Monday, 24 August 2009

New Music Reviews

Deep Rooted – ‘Crazy’ B/W ‘We Rick The Hardest’ & ‘From the Heart’
Deep Rooted were formed in 2004 and now have a reputation as one of the best Californian groups due to their high quality live performances with Urban Dynamics Crew Dancers, CeSe & Boosie. The Deep Rooted sound is electro soul mixed a large hip hop influence, with these tracks defiantly holding their worth. This release is available from Clear Label Records, Tajai of the massive Mighty Souls of Mischief new label. Not only have Deep Rooted supported heavyweights like Diamond D, Planet Asia, OhnO & Abstract Rude they have found time for voluntary charity work, helping raise money and awareness in relation to the genocide in Darfur.

Full Release – 24/08/2009
Andrew Halls

Grasscut – ‘High Down’
Released on 20 July 2009 through Ninja Tune
Welcome to the world of Grasscut: sweeping melody, epic build, rain, dislocation, glitched-out psych-pastoralism, beauty and beats. Inspired by and continuing the bold tradition of English transcendentalism. Andrew Phillips & Marcus O’Dair made their live debut at the Loop Festival (Fourtet, Caribou, Holy Fuck) in August 2008, each armed with a laptop and keyboard - Phillips also on vocals and guitar, O’Dair double bass and stylophone. They have since played audiovisual shows at Tate Britain and The Great Escape and supported the likes of Fujiya & Miyagi, Nathan Fake, Wildbirds & Peacedrums and BLK JKS. Their forthcoming, eponymous debut album is a transcendental journey from the Sussex South Downs of High Down to the Nintendo cathedral of Muppet. Weaving in between the lead vocal are voices from the past and the present, snatched from mobile phones and gramophones – a 1920s tenor, gossiping mums, a Victorian singing poet, a woman reminiscing about post-war rationing. Some have heard in their music traces of composer Gavin Bryars, others Another Green World-era Brian Eno or the “steam-powered futurism” of Daedelus. Yet lead single High Down in many ways most resembles a kind of folk music – an original, unsettling exploration of the beauty, alienation and downright strangeness of contemporary life. Swallow the day is defiantly a must check track!

The full release is out now!
Andrew Halls

Instra:Mental - Sepia Tones EP (Darkestral)
The Darkestral label hark back to the mid-'90s era of drum & bass and jungle, encapsulated in their motto of respecting the 170 BPM speed limit. The beautiful Photograph opens with poignant shifting synths that stutter in and out of tune as if they were broken archaic machines, yet despite this, the melody makes sense and progresses gracefully within the framework of the song. Translucent features similar elements, with floating and evocative synth riffs layered over harmonic pads and a steady beat. Both these tracks eschew the kick-snare breakbeat patterns that have come to signify drum & bass and, in turn, seem much slower than they really are.

The other half of this release, however, is drum & bass—pure and simple. In The Dead Zone stark synths feature over a two step beat, the heaviness of which makes it seem much slower than it actually is. A growling and menacing bass line appears out of nowhere and the tune progresses in a minimalist vein, with ticking hi-hats, resounding drum hits and synth pads playing with the foundational elements of the simple beat and snarling distorted bass. Detuned operates in similar territory, the core ingredients being a slow rolling bass line filtered up and down over a steppy beat, and a vocal sample that seems half sarcastic, preaching the arrival of a techno utopia over the rigid and machine-like bleakness of the backing track. Instra:mental and dBridge sidestep about ten years of evolution (or devolution depending on who you ask) in the harder-end of drum & bass. Their open and spacious analogue sound is a breath of fresh air and a diversion from the over-compressed ultra loud sound that dominates modern productions in this drum & bass subgenre, a place where production values and engineering skills sometimes seem to be valued over ideas or musical content. Overall, a completing amazing release we couldn’t recommend highly enough.

004A – Instra:Mental - Photograph
004AA – Instra:Mental - The Dead Zone

005A - Instra:Mental vs. dBridge - Translucent

005AA - Instra:Mental vs. dBridge – Detuned

Out now on Gold or Black Vinyl!
Andrew Halls

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