April 30, 2012

Son Raw spends most of his months in MTL. Book him in your city for a nominal fee.

Lots of interesting music gets made in Montreal, particularly over the Winter months when nobody wants to leave the house for fear of yetis. Unfortunately, I don’t always have the time to properly document all of the good stuff  and the media is usually busy shining light the fad of the week instead of the underground soldiers fueling the city’s creativity. So consider this a bluffer’s guide to the best in beats and bass coming out of my fair city over the past quarter, with a particular emphasis on the Dubstep and post-Dubstep scene. Whether it’s mixes or EPs, there’s enough quality material coming out of here to keep your iPod running for a week and I guarantee that none of these artists make or wear vagina shaped rings. Because that would just be really, really stupid.

dɘɘpΩrɘst are a new Rx&B (Art&B? Cloud&B?) project from Footwork producer Hesk who I’ve previously written about and vocalists Compton Chic and Luna Mailka. Thankfully they’ve transcended their un-typeable name by virtue of knowing their audience and dropping a free E.P of hazy cloud music on 4:20. That’s how you start off on the right foot when it comes to convincing me to look past your aversion to vowels.

The crazed result of too many smoked out hours basking in the last decade’s R&B, Juicy J mixtapes, UK Bass music and the glow of computer screens, the 11:11 EP wins because it doesn’t quite sound like any of those things, even as it reminds you of all of them. Instead, you get girl-group heartache as parsed through digitized distortion and artifacts complete with saturated Usher covers, giggly poetry readings and vocals that soar above the murk before crashing like a lightweight a few hours after a spacecake. If you pined for fully formed songs while listening to that Hype Williams album, this might just be the ticket for your musical munchies.

11:11 by dɘɘpΩrɘst

Hissy Fit is another producer we’ve had our eye on for a while, quietly racking up attention on XLR8R while dropping everything from deep Techno to rude Bassline House across Montreal clubs. His latest project is a 6 part series of EPs available for 2 bucks each via bandcamp, with the focus being on dance-ready constructions full of processed vocals and skippy rhythms. Tracks like Fingervox and The Joy positively brim with energy, acting as a welcome alternative to the glut of darker, heavier Dubstep that sometimes dominates the discussion in the Montreal scene and the precise synth-work and melodic subtlety across this tracks hint at the producer’s extended reach. Definitely one for the knowing DJ searching for something light and airy this summer.

On the deeper and dubbier side of things, both Living~Stone and Wally have dropped new EPs exploring the further reaches of bass music. Veterans of the city’s Dubstep scene, the two producers have wisely moved on from the rat-race of the city’s sub-low arm-race into more creative territory, going beyond the rave into material that’s both more demanding and rewarding to the listener. Living~Stone’s Da Coldest EP veers away from Dubstep entirely with a series of tunes operating in an experimental techno direction while still retaining a focus on dark atmospheres and propulsive basslines. His remix of the Gulf Stream’s Disolving Coffee Machine is a particular highlight with shifting rhythms and an uneasy clatter of drums that positions it in the same vein as Pinch’s recent experiments. As for Wally, his Cleanse EP is squarely aimed at counteracting the vast amounts of “filthy Dubstep” overtaking Montreal dancefloors with the title track acting as a perfect remedy to the perennially in-demand aggression of Montreal dance floors. Both highly worth checking out.

Finally on the live scene, thanks to the Dubstep massive searching for something new but not necessarily something lighter, Drum & Bass has started to see a resurgence in Montreal with legends such as Andy C, Dieselboy and Jackie Murda touring to strong crowds of hyped-up junglists. A lot of the credit for the genre’s new life in the city goes to new arrivals the Master Faders whose reputation out west has seen them welcomed to Montreal with open arms. Their next event Superbass promises to bring the ruckus with their latest mix hinting at some of the madness to come.

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