or gasp and point. Through all of this it was a relief to find he is humble, sincere, and kind.
Peanut Butter Wolf is a busy man who has kept his head to the ground and his ears to the streets and been able to do what he loves â€” support the music that inspires him.
We chatted briefly about his career, Stones Throw Records, and what has shaped him in becoming an innovator and a man who has inspired millions of people with his hard work in the music industry.
interview by Noah Bennett
PEANUT BUTTER WOLF
When I met Peanut Butter Wolf in
photo by Jeremy Deputat
Did you always want to be an artist? First I wanted to be a veterinarian and move to Australia and help the koala bears. Then I wanted to be an inventor. If Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb and the phonograph, my goal as a kid was to surpass that. Then one of my classmates in my high school started Yahoo! and I settled for Stones Throw. Now my younger cousin moved to Australia as a veterinarian.
In terms of the level of talent I’m involved with, it’s the cream of the crop in my opinion.
to focus on my career with him and we got signed to a major. Then our record got shelved and Charizma got killed and took a break. I started making music for other labels and found myself promoting the records more than the label was, so I realized Stones Throw was something I needed to do. Did you ever think that Stones Throw and the work you've been doing would be this successful? In terms of the level of talent I’m involved with, it’s the cream of the crop in my opinion. So in that sense, it couldn’t be more successful. But I don’t ever look at the label as a success, because I know we could be reaching more people than we currently are.
How did Stones Throw start? I started a label in 1990 and put out one 12” single with two other people and it flopped. Through that I met Charizma and decided I didn’t wanna be in the label side anymore. I wanted 60
When was the first time you felt the impact of Stones Throw? The first time I felt the impact was in 1996 at the KRS-One “Step Into A World” video shoot. I had just gotten
the test pressing for the very first Stones Throw release (Charizma’s “My World Premier”) and asked his DJ Kenny Parker to play it after the video shoot was over. KRS started nodding his head, turned around and asked what it was, and I raised my hand. The next day KRS introduced me to Red Alert and co-signed for my record, even though I’d just met him. Then I knew Stones Throw had arrived. Amazing. What was the moment you felt the proudest about Stones Throw? ...Maybe the one I just told you about. KRS is hip hop. Tell me about your newest signees to Stones Throw and the direction you are going with them. There’s a lot. As far as “new directions,” I have always been into different types of music since even the age of nine or ten. There was a crossover between disco and soul, and rap and new wave
back then, and Stones Throw supports all those scenes (and many more) now. I just didn’t know artists outside of the hip hop scene when I started the label in ‘96. With the start of my 7” series in the late '90s, I opened up the label to different stuff and never looked back.
Everyone’s influenced by someone, but for me, the most fulfilling thing is when people who have influenced me tell me I influence them. That’s really rewarding. Do you feel as if you have influenced others? Everyone’s influenced by someone, but for me, the most fulfilling thing is when people who have influenced me tell me I influence them. That’s really rewarding. Who influences you? Who inspired you in the beginning? In the beginning, my parents inspired and influenced me. I did things to get their approval. Then I became a teenager and did the opposite, like everyone else. There was no internet when I was growing up, so I was influenced by TV, radio, and buying records. I wanted to be a DJ when I was around 12, but didn’t know there was anything else beyond radio DJs till I started going to school dances and house parties and actually seeing what deejaying was. By that time, I already had a mixer and two turntables so I could make mixtapes. This was around 1985...
I’m constantly checking email. I get several emails per minute. It's frustrating and increasingly hard to stay organized. Standing on stage in Japan last night, celebrating 15 years of my record label, I realized, the first time I stood on a stage in front of an audience as a DJ was over 25 years ago. That bugged me out.
What was your best international show? The last two nights in Japan have been up there. We had two earthquakes three days ago out here and I haven’t been that scared in a while. My mom has a good sense of premonition and she begged me to not come out here right now, 'cause it was too dangerous. So when the earthquake hit, I’m thinking “why didn’t I listen to her." Oh shit! What were you doing, when the earthquake hit? The first one hit at around midnight and I was emailing (of course). I ran down the stairs and got a nice adrenaline rush, then waited an hour to find out where the epicenter was, how strong it was, and if the nuclear reactor was damaged more. Second one, I was in the airport with Mayer and J Rocc and the three of us instantly turned into chickens. It lasted a minute. A very long minute.
...stress is a killer. At a certain level you have to let go of certain things and be thankful of what you have accomplished and thankful for the ties you have with friends, family members, and your dog. What would your autobiography be called? Pinch Myself, Then Kick Myself. As you approach your 15th anniversary, Tell me about the direction of Stones Throw in the next 15 years. I don’t wanna make up some bullshit. Don't then! Tell me about how amazing James Pant's new album is, because it's awesome! It’s awesome! We gotta get James to the US to do some shows and let the people know he exists. For the most part, this country has no idea. Latest record purchase?
How do you juggle your roles as a DJ and a label owner? I email people from my hotel room or my Blackberry. I’m constantly checking email. I get several emails per minute. It's frustrating and increasingly hard to stay organized.
I found a copy of "Los Niños Del Parque" by Liaisons Dangereuses yesterday. That was pretty cool. Favorite Madlib song?
Is it stressful? How do you take time for yourself?
Hell yeah, it’s stressful! I had really bad stomach problems and lost weight a few years ago. My face started caving in and I looked like a drug addict, even though I don’t touch drugs (besides beef, sugar, booze, and caffeine). But yeah, stress is a killer. At a certain level you have to let go of certain things and be thankful of what you have accomplished and thankful for the ties you have with friends, family members, and your dog.
"Elements for Mr. Crabfeather." Hands down. How did you meet Madlib and Egon? I met Madlib around 96. He released a record through his dad’s label and I contacted his dad. Egon came a few years later. He was booking shows at his college and booked me to DJ a couple of his shows.
photo by Jeremy Deputat
Name one record that Egon has that you'd want to get from him. I don’t know his record collection like that, but I’m sure he has a few. If I could trade record collections with anyone in the world, though, I’d hold on to my own instead. I have the best records for my personal taste. Period. The record industry is said to be collapsing. How will it survive? That one’s out of my hands. Smart work or hard work? Both. But if I had to choose one or the other, I would always go with smart.
If I could trade record collections with anyone in the world, though, I’d hold on to my own instead. I have the best records for my personal taste. Period.
What advice would you give to a young producer?
Favorite boogie or disco song?
Best dinner under 30 bucks in Los Angeles?
I’m on that mid- to late- '80s Minneapolis influenced kick at the moment. Stuff like Dam-Funk’s Adolescent Funk. The Prophet album still sounds good too. I discovered that years ago and people looked at me sideways. Now I think they’re ready.
Listen to everything. What would you say to a young record label owner? Listen to everything.
McDonalds. Best dinner over 30 bucks in LA ? I take it back. I hate McDonalds.
New from Full Melt BAY AREA DUBSTEP Volume 3 //
17 New tracks from the San Francisco Bay Area's hottest producers.
CD's available worldwide and at all online retailers.
wAgAwAga "Earthshake" //
The newest release from Ireland's wAgAwAgA finds the producer at the top of his game. Live acoustic instruments mesh together with the skeletal remains of dubstep, all wrapped up with lush production and studio trickery. The logical extension of what dubstep can become.
HIDDEN MOVES 64
Hidden moves is both the child and playground of Rhys Owens â€” A seriously talented artist from Wales.
He claims his dark and slightly ironic characters are a product of an overactive imagination and too much caffeine. But he admitted to us that it also involves some 3d Modeling, photography, and digital illustration. Read on to find out more.
interview by Katya Guseva
The Morning After
Panda No. 3
Can you recollect a specific defining moment, maybe from your childhood, when you realized you wanted to become an artist?
Apparently you use photography and 3D modeling. I couldn't tell just by looking at your art. At what point do they come into the process?
I don’t think there was ever a specific moment when I discovered a passion for art, but it’s always been something that I enjoy doing.
Photography and 3D are really the two main components in my work. There are no real traditional illustration techniques used, mainly because I scrawl like a child when compared to many of the artists and illustrators I admire today.
I’m almost certain that if I tried posting artwork on the street myself, I’d be caught red-handed on my first night – wheatpaste bucket in hand and a sheepish grin on my face. I do remember, however, developing a love of comics at an early age. It started off with traditional British comics like The Dandy and The Beano, before moving onto American stuff like the X-Men in the early 1990s. This probably fueled my passion for art more than anything else. How did the idea of Hidden Moves come up? What meaning do you put into this name? I was watching a lot of ninja-based animé when I came up with the name in 2008. I also liked the way it suggested something subversive, which is a huge contrast to my real-life persona. I imagine you being a street kid, graffiti writer causing trouble in the neighborhood. Am I far off? Do you make any street art? I participated in the Toronto Street Advertising Takeover (ToSAT) project where many of the dedicated advertising spaces in Toronto were "taken over" by pieces of art. However, I’m almost certain that if I tried posting artwork on the street myself, I’d be caught red-handed on my first night – wheatpaste bucket in hand and a sheepish grin on my face.
I begin a piece with a rough idea of what I want to create, plus a number of props that I either borrow or buy. I then photograph these props in a small, makeshift photographic studio I call "the Shed." The next step is to combine these photos with stock images of animals, people, or whatever I can get my hands on, before incorporating the 3D element, which provides the high level of detail you’ll see in my work. Interesting. Have you ever tried collaborating with other artists? Or do you prefer working alone? I have collaborated in the past, but I find it difficult to merge two different styles of work into one collaboration successfully. The finished piece usually ends up being in the style of one artist, with a few ideas thrown in from the party least involved. I’m speaking from limited experience though.
People often assume I listen to metal or music that’s quite heavy because my work can be quite dark, but I’m inspired less by the style of a piece of music and more by the fact that I want to create something that’s as well executed as the songs I listen to.
I’m not trying to make any statements with my work, even though it can be interpreted that way, but hopefully there is an element of humour that’s apparent. Would you yourself describe your art as dark? There’s definitely a dark element to a lot of my work, but hopefully this is offset with a little humor. Well, now that you mention it, and mind you I might be completely off here, but in your art I see the resemblance to Banksy. Would it be wrong to say you're inspired by street art with social commentary and a bit of irony or sarcasm? I would definitely say I’m inspired by Banksy and street art in general, but the comparison is often based on style more than anything else.
What kind of music are you into? I’m always playing music of some sort while I work. It’s usually a combination of old stuff and newer stuff – some Rolling Stones followed by a bit of Lykke Li or the National.
I find it difficult to merge two different styles of work into one collaboration successfully. The finished piece usually ends up being in the style of one artist, with a few ideas thrown in from the party least involved.
I’m not trying to make any statements with my work, even though it can be interpreted that way, but hopefully there is an element of humor that’s apparent. Whom would you like to big up? I’d like to thank the creative and talented people who follow @hiddenmoves on Twitter, for all the support.
For more on Hidden Moves and for Hidden Moves store visit: www.hiddenmoves.com
Fight Or Flight
One Blind Mouse
Tokimonsta – Creature Dreams [Brainfeeder]
Jennifer Lee has an apparent fondness for referencing the night hours in her releases. Last year's debut long-player Midnight Menu is followed by the Creature Dreams EP, which is a nod to her tendency to compose and record at night, when others are dreaming. She's dreaming too, in a way; the LA-based scene of which she is a seemingly reluctant member – she calls it “just like any other small home-knit group” – revels in spacey sounds and psychedelic textures rarely experienced when awake. The beats showcased by Jennifer on this EP are for the most part, in keeping with what we heard on Midnight Menu; high-tempo, polyrythmic, and bristling with energy. This aesthetic is most evident on "Bright Shadows," "Moving Forward," and "Stigmatizing Sex," the three consecutive tracks that constitute the spine and conceptual core of the album. However, Toki is happy to take it down a couple of notches on the two tracks that feature vocals by Gavin Turek. What Turek adds, lyrically and musically, is variety to a collection of tracks that could otherwise be labelled somewhat one-paced. "Little Pleasures" and "Darkest (Dim)" each suggest Tokimonsta is more than capable of crafting a beat to accommodate vocals. The latter track is especially remarkable, verging on acoustic, "Darkest (Dim)" is positively pretty, an adjective rarely levelled at this type of music. Overall, the EP seems to embody a lot of the anxieties held by those who struggle to maintain a consistent sleep cycle. Many of the song titles could be obliquely read as allusions to this anxiety, but what seems clearer is the
tone of the music itself in relation to Tokimontsa's state of mind. There is a sense here that Creature Dreams is a feverish, frustrated document of something a little larger; personal or professional anxiety. The restless sense of inadequacy, shared by everyone, that you're not doing quite as much as you'd intended; not enough work or enough study. It can seem churlish to infer that about a successful recording artist, but often the most creative minds are the ones most prone to that sort of introspection. With a release as accomplished as Creature Dreams, Tokimonsta has ensured her position among the instrumental hip-hop A-list, with no little credit to her and also to Steven Ellison a.k.a. Flying Lotus. Ellison's nurturing of artists like Tokimonsta through his Brainfeeder imprint have done almost as much as his own music to fundamentally invert the perceptions of instrumental hip-hop as filler; a nice distraction from 'real thing' but ultimately an imperfect substitute. Given, it seems, the paucity of good rap these days – yes, Curren$y, Odd Future and Cool Kids fans, we haven't forgotten about you – the beats scene is stepping up its game, in the process reminding rappers that there is competition around. Consider also how high the standard for production has actually been set now in hip-hop; new sounds, trends and textures are being examined seemingly with each passing week. Jennifer Lee is playing her part in all of this, no doubt. words by Mateo Szlapek-Sewillo 71
fLako – The Mesektet [Project Mooncircle] Nowadays vocalists rely heavily on producers and memorable beats. A vocalist’s talent should outweigh the production to the point that if there were no beats it’d still be a stellar project – but let’s face it, that’s not true these days. With that in mind, Chileanbred producer fLako creates The Mesektet, a delicately crafted project, out via Project Moon Circle.
amongst others on the project, can possibly make you nod your head to the point of whiplash or shake your hips to the point of numbing. fLako opens the song in a rather simple way with little instrumentation, and the rest of the song comes on with great production taking you on almost a hip-hop expedition through a haunted house, somber but amazing at the same time.
fLako combines all that’s been missing in music into a foundation for a 30-track beat tape, which kind of puts you in the mindset of the legendary J.Dilla’s Donuts (2006) by using rather short songs for the perfect hip-hop driven beat tape. Unlike J.Dilla’s classic, fLako’s project uses very few vocal samples with the exception of “Drops,” “One Quarter,” “Lords of Chaos,” and “Hotsh.” You could easily hear some of J.Dilla’s long time companions – Slum Village, Common, Busta Rhymes – rapping over many of fLako's beats. At track four, “Sluggish Thing” listeners are taken on a crazy ride that contradicts the name of the track. This song
“With You” is perhaps one of my personal favorites on the album. fLako uses a little bit of everything for inspiration for this song. It’s mellow, but not overwhelmingly mellow and the end beat 40 seconds into the song, and the added element of the slight vocal sample make the song even better.
Just four tunes into this compilation all I could think is, "Goddamn This Is So Good." It's so right on I could be having my teeth drilled by a student dentist and this could be playing on the intercom and I would be thinking, "This is fuckin' sweet!" It's like the guys at Hessle Audio rigged the dodgeball game and somehow got all the electronic music MVP's of the past year on their team: Addison Groove, James Blake, Pearson Sound, Pangaea, Peverelist, Untold, Cosmin TRG, D1, Elgato, Blawan, Joe, and Randomer. All the other teams aren't even mad, they're just like, "Daaaayamn" and have to put on their Ray Bans to keep from going blind because this group of artists is so Super Hadouken. Now I'll admit, I've been out of the game as a DJ for a little while, (because sometimes you gotta just swing on a vine in the jungle) but I still know what I knew before I even started deejaying, which
is that if I played this stuff to a group of people in a room with awesome speakers, I'll bet you my last $10, panties will drop. And I'm not talking like, grey used-to-bewhite Hanes from Walmart I mean like... really nice panties. From wherever really nice panties come from. Why? Because this music is classy. It's smart, it's wellproduced, it's punchy and cheeky, and it's sexy without being cheap. But you're probably not surprised by any of this because Hessle Audio has, since day one, never released a tune below the line of their astronomically discriminating standards. Other labels take note: I would buy a Hessle release without even listening to it because I know it's going to be dope. Labels like Hessle make every DJ's job easier.
At a time when Chicago juke- and footworkinfluenced tracks are beginning to sound like the 2011 take on the "Baltimore Remix," anybody should feel pleasantly surprised and refreshed by Room(s) – the latest effort from NY-based Travis Stewart, aka Machinedrum. Not surprising at all, this release comes from the Planet Mu label, which seems to constantly have kept itself on the cutting-edge of modern bass music having heralded dubstep's earliest efforts. The label continues it's trend-setting with this exploration of modern bass music from Machinedrum. Starting off with tracks like "She Died There" and "Now U Know Tha Deal 4 Real" the influence of skiddish Chicago percussion is evident early in Room(s), with a heavy emphasis on sharp blistering percussion. Definitely a sharp step forward from Machinedrum's established styles on his Merck releases. The influence of Stewart's tenure in Sepalcure is evident on tracks like "U Don't Survive" and the title
track "Door(s)," utilizing lush, deliberately evolving environments on top of undeniably dance oriented rhythms. Admittedly, I have found a lot of the current wave of juke-influenced music uninspiring at best, tracks that sound unfinished not only at their seemingly low-fidelity and 100-second arrangements. Never having that problem with the catalog of Machinedrum or Planet Mu, my appreciation for this may seem equally as obvious as unexpected. Machinedrum gives exceptional focus to the swath of sounds used to create a dense polyrhythmic soundscape. Everything comes together quite nicely on this full-length that sees the continued evolution on Machinedrum effectively citing modern club music's myriad influences without being exceptionally obvious, effectively adding his own trademarks to push the evolution into new ground.
What made me give this album the "fifth star" – besides the fact that everything on the album is great, including the brilliant artwork by Dan May – is its superbly arranged flow, which takes listeners on an interesting journey through the beat land. words by Erin Duncan
116 & Rising [Hessle Audio]
Machinedrum – Room(s) [Planet µ]
words by Josephine Tempongko
words by Owen Renn
Wiley – 100% Publishing [Big Dada]
Since day dot, one of the most influential and prolific individuals to perpetuate the proliferation of grime has been the one like Wiley. Seven albums later, boy betta' know, mans doin' it again! This one called 100% Publishing, so titled for the fact that Wiley has done all the work himself. Back to Big Dada, he's finally gotten his wish and had complete control of the music, literally having written, recorded, and produced everything on the album on his own. Setting it off with "Information Age," he gets straight to business with a clanky banger that sounds like someone forgot to oil the Iron Giant, but he's still dancing. Just a short one, with a flow to remind you Wiley is the best. Second on the lineup is the title track with some of the heaviest production on the album. Big bad bass rolls out over running punchy drums, punctuated with a spacious
snare. The bars are on display here as well with that old-skool Wiley style he knows they want from him. Next up is the first single on the record, "Numbers in Action." Mostly just saturated drums, bass, lots of bit-crushed percussion this 90 bpm 808 slapper is simple and effective. Did I mention the video is sweet? Go YouTube and check it! "Boom Boom Da Na" is fourth in line, back to 140, and oh this f*cking tune! On first listen one might be tempted to slate it for a circus riddim, but then it drops and it's just too catchy! Bet you find yourself humming it tomorrow… Following that is "Your Intuition," a little more pop-oriented; lush pads and a fuzzy saw lead give way to a ride and percussion-laden beat, effective at the club or at your house party. Next, Wiley "Just Woke Up" and dropped a hot verse over a drummer that grew up listening to Clyde Stubblefield drum solos. Sick. The seventh son of the record is "Wise Man and His Words," which has a wicked piano hook over snappy drums with a fat saw bass. This one equally suited to the headphones or the dancefloor. Every artist album has to have a love song, innit? Eighth track – a wonky jam about a "Pink Lady" he fancies – could hit the top 40 charts, shuffling along smoothly. Contrasting is another banger in – "Yonge Street." Back down to straight-up UK hip hop, this tune is badbwoy, I swear down! Next is "Up There," an aspirational grime tune, where Wiley reassures himself and the world that he's still got it, introspective and braggadocious simultaneously. Ok, let's "Talk About Life," as with the love song every album also has to have the slow jam. It's soulful, mellow, and radio friendly, but it's not necessarily grime. Fortunately, if there's one thing I can tell you for sure it's that Wiley is not a "One Hit Wonder," and the track of the same name is proof. I'm pretty sure this is the final nail in the Wiley vs Dot Rotten beef. I'm not really sure how Dot could send for man in the first place, Eskiboy invented this music... Closing it out we've got "To Be Continued." If Logic and a Nintendo made sweetsweet love, the baby would be this tune. It starts off kinda groovy, and drops with big square bass and a snare that cracks like a whip. This one is a proper tune to finish up the album or finish up your set. All in all a solid album showcasing Wiley's chops as a producer have improved and his skill with the bars haven't diminished. Wiley is still at the top of his game. I strongly recommend this to any fans of flows-so-tight-they-sound-quantized, bangin' beats, saw waves, sub bass, and jams! words by Jason Suave
Silkie – City Limits Vol. 2 [Deep Medi Musik] The album opens up with two collaborations: "Feel," featuring New Zealand's Truth and "Snowed In," a joint effort with Von D. I was immediately struck by how musically motivated both were. Ignoring the doldrums of simply sticking a few loops together with some generic breaks, Silkie creates his own recipe for success. One part sexy, mixed with a heaping helping of heavy, blended masterfully with just a pinch of his top secret herbs and spices to keep an unmistakably "silkie" swing to the rhythms.
It was a cold and rainy morning in San Diego when I received a last minute e-mail asking me to review an album. Since my neighbor feels the need to call the landlord and complain the second he hears bass, I decided to hop in the car and drive to a local park to preview Silkie's latest endeavour City Limits Vol. 2 at proper listening levels. After a quick sample of some of California's finest medical marijuana I was on my way!
Part of the beauty of doing a twelve-track album is that it allows the artist to paint a complete landscape. Rather than trying to fit everything into two or three singles, the proficient can elaborate and create individual portraits, conveying diverse emotions that appeal to wide-ranging audiences. With "Get Up N Dance" Silkie shows us a slightly different side with this 4/4 club banger. This tune leaves the creator's trademark stamp on the dance floor. With melodic keys and stabbing horn riffs leading the charge there's plenty of dulcet articulation for the most refined dilettante, but is countered by high energy synth-driven bass lines that provide more than enough hype to keep even the most uninitiated crowds moving well into the night. London's badman continues to let his versatility shine with "Rock the Funk," a genre-defying
excursion through dub, drum and bass, halfstep, and downtempo, while "Lucky Master," "New York City," "Selva Nova," and "Taxi Me Get" bring us back to the more familiar territory of dark, groove-inspired dub. It seems through his multifariousness, the Deep Medi veteran has carved out a unique niche for himself. The track titled... well... "Untitled," featuring Skream, is one of my favorites and really showcases a refreshingly broad and unique sonic palate. At first drop, this call to the dancefloor is extremely heavy and nasty, with the power to spark panic and incite riots. But by the 1:30 mark the vibe of the tune is somehow transformed into that of feel-good rainbow lasers at the cosmic disco. A truly unexpected and inspirational tune. The album closes out with "Boogie Boy," "Only 4 U," and "Outlook," which can only be described as "where babies come from." I am imploring the listener to wear protection while enjoying these songs, as these three tunes are quite possibly comprised of the same frequencies that began life here on Earth. All-in-all, I would say if you are intimidated by beauty, this album will scare the shit out of you. But if you want to explore the infinite vastness of the electronic universe, City Limits Vol. 2 offers a glimpse into a world of possibilities that seem to be simultaneously unique to both Silkie and Deep Medi. words by Puppy Kicker
V.I.V.E.K.– Eyes Down [Deep Medi Musik] The subterranean sounds of Deep Medi artist V.I.V.E.K. transmit a power so intense, it can bring a heart to its knees. His latest inception Eyes Down EP opens a portal into an expanding universe of deep physical rhythms, far surpassing the common formula for today’s hype music. V.I.V.E.K. lays down this EP with the perfect sustenance for thirsty ears, with a variety of melodic harmonies, propelling beats and concentrated bass. “Big Bang,” a track whose sounds resemble the galactic elements of space stretching the wavelengths of time, appropriately sets the stage with its themed introduction. “Big Bang” is no theory, it’s a fact: bass lays the foundation for our musical universe. And housed within that beautiful universe is the second track titled “Spread Love.” With soothing pads and a simple message, it is a serene ensemble that will invigorate a sense of adoration within. “Sirens” kicks in next, firing up any particles in the universe that may have cooled down during the love serenade, with perky organs, sexy reeds, and bass that rolls right into the age of dub. As your mind shifts back into orbit, “Eyes Down” draws a beautiful parallel of energetically relaxing beats that slowly closes the portal to V.I.V.E.K.’s glimpse into the cosmos. From start to finish, Eyes Down EP penetrates deep by way of backbone to inner soul, leaving behind a feeling that our universe truly is infinite.
words by Ivy Something
Adventures in Dubstep And Beyond [Ministry of Sound] Ministry of Sound puts out another expansive compilation of dubstep and related basswise sounds following in the wake of the successful Adventures in Dubstep and Beyond. Like the first, music journalist Joe Muggs curates this second volume. Too often a compilation with a genre in its name is shackled to a particular sound – not so in this case. The compilation is divided into two CDs not only by tempo but also by theme. The first disc is slower and more exploratory while the second is at a more standard dubstep tempo of around 140 and rather in your face.
words by Stephen Floor
Showcasing the diversity of sound of “dubstep” (who knows what this even means anymore) the first disc ranges from tracks that could be out of Lil Wayne’s studio to soulful transmissions from Alpha Centauri and everything in between. Highlights include “Christopher,” a selection from Heny G’s new album along with “Bass 96” from his fellow Antisocial members Jay 5ive and Kromestar, and Geiom’s “Heat Sync” which was written specifically for this compilation. I was most taken aback by LuckyMe artist Lunice’s (who apparently has King Kong wearing a hypercolor T-shirt in the trunk) bass-heavy rumbler “Hitmane’s Anthem.” If your sub is plugged in you’ll know when this tune comes on. Disc one has other strong selections from Modepth, Lostlojic & Bisweed, Africa Hitech, Kidkanevil remixed by Throwing Snow, and more.
The second disc mostly consists of the harder sound in dubstep with a few notable exceptions from Gumnaam, Chefal, Rustie, and Zed Bias (who also wrote “Hero Style Licks” just for this compilation). Chefal’s “Electro Bashment” combines a sax hook, gameboy bleeps, vicious stabs, and a rolling digi bassline with excellent results. And Royal T with Asa and Khan produce “Side Effect” that seems designed for an evil android DMX from the future to flow over. The lighter, string-driven “Hero Style Licks” from Zed Bias is a bit of an intermission between the raw sounds of Jak a Tron and Evol Intent but is a necessary break. Evol Intent gets filthy on “Paradize City” with a synth melody that belongs to '90s era G-funk hip hop that sadly is squashed by the overblown midrange growls. For me the second disc is weaker than the first, but respect due to Joe Muggs for selecting from all sounds that might be called “dubstep,” and music is in the ears of the beholder. Overall the compilation succeeds in its mission of showcasing a huge variety in sound and is a great introduction for the uninitiated, though stalwarts may find it a bit random. With exclusives from Geiom and Zed Bias along with some prerelease material and a number of quality selections throughout, the second volume of Adventures in Dubstep and Beyond is definitely an adventure in sound.
Kai Campos and Dom Maker, a.k.a. Mount Kimbie practically invented the “post-dubstep” moniker. Ears were instantly pricked up and refreshed when Sketch On Glass and Maybes were released on the dubstep imprint Hotflush. The sounds of Mount Kimbie were clearly indebted to the thriving dubstep tradition, yet, somehow, totally unclassifiable. And thus, the “post-dubstep” genre was born. Lack of genre name originality aside, the music emerging from this scene is nothing short of progressive and arty, more of a "thinking-man’sdubstep" (how's that for a genre title?)
In terms of style, it’s easy to compare them to young up-and-comer and sometimes touring companion James Blake, but where Blake uses minimalism to evoke mood, Mount Kimbie opt for a warmth that can only come from two passionate and talented individuals translating the sounds in their head to tape.
The only other new original Kimbie tracks on the EP are “Flux” and “Baves Chords.” In typical Mount Kimbie fashion, both tracks begin with a monotonous build, luring the listener into their surreal landscape before the beat begins to pulse. “Flux” is pure fun. Using various vocal samples and The Carbonated EP is more of a minimal percussion the duo creates a companion piece to 2010’s excellent Crooks & Lovers than a proper album. positive flow. “Flux” is far and away the most club friendly cut I’ve heard from The collection features only two new Mount Kimbie, yet it still retains that tracks, the joyously upbeat, almost detachment that is so unique to them, club ready “Flux,” and the preceding that feeling that beneath the surface, single “Baves Chords.” The rest of there’s more to these sounds than the record consists of the title track plus two remixes, as well as a remix of meets the ear. “Adriatic” off of Crooks. “Baves Chords,” the only single EP opener “Carbonated” is an outstanding record no matter where it’s heard. The blissed-out intro fades perfectly into the track's second half, a slow build of tape hiss, vocal snippets, and what sounds like a lone drummer playing his heart out on anything remotely percussive, desperately trying to bring this mid tempo gem to life. That organic quality, the feeling that there might possibly be someone tapping along with the laptop is what makes Mount Kimbie so appealing. There’s organic warmth present in their music that few traditional dubstep artists have been able to replicate.
“Adriatic,” a cut from their first LP gets a “facelift” from Klaus. It’s an interesting cut to work with, seeing how it functioned mainly as a brief interlude on their first LP and now, acts primarily as a long, monotonous interlude. The track retains a dark ambiance, but unlike much of Mount Kimbie’s output, that yearning to dig deeper into the track and uncover more from the music is utterly lacking. The two separate versions of “Carbonated,” one remixed by Airhead, the other by Peter van Hoesen are a bit more entertaining, if only slightly. Hoesen seems to have a better handle on the original, expanding on it’s uplifting tones and exploratory percussion, while the Airhead version tends to leave the listener wanting to flip back to the original cut.
Mount Kimbie is a rare commodity in the electronic music landscape. With Crooks & Lovers they proved that “post-dubstep” could thrive and flourish in the LP format. With The Carbonated EP, the duo further proves released from the EP, is vintage Kimbie. Again, the track opens with a that their creative wellspring is far from barely lucid intro, leaving the listener dry, particularly on the EP standout wading through the murk before finally “Baves Chords.” Unfortunately, the emerging on the other side, where the latter half of the EP interrupts the flow of things and leaves the listener beat’s pulsing and the samples are wanting to give Crooks & Lovers another cut, chopped, and looped into their spin through. All and all, a fine EP with own pocket symphony. some truly wonderful moments, but if My only complaint with this EP is the you’re looking for the essential Mount remixes. I understand that remixing Kimbie, give Crooks & Lovers a listen. is a vital part of electronic music, and plenty of mediocre tracks have been revived thanks to the help of another artist, however, Mount Kimbie have words by Sean Sanders such a singular, unique sound, it’s hard for another artist to expand on it.
Jackmaster – FabricLive 57 [Fabric] Jackmaster was presented with the daunting task of having to curate the succeeding FabricLive mix after Pearson Sound’s instant classic FabricLive 56, and the Glaswegian turntable maestro didn’t disappoint either. While his installment in the legendary FabricLive series might not be as innovative and genre-defining as Pearson Sounds’, Jackmaster was definitely able to deliver a flawlessly tight mix that will have you moving all summer long. However to mistake FabricLive 57 as just another party mix would be criminal, it’s more of a homage to the history and evolution of UK club music.
Featuring forgotten classics from the '80s and '90s seamlessly and effortlessly woven into modern day anthems, this mix has an eerie reminisce feel of a night out at the Haçienda during its heydays. If you have ever had the privilege of seeing Jackmaster live, you already know this FabricLive mix is going to be your official soundtrack for next few months.
words by Aeneas Panayiotou
J Majik & Wickaman – Old Headz / Ritual – [Metalheadz] Tight breaks, shuffling, stuttering, and pulling you forward, beckoning you onto the dancefloor. Synth melodies caress your tympanic membrane, and hit you deep in the chest. Vocals, saturated with reverb, smear themselves across the frequency spectrum, and all the while, a restrained reese bassline emerges from the depths. This isn't just drum n bass – it's fucking sexy, it's dirty, it's hard, it's sweaty, and it's loud. There's a reason that J Majik and
Wickaman have been around as long as they have (read: a long fucking time), they don't just write tunes, they sculpt sonic art that transgresses boundaries, by becoming instantly timeless. These two tracks, "Old Headz" and "The Ritual" could have come from the early days of Metalheadz, yet they are just as relevant today. Overall, it's a pleasure to know that drum 'n bass in this style is still strong today, and I'm looking forward to hearing more.
words by Aaron Zimmerman
Amon Tobin – Isam [Ninja Tune] Amon Tobin is one of the greatest sound designers in this day and age. And his new album Isam, picked up by the legendary Ninja Tune label, is a complete experimental masterpiece. I do warn you this is not your typical album. Amon Tobin is known for his unique soundscape and he went all in on this one. Throughout the whole album he set on a mission to create a piece of work that was made up of sounds none of traditional instrument could make. Sound creation is truly the name of this album compared to Amon's earlier work, which has drum and bass influences. Structure and tempo are completely thrown out the door on every track. The first half of Isam has a very atmospheric spacey feel to it. The adventure begins with an opening track that takes me back to one of my favorite childhood games "Journeyman." Amon Tobin takes the typical formula for songs, throws it out the window, and concentrates more on the actual sound and unique textures of music. The latter part of the album with tracks such as “Wooden Toy” and “Kitty Cat” follow more of a traditional style of songwriting, but only resemble this because of the friendly childish vocals that encompass the tracks, which give them a bit more structure. 76
Isam is a sullen tale of sound design. The overall collection of these twelve tracks flows like one giant abstract painting. While I don’t see any of these songs being used often on the dance floor you can’t help but go back to this album to take you away and open your mind to something new. Amon's style is unmatched and resembles almost no one. His originality and art is one of a dying breed. The closest thing you’ll find to this is by other like-minded geniuses in the same class as Eskmo. This LP does not end at just the music but will include a hard cover book featuring photos of the idea behind Isam and will also have a version that includes an interview with Amon Tobin as well as some extras. Tobin has also planed a tour around the album and has a unique visual performance set up specifically for this tour. You don’t want to miss out on the chance to see the art piece that is Isam: Control Over Nature.
words by Afro Monk
Brownswood Electr*c [Brownswood] While known for his international radio show, that showcases the best in funk, soul, hip hop and some electronic selections, Gilles Peterson has done it again with his second installment of Brownswood Electr*c. These compillations have become a snapshot of the future in bassdriven electronic music. Handpicked by Brownswood Collective’s Alex Stevenson, the second collection is an array of fantastical, forward thinking, lush tracks, by some of today’s brightest and deeper producers. Synko & Indigo’s "Knowing You" is a standout track. At 120 bpm, it takes dubstep mechanics at a house tempo and creates a dripping, lovely, bass-heavy tune that stays with you. MFP’s "Future Hopes" blaps along nicely, with drone electronics,
accented by car-trunk booming drum work. DJG’s "Automatic" has been freaking dance floors for a bit with its minimal bird chirps and driving drums backed up by heavy solid chest-hitting bass that DJG programs so well. Solid tunes from Monkey, Jus Wan, DJ Dials, HxdB, and others could inspire me to do a track-by-track review. All killer and no filler Brownswood Electr*c is a collection of 14 soulful tracks that do not disappoint and invite you to enjoy the future of bass music.
words by Sam Supa
NastyNasty – No Names [Planet µ] The highly regarded label Planet Mu has finally stepped up to release NastyNasty’s track “No Names,” a brutal affair, whose dark emotion resonates all the way to the brain’s deepest recesses. Combined with Heterotic’s funky, lighthearted remix, the No Names is a smart and succinct dose off the creamy top of modern bass music. Just as the brash attitude of Nas’ track “This World Is Yours” lends itself to a million hip hop remixes, the sample of Marvin Gaye’s “If This World Were Mine,” with its selfquestioning desire, is a perfect match for dubstep and NastyNasty’s dubbed out, glitchridden sound. “No Names” will be familiar to many music fans, as the track has been making the bootleg rounds for almost two years and was instrumental in the NastyNasty’s rise to prominence. From the Bay Area community to dance floors across the USA, crucial component of any bass music lover’s arsenal of sound, “No Names” is a crushing track,
whose leaden limbs and bleeding heart has reached around the world. The pendulum swings back and keeps going for “No Names (Heterotic Remix),” an airy, spacious track that shifts the feeling of the EP upwards. Heterotic (aka Mike Paradinas and Lara Rix-Martin) flip the title track right on its back for the remix, exposing an underbelly of straight sunshine that fills the beats with an energetic and almost effervescent mood. Marvin Gaye’s voice is highlighted here, adding an ethereal quality to the music and pulling the funky-flavored track skyward. Together, the two tracks display the bright side of the ongoing evolution of bass-flavored music – and will leave you hungry for another helping of NastyNasty.
words by Shilo Urban
Lando Kal – Further / Time Out [Hotflush] Lando Kal is mostly recognized as making up one half of the Lazer Sword duo with Low Limit. This release debuts his skillful talent as a solo artist on Hotflush. “Further” is a beautiful piece of music that takes elements from different genres with a sexy female vocal stab looped over and over. Lando pushes a funky groovy juke-esk feel on this one rhythmic beat. The sample “Further, Anything to make this love go further, forever” adds the perfect balance to gradual build of the synth lines and bass hits towards the end of the track. “Time Out” showcases Lando Kal’s eerier side with hypnotic vocal samples all over the place. The track has a very spacey warp tone to it that explores simplicity with a touch of wilderness. This release is easily one of my favorites for 2011 and should not be overlooked.
words by Afro Monk
Jeans by Railcar Kate is wearing: Outfit by American Apparel Shoes by Debbie Heels
Corbin is wearing: Chor is wearing: Jacket & shirt by Bush & T-shirt by Black Scale Leavenworth
Photography by Kelly Nicolaisen Production by Devon Chulick Models: Corbin Cones & Kate Gibbons
Kate is wearing: Outfit by American Apparel Shoes by Debbie Heels
Shoes by TOMS Kate is wearing: Shirt by Cheap Monday Vintage tights Shoes by Black Drama & OZZY
Chor isiswearing: Corbin wearing: Shorts &by shirt by NUCO T-shirt Black Scale
Corbin is wearing: Shirt by Mister Pants by Cheap Monday Shoes by Vans
Corbin is wearing: Shirt by Mister Pants by Cheap Monday Shoes by Vans Kate is wearing: Top by Cheap Monday Necklace by Broke Jewelry
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Featuring Kode9, Mary Anne Hobbs, Gilles Peterson, Peanut Butter Wolf, Joe Muggs, Hidden Moves, Dres13, Chris Parks, and Matt W. Moore. Cove...
Published on Jun 3, 2011
Featuring Kode9, Mary Anne Hobbs, Gilles Peterson, Peanut Butter Wolf, Joe Muggs, Hidden Moves, Dres13, Chris Parks, and Matt W. Moore. Cove...