da billdifferen roundup #3 - i didn't get invited to the smooktober dinnër party and i'm mad as hell
Again, What The Fuck is Going on in Jersey
Now you know damn well I was going to bombard you with about 5 hours worth of club tunes for this little ass roundup, so don't act all surprised here. It's really hard to get a moment of rest with these club producers, as it seems that none of them have a "chill the fuck out" switch, because these folks don't stop pumping out some of the most ridiculous shit on SoundCloud. First, it seems like there's a contest going on in club music right now where crews are trying to see what's the most amount of people they can put on a track before the listener's head explodes, and I think Majin Krew might be in the lead right now with this 8-man/woman WWE Elimination Chamber match of a MegaLab track "South Park 2." Dude....... What the fuck. This 6+ minute surreal experience that is held together by these funny ass South Park clips and this falling chromatic loop that makes you feel like your slowly drifting off the face of the Earth just does not stop.... at all; it makes me feel like Mankind getting in the head so many times at Royal Rumble 1999 - it's relentless and batshit insane. The lineup here is ridiculous, as you got them all: Ayoo Lyve, Steez, Haze, Leak, Superior Jay, Burto, Snatched, and qua - I saw the announcement for this tune a few weeks ago on IG and you'd think I'd be freaking out over a whole album over here, but this is just one whole ass song! But as for the song itself, you got a crazy variety of styles here, ranging from strange to "these dudes are from the 5th dimension."
More Music Needs to Sound Like This
Islurwhenitalk aka dj slur aka s1nt6n6 will always be my favorite from JEWEL XXET. I feel like their music is the most "dream-like" out of anyone in that circle, as slur's tunes really do feel like I'm scrolling through SoundCloud while I'm asleep and having night terrors in my bed. Especially when they're manipulating already-known tunes, whether they're making Tisakorean sound like a cursed silly android or turning a Kero Kero Bonito tune into a existential crisis, slur knows how to grab you by your toes while you're tossing and turning. Their ability to take something so familiar and make it sound so alien and uncomfortable is astounding.
Slur went ahead and released their first project of the year titled Pink about 2 weeks ago, and the best way I could describe it sonically is that "It's the End of the Fucking World and It's All Because You Put Your Subwoofer Too High Playing This Album." The way slur s1nt6n6 takes a hold of these psychedelically hazey beats that are relentlessly smothered by these barraging behemoths of kicks and 808s that completely vaporize the rest of the track is absolutely fucking insane, and I can't get enough of it. Also the sample-use here is absurd and contains songs that I never thought would ever be sampled. Like for example, slur samples "she found now," the opener to My Bloody Valentine's 2013 return in two consecutive tracks "numb interlude" and "Whats Next" where he complements the shoegaze band's earth-shattering sound by adding these force fields of distortion that drown out the thick and whispery guitars coming from MBV. I bet you Kevin Shields would love this shit. On top of that, Slur also takes sounds from saxophonist Colin Stetson, Final Fantasy XIII, and Pierce The Veil and makes them indecipherable, with the combination of their pitifully playful voice and the pitch/tempo-manipulating style that is uniquely prevalent in most of his material.
I feel like since the advent of 808s being the standard in modern hip hop, the concept of bass distortion has evolved and is slowly being embraced by more folks as time goes on. I know there's still people who loathe that stuff, saying that it's all noise, and to that, I say shut the fuck up. Slur really is a great example of artists embracing distortion and making whole new textures with it, especially his signature late 00s swag rap ventures. You can see that ingenuity on Pink with instances like the moving crushed 808 basslines in "Money & Weed" and the 30-second hydraulic presser that is the mordys suixide-produced "look ryt there remix." Also I couldn't forget about the version of "Pussy Got Power" that was supposed to be on DS4, but Drake was too much of a bitch and said that it hurt his ears. Fuck him, this is 732345% my shit.
The Greatest Instrumental of All Time is Now Officially Out
I think out of everyone on SoundCloud currently, xaviersobased might be one of the best "based disciples" that has ever graced this Earth. Regardless of the questionable sample that I refuse to talk about, "crisp dubs" might be one of the craziest songs I have experienced in recent memory. That instrumental is seriously one of the most hypnotizing beats I have ever heard in my life. But just a few days ago, xaviersobased decided to bless the world by FINALLY releasing the official instrumental to "crisp dubs," and my god, it's everything I ever wanted. Just the way that the fucked-up sample is looped is just mind-numbing and addictive. I think everybody else on SoundCloud feels the same way, because this is turning into the internet version of the "Who Run It" beat. You got dolly, Dani Kiyoko, kuru, rodneyy, Danny Darko, and France's Yuri Online all hopping on this irresistible beat in just the last few days. Just awaiting the 10 hour version of the beat to be put on YouTube any second now...
It seems that xaviersobased is getting better and better by the day, and that can be easily seen by their first big release of the year who are you?, 24 minutes of pure genius that continues to baffle me. The production here is some of the best shit xaviersobased has ever been on, benefiting from folks like dazegxd, Novagang's prblm, and even Surf Gang mainstays HARRISON and EVILGIANE. There's load of variety here, and xaviersobased takes advantage, showing us all why they're one of the best right now. Their self-produced tunes really shine here, with stuff like the standout mesmerizing experience that is "Bitches Live Ittt!!!!", the quick and disorienting "upper west", and "ignorant/recollect.," a song that sounds like you were just teleported to the club in 2035. That fast nightcore-ish feel in a lot of their songs that is usually coupled with these slurred and hypnotic vocal lines is something so damn irresistible and surreal. They're really the future....[*cue me laying on the floor like Squidward going FUTUREEEEEEEEEEE*]
City Girls with Axxturel Production Is Really Something The World Needs
SoundCloud never fails.... Some sicko decided to think that it was a good idea to put City Girls's Act Up over this old slur/4jay song that axxturel produced (man, that kid got too many damn names - chill out lmao) and to be quite honest, the City Girls version bodies the original. It's just a slot machine sample away from a 10/10, for sure. Also a fade out? Come on man....
I need the pop world to start doing seances and rituals and shit, so they can all start making stuff like this - Could you imagine KRXXK producing some Megan Thee Stallion song, or Doja Cat hopping on some ZERO? Yeah, the world isn't ready for that, I think. It's only a matter of time until we see Drake and sellasouls link up to constantly remind us that Future was right in saying that "It's an evil world we live in."
Africa is Really Doing Laps Around the Rest of the Electronic Music World
It always baffles me when other people's pinnacle of electronic music is either some Flosstradamus lacrosse-shorts-wearing bullshit or that one YouTube channel that does all the techno DJ sets inside of the bathroom from the first Saw movie. These folks are missing out on some of the craziest music all across the world. In the last few years, two regions that have been consistently revolutionizing electronic music has been Southern and East Africa, as there has been so many different scenes that have been pushing the limits of sound itself. First, starting in South Africa, you currently have the giants of Amapiano and Gqom dominating the waves of the area. Gqom was the first of the two that I was introduced to back in 2016, thanks to the great Fact Magazine and RB Music Academy. The sound from Durban was and is still so unique - like seriously, if you haven't checked out gqom music, first of all, shame on you, but go experience it! There's still nothing like it. The one artist who really defines the gqom sound is Durban's DJ Lag (really great recent interview here), as they are one of the pioneers of the scene, taking it into new heights. His 2016 track "Ice Drop" was probably the first gqom track that grabbed me by the head like a basketball and went "Hey motherfucker, gqom is serious and none of y'all are ready." Even will.i.am was in love with it (but for disgustingly wrong reasons). Since then, DJ Lag has cemented himself as the "King of Gqom." Their debut full-length from February feels like their coronation moment - a whopping 80 minute theatrical ceremony that both celebrates and pushes the genres into new horizons. Man, there are some fucking tunes on here: the Godzilla-sampling "Raptor," gqom that sounds you're in deepest depths of hell being swarmed by bees with "Something Different," and "Khavhude," a tune whose deep and aggressive kicks brings up the concept of "evil amapiano." This album just got better and better as the tracks rolled on, and I really do think that the standouts here are the last 2 tracks "New Wave," a collab with fellow producer Omagoqa, where they show that gqom is not even close to its final form with this gritty and abrasive approach to the style and the closer "DJ Lag," this very bassy chant of the DJ's name that holds this moody tension all the way until the end. This album is one of my favorites of the year so far and a wonderful experience overall, as it is another crucial milestone in the very young genre.
While staying in South Africa, I just wanted to touch on this one Amapiano release from a few weeks ago from Pretoria's Teno Afrika, who was really one of the first Amapiano producers to really get the sound out to the rest of the world with 2020's Amapiano Selections. Two years later, Teno Afrika is back with Where You Are, which is another incredible collection of buttery smooth Amapiano tracks that could get any dancefloor of rhythmless nematodes moving. That warm bass tone from most tracks of the genre has the same effect as the cartoonish pie at the window trope - once you get a millisecond glimpse of it, you're just floating to wherever the source is. Some of the songs here have goosebump-inducing chord progressions like the opener "Where You Are" and "Fall In Love" or hard-hittingly intense danceable grooves like the absurd "Bells" whose drop sent me into hysterics. Teno's latest is also a crucial milestone to another young South African genre, as the rises of both Amapiano and gqom are making South Africa one of the giants of electronic music nowadays.
Now going up north from South Africa into East Africa, you have the Wild West of experimental music, as there are so many countries contributing right now like Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. One of the most consistent producers on Earth currently is Nairobi's Slikback, who has grown into one of the most aggressive and versatile alchemists of sound in the last few years. They love to take other genres, such as footwork, gqom, techno, among many others, and just envelope it with this nihilistically dancey feel that fills you up with dread, but at the same time, excitement. MELT was probably one of my favorite albums last year, where Slikback decided to call up a bunch of their friends to make a medley of "Songs to Kick the Listener's Ass To," as the limitless collabs resulted in some of his best work to date. So far this year, the hardworking Slikback has already released 3 projects: a collab EP with Brodinski, a collection of 2 more light-hearted singles, and more recently CONDENSE, another awesome collection of collaborations that varies from evil-as-fuck gqom to ambient power electronics. Seriously, Slikback makes some of his best stuff here - that uniquely abrasive style just makes me want a whole Slikback x The Body album. They really are a perfect match for each other!
Some other stuff I didn't want to leave out is Liye Liye, a crazy album by the Congolese experimental electronic producer La Roche that has many tracks that take influence from genres like grime and techno but also still keeps its Congolese roots, while still getting weird as hell. "Weird as hell" can describe almost anything on the Kampala-based label Nyege Nyege Tapes, as they have been one of the most forward-thinking and ahead-of-the-curve music labels in the world for the last few years. A big genre that has benefited thanks to Nyege Nyege over the years is the surreal experience from Tanzania that is Singeli, which is pound-for-pound, probably the coolest genre of music on this existing universe. The way that these high 200+ bpm tempos induce this dream-like state, while all of this chaos is ensuing is special. 2017's Sound of Sisso is one of the most important albums of the last few years, as it shows that no one truly knows what is the limit of music itself, because I still can barely comprehend how these sounds were made. It's absolute genius that has been pushed to its brink by producers like Bamba Pana, Sisso, and Jay Mitta. The next Singeli producer in line to blow everyone else's mind is DJ Travella, who looks like they might have the Album of the Year title in the bag, come April 1st with Mr Mixondo, as the single that was released recently caused smoke to come out of my ears; jesus christ! The way that "Crazy Beat Music Umeme 2" takes that signature breakneck speed and utilizes that calamity to have these vaporizing 808s slide high and low to disintegrate your ear canal is otherworldly. It just doesn't ever stop. While I only just listened to one song, I don't know if anything else on Earth can top this album, because I am excitingly terrified to give this a few listen - I'm pretty sure my head is going to pull a Scanners once I'm done with this one.
Lastly, Some Lagniappe
Wow....Now here's something that I never thought would happen again! DJ Paypal was probably the first footwork artist who blurred the lines between the Chicago and internet sides of the genre, as the Teklife member was vital to the MALL MUSIC internet style of footwork. Their first Drake Edits compilation was a constant soundtrack to my Summer 2014, because I had that shit playing everywhere I went. The late nights I had at the Waffle House parking lot while the 2 Houstalantavegas remixes were blending into each other are moments that feel so distant, but so unforgettable. But enough with the nostalgia, I can't believe Paypal really decided to go ahead and do this shit again almost 8 years later. Since then, Drake's quality has plummeted more than my will to live, but DJ Paypal really lives up to the hype with blessing us with another 30 edits that are injected with enough energy to hype up a JV football team. Some favorites of mine on here are the Chicago/Miami hybrid take on 2 The Max, this absolutely high-energy transformation of Wizkid's Ojuelegba, and this Blessings remix that feels like it was released in 2013. The tracks all blend together so smoothly too; it's a great experience and a perfect long car ride album.
I could listen to Todd Edwards mix tunes for an eternity. He's seriously a legend. Once you see past the "Oh Yeah That's The Daft Punk Guy" bullshit, you unlock one of the craziest catalogues of garage music ever fathomed. This 2hr mix has a shit load of Garage and House that has helped me get through numerous monotonous work days lately. He's seriously one of the greatest gems to electronic music. I also highly recommend watching live footage of his first performance in the UK, as it's seriously one of the coolest and most heartwarming things you will ever see. Legendary.
Bounce music is pretty hard to keep up with if you're not in New Orleans, but I think SoundCloud still does a great job at showcasing some of the best artists in the scene. A big favorite of mine is the Lower 9th Ward's DJ Rari 9, who makes some of the best mixes out of anyone right now. Above is their latest little mix that is just so chaotic from the start - it's what I love about Bounce music so much. There's never any time to breathe with the constant barrage of vocal chops, energetic drums, and various samples. Seriously, listen to any mix of his - they're all incredible. Some other folks to check out in the NOLA area are DJ ILLWILL504, Steddy Slack, Bog Vonnie, and Blac Nasty. It's going to take me a while, but I'm gonna try really hard to get a full write-up on Bounce Music done one day that is deserving of the legacy it has made in beautiful Louisiana.
A big favorite of mine on SoundCloud is Colombia's iphi, who makes some really breathtaking tunes, whether she's making stuff for the internet supergroup eldia or on her own Soundcloud. I really enjoy her more ambient-based compositions, as they consistently floor me. Her latest track above can be described as "Destroyed Dembow," a phrase she coined herself, and she's right to call this tune that. The somber Nelly Furtado sample met with these overpoweringly heavy drums feels almost apocalyptic. Her versatility in sound is seriously very impressive. iphi's someone you need to get acquainted with this year!