Posts Tagged ‘hip-hop’


New Dälek side-project: MRC Riddims

September 13, 2010

At the end of last year I reviewed an amazing gig by New Jersey noise/hip-hop act Dälek, when they played in front of pitifully few people in the Black Box, Belfast. Those that weren’t there missed a treat – “imagine Kevin Shields adding his guitar onslaught to Public Enemy” as I wrote at the time.

It seems the band’s DJ Oktopus has read the review because he just emailed me out of the blue. Bizarre. Reason being, he has a new project on the go called MRC Riddims. It’s a collaboration with a NYC-based producer called Merc – Oktopus is now in Berlin, and the track below features vocals from John Morrison. It’s kind of discordant, but much less so than the sheer mayhem of Dälek – here we have buzzsaw bass, siren beeps and a doozy of a head-nodding groove. I’m into the production more than the rhyming but it’s worth a listen and a download.


AU60: Mount Kimbie breaking act piece

November 17, 2009

Great to be able to write about these guys – one of the best new acts I’ve heard this year. Their Maybes EP is genuinely stunning. Seek it out.


MEMBER: Dom Maker, Kai Campos
FORMATION: London, 2008.
FOR FANS OF: Flying Lotus, Burial, Hudson Mohawke.
CHECK OUT: Maybes and Sketch On Glass EPs, out now on Hotflush.

You’ll be hearing a lot more from these two young Londoners. As Mount Kimbie, they emerged from nowhere at the start of the year with one of the finest electronic releases of late, debut EP Maybes. And then in the summer, they followed it up with a noticeably different follow-up in Sketch On Glass. Four tracks on each and not the merest hint of a dud. But why so good? Well, despite the handy little For Fans Of line up there, they really don’t sound like anyone else. Maybes, especially, is a revelation. Heart-stoppingly beautiful, it touches on dubstep, hip-hop and electronica but winds up inhabiting a space all of its own, where found sounds mingle with rich basslines and skittering beats, all overlaid with haunting, near-impercptible vocals and submerged underwater. It’s quite extraordinary. Sketch On Glass changes things up with bright synths, harder hitting grooves and instant gratification, but we must evangelise no further, and rather insist that you proceed forthwith to your favourite download retailer and buy both. Right now.


AU59: Nosaj Thing Incoming piece

October 12, 2009

Single-page piece based on an email interview with Jason Chung – it was kind of last minute and he wasn’t available for a phoner. His album Drift is one of my favourite electronic records this year.

Nosaj Thing



REAL NAME: Jason Chung
FROM: Los Angeles, California.
FOR FANS OF: Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, J Dilla.
CHECK OUT: Debut album Drift, out now on Alpha Pup.

Jason. Nosaj. Nosaj. Jason. See what he’s done there? Pretty clever on the part of young Mr. Chung, we think you’ll agree. At least, that’s what we keep telling ourselves since it took several weeks to clock the origin of the stage name. By then, of course, the 24-year-old from LA had reeled us in with his quite exquisite debut album, Drift, a record that’s ensured that his card is marked as one of the best young hip-hop/electronica producers around.

The man himself describes his music as “emotional electronic music with a hip-hop backbone”. Others might use the horrible term ‘wonky’, but in truth it’s enough to let Chung do what he does without getting too bogged down in genre names. Drift belongs to the spectrum of hip-hop and electronica that is touched by dubstep in atmosphere and an emphasis on bass (see also emergent acts like Hudson Mohawke, Mount Kimbie and Rustie) without fully committing to the strict norms of the genre. So Drift sounds expansive, sleek and futuristic, with plenty of gleaming, luxurious synths and wide open spaces, while also boasting some juicy sub-bass and Dilla-esque hip-hop beats. It’s an intoxicating mixture. Chung says that he “got into dubstep late” and denies that it’s a significant influence, though he does single out Martyn and Burial as the producers that he’s “feeling” the most. More significant in his development, however, were “mainstream hip-hop, Nineties music, and bands like Radiohead and Cornelius” as well as family and friends.

The latter comment perhaps gives away the most, because Chung doesn’t just have any old friends. Chief among them is the current golden boy of avant-garde hip-hop, fellow LA native and Warp Records artist Flying Lotus, to who Nosaj Thing is often – justifiably – compared, even though his sound is much less busy and claustrophobic than that of his more illustrious counterpart. “He’s a friend of mine and [has] also been a inspiration,” says Chung, and with the success FlyLo enjoyed off the back of his Los Angeles record last year, that’s no surprise. And according to Chung, there’s more to come from the city, as he namechecks Free The Robots, Gaslamp Killer, My Hollow Drum Crew, Brainfeeder Crew, and Dibiase as acts to check out. Although it might seem facile to bring his hometown into it too much, Chung insists that it was the making of him.

“I believe so,” he says. “My parents enrolled me in an after-school program when I was in fourth grade and the bus driver that picked us up from school always had on one of LA’s local hip-hop radio stations. This was when the Beat Junkies were the resident DJs. I used to record their mixes at home and listen to them all the time. Lots of West Coast hip-hop.”

In his own stylish way, then, Nosaj Thing is continuing that tradition.

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