Monday Music: Ed Thomas, Free-N-Losh, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Strife II & Kidnap Kid

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Welcome to February! New Monday, same dope offering! Let’s get right into it!

Can’t say I’ve heard of EdThomas before, but the UK seems to be able to do no wrong these days. The moody vocal driven soulful delight impresses, but never overperforms.
Free n Losh are not your run of the mill production outfit. Hailing from Toronto, the syncopated, low-key track pushes into a melancholy indietronica crooner. These neo-soul & indietronica entries get better by the month. Great work from a group I’d only heard whispers about on the internets.

Kidnap Kid is one of those rare, precious artists that you are forever changed after listening to. His most recent release, Birds That Fly, is the first release on his new label of the same name. The smooth UK house vibe is perfectly produced. The ebb & flow of the energy allows for an alternating intensity that is so difficult to do well. Jamie XX & Submotion Orchestra are two of the only other artists I can think of that hang in this tier of understated dopeness.
If you were at Black Tiger Sex Machine‘s Webster Hall appearance this Friday, you probably got a better performance of this track than most. But even just the studio version is exquisite. The heavy electrostep is definitely not my usual cup of tea, but BTSM go out of their way to produce their way into excellence. The breakdown almost feels chippy, while the build is transcendent & crisp to the point of being progressive. The drop is grinding electro that I’ve not heard in months. Great work, and watch out, Black Tiger Sex Machine is going to take the 2016 festival season by storm. You’ll see.

Rounding out this week’s post is the new EP from Strife II. Strife II is one of my most favorite artists, so every time anything new from him gets released, I absolutely have to mention it. He’s my favorite liquid drum & bass producer by far. He pairs with a bunch of dope talent on the EP, featuring Identified & vocals from Rachel Jones. The trio of tracks feature his signature euphoric and symphonic vibe. The classical meets liquid meets euphoria is a feel I think the rest of the planet needs way more of. Only Truth has an almost-Rameses B thing going on, and Collide is an exceptional example of how smooth, rounded & flowing liquid can be. Infinity Saws, a clear inside joke to his own style of production, finishes out wonderful release on Subsphere Records.

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Midnight Music: Strife II – Morning Chorus [Liquid Drum & Bass]

Strife ii - Morning ChorusI told you I interviewed Strife II for a reason. This guy just had a new track of his bomped on MrSuicideSheep, the place for YouTube dopeness. As always, the stupendous piano work & vocals are center stage, supported by varsity drum & bass beat work. This guy knows what he’s doing, and this track totally reminds us all that he needs a bigger stage & a check to make this stuff sound even better. I don’t want to say too much more, because really, just put it into your face while you’re walking around in the rain, snow, or sunshine (depending on where home is of course). (From the amazing & crucial MrSucideSheep)

Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Strife II

(I was honored to speak to Strife II, one of my favorite liquid drum & bass producers, over in the UK. Show the guy some love!)Strife II1. What is on tap for Strife II for NYE 2014 & 2015? Any live shows or new releases? I hope that one day there will be some sort of live show, but I don’t know if I will ever DJ. Maybe it would be a film like Hammock and Sigur Ros do, or a live band thing. I think what I write is all about escapism rather than dancing, so who knows.

2. Are you currently a full-time performer/DJ/producer, or do you have a day job? Your music is so incredible this needs to be paying your light bill. I’ve got a really bog standard boring day job with some of the most awesome people I’m ever likely to meet. I don’t hate it because a lot of people there bring a lot of positivity to my life – I get to watch the sun rise every morning and take a few minutes to watch the world wake up

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Midnight Music: Izzard & Alicks – Looking Out With You (Strife II Remix) [Liquid DnB]

Izzard & Alicks - Looking Out With You (Strife II Remix)Strife II has returned, rejoice & be glad! The crown prince of liquid (in my eyes anyway) released an opus clocking in well over seven minutes. This kind of sound is totally rare, but Strife II proves once again that he can do it like no other. The soulful, melodic chords & quiet piano progression are at the core of my favorite sub-genre in dnb. The smooth, emotional vibe glides across your awareness, packing a punch without jarring one’s senses. I am at a loss as to why this kid isn’t one of the biggest sounds coming out of the UK, but I’m going to keep yelling about him as long as I’m able. This is the future, or at least, I hope it is. I think it would lead to a better world, Wyld Stallions-style, but what do I know. Take a listen and tell me what you think.

5 UK Drum & Bass Tracks That Need To Be In Your Life.

I got bored and decided to piece together a little pack of Drum & Bass tunes that you may not have heard before. If you haven’t, you’re definitely in for a treat, because these liquid, melodic & deep dnb anthems are exactly what you need to get you through the week.

First up, Etherwood reworking a Jakwob piece. Both UK producers & maestros, the smooth, almost Eastern vibe pushes into your awareness slowly. Debuted first on Annie Mac, this silky ethereal vibe

Fred V & Grafix do stellar work out of Hospital Records, but this remix of my favorite Netsky track from 2014 is an absolute gem. Running Low ft. Beath Ditto is a crucial track for any of the distressed party people we all know, with Fred V & Grafix bringing a symphonic feel to the original that I bet even Netsky didn’t see coming.

If you’ve not heard this before, or the words “Strife II” don’t ring a bell, stop what you’re doing and listen to this. Right now. It’s got some of the most powerful composition & production I’ve ever heard from a producer. This kid needs a label to discover him and it needs to happen yesterday. This track is a frisson-inducing tear jerker that would reduce dancefloors to quivering piles of feels. I would pay good money to see this live and I hope it happens

This was on my October 2014 Soundcloud playlist and if you missed it, change that. The heaviness is powerful, but it keeps the energy up surprisingly well.
Keeno is the crown prince of Hospital Records, and with tracks like this, it’s easy to see why. The effortlessness that seeps into every aspect of his production is readily apparent in this track. It’s got the vocal pop that it needs to hopefully even get some radio play in places that actually play drum & bass on the radio. This American is going to go sulk now.

Midnight Music: “My Year In The Rain” by Strife II

Strife II is one of my absolute favorite liquid Drum & Bass producers in the UK and the world over actually. There’s a quiet beauty to his symphonic, intensely well produced tracks. I can’t wait for someone at Hospital Records to stumble upon this sound and shove him into a room with Etherwood, Camo & Krooked and High Contrast. The drum & bass world will thank you Tony, make it happen.