That Jon Hopkins' latest is very close to flawless should come as no surprise—the man has circled the patches of rock and electronic throughout his career, having laid down keyboards for Brian Eno (Another Day On Earth) and Coldplay (their only good record, Viva la Vida). As easy as it is to love whatever dance music is coming out of Bristol, Los Angeles, and Berlin these days, there comes a point where astute writers and listeners notice a pattern of circular conversation, where producers are often talking back to other producers. Hopkins doesn’t sound like he’s talking with anyone except himself—looking back at 2009’s underrated and accomplished Insides, and finding a way to go deeper into his own sound-world.
Enigmatic techno duo Demdike Stare (a.k.a. Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker) has seen its output steadily increase over the course of 2013, spurred largely by their Testpressing series and Whittaker's own solo effort, Unsecured. The series has seen the pair gravitate generously toward more minimal, deconstructed house and techno, with melodies held barely together by mighty basslines and devoted drum patterns.
The latest entry, #003, is out now on vinyl and digital via Modern Love. Modern Love was kind enough to make the 12" available for streaming, which is free to listen to below.
"This is Kanye West, today he will go on a Kanye Quest." Welcome to Kanye Quest 3030.
The game, developed by indie prodigies Phenix in the DIY RPG Maker VX, sees the Yeezy One getting transported without warning to a dystopian January 3030-- which looks suspiciously like Brooklyn in 2004. In this brave new world, rappers of all walks-- from Legends (Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, Tupac) to Not-so-legends (Nicki Minaj, and maybe Lil B)-- are controlled by a malevolent dictator. As to who the dictator is, well, the year is 3030, but that doesn't mean there are a few plot twists and opportunities for swag herrings along the way. The game is described as "hip-hop themed science fiction," loosely modeled after Dragon Quest, Lufia, and your wildest dreams. (via FACT)
Download the alpha version of the game here. Sadly, it only works with Windows 7 and below. For those who can't play it or are just curious as to whether or not this is real, watch the trailer below.
Winston-Salem-based Estrangers' last sonic trek, the humble Sunmelt EP, was decidedly rougher around the edges than its 2011 album, Black Ballroom. The five-piece outfit seems to have been yearning for the opposite approach on its sophomore full-length Season of 1000 Colors. The degraded acoustics of its previous effort are traded for a sterilized sheen, making the earnestness of pieces like bolting pop tune "Monarchs" almost disarming. But there's no need for alarm: the surf-tinged track is full of space, letting the band's instrumentation hang in the open air while waves of warm guitars knock up against equally maxed-out keyboards as vocalist Philip Pledger see-saws his way through the tune.
Season of 1000 Colors is out June 11 on Phuzz Sounds.
Concrete forest dweller Noah B wants to sit the listeners in their chairs, give them some goddamn tea, and make with storytime. Paxico Records-- the imprint which brought the beautifully assembled ∞ Smooves mix a month back-- have been slowly acting as an ambassador and curators of the East Coast beat scene, with Noah B's Awakening Power being their latest release. The 14-track Power arrives covered in dust: there's always a thin, blurry atmosphere hanging over the music, which is simultaneously playful and beautiful. The disintegrating soul loops common in Paxico's releases are there, held barely aloft by stumbling, absent-minded drums that forget to keep time with the drones and mischievous samples (Poes from Zelda? Why not?) happening above them. If there's any complaint to be had at all, it's that sometimes the crumbling textures don't need the extra kick-and-ride-- there's enough jungle groove without it.
Like the music itself, the details about this tape's genesis are a little hazy: the album was inspired by a half-burned treasure map (or is it just a map?), which was recreated from scratch, and packaged with the tape along with a magnifying glass. Awakening Power is out now, limited to a run of 50. In the meantime, the entire LP is available for preview below.
Footwork family Teklife has a few secret weapons hiding in the wings, usually unleashed during the opening rounds of their parties in New York. One of these cats is New York-via-Brixton DJ Durban (a.k.a. Joe Papas), who sports some of the deepest craties out of the entire Lit City Trax clan, who is now being spotlighted in a fiery 34-minute mix that speeds along at the crowd-pleasing tempo of 140 BPM. For heads and dancers alike, 140 is commonly agreed to be an amazing speed despite occasionally falling into the wrong hands. Durban's 140 mix showcases Papas' original tunes as well as old school dubstep classics, new grime heat, and of course, Juicy J. The entire mix is available for download below, and the tracklist is available after the jump.
Techno abstractionist Stellar Om Source (a.k.a. Christelle Gualdi) has already opened 2013 with the sinkingly addictive "Elite Excel," a track that worked by weaving and deconstructing its way through the ghosts of electro and early Detroit house. After the release of a slowburn EP named after the single, the producer's upcoming full length, Joy One Mile, continues that formula she's been perfecting from top to bottom. The record is now streaming in full here, courtesy of Pitchfork Advance.
Joy One Mile is out July 11 via RVNG Intl. For a refresher, "Elite Excel" is streaming below.
Hi. Like many the world over, we at Ad Hoc have long put the Smashing Pumpkins-- specifically the run from Siamese Dream to Mellon Collie and Infinite Sadness, including all singles and B-sides that implies-- in the canon of great mid-90s Albums You Should Hear or We Won't Hang Out with You (coffee table book due 2014). All jokes about Corgan opening tea houses and pro wrestling divisions aside, those two records are still masterworks. Their seminal 1996 box set//victory lap The Aeroplane Flies High originally covered all the singles from Sadness, and now as the band's reissue campaign is in full swing, the Pumpkins are bringing back the box in four different flavors.
As Pitchfork reports, The Aeroplane Flies High will be released remastered in a six-CD/one-DVD (which includes a July 1997 gig in Belford, France) set, a digital version, a five-LP box, and a Deluxe Edition which clocks in at a stupid 104 tracks. Unreleased demos, alternate mixes, live takes, and various rarities abound, the full tracklist for the various editions is available here. In addition, each physical edition will come with a 46-page artbook, featuring Billy Corgan doing a track-by-track rundown and writer David Wild doing the introduction to the whole affair. Aeroplane restreets July 23 via Virgin/Ume.
Santa Ana dweller Chris Alfaro (a.k.a. Free the Robots) made a minor splash in 2010 with his genre-juggling platter of dirty instrumental beats, Ctrl-Alt-Delete, an LP that was sucked into the black hole event that was (at the time) Flying Lotus' Cosmogramma. Now we have this four-track, assembled during that same time period, that has been reworked and reassembled for the run-up to the producer's forthcoming third LP. The EP, entitled In Other Worlds, boasts quite a few surprises. Most notably, there's the India-tinged start-stop clatter of "Take It Slow" which sets up for the alien bleeps and strutting boom-bap of "Invasion."
In Other Worlds is available for streaming in full below, and can also be downloaded for whatever price you want at Alfaro's Bandcamp. The third LP from Free the Robots is due sometime in the back half of 2013.
Last fall we spilled some ink to notepad about London's proto-shoegazers Honeyslide, more specfically their gorgeous yet humble tune "Sugar Routine." Despite that one's brevity, the single properly found its way slowly onto heavy rotation, leaving the band's next move highly anticipiated, at least around the office. The wait was worth it: "Drippin'" more than doubles the length of "Sugar Routine," slows things down to a humid, sensual crawl, and builds a bed of dense micro-solos on top of charming vocals and a melancholy-tinged bassline. "Drippin'" originally was found on the band's debut, but it appears here newly remastered and much more intimate in terms of both punch and clarity.
"Drippin'" will lead off a forthcoming double A side 10", which will feature "Sugar Routine" alongside two more unreleased tunes recorded during the band's embryonic state. A full-length is still in the pipe for sometime later in 2013. In the meantime, Drippin' / Deep Architecture will be released June 25 via Critical Heights.