The greatest DJ of all time John Peel played his music before ‘breakcore’ existed as a recognized genre. Thom Yorke of Radiohead once called his music ‘menacing.’ He opened for Radiohead in 2001.
Christoph de Babalon AKA Jan-Christoph Wolter is an electronic music producer from Hamburg, Germany. His discography is exhaustive, but he hasn’t always produced dark, intense breakbeats. According to his profile, he withdrew from the music scene in 2001 to compose music for theater and dance before making a comeback in 2008.
Now back to basics, the 4-track Grim Zenith EP is refreshing as it is melancholic. The track ‘Could We Be?’ kicks off the record with a gloomy breakbeat against the nasty sub bass that bounces around the eardrums. Haunting but poetic. Grab the album on Bandcamp or Boomkat.
Shugo Tokumaru is a Japanese singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He’s basically a one-man show.
But you don’t need to understand his native Japanese to dig his euphoric melodies, such as the jubilant track ‘Bricolage Music’ which pops and claps in a fidgety rhythm before breaking open to a balearic jam at the two-minute mark.
Compton-based rapper Buddy is back with some beats and rhymes on the 5-track EP entitled Ocean & Montana, a collaboration with Canadian producer Kaytranada.
Buddy originally signed to Pharrell Williams’ I Am Other label where he released the Idle Time album in 2014 along with his single ‘Awesome Awesome.’ But the label relationship fizzled out.
The partnership with Kaytranada is a better fit nonetheless. ‘Guillotine’ pairs Buddy’s smooth flow over some funky West Coast electronic vibes. This is certainly no come-back record; rather, Buddy is just getting started. And Kaytranada’s beats continue to get more interesting.
Slowthai is a rapper/producer from Northampton, England. His latest solo release slowitdown packs a serious punch of grime beats and lyrical jabs, most notably on the track ‘Wiseman’ which originally premiered on Boiler Room and played more recently on the Gilles Peterson show.
Hector Plimmer is an electronic producer from South London. His latest record, Sunshine, is an exploration of trippy synths and jazz drums. “It represents (in no particular order) my musical journey over the past 4 or so years, some of which may never have seen the light of day,” says the musician.
The opening track ‘Let’s Stay’ is a sublime mix of dreamy keys laced to a head-nodding drum kicks. It’s no surprise his influences range from Flying Lotus, Portishead, to Theo Parrish.
Flako is Dario Rojo Guerra, a Berlin-based producer known for his helter-skelter beats. I first discovered him in 2010 with his jaw-dropping Pharcyde sample on the track ‘Love.’
He’s since expanded his sound beyond hip-hop to include more live instruments and global soundscapes, paying tribute to his German-Chilean heritage. Now releasing music under his rebranded name Natureboy, Flako has done some reworks most notably with Malian Wassoulou Oumou Sangaré’s track ‘Yere Faga.’ A worthy listen.
Thrupence is Jack Vanzet, a multidisciplinary artist from Melbourne, Australia. In addition to graphic design and illustration expertise — his Instagram account is dope — he makes electronic beats.
After a long series of original mixtapes, he’s crafted a debut album called Ideas of Aesthetics. The nine-track album represents a collection of songs he’s produced over the last six years, including two collaborations with his brother Edward on vocals. “It has become a diary of places I’ve lived and people I’ve met over this time,” says the artist.
‘Forest On The Sun’ and ‘Rinse Repeat’ are my two favorite tracks on the album, mixing elements of soft piano and choppy electronic beats that’ll make you nod your head and smile 😉
STUFF is a five piece instrumental band from Antwerp, Belgium. ‘Strata’ is the first track from the band’s second album old dreams new planets due out April 28th.
The song vacillates from broken jazz before weaving into a funky, electronic jungle. Says the quintet’s SoundCloud page, “it makes you doubt whether you’re at a rave or at a fusion jazz concert in some late 80’s basement.”
Jazz visionary and French horn player Brother Ah aka Robert Northern presents the release of three unheard albums courtesy of Manufactured Recordings. Today, he runs a hit radio jazz show on WPFW (89.3 FM) in Washington D.C. while teaching his philosophy of “sound awareness” to anyone from the East Coast elites to 5-year-olds who enligthen him with fresh beats.
Greymatter is Brighton-based electronic producer Graham Luckhurst. After a two-year hiatus of being “pigeonholed into deep house,” he’s back with his new album No Blood Without on his very own label Unique Uncut.
You can cop the broken beat single ‘Clocks’ now on Bandcamp. Expect to hear more of these beat-breaking skills.
Parisian producer Edn Hak makes his own Burial-esque interpretation on his new Reapers EP. ‘Wanderer’ is one of the standout cuts. It crackles on the surface before dipping into delicate, heartwarming samples and kicks.
‘Ocean Drums’ is a broken beat techno tune from underground producer LOOP LF. Grab it on the Stepping Back EP out now on East London-based Well Street Records. ‘You Wouldn’t Understand’ is also a gem from the newcomer.
Italy’s Clap! Clap! (aka Cristiano Crisci) continues his genre-smashing success on his new album A Thousand Skies, out now on Black Acre. Once again, he takes us on a sonic journey, wanting us to imagine a “young girl’s journey through the stars.”
The track ‘Hope’ sees Crisci blend together his worldly beats and dance grooves into the vocals of the OY duo. With two experimental and vibrant albums under his name, this producer makes it known of his endless “search of new flavors.”
Crisci constructs a soundtrack to his life. We’re just fortunate enough to ride along with him.