Archives for the month of: December, 2013

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Shortly after I pressed play on Erol Alkan’s “Influences Mix” for the Laura Leishman Project, I was reminded that he’s still my #1 DJ. I remember my trip to Coachella in 2010 with some buddies..I saw Erol in the dance tent, and was stunned at his execution. The beats were tough, his hair was long, and at some of the builds he’d hold his arms out horizontally like a modern day Jesus. It was a glorious display, and since then he’s always been at the top of my DJ list. He does a lot more than just DJ’ing of course; running Phantasy Sound, producing albums for Mystery Jets, Late of the Pier and The Long Blondes + collaborations with Boys Noize, Switch and Chilly Gonzales.

 

 

We now have his debut solo EP, Illumination. Cannot wait to play all these songs out, that’s all I’ll say. The top notch site The Quietus did a recent interview with Alkan about his new home studio, the EP and his influential Trash night. x

Erol Alkan – Soundcloud Facebook Twitter

– Jimi Jaxon

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The Expanding World of Vapor City

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– Jimi Jaxon

 

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I hope to see you at The Crocodile this coming Sunday ($10 Advance TIX, FB event page). This is a part of Chance The Rapper’s ‘Social Experiment Tour’. That show at Showbox Sodo in Seattle, is sold out. Now, my feature on DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn and the prolific Teklife crew.

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As I read this recent interview with DJ Rashad aka Rashad Harden on Pitchfork, I connected deeply with his friendly energy. For someone of such influence and authority to be so kind shows me somethin’..nice guys can finish first.

 

It’s the same feeling I’ve gotten from my interactions with Machinedrum. After playing alongside him last year, sweatin’ it up at his Leisure System After Hours (w/ Jimmy Edgar, Jets) at Decibel Festival 2013, witnessing his Vapor City live show + the whole package around that album AND hearing his Essential Mix, I’ve developed such a strong connection with the man behind the music, Travis Stewart. Behind all this innovation and energy is a thoughtful and deep person that’s just very passionate about music.

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In that same vein, Rashad matches a bright personality with ferocious and diverse productions, that have vastly fostered new sounds and styles into the world. Search on Google for “DJ Rashad Interviews 2013” and you’ll easily find out, this man is a big deal. Tiny Mixtapes eloquently said, “He might not be the most veteran footwork DJ (that would have to be RP Boo) or the most batshit (there are lots of people in the running for that title), but it’s become increasingly clear since TEKLIFE Vol. 1: Welcome To The Chi changed the game that, flanked by his longtime partner-in-crime DJ Spinn, Rashad is among the kings of footwork and juke — as both hometown bastion and ambassador abroad. Welcome To The Chi was a huge landmark for what was until then a more or less underground scene, in one bold stroke defining footwork for a new international audience and pushing it to its breaking point.”

 

Rashad has recently teamed up with Kode9’s Hyperdub label, and the results have been huuuuge. I can’t say enough positive things about this label. The pairing has encouraged Rashad’s evolution as an artist; showcasing a broad range of sounds, textures and moods. There’s the I Don’t Give A Fuck EP, with energy so high I want to move until I pass out from sheer excitement. His previous Rollin EP, with my personal favorite track, the emotional and freeing “Let It Go”. His newly released 2nd album, Double Cup further demonstrates his variety as a producer. It’s got plenty of soul, with an ultra smooth flow. Equally relaxing and gangsta’ in the best way.

 

I can’t talk about all this music without mentioning the Teklife crew. DJ Rashad is the chief member of this Chicago based unit, and you’ll notice many of the others in production collaborations. The releases I mentioned above also showcase DJ Spinn, Freshmoon (Tony Mundaca Jr. and Lacey Mundaca), DJ Manny, Taso, DJ Phil and DJ Earl (+ Addison Groove from across the water). There are others such as Traxman (see Teklife Vol.3 The Architek). Click over to their Soundcloud’s and take in this massive collection of vibrant tunes.

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It’s such an honor to not only be opening for DJ Spinn for a second time in just a few months, but to be joined by DJ Rashad, who was unable to perform at dB Fest 2013’s Hyperdub Showcase. This kind of thing doesn’t happen very often; it seems the universe demands these two come to Seattle and wake the city up. It’s exciting to note that DJ Spinn is working on his album for Hyperdub as well..

 

DJ Rashad – Soundcloud Facebook Twitter

DJ Spinn – Facebook Twitter

– Jimi Jaxon

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As I begin searching for tracks to include in my next set, I checked on my old buddy Djedjotronic. It’s been a bit since I opened for him, Strip Steve and Housemeister in Seattle. They’ve all been doing rad things since, and each deserve their own features. My eyes are now on Djedjotronic, and these creepy new productions. After hearing just a few seconds of the title track from his recent Zone Music EP release, I knew I was going to be down.

 

“Abyssal Zone” has this old school feel, dominated by cold energy and ominous techno. It gets me so hyped, and I feel like it sets a perfect tone, confidently pulling you into this pitch-black environment. The other two tunes in the EP, “JunkBox” and “Trouble” add to the bleak vibes, while still encouraging movement. Definitely worth picking up the entire collection.

I’ve also included his ‘Abyssal Zone Mix’ for Mixmag, enjoy..

 

Djedjotronic – Facebook Soundcloud Twitter

– Jimi Jaxon

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Graze is extremely effective at creating a journey with its productions, and this recent live set is no exception. The debut of this live show happened at Mutek 2013 in Montreal, and received significant recognition at the festival and in reviews. XI (Christian Andersan) and Adam Marshall (head of New Kanada, a personal label favorite) know how to demand motion and imaginative thought. While still being immersive with a wide spectrum of emotion, their tracks as Graze can have this dirty sassiness with the rhythms, and I absolutely love their execution. I’ve listened to this mix at work; washing dishes and cleaning tabletops, as well as at home cleaning my room. These can feel like mundane tasks, but as their live set sound tracked my actions I was immediately taken to another place, a placed dreamed up and translated by this duo. I hope to see Graze live in the near future, their fluidity with performance is of very high quality. I’m happy that this live session is available for download via XLR8R. Fine job with the eq’ing and/or mastering of the mix, ultra crisp. So many mixes I hear are missing that final touch, and I think it can do a disservice to the collection of tracks. 

 

I adored their self-titled debut EP. I wrote multiple blog features on the release, and played out several tracks such as “On Board” and “Ques”. After hearing that an album was fast approaching, I had no doubts that it would be major. I believe it will further show that Graze makes consistently strong statements about musical quality and graphic design. This new track “Skip/Crush” is a sonic triumph, pleasing on headphones and blasting out a club sound system. The video’s design demonstrates that Graze is just as strong with visuals and they are with beats. It astounds and inspires me that all the graphic design for Graze, including this new video and all the graphic productions for the New Kanada label are done by Adam Marshall. A one man machine, I see such talent in his able to create cohesion, making art pieces with lasting potential. This visual element of New Kanada deserves it’s own feature, but for now I want to give Adam credit for such mastery of the eye.

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Today marks the eve of the ‘Edges’ release, Graze’s debut album. They’ve built it up very well, with all signs pointing towards a very strong presentation. I hope that it brings listeners together from many walks of life; from techno heads to dubsteppers, bass music fanatics to ambient chill people’s and everyone in between. The walls between genres are being broken down and mutated once again. Graze are a perfect example of two people coming from different ends of a landscape, and through mutual respect, creating distinct common ground.

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You can now stream the entire album, with commentary from Graze via Self-Titled Mag.

Graze – Facebook Twitter

– Jimi Jaxon