Category Archives: Features

Sunday Sounds: RIP DJ Rashad

RIP DJ Rashad

Sad news this morning, as it has been announced that pioneering Chicago footwork dj/producer DJ Rashad has passed away at his Chicago home:

Chicago footwork pioneer DJ Rashad has died. While an official statement has not yet been issued, the news was broken and confirmed by Rashad’s close friends, including DJ Godfather and Chance the Rapper. Rashad, who was 35, was due to perform tonight with DJ Godfather and another longtime collaborator, DJ Spinna, at Detroit’s Inhale Art Expo.

Update: The Chicago Sun-Times reports that DJ Rashad was found dead by a friend in a West Side apartment early Saturday afternoon and pronounced dead at the scene shortly after. An autopsy is scheduled for Sunday. A drug overdose is suspected.

Nice tribute from Om Unit:

Whenever a musician passes away, I think that it’s always best as a fan to remember them through their music, so here are a few of my favorite tunes and mixes of his:

Continue reading Sunday Sounds: RIP DJ Rashad

Sunday Sounds: Boddika & Joy Orbison – Tricky’s Team

Boddika & Joy Orbison - Tricky's Team

Sure, this is one day late. But appropriate given my Boddika mix that I posted on Saturday!

This (excellent) tune has just hit wax in time for Record Store Day, with the sad result that the usual Discogs hustlers are already selling it at farcical markups.

(I just hope I will be able to score a copy for a sane price)

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Freeform Friday: Pearsall – Dreaming of Berlin (Le Dos-On Remix)

Koreanischer Garten, Garten der Welt, Marzahn, Berlin
Koreanischer Garten, Garten der Welt, Marzahn, Berlin

So, I’ve been a bit slack in mentioning this, but Freeformatted have recently released Japanese freeform purveyor of awesomeness Le Dos-On’s remix of my track Dreaming of Berlin on the new Freeformatted EP003.

If my original was an attempt to fuse the mid-90’s hard trance sounds of Mark EG and M-Zone with freeform, Le Dos-On’s remix goes back to the early days of freeform/trancecore, with a big and bouncy party flavor.

Check it out below or head over to Soundcloud to download it, along with savage new tracks from Vyral XIII and Horzi & Alchemiist!

Continue reading Freeform Friday: Pearsall – Dreaming of Berlin (Le Dos-On Remix)

Tuesday Time Machine: Vibes & Wishdokta

Ice on the Spree
Ice on the Spree (image by Sandra Juto)

Today in the Tuesday Time Machine we are looking back at a few tracks by two of the finest producers from the ’94/’95 glory daze of happy hardcore … Vibes & Wishdokta!

Later on Vibes would go on to become the cheesiest of the cheesy, and Wishdokta would become one of the pioneers of the UK Garage sound under his actual name, Grant Nelson, but for a brief shining period in the mid-90’s they made classic after classic after classic together. Everything that was awesome about Happy Hardcore in its initial incarnation can be heard in their music.

Propulsive breakbeats? Check.

Euphoric piano breaks? Check.

Exploding cascades of diva vocals? Check.

Deeply dub-tastic basslines? Check.

Cheeky samples? Check.

Sheer, unadulterated fun? Check, check, and check.

Don’t believe me? More fool you. Check this shit out:

Continue reading Tuesday Time Machine: Vibes & Wishdokta

Sunday Sounds: Machinedrum, the King of Juke/Jungle/Dubstep/IDM Fusion

Berlin Winter Sun
Berlin Winter Sun; image by Paul Sullivan

For some bizarre reason, it’s taken me a long time to get into the amazing music of Machinedrum, aka Travis Stewart.

If you are unaware of him, he is an American dj/producer who has been based in Berlin for the last few years (I believe in Kreuzberg, which is much hipper than Wilmersdorf, where I live), and he makes an absolutely beautiful hybrid electronic music, combining bass-heavy juke and jungle influenced beats with the beautiful melodies and atmospherics more commonly heard in the music of downtempo artists like Boards of Canada or 76:14-era Global Communication. Or you could also say that his music is a bit like Burial’s, except fun to dance to. Thinking about it, what really draws me to his music is that it is in a sense like a hyper-modern update on that old atmospheric jungle sound that I’ve always loved – strong beats, big bass, gorgeous melodies.

Although I have been dimly aware of his music for a while, it wasn’t until I started listen to Om Unit a lot that I decided to also explore Machinedrum’s body of work. I’ve listened to more of Om Unit in the past six months than any other artist, and I’ve been greedily devouring everything I can find by him, because I just can’t get enough of his unique take on slow/fast beats with tons of gorgeous electronics layered over the top. Anyways, Om Unit and Machinedrum did a one-off collaboration last year as Dream Continuum on Mike Paradinas’ Planet Mu Records, where they recast old skool hardcore using modern production techniques and juke-influenced beats. Honestly, I loved it, so from there I went on to buy Machinedrum’s latest album, Vapor City, which is amazing, and then I got his previous album, Room(s), which is also amazing, and then I got a bunch more of his stuff, and then, well, here we are.

Obviously, I can’t give a comprehensive overview of his music here, but I can give you a nice little taster, so here are a few of my favorite cuts from his two most recent albums, plus a few freebies and remixes that I also dig.

Continue reading Sunday Sounds: Machinedrum, the King of Juke/Jungle/Dubstep/IDM Fusion

Freeform Friday: Substanced’s The Second Collapse

Substanced - The Second Collapse
Substanced – The Second Collapse

The remix EP for Substanced’s killer 2011 album When The World Collapses is here … and it’s amazing!

It’s an exciting taster for his forthcoming second album, Futureform, and it’s a good indicator that 2014 will be as good or better on the freeform front as the last two (excellent) years.

My personal faves are Japanese man of the moment Le Dos-On’s turbo-charge remix of Shadows of Tomorrow, and Transcend & Dyzphazia’s chunky as fuck refix of Skullcrush. The Proteus remake of Geneva Part II is awesome as well, but if my ears don’t deceive me, it sounds like there is some clipping in the track and that it wasn’t mastered properly? Anyways, good work everyone!

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Sunday Sounds: Chicago Juke & Footwork

West Side Chicago
The West Side of Chicago – image from here

Two weeks ago, Sunday Sounds looked at Chicago’s drill music scene, it’s own particular local spin on the trap sound that has dominated American hip-hop over the last few years.

Of course, over the last thirty years Chicago has been much better-known internationally for its contributions to electronic music than for the produce of its rap scene (even though Chicago has produced one of the most famous rappers of them all in the douche-tacular shape of Kanye West). So today I just wanted to throw up a few mixes of Chicago juke music, the hyper-speed polythythmic sound that has inspired producers all over the world in the last few years. It’s also been the soundtrack to a unique style of dancing called footworking, which was born in Chicago’s ghettos and is, frankly, pretty amazing to watch (as well as mind-bogglingly complicated) – I’ve also posted a documentary on that, too.

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Freeform Friday: Freeformatted – The Remix EP

Crossrail, London
Crossrail Tunnel Digging, London – Image from The Atlantic InFocus

Last weekend, Dyzphazia and DJ Hellfury released FFMEP001, the first Freeformatted EP, as a follow up from the excellent Freeformatted Vol. 2 compilation album. This EP contains remixes of some of the tracks from the album, and features not just freeform, but also psy-trance and chill-out stuff as well.

And all for the can’t-be-beaten price of FREE!

Tracklisting:
Evolutionize – Pain (Alchemiist Remix)
MHX – Gray Death (Kranic vs Tekbet Remix)
MHX – Gray Death (Sky Dragon Remix)
MHX – Gray Death (Blue Phoenix’s After Life Remix)
Nomic – Innocence (Evolutionize Remix)
Qygen – Supersonic Speed 2013 (DJ Triex Remix)

Here are my three fave tunes from the EP:

Continue reading Freeform Friday: Freeformatted – The Remix EP