Words inevitably fall short of conveying the experience of music. So our recommendation to you is to skip this introduction, and press play. If you’re feeling curious, then read on…
Vancouver native Tom Speakman, a.k.a. Boha, has been refining his talents as a musician since he picked up his uncle’s guitar at age 13. During his teenage years, Speakman and a handful of like-minded enthusiasts came together and formed a series of bands in order to showcase their original songs. Of course, being 17 at the time, it was rather difficult to find a venue that would welcome the slew of rowdy youths. And so, Speakman and his friends became accustomed to (and relished in) playing in seedy basements and underground parking garages filled with sound, sweat, and bodies. However, in 2009, he experienced a shift in inspiration.
While visiting Rio de Janeiro, Speakman was introduced to Baile Funk, a musical, social, and political phenomenon that has been alive since the 1970s. Baile Funk was popularized in lower-class neighborhoods of Brazil by individuals who chose to create their own genre of music centered around social injustice and breaking social taboos. (Baile Funk has been criticized for it’s overt, sexually explicit content.) As Fact aptly puts it, production generally consists of an “everything-in-the-blender ethos” wherein a meld of Miami bass and an assortment of electronic devices are fused with Brazillian singing, rapping and drumming. While in Rio, Speakman stumbled across Baile parties and it was these experiences that sparked his fascination with electronic instruments. All of this considered, although we are not ourselves connaisseurs of Baile Funk and so we don’t really know what we are talking about in this respect, we suggest that the influence of this particular style of music may not be obvious on Boil.
For us, the emotional climax of this record is “Soft Square”. Over top a bed of soft kicks and wind-chimes, Speakman layers a melancholic brass section as well as a crisp electric guitar melody and a nostalgic synth melody that do a bittersweet little dance together [1:00]. The trajectory of the arrangement takes us into some weirder territory as the sweet slide guitar melodies give way to strange oozing detuned synth chords [2:14], (which we are told were constructed with a Realistic Concertmate MG-1–a cheap lovechild of Radioshack and Moog Music born in 1981). Speakman’s cold robotic rhythms and his sample selection with respect to percussion sounds bring the productions of Thom Yorke and Radiohead to mind.
“A Call” takes us into more of an ambient experimental locale. It layers field recordings of unsettling clanging metal and feverish dark rustling sounds, and detuned bells. The only hint of human emotion comes from the soft mournful synth chord progression that comes in for the first time around [1:12].
Wolfey & alh
“If I was a superhero, I would save the day…”
“Superhero” is shimmering light-hearted and playful–a charming addition to your spring playlist. Vezanis overlays samples from mellow jazz recordings and rich synth harmonics over top of his signature disjointed organic percussion grooves.
Hailing from Athens, currently based in London, Nikos Vezanis a.k.a. Benjha is poised to release his debut Ataxia via Nicolas Jaar‘s Clown & Sunset imprint. Nikos has also got a release in the works for our very own Blenheim & Celtic Recordings coming soon.
[Nikos Vezanis a.k.a. Benjha] Wolfey
Following up his debut EP Time Waste (Jellyfish Recordings, 2012), young Vancouver-based electronic music producer and Chapel Sound crew-member, Patrick Holland, a.k.a. 8prn, has crafted this smoky soulful brooding beat-tape entitled Over It for our very own Blenheim & Celtic Recordings. The record is cheeky, dark, and intoxicating, but also souful and sincere.
On this project, Holland draws heavily on hip-hop and R&B for the rhythmic framework, which was constructed using a Roland SP-404 and Ableton Live. Holland’s chopped re-pitched vocal snippets, skittering swung hats, and weighty morphing analog bass synth tones (courtesy of his Dave Smith Instruments Mopho) on “Runnin’” and “Over It” are reminiscent in some ways of the work of Henry Laufer a.k.a Shlohmo.
“Late 2012, with the whole new age trap thing going on, I kinda wanted to dabble in it a bit, so I went for a heavier sound, 130-140 tempo and all that. Artists like Bames, Falcons, Lunice, and Sango were references for that feel. The distorted analog bass/synth sound comes from my love for garage punk stuff like Ty Segall and Dead Meadow. I also got into some old Triple 6–pre Three-Six Mafia, like Koopsta Knicca, DJ Paul, and Juicy J… So, that old southern triplet hi-hat and deep sub rubbed off on me.”
“Like any music, there are things I’ve heard, while out and about, that I like but that I find way too cheesy and over used… certain vocal processing and pitching, drum machine samples and song structures. I feel like I’ve taken the things that I don’t like, and morphed them into a sound that I enjoy… not quite a mockery or parody of shitty club music, but definitely a cheeky rip into it.”
“I made ‘runnin’ a week before opening for UZ , in December, so that I could have a track of my own that could be considered a ‘club track’, haha. So when I started making ‘over it’, I was going for the same feel… Then I realized that I didn’t want to make ‘certified club tracks’… so I added the guitar, vocals, odd percussion, and a chill bassline to wash out the trappyness of the piece…”
“Like many people, I was over it.”
[Patrick Holland a.k.a. 8prn]
The Over It EP was put together in a small bedroom studio in a basement suite on the east side of Vancouver.
Download the full release:
Following up heheh. (2009, WEDIDIT) and Slack (2010, WEDIDIT), Juj, an L.A.-based beatsmith and member of Shlohmo’s WEDIDIT Collective, is poised to release his latest LP offering entitled Walnut via HUH WHAT & WHERE on February 9th. In anticipation, he has shared a cut from the release–”Waves”–as well as a music video for another cut–”Micro”.
With each successive release, Juj has continued to refine his cheeky endearing take on psychedelic jazz-influenced instrumental hip-hop–artfully blending warm crackling textures, sampled instruments, vocal snippets, and disjointed rhythms.
I’m very much looking forward to listening through Walnut upon it’s release next Friday.
Ann Arbour, Michigan brings you the amateur talent, Jeremy Malvin, (aka Chrome Sparks,) an electronic producer who takes a very rhythmic approach to creating music. The single, Marijuana, personifies the title with it’s layered flutes, reverbed guitars, and an addictive pitch shifted vocal sample.
Download || Marijuana – Chrome Sparks
Mono/Poly graces us with an unreleased track from ’06.
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Keep your sights fixed on Benjha. His first EP release will be out soon on the venerable Clown & Sunset. Nikos Vezanis hails from Athens, Greece and currently resides in San Francisco. Here is just a taste of what to expect.