Smith & Mighty – Evolve

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Image via Test Pressing

I remember buying this random disc in Palo Alto, California while at summer camp in high school. I had probably read a review about it in an issue of URB Magazine, which was one of my primary 90s go-to sources for discovering fresh underground music.

In the CD age, everything was a $14.99 crapshoot. You really never knew what type of sound you were going to hear, let alone if the music was worth the price tag. But I got lucky with Smith & Mighty Bass is Maternal, 15-tracks that introduced me to the sound of dub while also converging elements of techno, hip-hop, and jungle music. Their music planted the seeds for the Bristol trip-hop explosion from Massive Attack, Portishead, and Tricky.

I don’t think you’ll find the album on any of the streaming services (here’s the Amazon link for the CD) but if you’re going to start digging, start with the crispy breakbeats on the track ‘Evolve.’

“You are the light, You are the fire”

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Alix Perez & SpectraSoul – Synergy

Photos courtesy Alix Perez and SpectraSoul

The Synergy EP is a joint release between drum n bass elites Alix Perez and SpectraSoul, featuring four tracks of a soulful, smoother side of drum n bass.

The track ‘Synergy’ rides out like a perfect liquid wave, laced with a classic Perez piano and lush vocals: “I already know you before I even met you.”

Drums ✔ Piano ✔ Vocals ✔ Vibes ✔ Dazzling stuff.

Snag the EP on Bandcamp

Newsletter: The Coltrane Doctrine 🎷

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THE COLTRANE DOCTRINE

John Coltrane and Einstein shared interests in mathematical principles. In response to the Coltrane doctrine (image below), Thelonious Monk replied: “All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

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+ Now that ⚾ is back, here’s a little-known fact on how the game influenced jazz music.

WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK

“I never sleep because sleep is the cousin of death,” spits Nas in his Illmatic track ‘N.Y. State of Mind.’ What he may have overlooked is that sleep, and indeed rest can make you even more productive. It’s a canard to think that all successful people do is just work. Charles Darwin and Ernest Hemingway were slackers.

THE SPIRITUAL, REDUCTIONIST CONSCIOUSNESS OF CHRISTOF KOCH

Somewhere upon the way of evolution, humans lucked out. We developed language. We had hands that allowed us to manipulate our environment. Says American neuroscientist Christof Koch, “human civilization is all about tools, whether it’s a little stone, an arrow, a bomb, or a computer.”

TOKYO’S HOTTEST NEW DJ IS THIS 82-YEAR-OLD DUMPLING CHEF

She makes dumplings by day and spins records by night. Check out 82-year-old Japanese woman DJ Dumpling. Watch the video.

Poll: What’s your jukebox preference: iTunes or Spotify?

WHO CAN NAME THE BIGGER NUMBER?

Scientists have shown again and again that the mind, like a piece of software, is elastic. We are the sum of a hundred billion neurons that strengthen through knowledge and experience. Our skull evolves within a gooey flesh.

But there has to be a cap on human acuity, surely. At some point, exponents can’t go any further. We can’t get any smarter, nor pinpoint the largest number which is infinity and beyond. Even “Moore’s Law peters out, “as microchip components reach the atomic scale and conventional lithography falters,” says computer scientist Scott Aaronson.

DR. GABOR MATE ON WHO/WHAT IS NORMAL

You’re either left brained or right. You’re either normal or mental. Rather, it’s a continuum of both. The stigma that goes along with differentness makes you an outsider, yet these ‘weirdos’ are exactly the ones crazy enough to change the world. Said the American mathematician John Nash: “I wouldn’t have had good scientific ideas if I had thought more normally.”

As Physician Dr. Gabor Mate explains in his interview, maybe we should make more space for those different to express themselves rather than hide in anguish.

Watch

THE STREETS OF PARIS

“Go out into the streets of Paris and pick out a cab driver. He will look to you very much like every other cab driver. But study him until you can describe him so that he is seen in your description to be an individual, different from every other cab driver in the world.” — De Maupassant

+ Speaking of cars, “Americans are used to cars the way that fish are used to water.” Ezra Klein explains why we should take a cue from Barcelona.


Digging In The Crates

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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.”

LISTEN

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Noga Erez is an electronic music producer from Tel Aviv. ‘Off the Radar’ is one of the lead singles from her debut album of the same name.

Noga’s electro-pop vibes will most certainly remind you of MIA’s adventurism. Says the artist, “have this idea of giving people moments of thought and inspiration, and at the same time offering escapism and fun.”

LISTEN

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With jungle nods to LTJ Bukem comes Mysterious of a Blunt, presumably an alias of Berlin-based techno producer Orson Wells.

Here’s how he describes his music-making process in an interview with EdHid:

 “It’s somehow a meditative process immersing yourself in a basic loop and trying to add selectively more elements based on your experiences you have collected. I didn’t have a mentor or did a programming study. Everything I do is the result of an autodidactic approach.”

LISTEN


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Mysterious of a Blunt – TnJ Loop

Image courtesy the artist

With jungle nods to LTJ Bukem comes Mysterious of a Blunt, presumably an alias of Berlin-based techno producer Orson Wells.

Here’s how he describes his music making process in an interview with EdHid:

“It’s somehow a meditative process immersing yourself in a basic loop and trying to add selectively more elements based on your experiences you have collected. I didn’t have a mentor or did a programming study. Everything I do is the result of an autodidactic approach.”

Get locked in.

Noga Erez – Off The Radar

Image courtesy the artist

Noga Erez is an electronic music producer from Tel Aviv. ‘Off the Radar’ is one of the lead singles from her debut album of the same name.

Noga’s electro-pop vibes will most certainly remind you of MIA’s adventurism. Says the artist, “have this idea of giving people moments of thought and inspiration, and at the same time offering escapism and fun.”

STUFF – Strata

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Image courtesy the artist

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.”

If you like the cross-genre hybrid, peep Christian Scott or The Peter Franks Group.

Actress – Dancing In The Smoke

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Image courtesy the artist

After teasing his new track ‘X22RME‘ two weeks ago, Actress is back with another dark, grinder of a single.

‘Dancing in the Smoke’ sounds as Actress sees music, as bits of data, and the hypnotic loop and accelerating orchestral keys allude to our electronic ‘future,’ a vocal that punctuates throughout the track.

Actress’s album seems to be pairing well with today’s gloomy times.

The album aptly titled AZD launches later this month. Snag both tracks on the Ninja Shop.

Yally – Dread Risk

Photo courtesy the artist

Yally is a collaboration between London-based Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead, known more commonly as the electronic duo Raime.

The band describes their Yally alias as an exploration of “Bass Futures” yet it sounds more like a nod to the Prodigy-esque jungle and garage vibe from early 90s London.

Dread Risk‘ is an absolute heater. It cuts and chops to grime basslines with dub techno thrown into the mix. Meanwhile, the album’s second track ‘U-Eff-O’ seems to mellow out to 2-step vibes.

 

Seb Wildblood – Wet Summer

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Image courtesy the artist

Seb Wildblood is a jack of all trades. He runs South London’s house label Church and its imprint All My Thoughts in addition to DJing and producing his own music.

‘Wet Summer’ is his latest groove, set to appear on a mini-LP on the emoji-titled album :~^ (yes, that’s the name!) via Omena Records. Says Wildblood, “Hopefully there’s something for every occasion, the club, cooking dinner, walking the dog… that’s the hope anyway.”

Nostalgic vibes.

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Christian Scott – The Reckoning

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Image from the band’s first album Stretch Music

Christian Scott is a jazz musician from New Orleans who along with his ensemble make up the Christian Scott Quintet. The band’s forthcoming album Ruler Rebel is album one of The Centennial Trilogy.

Listen to the lead single ‘The Reckoning,’ then do yourself a favor and listen to the group’s Stretch Music LP if you haven’t yet. Notable tracks: TWIN, Of a New Cool, and Sunrise in Beijing.

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Actress – X22RME

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Image courtesy the artist

Actress is UK electronic producer Darren Jordan Cunningham. As an outsider, his work intends to disrupt the status quo of dance music. The result is perfectly imperfect, splashed with subterranean techno and industrial components. He’s not afraid of playing with his faults. In an interview with Dazed Digital, he said:

No matter how much I refine it, no matter how much I update or modernise the equipment, the imperfections will always be there. And that’s just because there are gaps in my knowledge that I will never be able to fill in.

Actress proudly calls himself “a student of production.” He crunches bits and bytes into sound.

I honestly don’t see music, I just see information, data, programming, electricity, biochemistry.

Actress, an avant-garde musician, and machine tinkerer will release his new album AZD in April. Preorder it now at the Ninjashop. In the meantime, watch the album’s lead single ‘X22RME’ below.