Great Dane’s debut on Alpha Pup Records, Alpha Dog, is one of my favorite releases of the year so far. It has been awhile since I heard such a diverse and stylistic composition of beats on a release. The style of beats and instrumentals has erupted in the music community as of late but I always have a hard time enjoying more than one or two tracks on most of these big names blowing up the internet waves. The moment I hit play on the first track it gave me a nostalgic original feeling. This wasn’t just going to be like everything else out there I thought. You can tell that there was time and thought put behind this.
This release definitely caters to those beat heads, anyone into that open atmospheric hip-hop, and even those lush tunes. The variety that is inside this release truly showcases that Great Dane is someone we all need to be following and looking out for his next cut at all times. Great Dane clearly has a grasp of what is going on in the beat scene and provides a stellar take on all these diverse styles and forms out there. Overall this is a must have. The official release date is set for March 12th, 2013. A massive shout out to Daddy Kev and all the people over at Alpha Pup. They are truly releasing some of the freshest music out there.
Trip Down Memory Lane, is a collection of some of my favorite trip-hop classics. I’ve always wanted to put something together that showcases the music that I love and have so many memories tied to with Love. Happy Valentines Day <3
Featured Artist: Me, Bjork, Portishead, Wax Tailor, Massive Attack, Hooverphonic, Lamb, Tricky, Jem, Team Sleep, I Monster, Bang Gang, 8mm, Zero 7, Air, Halou, Dj Krush, Frou Frou, Lovage, Goldfrapp, & RJD2
Wow, what a great day in music! Today marks Emancipator’s first self-release on his new record label, Loci Records. The album Dusk to Dawn is nothing short of stunning. Though overall the album has mellow vibes, at the same time it is rejuvenating and invigorating. While listening to it this morning it kind of energized me for the day ahead. There is more of a jazzy element to this release which I love and appreciate. One thing I love about Emancipator is the keen attention to detail… It’s very instrumental and textured which I have found to be more and more important for my satisfaction in music. Gorgeous piano, violin and other strings, horns, you name it. While listening to this album it is easy to lose yourself and almost melt away into the cosmos. It makes me think of a magic carpet ride through colorful soundscapes, as cheesy as that may sound. Soul shines through and through in this music… it’s deep!
I’m not sure why, and I can’t quite explain it, but Emancipator’s sounds always bring my connection with nature into light. While chilling out to his tunes I am always reminded of countless times wandering through the vast Sierras while backpacking, gliding through the trees on silent snow, watching meteor showers in awe, and tide pooling in Santa Barbara or Monterey. But also, of dancing in bliss (many times in these settings). Not a lot of artists make me feel this way. While in listening to most other music, memories surface of raging in a club with good friends, Emancipator’s tunes make me think of times of solitude and introspection. And I mean that in a good way, because this reflection makes me in turn contribute to the community and this earth in a more meaningful way. Take a listen and see how it makes you feel…
I’ll NEVER forget the moment I was introduced to Aligning Minds music. It was while I was in Asheville, NC for a show. Mike Folk, 1/2 of Aligning Minds, was playing an early morning set in the small barn they had set up. I was totally blown away by everything he played. After that set Mike and I have become close friends and stay in touch on a regular basis.
I recently finally met Daniel over the summer and was beyond impressed by the live dynamic both of them bring to a live performance. The quality and detail that goes into their music is rare. Lets not even get into the fact that beautiful music like this doesn’t come around often enough.
Give it up to Gravitas Recordings to bring you Aligning Minds most recent release, My Heart Is Love. The title track might be a bit familiar to you as it was released on Vermin Street earlier last year. This is the completed LP that includes the full spectrum of sound behind Aligning Minds.
I’m extremely bias and adore these guys so much but it’s for a reason. They make some of the most inspiring music out there. My Heart Is Love is a piece of work that showcases a gorgeous vibration of sound and emotion. I can’t encourage producers enough to produce more music like this. It’s a blessing to finally hear the final mastered versions of these tracks. Chances are you might have heard some of these in my recent mixes.
Be sure to grab this album and give it a proper listen. Also big congratulations to them for being added to the Re:evolution Agency. Word on the street is they’ll be all over the country in 2013.
Much Love goes out to both Mike and Daniel!
Stunning piece of work <3
It has been awhile since I put out a mix and posted in the blog. I’m going to try to stick to posting regularly again. Not going to make any promises but as I put this mix together I was going through tons of music that I really should write post about.
Future Love is a mix dedicated to all the lovers out there. I’m always looking for chill sexy tunes now. The last couple of mixes that I’ve released were experiments to see if there was a market for downtempo psychedelic music. Love Sacrifice Dream (LSD) is on pace to be my most successful mix I’ve released. You have no idea how much that means to me. I’m a firm believer that there should be more beautiful music out there to listen to on your headphones while enjoying yourself at home versus the club.
Now that I’ve become a lot more comfortable with this style of play I’ve created something a bit more experimental. I’ve become burnt out on club bangers, electronic dance music, etc… The reality of the situation is that I’ve grown out of that phase of my life. I’ve gotten old and jaded over the years. There is only so much going out to clubs, bars, raves, festivals, etc… My favorite nights are relaxing at home with friends, chill music in the background, smoking, and just pondering the universe.
The idea of Future Love was to create a mixtape for a Lover. I want to create soundtracks and mixes that I can look back in life and enjoy despite how old I get. Timeless music is something that has been a major focus of mine recently. When my future love eventually finds me I want to have something to throw on that isn’t intrusive. The point of downtempo music is to have in the background and not be in your face. This mix was literally designed for laying in bed with a lover as you share yourselves with each other.
I hope you enjoy this and appreciate all the support over the years. I’ve already begun working on my yearly Valentines Day mix. Expect something a bit more upbeat but in the style of traditional downtempo trip-hop soundscapes.
Michal Menert just put a brand new track called Silvers of Light. The track is the first of four tracks that will make up a new EP called Elements. Elements will focus around the four elements: Fire, Earth, Water, and Wind. Silvers of Light is the Fire track and was written during the summer fires in Colorado, his home state. The goal is to release the EP with the four tracks and possibly additional tracks on a 10″ Vinyl release.
I’m a huge supporter of Michal Menert and believe he’s one of the few pioneers of our time when it comes to chill out and sample based music. The way he combines and mixes classic music is unparalleled. We all know who Pretty Lights is but it’s sad to hear how few don’t know who Michal Menert is especially since the first Pretty Lights album “Taking Up Your Precious Time” was co-produced with Menert. I’ve had the luxury of spending some time with Michal this summer and the man is a true artist. Despite what you may think of sample based artist this guy has a work ethic and attitude that is quite rare. It’s not about making the biggest dance hit, it’s about creating something beautiful and long lasting.
The conversation came up online on if it’s too soon to start thinking best releases of 2012 and one of the first albums I mentioned was, Even If It’s Not Right, Michal’s most recent release. I recommend checking out his two full length LP as they are the perfect soundtrack to any mood in my opinion. There aren’t enough words for me to praise Michal on the direction he takes when it comes to music. He is one of those unique producers like Emancipator that doesn’t really focus on creating dance floor hits but creating emotions and stories with their music. It’s also always a treat seeing him play as he plays live with his MPC and APC40. There’s not easy play button in his live setup. Be sure to check him out if you have a chance as he’s on a tour with PLM label mates, Break Science.
Handbook was an artist I wasn’t too familiar with until a friend of mine send me a collection of tracks. The track that was sent over to me really stood out and reminded me of that classic downtempo vintage feel. Last night I got sent over a copy of his new EP from one of my best friends in the entire world, Gooddroid. Her label Loveless has been a secret weapon of mine and recommend anyone into future garage and chill beats to dig deep into their releases.
This release totally hit home for me. The opening track, Vapour, is STUNNING. It reminds me of the original track that I heard by him. The vibe is just right and meets all the needs that I have for a beautiful track. The rest of the album has a lot more variation but kept my attention more than I had anticipated. The track Alone left a solid impression on me as well. Overall if you’re into trip-hop beats mixed with that head nod feel to it check this out. This guy has plenty of talent and it has been awhile since a solid trip-hop beats album has really taken me back to the early days where a solid instrumental beat could really be appreciated. I can’t thank artist like this enough for taking the risk of making music like this when the heavy dance floor sound is the clear path of fame. It’s not do I hear tracks like Rememberance anymore. Nothing but Love goes out to Gooddroid and Loveless for putting out quality classy music out and believing in artist like Handbook.
This week’s Fire Friday Mix comes from Kastle aka B. Rich. If there’s anyone that I’d probably consider the Lovestep guy it’s Kastle. I’ve been following his music for quite some time now. The style and vibe of his music is unmatched. He pretty much grabs a hit or well known track and makes into a sexy seductive remix bringing out rhodes, synths, and drum programing that always delivers that signature emotional sound. There was a good while where every single set I’d usually drop a Kastle track.
He has been quite busy tour, releasing new music, and establishing one of the baddest new labels, Symbols. The talent he has been recruiting is incredible and keeps the that signature Kastle sound that I’ve come to love. There’s not heavy crazy aggro non-sense. This mix is a great example of his previous work as well as the direction of his label. I really love this set because it has plenty of vocals that really hit the spot. The intention of the mix was for winding down after a festive summer many of have had. It’s one of those mixes where you can just sit back and enjoy in the background yet really vibe off of. I really wish there were more pioneers like Kastle around. It’s not common to see artist put mixes like this together and it’s why I wanted to feature this mix.
Be sure to grab ALL the symbols releases as well as this super chill mix from Kastle. His label has already made a tremendous mark on the industry and you can be sure it’ll only continue to grow.
Kastle Festival Decompression Tracklist:
01. Stimming – Change ft. Lazarusman
02. LOL Boys – Changes (Shlohmo Remix)
03. Fybe:One – So What
04. We Sink – Inside ft. Andrea
05. Clicks & Whistles – 2 Much Higher (XI Remix)
06. Ruddyp – Re/Mind
07. TCTS – Lookin 2 U
08. Tony Quattro – Doubt
09. Obey City – My RVM
10. Surkin & Todd Edwards – This Way
11. Figgy – Only You
12. Bambounou – Night
13. Plezier – That Was Me
14. Atlantic Connection – The Jump Off (Brent Still Life Remix)
15. Jason Burns & Brent Still Life – Right Here (We Sink Remix)
16. Troy Gunner – Heads In Hands
17. Swindle – Need To Know ft. Toddla T & Sam Frank
18. Para One – Lean On Me ft. Teki Latex (Salva Remix)
19. Frank Ocean – Pyramids (Kastle Remix)
20. Dauwd – What’s There
21. Koreless – Lost In Tokyo (Jacques Greene Remix)
22. Stickman – Known
23. Kastle & iO – Only You
24. XXYYXX – Overdone ft. Anneka
Lapalux is back with his new EP, Some Other Time. This is a follow up from the incredible When You’re Gone release put out earlier this year. Brainfeeder has been on a roll lately and this short EP is a great palate cleanser. The past few post have been a bit more upbeat but this one is quite on the mellow tip. When You’re Gone is one of my favorite releases this year so far and I was very excited to hear there’s some new material.
The first track Quartz is a beautiful opening track that features some male vocals paired with a relaxing beat. Don’t expect anything too upbeat from this release as it doesn’t have much bass at all. Jaw Jackin’ is a playful track with the first introduction of female vocals. It has that unique layered style beats and bloops we all know Lapalux for. Forgetting and Learning Again featuring Kerry Leatham is the highlight track of this release. Kerry lays down some vocals that will easily transition you from Jaw Jackin’ vibe to a seductive sexy mood. This is really where Lapalux shows off. The beats are full and stacked with the vocals it makes for a lovely tune. Strangling You With the Cord is slow to lift off but when it does it’s got a bigger beat than I expected. The effects on the vocal sample remind me of the Araabmuzik sample. This track isn’t really what I was expecting but it sits well with the others. Close Call / Chop Cuts is the closing track for Some Other Time and it starts off fairly ambient and escalates into a comforting chill but complex beat combination. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that Lapalux is one of my favorite producers who executes the use of vocals magnificently.
Overall this release is great if you’re a fan of chill downtempo wonky beats. I’m a huge fan due to the way he mixes vocals in with fun relaxing beats. This isn’t as incredible as the previous release but definitely something you should check out.
I’ve put together this mix series for all those people who crave for music to jam to on their headphones. I wanted to create something that you can put on when you want to sit back or lay around with relaxing music.
The internet is filled with so much dance music and club bangers. I’m tired of it and too be honest I know that there’s so much good music that is overlooked at times because they aren’t meant for the dance floor. I’ve looked back at all the mixes I’ve done and wasn’t content with it and felt like I needed to do this. I want to be remembered for creating something that is for the chill music lovers.
Right now I’m at a weird place in my life where I’ve become burnt out on bass music and even typical club music that is expected when you go out to a show. This is my way of showcasing where my heart has been. I hope the day will come where I’ll be able to find bookings on the regular where this is type of music I’m asked to play vs the banging hits.
I can’t thank you all enough for even downloading this collection and reading this. I want YOU to know that I am grateful. This is for YOU and no one else. Share this and enjoy it with your lovers and friends.
- JM aka Afro Monk
ARTIST INFO INSIDE ZIP ABOVE & INCLUDES ALL 3 MIXES