For a brief moment at the back half of last year, it felt as if dubstep was everywhere – that more common forms of what we might simply term ‘electronic music’ had been effectively backed into a corner by a swelling legion of producers (new and old) finding inspiration through the low end. There were two net results: one, the overall quality of the music being produced naturally become diluted and duplicated and it was all the worse for it; two, producers at the top of their game took their work off to one side, far outside the genre schema, and it was all the better for it. This collection isn’t particularly post-dubstep in any real sense, but – if there’s any commonality to be found – each of the producers here are creating new electronic music that sits outside the path of any genre juggernaut.
Kicking off the mixtape, Jay Bharadia and Gaslamp Killer plough a seam that points back to sample-delica and cut’n'spice science, but they too find something new to say inside an over-represented marketplace. Jay Bharadia‘s work was only recently introduced to me, although this cut is taken from his 2008 album, ‘The Yeti Cave’. More recently, he’s released a beautiful collection of warped remixes from Lone, Ochre, Implosion Quiet and two particularly sunburnt offerings from Airliner ’67. The Gaslamp Killer’s cut is ripped from his new debut EP, ‘My Troubled Mind’ released via Flying Lotus’ label, Brainfeeder. For once, the hype is right – and The Gaslamp Killer delivers a short but instantly compelling delve into his inverted beat alchemy.
Lest you feel any predictably in where this mixtape might head, there’s a few curveballs tucked inside. One is Ikonika, a female producer that has hitched herself to the right star in signing to the Hyperdub label, a dubstep collective that (much like its founder, Kode9) has found a new lease of life outside the main genre arena. ‘Phonelines VIP’ included here sounds as if it could have been ripped from an early Artificial Intelligence collection from Warp Records, updated with a two step sensibility. The second is Mochipet, whose endless productivity is matched by a consistently high and consistently skewed quality. Mochipet certainly doesn’t take himself too seriously, but in doing so, he finds seemingly endless freedom and flexibility. Having the space to move anywhere, particularly inside a single track, is not something that every producer can lay claim to and – on the new album, ‘Master P On Atari’ – that ability once again serves Mochipet well.
The mixtape closes with Paul White, a producer that has been prolific for many years – primarily as a ‘library music producer’ for British television. Inevitably, this overtly informs his work – this track from the album ‘The Strange Dreams Of Paul White’, with its wonky analogue sounds, hip hop beats and haunted snatches of Asian vocal, manages to tap into a leyline that straddles the last four decades of music. As with the rest of these selections, White understands that while embracing currency and futurism has its place, there still remains much to be gained from distilling that sensibility with choice fragments of the past. A notion that our bland, copyist dubstep fiends might be well advised to consider.
Discontent Mixtape – Burnt By The Sun
1. Jay Bharadia – Mother Culture / England [8:21]
2. The Gaslamp Killer – Anything Worse / U.S. [4:15]
3. Various Production – Trycycle / England [6:58]
4. Ikonika – Phonelines VIP / England [4:22]
5. Jogger – Nice Tights (Nosaj Thing Remix) / U.S. [3:00]
6. Bodycode – Subspace Radio / South Africa [6:10]
7. Dalt Wisney – Smokey Daze Forever / Pakistan [3:02]
8. Mochipet – Marshall Bass Stacks / Taiwan / U.S. [3:45]
9. Fulgeance – Ann Arbor / France [4:44]
10. Fletcher – Dreadlox Dub / South Africa [6:17]
11. King Cannibal – So…Embrace The Minimum / England [4:02]
12. Paul White – Burnt By The Sun / England [2:16]
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Note: All music on the mixtape is either licenced via Creative Commons or has otherwise been made freely available by relevant artists & labels. If you like what you hear, please support the artists -visit their site, buy their music.