I am so happy Etherwood has done this. Not only is this a delightful re-imaging of what drum & bass can sound like, but woo dude vocals! Etherwood has carved out a stupendous home for himself and if you don’t know why, tracks like this show it off. This kind of soothing style of d&b is my Wyld Stallions music. This is what I think we’ll all listen to in elevators and all day every day once we reach the future peace society that we only see in fiction. What I’m saying is, Drum & Bass makes peace. I’m going to make sure you know about Etherwood’s releases, so get used to it being all up in this piece. (via The Awesome YouTube Channel of Med School)
The D&B kids didn’t waste any time. RAM Records was here to shake the foundations of Slake and the rumbling could already be felt as I waited for my id to be checked. Even before midnight, kids that were expecting it to be some kind of joke party walked past us, leaving. The bridge & tunnel crowd was making its way out as the army junglists, ravers & the rest of a delightfully motley crew settled in for a long night of dope beats. Dali, Alex English & Cameron Kush had started the night properly, and now the crowd was antsy in its pantsy for the trio of RAM Records wizards to get into it. First up, Optical (yes, that Optical). Once again, the crowd was sweaty & rioting before 1 AM. I know I bang on about this with the parties I go to, but it’s only because the parties I attend that don’t earn a review, can’t manage to do this. While any producer can get the crowd hyped by lining up 3 prep cooks & having talent at 1:30 AM, it’s exponentially harder to get the kids flying around an hour earlier. Optical pushed amazing tracks that rolled off perfectly. The set could’ve been nestled into the World of Drum & Bass party last week & no one would’ve noticed. To give you a feeling of how good Optical is at this, here’s a mix he did to celebrate his label, Virus Recordings, turning 15. That’s right, this guy’s got a label that’s almost older than Bieber, to put this live show in context. When Optical handed it off, Loadstar wasted no time in getting to work. The set was a masterful selection of some of the hardest neurofunky, almost dubby fast/slow tunes I’ve heard on this side of the pond. The Intergalactic that was dropped about halfway through his set was perfect, played in NYC, where there’s a park named after one of the Beastie Boys. The kids went wild for this, but what caught my attention a little after that set was how they were dancing. Throughout each of the sets, the people were dancing with…each other. Not just staring at the stage like mindless zombies, but dancing with their friends & random people they met at on the floor! At some point towards the end of the set, the kids started “Getting Low” to the lyrical work in one of the tracks he was mixing. And, it caught on. You couldn’t see it from the stage, but you had the whole back end of the dance floor actually getting almost to the ground during the build. Then when the break drops, dozens of kids jumped up in the air and probably got massive head rushes while giving the producers agita. It’s like that wedding dance thing, except at a party you actually wanted to go to.
Finally, Delta Heavy had arrived. This was an act I wanted to see as much as Metrik (which started out the #marchdnbmadness). This track is why: And yes, he played it live. The crowd had been singing along to tracks off & on all night, but the support for this one took the cake. You know that moment where you recognize a track but the rest of the crowd has no idea what they’re in for? Nothing of the sort happened here. The first riff from the song caused a surge in the crowd, as they all knew what was coming next. As he spun into it and the chorus hit, the entire room sung along. Can you imagine? D&B heads acting like they’re at Z100’s Jingle Ball because they were just THAT happy to be experiencing this? I really hope someone recorded this set, because there was a bunch of melodic dubstep & a touch of future house that melded with the hard d&B. 3 AM and the dancefloor was as thick as it was at 1AM. But then they did something no one expected, and the night went from amazing to something none of us were prepared for.
That’s right, that’s 3 headliners spinning b2b2b. To stress, the 3 talented selectros just threw their USB sticks onto the decks and went to work. It was the last night of their tour & they hadn’t had a crowd still moving this late, so they went to town. I’m not sure how to describe what we saw. Three of the best at what they do taking time to mix into & between some of the hardest, heaviest tracks in the genre right now. This last hour was something special, something I can’t even communicate if you weren’t there. It’s something a dedicated fan experiences every once and a while. Spontaneous collaboration, no ego, and a whole lot of bass that smacked around the crowd. The crowd that wouldn’t even leave when they brought the lights up at 4 AM. This was one of those nights that you’re not entirely sure happened, but are left different. I now expect more from every drum & bass show I will ever go to in the future because of the way I was spoiled by Friday. This is Terry Gotham, see you on the dance floor.
(Photos by Sarah Vale Photography)
So, if you (like I) didn’t party in the 90s you probably missed the crazy world of Rave Flyers. Some genius decided to start collecting these and now there’s a giant trove of them online here. I’m just going to leave this here, remind everyone that we used to listen to happy hardcore and a whole bunch of wacky genres that we don’t speak of anymore. In case you want to know what people did to advertise parties before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and parties could go until mid-morning. (via If Only UK)
Stupendous. Leah Haxhi needs the highest of fives for creating this. Not only do we have another strong lady taking on covering hip hop, but it’s got gospel & violin in it! This kind of soulful re-working with the gender flip is always going to get some words from me. It’s a fun, well composed indie tune that should both give Leah Haxhi some needed exposure, but signal boost for Lunch Money Lewis in places he may not be heard. The original is below for you to compare & enjoy as well, because, why would I set you up like this and not provide you the comparison right? The take home message here is, I say more ladies with stringed instruments covering hip hop. Can we get a hip lady from Brooklyn to cover Puffy’s discography so we can take back some of that territory? (via Fresh New Tracks)
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.
(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