Dynamic ambience with this much detail and finesse is hard to come by, it doesn’t rely on repetition and seems to be one-upping itself constantly. I usually write off all new pitched vocal material right away but here Michael Wright works it in as an accent to a casual vocal part that lifts the song off the ground and brings it into the clouds, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Broken Deck is the project of East London electronic producer Michael Wright. Emerging with his debut EP Finisher on Proclectic Records at the beginning of 2015, Broken Deck has quickly resurfaced with Helter, his 2nd EP of the year and his first on Seattle-based label Hush Hush. Helter continues to showcase his rich, masterful style that confidently fuses textured ambience, punchy rhythms, haunting melodies, rumbling low end, and shadowy vocal samples.
A diverse and distinctive UK streak runs throughout the EP’s four tracks, each song morphing into its own world while flickering shades of influential artists such as Burial, Andy Stott, and Actress. “Outmodeled” and “Total Return” explore Broken Deck’s more introspective side, focusing on spacious beats and arresting atmospherics while the upfront rhythms of “Voxer” and “Endless” contain a leftfield pulse primed for adventurous clubs. Fitting perfectly into the nocturnal-leaning catalogue of Seattle’s Hush Hush Records, Helter is another impressive early step in Broken Deck’s budding discography.
A stunning EP from Zach Saginaw, personally I think its his best work to date. Very moody and heavily melodic, tons of tasteful effects on the signature gear that you always hear him on.
Two years after Shigeto released his second full-length, No Better Time Than Now, the busy Detroit polymath, born Zach Saginaw, has finally taken a break from his endless hustle to update everyone on his current musical headspace. “I’ve been on the road for a long time now and also have been working on other projects,” he explains. With projects that include working on a new live ensemble arrangement, playing electronics in a jazz quartet, recording with Detroit rappers, and building a new studio, it’s no wonder we haven’t heard much from him since 2013.
“I haven’t found the next step for me yet. I’ve been making loads of music as always, but I’m still looking for that concrete new path.” Shigeto’s Intermission EP takes its title quite literally, then, presenting a snapshot of the artist’s transition between ideas and inspiration. Indeed, listening to these six eclectic tracks evokes a dynamic sense of exploration, excitement, and stylistic freedom.
Saginaw describes Intermission as a collection songs that “point to the past, present, and future.” His inimitable hallmarks are certainly there: the heavy drum-machine knock and jazzy synth flourishes of “City Dweller”, that airy thumb piano in beat suite “Do My Thing”, and “Pulse”‘s percussive, polyrhythmic grooves. They mingle with some fresh sounds from Shigeto, too. Mystic pads creep into the mix—especially on beatless, textural drifts “Gently” and “Deep Breathing”—and there’s a decidedly unhinged touch to how the producer uses samples, almost like he’s teaching himself a new language. But don’t get it twisted, there’s no grand vision this time out. “They’re not meant as a strong message,” Saginaw clarifies, “but more of a taste, like a halftime show of sorts.” So if Intermission is here to hold us over until Shigeto’s next big event, the record’s palpable depth and complexity say quite a lot about where the man is now and where he’s headed.
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This album by Viers has been on repeat, i’m always a sucker for dub techno, its the buried swells in the repetition and the right amount of change throughout the album. Give it a go on some headphones and dive into detailed design work, it won’t disappoint.
New York City based artist Samantha Keely Smith is back with all new work. Samantha’s work has been on my radar for a few years now and I did a post on her gorgeous work about two years ago. I reached out to Samantha and asked her a few questions about her influences and what her creative process involves.
In 2012 your work progressed into painting abstract, oceanic waves and creating a sense of heavy movement. What inspired this?
All of my images come from dreams, but my dreams are influenced by the emotions I experience and the things I learn/hear about in my day to day life. I’ve been concerned with the effects of global warming and the melting ice caps for some time, and that showed up in my dreams as the images I produced in 2012/2013. I’m still influenced by these concerns, only now my images have expanded beyond “oceanic.”
Without revealing too much, what is a typical process from start to finish for one of your paintings and how long does that take?
It’s a case of narrowing down the images from the dreams and trying to focus on one in particular. The images in the paintings are what I call “inner worlds” because really they are the result of attempting to translate an internal existence driven by emotion/instinct into something that makes some sense of the reality we live in. Because these dream images are fleeting I spend a long time chasing them during the process of the painting. Unfortunately this also means there is no real way to plan them out. So they can often take a couple of months to complete, with many changes (sometimes drastic) taking places over the course of that time. I work in thin layers, often somewhat translucent. I find that accidents/mistakes are an important part of my process too. I’m also in love with color and oil paint in general so my interest in the process of painting is part of the end result.
What musician/band has been the most influential for your visual cues?
There isn’t one musician, but many. Music in general is an important part of my daily studio practice. The kind of music I listen to while painting is dictated by the painting itself. I can’t say that music influences my visual choices, but it does feed the intensity of the work.
Are there any other practices/mediums in the broad world of art that you would like to try?
I can’t imagine having the time to do anything else since I paint every day, but in another life I’d like to experiment with film/video and installation art.
If you could pack up and move to work on your craft anywhere, where would you move to?
I’m not sure because I love the energy of NYC. My only problem with living here is financial. Being an artist in New York is very hard, mainly because of the high cost of living and how expensive artist’s work spaces are. I think I’d like to live somewhere near the ocean if I could. But only part time. I feed off the creative energy of the city and I’d miss that.
For more of Samantha’s breathtaking work, visit her website:
Samantha Keely Smith
Like a glittery rework of something from Koyaanisqatsi, Anenon is back with an almost 8 minute cut to announce his new EP on Friends of Friends.
As a solo artist, head of Non Projects and one of Los Angeles’ most talented contemporary jazz musicians, Brian Allen Simon aka Anenon has managed to meld disparate forms of electronic and classical music, bridging the gap between eras, technologies and sonic space. The ‘Camembert’ EP is Anenon’s first release on Friends of Friends and functions as a sort of introduction to ‘Petrol’, a full length set for a January 22 release date. ‘Camembert’ exudes the range in expression and breadth of talent that Simon represents, touching on jazz improvisation, techno and palatial ambient over its four tracks without ever seeming to lose focus. It’s not everyday that an EP traverses genre barriers and balances the experimental with the populist, but Anenon has the sheer musical ability and refined sensibilities to walk the line between all of it.
A late night post usually ends up with late night vibes, some deep chord work from Californian duo Darnum Samp. Some line blurring between house and adult contemporary has been the sound of the blog lately.
By Alan Berner
Sometimes the nostalgia synth material loses my attention but once in a while someone revives the time that reminds you why you fell in love with it in the first place, this is one of those tracks.
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The man that was born in the wrong decade, hands down George Clanton effortlessly writes pop lyrics as a good as Tears For Fears. When I heard the some Bleed live for the first time I had goosebumps head to toe, it wasn’t because of the huge crashes or his way with the crowd, I just couldn’t believe a song like that was created by his generation. His uphill battles are trend and revival but that shouldn’t stop him, he just needs to be on the road and deliver a passionate condensed live show with a large audience and the hashtag genre dropping will fade away.