June 30, 2010

Artist of the Day: Dorian Concept

Many marked Dorian Concept as one of the most promising beat producers of 2008, and now beginning of 2009 ’When Planets Explode’ finally drops. But who is this beat professor?

It all starts around 18 years ago when the Austrian Dorian Concept begins his piano lessons and within a few years masters a synthesizer like no other. His home recorded movie on which he displays some of his skills gets over 200.000 views! Followed by many others which also top an incredible amount of views.

Within a matter of time the international hip hop scene scopes this fairly young producer. Unofficial remixes emerge and sightings of live performances by a talented producer who completely tears up the microkorg start to grow rapidly.

When Planets Explode is the debut-LP of Dorian Concept containing a broad range of individual productions who each have their own story to tell. Combine them and you’ll get a very heavy debut LP also containing the Benji B deviation classic ‘The Fucking Formula’.

Dorian’s influences range from the modal-jazz of Coltrane, the later experiments of ann-arbor Resident Dabrye to the soundscapes of Oval.

Although being labelled as an instrumental beat album, the tracks are everything but loop based. A great amount of improvisation makes every bar unique in its own kind and add a very special live-feel. On When Planets Explode Dorian Concept tips the borders of Jazz, Funk, Techno and Hiphop afterwards leaving you behind with one certainty… there is a new player in the beat game, which is here to stay for a long time!

You can listen to Dorian Concept's music at:

Released Albums:
Dorian Concept - When Planets Explode
Dorian Concept - Nouns and The Relevance Of Wood
Dorian Concept - Seek When Is Her
Dorian Concept - A TrebleO Beat Tape

Dorian Concept. Kindred Spirits. Retrieved from http://www.kindred-spirits.nl/artist.php

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June 29, 2010

Artist of the Day: Dj Mitsu The Beats

In 2003, DJ Mitsu the Beats released his first, self-produced solo album New Awakening (Planetgroove), including fine cameos with artists from various places around the globe. The album showcases collaborations with Dwele, Little Brother, K-Otix, Lady Alma, Rich Medina, Mark De Clive Lowe, and many others. With the release of his first album, not to mention, the remix albums that followed, he has taken beat producing to higher levels, adjusting his sound scope for influences from all types of music. Mitsu delivers a vast range of musical genres, spanning from jazzy-soulful hip hop to broken beat to house and back to hip hop. He has found ways to bring these different genre’s together creating a very diverse repetoire that is certainly unique and one of a kind (Last.fm, 2010).

Mitsu The Beats: Transnational Soul

Twenty-eight-year-old DJ and producer Mitsu the Beats hails from Japan’s wilder northern climes (Sendai in the Miyagi prefecture)–think snow monkeys and hot springs, not bullet trains and the world’s largest city. Nonetheless, his ruthlessly smooth hip-hop is as metropolitan as it gets. Balancing an ear for hooks reminiscent of ‘93 with the boundless, borderless skills of Japanese MCs and occasional forays into broken beat, Mitsu is fast becoming a global talent.

Growing up on his father’s Japanese soul music and what he called “standard jazz,” Mitsu found hip-hop as a youngster through a Japanese TV program. “It always featured a dance battle with new jack swing-type music–artists like Heavy D,” he recalls. Mitsu was hooked, eventually becoming a battle DJ and teaming up with 2002’s DMC world champion DJ Kentaro. His horizons expanded even further when he met Taro Kesen of Jazzy Sport Production, who at the time was licensing tracks for the British label Laws of Motion. Mitsu developed a taste for the broken beats of West London and it was some of those DJs and producers, plus tastemakers like Michael Reinboth (Compost) and Patrick Forge (Kiss FM), who in turn began to champion Mitsu’s production.

Mitsu says that he follows the basic formula for making hip-hop (“Listening to records, sampling and adding dope beats to samples”), yet his New Awakening LP (Planet Groove) is anything but formulaic. From the shimmering guitar that rests beneath Rich Medina’s rap on “Do Right” to the restless rim shots and bass synth that push forward “Fly Away” with Lady Alma, it’s clear that Mitsu has a special talent for adapting his production to the differing strengths of vocalists. Mitsu’s collaboration with Dwele, “Right Here,” features delicate-but-earthy singing from the Detroit soul vocalist and an unforgettable sax sample over gritty hip-hop beats ‘n’ bass–it’s guaranteed to fill floors, though it’s been two years since it started its rounds on CD-R. And watch out when his Japanese cohorts (like Hunger from Mitsu’s hip-hop group G.A.G.L.E.) get on the mic, because their whip-crack, hard-edged consonants are the perfect compliment to Mitsu’s extra-crispy beats.

As the forthcoming Planet Groove album of remixes, a planned G.A.G.L.E. full-length, and new 12”s for Jazzy Sport will show, DJ Mitsu’s Sendai style can hold its own against anything from L.A. or London. Despite all this, Mitsu maintains a healthy perspective, adding modestly, “Me? I’m just a hip-hop producer" (Nicholson, 2005).

You can listen to Dj Mitsu The Beats' music at:

Released Albums:
Dj Mitsu The Beats - New Awakening
Dj Mitsu The Beats - A Word To The Wise
Dj Mitsu The Beats - Library Mixtape
Dj Mitsu The Beats - One More Roses Mixtape
Dj Mitsu The Beats - Another Roses Mixtape
Dj Mitsu The Beats - 28 Roses Mixtape
Dj Mitsu The Beats - The Excellence: Selected Works
Dj Mitsu The Beats - Self Titled Ep 1 and 2
Dj Mitsu The Beats - Blue Impressions Mixtape

Nicholson, P. (2005, March 16). Mitsu The Beats: Transnational Soul. XLR8R. Retrieved from

(2010). Dj Mitsu The Beats. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/DJ+Mitsu+The+Beats

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June 28, 2010

Artist of the Day: Rob The Viking

Rob The Vikings hails from beautiful Gabriola Island in British Colombia. He started off his hip hop career as an emcee in the group known as the Telepathics. (Midnight & Deluxe). He went by the name Uniik Natural. The name ’Rob The Viking’ was given to him by Mad Child, for obvious reasons.

Rob’s natural talent and ability on the piano as well as his love for all types of music led him into the production end of things. His ability to manipulate samples and combine them with beats and compositions of his own is amazing. In July of 2002, this talent earned him the title of ’Best Producer’ from the Urban Music Association of Canada. (UMAC). Despite his young age, he has already produced tracks for some very heavy hitting artists. These include : Abstract Rude, LMNO, Sweatshop Union, Buc Fifty, Son Doobie, Mr. Brady and of course Swollen Members. After being Swollen Member’s in house producer and tour DJ, Rob the viking became an official group member, along with Moka only, in the summer of 2002 (Hip Hop Galaxy, 2003).

You can listen to Rob The Viking's music at:

Released Albums:
Rob The Viking - Beats To Pillage and Conquer By

(2003, January 24). Rob The Viking. Hip Hop Galaxy. Retrieved from

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June 27, 2010

Artist of the Day: The Avalanches

Never mind digging in the crates -- the Avalanches probably just buy them whole, sight unseen, and find a way to bounce off each platter. Eventually morphing into a gang of six merrymakers bent on filtering their all-encompassing record collections through original instrumentation and a great deal of sampling, the Avalanches came from one of the most unlikely places to generate mind-bending dance music -- Australia.

Perfectly fitting with the band's range, the roots of the crew are in punk. Robbie Chater and Darrin Seltmann were in a couple of short-lived outfits together, most notably the Swinging Monkey Cocks. Gordon McQuilten, Toni Diblasi, and Dexter Fabay eventually joined in on the mess, but they acquired turntables and set their sights on dance music of the sample-based variety, originally leaning on abstract hip hop and naming themselves the Avalanches. Trifekta Records released the Rock City single in 1997, which soon brought the interest of Australian label Modular. With a long-term deal freshly inked, they released the seven-track El Producto EP and polished their outlandish live show, including dates with the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. Rex issued the Undersea Community EP in 1998, which culled from the band's demo trove. Somewhere along the way, keyboardist James De La Cruz was added to the lineup.

An extensive patch of time was spent building Since I Left You, a 60-minute melting pot of the band's collective that sounds like a postcard to anyone who has ever made a record. Released in their native land in late 2000 and preceded by the appetite-whetting Frontier Psychiatrist EP, it received a response from critics and the public that reflected the album's glowing nature. The group even had the blessing of Madonna, who allowed them to sample the bass line to "Holiday" -- the first time she okayed such a thing. Beggars Banquet-offshoot XL issued the album in the U.K. in May of 2001; Sire released it in the U.S. in November of the same year (Kellman, 2010). 

You can listen to The Avalanches' music at:

Released Albums:
The Avalanches - Since I Left You
The Avalanches - When I Met You Mixtape
The Avalanches - El Producto Ep
The Avalanches - Electricity Ep
The Avalanches - Undersea Community
The Avalanches - Different Feeling Ep
The Avalanches - After The Goldrush Mixtape

Kellman, A. (2010). The Avalanches. All Music. Retrieved from

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June 26, 2010

Artist of the Day: The Opus

The Opus is comprised of Mr. Echoes a.k.a. Fanum, and The Isle of Weight, two producers that combine their haunting styles with penetrating sounds. This production team constructs its elaborate sounds with depth and passion in such a way that listeners' deepest emotions are stirred.

After working individually for some time, the two producers decided to combine their styles of production. Shortly after, Mr. Echoes and The Isle of Weight ventured into projects with several lyricists to compliment their instrumentals. In a search to find lyricists to match the eerie yet mesmerizing sounds of The Opus, Mr. Echoes and The Isle of Weight discovered the talents of Meta Mo and Lumba, together known as the group, Rubberoom. The Opus' heart- wrenching beats combined with Rubberoom's crafty lyrics which evolved into a wild success.

The collaborations include four twelve-inch singles, a CD five, an EP, and an album. The EP, Gothic Architecture, was the beginning of a saga that continued with the group's subsequent album, Architechnology. Segments of Architechnology were displayed on MTV's Road Rules and also used in the X Games. Architechnology received national recognition, and ultimately became the product of a global record deal.

The Opus has since collaborated with a number of other artists such as DJ Krush, Meat Beat Manifesto, Slug from Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, Murs , Pigeon John, I Self Devine and Earatik Statik. To date, the OPUS has released two EP's (Early Detection & Earthwalker), two full length CD's (First Contact & Breathing Lessons), and a special 12" series called the Movement Series, which was released exclusively in Japan. Currently, the OPUS is working on its 3rd studio LP titled "Box Cutters". The Opus' ultimate goal is to convey ingenuity and innovation throughout its work, while also retaining the originality that listeners have raved about since their first exposure to the production team's intricate style (The Opus, 2010).
You can listen to The Opus' music at:

Released Albums:
The Opus - First Contact 001
The Opus - Breathing Lessons
The Opus - Earthwalkers Ep
The Opus - Praying Mantis
The Opus - Blending Density

(2010, February 15). The Opus. The Opus. Retrieved from http://www.theopusonline.com/?page_id=2

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June 25, 2010

Artist of the Day: Hermitude

Multi-instrumentalists Luke Dubs and El Gusto (aka Angus Stuart) were in bands together from a very young age -- 16 and 11, respectively. Their first proper band was called Funk Injections, following the rule that funk bands require the word "funk" appear somewhere in their name, and included El Gusto's sister on bass. When a group of local rappers, including Urthboy from the Herd, were impressed by Funk Injections' abilities, the two groups briefly incorporated, performing for a while under the name Explanetary. After El Gusto returned from a trip to the U.S. in 2000 with a set of turntables, the two tried jamming together with Dubs playing keyboard, sans vocals. The combination worked so well that they realized they didn't need anything else and Hermitude was formed.

Signing with the Elefant Traks label founded by the Herd, Hermitude released the vinyl-only Imaginary Friends EP in 2002. The collection of esoteric instrumental soundscapes, with two vocal cuts provided by Urthboy and Ozi Batla, sold out and has never been transferred to CD, making it a collector's item. A year later their first album, Alleys to Valleys, was released. The name referred to their moving between Sydney and a recording studio called Sound Heaven in the Blue Mountains, owned by El Gusto's father, which allowed them to literally be hermits half the time. The other half of their time they spent coming down from the mountains to try out their new material in the clubs of the city.

The popularity of Hermitude's debut allowed them to earn support billing with touring international acts such as their idol, DJ Krush, and then record Tales of the Drift in 2005. A more percussive, Cuban sound was created, inspired by El Gusto's time spent there in his youth. Their first world tour followed, and the duo spent much of their time recording in studios wherever they traveled. That material was collected on the Rare Sightings EP in 2007, initially sold at venues on their return tour of Australia. The CD sold out during the tour and had to go back to press before copies could be released in stores (Macgregor, 2010). 

You can listen to Hermitude's music at:

Released Albums:
Hermitude - Tales Of The Drift
Hermitude - Threads
Hermitude - Alleys To Valleys
Hermitude - Imaginary Friends Ep
Hermitude - Rare Sightings

Macgregor, J. (2010). Hermitude. All Music. Retrieved from

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June 24, 2010

Artist of the Day: Sa-Ra Creative Partners

Sa-Ra Creative Partners is the trio of well accomplished musicians and producers, Om'Mas Keith, Taz Arnold and Shafiq Husayn. Sa-Ra arrived into scene after being previously signed to Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label. Sa-Ra stands out from their music peers as they have that "uniqueness" in their sound as well as their unique fashion sense. Their sound comprises of jazz, soulful elements, electronica, Euro pop, synthesized space-age sounds blended with a pinch of hip-hop making them out of this world or "futuristic". Being high-profile producers, they have contributed remixes and collaborated with many artists in various genres in the music industry. With their success, they have ascended from the underground scene causing such an instant buzz which has boosted them into the limelight (Discogs, 2010).

You can listen to Sa-Ra Creative Partners' music at:

Released Albums:
Sa-Ra Creative Partners - The Hollywood Recordings
Sa-Ra Creative Partners - Dark Matter and Pornography Mixtape
Sa-Ra Creative Partners - Sun Drums and Soil
Sa-Ra Creative Partners - The Second Time Around
Sa-Ra Creative Partners - Sonic Seduction Volume 1 and 2 Ep
Sa-Ra Creative Partners - The Decadent Dimensions Ep
Sa-Ra Creative Partners - Nuclear Evolution: The Age Of Love

(2010). Sa-Ra Creative Partners. Discogs. Retrieved from

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June 23, 2010

Artist of the Day: 9 Lazy 9

9 Lazy 9 is an acid jazz / downtempo group on the Ninja Tune label. Operating out of Italy in 1992, they soon gained respect for their first album Paradise Blown. Their sound, distinctively more sun than North Sea, is a smoky Mediterranean mix of vines and good times. Keir Fraserello and Giacomo Braddellini (a pseudonym for James Braddell — AKA Funki Porcini) had been making music for many years in different guises before combining forces in Rome in the early nineties. They have been working with some of Italy’s finest musicians on their latest album, Sweet Jones, recorded in the Umbrian Hills near Orvieto. Gianluca Petrella plays trombone, Mishael Levron guitar; Manu Bandettini plays flute with Adriano Tirelli on bassoon (Last.fm, 2010).

You can listen to 9 Lazy 9's music at:

Released Albums:
9 Lazy 9 - Paradise Blown
9 Lazy 9 - Electric Lazyland
9 Lazy 9 - Sweet Jones
9 Lazy 9 - The Herb
9 Lazy 9 - Bedsofaland

(2010). 9 Lazy 9. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/9+Lazy+9

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June 22, 2010

Artist of the Day: Wagon Christ

Luke Vibert is one of a new breed of European club music experimentalists whose work spans several genres simultaneously, and is one of a very few of that set to make any headway with U.S. audiences. A native of Cornwall, Vibert's work has been compared with other West Country bedroom denizens like Aphex Twin and µ-Ziq, although his output over the past few years has been far more eclectic than that connection would seem to imply. Beginning with tweaky post-techno and moving through ambient and experimental hip-hop as Wagon Christ and, more recently, experimental drum'n'bass as Plug, Vibert has explored the outer reaches of post-techno electronica without sounding hasty or swank. Although Vibert's first musical experience was in a Beastie Boys knockoff band called the Hate Brothers, he quickly moved into the low-cost environment of solo bedroom composition. Although he had no intention of ever releasing any of the work, his reputation as a creative young voice in stylistic crosspollination has created an increasing demand for his pioneering, often left-field work.

Vibert became involved in electronic music through his passion for hip-hop (he has commented that hip-hop is the only music style he really keeps up with), as well as the environment of bedroom experimentalism associated with the swelling late-'80s U.K. dance scene. He released an album through the Rephlex label (a solo album nonetheless billed as Vibert/Simmonds) before coming to the attention of Caspar Pound's Rising High label. As a result of the growing exchange value of the style, RH commissioned an ambient album from Vibert, who, despite never having heard much ambient, delivered the well-received Phat Lab Nightmare under the Wagon Christ name in 1993. Silent (but for the quickie EP At Atmos) for nearly two years following its release, Vibert came back in early 1995 with Throbbing Pouch, a collection of minimal, funky, off-kilter hip-hop that had fans familiar with his earlier work scratching their heads. Though lumped in with the so-called "trip-hop" movement attributed to Portishead, Tricky, Massive Attack, and the Mo'Wax label, the album's upbeat, cheeky edge was anything but stony and laid-back. Following up with a number of remixes and a Mo'Wax EP under his own name, Vibert embarked on his next major mutation with his Plug project, releasing a trio of sample-laden, epileptic jungle EPs, as well as the Drum'n'Bass for Papa LP in 1996. Wagon Christ's Tally Ho! followed in 1998, and Vibert reverted to his own name for 2000's Stop the Panic. Musipal followed in early 2001 (Cooper, 2010). 

You can listen to Wagon Christ's music at:

Released Albums:
Wagon Christ - Musipal
Wagon Christ - Sorry I Make You Lush
Wagon Christ - Tally Ho!
Wagon Christ - Throbbing Pouch
Wagon Christ - At Atmos Ep
Wagon Christ - Phat Lab. Nightmare
Wagon Christ - Sunset Boulevard Ep
Wagon Christ - Redone Ep
Wagon Christ - Rissalecki Ep
Wagon Christ - The Power Of Love Ep
Wagon Christ - Shadows
Wagon Christ - Receiver

Cooper, S. (2010). Wagon Christ. All Music. Retrieved from

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June 21, 2010

Artist of the Day: Ras G

Ras G guides a deep space exploration of music’s ancient history and rich future. Working thru obsolete tools to reach back in time and pluck out the essence of groove, Ras G's music is rich with space-funktified rhythms, fog horns, natty chattin, subterranean bass lines, colossal percussion and glorious highs.

Ras G has been a fixture on the underground hiphop scene in Los Angeles since the early 90s. He is a proud South Central LA resident. Ras along with Black Monk and Ron Stivers are the founders of the Poo-Bah Label.

This is the music that people will be playing in the ghettos of Mars in the year 3014 (Poo-Bah).

Ras G: Into The Outer Reaches

An L.A. jazzhead launches FlyLo’s Brainfeeder imprint into the outer reaches.

Somewhere at the interstellar crossroads of Sun Ra, DJ Spooky, Strata East, and Lee “Scratch” Perry lies the incomparable musical mind of L.A. native Ras G (né Gregory Shorter, Jr.). Though he often affixes the group moniker “The Alkebulan (or Afrikan) Space Program” to his name, Ras G (a composite of his first initial and a testament to his belief in Rastafari) is the sole captain and crew of this spacecraft. Along with a 21st-century moxie, his collective influences make up what he describes as ghetto sci-fi—an extraterrestrial soundwave transmission of dub, white noise, glitch, off-kilter boom-bap, and sound bites. Incorporating healing tones (specific sound frequencies that are purported to have profound effects on the spirit and body), modal jazz, and ancestral inspiration, Ras G has managed to concoct a sonic brew that defies conventional musical categorization. “As opposed to riding trends and waves, I try to bring forth the music that I really feel,” he explains. “It’s my offering to the world.”

Tracing his fascination with the art of beat-making back to a relative who owned an E-mu SP-1200 drum machine/sampler, Ras G began gravitating towards other area hip-hop hopefuls for inspiration in the late 1990s. Most times, his passion was unrequited. “A lot of them weren’t into the music and the gear as tough as I wanted to be,” he remembers. “Or they were producing music on quality gear and the music wasn’t sounding as good as I thought it could sound. I felt like I could do something better with that stuff.” And with his influences in tow, his present-day cosmic creations can be interpreted as drum & bass being sucked into a black hole (“In Coming”) or celestial binary code (“Desert Fairy”).

In 2005, underground L.A. music scene impresario/producer Carlos Niño helped to launch Ras G’s career as a producer by tapping one of his productions for legendary jazz vocalist Dwight Trible’s acclaimed experimental album Love is the Answer. “That was like the lift off,” Shorter recalls. “But it was all kind of weird to me, because that was like one of the fifth or sixth beats that I’d ever made.” Remarkably, Ras G had only just purchased his first beat machine, an MPC-2000XL, the year before. Capitalizing on the buzz surrounding the Trible record, Shorter increased his output and began moving in a new circle of kindred spirits at a monthly soundclash safe haven called Sketchbook at L.A.’s Little Temple Bar.

“Flying Lotus, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Dibiase, and everybody who’s doing it right now on the L.A. scene used to gather there,” he reflects. “We would play beats, b-sides, and crazy stuff. So I used to make beat CDs for the parties so we would have something to listen to when we were outside smoking.” Since then, he’s been featured in the documentary Secondhand Sureshots and has released a slew of albums and EPs for Poo-Bah Records that have garnered him a devout following from Japan to the Netherlands. And since being inducted into FlyLo’s L.A.-based artist collective/label Brainfeeder, which Ras G dubs “the X-Men of future music,” it’s apparent that he’s bound for the exosphere.

“Everybody loves Brotha From Anotha Planet, but that’s something I did last year in the summertime in my kitchen,” he reveals about the creation of his latest album. “So the vibes of that kitchen were recorded on that project.” And though Ras G has enough recorded material for two full-length releases, he’s wary of predicting what vibes his next album will transmit. “Ain’t no telling where we’re going with this music. The inspiration changes quickly—that’s the Afrikan Space Program. We just do it" (Washington, 2009)

You can listen to Ras G's music at:

Released Albums:
Ras G - Beats Of Mind
Ras G - Overcast78
Ras G - Day and Night Ep
Ras G - Ghetto Sci-Fi
Ras G - Brotha From Anotha Planet
Ras G - Destination There Ep
Ras G - El-Aylien Part 1

Washington, R. (2009, June 30). Ras G: Into The Outer Reaches. Retrieved from 

Ras G. Poo-Bah. Retrieved from http://www.poobah.com/rasg

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June 20, 2010

Artist of the Day: Lukid

Lukid is Luke Blair. He is from North London. He is not related to Tony Blair. Lukid makes music on his computer. So far he has released an album called ‘Onandon’, an EP called ‘The Now’, and another album called ‘Foma.’ These platters were released on a record label called ‘Werk Discs' (Last.fm, 2010).

Luke Blair’s music has steadily found its following amongst the ever expanding group of today’s hip hop enthusiasts who are embracing the wobble and pomp of modern day hip hop instrumentals made public by people like Flying Lotus and his MPC armed cohorts like Samiyam, TAKE and Sir Hudson of Mohawke. When I first really ‘heard’ him it was a true moment of epiphany; a late night car journey as a passenger, drifting off into thought as the cascades of swells and stuttering drum patterns peppered my ears with the soothing sentiment Blair’s music oozes out of every note (Gordon, 2009).

You can listen to Lukid's music at:

Released Albums:
Lukid - Foma
Lukid - Onandon
Lukid - The Now Ep

Gordon, S. (2009, July 15). Lukid. Fabric London. Retrieved from 

(2010). Lukid. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/Lukid

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June 19, 2010

Artist of the Day: Onra

Onra is a French beatmaker currently residing in Paris.

He released his first album with other french producer and friend Quetzal (Al Quetz) in 2006. A hip-hop tribute to soul music which was played several times by Gilles Peterson, Benji B, and covered on Okayplayer.com.

At the same time, he started collaborating with American keyboard player called Byron The Aquarius and released an album under the name of The Big Payback in 2007 on Japanese label Circulations. A project full of different influences such as futuristic hip-hop, spaced out and jazzy broken beats. They also appeared on highly praised compilations such as Beat Dimensions and New Worlds.

In 2006, he went to Vietnam for the first time, the land of his grand-parents, and managed to bring back some 30 Chinese and Vietnamese old vinyls. He then made a full album with this material called Chinoiseries. Currently his most critically acclaimed album, “Chinoiseries” became the trademark sound of Onra since the song "The Anthem" has been chosen to illustrate a Coca-Cola TV commercial for Beijing Olympics.

In 2008, he has been selected to attend the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona.

He is also part of the 7x7 series by Irish label All City.

His latest project called 1.0.8 was inspired by bollywood music and had been elected as album of the week by many different shops across Europe.

He recently started touring with his two mpc1000’s to play some beats live, and has already been performing in Japan, China, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland, England, Austria, New Zealand, Vietnam, Switzerland, Netherlands, and France (Last.fm, 2010).

You can listen to Onra's music at:

Released Albums:
Onra - Chinoiseries
Onra - 1.0.8
Onra - Byron and Onra
Onra - Present Tribute
Onra - Tribute Ep
Onra - Long Distance

(2010). Onra. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/Onra

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June 18, 2010

Artist of the Day: Flevans

Since the release of his highly regarded and quickly sold out debut 12" on Tru Thoughts, Flevans has had a career spanning 7 years, with 3 studio albums (and soon to be released remix album), 7 singles and numerous remixes under his belt. As one of the original and earliest signings to the highly successful Brighton label Tru Thoughts, Flevans' early work was steeped in the essence of sampling, taking inspiration from blues, soul, funk, big band and classical genres (to name but a few), Flevans quickly became well known for his ability to piece together these different genres, adding a contemporary twist to create music which always had an undeniable hook and eye for the dancefloor. His first 3 12"s for Tru Thoughts became some of the fastest selling singles on the label, who then went on to release his debut long-player, 'Make New Friends'. This album, which still continues to win new fans 5 years after its release, has seen numerous licenses, including the beat heavy 'Hey Mr Bundle' to Bonobo's Solid Steel compilation on Ninja Tune, the disco-tinged 'The Notion' featuring on the respected Electric Soul compilation by The Unabombers and debut single 'Begin Again' being used by Ministry of Sound.

Following this release, Flevans released two 7" singles under the name Mooch on Jack To Phono records, an up and coming London independant label, who went on to release the 2nd Flevans long player, 'Unfabulous'. This album, again instrumental and sample heavy, also charted a move towards a more organic sound, with Flevans lending guitar, keys and bass to many tracks on the record. Unfabulous also showed a more diverse side to Flevans' production, from the instrumental hip-hop of 'The Greeting Song' to the dirty electronica of 'Cold Hands', the album quickly became the best selling album on Jack To Phono.

The following year saw Flevans take the bold step of liberating himself from all his vinyl and sample material - a move which was inspired by playing Bass in Brighton band Backini - and began work on his 3rd studio album, with the focus on song writing from scratch, without samples. The album, '27 Devils' was completed by December 08, and within days of completion, Tru Thoughts has snapped it up and offered Flevans a new 3 album deal. Far more polished and diverse than its predecessors, '27 Devils' showcases Flevans' musical talent, offering a fuller , heavier and more live sound. It also featured the vocal talents of Sarah Scott and Shona Foster, as well as some of Flevans' own vocals, and in the short time since it's release has been incredibly well received. A follow up remix album is due in Dec 09.

Throughout his production career, Flevans has also built a reputation as a great DJ, who is purely focussed on playing tunes to make a dancefloor move. In the last few years alone, Flevans has played extensively across the UK & Europe, including the MTV Canne Film Festival party and a headlining slot at the Big Chill Festival, as well as DJ'ing further afield, including Friends and Family in Tokyo, and Turntables in New York. Gleefully mixing up raw funk, hip hop, electronica, breaks and disco, as well as always dropping a few exclusives, Flevans always seems to know the right tunes to play.

2010 sees Flevans team up with Lack Of Afro for their debut longplayer, 'The Pick-Ups', head to Australia for a DJ tour and to record an EP with Lanu (The Bamboos) and release the 4th Flevans studio album ('The Sound That Man Made') which will be supported by full live band (Flevans, 2007)!

You can listen to Flevan's music at:

Released Albums:
Flevans - Make New Friends
Flevans - Unfabulous
Flevans - 27 Devils
Flevans - The 28th Devils
Flevans - Looking Out For My Mr Bundle Ep

(2007). Flevans. Flevans. Retrieved from http://www.flevans.co.uk/biography/

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June 17, 2010

Artist of the Day: Cut Chemist

Cut Chemist has been recording and performing for over twenty years.

He started dj’ing in 1984, at age 11 years old .

In 1987 aged 14 Cut started recording with his friends including Chali 2na.

Cut first became known as a founding member of both the rap group Jurassic Five and the Grammy award winning Latin funk outfit, Ozomatli.

Keeping his involvement with both groups in tandem with one another, Cut has developed a taste for music and rhythms from around the world while keeping his ethic for the hip hop tradition.

His mix-tapes and remixes became critically acclaimed. His ‘chemist’ moniker was fully realized with his instrumental, Lesson 6: The Lecture. A musical journey that challenged hip hop production with music theory ideals.

Cut also found time to collaborate with DJ Shadow on what would be one of the worlds most sought after mix cd’s, Brainfreeze, soon to be followed by its sequel, Product Placement.

Eventually Cut left both Jurassic Five and Ozomatli to pursue a career with Warner Bros where he landed his first solo LP,  The Audience’s Listening in July, 2006.

The title track was quickly placed for the first Worldwide Apple Nano commercial with Cut performing at all major US and European flagship Apple stores, while the single, The Garden became a favourite with taste makers and the single “What’s The Altitude” became one of the most viewed videos on YouTube. 

In 2007 Cut Chemist supported Shakira on her Oral Fixation tour where he dazzled her audience with his selection of world music and a cut ‘n’ scratch audio visual presentation,  something that no one has ever done before or since, garnering Cut Chemist with the reputation of pushing the boundaries of what a ‘DJ’ can do.

Upon returning to LA he made a cameo appearance as the chemistry teacher in the academy award winning movie JUNO and will also be featured in another forthcoming Jason Reitman production, Jennifer’s Body.

Later in 2007, Cut concentrated on making marks in LA of the highest praises by headlining the Hollywood Bowl with long time friend and collaborator, DJ Shadow. there they began the year long campaign for the third instalment of their mix cd series this time entitled “The Hard Sell” which toured all around the world to sell out venues and Festivals.

It’s 2009 and Cut is back in the lab re inventing his sound, but in the mean time you can hear a remix of Nat King Cole’s “Day In Day Out’ due to be released this Spring. Cut also plans to release a series of reissues through his label A Stable Sound. “what ever comes next you can expect the same ethic of artistic integrity” says Cut. “Hip Hop is not a specific type of music, its how its presented. I feel I’ve always proved that and will continue to do so (Cut Chemist, 2010).

You can listen to Cut Chemist's music at:

Released Albums:
Cut Chemist - The Audience's Listening
Cut Chemist - The Litmus Test
Cut Chemist - Live At The Future Primitive Session Volume One
Cut Chemist - Rare Equations
Cut Chemist - Cuttin' Class
Cut Chemist - Brainfreeze with Dj Shadow
Cut Chemist - Product Placement with Dj Shadow

(2010). Cut Chemist. Cut Chemist. Retrieved from http://www.cutchemist.com/bio/

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June 16, 2010

Artist of the Day: Tommy Guerrero

Tommy Guerrero may be better known in the world of skateboarding than in music. Born in San Francisco, Guerrero joined the skateboard company Powell Peralta in 1985 and became one of the original members of the legendary "Bones Brigade" team. Always interested in music, Guerrero was a fan of the high-energy punk music that surrounded the early-'80s skate scene. Since, Guerrero has become an accomplished bassist and guitarist with influences as diverse as John Coltrane, Latin Playboys, and Tortoise. Guerrero released his debut album, Loose Grooves & Bastard Blues, in 1998 on the Galaxia label. To support the record, Guerrero turned to his friends -- skateboarder and bassist Monte Vallier, DJ Gadget, and former Threeo drummer Tim DeGaugh -- to form the band Jet Black Crayon, who toured with Isotope 217 in 1999. With help from Gadget, he released Hoy Yen Ass'n in 2000, as well as the solo record A Little Bit of Somethin' on Mo' Wax. His warm, soulful music continued on 2004's Soul Food Taqueria, and after a five-song EP Year of the Monkey, Guerrero moved to Quannum, issuing From the Soil to the Soul in 2006. Another record on the Galaxia imprint, Return of the Bastard, followed in 2007 (Collar, 2010).

Tommy Guerrero is known by many people from various walks of life, but that’s probably because Tommy is man of many facets. He first entered the public eye as a pro skateboarder for Powell Peralta, where he was a member of the legendary Bones Brigade. He came into prominence as an entrepreneur, when he started REAL with fellow pro Jim Thiebaud, but Tommy really surprised the world with his musical prowess. Guerrero’s previous albums - Loose Grooves and Bastard Blues, and A Little Bit of Somethin’, have both become must-have releases. Upon its release in 2000, the latter was described as “a super-horizontal, wiped-out slab of lo-fidelity instrumental rock” by The Face, with Jockey Slut claiming, “Tommy excels with his soulfully melodic, acoustic lo-fi folk fables.” More recently, Tommy’s Another Late Night mix (on the Azuli label) has raised awareness, and subsequently won over more fans, with Esquire Magazine pointing out “don‚t worry if you haven’t got a clue who Tommy Guerrero is...simply accept that he has excellent taste. This is simmering.”

Which brings us to his newest creation. Inspired by the streets of his hometown San Francisco, Soul Food Taqueria is a progression in many ways. Not only is it more sonically advanced than his previous releases (although he admits that he’s “still down with the fucked up 4 trk action”), but it also shows real maturity in his guitar playing and song writing. Vocals are much more prevalent than in previous recordings, with vocal tracks from Lyrics Born of Blackalicious / Quannum / Latyrx fame, and long time friend and collaborator, Gresham Taylor. Encapsulating Latin rhythms, stripped down folk, hip-hop, jazz, guitar-blues, minimal funk, soul and so much more, Guerrero’s delicate jams are as spine tingling as ever, with Guerrero retaining the knack of sounding simple yet inventive (Beggars Group).

You can listen to Tommy Guerrero's music at:

Released Albums:
Tommy Guerrero - From The Soil To The Soil
Tommy Guerrero - Soul Food Taqueria
Tommy Guerrero - Return Of The Bastard
Tommy Guerrero - A Little Bit Of Somethin'
Tommy Guerrero - Loose Grooves and Bastard Blues
Tommy Guerrero - Year Of The Monkey Ep
Tommy Guerrero - Junk Collector Ep
Tommy Guerrero - Hoy Yen Ass'n
Tommy Guerrero - Another Late Night
Tommy Guerrero - Backintheday Ep

Tommy Guerrero. Beggars Group. Retrieved from http://beggarsgroupusa.com/tommyguerrero/biography/
Collar, M. (2010). Tommy Guerrero. All Music. Retrieved from 

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Artist of the Day: Ricci Rucker

Ricci Rucker aka The Ruckazoid is an American producer, DJ and composer. He designed Vestax’s “The Controller One”, the first turntable to be controlled with musical notes. Ricci pioneered the present scratch DJ scene through his albums, specialized DJ records and nonesuch technical skills. He’s also famous for his involvement in projects: Gunkhole (with D-Styles and Mike Boo) and Ned Hoddings (together with Excess, Mike Boo and Toadstyle) (Last.fm, 2010). 

You can listen to Ricci Rucker's music at:

Released Albums:
Ricci Rucker - Sketchbook with Mike Boo
Ricci Rucker - Fuga
Ricci Rucker - Like a Box Of Chocolates Ep
Ricci Rucker - Beats For Japan

(2010). Ricci Rucker. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/Ricci+Rucker

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June 14, 2010

Artist of the Day: Caural

Chicago-bred instrumentalist and producer Zachary Mastoon grew up playing jazz (he was one of the founders of the group Transmission along with Stuart Bogie and Eric Perney until they left for college) and funk (his band ended up backing rapper Diverse), though he didn't discover the kind of downbeat experimental electronica and hip-hop that interested him most until enrolling at NYU in 1997 (after stints at various colleges studying different things). There he began delving into Prefuse 73 and Daedelus-styled production under the name Caural (pronounced like "coral"). In 2000 his debut album, Initial Experiments in 3-D, came out on Toshoklabs, followed by a move to Chocolate Industries and the release of the Paint EP and Stars on My Ceiling full-length in 2001 and 2002, respectively. Eventually, Caural was signed to Mush, and Remembering Today was issued in 2005. The next year, Mirrors for Eyes, which featured vocals on some tracks, came out (Brown, 2010). 

You can listen to Caural's music at:

Released Albums:
Caural - Stars On My Ceiling
Caural - Mirrors For Eyes
Caural - Remembering Today
Caural - Initial Experiments In 3-D
Caural - Blurred July Ep
Caural - Paint Ep

Brown, M. (2010). Caural. All Music. Retrieved from

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June 13, 2010

Artist of the Day: Blue Sky Black Death

Blue Sky Black Death is the dynamic production team of Kingston and Young God. Sharing a penchant for tasteful instrumental hip-hop and traditional underground MCs, the two work as complimentary halves of the same mind. Since 2004, Kingston has built a solid reputation with his work on albums by Boston legend Virtuoso, Babygrande's flamethrower Jus Allah, and Philadelphia truth-teller Chief Kamachi. He has found an ideal partner in Young God. The Bay Area studio maverick's attention to detail, vast beat library, and audiophile ear have helped Kingston step his productions to the next level, as their ever-expanding releases on Mush and Babygrande can witness. Their combined productions stay true to classic hip-hop foundations while incorporating left-field elements that are all their own. Blue Sky Black Death is a welcome addition to Mush's growing family of production talents (Mush Records).

You can listen to Blue Sky Black Death's music at:

Released Albums:
Blue Sky Black Death - A Heap Of Broken Images
Blue Sky Black Death - The Indie Rock Essentials
Blue Sky Black Death - The Razah's Ladder Instrumentals
Blue Sky Black Death - Jean Grae: Evil Jeanius Instrumentals
Blue Sky Black Death - The Holocaust Instrumentals
Blue Sky Black Death - Gifts In Jail Vol. 1
Blue Sky Black Death - Gifts In Jail Vol. 2
Blue Sky Black Death - Late Night Cinema
Blue Sky Black Death - Slow Burning Lights

Blue Sky Black Death. Mush Records. Retrieved from

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June 12, 2010

Artist of the Day: Dimlite

«Cosmic dust taking you wherever you like. That's creativity. That's freedom. [...] There's a great quality of soul about this. What's even more alluring is, you know not why.» (StraightNoChaser Magazine, 2005). 

Dimlite is the main alias of musician/producer Dimitri Grimm, originally from a tiny village somewhere in Switzerland. On his productions he fuses real instruments, voice, samples from any thinkable source, field recordings and boundless electronic trickery into a genre-mashing array of styles, that have also placed him on the map as one of the many pioneers of that certain electronic, dirty, sloppy and mostly instrumental hiphop-sound sweeping the planet since a couple of years. 

After releasing a first EP («A/DD», 2003) and two albums («Runbox Weathers», 2005 & «This Is Embracing», 2006) on the Berlin-based label Sonar Kollektiv and additional records under other outlets The Slapped Eyeballers (a pop-rock-ish duo w/ Balt Mirczok) or Misel Quitno (a more tripped out lo-fi moniker, dedicated to 1/4-inch tape and an imaginary 60's-sound), Dimlite is currently playing shows throughout Europe and simultaniously working on his forthcoming records on Egon's recordlabel Now Again (Alternative Addiction, 2010).
It’s been a startling couple of years for instrumental beats of all persuasions: the likes of LA’s Brainfeeder crew and Glasgow’s LuckyMe collective have developed styles with a scope far beyond creating merely ‘instrumental hip hop’. Amongst all the hype and promotion, one of the music’s reclusive architects seems to have been mysteriously overlooked.

However, ask the likes of Gaslamp Killer or Ras G and they’ll tell you the same thing: Dimlite’s production was astounding from the start. His EPs of 2003 and debut album Runbox Weathers two years later revealed a Swiss producer beholden to no one, possessing a style as nuanced as his friend Prefuse 73 and yet enriched by a careworn romanticism and quirkiness that rewarded repeat listens and has, over time, made him something of a ‘producer’s producer’.

Another album, singles, remixes and side-projects followed, taking Dimlite’s sound further left, further into a singular world where soul music, latin rhythms, hiphop and more are reconstituted into dreamy, lovelorn beat constructions. And so he takes his place on Now-Again, home to a cadre of similarly singular spirits such as The Heliocentrics and The Whitefield Brothers, each bent on refracting music history through their own unique lenses.

And while copycat producers abound, Dimlite’s uniqueness is only throw into sharper relief. It’s clear the moment he sings, such as on EP highlight Elbow Flood or the astonishing (and miniature) closer, Can’t Get Used To Those. It’s apparent in every one of his strangely abrupt changes. It’s even in his song titles. Perhaps Prismic Tops will be the record that sparks a critical reappraisal of this gifted producer’s work. And if not, Now-Again Records is still proud to present this, the latest in a line of remarkable releases from a quiet pioneer (Now-Again).

You can listen to Dimlite's music at:

Released Albums:
Dimlite - Runbox Weathers
Dimlite - A/DD
Dimlite - This Is Embracing
Dimlite - Prismic Tops

(2010). Dimlite. Alternative Addiction. Retrieved from 

Dimlite. Now-Again. Retrieved from http://www.nowagainrecords.com/dimlite/

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June 11, 2010

Artist of the Day: Dabrye

Dabrye (an alias of Ann Arbor's Tadd Mullinix) is best known for creating head-nodding beats with saw-tooth bass lines and a keen eye for forward-thinking production. With support from both the hip-hop underground and the electronic music press, he has earned a place in URB's Next 100 and XLR8R's Top 100 albums, among other accolades. The Dabrye trilogy began with One/Three in 2001, which was followed by the Instrmntl mini-album for Scott Herren's (Prefuse 73) Eastern Developments label. Both releases earned glowing reviews for their handmade rhythmic style and minimalist execution. 2006's Two/Three LP steps up the beatmaking ingenuity and spotlights Mullinix's favorite underground MCs, including Doom, J Dilla, Vast Aire, and Wildchild to create a major statement for the new Hip-Hop sound of Detroit (RCRD LBL, 2010).

You can listen to Dabrye's music at:

Released Albums:
Dabrye - One/Three
Dabrye - Two/Three
Dabrye - Instrmntl
Dabrye - Additional Productions Vol. 1
Dabrye - Get Dirty Ep

(2010). Dabrye. RCRD LBL. Retrieved from http://rcrdlbl.com/artists/Dabrye/music

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June 10, 2010

Artist of the Day: TM Juke

Modern ideas of laptop-based digitised music fused with classical and jazz guitar. Live, earthy instrumentation, his sound is soothing yet intriguing.

Expertly combining the benefits of a comprehensive musical education with his reactionary love of laptop-based music, TM Juke (aka Alex Cowan) has quickly established himself as a prodigious songwriter and arranger, a broadminded and captivating DJ and an exceptionally talented producer.
As a child, the infant Juke was schooled in both classical and jazz guitar theory before he began tinkering with samplers – a rebellious act calculated to annoy his father, who had forced him to attend formal music lessons from the tender age of seven. This formal education has left an indelible mark on much of his subsequent work. Seamlessly blending the dexterity and verbosity of traditional jazz with the cut ’n’ paste sensibilities of hip hop, TM Juke’s productions resonate with crisp beats, earthy instrumentation and spellbinding arrangements.

His debut longplayer, ‘Maps From The Wilderness’ (2003), has all the ingredients of a truly great record. Boldly setting new musical agendas whilst retaining a universal appeal, it sounds both strikingly original and strangely familiar.

In 2005, TM Juke teamed up with fellow Tru Thoughts artist and long time collaborator Alice Russell to work on her first full length offering. ‘My Favourite Letters’ was produced and co-written by Juke, who took the folkcentric, funkadelic blueprint of his debut and expanded his sonic palette to include elements of gospel, hip hop, jazz, northern soul, broken beat and electronica – distilling a veritable kaleidoscope of soul music history into one coherent, and incredibly catchy, whole. The album was incredibly well received, raising Alice’s profile and cementing TM Juke’s reputation as a producer, songwriter and arranger par excellence.

Keen to strike while the iron was hot, TM Juke set to work on his second solo album, ‘Forward’, which was released in October 2006 to great reviews. The LP features collaborations with Jim Oxborrow, Elmore Judd, Naim, Sophie Faricy, Kinny and Alice Russell. Early 2008 saw the release of the “Electric Chair” EP featuring a handful of exclusive remixes and versions of some of the tracks from ‘Forward’, and an exclusive release in the shape of the deep, bluesy “My World Is Empty Without You” featuring Alice Russell.

Beyond the confines of the studio, TM Juke has toured internationally as a DJ and with his acclaimed eight-piece live band. He continues to collaborate with Alice Russell, and in 2008 they have played the Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg Jazz Festivals. On the decks, TM Juke effortlessly flips the switch between raw backbone funk, soul 45s, left-sided Latin and state-of-the-art broken boogie, crafting sets that have moved feet, hearts and minds throughout the world. Those intent on pigeon-holing TM Juke will name-check genres like funk, soul, hip hop and jazz; but his insatiable appetite for experimentation and ear for a great hook ensures that the music will always resist easy categorisation.

The latest endeavour for TM Juke is a collaboration with percussionist Jack Baker, who has for the last few years been a regular feature in the TM Juke live band, and also plays with the Bonobo band. Under the name TM Juke And The Jack Baker Trio, their album “Boto And The Second Liners” (out on 9th September 2008) represents TM Juke and Jack Baker’s last five years on the road together. Having frequented many a club around the world and seen some of the best bands in action, along with their own experience as international DJs and musicians, they know what works on a dancefloor. Embracing Junkyard grooves from New York; soul music from Memphis; blending swing music from New Orleans then mixing it with Brazilian samba to unleash a feast of carnival spirited songs; this album is pure party music, high energy, and not a ballad in sight. The pair employed the talents of some great players on the record, most notably singers Alice Russell, Kathrin deBoer of Belleruche and Andreya Triana, and Spanish singer Gecko Turner. TM Juke And The Jack Baker Trio played the Big Chill festival 2008, and a UK and European tour followed.

Since then, TM Juke has been touring the world with Alice Russell, promoting her latest album, ‘Pot Of Gold’, which he produced, and working on various projects to be unveiled in the near future (Tru Thoughts, 2010)...
You can listen to TM Juke's music at:

Released Albums:
TM Juke - Forward
TM Juke - Maps From The Wilderness
TM Juke - Electric Chair Ep

(2010). TM Juke. Tru Thoughts. Retrieved from http://www.tru-thoughts.co.uk/artists/tm-juke

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June 9, 2010

Artist of the Day: Jon Kennedy The Producer

I'd like to introduce you to an artist who is climbing up the ranks of the music loving masses.... he goes by the name of Jon Kennedy.

Almost certainly one of the 3 most talented men in all of Stockport. Jon is a man on a musical mission. What the end result may be remains a bit of a mystery, not least to the man himself but rest assured it includes an enormous bag of breath-takingly beautiful tunes, copious rump-shakingly fine dancefloor corkers and a hatful of innovative ideas bordering on musical genius.
He's certainly a talented chap.

Autumn 2002 Jon joined the Grand Central family. Bred a stone’s throw from GCHQ, his childhood in Stockport was characterized by exposure to new and interesting music, as a function of his parents’ enthusiasm for the pioneering artists of their day. Jon cites Peter Frampton, Electric Light Orchestra, David Essex and Geoff Wayne’s “War of the Worlds” (check out the H.G. Wells classic !) as early influences. His taste would in part be shaped also by his brother’s musical excavations, which brought him into contact with more guitar-centric bands like KISS and AC/DC.


His DJ style is varied but always geared to the dancefloor. Jon has travelled the globe with his records, making it as far afield as China, Malaysia and Japan and can be found DJing at various clubs and bars around EUROPE on a regular basis.


Jon is currently enrolling brand new players in his band. Including digital genius' and highly rhytmical children.
The hope is that the show will become increasingly live so that the musicians can work through the grooves together with the crowd: “Once I figure out how to get all the sounds live (either triggered or played), it will free me up so much more – then I can really let go of myself”. As it is though, you’d be mistaken to assume that Jon Kennedy Live is merely a reproduction of studio-produced material: “I spend hours preparing the backing for live gigs so don’t be thinking I just get on stage and hit stuff for an hour or so" (GCHQ & Chitty, 2009)!

You can listen to Jon Kennedy's music at:

Released Albums:
Jon Kennedy - No T.V. Ep
Jon Kennedy - We're Just Waiting For You Now
Jon Kennedy - Take My Drum To England
Jon Kennedy - On The Both Days Ep
Jon Kennedy - Useless Wooden Toys
Jon Kennedy - Demons Ep
Jon Kennedy - 14

GCHQ, & Chitty, M. (2009). Jon Kennedy. Jon Kennedy. Retrieved from

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June 8, 2010

Artist of the Day: Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician

Unorthodox producer/rapper Fat Jon is not only the beat-maker for the underground hip-hop collective Five Deez but a member of the 3582 crew and a solo artist with a string of albums that flirt with electronica, downtempo, and dub sounds. Sometimes credited as Fat Jon the Ample Soul Physician, Jon started out as a rapper in his native Cincinnati. There weren't many beat-makers on the local scene, so Jon learned how to make his own, working with a set of analog equipment that fit perfectly with his old school-loving, throwback style. As time went on, he became more forward-looking, but the analog equipment stuck around, creating a unique style that was both familiar and strange. Around 2000 his two crews began making waves in the underground rap community, and soon artists like Rakim, Talib Kweli, and Black Star were hiring Fat Jon for his dynamic production style.

A year later he struck out on his own with Humanoid Erotica, a laid-back, lounge-ish full-length credited to "Fat Jon as Maurice Galactica." The moody, mellow collection Wave Motion appeared in 2003, and a year later he began working with Stefan Betke, better known as Pole. Now based in Berlin, Fat Jon added his rhymes to Pole's 2003 self-titled release, a hip-hop-flavored album from a project that had been strictly icy cold and dub previously. Even if Pole's loyal fan base saw the jump in genres as heresy, the album introduced Fat Jon to a whole new audience. Now armed with computers and plenty of digital gear to go with his analog, Jon put his production hat back on for 2004's Lightweight Heavy, a breakthrough release that benefited from the attention he received with Pole. The year 2006 was extremely busy, with a new Five Deez album (Kommunicator), an instrumental album (Afterthought), and a collaboration with the indie electronic outfit Styrofoam (The Same Channel) all being released (Jeffries, 2010). 

You can listen to Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician's music at:


Released Albums:
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Humanoid Erotica
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Hundred Eight Stars
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Afterthought
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Lightweight Heavy
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Wave Motion
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Stasis Ep
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Dyslexic Ep
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - The Same Channel with Styrofoam
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Repaint Tomorrow
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Departure (Samurai Champloo Soundtrack)
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician - Impression (Samurai Champloo Soundtrack)

Jeffries, D. (2010). Fat Jon. All Music. Retrieved from

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June 7, 2010

Artist of the Day: Four Tet

Spawned from the urge to do something apart from his post-rock band Fridge, Kieran Hebden's Four Tet project balances organic and programmed sounds. Hebden formed Fridge with Sam Jeffers and Adam Ilhan while still in high school. When Fridge went on temporary hiatus for Jeffers and Ilhan to attend college, Hebden spent time playing with ideas gained from hip-hop and electronica that he hadn't had time for while concentrating on the band. Eager to experiment, Hebden bought a computer and began collecting drum and sound samples. Though his tracks sounded contrary, Hebden produced them all in his flat using only his computer to loop, slice, and paste downloaded samples and rhythms.

His first full-length was 1999's Dialogue, which was noticed by experimental dub pioneer Pole (Stefan Betke). The two eventually collaborated on a 12", Four Tet vs. Pole, which included an original song by each and a remix of the track done by the other artist. Around the same time, Fridge were signed to the label Go! Beat, owned by Polydor. Hebden retained Four Tet as a side project, however, and released subsequent records Pause (2001) and Rounds (2003) through Domino. The No More Mosquitoes EP and the "My Angel Rocks Back and Forth" single preceded the 2005 release of Everything Ecstatic. In 2006, Hebden put together two compilations of some of his favorite tracks, LateNightTales and DJ-Kicks, as well as Everything Ecstatic Films & Part 2. The two-disc Remixes was also compiled and released that year, as were two volumes of his Exchange Session project with jazz drummer Steve Reid. These two volumes found Hebden working under his proper name for a change. This trend continued when their third collaboration, Tongues, arrived in 2007. The four-track Ringer, issued the following year, was the first Four Tet release in over four years, and it was trailed by the critically adored full-length There Is Love in You in early 2010 (Potts, 2010). 

You can listen to Four Tet's music at:

Released Albums:
Four Tet - Everything Ecstatic
Four Tet - Rounds
Four Tet - Pause
Four Tet - Dialogue
Four Tet - A Joy
Four Tet - No More Mosquitoes Ep
Four Tet - Late Night Tales
Four Tet - Misnomer Ep
Four Tet - Paws Ep
Four Tet - Ringer Ep
Four Tet - There Is Love In You

Potts, D. (2010). Four Tet. All Music. Retrieved from

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June 6, 2010

Artist of the Day: Nujabes

Nujabes (Noo-Jah-Bess). His alias was simply his penname "sebajun" spelled backwards. Nujabes was also owner of the Shibuya record stores, T Records and Guinness Records and founder of the independent label Hydeout Productions.

In addition to Japanese artists like Uyama Hiroto, Shing02 and Minmi, Nujabes collaborated with underground American hip-hop acts CYNE, Cise Starr (as a solo apart from the hiphop collective CYNE), Apani B, Five Deez, Substantial, CL Smooth, Terry Callier, as well as British rapper Funky DL. He was also a member of the production duo Urbanforest, an experimental collaboration with Nao T.

Nujabes was one of the most prolific contributors to the background music and soundtracks of Samurai Champloo, an anime which blends a feudal Japan setting with modern anachronisms, especially in regards to hip hop culture.

Another distinguishing feature of Nujabes' sound is Jun Seba's incorporation of Jazz samples in his tunes. Nujabes especially samples jazz in his song "The Final View" on his album Metaphorical Music. The Jazz Standard "Love Theme From Spartacus" by Pianist Bill Evans, as played by Saxophonist Yusef Lateef, is sampled over "The Final View." Nujabes incorporates Lateef's head melody on soprano, cuts of his solos, and background piano comping in his piece.

On February 26, 2010, Jun Seba was involved in a traffic accident upon exiting the Shuto Expressway late at night. He died at a hospital in Shibuya Ward after failed efforts to revive him. He was 36 years old. There was a private burial with only family in attendance. Hydeout Productions has stated that Nujabes has left behind tracks, which they plan to release in the near future (Artistopia, 2010).

May you rest in peace, Nujabes.

You can listen to Nujabes' music at:

Released Albums:
Nujabes - Modal Soul
Nujabes - Metaphorical Music 
Nujabes - Impression (Samurai Champloo Soundtrack)
Nujabes - Departure  (Samurai Champloo Soundtrack)

(2010). Nujabes. Artistopia. Retrieved from http://www.artistopia.com/nujabes

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June 5, 2010

Artist of the Day: RJD2

Fusing the worlds of hip-hop, rock, electronica, and soul, innovative DJ RJD2 creates an imaginative world where turntables know no boundaries. RJD2 manages to cull a myriad of emotions from the wheels of steel, providing bouncing hip-hop tracks that swell with hooks and contemplative laments that succeed at creating a somber world without a single vocal track. Aligning himself with the groundbreaking artists on Definitive Jux---home of El-P, Cannibal Ox, and Aesop Rock---RJD2 has created a niche for himself in a genre that tends to function on pure repetition and emulation. With two full albums under his belt as well as a host of collaborations and singles, RJD2 is always pushing the boundaries of what can be done with sampling, creating, what London's the Daily Telegraph said, "the soundtrack for an epic movie entirely of his own imagining."

RJ was born Ramble Jon Krohn on May 27, 1976, in Eugene, Oregon. Soon, he moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he would stay throughout his formative years. RJ soon stumbled into the art of DJing by accident. In an interview with Prefixmagazine.com, he said, "I never really wanted to be a DJ. What really happened was a good friend of mine, the guy who actually ended up giving [me] my name, was selling his turntables. I always bought and collected records. I never had aspirations to be a DJ or anything. He was selling his turntables and I was just like, 'F**k it, whatever.' It was ridiculous---he was selling two 1200s and a mixer and three crates of records for like $300." Further explaining his DJ synthesis, he told the magazine that, "He had all these 12" [records] in there, like the original Main Source 'Just Hanging Out.' And a lot of old 12" I didn't have 'cause I never bought singles when I was a kid. I would just buy albums. So he sold me the decks. I was just like, 'I'll mess around with them and if I don't like them I'll sell them.'" Unlike a lot of aspiring DJs, however, RJ had as difficult a time picking up the decks as he did deciding he even wanted to pursue DJing in the first place. "I didn't have anyone teaching me. I really didn't have a mentor. There wasn't anybody around that could show me shit 'cause all the kids that were around were rappers and the kid that sold me the decks just wasn't that good. It took me a long time, maybe like six or seven months, to just learn how to match two beats."

By 1998, RJ had gained enough confidence behind the ones and twos to begin working with Columbus-based hip-hop crew Megahertz as their resident DJ/producer. The group ended up releasing two 12" singles on Fondle 'Em records, but didn't gain much national exposure. In 2000, RJ ended up producing the single "Holier Than Thou" for former Megahertz MC Copywrite, who signed to Rawkus Records. But RJ just wasn't satisfied to exist solely as a producer for other artist's projects. RJ pricked the ears of Definitive Jux record label head El-P, and in turn was included on the Def Jux Presents... compilation for the first time as a solo artist. By this time, RJ had thrown himself full force into the practice of "digging"---looking for obscure records in which he can find samples for creating his musical collages. In an interview with the UK's Milkfactory.com, RJ spoke about his mindset when it comes to sampling. He said, "Let's say I find a loop or something that I want to use---you attach yourself to a particular aspect or emotion that you find in it---part of it is looking for like-minded sounds and part of it is just laying things out in a way that kind of helps accomplish what you want. It's what you can hear in a particular sound. I don't ever try and make things that have a wacky hodgepodge feel; I don't try and take things out of context. If I'm working on something that's got an '83 Cars-y rock vibe then that's what I'm going to shoot for, for the whole song. I want the whole song to fit with that, I don't want this '83 Cars-y rock thing with '68 soul vocals."

Functioning within that mentality, RJD2 released his debut Dead Ringer on Def Jux in 2002. The album featured a soulful collection of distorted samples that existed within the kind a kind of classic pop song structure that was rooted in hip-hop, but didn't necessarily fit that genre's specific aesthetic. In a review at Dustedmagazine.com, Daniel Thomas-Glass said, "Dead Ringer might be better understood as an introduction to a new (more complete?) RJD2, or at least a first look at other facets of his personality as a producer. Songs like 'Ghostwriter,' with its quiet guitar loop and more understated drums, are certainly different than what we've heard from RJD2 before, but it is a track that will leave your head bobbing for hours afterwards as it seeps into your subconscious with a layered second guitar riff, horns, and a unadorned chorus of voices (though about three minutes in, RJD2 f**ks with the drums in that way that has made him such a favorite amongst those in-the-know---and one of URB's Next 100 of 2002---simple beautiful work that induces breathlessness if you listen closely)."

Though the album was largely instrumental, there were some guests who added to its charm, as noted in a review on Mvremix.com. "The majority of the album is strictly dope beats with samples from older records or older media (such as television shows or movies), but there are a few tracks with actual guests. The Soul Position (RJD2 and Blueprint) provide us with the brilliant 'Final Frontier.' As a duo, these two artists click seamlessly. And, none other than my boy Jakki Da Motamouth is featured upon 'F.H.H.'(F**k Hip Hop), in which Jakki talks about protesting against today's hip-hop, expressing his views against conformity and rappers who only appear to be talented over great production." They went on to say that, "Dead Ringer is an exceptional debut instrumental album. If this album doesn't send RJD2 to the highest heights an artist can achieve (worldwide respect and the cash to accompany it), there's something wrong with the world we live in."

Following the success of Dead Ringer, RJD2 collaborated with numerous artists, including Prefuse 73, Diverse, and Vast Aire, as well as doing remixes for Massive Attack and Elbow. In May of 2004, RJD2 returned with another solo album, in the form of Since We Last Spoke, again released by Definitive Jux. Anticipation for the record was high, and considering the positive reviews, RJ's sophomore album delivered, albeit with a bit of a different sound. Dustedmagazine.com said, "Krohn is trying his best to expand his sound and that all begins with the vocals. While Dead Ringer focused primarily on lost soul and funk, Since We Last Spoke experiments with a wide range of voices as Krohn arranges his music to compliment each centerpiece. The understated European vocals on 'Making Days Longer' are met with equally modest strings and synth. Similarly, the Latin influenced '1976' and the exploration of 'Someone's Second Kiss' work well in reinventing Krohn's sound" (Allen, 2010).

You can listen to RJD2's music at:

Released Albums:
RJD2 - Deadringer
RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke
RJD2 - The Colossus
RJD2 - The Third Hand
RJD2 - Magnificent City Instrumentals
RJD2 - The Horror
RJD2 - Loose Ends
RJD2 - In Rare Form
RJD2 - Gettin Jukie Wid It
RJD2 - Getting Jukie Wid It Vol. 2
RJD2 - Your Face Or Your Kneecaps
RJD2 - The Silver Album
RJD2 - Things Go Better Instrumentals
RJD2 - Getting Up Soundtrack
RJD2 - Here's What's Left Ep
RJD2 - Inversions Of The Colossus
RJD2 - Pryor Convictions Ep

Allen, R. (2010). RJD2. Musician Biographies. Retrieved from

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