Fred V & Grafix – “Goggles EP”

There’s new blood at Hospital Records, and they’re pushing out some of the best music on the drum and bass market today. Guys like Camo & Krooked, Metrik, and Fred V and Grafix are on the forefront of the dancefloor dnb scene, rivaling talent from RAM Records and beyond. The music in question would be Fred V & Grafix’s new EP, titled “Goggles”. It’s a forward thinking player from them, featuring not just the standard liquid vibes that you’d come to expect from the duo from Devon.
The title track, “Goggles”, is definitely one of more interesting tunes I’ve heard in a while. An unassuming bleepy sort of arpeggiated intro builds into a definite roller of a tune. Nothing outstandingly complex here, just some strong bass and their ever present snare rolls to move into the different parts of the song. Drops are definitely not the thing to notice in this, as the whole tune just rolls along with its brooding distorted sort of bassline and ever present bleepy arpeggios. I’m a big fan of this one, as the two definitely showcase that they’re not just about those same airy synth lines and jazzy motifs. Definitely one of my standout tunes on the new EP.
The followup to Goggles is “Games People Play”, and boy, what a tune! Those looking for a truly “Fred V & Grafix” experience, look no further. The two have absolutely nailed that absolutely blissful liquid drum and bass sound with this. The standard light intro with the brooding vocal samples building into a massive snare roll crescendo, no doubt the calling card of the boys, works a treat in “Games”. Definitely a track with undeniable playback appeal, yet retains enough energy to be played out on the dancefloor. The second drop is definitely the winner here, featuring just a sublime guitar solo that quite simply does not fail to deliver on the goosebumps. The whole track is composed just so simply yet so brilliantly, it’s not hard to see why the duo won “Newcomer Producers of the Year” at the 2012 DNB awards. Fantastic tune all around.
Next up, it’s the massive “Basilisk”. Definite drumstep vibes on this one, featuring lots and lots of very organic sounding instruments. Guitars and pianos galore in the intro, sweeping into a stomping build to get the blood pounding just a bit more. The build and drop definitely took me by surprise, as I’d never heard anything quite so..fearsome? by the boys. It’s definitely a dancefloor smasher, everything sounds impeccably crisp as you’d expect from the two, and still retains that playful air of fun that Fred and Grafix’s music just about always contains. It’s heavy, but it doesn’t take itself seriously whatsoever, and that’s what makes it so addicting. Longtime Hospital fans don’t seem too keen on drumstep lately, but I think this is absolutely a great move for the boys, it screams “Fred V and Grafix” but also sounds absolutely brand new to them. Definitely keeping in my heavy play list for my dj sets.
Rounding off the EP is the brilliantly chilled “Denmark Road”. Kicking off with a very airy sort of piano driven intro, it’s easy to just lean back and let your mind wander off a bit. This is strictly summer day – windows rolled down sort of vibes and it’s absolutely perfect. Another sublime example of how far some well written yet simply executed synths and some crisp bass can get you. Not quite dancefloor material, but it’s just a wonderful tune all the way through. The first time I heard it, I wondered how the duo could possibly encapsulate the mood and feelings that a nice summer day with friends and music better. Again, guitar use in this tune seems to emulate the rest of the EP, it all sounds incredibly organic with a great solo piece in the 2nd drop, guiding the tune along to its completion. One of my favorite Fred V and Grafix tunes to date. Simply brilliance in every way.
Fred V and Grafix continue to show you don’t need to make the same music over and over again when you are this talented at capturing the vibe of a song. They continue to impress with their astonishing DJ sets and are hands down one of the most exciting production duo’s I’ve heard in my years as a fan of drum and bass. Do yourself a huge favor and do NOT skip this EP. You won’t regret it.

– Derek Lombardo

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KZUU Lucky 2013 Show Review

Lucky was over spring break, and a few KZUU DJs made their way there, and have come up with a review for you, featuring contributions from Nick Siler, Derek Lombardo, Blake Nakatsu & Spencer Stumpf.

Fred V & Grafix

Despite stuck with a terrible time slot (8-9PM) and not the most easily found location they did a fantastic job weaving their way through a mix of  mainly balls-out but also some of the more liquid vibe of drum & bass. When the intensity was turned up, one couldn’t help getting the feeling the mantra was “well, if they can’t find us, they are damn well going to hear us” and trying to drown out the other stages. What was extra neat was them coming out and hanging out and chatting with fans after their set, including a neat interview with Derek. –Nick

Derek & Grafix

My favorites of the night were Fred V and Grafix, playing the very first set of the night they held nothing back. Any duo or dj that opens with such a ferocious doubledrop like they did earns my everlasting respect. They interacted phenomenally with the crowd (all 12 of us) and were such a pleasure to meet after. I thought the two played the best set I’ve heard in my entire concert going career, and was able to tell them I thought they were better than Andy C in September which got some surprised looks! – Derek

Ed Rush & Optical

Holding nothing back is the central aspect of this set, with high paced drums and throttling bass vibrating your eyes out of your sockets. Great set. – Nick

Ed Rush & Optical were a fantastic contrast to the young blood of the DNB with the deep and dark sounds they’re so known for. They slammed the audience with such a relentless onslaught of the big guns, breaking out Noisia, Phace and The Prototypes notably, playing songs I’ve wanted to hear live for quite a while. – Derek

Torro Torro

Unlike Freaknight 2012, my friends and I only waited about 15-20 minutes to get into WaMu. We walked into the main stage right when Torro Torro dropped the Killagraham remix of Go Deep. We went off! Quite the entrance, I must say, because we had been debating all afternoon whether or not Torro Torro would drop their own remix or Killagraham’s. Torro Torro went off with their signature high energy and hard beats. I had never seen them before. Although they were early, I was pleasantly surprised to see the people who came to see them seemed to be grooving just as hard as people would later in the night. Seeing Torro Torro first off the bat set me in a good groove for the rest of the event. – Blake

The M Machine

After Torro Torro, The M Machine came right on at the main stage. I had seen The M Machine once before at EDC 2012. All three of them were there and they played a bunch of their new stuff off of their most recent EP, The Metropolis Pt. 2. They kept it pretty calm and groovy with some of their more alternative stuff for the first part of their set and their visuals were full of awesome illustrations sticking to their comic book styled album art. As they started to pick it up, it was time for me to go over to the trance stage to see Audien and later on BT, so I didn’t get to see the end of The M Machine’s set.  – Blake

Andy Caldwell

The entire set didn’t grab me at any point, lacking passion or interest throughout. – Nick

Audien

I arrived at the trance stage and danced through Andy Caldwell. Caldwell had a decent set but nothing that struck me too well. After Andy Caldwell, Audien came on and killed it. I got sucked into his set and it just flew by. He has powerful chords over pretty constant loud kicks. I was really hoping he would have played The Reach but regardless his set was thoroughly enjoyable and I was grooving through the whole thing. – Blake

Though more exciting than Andy Caldwell’s set, I still found it hard to get into and honestly feel a thing from the music. – Nick

Camo & Krooked

Camo and Krooked was, as I expected, unlike anything I’d ever seen or heard. Having two DJ’s mixing on two CDJ’s a piece was the recipe for an absolutely massive set. The two teased tunes, doubledropped and tripledropped like it was nothing. The set wasn’t my favorite, as it was more of a pounding than a journey like Fred V and Grafix’s before, but it was truly something to behold. – Derek

Delta Heavy

Quite frankly, I wish I was here for all of their set, as opposed to when I couldn’t stand Audien anymore. For the lack of better words, this set was KILLING it. Awesome. – Nick

Delta Heavy was my most anticipated performer on the night, but also the biggest letdown. He played an incredibly diverse set with some fantastic tunes, but was mixed incredibly poorly and left me rather unsatisfied (although slightly humored watching armies of bassheads trying to dance to drum and bass) – Derek

Nadia Ali

Nadia Ali’s proves once again that her voice is the best in electronic music, and has been ever since her IIO days (which she did do a rendition of as well.) Best moment? A cover of The Police’s “Roxanne.” – Nick

Zomboy

Zomboy was my favorite show possibly of all time. I’m more of a bass heavy, energetic set type of guy, so I can always appreciate some bass. The reason why Zomboy stuck out from the others like a sore thumb was because the flow of his set was flawless. It was constant energy all the way through, transitioning from one huge song to the next like it was effortless. There were definitely no signs of stopping for the UK Skrillex “sound-alike.” – Spencer

BT

This was undoubtedly the most disappointing show of the night. This is BT, arguably America’s first electronic music star. He pioneered a new wave of trance, as well as a new intricate method of production that was beyond so many other talents. However his entire show consists of him playing music that quite simply wasn’t his, let along similar to his “sound.” (Examples including Dada Life, and a variety of other overplayed electro house tracks that can be heard at any house party nowadays, but more so last year.) Personal song count? 3. Flaming June (or rather, a sample interrupted by an electro house beat), his collab with Tiesto “Love Comes Again” and another song, I think. At that point, I wasn’t paying attention anymore. It wasn’t trance, let alone BT’s sound. At this point in the evening, I had been at the “Trance & Progressive” stage for about just under 4 hours, and had heard absolutely no trance, the closest being a vocal rendition by Nadia Ali. The expectation was solely that BT would bring this entirely, but, to but it straight-forwadly, he did not and played other peoples electro house, perhaps just to appease the crowd and sound that had been played so far at Lucky. One neat thing I did notice was the large numbers of “long not in college anymore” couples who I presume were old fans of BTs. However, I’m guessing they too were disappointed in the song choice, as about halfway through, there were none. But still an interesting thing to note. – Nick

It was a difficult decision, for me at least, whether or not to see Pretty Lights for my 3rd time or see BT. I was really trying to get tranced that night and BT has been my recent favorite but its always a pleasure to see Pretty Lights. I decided to see BT since there’s not many chances for me to do so and I’m sad to say that his set didn’t live up to his name. I was expecting a set full of ridiculously good trance but it was quite the opposite. He played songs along the lines of Language, Kick out the epic, and some SHM and they’re all irrelevant. If I’m skipping Pretty Lights to see BT, I would have liked to have seen more of BT’s original stuff. It was quite disappointing. – Blake

Arty

After BT, I went back to the main stage and caught up on some real big house with Arty. Arty was playing big airy chords of trance and some really deep house drops. I loved it personally. I got locked in and his set through out was enjoyable. – Blake

Pretty Lights

Pretty Lights to me was just mediocre. It’s not that he was bad, he just wasn’t impressive. This was my third time seeing him and his Lucky 2013 performance was definitely the least favorite of the three. Not sure if it was because of the different stage (versus having his usual light city) or if it was just not the same vibes I got from the first two times.  – Spencer

Kyau & Albert

Good set mixing electro house (at the trance stage again) with some progressive house, as well as a bit of minimal for a hot sec. I liked this set a lot. – Nick

High Contrast

This was easily my favourite show of the night, because for a variety of reasons. Actual mixing, actual drum & bass, and the MC was damn good at getting the crowd hyped. High contrast transcended over drum & bass, jungle, drumstep, a little dubstep, as well as a hip-hop beat here and there. The energy was continuous from start to finish, and never did it feel lacking passion. This made the night so worth it, fitting to be High Contrast, and extra fitting to be the last show of the evening too. – Nick

High Contrast closed the night out, and while I didn’t see too much of him, he played quite a nice selection of older jungle tunes which was a perfect way to wind down after such frenzied dancing. – Derek

I don’t normally listen to dnb but High Contrasts sound was awesome. It was a good mix of banging bass and liquid drums. – Blake

Showtek

I had to leave and go to Showtek after a little bit back at the main stage though. Showtek is known for their hard style but their live set consisted mostly of pretty hard house. It was a good way to get any energy I had left out before the end of the night. One of the guys of Showtek had the whole crowd kneel down low for Cannon Ball and when he dropped it we all jumped. It was unconventional but I thought it was a good touch to the set to incorporate the crowd. Their last track was a brand new one. It was a mixture of their hard style and some trap. – Blake

Final Thoughts

Drum and bass, drum and bass, and more drum and bass! I was in complete heaven at Lucky 2013 because USC seemingly finally answered the call for a drum and bass heavy lineup, and boy did they come through! Booking the Hospitality tour was such a fantastic idea I can’t even begin to describe the quality of the djs on that bill. The bass stage was tuned to perfection and very, very loud making listening to DNB live such an incredible experience. I commend USC on their dedication to making their fans happy and boy did they make me one happy guy with a whopping five drum and bass artists on the night, all performing admirably and in some cases absolutely blowing me away. The overall production on the night was as usual very well done, and I staggered out the door at 3:45 a very tired yet satisfied partygoer. – Derek

These shows for me have always been about the energy. It’s not about the beautiful people that surround you, it’s not even about the lights, it’s about the music and how it moves you. Lucky 2013 in my honest opinion has been the best show USC has put together since last year’s Paradiso.  I think it’s safe to say Zomboy had one of the most impressive and energetic shows I have ever seen. Personally i’m more of a fan of the heavier music, so this was right up my alley. The bass stage however had issues with the power going out a few times, especially during Bare Noize and Delta Heavy. Although it wasn’t completely devastating to the artist’s sets, it was still frustrating to both performer and audience. Besides that, Lucky was a very well rounded show and it only gets better and better. – Spencer

I didn’t know what to expect from my first USC event, and in the grand scheme of things, I am impressed and really pleased at the whole management of the evening. To put it frankly, the shows that were good, were absolutely phenomenal. Those that weren’t  were beyond disappointing. Fortunately, the pros outweigh the cons, and result in an overall brilliant evening! – Nick

First I want to thank USC for making this night possible. Lucky was a great way to spend my Friday night! Besides a couple disappointments on the artists’ side of things, the whole night went flawless for myself. I appreciated the lineup mainly because there was a strong balance of quality artists through out the evening. There wasn’t a particular time during the night where there was one definite artist that I wanted to see. But at the same time I had no problem with missing any of the artists that I did have to sacrifice to see another. Overall, I had a blast at Lucky 2013. By the end I was exhausted from moving the whole night. There wasn’t a set that I wasn’t grooving at. Although I didn’t get sucked into as many sets as I thought I would, I got to see a bunch of artists that I thought I wouldn’t normally get to see which was a good thing. Thank you to USC for a fun and complete night. – Blake

Raz Simone – Solomon Samuel Simone EP

Raz Simone (formerly known as Razpy) fresh off his September release of 5 Good Reasons with the homie Sam Lachow, is back again with his first official EP, Soloman Samuel Simone. Brought to you by Black Umbrella, the 206 native drops 5 brand new cuts  that instantly prove why he is one highlights of the young artists in Seattle today. I have never really been a fan of the phrase “up-&-coming” as it is perceived that the music is progressing, but not on the level of other hip-hop artists. Give this EP one tune and you’ll soon understand there is nothing up and coming back this & that it tops 95% of all other mass produced hip-hop albums coming out of blogs these days. It’s damn refreshing for projects like this to come out and demonstrate the right way of doing hip-hop. It is some truthful and insightful hip-hop, telling stories of a young man and his path to this day. Check out the video for “Sometimes I Don’t ft. Sam Lachow below” & DOWNLOAD THE PROJECT HERE FOR FREE! Spread this to every blog and mass of people you can.

-bryce

Follow: @RazSimone

 

Spring Break Singles! (Jonas Rathsman//James Zabiela + Hot Chip remix//Classixx)

Hi all! Hope your spring break is going well! Just thought I might hit you with some new great single releases that i’m sure you’ll dig.

“Bring You Down” has shot itself to the top of my “funkiest song of the year” list that at its core simply sounds cool, leaving aside it’s musical complexity and with it a great bit of all-out brilliance. I’m a sucker for an original drum beat and groovy vocal loops. But above all, it’s the power that the song brings at various parts of the song that are thoroughly infectious and basically scream summer. Check it out, it’s available as a free download too!

I am blown away by James Zabiela’s newest single, “The Healer”. Though reminiscent of a post-dubstep beat, it simply cannot be described that directly. It’s quite mystifying overall, with a beautiful staccato-bell-like-thing loop following you throughout the track, with a plethora of other sounds and beats joining at a variety of different points in the song. It’s a beautiful song that is great to chill out to in the waning days of spring break.

But wait, the last days of spring break? That means turning up the intensity  it’s almost over! Home stretch until summer! Personally, I find it absolutely fitting that Hot Chip remixed “The Healer” but the vibe I get from it (aside from the “goodness this is absolutely phenomenal!” one) is that of a Sasha Remix. (Maybe Hot Chip got inspiration from his remix of their “Flutes” track?) It’s one of the best remixes I’ve heard in a long while, and is irresistible  It’s hard not to nod your head to the pulsating beat that is so Hot-Chip-esque. I love it. I’m sure you will too.

Speaking of Sasha, his newest remix compliation mix CD “Involver 3” will be released next Monday.

Last but certainly not least are the California duo Classixx who always have a ton of different musical tricks up their sleeves  with a new sound evident in every release they have. Check our the electro-pop like song “Borderline.” I need to find a beach, fast.

– Nick

Spring Break EPs! (Les Sins//Tourist//Brett Gould)

Spring break! It’s here! And that means warm weather and seasonal sounds coming up real fast, if it hasn’t already. The following are three EPs that I’ll be playing all week as we simmer into long awaited warm weather, and I think you should check out too!

At long last, we get more of Les Sins, Toro Y Moi’s dance project. It’s a shame it’s not a big batch of tracks, but, I’ll take what I can get as the music off his Les Sins project is so damn infectious. The ceaselessly cool beat and absurdly groovy bass in “Grind” weaves its way through distortion in the forms of guitar riffs and vocal samples. All in all, it seems like such a welcoming sun’s rays that make their presence known in March. Not blistering hot, but enough to break through the chilly wind to make you go aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. “Prelims” is just as neat, with some heavy bass a great eclectic vibe that is easy to dig within seconds. This EP is simply refreshing.

Next is the Tonight EP, which is definitely one of the more mystifying EPs I’ve ever come across. I’d like to say it’s a blend of trip-hop, glitch, post-dubstep, and witch-house, but that just doesn’t work out. Even a nod to Purity Ring influence isn’t right, or Crystal Castles for that matter. The EP transcends a unique variety of different sounds, pace, emotion, and beats, that is hard not to appreciate, let alone enjoy. At times it’s even got a scary vibe, with how hazy and distorted it sounds. Definitely check this EP out.

Last but not least is a back to basics, right back to the roots House EP. Brett Gould has created an EP with drums that are at times stunningly complex, and I really like what he has done with the vocal samples. I highly recommend it a bunch, especially if you like me kinda miss the mid-2000s house sound. Big pounding drums, infectous loops and an all-round awesome EP with every track being a joy.

– Nick