Greg Jones aka G Jones has been an undisputed innovator in electronic music for years now, the champion young gladiator in the arena of filthy, hard-edged sound design, with ever-evolving new expressions of the mind-melting, cathartic bass drop. His production pace is also prolific. It seems every time he performs he’s debuting new singles and collabs, and now he’s dropped “Pull Up”, the first single from his upcoming Visions EP.
Jones’ sound has always evolved at a rate which can be hard to follow. Fans barely get accustomed to one incredible style before the artist moves on to his next manifestation, and some of the stylistic innovations he’s made in the past are now passed over in his new productions. “Pull Up”, for example, lacks the head-nod drums (“trap” beats to some) and the long-sustained synth lines of his earlier work. The track starts with an archetypal faux-dance synthesizer that’s soon interrupted by slashes of razor sharp, two-ton heavy snyths, bounced back and force with a Jamaican voice hollering “Pull Up”, and a mash of hi-hats, 8-bit beeps, and huge variety of seemingly random percussive sounds. What has never left, and will continue to define G Jones music for many ears, are the enormous, meticulously-crafted kicks and experimental snare sounds that anchor “Pull Up”.
This new single confirms what many who’ve been attending Greg’s shows for months already know, that the producer is moving into ever more abstract territory, away from clean beats a la Bassnectar, and more towards the fringes of experimental bass music a la EPROM. “Pull Up” comes ahead of Greg’s Visions Tour, which commences in January and will absolutely barnstorm clubs with support from legends like UK bass pioneer Plastician, and The Widdler.
Tropics has spent years writing intelligent ideas and trying and tinkering with sound to express them, from early acid-jazz experiments to more recent original like the astonishingly avant-garde “Home and Conscience”. After all his development and genre-blending work, Ward strikes a strong, original balance of elements on this remix of Alex Clare’s “Tell Me What You Need.”
Here Tropics aka Chris Ward creates a soundscape that is emotionally ambiguous but full of delightful sonic flourishes. We loved Ward’s introduction of his own voice into his composition last year, and we love his ability to fold Clare’s bold croon into the smooth fabric of this new advanced production. The complex beat almost manages to divert attention from the starry vocals – no small task. The organic instrumentation which Tropics introduced on last year’s “Rapture” makes this remix so pleasurable, particular the skipping drum beat, crisp cymbal strokes and the minimal, echoing guitar pluck which play off each other for a polyrhythmic effect. The acoustic material blends soft and smooth with the synthesizers that Tropics and admirers of his music have always been so fond of.
For an artist who has never stayed in the same sonic space for too long, Tropics has moved again to beautiful new surroundings with this fresh remix.
Fresh from the onomatopoetically named Whump Collective comes a masterfully deep and diverse single, “Death Stroke”, composed by Nocturnal Status and Dillard. “Death Stroke” is highly danceable, with a deceptively smooth and steppin’ beat riding over sub-flexing background bass. There’s innumerable sonic snippets and details in the track. They flutter in and out with varying impact, until becoming more apparent when the sub bass drops out. All elements come together cohesively, which is no easy task. As the track moves along, a vocal sample is choked and manipulated, and some particularly industrial whumps, assumedly from Dillard, take center stage before the act is through.
Clearly some skillful sound design went into this number. Both artists traffic in inordinate amounts of bass and glitch, and can create contemplative chill music as well as chest-thumping bass jams. “Death Stroke” has a great balance of both styles. A free download is available here.
Time and time again the word “experimental” gets used incorrectly. However, it’s groups like Meltybrains? that end up somehow eschewing and bolstering that label at the same time with their absolute defiance of coloring inside the lines. “Step” is the latest from this eccentric band, fraught with auto-tuned and veiled vocals bouncing around crashing drums and a nearly impossible to follow rhythm, but it isn’t off-putting in any regard. They’ve developed an entrancing nature that’s reflected throughout their dark and mirrored video, and by the time it ends, you find yourself slightly confused yet more than satisfied.
There are no boundaries or conventions followed by Meltybrains? (which is an apt name, by the way), and their thorough disregard for both is what has created such an intriguing exploration into the farthest reaches of what experimental music can truly accomplish. “Step” is the second offering from their upcoming Kiss Yourself EP, and if you’re digging this strange yet absorbing sound, be on the lookout for the rest of their new project on November 18th.
Perhaps the singular album in the last five years with the most profound impact on this writer’s favored aural aesthetics came in the form of Black Marble‘s 2013 dark-wave meets lo-fi pop opus, A Different Arrangement. Chris Stewart’s subtle manipulation of simple pop structuring, goth-punk undertones, reverb-entombed incantations and a foundation of stripped down, new-wave drum kits struck an internal chord so deep, that it all at once ushered in a frame shift in taste moving forward, and a simultaneous return back to my youth punk, consumer days. And so (and forgive me for the long-winded intro), after a bit of a dormant writing state and with the recent release of the second Black Marble long-player, It’s Immaterialout now on Ghostly, I’ve been roused to return to covering music that truly moves my personal soul.
One of the first three singles to be released from It’s Immaterial, “Woods” (along with the stellar “Iron Lung” & “Frisk”) has just brandished its visual accompaniment from director Theo Sixou, who also directed Black Marble’s 2013 video for “A Great Design”; and it quite wonderfully enhances its haunting infrastructure. It’s darkly verdant backdrop and visual themes tie in fluently with “Woods”‘ longing nature, twisting up its viewer in the process. Black Marble is currently a few dates into a mini-tour supporting It’s Immaterial, and we would highly advise our wise readers to check them out in the flesh if they’re coming to a city near you. Until then, enjoy the official music video for “Woods” below.
Every once in a while I’m sent a submission so different that I’m not quite sure what to do with it. Such was the case when Pure One landed in my inbox over a year ago with her experimental, ambient and stirring sonic landscapes. The more I listened, the more appreciation I gained for its subtleties, intricate arrangement and soft drum patterns. Rather than evoke the standard instant gratification many expect from music, Pure One’s work feels more focused on transporting listeners to an astral plane of reflection, growing in depth with each listen.
“Become,” the first single off her upcoming Deva EP encapsulates that style as she chops her silky vocal chant of “become your truth” adding reverb among other psychedelic accents. That obscuration teamed with expertly placed piano keys and unconventional, soothing percussive elements results in something that truly evokes self reflection if you allow yourself to truly get lost in it.
While it’s difficult to pinpoint clear influences, fans of artists like Bjork, Sigur Ros and Four Tet may enjoy this one. Listen for yourself above and look out for the Deva EP, which is due out on Bandcamp October 16th via Cora Records.
Miami based Austin Paul, SNDNGCHLLZ, and Byrdipop have come together in a collaborative track that’s absolutely mesmerizing, and they pulled it off in less than 48 hours. What’s even more impressive is the fact that these three haven’t previously worked together. They were partnered up in a celebration of local music by the forthcoming lll Points Festival, which takes place October 7th – 9th, at Mana Wynwood.
This is the the third release on the festival’s 1st compilation, with one more release yet to come in the pack. “Binary,” as they’ve titled it, is a wonderfully sonic listening experience that pulls elements from RnB, ambient electronica, and pure experimental bliss. It only takes a few seconds to lock you in, and once it does, you’ll be wondering where you can get more.
Hopefully this admirable project from lll Points Festival helps inspire these budding artists to work together more, because, quite frankly, we need more.
There are still tickets available, so if you want to see acts like M83, Thievery Corporation, LCD Soundsystem, Method Man and Redman, Black Coffee, Earl Sweatshirt, and close to a hundred more, we highly recommend picking them up now.