Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Not unlike Anti-Social Crew's melodic offshoots from the dank beats pioneered at early FWD>> and DMZ nights, the saturation of dubstep with dark, lurching halfstep over the last couple of years has in turn seen a response from producers seeking to inject some added melody and groove into the genre. Geode, along with his Chord Marauders cohort and the likes of Phaeleh, Jack Sparrow and Ruckspin - among others, of course - speaks of clarity, restraint, momentum and in his music combines a love of expressive jazz notation with those most exciting moments when modern day genres, like garage and drum & bass, begin to push out into new ground and establish their own movements. With the aforementioned Chord Marauders' second compilation fresh on the virtual shelves, and an appearance from Geode on this site long overdue, we caught up with him for a chat - and he decided to throw in a free download too, which happens to be, for our money, one of the best beats he's produced yet. Lucky us/you.
Hedmuk: To introduce yourself, what's your name, where do you hail from and how would you describe your sound?
Geode: My name's George Harris, raised in Herefordshire but based in London, and I would describe my sound as beats with momentum, punctuated by cluster chords.
H: Plenty of people will have first come across your name through the Vie EP, released earlier this year on Innamind: how did you first get involved with the label? Should we expect to see more from you on Innamind in the near future?
G: Innamind was one of about three labels that I had earmarked for potential releases towards the end of last year. I sent Jeremy (Innamind boss) a quick message with downloadable copies of some WAVs and he got back to me positively. Since he was moving to London from New Zealand, we linked shortly after - I believe at a FWD night - and decided to push on with an EP from there. Unfortunately I don't have anything planned on Innamind at the moment, but I'd definitely like to release with them again at some point. Jez runs a tight ship and it's the first place I'd go with any of my darker material.
H: Since then you've released twice with Smokin' Sessions; do you feel like you've found a good space for your music with the label? How important do you feel it is to be well-represented by the labels you release on and by the rosters and sounds that they are defined by?
G: Yup. I think Zeb Samuels (Smokin' Sessions/Deep Heads boss) has created a very successful platform which has propelled many melodically-minded producers; the history and artist roster of Smokin' Sessions was an important factor in signing with them as well. I have enjoyed working with the label because it's meant I can freely explore my deeper and jazzier sounds. There's no real attention to what the label is defined by, in fact it's quite anti-hype and I think a lot of the output defies easy definition. I like music that way, not too self-aware or self-referencing.
H: You're also a founding member of the Chord Marauders collective/label. Tell us a little more about the project: what was it that first set it in motion? Who exactly is involved, and what would say are the principles that tie you all together as a group? And with the Groove Booty compilations and B9's solo album already delivered - what else have you got planned for Chord Marauders?
G: The Chord Marauders comprises myself, Congi, B9 & Jafu. We wanted to create a platform to release our own music, feature upcoming artists we're feeling and engage with the people who go out of their way to buy our music. The principles that tie us together would probably be mutual respect, not taking it too seriously, and plenty of fresh ideas.
As you mention, Groove Booty II has just dropped and has been well received. Next up is Congi's album; currently being finalised and coming out early 2014 at the usual place. Myself and Jafu are due a solo project each next year and we'll also be moving into physical releases if all goes to plan. Going forward we'll be continuing with the compilations, although perhaps annually rather than biannually as the inevitable admin can distract from creativity a little. And we're also in the process of organising a night in London, more info on that to come via our Facebook page.
H: It's unsurprising that you'd be involved like this in something which appears to be album-led since your own repertoire - swinging all the way from dubstep, to drum & bass, and back down to house - is so comfortable in its variety. There appears to be a jazz influence floating through your chords and incidental drums, but what would you say are your musical touchstones? Are these things you were exposed to whilst growing up or was music something you discovered for yourself?
G: A bit of both I suppose. There was always weird and wonderful music playing in the house growing up, DJ Kicks: Nightmares on Wax being the CD I am most nostalgic about. My focus on jazz notation is definitely inherited; I find myself glazing over to any music with ballad chords, I guess that kind of reaction requires a certain amount of parental conditioning.
But I think my focus on drums & percussion probably comes from my early years as a producer, learning FruityLoops inside out, mashing up jungle breaks and bulking them up. I have about 200 tracks of mad Amens, quirky melodies and subs: they're all poorly produced but they familiarised the shuffles, percussive licks and momentum I try to build into my music now. Like many artists of this generation it was drum & bass that gave me the production bug, tunes like 'Metropolis' by Adam F, Photek's 'Consciousness' and 'Flute Tune' by Hidden Agenda.
It's funny, the only music I didn't ever really listen to until recently was dubstep, but I find music at 140bpm with the snare on the 3rd beat the most liberating for my own projects, the perfect balance of speed and space. The stuff that grabs me is the steppier, garage elements of the scene – Cluekid, Congi, early Martyn, Circula, Promise One, K-LONE.
Sometimes I need to go on a complete tangent stylistically and genre-wise to keep my interest flowing, which is why you'll hear me posting house and drum and bass tunes from time to time. I don't really get that casual genre snobbery that floats around on VICE articles because I'm always striving for that unspoken soul and style that ties producers of different brackets (Medlar, Robert Glasper, DjRum, B9 & Jafu, Melodiesinfonie, Detroit Swindle, J-One, Harry Love or MJ Cole) together. Imagine if DjRum made a tune at 140, Jafu made an instrumental piece or Robert Glasper got on some garage...they'd still have dem feels.
H: Finally, can you tell us about the track you're giving away here, and whether there are any forthcomings or anything else in the pipeline that people should be keeping an eye for.
G: I chose 'Pistachio' because it's a strange tune that doesn't fit with much of my other stuff. I thought the miscreant Hedmuk readership would appreciate it anyways! Release-wise, there are some bits and pieces planned for Chord Marauders and Deep Heads, along with collaborative vinyl releases with Promise One and D-Operation Drop. Keep an eye on SOULECTION as well.
Big up, and thanks for the questions, Will.
Download: Geode - Pistachio [WAV]
Geode - Pistachio [320kbps mp3]
Monday, 2 December 2013
Competition: Win a copy of Akkord's debut LP, plus 2x guestlist for the album launch party @ Project 13, Manchester
One of this year's standout releases, and from two of the UK's most exciting musical minds, Akkord's debut long-player is the sort of record you might play to someone trying to write off electronic music as mere button pushing. Forward-facing, progressive, original, genre-defying, interesting and - an adjective not often seen alongside those descriptions - genuinely danceable, Indigo and Synkro, along with the likes of Troy Gunner and Biome, who also feature on the album, have delivered on the huge promise of their early limited-press releases. Recent mixes for Resident Advisor and Boiler Room, meanwhile, have seen the duo applying their years of experience behind the decks.
To celebrate the release, Project 13 will be hosting the official album launch party in the basement of Manchester's 2022NQ. Support comes from fellow Mancunians Biome and Acre, as well as Edmondson - a recent signing to Indigo's own Electromagnetic Fields imprint.
We've linked up with the guys at P13 to offer the chance to win 2 spots on the guestlist for the launch party, as well as a copy of the album in the format of your choice. To enter, simply head over to the Hedmuk Facebook Page and publicly share and like this image. The competition will close at 5pm on Thursday the 5th of December, a winner will then be selected at random by an independent third party and announced via Facebook and Twitter.
For more information on the party, including how to purchase advance tickets, head over the the Facebook event page here.
The album is also available to purchase from the Houndstooth store now.
Saturday, 30 November 2013
As far as statements of intent go, 'Since When' is up there with the best. One of the sharpest instrumental cuts to have bust into the grime scene for some time, it's first play on Rinse FM - courtesy of Messrs Kahn & Neek - had a lot of heads turning. Though those already familiar with the name Boofy, most likely off the back of his earlier, sub-drenched dubstep beats, might not have guessed in his direction, this assault of flutes, skittering hats and belching bassline was no one-off. Since then - pun wholly intended - Boofy has come with a steady stream of perfectly balanced heaters, carving his own corner into grime and contributing, in no small part, to the sound's recent resurgence. And while some might complain of producer's of simply re-hashing old staple sounds and themes and presenting them to a virgin audience, Boofy manages to show off his influences proudly - everyone from Maniac, to early Dizzee, to Dot Rotten - without surrendering to them: his beats incorporate an inventive approach to rhythm, most notably in those hi-hats, and, perhaps most importantly, the structure and control of a tune's energy, effectively removing the need to ride a whole track out on one cliched sound or sample.
Hedmuk: To introduce yourself, what's your name, where do you hail from and how would you describe your sound?
Boofy: I'm Boofy. I sleep and eat in Bristol and my sound's heavily 140-based and with a major UK influence.
H: Some people may have first come across you through the deeper, rolling dubstep tunes you initially became known for, but had you always been making a broad style of music? How much has your recent grime output been a big switch in focus in terms of what styles you're making?
B: Well, I haven't made a great amount of material of every genre but I experiment a lot, if that makes sense. Regardless of my releases, I haven't really just stuck to making one desired sound, but I put out what I'm confident with.
And yeah, it definitely has. I still get a lot of people still reppin' my older sounds which is wicked because I didn't know it reached out to that many. I won't stop making what I want, but I think at the very least, I know what direction I'm aiming to head in.
H: Have you always been involved in making music?
B: I have. As long as I can remember. I started playing instruments from young and learned how to write and read music, but it wasn't until my early teens I had a chance to sit down on a computer and get to grips with the tech side.
H: An obvious characteristic of the grime tunes you've been coming out with is the clips cut from old radio sets: how much, would you say, is that about trying to capture that sense of energy from grime's early pirate radio days, where the MC took centre stage?
B: Yeah it is, but at the same time all I've done, without consciously thinking about it, was run through some of the old sets I had on my block tower of a PC that's been out of use ever since I got my Mac. Pirate days definitely had energy that we all still feed off. I think it was the rawness of the genre.
H: Have you plans to be working with any MCs in the near future? Are there any that you'd be particularly keen to hear vocalling one of your beats?
B: One of my favourite MCs at the moment is Merky ACE and there's quite a few MCs I'd be keen to get some vocals down from. But then again it's another one of those things where I'd want to focus on sculpting something with someone, rather than make a beat and fling an MC on top of it. I've sent a few bits off to some Bristol heads, old friends who've I've always rated and other guys who have put in work so just got to see what we can come up with, but it's definitely in my interests.
H: Along with signing the Nank EP to Tumble Audio you've played at a one of their notorious Nottingham label nights; how did you get first get involved with the label, and how important is it, do you think, for labels to be getting involved with the actual live/performance aspect of the music that they're releasing?
B: The involvement with the label was due to a mutual hook-up with this skeng-man called Willum. Pretty sound guy, you should meet him (laughs). In all seriousness though, it was shortly after 'Nank' was uploaded to your YouTube channel that we got in touch with each other, so big ups to you.
What those guys are doing in their city is important, they've got a sound and a live audience along with it: it goes hand-in-hand. I now think it's essential for other labels to do the same, or at least something similar. You can see how a DJ reacts to their crowd and whether they can play the right stuff; anyone can make tunes, but not everyone's a "selecta", if you know what I mean.
H: You took the step of setting up your own label recently, alongside Lemzly Dale; what was it that made you want to take things into your own hands and start doing things independently, and how important was it that you'd be releasing on vinyl?
B: The whole vision started off as "I miss grime white labels" and not many people were doing them as much as they used to - obviously due to the way the industry has rapidly changed over time. Then before I knew it, I was on a roll getting it all sorted. Releasing on vinyl is something, in my opinion, that you aim towards. As well as that, Bristol has a healthy vinyl culture: I thought it would be important to get involved and play my part in it.
H: What are your plans for the future of Sector 7?
B: Future plans for S7S, we're back in the blueprint stages again. There's quite a few projects that are possibilities but nothing's concrete at the moment; just planning for next year really and the aim is to step the game up after a successful first release. Just taking our time and not rushing, building on the foundation we have made for ourselves really.
H: Logan Sama caused a stir recently by suggesting that the current crop of producers making grime in Bristol were making life difficult by keeping things close-knit and releasing mainly on vinyl; how important to you, though, is that sense of community that is apparent between the Bristol school of producers? How much would you say that it's about keeping an aspect of dubplate culture going in a largely digital world?
B: I could say so much on that situation, but I think I'll keep it simple. Our community for music is important. We all constantly strive to better ourselves, and what's more motivating than surrounding yourself with people who all want the same thing? It's not like we don't send tunes out to people or whatever, because we connect with a lot of artists and producers all over, but our city isn't the largest so, being on the same page with music, we all bump into each other and just link up.
And as for Logan, he basically just said he plays what he gets sent and vinyl's dead ever since he stopped cutting dubplates. Don't get me wrong, I do respect Logan and he plays a big part in bringing in new producers, which is what the scene needs. But because he doesn't take vinyl out with him anymore, and some Bristol guys are doing physical only releases, he can't play it. The whole point of physical is 100% not because hipsters are trying to take a step back, we're just trying to keep an aspect of physical in an industry full of files and desktop folders. But I don't know, that's just my opinion.
H: Take us through how you approached the mix you've done for us.
B: I've got together a bag of tunes which are some all time favourites, personal favourites of today's age, vocal's I particularly rate at the moment and producers who I rate. Thought it would be important to start with one of my favourites from when I started producing back in 2007.
H:Finally, are there any forthcoming releases or anything else in the pipeline that you'd like to put the word out on?
B: Release-wise, there should be some news on one of my bits coming out next year, which I can't give specifics on just yet because I haven't been given any myself! But I'm looking forward to letting everyone know what we have in store for Sector 7: hopefully you'll all have a chance to come and see for yourselves!
Download: Boofy - Hedmuk Exclusive Mix
Young Dot - Ride Or Die [Rotten Riddims]
Kahn - Burnin' Riddim [Dub]
Boofy - Bayonet [Dub]
J Beatz - Wave Down [Crown Jules]
Jakes - Certified (feat. Footsie) [Hench]
Saga - Friction [Lost Codes]
Lemzly Dale - Katana (Boofleg Refix) [Dub]
Wiley - One Step Further (LJ Remix) [Dub]
Commodo - Space Cash [Deep Medi Musik]
Merky ACE - Strawberry Rain [No Hats No Hoods]
Hi5Ghost & Trends - Duppy Maker [Dub]
TMSV - Gutter [Dub]
Boofy & Lemzly Dale - Banshee [Sector 7]
KIlljoy - Straight 2 Tha Neck [Dub]
Lyka - Whole Meal [Dub]
Exemen - Storm [Manchu]
Friday, 29 November 2013
Regular readers will no doubt already be aware of our appreciation for the North-West London producer, and indeed some of the tracks on this EP will already be familiar, having appeared previously as vocal bootlegs on the Zero mixtape.
Dark0 spends the majority of this latest EP indulging in melody, and the standout in this regard is 'Sweet Boy Pose': anthemic grime at its best, it sounds like Ruff Sqwad let loose on a room full of purple sound synths and is arguably some of Dark0's best work to date. 'PRS Riddim' - the title perhaps giving a cheeky nod to the Rinse FM airplay that the vocal version has received - shoots for anthem status too, with an irresistible hook beating its way past clattering snares. In another life, 'Fully Waved' is the euphoric soundtrack to a Mediterranean festival's video highlights, and 'Plasma Cannon' is the theme tune to a Sega racing game that never existed. Most probably reserved for the near-impossible final boss level. Both 'Karmmm' and 'Scyther', meanwhile, build trippy, spaced-out layers of loops on loops; the result is wide-eyed, hypnotic and, like the rest of the EP, indebted to Dark0's uniquely acute sense of tune and cadence.
Dark0 - I Ain't A Sweet Boy EP is available to purchase from Dark0's Bandcamp page now.
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Download: Destiny's Child - Bills Bills Bills (Harmonimix) [320kbps mp3]
Download: Destiny's Child - Bills Bills Bills (Harmonimix) [WAV]
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Without a doubt one of the most exciting new labels around at the moment, Tumble Audio rumble onto their sixth release, welcoming Bristolian Boofy to the roster in the process. The EP's title track - all rapid hi-hats, clattering snares and a bounding bassline - has been doing the rounds for a while now, cropping up in sets from fellow south-westerners, Kahn, Neek, Asa and Joker, and thus accordingly gets some remix treatment to keep things fresh: Hi5ghost adopts a classic grime pairing of distorted synths and skittering strings, whilst Nativ takes the tempo down a little and delivers a Champion-esque synth groove for a succession of claps and snares to bounce off.
The B-side, premiered here today, rounds off the release perfectly: all the raw, pirate radio venom that Boofy captures with such consistency, but with a bass lead and rolling rhythm that hits the mid-point between grime and UK funky that Tumble have been pushing since first leaving the blocks. That Wiley's choice words for God's Gift that are sampled here - and the sore jaw he received in return - would contribute to grime being banned from Rinse FM seems almost ironic considering the genre's recent ubiquity.
With every release, Tumble stamp their unique identity onto the UK's club scene more prominently, and long may it continue.
Boofy's 'Nank EP' will be released digitally on December the 2nd 2013.
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Animai's jazz tones will already be familiar to some, having recently graced Wayfarer's anthemic 'Reflections', and the east London vocalist furthers her stake on this, the latest release on DJ Crises' MindStep Music imprint. Vaun applies a characteristic light touch to the beat, with a delicate piano line falling over subs and pert kicks, and leaves the vocal the room it demands. To call this release long-awaited would be an understatement, having done the rounds and raised crowds for the best part of 2013, but when Crises got in touch to let us know that the release was coming and that they'd been shooting the label's first video for it too, the wait seemed worth it: time is a commodity well spent by MindStep, and a dedication to the details is what has always kept them at the head of their game. The video is now available to view in full above, or over on the Hedmuk YouTube channel.
The full release is rounded off by an acid-tinged remix from Simbad, an intricate medley of percussion and mids from Wayfarer, and a rolling, downtempo zoner from Sam KDC, with each producer taking their own unique approach to the vocal. The results exemplify the strength in depth of feeling that MindStep, since our very earliest contact with the label, has always been about.
Taking Over will be released on the 25th of November, and can be pre-ordered from iTunes here.