On his debut long-player ‘Severant’, Jamie Teasdale a.k.a. Kuedo has made an album of dreamlike music, loaded with his own preoccupations with futurism and escapism, that's very different from his previous output as one half of Vex’d. With his intentions re-evaluated for the making of this album, his process to capture them has evolved to a more automatic way of creating tracks, cutting back on the endless technical options available to the modern producer and rendering them at a quicker pace to reveal a lighter, more truthful music, as he puts it: ”On the side of modernism”. In terms of feeling, ‘Severant’ explores the space between the detached world of the imagination and the real-time world; that feeling of coming out of a daydream, on the edge of the drift from the day-to-day grind. Jamie says of this moment ”As reality shapes imagination and escapism affects your choices in the real world, there is a strange relational loop between the two and the space in between the two. There’s a bitter sweetness in that gap, it has a certain emotive quality, kind of in between being and non-being”. Again, musically ‘Severant’ is inspired by related themes. It sounds as if it’s in a sweet spot between the emotive, innately futurist synth soundtracks of Tangerine Dream and Vangelis, borne from a time when the very idea of futurism was more prevalent, in combination with musical ideas and inspiration from the emotionally ambivalent, materialist fantasies of ‘coke rap‘ such as The Clipse. Rhythmically the record is influenced by what Jamie calls ”the two ultra modern musics of modern times”, footwork from Chicago, which Planet Mu has explored in depth on its recent releases, and again the drum machine grids of coke rap. Jamie says ”I wanted to capture a really futurist sentiment, kind of melancholy and grand luminescent, so I used the instrument that most evokes that for me - that sweeping Vangelis brass sound.” And on coke rap he talks about the emotional ‘half being’ of the music, the energetically charged, detached ambivalence of the MCs, and the admission that the MCs could be ”fantasising without admitting to doing so.” The title ‘Severant’ refers to stark changes of circumstances in Jamie’s life when the album was made and the music works strangely like scenes from a film: tracks are concise and direct and one of the albums great and unusual strengths is that on repeated listens different songs rise to the surface and the album repeatedly changes and develops in the listeners ears and mind.
At a party in the late 80s in The Hague, a local DJ by the name of DJ Moortje accidentally dropped a dancehall twelve-inch at 45RPMs, causing chaos in the audience. Not the kind of negative heckling you get when a record is skipped, but the kind of excitement that happens when a movement has been started. This beautiful mistake resulted in Bubbling, a cultural expression of immigrants from The Dutch Antilles and Suriname, a genre that would take these communities by storm in Holland in the 1990s. Jamaican exports such as the Fever Pitch and Bam Bam riddims were double and half-timed, with Cutty Ranks on one hand sounding like a prepubescent chipmunk, the other hand sounding like an evil duppy. Its sound borrowed slave rhythms from Curacao (DJ Moortje’s origin), creating a new Caribbean style of music in Europe that ran parallel to London’s Jungle scene.
This excitement eventually died down in The Netherlands, and Dutch House became the dominant genre in the late 2000s. There was more money to be made, and bigger parties to be played when your music didn’t consist of pitched up dancehall, and bubbling became reserved exclusively for the black and Latin crowds, especially teenagers. However, House in Holland was littered with Caribbean influence, and eventually a new generation of DJs would pioneer a new sound, known as Bubbling House. A group of cousins, DJ’s Shaun-D, Master-D, Daycard, and Deschuurman who loved Dutch House but couldn’t shake their traditions created a new sound, with hyper Fruity Loop synths over pitched up Dem Bow drums. The sound could be found all over Youtube and regional social media sites, the same way the rest of the global youth were distributing their music from Chicago to Luanda.
Anti-G a.k.a. Kentje'sz Beatsz, an 18-year-old producer from the South Holland city of Delft is of the current Bubbling House generation, but his music often stabs at other realms. Like many of his peers, he takes in the popular styles of the black and Latin communities of Holland: Bubbling, Reggaeton, Dutch and American Hip-Hop, and House, and loads those influence into Fruity Loops on his PC. This often results in all of those genres crammed into 3 minutes of audio, though occasionally he singles one out. The atmosphere is cold and industrial, not-unlike the sound created by UK Grime producers, but with polyrhythms that swing like Funky House. His tracks often can’t decide if they’re for a rave or a rap show, but in the end sound like the soundtrack for someone getting stabbed in space.
Anti-G Presents 'Kentje'sz Beatsz' is a collection of material made between 2009 and 2010, showing all of the faces of his work. Bubbling Cause Trouble and Crack The Glass! tap into the current club scene of Holland, while tracks such as Reggaeton Man! are his own mutant Dem Bow riddims. It’s a trip through Dutch social networking sites such as Hyves, and an example of the experimentation brewing with the current digital youth of the Surinamese and Antillean communities of The Netherlands. These drums may come from the Caribbean, but the synths belong on a space station.
A two tracker of freshness from Boxcutter, aka Barry Lynn, a producer who was taking chances - constantly mutating his dubstep based music, way before people started talking about post-dubstep. This single precedes his new album 'The Dissolve', due out in April.
Lead track 'Allele' builds from echoey drums into a tight Juke influenced drum pattern with lots of tight edits, before adding a vocal that hints at old school hardcore, wavering chords and drops, before the whole thing finally resolves into a restrained but ravey breakbeat.
'Other People', on the B-side, simply but effectively mixes hazy, live sounding 2-step drums with a lush bitter-sweet melody reminicent of the 'Other People Place' Drexciya offshoot, which glides subtly through a background of shimmering fx's and delays.
Barry Lynn has already dropped a couple of albums that looked at dubstep from fresh angles before everyone else started to do the same. This time around, on "The Dissolve", things are different, and he’s taken off in a direction that leaves dubstep behind entirely.
The title is a reference to a common video art effect, where one image gradually transitions to another. The album has an unpolished hue to it, created with keyboards, drum machine, echo and tape and sometimes even electric guitar. It sits in a world of its own, but with a stronger affinity to things like Theo Parrish's productions or hypnagogic pop than the latest fashionable electronics created on the newest software - the devil is in the details with this album, it’s rich in twists and turns.
"The Dissolve" opens with the spacey funk and marimba of 'Panama', into the floaty synth and bass of 'Zabriskie Disco'. Things start to take on more gravity with 'All Too Heavy', one of three tracks featuring singer Brian Greene, that mixes a hazy, dubbed out funk abstraction with Greene’s effect laden vocals. 'Cold War' featuring Ken and Ryu gets heavier still, with a slow dancehall kick drum and grimy metallic claps, over which mourns a sad 8-bit melody and slip-slide strings.
'Passerby' uses an echoed 808 and a guitar melody to make something that sits at the border between Eighties funk and Steve Hillage hippy grooves, while the next track, 'TV Troubles' takes that idea even further, wrapping echoey riffs into a lo-fi funk vamp which rewinds, slows down and distorts on a tape reel, it’s incredible.
Title track 'The Dissolve' is even more lo-fi; jump cut edits and a sound that’s frayed around the edges, everything bathed in tape wobble and hiss which finally slows down to a stop.
'Moon Pupils' restarts the album again from an airy 2-step perspective with melodic, hollow bass sounds, echoes and reverse edits, whilst 'Factory Setting' mixes off-key metallic synths with a bassline and funky galloping drums, which gives the album a rare moment of darkness.
'Allele' brings things into the open again, building from echoey drums into a tight Juke influenced drum pattern, before adding a vocal that hints at old school hardcore, all wavering chords and drops, before the whole thing finally resolves into a restrained but ravey breakbeat. 'Topsoil' mixes a gliding synth melody with hazy synth stabs and dusty drums, before 'Little Smoke Remix', collaboration with Kab Driver, wraps hard offbeat drums in cascading synth arpeggios.
The album ends in the broken funk of 'Ufonik', and by then you definitely get the feeling, as an album, you’ve been transported and dropped off somewhere else entirely.