Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Artist Interview: Rainbo - Volatile EP

Rainbo - an up & coming downtempo, electro hip hop producer in St. Louis - dropped his new EP on me and I'm excited to share it. Rainbo's music has a smooth downtempo vibe rooted in hip hop beats and organic samples from earlier eras, giving it a texture you wouldn't get with computer-based production. This sampling element is what caught my ear, so I asked Rainbo why he uses these samples. Listen to his EP, download it on Bandcamp & read why he finds certain samples below:

Downbeatscape: I noticed you mix samples from musical eras ranging from old, nostalgic, 50's to more recent. What inspires you to use a sample and why ones in these eras?

Rainbo: There are a few different reasons. The first and probably most important reason is the analog sound of these recordings. The natural saturation that occurs during the analog recording process is really difficult to recreate digitally. So for me its a short cut to a more organic sound. Also there's a bouncy soulful vibe that i was looking for, and just seemed to find more often in older recordings. Finally, i would say older pop/dance music has a much more human sound than modern pop. Being that modern pop is basically an auto-tuned vocal over synth and drum machine sounds, usually its easier to go back in time if i'm looking to add a human element to the track.

I have to apologize to Rainbo though - I lied to him. I told him I wouldn't post his replies verbatim, but as I read them I found that I didn't want to paraphrase or interpret. What he said really resonated with me and I thought was important for you to read too.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Damian Marley & Skrillex - Make It Bun Dem

Lovin' this new downtempo reggae/dubstep hybrid by Damian Marley & Skrillex. I really love both of these artists' work in general, and I respect both of them for the way they've embraced collaboration across genres and styles. Damian has been collaborating across hip hop and his recent stint in the super group SuperHeavy with Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, and AR Rahman was awesome. Skrillex has been collaborating with a ton of different people, from the remaining members of the Doors, Ellie Goulding, Korn and now Damain. Good for the them for finding awesome ways to create even more kick ass music.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

OHM Dedication Mix Series #1: Beautiful Swimmers present Don Cherry

I recently received a mix from the One Handed Music (OHM) label and the Beautiful Swimmers out of Washington, D.C. that educated me about a legendary jazz artist who influenced the downtempo music that I love today. This mix - the first in the forthcoming OHM Dedication Series - was curated by Beautiful Swimmers (musician based in D.C.) to showcase the influence of Don Cherry - an African-American jazz musician who helped pioneer and showcase avant-garde jazz around the world from the 1950-70s, playing with legends such as John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Listen to the mix and keep reading to learn more about Don and his jazz and world fusion sounds:

Don Cherry specialized in the jazz trumpet and cornet - a compact version of the trumpet that creates mellower sounds. He was a jazz purist who emphasized the power of the single note, but didn't hesitate to use "smearing" techniques to bend and blend notes to create distinct sounds. Over the years, in his own exploration of music led him into world fusion where he experimented with Middle Eastern, African and Indian sounds.

I've been listening to and showcasing a lot of electronic music these days, but i'm really glad I got this email from OHM label turning me on to their dedication mix. Jazz is such an important influence on music in general, especially on the downtempo music that I love, ranging from trip hop to acid jazz. This is incredible listening - you'll hear the jazz, the world fusion, and the old meshed with the new.

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