atm-humanexperience

David Block, who hails originally from Arizona, is a multi instrumentalist, electronic frequency landscape painter, and a whole-hearted believer in the mutual necessity of art and transformation. His main musical project, The Human Experience, has been one of my favorite discoveries of this year.

I first discovered The Human Experience at the beginning of this year at Cosmic Convergence, an incredible transformative festival held on New Year’s on the magical Lake Atitlan, Guatemaya. The sun was waking up to a brand new year as happy smiles were reverberating all across the grounds to music that was encouraging free movement to ooze out of our bodies. Keeping my eyes closed, I saw the vibrations enter my body and open my heart and body into acceptance and flow. As I opened my eyes I saw that everyone was just as elated as I was, traveling in their own world. A Journey we were encouraged to take illuminated by the conscious path created by beautiful compositions so intentional.

Every time I listen to his music, I constantly reenter this space. Wherever I am this music is always on me like a grounding/healing tool. It may be to yoga, to meditation, prancing around at night in the streets, dancing through the jungle, on my bike, at some homies chillin’…We gravitate towards the sound because we feel this fundamental Life frequency, familiar to the sacred geometry that creates us. The energy always becomes more positive, more introspective and more grounding than before. It is the Human Experience.

Since his debut year, 2010, David Block has released four incredible projects: Inaudible Sounds (2010), Harmonic Transformation (2011), Seeing is Believing EP (2011), and The Art of the Way (2012). Today Block will be releasing his fifth project, Soul Visions, in collaboration with a talented multi-instrumentalist duo from New Orleans, Rising Appalachia.

Soul Visions (art by Ryan Johnson)

Soul Visions is an incredible seven track album that continues to express the transformative art ideals mentioned above, but it is also an album that stands apart from all of Block’s previous projects in terms of sound. Block, a multi instrumentalist and primarily live electronic composer, joins forces with Rising Appalachia, a multi instrumentalist group primarily focused on vocal harmonization, traditional/tribal styled instrumentation, and the roots and soul derived from being a New Orleans native. Essentially, Soul Visions is the best of both worlds. Surreptitious snippets of beats placed with sexy basslines alongside beautifully tuned vocals, catchy lyrics, and rhythms created by the first and most ancient beat maker, the drum. Soul Visions  is less psychedelic than his previous albums. It offers more pop and folk infused tracks that brings awareness more into the external. Because there are pop, folk, soul, and acoustic elements, there’s an accessibility to this album that wasn’t available before. I think it’s a great step forward, embracing a different formula at an important time of widespread consciousness raising, showcasing the diversity and musical boundary pushing that Block as an artist is able to tap into.

It’s not my favorite album of The Human Experience because I am much more into the psychedelic expressed in his previous works, but “Downtown” off of Soul Visions is definitely my favorite Human Experience track so far. Please go and support The Human Experience!  He’s doing an awesome tour mostly at transformative festivals around the world. His Canadian appearances will include being at the Mod Club in Toronto with Vancouver’s Caravan Palace (as his awesome side house-ier project The Cats Pajamas) and at Open Mind Festival in Ontario. Check out his music below and send him some luv (All of his works are by donation) and support for all the good vibrations he’s spreading. Check out some of my fave tracks below. Bless and much luv.

The Human Experience – Mississippi (Soul Visions, 2013)


The Human Experience – Downtown (Soul Visions, 2013)


The Human Experience – Robert and Martina ft. Chris B (Harmonic Transformation, 2011)


The Human Experience – Ot Du Shi ft. Mindex (The Art of the Way, 2012)


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Mutek 2013 NOCTURNE 4 John Talbot-8501

This. was. the. best. year. EVER. The 14th installment of MUTEK was pure inspiration. Everything from the curation, art installations and projections, venue visuals, education, sound, free events, the organisation, the crowd, the weather, and the vibezzz were awesome. All the other years I never got to experience as much as I did this year (financial reasons) and having built a community of friends (some outta town friends came!) who are in the scene over the last few years definitely were factors in this year being my personal favorite.

Every time I saw a show and didn’t think it could be topped, MUTEK surprises me and proves me wrong. Day after day, night after night, there were sooo many incredible performances where the energy kept rising and didn’t slow down. Artists/performances I didn’t know anything about blew me out of the water. You just couldn’t go wrong picking which event to go to. The hardest thing about MUTEK this year was trying to alleviate FOMO (fear of missing out). So much talent in so many different genres some at the same time. A good sign.

Mutek 2013 A-VISION 2 Herman Kolgen-7759

Live performances dominated over DJ acts. Visuals were thoughtful, geometric, textured, and a show in itself. Shows outside of A/Visions and Nocturne showcases were free to the public. This included great day time parties in Lounge Windows showcasing local talent with music ranging from experimental, techno, house, to minimal. Workshops/panels/interviews all throughout the day catering to those who are more curious about behind the scenes, production, visualizations etc. MUTEK is truly one of the best electronic creative culture and digital arts festivals in the world. MUTEK contradicts the mainstream archetype of electronic culture and instead expresses the Life, creativity, complexities, and diversity that is overlooked in most festivals when it comes to electronic music. MUTEK provides this experience in a super accessible, encouraging, and healthy way. As RA says, “MUTEK is a place where electronic music is treated like the true art form it is”.

My Top Experiences:

14e édition du Festival Mutek 2013 frahm

A/Visions 2: Having done a preview of him in my last post, I had some knowledge and had heard some of his tracks off his label Erased Tapes which impressed me greatly and I was super lookin’ forward to seeing Nils Frahm live. I had no idea that for the next 90 minutes my mind would be blow and that I would cry from being utterly inspired by how much talent one single person can have. It was a reaffirmation that creative instrumental heart opening music will never die. Innovation, creation and expression from the heart, curiosity to push traditional instrumental boundaries, three pianos (grand, upright, and a Rhodes keyboard), and the most epic sound track to stark moments in Life, made the crowd fall in love with this man immediately. The compositions were sooo long and intense. I had the constant feeling of being in a soundtrack of an anti-hero…about to redeem himself or about to fall even harder, a place we’ve all experienced to some extent. As his fingers blurred playing so fast so deeply, the melancholy washed over all of us. I was filled with gratitude, happy sad and weird memories came into my vision as I felt the intention behind the silences so well timed and executed through Frahm’s tuned ear. So humble and so honest, Frahm confessed he was mad tired. That it was 2am for him currently and he just wanted to sleep…but he wanted to play for us…obviously jajja. He was disappointed at the few errors he made that were inconsequential to us as we rose to our feet and applauded with a secret hope that he’d play more and more. His endurance and drive to share his art knows no bounds as he played at Boiler Room and opened for Pantha Du Prince and the Bell Laboratory after the original artists’ cancellation. Best show I have seen all year.

14e édition du Festival Mutek 2013 one pig

A/Visions 1: Matthew Herbert and his team for the “One Pig” performance was the show that intially made me think, “omfg it’s only the first day and already something that cannot be topped!”. (That was before Nils Frahm came along). One on the keyboard. Another on percussion/drum/touchpad. Another colleague and Herbert on the hardware and midi controllers. And the pig himself (wearing a laboratory jacket too), set in the centre of what seems to be a vibrational music making boxing ring of strings. What impressed me the most about this performance was this boxing ring. Four levels of four strings coiled into a resistor that when pulled would make a distorted sound. On each level the distortion made a different sound. Each string affected the resistance (it seemed) of other strings which then would affect the sound once again. It was an musically innovative using a beautiful and bizarre way of making sound and capturing the figurative essence and story of a pig inside of a cage. From Sep-Jan the music reflected its birth, its confusion, the chaos, at times its moments of joy, and its intuitive sense of its near death. The bass was drawn so hard and I thought to myself for more than half of this concert people could be dancing in the isles it was beaty, catchy, and intense. The smell of bacon (it was being cooked in the background) filled the theatre as all the members went into the cage for a last chaotic string jam, showing just how violent and consuming the process of an animals life from farm to plate can be for oblivious or blind eye turning humans. Loved the politics. Loved the compositions. Loved the innovation. An absolutely triumphant North American premiere!

14e édition du Festival Mutek 2013 dromos

Dromos, inspired by “Dromology”–the science of speed according to Paul Virilio)–was the most visually stunning project I’ve seen at MUTEK. Having never been to Satosphere before, my utter awe surfaced with ease in this incredible spherical dome perfect for 360° projections. Lying down and next to the homies, I relaxed in anticipation. For me, having absolutely no expectation or knowledge of their set intention (according to MUTEK, the DROMOS experience explores the concept of integral inertia in a live performance that questions our relationship to progress), DROMOS was a psychedelic experience. Different textures, rhythms, speeds, and flowing dynamic symmetry gave me an experience that really challenged my perception of space, how easily and quickly it can change, how I feel within those spaces and how I feel between the spacial shifts. Live production from the creators themselves, Maotik and Fraction, along with a live violinist, aided our eyes into seeing the bigger picture a bit more clearly. What’s nice about this audiovisual experience is that it is super subjective, everyone has a different experience. I found after chatting with a bunch of peeps after, though what we perceived differed from each other, we all felt that pull of having no space no time. It was drawing us all in this constant change of spatial awareness. Truly an incredible show that made blew my eyes and my my mind. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was 5D. Fifth dimensional. After it was over I immediately thought, whoa…this is visualization of the future. This is how we’re going to be seeing movies/videos/shows/etc in maybe ten years…maybe less? Wow!

14e édition du Festival Mutek 2013 stott

Nocturne 2: Andy Stott is the man. In my previous post, I was curious as to how his show would play out…and trusting in his Manchester bad-assery I should have had no doubts from the beginning that he was going to play a ridiculous set. Hard distortions and bass, techno lines and still some of his signature atmospheric flare…this show got everyone dancing until sweat dripped all over one another in the well packed fanless SAT. He played some more “upbeat” tracks off his LP Luxury Problems like “Hatch the Plan”. Some of my hardest dancing of the weekend was due to this man. Wahooo!

14e édition du Festival Mutek 2013 onra

Nocturne 3: ONRA. I’ve seen him once before and I was so excited to see him again. I knew he would bring his A-game for MUTEK. Ask and you shall receiiiiiive! Incredible set playing many tracks from his repetoire of LPs. No shortages of Chinoiseries tracks and no shortages of his well known productions like “Rock On”, “The Anthem”, “L.O.V.E.” and “Long Distance”. When the latter track came on, I went crazy!!! Beautiful beats sometimes almost poppy hip-hoppy tracks to keep the groove on. Most importantly, it was ALL sexy and r’n’b homie vibes. MMhmmm. The only criticism of ONRA I have though, is that he played another show for Boiler Room at the Satosphere…and his set was 90% the same set. I didn’t mind dancing to the same set again ’cause he’s just that awesome. But saying in saying that, it should have been an equally awesome set without having to recycle what he used for Nocturne 2. Ya know?

14e édition du Festival Mutek 2013 graze

GRAZE sure is something special. The world premiere of this duo (Adam Marshall and Christian Andersen) put on a ridiculous set powered by the rhythm and flow of percussion and drums. It was catchy and pulled our feet and hearts to move forward with the vibration. There were elements of drum and bass and breakbeats and garage that I really enjoyed. Atmospheric elements that brought us closer through familiarity. Wonderful set that’ll undoubtedly catapult this Canadian duo into a growing number of people looking for something fresh in the scene.

14e édition du Festival Mutek 2013 nosaj

Nocturne 4: NOSAJ THING is my hero. MUTEK put this LA-ite at the same time as John Talabot. I went to check out John Talabot at Metropolis for a bit and though the music was good and it was LIVE! (awesome), I was unimpressed at the homogenous sound between his live set and studio album. As a producer I like to see that you can mix it up, be creative, and not perform tracks exactly as we’ve heard them a million times, ye? Like James Blake. But it’s all good ’cause it gave me a quicker escape to check out one of my most anticipated shows of the festival, NOSAJ THING. He played an incredibly well rounded set with tracks sampled from his two previous albums (Drift and Home) mixed in with various tracks from well known beat makers like Flying Lotus and the Brainfeeder crew. You can tell from his body language and humble demeanor that he is just the nicest dude with a gnarly taste in music. My favorite! Jajajaja. He initially closed off his set with a LUNICE track (YEE montreal reppin’) then decided to rep his hometown of LA with an equally gully track, one of my favorites actually of last year, Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”. Hook, line, and sinker. Bomb show.

14e édition du Festival Mutek 2013

14e édition du Festival Mutek 2013

Nocturne 5: DICTAPHONE (top) and JUAN ATKINS & MORITZ VON OSWALD (bottom) are officially my favorite new discoveries of MUTEK. After four days, our bodies, perspectives, and minds were worn but our hearts still had that fire to keep going and experiencing the talent this wonderful festival brings. It was soooo nice to have a break from the grinding hard (Detroit) techno and experimental and louuuud big bang distorted noises. This night outside of JUJU & JORDASH was filled with the most beaaautiful melancholic and liquid minimal techno. I never thought I’d use those words together but that’s what it was. Like putting on a great liquid drum and bass mix to relax to or chill out too…this minimal techno expressed some atmospheric sunset sunrise landscape painted heart warming vibrations. What made me so incredibly happy was that it was truly heart opening music. So many people were dancing from their hearts. It didn’t have that push like techno or house does sometimes where the beat just informs you how to move where you’re just moving but not being moved, you know? Dictaphone’s talented multi instrumentalists (Oliver Doerell and Roger Doring–Sax and Keyboard?, with violinist Alex Stolze) did exactly the opposite in their North American premiere. Moving in all ways…the jazzy, ambiguous fuzziness oozed familiarity into all our heart spaces and we couldn’t help but close our eyes and dance the way we felt. Their most recent release Poems from a Rooftop has been on repeat ever since. Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald continued this vibe with their vast expertise in techno, minimalism, and sensibility. This was the perfect way to end MUTEK, on a suuuuper high note dancing and feeling to the more simpler things in music, life, and electronic creativity.

14e édition du Festival Mutek 2013 pantha

P.S. I’m sure if I went to the last A/VISIONS with Pantha du Prince & the Bell Laboratory I would say that this was the most epic show of all…maybe ever. I already feel that way through hearing what people have to say and knowing just how incredible the venue and compositions would have been. And also seeing a snippet through this video. But alas, trying to work through the regret of not going to this show and instead remembering how awesome this festival has been to me otherwise!

Thanks/MERCI MUTEK for another incredible year of electronic music, art, creativity, and vision. I cannot wait for the 15th installment! Please check out my previous posts for more music from MUTEK artists!

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atm-piknik

Wooohooo! The 14th installation of one of my favorite electronic creative culture festivals, MUTEK, is starting in two more days. With more than 140 artists, 76 projects, and a record of world premiers (15 world, 16 North American, 4 Canadian), this festival boasts an abundance of music, sights, panels, art, installations, and workshops to keep your weekend packed! Hopefully y’all got to check out the first preview post of artists I’m super excited to see! Part 2 is going to encompass some more artists that aren’t to be missed!

Before I begin, I’mma mention again how crucial and worth it it is to go check out an A/Visions series if you really want a unique experience outside of electronic music creative and digital arts festivals. You get to be in a beaaautiful theatre in the city, sit down, relax, and take in the expression of sound and visuals being intentionally molded together. One can’t exist without the other! The entire show is like one huge art piece. It is awesome. It will expose you to different sounds and different ways of feeling and seeing sound, different ways of feeling and hearing visuals.

ALL the A/Visions are worth checking out. Here are the ones I’m excited for though! A majority of A/Visions descriptions below come from the Mutek site. (Skip to the next page for more music coverage!)

atm-mementomori

Wednesday May 29th; A/VISIONS 1: Ludger-Duvernay Room at the Monument-National – 8 p.m.

8:00 p.m Dan Browne, Dan Briscoll & Steve Richman (CA)

First up will be Canadian artists DAN BROWNE, DAN DRISCOLL & STEVE RICHMAN, who explore the fleeting nature of human memory in MEMENTO MORI. To do so, they revisit a film comprised of more than 100,000 photographs, captured over the course of a lifetime, and shape it into an extrasensory photo montage presented here in world premiere. This film has been awarded THREE prizes in the last year: Jury Prize, for best Canadian Work – WNDX Festival of Moving Image 2012; First Prize in the experimental category at the Athens International Film and Video Festival 2013; and finally the Deluxe Cinematic Vision Aware at the Images Festival!

atm-one pig

8:45 p.m Matthew Herbert (UK) present One Pig

The programme’s second part, a North American premiere, will present British producer MATTHEW HERBERT, who also explores the cycle of life… of a pig, in this instance. The ONE PIG performance mainly revolves around the defining sounds in the life of a pig, from birth, to slaughter, to plate. On stage, Herbert is accompanied by musicians decked out as lab assistants, as well as a chef (of the culinary kind), in order to delve into every facet of a pig’s (after)life. The artistic and political approach to the subject matter is at once visual, sonic and scent-laden, which promises to make for an unforgettable festival experience.

atm-nilsfrahm

A/VISIONS 2: Ludger-Duvernay Room of the Monument-National – 8 p.m.

8:00 p.m Nils Frahm (DE)

The second A/VISIONS gets started with virtuoso German (Berlin) pianist NILS FRAHM and his three pianos. Showered with praise, this musician and composer is interested in the countless sonic possibilities that define his instrument of choice; he brings together classical music with electronic accents in a frank, effortless way.

Today Nils Frahm works as an accomplished composer and producer from his Berlin-based Durton Studio, where he has worked and collaborated with many contemporaries such as Peter Broderick, Ólafur Arnalds, Anne Müller, Deaf Center, Efterklang and Dustin O’Halloran amongst other fellow musicians. His unconventional approach to an age-old instrument, played contemplatively and intimately, has won him many fans around the world. For a musician this early in his career, Frahm displays an incredibly developed sense of control and restraint in his work, catching the ear of many fans including Thom Yorke, who featured one of Nils’ songs in Radiohead’s HQ office chart. As the recognition continues to grow for his previous solo piano works ‘Wintermusik’ (2009) and ‘The Bells’ (2009), October 2011 saw the release of his most acclaimed album to date: ‘Felt’. 

Nils is part of the Erased Tapes Record labels where he works alongside with many incredible artists, Ólafur Arnalds, who he collaborated with to make some of my favorite songs of last year. Check it out below!

Olafur Arnald & Nils Frahm – a2 (Max Cooper Remix)


Nils Frahm – Si (Plasma Ruby Remix)


atm-hermankolgen

9:30 p.m Herman Kolgen (CA)

Quebec artist HERMAN KOLGEN, renowned abroad for his digital arts sculptures, invites the public on a sweeping multisensory trip with TRAIN FRAGMENTS. Presented at MUTEK in a new configuration with the Université de Montreal’s SIXTRUM percussion ensemble (a world premiere), the public will witness the meeting of contemporary music and digital creativity, with a live score inspired by Steve Reich’s notoriously difficult string quartet, Different Trains. This performance looks EPIC. Check out Fragments if you want a bit of a teaser to see what this Montréal local has in store for us!

Skip to the next page for more MUTEK coverage!

 

 

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atm-stratosphere

After almost a year of traveling I have finally made my way back to the my Home, a.k.a. the Best City in the WOOOOOOORLD, a.k.a Montréal! Just am in slight recuperation from DC’s astounding Forward Festival that happened from May 15th to 19th that y’all should check out! If you’re a fan of Mutek, heady amazing electronic music, and an awesome creative community…you’ll be a fan of Forward! Hopefully I’ll have time to do a recap of it soon enough.

Anyways, the clouds are parting the and roads are a bit sleek from the rain but the festival season has begun and what a way to kick off the summer with the 14th edition of Mutek! In my opinion, Canada’s most prestigious electronic creative culture and music festival and North America’s truest example of electronic creative expression.

In this preview I’ll be highlighting what I’m SUPER excited for (Part 1)!
I’ll also be highlighting artists that I’m STILL REALLY excited about (Part 2)!

Skip to the next page to read all about who you’ll regret missing! Jajaja ;)

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Byron Bay, Australia; Photo Cred: Luke Taylor

OOOOK! It’s been a wild ride since my last post for y’all. Since then I’ve trekked through the jungle in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. I saw a puma! Amongst many other creatures as this area of Central America holds 2.5% of the WORLDS biodiversity. How cool.

Went to the incredible Lucidity Festival (one of my faves this year so far!). Hung out in Los Angeles. My 4th time there in the last seven years. I have a new found love for Los Angeles that I’ve never had before. It’s so much better with friends! Checked out Bruno Pronsato at the Monarch in San Francisco. Easily the best soundsystem in the city! Went to my favorite festival (all free!) called How Weird Festival in San Fran. Six blocks in the financial district closed off, tons of soundcamps (many from burning man!)…all the weirdos and crazies havin’ a good time.

So here I finally am, about to embark on another adventure towards Minnesota, then Chicago, then to DC for my homies festival FORWARD FESTIVAL (ALL ELECTRONIC HEADS LOOK INTO THIS FESTIVAL!), back to NYC, and finally back to Montreal just in time to cover this year’s grand MUTEK (electronic music and digital arts) event!

I’mma share a few tracks that I’ve been vibin’ hard on for the last few months. Blessings for this abundance! Sending out my luv and vibrations to y’all. Enjoy and stay tuned for more dope beats!

bondax
I have been obsessed with Bondax and this track since it came out a bit over a year ago. Every time I play it for my musically versed friends they’re like, “who is this?!”. Even after a couple of years of a few other singles releasing, they’re still on the downlo. These two youngin’ DJs from the UK know what’s up! The bass drop in this track is soooo sexy and rattles the deepest parts of you. I wish this track was longer. They just did a podcast with XLR8R which will give you a better idea of what they’re all about. Turn this bitch up!

Bondax – All Inside


shlohmo

I love this LA-ite hip-hop infusing sexy r’n’b driven shhloooowed down house beat makin’ brother! Shlohmo is the shit and I got the chance to see him at Mutek last year! Check out my other Shlo-posts :) This track is with Jeremih, another rising r’n’b hip-hop star that released the sexy “Fuck U All the Time” last year. These two together are DOOOPE! Turn this up.

Shlohmo – Bo Peep (Do U Right) ft. Jeremih


disclosure
Disclosure is my new favorite discovery. Another young duo from the UK reppin’ the scene! Catchy and sexy vocalists highlight the already poppin’ bass lines, garage styled post dubstep beats. A tidbit from an incredible article below. Full read recommended:

“The rise of London duo Disclosure is the kind of story that makes music journalists salivate. First off, its two producers are brothers—a relationship which has become increasingly uncommon in the current musical landscape—and, to sweeten the deal, the siblings dropped their first single at the astounding ages of 16 and 18. That was a little less than two years ago, and, since then, Disclosure’s productions, which began as deft pieces of post-dubstep admiration, have blossomed into increasingly robust slices of soul-laden bass music, proving that the artists’ relatively young age is merely a footnote in an impressive trajectory that has ushered in a string of singles, a free EP, and a consistent run of quality remixes.

“We mixed our first single in the car,” says Guy Lawrence (the oldest of the brothers, now 20) in reference to Disclosure’s first official release, “Offline Dexterity” b/w “Streetlight Chronicle,” which came out via !K7′s Moshi Moshi sublabel in the fall of 2010. The songs featured on the single were in fact the first tunes the brothers had crafted together, finding a shared inspiration from the wave of post-dubstep sounds that were defining the London scene at the time. Unsurprisingly, they found particularly potent common ground—as most producers do—in their mutual admiration for Burial’s seminal LPs, which had been released a few years earlier. “We just made that first single for a laugh and put it on MySpace,” explains younger brother Howard, now 17. “It got loads of attention and we just realized we should make some more music together.”

Turns out they’re releasing an album called Settle in the beginning of June! STOKED! Turn this waaaaaaaaaay up! Check out their other tracks on soundcloud as well!

Disclosure – White Noise ft. Aluna George


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tale of the white deer photo david hale

It’s been a long time since my last post. My journey has been incredible thus far. Constant learning, traveling with the Tribe. I’ve grown a lot since then and so has my music collection. I have decent enough internet here currently in Puerto Viejo to make some posts. I’m gonnu try to post songs every day ’cause there’s soooo much to share.

The Human Experience is this incredible man named David Block, who also has a sick house side project named The Cats Pyjamas. He’s one of the artists alongside Desert Dwellers, Emancipator, etc etc that is getting good reppin’ at transformational festivals. His music is a journey in itself! You can get most of his music for free!

The Human Experience – Lion Heart


Andy Stott‘s new LP Luxury Problems blew my mind. Incredible deep sexy bassy tech. I was doing yoga to the whole album the other day and it definitely brings you to another level.

Andy Stott – Numb


James Blake, do I really need to introduce the guy? He recently put out a track called “Digital Lion” with Brian Eno in anticipation of his new album Overgrown set to be released in a month’s time!

James Blake – Retrograde


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Hey y’all. I know I have been pretty absent lately and it’s only going to get worse as I am off to Burning Man again and then some more travels! Wahoo. I’mma try to get a mixtape out before I do ’cause the music I have been listening to of late is just ridiculous. So good. Speakin’ of soooogooodmusic! House music. Yo. I’ve always said it’s like the soul r’n’b of electronic music as it is to hip-hop. I grew up on house and the house crowd is just the loveliest crowd around. No other shows do I see that many people blissed out and so filled with love. Drugs or no drugs jeje.

Last night I went out to Piano Rouge and saw the baddest cat play, Slim Williams. His show was called Sophistifunk. SO YOU KNOW IT’S GOOD. For real. And for the first time he played a classic house show instead of his usual r’n’b soul nufunk style and it was INCREDIBLE. I have never seen house music being performed like that with live instruments. Piano, keyboards, and a sax. My mind was blown and I was almost in tears just how incredible this man and his team was and my love for house grew and I think it did for all the people in the room that night too.

Unfortunately I don’t have any of Slim William’s material. But I’mma share some of my favorite house music of late. One I’m listening to right now fits that soulful house that just makes my heart open so muuuuch! Enjoy and watch out for the mixtape!

1. Dimitri Max, Hawt Music Podcast Week 176. DC Reppin’!
I can’t embed this podcast so here is the link to it! Turn it up!

2. Tensnake, Fact Mix 337:

3. Jus Ed, Underground Quality Showcase Fabric Exclusive:

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Last night instead of going to Mutek, I made my way to an equally important art scene in Montréal, the beat makin’ scene that ARTBEAT does so well to represent. This was the first official Artbeat show I was able to make (hosted by SevDee & Mark The Magnanimous). My mind was blown by the creativity and mad love shown by the beat builders up on stage…each sharing five minutes of their hard work in rotation. Crossing genre boundaries with no hesitation, the artists reminded me of tunes you’d hear from Shlohmo, Salva, B. Bravo, Flying Lotus, J Dilla…8-Bit, grimey bass lines, awesomely bizarre transitions and a mad infusion of hip-hop…oh! Don’t forget the FUNK! Oh yeah Artbeat you have my heart and I’m going to do my best to spread the word. What I love about hip-hop events like these is the international crowd and the mad love everyone has for hip-hop, beats, and mixin’ up the genres! Truly good music. Love. Check out their website! Check out the artists and their soundclouds posted below! ALSO! Artbeat has a radio show EVERY Saturday at 17h on 89.3FM or go online to listen or download their podcasts! Like them on Facebook!

Taken from their website:

Artbeat Montréal builds strategies geared towards the promulgation of Art within the provincial territory of Quebec and abroad. It’s Mission is to offer a platform for the Beat Builder to expand his or her knowledge of Sound, Music and Culture along with the production of distinct, refined and preeminent events dedicated to professionals, as well as enthusiasts.

ARTBEAT will set itself as the cornerstone in the establishment of a superior quality and new variety of Artistic Works, principally by Beat Builders from all genres and styles of music, which in turn, will promote cultural enrichment, as well as political, educational, economic, social and spiritual advancement.

ARTBEAT MONTREAL events unite the finest and most innovative Beat Builders, DJs, Singers and Emcees, as well as movers and shakers of the entertainment industry under one roof for a unique and uplifting experience of Sound and Light.

The BEAT BUILDER is the “Human Being possessing the ability of producing a rhythmic or harmonic arrangement or sequence with the use of new devices, beyond the limits or confines of technology, with the purpose of transmitting a specific message”

We understand that we are all related to Harmony by Blood and that we know Rhythm by heart.

ARTBEAT MONTREAL is presented by the Sovereign Prerogative Live Creations.

The artists of last night and their soundclouds:

RawLove

Christopher R.T.

Teknition aka Vincent Pryce (MurderFace/Mook-Life)

Nik Brxvkn (NBNBNB)

Griot (Akabeat)

Waahli (Nomadic Massive/Wyzah Musk)

Special Guest : Shash’U (Silence D’Or/Its Gotta Be…) back from France!

Phil Sparkz (Booty Bakery/MIMS) on the decks

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Oweeeeeeeeee! I’ve missed the past two springs & summers here in Montréal and I truly am so grateful to be back for such a special time of year! I am SO excited for this years MUTEK to begin officially begin! MUTEK is an incredible four day electronic music and digital art festival that showcases some of the most exciting up and coming electronic music producers, underground and local talents, old school pioneers of the game, and outside of the box visual arts designers who will blow your mind! With various showcases designed to open up your mind and ears, you can get a taste of electronic music’s palette ranging from experimental, minimal, ambient to deep/tech/disco house, funky 8bit IDM beats, future bass, and dubstep (REAL dubstep. not the brostep Skrillex shit, y’all).

I’ll try to cover the festival the best I can but for now I will leave you with my most anticipated shows and what you MUST SEE if you don’t have a full festival pass and can’t afford or go to all of the shows. Detailed reviews and more goodies will come soon as the festival progresses!

What I’m super excited for:

1. May 31st – Nocturne 2: Red Bull Music Academy; Shlohmo and Salva!

Any artist coming out of the Red Bull Music Academy roster is going to special. If RBMA stages and sponsorships have not impressed you before at other festivals, be SURE to go to this one. Silkie literally destroyed Forward Festival in DC and my face has never been the same. RBMA gives a chance to rising music producers to unleash their creativity with the best equipment possible. For this Nocturne 2 RBMA showcase, Sibian & FaunShlohmoSalvaNouveau PalaisPaul White Live are going to grace the stage…but I’mma talk about who I’m most stoked about.

Henry Laufer! Or better known as Shlohmo is an L.A. native rising star off of the Friends of Friends record label which also hosts similar up and coming artists in the L.A. beat scene such Salva and Groundislava. At 14, he started experimenting and making beats but didn’t really start taking it seriously until 17. Now, at 21 years, he has released many LPs, EPs, remixes, and has made many mixes for prominent podcasts such as FACT and XLR8R. His sound is a plethora of hip-hop, trip-hop, dubstep, lo-fi, and ambient. Psychedelic space journey reminiscent of Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, and even Balam Acab? Oh, yeah!

Check out his fantastic XLR8R podcast mix to get a taste…and also the Mp3′s below!

MP3: Shlohmo – Blankets (Shlo-Fi EP 2009)


MP3: Shlohmo – Sink (Bad Vibes, 2011)


MP3: Shlohmo – Parties (Bad Vibes, 2011)


Alongside Shlohmo, Salva who is also part of Friends of Friends label and the SF renowned Frite Nite crew will also be rocking out at this Nocturne 2 event. I saw him perform recently at the Foward Festival in DC with his Frite Nite homies, B. Bravo and Teeko and they created the biggest stir on the dance floor in the loft with some of the nastiest beats, gansta remixes, and funk that made my homeboy and I go, “DAAAAYUM THAT IS SOOO FUUNKAAY!”. Real effin’ funk ya dig. But for real, another talented future bass beat music maker, Chicago raised and based in L.A., Salva gets the feet twisters and shoulder poppin’ dancers going with his vintage house Detroit techno bass face funky grooves. Hint of Hip-Hop and climactic instrumentals Dan Deacon styles almost, he’s the epitomy of what beat makers are today and an example of why the beat scene is gaining more and more attention. Pan-genre at it’s finest. Mixing and mashing all styles it has no name it’s just awesome!

MP3: Salva – 40 Karats ft. Zackey Force Funk (Complex Housing, 2011)


MP3: Salva – Obsession (feat. B. Bravo) (Yellowbone EP, 2011)


2. June 01: Nocturne 3 – Nicolaas Jaar and Deniz Kurtel!
Do I really have to introduce this guy? Like the year Maya Jane Coles had last year, Nicolas Jaar has had a whirlwind of a year. Like many electronic music producers, Jaar started young at the age of 14. He was born in NY, relocated to Santiago Chile, then moved back to NY six years later. At 17, he already released a debut EP, The Student on the Wolf and Lamb label (whoa)! At 18, he was already playing in Berlin, Brooklyn and the Mutek in Mexico City. All this while studying at Brown University! Now, at 21, he has successfully launched his own record label with Noah Kraft, Clown and Sunset, which already has released some incredible productions like Prism with much more anticipated records to come.

He loves to sample quotes from speeches, movies, tv shows, samples from other samples, samples from other tunes…his compositions generally stay below 100 BPM which is lower than the house/techno standards of 130 BPM. He says, “I’m going to keep taking the beats even slower,” he says in an interview with Resident Advisor,[1] “More unintentional things happen between the beats.” Super interesting, creative, and almost yogi spiritual like finding the peace between the breath, you find these “unintentional things” exist and are true when you listen to his various EPs and LPs (released off of Circus Company, Wolf and Lamb, and Clown and Sunset). Not all his music makes you dance but it keeps your attention, it’s emotionally intelligent and mindfully aware. It’s music and it’s Art. Hear and see it for yourself! Check out his amazing debut album Space is Only Noise! A show not to be missed…!

He recently did his debut Essential Mix which you can check out here! His XLR8R mix was also awesome which you can check out here.

MP3: Nicolas Jaar – Marks (Marks and Angles EP, 2010)


MP3: Nicolas Jaar – Colomb (Space is Only Noise, 2011)


MP3: Sneaky Sound System – Big (Nicolas Jaar’s Always By Your Side Remix)



Deniz Kurtel made her deep/tech house LP debut last year with good reviews. Her single “The L Word” graced many DJ sets and her art work (she uses LED lights, mirrors, and sculptures to create interactive art pieces) continues to be admired at countless Wolf and Lamb parties. Kurtel has a Turkish background, had intensive classical piano training, and was constantly exposed to art by her mother. Her real passion for art especially grew with her studies in USA. Being a part of the electronic scene in NY, she eventually made her way to the famous Morgan and Marcy Hotel parties in Brooklyn where Wolf and Lamb host many parties and met Gadi (one half of Wolf and Lamb)…who eventually helped her DJing and producing skills…clearly evident in her debut album Music Watching Over Me (2011).

3. June 02: Nocturne 4 – A Guy Called Gerald

GANSTA TECH IN THE HOUSE. Check out the amazing mix that A Guy Called Gerald made for Mutek on XLR8R:

This week, the 2012 edition of the annual MUTEK festival will be getting underway in Montreal. Consistently presenting some of the most forward—not to mention best—assortments of electronic and experimental artists, it comes as little surprise that this year’s lineup includes an intriguing array of acts, from up-and-coming locals to widely influential legends. One of those legends happens to be UK producer A Guy Called Gerald (a.k.a. Gerald Simpson), who’s put together an exclusive mix to commemorate the impending kickoff of this year’s MUTEK festivities. Over the past 25 years, Simpson has been at the forefront of numerous electronic movements, from his early acid-house days (which included a stint in pioneering outfit 808 State) to later planting the seeds for what would eventually become jungle and drum & bass. These days, he’s located in Berlin and has musically gravitated back toward techno, most recently turning out a variant of the sound he’s dubbed “gangsta tech.” Here, he’s assembled an hour-long session that’s both tasteful and experimental—two words that are often used to describe MUTEK.

4. June 03: Piknik Elektronik – The Mole, Benoit & Sergio, Wolf + Lamb


WOW. Piknikis one of Montreal’s greatest attributes. Set on an island overlooking the city and gracing the presence of a gorgeous sunset, you can bring your family, and friends with your picnic and enjoy a fabulous day of reconnecting and dancing all afternoon and night. It is one of my favorite events of all time and this lineup (Valentin StipArtiste SurpriseBenoit & SergioWolf+Lamb Mathew JonsonThe Mole) is just to die for!  House, funk, techno, and soul all in one place with these incredible artists. See you there :)

5. ANY of the A/Visions series. Check out my previous coverage of them here to better get a glimpse at just how incredible this series is.

6. Any of the FREE series! Mutek is quite an expensive festival but there are some shows that won’t hurt your wallet and will give you a taste of what the scene is about! Check out Alicia Hush on June 1st!

Those are my recommendations! Come back for reviews later. Stay safe, have fun, and drink plenty of water! See you on the dance floor :)

To check out all the events, click the link below to get better descriptions courtesy of Mutek or go to the Mutek website.

Read the rest of this entry »

I had the privilege of seeing DC’s own Oddisee live at DC’s Forward Festival for the closing outside party on Sunday. It was the first time I had ever heard of him but with all the excited rustling of my neighbors I figured this was no joke of  MC. He blew everyone’s minds with intelligent and conscious lyrics, unpredictable rhyme schemes, a natural fierceness that exuded through his clear love for what he does and for hip hop, and obviously, dope beats.

This man is mad talented. Please check out his website and buy/share/listen to his music and spread the wuuurd. Also check out his other project, Diamond District. Though he has been making music for a long long time and has many EPs and mixtapes released, his debut album People Hear What They See”  will be released June 12, 2012.

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