Over the last few months, the name of Julio Bashmore has started to crop up with increasing frequency around these parts. He started off by giving away some tunes on his blog – nothing new there, apart from the fact that these were actually good; like house but with a strong influence from funky. Good enough, in fact, that they have even been charted on this very blog.
Then I spotted some more tracks over on Curb Crawlers, and was so taken with the laid-back, retro Chicago vibes on ‘Jack Got Macked’ I had to get in touch and ask for a mix. Which he delivered with aplomb: 59 minutes of summery, jazzy deep house and funky. It’s not havin’ it, but it’s pure class: any mix that manages to squeeze Cooly G’s ‘Love Dub’ and Justin Martin’s awesome remix of the Marshall Jefferson classic ‘Mushrooms’ into the space of about half an hour deserves your attention.
Oh, we spoil you here at Bass Music. Following on from Subeena’s mix earlier this month, Drum & Bass innovator Martsman has stepped up to deliver a mix and interview especially for us. If you haven’t heard his tracks before, go check out his myspace – they’re a riot of bass, razor sharp beats and digital freakouts. The track ‘Reclaim Your Resonance’ especially floats my boat – it’s somehow DnB but that doesn’t sound like DnB. Picked up last year by Hospital Records sister-label Med School, Martsman has made quite a name for himself already, and no doubt will go far – especially now that the scene seems to be opening up to new sounds a bit more, what with the likes of Lynx, D-Bridge, Instra:mental, Icicle and so on coming through. The mix starts off mid-tempo, working through grimey, broken beat and dubstep influences, before switching up halfway through for a Drum & Bass rollout session; beats twisting and rearing like some lunatic cobra. Give it a spin!
So, tell us about this mix. I wasn’t expecting the 140(ish)bpm stuff! Is that something you play in your club sets? Are you producing stuff at this tempo these days?
I always wanted to do something like this mix – starting up with stuff around 140bpm and ending in Drum & Bass tempo. The key to this is of course the Sonar Circle track in the middle. It starts up as Broken Beat and switches tempo in the breakdown rolling out in D&B. Since I started DJing – that was a few years after that track came out – I couldn’t get this idea out of my head to build something around this simple switch, but it basically took me until late 2008 where I seriously started to open up my sets to different genres. That was mainly because I always tried to integrate different genres within the D&B frame and realized that even with that “open mindedness” I was kind of restrictive in regards of tempo. Also, I gradually started writing music at this kind of tempo myself, so it was obviously the next logical step to expand my DJ sets. For the last months i’ve been playing more and more Breaks, Dubstep, Dubtechno, Break- and Raggacore and even Pop Mash ups along with the ‘regular’ Drum&Bass. I really like how the different genres can interact and create this tension where you can’t decide if a track is totally silly or serious – something that works out easier for me when it’s not only one particular style of music.
How would you describe your sound at the moment? It sounds a bit like an updated version of drumfunk to me. Is that a strong influence in your stuff?
Drumfunk has been a very strong influence in the first years of writing my own music. I would not go so far and say that even my earlier releases were Drumfunk in the narrower sense, nor would I agree that the stuff that I write today is an updated version of it. People tend to apply the term ‘Drumfunk’ to Drum&Bass music that doesn’t fit a standard drum pattern. Same with ‘Leftfield’ – it appears to be a collective term for everything that is non standard sounding. But what is this ‘standard’ sound of Drum&Bass anyway? Music evolves, and what would have been standard in the mid nineties could be the out-of-the-box-stuff from today or the other way around – it’s either you like the music or not. Personally, I am obviously drawn towards more complex structures, be it in regard of drum patterns or the overall development in the tune. Also everything digital sounding, single samples up to 80s synthfests are very appealing to me. On the other hand I am extremely fascinated by music that is build out of one single loop that just sounds like it could go on forever. And of course analog dirt has its good things! I think my music is an attempt of approximation to a combination of all that.
Who are you listening to these days? Who’s influencing your tunes, and where do you see your sound going?
Well, I don’t think it’s particularly audible in my music, but i’ve been listening to a lot of minimalist compositions recently – Alvin Lucier, Steve Reich, John Cage – also John Zorn’s Masada projects, Fennesz, Monolake and Berlin Dubtechno stuff. And of course I am not immune to this whole Experimental Hip Hop meets Dubstep movement, Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, Joker…Also, I am definelty drawn towards what ‘inbetweeners’ like Mochipet, Aaron Spectre, Drop the Lime etc do. I can’t really tell where my sound’s going, but I’ve got quite a lot of ideas for different projects – outside of Drum&Bass mainly – so we’ll see…
Do you think there’s still a place for breakbeat science these days? Or have we all moved on past that, now that it’s been proven that we can chop drum breaks up to a molecular level?
That is a very good question. In fact I think that as far as chopping up breaks is concerned, we’ve heard it all, and we all have our own masters – for me personally it’s not as appealing as it used to be. On the other hand, breakbeat science is not only about chopping up breaks and rearranging every bar in a different manner – we shouldn’t forget that even a simple so-called 2-step drum pattern is a breakbeat. The most interesting tunes in my opinion are those that modulate a certain detail and stick with it – it doesn’t have to be something particularly ‘new’ but something particularly focused and well done. That of course applies to breakbeat tunes as well. So I’d say there’s enough room for ideas and impressive and effective results, even in simple pattern structures. That’s probably geeky but then again we call it breakbeat ‘science’, don’t we?
So what projects do you have going on at the minute? Anything you want to plug? What’s next?
Frankly, I haven’t been writing a lot for the last weeks and months due to exam preparation, but there’ll be a few Drum & Bass releases in the second half of the year on labels like Offkey and Alphacut. Keep your eyes peeled!
This is the life. I’m sitting in a cafe in Prague drinking a bevvy – sadly they don’t cost 0.000001p a gallon anymore, they’re about a quid a pop in this here suburb (I’ll be writing to the Telegraph about this catastrophic injustice, mark my words) – the sun is shining, and the wonderful Subeena has just dropped over an exclusive DJ Mix and interview for us at bassmusicblog. Subeena really started making a name for herself last year with some deep, techno influenced dubstep sounds – not so much on the 2562/minimal kind of tip, more rolling and percussive I’d say. I was particularly into the track ‘Perception’ which came out on a free release (more on which shortly) – so if you missed it, grab it here. It’s got a wicked mix of techno, eastern vocals and a heavy, static sub-line. Anyway, the next time I looked, I saw the track ‘Boksd’ on Subeena’s myspace, and was properly impressed. It’s kind of electro, in the true sense of the word, with that other-worldly analogue sounding melodic sensibility that one used to find in mid-90s Warp records, and latterly on labels like Border Community et al. It’s brilliant, and is not the only track like that on the player at the moment. So I had no choice but to ask for a mix and interview. …and here we are. Grab the mix here while you peruse the interview below. I’ll put the tracklist at the bottom.
So, tell us about this mix. What do you have for us?
I’ve got a few tracks I’ve been into recently and that I would play out probably at a gig. There’s a few forthcoming / unreleased tracks and some new bits that just came out by for example Milanese, Untold and Bok Bok amongst others. It seems like you’ve changed your sound a bit recently, moving away from dubstep (and the dancefloor?) and towards a more melodic, electro kind of stuff – reminds me of early Autechre a bit. What inspired this? I definitely got away from the only-140 bpm tracks… I do some melodic stuff as well but I’m trying to keep it all quite varied.
I think I my ideas back then were a bit less clear so I had to focus on one “genre” to get used to writing a bit better (both production and creativity-wise). Overall my inspiration is quite random really. Partly I’ve been inspired by music I listened to years ago, but now I might just take inspiration by my friends’ work or by random things I listen to – and my moods. You’ve lived in Italy and then Berlin, to me those places shout techno. (But then I was always really into the Naples techno producers anyway). Did you get much into those scenes? If not, what musics and parties did you take inspiration from? Funny… I met a guy from Naples when I lived in Berlin and he would always tell how lots of great producers were from Naples.. I only knew a couple though, unfortunately.
As far as I’m concerned it the places I lived in were “techno” but in a very particular way: I got to know the first club music in Italy for sure when people like Laurent Garnier or Jeff Mills or Highfish came over to Dj but I got stuck quite quickly into free parties shortly after (they used to play some sort of techno there as well but I never seriously got into it). While living in Berlin I would go to Berghain every now and then, but I was never a massive follower… The parties that influenced me most were probably those “free” ones I used to go earlier, and then lots after I moved to London. Music-wise I listened to any sort of genre throughout the years, it’s hard to mention them all. They range from cheesy 90’s pop / dance hits to old Warp stuff, random hip hop tracks, some bands…
How is – the newly renamed – Imminent Sound going?
We’ll be stopping that one soon and starting new Imminent labels and productions!
You mentioned a while ago that you were going to be releasing stuff on the label using the creative commons licence. For those who don’t know, what does this actually mean? And has it worked out like you hoped? To start with, I got interested through Dot as she’d been supporting it for quite some time. I personally haven’t registered my music on there yet, but I am still keeping the option open for the future.
Creative Commons allows you to give different types of copyright licences to your work. For example you can allow people to copy / share your work (could be music but it is used for a lot more) but the copyright is still yours… More info here http://creativecommons.org/license/ Finally, what’s the in the pipeline? Any cool stuff coming up? Next thing should be a 12″ coming out on Planet Mu, the A side is a collaboration between Jamie Woon, Om ‘Mas Keith and myself and the B side is a track of mine called “Analyse”.
Milanese – Disclosure (instrumental) – (Planet Mu) Oliver $ – Ta com medo de mim (feat. Deize Tigrona edit) (Man recordings) Edu K – Mexe mexe (Man recordings) Dub frequency – Whoop! (Cheaper thrills) Stereotyp feat. Edu K, Joyce Muniz – Jece Valadao ( Rob B edit) Kanji Kinetic – Scientist (unreleased) F – Phase One (7even recordings) Gunjack – El Soplo del Diablo (Bracket remix) – (forthcoming Consume) Untold – Just for you (forthcoming Hotflush) Dre Skull – I want you (Bok bok remix) – (Mixpak) Skream – If you know (Tempa) Kid 606 – Dancehall of the dead (Kanji Kinetic remix) (Tigerbeat6) Untold – Anaconda (Hessle Audio) RSD – Forward Youth (Tectonic) Subeena – Excuse me (unreleased)
Dutch producer Mike Kivits has been releasing beats for close to twenty years now, and his stuff sounds genuinely different, if not experimental, while being effortlessly groovy. Anti Concept is not as suitable for most dancefloors as some of my favourite tracks from the man (see ‘Nosestep’, also inverted beautifully for Cosmin TRG’s fairly recent remix), but contains lot of exciting things in one 24 track package, taking in dub, house, techno, and some mad unclassifiable shit no one even knows about. Boomkat describe him as “our favourite bifter-wielding beat-builder” (oddly, if you say that fast it sounds Dutch), and I agree that the playful rhythms do have that easily-entertained satisfaction that the combination of spliffs and sequencers brings.
Another amazingly prolific dance music scientist, Altered Natives, has dropped his brand new collection of tracks. Layered and spiralling, intensely rhythmic, skunked out psychedelic house, Tenement Yard Volume 2 begins in similar territory to his previous LP, the predominantly hookyVolume 1, especially with opening trio ‘Loved By Few’, ‘Galactic’, and ‘Earthlings’ (recently previewed in Karizma’s great mix for FACT magazine) jumping straight out of the speakers with some cramp-inducing basslines and a no-nonsense club functionality. However, as the album nears its halfway mark, Trinidadian-Italian-Londoner Danny Yorke steers things into a more spun-out and introspective climate with, mood-wise, some really ‘heavy’ atmospherics. Beginning with the uncomfortable paranoia of ‘Die 4 U’, the emphasis is more often on a kind of driving, half-numbed emotiveness, somewhere between techno and house (but many, many light-years from the mostly turgid world of tech-house). Deeper and more serious, while drawing on the expansiveness of early work such as first LP Thousand Days of Patience, and fully equipped with the streamlined, semi-automatic ergonomics of his recent output, this is heady, deadly stuff.
Finally, returning to the Netherlands (or should that be passing the Dutch?), I wanna share a bit of Legowelt’s world with you: not only his (free) new album, The TEAC Life, but his absolutely brilliant website. Curated by the man Danny Wolfers himself, its an online space which as well as keeping updated with news, he uses as an extension of his wonderful mind, critiquing and uploading his favourite vintage synthesizer sounds, and features are coupled with his indescribable prose; just have an explore. The album, too, is him at his self-indulgent, Chicago & Detroit-dipped finest – at his best, he sounds somehow classic, while really sounding like no one else at all. Fantasy soundscapes that jack with all the effortless narcotic energy of an 80s Detroit discoteque.