Myself & Others is a year-old London promo group organized by freelance music journalists Tiffany Calver and Errol Anderson. The two usually bring budding underground artists to the fore with regular mixtape features, but in the spirit of the season, they’ve put together a musical advent calendar. Hip hop, soul, downtempo — each day is a new earworm coming from rising names like Karma Kid, Ta-ku, and Stwo. We’ll keep updating this playlist as Christmas day draws near; definitely one to keep coming back to. Check out Myself & Others here.
After a week-long hiatus, we’re back with new music. Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd together make Marian Hill, an electronic pop duo breaking ground with a new 7″ release yesterday — A-side Got It and B-side Lips — and despite the former reaching #1 on HypeM in October, the latter is our favorite song we’ve heard from the two yet (if you have a soft spot for AlunaGeorge, this one is for you). They met in their childhood, Lloyd hearing Gongol’s voice for the first time at a middle school talent show. After a few years working independent gigs in composition and songwriting, the two got back in touch and began developing a collaboration project: Marian Hill. Now at home in Philadelphia, the two are leaving an impression. And with Lips, they’ve brandished a lot of raw songwriting firepower and creative ammunition — lots of potential for the future.
Check out Marian Hill here.
The second off jackLNDN’s upcoming Summer Never Ends – Vol. 1 EP, with an airy deep house taste. The song structure is very simple from start to finish, but the details and groove in between keep you interested. Filtered vowels and dub rhythms that oscillate underneath the hook, reverse-reverb fades, interplay between the arps and percussion . . . at the end of the day, a predictable but undeniably polished stand-out release from a producer gaining big notoriety recently.
Check out jackLNDN here.
Often you come across a song that puts you on the fence. There’s something off about it, something different, something weird and jarring but that’s exactly what keeps you coming back. And while you’re vacillating back and forth, trying to decide black-and-white whether you like this song or not . . . your headphones fall silent and you realize that you’ve just finished your 6th replay. Face it: you love it. That’s exactly how I felt with Zach Witness’ interpretation of Brainwave that surfaced last week (inspired from Hudson Mohawke’s original concept piece). It has a lot of quirky charm, embellishing glitches and samples, and one of the most suspenseful builds I’ve heard in a while — tension snapped with the most rewarding and monumental release. So, if you feel like you need a little taste of something entirely different, give Brainwave a spin.
Check Zach Witness out here.
Ruck P, of hip-hop turntable duo Ruck N’ Wiz and nu-disco trio Boulevard 95, releases his first solo EP with Flow-Fi. It’s a snapshot of his production skill, stretching across a broad range of genres from jazz and soul to hip-hop and downtempo. Crisp sounds for some weekend r&r featuring artwork from Aywy.
You may remember a while back when we covered Alexander Lewis’ release with Brasstracks. He’s back with a new one, this time with SYZYGY records. IMY (‘I Miss You’) is a short but sweet future bass treat, another nice installment from a producer we’ve grown fond of. What I love about this track is the chord structure and the way it’s presented — lots of lush 7ths and tense diminished voicings.
Check out Alexander Lewis here.
KOAN Sound started out as a fairly nondescript dubstep project in 2008. But after three years of experimentation, the Bristol duo began to develop a niche in production techniques and start broadening the scope of their style. 2011 marked this turning point with the release of three EPs, the last being Funk Blaster on Skrillex’s label OWSLA, which rocketed to #1 on Beatport’s release charts. In addition to expanding on their glitch hop and dub influences, their music had been injected with a healthy dose of funk and groove. This new flavor grew over the next few years with concept albums like The Adventures of Mr. Fox, Sanctuary (which features some beautiful collaboration work that really draws outside the lines for KOAN), and my personal favorite, Dynasty, from earlier this year.
Carmody (songwriter-vocalist) and Tom Misch (19 year old multi-instrumentalist) have teamed up to develop an EP, Out To Sea, set to drop on December 8th. The single they’ve been pushing is So Close, an intimate duet that showcases the magic that follows when these two get together. Carmody and Tom’s vocal timbres feel very separated and nuanced, but the differences work to support them together as a unit. Beauty can be found in every part of this song and every corner of the mix, but their harmonies bring the emotion, and bring us back over and over again.
Just a few weeks ago we fell in love with Mazde’s Shifted Thoughts EP, marking the launch of Stoney Roads Records. Now to follow up we have a debut from Sydney’s Dylan Wright (vocals) and Andrew Grant (production), better known together as La Mar. The duo turned heads upon uploading a demo of Anchor several months ago. The song caught fire and eventually served as the impetus for business talks with Stoney Roads Records. Now La Mar is firmly rooted in the scene with this, their debut EP release. It’s an impressive introduction, and features a noteworthy Mazde remix that cleverly plays with the vocal rhythm of the original.
UNBLOOM is a brand new electronic project, active for only a month now. This week saw the release of a second new piece online: Feel This Way. We exchanged a few words with the nameless producer working behind the scenes, and learned that UNBLOOM’s aim is to ‘explore the nuances of texture, juxtaposing sharp sounds with warm, pseudo-natural sounds.’ There is a reason behind the anonymity: ‘I have kept my name anonymous in order to avoid personal biases and prejudices from my closest peers. I wanted to attain an unbiased account of my music . . . I wanted to explore how anonymity could help (or even hinder) the music I create. I can say that I am 21 years old and live in a city outside of Toronto, in Canada.’ Feel This Way features some wonderfully layered synths and textures, and firmly planting UNBLOOM on our radar for the future.
Check out UNBLOOM here.
‘Each track will be uploaded once I’m completely happy with them and feel they’re finished’ — Stylish Rodent has been slowly but steadily working on a new EP, titled Enigmatic. Listening to the three tracks he’s released so far, it’s going to be just that. A restless group of sounds indecisively vacillating between glitch and future bass, like the inside of his hyperactive mind. The latest single, Newfound Gaiety (Chartreuse), goes one step further. At times it can be sensory overload, to the point that a lot of its charm comes simply from trying to stay oriented as textures whirl around your eardrums. Alfie Morgan-Flower, the producer behind it all, has said himself, ‘this is the track I’m most proud of on this EP.’ And if you’re wondering ‘why Chartreuse?’, he explains: ‘Each strip of colour you see on the cover art represents a track on the EP. No real meaning behind this choice, just wanted to do something cool with the art direction for the release.’
Check out Stylish Rodent here.
We recently had a chance to talk with up-and-coming dance producer Ollygon. Despite being fresh out the gate with only three tracks published, he’s been gaining momentum since his original Double Jump was featured on edm.com, and we’re excited to see where his ‘Cute House’ sound takes him in the near future.
Black Sheep Music: Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you settle on the name Ollygon?
Ollygon: Well, my name’s Olly. I’m from York in England and I am 18. I used to release under another name (which I’d rather not say haha) since I started producing, but only a few months ago did I choose the name Ollygon. It was formed from my love of low poly art (hence the cover artwork), so my friend suggested the name Ollygon, and it really stuck with me – it feels organic and simple.
Saje is an emerging electronic duo (monikers Mazego & Vitesse) from Paris with a chilled future bass style. Take Care Of You, a slow piece based around call-and-response between waves of synthesizer and a blues-infused pentatonic guitar, is only their second official release. Following their debut, Lost Tonight, Saje leaves a solid first impression on listeners and has left us itching for new material.
Check out Saje here.
Stockholm may be more than a stone’s throw away from the tropics, but that hasn’t stopped Scandinavian Oscar Harlaut, the producer behind SKIDS, from trying to make a splash in the tropic-house scene. Now, I’ve ranted before about how monotonous the genre has become since Kygo caught fire last year. At least it makes it that much more exciting when I come across something unique and polished, and SKIDS’ take on Reconsider definitely fits that bill. It’s a remix, of a cover, of a The XX song. As much as this track is an example of the talent SKIDS has to offer, it’s a testament to some real songwriting prowess from The XX — if your original work can be reinterpreted through so many different stages of genres and artists, and still sound amazing, then you’ve really got something.
Check out SKIDS here.
I Tried is the first off an upcoming EP from Sussix duo Folded Like Fabric. The pair, Connor Sims on vox and Jay Mooncie on production, bring electronic elements to an alternative-indie sound that isn’t afraid to get a little experimental, while never becoming messy or tactless in the process. Mooncie’s work on I Tried is clean and clear as a bell, laying full-bodied string samples behind a swinging beat, accompanied by effortless bass and guitar parts. Sims, on the other hand, contributes a polished vocal keep all the ear-candy centered. I’m sure the rest of this approaching EP will boast a high caliber of quality and thought like I Tried — it’ll be a unique escape, and I’m really looking forward to giving it a listen.
Check out Folded Like Fabric here.