Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sound Spectrum Saturday - DJ mixes by Fort Knox Five (funk), Skream (house), Bohemian Club (downtempo), Nightmares On Wax (dub), DJC-kay (drum&bass)

I'm excited to introduce a new Downbeatscape Feature: Sound Spectrum Saturdays - where I share mixes of different styles of music so you can hear what I've been digging lately. I comb the world of music and share the best. You don't have to waste your time, I do the hunting for you!

I started Downbeatscape to curate the best downtempo and chillout music on the planet and as I do so I find it important to balance downtempo with various musical styles. To fully appreciate downtempo, I believe you must also have an appreciation of other styles -the YIN to downtempo YANG. Considering the balance I want to achieve and my interest and experience as a DJ, I'm introducing Sound Spectrum Saturdays to share many styles of music through the lens of DJing, so you can choose which music style you'd like to hear at the moment - be it uptempo dance, funk, chilled downtempo, ambient soundscapes, and more.

For the first Sound Spectrum Saturday, here's some funk, drum&bass, downtempo trip hop, house oriented dance music, and chilled beach party dub. Enjoy!

Fort Knox Five December Funk Mix - Fort Knox Five is one of my favorite modern funk artists, always delivering amazing original funk while being able to DJ great mixes of funk, hip hop and party music.



Skreamizm December Mix - Skream, a huge UK-based bass, house, D&B and grime DJ, delivers a great house-oriented mix that drives you forward through the night. I've been listening to this as a workout mix since it came out.



Bohemian Club Christmas Mix - Alistair of the Bohemian Club Label really has something going here. He's cultivating a variety of downtempo-oriented artists on his label by showcasing their new tracks, mixed in with older works, in mixes every month. This is a great downtempo mix that varies from chilled drum & bass to classic oriented ambient folk.



Nightmares On Wax - Wax Da Box December Mix - You can never go wrong with Nightmares On Wax DJ sets. I love the song selection by downtempo dub veteran George Evelyn aka Nightmares On Wax. He's based out of Ibiza usually, playing pool and ocean side sets perfect for chilling out at sunset.



DJC-kay Drum & Bass Mix - DJC-kay has consistently been sharing great D&B mini-mixes with me for several months now. He's consistent, tight and delivers a great D&B sound.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Ambient Winter Mix: I.R.I.S. (Therapist & AuroraX) - A Billion Year Voyage

The Winter Solstice this year brought us more than just a chill in the air, it brought us chill sounds from around the world, including a beautiful new mix of ambient pyschill soundscapes from Bulgarian DJs Therapist and AuroraX.


I wrote about Therapist this summer as he was competing for a DJ spot at TREE OF LIFE, a Turkish outdoor psychedelic music festival. He has since joined Ajnavision Records, a label that supports several downtempo DJs, most of whom create psychill and international fusion sounds. This winter, he partnered with AuroraX, another Bulgarian downtempo DJ on Ajnavision, to produce a mix for DI.fm's Winter Solstice Event. 
I.R.I.S. - A Billion Year Voyage is the result - a dramatic composition that is ambient in nature, with soundscapes reminiscent of a deep-space voyage movie soundtrack. The composition combines drawn out ambient crescendos and lush space sound elements that layer on top of each other to sound like one long song instead of a DJ mix. It is certainly one of the more true ambient mixes I've posted recently. One to help us relax and sink into the winter ahead of us.


I was in touch with Therapist to learn more about this mix - read more about how he and AuroraX created this voyage: 
Dowbeatscape: Overall, this composition sounds kind of like a dramatic movie soundtrack - what was your vision going into the mix and did it change at all as you created it together? What did each of you bring to the process?
Therapist: The concept of the mix was a deep space voyage, as the name suggests. We were drawn by the mysteries of The Great Attractor, an immensely dense gravitational anomaly so great it is theorized to be pulling entire galaxies towards it, including our own. The mix tracks the solitary journey of a single spacecraft, sent on a mission to this massive object, passing by countless star systems, nebulae, galaxies and clusters. Naturally, the voyage is epic in proportion, hence the dramatic movie feel you experienced. We hope listeners will also embark on the trip to one of the most massive and distant objects in the observable Universe.
We began the process by selecting a number of tracks separately from one another, then sat together and discussed which ones fit the concept best and with each other and started recording after that, filtering some parts, adding new ones, sampling over tracks or editing them, so they match better.
D: This mix has an almost spiritual journey about it, did you have that in mind as you created it? And how did you map the "story" of this journey? There are several points in the mix where the emotion ebbs and flows - for example when the female vocal sample recedes several minutes into the mix and is replaced by an ambient tone that mimics her voice, or when heavy bass undertones are introduced and the mix takes on a slightly ominous feel.
T: The beginning felt spiritual to us too, it represents leaving the closer, most familiar parts of outer space and heading into unknown and uncharted territories. I'm really glad you noticed the transition between the first tracks and later on, we tried to create an uniform flow and a sense of lightness on the voyage, but also a feeling of separation from all that you have known at the same time, illustrating a lush spectrum of emotions and experiences. The tracks and samples we chose were mainly related to our concept of space sound and how we hoped to manifest that experience.
D: There are vocals in the mix. Is that you, or a sample? How did you choose the sample or write the "lyrics"?
T: It's neither of us talking, I wish I had such radio voice. :) We spent a lot of time searching for voice samples from different sources and we selected those which best mapped our vision for the voyage. Actually almost all of the vocals you hear in the mix are not from the tracks themselves, but edited in Ableton and sampled, be it from other tracks (e.g. Asura - Simply Blue) or voice samples we collected over the years from other space events like the Atlantis landing or lectures about the Pioneer 10 space probe.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Suburban Dream - "Not Dead, But Sleeping" New EP & Mix

Suburban Dream is back with 3 new downtempo tracks of his signature hip hop beats, scratches and chilled lounge sounds. Ciaran McCarthy is Suburban Dream and he's been sharing his music with me for a few years now. He consistently delivers a uniquely chilled out sound built over simple (yet very effective) drum breaks with introspective vocal samples that create an overall downtempo, lounge mood. I also particularly love how his samples and lyrics always have a loose connection to the stereotypes of suburban life - its an interesting commentary on the fear many of us face: being exiled to the boredom and irrelevance of the suburbs. For example his lyrics in "Switch It All Off" are telling: "Can you focus on anything? I can't focus on anything. Do you understand what you're feeling? I just want to switch it all off." And the titles of his new tracks say it as well - "Switch It All Off," "Safely Sane," and "Not Dead, But Sleeping."

Take a listen below, and also check out his mix for the Late Lounge Sessions on Urban Jazz Radio, a downtempo show based out of Antwerp in Belgium. Happy chillin'...



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monday Mix - a "classic": Mikey Dubs - One Drop Ruination

This is one of my favorite mixes of all time. Mikey Dubs dropped this back in 2008 and I'd say it was pretty eye-opening for me in terms of the spectrum of dub and reggae. This mix is deep, chilled and dubby and as near to perfect mix composition as you can get (in my humble opinion).




Here's the tracklisting, it includes downtempo tracks from a lot of artists who have really blown up in the DJ scene since, included Zed, Caspa, Rusko and Skream:

01 Zeb-Lovers Step
02 Frankie Paul - Worries In The Dubstep
03 Skream - Dutch Flowers
04 LV feat. Dandelion - CCTV
05 Caspa+Rusko- King George
06 Clouds - Elders
07 Headhunter - Physics Impulse
08 Skream - Shake it
09 The Others - Light Up Your Spliff
10 Joker - Gullybrook Lane
11 Parsons - Big Killaz
12 Deadbeat - Babylon Correction
13 Skream - Dub Period
14 Kromestar - High is the limit
15 Unknown - Big Up An Bun Her
16 6Blocc Remix - Uptown Top Rankin
17 Carlton Livingstone - Chalice In Hand (Dubstep Rmx)
18 Syncho- Jahlove
19 12th Planet - Just Cool
20 Sublomatic - Spliff
21 Whitelabel - ??? (sorry I lost the sleeve)
22 Matty Heilbronn - Matty's Dub
23 Dread Fox - Moments in Dub

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Downtempo Mix: Afro Monk - Love Sacrifice Dream

This is an absolutely gorgeous, chilled groove - a mix that puts your mind at ease and releases all tension in your body. This is the type of energy and flow that inspires me to share music and to mix my own. Thank you, Afro Monk, for this mind-bender.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Michal Menert - The Same Disease

I've been delinquent in sharing music! Thankfully, I'm in my last year of school so during the holidays and after the new year i'll be sharing more, and especially when I'm back in the real work - very soon!

In the meantime, I've still been seeing a lot of shows and getting to DJ pretty often in Madison. Tonight I'm seeing Pretty Lights and Paul Basic in Madison, and I've seen Paper Diamond, Eliot Lipp, Flosstradamus, and more over the past few weeks. It's been a heavy Pretty Lights Music show schedule!

To get ready, I made sure I downloaded all the latest FREE Pretty Lights Music on www.prettylightsmusic.com   I hadn't heard the latest Michal Menert album, and was stoked to see he had a newer one out (released in April) that is chock full of what I call "psychadelic electro funk hip hop jams." Here's one of my favorite .... if you like it you can download his entire album at www.prettylightsmusic.com


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hidden Orchestra - Archipelago Album Mini-Mix

Whew, I've been delinquent in posting! Getting back into my FINAL YEAR of grad school has been a transition. But I'm working to continue to bring you great downtempo music.

Here's a mini-mix from Tru Thoughts artist Hidden Orchestra. The Tru Thoughts label distributes amazing artists like Quantic, Benji Boko and this is a a mini-mix of Hidden Orchestra's second album "Archipelago." It's a string-infused trip hop journey with a lot of atmospheric elements and hip hop drum rhythms that keep this album grounded in an organic, acoustic sound. If you like the mix, watch for the album to drop on October 9 via Tru Thoughts.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

THE UPSIDE OF DOWN: Hula Cam at Burning Man

This is an awesome video - not just for the beautiful women, but for the energy, flow and perspective that this delivers. This isn't quite "downtempo" - but it is representative of the greater expression I hope to encourage. And I love how they're all smiling - it concentrates their energy at us even more. Just think, what can you do to bring this type of energy and perspective to the world?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday Mix #10: Downbeatscape / EROK LIVE at Kulturez

Today's Monday Mix is another of my own - recently recorded during a live mix session at my friend's urbanwear store KULTUREZ in Cambridge, MA. Whenever I visit Boston (where I got my DJ start), I swing by and play a set at the store. The store specializes in Boston-local urbanwear - mostly graphic tees with a street sense along with being a hub for the graffiti, hip hop and breaking crews in Boston. Check out the mix - this one is more chilled out hip hop and reggae oriented, with a dose of Downbeatscape eclecticism (is that a word?). I think you'll like it :)



Tracklist:
1. Mourning Unknown - Talib Kweli (Max Tannone's Dub Kweli Project)
2. Neva Stop Riddim - Ancient Astronauts
3. Wandering Around (Spooky O Mansion Remix) - Suburban Dream
4. Do You Wanna Get Funky - London Funk All Stars
5. Scale It Back (Benji Boko Remix) - DJ Shadow ft. Little Dragon
6. Maximum ft. La Methode - DJ Vadim
7. Oblivion (Make Remix) - Ancient Astronauts
8. Thrill 103 - DJ Vadim
9. Oh! (Benji Boko Remix) - Beardyman ft. Foreign Beggars
10. Let There Be Horns - RJD2
11. HBR (Michel Menert Remix) - Paul Basic
12. Swordfish Hotkiss Night - Empire of the Sun
13. Kalimba - Mr. Scruff
14. Wanna Be Loved (Benji Boko Remix) - Kidda

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Mix #9: Downbeatscape Mix "Shiver" on the BeantownBoogiedown.com August Podcast

My latest mix, "Shiver," was developed exclusively for the BeantownBoogiedown.com August Podcast - a Boston web site dedicated to DJ and dance culture. Nick Minieri, the founder behind Beantown Boogiedown, writes, photographs and shares the sounds of the scene in Boston and the east coast. He asked Downbeatscape/EROK to develop a downtempo dance oriented mix to feature as his August podcast. This mix wavers between the depths of deep downtempo electronic and 140BPM bass, giving it a quality that allows the listener to chillout or get up and move.

Checkout the Podcast here and other great music at www.Beantownboogiedown.com And stream via SOUNDCLOUD right here:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thievery Corporation - Stargazer (Second Sky & Thomas Blondet Remix)

Second Sky and Thomas Blondet just released this excellent remix of Thievery Corporation's "Stargazer," a track off their 2011 release Culture of Fear. I've been listening to Thomas Blondet and Second Sky for several years, having found their sounds through the network of chillout, trip hop, dub and international fusion that continues to pour from Washington, D.C. based labels ESL Music and Rhythm & Culture. For the past year, Thomas and Second Sky have been partnering on many great remixes, collaborating to remix tracks such as "Stargazer" and Thomas even remixing some of Second Sky's original work. Check out the Stargazer remix, and many more below.

Thomas Blondet is a regular DJ and producer supporting ESL and Rhythm & Culture artists. His influence can be heard all over ESL and Rhythm & Culture recordings. Second Sky is a trio on the Rhythm & Culture label who continue to create amazing original work and do remixes with Thomas Blondet. Follow both of these artists and their DJ, production, original work and remixes - you won't EVER be disappointed.







Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Two Fingers - 101 South (free download)


Y'all have likely heard by now that Amon Tobin is back with a profound new side project "Two Fingers." Amon is famous for his pioneering experimental Drum & Bass and trip hop - he simply makes the music he wants and pushes entire genres forward by making his peers think differently. As Two Fingers, Amon takes a similar approach and experiments with hip hop inspired bass music. Two Fingers' new album Stunt Rhythms comes out Oct 1 on Big Dada (Ninja Tune's sister label). You can download the new single off the album for free:

And here's more about Stunt Rhythms directly from the Big Dada website - go there and check out more great music from Big Dada artists!

"Although Amon’s love of the lower reaches of low end will undoubtedly cause people to reach for lazy comparisons with dubstep, Stunt Rhythms is in fact more accurately viewed as his love letter to hip hop – less the rampant consumerism of, say, G-Unit’s “Stunt 101” than the early culture of innovation and freshness, of showing off simply that you’re better at what you do than anyone else. So while tracks like “Snap” could be said to literally break down classic hip hop to its constituent components and put them back together in completely new shapes, the more uptempo tracks like “Razorback” come on like a whole new soundtrack for an as-yet-uninvented future pop-locking. If you imagine Mantronix as a Kenworth K100 truck, Two Fingers is what happens when the truck turns into Optimus Prime."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Mix #8: Properly Chilled's August 2012 Propercast

I've been delinquent on sharing great downtempo music, but I'm back! Travel can do that to ya - which is nice though, because sometimes we all need a respite from posting/tweeting/facebooking/etc. to focus on spending a bit more time offline. So with that, I come back w/ a great downtempo mix that's all about celebration: the latest Properly Chilled Propercast by Brandon, a fellow downtempo afficionado who runs ProperlyChilled.com. Brandon really has his ear to the ground in all styles of downtempo and chilled party music, and his "Propercasts" always feature the latest and greatest downtempo - he is a constant source for me. So check out his latest downtempo showcase - a great selection of international dub, reggae, indian/bollywood, brazilian/flamenco and more.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Artist Interview & Free Album Download: Simara - Yakushima EP

Simara (GTB Records) is a New York producer who recently released his EP "Yakushima." The EP features really interesting downtempo percussion that reminds me of other artists I've been into lately and including in my mixes, such as Sepalcure, Supreme Cuts and Tensei. The reverberating bass and staccato percussion sounds very natural, like they were created using sticks and stones and caves instead of a kit or drum machine. Simara combines this with Japanese strings and other lighter sounds that create a balanced and sometimes playful quality. My favorite tracks are "Water God's Lullaby" (chilled, introspection for weekend relaxing) and "All Night Long" (glitchy bass-trip for pre-partying). Check out a short interview with Simara, plus stream and download his new album "Yakushima" FOR FREE!



Downbeatscape: What does "downtempo" mean to you, and how does your work fit into your description?

Simara: Usually I associate downtempo with a relaxed pacing and mood - like ambient music with a beat. When it comes to my music, there's definitely a downtempo element. I've been heavily influenced by ambient music, but I also listen to a lot of artists like Massive Attack, Telepopmusik, Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Taylor Deupree, etc. There's a lot of overlap with different genres but I try to stay above all of that and just feel it out.

DBS: When you're producing, what part of a song do you start with to provide the foundation?

Simara: It really depends on what comes to me first. Sometimes I'll hear a melody in my head and I have to record myself whistling the parts on my phone or something, or sometimes I'll hear a percussion groove or I'll dig a particular sound or even just want to mess around with some general concepts. Having a variety of music helps with discovering and playing with progressions and synthesis. So, if something doesn't come to me melodically, I'll just work out some vague ideas in my head and let them grow.

DBS: The new EP is called "Yakushima" - what does that title refer to?

Simara: "Yakushima" refers to the forest with the same name on a south western island of Japan. The forest was a huge inspiration for movies by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli films like Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro, which are movies I grew up with and really love. The forest itself is gorgeous, mysterious, and enchanting. To me, it represents the nostalgia and raw emotions from the memories I associate with my past and my encounters with the forest and Japan.

DBS: How has the New York scene and other areas you've spent time in influenced your style?

Simara: The New York music scene is crazy. I'm exposed to so many different styles. You can find me at a Grimes concert, a Baths concert, or even the Allman Brother's Band. A lot of people I'm around are into jazz, folk, and hip hop, so I'm thankful I don't have to go very far to be musically inspired. Before university, I thought I was going to be a house music or "electro" producer. I wanted to be a DJ. But I was never 100% into that stuff - I had always liked the alternative stuff, and my first ever album was a CD by a Japanese artist called Daishi Dance, who liked to use lots of piano and pretty melodies to accompany his beats. I really dug that. I think spending time in lots of different areas, whether they be physical or mental, really helps to carve out a groove. All the while you have to be open, you know? Inspiration is everywhere.

DBS: How do you distribute your music and achieve the production quality you expect?

Simara: This is the hardest part about it I guess haha. Actually, I'm no longer truly independent, since recently I was signed to a small label called GTB Records, which hosts a number of wonderful musicians and people. We are still getting off the ground, but its been fun even in the short time I've been involved, and the situation regarding distribution / production hasn't changed that much. To be honest, I don't spend too much time focusing on distribution. Every once in awhile I might send something to a blog I follow or a person I think might like my music. I just want to keep doing stuff for its sake. Production quality, of course, is a really tough issue when you're working alone (and when you're broke). You've just got to keep listening to stuff that sounds really nice, and try to emulate. There are tons of resources that I'm thankful for, and going through the motions of trial and error teaches me a lot. I try not to get too satisfied or fall into a particular pattern of doing things. Getting lazy never helps. If I have to automate a million parameters, or fix the smallest things, I'll do it. If I have to ask someone for their opinion, then I'll do it. But settling is never good. I can't level up that way.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Mix #7: Ninja Tune Solid Steel ft. DJ Kentaro

Ninja Tune's monthly Solid Steel online radio show is always a fantastic mix of eclectic sounds. Coldcut, Ninja Tune's founders, always start the show with an hour long set that ranges from trip hop to funk to ambient, and then they pass it to a guest DJ who performs another hour. This month's guest is DJ Kentaro - a Ninja Tune turntablist (and DMC Turtablism Gold Medalist) who just released a new album "Contrast." Many of his new tracks are featured in his mix, which has a hip hop vibe with downtempo dance and dubstep elements, and a healthy dose of impressive scratching. He also features new music by Slugabed, another Ninja Tune artist. When I heard this mix I instantly went out and bought both new albums by DJ Kentaro and Slugabed - great additions to the downtempo library. You'll like this mix if you like Rusko, Foreign Beggars, downtempo dubstep, turtablism and Ninja Tune in general.



DJ Kentaro - new album "Contrast" (Ninja Tune)
Slugabed - new album "Time Team" (Ninja Tune)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chillout Single & Video: Raycord - Wurlitzer a Nu



This is a beautiful downtempo song - very chilled for a Saturday morning, almost ambient. The song title, "Wurlitzer a Nu," refers to the Wurlitzer piano, which is the source of the distinct piano sounds that balance this song with the reverberating bass throughout. The Wurlitzer piano is also the subject of the video - which I really enjoy because it puts all the focus on the music and the implement - sometimes videos can distract from the music, but this is a showcase, an homage to the source of the sound.

Here's more about the artist: "Raycord is a Canadian composer who lives and works in the countryside, a lifestyle steeped in the elements that inspires his music and suits his sensitive nature, the warmth of which permeates and humanises the electronic music he channels. Raycord composes vibrant and atmospheric music. After an inconspicuous release of his debut album L’hiver Blanc, Raycord is coming back with a new sound experimentation: Ruban-Ruban on Phonosaurus Records. Raycord patiently crafts his compositions with a great attention to detail. He also occasionally incorporates tracks by other musicians. His upcoming album Ruban-Ruban is a musical experimentation assisted by Steve Cloutier and will be available on iTunes, Amazon, phonosaurus.com and many more on September 12."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ymbelydredd (Them&Us Remix) - Gwenno

I first heard about beatbox pioneer Killa Kela a few years ago at the Boom Festival in Portugal, and I've been a fan of Basement Jaxx for years. Now, Killa Kela and a former member of Basement Jaxx - vocalist Ami Carmine - have partnered on a new project called "Them & Us." The duo is producing excellent remixes using Killa's beatboxing prowess and Ami's vocals, and just released an original EP. Check out their latest - the amazing remix of Ymbelydredd by Gwenno, plus a new track off their EP.

Ymbelydredd (Them & Us Remix) is also offered as a free download:



Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Mix #6: TrueNature - J'Aime Le Dubstep Podcast #179

I came across this great site: J'Aime Le Dubstep, founded by basshead DJ Construct, out of Montreal. The site promotes amazing bass music, ranging from Drum&Bass and Breaks to Dubstep and UK Funky. In honor of the anniversary of U.S. dubstep party RECONSTRVCT held this past weekend in NYC, J'Aime le Dubstep handed over its Podcast over to one of the party's founders - Brooklyn DJ True Nature. True Nature delivered an amazingly melodic and dark mix of tribal, dub and bass-themed downtempo. This is not a light mix, and it is not for the faint of heart. But it is for readers of Downbeatscape who continue to appreciate the yin and yang of music and its mystical powers. Check out other great music at J'Aime Le Dubstep - full credit to them and True Nature for this.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New EROK Chill Hop Mix - Odyssia (FREE DOWNLOAD)

My summer goal was to write a lot and compose a mix a month. So far, so good. Here's my latest - Oyssia - a "chill hop" mix with hints of funk, dub, reggae and middle eastern ambiance. The mix art is one of my brother's sketches - check out his website, MJD Artworks!

I've been posting a lot of mixes lately because I've been studying other DJs' 1) mixing techniques and 2) song selection. When I DJ, I focus on mastering these two core components to create an interesting story. I believe a set mixed simply (and technically sound) with great song selection and a bit of style is always superb to a technically complex mix with only OK song selection. As DJs, we must not overcomplicate things, but rather we must create sets where the songs enhance each other and are experienced differently together than they would be alone. Do you think this set achieves this?



Tracklist:
1. State of the Union (Rewound) - Thievery Corporation
2. Pearl - The Deadbeats
3. Deep in the Cut - J Boogie
4. Mr Universe - Mos Def (Max Tannonne Edit)
5. Boomster - Rapscallion
6. Starfall - Michal Menert
7. Bongo Dub - Dub Traffik Control vs. Manu Chao
8. Last Night (J Boogie Remix) - Ancient Astronauts
9. Tangolypto - Heyoka
10. The Others - Second Sky
11. Chez Roger Boite Funk - Troublemakers
12. Kiara - Bonobo
13. Hip Hope - Marzebian
14. Facing East - Thievery Corporation
15. Out of Time - Pretty Lights

Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekend DJ Set: Henry Pope - Early Summer Set

Henry Pope - a producer and DJ from Venice, CA - sent me his latest DJ set this morning and I've been listening to it all day. It's an awesome mix of deep bass, hints of dubstep and great hip hop tracks that combine for a downtempo summer chugger. This is the epitome of how downtempo music can carry so much energy and take a party to the next level. It's got so many great tracks from amazing artists, new and old, including Notorious BIG, Outkast, Pretty Lights, Bassnectar, Masta Ace, Nosaj Thing, and even originals from Henry Pope himself. 

I couldn't wait to post this as a "Monday Mix" - I had to share it today, it's that good. 



Track List:
1. Phutureprimative - High Rez
2. Wyatt Lamond - Shadows End
3. Sugarpill - Bomp
4. Outcast - I Love Way You Move
5. Deathsar - Wiz RMX
6. Wick it the Instigator - The Weatherman
7. ???? - Space Dub
8. Bruza - Cock Back
9. Wick it the Instigator - Future Crunk
10. Painty Raid vs. D.Veloped - Iz You Rollin
11. Notorious B.I.G. - Notorious Thugs
12. Paper Diamond - Power RMX
13. Beats Antique - Cat Skills (Inspired Flight RMX feat. Scarub)
14. illesha - Smoke and Mirrors (Ample Mammal RMX)
15. Nasty Nasty - Sweaty Bodies
16. Lana Del Rey - National Anthem (Tennsnake RMX)
17. Gorillaz - Stylo
18. Tango In The Attic - Easy Bones (Inspired Flight RMX)
19. Polish Ambassador - Bust a Move RMX
18. Nirvana - Molly's Lips
19. Henry Pope - Delirium
20. RLS - Teu Sorriso
21. Lunice - The Name Dunnit (Henry Pope RMX)
22. Masta Ace - Born to Roll
23. Bassnectar - When I Grow Up
24. Nosaj -Empires (STS9 RMX)
25. Heyoka - Thingamabob
26. Nate Dogg - Regulate (Polish Ambassador RMX)
27. 9th Wonder & Pete Rock
28. Nosaj Thing - Coat of Arms
29. Nas - The Message
30. Getto Boys - Mind Playin Trick on Me
31. Minnesota - Oakland Baby Master
32. NastyNasty - Dirty Dirty
33. J. Atlas - Rainmaker

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Album Review: Rapping with Paul White - The Room Below Versions

UK producer Paul White is often included in the same conversation as Flying Lotus and Diplo for his experimental and other-worldly music production. His latest album "Rapping with Paul White" (One Handed Music label) ventures into hip hop, working with underground rappers such as Guilty Simpson, Tranqill, Moe Pope and more. The album was released this year and recently received a really cool electronic make-over by producer Henry Keen, aka The Room Below. This re-edit/total success is a wandering electronic hip hop odyssey that showcases really creative production and hip hop talent. The Room Below took the entire "Rapping with Paul White" album and re-did everything using drum machines and synths. His interpretation is amazing and worth many listens. You can stream and download the "Room Below" Versions below, plus listen to the originals - compare for yourself and enjoy!

My two fav songs on the album are "Stampeding Elephants" and "One of Life's Pleasures."





Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Mix #5 + Label to Watch: Bohemian Club Soundtrack (Episode 7) + Future Dub

The Bohemian Club is a new music label I've been following since its inception. Alistairr - the man behind the Bohemian Club - does a great job showcasing downtempo talent via his mix series The Bohemian Club Soundtrack.

In Episode 7 of the Bohemian Club Soundtrack, Alistairr ties fantastic tracks together from artists and producers around the world. This is certainly a chillout mix, with ambient elements and atmospheric lead-ins to rewarding, jazzy drum breaks and cool melodic synths. Definitely listen for a chilled evening - you won't be disappointed. Plus, check out two other dub songs I'm particularly enjoying right now from The Bohemian Club, called FUTURE DUB:



Track List for "Bohemian Club Soundtrack - Episode 7":
1,Rykard - North Cormorant Obscurity
2,Conrad Schnitzler- Ballet Statique
3,Mister 1-2-3-4 - The bones will stay
4,Jon Brooks- Regie
5,Mordant Music - Pissing in Sinks
6, Walls-Raw Umber/Twilight
6,Oneothrix point Never- Sand Partina
7,Hyph mngo- Joy Orbison
8,The Advisory Circle- As the crow files
9,Theo Parrish- Summertime is Here
10, Raiders of the Lost Arp- Night time (Rude 66 Forever Darkness Remix)

Plus, here's the FUTURE DUB tracks that I'm really grooving to. I connected with Alistairr about these songs and this is what he shared: "Modern dub and reggae producers usually fall into 2 categories: either very traditional and follow the King Tubby route or they are dubstep influenced. Future Dub is centered around the main trumpet/sax/organ interaction which is a key feature of most of my dub productions, and is highlighted here. The sound I tried to create uses the traditional template - combining edgy samples and effects, to create an atmosphere of mystery and surprise." Keep up the mystery and surprise - its working!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mostly Robot - Behind the Scenes - Native Instruments Showcase

Native Instruments is my DJ brand of choice. I use both Traktor Pro and Maschine in my setup, combined with Hercules RMX midi and some Ableton integration when I'm teaching myself/learning more basic production skills. This video showcases a lot of NI tools and techniques in a really cool way - by creating an "electronic super group" of DJs, artists and producers. Mostly Robot is DJ Shiftee, Jamie Lidell, Jeremy Ellis, Mr. Jimmy and Tim Exile. Each artist has their own specialty that is showcased with a different Native Instruments tool or functionality. Check it out:

Friday, July 20, 2012

STS9 - Axe the Cables - Re-mastered Acoustic Set

STS9 is incredible. I've never heard acoustic versions of their music, but this all acoustic set demonstrates their true range as musicians and how/why their music has such an organic analog feel, despite being highly electronic oriented. The acoustic version of their songs shifts between classical, jazz and folksy rock. This was released in 2009 but STS9 recently re-edited and re-mastered this album to make it even more crisp and beautiful.



Gratuitous cut-and-paste description of this set from STS9's Soundcloud Page: "In December of 2009, STS9 sat down in one of America’s most pristine modern opera houses on a chilly night in Denver, CO to create the inaugural “Axe The Cables… An Evening of STS9″. What this night encompasses is one of, if not the most flawless STS9 event in the bands decade plus history. The entire show was played, for the most part, sans all “electric” gear including the common stage instrumentation of laptops our fans have grown quite accustomed to. To say the event was a hit is an understatement. It was a night legends are made of. So much so the band has decided to re-cut, re-mix, and re-master this into one massive release."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Mix #4: Nappy Riddem - Samba, Reggae & Drum&Bass Mix (All Vinyl)

Nappy Riddem (Fort Knox Recordings) is a reggae-funk band that's always on my radar because of their roots in D.C. downtempo culture. Their members work with legendary D.C. bands and artists like Thievery Corporation, Thunderball, Fort Knox Five, and See-I. This mix is from one of their members - Rex Riddim - and showcases his love of Brazilian beats combining samba and drum & bass. It truly is a chillout rasta mix laced with drum&bass energy. Many thank to Fort Knox Recordings and Andrew Cerutti (2Tuff Productions) for always sharing great music!



Also check out this interview with Nappy Riddem, courtesy of Fort Knox Recordings:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Upside of Down: Show Review & DJ Sets - Matthew Dear & Sleepy + Boo at Le Poisson Rouge, 6.14.12

Last night I attended Basic NYC, a house party at Le Poisson Rouge. Resident DJs Sleepy + Boo kicked off and guest Matthew Dear followed. The show was spectacular. For one, Poisson Rouge has quickly become one of my favorite NYC venues. There's no dress code, the crowd is all about the music and NOT about the "scene." The music is consistently amazing.

Before I get into the show, this post represents a slight departure from the "downtempo" music I normally share. Its difficult to segment music all the time. I find myself often wanting to share the uptempo or dance oriented music that I listen to as well. Balance is important, and uptempo is complimentary to dowtempo, its simply necessary. So with this post I'm starting a new feature: "The Upside of Down." Posts with this tag will feature more uptempo stuff that I'm enjoying when I'm not chilling with my favorite downtempo tunes. Don't worry though, this does NOT mean I will be writing about downtempo any less, just that I will be adding more uptempo flavor! Now onto the music and show:



Resident DJs Sleepy + Boo have curated the Basic NYC party for years and they are known house DJs in NYC, also hosting a monthly party at Cielo in the city. They describe their brand of house music as "thick drums, big basslines, hypnotic grooves and tripped-out sci-fi synthesizers." Unlike many house DJs, this duo keeps their mixes interesting by playing a variety of tempos, rhythms and sounds. It also helps they've created a really cool aesthetic in the club - their stage backdrop is a curtain of luminescent bulbs that create a waveform in time to the music. It also creates psychedelic swirls and visualizations.



Matthew Dear came on around 1:30AM and dropped heavy beats immediately. By that point, the crowd was well warmed, and he took us to an even deeper, tribal place. Matthew Dear (a co-founder of Ghostly International and featured artist on the label) is known around the world as an experimental electronic music producer and house DJ. His original work has a dance pop quality, but not the kind the mainstream kind that makes me groan. His DJ set certainly delivered - very heavy and deep, with all the right peaks and drops to keep the crowd grooving with him. AND I was excited to see he uses Traktor for his DJ sets - my personal DJ software of choice :)

Check them out some pics below and listen to sets by Sleepy + Boo and Matthew Dear. I suggest listening to these on some device where you can get the true bass experience. Enjoy!







Saturday, July 14, 2012

Album Review & Interview with Mr. Meeble - Nostalgic for Now EP, Star Power Single

Mr. Meeble is an electronic glitch rock band from Phoenix, AZ. They just released their latest album and first in three years - "Nostalgic For Now." The album is a collection of music that captures the spectrum of introspection and emotion that nostalgia creates. Its electronic-oriented percussion and ambient synthetic overtones evoke a sort of happy-sad feeling - that contradictory experience of looking back on amazing times with both fondness and regret. Don't get me wrong - this isn't sad music. Mr. Meeble creates a very meaningful energy with this approach.

The single "Star Power" is a perfect example of this balance. Its chilled and glitchy wave of percussion drives you forward and relaxes at the same time, while melodic elements create space in the song which the vocals fill perfectly - telling the story of a man who longs to return (or remain?) in the world of another who makes him reach the upper limits of his potential. The video for the song is also incredible. It's a representation of what it'd be like to see Mr. Meeble live. Devin, the band leader, dons a mask called the "Ghost Portal" which projects an eerie but compelling visual of his likeness on a giant screen.

Mr. Meeble connected with me to share their new album and the video for "Star Power." I did a short interview with Devin, the band leader, and they've made a free download of Star Power available for one week only - announced exclusively via Downbeatscape! CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE TRACK (via Soundcloud)





Downbeatscape: Why the 3-year hiatus between albums? What was the impetus for a new one?

Devin, Mr. Meeble: Well, we have a lot of other things going on and 3 years goes by faster than I wish it did. I don't make a living from Mr. Meeble, so I have to juggle quite a few things. Add to that my tendency to be a perfectionist, and there you go. No real impetus - we just finally got a video done so
we released the EP.

DBS: There's a lot of emotion in your music. How does the balance between analog and electronic elements help create this emotion?

MM: Emotion is kind off an intangible component of music, but yet so fundamental. I would hope that our music feels like something... anything. Nothing annoys me like hollow music. As far as electronic and organic elements go - I don't know if we balance the two. I like both, I need both. Why not have both? Maybe Mr. Meeble is something like the corpus callosum. Right meets left.

DBS: What does "downtempo" mean to you? How does your music fits into your definition, if at all?

MM: Not sure what it really means, other than a very literal meaning of slower tempos. We use a lot of slowish to mid tempos, but I also really like fast tempos, so go figure.

DBS: What is it like to wear the "Ghost Portal?"

MM: I would like to answer something like "exhilarating" or "surreal" - but in reality it's a bit heavy and quite awkward. The only joy I get is sensing the energy of the crowd. The last time I wore it, I could really feel the peaked attention - a strange mix of wonder, excitement and confusion. That's fun, no doubt, but I still couldn't wait to take it off.

DBS: More and more artists are adding aesthetic entertainment elements - like the "Ghost Portal" - to their live shows. How do you see the live experience evolving ?

MM: Are more bands doing stuff like that? I still see a TON of bands touring with zero visuals. I don't know much about the future of the music business, except that music will continue to exist. I'm pretty sure about that. Oh yeah, did I mention that I love lasers?

DBS: What's your favorite song on Nostalgic for Now?

MM: hmmm... I would have to say Gift, with Star Power being a close second. I dunno why, I just resonate most with Gift. It's hard to pick a favorite when you've spent so many hundreds of hours deep inside of the innards of these tracks. I think artists lose all sense of objectivity.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Mix 3: New EROK Mix - Ebb Glitch Flow

This Monday Mix is one of my own. "Ebb Glitch Flow Repeat" is my latest mix and starts with an atmospheric intro that crescendos into melodic bass, dub and glitch-oriented downtempo music that pushes the intersection of chillout and dance. When I create mixes, I start with a theme - this one being particularly deep and glitchy. I also treat every mix like a story with an introduction, peaks and valleys, and emotional components, delivering an experience that isn't complete without hearing how the entire mix works together.

This mix features artists from Cut Music, Pretty Lights Music, DJ Kicks Series, and more. Download the mix for free and see the tracklist below. Please note, the download file is large because I preserved the quality for your listening pleasure.



Track List:
1. Indian Wells - Wimbledon 1980
2. Great Skies - Polaroid
3. Existance - Uninhabited
4. SBTRKT - Colonise
5. Gramatik - Illusion of Choice
6. Koloah - Pets Can Rock
7. Sepalcure - No Think
8. Supreme Cuts - Amnesia
9. Fog - Wonka Bass
10. Paul Basic - Doozy
11. Sepalcure - Taking You Back
12. Zero 7 - Ghost Symbol
13. Supreme Cuts - Fools
14. The New Law - Opium Den



Saturday, July 7, 2012

Album Review: Dirty Art Club - Hexes

I'm not sure I can define Dirty Art Club - which makes me really excited. This group just released Hexes - their second album - a fantastic mosaic of sounds ranging from funk- and jazz-like brass and deep hip hop beats to electric guitars and synthetic melodies and bass. The album carries a downtempo theme and feels like an ahead-of-its-time 70s movie soundtrack - a little brooding, a little psychadelic, and an abundance of funky energy for lounging or getting ready for the night.

Dirty Art Club is composed of members Madwreck and Matt Cagle. The album is released via Phonosaurus Records (based in Montreal). Check out three songs from the Hexes album via Soundcloud and buy it direct from Phonosaurus' online store!




Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Mix 2: Compa - Lucid Mix (WEARELUCID.NET))

Here's a great downtempo, bass-heavy mix to get you through the week - Compa's Lucid Mix for WEARELUCID.NET. Compa is a UK based DJ and producer who is gaining traction as a future garage trailblazer, creating bass heavy dubs that are equally deep, penetrating and energizing. This mix starts early with some hip hop and reggae, introducing you to the bass rhythms that he progressively drops lower and deeper throughout the set with his own original tracks.

Check more Compa on Soundcloud, every Wednesday from 2-4 PM on Sub.FM, and more like this at WEARELUCID.NET - a big thanks to WEARELUCID.NET for exposing me to Compa and sharing awesome music.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Usher - Climax (prod. Diplo) (Paper Diamond Remix)



I don't normally share mainstream music, but I do when some of my favorite artists - and other talented downtempo producers - do remixes of whats popular. Here's an example: Paper Diamond (on Pretty Lights Music) remixes Usher's Climax. I love Paper Diamond's original work and his remixes are always very steady and funky, and this remix is a deceptively basic, chilled out head nodder. Definitely something for any electronic music DJ or fan to add to their library.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Mix 1: Junior X - Temple of Gnosis Dub Mix

Today kicks off a new feature at Downbeatscape - the Monday Mix! Every Monday, I will post a mix that I've been listening to and loving over the weekend, to make sure it's a worthy mix for you. That means you'll be getting 52 amazing DJ sets via Downbeatscape every year!

To kick it off, I was immersed in and inspired by the Temple of Gnosis Dub Mix by Junior X - a live recording of his hypnotic trip into dub and Goa-flavored downtempo at the Aurora Festival on Samothraki Island in Greece. Junior X is Greek and plays the outdoor European festival circuit. His next gig is the Tree of Life festival in Turkey in just three days.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

OHM Dedication Series #3: Ahu presents Blossom Dearie

Ahu presents Blossom Dearie is an endearing, funny, relaxing and classic jazz mini-mix for a Sunday of chilling and recovering from whatever you got yourself into Saturday night. This mix is by Ahu, a Turkish singer on OHM who has worked with Flying Lotus and other legends in progressive and downtempo music. Her mix honors Blossom Dearie - an American jazz singer with an incredible voice and great sense of humor, which is a major part of her songwriting, live jazz and bebop performances. She was a staple in the New York supper club scene in the 60s and 70s, and this mix makes me want to travel back in time, drink Manhattans and see her live.

Most of what I blog about has a strong electronic component, but I love to share other classic downtempo sounds that have been an inspiration for today's music and lately its come in the form of jazz. This mix is the 3rd in OHM's Dedication Series, where OHM Label's artists and DJs share their love of artists that have inspired them.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DJ Chicken George & J Boogie - Jazztronic Boogie Mixtape

DJ Chicken George (the Austin-based DJ and master curator of all sounds jazztronica) and J Boogie (the San Francisco-based downtempo and boogie fusion producer and DJ) come together to commemorate their summer tour with this great mixtape collaboration. These two mainstays in downtempo have crafted a great mix of funk, soul and jazztronica sounds. Chicken George curates the massively popular "Peddlin Jazztronica" podcast and J Boogie is a featured OM Records artist. Check out more J Boogie and DJ Chicken George.



And if you're in Canada, please see them live!

Canadian Summer tour:
---------------------
6.21.12 | 9One9 | Victoria
http://on.fb.me/MPhVFS

6.22.12 | Tall Tree Festival | Port Renfrew
http://talltreemusicfestival.com

6.23.12 | Fortune Sound | Vancouver B.C.
http://www.fortunesoundclub.com

6.24.12 | Hi Fi Club | Calgary
http://www.hificlub.ca

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The New Law - Jiri

The New Law are back with an incredible glitch hop single that, in my ears, sounds like a continuing journey of the unnamed hero/outlaw from their last three albums into a Middle Eastern or old Eastern European underworld. "Jiri" is an ethnically-inspired song created entirely from samples and, according to The New Law, was inspired "by a street musician in Prague named Jiri Wehle. He plays the hurdy gurdy and sings epic Czech folk songs." The samples originate from the following songs: Jiri Wehle-"Pisen pro Barsinu", 4 Strings-"Take Me Away" and Styx-"Mr. Roboto". Stream & download the song here:


Monday, June 11, 2012

Show Review, Pics & Video: Ghostly International artist Shigeto live in NYC (Le Poisson Rouge, June 10, 2012)

I saw a side of Shigeto that I didn't quite know existed at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC. He was trained in jazz at the New School in New York and his studio work has an ambient, jazztronica vibe. But his remixes and original samples lately have been layered with ruptured electronic music that seem influenced by other Ghostly International artists like Mux Mool and Com Truise. His foray into other sounds was awesome live, and I was able to snap some photos and take a short video of his performance. The last 30 seconds of the video is a glimpse into Shigeto's new world, of deep broken beat electronic music that blew my mind. Definitely see Shigeto live (here's his tour schedule), listen to his tracks and check out the video and pics from his performance below:













Sunday, June 10, 2012

Interview w/ Friendly Intentions, remix artists behind Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know ( Friendly Intentions Chill Remix)

Friendly Intentions is a remix and producer duo in Toronto, Canada. They shared their latest remix - Gotye - Somebody That I Used to Know (Friendly Intentions Chill Remix) - a fresh downtempo version of a great but arguably overplayed song. This track pushed me to check out more of their remixes and original productions that range from chilled dubstep to chillwave to progressive house. One theme I noticed in their work is they apply the best elements of a genre without over-use, which can be a risk especially with dubstep these days. Another theme I enjoy is how they adjust tempo and rhythm through songs. This is a nuanced and often underused production tactic that really keeps people listening. Check out an interview with Friendly Intentions below and listen to a selection of their work (and follow them on Twitter!):





Downbeatscape: What does "downtempo" mean to you and how does your style of music fit in?

Friendly Intentions: This is an interesting question...I'm just going to throw at you what I view as downtempo. Generally, the rate at which the snare drum hits dictates the tempo. So, music that's below 80 bpm is downtempo. Of course this can encompass an enormous variety of music, each with difference energy and atmosphere. The shuffle of the drums is very important to the general atmosphere and relaxed feel of a song. The more irregular the shuffle on the drums and percussion creates more of a lagging and "down" feel. For example, dubstep has that really slow headbobbing vibe. (Let's assume dubstep is 70 bpm due to the half step drum pattern).

DBS: How do you select a song to remix, and what is your approach to remixing?

FI: When choosing a song, we pick those that have an interesting base, yet have the potential to be improved. For example, Gotye - Somebody I Used to Know has a great vocal line, but we felt the instrumental was lacking. We added our own personal twist and are very happy with the result. So far the remix has been received better than expected.

DBS: Your work ranges from chillwave to dubstep to prog house. How has this range developed?

FI: Our foray in electronic music has been an exciting journey, learning about the intricacies of sound design and sound itself. Every time we set out to create a piece from a genre we've never worked with, it's full of discovery. Each and every genre has specific elements and challenges that are often unique to it. Our goal is to push the boundary of sound design, yet keep our songs aurally pleasing. Extending our musical vocabulary allows us to borrow elements and techniques of other genres and incorporate them in our production giving a more original, less cookie cutter sound. Look forward to some new downright dirty electro and drum and bass songs in the works.

DBS: As a duo, how do you work together to create music? Do you each have "specialties" or roles?

FI: Individually, we are good at creating parts of songs, but struggle to finish complete ideas. However, when working together in our small home studio, we rarely run into creativity problems. We can sit through hours and get plenty of work completed. We have been friends for many years before we even made music together, so our chemistry is great. We have similar mindsets and personalities, which helps workflow tremendously.

DBS: How is the Toronto music scene compared to others you have experienced around the world?

FI: The Toronto music scene is amazing. We travel frequently for our jobs and its hard to find a great city like Toronto in music. There are music events for even the most obscure sub genres almost weekly. Perhaps that's why we are not genre bound, but rather set out to make whatever seems to work at that point in time.





Friday, June 8, 2012

Mister Rogers Remixed | Garden of Your Mind | PBS Digital Studios - in downtempo fashion

I had to post this - it's going around the internet and it is absolutely beautiful. A wonderful tribute to Mr. Rogers with an incredibly innocent, pure and spirited message that we must never forget. Not to mention the song is quite good and it's actually in the downtempo vibe that I love to share. So please, enjoy this if you haven't seen it already and let it take you back to a time where the garden of your mind did blossom incredible things, and may we all allow ourselves to tender that garden for our lifetimes.

Pretty Lights - You Get High

Pretty Lights has been busy, playing festivals and concerts all over the country while producing his online podcast/radio show The Hot Shit and recently releasing a new single "You Get High" that does just that - gets you high on life in Pretty Lights style.

This Pretty Lights track is true to form in what we've come to expect from him - steady hip hop beats laying the foundation for a perfectly mixed mash of funk, electronica (lighter dubstep in this case) and glitched up vocal samples. According to Pretty Lights, this is the last single he's dropping before releasing a brand new album this summer on his own label, Pretty Lights Music. I'll be sure to share the release date on my blog or via the Downbeatscape Twitter handle when it is announced.

Hear "You Get High" by watching the video and Download it for free at Pretty Lights Music website:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Artist Interview & New Acid Jazz/Jazztronica Release: Outerattik - Attic EP

Outerattik, the UK's Jamie Smith, released his acid jazz Attic EP recently and it's a great downtempo tribute to the nostalgic early days of jazz that he discovered pouring through vinyl records in his parents' attic. As he progressed as a jazz musician, Jamie began to experiment with more acid improvisational techniques and electronic sequencing, creating a "jazztronica" sound that pays homage to his classical training and gives a nod to his interest in other genres like electronica and funk. Read my interview with Outerattik, listen to Attic EP and download his track Electro Funk #50 for free:



Downbeatscape: What does "downtempo" mean to you and how does your style fit into this genre?

Outerattik (Jamie Smith): Downtempo to me means groovy, laid back and atmospheric. Chillout music with some bite. Genres are so blurred that I find myself going in circles trying to define the music I produce. In essence, I produce downtempo with harmony and rhythms from jazz, funk and soul.

DBS: How did your interest in jazz develop and how has it evolved through the years?

Jamie: Early on I’d been playing and improvising over stuff that had some overlap with jazz: mainly American songbook material. My uncle introduced me to it, and how to play chords and improvise. A few years later I bought some jazz CDs and books and began learning how jazz worked. I plucked up the courage to go to a few jam sessions around town and eventually joined some jazz combos. It was a difficult transition from previously playing mostly classical music. Jazz is quite different and I spent six or seven years not being able to play well enough to record - really frustrating.

I’d also experimented with sequencers and computer music in my teens, and after playing jazz proper I wanted to combine the two. It was after playing in fusion bands and learning to play funk that I felt confident and versed enough to embark into acid jazz and form Outerattik.

DBS: How did you first get your start as a musician?

Jamie: Music was always in my family. My Dad still plays in a brass band (which I played in for a few years) and my Mum performs in musicals. I started piano lessons when I was six and began composing a few years later, first with pencil and paper then with a sequencer my parents got me for Christmas.

DBS: How do you like composing in the studio compared to performing live? How does the art of improvisation, so important in jazz, come into play in a studio vs. live setting?

Jamie: I enjoy both. Going from one to the other keeps things interesting. Playing live is exciting but often the sound on stage, especially if playing in a noisy bar, is a bit rubbish. Being in the studio allows you to concentrate fully on the sound and play with more nuance.

The stage tends to be where you can really stretch improvisationally. I find the studio experience to be quite tense because I know bad notes will be recorded! But on stage, you’re jamming in real time and can be spontaneous - I find that really exciting.



DBS: What gigs do you have coming up?

Jamie: I’m looking to take Outerattik live soon. I put some feelers out to other musicians to collaborate and I’m pleased with the enthusiastic response. Until then I’ve gotta write more tunes!

DBS: Where do you find influence for your songs?

Jamie: Sometimes I write tunes to reflect a particular experience I’ve had or mood that I'm in. Other times it’ll come from something I’ve improvised. This EP, particularly Attic Faery, has quite a nostalgic feel to it. The main inspiration was discovering music through my parents’ vinyl collection in the attic. It was quite eclectic.

DBS: Where do you see the future of downtempo music and of acid jazz in particular?

Jamie: Downtempo will always find an audience. It’s such an adaptable form. You can fuse it with other genres, like folk and jazz, and it works really well. Who knows what the next twist on it will be. I thought glo-fi a few years back was pretty good, bringing back that 80s pop sound but in a new way.

As far as acid jazz goes, I have a vested interested in a revival! They say these things go in 20-year cycles, don’t they? Musicians like BADBADNOTGOOD and Robert Glasper are having a lot of success at the moment with their jazz and hip hop sound, and a more mainstream audience is responding. So it’s an exciting time to be playing acid jazz.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

New Label & Mix: The Bohemian Club

I've recently become interested in the work of Alistairr Read - a London downtempo and electronic producer. His work is a mix of chillout downtempo and lounge house electronic, with light melodies creating weightless overtones throughout. He also runs The Bohemian Club - a blog showcasing a variety of music ranging from traditional downtempo to various electronic styles.

From his success as a producer, music mixologist, and blogger, he has recently launched a music label under the same name - The Bohemian Club. Alistairr's label will release music ranging from "downtempo, to dub, to electronica and beyond" (his words). His label will showcase artists and music that break the "predictable mould of current electronic music and creates a path of its own." I love the spirit of this project and look forward to the range of downtempo sounds it produces.

Here is a mix by Alistairr of the type of music he finds inspiration from and is seeking to promote via his label - remember, if you're a DJ/producer/artist send demos to The Bohemian Club here:



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An Interview with Therapist (Global Downtempo/Ambient DJ) - help him win a spot @ the TREE OF LIFE Festival!

Therapist is a downtempo DJ in Bulgaria that specializes in chillout, psychill and ambient styles. He is a regular at the European outdoor festivals and he shared a set designed to win him a spot at the upcoming Tree of Life festival in Turkey this summer. He creates his sets to be a fully immersive experience, where a listener can truly allow their feet to lift off the ground and float along, while allowing themselves to be moved by this energy that bubbles up inside them. I interviewed Therapist about downtempo music, DJing and festivals he's playing next. Listen to his set and read the interview below. AND, please comment on the set in Soundcloud - this set is for a contest to win a spot at the Tree of Life Festival, and the set with the most comments by June 15 wins. We want to help Therapist win, so please read the interview and click on the set below and add a comment:



Downbeatscape: What does "downtempo" music mean to you? Is it any different from chillout or ambient styles, and how do consider the terms/styles working together?

Therapist: Most people see "downtempo" as something that puts them to sleep, something to listen when they meditate or relax. For me, downtempo is much more than that. The term itself includes a spectrum of genres - all kinds of ambient, chillout, electroacoustic, IDM, dub and some world and ethnic music. Downtempo is a type of music that can explore a part of one's consciousness that very few genres can. It can produce unique states of mind and take you on a serene journey or reveal a part of you that you never knew existed. Also, it is not just the sound that matters - its the culture it brings with it, of positive and open-minded people.

DBS: How did you first get interested in ambient music?

Therapist: It was more or less an accident. I have always listened to electronic music, but never anything similar to downtempo. Few years back, I was listening to an online radio and an ambient mix started one morning - I was instantly captivated by the sound and it all began from there.

DBS: How did you first get your start as an ambient DJ?

Therapist: I have been mixing and producing in a few genres since the age of 17. I had a different alias back then, but my music varied from progressive trance to dark psychedelic and hardcore. I was experimenting and searching for the field I am most comfortable with and I think I found it with ambient (mainly psychill) some 5 years ago. Since the scene and community here in Bulgaria is very small and I was already a part of it, it didn't take much time to start recording mixes and participating on major events in my own country.

DBS: What have been the biggest challenges to you as an ambient DJ, seeing as many 'popular' scenes aren't always quite inclusive toward your style of DJing?

Therapist: The main issue, as I see it, is getting people to listen - [ambient] is not a genre that can be understood just by glancing at it. Downtempo isn't club music and most people aren't aware that the alternative is not just for listening to at the office or before bed. The best setting for such music are the open air festivals, which most people don't visit very often, for their own reasons. Even in Europe we have our versions of mainstream music that flood all the media and leave a lot of quality production (not just downtempo) behind. Still, I don't envision downtempo as something that can or should be everyone's choice of sound. The fact that it is mostly underground does not bother me at all. Also, the funding of most of the festivals in Europe is really limited, which makes it difficult to participate in festivals because of travel costs.

DBS: What festivals or other gigs do you have coming up?

Therapist: For the moment, my main goal is to help promote and form a stable ambient subculture in my own country - I am not only DJing, I'm also doing my small part in the organization of all kinds of indoor and outdoor parties and festivals - Chill Station, Artmospheric and Tangra festivals, to name a few. Apart from that, I am participating on the chill stage of Gaea Festival in Greece, which hosts some really great artists. Hopefully I will win the best set contest for Tree of Life festival in Turkey and participate on the chill stage there. I'm also having negotiations with few other festivals around Europe and an exclusive set for Q-Lounge.fm coming soon.

DBS: Where do you find influence for your DJ sets?

Therapist: I don't really have any DJ influence - I try to set my own path, using my vision of what the set should look like, forge a concept around it and hopefully send a message that the listeners can receive. Of course, there are numerous labels that have shaped my perception of the genre - Ultimae, Cosmicleaf, Altar, Soundmute, Dakini, Chillcode, Spiral Trax, Fluid Audio, Celestial Dragon, Twisted Records and many more.

DBS: Where do you see the future of ambient music going?

Therapist: Electroacoustic is becoming more and more popular at the moment, which is really cool to see - it is a very interesting mix of acoustic instruments and drones, a lot you can experiment with. Also, some of the major psychill artists are focusing on space and beatless ambient and there are a lot of great tracks and albums coming out. Personally I would like to see even more variety in the downtempo subgenres - mainly some ethnic and psychill variations, more experimenting and blending of different elements.

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