Introducing Paul Kalkbrenner

Ach Paule.
Born in Leipzig Germany, but grew up in pre- and post-wall-fall Berlin, in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district of the east, an area well known for it’s subcultures, art, fashion, and nightlife. In Europe, he is a shining and reliable beacon of hope in a genre becoming more famous for it’s Guetta’s and Avicii’s. Indeed, never before has a Minimal/Tech-House/Deep-House DJ received this much acclaim  In his home country of Germany, Kalkbrenner made waves with his album “Self” released in 2004. Much of the 90s were his hustle in the new German (see: Berlin) electronic scene being a regular DJ at the famous, dark, post-communism scenes at clubs like Tresor and E-Werk, deep within Krezberg’s cultural center. Joining BPitch Control (Berlin’s darling Ellen Allien’s label, you may have heard of a certain Apparat now being that labels hottest thing.) launched his success with “Self.”

Four years later, filled with more superb singles and phenomenal remixes, Paul Kalkbrenner would not only create the soundtrack but also act in what is arguable one of the top German films not just in this century, but in history, Berlin Calling. A film about a DJ who suffers a mental, drug endued breakdown hours before his album release. I hate spoilers, and despise trailers even more so I shall stop talking about there, and urge you to watch it for yourself.
The “Berlin Calling” album would launch his success all over Europe  It was an album meant to capture the essence of new Germany  new Berlin  The hustle and bustle of a city fighting against animosity  experiencing daily change, and a mixing bowl of all kinds of cultures, sights, atmosphere’s and sounds, along with the typical big European metropolitan repetitious city essence, tied in with typical German, essentially Berliner house music.
The album was a sleeper hit, not charting high, but, eventually one of the most well known albums in the months following CD and Movie release. Paul was no longer playing small clubs. Stadiums were to be filled!

“Icke Wider” (“Me Again” phonetically typed in the berlin accent) was released Wieder was released last year, an album with a sense of experimentation, but a very big laid back vibe as well.

However, the delay between one album to the next would be short this time, with his next album to be released this Saturday in Germany, Monday everywhere else. “Guten Tag” is upon us. (“Good day” or “hello” or “have a good day.”) Judging from the released single already, live recordings of two other tracks played by Kalkbrenner, and an album preview, it would appear release day is bound to be one. The album appears to return to his basics, his original, recognizable sound. Thumping bass drums, playful synths, perfect progression, and a ton of tracks that completely catch you off guard at how unique they are.
I’ll be sure to review that album next week, but today, i’ll share with you a couple Paul Kalkbrenner favourites, to entice you to be just as excited as I am for release day.

“Sky And Sand” (From Berlin Calling [2008]) [SPOILER ALERT: the music video is clips from the movie.]

Here is the Album Stream for Berlin Calling. Every song is phenomenal, but if pushed, I would reccomend tracks #1, #2, #3, (#4), #5, #6, #8, #11, #13,
http://www.grooveshark.com/#!/album/Berlin+Calling+OST+CD/3651545

Here is the Album Stream for Icke Wider. I’d reccomend #2, #5, #8, #9 & #10
http://www.grooveshark.com/#!/album/Icke+Wieder/6300659

2raumwohnung – “Wir Werden Sehen” (Paul Kalkbrenner Remix)

Moby – “Wait For Me” (Paul Kalkbrenner Remix

Dockyard (off of “Self” [2004])

“Press On” (off of “Self” [2004])

– Nick

Acoustic “Bloody Poetry” – Grieves

As we wait for Grieves and Budo’s newest album to be released, the Colorado/Seattle MC joins warped tour friend Jonathan Olivares for a mellow, relaxing rendition of his song “Bloody Poetry” off Together/Apart. Grieves silky voice and darker style brings a fresh remix to the acoustic guitar based remix. Check it out for yourself below and peak the FREE DL on soundcloud for your listening pleasure.

ORIGINAL “Bloody Poetry” from Together/Apart

No news on Grieves & Budo’s new album release date, but the thing we do know about it is that it’s gonna be DOPE. Budo has a real unique production style that fits Grieves eerie rhyming style. LISTEN, DOWNLOAD and get ready for the next solid release on the one and only RYHMESAYERS ENT.

-bryce

Celsius (and the rising, new wave of underground UK garage.)

I love garage. Anyone who does will have their little speech along the lines of “oh yeah man, back in 90s man, UK garage was mint! Heyday, prime of it’s time, the absolute peak, the best” and so on and so forth. And dammit it’s true! Even I’ll attest to that. It had soul. It was R&Bs cousin that in any other situation would not get along well together. It was the music everyone liked. It was versatile, being a mix of a variety of sounds similar to the very mix-bag like-ness of the city it’s attributed with, London. It was reliable. “IT WAS THE BEST MAN!” I could list a number of artists, but save that for a “totes throwback blog” day.
Regardless on your views on how intricate of a garage fan you are to me (akin to Macklemore fans always trying to outdo one another about who is the bigger Macklemore fan/who has known him longer/who heard his name first/etc.) you will agree that for most of the “noughty” decade garage went missing. It just one day stopped. Sure, some pop idols tried their hand at it bringing it back, but who ever payed attention to that. We didn’t really pay much heed of it’s departure anyway. Maybe departure isn’t the exact word to use, but certainly a fade away to other breakaway genres from Garage. 2-step became more of a thing. Grime was another offshoot. Soon dubstep made it’s way to our ears too. At least for me, Garage really was something the 90s/early ’00s would hold for ever and no one else…until recently. I thought little spurts of music from Disclosure (see blog from before) and a variety of other artists in the last couple of months or so was akin to a fluke, emphasizing garage influences and nothing else. I just couldn’t come to grips that garage was back in play. I mean, I HEARD of an underground garage scene arising again, but, how often have you heard that before about a scene or genre?
Well, i guess it’s a legitimate thing, and it is coming with such power as if to say “we’ve sat back and let the kids play, we’ve observed the changing face of electronic music, we took note of the changes and trends. We had our fun at times. But to be honest, right now with all the chaos going on in both attitude, music and absolute horridness that the wide umbrella scene of electronic music is experiencing, we must intervene and come back with such power to wrestle it away from certain parties ruining it for all of us. Call us super-garage if you will.”
Okay, maybe a little overdone there, but, the point still stands. In the last couple of months (though brewing for about a year), a new rise of garage music straight from the underground has absolute thwarted the electronic music scene with such class and quality that is making sure you don’t ignore it. (And I promise not to do it again, sry bbz, pls take me bck. I luv u 5evr Garage) I don’t know if you can even call it future-garage, or nu-garage, because it’s still holding true to fundamentals of garage sounds from yesteryear. Sure there is the term 2-step Garage being thrown around, I guess that works but, even with hours of bickering, people will come together to agree, YES, this is good. What we are listening to, observing, and experiencing is very, very good.
For instance, Disclosure seems to be leading the way with it’s spearheaded, ahead-of-the-game thinking approach bringing the underground garage sound to the charts. (Goodness, read that again, when was the last time that happened?) But remember, this is still a relatively underground scene, which is where artists like Celsius roam and play.

“This Way” comes with fiery power, intent to please, and is a superb eclectic mix of garage with some seriously cool deep house influences, and not without some slick 2-step impressions too. In fact, the whole wall of sound-esque synths, drums, bass, and everything in between seem to pounce on you early in the song without your awareness of what’s coming. And boy does it grab you and leave an impression on you that stays throughout the song, and afterwards too. The warped-up piano chords quide the progression well, and crisp drums from the deep sounds to the hi-hats force you to move. It’s hard to not feel the groove of this track, even harder not to simply feel cool to the track while listening.

His remix of Jody Wisternoff’s “How You Make Me Smile” transforms the progressive house track into a fantastic Garage Anthem, with a totally different take on the drum progression and synths.

With “Must Be You” celsius solidifes that his skill and ability to produce fantastic 2-step/garage tracks aren’t just a joke and he’s not messing around, showing how well he can thread vocal samples in with string samples, interrupted by some ridiculously groovy drum patterns.

The Super FM EP is definitely more leaning towards the Deep House side of things for Celsius where he also possess a huge amount of talent and skill, leaving you with tracks that are so damn groovy you can’t help but replay them. One does still recognize a 2-step/garage influence on the “Sentiment” track.
Celsius has slowly been making his name and grabbing the attention of many artists, (as Skream himself explains while playing his track live on BBC) and is just one example of the plethora of up and comoing artists in this new wave of Garage, and it’s here to stay. It is easily the best music being released at the moment, with nothing else coming close to it’s quality.

– Nick

Joey Bada$$ – Enter the Void (feat. Ab-Soul)

Joey Bada$$ is a throwback to an era that might not ever return. Much like fellow New Yorker Roc Marciano, Bada$$ is working within an aesthetic that hasn’t sounded contemporary for at least 15 years. When considering that he’s still only 17, you wonder if Joey Bada$$ might be intent on resurrecting what nerds refer to as hip hop’s “golden age”. But so far it hasn’t really felt like Joey has anything to prove – likely because his debut mixtape 1999 sounded so damn effortless in its execution. With smooth beats sampled from obscure jazz records and an even smoother veteran-sounding flow, Joey crafted a tape that probably made a lot of middle-aged Wu-Tang/Native Tongues purists cry tears of joy. What’s interesting about his new track “Enter the Void” is that the production sounds very 2012, and it kind of feels like the anomaly in his young discography.

The Ab-Soul feature makes sense because the beat sounds very Ab-Soul. His underrated LP Control System flew under the radar this past summer, likely because his Black Hippy peers Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar both possess better voices and more dynamic flow. But Ab-Soul is an intensely introspective rapper that should not be knocked. These two rappers are different and they hail from opposite coasts, so it’s pretty cool for them to meet each other halfway in terms of rapping on “Enter the Void”. The verses consist of typical battle-rap bragging and nothing much else, which works because these guys are from different realms. The beat creeps in an Alchemist sort of way and when Joey takes the mic it becomes clear that these two MCs are confident and competent. Check out Joey Bada$$’s awesome video for “Fromdatomb$” below.

— Daniel

Hangin out with CreepyUncle

You would never guess that this is Seattle native Courtney Basler’s first foray into ambient electronic and up until now has been playing the banjo and accordion with indie-folk band The Great Fox. But for the past few months Courtney’s been consistently putting out tracks on her SoundCloud page and released an EP entitled Muscle Shirt. The tracks emphasize her clear, lush vocals that flow in and out of well orchestrated beats and synthesizers creating beautiful soundscapes. The ultimate chill music, in my humble opinion.

I got a chance to have her call in to my show to chat about music, yoga moms, and, of course, creepy uncles.

– Jasmine

Teen Suicide is on the rise

The band, I mean. Maybe the act of teen suicide too, but I’m talking about the proper noun version: Maryland band Teen Suicide, who just released their third album I Will Be My Own Hell Because There is a Devil Inside My Body. Along with DC Snuff Film and the kinda-sorta-unreleased Waste Yrself, Teen Suicide has become one of the more consistently prolific and enjoyable bands of 2012 (and that doesn’t even factor in the numerous EPs, singles, and demos the band is constantly dropping on their tumblr). Led by songwriter Sam Ray, Teen Suicide has evolved from a one man lo-fi doo-wop/garage band to a two-piece punk act to an uncategorizeable amalgamation of band members and styles, ranging from early 90s Olympia lo-fi noise to delicate piano-driven ballads in the style of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone.

Their output this year has been among my favorite musical events of 2012, and following the announcement of a vinyl release of their newest record, Sam joined me on Skype from the hurricane damaged east coast to discuss his music and perform a few songs, which you can stream below. You can also download all their records for free on their bandcamp.

-Adam

Flume – “Flume”

After a long, excruciating wait, the Flume album is here. It’s out. It’s available. And my goodness, it is fantastic! The hype is real, and oh so worth it. In Harley Streten’s native Australia  the album comes as a perfect addition to anyone’s summer, along with the ton of sublime remixes released in it’s anticipation. That being said, there is no reason it can’t be enjoyed just as much in our fast approaching winter. Indeed, “Sleepless” could lull anyone into a warmth, as could “Ezra” and the aptly named “Warm Thoughts.” The eponymous album travels across a variety of musical genres and regions, ranging from hip-hop (“On Top”) to indietronica (“Insane”), passing over garage, grime and other sounds flume experimented with throughout the album. He really shows his talent in every track, with no one song sounding like the other. There are brilliant examples of vocal talent, like that of Chet Faker in “Left Alone” or George Maple in “Bring You Down.” In other examples, if they aren’t singing, Flume certainly plays with the samples in such a beautiful way that it almost sounds natural. (“Sintra”) There is a certain R&B/Hip-Hop feel for many of the beats, but not all. In fact  “More Than You Thought” has such a ferocious throbbing bass that shudders it’s way into your brain. The album is a celebration of a very forward thinking sound, where the music really does transcends most other music one comes across  with such a unique taste that has certainly allowed flume to smash his way into attention, and giving him a great platform to break off of for future releases. Easily one of the best albums of the year.

– Nick

The Entire Album is available for streaming on Grooveshark. http://grooveshark.com/album/Flume/7027013

“Insane” 

“Ezra” 

“Left Alone ft. Chet Faker”