July 31, 2010

Artist of the Day: Boom Bip

Boom Bip has applied his command of live and sample-based electronic music to works for Mush and Lex. His landmark Mush release with Doseone, Circle, as well as two solo albums and a collaboration with Gryff Rhys of Super Furry Animals under the name Neon Neon for Lex have landed atop dozens of critic's polls in North America, Europe and Japan and have left audiences stunned worldwide. He has played to sold out crowds with Interpol, Buck 65, Luke Vibert, Fog, Caribou, and Mice Parade, performed in every major market in the US and Europe, and played at some of the world's most prominent music festivals including Coachella and Glastonbury. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, his recordings often feature sounds he’s played, then digitally manipulated giving his work an unmistakable quality that has become increasingly sought after (Mush Records).

You can listen to Boom Bip's music at:

Released Albums:
Boom Bip - Blue Eyed In The Red Room
Boom Bip - Corymb
Boom Bip - Sacchrilege Ep
Boom Bip - Circle with Dose One
Boom Bip - From Left to Right Ep
Boom Bip - Doo Doo Breaks Vol. 1 and 2

Boom Bip. Mush Records. Retrieved from http://www.mushrecords.com/artist/BoomBip.php

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July 30, 2010

Artist of the Day: Villain Accelerate

Villain Accelerate is an instrumental hip-hop group born out of mutual respect and the desire to create. Comprised of producer Sixtoo and longtime Sebutones collaborator Stigg Of The Dump, Villain Accelerate embodies hip-hop. Sixtoo's releases for Cease And Desist, Vertical Form, and Ninja Tune have established him in underground hip-hop. In addition to being an accomplished producer, DJ, and MC, his love of hip-hop culture fuels his visual art projects. Stigg Of The Dump is an Irish transplant with a knack for beat digging and a belly full of Guinness. His release, Still Alive At The Veglia Lounge loudly announced his arrival and is fast becoming a vital piece of instrumental hip-hop wax. Villain Accelerate remains an open sketchbook for two artists in need of a safe place for their darkest and most unconventional ideas (Mush Records) .

You can listen to Villain Accelerate's music at:

Released Albums:
Villain Accelerate - Maid of Gold

Villain Accelerate. Mush Records. Retrieved from http://www.mushrecords.com/artist/VillainAccelerate.php

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July 29, 2010

Artist of the Day: Sporto Kantes

Sporto Kantes is a French downtempo electronica duo comprised of producers Benjamin Sportes and Nicolas Kantorovwicz that released its debut album in 2000. In association with the Parisian label Catalogue, Sportes and Kantorovwicz made their recording debut as Sporto Kantes in 1998 with a four-track EP, Nickson, which was followed a year later by a second four-track EP, Party (1999). The duo then made its full-length album debut with Act 1 (2000), which was subsequently reissued in 2003 with bonus material and new packaging. The second Sporto Kantes album, 2nd Round (2004), marked the duo's first appearance on the French charts. Third album 3 at Last (2008) was the duo's most successful to date, reaching number 95 on the albums chart (Birchmeier, 2010). 

You can listen to Sporto Kantes' music at:

Released Albums:
Sporto Kantes - Nickson Ep
Sporto Kantes - Party Ep
Sporto Kantes - Act 1
Sporto Kantes - Second Round
Sporto Kantes - 3 At Last

Birchmeier, J. (2010). Sporto Kantes. All Music. Retrieved from

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July 28, 2010

Artist of the Day: Funky Fresh Few

Funky Fresh Few are a hip-hop collective from Blackpool - they were the first act signed to Manchester’s Grand Central Records label. FFF started out as graffiti crew “Imperial Arts” and indeed, FFF member Time was once notoriously banned from British Rail stations due to “vandalism”. Despite a history spanning more than a decade, their releases are few and far between - their only album to date, “Stealing”, was released in 2003. They are highly regarded in the UK hip hop community. Grand Central Records went into liquidation in 2006 (Last.fm, 2010). 

You can listen to Funky Fresh Few's music at:

Released Albums:
Funky Fresh Few - Stealing

(2010). Funky Fresh Few. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/Funky+Fresh+Few

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July 27, 2010

Artist of the Day: Hardkandy

Hardkandy was formed in Brighton, and was initially Simon Little and Tim Bidwell, who in the heady atmosphere of the the summer 2002, released their critically lauded debut album “How Do You Do Nothing”, pulling in love on the remix tip from Aspects and The Bees (who did their first ever remix for Hardkandy!). After arguably being the highlight of the Big Chill that year with their ten piece band they scurried back into the studio where Tim took the production reigns whilst Si concentrated on his new career as a session keys player for the likes of local glitterati Bonobo and the Quantic Soul Orchestra.

Tim, in the long process of creation, recruited friends and family, to try and better Hardkandy’s impressive debut long player, eventually recording with local vocalist Sean Clarke, Russ Porter (Limp Twins), Lo Fi Allstars, Will Quantic and legendary folk prophet Terry Callier (Terry was so impressed he recruited Tim to write for him! – the resulting track, “Stripper”, was released on his own album in the Autumn of 2004).

The end result is the sophomore album Last to Leave, (released 20/02/06); an heartfelt journey encompassing modern soul, gospel, broken folk. With the change of sound came the re-worked Hardkandy band – a fully fledged and noisy 5 piece already making waves locally supporting Emiliana Torrini at Brighton’s Speigeltent, and Morcheeba at Shepherds Bush Empire, with Sean Clarke’s powerful vocal presence leading the charge. Major support tours are in the pipeline and with the live band redefining Tim’s unique production sound expect the new album “Last To Leave” to sound harder, faster and dirtier (Last.fm, 2010)…

You can listen to Hardkandy's music at:

Released Albums:
Hardkandy - How Do You Do Nothing?
Hardkandy - Last To Leave
Hardkandy - Second To None
Hardkandy - See The Light Ep
Hardkandy - Suddenly Calm Ep

(2010). Hardkandy. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/Hardkandy
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July 26, 2010

Artist of the Day: Samon Kawamura

“I dislike art that elevates itself above reality”, says Samon Kawamura. “When I make music I try to be honest most of all. There is just no other way for me.” With his debut-album “Translations” the 33 year-old producer and turntablist presents himself and his musical atmospheres – always authentic and organic, concentrated and relaxed.

Inspired by Jazz, alive and living in Hip Hop, all the while with the grasp of the instinctive composer and the intuitive storyteller, Samon Kawamura, who was raised in Tokyo and lives in Berlin , Germany, successfully squares the circle: “Translations” is elegant but with rough edges, devoid of a message but very meaningful; the music operates discreetly but insistingly, is comprehensible and profound, while spanning and connecting in short, concise episodes from Pete Rock to Pharoah Sanders, from Madlib to Marvin Gaye or Moondog, from J Dilla to Debussy. The qualities Samon Kawamura has refined behind artists as diverse as Marsmobil, Till Brönner, Lychee Lassi, Uri Caine, Joy Denalane, Max Herre or Nylon, now yield extremely individual and personal fruit. “If one should hear my music blindfolded, it would stand for itself”, Samon Kawamura notes in his shy, quiet manner. “It is definitely something to be taken seriously – my first calling card (Last.fm, 2010).

You can listen to Samon Kawamura's music at:

Released Albums:
Samon Kawamura - Translations
Samon Kawamura - Unfold
Samon Kawamura - Unfold Outtakes Part 1 and 2 Berlin Vol. 1 and 2
Samon Kawamura - Unfold Outtakes Part 3 and 4 Berlin Vol. 1 and 2

(2010). Samon Kawamura. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/Samon+Kawamura

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July 25, 2010

Artist of the Day: 1000 Names or 1000names

1000names might just be one of the best-kept secrets in music. Despite being at the forefront of the beats/wonky scene this side of the Atlantic that’s blown up so big in the last year, they’ve somehow stayed just under the radar.

And it’s not like they’ve been quiet: since their debut on the seminal Beatnicks Vol. 1 alongside Jackhigh and Rustie – perhaps the record which defined the scene in its current incarnation – they’ve put out two EPs, two split singles and an album and been featured on Alex Nut’s Rinse compilation, but somehow it took until now for them to start to get the recognition those who know them have long expected.

The answer probably lies in the fact that they’re coming out Sofia, Bulgaria. Out on the Eastern edge where Europe becomes Asia on the shores of the Black sea, it’s hardly a global music industry hotspot. But maybe it’s this relative isolation that makes them stand out in the current explosion of low bpm music from LA, London, Glasgow and elsewhere.

First up, they’ve had time to get their sound right. Forming in 2005 as the union of a drummer and a painter with a shared love of samples they pooled their resources to get an Akai MPC and, guided by the sounds of Dabrye, Madlib/Quasimoto and J Dilla, pretty soon they knew where they were headed. Strangely, when you see them now it seems surprising they only teamed up four years ago – they look alike, they walk alike, they finish each other’s sentences – in fact, they’re more like a pair of brothers or non-identical twins. Obviously this was one of those partnerships that was just going to happen, eventually, no matter what.

Back in those days the European beats scene was tiny. Unknown to the media, ignored by blogs, this was a one-to-one network that owed its whole existence and sense of being to the internet. In this way it may be the first scene that was truly born of the internet age and truly international.

“It was nice, friendly and innocent. Everyone was unsigned” says Nikko a.k.a 99 Mistakes, the painter half of the pair. “We hooked up with Fulgeance on Myspace; the same with Jackhigh. Jackhigh told Joscha from [German label] Up My Alley about us, and Fulgeance connected us with [French label] Eklektik. Joscha heard Melonball Bounce and the next thing we were on Beatnicks Vol. 1 and we had signed an exclusive deal with Eklektik.”

Maybe it’s their involvement with mainly European labels that’s kept them out of the glare of the British media, more focused on the Rustie/Hud Mo axis in Glasgow and on the growth of dubstep. However, that’s all set to change, with an upcoming release on Bristol’s Black Acre on 10” green vinyl, followed by an EP on Eklektik and three EPs on the new Svetlana Industries label, also home to Jackhigh.

The original 1000names sound was hip hop based; samples and loops underpinned by possibly the wonkiest beats in the scene. Take classic tracks Melonball Bounce or Beauty Surrounds You –one a mash-up of a vintage Sprite advert, the other of the theme from Born Free. In both cases the tracks start with a conventional loop that’s thrown totally off when a huge beat comes in that seems to be hooked to another groove entirely and yet totally fits. This is known to cause two physiological effects in the listener – one a broad smile of pleasure and surprise, the other a potentially painful whiplash in the neck caused by interrupted headnod.

This was a direction that they refined and distilled over several years to reach culmination on 2009’s Toys Room Combat longplayer on Eklektik, but since last year something else has come into the mix: they’ve come under the influence of the synthesiser. Or, more specifically, the sound of early 80s electrodisco. You can see it in the song titles: Saturn Race, Paradise Rings, Marz on Marz, Roket Loop…

They’ve always had a sci-fi element to their sound and to their graphics, but now it seems like it’s out of control. Yep, there’s no doubt – it’s 2010, and, from a concrete Communist tower block somewhere in Sofia, 1000names are taking off (Brundin, 2010).

You can listen to 1000 Names' music at:

Released Albums:
1000 Names - Worth Making A Noise About! Ep
1000 Names - Toys Room Combat
1000 Names - Illuminated Man

Brundin, T. (2010). 1000 Names. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/1000+names/+wiki

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July 24, 2010

Artist of the Day: Doctor Flake

Doctor Flake is a French producer and composer evolving in the Hip Hop/Abstract/Trip Hop styles like a kind of a musical surgeon, a medical expert of musical cutting.

His production started in 2001 by developing his own mainly instrumental musical universe based on already existing materials. These various extracts are then thoroughly and accurately dismembered and dissected before being reassembled and rearranged to create a new living track.

As a legitimate heir to the sampling madness, his production sometimes seems to be the fruit of a prostitute and a gothic DJ Shadow. While sampling hidden nuggets he exhumed from dubious forgotten EPs, Doctor Flake carries out a both obscure and dazzling sound, combining mental illness and repressed rage making the dis-chordant picturesque. Paradis Dirtyficiels carries on with the work being undertaken with its first opus Intervention Chirursicale and confirms Doctor Flake’s aptitude to set up subtle musical atmospheres, alternately tragic, emotionally disturbed or full of energy.

By doing so he claims his attachment to the original Downtempo tradition. In this new 12 tracks album, Doctor Flake and his sampler succeed in honouring together musical, poetical and movie icons. These multiple encounters are relayed by accurate melodies of acoustic guitars, atmospheric pianos, leading with guitars, saxophones, chorus, scratches, with supporting roles of hypnotic beats and bass (Last.fm, 2010).

You can listen to Doctor Flake's music at:

Released Albums:
Doctor Flake - Intervention Chirursicale
Doctor Flake - Paradis Dirtyficiels
Doctor Flake - Minder Surprises
(2010). Doctor Flake. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/Doctor+Flake

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July 23, 2010

Artist of the Day: Negghead

After returning from an extensive tour/trip to down under (which took him 6 months), the man dan ward aka NEGGHEAD found yet another excuse for not returning to his normal life in leeds/UK.

Yet another ibiza summer season keeps him busy yet another time as he is a) resident dj @ the infamous CAFE MAMBO again, b) co-hosting our WAX DA JAM- and WAX DA BEACH events at AURA and KUMHARAS alongside e.a.s.e., c) busy as 50% of the ridiculously talented ACID MONDAYS and D) constantly on patrol in all sorts of ibiza clubs, doing some researching re. the most banging beats, the ultimate hangover cure & ting.

With the amazing worldwide reactions to both his scrambled negg album as well as his latest EP “shifting sands“ on top, chances are our man NEGGHEAD will not really need to go back to his normal life back in leeds/UK for now. and here’s why… listen for yourself (Wax On Records, 2010).

You can listen to Negghead's music at:

Released Albums:
Negghead - Scrambled Negg
Negghead - Super Skeleton Ep
Negghead - Shifting Sands Ep
Negghead - Blast Ep

(2010). Negghead. Wax On Records. Retrieved from http://www.waxonrecords.com/artists/view/negghead

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July 22, 2010

Artist of the Day: Thavius Beck

Hip-hop producer Thavius Beck launched his career by forming the Los Angeles-based hip-hop group Global Phlowtations—then produced, recorded and mixed the band’s three independent projects. He soon signed with independent Hollywood label Mush Records and released the Decomposition album, which featured a collaboration with the lead singer of The Mars Volta (Cedric Bixler-Zavala) on “Amongst The Shadows.” Shortly after the record’s release, Beck worked on Saul Williams’ second album and joined him on a worldwide tour. After the tour, Beck returned to Los Angeles and completed THRU, his second Mush Records release featuring collaborations with Mia Doi Todd, 2MEX and Saul Williams. Soon after, Beck and Williams co-created a remix for the Nine Inch Nails single “Survivalism,” which Interscope released in international markets via CD single.

Beck also collaborates with his good friend and fellow artist Giovanni Marks (aka Subtitle) on a side project under LabWaste, which is focused on dance music with a hip-hop twist. With LabWaste, the duo has toured extensively in Europe. Thavius has most recently worked on "The Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust" (collaborating with Saul Williams and Trent Reznor) and the new K-the-I??? album, "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" (which he produced) (Discogs, 2010).

You can listen to Thavius Beck's music at:

Released Albums:
Thavius Beck - Decomposition
Thavius Beck - Thru
Thavius Beck - Dialogue
Thavius Beck - Urban Subsonic Ep

(2010). Thavius Beck. Discogs. Retrieved from http://www.discogs.com/artist/Thavius+Beck

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July 21, 2010

Artist of the Day: Arts The Beatdoctor

Locals of Utrecht, The Netherlands, have reported sightings of a shady stranger lurking in the local hospital. He comes dressed in freakish style, replete with coat, stethoscope, and a scalpel the size of a small Samurai sword. Passing as a new kind of medical expert, the “Beatdoctor,” this suspect figure indiscriminately prescribes unhealthy doses of dark and melancholic hip-hop beats to patients and staff alike.

Twenty-three-year-old Arts The Beatdoctor mixes a complex cocktail of emotions: melancholy supplemented by foreboding, a few grams of tension, and a coating of release. Comparisons to artists such as DJ Shadow, Krush and RJD2 spring to mind with his blend of atmospheric and cinematic hip-hop beats. Arts also finds his inspiration in jazz and classical music: “What really gets to me are the harmonies that are being used. There's a lot of stuff that's about ‘playing wrong notes, but making them sound right.’ For that quality, jazz is a good starting point if you want to make music that's surprising, exciting.”

Arts has already made his musical tracks across several hip-hop and non-hip-hop projects. In 2003 he made his official debut producing a track for Lord Cyrus’s Diamonds R 4Ever compilation, alongside MF Grimm and other American MCs and producers. The Dutch scene, however, gave Arts his first break: “Pete Philly picked up one of my demos when I was still in my ‘indescribable abstract music’ phase. I guess he heard the potential, because before I knew it we were making music together and stirring it up.”

There's a new crop of supreme talent emerging from the canals and crooked streets of the Netherlands: Nicolay of the Foreign Exchange, and artists like C-Mon & Kypski and Pete Philly & Perquisite. Arts The Beatsdoctor now stands squarely among them.

Arts remains secretive about his mega persona. The Dutch word for physician just so happens to be “Arts,” but more than that? Not much is known of his operations, but hold your breath as Arts slices open Beats Broke's second release on July 8th, 2008 (Beats Broke, 2007-2010).

You can listen to Arts The Beatdoctor's music at:

Released Albums:
Arts The Beatdoctor - Transitions
Arts The Beatdoctor - Progressions
Arts The Beatdoctor - Fragments Ep

(2010). Arts The Beatdoctor. Beats Broke. Retrieved from

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July 20, 2010

Artist of the Day: GUTS (producer)

If anyone is guilty of Guts’ addiction to music, his mother is to be blamed. Instead of turning her son into an overweight and diabetic child, she preferred to give him a new vinyl each week, for his good manners. Guts, as an exemplary child, always finishing his plate at the table, is, by 9, already sitting on a collection of records and becomes the number one DJ in his neighborhood. Between two soccer games and really becoming addicted to sounds, he is asked by his mother to choose between studies and music. The choice of option 2 will disturb his nights! Le Bienheureux will work on scratches and sampling art. He goes to London to get pictured with Royal Guards or eat a jelly plate, then Guts discovered New York’s old school gastronomy (EPMD, KRS One and the Public Enemy caviar) But by looking too close at the Hip-Hop cauldron , he finally fell in and created the Alliance Ethnik in 1990. The first album will make him grow from a sandwicherie to a four stars restaurant! Guts is good but needed more practice to value his recipes. Bob Power (A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots) becomes his ‘Paul Bocuse’, the coach able to teach him to spice and keep his preparations edible! He gets his American guides recognition and De La Soul, Rahzel, Biz Markie and Common Sense are joining him at the table. Faster Jay is opening the Kif Record label and ‘Le Bienheureux’ becomes one of his’chefs’ and goes behind the ovens for French rappers like Passi, Big Red, Sages Poetes De La Rue, the Svinkels, Les Rieurs. Impossible to please, he travels to Senegal to learn about new recipes in Youssou N’Dour studios and works with some local ‘chefs’ in Jamaica (Anthony B, Michael Rose and Sacha) The actual MC’s generation didn’t know how to prepare toasts when Guts was using an ASR Ensoniq with one hand ! Now ‘four stars chef’, Guts Le Bienheureux is proposing his menu! Mainly inspired by his travels, a meal with the taste of Pete Rock, DJ Shadow, Dan The Automator, RJD2, DJ Premier, Jay-Dee, Danger Mouse, Wax Taylor only prepared on a MPC 4000! Bon appetit (Last.fm, 2010)! 

You can listen to GUTS' music at:

Released Albums:
GUTS - And The Living Is Easy
GUTS - Le Beinheureux
GUTS - Freedom
GUTS - Take A Look Around You Ep

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

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July 19, 2010

Artist of the Day: Kidkanevil

DJ/Producer kidkanevil first came to prominence with the release of his critically acclaimed debut album ‘Problems & Solutions’ back in 2007, and has since gone from strength to strength. Described by Bonobo as “like the best moments of RJD2 and Timbaland combined…incredible!” and “a sonic visionary” by iDJ, the kid has earnt the praise and respect of numerous peers and journalists, counting the likes of DJ Shadow and Wire Magazine amongst his fans, and progressives Tokimonsta, Blue Daisy and Illum Sphere amongst his contemporaries.

Now three albums deep his latest offering ‘Basho Basho’ “deserves to put kidkanevil right up there with Flying Lotus” (Knowledge Magazine) and sees him riding into town like a hi-tec hunter-gatherer, spearing, chopping and mixing beats in his own unique style. Both a headphone experience and dancefloor dynamite, it’s an intelligent journey into the creative mind of a truly innovative and experimental producer.

Fresh off this year’s Red Bull Music Academy and ready to unleash a barrage of new music and collaborations on the world, this is just the beginning. Blurring the lines between hip-hop, future beats, jazz, jungle, dubstep and worldwide sounds, kidk’s DJ/Live sets are a force to be reckoned with (Elastic Artists).

kidkanevil is available for one person DJ/Live (Serato and Ableton) sets.

You can listen to Kidkanevil's music at:

Released Albums:
Kidkanevil - Problems and Solutions
Kidkanevil - Back Off Man, I'm A Scientist
Kidkanevil - Basho Basho

Kidkanevil. Elastic Artists. Retrieved from http://www.elasticartists.net/w/node/6?id=957

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July 18, 2010

Artist of the Day: Kankick or Kan Kick

The Kankick sound is dusty, crunchy and blunted, and just the right tempo to get the proper head nod going. He started out in the science of hip-hop beat making in 1988, as a freshman in high school when he hooked up with Madlib who was a sophomore at the time. Kankick later joined the Lootpack and became the 4th member. He has now split from them though and formed the Funk Farm, which also included DJ Babu (Dilated Peoples/Beat Junkies) (Last.fm, 2010). 

You can listen to Kankick's music at:

Released Albums:
Kankick - Serious Business This!
Kankick - From Artz Unknown
Kankick - Cal I Foreigner Ep
Kankick - Government Ep
Kankick - Acid Massive Musical
Kankick - The Traditional Heritage
Kankick - Seeing Spirits
Kankick - Bored in the Crates Homage
Kankick - Kankick Remixes
Kankick - Beautiful: Opus of Love Deeper Than Flesh Vol. 1 and 2

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

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July 17, 2010

Artist of the Day: Alif Tree

Surely you’ve heard of him before. If not - it’s high time! Call him an electronic music alchemist, know him as a french DJ and cook or just love him for sharing his outstanding musical talent with us. After his last release “French Cuisine” in 2006 we’re proud to present Alif Tree’s second album “Clockwork” on Compost Records! Surprise guest on “Clockwork“ is Memphis legend Tony Joe White.

As a musician (guitar, voice, keyboards, percussion...), Alif is a fervent defender of acoustic sounds, from philharmonic music to pop via jazz and world music. A sound-engineer and producer skilled in digital techniques, he has been navigating through the universe of recording-studios, sound-stages and television, as much as record-labels, for the past seventeen years. The voyager, who tele-transported himself to Normandy a few years ago, has finally settled down in Marseille and installed his own studio at the end of 1999.

In February 2000 he signed with M10 for “The Observatory”, a first album that scrutinized, in the distance, the possible future of electronic music. In the press, critics welcomed this clairvoyant point of view with interest. “Between pop melancholy, West Coast groove and ethnic reflections, the first album from Alif Tree inscribes itself in the composite logic of tomorrow’s downbeat: pop fragrances, science-fiction nuggets, jazz, exotic savours, this first Alif Tree album does without glutamate”, wrote Yann Quélennec in the columns of “Coda”.

Having crossed over into the third millennium, Alif signed with Universal Music Jazz and has come out with “Spaced”, an opus that points, like E.T.’s finger, to visions perceived from his observatory. Sailing the seven seas of space in zero gravity, between trip-hop under classical influence, instrumental hip-hop and jazzy electronica, these ten tracks go head-to-head against the current trends, which would have all down-tempo electro composers produce soundtracks for imaginary movies.

Then Al!f, for almost three years, explored and went on, meeting musicians and artists, stages and studios, collected sounds and atmospheres, scenes and moods to bring “French Cuisine”, his third album. Yes, the man is french, and considers himself as an open minded cook, defending the “art of living” à la française, mixing ingredients, as the unique menu he’s prepared for you. Adding little bits of the scores he writes for cinema or tv (he’s the exclusive sounddesigner for MTV networks Fr. for instance) musics for classic and modern dance ballets, remixes, like the famous one of François de Roubaix for Cinemix,) plus of course a mixture of those gigs in NYC, London, Paris or Sarajevo....and in the beautiful city of Marseille of course!

On stage, he mixes, using tracks and cinematic ambiances with radio sources, from classical music to experimental electronic, and creates each time a unique trip thru time, space and memory. He can also be a crowd mover when he feels like, heating dancefloors with various spices, without ever falling into clichés (YourSpins, 2008).

You can listen to Alif Tree's music at:

Released Albums:
Alif Tree - French Cuisine
Alif Tree - Spaced
Alif Tree - The Observatory
Alif Tree - Clockwork

(2008). Alif Tree. YourSpins. Retrieved from http://www.yourspins.com/view-artist.aspx?a=I8Q

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July 16, 2010

Artist of the Day: Fauna Flash

Fauna Flash is a German duo who has brought jungle to a country that is infamous for its love of hard, classic techno beats. Christian Prommer and Roland Appel make up the duo who have been admired by such jungle hierarchy as Metalheadz posse members Grooverider and Fabio. The two broke away from traditional German techno in 1992 when the band experienced duo started playing live drums at raves in German clubs. In 1994, they stepped into the studio to gain experience and a year later released their first tracks for Compost Records. The popularity and positive endorsement from DJs such as Peshay, Kemistry & Storm, and Giles Peterson landed the two 12" exclusive release on Peshay's label Elementz. Their track "At the Movies" was also put on the popular jungle compilation Promise Land 3. Besides their various 12 releases, Prommer and Appel work with fellow Compost artist Rainer Trüby as the Rainer Trüby Trio. Though they produce jungle, Roland and Appel take influence from jazz and '80s fusion (Potts, 2010). 

You can listen to Fauna Flash's music at:

Released Albums:
Fauna Flash - Fusion
Fauna Flash - Confusion - The Fusion Mixes
Fauna Flash - Aquarius
Fauna Flash - Worx - Remixes

Potts, D. (2010). Fauna Flash. All Music. Retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll

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July 15, 2010

Artist of the Day: Buddy Peace

If you’re a mixtape fan or follow the underground hip hop scene, the name Buddy Peace might be a familiar one. London resident Nick Budd has been quietly carving a name for himself with a series of handmade mixes that feature MPC sampler edits alongside more traditional turntablism.

In 2003, whilst working at Banquet Records, he formed a formidable partnership with Dylan Richards aka ZILLA. The result was A Friendly Game of Chess - a cut and paste masterpiece that successfully blended a barrage of musical styles and spoken word samples into something truly original. The buzz created by this mix, along with residencies at nights like Shoreditch’s Wheels Instead of Hooves and a main stage slot at the Dedbeat Festival caught the attention of Warp Records and the pair were given the honour of reconstructing their back catalogue for the Warp Vision DVD release.

His reputation as one of London’s finest DJs continued to grow and a position as Lex Records resident DJ resulted in performances at the European festival Sonar and a musical career highlight, providing DJ backing for hip-hop legend Prince Po (Organized Konfusion).

2006 saw the debut of Buddy Peace the producer, with his first solo material appearing on a label sampler for the AI offshoot SRL. Not pausing for breath, Buddy was soon commissioned by online store Boomkat to put together an exclusive release. The mix that followed, entitled A Crew Called Self, was a critically acclaimed patchwork of hip hop beats and accapellas, considered by many to be his finest work to date.

Word of his phenomenal mixtapes soon spread across the pond and resulted in call from Canadian based Bully Records. Turning his talents to their back catalogue, the resulting mix was released on an exclusive limited edition 7”. Capitalising on this exposure, he self-released a beautifully packaged collaboration with Canadian producer Carlo Cossette under the name The Commonwealth Kids.

His production skills continued to grow and this was reflected in a Subtle (Lex Records) remix competition victory, being asked to remix Bracken (Anticon) and slots on compilations released by 2600 Recordings and The Secret Life of Sound. During this period Buddy had begun work on what he considered his definitive mixtape statement, compiling nearly a years worth of edits, remixes and studio production. The result was the truly stunning Wolf Diesel Mountain (Last.fm, 2010).

About Buddy Peace
written by Sage Francis

Depending on how far he wants to take this, Buddy Peace has earned a lifelong position as SFR’s resident remix/scratch/mixtape DJ. His talents don’t end there, but that is how we were introduced to him. SFR now has the honor of releasing the first official Buddy Peace digital album, “Late Model Sedan.”

Time and time again Buddy volunteered his DJ services to our projects and every single time he threw the fuck down. Hard. Whether contributing to a remix contest, a mega-mix, or a self-produced CD with hand-written artwork (meticulously detailed), Buddy Peace always went above and beyond the call of duty. Case in point, feel free to download his “Holy Chrome” EP on SFR’s digital store. It’s new, it’s free, and it’s just a taste of what he’s bringing to the table in 2009. For further evidence, check out his handiwork on the new B. Dolan mixtape, “House of Bees Vol. 1.”

I first met Buddy Peace in London, England (his hometown) around 2004. His demeanor was ultra humble. I was like, “Wha? Come on, fool. This ain’t real. You’re motherfucking BUDDY PEACE! When you shake my hand I want it to hurt.” It’s almost as if he doesn’t really know that he’s as great as he is. And that’s probably true, which makes him even more awesomer. Bearded, lanky, smiley and nasty as hell on the decks.
Everything that Buddy Peace does displays a great knowledge and understanding of hip-hop in all its incarnations. Old school, new school, whatever…there’s great expansive knowledge there and he utilizes it well. His love for music doesn’t stop at hip-hop though. As with most crate diggers, and as anyone who has followed his career knows, his contributions to hip-hop are the result of understanding what’s great about all genres of music and MAKING them hip-hop.

Buddy Peace has put in some serious work over the years, doing DJ gigs around the world and playing some of Europe’s biggest festivals. Some of his most notable efforts as of recent include the beats he did on Buck 65’s “Dirtbike” trilogy, DJing for Prince Po on tour, and contributing remix work for labels like Warp Records, anticon and Needlework.

Currently, Buddy Peace is helping out with various SFR projects, including my “Sick of Wasting” CD and B. Dolan’s “Fallen House, Sunken City” album. You can also hear a contribution of his on our free download of the SFR posse cut “Sea Legs” on my “Sick of Wasting” mixtape at www.StrangeFamous.com (Francis).

You can listen to Buddy Peace's music at:

Released Albums:
Buddy Peace - Wolf Diesel Mountain
Buddy Peace - Late Model Sedan

(2010). Buddy Peace. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/Buddy+Peace

Francis, S. Buddy Peace. Strange Famous Records. Retrieved from 

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July 14, 2010

Artist of the Day: Omega One (producer)

Omega One's real name is Owen Brozman and he is an underground Hip Hop producer from NY, USA. Omega One is an acclaimed underground producer, who's worked with the likes of Aesop Rock and MF Doom. His style sounds like, laid-back beats with samples and jazzy instrumental flourishes. Omega One doesn't waste time on new gear, nor does he worry about having a more obscure loop than someone else. He just uses an ASR-10 sampler/keyboard and ProTools. His unusual thing in his studio are lots of floppy discs. 

You can listen to Omega One's music at:

Released Albums:
Omega One - We Didn't Event The Remix
Omega One - The Lo-Fi Chronicles
Omega One - Postcards From The Third Rock with LoDeck

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July 13, 2010

Artist of the Day: Emancipator

To some, it must seem like this young electronic producer came out of nowhere this year. Emancipator played his first live show in July 2009, opening for Bonobo at the Roseland Theater (cap. 1500). Since then, he’s toured with Bassnectar, STS9, Pretty Lights, drawn crowds at festivals like Trinumeral and Symbiosis, and closed out Sound Tribe Sector 9’s late night parties in Denver at the request of the band.

But those in the know have been following Emancipator since he self-released his first album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, at the age of 19 in 2006. His agile melodies layered over headnodic, immaculately-produced beats captivated fans across the internet and across the world. “Soon It Will Be Cold Enough” was picked up by Japanese super-producer Nujabes, pressed in Japan and sold 5,000 copies in the first six months. Emancipator landed a Puma sponsorship, gave an interview to Rolling Stone Japan, discovered one of his songs was played at the Beijing Olympics (still trying to figure out how that happened) and his song “Shook,” a mashup that perfectly mixes Mobb Deep’s mighty raps with a haunting track from the Icelandic band Sigur Ros, become the highest-rated song on Hype Machine’s “Best 50 Songs of 2007,” and appeared on Hype Machine as the #2 most popular song in April 2009.

His latest album “Safe In The Steep Cliffs” blends new instrumentation and organic samples with the signature Emancipator style of clean production, silky melodies and addictive drums. Dense layers of choirs, horns, American folk instruments such as the banjo and mandolin, violin and some distinct Asian influences make for a playful but refined album built out of intricate tracks listeners can enjoy on as many levels as they want. Dance to it, chill out to it, immerse your mind in it (Emancipator, 2010).

You can listen to Emancipator's music at:

Released Albums:
Emancipator - Soon It Will Be Cold Enough
Emancipator - Safe In The Steep Cliffs

(2010). Emancipator. Emancipator. Retrieved from http://www.emancipatormusic.com/about

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July 12, 2010

Artist of the Day: Mike Boo

Mike Boo is a San Francisco instrumental beat maker, electronic producer and sound designer. With roots in traditional hip hop and scratch music, Mike spent his lifetime on beat production and a library of millions of sounds. Mike started out traditionally scratching with a turntable and has evolved to also include ableton and a moog.

Born in Oakland, California and raised in Fremont, Mike Boo was heavily influenced by the mobile DJ and turntablist scenes that flourished in the San Francisco Bay area during his childhood years. Back in the ’80s, his older cousin was a heavy metal head who allowed Mike to raid his record collection. At the tender age of 9, Mike would grab stacks of Iron Maiden and Dio records and spend hours playing them backwards on his Uncle’s stereo, listening for secret messages. This was one of Mike’s earliest experiences with vinyl experimentation. His childhood infatuation with records evolved into DJing with friends at high school dances and house parties. This was happening at the tail end of the Bay Area’s mobile DJ explosion. “I always wanted to get into making beats but never had enough money for samplers or beat machines,” explains Mike. “Then in 1990, I heard FM2.0 (Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike, Apollo) doing their turntable band thing on the radio. It was something like I never heard. Soon after, I saw them perform on a Bay Area TV show called ‘Home Turf’ and saw that it was all composed with turntables and scratching, and I was like ‘Damn, I wanna do that.’ Didn’t need any samplers, synths or big mixing boards. So one day I went out and bought a 4-track and started making tracks with turntables and have been doing it ever since.”

Representing the new wave of turntable music, Ned Hoddings was formed in 2002 after a cool vibe scratch session at D-Styles’ house. Uniting cross-continental members Toadstyle (Chicago), Excess (New York), and Ricci Rucker (San Jose) with Mike, Ned Hoddings’ first live performance was at the record release party for D-Styles’ Phantazmagorea, documented on the A Night at the Knitting Factory DVD. “The combination was obvious… it was like the Bermuda triangle of scratch music,” says Mike. Shortly thereafter, the members of Ned Hoddings accompanied D-Styles on the now-legendary Bastard Language Tour, which was also released as a DVD of the same name. After the tour, Mike conspired with D-Styles and Ricci Rucker, along with live drummer Ace, to form Gunkhole. “The science behind Gunkhole is no rulesŠ a ‘don’t give a fuck’ style of playing music, with turntables as the main element. We dive into funk, noise, ambient, free jazz and hardcore scratching” explains Mike. Gunkhole has toured extensively worldwide, including a month-long European tour in 2004, where an improvised set was performed each night in a different city.

Mike’s first foray into serious recording was Scetchbook: An Introduction To Scratch Music, released to worldwide acclaim in 2003. Produced with Ricci Rucker, Scetchbook was composed with nothing more than a turntable, a mixer, a multi-track recording program and an abundance of records. The album was fully composed by scratching individual instruments: kick drums, snares, percussion sounds, leads, bass lines, solos, etc. “We were just trying to prove a point: that other themes can be made with scratching by jumping from theme-to-theme.”

One year prior to the release of Scetchbook, Mike began work on Dunhill Drone Committee, still untitled, yet destined to become his solo debut opus. The third truly all-scratch album so far (after Phantazmagorea and Scetchbook), Dunhill Drone Committee is another landmark in the history of scratch composition. Half of the songs were recorded in an artist loft shared with Excess in Brooklyn, New York and the other half were completed at his parent’s house in Fremont. For Mike, the process was painstaking. At times, he would spend months browsing through hundreds of records to find the right sample for a track. He considers the tracks to be audio landscapes that document different times of his life. Mike explains, “I’m just concentrating on light and dark moods, and being able to hear these songs and have them trigger moments in my life within these past two years.” For example, track 7, “Here Are the Faxes You Requested” is about “how it sucks having to depend on music for your income, but at the same time refusing to return to the 9-to-5 lifestyle” while track 10, “Vibrations Transcend Space and Time” is “something to bump while I walk my dog.”

Dunhill Drone Committee invites the listener deep into the psyche of Mike Boo, and delivers ethereal compositional arrangements with virtuoso turntable musicianship. “A lot of people wonder why I don’t just play a sample. Well, if I just played it out, it would be hard to match the same grit of taking something from vinyl… I embrace the grit" (Last.fm, 2010). 

You can listen to Mike Boo's music at:

Released Albums:
Mike Boo - Food Around The Corner
Mike Boo - Scetchbook with Ricci Rucker
Mike Boo - Soul Canvas
Mike Boo - Dunhill Drone Commitee
Mike Boo - Other Sounds

(2010). Mike Boo. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/Mike+Boo

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July 11, 2010

Artist of the Day: Skalpel

Skalpel are Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudlo DJs/producers from Wroclaw, Poland. Being new recruits of Ninja Foreign Legion, they are rather hesitant to speak about their past.

Sufficient to say, they are talented DJs, whose 4 mixes were aired on Solid Steel in the past, two of which were released as "Virtual Cuts" - namely the best mixtape released in the history of electronic music in Poland. The year 2000 was a landmark for them, as they traveled the country with DJ Vadim and his Russian Percussion, presenting an amazing 4-deck show. Later that year they released demo CD-R titled "Polish Jazz", which not only received a lot of critical acclaim, but also led Skalpel to signing a contract with Ninja Tune.

For the last two years they've been digging in the crates, trying to build the most exciting collection of samples from Polish Jazz records. Now they are slowly unleashing the music created from these sounds. They ressurected dusty&smokey spirit of polish jazz of 60s and 70s, and reimagined it for 21st century audiophiles (Ninja Tune).

You can listen to Skalpel's music at:

Released Albums:
Skalpel - Skalpel
Skalpel - Konfusion
Skalpel - 1958 Breaks
Skalpel - Polish Jazz Ep
Skalpel - Virtual Cuts Mixtape

Skalpel. Ninja Tune. Retrieved from http://www.ninjatune.net/ninja/artist.php?id=98

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July 10, 2010

Artist of the Day: P-Love

Paolo Kapunan moved to Montreal in 1995 to study trumpet at McGill University. Somewhere between ear training classes and choir practice, the trumpet took a back seat to the turntables, the alter-ego “P-Love” was born, and in 2000, he was whisked away by his friend Kid Koala on a series of tours throughout North America and Europe as the extra pair of hands. He has also recorded and toured with artists such as Medeski, Martin & Wood, Amon Tobin, and Sixtoo. In 2005, Paolo performed Nicole Lizée’s “RPM” with the Canadian Chamber Ensemble as part of the Open Ears festival in Kitchener, Ontario, and has performed other Lizée pieces with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Grand Montréal and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Paolo’s debut full-length album All Up in Your Mind was released in 2005 on Montreal-based Bully Records and distributed worldwide through British/Canadian label Ninja Tune. He and Mrs. P currently live in New York, where he plays various instruments for the Brooklyn-based band Taxi Taxi, which serendipitously consists of other McGill alumni (The Not-So-Adventurous Adventures of that Kid P-love).

You can listen to P-Love's music at:

Released Albums:
P-Love - All Up In Your Mind
P-Love - Quasi: Altercations Ep with Matt Kelly

That Kid P-Love. The Not-So-Adventurous Adventures of that Kid P-love. Retrieved from http://www.weloveplove.net/

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July 9, 2010

Artist of the Day: Fingathing

Fingathing are an instrumental jazz / hip-hop band from Manchester, UK, comprising classically trained Double bass player Sneaky and DJ / turntablist Peter Parker.

The duo first performed together as part of the backing band for Rae & Christian before teaming up. Over the course of the years, they have released several full length albums ; ‘The Main Event’ (2000), ‘Superhero Music’ (2002) and ‘Fingathing and the Big Red Nebula Band’ (2004), with a best of compilation following the year after. Since then, the band have parted company with the label responsible for the above output, Grand Central, leaving them currently unsigned.

They have, however, managed to continue to churn out material via not only via their myspace site but also with the occasional mix release; the ‘Life after Death’, ‘Biscuit’ and ‘Bloody Axe’ mixes, along with the 2006 EP ‘Apocalypso’, have all been self-funded.

With turntables, an upright bass and bold live animations of crazy mutants in tow, Fingathing are a mass fusion of technical effects and live instruments creating an explosion of far-flung funk and crunching avant hip-hop. The grooves grip tighter than a black hole, the drums smack the cheeks like an asteroid rain-storm, and the bass rumbles and hums like an imploding star (Last.fm, 2010).

You can listen to Fingathing's music at:

Released Albums:
Fingathing - 2 Player Ep
Fingathing - The Main Event
Fingathing - Superhero Music
Fingathing - And The Big Red Nebula Band
Fingathing - Time Capsule
Fingathing - Apocalypso Ep
Fingathing - Biscuit Mix
Fingathing - Bloody Axe Mix
Fingathing - Life After Death Mix

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

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July 8, 2010

Artist of the Day: 2tall

Jim Coles aka 2tall/Om Unit has been active since the late nineties as a DJ and producing music since his early teens. He has several releases out under the 2tall moniker, which came after a brief stint in the world of DJ battles where he represented the UK at the DMC world DJ championships. 
More recently he has put out two notable albums under the 2tall moniker: “Beautiful Mindz” a collaborative project with U.S duo Dudley Perkins and Georgia Anne Muldrow (Stones Throw), and “The Softer Diagram”, his most recent solo LP released on L.A-based Content Records. 
Current projects include various guest spots on releases by Dented Records based in the UK, including the forthcoming Foreign Beggars album. 2009 also sees the launch of his new electronic beats project “Om Unit” which will be released on the Terrorhythm label, run by UK grime/dubstep stalwart Plastician.
Jim has also been known for live showcases using various experimental techniques involving the turntables and effects amongst other gear, which brings him to the Original Cultures project (Original Cultures, 2010).
You can listen to 2tall's music at:

Released Albums:
2tall - The Rise Ep
2tall - Shifting Tides
2tall - Loose Ends For Divination
2tall - The Softer Diagram
2tall - Beautiful Mindz

(2010). 2tall. Original Cultures. Retrieved from

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July 7, 2010

Artist of the Day: Populous (Morr Music)

If you come across a Teenager or early Teen who is into HipHop nowadays, it’s almost a surprise if they don’t understand the genre as the ultimate and dodgy mainstream between Bling-Bling and Crunk, but appreciate HipHop’s golden era starting in the late 80s instead, spilling into the BackPacker craze of the 00’s.

With his debut album “Quipo”, Italian producer Populous already showed that he drew his very own conclusions from the jazzed-up beats and positive vibes of the Native-Tongues movement around A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. Whereas “Quipo” still displayed a mildly bulky attraction influenced by abstract electronica, “Queue For Love” now has a much more homogeneous atmosphere and a warmth fed by carefully selected samples from Soul-, Jazz- and Soundtrack records from the late 60s and early 70s. Unlike the aesthetics of recent, dominating approaches to HipHop, “Queue For Love” is a triumph of the DIY ethos. After all, Andrea Mangia is just a kid with a computer and an incorruptible taste. “Queue For Love” isn’t pure sampledelia, though.

A lot of the guitars, e-bows and glockenspiels on this album have been recorded in the bath room of Populous’ tiny student apartment. This is where singer Matilde of Italian band Studio Davoli even recorded her gorgeous vocals for “Bunco” and “Clap Like Breeze”, turning the music into an amalgam of Broadcast, The Cocteau Twins and a crazy-in-love DJ Shadow. On “My Winter Vacation” Dose One of cLOUDDEAD fame does what only he can do: Twanging his stream of consciousness into the world with his matchless flow. Furthermore, Jukka and Luca from Italian Indie heroes giardini di miro have helped to realize a few tracks to a huge extent and thus have had their share in making “Queue For Love” as enjoyable as possible. This album is smooth and balanced and HipHop at heart, reaching out to Songwriting, Ambient, Folk and Film scores. All of this is delicately held together by a remarkable concept of “Soul” and obviously: “Love” (Last.fm, 2010).

You can listen to Populous' music at:

Released Albums:
Populous - Quipo
Populous - Queue For Love
Populous - Drawn In Basic

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

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July 6, 2010

Artist of the Day: Amon Tobin

Musician, programmer, recording artist, beatsmith, dance floor commander, composer, sound designer, bad ass motherfucker.  Amon Tobin is all of these things but most of all a forward thinker. Pushing forward and never looking back has always been his focus. This is what gets him up in the morning and what keeps him up late into the night.
Amon Tobin never set out to be in the music industry. To him, music is an end in itself, not a path to commercial success. His own success is basically a by-product of his obsession, and remains something of a welcome mystery to him. The fact is, whether or not the world had ever heard of Amon Tobin, he would still be creating music.  His life has been a long-term love affair with sound and rhythm, and a personal study of both. His work is a contribution to the evolution of sound in the spirit of the pioneers of electronic music.
Amon has released a series of critically-acclaimed full length albums alongside a number of side projects varying from film scores to collaborations with artists ranging in classical music to hip hop, to all stylistic disciplines in between. Curiosity and a relentless drive to explore has lead Amon to various places in music, but the the real fruit of his labour are in the combined knowledge gained from these experiences of how music and sound work, and the passionate application of these principles to his own personal creations (Amon Tobin, 2010).

You can listen to Amon Tobin's music at:

Released Albums:
Amon Tobin - In Foam
Amon Tobin - Bricolage
Amon Tobin - Permutation
Amon Tobin - Supermodified
Amon Tobin - Out From Out Where
Amon Tobin - Recorded Live: Solid Steel Presents Mixtape
Amon Tobin - Chaos Theory: Splinter Cell 3 Soundtrack
Amon Tobin - Foley Room
Amon Tobin - Chomp Samba Ep
Amon Tobin - Piranha Breaks Ep
Amon Tobin - Bloodstone Ep
Amon Tobin - Taxidermia Digital Ep

(2010). Amon Tobin. Amon Tobin. Retrieved from http://www.amontobin.com/about

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July 5, 2010

Artist of the Day: Deceptikon

After the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980, Deceptikon was born out of the ash and dried magma of Northwest Cascadia. Recently relocated to San Francisco via Tokyo via Seattle, he spends his time making music for the future, a soundtrack for future-minded space travelers and skiff-jumpers from the 23rd dimension. The Deceptikon Industries studio, orchestrated by mastermind Zack Wright, is the basis for all operations. The first Deceptikon 12", released on Merck Records in 2003, was sold out only four months after the initial pressing, and was followed by the critically acclaimed albums "Lost Subject" (2004) and "Greater Cascadia" (2007). Deceptikon has now teamed up with San Francisco bass luminary Mochipet and his label Daly City Records to release the highly anticipated third Deceptikon album, entitled "Mythology of the Metropolis" (Daly City Records).

You can listen to Deceptikon's music at:

Released Albums:
Deceptikon - Lost Subject
Deceptikon - Greater Cascadia
Deceptikon - Mythology of the Metropolis
Deceptikon - Birds of Cascadia
Deceptikon - Ascii Ghettoblaster Mixtape

Deceptikon. Daly City Records. Retrieved from

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July 4, 2010

Artist of the Day: Omid (Beneath The Surface)

Born in Chicago, living in Iran from age 1 to 7, then moving to Los Angeles right after the Iranian revolution, Omid has seen a lot, and is influenced by it all. Growing up in Los Angeles, Omid got first turned on to Hip Hop by listening to KDAY, L.A.’s first all Hip Hop radio show. Learning early on that rapping or breakdancing was not for him, he did realize he had a fascination with the beats. In junior high, Omid started his first musical experiments, trying to create his own beats by using his only piece of equipment: a tape recorder. Using the record and pause buttons, plus his many tapes of jazz and soul that he taped off of local radio station KXLU, the first Omid beats were born. It wasn’t until freshman year in highschool that he borrowed a simple sampler, the Korg DSS-1, that he was able to make real beats. Though what started as a hobby was soon taken more serious.

Attending an open mic in Los Angeles called the “Goodlife” in the early 1990’s was a pivotal moment in Omid’s life. A safe haven for positive, artistic, and innovative poets and musicians, Omid was inspired to take his bedroom beat experiments more seriously, in order to be part of this thriving music scene. At the “Goodlife,” the artists were encouraged to be cutting edge and innovative, if they didn’t want to get the legendary “Please pass the mic!” reception. Already a scene with great producers, Omid knew right away would make him stand out: his roots. This inspired him to research and collect music from Iran and the Middle East, along with the usual jazz, funk, rock, etc. that is the root of hip hop. One day Omid showed a Goodlife producer named Ebow his music. Ebow liked what he heard and together they released a home-made beat tape that they sold only at the Goodlife, entitled “Beat Stampede.” Soon, Omid’s beats caught the ears of the local talent and the collaborations began.

In 1998, Omid produced “Beneath the Surface,” a 14 song compilation that brought many unknown talents from all over Los Angeles together for one album. This album was also the first official release of many who went on to be L.A. favorites. Omid produced all the songs, tailoring each beat for each dynamic MC, forging collaborations with artists that had never worked together before. Omid originally released the album by himself, and it was re-released in 1999 by Celestial Recordings. Although this album was done strictly for the love, it won Omid critical acclaim in such publications as The New York Times, Spin, and URB. “Beneath the Surface” gave Omid the courage to pursue music as a career full-time. This album was also one of the first, if not the first, to include Persian/Iranian samples in a “hip hop” record.

Since “Beneath the Surface”, Omid has produced 2 solo albums, “Distant Drummer” and “Monolith” (Mush Records), plus collaborated with countless cutting edge artists, such as the Beastie Boys, Aceyalone, Buck 65, Sach, 2mex/OMD, Scarub, Murs, Pigeon John, Slug, and many others. Movie soundtracks have also been a big influence on Omid, so it is not a surprise that his music has blended well with film (Last.fm, 2010).

You can listen to Omid's music at:

Released Albums:
Omid - Distant Drummer
Omid - Monolith
Omid - Beneath the Surface
Omid - Afterwords 2 and 3
Omid - Instrumental Selections From Sach 5th Ave.

(2010). 2) Omid. Last.fm. Retrieved from http://www.last.fm/music/Omid

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July 3, 2010

Artist of the Day: Jemapur

Jemapur is a very young and very bright artist from Shizuoka, Japan. At the age of just 20, he released his first album, Dok Springs, from Hyde Out Productions, a Tokyo-based label which is run by Nujabes, the Japanese hip hop / electronica artist. The album did quite well for an indie release in Japan, and showed off his mature and subtle taste in melody, arrangement, as well as quick cut-up editing and sample usage a-la Prefuse 73.

His music continues to evolve however much beyond a singular style and at his age he has plenty of time to grow. He offers some of his music independently on the website Lakho which he runs personally. He has remixed Machine Drum, among others, and created tracks for 志人 / 玉兎 [Shibito], of the Japanese underground hip-hop group 降 神 [Origami]. Jemapur was also featured on the compilation Beat Architecture released July 2007 from Easel Japan, notably alongside artists Riow Arai, Hidenobu Ito, Taichi, and others (Last.fm, 2010). 

You can listen to Jemapur's music at:

Released Albums:
Jemapur - Evacuation
Jemapur - Dok Springs
Jemapur - Sans Titre Ep
Jemapur - Early Works 2001-2002

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

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July 2, 2010

Artist of the Day: 40 Winks

No hay banda! (“there is no band”, Mulholland Dr. 2001) pretty much sums up where 40 Winks aim to take their instrumental hip hop: meticulously chopping and pasting samples together to create an atmosphere of beats and vibes that steps beyond unimaginative loops. Their emphasis on creating vintage organically sounding beats has left people wondering why 40 Winks won’t perform live… The answer simply being, ”there is no band!”. 40 Winks hit the scene about 5 years ago with a slew of laidback beats. Eager to share their sound with the world, they released a couple of albums independently. The attention received from these records allowed them to build links with people and record labels from around the world. One of these independently released albums, More Than Loops, was reissued in Japan on Swamp Records. From then on the ball kept rolling. On their first worldwide release, Extended Pleasure on Escapism Records (2005), they reached listeners well beyond the (instrumental) hip hop community with the song “melancholia”. After appearances on compilations, like Weapons of Hope on Little-D (2006), they got a chance to do their thing on the renowned label, Merck Records with Sound Puzzle (2007). All these exotic international adventures led them back to Europe, where the German based Project Mooncircle welcomed them with a spot on the compilation Heart on the right spot (2007). Right now 40 Winks are preparing to release their latest album on Project Mooncircle, called The Lucid Effect. This will be released on LP, CD and MP3 in 2008 (Project: Mooncircle, 2009). 

You can listen to 40 Winks' music at:

Released Albums:
40 Winks - The Lucid Effect
40 Winks - Sound Puzzle
40 Winks - Extended Pleasure
40 Winks - More Than Loops (Japanese Edition)
40 Winks - More Than Loops
40 Winks - Hit the Hay
40 Winks - April to July (demo)

(2009). 40 Winks. Project: Mooncircle. Retrieved from http://www.projectmooncircle.com/artists/21

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July 1, 2010

Artist of the Day: 14KT from Athletic Mic League

Kendall Tucker, better known as 14KT, was born and raised in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He was first introduced to music through singing in the church choir and immediately became attached to the way music could move people. In 1994, his involvement in hip-hop began when, as an emcee, he joined the Michigan hip-hop group known as the Athletic Mic League (AML). Ironically, it was from a need for original production within his crew that he started making beats, using nothing but his parents Jazz and Soul records and a dual tape deck. Today people scratch their heads when witnessing his unorthodox or “alien” production methods – you can only wonder, or search YouTube for a glimpse.

As a product of the “Golden Era of Hip-Hop,” 14KT strives to be amongst the great producers and beatmakers that made the music in his headphones – DJ Premier, Organized Noize, Pete Rock, Dr. Dre and J Dilla. As a musician, 14KT was heavily cultured by the rich, musical background and local history of Motown. However, he’s far from neglecting Gospel, Jazz, Rock, Electronic and Techno as sources of inspiration – which can all be heard on his debut solo LP, The Golden Hour [Soundtrack], released in October of 2008. Despite being an instrumental album, The Golden Hour appeared on many year-end top albums lists. Okayplayer said “this is the sort of striking project that can singlehandedly create an artists following.” And so it did.

Since his days of singing in the church, 14KT believes that his involvement with music is to fulfill God’s purpose for him on Earth – to inspire. “It’s amazing to me to be able to evoke certain emotions just from sounds. The deeper I get into music, the more I realize that I need to accomplish that as an artist.

In December of 2008 14KT was invited to participate in the 1st annual Red Bull Big Tune national beat battle finals in New York City after being crowned the Detroit champ earlier in the year. BET cameras went behind the scenes documenting the event and featured 14KT on a special that aired on the TV station in April 2009. In August 2009 14KT released Nowalataz, “a project I unofficially had done since 2006. It started when James Yancey aka J Dilla passed that February. To cope with the death of my favorite producer, who I liked to call my unofficial “musical mentor,” I started making ‘donuts’…uncontrollably. I never planned to release any of the material out of respect for Dilla and his craft. I shared some of the music with others, in which they would repeatedly ask me to hear it, so I decided to put a little something together and make it official.Nowalataz was released as a free download.

Last fall 14KT toured the US with Mayer Hawthorne, opening each of the 26 shows on the Lonely Hearts club tour with his electrifying DJ set – mixing his own beats with other popular music live on stage. He performed alongside Peanut Butter Wolf, Madlib and J Rocc at the Stones Throw/Converse “45 Live” SXSW party this year, and rocked the crowd at Red Bull’s Big Tune SXSW battle earning him a spot in the 2010 national finals in Chicago (November 18). Most recently, 14KT has just returned from a 10-city Spring European tour with Crown Royale (Buff1 + DJ Rhettmatic) and is now back in the lab simultaneously working on a new stage show and several upcoming projects for himself and other artists (A-Side Worldwide, 2009).

You can listen to 14KT's music at:

Released Albums:
14KT - The Golden Hour
14KT - Nowalataz

(2009). 14KT. A-Side Worldwide. Retrieved from http://www.asideworldwide.com/artists/14kt/

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