Flexstyle continues in his quest to make enough amazing music such that I can replace my entire soundscape with stuff that makes it sound like I’m in a game from the Mega Man X series. And I love him for it. This album was something I mentioned a while back, but I hadn’t had time to sit down and give it the nerdy listen it deserves. The entire album is freaking gorgeous, but my notes on my favorites from it The Chilloniq mix of Neck Deep is a sprawling, ambitious remix project that wildly succeeds. The future bass & breakbeat fusion not only works, but needs to be a new genre. But of course, if you’ve been playing the home game, you know I think Flexstyle’s created more than 1 new genre of music by now. Stand With Me has a great little synthy retro feel to it. The vocal work is definitely a highlight here, especially if it means he comes out of his shell & sings more.
The Oasis remix is big, and reinforces the idea that this dude has the composition & remix chops to stand outside of the convention world. Solar Eclipse keeps that rambling vibe going with a plucky, uptempo melody that would probably be good for speed run practice. Revolution is a dope little jam that speaks to a developing sense of authentic signature sound, so again, more please! Perfect Getaway brings in some turnt up guitars and is totally the title track of the album for a reason.
Summer Silence pulls the energy down a bit and gives us a nice little ambient tune that makes me think of Kyoto. Which is weird as I’ve never been to Japan. Fluid Motion ends up being some fun liquid drum & bass, which y’all know I’m a fan of, so frankly, the 5min the track weighs in at isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Which is why he follows it up with some buzzsaw-infused D&B that sounds quite a bit harder than the previous track. Boh Boh indeed.
The rest of the album is a sweet little collection of originals, heavy guest featuring & a couple more remixes that are totally worth your time. Any time Flexstyle remixes Ben Briggs, sit up in your chair & pay attention please, as his Methods remix could get dropped at a side stage at Ultra today and I wouldn’t even blink. A super positive bompin electro track, plus a couple more for your trouble. AND A FREE BONUS PRIZE FOR YOU!
Bonus Mix! The more Flexstyle plays out live, the more I need to hear him. This is one of my favorite mixes of 2015 so far. Playful, bomping ridiculous vgm beats that I could dance to forever. At some point I’m going to be cool enough to throw my own convention party and if it gets him doing more vocal work, I’ll shout it from the rooftops. The build is no slouch either, and I can’t wait for him to team up with Rameses B or get a release signed to Monstercat.
You gotta hand it to them, it was too packed to let people in by the time I got there. The Paper Box had my companion & I wait for a hot minute for a couple of people to leave because the party was that packed, that early. A drum & bass party at a big boy venue, doing that well? Thank the non-EDM Gods. Semi-deep in Brooklyn, it seems people had come out of the woodwork for this insanity. We don’t get D&B much on this side of the pond, as any resident Junglist would tell you. Certain guardians have been keeping the fire going, whether it’s Konkrete, or the many others like Formation Records across the world. Saturday it was all Grade A & BPSquared. Responsible for this giant pile of talent making it out, I’ve gotta say, I could kiss them. We got our drinks and settled in as DJ SS was heating up. This guy was keeping it powerful, but a bit more compact than some of the other DJs were going to later on in the evening.
This kind of technical competence and encyclopedic memory of D&B was exactly what the rowdy but respectful crowd was looking for. I’d only gotten Formation Records, never been to an event of theirs, and boy was that a mistake. The crowd was on the floor and had no plans on leaving even though it wasn’t even midnight yet. That’s right, while most New Yorker party people are taking that last shot or doing that last bump before going out, the tri-state D&B community was already sweating. As DJ SS finished out to ridiculous applause, we awaited Drumsound & Bassline Smith. This mini-mix is a rough introduction to the level of dirty that we were witness to. They had set up a 2nd room to give people more room to move and that was taken advantage of. People circled it up, busted moves and respected the space needed to actually get into it. If you wanted to rock you stayed there. If you wanted to cram in near the DJ booth, that option was open to you as well. This was one of the sets where people were begging the DJ for more. As a lot of these pictures illustrate (big ups)I had no idea what to expect from The Prototypes, but I was so freaking glad I was right up in there. It got neuro-crazy, face-melty & massive. Those don’t really seem like genre specific words, but if you own a piece of clothing that has “junglist” or “Drum & Bass” written on it somewhere, they are. There’s a slightly steeper learning curve when you’re mixing this stuff because if you fuck up you end up sounding like some guy wearing cyber-goth clothes skipping along to a beat. Jungle and Liquid are a little more forgiving, but the heavier & more scattered it seems, the better you have to be. This Fabric mix is just a small taste of what we got, and if you weren’t there, I’ve got a sad trombone sound effect for you.
The night flowed on, with The Prototypes keeping the energy up. Like at Slake before, even by 3 AM, when Crissy Criss was setting up for his set, both rooms were still packed. The outdoors had been shuttered but people were not leaving. The dance floor 2nd room got a little more packed & Crissy Criss roared into action.The number of hours I’ve put in listening to this guy’s radio show would be stunning to most, but I’d imagine I was probably on the lower end of the spectrum when it came to some people in the room. People had waited for years to see this and he wasted no time putting in work. While a couple of people had gone home, all that had done was thin out the dance floor by about 5-10%, leaving just a little more room to rock. Sweat dripped from the dancers and people who hadn’t seen each other for years embraced as old friends would. I could go on about the technical competence of his set, or the cheaper than expected drinks, but really, it was everything. The scene needed it and BP2 & Formation Records came through. A night to remember indeed. See everyone at Slake on Friday the 27th for the last chapter in #marchdnbmadness.
(Photos by Siouxside. Get at his twitter & insta too. Big Ups New England Junglists. Much Respect)
(I was given the incredible honor of speaking to Dede Goldsmith, mother of Shelley Goldsmith, who died of heatstroke in Washington DC at a dance event. Mrs. Goldsmith is leading an army of artists, non-profits, volunteers & activists to Amend The Rave Act. Join ravelrie, NY DanceSafe, Stay Safe Seattle & I as we talk about her work!)
1. Can you tell us a little bit about Shelley & how she inspired you to begin this massively important campaign? Shelley was an amazing young person. She was full of life, ready to tackle the world’s injustices head on. From an early age, she viewed herself as a citizen of the world. Although active politically her whole life, (I worked for our local congressman for 28 years so she had little choice!) the events of 9/11 cemented her role as an activist for international peace through justice. Continue reading
this has happened. This is a dance remix of a track specifically mentioning Bed Stuy, or Bedford Stuyvesant, one of the battlegrounds of gentrification in BK these days. So, I really like the progressive remix that’s going on here, and it, like the lyrics feel very new and 21st century. It, in my opinion is far superior to the original. The pop track that was remixed has a cool music video, I only have one problem with it being associated with the song. It’s shot entirely in a place with palm trees & empty pools for skateboarding in. That would be LA, not NYC. Guys, I’m all for name dropping the dope parties you’ve been to, but can we at least get a little accuracy in out shoots? The original video is below. Do you think I’m just ranting? Tell me off in the comments if so.
I posted a Facebook status about this a little bit ago, but I wanted to make sure to go on the record noting
A little while back, I brought y’all this cool EP by an artist named Allume. Thankfully, she’s kept the work going, including with one of her compatriots Souda. This new group is called Hummingbird, and they’ve got the indietronica sound down pat. This almost mournful, yet potent track is a winding delight. The soothing vocals and the soft, but persistent synthy bass got into my head and hasn’t left. So now it’s in yours. It’s good for one of those moody days where you want to feel good, but you can’t deal with sunshine & lollipops in your ears. Great work from down under. I really need to get to a festival in Australia.
This week ladies & gentlemen, I’m happy to bring you two more dope mixes by people I’ve actually had conversations with. We’ll see how long I can keep this streak going, but starting us off, Steve James! I’ve talked about this wunderkind excessively, but please hit play if you’re still one of the 4 people that don’t think kids learning how to produce their own music on laptops won’t get you farther than learning how to play the bassoon. Not only is the mix done right, but there are definitely tracks on it I’ve never heard and need in my life. Imagine that, the younger ones finding it faster and serving it up nicer than I could. Almost the way of things, huh? If you’re in Miami get at his sets here, you won’t be disappointed. Switching gears to my always favorite, liquid drum & bass, my boy Just Dan delivers. This set of impressively vintage Hospital records hits shows what the guy can do when he wakes up with an idea in his head. He’s also doing a mix experiment which I’m super into. He’s going to do a series of “One Takes,” which will be one off-recordings, authentic, however it goes, it goes. This kind of risk taking is something we only hear from the DJs that do live shows, at regular intervals and it’s the same sound week-to-week. This series, spanning genres & styles, is definitely not something our press-play DJs do. Respect.
https://soundcloud.com/soularorder/soular-order-stay-close Soular Order has been breaking new ground in soundscapes for quite some time. This Stay Close demo is a perfect example of what Mr. Order (Soular?) is capable of. This ethereal bass structured around sound principles (I’m terrible I know) gives him such a competent oeuvre (look it up kids), that he can put out an early demo and I’ll not only eat it up, I’ll post the everliving crap out of it. This is chill like few others can make it. The vibes here are real, so put this into your face as your systems shut down one by one. At some point, I’ve gotta convince/trick Soular Order into doing an interview with me. If only so I can learn more about how the hell he creates these amazing tracks. Stay close to your loved ones indeed. Once the EP is out, y’all will know, I promise that.